What to Watch For on Election Day

Now that I’m done kicking around Dick DeVos for the day, it is time to look towards tomorrow. The conventional wisdom is that the Democrats will easily pick up enough seats to take the House, while the Senate remains a toss up. Democrats are also expected to pick up around 6-8 Governor’s offices.

With virtually every pundit saying the same thing, one prediction I’m making is that somewhere along the way the conventional wisdom will be wrong and part of tomorrow night will be spent hearing pundits explain why their predictions were wrong. Or maybe I’ll have to explain that all the pundits were right and this blogger’s prediction is wrong. Regardless, keep in mind that there are many factors beyond the polls in a mid term election. Which is more important this year–the increased enthusiasm in voting expressed by Democrats or the superior GOTV machine of the Republicans?

The main thing I’ll be watching (beyond the races here in Michigan, which appear pretty safe) is the Senate races in Virginia and Missouri. Both Webb and McCaskill are leading in some late polls, but their victories are far from certain. Most likely the Democrats will need both to control the Senate, with Ford now falling behind. Maybe Ford will pull it out, but if so it will be part of a major Democratic wave and they’ll also have won in Virginia and Missouri. If they lose either, it isn’t impossible but I doubt the Democrats will win the Senate tomorrow night.

That does not mean Democrats will not take control of the Senate by January. Two thirds of the Senate is not up for reelection this year, but if northern Republicans see this election as part of a realignment, and fear that they cannot win in the future as Repubicans, some might be willing to consider switching, or going Independent. A loss by Lincoln Chaffee could get some northern Republicans to reconsider their party affiliation.

Another prediction is that sometime tomorrow exit polls will leak out and get everybody excited. We’ve seen in recent years that 1) raw data from exit polls is not very accurate, and 2) such data leans Democratic. This won’t stop some from declaring victory based upon exit polls, and declaring fraud if the results don’t hold up. With the early reports of dirty tricks coming in, fraud may be a possibility, but it is always best to get the proof. Some blogs I’ve seen have already decided that anything short of a Democratic sweep is proof of a stolen election.

If the early election results aren’t exciting enough, there’s always Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars on the CW Network.

Profile of Dick DeVos

by Russ Bellant
(From Michigan Liberal)

Dick DeVos is the richest and most right wing major party candidate for Governor in Michigan history. He is the product of the Amway company and its decades of interlinks with the most influential religious extremists. He conducts himself like an Amway recruiter, deception and all.Consider:
  • He tells everyone that he opposes the antiaffirmative action ballot initiative Prop 2. Supporters of Prop 2 complain that DeVos has asked his supporters to not donate to the MCRI, which is running the Yes campaign. All that is fine. But DeVos has only said that he opposes it “at this time.” Prop 2 godfather Ward Connerly told the Detroit Free Press that Dick DeVos does philosophically support his efforts to ban affirmative action. In fact, in 2001 DeVos’s foundation gave $35,000 to the anti-affirmative action cause.
  • DeVos says he is for Michigan jobs, jobs, jobs. But not only has his company laid off over 1,000 employees and set up factories elsewhere, he has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups that advocate privatizing, outsourcing and eliminating jobs and undermining the Unions that support those jobs.
  • DeVos says he is for educational opportunity for all, providing substantial funding for scholarship programs that are intended to transfer talented youth from public schools to more conservative private schools.These type of state and national scholarship programs are directly funded and/or controlled by DeVos, WalMart leaders and several right wing financiers to intentionally create a broader constituency for vouchers. Once vouchers are in place, the DeVoses of the world believe that public education will be significantly reduced. Vouchers, however, have been defeated during public referenda by approximately a 2 to 1 margin all over the U.S. because the public does not want to transfer tax dollars to schools without elected boards or public accountability. These scholarship programs are designed, over the years, to change those results.The DeVos – supported Heritage Foundation did not claim that the goal of these programs was to help poor folk. Instead Heritage wrote that the goals were political: “The privately funded voucher movement is building a powerful constituency for school choice.” They also noted that the “children’s parents have names, addresses and phone numbers. They are waiting to be mobilized as a pressure group.” The pressure would be applied to “break up” public education and changes that “could take the form of publicly funded vouchers, of tax credits, of a vast expansion of charter schools.”DeVos has invested millions of dollars in this effort. His Education Freedom Foundation gives grants to about 300 students per year, at a maximum of $1,000 each. They estimate that the average private school charges $3,700, so the targeted low income families still must pay the bulk of the cost. The Heritage Foundation did note, however, that these business leaders could eventually set up for profit schools and “maybe make some money in the process.” DeVos has already invested in a private company, K12 Inc., according to Media Transparency.Perhaps the clearest indication of the political dimension of the scholarship issue is illustrated by the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation’s grants of over a million dollars to various scholarship funds, but only $500 a year to the United Negro College Fund, grants that have been skipped in several recent years.
  • DeVos postures himself as a jobs-focused common sense business man that has a can-do attitude. He fosters the view that he stands for wholesome traditional values, national pride and civic virtue.The very nature of the Amway corporation and the donation patterns of his foundation shows that DeVos rejects the democratic values and institutions that are part of modern civic life and mainstream values. He is a member of a secretive group of about 400 of the most influential right wingers in the country who are dedicated to radically restructuring social power into the hands of a narrow elite. The desirability of democracy is called into question by this self-appointed but well-connected elite, as we shall see later.
DeVos Family Network

Dick DeVos was born into the Amway fortune in Grand Rapids.. His role as international vice president and later president of Amway is due to his anointment by his father. He married Elizabeth ( Betsy ) Prince, daughter of Edgar and Elsa Prince, who generated a family fortune in Holland, just south of Grand Rapids. Both family influences are reflected in the candidate for Governor that we see today.


The Doctrine of Dick DeVos IV: Tithes that Buy the Christian Right

by Hector Solon

As the DeVos for Governor campaign enters its final days in Michigan, the role of the Religious Political Right organizations will play a critical role. Dick DeVos is relying on Christian Right organizations — which he and Betsy established and have financed for years — to turn out the winning margin. One of those DeVos controlled quasi-Christian groups is the Foundation for Traditional Values, and its campaigning arm, the Citizens for Traditional Values.

This piece examines the theology and tactics of DeVos’ church-pew campaign, its origins and implications for Michigan and beyond.

The Doctrine of Dick DeVos: Tithes that Buy the Christian Right

“The priests indeed have heretofore thought proper to ascribe to me religious, or rather anti-religious sentiments, of their own fabric, but such as soothed the resentments against the act of Virginia for establishing religious freedom. They wished him to be thought atheist, deist, or devil, who could advocate freedom from their religious dictations.But I have ever thought religion a concern purely between our God and our consciences, for which we were accountable to Him, and not to the priests. I never told my own religion, nor scrutinized that of another. I never attempted to make a convert, nor wished to change another’s creed. I have ever judged of the religion of others by their lives… For it is in our lives, and not from our words, that our religion must be read.”

Thomas Jefferson in a Letter to Mrs. M. Harrison Smith, 6 August 1816


The Economist: Republicans Deserve To Get Clobbered

Add The Economist to the list of conservative publications hoping for a Democratic victory:

The vultures gather

Nov 2nd 2006
From The Economist print edition

“YOU have been sat here too long for any good you have been doing,” Oliver Cromwell famously declared, as he dissolved the Rump Parliament in 1653. If the polls are to be believed, American voters will say much the same to George Bush’s Republicans when they vote in the mid-term congressional elections on November 7th. Although the Republicans may hold on to the Senate, where only 33 of the 100 seats are at stake, almost everyone expects that they will lose the majority they have held in the House of Representatives for the past 12 years. The scent of Republican defeat is in the air (see article).

There are points, to be sure, in Mr Bush’s favour. The economy has done reasonably well; the Dow (though not other financial indices) recently hit a record high, inflation is modest and unemployment is at a level that most countries would envy. Despite everything that is going wrong in Iraq, Americans at home have been safe: no terrorist has landed a blow on American soil in the five years since September 11th 2001. Yet these achievements do not play as well for Mr Bush as they should. Growth is slowing, and most of the benefits of the recent boom have accrued to the wealthiest. Economic insecurity is perceived by many to be rising; and polls also suggest that voters increasingly see the Iraq misadventure as threatening their domestic security too. When you see Mr Bush featured in a political television ad, you can be pretty confident that a Democrat put him there. (more…)

The Doctrine of Dick DeVos III: Wife Betsy DeVos

by Hector Solon

As Republican candidate Dick DeVos runs for Michigan’s governor, why has his campaign been so careful to keep his GOP “Super Ranger,” political wife Betsy out of sight?

Not enough has been said in Michigan’s 2006 gubernatorial race from either side about the political and ideological background of Dick’s more experienced and politically aggressive wife, Elizabeth (Betsy) (Prince) DeVos.

The DeVos campaign does not want the outcome of the vote to come down to a donnybrook over the kinds of issues and statements for which wife Betsy is so well-known and famous.

“A woman must be a learner, listening quietly and with due submission. I do not permit a woman to be a teacher, nor must woman domineer over man; she should be quiet.”
— II Timothy 2:11-14

“The greatest menace to genuine Christianity in our day is not found in the attack of the atheist, the naturalist, and the outspoken unbeliever, but in the compromising stand of those who claim to be Christians, yet are in reality the champions of principles alien to the Christian faith.” — Clarence Bouma as found in “Dutch Calvinism In Modern America” by James D. Bratt, published by Eerdmans Books, Grand Rapids, Michgan, 1984

Betsy DeVos’ Lips Are Zipped

Despite record spending and an extensive ad and media campaign, the Dick DeVos for Governor Campaign can now be best described as: “A businessman without a business, a politician without a party, a “Christian conservative” without a conscience, and now a husband without a wife.” (more…)

Liberal Values Hits Landmark

The Liberal Values blog has has reached sort of a landmark today. Technorati now shows that we have 100 different sites linking to us:

Rank: 30,677 (1,767 links from 100 blogs) What do these numbers mean?

Technorati rankings are considerably related to age of blog as the longer you are around the longer you can pick up links from other. New blogs start with a ranking of around two million and move up as they receive links from others. (Actually we reached 100 links earlier but some of our links come from blogs out of the blogosphere’s mainstream and aren’t tracked by Tecnorati.) Although we’ve only been around since August, Liberal Values has growing rapidly, receiving links from some major blogs, many smaller blogs which add up to considerable traffic from the “long tail” which exceeds the readership of the “A list” blogs, and sites such as The New York Times Empire Zone, The Daou Report, Cursor and Memeorandum which have helped to promote interest.

I would like to thank our readers for their support of this blog, and hope that the interest in this blog is one sign of good things happening tomorrow!

The American Conservative: GOP Must Go

Even The American Conservative has had enough of them, as they write that the GOP Must Go:

Next week Americans will vote for candidates who have spent much of their campaigns addressing state and local issues. But no future historian will linger over the ideas put forth for improving schools or directing funds to highway projects.

The meaning of this election will be interpreted in one of two ways: the American people endorsed the Bush presidency or they did what they could to repudiate it. Such an interpretation will be simplistic, even unfairly so. Nevertheless, the fact that will matter is the raw number of Republicans and Democrats elected to the House and Senate.

It should surprise few readers that we think a vote that is seen—in America and the world at large—as a decisive “No” vote on the Bush presidency is the best outcome. We need not dwell on George W. Bush’s failed effort to jam a poorly disguised amnesty for illegal aliens through Congress or the assaults on the Constitution carried out under the pretext of fighting terrorism or his administration’s endorsement of torture. Faced on Sept. 11, 2001 with a great challenge, President Bush made little effort to understand who had attacked us and why—thus ignoring the prerequisite for crafting an effective response. He seemingly did not want to find out, and he had staffed his national-security team with people who either did not want to know or were committed to a prefabricated answer.

As a consequence, he rushed America into a war against Iraq, a war we are now losing and cannot win, one that has done far more to strengthen Islamist terrorists than anything they could possibly have done for themselves. Bush’s decision to seize Iraq will almost surely leave behind a broken state divided into warring ethnic enclaves, with hundreds of thousands killed and maimed and thousands more thirsting for revenge against the country that crossed the ocean to attack them. The invasion failed at every level: if securing Israel was part of the administration’s calculation—as the record suggests it was for several of his top aides—the result is also clear: the strengthening of Iran’s hand in the Persian Gulf, with a reach up to Israel’s northern border, and the elimination of the most powerful Arab state that might stem Iranian regional hegemony.

The war will continue as long as Bush is in office, for no other reason than the feckless president can’t face the embarrassment of admitting defeat. The chain of events is not complete: Bush, having learned little from his mistakes, may yet seek to embroil America in new wars against Iran and Syria.

Meanwhile, America’s image in the world, its capacity to persuade others that its interests are common interests, is lower than it has been in memory. All over the world people look at Bush and yearn for this country—which once symbolized hope and justice—to be humbled. The professionals in the Bush administration (and there are some) realize the damage his presidency has done to American prestige and diplomacy. But there is not much they can do.

The DeVos Doctrine II: Mission ala D. James Kennedy

by Hector Salon

In “The Doctrine of Dick DeVos” some of the elements of the DeVos Doctrine were listed. However, in order to understand any doctrine the founding principles and philosophy (in this case better described as a strangely twisted “theology”) need to be thoroughly examined and explored.

While the real objectives of the DeVos Doctrine are basically simple self-enrichment and profit, the Doctrine and Dick DeVos for Governor campaign in Michigan are infused with a special sort of Christian Fundamentalist rhetoric and the ambitions of political power using organizations within the Christian Right, many of which were setup and financed directly by the DeVos Family for their select purposes and coordinated with other groups with likeminded agendas and goals. They form a cooperative network of burrowing idealogues and market fundelmentalists.

A major source of mission and vision statements behind the DeVos Doctrine finds its roots in the writings of D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries.

Tithes That Bind
On both sides of the family of Dick and Betsy DeVos, through Dick’s parents Richard and Helen and their Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, business partner Jay Van Andel, and Betsy’s parents Edgar and Elsa Prince (also mother of Erik Prince CEO of Blackwater LLC) there are very close personal and financial relationships and connections to D. James Kennedy and his cultural “civil war” or “Christian Crusade” on behalf of “Christian Nationalism”, “Christian Reconstructionist” or “Christian Dominionist” objectives.

The basic components of Dick DeVos for Governor campaign machine have been built up over decades and much of it was set in place by Dick’s father, Richard H. DeVos and behind it all is the DeVos funded the Council on National Policy.

At the core of the theocons and the DeVos political machine is the Foundation for Traditional Value (FTV) and the Citizens for Traditional Values (CTV) that are financed and control by Dick and Betsy DeVos. While there are a numbers of other organizations within a long list of other movements such as abortion, gay-marriage, religious education and vouchers, and anti-flag burning patriotism, just to name a few of which are mentioned in the “Doctrine of Dick DeVos“. (more…)

Dick Cheney To Return to Hunting; Mary Cheney in Danger?

 Election day could be dangerous:

Vice President Dick Cheney will spend Election Day on his first hunting trip since he accidentally shot a companion last February while aiming at a covey of quail on a private Texas ranch.

The vice president, after working at the White House on Monday morning, will head to South Dakota to spend several days at a private hunting lodge near Pierre. Lea Anne McBride, his press secretary, said it was an annual hunting outing and said Cheney spent Election Day in 2002 at the same lodge.

He will be accompanied by his daughter, Mary, and his political director, Mel Raines, who will help him keep track of the election returns, McBride said.

On a Feb. 11 hunting trip in Texas, Cheney shot attorney Harry Whittington in the torso, neck and face when he pulled the trigger on his 28-gauge shotgun. The vice president later called it “one of the worst days of my life” and said, “The image of him falling is something I’ll never ever be able to get out of my mind.”

The shooting was ruled an accident. Whittington was hospitalized for six days.

The Doctrine of Dick DeVos

(If we trust either the latest polls or, more importantly, the wisdom of the Michigan voters not to vote for someone as extremist as Dick DeVos, after Tuesday we will not have Dick DeVoss to kick around any more. As we move into the final day of the campaign, Liberal Values will be posting some additional guest posts on the views and history of Dick DeVos).

The Doctrine of Dick DeVos

by Hector Solon

The citizens and voters of Michigan owe it to themselves to become fully informed about the inner workings of Republican Dick DeVos as they make their choice and cast their votes in November.

Who is Dick DeVos and why does he want to be elected governor of Michigan?

The first and most obvious question:

Why does Dick with all those billions at his disposal–who lives the life of a jet setter with all the accoutrements (complete entrée to private jets, helicopters, ocean-going racing yachts, four palatial homes, a private Caribbean island, etc.) want to become governor of a state he portrays is in a crisis of historic proportions?

Secondly, the following questions:

What does the public know about DeVos’ history, his political involvement and his specific issues? Are there critical concerns about Dick’s agendas and his views on social and moral questions that should alarm or concern us as citizens? (more…)