Thursday, August 30, 2007

Michigan Primary to move to Jan 15?

It looks like this is getting closer to a done deal. The state house and state senate both approved a primary, and Granholm is on record supporting it. There are still some details to be worked out however.


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Republicans and many of the state's top Democrats got the Jan. 15 presidential primary they wanted Thursday when the Michigan Legislature sent a bill to the governor setting the primary date.

But approval of the switch is far from certain. A disagreement among state Democratic leaders over whether to hold a primary or a caucus is complicating final action.

"The Michigan Democratic Party has made no decision as to whether to participate in a primary," state Democratic Chairman Mark Brewer said in a statement after the vote. "When this bill becomes law we will weigh our options and decide how to proceed."

Most of Michigan's top elected Democratic officials want to hold a primary, including Granholm, who could sign the bill by Friday, her spokeswoman said. But supporters of presidential candidate John Edwards are pressing for a Democratic caucus because they think the influence of organized labor — a strength for Edwards — would be magnified in a caucus.


Neither party wants the other party's supporters voting in their primary, so that's why there's the push for same day. The GOP had their side worked out on this. The democrats will decide what they want. The Hillary and Obama supporters apparently want a primary, while John Edwards supporters apparently want a caucus.

We'll see what ends up happening.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Soros group fined $775,000

The biggest threat to freedom in America just had his group fined 3/4 of a million bucks. That threat is the gazillionaire leftist and anti-freedom advocate George Soros. It's not nearly enough of a fine in my opinion, but at least he got nailed.

From the Politico
The Federal Election Commission has fined one of the last cycle’s biggest liberal political action committees $775,000 for using unregulated soft money to boost John Kerry and other Democratic candidates during the 2004 elections.

America Coming Together (ACT) raised $137 million for its get-out-the-vote effort in 2004, but the FEC found most of that cash came through contributions that violated federal limits.

The group’s big donors included George Soros, Progressive Corp. chairman Peter Lewis and the Service Employees International Union.

The settlement, which the FEC approved unanimously, is the third largest enforcement penalty in the commission’s 33-year history


It wouldn't be the first criminal related action George Soros would be involved in. He was convicted of Inside trading in France. Say what you will about the French, but they'll always have a little respect from me for actually going after this guy.

Irony of ironies is that Soros spent 12 million bucks on the anti-free speech McCain/Feingold bill in an astroturf operation. He's also a major league gun grabber (Criminals support gun control, and he's no different) and hates capitalism. Maybe he's worried about competition and that one of the people he steps on may do something about it....

Monday, August 27, 2007

Valde Garcia threatened with recall on upcoming tax votes

Leon Drolet and the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance are sending a message to BOTH parties on taxes. Vote for tax increases and you will be recalled. Valde Garcia is one of the targets. From the Argus.

State Sen. Valde Garcia said he’s being targeted in a recall of legislators who may vote for tax increases because of his refusal to sign “no-tax” pledges.
Garcia, R-Marion Township, was one of several state Republican and Democratic representatives and senators named in recall papers filed on Monday by Leon Drolet, a former Republican state representative and leader of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance.

Drolet said anti-tax organizers on Monday filed or intended to file with local clerks nine statements of organization setting up potential recall efforts, with another one against Garcia to come later this week.

The moves will take care of paperwork so recall language can be proposed quickly if lawmakers vote to raise taxes, Drolet said.



Valde Garcia is a good man. More often than not, I agree with him. He does need to be watched closely on tax votes however, and is oftentimes a fencesitter on those votes. He usually goes our way in the end, but did vote for the "tax shift" a few years back.

The rest of the targets? In the House:
Andy Dillon, D-Redford
Marc Corriveau, D-Northville
Mary Valentine, D-Muskegon
Gino Polidori, D-Dearborn
Ed Gaffney, R-Grosse Pointe Farms
Richard Ball, R-Laingsburg.

The Senate:
Glenn Anderson, D-Westland
Dennis Olshove, D-Warren
Gerald Van Woerkom, R-Norton Shores
Valde Garcia, R-Howell

Bipartisan targeting.

Fieger charged with campaign finance violations

The only democrat in recent memory who actually lost Ann Arbor is back in the news over his political donations to John "Hair" Edwards.
From the Oakland Press:

Attorney Geoffrey Fieger used "straw donors" to illegally funnel $127,000 to the presidential campaign of John Edwards in 2003 and 2004, a 10-count indictment alleges.

Fieger and his law partner, Vernon Johnson, 45, were named in the grand jury indictment that was unsealed Friday in Detroit.

Fieger, 56, best known for defending assisted-suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian, said the charges were politically motivated and "solely intended to intimidate Democratic supporters around the country."

(snip)

The justice department alleges Fieger and Johnson skirted the $2,000 individual contribution limit by soliciting others to make contributions to Edwards and either providing the funds or reimbursing the donors for their contributions.

The donors included attorneys and spouses of Fieger's law firm, non-attorney employees and spouses at the law firm, Fieger's friends and third-party vendors to the law firm, according to the indictment.

The indictment also alleges Fieger obstructed justice by concealing information or providing false information to the grand jury. The government alleges Fieger told federal agents a deceased member of the law firm was responsible for the campaign contributions.


First, let's remember that he IS innocent till proven guilty. We can't arrest someone for being a prick. That isn't a crime.

That said, it isn't the first time he's been involved in campaign finance shenanagans. There was a bunch of anyonomous PAC funnelling that was orchastrated by Fieger in a recent state Supreme Court race. The left hates strict constructionists and originalist judges, and Fieger was a leader in the attempt to take them out election time, but did not want his name attached to it for obvious reasons.

On the state level, what he was charged with is called earmarking. It is a VERY COMMON, but ILLEGAL practice at both the state and federal level. In Gubenatorial Races, the donation limit is $3400. Let's say that John Doe runs for governor. I can give Doe $3400 if I had that kind of money. Anything more would be illegal. What often happens is that a donor will give money to an individual "earmarking" it to be given to a campaign. That's illegal and what Fieger is charged with. If I wanted to give $34,000 to Doe, I couldn't give $3400, and give $3400 to nine of my collegues with the stipulation that it goes to Doe's campaign. That's illegal, although as I said before - an extremely common practice (and tough to prove).

Is he guilty here? I'll let the jury decide that. I will say one thing. If he's guilty, he's by far not the only one. That I can say for a fact. A lot of people should be scared right now. Luckily for me, I don't earmark, and I stayed the hell away from that in campaigns I treasured.

Howell Gun Club expands land

Considering the amount of development that goes on, this is good to see. From the Ann Arbor News

....hrough the sale of $500 bonds, the club has almost hit its $124,000 target, securing not only the land, but a long-term place in the community.

According to former club president Rick Howard, the landowner contacted him in early 2006 and said he was looking to sell.

"We were more than interested in picking it up,'' said Howard, who is well aware of the legal troubles involving neighbors of the shooting range at the Island Lake State Recreation Area. Excessive noise allegations made by a neighboring homeowners has led to a legal battle that has been ongoing since 2003.

While no such noise allegations have been made against the Howell Gun Club, Howard said the added land will "create more of a buffer zone between the other land owners and us.''

To date, 37 club members have purchased bonds in various increments. "Some people have bought one bond, one person bought 30. It's all in what your finances will allow,'' said club secretary and longtime member Jeff Klueger.

Boasting a membership of 850, the Howell Gun Club has existed for almost 60 years at its 47-acre site on Jewell Road. There are no plans to move or expand, said Howard. The site already houses an indoor pistol range; outdoor 50-yard, 100-yard and 300-yard shooting ranges; and a trap and skeet shooting area. It is one of the most well-equipped ranges in the state, thanks in part to the original members who bought 40 $50 bonds in the early 1950s to buy the property - members like Merl Lybrink of Marion Township.

"I enjoy shooting and I feel strongly about preserving our rights to shoot for our family,'' said the father of four sons.

Alberto Gonzales resigns

From Forbes/AP

CRAWFORD, Texas - Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has resigned, ending a monthslong standoff with critics over the botched handling of FBI terror investigations and the firings of U.S. attorneys, officials said Monday.

The likely temporary replacement for Gonzales is Solicitor General Paul Clement, who would take over until a permanent replacement is found, according to a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Justice Department planned a news conference for 10:30 a.m. EDT,in Washington. President Bush was expected to discuss Gonzales' departure - first reported on The New York Times' Web site - at his Crawford, Texas, ranch, before leaving on a trip to western states


I was never really a fan of his. He seemed too much like a yesman for my taste, and certainly was no friend of the 2nd Amendment. We've had much worse AGs like Janet "Waco" Reno, but we've had better. We'll see who the replacement is. Alex Kozinski or another libertarian leaner would be a great pick, but that isn't likely going to happen.

Mark Schauer challenging Tim Walberg - 7th District

My schedule is getting less erratic, so we're going to start to get back to normal posting here.

Some big news over the past week is Mark Schauer taking on Tim Walberg. It's official. I commented on the speculation about three weeks ago and analyzed the potential race there. It looks like he'll have to face a primary as well, so it is no given that he'll be the nominee. Jim Berryman is also running, and I analyzed his chances here. I think Walberg can be beaten, but I think Schauer isn't going to be able to do it. It's much easier being a chamelion for a state representative or state senate district than it is to be one as a congressman. Walberg is also very very good at turning out his right-populist supporters.

I think Walberg beats Schauer. Now why do I think as things stand, Walberg wins in 08, even against Schauer.

1. Primaries. Schauer does not have easy ride to the nomination. Attorney David Naucht is running. Sharon Renier is also running. Former State Senator Jim Berryman is also running. Naucht's raising money and is going to have a campaign. Renier beat democrat establishment campaigns several times in the past. Jim Berryman won a tough state senate district which went Republican when he left. Joe Schwarz may also run and is considering a party switch to something more in line with his tax raising and gun grabbing views. There is a significal geographical element to that primary, and it is no gaurantee that Schauer will survive it. I think he would, but not easily.

2. District is more republican in presidential years. Two counties that are not going to be as big of an advantage to democrats in 08 are Eaton and Jackson. Why? State workers. Eaton County has a very large number of state workers commuting to Lansing (as well as a small portion of Lansing). They strongly lean democrat in off year elections. Granholm won Eaton Twice, by a big margin in 06. Bush won it in 04. Jackson went for Bush twice, and Granholm once. Jackson has a lot of state workers due to the corrections industry (prisons). It is very open to democrats at the state level, but not nearly as much at the federal level, and not to leftists.

3. Geography. There are very few strongholds for either party in this district. The democrats have Albion in Calhoun County, the city of Jackson (usually), and part of Lansing in Eaton County. Adrian (Lenawee) and Battle Creek are strong leaners. None of the democrat strongholds were enough to take their respective county in the 04 election, although Calhoun went for Gore in 2000 due mostly to Albion and Battle Creek. The Republicans have Hillsdale and Branch Counties leading the way, Summit Township in Jackson, and some rural areas in the other counties are also strongholds. Most of the rural areas are republican leaning, not strongholds however. There are a lot of socially conservative independents here, and Walberg runs well among them, much to the chagrin to the establishment crowds which do not like him. (That can be a good thing) Calhoun did not like Walberg to begin with due to the Schwarz defeat. I do not see that much more of a swing against him from 04. Schauer is probably too leftist and too establishment democrat to take Jackson in a federal level race against a non-sacrificial lamb. Eaton would be close, but probably 50/50 at best. He'll probably take Washtenaw due to the Ann Arbor leftists in Scio Township, although the Manchester and Salem areas will offset some of it. Schauer can forget about Branch, Hillsdale, and Lenawee counties altogether. That's too much to make up, despite a Battle Creek homer advantage.

4. Taxes. Granholm's tax proposals are showing a newer side to Schauer - and not a good one to a populist district, such as this one.

5. Last but not least is Walberg's maverick side. He's not a Bush robot, but a conservative first and foremost, and his social conservatism plays well in most parts of this district (including swing areas) outside of areas like Scio Township (Ann Arbor) in Washtenaw County and maybe Delta Township, although I've still never quite figured that area out.

Schauer will make this a race, but my money is on Tim Walberg, and I'm rather confident about this matchup. If this was one of the Spade brothers vs Walberg, I'd be less confident.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Updates, news and comment

It's a day off for me right now, so I will be catching up on some posts I planned out, but didn't have time to cover. From the Old News section:

First, I got over to melonfest yesterday up in Howell. I missed the parade however, and from what I've heard 2nd hand, the dems took a page out of the "Communications Guru" playbook. They were marching down Grand River in the non political parade with picket signs telling us how bad the other guy sucks (Rogers votes against Children, etc etc) - nothing about the several candidates on their side of the isle. If that is true (qualified statement), that's a good way to piss off the apolitical people and turn away potential converts. As the Motorhead song goes, "No class." As a republican, all I have to say is "Thanks, guys for your help!"

Second, John Dingell awhile back introduced a "Put up or Shut up" bill on this global warming hysteria going on out there. I like that the smug spoiled rich kid Robert Kennedy Junior and his crowd getting a target on his back for once. Dingell's bill taxes gasoline 50 cents, takes off mortgage deductions on 3,000 foot homes. I don't like the bill, nor agree with it, it's a dose of reality for those who think global warming is this dire threat, but just want to target American cars.

Third, Dan Meisler of the Argus had a good editorial about the light rail project between Ann Arbor and Howell. I've posted several items on that previously giving my opposition to subsidizing a project I do not believe will work due to the routes and low population of the area.

Friday, August 17, 2007

US-23 to open again!

This is some good news. From the Ann Arbor News:

Good news for the long-suffering motorists on the stretch of US-23 north of Ann Arbor: All lanes are expected to reopen Saturday, two weeks ahead of schedule.

The Michigan Department of Transportation says the lanes will be open by 3 p.m.

For more than five months, motorists have been dealing with single-lane traffic between Barker and Silver Lake roads - first on the northbound side of the highway, then in the southbound lanes. Workers began rehabilitating four bridges on or over the highway near Whitmore Lake on March 1.

MDOT spokeswoman Kari Arend attributed the earlier-than-expected lane openings to hard work by the contractor and cooperative weather.

But the good news is tempered by a disclaimer: The work isn't completely over. Drivers can still expect intermittent single-lane closures on both the northbound and southbound sides of US-23 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., starting Monday.

The intermittent closures will be relatively infrequent and should have much less impact than the around-the-clock, single-lane traffic of the past several months, Arend said.

"It will be nothing like it was before,'' she said.

The Eight Mile Road bridge over US-23 and the ramp from Eight Mile Road to southbound US-23 will remain closed until the end of August, Arend said.

The entire $8.2 million project, which includes repaving US-23 and M-14 between Silver Lake Road in Green Oak Township and Barton Drive in Ann Arbor, is expected to be finished by mid-October, Arend said.

"After that, you're pretty much going to see us out of the way,'' she said.


Although, lately my commute has been away from Ann Arbor, I'll be commuting there again shortly, and while I take backroads most of the time anyway. This at least lowers traffic that way, as well as clearing up that clustermuck intersection at M-36.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Maine-Nebraska system to go to California?

This is interesting. If this ballot initative passes, it will be a major league change in presidential politics. California has 55 electoral votes, and went democrat by 10% in 2004 and 11% in 2000.

From the Monitor.

Los Angeles - A new ballot initiative in California, calling to end the winner-take-all system for distributing the state's electoral votes in a presidential election, could alter the outcome of the 2008 race.

GOP strategists, who are pushing the measure, hope to boost the chances of Republican White House candidates in 2008 and beyond by mandating that California's jackpot of 55 electoral votes be apportioned by congressional district.

With the state having more than 10 percent of the 538 national total votes, the GOP would be buoyed by some 20 congressional districts that consistently vote Republican, experts say. Enacting such a change would be a blow to Democrats in left-leaning California, who count on the state's large pool of electoral votes in any scenario to win the presidency.

"This has huge implications within the state but also nationally," says Tony Quinn, coeditor of California Target Book, a nonpartisan analysis of congressional and state legislative races.

President Bush lost California by 1.2 million votes in 2004, though he carried 22 of 53 congressional districts. If the districts he won had been equal to 22 electoral votes, Mr. Bush wouldn't have needed to win the crucial state of Ohio and could have spent time and resources elsewhere.


For those who don't know, the Maine-Nebraska system is as follows. Candidates gain two electoral votes for winning the state, and one additional vote for each congressional district. These states rarely split their votes as the districts are strong leaners to one party or the other, but it is possible. Maine's 2nd Congressional district is competitive to some degree, but does lean democrat by about 5%. All three Nebraska seats are solidly republican, and Maine's 1st district is solidly democrat.

If this applied to Michigan in 2004, the Republicans would have taken ten electoral votes (All Republican seats and Stupak's seat up north), and the democrats would take five electoral votes (Two for winning the state, and the Detroit, Dingell, Levin, and Kildee districts). The Knollenberg and Stupak seats are swing districts at the top of the ticket, with potential competitiveness in most of the other Republican sections depending on the matchups at the top of the ticket.

If this applied to California, the GOP would have taken all the Republican held seats(then 20, Pombo's seat went dem in 06), as well as the Democrat Cardoza, and Loretta Sanchez seats (barely). 22 electoral votes would have switched - more than all states besides Florida, Texas, and New York - and that includes the juggernaut battlegrounds of Ohio and Pennsylvania and democrat stronghold of Illinois.

What are the ramifications if this passes?
1. California will not be ignored in the general election. While democrats will very likely take the two votes statewide and most of their current districts, and Republicans would take most of their districts, about 5-7 of those districts could be real battlegrounds. The Costa, Cardoza, Sanchez, Bono, former Pombo, Gallegly and Dreier seats are potentially competitive.
2. Other states will push this. Several retalliations on all sides may be likely, particulary in strong one party states with a significant minority in the other party. Texas would be the big target, probably countered by Illinois.
3. Severe Redistricting battles - if you add Presidential races to the redistricting fights, you'll have the problems today multiplied by 100. California had several competitive seats in the 1990's. The redistricting there was a relatively non-controversial incumbent protection act that kept their seats almost in an overkill fashion.

I believe Colorado attempted this in either 2004 or 2006 and failed. If they succeed, 2 electoral votes would solidly go democrat, 4 would go republican, one would be a toss up, and the state itself would account for two more electoral votes which may be very well up for grabs in 2008.

I would support the Maine-Nebraska system nationwide, but only if there is significant redistricting reform as well that takes legislatures, commissions, judges, and other politicians out of the equation. Else, there is too much gamesmanship involved. Until then, Pandora's box should remain closed.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Tommy Thompson drops out

This is not a big shocker. I think Tommy Thompson would have been a much stronger candidate 8 years ago when he had better name recognition as Wisconsin Governer. With his credentials as one of the two major leaders of welfare reform in the 1990's (other being John Engler), he should have been a stronger candidate.

From CNN
Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson dropped out of the race for the GOP presidential nomination.

Thompson, who also served in the Bush Cabinet, did not meet the expectations he set for himself in the Ames Republican straw poll held Saturday.

"I want to thank the people of Iowa who were welcoming and supportive as well as my volunteers and contributors from around the country," Thompson said in a written statement.

Thompson, former secretary of Health and Human Services, had hoped to place second in the poll. Instead, he finished sixth.

Speaking to reporters Sunday, he smiled and said he simply needed to accept that he "lost."

"There's no sense in looking back," he said.

In his statement, Thompson said he had "no regrets about running."


Thompson and Gilmore are now out. When will the field narrow futher?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Romney wins Straw Poll, Huckabee finishes 2nd

Interesting results. Giuliani and McCain skipped. Fred Thompson was on the ballot, but not an official candidate. From the AP/Forbes:

AMES, Iowa - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won an easy and expected victory in a high-profile Iowa Republican Party Straw Poll on Saturday, claiming nearly twice as many votes as his nearest rival.

Romney had been expected to win the test because he spent millions of dollars and months of effort on an event that was skipped by two of his major rivals.



The Results:
1. Mitt Romney - 4516 - 31.5%
2. Mike Huckabee - 2587 - 18.1%
3. Sam Brownback - 2192 - 15.3%
4. Tom Tancredo - 1961
5. Ron Paul - 1305
6. Tommy Thompson - 1039
7. Fred Thompson - 203
8. Rudy Giuliani - 183
9. Duncan Hunter - 174
10. John McCain - 101
11. John Cox - 41

Analysis:
The Winners:
Mitt Romney - He was expected to win. Anything less would be considered a loss. He met expectations and won by over 10% His biggest strength is his organization, and it came through for him.
Mike Huckabee - A strong 2nd. Most have not really heard of him. I thought he may be a darkhorse, but he exceeded my expectations there. He's an excellent speaker from a swing state and IMO won every debate I've seen him in. This is a big win, especially since it is not in the South.
Sam Brownback - He probably needed top 3, and got it. Iowa neighbors Kansas, and a less than top 3 showing may knock him out.

The Losers:
Tommy Thompson - He said if he didn't finish in the top 2, he would probably drop. 6th place is not even close, and that goes double for a Midwesterner.
Duncan Hunter - I like Hunter, but he needed to get momentum. If you just looked at background without taking in name recognition, money, and current office, he'd probably be the best candidate. 9th place finishing behind non candidates is a disaster. That's too bad. I think Tommy Thompson (Who I was considering) and Hunter (where I have been leaning) may be knocked out from this. At best, their campaign is in trouble. That's unfortunate.
John Cox - I don't know anything about him. Last place however is last place.

Too early to tell:
Tom Tancredo, Ron Paul - They showed that they are real candidates. They didn't get top three, but they placed and have something to build on in the next few months. I kind of thought that Ron Paul would finish top three, but internet support is different than ground support. Can he use it to his advantage. As far as Tancredo goes, immigration is a major issue. Can he branch off from that and go to other issues? We'll see.

Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain skipped the poll. Whether this hurts or helps remains to be seen. They didn't finish last either, and that's good for their campaign.

The biggest news I think was Huckabee's 2nd place finish. The question is will he build on this and join Romney, Giuliani, McCain, and Fred Thompson in the "Top Tier." South Carolina will be his big test.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Club for Growth releases report card on Pork Spending

The scores are out, and Congress overall has been a dismal failure. The democrats even made George W Bush look fiscally responsible. To say that the democrats absolutely suck royal on spending is an understatement. Only one Democrat received higher than 20%. That's bad. Jim Cooper got 98%. If you want fiscal responsiblity, do not vote for Democrats.

That's not to say that a lot of Republicans did not make the cut either. A lot of them tried too hard to be democrats with their spending habits. There's a major split within the party among spending issues. The full report card is at the link. The GOP grades range from 0 to 100%. The Democrats except Cooper range from 0 to 20. While it is safe to assume that democrats not named Jim Cooper are bigtime spenders, it's not safe to say that the GOP is fiscally responsible. Some are, some are not.

From the CLub for Growth

Some interesting numbers to consider:

Sixteen congressmen scored a perfect 100%, voting for all 50 anti-pork amendments. They are all Republicans.
The average Republican score was 43%. The average Democratic score was 2%.
The average score for appropriators was 4%. The average score for non-appropriators was 25%.
Kudos to Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) who scored an admirable 98%-the only Democrat to score above 20%.
Rep. David Obey (D-WI) did not vote for his own amendment to strike all earmarks in the Labor-HHS appropriations bill. Rep. Obey scored an embarrassing 0% overall.
105 congressmen scored an embarrassing 0%, voting against every single amendment. The Pork Hall of Shame includes 81 Democrats and 24 Republicans.
The Democratic Freshmen scored an abysmal average score of 2%. Their Republican counterparts scored an average score of 78%.
Some of the targeted pork projects this year include:

$2 million for a "Paint Shield for Protecting People from Microbial Threats," requested by Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH-11). Rep. John Campbell challenged Murtha to demonstrate that the $2 million earmark would be effective and that it had been put up for a competitive bid. Murtha could not. Amendment failed, 91-317.
$1 million to the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, requested by Rep. John Murtha (D-PA). No congressional member could confirm the existence of the alleged Center. Amendment failed, 98-326.
$2 million to establish the "Rangel Center for Public Service" at City College of New York, requested by none other then Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY). Amendment failed, 108-316.
$34 million for the Alaska Native Education Equity program, requested by Rep. Don Young (R-AK). When Scott Garrett challenged Young's earmark, Rep. Young declared, "You want my money, my money!" Amendment failed, 74-352.
$50,000 for the National Mule and Packers Museum in California, requested by Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA). Amendment failed, 69-352.
$100,000 for renovation of the Fire Fighters Hall in Columbus, Ohio, requested by Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-OH). Amendment failed, 66-364.
$100,000 for the renovation of St. Joseph College's theatre in Indiana, requested by Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN). Amendment failed, 97-328



Notable scores:

100%'ers - Flake, Hensarling, Campbell, Broun, Deal, Franks, Garrett, Heller, J Kline, Lamborn, Pence, P Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Shadegg, Thornberry, and Westmoreland - All Republicans.

Presidential Candidates:
Tancredo - 84%
Hunter - 26%
Ron Paul - 29% - That one shocked me, and not in a good way
Kucinich - 0%

House Leadership
Dems:
Pelosi - Doesn't usually vote (Speaker)
Murtha - 0%
Emanuel - 2%

GOP:
Boehner - 60%
Blunt - 22%

Michigan Delegation - Overall rather unimpressive: All but one, maybe two on some grading scales, would only pass on a curve.

Tim Walberg (R) - 86% - The only one with an excellent score.
Mike Rogers (R) - 54% - Compared to the rest, I should be happy with Mike, but that's still not good enough.
Vern Ehlers (R) - 45%
Dave Camp (R) - 44%
Fred Upton (R) - 42%
Pete Hoekstra (R) - 20%
Candice Miller (R) - 14% - Hoekstra, McCotter, and Miller's scores were very surprising to me. I expected much more out of them.
John Dingell (D) - 2%
Carolyn Kilpatrick (D) - 2%
Thad McCotter (R) - 2%
Bart Stupak (D) - 2%
John Conyers (D) - 0%
Dale Kildee (D) - 0%
Joe Knollenberg (R) - 0%
Sander Levin (D) - 0%

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Mark Schauer to flip flop and challenge Tim Walberg? (7th District)

It looks like we'll have a flip-flop here. Mark Schauer, a state senator from Battle Creek may be changing his mind and running for congress. From the AP

LANSING — State Senate Minority Leader Mark Schauer, D-Bedford Township, might challenge U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg in the 2008 election after brushing off earlier overtures to enter the race.

Schauer, who had pledged to Senate Democrats to serve out his full four-year term through 2010, said Wednesday he is discussing a bid for Congress with family, colleagues and constituents before making a "final decision."

Mark Schauer is an chamelion who'd I'd trust as much as Mr. Clinton, but he's a good campaigner. Why don't I trust him? For example he ran as a major pro-gunner when he first ran for the house in 98. He won, with gun owner support. When he saw a chance at rising into leadership, he comes across and votes for every restriction provision in the concealed carry bill, including one that made cars a no carry zone. He did vote for the final bill in the end however, to say he was pro. Then he cosponsored a nasty gun grabbing package authored by Gilda Jacobs. He'll say and do anything that makes him look good. Right now, he's the yesman to the Matt Millen of Governors, Jennifer "Tax em all" Granholm.

Schauer is however a good campaigner and won tough districts in the past. His old Battle Creek district is a slightly democrat leaning area, but voted for Republican Mike Nofs when Schauer ran for Senate. Schauer's state senate district was a 53% Bush district. I think Schauer is the 2nd best candidate the democrats could run, with one of the Spades (Dudley especially) being their best chance.

Tim Walberg is possibly the most underestimated campaigner in the state. He's never had any easy races, and always finds a way to win. Eight times in a swing district that went democrat when he left. He ousted a tax raising, gun grabbing and pro-abortion incumbent backed by the entire GOP establishment (including Mr Bush) in a primary in 06, and then won the general election in a major democrat year. The populist, free soil, and Reagan democrat leaning 7th district in particular was particulary nasty to the GOP, voting for Granholm by large margins after voting for Bush by a fairly large margin in 2004. They still backed a non-incumbent Republican in Tim Walberg.

Many democrats think Walberg is their easiest shot at a congressional seat in 08. I disagree, even if Schauer runs. (Knollenberg seat) I do think it would be a tough race, but my money would still be on Tim Walberg - and I think Schwarz would actually be easier to beat in a general under the 2006 circumstances.

While I haven't had the time to update all the county and district reports, there's some good information and numbers in the sidebar. District 7, State Senate 19, and the counties involved in this district have all the numbers from 2004 and earlier.

The 2006 numbers are as follows

General Election (first number Walberg, 2nd number Renier)
Branch: 7744, 5572
Calhoun: 18930, 21260
Eaton: 21135, 22108
Hillsdale: 9798, 5000
Jackson: 28140, 25281
Lenawee: 18740, 14379
Washtenaw: 17861, 19065
Total: 122348, 112665

Primary Election (first number Joe Schwarz, 2nd number Walberg)
Branch: 1519, 2309
Calhoun: 5650, 4167
Eaton: 5941, 5032
Hillsdale: 1917, 4043
Jackson: 6777, 8019
Lenawee: 2569, 5687
Washtenaw: 4957, 3988
Total: 29330, 33245

Schauer won against a sacrificial lamb opponent in 06 by the margin of 50612 to 32078, a big win.

For the record, Walberg is from Lenawee County (Tipton) and Renier is from Jackson County (Munith). Schwarz is from Battle Creek in Calhoun County. Schauer is from Benton Township near Battle Creek.

Now why do I think as things stand, Walberg wins in 08, even against Schauer.

1. Primaries. Schauer does not have easy ride to the nomination. Attorney David Naucht is running. Sharon Renier is also running. Former State Senator Jim Berryman is also running. Naucht's raising money and is going to have a campaign. Renier beat democrat establishment campaigns several times in the past. Jim Berryman won a tough state senate district which went Republican when he left. Joe Schwarz may also run and is considering a party switch to something more in line with his tax raising views. There is a significal geographical element to that primary, and it is no gaurantee that Schauer will survive it. I think he would, but not easily.

2. District is more republican in presidential years. Two counties that are not going to be as big of an advantage to democrats in 08 are Eaton and Jackson. Why? State workers. Eaton County has a very large number of state workers commuting to Lansing (as well as a small portion of Lansing). They strongly lean democrat in off year elections. Granholm won Eaton Twice, by a big margin in 06. Bush won it in 04. Jackson went for Bush twice, and Granholm once. Jackson has a lot of state workers due to the corrections industry (prisons). It is very open to democrats at the state level, but not nearly as much at the federal level, and not to leftists.

3. Geography. There are very few strongholds for either party in this district. The democrats have Albion in Calhoun County, the city of Jackson (usually), and part of Lansing in Eaton County. Adrian (Lenawee) and Battle Creek are strong leaners. None of the democrat strongholds were enough to take their respective county in the 04 election, although Calhoun went for Gore in 2000 due mostly to Albion and Battle Creek. The Republicans have Hillsdale and Branch Counties leading the way, Summit Township in Jackson, and some rural areas in the other counties are also strongholds. Most of the rural areas are republican leaning, not strongholds however. There are a lot of socially conservative independents here, and Walberg runs well among them, much to the chagrin to the establishment crowds which do not like him. (That can be a good thing) Calhoun did not like Walberg to begin with due to the Schwarz defeat. I do not see that much more of a swing against him from 04. Schauer is probably too leftist and too establishment democrat to take Jackson in a federal level race against a non-sacrificial lamb. Eaton would be close, but probably 50/50 at best. He'll probably take Washtenaw due to the Ann Arbor leftists in Scio Township, although the Manchester and Salem areas will offset some of it. Schauer can forget about Branch, Hillsdale, and Lenawee counties altogether. That's too much to make up, despite a Battle Creek homer advantage.

4. Taxes. Granholm's tax proposals are showing a newer side to Schauer - and not a good one to a populist district, such as this one.

5. Last but not least is Walberg's maverick side. He's not a Bush robot, but a conservative first and foremost, and his social conservatism plays well in most parts of this district (including swing areas) outside of areas like Scio Township (Ann Arbor) in Washtenaw County and maybe Delta Township, although I've still never quite figured that area out.

Schauer will make this a race, but my money is on Tim Walberg, and I'm rather confident about this matchup. If this was one of the Spade brothers vs Walberg, I'd be less confident.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Gary Peters v Joe Knollenberg - Heavyweight Fight in the making?

(I'm assuming Knollenberg is running for re-election)

Former Lottery Chief and Granholm buddy Gary Peters is going to try and make his political comeback. This is going to be a very competitive race, and most likely the toughest defense for the GOP in this state outside of a couple of state rep districts. Some think Tim Walberg will have the tougest defense, but I think he's a lot safer than people think. Knollenberg is not safe at all.

From the Detroit News

Outgoing Michigan Lottery Commissioner Gary Peters will again try his luck at elective office and seek the Democratic nomination to challenge veteran U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg, R-Bloomfield Township, in what could be Michigan's most competitive and costly congressional race in 2008.



I wrote this up last year before the 06 primaries. profile of District 9. It's out of date, but still good.

Unfortunately, I haven't had the time to update the county profiles and political districts since before the election. The ratings I gave for the races were around May of last year, when I expected the democrats to be weaker in Michigan than they were due to the atrocious job by Granholm (and I expected DeVos to be a stronger candidate). Even then, I said that Gary Peters would have been a very strong candidate. Peters was a state senator representing much of the area, and came within 5500 votes of Mike Cox statewide for the attorney general position back in 2002. Peters lost Oakland County as a whole, but ran well in much of the 9th district's area. He took Auburn Hills, Berkley, Keego Harbor, Royal Oak, and West Bloomfield. The areas in Oakland where Peters got clobbered were in McCotter's district. (Lyon Township, Milford, etc) That's not to mention that Peters won those areas despite running for an office he was unqualified for against a prosecutor.

Knollenberg has beaten back several spirited challenges and until last year, always seemed to win with about 58% of the vote, performing well in all areas outside of Pontiac, including those like Royal Oak and West Bloomfield that lean heavily democrat. David Fink spent a lot of money, Steven Reifman did not. It didn't matter. Same results. Nancy Skinner was another B team candidate, but almost got the upset. This put a chink in Knollenberg's armor.

In 2002 and 2004, Knollenberg won everywhere except Pontiac which is about 80% democrat. In 2006 against Nancy Skinner (who I still consider a B team candidate who was nearly lucky due to Bush fatigue), we had a different story. Auburn Hills flipped. Berkley flipped big - with Skinner outperforming John Kerry. Clawson was 50/50, same as 2004. Farmington Hills flipped and was slightly less than 50/50 (same as Bush 2000). Keego Harbor flipped. Pontiac was an even bigger loss than normal. Royal Oak flipped big. West Bloomfield flipped. All the areas that flipped were blue areas already at the top of the ticket - which leans Republican (circa 2004) by about 6000 votes. Knollenberg won by 15,000 votes. You can look at that two ways.
A. He STILL won by over twice Bush's 04 numbers despite a big democrat year in 2006.
B. He barely beat a B team opponent.

Will this district flip to blue? I think that depends on a few factors.
1. Who are the general election candidates? There's still primaries. Who is on the top of the ticket?
2. Age. Knollenberg will be 75 years old in 2008. That's still average by Michigan Congress standards (Carl Levin 74, Vern Ehlers 74, Dale Kildee 79, Sander Levin 78, John Conyers 79, John Dingell 82) but it may be an issue against a much younger opponent.
3. Do people remember Peters, and if so, is he remembered in a good or bad way?
4. Demographic shifts. Bad for Knollenberg since the fast growing Republican areas are in McCotter and Rogers' districts. Orion and Oakland townships are going in his favor. The Bloomfields and Farmingtons are not.
5. The auto industry. Will the democrats and their hostility to the auto industry cost them here. Bush's bad rep here was partly due to his reputation that he doesn't
care about the auto industry. Knollenberg is known as a defender of the auto industry. That probably saved him in 06.
6. U-Haul. A lot of people are fleeing this state. That has a major effect on elections. How it affects here, I'm not sure outside of uneasiness of the economy.
7. Last but not least, Iraq.

15,000 is not much to make up. Bush won this district by 6,000 votes. While this election is still favored for Knollenberg to win, I'd be lying to you if I said I was not a little uneasy about it. We have a lot of work to do here.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Local Blogger names spokesman at State Party

Congratuations and good luck to Bill Nowling of the Lunch Bucket Conservative on his new job.


Michigan GOP Names New Spokesman

Nowling to become Director of Communications & Research.

LANSING – Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saulius “Saul” Anuzis today announced that Lansing veteran William Nowling is coming on board as party spokesman and will head up the party’s communications and research efforts through the 2008 election cycle. Nowling begins his new position August 13 and replaces Sarah Anderson, who is stepping down to pursue other interests after more than two years in the post.

“We’re excited that Bill is joining our team and will be leading our communications and research efforts to even higher levels,” Anuzis said. “Bill is an excellent communicator and strategist, and I am confident he will be a strong voice for the Michigan Republican Party as it heads into next year’s crucial elections.”

Nowling, 41, currently is director of media relations for the Sterling Corporation, a Lansing-based political and public relations consultancy. A former newspaper reporter in Minnesota and North Dakota, the Ypsilanti native is a veteran of the Lansing political scene, serving most recently as press secretary for former Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema. He also was deputy speechwriter for former Gov. John M. Engler. Nowling resides in Brighton, Michigan, with wife and two children

Friday, August 03, 2007

Chrysler American Again

Sorry for the lack of updates, but I've been working some long hours lately. While this blog is important, paying bills comes first until I'm back in school.


Some big news here. Chrysler is sold to Cererbus Capital. It's official. From the AP

DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler became an American company again Friday as Cerberus Capital Management gained a controlling share from Chrysler's German owners and started on the long road to restoring the 82-year-old automaker's luster — and profits.

DaimlerChrysler AG transferred an 80.1 percent stake in Chrysler to New York-based Cerberus, one of the world's largest private equity firms, in a $7.4 billion deal. The German automaker retained a 19.9 percent interest in the new company, Chrysler LLC.

"After months of uncertainty, then a period of transition, we are beginning a new chapter in Chrysler's proud history — and we have the chance to write a terrific story," Chrysler Chief Executive Tom LaSorda said in an e-mail to employees.

With the closing, Chrysler becomes the first U.S. automaker in private hands since Ford Motor Co. went public in 1956. Chrysler, which plans a companywide celebration Monday where it will revive its five-sided star logo, will be free of the short-term quarterly earnings pressures that public companies face, since there will be no Chrysler shares.


This is a riceburner free zone.

While I'm a Ford family and only buy Ford products, I always root for all of the Big 3. When the Big 3 does well, there's more jobs and more wealth in Michigan, especially East Michigan. I hope Chrysler does well, and hope to see a return of the days when the Big 3 dominated.