MI-GOV: Pete Hoekstra: Taking public money didn’t work for McCain, it won’t for you

Some times, you really have to wonder why politicians don’t learn from the past. This week, Pete Hoekstra did the inexplicable: he declared that he would take public funding in the race for Michigan Governor.

Now Michigan has a 2-1 match. That is, for every dollar he raises, he gets 2 from the taxpayer. In exchange, he gets a cap on total spending. I have several thoughts on this:

First, John McCain tried this. He lost. And he lost for a reason. If you can’t build the grassroots army to fund your campaign, you probably can’t win.

Second, this funding only applies to the primary. He will need to raise huge resources for the general too. This hampers your ability to win the general because you haven’t built your finance organization. And if he uses this in the general, then he could be at a real disadvantage.

Third, Hoekstra was really outspoken about campaign finance. He repeatedly criticized campaign finance bills throughout his career in the House. This displays a certain lack of principle…

Fourth, will struggling Michigan voters — recall that this is the state with the highest unemployment rate in the country — really want their taxes going to welfare for politicians?

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MI-GOV: Pete Hoekstra: Taking public money didn’t work for McCain, it won’t for you

Some times, you really have to wonder why politicians don’t learn from the past. This week, Pete Hoekstra did the inexplicable: he declared that he would take public funding in the race for Michigan Governor.

Now Michigan has a 2-1 match. That is, for every dollar he raises, he gets 2 from the taxpayer. In exchange, he gets a cap on total spending. I have several thoughts on this:

First, John McCain tried this. He lost. And he lost for a reason. If you can’t build the grassroots army to fund your campaign, you probably can’t win.

Second, this funding only applies to the primary. He will need to raise huge resources for the general too. This hampers your ability to win the general because you haven’t built your finance organization. And if he uses this in the general, then he could be at a real disadvantage.

Third, Hoekstra was really outspoken about campaign finance. He repeatedly criticized campaign finance bills throughout his career in the House. This displays a certain lack of principle…

Fourth, will struggling Michigan voters — recall that this is the state with the highest unemployment rate in the country — really want their taxes going to welfare for politicians?

0
Your rating: None

MI-GOV: Pete Hoekstra: Taking public money didn’t work for McCain, it won’t for you

Some times, you really have to wonder why politicians don’t learn from the past. This week, Pete Hoekstra did the inexplicable: he declared that he would take public funding in the race for Michigan Governor.

Now Michigan has a 2-1 match. That is, for every dollar he raises, he gets 2 from the taxpayer. In exchange, he gets a cap on total spending. I have several thoughts on this:

First, John McCain tried this. He lost. And he lost for a reason. If you can’t build the grassroots army to fund your campaign, you probably can’t win.

Second, this funding only applies to the primary. He will need to raise huge resources for the general too. This hampers your ability to win the general because you haven’t built your finance organization. And if he uses this in the general, then he could be at a real disadvantage.

Third, Hoekstra was really outspoken about campaign finance. He repeatedly criticized campaign finance bills throughout his career in the House. This displays a certain lack of principle…

Fourth, will struggling Michigan voters — recall that this is the state with the highest unemployment rate in the country — really want their taxes going to welfare for politicians?

0
Your rating: None

Romney’s closing message in Michigan or a new campaign?

Dean Barnett offers a scathing assessment of the Romney campaign today. I don’t want to focus on that here, instead his closing:

I hope Mr. Romney does well enough in Michigan today that he gets the opportunity to introduce the public to the real Mitt Romney. He is a wonderful and gifted guy. It would be nice if he and his campaign allowed the voters in on that secret.

If Mitt Romney’s closing speech to the Detroit Economic Club is the real, Mitt Romney, then we have an even bigger problem then we thought. Byron York had this analysis of the speech:

Romney’s proposals might not be music to the ears of free-market conservatives who believe Detroit made its own problems and needs to fix itself. But it’s what a lot of people in Michigan want to hear.

In other words, Romney ran to the left telling "a lot of people [what they] want to hear." If this is the real Mitt Romney, still telling people what they want to hear, abandoning his new refound principles, then just wait until a general election.

McCain town hall in Reagan Democrat country

(Cross-post from Redstate)

Macomb County, Michigan, is one of the homes of the Reagan Democrat. Today, I saw John McCain give a town hall in the closing stretch of the Michigan primary. I don’t have pictures because my video camera was stolen, but I have impressions.

Michigan is in an a single-state recession. Unemployment is above 7%. Many of the current jobs are in manufacturing which, the Detroit News, the conservative paper in the state, has noted won’t come back. How to handle this is the fundamental debate. Mitt Romney is saying that he, personally, can turn the state around and that the future of Michigan is bright. McCain has argued that more realism and effort is needed, and has focused on retraining programs. My gut is that McCain wins this fight by recognizing the challenges. In New Hampshire exit polls McCain received substantially more support from people with economic anxiety, and Romney won only one economic subgroup, those making between $150k and $200k.

McCain’s answer is a retraining program. In March, I was in New Hampshire (before my camera was stolen), and asked him a similar question. This was his answer:

This is the backdrop of the town hall and the current debate in Michigan. Between 600-700 people attended (contrast with around 150 at Romney’s the previous day. In the Romney campaign’s defense, they have had some scheduling snafus that have forced them to cancel a number of events) The questions were primarily about national security, veterans, Iraq, etc., and economic issues like pharmaceuticals and healthcare, and the subprime crisis.

McCain was asked about the subprime crisis, and he passed the microphone to Carli Fiorina, the CEO of HP (formerly Hewlett Packard). She said that she had never campaigned before and was supporting McCain because he is "a unique and inspiring leader." She turned to answering the question and focused on the need for transparency and accountability. She said that there were many things "off balance sheet" so that risks couldn’t be properly accounted for. She then invoked Enron and said "if you can’t see it, you can’t understand it." One person in the audience liked the answer enough to say "Thank you Madame Vice President."

Off to an event at the Americans for Prosperity Forum.

McCain campaign claiming momentum and seeking more endorsements

The John McCain campaign is trying to score some endorsements out of the ranks of other campaigns. They are  looking for a press boost and more momentum to add to what they already have. Note that with Rudy Giuliani’s complete pull-out of MIchigan those activists, voters, and endorsers may help with that boost.

Dear McCain Supporter,

Over the past 48 hours since John McCain’s comeback win in the New Hampshire primary, the McCain campaign has received many endorsements of people who were previously neutral, or in some cases had endorsed other campaigns. This list includes a former Governor, a high-ranking statewide official, State Representatives, County Chairs, and many more.  Senator McCain clearly has the momentum in this campaign and people want to be a part of it.  They know that he is the only candidate prepared to be Commander-in-Chief.

We will be releasing a new list of people in the next few days who have endorsed Senator McCain since his New Hampshire victory over Governor Mitt Romney.  If you would like to endorse, or have any family or friends whom you believe would like to join Sen. McCain’s campaign, please let me know at jyob@mccain08hq.com.  As we mentioned in a previous email, we request that any person who intends to run as a McCain delegate to the Republican National Convention emails us an official endorsement prior to the Primary.

Finally, here is a link to a list of people thought to support Mitt Romney in Michigan:  http://www.johnmccain.com/downloads/romneymisupporters.xls.

Based on what has happened the last few days, we have every reason to believe that many of these folks are ready to join Senator McCain’s campaign.  Several already have endorsed.  Please contact anyone you know on this list and encourage them to join the team and let them know their support would be appreciated.  We accept all late comers and would be grateful for the support of anyone who would like to climb aboard the Straight Talk Express as Senator McCain travels Michigan over the weekend!

Thank you for your help and strong support.

Sincerely,

John Patrick Yob

Deputy Political Director

John McCain 2008

PS:  Here is a link to the most recent Michigan poll – taken prior to the New Hampshire primary.  http://www.strategicvision.biz/political/michigan_poll_011008.htm

PSS: Here is link to the McCain Michigan Momentum video from the post-New Hampshire stops in Michigan.  Some of you are in the video! http://www.johnmccain.com/video/mi.htm

Steve Forbes, Rudy, Romney, and the economy

(Cross-posted from Redstate)

Two days ago (technical problems delayed this) in Manchester, New Hampshire, I sat down with Steve Forbes, and we talked about his endorsement of Rudy Giuliani, and his thoughts on the economic records of the other candidates. As a supporter of Rudy Giuliani’s he has the most to say about what he likes about Rudy, but it was interesting to me that he ripped pretty hard into Mitt Romney’s record.

The next step of the Presidential race will turn to Michigan and South Carolina. Michigan is a big northern state in, perhaps, the worst economic state in the country, the old rust belt. Voters are going to want to know what can be done for the economy. This is different than taxes, which was an important issue in New Hampshire. In Michigan, the question on voters’ mind will be "who will create jobs?" Mitt Romney’s record is weaker than is generally assumed. The Club for Growth is already up with ads attacking Huckabee, although I suspect that this is more press release. John McCain, as a Senator, has his voting record and new policy proposals to defend and propose. Erick and Neil have more on that.

South Carolina is more complicated. I will be back with more about that.

Romney cites his education as authority

The whole Mitt Romney/Martin Luther King thing just gets weirder and weirder. He told the Detroit Free Press:

"You know, I’m an English literature major as well. When we say, ‘I saw the Patriots win the World Series, it doesn’t necessarily mean you were there — excuse me, the Super Bowl. I saw my dad become president of American Motors. Did that mean you were there for the ceremony? No, it’s a figure of speech."

This reminded me when he tried to weasel out of answering a question about whether abortion was murder by invoking being a lawyer:

I don’t want to use that term because it means different things to different people. … It is taking human life … Murder has — I used to go to law school — murder has malice of forethought and  all sorts of other things

You know, I don’t know any serious person who cites their college and graduate school education as authority when they talk. Experience, sure. That just strikes me as a weird, weird trait. And also note that it is ad hoc. He didn’t cite his lawyerly authority when he said "I’d have to ask my lawyers" about Iran.

Romney: “I saw my father march with MLK”

As you probably know by now, Mitt Romney said "I saw my father march with Martin Luther King." It seems that what Romney means by that isn’t what you and I mean. Let’s break the sentence down and see how Mitt Romney parses it:

I saw …

Romney explains what he means by "I saw":

If you look at the literature, if you look at the dictionary, the term ‘saw’ includes being aware of in the sense I’ve described,” he said. “It’s a figure of speech and very familiar and it’s very common and I saw my dad march with Martin Luther King. I did not see it with my own eyes but I saw him in the sense of being aware of his participation in that great effort.”

Ahh. That’s clear. So not "I saw" in the sense of seeing it actually happen but in the sense of being aware that it happened. So Romney was aware of his:

… my father march with Martin Luther King

So what does "with MLK" mean? According the Boston Phoenix:

Fehrnstrom had originally told the Phoenix that the two men marched together in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, either in June 1963 or March 1968, a claim the Phoenix called into question earlier today. An additional source, William LeFevre of the Reuther Library at Wayne State University, who is in charge of the papers of the Grosse Pointe Civil Liberties Association, has since confirmed to the Phoenix that George Romney was not at the 1968 event, and that King was not at the 1963 event.

Fehrnstrom now says that the event in question was King’s “Freedom March” in Detroit on June 23, 1963. …

However, numerous contemporaneous and historical accounts say that Romney did not participate in the Detroit Freedom March, because it was held on the Sabbath. The New York Times, for example, wrote the next day that “Gov. George Romney, who is Mormon and does not make public appearances on Sundays, issued a special proclamation.”

So it seems that when Romney said "I saw my father march with Martin Luther King" he means that he was aware that his father participated in a civil rights marches that were supported with Martin Luther King.

The dude clearly doesn’t know what the definition of "is" is. So he just makes stuff up.

Is Michigan Huckabee’s firewall?

According to RCP, Rasmussen has the first Michigan poll in about a month. Normally, I don’t write about all the polls coming out. But this is the only data we have since the Huckaboom. In this data, we have Mike Huckabee at 21, Mitt Romney at 20, and Rudy Giuliani at 19.

A Huckabee success in Michigan seems plausible. After all, the state has 7.7% unemployment which is, I think, the highest unemployment rate in the country. So it would seem that Michigan could be receptive to a Huckabee message.

But there is something much, much deeper going on. First, there basically is no Democratic primary. From the Detroit Free Press:

The result is that there are almost no Democratic candidates on the ballot here, and it’s unclear whether Michigan Republicans will be fully represented at next summer’s convention. It’s a mess, and an expensive one at that, costing state taxpayers $10 million-plus for the election.

Specifically:

Four Democratic candidates – Joe Biden, John Edwards, Barack Obama and Bill Richardson – have opted out of the Michigan primary because its early date violates national party rules.

Second, there is no party registration. Meaning Democrats can — and will — vote in the Republican primary.  With practically no Democratic primary, could Huckabee’s union endorsements push him over the top? How many Dems can Huckabee add to the mix?

And what happens if Huckabee wins Iowa and Michigan? What does that mean for South Carolina? Or Romney?