Sunday, December 31, 2006

"Big government conservatism"

I saw this quote on the Michigan Gun Owners website. It bears repeating.

"Big government by its very nature is government that intrudes in people's lives, usurps their rights and responsibilities and confiscates their money. There is nothing conservative about any of this. Regardless of how benevolent and well-meaning its intentions are, government expands almost entirely for the purpose of controlling and regulating the lives of its citizens. Each act of government, each law passed, each regulation written is a step toward limiting the freedom of some one or some group or some organization or some business or industry. Granted, some of these steps may be necessary but most of them are not. So let's not kid ourselves. If conservatives are people who put freedom ahead of security and individual rights ahead of government control, then it must follow that they are opposed to big government. This being the case, a policy of 'big government conservatism' is merely an excuse for wayward conservatives to justify moving leftward and anyone who denies this is an ignoramus, a fool or a hypocrite." - Lyn Nofziger

ANOTHER Roundabout?

Unbelievable....with a $500,000 price tag

What's better, waiting two minutes at a stop sign while traffic blocks your way, or negotiating a traffic roundabout?
The Livingston County Road Commission is betting that people will prefer the latter, and are planning the county's sixth roundabout — projected to cost $500,000 — for the intersection of Winans Lake and Hamburg roads in Hamburg Township.

Drivers going westbound on Winans Lake Road face an average wait of more than two minutes at the stop sign with Hamburg Road, said Mike Craine, the commission's managing director.

The other option, he said, was a three-way stop-sign setup, which wouldn't work for very long considering the amount of traffic at the intersection. The intersection doesn't qualify for a traffic signal under state rules, Craine said.

Friday, December 29, 2006

2008 - Former Governor Jim Gilmore is in

I missed this from back during exams. Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore is in for 08.

From CBS
Jim Gilmore, a tax-slashing former Virginia governor, announced he will explore a presidential bid in 2008.

"I am not someone who has to evolve as a conservative. I don't have to evolve my position," he said.

Gilmore was easily elected governor in 1997 on a promise to cut the despised property tax local governments assess on personal cars and pickup trucks. He served one term and could not seek re-election because Virginia uniquely bars successive terms for its governors.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Hold on to your wallet!

From the AP

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Thursday picked outgoing state Sen. Bob Emerson of Flint to be her new budget director.

Emerson would replace Mary Lannoye, who is becoming Granholm's chief of staff. The effective date of Emerson's appointment would be Jan. 3.

"Bob has earned not only my respect but the respect of those on both sides of the aisle as a fair and honest individual with a passion for making Michigan a better place for everyone," Granholm said in a statement. "I am honored that Bob will continue his service to the citizens of Michigan."

Bob Emerson was one of the most left wing of all of Michigan's state senators. His budgets, combined with the constitution convention project from Phil Power/Joe Schwarz, should scare all Michiganders.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

President Ford - 1913-2006

Michigan's own.

No one could have foreseen that the lessons of integrity Gerald R. Ford learned while growing up in Grand Rapids would carry him to the pinnacle of power, help him restore dignity to the White House and heal the wounds of Watergate and Vietnam.

But that is the word -- integrity -- most often used to describe Mr. Ford, who died late Tuesday at the age of 93.

"He certainly was a man of integrity, but also a man of courage," said U.S. Rep. Vernon Ehlers, who occupies the congressional seat Mr. Ford held for 26 years. "He had the courage to do what was necessary. He healed the political wounds and got the nation onto what I call political stability."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Pelosi spits on the First Amendment

Just like a typical rich leftist from San Francisco. One thing that is common. With few exceptions (Sometimes Feingold, but he can't be counted on), the democrats (as well as John McCain) can always be counted on when it comes to putting the iron heel down against grassroots efforts from we the people.

Remember McCain and the dems yapping about "lobbying reform"? Well guess what, it's not K street that they have in mind. It is telling us grass roots activists to sit down and shut up.

Human Events gives us the devil, which is in the details

House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) has pledged to take up a lobbying reform proposal that would impose new regulations on speech by grassroots organizations, while providing a loophole in the rules for large corporations and labor unions.

The legislation would make changes to the legal definition of “grassroots lobbying” and require any organization that encourages 500 or more members of the general public to contact their elected representatives to file a report with detailed information about their organization to the government on a quarterly basis.

The report would include identifying the organization’s expenditures, the issues focused on and the members of Congress and other federal officials who are the subject of the advocacy efforts. A separate report would be required for each policy issue the group is active on.

“Right now, grassroots groups don’t have to report at all if they are communicating with the public,” said Dick Dingman of the Free Speech Coalition, Inc. “This is an effort that would become a major attack on the 1st Amendment.”

Under the bill, communications aimed at an organization’s members, employees, officers or shareholders would be exempt from the reporting requirement. That would effectively exempt most corporations, trade associations and unions from the reporting requirements—but not most conservative grassroots groups, which frequently are less formally organized.

Larger, well-funded organizations are also currently eligible for a “low-dollar lobbyist exemption” that Pelosi’s bill does not give to grassroots organizations. If an organization retains a lobbyist to contact lawmakers directly at a cost of $2,500 per quarter or less, or employs a full-time lobbyist at a cost of $10,000 per quarter or less, the organization does not have to report to the government.


Under this scenario, unless you're a beltway man, you're nothing. This piece of leftist big government trash needs to be smashed into pieces.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Court OK's Issue Ads, eases part of McCain/Feingold

Big win for the 1st amendment. We'll see if SCOTUS has their head where it belongs.

From the AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal court on Thursday loosened restrictions on corporations, unions and other special interest groups that run political advertising in peak election season.

The 2-1 ruling said groups may mention candidates by name in commercials as long as they are trying to influence public policy, rather than sway an election.

The ruling came in a challenge to the so-called McCain-Feingold law designed to reduce the influence of big money in political campaigns. The law banned groups from using unrestricted money to run advertisements that name candidates two months before a general election or one month before a primary.

The king of censorship, John McCain, is deeply saddened.....

2008 updates - Edwards running again, Hunter in Iowa

Edwards is running on socialized medicine

Edwards Offers Progressive Agenda

12/16/2006, 2:04 p.m. ET
The Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The crowd packed every pew, every doorway and nearly every foot of floor space inside the little chapel to hear from John Edwards, and it seemed like the perfect place for the former senator and one-time presidential candidate to address his faithful.

Because these days, the North Carolina Democrat is not so much on the stump talking as he is in the pulpit preaching.

"It is not too much to say that the future of the planet is at stake," Edwards told the crowd spilling out of Rutledge Chapel during a recent speech at the University of South Carolina.

Duncan Hunter is running on border security, defense, and fair trade.

BAXTER, Iowa (AP) — California Congressman Duncan Hunter, among the least-known Republican presidential candidates, touted border security and national defense during a visit to Iowa.

Hunter, outgoing chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, spent Saturday morning pheasant hunting with some veterans and active military members after mixing in some politics at a pancake breakfast.

"I believe in a strong national defense, a strong and enforceable border, a two-way street on trade," said Hunter, who was making his first visit to Iowa since announcing his presidential bid in October.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Hey Granholm! NO tax increases.

It looks like we have a major push from the left and establishment RINOS for tax increases. First, the Constitutional change proposals from Joe Schwarz, Phil Power, and that gang, now this from the Matt Millen of governors herself, Jennifer Granholm.

From Booth News Service (AANEWS owners)

Her November replacement to the state's Single Business Tax, scheduled to expire in 12 months, raised the same $1.9 billion as the SBT. With Republican lawmakers and business groups clamoring for a net tax cut, Granholm said she may instead pursue an increase in net business tax revenue if the size and scope of the budget problem "changes significantly" when new fiscal estimates are reached in January.

"You have to have a competitive tax climate, but you also have to have an educated workforce," Granholm said.

After touting the new Michigan Promise $4,000 college scholarship to high school students on Tuesday, Granholm said she wants to avoid cuts in higher education and to boost spending for community colleges and universities in the 2008 budget, which she'll present in early February.

She said avoiding budget cuts in education, health care and public safety during a budget crisis requires "looking at things differently." Despite repeated prodding from reporters, Granholm declined to say whether that meant lobbying the public for a tax increase that she and lawmakers largely avoided in her first term.

One of the ideas kicking around Lansing, if not in her administration, is cutting the 6-percent rate of the Michigan's sales tax, but extending the tax to consumer services ranging from hair styling to sports tickets to the labor on a home roof replacement.

Economists say taxing services -- excluding health, education and those purchased by business -- could net the state $1.3 billion in new net tax, even with a cut in the sales tax rate.

Granholm's business tax strategy has been to capture tax revenue from areas of the economy projected to grow in the future. The same principle applies to the sales tax. And the growth potential for sales tax revenue is in consumer services, not goods, said said State Treasurer Robert Kleine.(snip)

So Jenny is going to push to tax one of the growing segments of the economy so it gets slowed down. That's really stupid. Why not send more jobs out of state and to Mexico/China.

It's about time we take a close look with a scalple at all the money that goes to health, education, and public safety (and everything else for that matter) - and see where the money there really goes, and why it costs what it costs. How much of the cost is OVERHEAD/Administrative? In the education field, much of the money goes to pensions, retirements, and that 800lb gorilla known as MESSA (with high administrative costs - 20% if I remember right although I need to look that up). As far as health care goes, according to Jerry Zandstra in the senate debates, 31% of the health care cost is overhead and 5% of the cases are 50% of the cost - Diabetes, Obesity, and Heart Disease. As far as public safety goes, I'm less familiar on those issues, but I think we need to look at who we throw in jail, whether jail is the appropiate place for them, and what are good alternatives to jail for nonviolent offenders or stupid decisions which break the law. While we need to toss the real bad guys away, should someone be locked up for smoking a joint? (And before anyone asks - no, I don't do that stuff)

I'm waiting to see what Granholm's plan is and any plans from the GOP (And we better have a good one) before any final decision, but I don't like what I'm reading so far from Granholm here. If this stuff increases, I may have to move once I finish my 2nd degree.


From Investors Business Daily

Winning Strategy For Republicans: Getting Rid Of Racial Preferences

Posted 12/18/2006

While many Republicans are still reeling from November's election, one important conservative victory has received less attention than it deserves: Michigan's vote to end racial preferences and discrimination. Republicans should pay attention because ending racist "affirmative action" policies could be part of a winning strategy in the future.

I lived in California in 1996 when the California Civil Rights Initiative was approved by 54% of voters in that November's election. The measure prohibited the state from discriminating against and granting preferential treatment to anyone on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity and national origin in public employment, public education and public contracting.

That same year, incumbent President Bill Clinton was being challenged by Republican Bob Dole. Dole consciously distanced himself from the CCRI throughout most of his campaign, at one point praising Colin Powell — who Dole hoped would join him on the Republican ticket — for a speech in which Powell defended racial preferences and denounced the CCRI. Dole lost California by a massive margin as President Clinton won re-election.

Let's stop being afraid of what the New York Times types think. We're mainstream, they're not.


Finally. The adventure known as law school exams - OVER - and there was a lot I missed.

First off - The Washington Times may be jumping on the Draft Mark Sanford bandwagon. I'd love to see either him or Mike Pence run. With the piss poor (execuse the language, but that's what it is) fiscal record over the past five years costing us control of congress, a Sanford presidency would be a dream to fiscal conservatives. He's also for the most part in line with my stance on social issues. Center-right, pro-life, and pro-2a.

But if Republican primary voters decide that the 2008 standard-bearer needs to bring the party back to its Reagan roots, Mr. Sanford could be the dark horse to watch. The recently re-elected governor could capture conservatives' imagination with his unrelenting adherence to core principles. Unlike most Republican governors who either pushed their state parties to the left or simply acquiesced to tax or spending increases passed by legislatures of either party, Mr. Sanford has battled profligate Republicans at every turn.
When the state House overrode all but one of his 106 spending line-item vetoes in 2004, Mr. Sanford stormed the Capitol the next morning with a piglet under each arm. Red-faced Republicans squealed, but voters loved the bold move. Realizing they couldn't be quite as wasteful as their counterparts, the Senate sustained seven of the vetoes — but still overrode 99.

In other news - Evan Bayh is out of the 2008 sweepstakes. Giuliani is in. Bayh's a flat out weasel who talks conservative to win in Indiana, but votes to ban .30-30 ammunitation to lick the boots of his Sorosian masters. As for Rudy, I personally like him, but have problems with his Second Amendment stances.

Also, remember when it was strongly speculated that the fight over the Michigan State Party chairmanship was about McCain putting his guy in charge? Well......

For Immediate Release

Contact: Craig Goldman

(Snipped phone number)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006
ALEXANDRIA, VA – U.S. Senator John McCain’s presidential exploratory committee announced today that Michigan Third District GOP Chairman Dave Dishaw will serve as the state grassroots chairman, leading McCain’s team of supporters in Michigan should he decide to pursue the Republican nomination

Dave's a good guy, but sorry, I can't let McCain have a coronation here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Heads up! Property Tax Raisers want to change Michigan's Constitution and eliminate safeguards

Not all of this is bad, but most of it certainly is. The stuff is supposed to be on the Citizens for Michigan website, but the details nor board of directors there could come up.

From MIRS via Saul Anuzis

Term Limits Among Constitutional Changes Pitched
With Michigan voters facing a choice in 2010 on whether to call for a Constitutional Convention, a group of private citizens and public officials have come out with a bi-partisan series of recommendations on how the state's existing constitution could be improved upon.

The most controversial of the recommendations is a suggestion to change the state's 1992 voter-approved term limits to apply a 12-year limit to the House, Senate and the Governor as well as the Secretary of State and the Attorney General.

"Let's talk about the real world," said John HERTEL. "I cannot imagine Mike ILLITCH, after the third Stanley Cup, walking into the locker room and saying 'Well, you're all out of here.'"

I am against term limits in general for one major reason. It ends 2 and 4 year lame ducks. We can thank lame duck cavers for the "fee" increases at the end of 2004. They no longer had to face the people.

The group also argued that it's far too easy for outside groups to try out new ideas in Michigan because the petition signature threshold for constitutional amendments is too low. They noted that Michigan is one of three states with large populations (more than 7.5 million) that allow a constitutional amendment to be placed before voters with a 5 percent signature requirement.

The net result — well-funded groups come in from out-of-state and try to implement government changes. An example was this year's Stop Overspending (SOS) campaign.

One possible solution is requiring voter-initiated constitutional amendments to be approved in back-to-back general elections, which is something the state of Massachusetts has done.

Former Attorney General Frank KELLEY noted that some of the motives behind some suggested amendments and initiated laws aren't pure.

"A lot of these politically noble ideas are thought up by scumbags," Kelley remarked.

I'm still waiting for the solution plan here. The cure can't be worse than the disease. If Frank Kelley's name is on it, I'm watching my back.

Other recommendations include:

- Eliminating the state Natural Resources and the Agriculture commissions and allowing the governor to appoint her entire cabinet

There needs to be checks and balances.

- Allowing the governor to appoint members of the State Board of Education and the governing boards of the state's three largest universities, subject to advice and consent of the State Senate and a partisan balance. Currently, members of the State Board of Education, regents of the University of Michigan, trustees of Michigan State University and governors of Wayne State University are elected.

One of the main problems with these boards is the nomination process. Conventions pick the nominees, not primaries. That eliminates the choices (with some exceptions like outgoing trustee Porteous - a bad loss to MSU) to political hacks with famous names. We got George Perles replacing Porteous - and he helped put MSU on probation.

One thing that could happen with a primary race - is that these trustees can become more active. I'd like to see (MSU mostly since I'm alum) the plans of our trustees for the school - something besides generalities.

- Allow the governor to appoint Supreme Court Justices to a single 10-year term with partisan balance on the high court

No way. With the way judges affect our lives nowadays, taking away the people's say in the matter is not an acceptable option. There's no recourse for the Stephen Reinhardts of the world on the federal level outside of impeachment.

- Levy an additional statewide mill to fund school district building programs that over time would reduce bonding mills at the local level

WTF? No way. I'd like to see some fiscal responsibility first instead of the continous buck passing that goes on in these school districts.

- Eliminate super-majority voting requirements spelled out in the constitution. Banking code amendments were one example of voting requirements.

Why were they there in the first place?

- Eliminate restrictions on local taxation, particularly for transportation

Mo money. How about some fiscal responsibility so we don't have the runaway millages like we did before Headlee and before Prop A?

- Eliminate the Headlee rollback provision in Article IX, Section 31

Now HERE'S the meat and potatoes of the matter. This is what they are after.

§31 Levying tax or increasing rate of existing tax; maximum tax rate on new
base; increase in assessed valuation of property; exceptions to limitations.
Sec. 31. Units of Local Government are hereby prohibited from levying any tax not
authorized by law or charter when this section is ratified or from increasing the rate of an existing tax above that rate authorized by law or charter when this section is ratified, without the approval of a majority of the qualified electors of that unit of Local Government voting thereon. If the definition of the base of an existing tax is broadened, the maximum authorized rate of taxation on the new base in each unit of Local Government shall be reduced to yield the same estimated gross revenue as on the prior base. If the assessed valuation of property as finally equalized, excluding the value of new construction and improvements, increases by a
larger percentage than the increase in the General Price Level from the previous year, the maximum authorized rate applied thereto in each unit of Local Government shall be reduced to yield the same gross revenue from existing property, adjusted for changes in the General Price Level, as could have been collected at the existing authorized rate on the prior assessed value. The limitations of this section shall not apply to taxes imposed for the payment of principal and interest on bonds or other evidence of indebtedness or for the payment of assessments on contract obligations in anticipation of which bonds are issued which were authorized prior to
the effective date of this amendment. History: Add. Init., approved Nov. 7, 1978, Eff. Dec. 23, 1978.

They want to raise our property taxes.

- Eliminate the ability of non-Michiganders to gather signatures to amend Michigan's constitution, or at least require back-to-back general election voter approval in order to amend the state constitute as is required in other states

I'd rather eliminate out of state money.

- Alter language regarding local elected official recalls so that the only reason for recall would be malfeasance or misfeasance

Is the recall system broke? How often are there successful recalls anyway?

- Allow the governor the option of a "pocket-veto"

We don't need to give the executive more powers. We have the veto system and override. That's good enough.

Rick SIMONSON, who served as secretary for the group, said that twice Michigan voters have been faced with the ballot question of whether to hold a constitutional convention without any information.

"Michigan voters have been faced with this question twice before without any real information," Simonson said. "Our goal was to prepare a set of potential issues, possible solutions, and then to get out of the way and let the people and their elected officials decide what to do."

There's a reason why we do not have a lot of constitutional conventions. People are rightly suspicious when it comes to changing it. I really would not want to see the elimination of Headlee or the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, ex post facto laws, or tax safeguards in this state. They were enacted for a reason.

Some of the names whose input into the recommendations put forward by Citizens for Michigan read much like a who's who among Michigan political circles. Advisors included: John AXE, an expert in municipal finance and an instructor at Wayne State University School of Law; Madge BERMAN; former Sen. Dan DeGROW; David DIEGEL; Debbie DINGELL; Robert ELEVELD; former Sen. Harry GAST; Hertel; former House Speaker Paul HILLEGONDS; former Rep. Mick MIDDAUGH; Shelley PADNOS; Harriet ROTTER; Harold SCHUITMAKER; U.S. Rep. Joe SCHWARZ (R-Battle Creek); Phil POWER and former U.S. Rep. Paul TODD.

It looks like a list of liberal republicans (Schwarz, Gast) and democrats. Anyone in Livingston County is well aware of Phil Power (former Argus owner) and his economic liberalism. Joe Schwarz ran on raising taxes in his gubenatorial race in 2002. The 7th District had enough of him and showed him the door. Gast was a longtime Schwarz ally in the state senate. DeGrow was always a little squishy. Hertel, Power, and Dingell are long time democrats.

Overall, I see a lot of pro-tax measures in this plan, as well as safeguards for incumbents who raise taxes as protection. I think it's a shot at getting rid of Headlee and the other safeguards against runaway spending and tax increases. This is what I suspected would happen after seeing the long list of establishment types like Hertel, Schwarz, and Power leading the pack.

I dread what the rest of the committee's recommended changes are. We all need to keep an eye on this one.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Constitution changes? Heads up!

This was from MIRS and sent out from Saul Anuzis.

Group Proposing Constitutional Changes
A band of 20 Lansing long-timers will suggest changes to the state's term limit law and the selection process for the Supreme Court, university trustees and State Board of Education at a press conference Tuesday morning.

Citizens for Michigan, headed by former bond attorney John AXE, former Attorney General Frank KELLEY, longtime Macomb County Commission Chair John HERTEL and Oakland County Executive Brooks PATTERSON are scheduled to roll out 63 recommended changes to the state's 43-year-old Constitution.

Group Spokesman Rick SIMONSON, a 40-year-veteran of the Lansing government scene, said Citizens for Michigan is not ballot proposal committee and will not be asking voters to make any changes. However, the report will go to policymakers as a way to strengthen the impact of the document.

Among the changes will be proposals to make it easier for local governments and schools to obtain infrastructure money, as well as proposed ways the state can avoid becoming a lightening rod for out-of-state ideological ballot proposals like the Stop Overspending initiative that nearly missed the ballot this year.

The group started meeting three and a half years ago (See "Study Group Adopts Historic Name: 'Citizens For Michigan,'" 7/29/03).

Some notable group members include U.S. Rep. Joe SCHWARZ (R-Battle Creek), former Sen. Harry GAST, Debbie DINGELL, former Senate Majority Leader Dan DeGROW and former House Speaker Paul HILLEGONDS. The group received legal input from around 25 experts in their field, include Lucille TAYLOR, Mike HODGE, Doug DRAKE and Bob LaBRANT, among others.

Every 16 years, Michigan voters are asked if a new constitutional convention is needed. The people will be asked again in 2010. The bi-partisan group wanted to provide some suggestions to current and future decision makers.

Simonson said the most attention was focused on local financing issues and how to make infrastructure money available to locals, schools and counties. It also discussed the need for a governor to appoint their entire cabinet. Currently the directors of the Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Education are chosen by separate commissions or boards.

Citizens for Michigan isn't focused much on the 25 constitutional amendments or the 70-some proposals that have been offered since the 1963 state convention, Simonson said.

My guard is automaticaly up after seeing some establishment names like Frank Kelley, Joe Schwarz, Harry Gast, John Hertel, Brooks Patterson and the like. Power is tough to give up with these career politicians. Bob LaBrant is one guy I have a lot of respect for however.

63 constitutional changes? That's a substansial change. I won't comment on the plans until I see them, but my guard is certainly up - doubly so when I see Joe Schwarz and that crowd leading the way.

2008 - Kuncinich is in, Hillary talks about it

From the Detroit News

Kucinich planning 2nd run

CLEVELAND -- Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who unsuccessfully ran for president in 2004, said Monday he is planning another bid because his party isn't pushing hard enough to end the Iraq war. He plans to formally announce his candidacy today.

Kucinich's chances of winning are slim to none, but he'll be running to push the issue. It's similar to Steve Forbes and the flat tax back in 96. If nothing else, Kucinich will affect the debate.

Clinton: No decision yet

ROME, N.Y. -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday she won't make a decision about running for president until after the first of the year.

This is BS. She's running. She's just talking about running right now to keep her name in the paper and the rest of the field out of the paper, lowering her name recognition.

Friday, December 08, 2006


It's that time of year - law school exams. As my time belongs elsewhere right now, I probably won't post much until after December 21st

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Interesting column in Human Events

From Human Events
The dispute that pundits and pols in Michigan forecast would bring three months of internecine warfare over who would run the state Republican Party has ended peacefully. Four days before Thanksgiving, 3rd District Republican Chairman Dave Dishaw called off his bid for state chairmanship. Barring anything unexpected, incumbent Chairman Saul Anuzis should be re-elected at the state Republican convention in February


Brownback is in

Hat tip to Saul Anuzis.

Sam Brownback is in for 2008. So far we have McCain, Rudy, Brownback, Hunter, Tommy Thompson and probably Romney, Newt, and Tancredo. Here's his announcement.

Dear Friend,

I have decided, after much prayerful consideration, to consider a bid for the Republican nomination for the presidency.

I am running to spread hope and ideas. We are a blessed nation at an important crossroads. War, corruption, disintegrating families, and for some, hopelessness, tear at the American Dream. We need hope and ideas.

I am running for America…to be of service in a crucial time of trial.

Ours is an exceptional nation. A nation between two oceans made up of people from every nation on earth. A great nation united by our ideals. But we are a great nation because of our goodness. If we ever lose our goodness, we will surely lose our greatness.

We believe in a culture of life—that every human life is a beautiful, sacred, unique child of a loving God.

We believe in justice for all—at all times.

We believe in liberty.

But the central institutions that best transmit these values—the family and the culture—are under withering attack.

We must renew our families and rebuild our culture!

We need to revitalize marriage, support the formation of families, and encourage a culture of commitment.

We need a culture that encourages what is right and discourages what is wrong—and has the wisdom to understand the difference.

Each generation of Americans is called upon to carry the torch of virtue during its brief season. If one generation lets the torch fall, its light is extinguished for all future generations. That’s a big responsibility, but we can achieve it if we pick up the torch with courage, generosity, and realism. We must meet and fulfill the job we are called to accomplish in our day. The time to act to insure our future as a nation is now.

Problems abound. The federal government wastes and spends too much. We lack compassionate yet practical programs to help the poor here and around the world. We need energy independence and alternative, clean-burning, domestic-grown fuels. The scourge of cancer has killed too many and must be stopped. We need term limits for judges and members of Congress like we have for the President. We need a flat tax instead of the dreadful, incomprehensible tax code we now have.

And we need humility.

While I am proud to be an American, when I consider my citizenship and the responsibilities it carries today in the light of eternity, I am more humbled by it. We have been given much and will be held to account for what we have been given.

I ask mostly for your prayers. Pray for America, that our division as a people might end and that our land be healed.

Thank you for your interest and support. Thank you for your prayers. Please join our campaign of national renewal and hope for the future!

God Bless you, and God Bless this nation we love so dearly,

Sam Brownback

McCain Democrats influencing GOP leadership

From the Sonoran Allance. This is disturbing. We don't need democrats picking our leadership. This is yet another reason for me to oppose Mr. McCain.

Greg Wendt and Lisa Wendt of San Francisco, CA (generous benefactors of the Democrat Party and its candidates) gave over 40% of the funds for Grassroots Arizona; a PAC set up to target the Republican chairman of legislative district 11. The details are chronicled below.


Monday, December 04, 2006

Carl Levin running for re-election

From the AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic Sen. Carl Levin said Monday he will seek re-election in 2008, citing the need to help shape the course in Iraq and press the White House to support manufacturers.

The 72-year-old Michigan lawmaker was widely expected to seek a sixth term and will enter the race a heavy favorite. With Democrats winning control of the Senate, Levin will take the helm of the Armed Services panel, giving him a major role in Congress' shaping of Iraq policy.

Someone needs to let Michiganders know just how bad this guy's record is. He abandoned working families just to become another DC hack.

Argus interview with new chair

Allan Fillip was elected as the new chair of the county party. I think this is a good pick. He is a hard worker and doesn't play a lot of the office politics games (which was our party's biggest weakness the last two years) and always worked to build a consensus among the party. While more often than I not I agree with him, even when I don't agree, all disagreements I have with him are in a respectful fashion.

The Argus has an interview with him here

Ronald Reagan's Morning in America also marked the awakening of Allan Filip's political consciousness.
Filip, 35, was just a boy growing up in Paw Paw during Reagan's 1980s heyday, but he felt a strong attraction to the president's message of optimism and hope.

He's been hooked on politics ever since, and now Filip is the new chairman of the Livingston County Republican Party, having been elected on Thursday.

"There was kind of a defeatist attitude" in the country before Reagan came on the scene, Filip recalled. "He made me feel more secure, and he got me thinking more about being an American."

The Argus as expected brought up the infamous judicial questionaire. Allan handled that well here.

Within the county party, Filip said he wants to organize and plan meetings and events so that episodes like the controversy over GOP endorsement questionnaires in the supposedly nonpartisan judicial races can be avoided. But he added that the divisions that episode revealed — with some Republicans saying it was OK to ask partisan questions, and others disagreeing — were based on strategy, not positions on issues.

"More often than not, we agree on the issues," he said. "It was more about tactics."

He said the entire controversy had "mixed results, at best," for the party

I hope we have endorsements in the future, but with a much more solid process. I won't go into details, but the process last time was unacceptable - especially how I found out about the copy of the first questionaire from Maria Stuart. A good model of endorsements would be on the same process as the Concerned Taxpayers Group's PAC.

Allan has a tough job ahead of him. We wern't immune to the hit the GOP took in the last election. The question is how we recover from it. If we get back to basics and run on competence (highlighting the locals and Congress from 94-00 where Republicans balanced the budget), small government, and issues that resonate here at home - We'll be fine. We just can't run on how bad the other guy sucks. That isn't a good enough message.

I'm taking a break from the committee due to other committments - most notably law school - but I'll still be active to some degree.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

First "Power Rankings" after the election

The Political Derby released their first ratings after the November 06 elections. It's a site I keep up with.

According to them, McCain and Hillary still lead. Romney and Pence gain momentum, as do Richardson, Gore, Edwards, and Dean. George Allen and John Kerry took nosedives in momentum, and there is some skepicism there over "The next big thing" Barack Obama. Howard Dean was the next big thing too....

Mike Pence is up to 6th. Maybe the Draft Pence movement here can gain some momentum, especially if the Washington leadership listen to the Beltway consultants and not Middle America when it comes to their spending habits. They mention Pence as a VP candidate. Pence as VP candidate could be enough for me to cave and vote for someone I couldn't otherwise vote for (McCain).

We'll see. It'll be an interesting two years.

Tom Vilsack is in for 2008

This is some bad news from a Republican Standpoint. Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack is running for president in 2008. He's an underdog, especialy if Hillary, Obama, or Bill Richardson. I do think that he'd be much stronger in a national race than any of the senators (including the overrated Obama).

I saw him this morning in an interview on ABC. Nothing spectacular, but straight forward midwestern style of speaking, which I think makes him stronger. After sixteen years of either Slick Willie glitz or over the top "Bush cowboy" style of speaking, I think a straight forward Midwesterner or Mountain State Westerner has an advantage.

From the Boston Globe

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa -- Governor Tom Vilsack announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination yesterday, positioning himself as a Washington outsider with Heartland appeal.

Vilsack emphasized the nexus between oil dependence, national security, and the economy, saying he would give high priority to weaning the nation off foreign oil and promoting alternative energy sources.

"Energy security will revitalize rural America," Vilsack told the more than 500 cheering backers in the small town where be began his political career, as mayor. "Energy security will allow us once and for all to remove and reduce our dependency on foreign oil from foreign countries that do not like us."

I'm not going to count this guy out for a few reasons. First off, governors win elections. Senators haven't won since Nixon. Sitting senators haven't won since Kennedy. Much of that is due to the always enduring popularity (or lack of) of Washington. Iowa is also a key swing state in the elections narrowing going for Bush and Gore. Nothing comes easy there, and Vilsack has been an underdog in every or almost every race he's been in. A rural candidate would be tough to beat. The GOP lost a lot of ground in rural America during the last election after winning big here thanks to people like Kerry, Gore, Feinstein, Schumer, and Hillary being the face of the party.

Lastly, Iowa has always been known for ethanol. With our current situation on energy, Vilsack could bring some strong credibility on energy if it is framed right. I encourage Republican Leaders to go out and take this issue away from all of the democrats. If it does not happen, it will make things much harder in 2008, especially against someone like Vilsack who is a Washington outsider.

Of the names mentioned or rumored- Vilsack, Richardson, Edwards, Kerry, Clinton, Obama, Mike Gravel, and Biden - I think Vilsack is the 2nd best shot to win with Bill Richardson as their strongest choice. (outside Mark Warner who said he's not in)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Tancredo visits MSU, Leftist go insane

From the Snooze

A campus discussion about illegal immigration turned violent Thursday evening, when protesters clashed with the MSU College Republicans and Young Americans for Freedom, who sponsored the event.

Kyle Bristow, chairman of the Young Americans for Freedom, or YAF, said he was kicked and spat upon by some of the protesters when he was outside the MSU College of Law, where the discussion was being held.

"It saddens me that my fellow Spartans would display this type of behavior," he said. "They are racist. It's sad we need police to come to control these radical leftists."

Some of those leftists pulled fire alarms too. Wow, that's cool man - just like Junior High or Middle School.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Saul: Frist is out

According to Saul Anuzis, Bill Frist isn't running

Frist is Out!!!
I just talked to Bill Frist's political folks...he is out of the presidential sweepstakes. For a variety of reasons, the Senator made the decision not to run and just "go home" and spend some time with his friends and family.

Senator Frist was one of the nicest guys you would ever meet. He was smart, competent, insightful and pretty funny. He cares deeply about our country and took his role as Senate Majority Leader very seriously.

Personally, I think that was his biggest obstacle.

Bill Frist didn't get to be Bill Frist. He had a job to do, a role to play, and a President to support.

So let's let Bill Frist be Bill Frist...thanks for a job well done! My guess is we haven't seen the last of him!!!

Tom Tancredo in Michigan

I just got word that possible 08 Presidential candidate and current Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo will be in Michigan this week.

Tancredo is speaking Thursday night at 8:30 pm at Michigan State University (4th floor of the law college building), at a pastor's luncheon in Flint Friday, and at a fundraiser for the Bloomfield Republican Women's Club Friday night

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

County Party Leadership

Both the Republican and Democrat parties will have new county chairs. From the Argus

Pine said she won't run for a third two-year term at the helm of the county Republican Party (snip)

Joe Carney, chairman of the county Democratic Party for the past 13 years, will step down next week to make way for new leadership

Joe Carney was a bad loss for them. I met him a few times and while I don't agree with him on most matters, I really respect his work ethic. I always saw him and/or Kathy working the booth for the democrats. He was always active and made us work harder than we had to in the past.

Personally, I hope "Kevins" aka "communications guru" replaces him.

On the Republican side, there are rumors of several candidates who may or may not be running. The democrats like "Kevins" want us to pick a "moderate". A "moderate" to them would be someone on the level of extreme leftist John Kerry. We don't need that type of so-called "moderate" or their/media's definition of a "moderate" here which usually means Big Government (outside of Bush who they slap on the "extremist" label). Our party has moved too far to the left anyway - look at the government spending and government increase. That's leftist. We need a less government conservative.

For our chair, we need a mainstream conservative with limited government values and strong leadership abilities to lead the way to keep what's great about Livingston County here and not move us to what goes on in Ann Arbor or Wayne County.

One candidate for certain for the chair position is Allan Filip. Allan would do an excellent job for us. He's not an extremist, nor a liberal. He's a mainstream conservative and oftentimes filled the role being a consensus builder while he was vice-chair. That's what we need in a chair.

Some think the bickering during the past year is "conservative vs liberal" within the ranks. That couldn't be further from the truth. The infighting wasn't ideological and those who think it was are uninformed. There were no battles within the party over those issues. All the battles were over tactics and strategy (What races to get involved in, money etc).

While nothing is set in stone until convention, I don't expect there to be major battles or problems at the convention. I expect there to be strong leadership at the top over the next two years. I expect some much needed improvement in organizationand in the structure of the party to happen over the next two years. I expect more aggressiveness and activity in our county, and a much better PR system.
It's time to us to stay ahead of the democrats and make them beat us instead of beating ourselves. Let's do it.

Duncan Hunter in 08?

Right now, I'm looking for choice "C" in the primary. I think he's right more often than not on the issues of which I'm aware. His anti-NAFTA/GATT/Most Favored Trade status with China stances are also a positive. I'll have to check his spending record more, but I'll take him over McCain, Rudy, and at this point, Romney. I'll consider voting for Hunter.

One thing that 2006 showed is that the socially conservative blue collar independent vote is not entitled to any party. The democrats lost it bigtime in the 90's, and we were whacked there in 06. Someone like Hunter may be a shot at winning them back. Being an Army Ranger doesn't hurt either.

The major weaknesses is name ID and being in Congress (as most presidents are governors). That being the case, it's smart to announce a run early to gain the name ID. Right now it is a battle for the activists.

From the Washington Times
Rep. Duncan Hunter considers himself the Republicans' best bet to reconstitute the blue-collar coalition that helped the party win the White House in the 1980s.
Mr. Hunter, who is seeking the presidential nomination in 2008, says he can rebuild that coalition by campaigning on defense, traditional values and fair trade.
"Keeping American jobs in this country is a strong tie between the Republican Party and working America, Main Street America -- that's a portion of our constituency I aim to retrieve, because I stand strong with them," the 13-term congressman from California said in a recent interview, pointing to votes against almost every free-trade agreement during his 26 years in the Capitol.
Mr. Hunter, the first to announce officially that he is exploring a run for president, presents a curious figure among better-known candidates.
Combined with a tough stance on border security -- he was the author of the original amendment proposing 700 miles of border fence included in the House's 2005 immigration bill -- he fills a niche among the candidates lining up for a presidential run.
"I stand for a strong national defense, strong border enforcement, fiscal conservatism and traditional values, and lastly, keeping American jobs onshore," he said as he sprawled in an armchair in his Capitol Hill office during the interview, propping one foot on the edge of his cluttered desk.
Mr. Hunter said he expects the next election to turn on security. He said his experience as an Army Ranger during the Vietnam War and as the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee puts him squarely in the middle of that debate.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Redistricting Editorial in the Argus

Dan Meisler of the Argus had an interesting editorial on redistricting.

I cringe whenever politicians start talking about "the American people," as if they know what we all want, or assuming that we all speak with one voice.
In fact, the obsessive concerns of the Democrats and Republicans don't overlap much with those of "the American people" I spoke with over the course of covering the election.

I've touched on the redistricting issues a few times in the past, and usually there are four different scenarios.

1. Current in Michigan - The state legislature and governor in power control redistricting. When one party is in power, the other is usually screwed. The GOP was screwed in the 70's and the dems were screwed with the last maps. When there is split control, usually there is either an incumbent protection map (Status Quo), or it goes to the courts which decide the maps. The pros of this system is that we elect the state reps, state senators, and govenor, so we can send them home theoretically if we do not like their map The cons are usually hyperpartisan redistricting.

2. Revenge. Republicans lost in court by judges in the 2001 Texas Map. In retribution, once the Republicans took the state legislature there, they redistricted in 2003/2004, breaking the customary once, every ten year pattern. This may lead to a pattern in other states, and has in Georgia. Democrats screwed the GOP in 01, and the GOP screwed them back when they took control. There's no pros here as all sides will get theirs as the time comes. The cons are screwjobs every few years.

3. So called "nonpartisan" Commissions (and variations of). I don't like commissions in general as all it usually does is give some has-been political hacks a soapbox and power. It also passes the buck away so there is no recourse for screwjobs. There is still plenty of biasness which does not go away when one leaves office. Unless there are plenty of safeguards regarding county breaks, this is only slightly better than scenario 2. I expect a lot of "Status Quo" and Incumbent protection maps from this.

4. Computers - Currently, computers are a redistricter's best friend. It is how you see the crazy maps of some districts, especially in Georgia 02 (Dems), California (Incumbent protection), and Texas (GOP). This can used also for the basis of reform.
My own recommendation is a computer system. It takes the human biasness and removes it as much as possible. There should be 5-10 maps with the smalled number of municipal breaks (County, City, Township) for each position. The maps are availible for public viewing before the drawing and the winning map comes from that group. Drawings are open to the public. Regardless of the winning map, it will be one with minimal municipal breaks.

I'm not for "nonpartisan" redistricting. I do support "nonbiased" redistricting based on geography. Trying to create 15 50/50 districts is impossible without creating strange maps. What there needs to be are maps with minimal municipal breaks. Our congressmen, state senators, state reps, and county commissioners should be from our communities. The democrats didn't like Oakland County being carved up into four different districts. I don't want to see the democrats split Livingston County three ways. Municipal breaks favor Republicans in some areas (Kent County, Livingston County) and democrats in others (Wayne County, probably Oakland County).

It's too early now to tell what will happen in 2011. The state house and state senate could go either way, and the governor's spot is wide open. Anything can happen.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Gun Grabber Mayor Convicted of Gun Crime

More hypocracy from the Guns for me, not for you crowd - A Mississippi mayor has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor weapons charges after carrying a handgun on church and school property, and a gun rights group thinks now would be a good time for him to step down from Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG).

Jackson Mayor Frank Melton, a Democrat, pleaded guilty Nov. 15 to the misdemeanors to avoid felony charges that would have cost him his job. Instead of jail time, he was fined $1,500 and put on a year's probation.

Lawrence Keane, director of the gun rights lobbying group National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), on Tuesday called Melton a "hypocrite" for violating gun laws while maintaining membership in MAIG.

MAIG is a coalition of American mayors headed by New York Republican Michael Bloomberg. On its website, the group says it "respect[s] the rights of law-abiding citizens to own guns" and that their "only interest is in fighting crime."

How about banning gun grabbing politicians instead like the rich leftist RINO Bloomberg and convict Melton?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

More Big Government Statism from the Democrats

From the Lansing City Pulse.

Governor pledges to approve a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants

It was the most definitive sign yet that Michigan could soon join a growing number of states that have banned smoking in bars, restaurants and other public places.

In the third gubernatorial debate against challenger Dick DeVos, Gov. Jennifer Granholm told Michigan voters she would make Michigan smoke-free if legislation to ban smoking was presented to her.

“I think the governor said it,” said Liz Boyd, press secretary for the governor, who was re-elected Nov. 8. “If legislation arrives on her desk, she’ll sign it.”

House Bills 4624 and 4625 and Senate Bills 394 and 395, introduced in April of 2005, would prohibit smoking in bars and restaurants. The bills, which stalled in committee, were aimed at reducing the third-leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

With Granholm entering a second term and Democrats now in control of the state House, another push to ban smoking in bars and restaurants could be on the way.

For the record, I'm not a ciggy smoker. This isn't about smoking to me. This is about property rights. This is about another push from big government to tell PRIVATE owned business how to run their establishments. I have no problem with business owners deciding on their own to ban smoking. The Copper Pickle in Howell is non-smoking on their own. That's the proper way to make a decision.

Nobody forces anyone to go into a pub or restaurants around smokers. That's an individual decision one makes on his/her own. Because an individual doesn't like how a business runs its establishment, he/she's now running to government to change how it runs it. That's unacceptable, and frankly - UnAmerican.

Time for "Big Government Conservatism" to end

Two good editorials from the right. One from Human Events, and the other from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. I have excerpts here, but recommend the full editorials.

One thing we all need to remember. It was the republicans who balanced the budget once before, and for all the (well-deserved) complaints on fiscal irresponsibility from republicans in the past 5 years, the democrats complained that we didn't spend enough. That said, "The other guy is worse" is no excuse and it is time for the rest of the party to follow the lead of the "Republican Study Committee" wing of the party and balance the budget - no excuses. Did Congress learn from losing the house? We'll see.

Human Events:

The single-best thing the lame-duck GOP Congress can do is vote in a spending-limitation bill with balanced-budget targets for the next couple of years. This would be a spending-cap pay-as-you-go, which means that any increased spending must be offset by lower spending in other parts of the budget. Not higher taxes, reduced spending.

This policy action would send a clear message to disaffected Republicans and independents (think Ross Perot voters) that the GOP is moving to regain the high ground on limited government and budgetary restraint.

The era of big-government conservatism must come to an end. And right now.

In the new Congress next year, Democrats will push a revenue pay-go. This means any new spending initiatives could be financed through higher taxes. And Democrats want to spend. Just take a look at their wish list: student loan subsidies, a major expansion of No Child Left Behind, more money to fill so-called “doughnut hole” (Medicare Part D) prescription-drug assistance and an expansion of health care for the uninsured on the way to universal health coverage.
During the Newt Gingrich congressional years, and particularly during the fight for the balanced-budget amendment of 1997, limited spending coupled with low tax rates was the winning message that gathered both conservatives and Ross Perot independents into the GOP tent. Now is the time to return to these very same principles

And from the Tribune-Review

Money can't buy me love," the Beatles famously sang. That should be the lesson conservatives take from the Nov. 7 elections, because the real story of this year's midterm vote is that the supposedly conservative majority spent as if it was a liberal majority.
"The greatest scandal in Washington, D.C., is runaway federal spending," Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., said after the election. In recent years, he notes, the Republican majority "voted to expand the federal government's role in education, (added new) entitlements and pursued spending policies that created deficits and national debt."


Earmarking is nothing more than an attempt by members of Congress to show folks that they're "bringing home the bacon." Conservatives should focus on the lesson of this election: This sort of federal spending is wrong. It doesn't work, and it should be stopped.

The other side of the spending coin is entitlements. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are on a path to bankrupt our country. Medicare spending alone is projected to leap $112 billion over the next two years to nearly half a trillion dollars. There's a crisis looming.

Yet instead of addressing these problems, in 2003 our lawmakers made them worse. They passed the Medicare prescription-drug benefit, adding trillions of dollars in costs to an already flailing program. It was the largest entitlement program passed since the Great Society of the 1960s, and many saw it as nothing more than an attempt by lawmakers to buy senior citizens' votes by giving them "inexpensive" drugs (to be paid for by their children and grandchildren's taxes).

The buy-off failed. Its author, Nancy Johnson, was ousted in Connecticut, while key supporter Clay Shaw lost his Florida seat after his opponent made the costly benefit a campaign issue.

Monday, November 20, 2006

DiShaw drops out, endorses Saul

I can't believe I missed this earlier. From Saul's blog

Dave's a good guy who does a good job over in West Michigan. I wish him the best. Currently, Saul is officially unopposed, although there are two months before the state convention, so anything can happen. Nothing is in stone until the final vote.

Dear Republican,

Our party had a very rough Election Day, and the grassroots leaders of our party have begun the process of examination and analysis.

We believe that when things go badly, change is a necessary step. That is why I announced my campaign for Chairman of the Michigan Republican State Committee. Within days we received the support of 5 District Chairs, 33 State Committee Members, 18



, and the National Committeeman. Clearly the grassroots of the party wanted to have this conversation. At all levels, this is a discussion worth having.

But we have to ask: To what end? The goal is not a long and protracted fight for control of the party. The goal is to fix the party and win elections. No more, no less. It has become clear in recent days that although there was significant support for a new Chairman, there was not overwhelming consensus that change at the top was the only way to achieve our aim of a rededicated, renewed Michigan Republican Party.

The following concerns, as well as your feedback, need to be part of an improved operation in 2007-2008:

1) Act on the concerns of the local grassroots leadership. Local elected officials and grassroots leaders should have a say in who their field representatives are, how they function, and what strategies are used in local races.

2) Create better strategies with regard to the Election Day Operation program, particularly the credential and challenging logistics.

3) Communicate with grassroots and party leaders via regular phone consultation and make sure that all party leadership is a part of the decision making process.

4) Use more caution in selecting GOTV lists that are based on micro-targeting data.

The good news: In both public and private settings these last few days, the Chairman and I have been in agreement on these and other issues! I know he will stay committed to these improvements, and I will stay committed to being a part of the solution as well.

To my friends and supporters who have stood with me, to the grassroots leaders who are willing to fight for a better Michigan GOP, you have my undying gratitude. I can only hope to repay the debt I owe you with an increased focus on winning in November of 2008, and with my constant appreciation of all you have done for me.

In the spirit of Party unity, and confident that he will do a good job, I endorse Saul Anuzis for re-election as Chairman of the Michigan Republican State Committee and encourage my supporters to do the same. Saul and I agree there is much to be done—now is the time to move forward. Now is the time to unify. I am confident that is in the best interests of our party, and I am confident that together we will turn this blue state red in November of 2008.


Dave Dishaw

Sunday, November 19, 2006

No Spambots allowed

One individual chose to post the same exact advertising message on at least 8 different threads. Spambots are not allowed here. One post here or there I'll overlook. The same one on every single thread is not allowed. As such, I deleted all but one of these messages.

Democrats push to reinstate the draft

Remember when Hanoi John Kerry suggested that Bush was going to bring back the draft? Well, it's the other party that wants to do so - again.

From Bloomberg News

Nov. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Democratic Representative Charles Rangel said he will again introduce legislation to revive a U.S. military draft when his party takes control of Congress in January

Friday, November 17, 2006

How To Turn '08 Into '94, By Newt Gingrich

How To Turn '08 Into '94, By Newt Gingrich
An Open Memorandum to House Republicans

By Newt Gingrich
Posted Nov 15, 2006

RE: Reflections on being back in the minority and how to become a governing majority.

As we think about the 2006 election and where House Republicans go from here, I want to suggest a few principles and actions that might be helpful.

When I was first elected in 1978, House Republicans had been in the minority for 24 years. Despite our best efforts to win enough seats to gain the majority, it took us 16 more years. If we do not want to return to a possible 40 years in the minority, it is essential that we spend time now thinking about the lessons of 2006 and what has to be done. If we do this, we can accept 2006 as a corrective but necessary interruption in our pursuit of a governing majoritarian party.

In 1946 and 1952, the Democrats found themselves in the minority. On both occasions it only lasted two years. They found the methods to recover, even though in the second case they were operating under a very popular Republican President Eisenhower.

When the Republicans lost their brief majority status in 1954, they could not recover it two years later, despite the fact that Eisenhower was winning a massive re-election. Similarly, they could not regain the majority even in the landslides of 1972 and 1984.

There are some key questions and key principles to keep in mind as we work through the process of earning back the majority.

1. Republicans lost the 2006 election. Do not hide from this. Do not shrug it off. Our team lost. Why did we lose? What do we have to do differently?
2. Are House Republicans electing a leadership team to be an effective minority or a leadership team to regain the majority? These are very different roles and require very different considerations, very different strategies and very different leaders.
3. To regain majority status, we have to focus on the country first and on Washington and the Congress second. If we are responsive to the country, they will support us and return us to power. If we are focused on action in Washington (whether White House action, legislative action or lobbyist and PAC action), we are probably entering a long period in minority status.
4. Are House Republicans electing leaders to represent House Republican values and strategies to the White House or leaders to represent the White House to House Republicans? Over the next two years, House Republicans and the White House will have very different institutional interests and very different time horizons. If we want to regain majority status, we have to focus on the building of a grassroots coalition which supports real change in Washington.
5. From a House Republican standpoint, the center of gravity should be the 54 Blue Dog Democrats. If we and the Blue Dogs can find a handful of key things to work on together, we can almost certainly create a majority on the floor just as the Reagan Republicans and conservative Democrats did in 1981. Bipartisanship can be conservative and back bench rather than liberal and establishment leadership defined. What did the Blue Dogs promise to get elected? What was the nature of their coalition back home? They give us the best opportunity to create grassroots efforts to pass solid legislation. Remember, the liberals will find it very hard to write a budget acceptable to the grassroots that elected the Blue Dogs. We have real opportunities if we are creative.
6. House Republicans should establish new principles for appointing people to the Appropriations Committee. Nothing infuriated the Republican base more than the continued process of earmarks, set asides and incumbent-protection pork. There is no reason for the House Republican conference to reappoint a single appropriator unless they agree to be part of the Republican team. First establish the principles of representing Republican values on appropriations and then ask each appropriator to commit themselves to living by those principles or accept appointment to another committee. There is a legitimate role for set asides in the legislative-executive branch process, but there is no reason to give the executive branch a blank check. There has to be some limits, and those limits should be set by the Conference and not by the committee members.
7. All of this will take time. As rapidly as possible there should be a three-day member-only retreat to discuss issues like this and to set strategies for the next two years. These kinds of decisions should be a key part of thinking through who should lead House Republicans for the next Congress and how they should lead.

One Last Note

Do not underestimate Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi and her team. She and Rahm Emmanuel finally put together a disciplined recruiting system that allowed a lot of Democrats to run as conservatives, even while they were planning to elect the most liberal Speaker in history. Pelosi is a tough, smart, disciplined professional. She is not going to be easy to beat, and she and her team are going to work hard to keep you in the minority for a decade or more.

This is going to be hard work and will require a lot of dedication and a lot of thought.

With best wishes for a return to majority status as quickly as possible.

Your friend,

Newt Gingrich

GOP house blunders

from the AP

Republicans Friday chose Rep. John Boehner as minority leader, succeeding Speaker Dennis Hastert in the top GOP leadership post for the Democratic-controlled House that convenes in January.

Nothing against Boehner, but when your party takes an arse-kicking due to the actions of congress, it's time to make a change in its leadership. When one of the major problems is overspending and a straying from the limited government ideas which we won on in the 1980's and mid 1990's, then we need to elect leaders like Mike Pence, Jeb Henserling, and John Shadegg as leaders who will bring us "back to the future."

I hope Boehner proves me wrong. We'll see.

My parent's backyard

I don't see this too often. Too bad I don't have time to hunt this year, then I'd pray it goes across the street to state land.....

Thursday, November 16, 2006

More on the State Chair race

A couple of developments in this race. I don't like to post a lot of internal information here, and did not post some of the underlying currents involved in this race outside of the John McCain element, which is already public knowledge

1. Jack Lessenberry had some good things to say about Saul. Jack and I don't usually see eye to eye on most issues, but he had some good things to say about Saul here There's a good audio clip there as well.

2. Some endorsements have been rolling in for Saul. Mike Cox endorsed him, and he wasn't originaly a Saul backer two years ago. St Senator Ken Sikkema over in Grand Rapids.

3. I also received an interesting email forwarded to me that cleared up a major controversey. Much of the hype has come from a rather infamous ad from one of the two Grand Rapids state rep districts which flipped from GOP to Democrat. The mailer was an attack ad against the democrat, which some people considered race baiting. Saul took a lot of blame for this ad - but was not behind the ad. State Party has a lower postage rate, so much of the ads from caucus and other GOP organizations goes through them. He took the hit before the election for the team. I heard this from two sources now.

Personally, I think much of this hype (which started before the election) is an effort from some of John McCain's top supporters to get control of the state party and have a coronation instead of a primary. McCain is not popular with the base (especially gun owners), so they want to dillute it. This is a pre-primary for 2008.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Rudy is in for 08

From NY1 - Rudy is in

Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has taken the first steps toward a 2008 White House run.

Documents obtained by the Associated Press show that Giuliani has established an exploratory committee that will allow him to raise money and travel the country in support of a presidential bid.

While I personally like Giuliani, he's too left wing to get my support in the primary. That said, I'm glad he's running since he'll take votes away from Mr. McCain who I could not support for dogcatcher. I'd like to see Giuliani in a cabinet position - preferably in a Mike Pence administration.

Saul Anuzis for Michigan GOP Chair (and Stop McCain too)

I am endorsing the re-election of Saul Anuzis as state party chair.

This was a tough year, and I don't think most of Saul's work did anything but help us for not having it worse than it was. Indiana and Ohio (and I think Wisconsin) got hit worse than we did. We kept our Congressional seats, and didn't get smoked as bad as Ohio did - even though they are usually 4% more Republican than we are.

Saul is also the most accessible and active chair we've had since I've been active in Michigan politics. He organized more victory centers than any other time during a gubenatorial election. There were a record number of contacts made this election cycle. Saul is active on the grass roots websites for conservatives, such as redstate. With the rise of blogs and internet in politics, we need chairs who embrace the netroots, not reject them. Saul keeps us informed every day on his own blog and in his emails with a large collection of the current events around the state and country. The infastructure and groundwork was in place to win. That was Saul's job this year, and he did his part. It was simply a bad year for Republicans, the blame mostly deserves to be placed over in DC due to lack of leadership, poor strategy, and straying from the conservative values that brought them there in the first place back in 1994. Hopefully that changes and we can start with Mike Pence as Minority Leader, setting an example for us nationwide.

Besides Saul, the other names mentioned for chair have been Dave DiShaw, Jerry Zandstra, and Chuck Perricone. DiShaw is a good guy, as is Jerry Zandstra who I supported for senate before the primary. I have nothing bad to say about those two individuals. On the other hand Chuck Perricone destroyed the once formidable 2nd Amendment group - MCRGO. I won't go into all the details, but if you want to know what happened with MCRGO (since July 2002) under Mr. Perricone's reign as Executive Director - go to the CARE site or CPLTRAINER. I should also mention that Mr. Perricone is a John McCain guy. McCain is strongly anti-2nd Amendment and has a well deserved F rating from Gun Owners of America. What is a supposed gun rights leader doing supporting someone like that?

What this race is about, is the 2008 primary. McCain's people in Michigan are trying to rig the system so that McCain wins Michigan in the 2008 primary. As Hotline reports:

Allies of Sen. John McCain in Michigan have launched an effort to oust party chair Saul Anuzis, who they view as biased against McCain and beholden to established financial interests in the state party.

Today, in an unusually personal letter to Michigan Republicans, Anuzis announced his re-election campaign and blamed "presidential politics" and "personal agendas" for the opposition.

Let's not have a coronation in Michigan, especially for a guy like Mr. McCain.

Does this sound like a mainstream Republican or a RINO?

1. He's a gun grabber and wrote anti-2nd amendment legislation banning gun shows. If GOA isn't good enough, even the more mild NRA doesn't like him.

2. He opposes the 1st amendment with his draconian campaign finance law.

3. His "global warming" stance is hostile to the automobile industry.

4. He is part of the gang of 14 on judges. I can not trust him to appoint good judges.

5. He pushes for government involvement in areas it doesn't belong. He tried to ban the UFC (Competition for the boxing industry where he has ties) and stuck his fat in the baseball steroids dust-up.

6. He's a member of the Keating 5. Remember them? We had our own Keating 5 member in Don Riegle.

7. He supports Ted Kennedy and George Bush's amnesty bill for illegal aliens.

Americans rejected "Big Government" conservatism on November 7. We can not let Michigan have a coronation for another Big Government Republican in Mr McCain, who makes George Bush look libertarian. We need a limited government conservative as our nominee, and McCain is not it. Let's not have a coronation for him at our next State Party Convention.

Saul will build on his infastructure, expand the right-netroots, and will get us ready for 2008 - whoever the nominee is - not just the favorite of a few individuals.

Based on both Saul's record, as well as McCain's interests, I am endorsing Saul Anuzis for Michigan GOP Chair.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Human Events : Pence for Minority Leader

Human Events, an influential conservative newspaper endorses Pence.

Pence for Minority Leader:

When the now-defeated Republican majority in the House of Representatives was led astray on key issues by President Bush, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, it was Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana who rallied backbenchers to fight back in defense of conservative principles.

That is why Pence should be elected minority leader for the next Congress. Under Pence’s leadership over the next two years, HUMAN EVENTS believes, House Republicans can put themselves in position to retake the majority in 2008. More importantly, they can be counted on to fight for what’s right. Pence, after all, opposed President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, which the President is now hoping to re-authorize with the help of the Democratic majority. Pence also led the gang of conservatives who stood up against the bullying of Republican leaders who tried to make them vote for Bush’s $8-trillion Medicare prescription drug entitlement. He also led the conservatives who forced Congress to make spending cuts to offset at least some of the profligate spending President Bush suggested in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Many conservatives rightly criticized Pence when, in the midst of the battle over immigration reform this year, he offered a compromise plan that would have made illegal aliens return to their home countries before they could qualify to come back as guest workers (and would have required the President to certify that the border had been secured before a guest-worker program was initiated). Still, Pence did support the tough border-security and immigration-enforcement bill that passed the House last December and counts now among his supporters for the minority leader post top GOP immigration hawks Tom Tancredo of Colorado and Steve King of Iowa.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Livingston Results

Dick DeVos - 57.01%
Mike Bouchard - 54.43%
Terri Land - 71.47%
Mike Cox - 69.42%
Mike Rogers - 63.63% (in county)
Valde Garcia - 61.60%
Chris Ward - 65.87% (in county)
Joe Hune - 61.56%

We can't let the numbers here fool us. We ran 6% behind our Bush 04 numbers, 5% behind our Posthumus numbers, and 2-3% behind our Bush 2000 numbers. To me, a 57.01% win is a defeat - as there's no way we win statewide without getting 63%+ in Livingston.

The DeVos numbers here were weak, but Bouchard's were extremely weak. It was the worst numbers in the county candidate since the sacrificial lamb campaign against Carl Levin in 2002 (a 52% "win"). I think he would have been a stronger candidate if he had help, but the lack of help before the last week, along with the national tide hurt us badly. What happened happened, and as I said before - Time for us to get up, walk it off, and be ready to fight.

Two exceptions to the setbacks were Terri Land and Mike Cox. They both won easily. The good news is that despite the setbacks, all of our county level candidates received over 60% of the vote.

We took our biggest damage in the Pinckney area. As a county party, I think we need to be more active out there and in areas around our entire county. There's too much of a disconnect between Brighton/Howell areas and the other areas of the county. With term limits hitting us hard in 2008 (house) and 2010 (senate), we better prepare for a tough race, as no open seat is 100% safe. Ask Bill Sali who had a close call in Idaho, or John Hunt/Terry Brown in the thumb. I'm taking our two open seat contests seriously.

Being followers does not work unless there are leaders to follow. Instead of looking for leaders to follow, I've always believed that we need to be the leaders ourselves. It is time for our county party to be the leaders. Will we step up to the plate as a party. That's for our committee to decide and I hope we as a committee make the right decisions over the next two years. Our communities are looking for strong positive leadership. It is time for us to provide it. Once we do, we won't be getting only 57% here in bad years, living and dying with out national and state partners.

On the county level, we got hit in the chin, didn't get knocked out, and survived a "decision". That said, it is too much of a close call here for my tastes, and I don't want to see this again any time soon. What are we going to do about it?

Up North Values. The key for winning Michigan

I saw the brutal state results as well as results from our own county. Overall, we underperformed by about 5-6%, and dems overperformed by about 5-6%. The 5-6% cost us the house. Based on the county results, the worst hit was among socially conservative and economic moderate independents.

I haven't seen the areas within the county outside of Livingston. I'll get to there later.

We lost areas we had no business losing, and got massacured in the swing areas outstate. The UP counties were often 60% democrat. The Northern Lower Penninsula also went democrat for the mostpart outside of the 4 or 5 Republican strongholds up here. Even those areas were narrow. Instead of their normal 58-62% GOP numbers, they were down to 50%-53% (Grand Traverse, Emmett, Antrim) Even some of the strong leaners flipped. Leelanau County flipped. Crawford County (Grayling) flipped.

The thumb was another disaster. The Conservative Populists flipped. Huron was split 50/50, as was St Clair County. Lapeer should be another Livingston County, but dropped to 52%. Tuscola flipped. Sainilac's still Republican (outside of Espinoza), but usually goes over 60% - it was 56%. That's not good enough.

Midland went Democrat for the first time since probably Bill Lucas. I'm not sure it was the city or rural areas which hurt us more. Saginaw and Bay are usually semi-close, but broke 60% democrat. Bush's 04 gains in Genesee County were eroded as well. 66% Democrat - 6% ahead of the recent numbers. Saginaw and Bay county are democrat, but not liberal. They prefer moderate democrats there like Jim Barcia. Socially conservative and populist.

Central and West Michigan's rural areas severely whipped us as well. Barry County was a narrow win. That's a 60% county most years. Ionia and Gratiot Counties were defeats. Clinton and Eaton Counties are tougher in off-years, but were disasters for us this year going 54% and 58% for Granholm. State workers are a part of that, but not all of it. Shiawassee was a disaster going 57% for Granholm. Bush won all three of those counties in a big way.

Anyone seriously contesting Michigan or recruiting a candidate needs to ask themselves a few things before telling the candidate to run. Can he win in places like Grayling, Cheboygan, St Ignace, Newberry, Escanaba, Alpena, Clare, Gladwin, and Roscommon. Those areas are conservative - but not necessarily republican. Can they win in Shiawassee County and get Clinton and Eaton to come home? Can they win in the thumb.

These are some of the most independent voting areas around. They are conservative, but not republican. Granholm won here. Bush won here. Stupak won here. Spence Abraham won here. Stabenow won here. A lot of areas there are locally democrat/republican, but split their tickets higher up. They are intelligent voters and it takes more than talking points to earn their vote.

Elitism = defeat. The 2004 attitude among democrats killed them here. How often did you hear them complain about people "voting against their best interest." No they didn't. They didn't then. They didn't in 2006 when they sent us a message either. We can not take them for granted.

If I was running a candidate up there, I'd find a good speaker with a working class background, is socially moderate/conservative with a libertarian streak, is pro-2a and pro-life, is fiscally responsible, is tied to small business, but isn't 100% tied to big business. Most importantly, he has to be REAL on those issues and not a phony, nor even have the appearance of a phony by taking some bad advice by Washington 'consultants'. Until next season, I think our party should spend a lot of time up there and simply listen to the concerns there.

This should work more than just Up North. Those same values that will win us Up North and in these rural areas work in a couple of other key counties in Southeast Michigan. One is Monroe County. The other is the epidomy of a swing county - Macomb County.

To sum it up into one sentence - we need to win back the "Reagan Democrats."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Mike Pence for Minority Leader!!

It's no secret that I'm hoping that someone like Indiana Congressman Mike Pence or South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (Both election day surviviors by a good margin) step up to the plate and run for president in 2008 as they have walked the walk when it comes to limited government principles. Indiana was a very rough spot due to the unpopularity of Mitch Daniels there, as well as the national picture. We lost three seats, two in seats which went heavily for Bush. Pence survived the dem wave due to his strong message and consistency.

Now Mike Pence is running for minority leader and would be a strong, principled voice against Nancy Pelosi, John Conyers, and worst of all - the fascist Henry "Ban everything" Waxman. After too many years of Bill Kristol's "Big Government Conservatism" and the "Prescription Drugs and No Child Left Behind" wasteful spending, it is time to go back to the good ole days of what gave us our majority in the first place - common sense conservatism based on limited government. As President Reagan says - "Government is the problem."

Go Pence!!!

Dear Republican Colleague,

I am writing to announce my candidacy for Republican Leader in the 110th Congress and to ask for your support. I will make every effort to speak with you about this personally before our leadership elections, and I am anxious to hear your thoughts and counsel.

Like all of you, I was deeply disappointed with the outcome of Election Day 2006. I am saddened to think of the men and women who will leave our ranks and cannot reflect on the names without emotion or ask, as Gideon did in defeat, "why has all this happened to us?"

I urge you to consider this specific question as we return to the Capitol to choose the men and women who will lead us back to the Majority. I look forward to your analysis but, as Sen. Phil Gramm once said, "I've got an open mind, but not an empty mind." Here is my take.

I am running for Republican leader, because I believe that we did not just lose our Majority-we lost our way. We are in the wilderness because we walked away from the limited government principles that minted the Republican Congress. But there is a way out. "The way out of the wilderness," author Mark Helprin wrote, "is the truth; recognizing it, stating it, defending it, living by it." Here is the truth as I see it.

The Truth:

After 1994, we were a Majority committed to a balanced federal budget, entitlement reform and the principles of a limited federal government. We delivered on balanced federal budgets, welfare reform and responded to a national emergency with defense spending, homeland security and tax cuts that put our economy back on its feet.

However, in recent years, to the chagrin of millions of Republicans, our Majority also voted to expand the federal government's role in education by nearly 100% and created the largest new entitlement in 40 years. We also pursued domestic spending policies that created record deficits, national debt and earmark spending that has embarrassed us and caused many Americans to question our commitment to fiscal responsibility.

This was not in the Contract with America.

Our opponents will say that the American people rejected our Republican vision. I say the American people did not quit on the Contract with America, we did. In so doing, we severed the bonds of trust between our party and millions of our most ardent supporters.

As we choose who will lead us in the days ahead, it is essential that we learn from the lessons of 2006. It is more important that we move forward with a renewed commitment to our principles and the vigor to do our duty.

Our mission has now changed. Our mission in the Majority was to pass legislation reflecting Republican principles. The duty of the Republican Minority in the 110th Congress is to defeat the liberal agenda of the Democrat Party and become the majority in Congress again. We will only defeat the Democrat agenda by presenting a positive, conservative message in vivid contrast to the big government liberalism of the new Majority.

New Vision:

To renew our Majority, we must offer this nation a compelling vision of fiscal discipline and reform. It is written "without a vision, the people perish." What is true of a people is also true of any political movement. Our new Republican minority must rededicate itself to the ideals and standards that minted our majority in 1994. Only by renewing the promises of the Republican Revolution will we attain Majority status again. Now, as then, we must pledge ourselves to promote and defend the agenda the American people elect Republicans to advance; defend our nation, our treasury and our values. We must again embrace the notion that Republicans seek the Majority not simply to govern but to change government for the better. We are the agents of change and we must return to that reformist vision.

New Voices:

I have great respect and appreciation for the hard work and leadership provided by our current leadership. Like most members of our conference, I have stood behind our leaders through good times and challenging times. However, in this new time of challenge also comes opportunity. I believe we must confront this moment with new leadership and new voices. We must take a page from the playbook of President Ronald Reagan who taught us that it is not enough to believe great things, we must effectively communicate great things to the American people.

In various roles, over the past six years, I have worked to provide a credible and persuasive voice for the Reagan agenda. Credibility will be essential for our primary task these next two years-to expose, dismantle and defeat the Democrat agenda. Without the votes necessary to stop the advance of their liberal priorities, our mission will be one of persuasion and tactics. Each of us must commit ourselves to using our voices and areas of expertise to dismantle Democrat arguments and expose their liberal, big government agenda at every turn. I see every Republican member as a leader, with unique gifts and talents, and I am asking for the privilege of serving this team of leaders.

These are anxious times, and we all feel the pain of opportunity lost. I encourage you to act without fear or inhibition, to be bold in your choices, and return this conference to the ideals and standards that created our national governing Majority. To retake our Majority, we must "be strong and courageous and do the work." We must renew our commitment to the agenda of the Majority of the American people, and defend our nation, our treasury and our values for ourselves and our posterity.

I am ready to work with you to restore and renew the Republican Congress. I ask for your support to serve you as Republican Leader in the 110th Congress.

Most sincerely,

Rep. Mike Pence

Time for us to get up, walk it off, and be ready to fight

If you read this site, you've followed what happened in the elections. It looked like a Detroit Lions game against the Bears.

What we first need is an honest look in the mirror to why this happened. The democrats didn't win the house. We lost the house. IMO, these are the biggest reasons.

1. DMFs giving everyone a bad name. D stands for dumb. I'll let you fill in the rest. With people like Mark Foley, Don Sherwood (Losing a 60%+ GOP seat), Bob Ney, Curt Weldon, and Tom DeLay - we have a real weakness at the top. This killed us in the last month of the election.

2. Iraq. What's the plan? If there is a plan, it need to be communicated to the populace.

3. What has Congress done? What's the plan?

4. Most important. Republicans forgot where we came from. First of all, the leftward movement within the party needs to STOP and stop now. Spending is out of control. We need a return to fiscal sanity. People like Mike Pence and the Republican Study Committee need a more active role in setting the agenda for the party. What do Republicans stand for nowadays? I have to clarify myself these days by saying that I'm a 1994 Republican.

As for the governor's race, I had a bad gut feeling after the first debate. DeVos was simply too nice of guy. He had a plan on his website, but he should have been more specific on his plan in the debate and in TV ads. This was a repeat of 1996 with the losses Up North and weak showing across the board. From what I saw across the state, the biggest loss was among social conservative independent voters.

I'll go more into detail in the future. Until then, I'll just say that it is past time to return to our roots of limited government, low taxes, low spending, protecting our rights, and supporting life. We have to stand for something. We fell for anything and it cost us.

One we go back to where we come from, we'll take back the house. It's time to stop the "They suck, we suck less" and go back to "They're wrong and we're right."