Monday, October 16, 2006

Jack Lessenberry and Sharon Renier

I missed Jack Lessenberry's interview and commentary when it was broadcast today, although Lessenberry is certainly my favorite radio personality. And I can't seem to get the audio file of his interview to play (help from those more technologically knowledgable would be appreciated). But his commentary following the interview is a must-read.

Why? Because Jack Lessenberry chose to interview the Michigan candidate with all the momentum in this election cycle-- 7th District Democratic nominee Sharon Marie Renier.

Go listen to the interview, and let me know how it went. But first, there's Lessenberry's commentary.

I think the only thing I didn't like about his essay was the title-- "Lost Opportunity". As the recent poll showed, the race is far from over, and I have confidence in the voters of the district, as well as in Sharon Renier, to reject Tim Walberg's far-right positions.

After the title, the rest of the essay is gold. (All emphasis added)

If Sharon Renier somehow manages to get elected to Congress next month, she won’t owe her Democratic Party a thing. And if she loses, they have only themselves to blame.

Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean says he wants to commit his party to a strategy of trying to win at every level in every state of the country. That’s nice talk, but they certainly aren’t doing it.

It's true, the race would be a lot different if the DNC and the DCCC had been involved from the start. It's possible that Renier might not even be the nominee had that been the case. But that's part of the incredible race that's unfolding.

On one side, we have Tim Walberg (R), bought and paid for by out-of-state interests. On the other side, we have Sharon Renier (D), the home-grown candidate, farmer from Munith who's low-budget campaign reflects the real positions of the 7th Congressional District. Tim Walberg claims to be the "values" candidate, a slogan I'm certain has been tested by dozens of focus groups around the country. Sharon Renier, on the other hand, represents the real values we admire: hard work, dedication, and integrity.
While in the Michigan Legislature, Walberg was famous for voting “no” the vast majority of the time. He opposed raising the minimum wage. He voted against establishing a Rosa Parks Day, against a seat belt law, against a tax credit for donations to the Michigan Vietnam Veterans Memorial, against expelling kids who physically assault teachers and against tougher laws on tobacco sales to minors.
That's the real Tim Walberg. Is he the kind of person you want representing us in Washington?

When the primary election was over, the incumbent said this was the first time in his life he couldn’t congratulate and work with an opponent. Joe Schwarz called his fellow Republican a liar.

He said Tim Walberg wasn’t intellectually or morally fit to serve, filed unfair campaign practice complaints against him, and said he wouldn’t vote for him. Republican Schwarz then said that Sharon Renier, who he defeated two years ago, is “a very credible candidate.” He said “she is pretty bright and has a good grasp of a lot of issues - not all issues, but a lot of them.”

This can't be repeated enough. Joe Schwarz, respected Republican and veteran lawmaker says that Sharon Renier "is pretty bright and has a good grasp of a lot of issues". In the highly polarized political atmosphere we see in American politics, this is as close to an endorsement as anyone could reasonably expect. A Republican says a Democrat knows what she's talking about on the issues. That's a signal to stop and pay close attention.

It's certainly clear that Schwarz won't be supporting Tim Walberg on November 7th. Now, who do you think he'll vote for? David Horn, the US Taxpayers candidate (to the right of Walberg)? Robert Hutchinson, the Libertarian? Or Sharon Renier, the very credible candidate?

But apparently, the national Democrats can’t see it. They haven’t given Renier a dime, though she has asked. “We also asked them if they’d do some research for us, and they haven’t gotten back to us” she told me.

Democrats say they want to win back the House of Representatives. But here’s a race where the Republican candidate is against virtually everything Democrats stand for. The Republican Party is deeply split, and the Democrats have a candidate who is running fairly well in the polls, and wants very much to win.

And yet the national party won’t lift a finger to help her. If you can explain the logic of that, you are much smarter than me.

The DNC might not be interested in helping Sharon Renier, but you should be. Head on over to her website, and volunteer or contribute.


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