Saturday, July 31, 2010

Jack Hoogendyk for Congress

Incumbent 6th district Congressman Fred Upton is being challenged for the Republican nomination by former state rep. Jack Hoogendyk. When considering ousting an incumbent, examining his record is key. Nobody questions that Upton is hard-working. But his record shows that he is not a conservative.

Examining Upton's ten worst votes should give plenty of reason not to support him:
Fred Upton's Ten Worst Votes

Jack's campaign website contains more information on Upton's record:
Compare the Candidates

In addition, note that Upton has voted for a number of gun control measures in the past, including the Brady bill. He also supports 'comprehensive immigration reform', including a 'path to citizenship' for illegal aliens, which not only gives them amnesty but actually rewards their lawbreaking.

Upton's record speaks for itself.

How about Jack Hoogendyk? He is a principled conservative. He was often named the most conservative member of the state legislature. He not only opposed tax increases, but he actively fought against them. He actually voted against increasing spending, unlike most of his colleagues. He is not only pro-life, but ran the Alternatives crisis pregnancy center. He is pro-gun, against amnesty, pro-marriage, and more.

Jack is the real deal. He has been endorsed by Right to Life, Citizens for Traditional Values, Concerned Women for American, Shooters Alliance for Firearms Rights, Republican Liberty Caucus, and more. He has earned the support of all conservatives.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Case Against Rick Snyder

Republican Michigander makes the case against stealth 'Republican' Rick Snyder.

No Rick Snyder for governor. Anybody in the primary but Rick Michigan.

This blog will only add that his campaign has admitted that its strategy is to get democrats to vote in the Republican primary.

Previous: Rick Snyder's Ten Platitudes

Fred Upton's Ten Worst Votes

Congressman Fred Upton has been in Congress since 1986, and has cast a lot of votes in that time. Some have been good and some have been bad. A few fall into the 'really bad' category. Here follow Upton's ten worst votes.

1. [2003] Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit. HR 1 (Roll Call 669)
This bill, passed largely with Republican support, created the first new government entitlement program since Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. Incredibly, this program created an unfunded liability of $17 TRILLION dollars added to the off-books national debt. (This is present value calculation, that is, this is how much the government would have to have on hand NOW, earning interest, to meet future liabilities.) This program will go a long way toward bankrupting America, destroying the dollar, and wrecking the economy. It will impoverish future generations to accommodate today's elderly and subsidize the big drug companies. This program is unconstitutional, as Congress has no power under the Constitution to create such a program.

2. [2008] Financial Services Industry (TARP) Bailout. HR 1424 (Roll Call 681)
The bailout passed in late 2008 opened the door for all the abuses of the Constitution that have followed. It gave 700 billion dollars (or more) to the executive branch to distribute as it saw fit, bypassing legislative oversight or public scrutiny. Much of the money was funnelled to giant Wall Street banks. This rewarded them for the failure of their risky investments and bad lending practices. Reducing the disincentive against bad investments will lead to more of them, so the bailout will lead to more economic trouble and more bailouts in the future. The bailout was unconstitutional as Congress has no power under the Constitution to do it.
See also: Stop the Bailout!

3. [2007] Energy Policy. HR 6 (Roll Call 1177)
This bill, championed by Upton, contained a grab-bag of government spending and regulation. The worst feature is an increase in the 'CAFE' fuel economy standards. Numerous studies have shown that they cause more than a thousands deaths in car crashes per year by raising prices of heavier cars enough to push people to buy lighter, less safe cars. The bill also contains an effective ban on the incandescent light bulb by regulating it out of existence starting in 2012. This bill is unconstitutional.
See also: Upton's Light Bulb Ban

4. [2002] Iraq War.
While most Republicans supported the Iraq War at the time, its costs have vastly exceeded projections. Some estimates put the costs, including future veterans' benefits, at over a trillion dollars. Several thousand American soldiers have lost their lives. The effects on the long-term security of the United States and the Middle East remain uncertain.

5. [2009] Planned Parenthood. HR 3293 (Roll Call 643).
This is only the latest in a long line of Upton's votes supporting abortion funding. As described by the American Conservative Union (ACU): "The House defeated an amendment to the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill that would have eliminated funding for Planned Parenthood family planning services, which includes abortion services. ACU has always opposed Planned Parenthood and federal involvement in this area as unconstitutional, but the amendment was defeated July 24, 2009 by a vote of 183-247."

6. [1993] Brady Bill.
This bill imposed several major restrictions on gun rights. The worst was a five-day 'waiting period' on the purchase of a handgun, which could easily make the difference between life and death in an emergency situation. (This provision expired in 1998.) This bill also established the principle that commercial gun sales are illegal until the government approves. This makes possible the creation of a national database of gun owners. This bill is unconstitutional, and parts of it were later declared so by the Supreme Court.

7. [1993] NAFTA. HR 3450 (Roll Call 575)
While NAFTA was sold as a 'free trade' agreement, it was a managed trade agreement which contains hundreds of pages of regulations of trade. It has led to job losses and outsourcing. NAFTA also created transnational courts that claim the power to overrule laws passed by Congress or the states. NAFTA was unconstitutional because it should have been treated as a treaty subject to 2/3 ratification in the Senate.

8. [2002] Campaign Speech Limits. HR 2356 (Roll Call 34)
Upton voted for the McCain-Feingold bill after having supported many similar bills over the years. This bill put many restrictions on criticism of Congress through television and radio ads. These included banning advocating that a member of Congress support or oppose a bill 60 days before an election, even if he is not on the ballot. The bill contained many loopholes that could be exploited by wealthy special interests, but effectively prohibited average citizens from criticising Congress effectively with the threat of huge fines for violation of vague regulations. This bill is unconstitutional, and major portions of it have been declared so by the Supreme Court.

9. [2001] No Child Left Behind.
This bill, largely written by Ted Kennedy, significantly increased federal spending on the Department of Education. It also increased government regulations and imposed unrealistic mandates on teachers and schools. It is unconstitutional.

10. [2008] Mortgage Bailout Program. HR 3221 (Roll Call 301).
ACU description: "The House adopted a bill expanding the government-sponsored housing authorities, guaranteeing loans made by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while reducing their capital by creating a $4 billion trust fund available to ACORN and other groups. ACU opposed the federal takeover of these entities but the bill was passed May 8, 2008 by a vote of 266-154."

Dishonorable Mention:
[2009] Omnibus Appropriations for FY 2009. HR 1105 (Roll Call 86). Voted for this incredibly bloated spending bill.
[2008] “Stimulus” Spending Bill. HR 7110 (Roll Call 660). Voted for the wasteful and counterproductive 2008 'stimulus' spending bill.
[1998] Clinton Impeachment. Voted against impeachment of President Bill Clinton on two of four counts.
[1994] Crime Bill. Voted for Bill Clinton's Crime Bill.
[many] Missile Defense. Voted numerous times against funding for systems to defend against nuclear missiles.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fred Upton's Jobs Plan

Congressman Fred Upton recently sent out a mailer touting his "5 Point Jobs Plan".

It may be here: Upton for All of Us - Fred's 5-Point Jobs Plan, though the site was down as of this writing.

It is important to understand at the outset the free market position on tax cuts. Broad-based, permanent tax cuts benefit the economy, while narrow, short-term tax cuts do not. The reason is that tax cuts create economic growth by changing incentives. When people can keep more of their own money, they produce more. But this only applies to future tax rates, not one-time cuts or rebates. While targeted tax cuts may benefit their particular targets, they do not benefit the economy overall because when government picks winners and losers, it distorts the market. Its choices are inevitably based on fads and political clout. Government does not allocate resources more efficiently than the market, which is based on people risking their own money.

Let's go to the specifics.

1. $6500 tax credit for home purchase and renew the $8000 first-time homebuyer tax credit.

No. The recession began with the bursting of the housing bubble. Government programs and regulations pushed people who couldn't afford houses to buy them, and more houses were built than are really needed. To correct the bubble, prices need to be allowed to fall so that the glut is cleared. This is no doubt tough for homebuilders, but building more unneeded houses will only make things worse.
Score: 0/10

2. Reinstate tax deduction on car payments to spur sales of new cars and trucks.

The fact is that people only need so many cars. Encouraging people to buy cars they don't really need is not going to benefit the economy in the long run. This was the impetus behind the atrocious "Cash for Clunkers" program that Upton championed. CfC shifted demand forward without ultimately increasing it, leading to a worse market later on. It also destroyed wealth by wrecking perfectly good used cars. This item doesn't do that, and is somewhat broad-based, but seems unlikely to be all that successful.
Score: 5/10

3. Repeal Obamacare's employer health care mandate and replace it with a tax credit.

All of Obamacare should be repealed, not just the employer mandate. While a tax credit would certainly be better than a mandate, it doesn't change the fact that health care should not be supplied through employers. Insurance for cars, houses, and life is not supplied by employers, and there is no good reason why health insurance should be. This only occurs due to a provision in the tax code (surprise!). Supplying health insurance through employers needlessly restricts the available choices and hence inflates costs. Further, routine medical care would be better paid out of pocket rather than through a bureaucratic insurance system.
Score: 5/10

4. 20% small business tax deduction. (for five years)

This is pretty broad-based, but the time limit would significantly mitigate the positive effects of this item. Still, this is pretty much a good item.
Score: 8/10

5. Expand nuclear power and train qualified workers.

Picking particular industries for special treatment isn't great, but at least nuclear power is a real wealth creator and not a fad like wind power or ethanol. Removing bureaucratic obstacles to new nuclear plants should suffice; it isn't clear just what means Upton would use to promote it. Government-funded job training shouldn't be necessary; productive industries can afford to train their own workers.
Score: 7/10

Overall score: 25/50 (50%)

Bottom line: don't count on economic recovery under the Upton plan.

Primary Target

The American Thinker profiles the 6th congressional district race.

Primary Target

Who is Grant Taylor?

Democrat Grant Taylor, who is running as a write-in candidate for the 61st district state house seat, was on the Jay Morris show on Tuesday.

07/27/10 - Hour 2: Democratic State House candidate Grant Taylor
Write-in candidate for Michigan House contributes nearly $106,000 to own campaign
Democrat Grant Taylor drops out of race for state House's 61st District after learning of residency rule
Democrat Grant Taylor to run for Michigan House's 61st District after dropping bid for Kalamazoo County Board

Much is unknown about Taylor. It is known that he is 26 and comes from a political family, as both his father and brother are county commissioners. He moved to the 61st district one day before the filing deadline, which was too late to get on the ballot. He states that he is treasurer of "MAC House charities", an organization that doesn't seem to have any presence online. When asked (see 20:45) about it, he admitted that this is a volunteer position. Hence he is currently unemployed.

When asked about his education, he states that he "went to college in Chicago". He doesn't say what college he went to. He doesn't say that he graduated college, only that he 'went to' college. He doesn't say what he studied. He has stated that he has "experience in finance and accounting ".

Taylor is currently flooding the 61st district with mailings to convince voters to write him in for state rep. His campaign finance report indicates that he has raised $111,000, of which $106,000 is from himself. How did an unemployed 26-year-old get that much money? According to an article in the Kalamazoo Gazette,

Grant Taylor, 26, liquidated as well as borrowed against some of his shares in Clarke Power Services Inc. to pay for the donations, said Jeff Parsons, his campaign manager.

Taylor’s father helped found the Cincinnati-based company.
So basically the money came from his father.

So who is Grant Taylor anyways?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Phony Tea Party


Beware of artificial ingredients!
The Bulls*** "Tea Party" (BSTP) releases their candidate list. Several are open democrats

Herald-Palladium Endorses Upton

The Herald-Palladium, the St. Joseph newspaper which knows who butters its bread, has endorsed Congressman Upton. Let's break it down.


Upton a better fit than Hoogendyk for 6th District

That Congressman Fred Upton rubs diehard conservatives the wrong way isn't new. Long before the Tea Party movement gained strength, far right partisans in Southwest Michigan longed for someone like Jack Hoogendyk, Upton's Republican primary opponent in August, to displace Upton.

Should that happen, our question to Hoogendyk supporters is, then what? Perhaps the very conservative resident of Kalamazoo would win in November, but he is not well-positioned to retain the seat in the future.

Upton, of St. Joseph, with his occasional moderate tendencies, is far better suited to hold off Democratic challengers in a district that voted for President Obama in 2008 and twice supported Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

We view it as a plus that Upton does not adhere to the ideological purity standards that hard right conservatives insist upon. Two recent examples come to mind: the auto industry bailout and the TARP financial bailout.

Hoogendyk, with his strong libertarian tendencies, opposed both measures on grounds that government should not intrude to such an extent into private business affairs. That's fine in a world in which harsh consequences don't matter. Our world view is more in line with Upton's, who well understood that all of Michigan, including the 6th District, would have suffered tremendously had GM and Chrysler gone under. The financial bailout vote offers a similar example. In our mind Upton's support signaled a willingness to accept facts on the ground and vote accordingly. Had giant U.S. banks been allowed to fail in 2008, the economic devastation that followed would have rivaled or exceeded the Great Depression.
That's what the big banks claimed when they wanted a bailout. There is no evidence to support this, and the HP provides none. The TARP bailout created a giant slush fund run by the executive branch without congressional input. It was promoted to bail out the mortgage market but funnelled to the big banks by former Goldman Sachs employees. And even if we assume that the banks had to be bailed out, what was the justification for bailing out the managements, so that they kept their jobs after running their companies into bankruptcy?

Hoogendyk, a former three-term state House member, may pass a Tea Party purity test, but too often he doesn't pass the common sense test. That said, by challenging Upton, Hoogendyk has forced the congressman to defend himself and his votes to his Republican base. There is value in this process.

Upton, it should be noted, is no 51 percent Republican. [According to the American Conservative Union, he's a 72% conservative.] He remains committed to fiscal conservatism and has generally fought against President Obama's liberal agenda. Upton also has consistently performed exemplary constituent services, something that should not be overlooked by voters.
There is no sense in which Upton is a fiscal conservative. He has voted for almost every budget-busting appropriations bill for decades. He supported the Medicare Part D prescription drug program, which added 17 trillion to the off-books present value national debt. You can argue that the bailout was necessary, but you cannot argue that it was fiscally conservative. Is was not.

While this blog doesn't question that Upton is good at constituent service, it is primarily necessary because of the very government bureaucracies that Upton has repeatedly voted to fund and expand. Then, when they mistreat taxpayers, congressmen can heroically intervene. As Bastiat said, they are "concocting the antidote and the poison in the same laboratory"

We urge 6th District Republican primary voters to send Upton into the fall election to vie for a 13th term. In this contest of pragmatism vs. purity, Upton is clearly the best choice.

(An opinion of The Herald-Palladium editorial board)
At least the HP brings up issues that Upton has studiously avoided.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pre-primary Campaign Finance Reports

The deadline for pre-primary campaign finance reports has passed, and they are now available online at the Secretary of State website.

Michigan Campaign Finance Committee Search

News headlines have focused on the governor's race, where Rick Snyder has spent 6 million dollars of his money trying to buy the Republican nomination.

Local candidate filings get less attention but are of interest to those who follow local politics. Here are the amounts raised (in parentheses, from the candidate himself), spent, and cash onhand for some local races.

Name _______ / Contributions (from self) / Spent / Cash Onhand

20th state senate district
Tonya Schuitmaker / 276794 (100000) / 168889 / 106085
Lorence Wenke / 250409 (230000) / 249534 / 120
Larry DeShazor / 35668 (17780) / 30809 / 3331

Robert Jones / 61179 (10377) / 44393 / 6881
Mark Totten / 204328 (32454) / 126754 / 71850

Wenke is largely self-funding, while Tonya has combined significant self-funding with lots of establishment Republicans and right-leaning PACs. They have been hammering each other with negative advertising. Will DeShazor be able to benefit?

Totten is spending heavily attacking Jones for votes on drug liability, arena tax, and more. Many of his contributions are from outside the district. Will he be able to topple Jones? This blog thinks not.

21st state senate district
John Proos / 175430 (38400) / 60470 / 113384
Todd Griffee / 4330 (3185) / 4330 / 0

Scott Elliot / not filed

Proos should have an easy election.

24th state senate district
Rick Jones / 104222 (803) / 43065 / 59928
Randy Brink / not filed

Michelle DiSano / not filed

Jones should have an easy election.

61st state house district
Margaret O'Brien / 29179 (8889) / 9037 / 19986

Thomas Batten / 12445 (9265) / 5727 / 1058
Grant Taylor (WI) / 112362 (105939) / 53655 / 58232

Batten and Taylor have largely self-funded their campaigns. Taylor is running a write-in campaign due to his failure to understand election law well enough to get on the ballot. Where he got his money is something of a mystery, as his report lists his occupation as "TREASURER-M.A.C. HOUSE CHARITIES". Write-in campaigns rarely succeed, and this blog is not betting on Taylor to succeed. Margaret O'Brien remains a solid favorite.

60th state house district
Jeff Fernandez / 5960 (0) / 3253 / 2106

Sean McCann / 33629 (20) / 20204 / 13299
Chris Praedel / 9610 (4234) / 4670 / 932
Dustin Harback / 25 (25) / 0 / 25

McCann remains the prohibitive favorite. Why did Matt Moss donate to Praedel?

79th state house district
Paul Petersen / 6549 (2108) / 5110 / 872
Al Pscholka / 33019 (3000) / 23274 / 8376
Bruce Gorenflo / 3365 (110) / 2994 / 310

Can Tea Party leader Petersen overcome the money advantage of Upton candidate Pscholka?

80th state house district
Aric Nesbitt / 36905 (11500) / 21240 / 15664
Douglas Harrington / 2317 (?) / 319 / 1998
Shelley Hartmann / 47352 (43910) / 33222 / 14129
Bob Linderman / 7802 (7802) / 0 / 0
William Queen / reporting waiver--less than $1000
Frank Thompson / 18888 (10019) / 1053 / 6520

Thomas Erdmann / 9674 (1080) / 2867 / 6747

The Republican race seems to be coming down to Nesbitt, who is endorsed by all the conservative organizations and many established republicans versus Hartmann, who is largely self-funding. The Republican nominee will be favored.

87th state house district
Mike Callton / 92157 (64442) / 45687 / 29465
Michael Bremer / 10165 (3000) / 8742 / 1422
Steve Fabiano 27287 (25513) / 26429 / 859

Callton is the favorite.

Republicans generally outraised democrats in competitive state senate districts.

We Are Doomed

We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism
John Derbyshire

John Derbyshire is a writer for National Review and other publications whose interests cover math, science, culture, and politics. In his political writing, he has carved out a niche as a pessimistic paleoconservative who regularly proclaims tidings of doom and gloom. With this book, he summarizes his pessimistic views on politics.

He argues that a form of pessimism is essential to realistically understand human nature. Moreover, conservatism has a tradition of pessimistic thought. He argues that conservatives have more recently been deluded by optimistic utopian ideas about the world that have led and are leading to disaster.

Derbyshire eagerly destroys the modern shibboleth that diversity is a strength that should be celebrated. In fact, diversity is a liability, and often a very serious one, as countless wars and racial strife have shown.

He follows this with some fairly standard conservative criticisms of politics and culture. He adds some thoughts on the sexes.

Derbyshire offers a very solid chapter on education, destroying both liberal and conservative myths. The biggest myth is that individuals and racial groups (and sexes) have equal intellectual abilities. He also destroys the liberal 'spend more money' myth, recounting the disaster in Kansas City where a judge ordered a fortune spent on the schools, making then worse.

Things start to go wrong in the chapter on human nature. He presents three views on human nature, religious, cultural, and biological. He then argues the case for the biological. While the views he presents may be reasonable archetypes, it seems more likely that there is some truth to each of them. It is certainly true that biology has a significant impact on our nature. But his argument against free will is unconvincing, and his acknowledged inability to explain consciousness doesn't help matters. While liberals and some conservatives see culture as highly malleable, this is something of a straw man he uses to avoid the conservative view that culture is often deeply ingrained and difficult to change.

Then there's religion. Derbyshire started as a nominal Anglican and has more recently become an agnostic. He approaches religion as an anthropologist. As a conservative, he sees religion, at least of the Biblical variety, as mostly positive for society. But viewing religion socially, he views its decline as inevitable in the modern world. While atheism gained somewhat in the '90s, he doesn't note that this seems to have halted in the 2000's. And if his views on the decline of civilization are true, might this not lead people to turn back to God?

Derbyshire deconstructs the neoconservative view of foreign policy, with its support for 'invading the world' and using nation-building to impose democracy. He summarizes many of the problems with America's current immigration policy. He examines the troubles of the rest of the world. Finally, he examines our current economic problems and how they followed from a housing bubble caused by government policies promoting lending to deadbeats.

There is plenty to like about We Are Doomed, and Derbyshire's work is full of unconventional thought and throws plenty of cold water on the fantasies of our age. But hopelessness is not a viable basis for a political movement or society, as I suspect Derbyshire knows (but doesn't say). While realism is essential, we should also recognize that there are some positive trends, good things do happen, and bad trends don't continue forever. The world is full of trouble, but when has it ever not been thus? Christians know that however dark things may be, there will be a happy ending. It is sad that Derbyshire doesn't share this understanding.

Local News

Local news around Kalamazoo.

Tonya Schuitmaker leads fund-raising in 20th District Senate race but Lorence Wenke is close behind
Western Michigan University's tuition increase is highest among state's public universities
Western Michigan University approves 7.4% tuition hike, highest in the state
Republicans vie for Kalamazoo County board seats: Districts 11, 16 have contested races Aug. 3
Western Michigan University may offer early retirement: Some 300 employees to qualify for incentive
Candidates speak at Beacon Club in Portage

Fred Upton vs. Jack Hoogendyk: Question of conservatism hangs over 6th District Congressional race
VIDEO: 6TH District foes at the Kalamazoo Gazette

Kalamazoo County Board candidates Q&A
Chris Praedel pushes education platform in bid for 60th District House seat
Sean McCann points to experience in bid for 60th District House seat
Dustin Harback urges 'new politics' in bid for 60th District House seat
State Rep. Robert Jones points to achievements, progress in run for Senate's 20th District
Senate 20th District candidate Mark Totten decries 'failure of leadership' in Lansing

Metro Transit plans $1.9 million expansion of administrative facility in Kalamazoo

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Historical Apologetics

The Library of Historical Apologetics is an excellent site for Christians who want to learn more about the evidence and arguments for their faith.

The Library of Historical Apologetics

NRA and CTV Endorsements

The National Rifle Association and Citizens for Traditional Values have released their endorsements.

NRA-PVF Michigan Endorsements
CTV 2010 Endorsements

Oddly, the NRA skips the governor and congressional races and many of the legislative races. [UPDATE: The NRA has now made endorsements in congressional districts 1, 6, and 7.]

CTV likes Cox, Bouchard, and Hoekstra for governor. They endorse Jack Hoogendyk for Congress.

Upton/Hoogendyk Forum

It's not quite a debate, but it's pretty close.

Upton takes a cheap shot at Jack's 2008 US Senate race around 17 minutes, and Jack responds around 57 minutes.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mike Cox for Governor

Attorney General Mike Cox is the clear choice for conservatives in the race for Governor of Michigan. Of the five Republican candidates, Cox is the most conservative and probably the most effective and most electable.


After serving as a Marine and prosecutor in Wayne County, Cox first sought office when he ran for Attorney General in 2002. He upset state senator (now Congressman) Gary Peters in a very tight race, and was reelected easily in 2006, increasing his margin in what was generally a terrible year for Republicans.


Cox has championed many conservative and populist causes as Attorney General. He has filed suits, written briefs, and issued opinions that promote conservative causes.

Cox was one of many attorneys general to file suit against Obamacare, arguing that it is unconstitutional. He has opposed Blue Cross/Blue Shield when it acted against the best interests of consumers in Michigan.

Cox endorsed the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) in 2006. The MCRI ended racial preferences in government hiring, contracts, and college admissions. He was the only one of the five Republicans running to endorse it. Most prominent Republicans either opposed the MCRI or did not take a position. Cox stood up to the big corporations and unions opposing the MCRI. It passed with 58% of the vote.

Cox issued an opinion upholding a law requiring a voter to show identification at the polls. This overturned a previous opinion issued by democrat attorney general Frank Kelley. This ruling helps to protect the integrity of Michigan elections.

Cox issued an opinion prohibiting illegal aliens from receiving drivers licences. This makes illegal immigration more difficult and hence helps to protect Michigan jobs, cut down on crime, eliminate government benefits for illegals, and protect Michigan roads from dangerous drivers. Cox has also submitted a brief supporting Arizona's immigration law and defending the powers of states to pass such laws against the power of the federal government.

Cox has signed a pledge not to raise taxes (unlike Snyder or Hoekstra until recently). Not only that, but he has outlined 4 billion in spending cuts and pledged 2 billion in tax cuts. This would help to cut Michigan government down to size. Cox is endorsed by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

Cox is pro-life. He is the only candidate to be endorsed by Michigan Right to Life. He is co-endorsed by Citizens for Traditional Values.

Cox is pro-gun. He is endorsed by Gun Owners of America and Shooters Alliance for Firearms Rights. He has greatly expanding concealed carry reciprocity with other states, allowing Michigan citizens to carry in other states. He overturned several anti-gun opinions issued by Frank Kelley. He filed briefs with the Supreme Court supporting gun owners' rights in the Heller and McDonald cases that overturned the Washington, DC and Chicago gun bans.

Cox has issued a detailed plan for what he would do as governor: Mike Cox's Plan


Mike Cox is arguably the most electable Republican candidate in the race. He is the only candidate to have been elected statewide. As noted above, he has been elected twice, including in 2006, a terrible year for Republicans. The other candidates have been elected at most in small portions of the state.

To win Michigan, Republicans need to do well amongst white, blue collar union members in areas like Macomb County and the Upper Peninsula who often vote for democrats. To this author, Cox seems to have the best profile to accomplish this. (And he has already done this in past campaigns, unlike the other candidates.)


Mike Cox is the right choice for Michigan conservatives for governor.

See also: Evaluating the Candidates for Governor

See Mike Cox's campaign website:

Evaluating the Candidates for Governor

With the August 3 primary rapidly approaching, the race for the Republican nomination for governor remains tight. This blog has endorsed Attorney General Mike Cox as the best choice for conservatives. (see: Mike Cox for Governor) But determining the best candidate also depends on evaluating the other candidates.

The five candidates are Mike Cox, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, Congressman Pete Hoekstra, Senator Tom George, and businessman Rick Snyder. Here is some relevant information on the candidates. Note that not much information is available on Snyder, since not only does he not have a voting record, but he has refused to fill out candidate questionnaires or to participate in many of the debates.

Health Care
Cox, Hoekstra, George oppose Obamacare and support state efforts to fight it.
Goerge has proposed a health care plan that would increase taxes, spending, and regulation. He championed the restaurant smoking ban and supporting mandating Gardasil for teenage girls.

Taxes, spending, regulation
Cox supports cutting taxes, spending, and regulation.
Hoekstra voted for the 700 billion dollar TARP bailout, which gave lots of taxpayer money to failing Wall Street banks. He also voted for Medicare Part D prescription drug program, which increased the present-value off-books national debt by a whopping 17 trillion dollars. While Hoekstra is not the worst on spending, he cannot be accurately described as a fiscal conservative either.
George voted for Governor Granholm's 2007 tax increase. He has been in the middle on spending, neither the biggest spender nor a fiscal conservative.
Snyder has advocated spending on a variety of pet projects, including his own version of the 'cool cities' initiative.

Cox has been endorsed by Michigan Right to Life.
Hoekstra and Bouchard are prolife. They have not made abortion a major issue.
George is prolife and has advocated for prolife causes as a doctor.
Snyder is pro-abortion. He donated money to the campaign supporting the destruction of human embryos (misleadingly called stem cell research).

Gun Rights
Cox has been a champion of gun rights and has been endorsed by Gun Owners of America and Shooters Alliance for Firearms Rights.
Hoekstra and George have voted pro-gun but have not otherwise been active on the issue.
Bouchard opposed concealed carry when it was passed in 2000. He appears to have genuinely changed his position on the issue since then and is now pro-gun.

Cox issued a ruling to prevent illegal aliens from receiving drivers licences and has filed a brief supporting the Arizona immigration law.
Bouchard has advocated passing a similar law in Michigan.
Hoekstra has opposed amnesty in Congress. He has a B+ grade from Numbers USA.

Right to Work
Bouchard has promised to actively push for a right to work law.
Cox and George are 'open' to the idea.
Snyder would sign it, but not push for it.
Hoekstra opposes right to work.

Michigan Civil Rights Initiative
Cox was the only candidate to support the MCRI to end racial preferences.
Bouchard and George opposed the MCRI.

Cox has twice been elected statewide, including as an underdog in 2002 and in a tough year for Republicans in 2006.
Hoekstra has easily been elected in the heavily Republican 2nd district (Holland, Muskegon) since winning an upset primary victory in 2002. He has not had a tough election since. He is well-known in West Michigan but nearly so much so in the eastern part of the state.
Bouchard is popular as Oakland County Sheriff. However, when he was the Republican nominee for US Senate in 2006, he lost to Debbie Stabenow 58%-42%. Granted, no Republican would have won that race, but Bouchard lost his home county 53%-45%, which suggests his popularity as Sheriff does not transfer to other races.
George has won two tough races as a state senator from Kalamazoo County. He is largely unknown in the rest of the state.
Snyder has never run for office before. He is a businessman who is largely self-funding his campaign. Self-funding candidates have a terrible track record of getting elected, due to the fact that voters dislike rich people. In 2004, when 24 of 25 candidates who spent more than million dollars of their own money lost, and the one who won beat one of the other 24. 19 of 20 lost in 2002. Self-funding businessman Dick DeVos lost the Michigan gubernatorial race in a landslide in 2006.

Mike Cox for Governor

Previous articles on the governor's race:
Republican Michigander Endorses Mike Cox
Rick Snyder's Ten Platitudes
The Truth Comes Out
Hoekstra on the Bailout
Hoekstra: Who, Me?
The Race for Governor
Mackinac Conference 2009
Snyder Wants 'Cool Cities'
Tom George's Health Care Plan
George for Governor?
Taxes On the Record

Latest Governor Poll

Mike Cox has the narrowest of leads in the race for governor. The latest Detroit News poll:

26.4% Cox
25.6% Hoekstra
20.2% Snyder
11.6% Bouchard
_1.8% George
14.4% Undecided

How is Snyder planning to win?

Jake Suski, spokesman for Snyder, said the campaign will attempt to extend its reach to independent and Democratic voters this week. "Rick has broad appeal to cross over and independent voters who vote in this primary," he said.
Have Republicans had enough of democrats picking our nominees?


This update focuses on the culture war.

Gary North: Don't Send That Outraged Email
Steve Sailer: Demography: Is It Good For The Jews…Or The Americans?
Phyllis Schlafly: Social Issues vs. Fiscal Issues
Gary North: The American Tombstone Is a TV Set
Thomas Sowell: Justice and Injustice
John Gizzi: Tom Pauken Offers His Take on Modern GOP
Steve Sailer: David Willetts’ The Pinch: U.K. Cabinet Minister’s Discreet But Devastating Dissent On Immigration
Gary North: The Politics of Revenge
Thomas Sowell: A Duty to Die
Thomas Sowell: Race and Resentment

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Local News

Local news around Kalamazoo.

GOP state Senate hopefuls trade jabs on taxes, insurance
Portage parents question cost of China trip: School district says Confucius Institute at Western Michigan University picking up tab
Public pensions, illegal immigration hot topics at final GOP gubernatorial debate
Candidates for dean of Western Michigan University medical school to visit for interviews
Fred Upton endorses Tonya Schuitmaker in 20th District state Senate race: Congressman stresses lawmakers experience
Portage Public Schools Board of Education to be led by Kevin Hollenbeck, Melanie Kurdys
Demolition begins on Western Michigan University's Sangren Hall
Challenger Jack Hoogendyk says Congressman Fred Upton refuses to debate him

Assault and Battery

President Obama traveled to Holland to tout the benefits of taking money from taxpayers, damaging the economy, and giving it to politically correct corporations, in this case manufacturers of batteries for cars that don't exist. In all likelihood, as soon as the government subsidies dry up, this factory will go under.

Life Saver: The Battery?
Stimulatingly Unpresidential in the Wolverine State


That's the percentage of Americans who either think that the Arizona immigration law is 'about right' or 'doesn't go far enough', according to a CBS News poll.

New Arizona Law on Illegal Immigration
23% Goes too far
17% Doesn't go far enough
57% About right

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cox Supports Arizona Law

Cox plans push to support Arizona immigration law

Lansing -- Attorney General Mike Cox says he plans to file a legal brief supporting Arizona's immigration law, and he's asking other state attorneys general to join him.

He tells them in a letter sent today the U.S. Justice Department's legal challenge to the law "seeks to remove the power of the states" to enforce their own immigration statutes.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Who Killed the Constitution?

Who Killed the Constitution?: The Fate of American Liberty from World War I for George W. Bush
Thomas E. Woods
Kevin Gutzman

Books detailing government violations of the Constitution are common on the American right. Paleolibertarians Woods and Gutzman take pains to chronicle some lesser known, yet still significant abuses. They explore how the executive branch has routinely violated the Constitution and how all too often, the courts have rationalized these abuses.

Woods and Gutzmans' exposition is usually well-done, if sometimes rather dry. The book covers Woodrow Wilson's wholesale violation of freedom of speech, Harry Truman's attempted seizure of the steel mills, Brown v. Board of Education, forced busing, federal road spending, FDR's gold seizure, prayer in public schools, the draft, medical marijuana, presidential power over foreign policy and war, and presidential signing statements.

But probably the most controversial part of the book is their contention that the Constitution is dead; that it provides no restriction on government whatsoever. This goes to far. While it is true that it has regularly been violated, the Constitution continues to provide a benchmark for debates over the powers of the federal government. While the right side doesn't always win, this avoids the need to argue every debate over government power from first principles. It seems hard to argue that we would have nearly as much freedom of speech or gun rights without the first and second amendments, for example. The authors seem sympathetic to the position of some libertarians that the Constitution has no authority since citizens today did not agree to it.

While their analysis goes to far, Who Killed the Constitution remains a worthy catalogue of government abuses.

The Conscience of a Conservative

The Conscience of a Conservative
Senator Barry Goldwater

It has been fifty years since Senator Barry Goldwater's political manifesto, The Conscience of a Conservative, was published in 1960. The book was a big seller in its day, and did much to help Goldwater's bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 1964.

The book outlines many standard conservative positions on the issues of the day. It covers the Constitution, welfare, education, civil rights, 'states rights', and the Soviet Union. Most of the content holds up pretty well a half-century later. Some specific figures do seem pretty quaint (a federal budget of 100 billion dollars!). Conscience is mostly correct, but does contain a few errors (for example, rising wages do not cause inflation).

The Conscience of a Conservative remains an important book in the history of conservatism.

Google Books: The conscience of a conservative

Grant Taylor Runs for State Rep.

Grant Taylor, the brother of Kalamazoo County Commissioner John Taylor, is apparently running a write-in campaign for state house in the 61st district. Grant attempted to file for the race after dropping out the race for John's commission seat, but had not lived in the district long enough. John decided to seek reelection after dropping out of the race for Tom George's state senate seat.

The only democrat on the ballot in the 61st district will be Thomas Batten. Batten appears to be unpopular with the local democrat establishment. Grant Taylor has been endorsed by the local branch of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union.


This update focuses on liberalism.

Dan Flynn: Black Panthers’ Troubled History
Phyllis Schlafly: Elena Kagan Should Be Rejected
Dan Flynn: Robert Byrd & His Racist Party
Phyllis Schlafly: A Good Father's Day Gift
Phyllis Schlafly: Fundamentally Transforming the United States
Phyllis Schlafly: Obama Missed A Great Chance
Phyllis Schlafly: Prepare for More Problems with Judges
Patrick Cleburne: Will The Southern Poverty Law (And Investing) Center Return Its Madoff Money?
Jesse Walker: The Myth of the Menacing Militias
Claire Berlinski: A Hidden History of Evil

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

Friday, July 09, 2010

We Will Overcome

Some day we will rise up and overthrow the tyranny of the morning people!

Morning People Run the World

Mackinac Center Profiles 6th District

The Mackinac Center's Michigan Capitol Confidential profiles the 6th district congressional race.

MichCapCon Profile: The 6th Congressional District Primary


When the Club for Growth, a D.C. free market political organization, recently released its scorecard ranking all members of Congress on their "pro economic growth" voting records during 2009, MichCapCon profiled the scores for the Michigan delegation (see: The survey assigned weighted values to votes on taxes, budgets, earmarks, and more to arrive at a measurement of how well they believed that each lawmaker supported economic freedom.

Upton's score was 64 percent, compared to an 82.7 percent national average for all Republicans in Congress. Only one Republican from Michigan beat the GOP national average, and Upton's score placed him third in the Michigan GOP delegation.

The same survey for 2008 was the subject of an earlier MichCapCon profile of the Michigan delegation (see: In this instance, Upton posted a 39 percent score, compared with a GOP national average of 71.9 percent and a national average for all members of 36 percent. He was the lowest-scoring Republican in Michigan.

The "RePork Card" is a different ranking put out by the same organization - the Club for Growth. This measures the willingness of all members of Congress to vote against earmarks in the federal budget. The 2009 scores for the Michigan delegation were profiled in a January MichCapCon article (see: Nationally, 22 members of Congress received a perfect score of 100 percent, having voted to remove each earmark used in the ranking. The median national score for all Republicans was 69 percent, and three Republicans from Michigan exceeded this mark. Upton's score was 53 percent.

An earlier MichCapCon article examined five specific earmarks that received national attention due to the outrage they produced from the public (see: Time Magazine listed three of them on a list of its ten most outrageous earmarks of the year for 2008. Among the votes profiled were those to kill an appropriation for a research center in Maine that bragged about creating dog treats made of lobster, and a museum for mules in California. Of the five earmarks profiled, Upton voted to strip two of them out of the budget.

Monday, July 05, 2010

POLITICAL UPDATE--News from Abroad

This update focuses on news from abroad.

Xioada Xioa: Seditious Dreaming
Phyllis Schlafly: Obama STARTS to Disarm America
James Zumwalt: Pyongyang Sank South Korean Warship -- Now What?
James Zumwalt: Torpedo Sunk South Korean Ship
Mark Steyn: A slow-burn bonfire of liberties
Pat Buchanan: Chinese Acting Like 19th Century Americans—Americans Acting Like Utopian Ideologues
Douglas Sylva: Aging World Population is Profound Crisis

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Simon Says

Kalamazoo Central grad Simon Boehme, 18, to run for University of Michigan regent

KALAMAZOO — In a graduation speech before President Barack Obama earlier this month, Kalamazoo Central High School student Simon Boehme joked about running for president in 2048.

Now the 18-year-old has announced his first candidacy for elective office: He’s collecting signatures to get on the ballot for the University of Michigan Board or Regents.

If elected, Boehme said, he would be the first current student ever to serve on U-M’s eight-member governing board.
Wouldn't this be a conflict of interest?

The filing deadline has already passed for Boehme to run as a Republican or Democrat, so he must run as an independent — which is fine with him.

“I don’t want to be a Democratic or Republican” in this race, he said. “I’m totally focused on being the student voice.”

To get on the Nov. 2 ballot, Boehme needs to collect 30,000 signatures by July 15. He acknowledges that will be a challenge, but said he has assembled a group of about a dozen teenagers, including K-Central classmates and friends in Flint and Eaton County, to help out. He’s also created a website — — to solicit signatures.
A dozen teenagers collecting 30000 signatures in two weeks? Yeah, that'll happen.

This blog knew something wasn't right with this kid.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Upton's Light Bulb Ban

Deroy Murdock's column discusses Congress' impending ban on light bulbs.

The All-American Light Bulb Dims

You know who championed that bill in Congress? Fred Upton.

20. Energy Policy HR 3221 (Roll Call 832). The House passed legislation regulating lights and appliances (including a ban on the incandescent light bulb), creating new programs for alternative energy sources, imposing more regulations on energy companies and mandating vastly increased use of “renewable” energy. ACU opposed this extension of governmental authority over the economy, but it was adopted August 4, 2007 by a vote of 241-172.TOP

NRA Alert

Michigan Senate Passes “Eddie Eagle” Legislation

Michigan Senate Passes “Eddie Eagle” Legislation

Friday, July 02, 2010

On Thursday, July 1, the Michigan Senate passed Senate Bill 1402 by a 34-4 vote. This legislation now moves to the State House for consideration.

Authored by State Senator John Gleason (D-27), SB1402 would make gun safety programs available to school districts for inclusion in curriculums in Michigan. The purpose of NRA’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program isn’t to teach whether guns are good or bad, but rather to promote the protection and safety of children if they come across a firearm in an unsupervised situation.
Please continue to check for more information as this bill moves through the State House.

Earthquake at WMU

Canadian earthquake felt in Kalamazoo and across several states in U.S.

KALAMAZOO — His wife thought he was a bit nuts.

An earthquake... in Kalamazoo... really?

But Allen Schwenk said he definitely felt the earthquake that struck hundreds of miles away in the Ontario-Quebec border region of Canada on Wednesday afternoon.


At around 1:45 p.m., Schwenk was in his fifth-floor office on the Western Michigan University campus, doing a little bit of reading.

In the hallway, the math professor heard people in a discussion over whether the building was swaying.

That’s when Schwenk realized he felt like he was on a boat — like Everett Tower was gently rocking back and forth.

“It wasn’t severe,” he said. “Nobody thought this was threatening. It was like, this seems weird.”

Detroit and Dave Bing

Detroit: The Once Great Shining City Upon a Hill