Sunday, October 29, 2006

Hitting the Wall with the Michigan Republican Party:

There is a lady in my neighborhood who wanders around down on the corner by the local businesses shaking her fist and yelling at the sky. You can never really tell exactly what she is angry about; she jumps from subject to subject. There isn't anything coherent in her speech, no logic at all, you just know she's angry.

I have said "hi" to her a couple of times. She will stop yelling, smile, say "hi" or "how are you" back, calm as can be, and then proceed to go back to yelling after you walk by.

I don't argue with her about the things she yells about. What would be the point?

Lately I feel that way about the Michigan Republican Party and Dick DeVos. That is why my posts have been mostly about ads and polls this past week- I have reached the point where I really just don't want to argue with a bunch of people who are just pulling all their demons out of the gutter and shoving them in your face and screaming about them.

Case in point: Let's start with Craig DeRoche. He said something the other day that at first pissed me off, but later made me laugh as I realized I have truly fallen deep into the Theater of the Absurd that is this election season.

"The voters in Michigan are a smart bunch of people, but I do think the word needs to get out they are being manipulated by a billionaire," says House Speaker Craig DeRoche, R-Novi.

The Grand Rapids Press the other day ran this banner headline, "Billionaire spends liberally on state politics".

Now, at first glance, you would think that these two are talking about DeVos and the $35 million he has spent, right? Had they finally decided to come clean? No. It's the confusing pejoratives. That was the giveaway. In yet another round of that now time-honored cliche of "It's OK if You're A Republican", DeRoche and the yellow journalists at the Press were speaking of Jon Stryker, the billionaire who finally got so fed up with the Legislature he started the Michigan Coalition for Progress, a PAC that is running ads and sending out literature aimed at helping Democrats get elected this year.

To say the Republicans are freaking out would be an understatement. This has scared them so bad that they decided to play... the "gay card" once again. Because this guy has concerns about the wingnuts blocking stem cell research, or limiting access to birth control and reproductive choice, or any number of radical special interest legislation the right has managed to make priority one in Lansing, obviously he is going to push for GAY MARRIAGE. Quick! We need another amendment! Let the verbal bashing begin!

A top GOP campaign strategist on Friday said Stryker's Coalition for Progress has a "shadow agenda" to bolster gay and lesbian rights in Michigan, including a possible same-sex marriage initiative.

They have a web site set up to prove their specious claims.

The site claims Jon Stryker's contributions have challenged abstinence sex education and the preservation of traditional marriage and supported gay adoption rights, homosexuality diversity courses, abortion rights and domestic-partner benefits for gay and lesbian couples. It highlights Stryker's Kalamazoo-based Arcus Foundation's support for projects "which recognize that members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community deserve to be welcomed and celebrated."

Wow. I'm disgusted. Again. But mostly I'm bored. Aren't you?

Smear and fear are all the Republicans have to offer this year. You haven't seen it on the TV (much, there is a little, at least we now know how to cook heroin), but the reports about the robocalls and the direct mail hit pieces have been truly astonishing. Thank God for the internet- we have gathered them all together for quite a collection over at Michigan Liberal for an overview of just how pervasive this stuff is. I can't begin to highlight them all- but let me just say that they drag up all the GOP bogeymen: gays, terrorists, abortion, racism, Michael, Hillary and Ted, guns, violent criminals, raising taxes... and I'm sure there are a few I have missed.

The thing about these pieces is they flat-out LIE about the targets- here are a couple of examples with Granholm. "Governor Granholm actively supports partial birth abortion". Uh... no, she doesn't. She would have banned it if the legislation she was presented with hadn't had the potential to kill women. That translates into "support" in the eyes of the GOP. And on guns, "Granholm has made it a priority to chip away at and stop gun rights." Wrong again. The NRA gave her a B+ and decided not to endorse anyone in the governor's race this year.

The other pieces on the other candidates are just as egregious- claims with no base in reality, leaps of logic that are just too astonishing to be believed, let alone begin to address.

Even Bill Milliken was moved to write a letter to the Oakland Press about the smear campaign going on against Andy Levin.

As a Republican, I am appalled that these mailings come from the Michigan Republican Party and that my party is engaging in such irresponsible tactics rather than discussing the very real challenges that face Michigan today.

Expect a hit piece on Bill shortly.

So, in the face of all of this, what does one write about? Since the Republicans and DeVos have no plans or ideas that they will tell us about (see story below this one), and can only resort the tactics of fear, there really isn't much to say anymore, is there?

I don't argue with the lady on the corner. It would be pointless because she won't listen.

It's the same way with the Republican leadership nowadays.

I just hope that on November 7th, the citizens of Michigan decide that they have had enough of this kind of political theater and are ready to get back to the business of moving our state forward.

Our, we can continue to entertain insane notions from people who give all power to the paper monsters they want to put in your head to keep you afraid all the time, while under the radar their economic and social policies continue to hurt you and your family.

Your choice, Michigan. Please choose wisely.