Skip to comments.Thanks for all the support for Fire Fighters for Bush
Posted on 06/25/2005 7:17:19 PM PDT by FFforFreedom
I just wanted to stop in and say how very much all of us at the Firefighters for Bush site appreciated your support. I'm one of ten fire fighters who helped run the site. I'm still active working to educate fire fighters and confront union abuses. I posted my most recent article "The Fire Fighters Union and the Volunteer Fire Service." We've created another web site. One of the fire fighters started a young conservatives site, another has his own blog.
I was doing my research today and bumped into this thread at Free Republic. I can't tell you how it makes me feel to read your replies.
With your help, along with fire fighters around the country we were able have our voices heard over the liberal union leadership.
We were a huge embarrassment to them. We out performed their site. We had 2000 sincere guest book entries, while they squeaked out less than 50. You guessed it, All union leadership!
They were not ready for a confrontation with the members and non members. We did our homework and gave them a serious spanking when they decided to enter the lions den.
I know we didn't get much media attention. Harold Schaitberger heard us. He is still loosing members and taking a whipping from many who are still in.
Now his line is the IAFF and the AFL CIO need to be more bipartisan.
Don't you listen to a word of it. He's just saying he's willing to give money to who ever support their socialist agenda. He hasn't made one concession in his strategy to shift the burden of the fire service to the state and federal level.
You folks are awesome. We appreciate everything you did to support us.
I'll be stopping in as much as possible!
Keep up the good work!!
I was present at the WTC for 9-11. I never saw such bravery as the firefighters exhibited that day. Thank you for everything, and thank you for supporting our President and our country.
You folks, all of you, are great. The rest of us owe you a debt for the work you did making your voices heard.
Kerry's Steady Flame
How the firefighters union became one of the candidate's most potent political allies
Nation & World 3/22/04
By Alex Markels
It may seem like ancient history now, but John Kerry hasn't forgotten the solemn late-night phone call he made in November to firefighters union president Harold Schaitberger. His presidential bid floundering as other big unions announced support for Howard Dean, the Massachusetts senator had just fired his campaign manager. And now he had more bad news for Schaitberger, whose International Association of Fire Fighters was the first and only major union to stick its collective neck out and endorse Kerry last September. "I just want to let you know that we've got some really bad numbers coming out tomorrow morning," Kerry said of an about-to-be-released poll showing him more than 30 percentage points behind Dean in New Hampshire. But before Kerry could say another word, Schaitberger cut him off. "I'm sure you've got other supporters to call," the mustachioed, 57-year-old recalls telling Kerry. "Use your time and energy with them, because you don't have to with us. We gave you our word. We'll be the last men standing."
His colleagues had been ribbing Schaitberger for weeks about his decision to buy a ticket on the Titanic, but the former Fairfax County, Va., firefighter and longtime Kerry supporter never flinched. Instead, he got together with dispirited firefighters in Iowa and New Hampshire and rallied them to Kerry's side. Many were already involved, but their signature yellow-and-black "Firefighters for Kerry" banners and T-shirts soon became omnipresent at rallies, debates, chili feeds, and pancake breakfasts. A new "Drive With Five" incentive program pushed them to bring at least five nonfirefighters to Iowa caucus sites, spurring union members like Rick Kleinman. "I busted tail," the Ottumwa, Iowa, firefighter says of the 16 people he brought. Predisposed to taking orders and following through, the firefighters "caught their second wind and went at it even harder," Schaitberger says. "We were everywhere."
The firefighters claim just 263,000 members, making theirs only the AFL-CIO's 16th-largest union. But their presence in almost every neighborhood and enhanced public respect since the 9/11 attacks have made them a powerful political asset. In a year when other endorsements failed to sway voters, "Kerry wouldn't be the presumptive nominee without the firefighters," says Paul Begala, a former adviser to President Clinton and cohost of CNN's Crossfire.
It's not just thanks to their broad reach and organizational skills. Standing tall behind their candidate on the podiums in their yellow-and-black T-shirts, "it looks like a Chippendale's calendar," Begala says of the burly firefighters. They not only elbowed themselves into the best TV camera angles but also served as security guards at many of the more raucous rallies. "It's all designed to make you realize that [Kerry] is a guy who can keep you safe and secure," Begala says. "That has been absolutely central."
For his part, the candidate is reluctant to credit the firefighters solely for his success, but "they were the predominant presence for a period of time," Kerry said in an interview last week. "They've been an essential part of the campaign." Even some Republicans have shown grudging respect. When firefighters campaign for Kerry, "you don't see `union,' you see `fireman,' which makes you feel good," says GOP pollster Frank Luntz.
Star turn. Schaitberger's strategy for political influence has long favored early endorsements. "In politics, it's always best to be a first responder. You've got to get in early or be a big enough horse to make a difference. Anything else, you're just along for the ride," says Schaitberger, who also was one of Al Gore's earliest supporters in the 2000 election. There's little doubt the relationship with Kerry has been as good for Schaitberger and his union as it's been for Kerry. Kerry supports a plan to add 100,000 firefighters to the nation's payrolls, and he has sponsored the proposed Federal Firefighters Fairness Act, which would make it easier for them to receive benefits for job-related illnesses. Schaitberger is also reaping rewards from his early decision to go with Kerry and to stick with him. Last week, he was named vice chairman of a new AFL-CIO campaign strategy committee, giving him a major role in directing the efforts of millions of union members now pledged to support Kerry. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney joked that Schaitberger will be the only union guy with keys to the executive bathroom at the White House.
Schaitberger recently fired some of the first volleys in the general election when he lambasted the Bush campaign for airing television ads depicting firefighters at the scene of the World Trade Center disaster (box). And by alleging that Bush has failed to adequately fund both new firefighters and firefighting equipment, Schaitberger has helped "change the image of how committed Bush and his team are to the security of the average American," says former Michigan congressman David Bonior, a labor studies professor at Wayne State University.
Kerry and Schaitberger are tight-lipped about their strategy for making the most of the union troops in the campaign. While Kerry says the firefighters will remain "front and center," Schaitberger says he's prepared to "do what we did last week. . . . If the Bush campaign tries to use us as a political backdrop again, we're going to be very aggressive in challenging that."
In other words, he'll fight fire with fire.
It is us that owe you thanks.
The Military, the police and fire fighters put it on the line every day.
It's our honor.
Keep up the good work. We owe you and those like you, though, not the other way around.
I'm especialy conscious of this during wildfire season.
I need to put someone in touch with you.
I'll be back.
Rest in peace Master Sergeant Horrigan. God rest & keep you.
Salute , Master Sgt Horrigan.
A grateful nation thanks you.
Thank you for sharing his story.
Please tell his brother that we pray with out ceasing for our Military.
I can't believe I'm just finding you.
The quality and quantity of the posts one this site are staggering.
Set another place for coffee and breakfast.
Coffee and breakfast served on Wednesdays. Another place is set.
Welcome to FR! I remember signing your guestbook not too long after your site was up and running! I loved to read the forum and the other comments left in the guestbook! God Bless you and thank you for your service to our country!!
Thank YOU for everything you do!! My kids and I take cookies to the two closest firehouses and the police station on 9/11 as a way to remember the sacrifices of your fallen brothers. It's not much, by I want to impress on my children an appreciation of those who sacrifice for them. God bless you, sir.
Thank You !!
God Bless you all
I was one of your guestbook entries, and I checked in every so often to your great site. Keep up the great work!
We couldn't have done it with out active folks like yourself.
Thanks a million!
Thanks for all the support you're giving to our troops and our country!
Of course the above reply by myself was aimed at the great folks at
This ex-cop salutes you. Welcome!