Saturday, October 27, 2007



Marcy (emptywheel) first told me about Mark Schauer, a state senator from a district near her own, quite some time ago. There were a lot of people declaring they would run in southern Michigan's 7th CD-- to face the most radical right member of the state's congressional delegation, Tim Walberg-- but Marcy counseled me to hold off. She felt there was a very good chance Mark would jump in and that when he did, everyone else would bow out and endorse him. After spending some time with him on the phone this week, I understand from whence her enthusiasm springs. Please join us over at Firedoglake at 2pm, EDT today for a live blog session with Mark.

I started off by asking him what issues his constituents are telling him are the most important for them. "Without question," he stated immediately, "the top issue facing the 7th congressional district is the economy and jobs. This is a state that has been rocked by outsourcing, a global economy, and trade agreements that have cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs. Folks are worried about their future, about their families, about whether they can retire, whether they can send their kids to college or whether they're going to lose their home. And related to that are basic security needs, like health care. Are they going to be able to keep health care and afford coverage for their kids or are they going to lose their pension? Will Social Security be there for them? Once you get past that, the war and our foreign policy-- or lack thereof-- are a major concern. Are their sons and daughters and neighbors in harm's way in Iraq? And people are hopeful that we'll be able to restore a foreign policy based more on diplomacy and less on war. And third would be the environment, including climate change."

That got him talking about the economic opportunities for Michigan in pursing alternatives to fossil fuels for energy. "Folks are concerned about gas prices. Folks are concerned about the rising cost of heating their homes and they know there are alternatives. They know our planet is at risk and you have to think about it as the legacy we're leaving our kids. Michigan is a Great Lakes state and the environment is always an issue of concern to the people here. People in south-central Michigan don't think slant drilling in the Great Lakes is the answer, although Tim Walberg supports it."

And speaking of Walberg, I had to ask Mark about the war. Walberg's record is crystal clear. Since getting to Congress last year, he's participated in 18 roll calls concerning Iraq and he's voted 18 times with Bush and Cheney. He never found a single issue about Iraq to disagree with them on-- although most Republicans have. He's also voted 7 times on issues effecting the well-being of our military personnel and he's been wrong all 7 times-- voting against our servicemen and women and for his party leader. But Mark, although a state senator, has an Iraq-related record to examine as well. I asked him to explain it.
It was March, 2003, just days before the president went into Iraq and one of the ultra-conservative members of the Michigan senate put up a meaningless resolution to put everyone on the record in terms of support for Bush's strategy in Iraq. I voted against it. It was a tough vote at the time if you'll recall the public sentiment back then. People were getting in my face about voting against the president when they were equating that with not supporting our troops. I do support our troops but that vote was the right thing to do then and history has born that out. I'm on record from the start saying this was a flawed strategy."

Mark's state senate district, like the congressional district, has a Republican lean. Gore took 46% of the vote and Kerry took 45%. Last year, an underfunded, barely known Democrat who wasn't taken very seriously in political circles, came within one percentage point of beating Walberg. And Walberg hasn't become popular since winning the seat. There's a certain amount of residual resentment of the way a great deal of outside PAC money, from Club For Growth, was used to defeat a decent, moderate Republican incumbent. And his voting record-- in a basically all-American, moderate district-- has been very, very hard right, way at the bottom of the Republican congressional barrel and far more extreme than any other congressman from Michigan. If you examine Progressive Punch's Chips Are Down rankings, you find Walberg sitting there with radical kooks and ideologues like Patrick McHenry, Michele Bachman, Mike Pence, Virginia Foxx, Marsha Blackburn... with an even worse record than Mean Jean Schmidt, Marilyn Musgrave or Virgil Goode.

"We're spending $12 billion a month in Iraq and this president, along with Tim Walberg, opposes spending an additional $7 billion a year to make sure that three a half million kids receive health care. It's a tragedy in so many ways for our country... This president and his policies have put us more at risk. We have got to start to change. You want to hold this president accountable?
This Congress has got to use its investigative powers and if it's determined that George W. Bush has violated his oath of office then he has to be held accountable. I'll be entering office in January of 2009 and there will be a new president and I want to spend my time moving us forward and undoing the mess that this president has created and that's where my energies will be focused-- on that change and that new direction."

Mark is the Democratic Senate Leader in Michigan. I checked YouTube to see if he had any clips and I found a pretty cool one he put up 7 months ago directed directly to bloggers! Take a look-- and then think about giving Mark's campaign a hand over at our Blue America ActBlue page

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At 10:48 AM, Blogger Fitzy said...

Schauer is a great candidate and, from what I have seen, a genuinely good person. He's a great candidate for Blue America to endorse.

Your readers might also like to check out Michigan Liberal and my own blog, Walberg Watch for more on Tim Walberg, his record, and the 2008 race.

At 6:52 PM, Anonymous reality check said...

Down with Tyrrany! Mark Schauer is the establishment candidate. Nothing new there. If you want real change and someone who is really against Tyranny, you, Blue America, and every other organization in America needs to be backing Sharon Renier. Schauer doesn't have a clue about anything except promoting Mark Schauer. Show me the legislation he's written and gotten passed. Nothing! He's no better than Tim Walberg. Same old rhetoric, absolutely NO action, and he and Timmy keep on taking the taxpayer's money and giving them nothing in return. Yeah, you got a real revolution going on with Schauer . . . NOT!!!

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