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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    Big Surprise

    By Kevin Rex Heine, Section News
    Posted on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 12:48:59 PM EST
    Tags: Mike Huckabee, Mike Cox, HuckPAC, Pete Hoekstra, endorsement, 2010 Michigan Gubernatorial Campaign, National FairTax Initiative, Michigan FairTax Proposal, Michigan TEA Party Movement, Common Sense in Government, Smart Girl Politics, Independence Caucus (all tags)

    I did not see this coming.

    Everyone who's familiar with me is well aware that I'm a big fan of Mike Huckabee.  This is for multiple reasons.  The guy's a solid conservative and was - in my opinion - a better choice than John McCain for the Republican presidential ticket in 2008.  Most importantly, as far as I'm concerned, is the fact that Governor Huckabee is an open proponent of the National FairTax Initiative.  (Yes, he's also an open supporter of the Michigan FairTax Proposal.)

    With that in mind, I fully expected that Governor Huckabee would, if he endorsed anyone in the Michigan Gubernatorial race, be endorsing Pete Hoekstra (who has openly endorsed both the national initiative and the state proposal).  Congressman Hoekstra has also actively and constructively engaged the Michigan TEA Party Movement, and I recall well that grassroots engagement was what kept Huckabee in the Republican primary race as long as he was.  I also know for a fact that HuckPAC will not endorse, support, or otherwise back any candidate who doesn't support the FairTax initiative.

    So you can imagine my surprise when, around 8:30 this morning, I received a phone call from a close friend who just happens to be an insider to the Mike Cox gubernatorial campaign.

    The press release:

    Huckabee: "Mike Cox best described as Michigan's Pro-Life, Pro-gun conservative candidate for Governor"

    LIVONIA, MI - One of America's most respected conservative leaders, former Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, today formally endorsed Mike Cox in the 2010 race for Governor.

    "Mike Cox is best described as Michigan's Pro-Life, Pro-gun conservative candidate for Governor," said Huckabee.  "Mike is an innovative, strong leader who is not afraid to take a stand on an important issue.  He is opposed to the runaway tax and spend policies we are seeing at the federal and state levels."

    Cox's message of less spending, lower taxes, and reformed government has set him apart in Michigan's race for Governor.  Cox recently drew a crowd of 1,200 families, activists and community leaders to a Rally for Michigan's Future in Oakland County and hundreds more last weekend to the Grand Opening of his campaign headquarters in Livonia.

    "Mike Huckabee is one of our nation's most respected leaders," said Cox.  "Mike Huckabee continues to fight for more liberty and less government.  I am proud to have his support and am honored he is standing beside me as we fight to bring jobs back to Michigan."

    Cox announced Huckabee's endorsement first today via social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, U-Stream, and conservative bloggers across Michigan.

    Huckabee has been called an early frontrunner for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination scoring well in many polls including last November's Gallup-USA Today poll.  Mike Huckabee polled ahead of President Obama as recently as January 2010.

    "Mike Cox has also fought hard to protect Second Amendment rights in Michigan," Huckabee continued.  "I am proud to endorse Mike Cox for Governor of Michigan."

    Cox is the only candidate for Governor to release a comprehensive 92 point plan to put Michigan back to work, including proposals to cut billions of dollars out of the state budget, cut taxes on job providers and families by $2 billion, make government more transparent, reform education, and revitalize our cities.  The plan is available at www.mikecox2010.com.

    Okay, I think you get the idea.

    In chatting with my source, I learned that Mike Cox has also actively engaged the Michigan TEA Party Movement, which was something of a surprise to me.  And I also wasn't' aware that Cox was a supporter of the FairTax Initiative (having spoken with him about this issue more than once), but that may also have changed.

    I spoke with Wendy Day, president of Common Sense in Government, and she told me that Mike Cox has recognized the value of the TEA Party Movement and acknowledges that it has some teeth to it.  Wendy did make clear, however, that while Mr. Cox has endorsed the TEA Party Movement, they have not endorsed him.  I also have a call in to another friend, who is the Michigan Coordinator for Smart Girl Politics, to verify this and seek comment (due diligence and all), but she hasn't yet returned that call.

    Okay then, so now I'm officially sitting on my opinion as to whom I'm supporting in this gubernatorial campaign.  I think it's a great thing that Mike Huckabee has endorsed Mike Cox, but I'll back whomever the Independence Caucus chooses to endorse.  I've seen them do their vetting of candidates, and "thorough" doesn't begin to cover it.

    I've spoken with the Michigan Coordinator of IC, and he's told me that he has sent out requests to each of the candidates - on both sides - requesting access for the purpose of vetting and potential approval or endorsement.  None have responded as of the last time Don and I talked, which baffles the bejesus out of me.

    They're called the Independence Caucus because they operate outside of party loyalty, being far more concerned with constitutional loyalty.  They typically work within the dominant party in any given area to effect the election of constitutional loyalists at every level of government.

    The initial questionnaire, which takes about 45 minutes to complete, is concerned primarily with federal issues, but (and having gone through it I can say this) it's not too tough for these gubernatorial candidates to mentally re-couch the question in the context of their responsibilities as a governor, and respond accordingly.

    Getting past the initial questionnaire isn't too tough.  It's what comes next that's the challenge.

    The vetting team (IC has one per congressional district, plus a statewide team) then goes through a candidate's entire public record.  And when I say "entire" I mean exactly that.  Not only would Mike's record as Michigan's AG be reviewed, but so would every case he's argued since getting his bar card.  In other words, everything he's done that's on the public record is considered fair game for the vetting team.  Oh, and anything in that public record that doesn't square with the candidate's questionnaire answers gets flagged for special attention.

    Tim Russert could have taken research tips from these guys.  Proctology exams aren't this thorough.

    Once the team has done their research and prepped their questions, they sit down with the candidate for an interview . . . that normally lasts about three hours.  Once that's done, the team compares their notes and provides a comprehensive report.  They do the same with every other candidate in the same primary race (on both sides) and distribute the reports to every IC member in the state for review and comment.  If necessary, the candidates may be called upon to answer any significant questions that arise.

    Then the candidates are put up for an up-or-down vote by the members of the state or appropriate congressional district.  Any candidate who gets an "up" score of 70% or greater is considered to be "approved" by the caucus.  Of those, the candidate who gets the greatest approval rating is the one that the caucus will officially endorse.  (Note that "approval" and "endorsement" aren't the same thing to IC.)

    In IC terminology, "approval" means that they can live with this candidate being elected to the office in question; "endorsed" means that this candidate is the one that they want in that office.  An approved candidate might have access to their ground crew, but an endorsed candidate will find that ground crew actively placed at his disposal.  Also note that IC doesn't work against anyone, only for.  That means that even if their candidate of choice doesn't win in the relevant primary (which hasn't happened yet), they'll just go to work for any approved candidate who does.

    And just in case you're wondering, the grassroots arm of the Independence Caucus is about 1,000 bodies strong . . . per congressional district.  (Look up the number of congressional districts Michigan has and do the math.)

    Since the conventional wisdom, rightly I add, is that grassroots overrides greenbacks every time (all other things equal or nearly so), I'm kinda wondering why no gubernatorial candidate has granted IC access for the purposes of vetting and approval.

    So how about it, Mister Cox?  Will you submit to the Independence Caucus for vetting and potential approval as a constitutionally loyal candidate for the office of Governor of Michigan?  If "yes," then when?  If "not," then why not?  Just asking.

    < Breaking - Endorsement | Stupak sees the writing on the wall >

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    Display: Sort:
    Too Bad (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by grannynanny on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 02:27:53 PM EST
    Too bad but I have one question?  Where was Independence Caucus when Obama needed to be vetted? According to all reports Independents overwhelmingly voted for BHO - it doesn't seem to add up that if this group is so thorough that a few juicy tidbits about BHO would have come out.

    Mike Huckabee (none / 0) (#2)
    by Ralph Erickson on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 02:57:04 PM EST
    If the fair tax is so good, why is there a rebate to it?  It sounds like a socialist policy to me.  It would be better to have a lower flat tax and do away with the rebate.

    • Clearly . . . by Kevin Rex Heine, 03/03/2010 03:52:17 PM EST (none / 0)
    The Shickster (none / 0) (#3)
    by Ralph Erickson on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 03:00:20 PM EST
    Here is a link that you should look at about Mike Huckabee:


    Plus I guess that you are weak on crime due to all the Shucksters pardons.

    So is this really a conservative blog?

    • candidates by Ralph Erickson, 03/03/2010 04:10:45 PM EST (none / 0)
    • So then . . . by Kevin Rex Heine, 03/03/2010 04:19:25 PM EST (none / 0)
    Be careful what you wish for. (none / 0) (#7)
    by LookingforReagan on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 03:58:35 PM EST
    Huckleberry has never been one of my favorite people. Luckily I have relatives that have lived in Arkansas for over 40 years. Old Huck isn't quite the Conservative he makes out to be. As governor of Arkansas he raised taxes almost as much as the Arkansas Traveler, Bubba Clinton. Huckabee is only embracing the Fair Tax because he views it as a popular idea and will help him to appear more Conservative. He is not much different then John McCain. There has always been something about the guy that just never rang true with me. From what I have learned from those that lived under his administration he wasn't that great. Not a person that inspired others and was not creative as to the way he governed.He was a place holder at best. While Cox and Hoekstra are the leading candidates of the Republican Party here in Michigan it remains to be seen who will be the last one standing at the end of the day. I want to wait till the debates begin and some questions I have are answered. But Huckabee endorsing a candidate will not make me support that candidate over another or to the exclusion of all others. Remember it was "Conservatives" like Huckabee that gave us the perfect candidate in John McCain. As a result of that wise leaderhip choice by the party braintrust we find ourselves in our current situation.

    By the way, . . . (none / 0) (#13)
    by Kevin Rex Heine on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 04:26:26 PM EST
    . . . just in case no one's noticed, I'm back.

    fair tax links (none / 0) (#16)
    by Ralph Erickson on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 05:28:14 PM EST
    Yes, I have seen multiple links to the fair tax on Power Line before when they actualy had a discussion forum during the 2008 Presidential race.

    It still seems to me to be bad idea on the rebate.  The less government programs the better by me.  I realize that there has to be some government programs, but rebates isn't one that it should be in the business of having.  After all, The Annointed One rebate checks were sent to dead people LOL!!!!

    Well, Huck called me a few days ago. (none / 0) (#22)
    by maidintheus on Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 09:57:02 AM EST
    So, I heard the news then. I declined a support as I'm still waiting to decide though I do have a clear preference.

    I hope Cox will realize that doing a McCain and winning the political game by being the last man standing is..well..it shouldn't be...I hope that's not good enough for him. We shall see. I know how I'll vote when I have to but I prefer a candidate to have the gonads to be a bit more...a bit less on the fence...I mean a bit more proudly conservative rather then not sure...rather expediently so/McCain. It's as if they can't trust God in doing the next right thing so they have to take a temperature first.

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    Which candidate do you see earning the Republican nomination for Michigan Governor?
    Mike Bouchard
    Mike Cox
    Tom George
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    Timothy Rujan
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