Sunday, January 15, 2006

Jerry Zandstra for US Senate

Jerry Zandstra for US Senate

This announcement may come as a surprise to some, and not so much of a surprise to others. Those who know me know I do not change endorsements very often, and never do so unless a candidate drops out.

At first, I was an early endorser of Keith Butler based on his visit to Livingston County and the early momentum of his campaign, which has largely evaporated. So what has changed and caused me to take his bumper sticker off my truck?

I don't want to go negative here, so I'll just say that those that I've talked to about my switch know the reasons why I decided to switch. Here I'll keep it positive and will mention why I am supporting Jerry Zandstra.

First, I received immediate response back from Jerry Zandstra’s campaign in my
emails. Emails largely get lost in the pile. Jerry and most of his campaign staff do not know me, but still has taken the time to respond to a voter, even one who at the time endorsed another candidate. I have followed his campaign since Mackinac, and they all have shown themselves to be extremely hard workers and sustaining it over time. Anytime Jerry speaks to a crowd or to a party, he will discuss issues with every person in the room. If there is one “weakness” in his campaign, he will even go overtime and discuss issues without the “politicalspeak” for 10 minutes with one person. To many campaign managers, that is a weakness, but to me that is a strength.

A generic Post 9/11 “National Security is everything” republican can not win in Michigan right now for a major statewide office. Granted a generic democrat currently BARELY wins, but the only way a generic 9/11 Republican will beat Stabenow will be if Stabenow beats herself. She is going to run a populist style campaign downplaying her EMILY’S List roots and portraying herself as supporter of working families. Domestic policy almost always trumps foreign policy in the minds of voters, especially in non-presidential races. Sheriff Michael Bouchard has good credentials on security issues, but it will take more than that to win. He is the establishment candidate, and unfortunately, it is showing right now. I have not seen as much fire or excitement from his campaign as I have from Zandstra's. He currently looks like a candidate talked into running. I hope Bouchard emphasizes the economy more in his campaign.

Politics as usual is not popular right now, especially during spurts where emotions are running high among the public. The way to defeat Stabenow is to run on NEW ideas. We can not win with the same old song and dance. Nationalizing this election by tying our candidates to Bush is not going to work in our favor. Neither is “compassionate conservatives” aimed at the soccer moms in Oakland County. We still lost Oakland the last three times(2000, 2002, 2004), and it is easily countered with populism in Michigan, giving us losses or narrow wins in Macomb County, Monroe County, Shiawassee County, the UP, Northeastern Lower Michigan and Downriver Wayne County. The 2002 style national Republican does not work here, and will work less here, as 9/11 becomes a more distant memory.

We keep hitting a 47-48% plateau at the top of the ticket. Every recent statewide race we have lost outside of Levin was a 3-5% loss. Gore, Stabenow, Granholm, Kerry. How are we going to gain that 5%, without losing what we have?

The candidates are all conservative on most issues. There are some differences, but we do not have a RINO case here. Money matters in campaigns, but eventually there are diminishing returns. Outside organizations will be here too. The NRA will be here. Right to Life will be here. All three candidates are pro-2nd amendment and pro-life. On the dems side, Union Leadership and Emily’s List will be here. When it gets to high millions, it loses the same effectiveness – especially in an era of “These ads are all BS anyway.”

The time is right for a true outsider. Jerry Zandstra is that candidate. While he is a social conservative, fiscal issues are top priority in this race. Jerry grew up in NW Indiana watching the collapse of the steel industry and is seeing the same thing happen to our auto industry. He sees how our tax structure (let alone taxes themselves) putting us at a competitive disadvantage with our manufacturing industries. He is a proponent of tort reforms, which are sorely needed both statewide and nationally. The Federal Government is in the way of economic success, especially in Michigan, and that needs to change.

Jerry is a leader, not a follower. He is a leader at the Acton Institute as the director of programs. He does not hide his views or give the usual “politicalspeak” in his answers. His positions are out there on his website for all to see. I do not agree with him on everything, but his views and advocacy on the tax structure, tort reform, and health care reform, as well as his positions on life issues and the 2nd amendment, are enough to gain my endorsement. The way his campaign keeps its word, secures my endorsement. I encourage everyone reading to check out Jerry's stances on his issues. He explains it much better than I can.

My vote this August will be going to Jerry Zandstra.


Anonymous said...

I studied Zandstra's campaign as well in Macinac. I understand your support of his leadership. But, Michigan has two weakpoints which are Wayne County's minority vote which has been hijacked by bad leadership, and "organized" labor which blindly pushes Democrat candidates.

This is where Keith Butler comes in. He has the ability to melt the Michigan political "ice-age".

Zandstra seems to have the heart, but can he realistically pull down the Stabenow illusion? I still think that Stabenow will win in November if anyone but Butler emerges in August.

Incidently, Butler is helping to realize a great and valid dream of the Republican leadership - namely to reach out and convince minority voters that the GOP with its pro-life, pro-family, platform is their best choice.

For the record, I agree with Zandstra and disagree with Butler on MCRI.

Anonymous said...

You can endorsed any gop Senate candidate you wish because it will make no difference in November, but I was just awestruck by something you said it his post. “Nationalizing this election by tying our candidates to Bush is not going to work in our favor” No shit.
What amazes me is how 35 percent of the people approve of his job performance. If republicians want to cling to the platform of the gop, fine, but why would anyone want to tie themselves to bush or even support him is amazing. He’s ran up a huge deficit, plungerd us injto a war basered on nothing that has no end in sight and enriched his rich corporate friends by stealing from the middle class and the poor. We’re not even mentiong the scandals surrounding the republicians in Wshington.

What exactly is a “generic Post 9/11 “National Security is everything” republican?” I know 9/11 is the excuse bush ues for everthign, from invading a country for no reason to rolling back the Bill of Rights. Is that what you mean?

Dan said...

Patrick, I like Butler himself as a person. I said I wasn't going to go negative, so I'll just say that some changes will need to be made in his campaign structure for a chance of him to win. Either with communication, organization, or scheduling - somewhere in there. It's not MCRI (Although I support it) or issues related negatively to Butler that made me switch my endorsement.

Kevin - Right now, both parties are in bad shape. I'm not going to beat around the bush on that. Approval ratings are down for almost everybody in government.

The Post 9/11 Natl Security Republican is someone who runs exclusively on security while avoiding other issues like the economy, which is the top issue here in Michigan.

As for Stabenow, she literally hasn't done anything in her 10 years on the federal government trough. Her voting record represents Los Angeles well, but not here. She's worthless, as is 75% of the senate for that matter. I still can't believe you all gave us a senator as Bush's opponent.

Anonymous said...

Patrick refers to the Stabenow illusion, can you explain what this means?

Keith Richards said...

I've been supporting Zandstra for a long time now and it is good to see you coming over to his cause. Everyone that meets Zandstra is very impressed with his depth of knowledge on the issues and with his commitment to conservative principles.

The big question about Zandstra in Republican circles centers around whether he can win in the November election.

Wisdom flowing down from party leaders in Michigan says that only Butler can win because he is black and this will automatically get him some of the black vote that would otherwise go to Stabenow.

This wisdom seems to make the assumption that a white conservative can't win a statewide race in Michigan. But it ignores several facts, such as Attorney General Mike Cox and former Governor Engler.

Looking at the voting trends in Michigan over the past 20 years, I conclude that Republicans CAN win statewide races providing that they run a good candidate and a good campaign.

Jerry Zandstra is DEFINITELY worth a close look. He began this campaign as an unknown with no money and few friends. He has campaigned by traveling all over the state to talk to potential voters and supporters in person. And with nothing to work with other than a lot of knowledge and a very powerful personality he has managed to win over a large grassroots following.

Contrast this to the other two candidates, who have focused their efforts on winning over state leaders and big money contributors. While Bouchard and Butler have managed to raise (and spend) a lot of money they are not turning their efforts into greater voter support, while Zandstra keeps improving his poll numbers while spending almost no money at all.

Ironically, Zandstra's underfunded campaign is turning him into an underdog with the kind of outsider reputation that could play well with voters during the general campaign. Voters that are fed up with corruption and politics-as-usual may very well give Zandstra support in November precisely because he is not part of the Republican establishment.

I am convinced that Zandstra is the strongest candidate to run against Stabenow. But what about the primaries? Zandstra actually has geography working in his favor. Both Bouchard and Butler are from Oakland County and could potentially split the vote from this heavily populated Republican stronghold. Meanwhile, Zandstra is dominating smaller but heavily Republican counties around the state. This situation is unlikely to change because Zandstra will keep working the rest of the state while Bouchard and Butler exhaust their resources fighting over the same political stronghold.

But all this analysis is just speculation, as is all the other analysis that we see flying around the state. Ultimately nobody can really predict which candidate will ultimately appeal to voters until after the votes are counted.

My personal reasons for supporting Zandstra are very simple. First, he is deeply commited to conservative principles. Most candidates run on these principles but promptly forget them when it comes time to vote on legislation. I won't always agree with Jerry on every vote, but I can be certain that he will always vote based on his principles.

Second, Jerry is the only candidate that has the kind of education and experience needed to help lead our country through these troubled times. Compare his education and experience to that of his competition and he comes out shining like a star.

Third, Jerry is truly gifted with great personal interaction and communications skills. He not only knows what needs to be done, he knows how to communicate these needs to other people and to win them over to his side.

Put together, these qualities make Jerry a potential world class Senate leader. While I like the other two candidates personally, I just don't see this kind of leadership potential in them.

So while I will support whichever candidate wins in August, all my support is going to Zandstra for the duration of the primary season. I hope that other voters out there will also vote based on principle and help us to send the best Michigan Senator to Washington in many decades.

Anonymous said...

It's really the Granholm - Levin - Stabenow Illusion. Promises and visions were sold to Michigan that simply applying liberal politics will revive our State's economy and attract new and diversified industry to Michigan.

Look at us now. The quality of life in Michigan is superior. There is no reason for us to be suffering so desperately with our economy. The illusion is that we're fine and things are looking up. People seem to believe that illusion even though it defies reality.

Dan said...

Two things I hear as a "disadvantage" to Zandstra is geography. Bouchard being from Oakland County, and Butler from Oakland/Wayne county. Geography is a minor issue and is overrated.

Spence Abraham was from Oakland County and he lost Macomb and Monroe counties to Stabenow who is from Lansing or East Lansing. Dick Posthumus of Kent County won Macomb and Monroe Counties against a Southeast Michigan democrat. He also did better than Spence Abraham in Livingston County. On the other note, Spence Abraham ran very well in West Michigan, despite being from Oakland County.

A good campaign with good ideas an a strong ability to communicate them will overcome geography disavantages.

Keith Richards said...

Michigan is being hurt badly by the troubles of the 'Big 3' car companies and their suppliers. Democrats point to this and say that Granholm should not be held accountable for the current economic problems in our state.

O.K., the problems of the auto industry were not directly caused by Granholm, that is true. However, while Governors in other states are working their butts off in an attempt to keep their plants from closing, Granholm just ignores the problems of the auto industry and does nothing to protect the interests of Michigan. What do we pay her for, anyway?

O.K, so industries go through up and down cycles and the American auto industry is currently in decline. If for the sake of argument we accept that Granholm can't do anything about the auto industry, we still need to ask why other companies and industries are not busting down the door to get into Michigan in order to take advantage of our big surplus of labor? Companies don't want to locate here because of high costs, high taxes, and an anti-business attitude in our state government. In survey after survey Michigan consistantly ranks as one of the worst places in the U.S. to operate a business.

Given all this information Granholm should be eagerly working to reform our state in order to improve our competitiveness. Imagine what it would be like living here if Michigan were to become a better place to do business - once again we would see lots of good jobs, rising wages, and rising benefits. But Granholm refuses to implement any reforms so Michigan will continue to stagnate.

In the course of doing my job I travel all over the U.S., and it is very painful to see how the economy is booming all over the U.S. while it is stuck in reverse here.

Right now Michigan is losing thousands of residents every month as they leave our state in order to find jobs elsewhere. It is too bad some of these people won't stay to help push reforms here, but as long as Granholm is Governor there is little hope for improvement here.

Anonymous said...

You talk about having respect for the truth then you spout that crap about the governor. Apparently, you didn’t live here in Michigan or are choosing to ignore the last days of the Engler regime in 2000 and 2001.

He left the current governor a mess, and he used all kinds of schemes and smoke and mirrors to balance the budget by borrowing against the future just as he slunk out of office into a high-paying lobbying job, but that, coupled with the problems with the automakers, are somehow Granholm’s fault? Get real. Gee, I didn’t know Michigan residents were the only people who bought cars or Michigan was the only place they made cars. Please explain to me how she is “ignoring the problems of the auto industry.”

“Granholm refuses to implement any reforms so Michigan will continue to stagnate.” Are you for real? You need to take your blinders off. She just passed a jobs plan that addresses some of your concerns, and she did it with a gop-controlled house and senate and a chair of the gop in Michigan who tried to sabotage the plan to make her look bad.

The economy may be better in other states, but it sure as hell isn’t “booming” in other states, at least not like it was under Clinton, or how it is in China.

How much more money do we have to throw and rich corporations to realize they do not care about this country, all they care about is the bottom line and creating the cheapest labor pool possible. It’s not about other states; it’s about other countries. All this money, tax breaks and incentives we give them is just being invested in places with cheap labor, like China, Korea o r third world countries. Just look at your nominee for governor. How many jobs has he created in the U.S.? How many has he created in China? I’ll bet you anything it’s more in China.

I just saw where the North Koreans introduced an economy car at the Detroit Auto Show for under $10,000. Please tell me, how can an American worker compete with a Communist workforce? A former president, one you guys worshiped, once called a Communist regime an evil empire, now we’re buying cars from one.

The people on this blog maybe smarter than me, but I just don’t understand how we can fix our problems by throwing more money at people who could care less about this country.