Face the Bloggers: Best of the best around the 'net

All this week, while formulating my questions for our presidential and vice presidential candidates, I avoided reading what my fellow bloggers were asking because I wanted *sniff* to maintain my independence. Actually, I was afraid that their questions would be so good, I'd be tempted to "borrow" too much.

Lois Lane and I have to maintain our journalistic integrity.

Last night, I finally took a peek at what my colleagues were asking, and there were indeed some great questions that I wish I'd thought of.

Dan Schwartz, who organized our blogfest (thank you, Dan - this was a great idea!), had multiple questions for each candidate. Dan appears to have shared my concerns about the need for more pay equity legislation and was critical of the progress that has been made thus far on enacting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. My favorite question of Dan's, though, addressed to Governor Mitt Romney, was whether he really intended to "de-politicize" the National Labor Relations Board and, if so, how.

Jon Hyman took a bipartisan approach, asking President Obama why his administration had done so little to help families, implying that Jon favored expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act. He also implicitly criticized Governor Romney for waffling on the ENDA. But then he asked Vice President Joe Biden to explain to employers his support for an aggressive NLRB and the Employee Free Choice Act, and he implied that Congressman Paul Ryan wasn't a true fiscal conservative -- notwithstanding Ryan's expressed admiration for Ayn Rand.

Mitt Romney was accused of a lot of waffling this week.

Eric Meyer asked Gov. Romney whether he would repeal the FMLA (yeah, right!) and, like Jon Hyman, criticized Vice President Biden for the administration's failure to do more to enact equal pay legislation.  Yesterday, his question to Congressman Ryan was very similar to the one I had asked -- whether Ryan believes there is any role for unions in today's workplace. Eric went one step further than I did, asking Ryan whether he believed in repealing the National Labor Relations Act altogether.

Donna Ballman of "Screw You Guys, I'm Going Home" and author of Stand Up for Yourself Without Getting Fired was the only plaintiff's lawyer in our group, and she did not disappoint. She was unabashedly partisan, and I'll focus on her questions for the Republican candidates, since adversarial questions are more fun.

She asked Romney whether he still believed that management needed to be more cooperative with labor and forgo some perks so that companies would survive, and then commented, "I'm pretty sure I know the answer, but I'd like to hear him backpedal." She also accused him of waffling on whether the minimum wage should be tied to the Consumer Price Index (a position he had taken as governor of Massachusetts but presumably no longer holds). "This election is of huge importance to employees," she concluded. "You can either vote against your own economic interests and can buy into what Fox is telling you, or you can vote with your wallet. For anyone making under a million a year, the choice is pretty clear."

Here's Donna Ballman going after the GOP. (Just teasing, Donna!)

Then it was Ryan's turn to face Donna. She raked him over the coals for his comment at the Republican National Convention implicitly blaming Obama for a plant closing in Wisconsin when the plant closing had actually been announced during the end of the Bush Administration and only carried out during the Obama administration. (She also had questions about his support for extending unemployment benefits, his support for Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and of the ENDA.)

In short, it was a lively week, and a good time was had by all. I hope you enjoyed it, too. The first real presidential debate will be next Wednesday at 9 p.m. Eastern on most major TV networks and streamed over the internet. Be sure to tune in and see whether the moderators use any of our questions! I am sure they will.

Robin Shea has 30 years' experience in employment litigation, including Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (including the Amendments Act). 
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