Thursday, September 06, 2007

Lessenberry On Joe Schwarz



Jack Lessenberry is probably my favorite Michigan political journalist. I don't always agree with him, but he's smart, honest, asks good questions, and regularly churns out good analysis. I don't always get the opportunity, but I always try to listen to his segment on Michigan Radio every day.

In today's segment, Lessenberry interviewed former Congressman Joe Schwarz, asking him about running for office again as a Democrat or an independent. The interview, of course, is worth listening to, but so is the essay that came afterward. I haven't decided whether or not I agree with him yet, but it's an interesting perspective.

He says:

Traditionally, it has been seen as improper for journalists to give advice to elected officials. This is, however, a tradition which gets violated all the time, and which I intend to violate again today.

Actually, my conscience is clear on this issue, since to the best of my knowledge, nobody has ever listened to me anyway.

So I would like to say to Congressman Joe Schwarz -- if you are thinking of switching parties and running for your old seat as a Democrat, don't do it. I mean it -- don't. Here's why.

(Emphasis added.)

You should really read the whole thing, but I'll give you excerpts of Lessenberry's reasons:

First of all, you wouldn't be comfortable, by and large, as a Democrat. Yes, you are closer to Democratic positions on some issues, but by no means all. You wouldn't be fully accepted by them.

And you would be reviled by your fellow Republicans. Your enemies in the party would say this is proof they were right all along. That you were nothing but a RINO -- a Republican in Name Only.

And...

Lately the Republican party has gotten more narrow and rigid. If it stays on that course, my guess it is cruising for a fall.

The one time the GOP has ever flirted with extinction was during the Great Depression. Narrow, bitter opposition to change had left the Republicans with only 89 seats in the entire House of Representatives in the year you, Joe Schwarz, were born.

Three years later, a charismatic new presidential candidate named Wendell Willkie helped move the party back to the center. He didn't win, but he may have saved the Republican Party.

Even if it feels like the barbarians pushed you out, it ought to be worth a wrestling match to try to take back the ring.
In short, Joe Schwarz has a chance to "save the soul" of the Republican Party. He can work within the party, and perhaps run again against Walberg in the GOP primary, to talk them back to common sense.

I'm a Democrat and a progressive, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't welcome the day that the Republican Party returns to policies of responsible government and fiscal conservatism.

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Comments:
Lessenberry thinks he knows Joe Schwarz, because he thinks he knows everything. I doubt Joe will listen to a word he says. Lessenberry knows nothing about the seventh district.
 
I hope he runs and I don't care if he runs as a republican, democrat or independent. He is by far the most experienced and open-minded representative considering this race and his style of leadership is what we need more of in Washington (and Lansing.)

Term limits forced him out of Lansing and apathy dragged him out of Washington.

He does not "play" petty partisan games and his focus is on solid, reasoned, debate and good public policy.

I think Lessenberry is right about the parties and I see plenty of politicians who are real good at playing to the media and their narrowly focused supporters, but few have the skills necessary to impact the course of events like Joe Schwarz.

I will wait to see what he does before I move to Plan B.
 
If he runs, I hope that part of his message will be to get out and VOTE! He can cite Walberg's narrow win as a reason why it's so important to vote. When we don't vote we get people like Walberg and a narrow ideological interest prevails.

He's not a Democrat and I seriously doubt he will run as a Dem. I think his waiting is part of a ploy to wake up the GOP. I think part of the speculation is also a plan to drive Walberg nuts. Will he or won't he run (or "back off")? I don't see other GOP'ers getting into it so Walberg might have to arm himself for a fight with Schwarz before facing a Dem. If Schwarz runs in the GOP, he will force Club for Growth to dump money into the primary.

Perhaps the longer he waits the more it drives Walberg crazy, but then again that would be redundant!
 
Joe couldn't win a Republican primary with the endorsement of George Bush fer cryin' out loud. There's no way he would win a Democratic primary either (for the reason stated above) against ANY of our candidates.

I wholeheartedly agree with this statement:

"I'm a Democrat and a progressive, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't welcome the day that the Republican Party returns to policies of responsible government and fiscal conservatism."

Unfortunately, this simply is not going to happen anytime soon, and Schwarz has no chance as a Democrat. End of story.
 
For Joe's voting record, check out this link. It provides 13 pages of every bill voted upon during his 2 year tenure in the House. The neat thing about this site is that the side-by-side,3 column categories make it very simple to see how Joe's vote compared to the GOP's vote and the Dem's.

Well, my link's html cannot be accepted, so I'm told. So let's see if I can get around it another way.
The first part of the link is this
http://projects.washingtonpost.com/
Then add the word congress/
members/s01161/and finally, votes/

Clear as mud? I hope not
 
I'm going to try this again but you'll have to copy/paste into the url.

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/members/s01161/votes/
 
Well...maybe Joe Schwarz will run as an Independent and give us something other than having to choose between a self-promoting Democrat who lies to his own party for personal gain and an unabashed defender of the socially extreme right-wing of the Republican party who willingly sells his vote to secure a place in Congress.

Unless Berryman ups his game, this is pretty much what next November is shaping up to look like.
 
From the CitPat...

Party leaders to Schwarz: Don't run as a Democrat
Posted by Jackson Citizen Patriot September 09, 2007 05:59AM
Categories: Voice of the People

ALBION, JACKSON -- As the leaders of the two largest Democratic organizations in the district, we think it would be unwise for former Rep. Joe Schwarz to run as a Democrat at this time.

While we do respect Dr. Schwarz for his accomplishments in our community and acknowledge his propensity for moderation, we also acknowledge that he voted with President Bush 85 percent of the time and was the deciding vote on several important pieces of legislation that hurt working families.

We understand why Dr. Schwarz may want to make a switch as his party continues to move toward extremism and kills off the last of its moderates. The Democrats would receive someone of his stature into our party with open arms and welcome him to our family.

However, what Dr. Schwarz must realize is that simply changing parties to further a political career is not a savvy political move. It would be very difficult to organize a campaign for a "Johnny Come Lately" candidate without that person first earning the trust of the people who will do the legwork to get the job done.

We believe Dr. Schwarz is a very dedicated community member and deserves respect from both sides of the aisle.

However, with quality Democratic candidates already declared, we feel it would be in his best interest to continue the work he is doing in the community and to begin the process of joining the Democratic Party before he embarks on his next political move.

-- Jonathan Byrd,
Calhoun County Democratic Party chairman
Leonard Smigielski,
Chairman, Jackson County
Democratic Committee
and 7th Congressional
District Committee

-voter in Jackson County
 
Isn't that nice? The republican primary voters turned Schwarz out on the street. Now that he is considering switching to the other party, the leaders publically ask him not to.

If I think Schwarz was a great representative, and a great senator, and is 95% of the time really good at representing my views, what am I to think about the two major political parties?

Both seem to be captured by the extreme wings and unable to appeal to me as a moderate. Both parties seemed intent on rewarding partisanship as opposed to prudent policy formulation.

Those two democratic party chairs are as out of touch as Walberg is. They seem unable to comprehend how parisanship is viewed by the majority of people and how their public statements cast them in a country-club light.
 
we also acknowledge that he voted with President Bush 85 percent of the time and was the deciding vote on several important pieces of legislation that hurt working families.

I think it is extremely important to acknowledge Smelgielski's statistical statement. To overlook this and just say that Dr. Schwarz is a fine man and would represent my interests is being very naive.
 
"I think it is extremely important to acknowledge Smelgielski's statistical statement. To overlook this and just say that Dr. Schwarz is a fine man and would represent my interests is being very naive."

If Schwarz had kept up this pattern in the new Congress, he would only have 55 other members who broke with their party more. That is, about 380 members of congress have voted with their party more than 85% of the time. To single out this statistic is naive.

If what you want is a robot who will pull whatever lever the leader tells them to pull, vote for a status quo candidate.

If you want someone who actually thinks before they vote, who considers issues independant of partisan affiliation, it appears that statistic shows Joe Schwarz is not beholden to any party.

The use of a statistic out of context is equivalent to a lie. Why should we all be stooping to Walberg's level? I participate here because I despise Walberg and his tactics. I see Schauer is adept at utilizing surrogates to spread mis-truths and spin. I hope at some point Schauer can run an honest open campaign based on his own positions rather than attacking his undeclared rivals.
 
If Schwarz had kept up this pattern in the new Congress, he would only have 55 other members who broke with their party more. That is, about 380 members of congress have voted with their party more than 85% of the time. To single out this statistic is naive.

Look, I like Joe. I've heard him speak at medical meetings numerous times. But I don't shiv a git about the other 434 members of congress and how they voted. We're homing in on Joe's voting record only and to say that he voted Bush's way 85% of the time is nothing to overlook. I submitted a website of how he voted on every bill while he was in Congress and his partisan votes bother me.

I don't know who I'd vote for. Schauer seems slick. So does Berryman. (I'll be anxious to see if JB is at our Democratic party meeting tomorrow night. He's come to only one in the 5 years I've been attending and that was to announce his candidacy. Didn't stay long, either!)

What I'd really love to see is a genuine progressive candidate for the 7th. Not this middle-of-the-road stuff any longer.
 
Progressive Democrat is an oxymoron.

Liberalism is the most retrogressive form of political ideology today.
 
You're right, anonymous 3:09 p.m. There are so few progressives anymore. But you're wrong about liberalism. In its purest form, it is anything BUT retrogressive and I'd love to hear where you're coming from regarding that comment.

If we Dems could have a progressive like Teddy Roosevelt, I'd die happy.
 
"What I'd really love to see is a genuine progressive candidate for the 7th. Not this middle-of-the-road stuff any longer."

Since this district has existed as is there has been a progressive running in every November election. The problem is, many progressives are flat out crazy. And they do not relate well to the majority of the 7th district.

Renier 2006
Renier 2004
Simpson 2002
 
Why is Reiner a progressive? She hasn't got a clue!
 
Renier doesn't have an ounce of finesse but that is as a result of being naive about politics and how one has to play to the audience to win.

She never minced words and everything she said at the SHU debate was right on. But the rolling of the eyes and the in-character but definitely a no-no gesturing toward Walberg only "proved" to the people that she was a nut case. When in fact, they are the exact things we would have done (and did) when Walberg was spewing the Bush mantra.

It's so damned difficult to remain calm and act our age when we read Walberg's (ir)rationale on everything. We feel the same contempt Renier feels and yet, because she couldn't control her disgust (and we all know that slick politicians must disguise their disgust), we brand her as goofy.

I know there are other reasons why people don't like Sharon. Mostly, though, it's because she doesn't fit the mold of the "mature" politician. Being aggressive, accusatory, honest, and making off-the-cuff remarks, she simply does not fit the mold.

And that's a shame.

Would I vote for her? I don't know. Slick (like the other two candidates) she ain't. That's a given. But I happen to think she's a breath of fresh air.
 
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