Thursday, June 22, 2006

Judicial Endorsement Questionaire and Controversy

There is some controversy in the paper about the judicial nominees and endorsement processes. These are some facts on the matter.

After the school board endorsements, our committee decided there needs to be a formal process on the matter. The endorsement committee was formed and started a process. A process was approved at an executive committee meeting. The process is in effect. A questionaire was sent out to judicial candidates. I have not seen this yet and I wish I did. However, I trust that the endorsement committee did a good job on this in their questions. I was at two of the meetings (although I'm NOT on the endorsement committee) and saw that there was major discussion about this and all sides had their say. I did see a template based on a different political race and the questions there were fair. The questions were based on national party platform. I took the template test and got 90%. I didn't get 100% as my views aren't with any platform 100%.

The candidates are supposed to fill out the questions and turn them in if they so choose to do so. The results go to the endorsement committee and any final decision will be voted on by the executive committee. Anything said before final results is speculation.

Apparently, one of the biggest controversies is asking the candidates who they supported. This is an extremely valid question as it shows where the judges beliefs are. Anyone who says that personal beliefs are cast aside when they put on a robe is
lying. That's why the democrats are trying to fillibuster President Bush's judges. That's why Michigan's Supreme Court is split the way it is.

Assuming the questions are those in the paper - I don't see anything wrong with them. The endorsement committee did an excellent job here.

""""What would you call your “core beliefs”?
If you could enact any law that would affect decisions made by judges today, what would it be?
What is your party affiliation?
What does it mean to be a Republican?
Do you personally agree with the following Republican values as defined by the Republican Party platform: (Yes or No)
-- The right for the life of an unborn child to be protected from abortion?
-- Defining marriage as being between one man and one woman?
• Americans should be protected from court rulings that limit the display and practices of their religious beliefs?
-- Americans should not be restricted from their right to bear arms?
-- Government has a right to take someone’s property for financial benefit to the community?
How much money have you donated to the Livingston County Republican events and committees in the following calendar years? (2003-2006)
Have you supported or worked on any of the following Republican leaders’ campaigns in the following designated calendar years (2003-2006):
-- U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers?
-- State Sen. Valde Garcia?
-- State Rep. Joe Hune?
-- State Rep. Chris Ward?
In the past 12 years, in any election, have you publicly or privately endorse, supported (either monetarily, offering resources or through volunteer efforts) or voted for a candidate or organization representing the following affiliations:
-- A Democrat?
-- Communist?
-- Socialist?
-- The Democratic Party?
-- An organization with a racist ideology?""""

I don't see anything wrong with those questions.

As for Mr. Carney's comment

"I think Karl Rove's alive and well and he's coaching people in Livingston County," said Joe Carney, chair of the county's Democratic Party. He was referring to President George W. Bush's political guru.

I think our endorsement committee should take that as a compliment.

As for Bill Rogers comments, I like Bill and he's a good guy, but I disagree with him on this. I think the fact that Theresa Brennan bought her judicial seat is tacky.

I happen to agree with Saul's statement. It's a lot similar to what I've been saying.

"If they wanted to (ask about those things), I don't think that's outside the realm of normal procedures," he said.

He also said the state GOP endorses candidates for state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

Anuzis added that it was "naive" to think that judges don't hold partisan views, and that it was important to know them because judges tend to move up to higher courts."

Cindy Pine and Allan Filip are saying that candidates should ignore the questionaires. All I have to say is that candidates do so at their own peril as much of the rest of the executive committee is not united on this issue. Many on the committee will not accept that decision. One thing that should be kept in mind is that school board endorsements passed the committee 16-4. Judges are a bigger issue than school boards. All exec committee members as individuals are one person. The committee makes the final decision if any. I do not know what that decision would be. When this issue came up, it should have been discussed with the committee before any statements were made. I should have first heard about this from one of the other officers in the party and not from the Argus. In Cindy and Allan's defense, they were caught offguard, as I was. That said, the process was already approved by the executive committee. We all should have been better prepared in responding.

Lastly, These internal political issues should be kept in-house and these's comments should not be made without executive committee discussion. Cindy had a 1PM deadline to make a comment in the Argus and was caught offguard. I was also caught offguard. That can't happen. Because of this, we have conflicting comments in the party public in the paper. The winners when that happens are Joe Carney and KevinS - not us. We need to be ready as a party for any surprises and take a page out of James Carville and Paul Begala's book - have a warroom ready to go, and respond to anything in an organized matter. Normally I wouldn't make an internal GOP matter public, but when our entire executive committee first finds out about this from the Argus, it's already public.


Count Me Red said...

Dan, I agree with you wholeheartedly. The questionnaire does not need to be fair or even tactful. If the Republicans are trying to discern beliefs and values, then ask away and see what happens. I also know that the committee were asking some questions that they expected the candidates would not answer, thus, showing some ethics. Had they answered some of the questions, it would have resulted in a lower score. But, WOW, front page top of the fold for a blank questionnaire is a media bonanza and very telling as to how formidable the Livingston GOP endorsement is. Great job, Dan, on your responses. The internal stuff, we can leave there, internal. Have a great day.

Mike MacTavish said...

I'm not a Republican. I'm a conservative that votes person over party. I never voted a straight ticket and left a blank for one local official in the last election who did not earn my vote.

I thought those were good and fair questions. I'd like to know who the conservative judges are before I make my decision. I know who not to vote for, and that's Ms. Brennan. That said, at least Brennan stands for something. That's more than a lot of people can say.

The old saying is that you either stand for something or you fall for anything.

If an individual wants my vote, I need to know where that individual stands on the issues that matter to me. I don't care whether that position is judge, school board candidate, dogcatcher, or governor.

I'll be voting for the most conservative judge running.

Count Me Red said...

Bravo, Mike McTavish, respect factor goes up!!

Pogo said...

There is no requirement that any judge candidate answer this questionaire. Indeed, many judge candidates may not want an endorsement by the Republican party, just as some judge candidates may not want an endorsement by the Democrat party.

Endorsements can hurt as well as help. When I see that a teachers union, the UAW, the Democrat party, The Detroit Free Press, or the Argus has endorsed a particular candidate it puts a black mark on that person. The more endorsements from these negative sources the bigger the black mark. In the absence of a genuinely good reason to vote for this candidate, endorsements from these sources usually ensure a vote for the competition.

Since the Republican party is a POLITICAL party it is reasonable that they want to discover the POLITICAL leanings of a candidate, because in spite of the fact that some Kindergarten types want to pretend that judges are completely neutral, those of us that live in the real world understand that political beliefs do often influence the outcome of judicial decisions. Unfortunately, people are not always honest about their political leanings in questionaires. Looking at the groups, political candidates, and causes supported by an individual in the past is a much more reliable way to gauge political leanings.

For these reasons I agree with Dan and do not have any problems with the questionaire.

Pogo said...

Harry Truman was famous for his statment "The buck stops here", meaning that a President must take the credit/blame and not blame staffers or other politicans for things that go wrong.

I've been very critical of Granholm who is working hard to blame any Republican she can think of for everything that is wrong in Michigan (Pick one or more: Governor Engler, President Bush, Carl Rove, V.P. Cheney, the Republican legislature, etc . . .) while trying to take credit for anything that has gone right. You can't have it both ways - if you want to take the credit you also need to accept the blame.

In this spirit I have to be a little critical of Cindy Pine. I like Cindy and think that she has done a pretty good job but as the Chairman of the Livingston GOP she needs to accept full responsibility for this questionaire, good or bad. She should issue an apology to the committee for her statements and deal with this issue internally.

armywife1 said...

Bravo! As a social and fiscal conservative, I want to know who shares my values. Jay Drick seems to fit the bill. I couldn't vote for someone who would protest the war and by default, the troops.

RKG said...

I think the real measure of the character of the candidates would have come if they had been asked to complete the questionaire. I suspect that a few of them would have had the courage to tell the Republicans to put it where the sun doesn't shine and given a stern lecture about how horribly inappropriate it was. Those are the ones I would support. The dufuses who answered-and thought their political views made a difference-would have revealed themselves unworthy of the judiciary.

Page Field said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Republican Michigander said...

No f'bombs allowed on this site. Kids could see that.

Republican Michigander said...

This was the post by PAGE FIELD that I deleted without the f'bomb.



I'm the oddball. I oppose the war and support the troops. You need to allow room for people like me. You leave no room. Why do things have to be so black and white.

Your demonstrating the biggest problem I have with staunch supporters of the war. Your pushing people away who are like me. I'm not holy comfortable with our President's policy on this elective war but want to support our troops (and do).

This is the most troubling thing about this country. I don't mean to pick on "army wife" but she triggered a problem that is presistant in the REPUBLICAN PARTY. Your tent of supporters could be way larger if you (bleep) acknowledge you can oppose the war and support the troops at the sametime.

Pogo said...

OK, Mr. foul mouth "page field"-

First, this is a family oriented blog, open to anyone who can read from age 5 to 105, so watch your language. I hope Dan deletes your post not because of the content but because of the language.

Regarding the war in Iraq, nobody marches Republicans down to the nearest brainwashing center to make sure that we all share a common opinion on this subject. It may be hard for you to comprehend, but most Republicans understand how important it is to defeat radical Islam in the middle east so that we don't have to watch terrorism act after terrorism act here happen here on U.S. soil. If we withdraw suddenly from Iraq it is likely they will end up in a civil war, finally governed by radicals determined to destroy the U.S. by any means necessary, including nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons. And you don't seem too well educated on this subject so I'll make it clear how big this threat is - terrorists don't need to build a nuclear bomb to commit mass murder. All they need to do is to get a couple of pounds of radioactive material such as is used in hospitals and research centers and blow it up in the middle of a major city. Poof! Within weeks hundreds, maybe thousands of people dead. Many more thousands to suffer terribly, with thousands more deaths years later from cancer. An entire city turned into a nuclear wasteland for generations to come. THIS is what these radical Islamists want to do to the U.S. Only they don't want to do it to a single city, they want to do it to ALL our major cities. Ultimately, this is what our troops are working to prevent.

Our troops are fighting over in the middle east for many reasons. First, they are trying to make sure those terrorists have no place to organize and train for these kinds of terrorist acts. As long as those terrorists are getting killed by our troops in Iraq they won't have a chance to come here and do their mass murders. Second, they are making sure that the Iraqi people have an opportunity to set up a freely elected moderate government. As this government strengthens they take over more and more of the policing duties which removes our troops from harms way. Third, by taking Saddam down we sent a clear message to the middle east that the U.S. won't tolerate irresponsible terrorist supporting governments. Since the invasion, Libya and Syria have both toned down anti-U.S. activities and Libya has pledged to give up development of WMD's. Saudi Arabia has begun shutting down the schools where radical Islam is taught. Suicide bombs and terrorist attacks in Israel have declined because the U.S. shut down terrorist training camps in Iran where the Palestinians used to plan and train.

A lot more work needs to be done yet in the middle east. We are still dealing with the various rogue terrorist groups, many of whom train in Iran, as well as with the radical government of Iran itself. But having a base to work from in Iraq gives the U.S. and its allies a staging ground to deal with these radicals, at or near the source. Leaving the middle east now would mean giving up all the progress we have made and leaving terrorists alone to plan for their next generation of attacks.

It is sad every time a U.S. soldier is killed. We mourn each and every loss and we feel the pain of the families left behind. But we must remember that every soldier in Iraq volunteered to join the military, in most cases because they want to defend the country that they love. These are brave men and women putting their lives on the line, knowing that they may die an early death, to protect us. They are making the greatest sacrifice anyone can make and to pull our troops out now would be to throw away all that our troops have fought and died for.

To answer your original question, Republicans don't have a litmus test for voting Republican or for joining our party. We don't require anyone to support the war. But because most Republicans do support this war on terror, we don't have much interest in electing Republican candidates that pledge to oppose this battle. And if a few of us seem a bit testy when discussing this subject, it is because we are tired and angry of watching liberals in the media and the Democrat party making nasty accusations and attacks on our troops, most of whom can't defend themselves because they are off in another country defending US.

So, Mr. foul mouthed liberal, that is your answer. You and your kind are welcome to join civilized Republicans anytime you like in growing our economy and in defending our nation from foreign attacks. But we are not going to give up and compromise on national defense, and we won't mourn the absence of people like you from our party.

armywife1 said...

Page field
Thanks for sharing your opinion. After going through the experience of my husband being deployed, I struggle with what you mean by "support". I didn't feel supported watching anti-war protests and Cindy Sheehan dishonoring her son's memory with her antics. I didn't feel supported when people tried to turn this war into Vietnam. I didn't feel supported when people said this war is useless. I didn't feel supported then, and I don't now.

So what kind of support are anti-war folks giving to the troops? I really do appreciate healthy debate, but am still looking for that definition of support.

I did not see your post with the "F" word in it, but please do not swear at me.

jusmyopin said...

In regards to the endorsement questionaire, I was very happy to hear there was such a thing. As a voter, I take my privlidge very seriously. I want to be as informed as I can, in any race. As far as I'm concerned, there are no non-partison races. Each candidate has a political stance when they themselves go to vote and this stance filters into their work. I vote for conservative candidates and I NEED to know who they are. Shame on Cindy and Allen for making a public statement that the questionaire should be disregarded and shame on the other's who caused the Exec. Comm. to look divided. Their statements only served to make the republican group in Livingston county look unorganized. Not to mention the slap in the face it was for those who worked so hard on the questionaire they were previously approved to assemble. If the media questions came as a surprise, why couldn't the answers be something that sounded unified? Dan managed it with his response. Or better yet, if you have nothing unified to say, say NOTHING!