Saturday, November 25, 2006


This update focuses on immigration. The recent elections sent a mixed message, with voters electing and defeating both good and bad, while restricting immigration via ballot initiative. Congress recently passed a law creating a border fence. The illegal invasion continues as Congress contemplates both border security and amnesty.

Mark Krikorian writes that Senator Mel Martinez misunderstands the election.
Pat Buchanan shows that the election was not an endorsement of amnesty.
Michelle Malkin provides a realistic view of the border fence act.
Phyllis Schlafly asks whether a border fence will actually be built.
Ian De Silva writes that liberals have flooded America with third world immigrants.
Jerome Corsi writes that open borders undermine national security.
Ron Paul writes that birthright citizenship damages America and should be eliminated.
Ron Paul writes that amnesty would expand the welfare state, costing America billions.

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Tancredo for President?

Congressman Tom Tancredo is considering running for President of the United States. He would give more attention to the immigration issue and provide a conservative alternative to John McCain and Rudy Giuliani.

Tancredo, the author of "In Mortal Danger" championing the need to secure America's borders and enforce immigration laws, says he is getting closer to his own run for the presidency, calling it a "distinct possibility."

"As I've said before, if no one rises to the bait maybe--and that bait being the immigration issue--if no one will take it on, I guarantee you I will do it. Right now, I have not seen anyone who I think can go the distance who has taken that on. I'm telling you it certainly looks more and more like that's a distinct possibility. And I'm not being coy, I just don't know for sure. We have to take a careful look at it because for one thing, you don't want to hurt the issue itself. You do not want to have a problem with doing it, and if you don't do well, then people will say, 'Look, if Tancredo didn't do well in X state, that means that the issue is of no great value.'"
A Tancredo bid also raises the possibility that the North American Union could become a major political issue.

Tancredo receives strong support from grassroots conservatives, many of whom hope he runs for President.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Culture of Corruption Update

It hasn't taken Democrats long to remind America why they should never run Congress.

Currently, the Democrats' ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee is Rep. Jane Harmon of California, who is pro-defense, at least by Democrat standards. However, incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is planning to pass over Harmon and make Rep. Alcee Hastings chairman of the Intelligence Committee.

Who is Alcee Hastings? Well, from 1979 to 1989, he was a federal judge. Why is he no longer a federal judge? Because in 1989, he was impeached by the House and removed from office by the Senate for taking bribes to fix sentences of mobsters. The House vote was 413-3. He is one of only six federal judges in the history of the United States to be removed from office. Among those who voted to impeach were future Speaker Nancy Pelosi, majority leader Steny Hoyer, and pretty much all the Democratic leaders who were in Congress back then.

If Hastings had been a Republican, that would have been the end of the story. But in 1992, Hastings ran for Congress. Voters in south Florida's 23rd Congressional district apparently thought that a judge who was impeached and removed from office for taking bribes to fix mobsters' sentences would make a great Congressman. They elected him to the first of eight (so far) terms.

In case you missed it, THIS IS WHO NANCY PELOSI WANTS TO PICK TO LEAD THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE. She can't claim that he was framed, or that the right-wing smear machine is attacking another decent man, or whatever excuse liberals usually use. She voted to impeach him.

This controversy is reminiscent of the last Democrat to lead the House Armed Services Committee, Ron Dellums. Dellums was a Stalinist who took a variety of pro-communist positions during his long career in Congress. These included defending Fidel Castro and Grenadan communist Maurice Bishop, opposing many weapons systems, trying to cut the military by 75%, and eliminate the CIA. When he first became the most senior Democrat on the committee, Republicans challenged his position. The house held a vote, and only about ten Democrats voted against letting Dellums hold the position.

Dellums retired in 1998, apparently unhappy with the Republican victories in Congress. If Republicans hadn't been elected in 1994, he'd probably still be the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee. Just this month, he was elected Mayor of Oakland, California.

Incidentally, Dellums was succeeded by his aide Barbara Lee, who in addition to being the only member of Congress to vote against war with Afghanistan, was also a leader of a branch of the American Communist Party.

There may be some corrupt Republicans, but the Republican Party doesn't defend and promote the people whose misdeeds have been exposed.

Democrats may claim to love America, but the facts say otherwise.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


This update focuses on money and debt. Government spending continues to expand. With the national debt growing out of sight, the government prints more money to alleviate it. This inflation of the money supply reduces the value of our money and makes us all poorer.

Will Grigg compares real money to government-printed paper money.
Lew Rockwell argues that monetary policy takes away our freedom.
Will Grigg explains how ballooning debt is affecting America.
Jim Rutz writes that the real national debt is 65 trillion dollars.
Ron Paul explains that inflation is a hidden tax on America.
Ron Paul explains how the Federal Reserve makes us poorer.
WorldNetDaily writes that the Federal Reserve is a fraud that rips us off.

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

This is Treason

Another story that hasn't gotten nearly enough attention is the revelation the Senator Ted Kennedy conspired with the KGB to defeat Ronald Reagan for reelection in 1984.

Interestingly, Reagan's detractors worked hand-in-hand with the Soviets to discredit the President's foreign policy, according to the recently released, groundbreaking book, Crusader.

In Crusader, author and Grove City College Professor Paul Kengor reveals a KGB letter written during the Cold War, which exposes Sen. Edward Kennedy's offer to help Soviet leaders. Kennedy offered assistance in formulating a public relations campaign to counter President Reagan's anti-Communist efforts and hurt his presidency.

According to Kengor, a letter dated May 14, 1983, was sent from the head of the KGB, Viktor Chebrikov, to Yuri Andropov, who was at the time general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party.

In the letter, Chebrikov discusses his interpretation of Kennedy's offer. U.S. Sen. John Tunney traveled to Moscow on behalf of Kennedy to negotiate the partnership with Andropov and other communist leaders.

After President Reagan left office, Tunney acknowledged that he played the role of intermediary, not only for Kennedy but for other U.S. senators, writes Kengor. Moreover, Tunney told the London Times that he had made 15 separate trips to Moscow.
Bryan Preston provides more details.

There's a new book on Ronald Reagan making the rounds, The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism. Its author, Paul Kengor, unearthed a sensational document from the Soviet archives. That document is a memo regarding an offer made by Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts via former Senator John Tunney, both Democrats, to the General Secretary of the Communist Party, USSR, Yuri Andropov, in 1983. The offer was to help the Soviet leadership, military and civilian, conduct a PR campaign in the United States as President Ronald Reagan sought re-election. The goal of the PR campaign would be to cast President Reagan as a warmonger, the Soviets as willing to peacefully co-exist, and thereby turn the electorate away from Reagan. It was a plan to enlist Soviet help, and use the American press, in unseating an American president.
Preston interviews Paul Kengor here.

This Human Events article by Herbert Romerstein reported this story in 2003.

Incidentally, Yuri Andropov, the man Kennedy collaborated with, headed the KGB when it ordered the assassination of Pope John Paul II, head of the Roman Catholic Church, of which Kennedy is theoretically a member.

This is treason. By the strictest definition of treason there is, this is giving aid and comfort to the enemy. But now that Kennedy has been exposed, patriotic liberals who love America too will demand that he be removed from the Senate and tried for treason. Right?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Mackinac Center for Public Policy

The New York Times has a profile of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan. Believe it or not, the article is pretty fair. It's all worth reading, but this part was particularly interesting.

From Midland, Mr. Reed runs Mackinac (pronounced MAK-in-aw), the largest of the right's state-level policy institutes. The center started its training program eight years ago, and it has alumni in nearly every state and 37 countries, from Uruguay to Nepal. Among them was a Mongolian who went on to become prime minister, putting his free-market training to work by privatizing the national herd of yaks.

When the Mackinac Center was founded in 1987, there were just three other conservative state-level policy institutes. Now there are 48, in 42 states, joined in an association called the State Policy Network. At least three former Mackinac presidents are now in the House, Representatives Mike Pence of Indiana, Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Tom Tancredo of Colorado, all Republicans.
He provides a timely reminder to conservatives in the wake of the election losses.

He attributes the Republican losses in last week's election to party's failure to cling to its small-government philosophy and argues the drift shows the need for groups like his. "This underscores the importance of investing in ideas first and foremost, because politicians will almost always disappoint," Mr. Reed said.
While elections are important, the results will always fall within a range determined by the prevailing political culture. Turning conservative ideas into reality requires creating a conservative culture. That requires education, a task that must be pursued year round.

Michigan Politics

The election is over, but political maneuvering continues.

There had been a tough fight Michigan Republican Chairman shaping up between current Chairman Saul Anuzius and Third District (Kent, Barry, Ionia Counties) Chairman David Dishaw. However, Dishaw has dropped out of the race. Saul's blog has a letter from Dishaw endorsing Saul for another term. A few other people had been mentioned for the post, but this likely seals Saul's position. I can only presume that Dishaw calculated that he wouldn't have enough support to win the race. I saw some good points and some questions on both sides, so I hadn't been supporting either candidate.

The Michigan legislature has picked its new leadership. The new Michigan Senate majority leader will be Republican Mike Bishop of Oakland County. The Senate Democratic leader will be Mark Schauer of Calhoun County.

The new Michigan Speaker of the House will be Democrat Andy Dillon of Redford Township. Interestingly, Dillon has been endorsed by Right to Life. He beat more liberal candidate Andy Meisner.

Dillon had been opposed by liberal billionaire activist Jon Stryker.

As reported in MIRS yesterday, Kalamazoo billionaire and gay-rights activist Jon STRYKER, who kicked in about $5 million for the Democrats in legislative races was a major force behind an 'anyone but Dillon' move (See "Stryker Quid Pro Quo?'" 11/13/06).

Insiders told MIRS today that the anti-Dillon effort was hard-hitting and nasty. The phrase "Andy Dillon the Corporate Villain" has been used and others who had latched their wagons onto Dillon's were framed as "being evil."
Stryker's actions prove that the one-man "Coalition for Progress" has no interest in outsourcing, the minimum wage, or Tom George's medical practices. The real issue for Stryker has always been gay rights.

Jon STRYKER, the left-wing Kalamazoo billionaire who helped give the House Democrats their newly won majority, apparently wants a few things in return. The story is that Stryker, who spent about $5 million on legislative Democratic candidates, wants the House to forward an agenda that includes same sex-benefits and other gay-rights issues.

At the current moment, the House Speaker's race has been boiled down to Rep. Andy DILLON (D-Redford) and Andy MEISNER (D-Ferndale). MIRS has learned that both believe they have the numbers to win the Speaker's race, but added together their collective numbers equal 63, more than the 58 members that actually will be in their caucus.

According to well-placed sources, Dillon is the only Speaker candidate who has refused to sign-on to Stryker's agenda. This has resulted in Stryker starting an anyone-but-Dillon push within the House Democratic leadership elections. However, writing the gay rights issues atop their House agenda could be more than a little problematic for the newly won Democratic House majority caucus.

"He (Stryker) is saying Dillon isn't progressive enough," a Democratic source told MIRS. "But in two years, the key battles for the House will be in districts with Republican majority bases. If we go ahead with his agenda, our people in those districts will be out on their ears two years from now."
Republicans chose current Speaker Craig DeRoche to continue as their leader.

Young Republicans are also getting in on the political action. There may be a contested race for Chairman of the Michigan Federation of College Republicans. Current MFCR Chairman Dan Carlson could be challenged by MSU student Steve Japinga. Carlson may be interested in becoming College Republican National Committee Chairman.

Meanwhile, many prominent young conservatives in Michigan have signed a letter demanding tougher border security.

Jack Hoogendyk's victory has been certified, but his opponent is still refusing to concede.

Western Michigan University President Diether Haenicke shares his thoughts on the passage of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative.

I predict that the number of minorities in higher education will not decrease. They will be distributed differently among state institutions according to motivation and their academic preparation. Minority numbers at U-M will probably decline. Minorities will now enroll in greater numbers at other state institutions where their preparation will allow them to succeed and where they will actually graduate. I consider that a positive.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

RIP Milton Friedman

American Economist and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman passed away today. He was a promoter of political and economic freedom in the form of free markets and spoke of the dangers, waste, and damaging nature of government. Here are what some people are saying about him, and some clips of him speaking:

Larry Kudlow - The Hand of Friedman
Club for Growth - Milton Friedman, RIP
Open Mind - Milton Friedman on Limited Government
Free to Choose - The Tyranny of Control
Free to Choose - Created Equal
Free to Choose - Who Protects the Consumer?
Free to Choose - The Failure of Socialism

Enjoy all, and rest easy, Professor Friedman.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Why Republicans Lost

November 7 was a disaster for the Republican Party. Republicans lost control of both houses of Congress. They lost 6 seats in the US Senate, 30 seats in the House of Representatives, and 6 Governorships. This disaster extended to all levels of the ballot. Republicans lost control of at least nine state legislatures.

I had planned to write a summary of national races, but once again Robert Novak has already done an excellent job. I strongly encourage you to read his report.

I'll state my thesis now: This election was a defeat for the Republican Party. It was not a defeat for conservatism.

One indication of this is the many ballot initiatives decided Tuesday. They were generally a bright spot for conservatives. Seven of eight states passed amendments protecting traditional marriage. Colorado rejected "domestic partner" benefits. Ten of twelve states passed amendments protecting against eminent domain abuse. Arizona passed four measures to fight illegal immigration-all with more than 70% of the vote. Michigan passed the MCRI and rejected mandatory education spending. California rejected an oil tax increase.

There were some tough losses as well, including the failure of the South Dakota abortion ban. Opponents heavily outspent proponents of this measure. Still, on balance ballot measures were a plus for conservatives.

We find proof that voters did not endorse liberalism in the fact that Democrats in close races did not run as liberals. Liberals still want to promote abortion, confiscate guns, create "gay marriage," give amnesty to illegal immigrants, raise taxes, increase spending, surrender our national sovereignty, and generally wreck America. But that's not what Democrats ran on.

Most ran as pro-gun. Some claimed to be pro-life. Most advocated securing the border. Most criticized wasteful spending in Washington. Most opposed "gay marriage." In short, Democrats ran as conservatives. Most of them were lying, of course. A few (Brad Ellsworth, Heath Shuler) may actually be conservatives. Time will tell. But the fact is that Americans generally embraced a conservative critique of the incumbents in Washington.

For Americans to reject conservatism, the Republicans in Congress would have to have been conservative. They were not. Whatever their rhetoric, the record shows that the Republican Congress was not conservative. While I don't have exact statistics, the facts are that Congress spent a large majority of its time passing budget-busting spending bills, stuffing them full of pork projects, and passing more bills to take away our freedom. Their actual results in advancing the conservative agenda come down to a handful of relatively trivial measures and a lot of empty promises.

Calamity strikes the good as well as the bad, and so some genuine conservatives ( John Hostetler, Jim Ryun, Gil Gutknecht, JD Hayworth) went down to defeat. Still, it is interesting to note that Republican losses were concentrated most heavily amongst moderate Republicans. Moderates who lost were Chafee, Fitzpatrick, Kelly, Bass, Bradley, Johnson, Leach, Simmons, and Weldon. In addition, Boehlert and Kolbe retired and Foley resigned.

Meanwhile, several new conservatives were elected. The candidates that the Club for Growth supported in contested primaries all won. They are staunch conservatives Jim Jordan, Adrian Smith, Bill Sali, Doug Lamborn, and Tim Walberg. Michelle Bachmann and Peter Roskam won races that were rated as toss-ups.

So why did voters reject Republicans?

One major factor was corruption. Robert Novak details the many corruption scandals in his report. Two committed criminal behavior and were rewarded with prison (Cunningham, Ney). Others committed actions that were not criminal but clearly unethical (Foley, Sherwood). Others seem to have been unjustly tainted (Hayworth, Burns). And in many cases, the truth remains unclear. These scandals doomed a number of districts. It's not entirely clear how much corruption resonated beyond these specific districts, but it had to hurt.

Of course, the "culture of corruption" was hardly limited to Republicans. Democrats William Jefferson, Cynthia McKinney, and Alan Molohan had scandals of their own. The Republicans didn't defend members who were proven guilty, as the Democrats often did during the days when they were in power (e. g. Gary Studds, Dan Rostenkowski). Democrats continue to defend members with serious misdeeds in their past, including Ted Kennedy, Robert Byrd, and John Murtha. But none of this excuses what Republicans did.

Voters also rejected the war in Iraq. Was this not a rejection of conservatism? There is a key distinction that needs to be made here. When we refer to "the war," there are two distinct things that we mean. The first was removing Saddam from power in Iraq. The second is the occupation of Iraq, along with nation-building and imposing democracy. The first was highly successful and fairly popular. The second has been unsuccessful and highly unpopular. While this policy has been seen as conservative, it is not. It is actually rooted in neo-conservatism, which is a particular type of liberalism. There is nothing conservative about the utopian ideas of nation-building and a universal desire for freedom, which I have criticized in the past.

Voters also rejected the out-of-control spending in Washington. While Republicans still talk about fiscal conservatism, the facts are clear. The federal government now spends 2.7 trillion dollars per year. Spending, including non-defense spending, has increased faster under Bush than under Clinton. The real national debt, including unfunded entitlements, is something like 60 trillion dollars. Republicans only made the problem worse by passing the new prescription-drug entitlement. Government takes roughly half of everything that we earn.

Many Democrats criticized earmarking and wasteful spending in their campaigns. When Democrats say you're spending too much, you know you're in trouble.

Voters are angry with the refusal to secure the borders and fix our broken immigration system. Almost no Democrats in close races ran promoting amnesty, while many advocated securing the border. Polls and ballot initiatives have shown the voters' anger about this issue.

The Republican Party has lost its way. Republicans came to Washington to implement conservative policies, but too many of them became more interested in promoting themselves. On Tuesday, voters sent them back to the minority. Of course, a Democratic Congress won't provide more conservative policies (though gridlock may lead to less spending). But this may have been the only way to put Republicans back on track. If Republicans want to reclaim power, they will need to rediscover the values they forgot.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


This POLITICAL UPDATE focuses on the 2006 election. Republicans lost badly at all levels. Voters rejected the corruption scandals, idealistic intervention in Iraq, profligate spending, and open borders. Voters rejected the Republican party, not conservatism.

Robert Novak summarizes the losses and explains the reasons for them.
Marc Rotterman explains that conservatives should reject neoconservatism.
Ivy Sellers shows that voters rejected big government spending.
John Hawkins explains the factors that led to the Republican loss.
Pat Buchanan explains why voters rejected Republicans.

The election will impact several specific issues.
David Kopel explains the impact of the election on gun rights.
Gun Owners of America also analyzes the election results.
Mark Krikorian analyzes the impact of the election on immigration.
Stanley Kurtz says that marriage won on election day.

I analyze the results for the gubernatorial race, the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, Michigan races, and local races.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Analysis: Michigan

This was a tough election for Michigan Republicans. We can be glad that it wasn't even worse. The results for all the Michigan races can be found at the Detroit News.

The gubernatorial race is the subject of a separate post.

Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow beat Republican Michael Bouchard by 57% to 41%. Bouchard trailed DeVos by about 1%. This race was uphill from the beginning, against a well-funded incumbent Senator. Bouchard had to deal with a tough primary with Keith Butler that left him short on cash.

Bouchard hit many of the right themes in his campaign, particularly immigration and government spending. But the national environment was too difficult, and Bouchard didn't have enough money to hammer them home. Stabenow's smartest move in office was voting against the Senate amnesty bill, which let her run against the President and shamelessly lie about her vote to give Social Security benefits to beneficiaries of an amnesty. The theme of ineffectiveness was weaker, given that some people don't consider not passing bills to be a bad thing.

Republican Attorney General Mike Cox defeated his Democratic challenger Amos Williams. He won 54% to 43%, a significant improvement over 2002, when he won by only a few thousand votes. Cox benefited from a weak Democrat challenger. He may well have lost if Democrats had nominated Scott Bowen or even Alexander Lipsey.

Republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land easily defeated Democrat Carmella Sabaugh. She won by 56% to 42%, about the same margin as in 2002. Both Land and Cox are likely Republican nominees in future races.

As expected, both incumbent members of the Supreme Court won easily. Democrat nominee Michael Cavanaugh got 40%, and Republican nominee Maura Corrigan got 34%. Interestingly, Republican nominee Marc Shulman got only 8%, compared to Libertarian nominee Kerry Morgan's 7%.

Republicans lost all eight education board races, with four incumbents defeated. Democrats consistently got about 1.6 million votes, to about 1.4 million votes for Republicans. Interestingly, the top Republican vote-getter was staunch conservative Tom McMillin. Local Republican Susan Brown was next, trailing McMillin by about 2000 votes. I wonder if Brown would have done better if she had campaigned on support for the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative.

Michigan Republicans held all nine of their seats in Congress. Conservative Republican Tim Walberg won the 7th district race against Democrat Sharon Renier. He won by a relatively close 51% to 46% margin. This is a big victory for conservatives, as Walberg defeated moderate Republican Joe Schwarz in the primary. Schwarz had refused to endorse Walberg, and filed as a write-in candidate at the last minute. Schwarz received 1935 votes, slightly less than 1% of the vote. Why the Democrats didn't target this seat remains a mystery. If they had recruited a credible candidate and raised money, they would have had a good chance to win.

In other races, Republican Joe Knollenberg won by only 6%. Thaddeus McCotter won by 11%, and Mike Rogers won by 12%. In the 6th district, Republican Fred Upton defeated Democrat Kim Clark by 61% to 38%, a few points below his usual margin. Libertarian Ken Howe got 1%.

In a bright spot, Republicans held the State Senate. They now control it 21-17. Republicans never had a chance of picking up seats, the only question was how many they would lose. The answer was only one. Republican incumbent Laura Toy was defeated in her Livonia area district. Republican incumbents Tom George and Jerry VanWoerkem won narrow victories in Kalamazoo and Muskegon. Republicans John Pappageorge and Roger Khan won very narrow open seat victories in Troy and Saginaw. Marginal changes in Troy and Flint districts mean the senate will be equally conservative. It will serve as a bulwark against liberal policies in Michigan. In four years, Republicans will have a good chance to pick up several Democrat seats.

Republicans lost six State House seats and control of the State House. They went from a 58-52 majority to a 52-58 minority. They lost incumbents Rick Baxter and Leslie Mortimer in Jackson County and David Farhat in Muskegon. They lost open seats in Grand Rapids, Plymouth/Northville, and the Thumb. Several incumbents survived close races.

With the defeat of Laura Toy, the Republicans in the Michigan legislature are 100% Right to Life endorsed. Although Republicans lost the State House, it retains a pro-life majority. Pro-life Democrat Andy Dillon is a serious candidate for House Speaker.

Proposal 1, the conservation fund, passed easily, 81% to 19%. Without visible support or opposition, it seems to have passed based on support from the state legislature and some newspapers.

Proposal 2, the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, is the subject of a separate post.

Proposal 3, dove hunting, failed 69% to 31%. This vote was based on emotion rather than reason. The opposition ran an effective campaign, with many letters to the editor. The proponents needed to tie the opponents to animal rights extremists. A few ads did this, but not enough.

Proposal 4, restricting eminent domain, passed easily, 80% to 20%. This was an easy choice for voters.

Proposal 5, the K-16 initiative, failed 62% to 38%. This proposal started with a large lead in the polls, but I knew it would fail once everyone came out against it and voters considered the cost. This was a money grab by the teachers unions. A similar money grab by several medical organizations failed four years ago.

Overall, it was a bad year for Michigan Republicans, but it could have been worse. We can be proud of reelecting Land and Cox, holding the State Senate, passing the MCRI and stopping K-16. Principled conservatism can help us to reclaim Michigan.

Analysis: Governor

Republican Dick DeVos lost Michigan's gubernatorial race decisively to Democratic incumbent Jennifer Granholm. She got 2,139,839 votes to his 1,606,058. That's 56% to 42%. Granholm won 54 of 83 counties. DeVos lost about 5% from what Dick Posthumus won in 2002. About 600,000 more people voted than in 2002, and 500,000 of those votes went to Granholm. What had appeared to be a close race turned into a rout.

So why did DeVos lose?

The national environment turned against Republicans to the point that there probably wasn't any way to win. Independents overwhelmingly voted Democratic. Still, the loss didn't have to be as bad as it was.

One problem that I noted early on was the danger of a self-funding candidate. Despite all the hype, they rarely win. In 2004, 25 candidates spent more than a million dollars of their own money on their own campaigns. Twenty-four of them lost. The only one who won beat one of the other 24. There have been a few high-profile exceptions like Jon Corzine and Michael Bloomberg. The simple truth is that voters don't like rich people. Despite the hype, money can't buy elections, and it can't make you a good candidate, either.

It would be too harsh to say that DeVos was a terrible candidate. He just wasn't nearly as good a candidate as Granholm. She may not be a competent governor, but she looks good, makes good speeches, and performs well in debates. Meanwhile, DeVos' first debate performance was a disaster. He did better in the other two, but few people saw those.

More seriously, DeVos never made a compelling case for why he should be governor. He pointed out Michigan's uniquely bad economy and blamed the governor. But he never really explained why it was her fault or what he would do differently. Meanwhile, after years of promising government miracles, Granholm eventually more accurately blamed systematic factors like the bad state of the auto industry. I don't doubt that Granholm contributed to the state's problems, or that DeVos would have been a better governor. But government cannot make the economy do well.

DeVos also completely ignored social issues in his campaign. He gave up many valuable opportunities to hammer the Governor on her record. She vetoed the partial birth abortion ban, opposed the concealed carry law when it was passed, opposed the state marriage amendment, and opposed limiting the expansion of gambling. On all these issues, a clear majority of Michiganders were on the opposite side of the governor.

Instead, he focused solely on Michigan's bad economy, hoping to ride it to victory without having to talk about "divisive" social issues. In a better year, with a different opponent, that might have worked. But he gave up the opportunity to peel voters away from Granholm on all these issues.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that DeVos should have focused exclusively or mainly on these issues. The economy was definitely the number one issue. But it was not the only issue.

I suspect that Jack Hoogendyk would have gotten more votes than DeVos did. Next time, Republicans should nominate a proven vote-getter for Governor, like Terri Land, Mike Cox, or Candice Miller.

Analysis: Local

Tuesday wasn't a good night for Kalamazoo County Republicans, but given the disaster at the top of the ticket, it could have been a lot worse. The results cited in this analysis are available at Election Magic. Results for 2004 and 2002 are also available.

Dick DeVos lost badly at the top of the ticket. He won just 17 of 111 precincts in Kalamazoo County, losing even normally Republican areas like Portage, Richland, and Schoolcraft. He won only Texas township and three other small townships. He did increase his vote total by about 1000 over what Dick Posthumus got four years ago, but Granholm increased her total by about 16,000. I'll give my thoughts on the gubernatorial race in a separate post.

The results were similar in the US Senate race, with Mike Bouchard losing the county by a wide margin. Mike Cox and Terri Land both won Kalamazoo County comfortably, though. Republicans lost all the ed board races in this county, though Kalamazoo native Susan Brown barely missed second place in the U of M race. The MCRI won in Kalamazoo County, though its win was the narrowest of any county in the state.

State Senator Tom George fought off a tough challenge from State Rep. Alexander Lipsey in the 20th district. His margin of victory was cut from 13% last time to 3% this time. Still, he won what was the number one targeted seat in the state. He worked hard and ran an effective campaign that triumphed on election night.

In the 60th House district, Robert Jones easily defeated Armando Romero 70% to 30%. Romero won only one precinct in Cooper Township. Why anyone ever thought this race was winnable is a mystery. In the 61st district, State Rep. Jack Hoogendyk saw his margin of victory cut by about 5%, but he held on to win by 473 votes. In the 63rd district, State Rep. Lorence Wenke saw his margin fall by about 5%, but managed to win without much difficulty.

Conservatives scored a victory in the nonpartisan judicial race, where Pam Lightvoet easily defeated liberal Martin Glista. She won about 58% of the vote. Interestingly, there were about 18000 more votes in the State Senate race than in this race, which probably didn't hurt. Running nonpartisan was a definite advantage for a conservative in this election.

The transportation tax increase passed by about 2500 votes, winning 53.4% of the vote. Not surprisingly, it passed in the areas served by the bus system--Kalamazoo, Portage, Parchment, Kalamazoo and Oshtemo Townships; and failed everywhere else. Proponents were very effective in making this a debate about the Car-a-Van program, which was never the real issue. It seemed as if every user of this program wrote a letter to the editor. Opponents, mainly the KCTA, did what they could with limited resources. When are voters ever going to stop wishing more misery upon themselves?

Democrats picked up two seats on the Kalamazoo County Commission to win a 9-8 majority. Republicans Bob Brink and Joe VanBruggen lost to John Nieuwenhuis and Leroy Crabtree, respectively. Coincidentally, these were the two Republicans who voted for the recent gay rights ordinance. They blamed conservatives for their defeat, but their losses were consistent with voting patterns in their districts. Their districts were the two closest victories for Republicans last time. Brink got 48.9% and VanBruggen got 49.3%, compared to 55.4% and 53.9% in 2004.

Republican Tom Barrett lost to incumbent Democrat John Patrick Taylor by a margin of 2446 to 1993. The margin was 54.2% to 44.2%, with 1.6% going to US Taxpayers candidate Shane Odean. Barrett actually won twelve more votes than Taylor did in 2002, but turnout was significantly higher this time. Tom ran an excellent campaign, and everything except the final result went right. The year and the district were just too Democratic. It's likely that many straight-ticket voters never even got to this part of the ballot. If this had been a nonpartisan race, Tom would have won.

Republican Tom Drabik received a scare in Portage, winning only 50.6% of the vote. Jeff Balkema got only 51.5% in his race. Brandon Moore received 29.1% in his race.

This wasn't a good year for Kalamazoo County Republicans, but it could have been a lot worse. Republicans consistently lost about 5% of the vote from previous elections. A lot of hard work went into reelecting Tom George and Jack Hoogendyk, and for that at least we can be proud.

Analysis: MCRI

One bright spot amongst the dismal returns Tuesday night was the passage of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. It won by a definitive 58-42 margin. It won all but three counties: Wayne, Washtenaw, and Ingham. You can see the county results here. It got almost as many votes as Granholm, and a larger percentage.

What makes this victory so amazing is that it came in spite of the opposition of virtually every powerful and influential institution in the state. The entire Democratic party, much of the Republican leadership, labor unions, colleges, big business, "religious leaders," all the newspapers, and more came out against the MCRI. And we beat them all.

One of the ironies of the campaign was that the ads for One United Michigan warned people, "don't be fooled by a big-money media campaign from California." What campaign? The MCRI was outspent 3-1. Its victory proves how much people hate racial preferences.

I can't say that I was overly impressed with the few pro-MCRI ads. Still, Ward Connerly and Jennifer Gratz deserve credit for leading this campaign to victory.

It's still a mystery to me why so many Republicans thought they had to oppose the MCRI. Maybe if they had supported it, they wouldn't have lost as badly. Then again, given how the election turned out, "Republicans oppose it too" may have turned into a selling point.

Henry Payne and Roger Clegg add their thoughts.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sour grapes!

Looks like Rogers isn't throwing in the towel quite yet, check it out.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

One last thought before you vote

So I've been keeping an eye on the TV ads that have been coming out for this election. Given that I used to be looking into a career in broadcasting it's been something of interest for me. But anyways, I've come to notice one thing about Granholm's ads. And I think it's one of the main reasons why we have to vote for DeVos.

The focus of Granholm's ads are around DeVos and his business practices at Amway. This is except for her ad in regards to abortion (which I've already proved to be irrelevent). Not once does Granholm make a legitimate attack on DeVos' platform. It's all about China, how much he's invested overseas, how many jobs he's cut in Michigan. Stop and think about that for a moment.

I don't know what's all behind the China deal or any of the other business practices made by DeVos. But let's assume all of Granholm's attacks are right. DeVos sent jobs to China and cut employment here to save a buck.

The fact of the matter is DeVos made all his business decisions based on the economic of Michian. The economic state Granholm helped make. DeVos' position at Amway meant making the best deicisions for Amway. So if anything, the attack ads by Granholm are pointing out an example of a company leaving Michigan because of better business opportunities elsewhere. Because Granholm couldn't help get Michigan's economy working well, the people in charge of Amway had to move their business elsewhere.

And if these attacks on DeVos are right, then that makes him an even more prime candidate for governor. He would know WHY his company moved to China and what factors would have changed that decision for his company. I would imagine those reason would transfer over to many of the other businesses that left Michigan.

So if Granholm is right and DeVos' company sent all these jobs over seas, then I think DeVos is easily the best candidate for governor. He knows why companies are leaving our state. And we haven't even brought up all he did for Grand Rapids as part of the economic development committee (and I've heard nothing but good things in regards to what that committee did). So I would like to thank Jennifer Granholm. She's pointed out to me why it's so important to improve our economy. Jobs are being sent outside of our state. Who better to get to the root of why than someone who supposedly did that very thing?

On the ballot: Michigan

Michigan will see many important races on the ballot Tuesday.

The premiere attraction in the gubernatorial race between Democrat incumbent Jennifer Granholm and Republican challenger Dick DeVos. The campaign has focused on the poor state of Michigan's economy. Granholm continues to come up with plans, but Michigan still sees no results. This race is expected to be very close.

Following close behind the race between US Senator Debbie Stabenow, the Democrat incumbent, and challenger Michael Bouchard, the Sheriff of Oakland County. Stabenow is a doctrinaire liberal. She even voted to protect social security benefits for illegal immigrants under a proposed amnesty plan. She has tried to make an issue out of Canadian trash imports. Stabenow has been leading, but this race could be closer than expected.

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, the Republican incumbent, faces Democrat challenger Amos Williams. Cox should win a clear, though not huge victory. He benefited when Democrats nominated a weak candidate thanks to their convoluted racial politics.

Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, the Republican incumbent, faces Democrat Carmella Sabaugh. Land should win this race easily.

Two seats on the State Supreme Court are on the ballot. Republican Maura Corrigan and Democrat Michael Cavanagh are almost certain to be reelected. Republican Marc Shulman is challenging Cavanagh.

There are also lower-profile races for the State Board of Education and U of M, MSU, and WSU university boards. You can see the entire statewide Republican ticket here.

Michigan's fifteen seats in the US House of Representatives will also be decided. All of the incumbents of both parties are safe and should be reelected by comfortable margins. The one open seat is the 7th district, where conservative Republican Tim Walberg defeated Republican incumbent Joe Schwarz in the primary. Walberg faces Democrat Sharon Reiner. Walberg is likely to prevail, though he may win by a small margin.

Control of the Michigan Legislature is also at Stake. Republicans hope to retain their majority in the State Senate by holding a few highly contested seats in the Kalamazoo, Troy, Saginaw, Muskegon, Monroe, and Livonia areas. Control of the State House will also come down to a few key seats in areas including Jackson, Muskegon, Monroe, Mackinaw, Grand Rapids, and Lansing. Lists of the key races are available here.

Michigan will also decide five statewide ballot propositions.

Proposal 1 would reserve funds for conservation in the Michigan Constitution.

Proposal 2, the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, would ban discrimination based on race, sex, and national origin in government hiring, contracting, and college admissions. The MCRI has been endorsed by the WMU College Republicans. I have also endorsed it. It has been attacked by a number of people, including the radical communist group BAMN. It has been falsely accused of portending a national disaster, being a secret plot by Californians, imperiling our economic well-being, and being backed by fraud. It has a been leading, but below the key 50% mark. It is more likely than not to pass.

Proposal 3 would allow the hunting of mourning doves in Michigan. This article gives a good summary of the issue. There is no good reason to forbid this hunting. It has been trailing badly, and is likely to fail.

Proposal 4 would restrict the use of eminent domain. It could not be used to aid private developers, and landowners would have to be well-compensated to guard against undervaluing land. This post gives a good summary of the issue. It should pass comfortably.

Proposal 5, the so-called K-16 initiative, would guarantee inflationary spending increases for Michigan schools and colleges. It would cost between 500 and 700 million dollars in its first year and guarantee a large tax increase or painful cuts in necessary services. It is sponsored by the teachers unions, which have supplied 93% of the money for the campaign. The WMU College Republicans oppose this measure. This article summarizes why it would be a disaster for Michigan. It has been trailing, and will probably fail.

On the ballot: Local

Kalamazoo County will see a number of races on the ballot tomorrow.

The most important is the 20th State Senate district race between incumbent Republican Tom George and Democrat State Rep. Alexander Lipsey. This is the most closely contested Senate race in Michigan. It has been marked by huge independent expenditures by liberal gay-rights activist Jon Stryker.

In the 60th State House district, Democrat former Kalamazoo Mayor Robert Jones faces Republican Armando Romero in this heavily Democratic district.

In the 61st State House district, Republican incumbent Jack Hoogendyk faces Democrat Julie Rogers. Jack is a conservative hero and friend of the WMU College Republicans. He has been attacked by the Kalamazoo Gazette. He should win a clear, though not overwhelming victory.

In the 63rd State House district, Republican incumbent Lorence Wenke is safe in his race against Democrat Phyllis Smith.

In the nonpartisan race for Circuit Court Judge for Kalamazoo County, conservative Pam Lightvoet faces liberal Martin Glista. Glista has been endorsed by the county Democratic Party.

Most of the seventeen Kalamazoo County Commission seats are contested, but only a few are expected to be close. The Republicans' best chance of picking up a seat is in the 4th district, where Republican Tom Barrett has waged a vigorous campaign. Barrett has been endorsed by the Kalamazoo Gazette and the WMU College Republicans. Republicans are also trying to oust several other Democrats.

Democrats are attempting to unseat several Republicans on the County Commission. Only two of these races are likely to be close. Republican Bob Brink faces Democrat John Niewenhuis in Oshtemo. Republican Joe VanBruggen faces Democrat Larry Crabtree in Comstock. Brink and VanBruggen may have alienated some Republicans as the only two Republicans to support the recent "gender identity" ordinance.

Kalamazoo County voters will also face a proposed tax increase for the local government transportation system. The local bus system is poorly run and this tax increase deserves to be rejected.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


This update focuses on Islam. Tensions continue between America and the Muslim world. Islam continues to gain territory and converts. Terrorists cite Islam to justify their crimes. The debate continues whether Islam justifies terrorism and conquest.

Serge Trifkovic analyzes how the example of Mohammad guides Islam.
Robert Spencer writes that Islam demands death for apostasy.
Michelle Malkin asks how many Muslims support Jihad and suicide bombing.
William Jasper analyzes the threat from Iran and warns against appeasement.
John Gizzi writes that terrorists could control an independent Kosovo.
Pat Buchanan reviews Islam's long history of war against the West.
Don Feder gives ten reasons why Islam is not a religion of peace.
Terry Jeffrey writes that democracy can't stop Islamic terrorism.
The Brussels Journal shows that Islam is conquering Europe.

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


One of the main opponents of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, which will appear on the ballot in November, is a group known as BAMN. This is short for By Any Means Necessary, a reference to black radical Malcom X. By Any Means Necessary is in turn short for "Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights And Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary." (Quite a mouthful!)

This group is regularly quoted in the media in opposition to the MCRI, as in this recent article. However, the media never seems to explain exactly who this organization is and what it stands for. Awhile back, I decided to do some digging and see what I could find out about this group.


Scouring the headlines, one soon notices that BAMN is associated with radical and controversial tactics. They have filed numerous lawsuits in state and federal court attempting to prevent voters from having their say on the measure. These suits have consistently been rejected as baseless and without merit.

When the state Board of Canvassers was considering the measure, BAMN bussed in protesters from Detroit. They staged a riot at the meeting, overturning tables and yelling slogans. They succeeding in sabotaging the meeting, but a state court ordered the measure onto the ballot and held in contempt the Democratic commissioners who refused to follow the law.

Incidentally, when BAMN similarly bussed in a gang of thugs from Detroit to protest an earlier meeting, they took the opportunity to loot a Lansing convenience store.

BAMN also apparently engaged in an effort to stage the "fraud" which has been widely used as an argument against the MCRI. They publicly intimidated signers of the petition in an effort to scare up allegations of fraud. They ended up getting a Clinton-appointed federal judge to go along with their allegations.


A deeper investigation turns up even more disturbing information about BAMN. The FBI has investigated BAMN for terrorist activities. Who exactly is BAMN?

The answer: BAMN is a front group for a Trotskyist communist political party called the Revolutionary Workers League.

For anyone not versed in the history of communism, Leon Trotsky was a chief disciple of Vladimir Lenin who took part in the Russian Bolshevik Revolution. He assisted Lenin in imposing socialism on Russia and murdering millions of innocent Russians. Following Lenin's death, he lost a power struggle to another of Lenin's confidants, Joseph Stalin. He was forced to flee Russia and spent years on the run before finally being murdered by one of Stalin's agents in Mexico.

Trotskyism is one of the major variations of Marxism. The Revolutionary Workers League (RWL) is a small Trotskyist political party. This page provides background information about the history of the group. (Scroll down.) It is a communist splinter group.

Searching for information about the group turns up an old Geocities site that appears to have been abandoned. It declares:

You've reached the web site of the Revolutionary Workers League, U.S. sympathizing section of the International Trotskyist Committee (ITC).
Its logo features the classic hammer-and-sickle intertwined with the number '4'. Wikipedia describes this as the symbol of the Troskyist Fourth International.

The site features a broken link to the International Trotskyist Committee. Its "Current Campaigns" page features a number of front groups including BAMN, the Fighting Workers Slate '97, and my favorite, the Homeless Power Union. Its Areas of Organizing page features the ever-popular "Anti-Fascist Campaigns" along with "The Fight Against Racism." This page has a link to "Defend Affirmative Action by Any Means Necessary." This page has pictures of early BAMN rallies. The website also contains a manifesto entitled "Socialism and Black Liberation: A Statement by a Black Revolutionary from the Revolutionary Workers League."

RWL also had a newer version of its website at this address: When I originally investigated BAMN, this was a functioning website with similar but more up-to-date material, along with listing BAMN as amongst its campaigns. The site seems to have been taken down, and the domain has been taken over by a web-ad company. Searching for this site turns up Google caches of a few documents from the site, including this partial history of trotskyism.


But how do we really know that BAMN is affiliated with RWL? In this section, I am indebted to the research of moderately liberal blogger Rob Goodspeed, who formerly attended the University of Michigan. He has complied a page of information on BAMN.

Goodspeed has written a report criticizing BAMN which provides significant evidence that BAMN is a front for RWL. In addition, he has assembled a sheet documenting the extensive overlap between RWL's various fronts and proving that the same people run RWL and BAMN. He has also assembled a list of links to news stories documenting BAMN's activities over the years.

A recent article in Front Page Magazine confirms some of this information.

One of RWL/BAMN's leaders, Luke Massie, confirmed to an acquaintance of mine that he is a Trotskyist.


Before its current activities in Michigan, BAMN had an affiliate in Berkeley, California during the years when Proposition 209, the model for the MCRI, was a hot issue. Examining its activities there provides more interesting information. This page contains a list of links to BAMN's activities in California.

Interestingly, BAMN's activities included disrupting another pro-affirmative action group. They also tried to take over a local teachers union. BAMN has a long history of using violence in pursuit of its goals.

So what is BAMN really up to? Goodspeed's theory, which I find likely, is that BAMN's agenda has nothing to do with "affirmative action." Instead, RWL is following the time-tested communist tactic of creating front groups to draw in unsuspecting people who they can use to do their work for them and attempt to radicalize and recruit to the Trotskyist cause.

For this to succeed, it needs to be the only available option for pro-affirmative action activism, which explains its attempts to disrupt other such groups.


BAMN has had a fair amount of success in getting support from "mainstream" liberal groups. With the exception of a few liberal bloggers, the left seems to have adopted a united front attitude--that is, no group on the left will ever be criticized.

A search of the website of One United Michigan, the "mainstream" anti-MCRI group, shows no condemnation of BAMN. BAMN receives only a few (relatively favorable) mentions in copied news articles.

To my knowledge, the information about BAMN's communist affiliations has never appeared in a mainstream media newspaper in Michigan (I'm not counting college newspapers). I have seen the group mentioned dozens, if not hundreds, of times. These references are usually neutral or favorable. Why doesn't the vaunted watchdog press expose this group for what it is?

If the MCRI were secretly being sponsored by David Duke, you can bet that the media would make sure that this was reported far and wide. As it is, opponents of the MCRI have attempted to demonize the supporters of the MCRI as a bunch of Californians. As I have written, it's not true, but that's another story.

It doesn't appear the BAMN has succeeded in recruiting many members to RWL. But they are having a real impact on the debate over racial preferences in Michigan. If Michigan had the liberal activist judges of New Jersey or Massachusetts, BAMN may well have succeeded in stopping the people from having their say.

Of course, Trotskyists aren't likely to take over Michigan any time soon. But thanks to the media and liberal organizations, they are having a real political impact in Michigan. It would seem that liberals have no problem with that.

A Coaseian solution to the North Korea problem

At a meeting last month, the issue of how to deal with a nuclear North Korea was brought up. The general conclusion was that we’re in quite the bind. When a country goes nuclear, you are extraordinarily limited in your military options for that country; if we were to attack North Korea, eventually they would be backed into a corner where using their nuclear weapons was their only option for defense. Diplomacy also seems to be failing us as Kim Jong-il has a rich history of simply ignoring every sanction and breaking every deal made with him to stop proliferation. Sanctions seem to be an option, but Kim will likely use the threat of using his weapons to force us to appease him with aid (as he does already) and North Korea is already so broke and desperate that Kim may be forced sell a nuke to some terrorist organization just to keep the country afloat.

So what is the solution? In that same meeting I proposed an option based on the Coase theorem. Basically what the Coase theorem states is that if anyone is doing something that creates an externality (and using nuclear weapons is one of the biggest negative externalities around) you can prevent them from doing that action by compensating them for not doing it. Kim is getting some sort of benefit from having these nuclear weapons. He is extorting the US and world community for aid. He is getting more respect. This benefit to Kim and North Korea can be monetized (expressed in terms of money). Essentially, the benefit for having nuclear weapons to North Korea is worth to Kim some price, and to stop him from having these weapons, we must simply compensate him that price.

So why not buy the nukes from North Korea? We already mentioned about how North Korea is incredibly poor (see for yourselves) and most of the benefit from having the nuclear weapons is simply to extort aid from the world community. Furthermore, we already discussed the danger of Kim selling a nuke to some terrorist organization; if he’s so hot to sell the weapons, why not buy them ourselves?

The fact of the matter is we need a solution to the nuclear North Korea problem. War doesn’t seem to be an option (and even if they weren’t nuclear, after Iraq I don’t think it would really be on the table). Diplomacy isn’t working even with Chinese pressure, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Kim and North Korea obviously need the money as their country is incredibly poor. The price of paying for these nukes is easily offset by the savings we gain in a) not having to engage in another arms race, b) not having to fight another war, c) being able to trade with North Korea (as opposed to not trading if we were to institute sanctions), and d) the increased value of assets in the world economy due to the absence of a nuclear threat.

A Coaseian solution to our problems is one that is both effective and efficient. We risk no American lives in the process and our citizens, as well as those in South Korea, Japan, and other allies can sleep easier knowing a madman no longer has nuclear weapons.
Why I'm a WMU student

Ever wonder why we pay so much for our college education? John Kerry lets us know what will happen to us if we don't.