It has been awhile since I sat down to write a Hoosier Tuesday column. Partly this is because politics in Indiana haven’t been all that newsworthy. There aren’t any competitive races, nothing with a national impact or appeal. But Matthew Tully’s column ends that dry-spell for us.
It has been buried in the news lately, what with the Middle East proving once again that it is horrible mess, but what is happening in Kansas could serve as a major political shake-up for the United States. Current U.S. Senator Pat Roberts survived a primary scare against radiologist Milton Wolf only to see his Democratic opponent seek to drop out of the race. That would seem like a formula for certain re-election, right? Well, it looks like Kansas voters have other ideas.
Tuesday served as the “way too late” primary day for several states in the union, including the Midwestern states of Michigan and Kansas. Things played out as expected in Michigan – Rep. Justin Amash won his primary battle and Rep. Kerry Bentivolio lost his. Because of how the districts have been drawn up in the Great Lakes States, the vast majority of those who won their primaries on Tuesday will be victorious in November including Amash and Dave Trott (the man who just demolished Bentivolio at the polls). The big races in Michigan will be those that did not fall prey to the partisan redistricting, i.e. the U.S. Senate and Governors races, where Rep. Gary Peters is running against Terri Lynn Land to see who fills the seat left by retiring Sen. Carl Levin and Governor Rick Snyder aims to keep his seat from challenger Mark Schauer.
Today, former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA 7) announced he would leave the House on August 18th – not at the end of his term as originally planned. Big whoop, so he leaves a few months early, right? Wrong! By leaving his post early he will be costing the taxpayers of Virginia even more money as a special election would be needed to fill his seat for the few weeks Congress is in session. What a nice way to stick it to the voters who cast him out of the House. The only thing higher on the sore loser spectrum is a recall election. Grow up Mr. Cantor.
For quite some time I/we have stated here that the Republican Party in order to be successful moving forward needs a message about moving forward. And, in some ways, they have. It’s easy to see that in states like Indiana and Michigan, Ohio and Iowa. Republicans are leading their states forward, making them better places to work, live and raise a family. Somehow, it seems that Republicans inside the beltway haven’t gotten this message though. Congressional job approval is on par with death and eating dirt three times a day. So it’s interesting that the man who helped orchestrate the GOP reign in DC has something to say on the matter. Continue reading
We are quickly approaching the day that the state of Michigan holds its primary elections. In fact, said elections take place a week from tomorrow on August 5th. That gives the winners in each race just three months – 13 weeks exactly – to make their pitch to the general public. Thirteen weeks to ask their current or future constituents to make a choice while they have given 8 months to the small subsection of their constituency that votes in a primary to decide their fate. That doesn’t seem just a little screwed up? Continue reading
This blog has made no bones about our admiration of Rep. Justin Amash (R – MI 3). So, when he speaks to The Grand Rapids Press/MLive at their candidate forum, it should probably be what we cover for the day.
Congressman Justin Amash spoke at the candidate forum in Grand Rapids where he was asked questions about his opponent (“not credible” – his answer and mine) and about his fights with the GOP Leadership. This is where I come to a crossroads (despite the admiration)…and where Amash just speeds on through. He basically lays the blame for a dysfunctional Congress at the feet of Speaker John Boehner. My problem there is that I like John Boehner…and at some point, we have to stop blaming the parent for the behavior of the children.
Man, I hate the term “establishment” for so many reasons and I hate that Amash has to go there. I get it, it’s a hot-button talking point. He is running in a primary against a guy he can paint as “establishment”. But he, of all people, should be rising above that. No, I don’t know what other broad paint brush word he should use because broad paint brushes are stupid (unless you actually have to paint, then they come in handy…although I prefer paint pads when possible). Once again, the fact is that the Republican Party is fractured and this “establishment” crap only serves as a way to widen that fissure.
However, the strength of the GOP is secondary to the job that Congress is doing (a shitty one). I think, at this point, more Americans approve of death than they do of the job that Congress is doing/not doing. This is where Amash makes a great point. “If only we had more Republicans, everything would be good…but that’s not the truth, that’s not the reality” he states in the above clip. And it’s true. It is not about a party, it is about the people. We can have a boatload of Republicans and be even worse off than we are now if they are not principled and truly representative of the people’s interests.
I say this as a member of the Republican Party – just because you have an R next to your name on the ballot does NOT make you the best choice. I may not always agree with the way Amash votes on things and that is alright (for one, I don’t live in his district, or even Michigan anymore for that matter). But I have immense respect for that fact that he seems to be highly principled and is always willing to explain why he voted a certain way even when it is not popular among his peers.
The truth is, if the Republican Party listened a little more to what the people really want (and run complete idiots in some races) then electing Republicans wouldn’t be the struggle that it is. There will be some areas that never elect a Republican. That is just the way the demographics fall. People believe different things in the nation and it’s part of what makes out nation (sometimes despite our leaders) great.
The United States needs more people on Capitol Hill like Justin Amash. I am not saying that they need to have his political ideology. I am saying we need men and women who stand up for what is right even when it is not popular, people who have the best interest of their constituents – and by extension, our nation – at heart when they serve in the United States Congress.
Editor’s note: Yes, I know Virginia is not in the Midwest but this is kind of a big story
Yesterday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA 07) lost in a primary election that was supposed to be a cakewalk. Twitter was abuzz with commentary last night – some which was thoughtful and insightful, some that shocked at what had occurred, and some that was just plain stupid. Today, the internet is littered with columns about “Why Eric Cantor Lost” and what it means nationally. Well, the answers are rather simple actually.
Yesterday I received an email from the Chris McDaniel campaign (he is running against Senator Thad Cochran in the Mississippi primary). Ignoring that it was a request for money – every campaign mailer is in some shape or form – the precise issue he took umbrage with was very interesting. He states that Cochran is urging Democrats to vote for him in the primary. To McDaniel, this amounts to Republican treason it seems. To Cochran it could mean the difference between victory and defeat. The issue to me is much larger though.
Much has been made of the growing divide between the GOP and the Tea Party. Heck, we have covered it several times here, most notable in this recent column. The tensions there are real, you can see it playing out on the national stage of the United States Congress. The reasons are varied, though most of the talk surrounds “establishment Republicans”. Continue reading