Not Enough Time To Put The Puzzle Together
By Kevin Rex Heine, Section News
My adult daughter, Jenni, is an LSSU senior majoring in Criminal Justice, minoring in Homeland Security, who enjoys Sudoku and word searches, and has as her hobby Criminal Psychology. (Jason and Junior, you've both met her.) We've discussed her doing a stint in Military Intel after she graduates, and she once asked me what I knew about the field. I told her that intel work is often very similar to assembling a complex jigsaw puzzle without having any clue what the final picture is supposed to look like.
What I'm going to discuss below the fold is like that. I didn't start accumulating this information until about a week and a half ago, and an issue a little closer to home has distracted me from figuring out how this all fits together (if it fits together at all). So, because this is time sensitive, what I'm going to do is just lay out what I have here, keep the commentary to a minimum, and trust that the readers will figure this out (if that's even necessary at this point).
In his iCaucus vetting interview, Republican senate candidate W. Clark Durant made it clear on the very first question that he won't lead the fight to repeal the 16th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution (because, in his opinion, that effort will paralyze the economy). In that same answer, he effectively describes his desired "flat tax" system as not really flat, but plainly said that he's not a Fair Tax supporter. As recently as mid-June, Durant's on-the-record position with regard to the Fair Tax was committed non-support. However, a week ago the Michigan FairTax Association issued a press release saying that Durant has now agreed to support and co-sponsor the Fair Tax Act (H. R. 25 / S. 13) if elected. This means that Durant's new official position is identical to the one that Randy Hekman has held all along, and attempts to negate a position that Pete Hoekstra has demonstrated with his vote for 12 of the 18 years that he served as a Congressional Representative (the Fair Tax Act was originally introduced 1999), and that was a key element of Hoekstra's 2010 gubernatorial primary campaign. I know that the regulars on this site tend to be skeptical of "election year conversions," and in that vein it wouldn't surprise me at all if we take the news of this "get-out-the-vote-week conversion" with an entire bag of salt.
Way back in January, Jason reported that Durant opposes the repeal of the 17th Amendment, based apparently on a flawed understanding of how the amendment has enabled greater congressional corruption and centralization of power, as the progressive movement designed it to do, specifically by de-fanging the 9th Amendment and 10th Amendment. Given that Durant is the only Republican candidate on the senate primary ballot who opposes the repeal of the 17th Amendment (Glenn, Hekman, Hoekstra, and Konetchy all support repealing the 17th), which is an issue of great importance to the tea party movement, I'm curious as to why tea partiers (including Glenn, Konetchy, and Rand Paul) are supporting a candidate who has an on-the-record position diametrically opposed to a key plank of their platform, and who was pinged as recently as May for being so clearly different than the ideal tea party candidate.
Given all of the effort put into defeating Saul Anuzis' reelection bid for National Committeeman about two and a half months ago (his well-paid lobbying efforts on behalf of the National Popular Vote being a key issue of the campaign), why are so many tea partiers (again, Gary Glenn and Peter Konetchy included) now flocking en masse to a candidate who has not only Anuzis, but also Fred Thompson (also a big-name supporter of the NPV) as high-profile endorsers? In fairness, Steve Forbes, another endorser of Durant, is an ardent and vocal opponent of the NPV. Granted, Durant's on-the-record position with regard to the Electoral College opposes the NPV, which is great given that it would do for the White House what the 17th Amendment did for the Senate, but some of us are more than a tad curious as to why he insists on associating himself with known advocates for the NPV.
Apparently, Clark Durant's association with the Anuzis Brothers isn't a recent thing, either. According to information now available, what Durant is doing now is effectively identical to the play calling in his 1990 primary campaign against Bill Schuette; looking at the bottom of the page reveals the same signal-caller then as now. And since Andy Anuzis is Durant's campaign manager, I don't think we'd be too surprised to learn that Saul Anuzis is the guy running the pro-Durant super PAC "Prosperity for Michigan," which seems to have no other function than to run anti-Hoekstra attack ads.
According to the Grand Rapids Press, the Detroit Free Press, and the Holland Sentinel (among others), Prosperity for Michigan may be in more than a bit of hot water over the most recent quarterly financial disclosures. Evidently, the original second quarter FEC reports disclosed zero contributions for the April 1st through June 30th time period. Then, all of a sudden, two weeks ago, a couple of hit pieces against Hoekstra hit the statewide television markets. On the same day, according to FEC reporting, Prosperity for Michigan reported both $288,628.00 in expenditures (spent two days previous to the report), and simultaneously filed an amended receipts report showing $188,500.00 in contributions received during the second quarter. Given that the itemized receipts report contains entries going all the way back to May 23rd, it's not surprising that the Hoekstra campaign's legal counsel asserts that there's no way that this was a mistake. Hell, this looks so bad that even Sterling Corporation is putting distance between themselves and this fiasco.
Look, any of the regulars on this site who've actually run a campaign (off the top of my head that'd be Nick, Jason, Dan, Paul, and me for starters) know that every single penny flowing through the campaign's "checkbook" has to be accounted for and reported . . . on time . . . period. Why Jen "Hair Wiz" Satterlee, P4M's treasurer, would "mistakenly believe" that only expenditures have to be reported is beyond me. And it wouldn't be outside of reasonable speculation that a mere intern is the face in front of the super PAC because the Anuzis Brothers want to make damn sure that they're not connected to this in a way that will actually get them into trouble. And given that P4M has now spent at least $413,000 on just "crunch time" advertising, the third quarter reports should be interesting.
Of course, at the same time this whole mess with Prosperity for Michigan was hitting the fan, we also had the Detroit Free Press breaking news of Durant's compensation package from Cornerstone Schools. Never one to pass up an opportunity to incite some class warfare, Mark Brewer combined the Ivory Tower's article with a nine-page legal opinion from some attorney in Ann Arbor, and promptly issued a MDP Press Release (picked up by the Southgate News-Herald), intended to highlight both the Tischler legal opinion and to draw our attention to a special-purpose website set up as a 24 × 7 attack ad . . . should Durant actually win today. Brewer even made an appearance on Charlie Langton's radio show (as a call-in guest) to "debate" with Durant over this issue. Hoekstra's campaign even took a swipe at Durant over this, though it was couched in the context of the questionable activities of Prosperity for Michigan and the Anuzis Brothers.
But this may be a whole lot of fuss and bother over nothing. As Durant explained in a rebuttal on his campaign website, and as Bill Pulte explained in a letter published in the Freep, the money provided by the two donors in question (Pulte and Bruce Pecker) was contributed for the specific purpose of covering Durant's compensation, so that the money donated to Cornerstone would go directly to school costs. So, should Durant be our nominee to take down Stabenow, we can expect Brewer and Company to make some hay with this, but like the "sleeping judge campaign" against Justice Bob Young, it probably won't go anywhere.
What may go somewhere, though, is an interesting little website dedicated to "... the President of Michigan Railway Company and the 400 honest railroad workers ..." who apparently lost their jobs some 30 years ago in a contract dispute with MDOT, and are apparently owed some long-overdue unpaid wages (the result of a bankruptcy settlement claim). Given that Clark Durant touts as a major resume point his activity in rescuing the Ann Arbor Railroad from bankruptcy, this particular "betrayal on the rail" could come back to bite him in the political shorts . . . regardless of how he actually fits into all of this mess.
Now, someone is going to read this and ask, "Well, Kevin, why wasn't this posted a week ago, so we could figure this out?" To which my answer is that an issue a little closer to home, that I couldn't push off any more, chewed up about 88% of my production time last week, and there wasn't much I could do about it. It's not an excuse, I know, and I'm not offering it as one. But I also don't know that whether I did or didn't get this posted in a timely fashion is going to matter.
See, the most recent reliable poll on today's primary election has Pete Hoekstra ahead by 24 percentage points - 51% to 27% - with only 15% self-identifying as "undecided" voters. Assuming that the momentum that Durant's supporters have been claiming has been surging in his favor brings over this entire bloc of undecided voters, that only gets Durant to 42%; he's going to still have to somehow peel at least ten points off of Hoekstra if he wants to be the nominee tomorrow morning.
In 1990, State Senate Majority Leader John Engler challenged Governor James Blanchard in his bid for a third term. Engler's bid, viewed as a long shot, trailed Blanchard by double digits in the polls (around 20% if memory serves me correctly) the weekend before the election. However, on Election Day, Engler pulled off the upset, defeating Blanchard by 17,595 votes (1,276,134 to 1,258,539) - less than one percentage point (50.34% to 49.66%) - and Michigan's 1990 gubernatorial election is to this day used as an object lesson that the campaign isn't over until the polls close.
So what Durant needs to accomplish can be done, whether it will be done is an open question that'll be settled some 18 hours from now. And to be perfectly honest with you, I'm not sure that it matters.
Any of the three potential Republican nominees to challenge the current Junior Senator from Michigan is far and away better than the Democrat meat puppet currently occupying the seat (and who really needs to be pink-slipped, pronto).
Not Enough Time To Put The Puzzle Together | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden)
Not Enough Time To Put The Puzzle Together | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden)
Related Links+ Republican senate candidate
+ W. Clark Durant
+ repeal the 16th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution
+ H. R. 25 / S. 13
+ Jason reported
+ repeal of the 17th Amendment
+ as the progressive movement designed it to do
+ 9th Amendment
+ 10th Amendment
+ clearly different than the ideal tea party candidate
+ defeating Saul Anuzis' reelection bid for National Committeeman
+ National Popular Vote
+ ardent and vocal opponent of the NPV
+ on-the-rec ord position with regard to the Electoral College
+ informatio n now available
+ Andy Anuzis is Durant's campaign manager
+ Saul Anuzis is the guy running the pro-Durant super PAC
+ Prosperity for Michigan
+ Grand Rapids Press
+ Detroit Free Press
+ Holland Sentinel
+ two weeks ago
+ $288,628.0 0 in expenditures
+ $188,500.0 0 in contributions received
+ itemized receipts report
+ there's no way that this was a mistake
+ Sterling Corporation is putting distance between themselves and this fiasco
+ Jen "Hair Wiz" Satterlee
+ Durant's compensation package from Cornerstone Schools
+ nine-page legal opinion from some attorney in Ann Arbor
+ MDP Press Release
+ Southgate News-Herald
+ as a call-in guest
+ took a swipe at Durant
+ rebuttal on his campaign website
+ letter published in the Freep
+ interestin g little website
+ most recent reliable poll on today's primary election
+ Also by Kevin Rex Heine