Byline: John McCaslin, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
President Bush has "quietly started his re-election campaign," which has Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe asking Democrats to open their wallets.
Mr. Bush, warns the DNC head in a memo, has already raised "tens of millions of dollars" for the Republican Party in advance of the 2004 elections.
Since then, says the Democrat, the president has "hired ultraconservative right-wing" campaign operative Ralph Reed to focus full energies on his re-election campaign.
By Mr. McAuliffe's own doing, DNC coffers were virtually depleted during the 2002 election cycle after he authorized that a record amount of money be spent to defeat the president's brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
As the Bradenton Herald reported days later: "While the national party poured millions into a fruitless effort in Florida, other Democrats nationally could have used more last-minute money to avoid narrow losses that shifted control of the U.S. Senate to Republicans."
Mr. McAuliffe's tremendous infusion of DNC cash was funneled into the failed gubernatorial campaign of Bill McBride, who ultimately lost to Mr. Bush.
Lest Democrats forget, Mr. McBride's finance chairman was Richard Swann, Mr. McAuliffe's father-in-law.
Despite President Bush's charitable efforts, Democrats should once again be able to bank on union support in 2004.
Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation (NRWF), says his sources reveal that former James P. Hoffa campaign chief and Teamsters union national field director Todd Thompson will be tasked with "tripling" contributions to the Teamsters' political action committee to defeat "all GOP candidates."
The development, he says, appears to represent a "shift in strategy" by union political operatives, who had been willing in the past to support moderate Republicans.
"Despite all of James Hoffa's rhetoric about reaching out to Republicans, the reality is that Teamsters officials are nothing more than Democrat Party shills," Mr. Gleason says.
It also points up a "failed strategy" pursued by the Bush White House to make core policy concessions in exchange for union political support, he says.
Despite the concessions, Mr. Gleason says, union officials have made ongoing attacks on President Bush and other Republicans.
In the 2002 election cycle, the Teamster's PAC, known as DRIVE, spent $2.3 million on behalf of federal candidates, 86 percent of which went to Democratic candidates, according to the NRWF.
Regardless, 40 percent of union households vote for other candidates, including Republicans.
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