THE ROBERT A. TAFT MEMORIAL AND CARILLON….I have a political trivia question on my mind. Maybe Tomasky knows the answer. Or maybe someone here does.
Here it is. When I was visiting Washington DC last December, a guide on one of the tour buses did a spiel about the Robert A. Taft bell tower. Among other things, he said that it was oriented to face the Department of Labor because Taft was the guy responsible for writing one of the country’s seminal pieces of labor legislation.
Now, this is true. The Taft-Hartley Act is a seminal piece of labor legislation. However, it’s more accurately described as a seminal piece of anti-labor legislation, and I have a hard time believing that even Taft’s fans would be cynical enough to pretend that he was a friend of labor.
So: Is this story true? If so, was it an attempt to give Taft some undeserved working man cred? Or was it a crafty way of telling labor unions that Taft continued to have his eye on them even in death? (In which case I’d give them credit for a surprisingly sly sense of humor.)
UPDATE: In comments, Michael Rebain provides a history lesson:
The Taft Memorial was dedicated in 1959. The Labor Department’s Frances Perkins Building was not completed until 1974. Prior to moving into the current headquarters, it was housed at 14th and Constitution (the current EPA headquarters).
In other words, the story is bollocks unless the statue of Taft was meant to have telescopic vision.