political campaign

Politics & Government
11:12 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Dirty tricks on Michigan campaign trail get less entertaining, more depressing

“One person can make a difference,” President Kennedy used to say, “and everyone should try.”  That was the spirit that inspired a lot of people to get into politics, once upon a time.

Well, there are still idealists out there trying to make a difference, and there have been no-goodniks running for office since George Washington’s day.

But in the final days before Michigan’s statewide primary, two things have depressed me about this year’s campaign.

One is the amount of money involved, and I’ll talk about that later. But the other is the below the belt tactics.

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Opinion
11:01 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Michigan Republican Party's tactics remind me of Watergate, because both were unnecessary

Back in the 1960s, there was a hilarious TV sitcom called Get Smart, which portrayed the adventures of the world’s most inept spy.

Maxwell Smart was a bumbler who talked into his not-so-secret shoe telephone, carried around a device called the cone of silence, and never really had a clue as to what was going on.

Well, the Cold War is long over, but if he were around today, Smart would clearly have a future in politics.

This week, we learned that the Snyder re-election campaign has evidently revived some version of the classic department of dirty tricks, tactics made most famous by another Richard, the late President Nixon.

The Michigan Republican Party now admits it sent two staffers into a Mark Schauer fundraising event wearing high-tech hidden camera glasses.

Democrats later got possession of the disc, apparently because the Republicans clumsily lost it. My understanding is that it shows the two paid staffers chowing down on appetizers and worrying that the people at the event were on to them. They apparently made small talk with Lisa Brown, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, but not Schauer.

You might think Republicans would now be embarrassed.

But you’d be wrong.

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Stateside
8:30 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Outside groups outspend Michigan candidates on campaign TV ads

Credit User: Keith Ivey / flickr

A new report finds that for every dollar spent by a Michigan candidate in campaign ads, outside groups have spent $3.50.

Looking at it another way: of the $18 million spent on campaign TV ads over the first half of this year, outside groups paid for $14 million of that.

Rich Robinson, executive director of the campaign spending watchdog group Michigan Campaign Finance Network, talked about the consequences of outside money in Michigan political campaigns.

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Commentary
10:00 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Commentary: Happy Warrior

How many people do you know who really love politics? I don’t necessarily mean those politically active or intense about the issues. I know lots of people like that, conservative and liberal. But I don’t sense that many of them are having a good time.

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