RINO wins in Michigan open 7th

A band of conservatives running in the open 7th CD of Michigan allowed 'moderate' (on social issues) Republican Joe Schwarz, who supported McCain in 2000, to win the GOP primary.

Here was the rundown (from CQ):

  • Schwarz-- 28% -- self-described moderate, supporting abortion rights, benefitting from Michigan's open primary (Democratic voters).
  • Smith-- 23% -- nepotist, Club for Growth
  • Bisbee-- 15% -- backing of Michigan Right To Life, Michigan Chamber of Commerce
  • Tim Walberg-- 20% -- conservative, former state Rep.
  • DeRossett --9% -- conservative
  • DeWeese -- 6% -- conservative, former state Rep.
I'd guess, if the Michigan law allows, there's a strong chance that one of those conservatives runs in the General against Schwarz. And if that happened, the Democrat would be in a good spot to win with a plurality. Bush only defeated Gore by 6% in the 7th in 2000, and in 2004, Kerry has a good shot at winning here. However, after failing to recruit a well-known candidate in the 7th (essentially ceding the seat to the winner of a Republican primary) Sharon Renier, "an organic farmer and political unknown" is running as the Democrat.

Michigan is probably the biggest single recruitment failure by the Democratic Party for House candidates. In a year when Michigan has the potential to be a write-off by Bush (Kerry is up by 3-6% in July polling), in a state where Repulicans hold a 9-6 seat advantage, there are not a single competitive House contest. Usually here, we'd castigate the DCCC, but it's a big enough failure in Michigan to pass the blame around. Dem Gov. Jennifer Granholm is praised by many, but in terms of building up the state with strong federal Dem candidates, she's failed as mightily.

If Schwarz does cruise to victory in 2004 unopposed, I would expect that he gets the RINO treatment in the 2006 GOP primary; and hopefully, the Dems in the 7th will have a strong candidate in waiting for the conservative winner.


Second Billing for US deaths in Iraq

Has it reached the point where the deaths in Iraq of US soldiers is second billing?  For Republicans, their arguments have reached the absurd,  Arthur Chrenkoff, 'Finish the Job' A roundup of the past two weeks' good news from Iraq:Yet for every foreigner taken hostage there are stories of hundreds of Iraqis who can now enjoy in many different ways their regained liberty. For every attack, with all its terror and bloodshed, there are countless stories of courage, determination and resourcefulness on the part of the Iraqi people. And for every intelligence failure by the government agencies then, there is an intelligence failure by the media now.Well, at least it's a Republican instead of a Democrat that's making this politically asinine argument. I can't wait until the GOP slideshow at their convention showing Iraqi's enjoying their freedom, and stories of Iraqi courage, while ignoring the nearly 1000 dead Americans as a result of their lies for invading Iraq. 'For every dead US soldier in Iraq, the US has built a school there...' Something tells me that the ones in charge will have at least the clue to keep Iraq off the frontpage, at least from the GOP's convention message. As for the headlines, second billing will have to do.

No wonder the Republicans are losing rural America. Resentment is a powerful political tool, perhaps the most. I could see rural Americans nodding as Kerry wedged the "firehouses being built in Iraq instead of the US" and declared his independence from Saudi influence. I drove through a Republican town in Maine a few days ago, and saw the seven or eight wreaths draped with flags for each of their fallen in the town square. While stopping over at a lake in rural Vermont, I listened as two of Greenberg's F-You Men argued over support of Bush's failed policy in Iraq. As Greenberg's recent polling there shows, every group of Bush's core support has fallen except for the F-You Boys-- the neoliberal hawks like Arthur Chrenkoff.

DeLay feeling the heat

Common Cause has joined onto Chris Bell's ethic complaint filed against DeLay few weeks back, and has been aggressively calling for an outside counsel. Think DeLay isn't feeling the heat?  Common Cause and  had a Citizens for Responsibity & Ethics held a press conference a few days ago, when tow DeLay staffers barged in and disrupted the scene. The goons were so sloppy with their research on Common Cause that they thought CC's Mary Boyle was the same Mary Boyle as the former Democratic Nominee for US Senate from Ohio, which isn't the case. Tom DeLay is feeling the heat from the investigation, and he's feeling heat from the Democratic candidate in the 22nd CD of Texas. Richard Morrison has done a fantastic job at engaging netroots fundraising and raising his profile in the contest. DeLay is now actively campaigning in the district, holding Town Hall meetings, and so forth. As the recent poll numbers show, this is still a double-digit race, but in terms of the wider picture, having heat on DeLay is more than just a passing distraction for the Republican. As earlier reported in the blogosphere, some of the members of the ethical committee recieved financial contributions from DeLay, as reported today in the Dallas Morning News: House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's political action committee gave $81,077 in the last decade to 10 Republicans who could be asked to investigate allegations that the Texas lawmaker misused his office. It's not unusual for leaders of both parties in Congress to form political committees that contribute to rank-and-file lawmakers. And when allegations of impropriety arise, those donations can present potential conflicts. Four of the five Republicans on the ethics committee, which is weighing whether to launch a formal investigation of Mr. DeLay, also received donations from his Americans for a Republican Majority PAC. The The committee has until Sept. 20 to decide whether to persue the investigation.

Update (Chris): Delay is in trouble for re-election as well. In the diaries, Red Meat Democrat points out, via Burnt Orange Report, that Delay is under 50 and only ten points ahead of his challenger, Richard Morrison.

From Boston to NYC

That's right on, what Tom Schaller said on the Daily Kos. The street blogging in NYC, during the GOP convention, is where the real power of the blog has a chance at playing a role during the convention. Go and see what Annatopia wrote a few days ago. I'm right alongside there in NYC, ground zero vs. the Republicans. Boston will be fun, we'll meetup inside the hall for a blogger-filled convention. Back in 2003, I was hoping it would turn out brokered, because then I think we would have seen the blogs shine in Boston. NYC, I just gotta be there to blog what's not on TV.

No, seriously dude--what is the matter with Kansas?

Although I have not yet had the opportunity to read Thomas Frank's much discussed book, What's the Matter With Kansas, I have found much of the discussion about the book engaging. In particular, I was intrigued by an article about the book in the Lawrence Journal-World. The article quotes from Frank's book:"The trick never ages, the illusion never wears off," Frank wrote. "Vote to stop abortion, receive a rollback in capital-gains taxes. Vote to make our country strong again; receive deindustrialization. Vote to screw those politically correct college professors; receive electricity deregulation. Vote to get government off our backs; receive conglomeration and monopoly everywhere from media to meatpacking. Vote to stand tall against terrorists; receive Social Security privatization efforts. Vote to strike a blow against elitism; receive a social order in which wealth is more concentrated than ever before in our lifetimes, in which workers have been stripped of power and CEOs rewarded in a manner beyond imagining." This passage brings to mind the Bush Presidency. In 2000, Bush won the Republican nomination largely on the strength of the conservative wing of the GOP. However, under his watch, gay marriage has started to flourish, while corporate power has reached an all-time high. In the general election, Bush received around 85-90% of the conservative vote, but during his time in office the lewd and crass reign of reality TV has peaked while millions of jobs are sent overseas. In other words, even though conservative Republicans control both houses of Congress and the White House, they have utterly failed to implement their conservative social agenda, but simultaneously achieved almost total success implementing their pro-oligarch, super-corporate, arch-capitalist economic agenda.

Granted, much of this has to do with the limited power of the federal government to regulate "social issues" and its comparatively greater power to control economic ones. Still, while conservatives running for federal office tend to focus on social issues, that is rarely, if ever, what they deliver once they are in power. Perhaps the greatest irony of the rise of the Religious Right as a political force within this country is that the more Republicans they manage to elect to office, the further away the country moves from the traditionalist, Christian state so desired by the Ralph Reeds and Pat Robertsons who head the movement.


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