Saturday, September 16, 2006

More Harsh Words From Schwarz

Congressman Joe Schwarz picked up his pen once again for a column in Sunday, September 17's Washington Post (apparently available early online).
I am the political equivalent of a woolly mammoth, a rarity heading for extinction. Yes, I'm a moderate.
I can't tell you how important it is to read this column in full. I'm going to offer a few highlights and some commentary, but you really should go and read it yourself.
Our plight today is dire. Even though more than half of all American voters consider themselves centrists, the Republican and Democratic parties are finding themselves controlled to an ever-greater extent by their more extreme elements. On the Republican side, the "religious right," the quasi-theocrats, are infiltrating the party power structure quite effectively. On the left, the moneyed Eastern establishment and California liberals shrilly tell Americans that the sky is falling, that the world hates us and that Republican policies are all wrong. Yet they offer no viable alternatives. As a result, they have managed to alienate much of the traditional working-class Democratic base, good people caught between Republicans they don't like and Democrats who have abandoned them. What's a moderate to do?

In my case, lose an election.
(All emphasis added)

Schwarz does not mention Tim Walberg, the radical conservative that defeated him, by name-- to do so would invite criticism that he's just a "sore loser"-- but we all know who he's talking about. The interest groups that helped Walberg win the nomination are not what the Republican Party once was. They are not the ones that knew how to govern through so many administrations since 1860. The religious right now controls the GOP, one of many reasons why a unified Republican government, with the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court, can't govern effectively. They've alienated intelligent, dedicated moderates that knew how to get things done.
My loss had nothing to do with his popularity, or national issues such as the war in Iraq. What did me in was voter apathy, and moral absolutist groups supported by a vitriolic negative-ad campaign funded by organizations on the far right.
I'm sure everyone in the district remembers the ads that Walberg's associates ran during the primary. I wish that I had been forward-thinking enough to save a few of them when they were available online-- especially the ads run by the Club for Growth-- as evidence of their negative campaign. If anyone out there did save them, or might perhaps be able to find them online, let me know.

After 16 years in the Michigan Senate and service as mayor of Battle Creek, I was elected to Congress in 2004. But my moderate positions on Roe v. Wade (I do not support overturning it, believing that a woman has the right to choose) and embryonic stem cell research (I strongly support it), as well as my general feeling that religion and moral and ethical issues are private matters, did not sit well with those who would mix church and state in a way that is antithetical to the principles of separation on which our country was founded -- in other words, the hard right.

So in the Republican primary, the opposition got its vote out. The effort was funded, probably to the tune of $1 million or so, by the Club for Growth, a Washington outfit supported by plutocrats nationwide who apparently have nothing better to do with their money than give it to an organization that stands for nothing -- though it says it's "anti-tax" -- and likes to play in elections in which it has no logical interest.

From a Republican endorsed by President Bush, John McCain, and prominent GOP interest groups like the NRA and the US Chamber of Commerce, these are some pretty harsh words for the dominant forces of the Republican Party.
It was a classic example of a motivated minority -- just 7.8 percent of the Republican electorate districtwide -- nominating a congressional candidate. The moderates stayed home in droves, felt horrible the next day, and vowed never to miss another vote. They will. The hard right won't. And fewer and fewer sensible "let's take the broad view" candidates will have any chance of being elected.

But politics needs a middle. Communication across the aisle in Congress and in legislatures is the sine qua non of effective public policy formulation. The reluctance -- at times, the near-total unwillingness -- to consider the other side's position has hamstrung political bodies from coast to coast.

It isn't about seeking a "sensible center" as some Washington consultants seem to believe. Instead, it's about a willingness to work with others, regardless of party, in creating an effective government that works for all its citizens. For example, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) embodies many liberal values. Yet he is able to reach across the aisle on countless issues in order to get things done. Why? Because he listens to his constituents.

Tim Walberg and the extremists of the GOP don't do that. Instead, they listen to the groups that dump $50,000 into the campaign on their behalf just days before the election. Isn't it nice to know that there's an alternative?

If "Joe Schwarz is a liberal," then surely any 7th District Democrat must be wildly leftist, right? Well, let's look at Democratic nominee Sharon Renier on the issues.

SHARON RENIER, Democrat: Says she believes women should have a choice, but wants abortion to be as rare as possible. Renier says she has a different perspective on the issue than other candidates because she is a woman.
Energy and the Environment:
RENIER: Says she “absolutely” believes in tax breaks for alternative energy, and also wants to look at incentives to homeowners who use efficient technologies to reduce energy usage. Opposes drilling in ANWR, saying: “Can’t we just leave our hands off something?”
RENIER: Believes the U.S. needs to begin pulling troops out of Iraq and allowing the Iraqis to concentrate on rebuilding their country. Favors a staggered plan of withdrawal.
RENIER: Says she is a card-carrying NRA member who supports gun rights.
... And so on. Is that really so radically liberal? Actually, it sounds like a lot of common-sense, moderate positions. It also sounds a lot like some of what Republican Congressman Joe Schwarz has said. So who's really out of step with Michigan's 7th District?

Joe Schwarz may be "the political equivalent of a woolly mammoth" in the Republican Party, but moderates are alive and well in the Democratic Party. Sharon Renier would be a fair representative of Michigan's 7th District, certainly moreso than the Radical Right's Tim Walberg.

Support Sharon Renier:


Nice work, Fitzy. I'll be posting a link to this next time I update. Keep it up!
I hope the dems can attract moderates. Someone needs to do it.

Problem is, Renier and Russ Feingold are not up to the job.

If you dig deep into Schwarz's article, he critizes the opposition for not offering a reasonable alternative.
To see some of those ads, check out this page:
Who's out of step with Michigan's 7th Congressional district?

Here's a brief IQ test.

In 2004, Michigan 7th voters voted over 60% in favor of a state Marriage Protection Amendment. That's over 60% of all general election voters: Repubs, Dems, and Indies.

Statewide, it was 59%, with exit polls showing 59% of African-Americans voting in favor, while pre-election polls said 2/3rds of union households and 51% of all Democrats supported it.

Joe Schwarz not only opposed the state marriage amendment, but voted against a federal marriage amendment as well. Said he wasn't going to "pander," apparently not even to his own constituents, whose values he was supposed to be representing with his vote in Congress.

Now answer the question: "Who's out of step with Michigan's 7th Congressional district?"

Schwarz supported the MICHIGAN protection of marriage act. In Congress he opposed the FEDERAL marriage act because it is not a constitutional issue, it belongs in the state.

Too many people get their dis-information from Club for Growth, who have no regard for accuracy or truth if it gets in the way of their opinion.

Walberg is not only out of step with the District, he's out of step with the GOP with his extreme social agenda.
Talking about gay marriage is playing right into that extreme christian conservative agenda. We have now wasted more time fighting over whether gay people deserve rights like straight people, and we are still in the same situation as before. (EXCEPT THAT TIM WALBERG WON...)

And, Schwarz did vote for the State of Michigan defense of marrriage law, which was another lie put out by Walberg. The ultimate problem is that Joe Schwarz will not bash homosexuals and that does not sit well with Walberg, Gary Glenn, the puppeteers at Club for Growth, or the 7.6% of 7th district voters who are homophobic and voted for Walberg. It's too bad. In my book, it is an old, wedge-issue trick that we fall for every two years, futher managing to run good people out of office or simply creating a bitter environment where no sane person can operate.

Good luck to Sharon Renier. I hope she can expose Walberg's extreme views and the fact that he is up to his eyeballs in the GOP culture of corruption as a result of the alliances he has made during this campaign.
More Proof Walberg is a Liar

Check out this article from the 2004 primary election:

It is from the Lansing State Journal. Read it and know that Walberg did not get the Right to Life endorsement in that election. He also fought to the bitter end and specifically undermined the Right to Life endorsement and attacked Joe Schwarz. He is a liar, not to be trusted. Our elected officials should be held to a higher standard and Tim Walberg does not meet that test.
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