Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Schwarz as a Democrat?
I'll talk about Jim Berryman's announcement later, but I thought I'd hit on this one first. As Zach points out in his "Wednesday Coffee Talk" thread on Michigan Liberal, the AP report on Berryman's announcement includes this interesting bit about former Congressman Joe Schwarz.
That's interesting. The last time anyone really talked about this, reporter Tim Skubick included this quote:
"Less than a 50-50 chance"? It might just be selective quoting in two stories by two different reporters, but his comments from the AP story on Berryman seemed to make a Democratic run sound much more likely.
Let's look at that again.
Schwarz said in an interview he would decide this summer whether to challenge Walberg for the GOP nomination or run as a Democrat. He said he would not run as an independent, noting the "the path to higher office is strewn with the bodies of independents."In other words, no Joe Lieberman moments, and (unless a big name emerges soon) the 2008 general election will primarily be a Republican versus a Democrat, without any serious independent challenge. Similarly, there will probably be no significant splitting of the conservative base or liberal base between two candidates. That makes it a simpler race.
Schwarz said he had spoken with Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, who chairs the Democrats' campaign committee, and has been encouraged by Democratic leaders in Michigan to run as a Democrat.Congressman Van Hollen and the DCCC have said that the 7th District would be a top target, and this shows that he means it. The party campaign committees are less concerned with ideology and more concerned with picking a winning candidate, and helping him or her win votes. Schwarz certainly looks like he'd be a strong candidate-- an impressive resumé, high name recognition, cross-over appeal-- and it doesn't surprise me that Van Hollen has talked to him. Mind you, that's not to say the DCCC has endorsed Schwarz, or that he would necessarily be the best candidate. What it shows is that they mean it when they say 2008 will be different from 2006.
"I have some basic, some seminal, differences in policy positions on critical issues in the Republican party, both foreign and domestic. I suspect there would be some significant differences with some issues where the Democrats have a party position as well," Schwarz said.This is a big change from the "50-50 chance" statement from before. Schwarz seems to be setting himself up as an "independent-minded Democrat" if he runs on that side, just as he was supposedly an "independent Republican." What should Democrats think of that?
It's tough to say. Schwarz had a solidly conservative voting record in the U.S. House from 2005 to 2007-- enough to earn President George Bush's endorsement-- but he has shown that he can and will think independently of his party label and leaders from time to time.
As a Democrat, he would be under significant pressure to vote with his new party. The question becomes, how often? It would probably end up being a case-by-case sort of thing, but I suspect his voting record would end up being a little more progressive if he were a Democrat. I have no evidence, though... this is just my own supposition.
Now, for Democratic primary voters, would that be enough? Would a Democrat but not necessarily a progressive be acceptable? It's tough to predict, especially without a complete candidate field or any clear statements by Schwarz.
I wish I had a clear conclusion to reach, but I don't. To me, it sounds like Joe Schwarz is taking the idea of running as a Democrat more seriously, but I haven't got any idea how what that might mean for the Democratic primary.
UPDATE: For what it's worth, Jim Berryman says he doesn't think Schwarz will switch parties.
Walberg won the 7th Congressional District seat last year after unseating first-term Republican Joe Schwarz in the primary. Although some Democratic leaders have reportedly approached Schwarz about running against Walberg in 2008 as a Democrat, Berryman said he doesn’t think that will happen.Berryman and Schwarz are good friends. But then, in politics, when has friendship ever trumped ambition? I'm just sayin'...
Time to stop talking about Joe Schwarz. Joe is a Reepublican. He is not going to get any support from Democratic leadership. I have talked to no one who likes this idea. The Levin's interest in Schwarz is old 2004. I think Joe is using this talk to position himself for a run as an independent. I can see it now, Dems you can support me your leadership wanted me to run as a Dem. Lets just pick a DEMOCRAT to beat Walberg.
My interest in having Joe Schwarz run as a democratic candidate has waned considerably over the past month or so. If he had jumped right out in January and said he would run as a dem, I probably would've been right there behind him. But all this wishy washy talk from Schwarz about whether or not he'll switch parties has gotten stale.
I'm really happy that Berryman isn't waiting around until the summer to see what Joe decides to do. Jim seems like a solid candidate to me, and based on his resume and name recognition, he's clearly the strongest person in the field so far.
At this point, if Joe were to jump parties, I'd much rather cast a vote for a real democrat than a DINO who's just aching to win his old seat back. Schwarz had a chance to win me over as a dem, but I think that ship has sailed.
Just my $.02
Interesting comment from a Republican website:
"I think this race will be determined by who the Republicans run in 2008. Will they run a candidate with a plan to clean up the clustermuck in Washington, or will it be the same old song and dance. If Walberg isn't handycapped from the top, he'll be fine. If he is, we're in trouble. That's all there is to it."
For the record, wasn't Jim a Republican before he ran for mayor of Adrian? In the back of my mind, I vaguely remember he switched parties back then. I've tried all sorts of search engines to validate my memory of this fact to no avail.
One more thing: I don't believe for one moment that Jim would have announced his candidacy had he not received an avowal from his friend, Joe, that he (Joe) would not seek the nomination. I just don't see him risking a run against his good buddy.
If Democrats want to have strict litmus tests for candidates, look forward to losing just like Republicans did in '06.
http://blog.mlive.com/ann_arbor_business_review/2007/05/pfizer_made_mistake_new_michbi.htmlPost a Comment
I really think Schwarz has transcended being a Congressman. The above story about his latest board position confirms in my mind he has much better things to do than worry about people like Walberg or what party he's affilliated with. I think he's essentially done with elected office and realizes he can affect change in a much greater and perhaps more efffective way in the private sector.
I think he will tell every one running...have at it, I'm outta here.
Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]
August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008