Sunday, February 17, 2008

Convention notes (and US Senate 08)

State convention was last weekend. There wasn't a lot of major controversy going on there. The RNC committeeman and committeewoman positions were uncontested in the end. Keith Butler replaces longtime committeeman Chuck Yob and Holly Hughes was returned for a second term.

While McCain is the most likely nominee (almost mathematical winner), there were still a number of Huckabee and Ron Paul backers there. With Romney winning Michigan, his delegates are now uncommitted. I assume that most of them will go for McCain unless there's a shocking surprise. Huckabee's wife represented his campaign. I'm not really sure why she was up here after the primary, but it made things interesting.

The big news however was with the US Senate race against the Peter Principle in action - Carl Lenin, I mean Levin. Jack Hoogendyk is in, as most of us suspected. Rocky Raczkowski is not running. Rocky's part of the Army Reserves and was called back up to service. I wish Rocky a safe trip, and good health.

In order to defeat Levin, Hoogendyk needs to avoid the trap of what I call the generic campaign. By generic campaign I mean one full of talking points, fluff, little substance and a recluctance to say what is necessary due to being afraid of pissing the pundits and consultants off (and this is coming from a consultant, although I am capable there, my speciality isn't strategy). The generic campaign in its simplistic form is "vote for me and I'll follow or stop the president/governor's agenda." It drives me up a wall, but I'm biased and don't have a lot of respect for yesmen.

The only time the generic campaign works to perfection is when the candidate at the top of the ticket will win by a very large margin and bring in coattails - which doesn't often happen in Michigan, and hasn't happened in a presidential race since I can't remember. Coattails almost happened at the senate spot in 84 with Jack Lousma, but he lost at the last minute to Levin for driving a foreign car. An arguement COULD be made for coattails in the Stabenow/Abraham race in 2000, but I think that was more due to the campaigns than a coattail effect for Gore who won by 5%. 94 and 06 had some reverse coattail effects with state house flips, but even there, there was only 1 US House Seat flip in a seat around 51-52% democrat (the old 8th in 94). In 06, the state senate actually stayed GOP, despite the districts more favorable to the democrats than the state house, which went dem. In short, don't base your campaign solely on the top of the ticket. There's a few recent campaigns that I'd consider the "generic campaign" in this state, and they were almost all disasters in a statewide setting.

The good news for us is that Jack Hoogendyk (who runs the Core principles blog) is certainly not a yesman, and I doubt he's going to run a generic campaign. In order to beat a strong candidate like Levin, to win like in 94, it is going to take more than the same old song and dance. First it will take a middle finger to the pundits who surrender the seat without trying. Believe it or not, I respect Howard Dean. YEARGHHHHHHHHHHH aside, that 50 state strategy is a damn good idea. You don't win if you don't show up. Dennis Kucinich's seat in Cleveland used to be held by a republican - in the 1990's during the Clinton admin. Dan Rostenkowski lost his seat to a Republican in 1994. It was a big year for the GOP, but that seat was in the city of Chicago and over 65% democrat. Chris Carney's seat in Pennsylvania is 60% GOP and he beat Don Sherwood there. All of the underdogs there showed up and took advantage of the openings given to them. Rostenkowsky and Sherwood were pieces of trash, but usually the partisanship in those districts win out (examples - Jim Moran and Ted Kennedy). I believe the democrats in the Kucinich district were split on ideological issues, but I'm not real familiar on that district outside of it being West Cleveland.

Showing up is step one. Step two is giving people a reason to vote for a less familiar name. Longtime incumbents like Levin, Sherwood, and Rostenkowski take their area for granted. They also have insanely long records. While Sherwood and Rosty's problems wern't due to their votes but to being jerks as people, Levin's voting record is way out of the Michigan mainstream. Steps three and four are the hardest part - a quality grass roots campaign based on ideas. Step four is money. Money is overrated, but still very important. Step three is the big key as it can bring step four and go full circle. Can Jack get those done? We'll see, and I hope that is the case. I think he is one of the few candidates with a chance to beat Levin, much more than some generic pol with the same last name of another politician or some of the other half-baked things I hear from the punditry.

This is going to be an ideas campaign. With the economy in the toilet here, Michigan is ripe for one. Levin's had 30 years in office, and frankly hasn't done jack-squat in his entire time there. Time for new blood. Time for new ideas. Time to replace Levin with Jack Hoogendyk.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

DC v Heller Update, response amici is in

Thanks to Heller's attorneys Alan Gura, Bob Levy, and Clark Neily for updating us all on the SCOTUS case. is the official site for the Plaintiffs (now respondant) in the challenge to DC's gun ban. Some interesting developments here.

This is one of the few times Dick Cheney and Bush publically disagreed on an issue. Cheney supports Heller in this case. Bush's justice department wants things both ways on this issue by supporting "individual rights", but opposing strict scrutiny.

55 Senators support Heller. 250 Congresscritters support Heller. As expected, Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow do not support freedom. Almost ALL of the senators supporting this are Republicans. Only Bob Casey, Ben Nelson, Russ Feingold, Blanche Lincoln, Tim Johnson, Ken Salazar, Jon Tester, and Jim Webb signed on for the democrats among the senators. One shocker on the GOP side for me was George Voinovich who is strongly anti-gun. The house was a little more bi-partisan, but still strongly Republican. Of the Michigan Delegation, Dave Camp, Pete Hoekstra, Mike Rogers, John Dingell, Bart Stupak, Candice Miller, Thad McCotter, Joe Knollenberg, Fred Upton, and Tim Walberg signed it. Vern Ehlers, John Conyers (who signed with the gun grabbers), Carolyn Kilpatrick, Dale Kildee, and Sander Levin did not sign it.

The states are more bipartisan with less of the "Washington Democrat" (different than many states' dems) poison influence that hangs around. 31 States support Heller, including Michigan thanks to Mike Cox.

Several advocacy groups and law professors supported Heller, most of them with some sort of libertarian or conservative leanings, but not exclusively the case.

Both sides have their briefs up, and it's listed here under case filings. I recommend reading all of them if you get a chance. They took the Solicitor General to task heavily in their brief in their push on strict scrutiny.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I'm your huckleberry (2008 and other updates)

McCain - I'm your huckleberry.

It's not a secret that I'm not John McCain's biggest fan. I won't go into the reasons here except to say that it's all in the archives here. In fact in most years, I probably couldn't pull the lever for him. This isn't most years.

As things stand now, McCain has my vote. Two reasons.
1. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The second is the most important. We MIGHT have good judges if he is president. We might not, but there is a chance under McCain. We won't get anything except Stephen Reinhardt clones under Obama and Clinton. That ties my hands a bit.

As far as Barack Obama goes, he's a gutless wonder who is unable to make a tough decision, has no substance, and is frankly a Jim Jones clone - as in jonestown. We don't need cults - including cults of personality - as president. We don't need inexperienced backbenchers as president either. The last time we had people with this much inexperience, we had the Carter, Clinton, and Bush administrations. I wouldn't call any of them a success, and Carter is the worst president in the last 75years. As far as Hillary goes, she was in the Whitehouse for the railroading of Billy Dale, WACO, Janet Reno, and Bosnia, not to mention her extreme socialistic policies. There isn't anything government isn't the answer for in the mind of Hillary Clinton.

I won't be excited about this vote, but nothing is really new here. I never voted FOR a president during my lifetime, only against the other guy.

On the state rep front, some candidates have filed again. One common effect of term limits are family members with the same last name running for the term limited seat. Leslie Mortimer replaced Mickey Mortimer before Mike Simpson won the seat in 06. Dudley Spade replaced Doug Spade. Joel Sheltrown replaced Dale Sheltrown. Gabe Leland replaced Burton Leland. There are three people named Lamar Lemmons over in Detroit.

It's no different in 08. Todd LaJoy wants to replace Phil. Jim Stamas wants to take a seat once held by Tony Stamas (now a state senator). Michael McManus wants for a seat once held by George and Michelle McManus.

One other interesting thing I saw. Pete Waldmeir formerly of the Detroit News is running for the 1st district seat. I never thought he'd run as a Republican. I always thought he was center-left from his columns, although not a nut like say Mitch Albom. It'll be interesting to see what happens there.

Sorry for the lack of updates, but school's taking up a lot of time here.

Lastly, where the hell is this global warming? It's -1 outside.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday preview

Got a project due Friday, so that's top priority right now.

Super Tuesday is today and MIGHT decide the nominations for the presidency. We don't know yet. Romney and McCain have both picked up some wins lately. I haven't checked the latest standings. The media is wrapping this up for McCain right now, but I'm not sold on that yet.

In Livingston County news, Jim Mantey replaced Mike Randall on the county commission. I never met him, so I have no idea what to expect from him. Good luck to him and I hope he does a good job for us.