Thursday, August 16, 2007

Demas Opines on Possible Schauer Run

(Cross-posted from To Play the King.)

The Battle Creek Enquirer's Susan J. Demas hits the nail on the head with her column from today, "Schauer should sit this one out."No one questions Senator Schauer's abilities as a state legislator. That's not the issue. The issue is where he can best serve us, and that's in the Michigan Senate. Some highlights from the column:

Yes, everyone was shocked, shocked this month to learn Mr. Schauer wants to go to Washington. Ever since former U.S. Rep. Joe Schwarz fell to Tim Walberg in last summer’s bloody GOP primary, Dems have sounded an anguished cry: “If only Mark had run.”
Maybe that’s why his political machine didn’t do battle for Sharon Renier, the ne’er-d-well turkey farmer who last fall came within four points of beating Walberg anyway. …
Michigan is facing its worst crisis in history, between the hemorrhaging auto industry, embarrassingly low college-graduation rates and a state government that lacks the dough to keep the lights on. Schauer can’t possibly accomplish more for the state as a freshman congressman — one out of 435 — than as minority leader of Michigan’s upper chamber. He’s Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s go-to guy and the Dems’ strongest voice on budget matters.
Demas' column reinforces the view of one very astute commenter at To Play the King. I'm reposting it virtually in its entirety here:

We need Senator Schauer doing the good work he’s doing in the Senate. When he’s there, good things happen (or bad things--like censorship--stop). When he’s not there, we lose our leader.

Case in point: Schauer has taken Senate Republicans to task for not getting the job done. A few days ago, he held a press conference to raise hell, and raise hell he did. “My caucus members are sick and tired of being part of a do-nothing Senate.” Well said and good job, Senator.

That’s why we need him in Lansing. But now, Republican partisans are taking him to task for leaving the country for an Israel trip. They note Granholm press secretary Liz Boyd’s statement that "Every day the Legislature is on vacation and not working on the budget hurts the state.”

Schauer should have stayed in Lansing in his office, demonstrated how hard Democrats are working and continued to fire away at the irresponsible, let’s-take-a-break legislators. Instead, he went to Israel and undercut the governor’s message. He’s allowed the Republicans to say, “Well, Mark, that’s like the pot calling the kettle black. You weren't here either.”

Senator Schauer should be in Michigan giving the Republicans hell, not in Israel giving them a pass. I think your concerns about a Schauer congressional run are well
founded. He should focus on the task at hand and spread the Democratic love. Good Democrats can’t afford distractions, neither can the state.

Sen. Schauer has done an excellent job of leading the Senate Dems throughout this budget crisis, and will continue to do so regardless of his decision about running for Congress. Also, let's not forget that there are SIXTEEN other members of the caucus who have been right there with him, holding the line all year long.

I think Demas is great, and I normally love her columns. But it seems ridiculous to acknowlege all of the positive traits Sen. Schauer posesses -- smart, attractive, experienced, hardworking and well-connected -- and then say he should "sit this one out."

Democrats have a very real opportunity to flip the 7th district next year, and while everyone seems to agree that the current crop of candidates is "decent," I think it's nuts to suggest that we should keep our best player on the bench for another two years.

Believe me, Sen. Schauer's leadership in the Senate will be missed if he leaves for Washington, but I'd much rather have him serving our state for the next thirty years as a Congressman than as a State Senator for the next three years.
Do people not understand the differnce in importance between the State Senate and the US Congress. Yeah helping Jenny balance a 40 Billion dollar budget is important...but as a nation we are spending twice that every month in Iraq...not to mention all the other wrong headed things this federal government is doing. No one has yet made the argument that Schauer is the best candidated to beat Walberg... and beating Walberg is far more important than keeping Micke Bishop in check for the next two years.
Francis looks like he/she is taking his/her talking points right from the Repubican press releases. Schauer running for this seat is the Republicans worst nightmare. Fritzy what the hell are we doing promoting this propoganda!
Um, OK. So if you don't believe it's Mark's turn, you must be a Republican. Right.

Look, I started my blog to have a discussion about the issues and the race. I must admit it bothers me when people get so emotionally involved their posts take on accusatory tones.

I must admit I'm not Renier's biggest backer, but I wish she'd kicked Walberg's ass. I hope what Demas said is not true, that Schauer made sure Democratic support for her wasn't overwhelming. I hope she's wrong. I hope Schauer didn't do that.

Look Schauer partisans, anonymous postings, whisper campaigns and paranoia are the stuff of Karl Rove. You guys need to take the long view - the real election is in November. That's what we should be focused on.

I'm voting for the Democratic nominee whoever it is, but I don't think Schauer is the best candidate to beat Walberg. Don't take it personally.
At what point did we depart from the fact that the majority of Michganm's economic (and budget) woes are the result of bad federal policy? Currency manipulation, NAFTA and other trade policies, and a general unwillingness to use our power to enforce fair treatment for workers and the environment across the globe are really what put our country and ESPECIALLY our state at a disadvantage. If you think our one shot at this seat--SCHAUER--shouldn't run, I would certainly question your alliances. Yes, I often think Demas has a good take on specific policy issues, but she clearly missed the boat on this one. It happens to the best of us, but she's made the wrong call here, and we need to make that clear. This is about electability and abilit to do the job of Congressman. Schauer is the only person who fits the bill.

This has gotten out of control! I used to respect your site, but letting this Republican Troll take over your site is outrageous! Hasn't anyone else noticed that "Francis Pepper" can be found commenting on every Schauer related thread on the internet, from here to Mich Lib to the BCE, but I can't find him anywhere before then. I also find it intersting that he started out saying that Schauer shouldn't run because he was too good a leader but now he is criticizing his leadership. I am appalled that you would let a troll highjack your site.

Now that I have that out of my system. I think Demas and the troll are missing the point, Schauer is our best chance at winning this seat. Despite some of the optimism here, we should be realistic that this is a Republican seat and will not be a slam dunk for any Democrat to win. That is why we should be looking for our strongest candidate, not listening to this nonsense.

Mark Schauer is without a doubt the strongest candidate. He is first and foremost a wonderful Senator and will be an even better Congressman in the majority. He is a proven fundraiser. He is beloved in his district (40% of the Congressional seat.) Finally, and this is why we shouldn't doubt his ability to both lead his caucus and run for Congress - no one, not even his opponents, would argue that he is not the hardest working, most energetic person in Michigan politics.
If the goal is beating Walberg, then who could possibly be a better nominee than Schauer? I've yet to hear an argument that he is not our best shot.

Who is the best candidate then? You have thus far only made arguments against Schauer, but never for anyone?
Good lord...Do you realize you just front paged a link critizing the likely nominee against Walberg to ""
Wake up Democrats. I respect the state senator's current service and hope he will continue to gain needed experience via his service as the Minority Leader. His recent interest in this seat has placed his position in question at a dangerous time. As much as I appreciate his service, I can not support his run for the 7th congressional seat.

Why you might ask?

He lacks solid name ID district wide despite what his cronies spin. He has a past ripe for opposition attack, his political team is weak and he’s not a Democrat that will win the support of the independent voters. These independents are critical to Democrat’s in 08’. They are searching the 7th district for a candidate to support other than the traditional partisan Republican. Our party has a history of campaign and political mistakes that spans the last decade. Thanks to the DCCC vision in 2006, the party demonstrated a new political form/approach to candidate selection and political strategy. Let us not again fall prey to our past mistakes. The good senator from Battle Creek is needed as senate Minority Leader. He should honor his promise to serve out his term. What’s more important? Our party is need of a candidate that can deliver this seat in the general election. This requires a candidate that appeal’s to the broad general electorate walking into the polls in 2008.

Democrats, let us focus on electing a viable candidate in the 7th district and not fall prey to party primary struggles. For the good of the party and the country.
Question for "themaverick09": what planet are you living on?

"He lacks solid name ID district wide despite what his cronies spin."

His entire Senate district is encompassed within the 7th district, and he's held that seat for FIVE YEARS. You can't ask for someone with higher name ID in a race like this.

"These independents are critical to Democrat’s in 08’."

Schauer has won a 50-50 Senate district TWICE by wide margins. The guy has huge crossover appeal, and stacked next to an extremist like Tim Walberg, he would peel off a huge chunk of independent voters.

"Our party is need of a candidate that can deliver this seat in the general election. This requires a candidate that appeal’s to the broad general electorate walking into the polls in 2008."

Who exactly would that be? Why don't you just come out and say who you're supporting, rather than taking potshots at Mark from the cheap seats.
Read the book "The Unraveling of America." It spells out how the Federal government used to serve as a safety net for state governments, but thanks to the Republicans, states are on their own. It used to be that when a state faced a huge deficit like Michigan does now, the federal government would step in to help. No more. This is why your property taxes are up, and why services like the Jackson District Library come hat-in-hand to get funding.

So, the source of money has been cut to our state, and how do we get that back? We have to have Representatives and Senators that bring our taxes back to us.

I look at Schauer, Nacht and Berryman and see that Schauer beats the others out in working with other elected officials to get our district's projects funded. He's been doing it at the state level for 5 years, and I expect that these skills will serve the 7th Congressional District well when he's in Washington.
Its time to wake up and realize one thing, the only way Schauer can win in the primary is if he goes to the left of Berryman (my candidate of choice), and then in the general he will get stomped by the right-wing zealots. You guys are forgetting the fact that the Guv lost in the 7th District, and that in a landslide year like '06 Walberg still won. Schauer is an acceptable candidate, if we want loose both the race and his senate seat. He can't fix the budget, hold off Bishop and his cronies and run for congress . Lets keep him in the senate!
I think everyone-especially when they post here, needs to remember that the focus is beating Walberg.

I like Mark Schauer and think he is doing a good job in the Senate.

I think Jim Berryman was a good State Senator and fought a good fight against Smith in '98.

As Republican's go, I think Joe Schwarz was a good Congressman and if he switched parties would do an excellent job.

So, ironically, after so many years of wandering the wilderness of nobody to run or having a nobody run against "Do Nothing Nick"-Reiner, Crittendon, etc, we seem to have too many qualified candidates to run against Walberg.

The logical thought then, seems, to boil it down to who is doing what now.

Sen. Schauer is a sitting Senator, currently serving the largest poplulation centers in the 7th. Then, along with that, the complex and important role of leading one of the four caucus' and (presumably) preparing the caucus for both the 2010/12 re-districting fight and 2010 election.

Jim Berryman is fighting for teachers benefits with the MEA.

Joe Schwarz is working on Health Care issues and (I assume) continuing his medical practice.

We can debate the relative importance of Congress/State Senate, but it is irresponsible to suggest that either isn't or is more important than the other. Maybe to you, one is bigger than the other, but they are both big. It matters who is serving and the policys they promote.

At the end of the day, I return to my opening line, focus on beating Walberg.

If Berryman continues to run or Schwarz jumps in as a Dem, then I think it is probably better to have Schauer stay in the Senate. Both Berryman and Schwarz are credible, realistic alternatives to Walberg.

Ultimately, I think any of the 3 (S,S,B) can beat Walberg, but lets say Schauer does. Then we are left with a special election in the 19th.

Would Simpson run? Griffin? Whomever-hopefully-the Dems in Calhoun have elected to replace Nofs?

The bets on all of the above are long. All are/would be important to keeping the Dems in charge of the State House.

What would likely happen? Probably the first of an 8 year run in the Senate for Mike Nofs.

Now, how bad can that be? Well, doing the math on the Senate today, the Dems have 17 seats. Ultimately, when the budget and the rest of the important decisions are made in Lansing, the Senate Republicans have two marginal seats-Kahn and Richardville. Both will have to be very careful how they vote btwn now and the next election. So, they are the most likely to join with the Dems on a "mission critical" vote (Education, taxes, cuts, etc.) With the two of them today, that gives you 19, with the Lt. Gov breaking a tie.

Take the 19th/Schauer off the table, put in Nofs, and you drop to 18. Or, to put it another way-wave goodbye to getting anything done during the last two years of the Granholm administration.

I like Schauer. I like what he is doing, but I would also like him to stay in the Senate.
Sarah Cramer said...the fact that the Guv lost in the 7th District

I don't think this is correct. I show Granholm winning by 15,958 votes or 52.65% in the 7th.
One thing I don't like about the blogosphere, I can't discuss at the normal pace! You are right, she didn't loose, but she didn't win in our district like she won elsewhere. If you compare her stats in the 7th to the stats of her wins in say Dingel or Stupak's districts its a horse of a different color. I'll try to be more clear next time.
This whole thread (other than Fitzy's post) sucks IMHO.

We should be addressing Demas's claims, but we are tearing each other down. We should be using Demas's story to engage each other on the pros and cons of a Schauer candidacy, but we are not.

Demas claimed Schauer snubbed Renier. Renier has stated so in the past. Back during the race, Schauer was given a pass on why he failed to help her. No one questioned him. But, if he had eyes on the seat back then, questioning Schauer's decision seems like a relevant thing to do right now. Did he or did he not snuff her campaign with his political machine? Could he have delivered her 9,684 more votes if he is such a powerhouse? Wouldn't we all be better off if he had? If he is such a model legislator, couldn't he have taken her under his wing and coached her to be a bit more reasonable and polished and electable?

Demas also claimed the position of minority leader in the state senate is more powerful (from the frame of reference of the entire state) than he will be as a new Congressman. I wonder if that claim is true, but I also don't care. My Congressman is my Congressman. It is apples and oranges. I expect them to fix national political issues, not micro-manage my state. I frankly don't want someone to head off to DC and load us up on pork and I don't expect a junior member of Congress to swing the balance sheet enough to end Michigan's traditional status as a donor state in their first term.

If Schauer were perfect, I'd vote for him for president, even if it means he will be less effective for me personally. But the underlying point Demas makes is that Schauer is not perfect, far from it.

Lets look at that for a moment. I would have a hard time voting to elevate any of our current state legislators to higher office and am having serious second thoughts for voting for any of them in the recent past. Our state is in a major crisis. I blame it almost entirely on a lack of action. No fate is worse than what we have now, which is basically an abyss of nothingness. Uncertainty is a major obstacle for an investor. Why would any investor send money here when they have no ability to judge what their tax burden will be in the next 2 or 3 months? Every day we put off the budget is another day that global commerce moves along without even seriously considering Michigan. Sure there are a few feel-good Google stories out there, but state-wide there are many more layoffs and closures and consolidations and moves to other states which leave us with a net decline. If we had a budget (and a tax structure which someone could predict with any minimal degree of accuracy,) we would be better off. And Schauer is to blame along with the governor, the senate republicans, the house, everyone. Demas's point is that Schauer's current job is unfinished and will not be receiving his full attention if he runs for Congress. And, at a time when Michigan is in turmoil, we don't need half-assed leadership. We don't need Schauer the politican, we need a dedicated public servant who will roll up their sleves and dispatch with the task at hand.

Those points were just for starters. Demas has been reporting on this Congressional seat for over a year and seems to be more clued in than any other reporter on the subject. We all loved her rants on Walberg and her keen eye for spotting the bullshit and her sharp wit in dispatching with the bullshit. Now that she has turned her focus on another potential Congressman, we are ignoring her.

Typical, sad and IMHO, it simply sucks.
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