Friday, August 05, 2005
The Way to Win a Fight Is to Fight
The Democrats need more party leaders like Michigan Democratic Chair Mark Brewer. (1) As soon as rightwing moneybags Dick DeVos announced his candidacy for Michigan governor, the MI Democratic Party came out swinging. Here's the latest blast:
Today Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer called on GOP gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos to demand his money back from right wing extremist Rep. Tom Tancredo. Tancredo, who in 1998 received $1,000 from DeVos’ political action committee Restoring the American Dream, was the recent author of reprehensible anti-Islamic statements. During a July 15th interview on WFLA in Orlando, Florida, Tancredo stated that the U.S. might "take out (Muslim) holy sites" in response to another terrorist attack on the U.S. When asked if he meant Mecca, Tancredo responded "yeah." Tancredo has stood by his comments and refused to apologize for them. “As a candidate for governor, Dick DeVos owes it to the Arab-American community and the entire state of Michigan to take a stand against Tancredo’s ant-Islamic statements,” said Brewer. “If DeVos refuses to demand his money back, he then shows support for Tancredo’s racist views. DeVos needs to send the message to Tancredo that violence against an entire religion will not be tolerated. DeVos and other Republicans across the state were called on to denounce Tancredo’s comments almost two weeks ago and they have failed to respond.Note that "the Arab-American community" is a significant voting bloc in SE Michigan. (2) "Outside agitator" Ward Connerly orchestrated a petition drive to ban affirmative action in Michigan. There are numerous reports of petition-pushers lying about the petition's purpose to get people to sign it (e.g. saying it actually supports affirmative action). The MI Board of Canvassers, which has the authority to decide whether petitions qualify for the ballot, disallowed the petition, and the Republicans in the MI government are now trying to strip the Board of that authority (basically, the reason for its existence). Brewer punches the right buttons to discredit their position:
Contrary to the repeated assertions in the LSJ's editorial about the actions of the Michigan State Board of Canvassers concerning Californian Ward Connerly's petition drive, the board for decades has had the clear legal authority to "hold hearings upon any complaints" or "for any purpose." These words could not be clearer and permit the board to investigate the fraud alleged to have occurred during the circulation of the Connerly petitions. Moreover, the attorney general's opinion relied upon in your editorial that the board could not investigate fraud involving Connerly's petitions is flawed as well. Attorney General Mike Cox has an obvious conflict of interest because he has already publicly endorsed the Connerly petition drive. It is no surprise that he would issue a last-minute opinion supporting his preconceived bias in favor of Connerly. Cox should have disqualified himself, as any ethical lawyer would have. But unethical conduct by him in pursuit of his political agenda is also no surprise. The board not only has the legal authority to investigate, but it had evidence before it which justified such an investigation. There was extensive live testimony as well as written proof that many African-American and white petition signers were lied to about the purpose of the Connerly petition. Finally, there is ample time to investigate. The Board of Canvassers has more than a year until the legal deadline to certify questions for the 2006 ballot. A prompt hearing in which Connerly's employees testified under oath could have resolved the allegations of fraud, one way or the other. Instead, because of the stonewalling by Cox, backed by Secretary of State Terri Land and board Chairwoman Kathy DeGrow, serious claims of fraud by African-American voters are being ignored. Prior to elections, Cox and Land always express concern about "fraud," a code word for African-American voters. Indeed, Cox was part of Republican efforts in 2004 to intimidate African-American voters, or, as expressed by GOP State Rep. John Pappageorge, "to suppress the Detroit vote." Yet when African-American voters complain of fraud, Cox and Land turn a deaf ear. That is a sad commentary on the state of civil rights in Michigan on the 40th anniversary of the federal Voting Rights Act.
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