Polls show that over the past few months, Democratic candidate for governor Mark Schauer has closed the gap in the governor's race with Gov. Rick Snyder.
It comes as no surprise that this has put Republicans on the attack. In the last week alone, three of my conservative colleagues -- Darren Littell, Dan Calabrese, and Brandon Helderop -- wrote columns attempting to belittle the Schauer campaign. While most political campaigns employ selective data analysis to cast aspersions on a candidate, the talking points my colleagues offered seem to indicate a level of desperation from Michigan's right wing.
First to take a swing at Mark Schauer was director of communications for the Michigan Republican Party, Darren Littell.
His complaints are two-fold. One being that Mark Schauer voted in the Republican primary of the 2012 election cycle, to which he asks the question "where are the Democratic officials who condemn this type of behavior and why aren't they admonishing Mark Schauer for his antics?"
The second complaint is that he missed too many votes and lost a seat on the coveted Campaign & Election Oversight Committee for missing meetings.
Perhaps cross-voting is a problem, but it seems hypocritical for Republicans to chastise Mark Schauer for his single vote when the guy they support for governor, Rick Snyder, actually appealed to Democrats to vote for him in the 2010 primary election.
As far as the missed meetings are concerned reports show that Schauer attended every meeting that was held in Lansing but missed the four that the Republican-controlled committee held elsewhere.
Schauer wasn't unique in missing meetings. In fact, while one Republican also missed four meetings but somehow didn't lose his seat, the chairman was the only member to show up to all 9 meetings.
But if Republicans are really serious about Mark Schauer's record on voting attendance they would acknowledge that as a member of the US House of Representatives his 0.8% missed vote rate is much better than his successor Republican Tim Walberg's rate of 2.2% and superior to that of Michigan worst voting representative Mike Rogers at 5.9%.
As a Michigan State Senator, Schauer's 2.4% missed vote rate compared favorably to the rest of the Senate and falls short of the number of votes missed by 10 of his Republican colleagues.
If Republicans believe missing votes shows a politician doesn't deserve their job, they might want to do some house cleaning before pointing a finger at Mark Schauer.
Next up in the bash-a-Schauer sweepstakes was editor at HermanCain.com, Dan Calabrese who, while appreciative of the effort, found Mark Schauer's jobs plan to be boilerplate liberal policies.
Ironically Dan goes about using boilerplate conservative logic to prove these ideas wrong. The problem is, this doesn't make one side right and the other side wrong. Part of the reason an idea becomes standard fare for political parties is because the parties believe these ideas work. How boilerplate they are doesn't even attempt to address their effectiveness.
If 'boilerplate' is an issue, it should be noted that Gov. Snyder's revolutionary ideas to create jobs are cutting taxes, reducing regulations, and busting unions. Are there Republican circles where these concepts qualify as avant-garde?
The next contestant to attempt a take down of Mark Schauer is Republican activist Brandon Helderop, who attempts to draw a parallel between President Barack Obama and Mark Schauer, suggesting that the president's current approval rating of 39 percent speaks to his results as president. If Obama's low approval rating reflects poorly on the president's abilities, it should be noted that Gov. Snyder's approval rating stands a touch lower at 37 percent.
Helderop has concerns that over his 12 years in the Legislature Mark Schauer voted to increase taxes over 40 times.
But in just four short years, Gov. Snyder has supported or signed into law a tax on pensions, a tax on gas, an increased taxes on homeowners, an increase in taxes for low-income Michiganians, an increase in taxes for families with children, as well as eliminating tax credits for food banks, homeless shelters, college tuition, adoptions, and donations to universities, and public radio stations.
All told, around half of Michigan taxpayers have seen a tax increase under Gov. Snyder.
If the average Michigan family is worried about their tax rate going up they should probably be less worried about the tax increases Mark Schauer may have supported 15 years ago, when the economy was strong, and more interested in the increases that Rick Snyder offered to pay for his big corporate tax giveaway.
To end his article, Helderop states that "Schauer has run a campaign based on rhetoric and little substance." While this seems like a claim that could be made against nearly every candidate for public office over the past century or more, one wonders if Republicans were inspired by the specifics of Rick Snyder's first campaign when talking about the number of jobs his corporate tax cut would create: "Can we quantify all the numbers? No. But we know it's going to happen." Now that's substance.
If vapid rhetoric is a problem, shouldn't Republicans be concerned that as a candidate, Snyder was against taxing pensions, against increasing gas taxes, and against the state picking economic winners and losers, yet managed to do all of the above as governor.
It's fine to believe the Mark Schauer isn't the right man for the job. But if these latest attacks are meant to prove that Gov. Snyder is the man for Michigan, the Nerd should be very concerned -- by Republicans' own standards, he is even less qualified to be governor than Mark Schauer.