Thursday, September 06, 2007

More on Ken Brock

I received an e-mail from Susan Demas, who wrote the original article in the Enquirer that started the Ken Brock controversy. She has since given me permission to post her e-mail. It adds some context, and I'm sure that it'll give everyone a lot more to talk about.

The e-mail:
I'm surprised at the attention one line in my latest column has received both in Michigan and across the country. What I wrote on Mr. Brock wasn't the main point, but it did reinforce my belief in restoring decency to politics.

I'd like to clarify something with you, since we've corresponded in the past. These were not paraphrasings or quotes taken out of context. Here are the complete quotes from Mr. Brock:

"Berryman is lazy and he knows that. He promised us he'd do better. ... But you look at his fundraising and his excuses and he's not getting it done. ... The Lord helps those who help themselves."

“David Nacht, people are not going to vote for a liberal, Jewish trial lawyer from the east side of the district.”

In a 35 minute interview, which Mr. Brock requested from me, he repeatedly castigated both Mr. Berryman and Mr. Nacht. That is why I included the quotes. I am not interested in going after Sen. Schauer or Mr. Brock any more than I am interested in going after Congressman Walberg. I call them as I see them. And when politicians of all stripes cross over a line, I think it's the media's job to report that.

I do not profess to know Mr. Brock's heart or intentions. But what he said was not accidental and there was no apology to me or request for a retraction. And no, I don't think it's a minor issue. Mr. Brock was bombastic throughout the interview, holding Mr. Berryman and Mr. Nacht in contempt. As the Senate Minority Leader's chief of staff, his words and actions are a reflection of his boss.

Certainly Republicans are jumping on this for political gain. But after covering politics as long as I have, I can tell you that Democrats would be up in arms if Tim Walberg made the same comments, many of whom would be posting on your site.

As journalists, we have to report what we think is right and hold leaders accountable. That's all I have ever tried to do.

So. How does this change things? Does it?

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"Berryman is lazy and he knows that. He promised us he'd do better. ... But you look at his fundraising and his excuses and he's not getting it done. ... The Lord helps those who help themselves."

“David Nacht, people are not going to vote for a liberal, Jewish trial lawyer from the east side of the district.”

Although I think Schauer is probably the best candidate, those comments were pretty tasteless regardless of the context.
Until this "controversy" broke I never knew, nor was I the least bit concerned that David Nacht might be Jewish. A person's religion isn't my overriding concern when evaluating a candidate.

It takes a racist and bigot to look at someone and their first observation is their religious persuasion. It denotes a supreme sense of insecurity. That's sterotypical and un-American in my opinion.

Political correctness has run amok in our nation and we get hypersentitive over things that we shouldn't.

This is one of the big problem swith politics today, we label people and catagorize people. Why can't people who want to serve in public office, just serve? It shouldn't matter if they are Mormon, Jewish Catholic or Atheist. It shouldn't be a big deal if they are.

Isn't government, by definition "Amoral?"

Isn't America the great "melting pot?"
I am not sure how the context changes anything, he apologized without ever claiming that his comments were taken out of context. This is just another write up of the same story. I accept that he is sorry, and I think it is time to move on. Does anyone remember the last time we talked about Walberg? What did the Congressman have to say about the Iraq report? That seems much more interesting and relevant than this. You either accept his apology or you don't, continuing to talk about it does no good for anyone.
Of the Berryman comments: They were spot on.

Of the Nacht comments: Mr Brock didn't need to bandy religion in his analysis.

Look at the writings of Jefferson and you can see that government is far from amoral.

Religion does enter into the political calculation of every voter whether we admit it or not. Timmy professes his religion all the time. And last time I looked conservative Christians vote in huge numbers in this district. I think Brock's analysis (though poor worded) boiled down to this:

In this district of Bible-thumping Christian Conservatives, the Democratic candidate needs to appeal to some of the folks, because it's going to take some GOP cross-over to win. Frankly, a liberal Jewish trail lawyer will have a hard time finding any votes in places like Hillsdale, Branch, and other rural areas of the district. These are on point political considerations, he just shouldn't of been expressing them to Ms. Demas.

I believe that Mr. Brock's brashness and insensitivity should not be condoned. We should take his apology for what it is worth, forgive him as Mr Nacht has done, and move on.
"And last time I looked conservative Christians vote in huge numbers in this district."

Yea, and all 8 percent of them voted for Walberg in the 06 primary.

The only reason Walberg beat Schwarz is that the GOP was lazy and didn't vote. There is no huge block of "Christian" voters out there.

BTW, how do we know some of them wern't Jewish??
Here is our champion of against hatred and for tolerence working again for the folks of the 7th District.


Washington, Sep 7 - U.S. Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI) today joined the newly launched bi-partisan Congressional Task Force Against Anti-Semitism, which will function as an independent arm of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.

The Task Force will be chaired by Congressman Ron Klein (D-FL) and Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) and was initiated by Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), the founding co-chairman of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.

“As much as we would like to think and hope it doesn’t exist, anti-Semitic discrimination is still prevalent in many parts of the world,” Walberg said. “Our nation was founded on the idea of religious freedom, and it is an honor to be a part of this important caucus as we work to combat hatred and religious discrimination.”

The Congressional Anti-Semitism Task Force will provide insights into the depth and effects of anti-Semitism worldwide. The Task Force’s primary role is to bring to light specific cases of anti-Semitism and educate members of Congress, world leaders and citizens about the horrors that these cases pose on society. The Task Force’s primary goal is to advance the visibility of and serious thinking about how the United States can best address the challenges of anti-Semitism throughout the world, so that we will never relive the horrors such hatred has wrought in our past.
Ugh. I hate when I agree with anything Walberg does!! Lantos is a good guy, and a holocaust survivor. Maybe he'll teach Timmy a thing or two about the world...
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