Friday, September 29, 2006

New Republican Governors' Association Ad -- this is the best you can do!?

So, the Republican Governor's association has unleashed a new ad attempting to tie Governor Granholm to Michigan's failing economy. You can watch it here (Quicktime format). Hat tip to Saul Anuzis for the heads up.

I can see what they're going for here, with the wind noises and Granholm saying that "you'll be blown away" and such. Very cute.

That being said, I think they're wasting their money here. Despite how desperately DeVos and the MI GOP have tried to hammer it in, voters simply don't accept the idea that Granholm is responsible for the current state of our economy, because they know its just not true.

Aside from their focus on a failed strategy, Granholm comes off as the best part of this ad. Her optimism, energy, and dedication all shine through in their clips. Sure, people that think she's full of hot air are going to have their beliefs reinforced by this ad. However, those people are already convinced anyway -- I don't see how this is going to help their turnout or convince any new voters.

Kos came to Ann Arbor, other updates

UPDATE (6:00 PM): Matt has audio and a partial transcript on Michlib. Go check it out.

Also, here is my comment in response to another (thoughtful) post in the diary about the Kos visit:

Very gutsy comment to make here! I'm glad to see some controversy about this.

To an extent, I understand and agree with what you're saying. Kos clearly favors challengers that are "sexy" enough to tell a good story and keep his readers engaged. I think that another factor in his decision-making process is that Michigan is considered to be a "swing state," and they feel that swing states get enough attention as it is (to the detriment of the rest of the party). Kos hasn't really covered Michigan proportionately and probably doesn't have the interest in it anyway. When he does cover it, its pretty superficial and doesn't convey an understanding of what's really going on in Michigan. I also agree that MI-Gov will have a significant impact on the future of our party at the national level, and merits the full attention of national organizations.

However, I would argue that it is the role of the DNC, Democratic Governors Association, and the MDP to deal with this race accordingly, not kos. Kos doesn't work under the Democratic Party and doesn't owe anyone anything, including us. He generated his readership through his own unique approach and philosophy, and (although I don't want to speak for him) I would assume that's where his loyalties lie. That's why people like me flock to him.

Ultimately, its not kos' job to win Michigan -- its ours. Kos has a limited amount of "real estate" on his blog and can only really focus on a few races. What kos does is show us the way to affect the change we want through our own activism. I think that's part of what the "netroots" philosophy is about, and why local and state-level blogging is so important.

In that sense, I think we actually have something a lot more powerful than what kos could ever offer us -- our own organized network of progressives talking about the things we care about. A front page article on Daily Kos may give us some short-term gains, but after that its gone. On the other hand, what we do here on Michigan Liberal has substantial long-term benefits.

We methodically chip away at the MI GOP's attacks and misinformation, while supporting our own candidates and values. We have our own group of local bloggers that understand the issues that matter to Michigan and are more well-suited to talk about Michigan than what kos could ever conceivably do for us. We've networked ourselves and will sustain this infrastructure even after the election is over, which provides long-term benefits to our party and our causes. Unlike the national websites, we can maintain a constant narrative that opinion makers (like newspapers) in Michigan tap into on a daily basis for elections to come. For example, the organization that Paul Hackett and Mark Warner's supporters developed in Ohio and Virgina have continued to make gains in those areas long after the national attention from the blogs faded and these candidates personally left the scene. That's part of what kos was trying to explain to us, and I think we can help accomplish the same kind of thing here.

Personally, I don't think that having kos' attention would help us in terms of what we need to do. Especially given that the Governor's race deals with state issues, we're much more suited to understand and influence the ongoing debate. However, if we really want to nationalize our races, we need to get onto kos and start creating a buzz to make it an attractive race to talk about and get behind. The "system" is organic: we don't get attention by whining, begging, or posturing, but by conveying our excitement and enthusiasm about the race while working to support our candidate. Ironically, part of why I don't think we have that kind of presence on Daily Kos is because Michlib (and the rest of our network here) is such a fantastic venue to talk about "our" issues -- none of us have any incentive to go to dkos because our system is much more well suited for our own needs.

Maybe I was blinded because I was star-struck, but I truly believe that kos was interested in us and trying to help us. He really does value the local bloggers, and conversed with us in a way to get a better sense of what's really happening on the ground here. Yes he did talk about "his" races, but that was all in the context of what he was trying to teach us. He showed us what made those races "work," and brainstormed with us based on what we told him to try and develop our own strategy. In the end I think he gave us some very instructive advice.

So basically: Its not that kos doesn't care, but he just doesn't have the time/space to focus on MI-Gov and we didn't generate the kind of excitement to justify nationalizing our race. He doesn't work for us and doesn't owe us anything, but does take his cues from bloggers on the ground who do the work to make nationalizing an issue possible. We don't need dkos coverage because we are shaping the media coverage and working at this on a daily basis (thank you matt, wizardkitten). Despite the fact that its not his job to win Michigan for us, kos was interested in us and used his experiences to give suggestions to us about how to refine what we're doing here.

Ultimately, we have the power to lift ourselves up, and that's what the "netroots" is all about.

Hey all,

Firstly, I just wanted to apologize for the state of this blog recently. You might have noticed that I have barely posted any substantive content over the past couple weeks. I've gotten pretty busy with school and haven't been able to post like I used to -- I'm not sure if I'll be "on point" again until after the semester (and election) is over, unfortunately.

Secondly, Kos came to Ann Arbor, and it was sweet. If nothing else, it was great to chill with all the MI bloggers again. Hy Dudgeon, Cordelia Lear, John and Clint from the Granholm campaign, lpackard, matt (thanks for the beer), djtyg, David Boyle, and later emptywheel were all in the house. It was good to see others there that I knew from working at the Granholm campaign, UM Dems, and so on at Drinking Liberally. Drinking Liberally is a great concept, and I might swing by in the future.

Kos talked a lot about the stuff that's been on the front page of dkos recently -- including the Virginia, Montana, and CT races. He also touched on a lot of the same themes from Crashing the Gate (if you haven't, you have to read it). I wasn't going in aiming to beg kos to pay more attention to Michigan (that's not how it should work), but he had some great insight into how we can become more effective as bloggers.

What was more new from him was his talk about how in a race, both candidates have a chance to define themselves and their opponent, creating a narrative for the campaign. What makes an effective narrative/story is how that relates to peoples' values. I'm not explaining this very well, I don't think. A lot of what he said on the subject of winning elections was very similar to what Lynn Rivers said in a class I took on campaigns, as well as a couple books I've read (an election strategy book by Ronald A. Faucheux and a book on how to win a local election by Lawrence Grey).

Finally, kos was really down to earth. He talked to the MI bloggers for 20 mins or so before the Shaman Drum event, and was very chill at the Drinking Liberally event. I don't know how to describe it, but he just seemed so... normal. He was also very interested in what we had to say and getting a sense of how things are locally for us. It was pretty surreal -- I couldn't believe I was crammed in the same little car as kos!

Anyway, that's enough rambling for the moment. I'll try to bang something out this weekend. After I go read CTG again.

CORRECTION: Laura informs me that her car isn't "little." She is correct -- my apologies.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Kos in AA today!

via Daily Kos:

ANN ARBOR, Thursday, September 28th

Shaman Drum Bookshop
7 - 8 p.m.

Book discussion and signing with Markos. Sponsored by Young People for the American Way.

311-315 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI, 48104

Leopold Bros

Libations and debauchery with the local Drinking Liberally crowd.

523 S. Main Street
Ann Arbor, MI, 48401

Also, don't forget to come hang with the Michlib crew.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

MI-09: Nancy Skinner Liveblogging Right Now!

Stop by, check it out, ask a question...see who has offered to do a TV spot with Nancy!

Monday, September 25, 2006

"Women on the Road to Victory" pics

The event, a rally on the Diag (in Ann Arbor) featuring six women Senators, happened a couple Sundays ago. Sorry its been so long to upload the pics:

College Dems Chair Jamie Ruth

Amos Williams (our AG candidate... short speech, but it was very cool)

Our SOS candidate

State Representative Chris Kolb

Senator Barbara Boxer

Yes, this is the "Debbie Kills Babies" sign that caused the College Republicans to pull Morgan Wilkins from campus. As far as I have seen, this is the only existing picture of her actually holding the sign. Although it doesn't change the fact that what she did was wrong, she was very nice when I spoke with her and I feel bad about the way things went down for her.

The Michigan Daily's initial article on "Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day" eventually landed on CNN and other major outlets. You can read Howard Dean's letter to the RNC at Mojo Blog. A Daily Kos diary provides some insights to the situation as well.

DeVos at the Spartans Game

Here's what DeVos had to say on Saturday at MSU.

"Priority number one has got to be getting rid of the job-killing single business tax," DeVos said. "It's driving business out of Michigan, and it's punishing job creation."

Ummm... didn't your buddies in the state legislature already do that? As usual, DeVos is being deceitful by implying that he'll work eliminate a tax that is already scheduled for termination.

It would be more useful to know how, if at all, he plans to fund the 1.9 BILLION DOLLAR HOLE that is now in our budget as a result of the policies that he's advocated. Of course, we don't hear about that because campaigns are about fooling voters, not educating them.

Also, that's really cool, talking about the SBT at a football game. I'm sure the kids were real excited to hear about that.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Tony Trupiano Live on Firedoglake

Tony Trupiano is responding to comments live on firedoglake. Its an interesting read, especially in the context of how the DCCC decides which races to get behind.

MI-09: Nancy Skinner invites you to a Liveblog Strategy Session Tuesday

Our opponent, Republican Joe Knollenberg, has smeared us with an attack page on his website he calls “The Skinner Files”. Are you surprised at all that this page is filled with lies and exaggerations?

On Tuesday Nancy will be doing a liveblog to counter these attacks. Stop by to ask questions. Feel free to play devils advocate and see how Nancy responds to Knollenberg’s outrageous claims. Nancy is an effective communicator, who has debated Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter on their own turf. No wonder Joe Knollenberg won’t debate her!

We want to hear from you! Nancy asked me to invite the community to an online strategy session. She loves the creativity and the open source spirit of the blogs. We’ve got some ideas, but Nancy wants to hear what you think we should do.

Joe Knollenberg is using the same old Republican scare tactics. He can afford to lie about us, and flood the airwaves with attack ads. We don’t have his massive war chest, so we have to be creative and earn our media.

Look for Nancy’s liveblog Tuesday at 4pm on Daily Kos at Nancy's userpage.

Friday, September 22, 2006


I have seen the attacks on Knollenberg's website and they are disgusting. For those of you in the 9th, just wanted to pass along a diary I saw on Michlib:


Nancy Skinner has been polite so far in her campaign against Joe Knollenberg. But Joe must be worried. He has new attacks against Nancy on his web site, Joe Knollenberg's campaign web site . Also see The Skinner Files, Joe's attack page if you really want to be mad. So, we have to take ACTION!

I believe in order for Nancy to win this race, she has to get on the same stage and debate Joe head to head. So, the question is, how do we do that. Joe has not debated at least his last two challengers.

So, here’s my plan. We hold protests at Joe’s office every week at first, then twice a week, then daily, until Joe agrees to debate Nancy.

The first protest will be held next Tuesday, September 21, 2006, at 12:00 p.m. t Joe’s office on Northwestern Highway, 30833 Northwestern. It is located just south of 13 Mile. Our goal will be to get as many people there with to support the idea Joe Knollenberg has to debate Nancy Skinner if he wants to defend his seat in Congress. We deserve no less from our Congressman.

The media will be invited and I think we can get several stories placed in local media and put pressure on Joe to debate Nancy. The soul of our democracy is at stake. We have to restore checks and balances to our government. But it’s up to you. Will you help?

If you can make our first protest, please RSVP to this e-mail address, The more people, the better story we are. When I put out the press release, I want to be able to say 100 people will appear at Joe’s office on Tuesday, September 26 at 12:00.

Bruce Fealk


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Exclusive! Interview with Sharon Renier (MI-07)

Sharon Renier is the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Michigan's 7th Congressional District. I had the opportunity to speak with her at the "Women on the Road to Victory" rally in Ann Arbor this past Sunday. Among other things, we talked about the recent Republican primary in the 7th, her ground game, Tim Walberg, the Iraq war, and her prospects for victory. Read on, folks!

Nirmal: So what motivated you to jump into the race?

Sharon: Well, I ran for Congress two years ago and two years before that I ran for the State House, so its not like I'm just jumping into politics fresh. I've been very political my whole life, so this is the next step -- to actually serve your country.

Nirmal: Were you expecting Tim Walberg to win the primary?

Sharon: Yes, it was a sure thing. I told people two years ago that if you look at the numbers, 80 percent of the people voted against Joe Schwartz because it was a six way primary. Based on the numbers it was very obvious that Tim Walberg would win with just one really strong pro-life candidate in the race.

Nirmal: So do you feel that in winning the primary, Walberg is out of step with his district?

Sharon: Yes, absolutely.

Nirmal: In what ways?

Sharon: He's pro-war, we're anti-war (which is different than being pro-soldier and supporting our troops). We're on different sides of issues such as gay marriage, and other governmental intrusions. As a Reverend he should realize that these people are the children of God.

Nirmal: Do you feel that you have a chance at taking this seat because his views do not reflect the district?

Sharon: Yes. After telling people what Walberg is really about, we can mobilize support and get people out to vote. In sixteen years, he did nothing for his million dollars that he is going to get from the people of the state for his pension. No legislation passed that he offered or wrote. I think he alluded to something called the Walberg strobe lights on school buses. Which is fine, as a safety issue, but the point is he says he's never raised taxes on people. Well that cost the school districts and the people a lot of money. Again, if it's a good issue, that's fine, but don't tell me he doesn't spend the people's money.

The other thing is that he's a very ineffective legislator: I believe that 93% of the votes that he was in on, he refused to vote at all. So how do you legislate when you can't make up your mind about a piece of legislation? You're not effective. He was a lobbyist. He's all what's wrong with Washington. He ties himself to Bush and thinks that the war is okay. He thinks that its okay to discriminate against people. What do we do next -- people with blue eyes don't get to vote or something? So that's what we're up against.

Nirmal: What would it take for Democrats or Democratic organizations at the national level to get involved with this race?

Sharon: Just letting them know that we have a tremendous amount of support and that the numbers are of the last election and not reflective of what the sentiment here is in the district. Also, the fact that the Republicans don't even like this guy.

Nirmal: So there was disproportionate turnout by the extremists of the party in the primary?

Sharon: Well, see, the way it looked in the primary was that the Republicans got a ton of votes but you had a tremendous number of Democrats that crossed over and voted for Schwartz. So it shows that the votes were actually skewed. If you were to really look at the votes in the primary and you give me the votes from my opponent in the primary and you give me Joe Schwartz's votes, it would be a win. I'm a numbers person and if you looked at the primary and thought "Oh Schwartz is going to win because he's the incumbent," without looking at the numbers, you would have been wrong.

We're going to take the votes of moderates, independents, a lot of the Republicans with us, and all of the Democratic vote, and they're going to say "this is the person we want in office." I weigh all the issues and look at all of the facts and look at the U.S. Constitution first and foremost, and to me that's where we lie: in the truth.

A lot of times people will say to me that in politics people are really mean and ruthless. They ask "How do you keep doing this? What gives you the drive to keep going?" I use Ghandi's quote, "in the end, good will always win out over evil," and that concept is what keeps me going.

I know that we really need to hold onto our democracy here and it is very fragile, and that it is on the brink of being taken away from us by the people who are in power. I'm the person who needs to win this race. Otherwise, we're just going to get more of this hate, more war, more people who aren't willing to be diplomatic and talk about the issues. I can't go over next door and deck my neighbor without the cops coming over and throwing me in jail. So how dare we go and drop bombs on all these innocent people? Some people call it the war on Iraq, but I call it the invasion of Iraq, because we invaded another country.

Nirmal: So you feel that the Iraq war was unjustified?

Sharon: Absolutely. I mean if Saddam was such a bad guy why did we wait 25 years to take him out and in the meantime why did he get the key to the city of Detroit? Getting out is the question now, and we have a plan to get out. Its not enough to stay the course with people still getting killed. We need to get an international peacekeeping group in there and we need to secure the city of Baghdad so that the Iraqi citizens can get about the business of taking care of their own government. We need to have no permanent U.S. bases in Iraq and we also need to help rebuild their infrastructure and do it without the face of groups connected to this administration like Halliburton.

If we can get the Iraqi citizens to start their own companies, we can help to start their own economy going. We need to help them invest in their own infrastructure.

Nirmal: How about positions on some other issues?

Sharon: We want to repeal Bush's tax cuts for the rich. I want no taxes at all on anybody who makes under $20,000 a year. We want to take the cap off of Social Security. We need to not just have a line-item veto but we need to make sure we have a roll-call vote when we're spending money and that people put their names on them. When you're voting on something for the troops you can't attach a bill to it that says "Uh, we're going to build a swimming pool somewhere else." We can't be doing that; that's just wrong.

Nirmal: Given that the Republican primary earned national attention, what kind of visibility does the race have in your district?

Sharon: Actually, its huge. Everywhere we go people are talking about it, because its made national news and because people are really scared about this Walberg guy. Its a scary thought that this man has this opportunity to get in power.

Nirmal: So have you seen a surge of interest in your ground operation?

Sharon: Absolutely! Everywhere we go, people are asking, "Where can we sign up? Give us some signs! We have some neighbors that we're talking to and they don't want him either." Its really incredible, and it doesn't matter where we go. We've got the farmers behind us now and they're generally thought of as being very Republican. The national farm organization has endorsed our campaign and the farmers themselves are going door-to-door and neighbor-to-neighbor to their fellow farmers and talking about the issues. The groundswell is just incredible. Its incredible to me and its also very overwhelming for me!

Nirmal: How does this compare to your previous races?

Sharon: I ran for Congress two years ago against Joe Schwartz, and they spent a lot of money beating me. Given that we only spent $8,000-$9,000 dollars, or only about 1% of the money in the race, I thought that was pretty good. I was proud of that. But in this race, we've already raised much more than that, and we're just getting going.

The students are all getting on board, they're using the Facebook, they're blogging. Tell everybody to vote for us on what used to be Dean's website,

Nirmal: Given his resources, when do you think that Walberg will go negative?

Sharon: We're wondering how negative he's going to go and what he's going to try to do to us. He went real negative on Joe Schwartz and he told a lot of lies. For somebody who is a Reverend, he should have his mouth washed out with soap!

Nirmal: Do you think that the same kinds of factors that played into the primary will matter in November?

Sharon: I think it was well-orchestrated by Walberg and it was just a matter of who got the most people out to vote.

I think that you're really going to see the anti-administration vote coming out in November. We've had a lot of people tell us, "Well you know everybody tells us that we only had a choice between Walberg and Schwartz, but we decided we had another choice, and that was Renier." That's really good to hear. People who had the guts to do that in the primary, I want to thank them, every one of them! We're going on with our plan and working on getting us elected in November!

(end interview)

Feel free to check out her volunteer, contribute, and Facebook pages (we need to join these Facebook groups!!).

Also, visit Walberg Watch for more information about Tim Walberg and his record.

Cross-posted on Michigan Liberal, Daily Kos, and Kicking Ass Ann Arbor.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tony Trupiano on firedoglake 9/23

10,000 doors!? Nice! Anyway, just passing along an e-mail:

Blogger, Friends, and those I don´t know too well...

We are in the last 48 days of the campaign and I am working like hell to make every second count. But time is precious and I need your help.

This Saturday, September 23 from 2-4 p.m. ET I will be the candidate Blogger at I know many of you are familiar with them and they have been instrumental in helping Progressive candidates raise some needed money and recognition. I am asking that you send to your lists, your Blogs, and anyone else you may know who would consider spreading the word on this even on Saturday.

For those of you who are not familiar with me or my campaign, please check out the site (link below). But I wanted to share some recent news as we gear up for the last six weeks:

  • Internal polling shows this race about even.
  • I was just selected by the 64 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus to be one of only thirteen races in the country to receive their support and assistance with everything from field assistance, to fundraising assistance. This is VERY good news and will help to bolster my campaign over the last six weeks.
  • I have personally knocked over 10,000 doors personally
  • My Congressional District has the most voter contacts of any District in the state and I would put my field operation against any in the country.

Even with all this, I need your help.

Whether it´s helping me promote Saturday or something more impactful is totally up to you.

I believe that this campaign can summon the resources and bodies need to be that race that comes out of nowhere in the last six weeks and take a red seat away form a real Neo-Con in my opponent Thaddeus McCotter.

I have spent the last year of my life working toward bringing a voice of reason and hope to my District and my country. I left my career of 12 years as a Progressive Talk Show Host because I am prepared to lead with vision, courage, and hope.

As a member of Congress you will be able to count on me to be your voice. Can I count on you now?

My office number is below if you would like to call. My cell phone is 313-617-1713 as I am knocking doors most of the day and evening hours. Please reach out to me if you would to.

This is a winnable seat. Let´s win!

Thank you!

Tony Trupiano

866-209-8031 ext. 111

Paid for by Trupiano for Congress

P.O. Box 723 Dearborn Heights MI 48127

MI-Gov on Off the Record

Just a heads up: Saul Anuzis and John Truscott go at it with Mark Brewer and Chris DeWitt on off the Record. The also do an overview of the race in general. Its worth watching.

Reason #48: He Won't Say How He'll Replace the SBT Revenue

Reason #48 not to vote for Dick DeVos:

He supported the early repeal of the Single Business Tax (recently accomplished by the GOP State House). Granholm agreed that the tax had become somewhat unfair (and it was scheduled to end in 2009 anyway) but she believes it's irresponsible to get rid of it without replacing the revenue. DeVos won't even HINT at possible solutions he'd take to the rather large revenue loss, because of the election of course. Most think the solution will (or should) come in the form of another kind of business tax, but DeVos won't even say anything like that, leading many to believe he'd prefer to shift it to regular citizens AND/OR cut even more from the budget so that the revenue doesn't have to be replaced (starving the beast).


See more of my commentary and David's commentary on this issue here.

Lot going on today. Sorry there isn't more detail.

MI-09: Awesome MetroTimes Op-Ed

Jack Lessenberry has a great op-ed covering our race in today's MetroTimes.

My favorite part:

"Republicans are trying to dismiss her as a carpetbagger and media celebrity from Illinois. Now 41, she did move to Chicago for a time after earning a business degree from the University of Michigan...

Her opponent is a man who, ironically, is originally from Illinois.

Knollenberg, a former insurance salesman, was born in 1933, during the depths of the Great Depression, and has voted on the side of the people ruining us ever since he arrived in Congress in 1993. Originally he said he would leave after no more than a dozen years, but later broke his promise."

Read the article, pass it on to your friends, talk it up.

Lessenberry notes the need for Skinner to raise money and get her message on the airwaves. Can you contribute at ActBlue so we can buy air time? If you act fast you get the privelidge of being our 800th online donor!

Howard Dean / Granholm webchat

Governor Dean was answering questions live on Granholm's blog yesterday. He types fast! It looks like "our" Zack and Jordan both got their questions answered!

Obviously everyone wants the Governor to win, but I was also interested in how the DNC viewed the rest of Michigan. There are some congressional races that, with the right push, I think we would have a shot in (Skinner and Marcinkowski come to mind). If I had more time, I would have asked how the DNC's strategy plays into the state house races, etc. Here's what I asked (uninteresting softballs, I know... I had just woken up):

Gov. Dean, what is the DNC’s plan for Michigan’s more contested congressional races?

Gov. Dean, do you have any suggestions for how field volunteers can be more effective at identifying and persuading voters? What can we do in Michigan to ensure that we are identifying and turning the right people out to vote?

Gov. Dean, will we see the Republican machine be as effective at turning out voters on November 7 across the nation as it was in the Rhode Island primary?

Gov. Dean, can you tell us about the DNC’s voter-targeting system “Demzilla”?

Gov. Dean, what can we do to help invest in our party’s long-term infrastructure?

Much like the first Granholm webchat, my question about volunteering was the last question they used. Here's what Gov. Dean (assuming it was him) had to say:

Nirmal, I have to sign off now, but I do have one thing I want to ask before I go: We need your help. Dick DeVos has spent $20 million to try to hide his ties to George Bush and his extreme views - but you can fight back by volunteering or contributing to Governor Granholm.

She’ll only win this November with a wide and deep grassroots effort, but that obviously takes you. Signup to be a Team Raiser to raise money from your friends over the Internet, go door-to-door, send letters to the editor, and call talk shows — including conservative talk shows — and talk to everyone you know (and I mean everyone, especially those who didn’t vote the way we did last time). The number to call is 517.485.5100 or, as you know, visit

There are 49 days left and you can also visit for a new action you can take everyday to elect Democrats like Jennifer Granholm all over the country.

So, again, I have to go, but I thank you all. I really appreciate you joining us here tonight. Take care.

EDIT: I heard from a very trusted source that it really was Howard Dean answering the questions.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Reason #49: Dick DeVos Ditched the Michigan Board of Education

Reason #49 not to vote for Dick DeVos:

After missing many meetings, Dick DeVos left his position on the Michigan Board of Education. He was two years into an eight-year term. In his two years, he advocated using public money to help fund private schools.

Via the Detroit News article, "Who Is Dick DeVos?"

DeVos' only elected public office was a two-year stint on the State Board of Education. He missed a quarter of the meetings while he was on the board, piling up more absences than any other member. He quit in January 1993 with six years still left on his term, saying his new responsibilities at Alticor didn't allow him to devote enough time to board duties.

"He abandoned the children of the state of Michigan and left six years to be served by someone else not elected by the public at large," said Barbara Roberts Mason, a Democrat who served on the state board with DeVos.

Further Reading

David's Tangled Thoughts: "He has been elected to office only once-- The Michigan State Board of Education but quit after two years. He was given an appointment by then Gov. Engler to the Grand Valley University Board of Control and once again quit. How does this make me think that he will be committed to the office?"

ICDP Dispatch: "Furthermore, DeVos, while serving on the State Board of Education (before abruptly quitting after two years of an 8-year term), advocated handing over public education resources to private corporations, thereby undermining Michigan's public schools. He personally financed the Education Freedom Fund, an organization of anti-public school advocates, by lavishing hundreds of thousands of dollars on it in the 1990s. Undoubtedly DeVos' investments in K12 Inc., an educational corporation that provides materials for private schools, would see solid returns if he could successfully undermine Michigan's public schools. (Booth Newspapers, Center for Media and Democracy, AP)"

MDP: "Dick DeVos has no plan for improving education in Michigan. There are no policy initiatives listed on his website. While on the board of education, he was a proponent of plans to undermine Michigan’s public schools, by taking millions of dollars away from your neighborhood public schools, giving them away to expensive private schools, and then raising your taxes to pay for it."

See an explanation of this series here. Please note that the Michigan Democratic Party has continued their list, as well.

Argggh! Say no to scurvy dawg Joe Knollenberg!

Ahoy there! Capn' Jordan here...Arrre ye having a fun Talk Like A Pirate Day?

Did you know ourrr Representative in Congress has voted to support the war in Iraq? Then he voted AGAINST a $1,500 grant for every veterean of Iraq and Afghanistan, and voted AGAINST expanding access to health insurance for our soldiers. I be a peaceful pirate, and I'm sick of Joe Knollenberg runnin' a jig with our soldiers! I be weary of any scallywag who sends our soldiers to fight, then votes against supporting them.

But he had no problem sending dubloons to Halliburton! (Rep. Knollenberg voted to continue awarding contracts to Halliburton even if the Pentagon's own audit processes found that more than $100 million of their contractor's costs in Iraq were unreasonable.)

Joe Knollenberg also opposes stem cell research. This research could help cure diseases, and is strongly supported by voters in the 9th.

Joe Knollenberg has voted with the Bush Administration 98% of the time. Voters in the 9th overwhelmingly oppose President Bush!

Ye arrrre not being represented by Joe Knollenberg!
But come Novemberrr 7th, ye have a choice!

Vote Change! Vote Skinnerrrr!

Granholm / DeVos Debate Dates Finalized

Mark your calendars! This morning's Detroit Free Press reports that dates for three debates between Granholm and DeVos have been finalized:

The first debate is expected to be hosted by WKAR, the public TV station on the campus of Michigan State University, on Oct. 2. The others are at WOOD-TV (an NBC affiliate) in Grand Rapids on Oct. 10 and at WXYZ-TV (Channel 7, an ABC affiliate) in Southfield Oct. 16.

The first and fourth debates could differ from a traditional "debate" format. According to a piece by Tim Skubick in the Lansing State Journal, the Oct 2 debate will be without any rules. Granholm and DeVos "can respond without a time clock, without restraints on the length of answers and without some red light going off."

Their fourth joint appearance on Oct. 12 at the Detroit Economic Club is more likely to be two presentations, not another debate.

Much like before the 2004 Presidential debates, both campaigns are posturing to lower expectations for their candidate so that they can call a "win" after the debate:

DeWitt acknowledged that Granholm is widely viewed as a superb communicator, but he wanted to make sure no one assumed she would handle DeVos with ease in debate. In recent months DeVos, who sometimes appears stiff on camera, "has gotten much better," DeWitt said.

Truscott, meanwhile, was lavish in his praise of Granholm's speaking skills. DeVos, he said, hopes to "hold his own" by focusing on his vision for Michigan and reminding voters about "the governor's record of failure."

Looking forward to discussing these with you all in the diaries / open threads!

Cross-posted on Michigan Liberal (fp).

Survey USA Poll: Granholm even, Stabenow ahead (Released 9.18.2006)

New numbers out, courtesy of Survey USA (conducted between September 15 and September 17):


Dick DeVos (R) - 47%
Granholm (D) - 47%
Undecided - 2%
Margin of error - 3.7%

With high name recognition for both candidates only 2% of voters are undecided, showing that this is a very heated and polarized race.


Bouchard (R) - 41%
Stabenow (D) - 54%
Undecided - 2%
Margin of error - 3.6%

Unless Bouchard can raise his visibility quickly, it will become increasingly unlikely that the national GOP will intervene in this race.


Cox (R) - 49%
Williams (D) - 41%
Undecided - 4%
Margin of error - 3.7%

Pretty self-explanatory. I can't imagine most voters know who Williams is yet.


Yes - 33%
No - 32%
Not Sure - 35%
Margin of error - 5.8%

Only 40% of the poll's participants claimed to know what the MCRI is. Over a third of voters who knew what the MCRI is don't know how they will vote on this yet, and there is a high margin of error. Nobody knows how they are going to vote on this yet. Its the same story as always: its tough to poll ballot proposals, no idea what is going to happen with this.

Overall, I trust the methodology of this poll a lot more than EPIC-MRA last week. In my opinion, IVR is preferable over traditional phone polling. In addition, they appear to try harder to get a truly random, representative sample. I'm also glad that they ask the "critical" questions right off the bat, without any leading questions. I would still like to know the number of people that they considered a likely voter for each demographic (gender, race, age, geography, and so on), so that we can determine for ourselves if it seems representative of the population.

You can view the crosstabs here. Not a lot very interesting or unexpected, though.

It is important to note that it is not enough to just try and turn out a target region or demographic. However, this information can help us to identify who and where it is generally worth spending more resources trying to turn out.

In terms of the Governor's race, Republicans support DeVos more than Democrats support Granholm. We have voters aged 50 and up, whereas DeVos is is more popular with individuals under 50. Black voters, Hispanic voters, and other minorities seem to favor Granholm. Although individuals in "Generation Y" tend to support Granholm, people in college or with some college experience favor DeVos by a wide margin (sucks for me). We have strong support in Wayne County and Urban areas. DeVos is ahead nearly everywhere else, with one notable exception: Interestingly, Granholm is within the margin of error with DeVos in his hometown of Grand Rapids.

"What I'm Thinking About Loyalty"

My very good friend Craig wrote this a bit ago. I don't usually like to quote someone else's work in its entirety, especially without adding anything of value myself. In this case, I'm going to make an exception because I really feel that this should be read:

It's late at night and I'm thinking about the topic of loyalty. It seems like a sense of loyalty has caused people to do a lot of stupid things. People kill other people because they feel a sense of loyalty to their country or their religion. But I know that my country was founded on dissent and citizens' rights (and I don't kid myself that it was founded on hipocracy, too, just ask a slave or a native American). I also know that no major religion (I'm excluding violent doomsday cults) has any core belief which justifies hating someone, or taking their life. Quite the contrary, the admonition "Thou Shalt Not Kill", which by preschool age to Jewish, Christian, and Muslim kids alike, finds expression in most any faith. And yet, ever since Pope Gregory II decided that he couldn't deal with the holy land being overrun by people who consider it holy for slightly different reasons, Christians, Muslims, and Jews have killed eachother over it.

So how is it that things that ought to be good, like faith and patriotism, get turned to these monstrous ends? I think it's because we think that our politicians, our clergy, and sometimes even our friends are some kind of platonic ideal for the virtues that they claim. I'm convinced that they're not. I don't think any human is infailable, no matter what they claim to represent, and good people do bad things all the time. But really, truly awful things happen because people supress their own conscience and do what's expected of them out of a sense of "loyalty". But if we think rationally, and listen to the voice of good within us, I believe we must come to the conclusion that sometimes by being loyal to the president, we may be disloyal to our country, and by being loyal to our clergy, we may be disloyal to God.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we should reject anything that comes from an authority figure. What I'm saying is that authority does not confer morality. Therefore, be loyal to your principles, be loyal to love, truth, justice, and peace, and examine your own actions and motivations by your own moral compass. Justifying something by saying "this is for my country", "this is for my people", "this is for my religion", "this is for my family", can sometimes prevent you from asking "Is this right?"

09.18.2006: Its raining links! Also, Howard Dean webchat

I'm jacking this idea and format from Pohlitics. Zack, I hope you don't mind!

WZZM13: Survey USA: 7 weeks to go race for Governor remains a dead heat

New Survey USA out. Both Granholm and DeVos are steady at 47, with 2 percent undecided. Stabenow is still blowing Bouchard out of the water -- at this rate, he likely won't be rescued by Republicans at the national level. Gut feeling tells me that these are a lot more accurate than last week's numbers. More on this later.

USA Today: High stakes in governors' races

Covers many of the contested gubernatorial races this cycle, with MI-Gov being featured prominently.

Michigan Daily: Senate Dems rally on Diag

I was at this -- it was pretty cool. The "Catch an Illegal Immigrant" girl was there with a sign that read "Debbie Kills Babies." I've got pics and an interview, which I'll be posting up later. By far the best line was by Amos Williams, who spoke pretty briefly. While referring to Democratic women, I think he said that "they don't have hot flashes... they have power surges." That might not be a literal quote, though.

WK: MI House legalizes religious discrimination in adoption

I can't believe that Dems voted for this waste of time.

Finally, we have a couple articles on the importance of organization and field work in elections. This is a very critical topic that is too-often ignored. A MyDD post entitled "Fighting Only Half the Battle," emphasizes the need for more persuasion in GOTV efforts. The other, from U.S. News and World Report, discusses the MI GOP's use of microtargeting for MI-Gov and MI-Sen.

I have wished that Democrats would utilize this kind of "microtargeting" more extensively in the past, even if its just delivering messages targeted to particular regions in Michigan on the radio or whatever. Someone in downtown Saginaw is going to care about different kinds of things than someone in the UP, and delivering targeted messages to each region would be more effective than one generic radio spot in both places. We have a long way to go to collect the kind of demographic information and do the kind of targeting/persuasion/GOTV that the GOP does in Michigan and at the national level.

Don't be fooled by the way they're talking about Rhode Island, though. They don't have the resources to pull that kind of operation across the country.

Also, Clint over at Team Granholm's blog lets us know that Howard Dean will be dropping by the website for a webchat:

Tuesday evening, 9/19, Howard Dean will be taking questions LIVE on the Granholm campaign website. He will be taking questions on the G4G blog at 8:30PM. Feel free to submit questions in advance, or log on to the website tomorrow and post a question or comment. Governor Dean is coming to Michigan for the DNC Black Caucus’s African American Summit this weekend. Spread the word!

– Clint Wallace

Also, is Obama posturing himself to be the VP nominee?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Reason #50: DeVos Campaign Flag Lowering Statements

Reason #50 not to vote for Dick DeVos:

The DeVos campaign criticized Governor Granholm's descision to lower Michigan flags to half staff for Michigan soldiers and National Guard members. After a public backlash, Dick DeVos retracted his campaign's statements.

The original quote:

"Dick would take a more literal approach," DeVos campaign spokesman John Truscott said. "While he certainly believes that honoring veterans who have given their lives is extremely important, lowering the flag has typically been reserved for heads of state."

Then, the retraction:

Truscott said in a phone interview that he had "mischaracterized" his boss' position by failing to "clarify" how DeVos felt on the question of lowering flags for soldiers who are killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Further Reading

wizardkitten: "Then why bring it up, Dick, if that wasn't your true intention? Question now is: Can we believe a word that comes out of Dick's (or Truscott's) mouth? Sounds like they are willing to say anything to get elected, and then we will see the mean-spirited superiority complex that really lies within."

Stone Soup Musings
: "DeVos flip-flopped on this issue, pure and simple. There was no misrepresentation."

DeVos is a Dick: "Am I supposed to believe that the person who is hired to speak for DeVos -- the person responsible for knowing what DeVos' positions are on the issues -- claims that he didn't know what the Dick's opinion was before shooting off his mouth about it? Before speaking on DeVos' behalf?

It sounds to me that in his fervor to be anti-Granholm, no subject is off limits. But perhaps more importantly, if you can't trust DeVos and his cronies to get it right when talking about how to honor the dead, then how can we trust him with decisions that affect the living?"

Op/Ed: Half-staff flag is fitting tribute: "I will always be grateful to Gov. Granholm for her order to lower the flag to remember my son. It was a powerful gesture of solidarity with the loss my family suffered."

See an explanation of this series here.

MI-09: Paul Hackett wants to give Nancy Skinner A Fighting Chance

I got this email today from Paul Hackett.

We have been taken down the wrong path in Washington and it doesn't have to be that way.  President Bush and Joe Knollenberg have jeopardized not only the lives of the brave men and women with whom I served, but also our nation's global credibility.  You can change all of that, though, and give us a fighting chance once again by helping my friend, Nancy Skinner.

Skinner for Congress

Long before most of the chattering class in Washington opposed the Iraq War, Nancy was on the radio, moving a progressive agenda forward and asking the tough questions about WMDs and the many other dubious reasons for the war the Bush Administration gave you, me and the rest of the American people.  I was on Nancy's show, and I can tell you she knows her issues - - she has a plan, and she will provide the new energy and leadership we need to change the mess that has been created by the Bush/Knollenberg scheme.

I'd like to share with you an excerpt from a piece I wrote some time ago called Haditha: A Day in the Life of `K' Company 3/1.

Despite popular political rhetoric, the enemy in Iraq is smart, efficient and will exploit every opportunity and vulnerability available to them to kill Marines. Marines are acutely aware of this and plan to minimize the opportunities they afford the enemy and train to act and react appropriately when attacked. The goal is to train to the point where each Marine is able to carry out their responsibility through "muscle memory."

I think a lot can be said to compare that statement to what Democrats are going to be up against this November.  Even though the "political rhetoric" is at the Democrats' backs right now, our opposition will try to exploit every opportunity they have in order to maintain their grasp of power.  I think we understand this, and the more you can help Nancy, the better she will be able to "act and react when attacked."

Donate Here!

Your contribution to Nancy will not only give her the fighting chance in her own election, but it will give all of us a fighting chance in regaining control of our democracy.  Let's train up now and give Nancy everything she will need to win this election.

Thank you for all you do.

Paul Hackett