Four of Seven Dwarves: Consistent, Courage, Resolute, Cheerful

“Consistent” (Paul), “Courage” (Santorum?!), “Resolute” (Willard), “Cheerful” (Newt)

Those are the one word answers the GOP candidates gave CNN’s John King to explain themselves.

All I could think of where the seven dwarves remaining. (Bachmann? Crazy. Perry? Dummy. Cain? Slutty.)

That said, I’m not sure what service men and women think of Santorum claiming credit, presumably for his socially restrictive policies while never serving, is all that courageous. And Willard? “Resolute”? I guess that’s Mormon for “multiple choice,” right?

These people are clearly all too delusional to have their finger on the nuclear button.

MDP: Take Advantage of Taxpayer Funded Right to Screw with GOP Primary

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Michigan Democratic Party Chair, Mark Brewer just sent this video out with the following message.

Friends,

Republicans have extended an invitation to all Michigan Democrats to crossover and vote in the Michigan GOP presidential primary this Tuesday, February 28th. Yesterday, Republican Senators Rick Jones and Arlan Meekhof said they’d welcome Democrats to crossover. You can check out the invitation for yourselves by watching the video clip below.

Any Democrat who takes Senators Jones and Meekhof up on their offer will still be able to participate in the Michigan Democratic Party’s presidential caucuses on May 5, 2012.

If Democratic crossover votes affect the results of the GOP presidential primary next Tuesday, the Republicans will only have themselves to blame.

Sincerely,

Mark Brewer

Chair, Michigan Democratic Party

Now, as someone who proudly voted for John McCain in the 2000 primary, I’m all in favor of using MI’s cross-over primaries to screw with GOP primaries.

The thing is, I’m not convinced the presumed choice here–supporting the medieval Rick Santorum–is really a good idea. Sure, it might make Mitt Romney go bankrupt sooner. But I think Democrats underestimate Santorum’s ability to run against Obama.

And frankly, while Santorum’s regressive views are exposing the GOP brand in its true form, I’d sort of like debate to get beyond whether women have no rights, or just a few.

Vagina’s Revenge: MI’s Women Changing their Mind about Rick Santorum

Go figure. Us womenfolk don’t like people to tell us what to do with our bodies.

PPP poll, February 13:

PPP Poll, February 19:

And here’s an interesting detail from the February 19 poll: MI’s Catholics don’t like their fellow Catholic, Rick Santorum (or, for that matter, Catholic convert Newt Gingrich):

Rick Snyder: “Look at Me!!! And, Oh, BTW, Mitt Was Born in MI”

I was pretty gleeful when Romney’s folks hinted yesterday that Rick Snyder was going to endorse today. While Snyder’s approval levels are improving from abysmal levels, he’s still unpopular. Plus, he’s a rich man from liberal Ann Arbor; Snyder’s own biography will emphasize precisely the things conservatives distrust in the rich Governor from liberal MA. Most of all, it raises the likelihood we’ll have a replay of 2000, when McCain won the primary here largely because people saw it as a way to damage Governor John Engler, who had aggressively campaigned for George W. Bush.

Boy, the party must have pushed Snyder hard to endorse here, because there’s little upside to it for him.

I’m even more amused now that I’ve read what Snyder said in his endorsement.

The whole endorsement is just over 600 words long. Of that, the first 62 words blather about Snyder, not Mitt. After a transition finally bringing him around to Mitt, Snyder spends the first 130 words of his description of Mitt to explain that Mitt was born here.

Let’s start with one important fact. Our country has never elected a president born and raised in Michigan. Mitt Romney was born in Detroit. His father served with distinction as governor. Before that, he was president of American Motors. Mitt grew up with the prospects of the auto industry and of Michigan discussed around the dinner table.

He has deep ties to our state. Mitt understands the challenges confronting Michigan as few Americans do.

Snyder spends a paragraph transitioning back to MI again (effectively saying, “Mitt’s a businessman like me”–which brings me back to my earlier point about how Snyder will emphasize the reasons the GOP base is suspicious of Mitt). Here’s where it gets interesting: Snyder, as he often does, claims credit for things he had little to do with (notably, MI’s turnaround), and then says Obama–who should get some credit for it–is screwing up nationally.

Michigan has laid out an impressive game plan for success. Across both peninsulas, Michiganians are working together with relentless positive action to move our state forward. We’ve made the tough decisions and bold reforms that are rejuvenating our state, such as restoring Michigan’s fiscal integrity.

By eliminating a nagging $1.5 billion budget deficit last year, we’re now in the position of recommending strategic, long-term investments in priority areas such as education, economic development and infrastructure. Simply put, we’re getting it right and we’re getting it done.

In contrast to Michigan’s blueprint, Washington is still at the drawing board. Deficit spending continues to run rampant. For the first time since World War II, the nation’s total debt burden exceeds the size of our entire economy. With Washington running trillion-dollar annual deficits, our nation’s recovery has been the slowest since the 1930s.

Washington is not on a sustainable course. Mitt Romney will change the direction.

Another quarter of Snyder’s “endorsement” claims credit for himself and promises to put the plans that had been working before he cut them–education and business development–back into place.

Only then, almost two-thirds of the way into his “endorsement,” does Snyder get around to telling Michiganders (actually, he calls us “Michiganians,” which is a bit of a departure for him) why they should vote for Romney–aside from the fact that he was born here and therefore MI might claim credit for him if he were to win. Vote for Romney, Snyder gets around to exhorting after he spends large chunks of his op-ed begging readers first to support him, because Romney will cut taxes and address the deficit and not force all states to adopt RomneyC– I mean, ObamaCare.

I hope all Michiganians will join me in supporting the candidacy of this favorite son of our great state.

It doesn’t exactly read like a full-throated endorsement, even while Snyder’s pitching that Romney will do for the US what Snyder claims credit for doing for MI. More like a squeal of “don’t hurt me!!!!” while reminding us what we already know, that Mitt was born here.

Vote for Mitt Romney, Rick Snyder says, because his accident of birth is one of the best things I can think to say about him.

Mitt Doesn’t Even Know When MI’s Recession Started

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I thought I was going to be all-Santorum all-the-time until the primary on February 28. Apparently Mitt has gotten the jump on Santorum, though, here with an ad that proves he knows so little about the state he was born in that he doesn’t even know when the depression here started.

The ad starts with the suggestion that people who go to the North American Auto Show–an event attended by people from all over the world–makes you a Michigander.

But it’s the word salad that comes later that is really funny.

President Obama did all these things the liberals have wanted to do for years. And the fact that you’ve got millions of Americans out of work, home values collapsing, people here in Detroit in distress. I want to make MI stronger and better. MI’s been my home.

The implication is, of course, that Obama did a bunch of liberal things–like investing in new technologies in MI–and as a consequence millions lost their jobs, home values collapsed, and people in Detroit got distressed.

There’s a big problem with that. Both unemployment and foreclosures started going up in MI well before Obama became President. Unemployment peaked in June, just 5 months after he got elected. And while home prices everywhere peaked in 2006, in MI they started falling a little ahead of the rest of the country (though I’m not about to defend Obama’s housing policies). MI actually entered this recession in 2003, not 2007.

If you blame a state’s woes on the guy who was president when those woes started (you don’t, but that’s the word salad argument he is trying to make), then Mitt should be talking about how Bush, by enacting all these things conservatives have wanted to do for years, doomed MI.

That wouldn’t be the truth, either. But at least it would reveal a passing familiarity with the recent plight of the state you’re trying to claim as home.

Will MI Democrats Champion Women’s Rights as Santorum Surges through Our State?

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I noted the other day how tired I am of MI’s Democrats asking women to ignore the anti-choice stance of so many of our Democrats, a stance which led to MI Democrat Bart Stupak dictating what kind of medical insurance women across the country can get.

Well, in the next 2 weeks, the party will have the opportunity to take the same stand the President just took and the same stand former Governor Jennifer Granholm, herself a Catholic, has taken, solidly in favor of health equality for women.

Over the next two weeks, of course, Rick Santorum will be wandering around our state,  trying to score a decisive victory against Mitt Romney by preaching that women should not be encouraged to work outside the home, that women should not serve in combat for fear it would distract their male counterparts from doing their jobs, that women who are raped should “make the best” of it by carrying their rapist’s child, and, yes, that health insurance should not cover contraception. In short, Santorum will be calling for downright regressive treatment of women as a way to beat Mitt in his home state.

Not even Republican women support these extreme stances.

All that might not matter for Democrats–we might have the luxury of sitting back and laughing at their contest–except for one thing. Rick Santorum will also, as he has been doing, distinguish himself from Mitt Romney by championing manufacturing. Our issue. Manufacturing.

And while his policies wouldn’t actually help manufacturing as much as, say, cracking down on China’s cheating would, he will nevertheless be speaking to the plight of those working in manufacturing, even while preaching against the autonomy and equality of women.

If Santorum wins–as he is poised to do–this year’s electoral match-up may actually get decided here in MI. This year’s electoral match-up may get defined, at least locally, in the next two weeks. And that means it’s time to lay out what Democrats–what all people who believe women should not be second class citizens–stand for.

While Santorum wanders around our state we absolutely have to remind voters that the new manufacturing jobs were brought by Granholm’s outreach and Obama’s energy investments. We absolutely have to remind Michiganders that Santorum also opposed the auto bailout.

But I hope we’re also making that case that whereas Santorum believes in the dignity of just half the electorate, there is a party that champions–or damn well better champion–the dignity of all the electorate.

A Race to Get Excited About: Trevor Thomas

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I noted last week that we might have an exciting candidate–Trevor Thomas–running against Justin Amash to be my congressman.

He has officially filed his papers to run. So I now have something to officially get excited about for this election.

His video, above, really captures why I think he’ll be such a good candidate.

That’s my city!

(Well, there are a few shots of Battle Creek, home of Kellogg’s, which is also in the district; also, don’t tell anyone, but my building has a cameo in the video but Trevor doesn’t know that).

The video captures the mix that Grand Rapids is: factories, lots of them closed, and an increasingly funky downtown and neighborhoods. It’s a great mix of Midwestern grit and funky revival, a mix of struggle and optimism.

And that’s what Trevor’s story is too: he comes from a family of working people. But he’s also thrived in this newer economy. He will fight for the working people in the area who have been struggling, but he’ll also be able to lead in new directions.

Here’s his website. You’ll be hearing more about Trevor from me.

My Lady Parts Will Be Voting This Year

A funny thing happened when I wrote that I was excited that Trevor Thomas might run for the 3rd Congressional District because he was involved in one of the most exciting underdog victories progressives have had in recent years.

A local Democratic activist (he’s known me for years but apparently hasn’t followed what I’ve been up to) left a comment telling me I had to have the humanity to talk to some people in West Michigan before I spoke about the race. He followed that with a comment claiming I’ve just lived in Grand Rapids for 16 days so I “simply do[] not have a well-informed take on West Michigan.” (This, at a time when I’ve got a post up reminding Pete Hoekstra about the Laotian-Americans in his own town.)

Now, for any other Democrats who don’t want to bother reading my posts or consulting the voter rolls or lists of MDP members with West Michigan addresses, let me correct the mistaken impression that I’ve lived here just 16 days: I’ve lived in West Michigan for 18 months. I moved to Holland in August 2010, then moved to Grand Rapids last April because I liked its mix of artsy culture and Midwestern grit. As I walk every day though some of the most Democratic neighborhoods in the city, I’ve learned to love the city.

Sure, I haven’t lived in Grand Rapids long, but I’m the kind of person who has been moving to this city of late. I’m the kind of person who has begun to make the city more Democratic. I’m one of many kinds of people local Dems need to understand if they want to understand how their city is changing and how we can win the 3rd CD in November.

I probably shouldn’t have used the word “bigot” in my original post and I apologize that I did. But let me explain why I was upset by the impression that the local party doesn’t want a pro-choice candidate on the Democratic ticket here in Grand Rapids. I’ve lived in MI a long time now. I’m very familiar with the argument that says there’s a particular kind of Midwestern Democrat that is great on economic issues but may be anti-choice, the argument that says women just have to suck it up and accept that.

But then, in 2009, one of those otherwise great Dems, Bart Stupak, decided to risk blowing up the Health Insurance Reform Bill to make sure he got to dictate to women in every congressional district in this country what kind of medical care they could get. One of those otherwise great Dems made it the law in this country that there should be medical insurance, and then separate medical insurance for the lady parts.

Since that time, women have been told more and more they just have to suck it up, sacrifice autonomy over their own medical care because other issues are more important. Our Democratic President ignored the science on Plan B. Planned Parenthood has become the new ACORN. And Republicans have pursued the latter effort even at the expense of cancer patients.

So I apologize I used the word bigot. But let me make one thing clear: I will not take kindly to the Democratic party telling me paternalistically I just have to suck it up, it knows what’s best for Grand Rapids and me and my lady parts. There are far too many women in this country who are losing medical care for things that go far beyond abortion and contraception for that to be acceptable this year.

My lady parts will be voting this year.

Pete Hoekstra Mocks His Asian-American Neighbors

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When I first saw Crazy Pete Hoekstra’s racist ad, I thought the woman in it–who is supposed to depict a Chinese woman who speaks English well–looked more Thai or Laotian than Han Chinese. And while Hoekstra claims that her parents are “100% Chinese” there are unconfirmed reports that the actress is actually Laotian-American.

Which would be particularly galling, given that Hoekstra’s home town has a significant population of Laotian-Americans (note, Holland Township is basically the northern suburbs of Holland city).

Holland Township’s population is 10.1 percent Asian, which includes mainly Laotian and Cambodian families, but also Filipino and Vietnamese. That’s more than double the concentration of the U.S., and five times more than Holland city.

Some Laotians have converted to Christianity, but many still practice Buddhism. The Holland area has two Buddhist temples — one on 112th Avenue and another on Port Sheldon — each with several monks.

Both temples have around 120 members, according to Nace Phimthasak, President of the Lao Buddhist Temple of Holland. But as manufacturing companies downsized, many families moved out of state, putting an added burden on other members, who continue to support the temple financially.

Laotian refugees came to Michigan in the aftermath of the Vietnam war and were often sponsored by Dutch Reform Church communities–Hoekstra’s own faith.

The Laotian community (along with the growing Latino population) gives the Holland area an increasingly diverse feel. Not only can you get superb “Thai” food, but where I lived on the edge of the cornfields and just a mile or so from the MI office of the right wing Family Research Council, I lived closer to a Buddha statute than to one of Jesus (the statue was at the community center described as being planned in the article–in thoroughly American fashion, it watches over a sand volleyball court where members play for hours on warm Sundays).

Hoekstra’s ad was bigoted and wrong in any case. But it turns out he may have been making fun not of a distant Asian community in California or China, but his neighbors and former constituents in Holland.

If Hoekstra can’t even figure out that his neighbors are good Americans, then he’s not the guy to be fighting to defend the American Dream.

MI Politics Gets Interesting: Trevor and Crazy Pete

Just interrupting pre-game to bring two pieces of interesting political news from MI.

First, we might finally have exciting news in my congressional district, where the party has thus far failed to recruit anyone to run against the unpopular Justin Amash even after his own party put a target on his back by making the district more Democratic. One of the key players in the successful DADT fight, Trevor Thomas, is thinking of challenging Amash. Now, local Dems are worried about an out gay and pro-choice man carrying the Democratic banner. Even aside from the bigotry implied by that worry, they don’t seem to be thinking about the benefit of having such a proven campaign winner carrying the banner of working people. Don’t our working men and women deserve the same kind of successful advocate that our gay service members got? (Trevor was also involved in Jennifer Granholm’s thumping of Dick DeVos in 2006, so he knows how to win locally, too.)

Trevor is reportedly going to make his decision in the next few days. If and when he announces, you can expect to hear more from me about him, because I’d be genuinely excited about this race.

Meanwhile, speaking of bigots, here’s the stupid, racist ad I’m going to be treated to during the Super Bowl. Read more

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