Sunday, November 30, 2008


This update focuses on liberalism. Barack Obama has extensive ties to communist terrorist Bill Ayers. Liberalism has an ignoble history. Unions want to take away secret ballots for union elections.

John McManus: Behind the Obama Agenda
William Jasper: Ukrainian Genocide: NY Times Still Covering Up
Thomas Sowell: Intellectuals
Phyllis Schlafly: The Catholic Connection to Barack Obama
John Lott: Workers, Be Wary
William Jasper: Terrorist Bill Ayers Misrepresents His Past
William Jasper: Obama's Friend Ayers: Kill 25 Million Americans
William Jasper: Obama's Terrorist Ties and Radical Roots
Brian Johnson: Joe the Non-Union Worker
Michael New: Conservatives Have New History of American Left

Much information on liberal individuals and organizations can be found at David Horowitz's Discover the Network site.

Movie Explosions

Just for fun.

Friday, November 28, 2008

More Obama Betrayals

Obama is going to keep Robert Gates, Bush's Secretary of Defense. Change you can believe in, liberals?

Obama's other appointments include Eric Holder, who helped to pardon multimillionaire swindler Marc Rich. Way to stick up for the little guy!

Obama also intervened to save Joe Lieberman's position as Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

He's also backtracking on closing Guantanamo Bay and supposedly even on tax increases on the rich.

How long will it take for Obama's followers to realize that he's just another politician?

Previous: Obama Breaks Promises, Betrays Supporters

Stop Eric Holder

Probably the most troublesome appointment announced by Barack Obama so far is that of Eric Holder as Attorney General. Holder has a long and bad record from his previous years in the Justice department during the Clinton administration.

Opposed to Holder without Apology

Holder was deeply involved in the scandalous pardon of fugitive criminal Marc Rich at the end of the Clinton administration. Rich had been a fugitive for years, but after his ex-wife contributed money to Clinton, he was pardoned.

Holder was also a major part of pardoning of two Weathermen terrorists.

He was also involved in the pardoning of sixteen Puerto Rican FALN terrorists during Hillary's campaign for Senate in New York. The terrorists hadn't even asked for pardons.

He was also involved in the commando raid that took Elian Gonzales away from his legal guardians in Miami and gave him back to Fidel Castro.

Holder is a major supporter of gun control. He opposed the Heller decision by the Supreme Court and does not believe that the Second Amendment protects an individual right.

For all these reasons and more, the nomination of Eric Holder should be defeated if it is not first withdrawn.

The Kucinich of Oshtemo

The Western Herald profiles one of the no-name democrats swept into office by the democrat tide.

Newly-elected township trustee has progressive agenda for Oshtemo

It is in Concord Apartments, just off KL Avenue, in the fifth voting precinct, where newly elected Oshtemo Township Trustee Scott McCormick lives.

Now the youngest township official in Kalamazoo County, at 36, he uncomfortably wears a suit.

“Normally I wear a shirt and blue jeans, you can’t get down to work in a suit,” he said.

McCormick ran a unique campaign this fall, spending “zero dollars and zero cents.”

“Scott signed a waver in the beginning of his campaign that said he would spend no more than $1,000 and he stayed true to that,” said David Pawloski, chair of the Kalamazoo County Democratic Party.So how did he get 5,378 votes?

“7-Eleven campaigning,” McCormick said, “I would stand outside the 7-Eleven on Drake and KL and talk with people. I would go door to door at my apartment building and talk to people, tell them I am on the ballot.”
McCormick could have campaigned dressed as the Philly Phanatic on a platform of driving a stake through the heart of every voter and he still would have won thanks to straight ticket voting.

Inspired by politicians like Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich and Consumer Advocate and four time presidential candidate Ralph Nader, McCormick has some big dreams for Oshtemo.

“I’m looking to get a grant and tax credits so Oshtemo can get a wind turbine installed on township property,” he said.
If this guy really tries to build a windmill in Oshtemo, I will not rest until he is recalled from office.

McCormick is excited about the possibilities of his four year term as Township Trustee.

“If there is room for Kucinich, there is room for me,” he said.

Kalamazoo Township Goes Godless

From the Gazette:

Kalamazoo Township seeks grant for tower, drops prayer

KALAMAZOO TOWNSHIP -- During its first meeting with new Supervisor Terri Mellinger at the helm, the Kalamazoo Township Board of Trustees authorized the supervisor, clerk and treasurer to work with Kalamazoo County in seeking grant money for a new communications tower.

The tower would be part of the Michigan Public Safety Communication System. It could be placed by the end of March at the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office.

The meeting was the first for the newly Democratic-controlled board.

Board members sported new blue name tags and didn't take a moment for prayer before reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Mellinger said a decision was made to eliminate the prayer.

"We're going secular,'' Clerk Don Thall said before the meeting.

Thall, who has served on the board since 1962, said it was the first time since the early 1970s that a prayer was not said before a township meeting.


Ann Coulter had a point.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

POLITICAL UPDATE--Environmentalism

This update focuses on environmentalism. Gas prices have dropped to below two dollars per gallon. Environmentalists continue to promote the global warming myth. New resources counter their claims.

Cynthia Grenier: Red Hot Lies About Global Warming
Ed Hiserodt: Liberty From Global-warming Alarmism
AWR Hawkins: We Cannot Worship Nature and Remain Free
Bill Anderson: Sustainable Fascism
Alex Newman: A Convenient Book About the Environment
Chris Horner: Attack of the Energy-Rationers
Eric Englund: Environmentalism Is Racism
Floy Lilley: The Fraud of Global Warming

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Local Politics

News about local politics.

Democratic voters boosted record turnout for presidential election in Kalamazoo County
11 apply for opening on Portage school board
New township supervisors take office today in county
Kalsec chairman, former congressman Paul H. Todd Jr. remembered for his integrity, sincerity
International enrollment up 15% at WMU
Transit officials brainstorm for ideas
Hefty pay increases proposed for Kalamazoo County Officials
Crowd turns out here to support same-sex marriage
Local demonstration part of nationwide protest against California vote

DeShazor is named vice chair of GOP caucus
WMU nears med-school decision

Bad News for Michigan

Michigan's economy keeps getting worse.

The unemployment rate is now 9.3%. Even worse, economists are predicting even more job losses to come. Specifically, 108,000 in 2009.

Meanwhile, congressional democrats have shown what they think of Michigan by replacing Congressman John Dingell as head of the Energy and Commerce Committee with Henry Waxman of California. Dingell is a liberal, but he has the saving graces of being mostly pro-gun and sympathetic to the auto industry. Waxman is hyper-partisan, mean, and extremely left-wing.

More tough times are ahead.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Right Agenda: Stop Doing What Doesn't Work

In any political movement, there are bound to be tensions between following principle and political feasibility. But there shouldn't be any problem with rejecting strategies that both violate principles and fail politically.

Yet this does not seem self-evident to some in the Republican Party. Hence the need to review the strategies employed by Republicans in recent years that have been proven failures.


It sounds so reasonable. "Republicans should move to the center to get the support of more moderate and swing voters." The only problem is that there is absolutely no evidence that this ever works. There may some particular districts where moderates have an advantage, but on the national level they don't. Consider recent Presidential elections. Every time the Republican ran as a moderate (McCain, Dole, Bush 41 in 1992, Ford) he lost. Every time the Republican ran as a conservative, whether he actually was or not, (Bush 43, Bush 41 in 1988, Reagan, Nixon) he won. Republicans also won control of Congress in 1994 on a very conservative platform.

Why is this? Conservatives motivate the Republican base. There are plenty of people who are broadly conservative but not very political. If Republican candidates never mention the issues that are important to them, and take liberal or moderate position they disagree with, they will stay home. Who can really blame them?

Further, the base donates money and does the volunteer work necessary to make political campaigns successful. This is no surprise, as people whose ideals are further from the status quo have more reason to work to change things.

Conversely, there aren't nearly as many votes in the center as people think. Many 'swing voters' are really just indecisive people who don't know what they believe.

Yet another reason not the be moderate is that 'moderate' policies are bad policies, and bad policies have bad political consequences. When energy prices were a major issue in 2008, Republicans were stuck with a candidate who had opposed much expansion of energy production, until he did a quick turnaround on offshore drilling. Plenty more examples could be given.


Many Republican members of Congress believe that obtaining 'earmarks', provisions in bills directing that money in appropriations bills be spent in certain ways, are the key to political success. But where is the evidence of this? Yes, there are many safe Republicans who also get lots of earmarks. There are also safe Republicans who don't get earmarks. The fate of vulnerable Republicans doesn't seem to depend on whether they got earmarks or not.

But pork-barrel spending has carried plenty of political risk. It has upset the base, and likely depressed conservative support for Republicans. Earmarking helps to pass bad legislation and discourages Republicans from voting against big spending bills they would otherwise oppose. Earmarking also carries a significant risk of encouraging corruption, which can not only endanger individual seats, but tarnish the party across the board.

Earmarking should be significantly curtailed, if not eliminated.


While "compassionate conservatism" may have been meritorious as conceived by Marvin Olasky, as practiced by the Bush administration it has been a disaster. "Compassionate conservatism" and "big-government conservatism" have become almost the same thing in practice.

The idea of this strategy as conceived by Karl Rove is that once Republicans won an election, they should do the exact opposite of what people who voted for them wanted and try to attract the votes of people who never vote Republican to create a "permanent Republican majority". They should use big government toward supposedly conservative ends like everyone owning a house and all students performing equally well on standardized tests.

Of course, when put this way it doesn't sound like such a brilliant strategy. Predictably, this strategy alienated the base and didn't attract many new voters. The few it did attract didn't stay long.

Bush's biggest legislative efforts centered around this strategy. No Child Left Behind increased federal education spending and regulation. It failed to win more votes from teachers or mothers and is widely regarded as a failure. Conservatives were upset by increased spending and bizarre requirements, and democrats falsely claimed that it was 'underfunded' and didn't spend enough.

Bush's prescription drug bill was designed to win the support of old people by spending huge amounts of money giving drugs to seniors. It further alienated fiscal conservatives, and did precious little to win the votes of seniors. Democrats voted against it because it wasn't big enough.

Bush also made a major effort to increase mortgage lending for minorities, particularly Hispanics. This could only be accomplished by lowering lending standards. This led to the housing bubble, and the ensuing bursting of the bubble. This has led to the present financial crisis that we face. Hispanics went a bit more for Bush in 2004, but stayed away from McCain in 2008, amidst widespread home foreclosures. The financial crisis was a major factor costing Republicans votes across the board in 2008. It's true that democrats have pushed similar policies for years, but that doesn't negate Bush's share of the responsibility.

Then there was Bush's repeated attempts to promote amnesty for illegal aliens. This failed to win Hispanic votes for him or McCain. It not only alienated conservatives, but also many of the roughly 70% of Americans who oppose amnesty.

If these examples prove anything, it is that it is never a good idea to promote bad policies in order to win votes. (Rather, it's never a good idea for a Republican to do so.)

Whatever strategy Republicans pursue henceforth, it should not be any of these three, which have been tried and repeatedly failed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Right Agenda: New Leadership

Surveying the smoldering wreckage of the Republican Party, Republicans and conservatives are looking to rebuild. But we must pay careful attention to planning what to do. More of the same won't cut it.

This series of posts will try to lay out "the right agenda" to get Republicans and conservatives back on track.

At the top of the agenda must be new leadership. The same people who have failed so disastrously must not be rewarded by putting them in charge again.

The Bush administration is leaving Washington, so there is no need to spell out their failures just this moment.

How about Republicans in Congress? Their leadership has been mediocre at best. Perhaps the most significant failure was the fact that they supported the 'crap sandwich' trillion-dollar corporate welfare bailout of failed banks. A majority of house Republicans actually voted against the first version of this wildly unpopular bill, but House Republican leader John Boehner urged them to vote for it, and even coined the term 'crap sandwich' to describe it. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell similarly supported the bill.

More Republicans actually voted against the bill than democrats, but it was widely associated with the Republican party since it was proposed by officials in the Bush administration. A Club for Growth survey found that when asked which party was "The party that supports taxpayer bailouts for big corporations", voters 43.4% identified Republicans, 15.9% said Democrats, and 25.8% said both.

McConnell and Boehner should both be replaced. In all likelihood, neither will be. There is some good news in the House, though. Roy Blunt is stepping down as Republican whip, and will likely be replaced by his deputy, Eric Cantor. Mike Pence, a leader of fiscal conservatives, is currently running unopposed for that position. Jeb Hensarling, the leader of the conservative Republican Study Committee is running for conference chairman, the number four position in the leadership.

Republicans also need to replace the chairmen of their campaign committees. This is not only due to the widespread losses under their watch, but due the inept way that they very publicly 'pulled out' of certain races, effectively saying that thought candidates in closely contested races would lose.

The position of Chairman of the Republican National Committee will be filled through a wide open race. According to John Gizzi, the leading candidates are GOPAC chairman, former lieutenant Governor of Maryland, and former Maryland Republican Party chairman Michael Steele, Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzius, and South Carolina Republican Chairman Katon Dawson. There are plenty of others considering running, including current RNC chairman Michael Duncan and former Michigan RNC Committeeman Chuck Yob.

In the Michigan House of Representatives, Republicans selected Kevin Elsenheimer as their new leader to replace the term-limited Craig DeRoche. Elsenheimer is a staunch conservative who is not likely to let democrats pass liberal legislation without a fight.

Michigan will see a heavily contested race for state chairman. There are a number of candidates running, but this field will be narrowed before the state convention in February.

Republicans should also be very wary of nominating any members of the Bush administration for office. The same goes for nominating any member of the least popular congress in history to any offices other than those they currently hold.

Republicans cannot keep doing the same things and expecting different results.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Blue Kalamazoo?

The Gazette has an article discussing voting trends in Kalamazoo County.

Kalamazoo County swinging to Democrats, both parties agree

Read it all. Excerpts:

Among the worrisome trends for local Republicans:

The highly regarded organization of the Obama campaign means local Democrats now have extensive lists of supporters and volunteers as well as a structure that can be remobilized in the future. "We now have a permanent precinct organization, a permanent set of people in the neighborhoods talking to people about the issues," Pawloski said.

The Obama campaign also generated high enthusiasm among young voters, who overwhelmingly supported Obama. Research indicates that voters continue to identify with the party that captured their first presidential vote, and that could have an impact on local politics for years to come.

This election showed a significant shift in straight-ticket voting that favored Democrats. Kalamazoo County voters opting for a straight Democratic ballot went from 22 percent of the electorate in 2004 to 27 percent this year, while straight Republican ballots dropped from 25 percent to 19 percent of ballots cast.

Balkema said that straight-ticket votes were a factor in her race. "I could have run against Jerry the Clown and I would have had the same problem," she said. "It was amazing that I won at all."
A couple statements in the article are erroneous. Mary Balkema is not considering switching parties.

Barack Obama won 58 percent of the vote countywide, including 54 percent in Portage. Democrats were undefeated in Kalamazoo, Oshtemo and Comstock townships, creating Democratic majorities on three township boards for the first time in Kalamazoo County. Even the sole candidate for Wakeshma Township supervisor ran on the Democratic ticket.
A democratic candidate for trustee in Comstock was defeated. Democrats do not have the majority in Oshtemo, as they contested only three of the seven races.

Nonetheless, it is true that the trends are against Republicans. Republicans must redouble their efforts to win in 2010.

Kalamazoo to Persecute Christians

The city of Kalamazoo is discussing an ordinance to discriminate against Christians. Of course, that's not how they put it.

Proposed Kalamazoo ordinance would ban discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered individuals

KALAMAZOO -- A proposed Kalamazoo city ordinance aimed at protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals from discrimination will be introduced Monday before the City Commission.

"There is not one law on the federal level or state level that protects against discrimination for sexual orientation," said Terry Kuseske, head of the Kalamazoo Alliance for Equality's political action committee.

The proposed city ordinance, dubbed the "Equal Rights Ordinance," would protect against discrimination in the areas of housing, employment and public accommodations. The ordinance would apply to both the private and public sectors, although there would be some exemptions. Churches would be exempt and so would individuals who are seeking to rent out part of a residence in which they are living.

Violations of the ordinance would be referred to the city manager and could be punished with a fine of no more than $500 plus costs of the action.
So Christian bookstores would be forced to hire crossdressers. This proposal would take away everyone's right to hire or not hire whomever they please. This is a violation of the freedom of association.

The city of Kalamazoo and Kalamazoo County have previously adopted an Equal Employment Opportunity statement that says sexual orientation should not be considered in hiring employees. The protection outlined in the statement, however, is limited to employees of city or county government and applicants for jobs within city or county government.
The gay rights movement is not about freedom or tolerance and it never has been. It quickly moved from changing government policy to restricting private behavior. How long will churches and private citizens be exempt if this proposal is passed?

"I would be shocked if it didn't pass," City Commissioner Barbara Miller said. "When Terry first told me that the LGBT community were not a protected group, at first I laughed because that is absurd in 2008."
Why aren't people protected from discrimination on the basis of left-handedness, or chess-club membership, or musical ability? It's 2008! Of course there are almost infinitely many things that should not be a basis for discrimination. You can't put all of them into a law.

And there is no need to. If someone refuses to hire you or rent to you, go somewhere else. If you would be a good employee or tenant, someone else will be happy make money from you. Anyone who discriminates irrationally only hurts himself. There is no need to take away his freedom.

This ordinance will not only take away freedom, it will hurt business. It opens up one more front for lawsuits, whether or not they have any merit. It will only help to further drive business and jobs out of Kalamazoo.

One category of people not likely to be protected against discrimination in Kalamazoo anytime soon are people who want to be free to hire and rent at will.

Mike Adams' Speech

Dr. Mike Adams spoke at WMU on Thursday. His topic was "A Constitutional Right to Abort Free Speech".

He described several cases in which university officials have suppressed pro-life speech. At his employer, UNC Wilmington, the website of the Women's Resource Center linked to the local Planned Parenthood affiliate, but would not link to the local Crisis Pregnancy Center. His repeated inquiries were to no avail. One of the directors of the center admitted on a list-serve that they would not link to the CPC because it was a religious institution. Specifically, a pro-life religious institution, since it linked to religious sites of other persuasions.

Then there was a case in Kentucky where a pro-life group set up a memorial of crosses. Professor Sally Jacobsen led her students to vandalize and destroy the memorial. Jacobsen was caught on tape and she was fired by the university.

At Georgia Tech university, a performance of The Vagina Monologues included use of a vulgar reference to women. Two female students chose to protest this by sitting in front of a sign saying 'I am not a ****". The sign was censored by a feminist from the local women's center because their intent was supposedly negative. They sued the university and a judge issued an injunction against its speech code. Both students were subjected to racial slurs by campus liberals for their stance.

Adams speech was impassioned and effective at making his point.


This update focuses on education. Barack Obama's associate Bill Ayers has radical plans for American education. Obama and the NEA promise to push education further to the left. Racial preferences continue to hurt minorities.

Education Reporter: McCain Hits Obama's Sex Ed Bill
Phyllis Schlafly: Teaching "Social Justice" in Schools
Ann Coulter: Ayers: Radical Loon When Obama Was Only 47
Cooper Sterling: Beyond ‘Taco Night’: Barack Obama And The Frightening Future of "Critical Multicultural Education"
Phyllis Schlafly: Bill Ayers's Scary Plans for Public Schools
Samuel Blumenfeld: Pavlov's Dogs and American Education
Walter Williams: Academic Mismatch I
Walter Williams: Academic Mismatch II
Education Reporter: Some NEA Resolutions Passed at the 2008 Convention in Washington, D.C.

Learn more about education issues in Education Reporter.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Analysis: Michigan

The 2008 election results in Michigan were bleak for Republicans.

Election Results:
President, US Senate, US House
Michigan House of Representatives
Ballot Propositions, Ed Boards, Judiciary

Barack Obama carried the state with 57% of the vote to 41% for John McCain. McCain's decision to pull out of Michigan was the right one, but the way it was handled was terrible. Republicans hoped that voters would blame democrats for Michigan's economic troubles, but this didn't happen.

Carl Levin defeated Jack Hoogendyk by 63% to 34%. Levin remains quite popular in Michigan, thanks in part to plenty of favorable media coverage. Jack was outspent something like 20:1. If he could have gotten out the message that Levin supported the bailout, amnesty, and gun control, this election might have been a lot closer. But that would have taken many millions of dollars.

Congressman Fred Upton won a clear victory over Don Cooney in the 6th congressional district. His margin was 59% to 39%, which is down a few points from previous elections.

Congressman Tim Walberg lost to Mark Schauer by a narrow 49% to 46% margin in the 7th congressional district. Walberg won the three southern tier counties, but lost the other four counties in his district. Walberg ran a strong campaign, hitting Schauer on taxes and illegal immigration, but it just wasn't enough. The national environment and lingering resentment from a bitter 2006 primary with Joe Schwarz, who endorsed Schauer, were too much to overcome. It is notable that of the seven state representative seats in the 7th congressional district, five will be held by democrats.

Congressman Joe Knollenberg lost to Gary Peters by a significant 52% to 43% margin in the 9th district. His Oakland County district has been trending democrat. Congressman Thaddeus McCotter won by a relatively narrow 51% to 45% margin in the 11th district. Expect him to be a top democrat target in two years. The Republican challenger to Carolyn Kilpatrick got 19% of the vote in her Detroit-based 13th district, indicating that there was an anti-Kilpatrick vote.

One of the most painful losses for Michigan was the loss of Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Cliff Taylor to liberal democrat Diane Hathaway. This race is covered in a separate post.

Republicans were wiped out in the education board races, which are mainly decided by party identification. The Republican who did best was Scott Romney, but even he lost by 3% (or 6%, depending on whether you use the percentage of total votes on the percentage of voters supporting each candidate).

Proposal 1, to legalize medical marijuana passed 63% to 37%. This is no surprise, as similar proposals have passed practically everywhere they have been on the ballot. The opposition was not particularly well-organized or effective.

Proposal 2, to legalize the destruction of human embryos for research, passed 53% to 47%. Both supporters and opponents spent a lot of money on this proposal. So why did it pass? The main argument for embryo destruction is that it will save a lot of lives. Supporters made this argument, and opponents never effectively rebutted it. Instead they argued that the proposal would lead to taxpayer funding and ran ads at least implying that the proposal itself would do this. But most people would support taxpayer funding for research if would save lots of lives.

Opponents also implying that bad things would happen if the proposal passed. Scaring people is sometimes an effective strategy, but you're going to do this, you have to be specific. The ads they ran were vague. Opponents should have spent less on computer graphics and more on developing a clear message.

Republicans lost nine seats in the Michigan House of Representatives. All nine were open seats which were vacated due to term limits (except one where the Republican left to pursue another office). The seats were spread across the state, in the Grosse Pointes, Canton, St. Claire Shores, northern Macomb County, West Bloomfield, Calhoun County, Montcalm County, the northwest lower peninsula, and the central upper peninsula. Most of them probably would have gone democratic in 2006 had they been open.

The legislators who voted to raise taxes in 2007 did not pay a political price at the ballot box. Speaker Andy Dillon was overwhelmingly reelected and the recall against him was defeated. The national anti-Republican tide hit Michigan hard, and McCain's pullout of Michigan hurt Republican efforts at the local level. Voters clearly blamed Bush for the bad economy, despite Michigan's single-state recession coming long before the current national economic troubles.

Were there any bright spots in Michigan's election results? Well, a gay rights-supporting Granholm-appointed judge in Allegan County was defeated by a conservative challenger. That's all that comes to mind.

Will democrats ever pay a price for their misrule of Michigan? Perhaps in 2010.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dr. Mike Adams at WMU

The Students for Life at Western Michigan University are bringing Dr. Mike Adams to campus to speak. Dr. Adams is a professor of criminology at University of North Carolina Wilmington. He is also a conservative author and columnist for He is a dynamic and engaging speaker.

Dr. Adams will be speaking on the topic "A Constitutional Right to Abort Free Speech".

His speech will be Thursday, November 13, at 7PM in 2303 Sangren Hall.

You can read Dr. Adams' columns or visit his personal website, He is the author of two books, Welcome to the Ivory Tower of Babel and Feminists Say the Darnedest Things.

Analysis: Michigan Supreme Court

One of the most painful losses for Michigan was the loss of Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Cliff Taylor to liberal democrat Diane Hathaway. This is all the more so since it was unexpected. The vote was 49% to 39%, with 11% going to Libertarian nominee Robert Roddis. Taylor significantly outraised Hathaway, got a lot of good endorsements, was the incumbent, and was not listed on the ballot as a Republican. So what happened?

Democrats ran an ad accusing Taylor of falling asleep in court. The ad wasn't true, of course, but it was never effectively rebutted by Taylor's ads. The democrats appear to have done a good job of getting word out to their voters to support Hathaway. With the large turnout for Obama, enough of it carried over to defeat Taylor.

Still, it's noteworthy that Hathaway didn't get a majority of the vote. Roddis pulled 11%, and there was no far-left candidate (Green, etc.) to pull votes from the left. Libertarian nominees have typically done relatively well in supreme court races in Michigan (that is, around 10%). Why? No parties being listed on the ballot has something to do with it, but beyond that it's a mystery.

Now, goodness knows there are plenty of reasons for libertarians to not be happy with the Republican Party right now. But how does that carry over to Taylor? Taylor supported the rule of law, the free market, property rights, limiting lawsuit damages, gun rights, and opposed racial preferences. What's a libertarian not to like? Of course, libertarians are nowhere near 11% of the Michigan electorate. There had to be a lot of other voters who went for Roddis. But why?

With the seats of staunch conservative Robert Young and RINO Elizabeth Weaver up for election in 2010, Republicans had better figure out the answers to these questions.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Obama Breaks Promises, Betrays Supporters

Anyone who believed what Obama said during the campaign is in for a big surprise.

Obama ran as someone who would unite America, bring people together, be 'post-partisan', centrist, etc. As soon as he won, he named Congressman Rahm Emanuel to be his chief of staff. Emanuel is one of the most bitter partisans in Congress.

And there’s the story of how, the night after Bill Clinton was elected, Emanuel was so angry at the president’s enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign, grabbed a steak knife and began rattling off a list of betrayers, shouting “Dead! … Dead! … Dead!” and plunging the knife into the table after every name. “When he was done, the table looked like a lunar landscape,” one campaign veteran recalls. “It was like something out of The Godfather. But that’s Rahm for you.”
In addition to this, Emanuel is also a supporter of the Iraq War.

Remember, the biggest reason that Obama beat Hillary in the primaries is that Hillary voted for the war and Obama opposed it. Then after Obama won the nomination, he turned around and picked Joe Biden to be his Vice-President. Biden not only voted for the war, but he held hearings supporting it. Still, this pick might be rationalized as political expedience needed to win the election.

But Emanuel's appointment comes after the election. Emanuel not only supported the Iraq War, but he used his position running the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to sabotage antiwar democratic challengers.

What's more, Emanuel also favors reinstituting the draft, in the guise of 'national service'.

It's time for a real Patriot Act that brings out the patriot in all of us. We propose universal civilian service for every young American. Under this plan, All Americans between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five will be asked to serve their country by going through three months of basic training, civil defense preparation and community service. ...
Remember when leftists were convinced that Bush would reinstitute the draft?

Whatever you think of the Iraq War, it should be clear that Obama has completely sold out the people who voted for him.

How long will it take them to realize it?

Who Are the Bigots?

Over the Rainbow

I must say I thought this guy's sign was pretty funny:

Daniel Ginnes carried a banner declaring: "No More Mr Nice Gay."
But some of these other post-Prop 8 ructions are surreal:

Unfortunately the "blame the blacks" meme is being commonly accepted by some so-called "progressive" gay activists. A number of Rod 2.0 and Jasmyne Cannick readers report being subjected to taunts, threats and racist abuse... Geoffrey was called the n-word at least twice.

It was like being at a klan rally except the klansmen were wearing Abercrombie polos and Birkenstocks. YOU N*GGER, one man shouted at me. If your people want to call me a F*GGOT, I will call you a n*gger... A young WeHo clone said after last night the n*ggers better not come to West Hollywood if they knew what was BEST for them.
The media were warning that if the election went the wrong way there'd be riots, but I didn't realize they meant Klansmen in Abercrombie polos roaming West Hollywood itching for a rumble.


Michigan liberals attack Lansing congregation in the middle of Sunday worship

On Sunday morning, amidst worshiping congregants and following unifying prayers that our President-elect be granted wisdom as he prepares to lead our nation through difficult global, social and economic challenges, the Michigan left declared open war on peaceful church goers.

They did it with banners, chants, blasphemy, by storming the pulpit, by vandalizing the church facility, by potentially defiling the building with lewd, public, sex acts and by intentionally forcing physical confrontations with worshipers.

This didn't take place in some dystopian, post modern work of fiction and it didn't take place in San Francisco or Berkley. This was the scene at a Bible believing church in Lansing, Michigan.


You must read it all.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Jack Hoogendyk for Michigan Republican Chairman

Jack Hoogendyk
for Michigan Republican Party Chairman

I sent many of you an email early on Friday morning about my interest in running for state party chair. The response has been overwhelming. Hundreds have already written back and nearly everyone has been encouraging.

The Republican Party in Michigan is hurting. Since I took office in January of 2003, we have lost 20 House seats, three Senate seats, two Congressmen, a Supreme Court Chief Justice, and countless township and county officials. We failed to regain the governor's mansion in 2006 and we missed on US Senate seats in 2006 and 2008. We have consistently lost the debate in the battle of ideas.

It is time to make an evaluation of the situation and resolve to make some significant changes. There is no point in dwelling on personalities or looking back, what is important is that we right the ship before it sinks.

In my letter from Friday, I mentioned that I was waiting on Chairman Anuzis. My expectation was that his decision regarding party chair was imminent. I was inclined to wait for his decision before announcing mine. He has since let me know that it may be "a week" before he decides. So after much evaluation, I have decided to go forward and announce that I will be a candidate for Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party.

I would like to share with you some of the things I believe we need to do:

We need to unify the party around the core principles that define who we are as Republicans. The Number One priority is reducing the size of government.

We need to identify the key issues that identify Republicans and which will win at the ballot box.

We need to begin working with local county leaders to identify strong candidates for House and Senate who will grasp the issues and commit to supporting them.

We must organize our ground game to build strength in the high schools, universities, and grass roots organizations.

We must improve communication between state leadership, the districts, the counties and the membership.

The party has lacked transparency and accountability. We need to audit the books and become a lean, efficient operation. Vendors need to earn their business through a bidding process.

It is time for the party to go on offense, to engage the voters in an issue-based campaign.
Over the last three years, I have traveled all around Michigan and gotten to know many of you. I have heard your concerns as well as your ideas about how to once again win elections.

Too many times, the message coming from Republican leadership has been that we need to moderate, compromise, be bi-partisan. I can tell you that in the House, the message for six years was one of compromise, conciliation, and moderation. Instead of going on offense, we played defense; we surrendered our principles to the point that we went from a 63-47 majority to a 67-43 minority. And yet, the voices of "reason" continue to say that we keep losing because we are too far right.

I can tell you from experience that the voters and taxpayers of this state feel differently. Republican and independent voters want to see us take the bold steps of leadership that we have been unwilling to take. Whether it is the important issues like taxes and spending or social issues like making English the official language (which passed in Missouri by 87%,) we have missed too many opportunities to lead.

I pledge to you that as your chairman, I will work to bring the core principles to the forefront and in so doing, help us win back the majority for the Republicans so we can once again bring real conservative leadership and a strong economy back to the great state of Michigan. As we move forward in this process, I will be communicating ideas on how we can regain the majority in the legislature and elect a Republican governor in 2010.

I will be calling you soon to answer your questions and ask for your support. Meanwhile, please feel free to send me an e-mail or call me at [redacted].

Jack Hoogendyk

They Won't Take NO for an Answer

The reaction of the Kalamazoo County bureaucracy to the overwhelming rejection of the transportation tax increase proposal is not surprising. They won't take no for an answer.

This isn't a surprise because they said so before the election.

If the millage doesn't pass, Teeter said the authority will put it on the ballot again, adding there is no set waiting period before the authority can ask voters again.
The Gazette documents their latest plans.

Officials plan new tax proposal
Bus system could shut down if millage fails again, officials say

The bureaucrats are scratching their heads. How their wonderful proposal have failed? The voters must have been confused! There's no way they could actually oppose all the wonderful 'public services' planned for their money!

At least one official understands what happened.

"We got a very clear message from the voters,'' said Portage Mayor Pete Strazdas, who supported the tax. "Either the price tag was too high or they don't support it.''
The bus system has enough money to run until June. The bureaucrats are planning a new ballot proposition, perhaps as soon as February 24. They warn that if it is rejected, they will have to go back to the city of Kalamazoo for funding, which would apparently be bad for some reason. Imagine services being paid for by the people who use them.

The big question now is whether the bureaucrats will try to cram essentially the same proposal down our throats, or whether they will cut back to one that does not raise taxes.

Tax Eaters Are Never Full
The bus routes have been saved
Ax the bus tax
Bus Tax: The Facts
Tax increase for busing?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Analysis: Kalamazoo

Out of all the election results in Kalamazoo County, one lesson stands out. If you want to win an office, you should work for it.

Shorter: Campaign, fools!

In 2006, the GOP lost two seats on the county commission. Bob Brink and Joe VanBruggen were in two tough districts. Both had won fairly close reelections in 2004, a good year for the GOP. Brink's opponent was in jail, and he only won by five points. Despite this, Brink's entire 2006 campaign consisted of putting a few signs in vacant lots the night before the election. VanBruggen did somewhat more, but not enough, and both lost.

Several other Republicans were caught napping. State Rep. Jack Hoogendyk was barely reelected. County commissioners Tom Drabik and Jeff Balkema also nearly lost.

See the local results here: Kalamazoo Election Results

In 2008, you'd think that candidates would heed the lessons of 2006. Some did, but some did not. There was ample reason to think that 2008 would be a tough year for Republicans. Many races either were close in 2006 or were in very vulnerable jurisdictions.

The most significant local loss was the Sheriff. Michael Anderson is both a good and decent man and a good Sheriff. None of this should be taken against him personally. But his example must serve as a warning to others. Sheriff Anderson did very little to campaign. In 2004, when he first ran for election, his opponent was a joke who did not campaign. In a good Republican year, he cruised to victory. But this year, the Sheriff had a serious opponent who campaigned hard. The Sheriff lost by seven points.

The Gazette wrote a long article on the race without ever mentioning this. They did identify some contributing factors, however. The sheriff's department employee union was unhappy due to the lack of progress in their contract negotiations. Some townships were unhappy with response times, but they were unwilling to pay for more patrols. Not mentioned by the Gazette is that Fuller ran against raising taxes for a new jail, which Anderson supported. It isn't clear what effect this had on the outcome.

The other countywide loss was the Drain Commissioner. Republican Patrick Krause lost to democrat Patricia Crowley. This race probably wasn't winnable, given Krause's low name recognition and the problems in the drain office associated with Krause's Republican predecessor Bill French, who was removed from office. Krause did much to clean up the office, but was not rewarded for his efforts. It isn't clear whether being a woman helped Crowley, or whether the two candidates having similar names was a factor.

In contrast with others' lackluster efforts, Prosecutor Jeff Fink worked his heart out for months campaigning all across the county. His efforts were rewarded with a fairly narrow victory.

The same goes for Treasurer Mary Balkema, who worked very hard campaigning across the county. She faced a opponent who did not campaign, didn't even fill out surveys, had no qualifications to be treasurer, and reportedly did not even want the job. Yet Mary won by less than 1200 votes. Straight-ticket democrat voters really ought to think about what they are doing.

Clerk Tim Snow managed to win reelection without working too hard, but his margin of victory was down significantly from 2004.

Incoming Surveyor Bill Hahn was the luckiest local Republican of this election season, since the democrats failed to find a licenced surveyor to oppose him. If they had, they would have won.

In the 8th district judicial race, conservative Republican Julie Phillips defeated independent Bill Murphy, who had the support of most local trial lawyers. Phillips campaigned very hard for her victory. She benefited from the fact that judicial races are nonpartisan. She also likely benefited from being a woman, as some general election voters prefer women in races when they are unfamiliar with the candidates. This race resembled the 2006 open judicial race won by Pam Lightvoet, who defeated a more liberal opponent after a field of four was narrowed to two in the primary.

The most surprising result of the night may be the overwhelming rejection of the county transportation millage. It lost by 16 points. Have local voters finally had it with tax increases? The proposal lost overwhelmingly outside Kalamazoo, with only 5 precincts in favor, but it even lost 8 precincts in Kalamazoo city. At least 18000 people who did not vote for McCain voted against the tax increase. Perhaps if local Republicans had run in opposition to the proposal they would have fared somewhat better.

In the races for state representative, both Larry DeShazor and Jase Bolger worked very hard, and it paid off. DeShazor overcame being significantly outspent by radical gay-rights supporter John Stryker to win a narrow victory. The 61st district still leans Republican, though not by as much as before. Bolger's race wasn't targeted by the democrats, but he didn't take anything for granted and worked hard for many months.

In the county commission races, Republicans scored a rare pickup as Ann Nieuwenhuis defeated Leroy Crabtree in the Comstock Township district. However, Republicans lost the district of retiring Tom Drabik after nominee James Graham, the former mayor of Portage, did no campaigning and was defeated by democrat Michael Quinn. Did Graham think that because he was mayor of Portage five years ago that he didn't need to campaign for a seat that Drabik won by only 1% of the vote? Republicans Nasim Ansari, who always campaigns hard, and Jeff Balkema held their seats by narrow margins.

Of course, lots of campaigning is no guarantee of victory. Chris Haenicke lost his bid for county commission in Oshtemo, and Justin VanderArk lost his bid for Kalamazoo Township Supervisor.

Democrats made major gains in the townships, sweeping contested races Kalamazoo and Oshtemo, and all but one in Comstock. Former county commissioner Bob Brink was defeated in his bid for Oshtemo supervisor. Democrat Scott McCormick showed no evidence of a campaign but was elected anyways on the strength of straight ticket voting. Recalled Comstock trustee Bill Shields received the lowest vote total there. A democrat was also elected supervisor of rural Wakeshma township after no Republican filed for the seat. He received fewer votes than most of the Republicans running for township offices.

The national environment obviously hurt local Republicans tremendously. Despite the losses, the results could still have been much worse. If the democrat surge was a few points larger, Republicans would have lost all countywide races, the 61st district, and three more county commissioners.

Kalamazoo Republicans still have a base to build on, but they will have to work hard to win back what was lost in 2008 and 2006. Every candidate should have learned by now the importance of campaigning for the office they seek to win.

2008 Election Preview
Analysis: Local (2006)


This update focuses on election 2008. These articles discuss the results of the 2008 election, what caused them, and what to do now.

Tim Carney: ENPR: Election Results
Tom Tancredo: Republican Lessons at the End of the Bush-McCain Era
Deroy Murdock: GOP Needs Night of Long Knives
Michael Reagan: Why McCain Lost
Ann Coulter: The Reign of Lame Falls Mainly on McCain
Chuck Baldwin: Conservatives Lost More Than An Election
Pat Buchanan: An Unnecessary Defeat?
Donald Devine: Who Plays Herbert Hoover?
Gun Owners of America: Gun Rights in Peril
Will Grigg: Why Obama Will Be Worse Than Bush
Marcus Epstien: Election 2008: There's Got To Be A Pony In Here Somewhere!
Steve Sailer: Immigration, Affirmative Action, Bucking The Bailout - All Potential Election Winners For McCain

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Party Business

The Michigan Republican Party is in for the usual post-election infighting.

MRP Chairman Saul Anuzius has not announced whether he will run for reelection.

Someone made a robocall to Republican activist gauging support for various potential candidates for party chairman.

There are a number of people interested in replacing him. Dan Tollis sent out an email criticizing Saul and announcing his campaign for chairman. Ingham County Republican Chairman Norm Shinkle sent out an email defending Saul and announcing that he would run if Saul didn't.

State Rep. Jack Hoogendyk sent an email to his supporters gauging support for a run for chairman if Saul doesn't run.

Races for party leadership positions are theoretically decided by delegates to a state convention. But in practice they are usually decided by endorsements of party officials before the convention. Endorsements typically translate into votes at the state convention. The candidates who fail to gain enough support will usually drop out. This race will probably be decided in the upcoming weeks.

Cox for Governor?

Only two days after the election, Attorney General Mike Cox has formed an exploratory committee to run for governor in 2010.

People exhausted from the 2008 election aren't likely to get much of a break.

Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, Congressman Pete Hoekstra and Dick DeVos are mentioned as possibilities on the Republican side.

Democrat hopefuls may include Lieutenant Governor John Cherry, former Detroit mayor Dennis Archer, Wayne County executive Robert Ficano, and Flint mayor Don Williamson.

There is some chance that Granholm may get a federal appointment, which would make Cherry governor.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Kalamazoo Election Results

You can get national and statewide results lots of other places. This post will focus on Kalamazoo area election results.

See the raw numbers from Election Magic.

Obama won 58.9% in Kalamazoo County, to 39.4% for McCain.

Carl Levin won 59.1% in Kalamazoo County to 37.6% for Jack Hoogendyk.

Fred Upton got 53.6% in Kalamazoo County to 43.8% for Don Cooney.

In the 60th state house district, Robert Jones won 30135 (73.9%) to 10658 (26.1%) for Charles Ybema.

In the 61st state house district, Larry DeShazor won 28303 (51.1%) to 27122 (48.9%) for Julie Rogers. The 61st district still leans Republican.

In the 63rd state house district, James Bolger won 15600 to 11870 over Phyllis Smith in Kalamazoo County and 12041 to 9309 in Calhoun County, for a total of 27641 (56.6%) to 21179 (43.4%). This district is still Republican, and it didn't have a hotly contested primary this time.

Prosecutor: Republican Jeff Fink was reelected 62676 (52.2%) to 57326 (47.8%) over Robert Champion. Fink worked very hard for this.

Sheriff: Republican Michael Anderson lost reelection 56010 (46.7%) to 63859 (53.3%) to democrat Richard Fuller. This is what happens when you're an incumbent who doesn't campaign at all.

Clerk: Republican Tim Snow was reelected 61282 (52.1%) to 56285 (47.9%) for democrat David Kinsey. Snow didn't campaign that much.

Treasurer: Republican Mary Balkema won a very narrow victory 59603 (50.5%) to 58434 (49.5%) for democrat Julie Kaufman. Mary worked very hard and Kaufman didn't even campaign.

Drain Commissioner: Republican Pat Krause was crushed 49419 (42.4%) to 67173 (57.6%) by democrat Pat Crowley.

Surveyor: Republican Bill Hahn was unopposed. If the democrats could have found someone to run for this seat they would have won it.

County commission:
District 9: Republican Nasim Ansari narrowly survived 3585 (51.9%) to 3326 (48.1%) against Dorphine Payne.
District 10: Republican James Graham lost the seat of the retiring Tom Drabik 3569 (49.7%) to 3605 (50.3%) to Michael Quinn.
District 12: Republican Chris Haenicke lost 4298 (46.7%) to 4906 (53.3%) to democrat John Nieuwenhuis.
District 15: Republican Ann Nieuwenhuis defeated incumbent democrat Leroy Crabtree 3849 (54.5%) to 3224 (45.5%).
This means the Republicans and democrats traded a pair of seats, so the county commission will stay 9-8 democrat.

Republicans got wiped out in Kalamazoo Township. Ditto in Comstock Township. In Oshtemo, Republican Bob Brink was defeated for supervisor by Libby Heiny-Cogswell. Democrats Grace Borgfjord and Scott McCormick, who did absolutely no campaigning, won trustee positions, along with incumbent Republicans Dave Bushouse and Jim Grace.

8th district court: Julie Phillips defeated Bill Murphy 49271 (55.2%) to 39994 (44.8%). Score one for Republicans, thanks to not having party labels on the ballot. Women have an advantage in judicial races in the general election.

The transportation millage was overwhelmingly defeated, 69993 (58%) to 50653 (42%), despite there not being any organized campaign against it.

Health News

Partners need knowledge in cases of HIV

Two arrests were recently made in Kalamazoo where the offenders were charged with not alerting their sexual partner of an HIV-positive diagnosis, said Carrie Klein, chief assistant prosecuting attorney in Kalamazoo County.

In light of the arrests, doctors at the Sindecuse Health Center want Western Michigan University students to know the risks associated with HIV and other STDs, said Marci Ellis, assistant medical director at Sindecuse.“If a student is diagnosed with HIV, they should seek support from a primary care clinician and infectious disease specialist,” said Lisa Marshall, M.D., medical director at Sindecuse. “A primary care clinician will be able to coordinate care and services needed and an infectious disease specialist will monitor and treat the disease process.”

The arrests were made after rumors began to spread that certain people had HIV-positive diagnoses and the sexual partners found out, Klein said. “When the sexual partners found out, some of them went to police and filed the complaint.”
Project Light prevents LGBT suicide

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day

See the 2008 Election Preview for information on the candidates and races.

See the Election Results links after the polls close.

Why Voting is Rational

In this election season, the conventional wisdom says that Americans should vote. Indeed, this message is pounded into our heads through overwhelming repetition. But those spreading this message often cast into doubt their own case by making such arguments as the this, from a public service announcement: "it doesn't matter how you vote, just that you vote". But if it doesn't matter how we vote, why bother?

There is, however, a counterpoint to the conventional wisdom that holds that voting is basically irrational. This argument begins with the observation that the chances of any one person's vote changing the outcome of a major election (president, congress, statewide office) is infinitesimal. Someone did the math and concluded that you are more likely to die in a car crash on the way to the polls than to change the outcome of an election. Since your expected outcome is negative, the argument concludes that it is irrational to vote. This has become something close to conventional wisdom amongst economists.

One critique of this argument points out that it is only true on the margin. That is, it assumes that lots of other people are already voting. The fact that there are so many people voting is the reason why your vote is so unlikely to sway the outcome. If everyone followed the advice of this argument and stayed home, then nobody would vote. But if nobody voted, then casting a single vote would decide the outcome of every race.

Others point out some of the reasons why people vote. People may vote because they enjoy voting, or because they feel it is their 'civic duty', or because they would feel guilty about not voting. Others may believe that their vote is likely to change the election results. But none of these explanations address whether voting is rational.

Yet it is. The real flaw in the argument against voting is that it is confused about the purpose of voting. It addresses someone's ability to determine who occupies an office. But most voters don't vote simply because they want a particular person to occupy an office (though that may be a factor) but because they hope to affect public policy.

Certainly who wins elections affects public policy. But it is not the only factor. Consider the following thought experiment. In election outcome #1, candidate A wins 99% of the vote to candidate B's 1%, even after a vigorous campaign. In election outcome #2, candidate A wins 51% of the vote to candidate B's 49%.

On the question of who wins the election, these two outcomes are identical. But they do not have equal outcomes on public policy. That is because the actions of elected officials are not predetermined. They are affected by public opinion, which is expressed (among other places) at the polls.

In outcome #1, candidate A is likely think something like "The people love me. I can feel free to pursue my platform with their full support. I can do almost anything within reason and still get reelected." However, in outcome #2, candidate A is likely to think something like "Almost half the voters did not want me to win the election. I have to be very careful about pursuing my platform. I may have to amend or abandon parts of it. If I misstep I may be voted out of office."

While most politicians are not perfectly pliable, neither are they perfectly rigid in their positions. The one exception on the federal level is Ron Paul. Politicians who refuse to respond to public demand generally don't get elected or reelected. Even politicians with deeply-held beliefs rationalize voting against their own beliefs as "recognizing political reality".

Even if a politician is perfectly principled in his votes, he can still respond to public opinion in what bills he introduces and what causes he champions.

The effects of public opinion change on the margin. That is, one additional person supporting a cause changes the actions of politicians. The amount of change may be quite small, of course, in a large electorate. But it is greater than zero. This contrasts with the question of who holds an office, which does not change on the margin. Switching one vote does not shift a little bit of an office from one candidate to another. Your vote either swings the whole thing or does nothing.

Ironically, the case for voting is weakest regarding referenda, since ballot propositions do not respond to public opinion. Yet even here, the margin of victory or defeat can affect future attempts to pass referenda or other legislation.

Thus the conventional wisdom is right, if not for the right reason. Voting is rational, after all.

Monday, November 03, 2008

John Niewenhuis Can't Spell

John Nieuwenhuis is the democratic Kalamazoo County Commissioner representing district 12, which covers most of Oshtemo Township. He has giant signs scattered around Oshtemo, asking voters to, well, something.

His Republican opponent is Chris Haenicke, who can spell.

The Carl Levin Record

Note: This post remains a work in progress.

The Carl Levin Record

US Senator (1978-present)
Detroit City Council (1969-1977)

US Senate:

General Politics
Levin is very liberal. He has a lifetime 7% rating from the American Conservative Union.

Carl Levin supports abortion on demand, including the most extreme cases. He voted against a bill to ban partial birth abortion, when a baby is born except for the head and then killed. Levin also voted against criminal penalties for crimes that harm an unborn baby.

Levin even voted against prohibiting minors from crossing state lines to get abortions. He even voted against notifying parents that their daughter has gotten an out-of-state abortion. One of the main purposes of parental notification laws is to prevent statutory rapists from destroying the evidence of their crimes by pressuring or coercing young women into having abortions. If one state requires parental notification, rapists will drive to another state that doesn't. But Carl Levin voted against this protecting against statutory rape.
On The Issues: Carl Levin on Abortion
Core Principles: Carl Levin's Extremely Radical Abortion Agenda
Core Principles: I Guess this Question is Above Carl Levin’s Pay Grade, Too.
Scotty Boman: Levin votes to allow federal funds to support forced abortions

Carl Levin has consistently opposed energy production and supported government regulations. Levin has promoted government meddling in the energy sector, increased government regulations, ineffective 'alternative energy', and poverty-increasing 'conservation'. He supported the 2007 energy bill which included a bundle of bad regulations, including banning traditional light bulbs. 'Alternative energy' is inefficient and ineffective, and only exists due to government spending of taxpayer money.

Levin supported CAFE fuel economy standards that lead to thousands of additional car crash deaths per year. This is because mandating higher gas mileages forces people into lighter cars. They are less safe, and lead to more traffic fatalities. CAFE standards also hurt Michigan's already struggling auto industry, and lead to more Michigan job losses.

Levin has been a leader in promoting conspiracy theories of oil company price manipulation. Investigations have repeatedly debunked these claims.

Levin also voted for higher gas taxes. The so-called 'windfall profits tax' would have reduced the profit motive, thus discouraging energy production and increasing gas prices.

Levin supported cloture on the Lieberman-Warner bill to raise taxes via a 'cap-and-trade' system to fight the supposed threat of global warming. He said that he would have voted against final passage, however.

Meanwhile, Levin was opposing increasing energy production, the only policy that can really reduce energy prices. He has repeatedly opposed new drilling for oil in Alaska. Drilling in a tiny portion on ANWR could produce millions of barrels of American oil, lowering gas prices and creating jobs. This would not hurt the environment at all. But time after time, year after year, Carl Levin opposed drilling for oil in Alaska.
The Western Right: How Carl Levin Helped Hike Gas Prices
On the Issues: Carl Levin on Energy & Oil
Core Principles: Carl Levin: We Can't Drill Our Way Out

Foreign Policy

Gun Rights
Carl Levin has a long anti-gun voting record. He voted against protecting gun manufacturers against lawsuits designed to bankrupt them. He voted to impose more regulations on guns shows. He opposed prohibiting government from confiscating guns. Levin offered an amendment to make it impossible for gun manufacturers to file for bankruptcy. Levin supported the ban on so-called "assault weapons". He has F ratings for both the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America.

Perhaps Levin's most outrageous attack on gun rights involved a provision of the 2001 defense authorization bill passed shortly after 9/11. This provision involved the "demilitarization" of former military weapons. An NRA alert explains the issue.

This week, the U.S. Senate passed S. 1438, the Department of Defense (DoD) annual authorization bill, which contains a provision that is of grave concern to hunters and sport shooters. Section 1062 of this bill provides the Secretary of Defense with the authority to require "demilitarization" of any "significant military equipment" that has ever been owned by the DoD. This would include all firearms (such as the venerable M1, M1 Carbine, and Model 1911, as well as all Civilian Marksmanship Program rifles, even "sporterized" surplus bolt-action Springfields!), firearm barrels, ammunition, and gun powder. "Demilitarization" is the term for rendering such items permanently inoperable, and Sec. 1062 allows for this action to be carried out either by the owner or a third party, with the owner paying the cost, or by the DoD. However, if the DoD determines it should perform the demilitarization, it can also determine that the cost of returning the demilled item is prohibitive, then simply keep the item, and reimburse the owner only for the fair market scrap value of the item.

Furthermore, this new authority would require private citizens to determine for themselves if an item they own is subject to demilitarization, and face criminal penalties for non-compliance. The DoD would be under no obligation to notify law-abiding citizens that items they have lawfully owned for years, and perhaps that their families have owned for generations, are suddenly subject to forced demilitarization. This becomes extremely significant when one considers that U.S. military surplus has been regularly—and legally—bought, sold, and traded for centuries. Countless Americans own items that could be subject to Sec. 1062. It is likely millions of law-abiding Americans would be affected, and could unknowingly become criminals overnight without having done anything or having ever been informed.
The provision was passed by the Senate, then under democrat control, but was stripped out of the corresponding bill in the House, which was under Republican control. Then, as now, Michigan Senator Carl Levin was Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He was one of the negotiators in the conference committee to iron out the differences between the two bills.

Levin fought to protect the provision and offered several "compromises" attempting to preserve it, as related in this GOA alert. The provision was eventually stripped out of the bill. A later GOA alert concludes

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) made several attempts to keep the provision by offering compromise after compromise, but the loud outcry from grassroots activists strengthened the bargaining position of pro-gun legislators.
In summary, Carl Levin fought hard to give government the authority the confiscate and destroy millions of privately owned firearms. These firearms were based on military designs, but are no more dangerous than any other civilian firearms. They include some of the hunting rifles that democrats claim to like so much. Adding insult to injury, this provision, which Carl Levin fought so hard to protect, was almost smuggled through shortly after the attacks of 9/11.

The Western Right: Carl Levin's Plan to Ban Guns
On the Issues: Carl Levin on Gun Control
Jim Zumbo: Jim Zumbo Letter to the U.S. Senate Opposing a Ban on "Assault Weapons"
National Rifle Association: Congress Considers "Demilitarization" Requirement
The Washington Times: Bill provision has military collectors up in arms
Gun Owners of America: Sen. Warner Still Holds the Key to Stopping Confiscation of Firearms
Gun Owners of America: Sen. Smith Announces Victory on Gun "Demil" Provision
Gun Owners of America: Backdoor Gun Control To Be Voted On In The Senate


In 1996, Levin voted for the Defense of Marriage Act that prevents one state from opposing its definition of marriage on another. However, Levin voted against a federal constitutional definition of marriage. He also refused to support the 2004 Michigan marriage amendment that defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. He supports so-called "civil unions", which are the same in all but name to so-called "gay marriage".

Levin has voted to punish employers who take sexual behavior into account in their hiring decisions. He has also voted for 'hate crimes' bills including homosexuality that would criminalize certain thoughts under certain circumstances. He has voted to spend taxpayers' money on benefits for 'domestic partners' of government employees.
On the Issues: Carl Levin on Civil Rights
Carl Levin: Statement of Senator Carl Levin on Gay Marriage


Carl Levin has been a consistent supporter of the United Nations. He has voted to give billions to the International Monetary Fund. He has voted for sending UN troops to Darfur in the Sudan.

Levin voted for the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill, which contained an endorsement of the Security and Prosperity Partnership. Levin voted against NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. But he voted for most-favored-nation trading status with China.
On the Issues: Carl Levin on Foreign Policy
Carl Levin: Senate Fast Track Vote



Sunday, November 02, 2008

Seen in the New York Times

From the New York Times:


On Campuses, McCain Supporters Are Running on a Shoestring and Conviction. (National Desk).


On Saturdays, the campaign sometimes holds 45-minute conference calls with students, said Megan Buwalda, a McCain volunteer and senior at Western Michigan University.

''They give us talking points,'' Ms. Buwalda said. ''Like '10 reasons why the youth would be excited to vote for McCain.' '' (One reason, she said, is ''McCain will be the first to bring global warming as an issue to the Republican Party.'')

But those talking points do not always go over well, she said, especially when so many other students are focused on Mr. McCain's lack of tech-savvy, his out-of-date cultural references and, most of all, his age.

''People do make a big deal out of that,'' Ms. Buwalda said. '' 'McCain, he's out of touch, he's old,' things like that. But I really think, Barack Obama might use his BlackBerry more often, but McCain spent his life serving the country.''


The Kids Aren't Diggity-Down for John McCain

Megan states that she was misquoted by the New York Times.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Whither the Bradley Effect?

Heading into election 2008, most polls show Barack Obama with a small but significant lead over John McCain. But can the polls be trusted?

In recent weeks there has been increasing discussion of the 'Bradley effect'. This is the phenomenon that black candidates do better in polls than they do in actual election results. It is named after former Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley, who had a significant lead in the polls in the race for California governor in 1982, yet lost to the Republican candidate.

Similar occurrences have been observed in the 1989 race for governor of Virginia and 1989 race for mayor of New York.

What explains this phenomenon? The standard explanation is that a certain percentage of voters lie to pollsters. They say that they will vote for the black candidate when they will actually vote for the white candidate.

This has been denounced as racism by many on the left. But this does not follow. Why would a racist claim to be voting for a minority candidate at all? Instead, it is political correctness. That is, the politically correct thing to do is to vote for the minority, so some voters will say that they are going to do so to avoid being considered racist, even though they have legitimate reasons for their vote.

On the other hand, others have denied that the Bradley effect is real, or that it still exists. Bradley's loss has been alternately blamed on high turnout of Armenian voters voting for his opponent or high turnout of rural voters opposing a gun control initiative on the ballot that year. Meanwhile, one recent study purports to show that the Bradley effect used to exist but no longer does, supposedly finding no evidence of it since 1996.

But there have been elections since then that fit the same pattern. In 2003, Republican Bobby Jindal (who is Indian), polled ahead going into the election for governor but lost after a late campaign by the democrat party including ads that darkened his skin and urged white voters to vote democrat before it was "too late". Jindal was elected governor of Louisiana in 2007.

In 2006, the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) appeared on the ballot in Michigan. This ballot proposition eliminated racial preferences in government hiring, contracting, and college admissions. Polls months before the election showed the MCRI with about 60% support. As the election approached and debate over the MCRI became increasingly heated, its support in polls continually declined, falling as low as 40% (with a large number of undecideds) the week before the election. These polls led the normally accurate Evans-Novak Political Report to predict that the MCRI would "fail by a large margin".

When election day came, the MCRI passed with 58% of the vote, roughly the level of support that it started with. This is all the more remarkable since the usual rule with ballot propositions is that most of the undecideds will vote no since change is riskier than the status quo. The only conclusion one can come to is that a significant number of voters were simply lying to the pollsters about their intentions.

So will there be a Bradley effect in the presidential election this year? There is no way to know for sure. Since it is a problem with polling, it is always possible that it could be corrected by different polling techniques.

But the polling techniques that are being employed raise serious questions. Pollsters more-or-less arbitrarily pick the percentages of Republicans, democrats, and independents to weight their samples. Many pollsters are assuming much higher turnout of the black and youth vote when weighting their samples. While higher black turnout appears to be all but certain, it is unclear to what extent there will be higher white turnout and to what extent this will counterbalance it. As for the youth vote, projections of much higher youth turnout in past elections have never been borne out.

It could be that Republican prospects are actually much better than what the polls suggest. Or this could be wishful thinking. We'll find out soon enough.


This update focuses on the economy. The fallout from the massive trillion-dollar government bailout continues. The causes of our economic problems continue to be probed.

Terry Jeffrey: Will Government Give Up Ownership in the Banks?
William Jasper: From Henry Morgenthau to Henry Paulson
Gary North: The Smashing of Dreams Is Not Over
George Reisman: The Myth that Laissez Faire Is Responsible for Our Financial Crisis
Ron Paul: Spending the Economy into Oblivion
Thomas DiLorenzo: How Crackpot Egalitarianism Caused the Sub-Prime Mortgage Crisis
Terry Jeffrey: The Price of Banking on Government
Ernest Istook: Democrats Behind CRA Cover-Up
Gary North: Keynesianism's Last Stand

See also:
The Recession Reader
The Bailout Reader