Friday, August 31, 2007
Fitzy's Endorsement-- I Support...
Nope, this isn't a candidate endorsement, but rather an endorsement of the process. I wanted to take an opportunity to share a few thoughts and set down some ground rules for Walberg Watch between now and the primary in August 2008.
This can be a great time for us, but only if we do it right.
I've tried to write this post three of four ways now, and nothing seems quite right. I started this blog in 2006 after the primary had already passed, meaning I didn't have to blog about the race between Renier, Strack, Campbell, and Ream. My readers came in three types: staunch Democrats, disaffected Schwarz voters, and pro-Walberg trolls. The third group went away after a while, so I focused on writing for the first two.
Now, it's different. Bloggers and readers alike are still fairly united in our goal of defeating Tim Walberg, but now the Democratic nomination has to be decided first. Don't get me wrong, it's a good thing! It means we've got a lot of talented people eager to stand up against Tim Walberg's rigidly conservative ideology. But it also comes with a whole new dynamic for this blog.
For me, it means I've got to learn a whole new type of blogging, in which I try to critically analyze people that are on my side. I don't want to burn any bridges with a potential nominee, but I also want to put forth the facts and provide some service to the voters. I'm still trying to figure out how to do that.
In my interview with Mark Schauer (transcript coming sometime early next week, I promise), I faced that challenge. Without a doubt, a lot of people will be upset I wasn't tougher on him. But I don't want to play the game of "gotcha" politics. I want to allow him, Jim Berryman, Sharon Renier, and anyone else a chance to make their case, and then let voters make up their minds. I'll ask questions to get more information, and I'll do that to the best of my ability. If you don't think I do a good enough job, forgive me for being new at this, and give me a chance next time around.
That's the fine line that I have to walk and that the other Walberg Watch bloggers face. But for those of you that read and comment here (and that will vote in a little less than a year), you have responsibilities, too.
You need to keep an open mind. Be willing to take a deep breath and say, "I might have been wrong about him/her."
You need to be willing to listen to others.
You need to argue your position well. Don't just make an assertion, but offer some facts.
You need to be respectful. Don't accuse people of being trolls because they disagree with you, don't speculate on their "real" identities. And most of all, don't forget that we're all on the same side.
Arguing is an important part of the democratic process and the Democratic Party. We're Democrats, which means we can disagree with each other on thirty different issues before lunchtime. An open and frank discussion is vital to the process. But when it turns into bashing each other, you've stopped discussing. People are convinced by persuasive arguments, not by the loudest guy in the room.
I usually don't delete comments, and so far, nothing has gotten to the point where I've felt that necessary. But I'm trying to pre-emptively put some rules in place. Simply put, be nice to each other! That won't hurt democracy, I promise!
Primaries are great! They give candidates a chance to practice on a friendly audience, test their messages, and build organizations. We should forget about who's going to win the nomination, and use this time to build up our candidates, not tear them down.
Do you think Candidate X has some problem that would prevent him/her from winning? Get out there and do something to help him/her out! Contact the candidates and share your concerns in a constructive way. Educate them on issues or tactics. Tell them what message will appeal to voters, and help them overcome their negatives.
Do everything you can do to make sure every candidate in the race has a strong chance to beat Walberg, and when the primary comes, make your decision on whom to support. It is possible to be satisfied no matter what the outcome, even if your guy doesn't get the nomination.
That's my post for tonight. I'm taking the weekend off to enjoy the opening of the college football season and some time with friends and family. Plenty more will be coming next week.
UPDATE: Just one other item to round out the rant for tonight. I wanted to share this Sitemeter chart of Walberg Watch traffic over the last 12 months. This was taken from 11:55 PM, just before September started. Compare August of 2007 to August of 2006...
Of course you aren't going to report this, so I will...
Schauers Chief of Staff called Nacht a "liberal Jewish trial lawyer"
Wasn't the Holocaust enough...now they have to listen to Team Schauers crap!
Au contraire, Mr. Joe Sylvester. You must think you're posting on a Republican blog because they sure wouldn't have allowed any such information on their websites. But if you would have read all the posts thoroughly, you would have seen that (3rd and 5th messages on "David Nacht is out"), someone else beat you to it. And believe it or not, it was a Democrat posting it. Check out Alan from Ann Arbor's follow-up comments and the one from Sara Cramer if you think we don't beat up on our own.
So what is it with your comment that "of course, you aren't going to report this, so I will" stuff? You're just used to the kind of secrecy that your side employs. The cockroaches have already scattered on this one because we turned on the lights before you "beat us to it".
6:42PM Anonymous, don't confuse Joe with the facts! He's too busy running his hate site (here and here) to actually check up on what he talks about.
Alright, so that might not be entirely fair of me. But when you come and equate a throw-away line by a staffer to the Holocaust... I'm sorry, that's just ridiculous.
If he paid closer attention and did some research, he might find that Ken Brock apologized and David Nacht wasn't even offended! (here)
And Joe, I promise I will report on this, on the front page, after Labor Day. But I decided not to do any blogging this weekend and enjoy myself. So far, I've done pretty well-- I went golfing, watched some football, spent time with friends. I'm not going to spoil my blogging break by getting worked up about offensive comments that weren't meant to be offensive and weren't found offensive by the supposed target.
But Tuesday, I promise, I'll write about it.
... And Joe! I didn't realize you were a regular reader! I hope you continue reading for the next year. Maybe I'll convince you to switch sides!
This is a practical political calculation people.
Schauer is the best candidate because he already has a constituency in a significant part of the district, where as Nacht had none (name me another Democrat in the 7th district that has this advantage...I can only name "possibly" one other-- Dudley Spade). Berryman is too far removed from public service to really count. His fund raising numbers demonstrate this.
As for the "comment" by the staffer...anti-semetic? --no, insensitive-yes. Voters won't really remember it come election day.[and he said he was sorry]
Reality is Timmy won't have an opponent in the Primary. Dems must be united before the Primary so that a consensus candidate with a full compliment of weapons can use them against Timmy in the General and not waste it in the Primary.
This is still a majority GOP district, and it will take someone that can raise the funds and put people on the ground to overcome the GOP straight ticketers in the South. Schauer can do this, he has done it.
Go ahead, challenge Mark. Go to forums, caucuses and make up your mind--you should do this. But a Primary war = a Timmy victory.
As for "waiting for Joe", go ahead. I agree Joe is an excellent lawmaker--terrible campaigner. He couldn't beat Smith or Timmy head to head, so why is he the savior now? Joe's exploratory committee said run Dem (before Schauer announced). I say Joe will defer to Mark. After all, Mark is holding Joe's old seat now.
and to those that said my prediction that Schauer would get into the race was off-base and nonsense...(see past posts) I told you so.
Wow, what a letdown from this site. If Tim Walberg cracked the "liberal, Jewish trial lawyer" line, you'd all hang him high. And you should. That's not just "insensitivity"- that's bigotry, whether it comes from a Democrat or Republican. Look at what Brock said about his old boss, Berryman. The guy's out of line and evidently, few people here care.
As for "gotcha Journalism", look it up. Asking tough questions is what real journalists do. But maybe this site just wants to cheerlead and apologize for anti-Semites.
If anyone WOULDN'T care if Walberg brought up someone's religion in a derrogatory way, please, by all means, stand up.
"As for "waiting for Joe", go ahead. I agree Joe is an excellent lawmaker--terrible campaigner. He couldn't beat Smith or Timmy head to head, so why is he the savior now? Joe's exploratory committee said run Dem (before Schauer announced). I say Joe will defer to Mark. After all, Mark is holding Joe's old seat now."
Still waiting here.
Schauer holds Schwarz's old seat because of the mistake of term limits. Schwarz would probably still be my state senator right now had we not term limited him and we'd be better off for it. (And Schauer would probably still be a state rep and we'd be better off for it--And so would Walberg and only the people of Lenawee would be suffering for it.)
You think Schwarz's previous losses are a bad thing? I will turn that question around and say: who of substance has Mark Schauer ever beaten? Has he ever been in a tough primary (which this could very well shape up to be) and does he have the colaitions in place to win one?
And, my experience, "Joe" does not defer to too many people. Some criticize him to no end for it, but I kinda like my representative to have the balls to tell people who try to control him to take a walk. When he is right, he fights for his position. He is effective and would again be a great Congressman.
Schauer holds Schwarz's old seat because of the mistake of term limits.
I don't disagree with you on this point.
Schwarz would probably still be my state senator right now had we not term limited him and we'd be better off for it. (And Schauer would probably still be a state rep and we'd be better off for it--And so would Walberg and only the people of Lenawee would be suffering for it.)
Um...who would of replaced Smith then?
"You think Schwarz's previous losses are a bad thing?"
I didn't say that. What I said is that Joe isn't a strong enough campaigner. In 2004 the Conservative vote was so parsed up, Joe shot the Moon with a plurality. You can be the best legislator in the world, but if you're not a strong campaigner you don't go very far. Joe just couldn't get the message out. Joe was a great congressman, but he didn't have the machinery in place to retain his seat, and therefore, does not have the means to make it back to Congress.
" I will turn that question around and say: who of substance has Mark Schauer ever beaten? Has he ever been in a tough primary (which this could very well shape up to be) and does he have the colaitions in place to win one?"
Schauer beat Rep. Mickey Mortimer in 2002 General. He did so quite handily because of NO primary opposition. As for coalitions to win the GENERAL (which is the race to win), I think he does.
"[Joe] is effective and would again be a great Congressman."
I agree that he'd be a great Congressman again. Unless conditions like 2004 happen again (nearly impossible), Joe could win. I don't see that happening, so good luck on Fantasy Island.
As for Mr. Brock who made the NACHT comment: Brock apologized, Nacht didn't take offense, after all, that is Mr. Nacht's ethnicity. PC police--go home.
Schauer beat Mortimer because of two things...
1) His campaign manager was Joe Wicks (of Wally's staff)
2) Wicks made the mistake of doing an anti-Black lit piece.
He didn't have a good campaign. You all are imagining things if you think he had a real race that year.
Joe Wicks ran for State Senate in 2002. I think Wicks came on to the Mortimer campaign as an adviser after he lost his Primary (24th State Senate race).
The punters were making out that race to be closer than it wound up. Most people credit Schauer's hard work for the win.
Mortimer actually eeked our a victory in the Jackson portion of the district (where Mortimer represented). Schauer had a larger margin in Calhoun.
Happy Labor Day. For a fun reminder of why this blog survives (and thrives) take a stroll down memory lane.
Back to jay's reply to my comment on his comment:
"Um...who would of replaced Smith then?"
I don't know. I know bacause of term limits, in 2004 we had 5 ex. state reps or senators, all term-limited or close to the end, all looking to continue their careers. Now we have Mark Schauer looking to make that jump because he is guaranteed to be out of a job in the next few years. I guess my point was that term limits are forcing politicians to consider jumping into federal races on ego and not necessarily because they are qualified. This really gets to my main criticism of Schauer. He has been the head of a large non-profit organization which deals with local issues, local problems and works with the local community. He spent a few short years as a state rep and now has 4 1/2 years under his belt as a state senator. But, is he prepared to deal with federal issues? Does he have any life experience outside of being a public employee or a politician? In fact, he seems pretty young to be a Congressman and absent term limitis, he would be forced to sit back and learn a little more before he tried to run for Congress. I guess I'd like my representative in DC to be more seasoned, with some varied background working in the private sector. On background alone, I liked Nacht more than I like Schauer.
Anon...then you should be supporting Frank Kelly and his effort to change the Michigan Constitution at the next Constitutional Convention. (I can't remember if it's in 2010 or 2012.)
Term limits are a bad idea for a number of reasons, and they do make people consider their career options on a very specific timetable.
The best term limit is to vote the incumbant out, and I look forward to seeing this happen to "one-term Tim." To get us back on topic, my fears are that a primary will work to tear down the candidates instead of building them up.
Would Jim Berryman and Mark Schauer both pledge to keep their campaigns to the high road and only aim at Walberg and not each other?
--a voter in Jackson Cty
Jim Berryman pledged to focus on Walberg way back when he announced his campaign, which was right about the time Mark Schauer promised for the umpteenth time he was not going to run for Congress.Post a Comment
Would it matter if Schauer did sign a pledge?
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