Michigan Will Michigan's Whirlpool Plutocrat Get So Fed Upton That He Retires?

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Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) has had a very cushy life and a very cushy political career, both based on being born into the 1%. He's the son of one of Michigan's wealthiest families, self-styled aristocrats with a sense of entitlement that stretches from the peak of Mount Arvon to Luna Pier in Monroe County. Fred is the poster child for someone born with a silver spoon in his mouth and his political rise inside the GOP was always based on family connections, never based on anything remotely resembling merit or talent. His grandfather founded Whirlpool, once the biggest employers in the southwest Michigan-- and a major employer throughout the Midwest-- and his heirs took that to mean that they were the feudal barons of the area. Fred's political career began with a patronage appointment for the 23 year old to the staff of local Congressman David Stockman. In 1986, he won his seat by beating Stockman's successor, fanatic right-wing sociopath Mark Deli Siljander, who was indicted for a role in Islamic terrorism (and eventually pled guilty).

Early on Upton took on the pose of a social moderate. He never cared about anything like that-- just about protecting the 1% from having to pay a fair share. Starting in 2002, right-wing extremists-- usually religious fanatics-- became disenchanted with Upton. State Senator Dale Shugars, another far right psychopath, primaried him and lost. Last year former state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk, an anti-Choice fanatic, and a deranged perennial candidate for anything that comes up, primaried Upton with Tea Party and Libertarian backing and won 43& of the GOP vote. Scared for his life, Upton immediately moved significantly to the right, so far to the right that he's now completely out of step with the majority of Michigan voters.

Another big change is that Upton has never had a serious, well-financed Democratic opponent-- even though the Kalamazoo-based district gave majorities to Obama (54%), Levin and other Democrats. The DCCC has always protected Upton-- valuing his faux moderation-- much the same way they always protected Paul Ryan in Wisconsin. This year, DCCC or not, Upton has pulled a real populist, New Deal Democrat opponent, John Waltz.
Over the weekend Politico reported on what they called The War On Fred Upton. "The ferocious yearlong debate over the nation’s fiscal woes has put Rep. Fred Upton in the political crosshairs, with attacks coming from all sides," writes Alex Isenstadt. "Liberals castigate the Michigan Republican as a tool of corporate interests hellbent on eliminating entitlements while protecting the rich from tax increases. Conservatives torch him as a closet liberal who isn’t on board with the GOP’s single-minded push to slash federal spending. As one of 12 members on the high-powered, deficit-cutting supercommittee, Upton has been thrust into the national spotlight. But the stakes are decidedly higher for him than for the other lawmakers on the committee. None of the panel’s six senators will face reelection in 2012, and unlike Upton, none of the other five House members occupy districts that are even remotely competitive.

“Because a lot of people have placed a lot of hopes and aspirations on what the supercommittee will do, those hopes and aspirations will be projected on the people serving on the supercommittee,” said Grover Norquist, the influential conservative activist and Americans for Tax Reform president, who has been complimentary of Upton. “There will be people shouting at folks like Upton.”

On popular liberal blogs like DownWithTyranny, Upton, whose family founded Whirlpool Corp., is slammed as a “plutocrat” and accused of jumping into bed with the “radical right.” On RedState, a widely read online conservative bulletin board, posters lament Upton’s presence on the panel, with one writing that the Michigan Republican is afraid of being “portrayed as robbing seniors.”

The supercommittee doesn’t have to reveal its recommendations until just before Thanksgiving, but whether the panel cuts spending in a way that pleases conservatives will go a long way toward determining Upton’s political fortunes. This week, the liberal-aligned Michigan Nurses Association launched a radio and billboard ad campaign slamming Upton for being “in Wall Street’s pocket.”

But pressure has also come from conservatives. On Thursday, Club for Growth, the Washington-based anti-tax group that frequently supports primary challenges to GOP incumbents, huddled with Republican Jack Hoogendyk, a former Michigan state representative who performed unexpectedly well against Upton in 2010 and is considering running again.

Hoogendyk, who held Upton to 57 percent of the vote in 2010 despite being outspent nearly 18 to one, told Politoco that he will make a decision on whether to challenge Upton after the panel completes its deliberations. “What comes out of the supercommittee will obviously be a factor on a lot of things, including whether I run,” he said.

Barney Keller, a Club for Growth spokesman, said the group came away from the meeting impressed by Hoogendyk. Keller said that Upton “has a very long record of voting for bigger government that is inconsistent with our policy goals.”

What do Club for Growth and the clownish Hoogendyk want? Well, Hoogendyk wants a job of course, but the nuts at the Club for Growth have agreed to back him if Upton compromises with conservative Democrats and goes for Obama's "grand bargain," which tears huge, deadly holes in the social safety net in return for some paltry and very temporary tax increases on a small part of the 1%. Yesterday Chuck Schumer predicted the SuperCommittee would fail, mostly because Upton is too scared to move in a mainstream direction. Even with this week's Washington Post-ABC News poll reporting that most moderates and independents now agree that the Republican Party is sabotaging Obama's good faith attempts to fix the economy-- an economy, remember, that was driven into the ditch by Republican anti-regulatory mania-- Upton is, basically, hiding under his desk hoping the whole mess will just disappear and he can continue to rack in immense amounts of money from lobbyists and corporate PACs looking to trade some campaign cash for his services. If you'd like to help retire Upton and replace him with a blue collar, New Deal Democrat, please consider contributing to John Waltz's campaign through ActBlue.

Link to original article from Down With Tyranny


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MI Legislators with ALEC Ties

House of Representatives

  • Former Rep. Frank Accavitti, Jr. (D-42), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005 and 2008[102]
  • Majority Caucus Chair Dave Agema (R-74), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2008[102]
  • Former Rep. Fran Amos (R-43), registered for ALEC annual meeting in 2005 and paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2006 and 2007[102]
  • Former Rep. Richard A. Bandstra (R-Grand Rapids, 1985-1994, Michigan 3rd Court of Appeals through January 2003), Former "Public Sector Chairman," Civil Justice Task Force[103]
  • Former Rep. Bill Caul (R-99), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005 and 2007[102]
  • Former House Speaker Craig DeRoche (R-38), paid ALEC membership dues in 2006 and sent three staffers to ALEC annual meeting in 2006 (for $1,200) with taxpayer funds[102]
  • Former Rep. Leon Drolet (R-33), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005[102]
  • Former Rep. David Farhat (R-91), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005[102]
  • Former Rep. Edward Gaffney (R-1), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005 and 2007[102]
  • Rep. Judson Gilbert (R-81), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005 while a state senator[104]
  • Rep. Gail Haines (R-43); Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force
  • Rep. Ken Horn (R-94), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2011[102], Civil Justice Task Force member
  • Former Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-90, now Michigan Congressman R-2), ALEC Alumni in Congress,[105] paid ALEC membership with taxpayer funds in 2005 and 2007 while a state representative[102]
  • Former Rep. Jerry Kooiman (R-75), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005[102]
  • Rep. Eileen Kowall (R-44), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2011[102]
  • Rep. Kenneth Kurtz (R-58), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force[106]
  • Rep. Matthew Lori, (R-59), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force[106]
  • Rep. Peter J. Lund (R-36); Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force
  • Rep. Tom McMillin (R-45), sponsored 2011 HB 4050. Compare to ALEC's "Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act"[107]
  • Former Rep. Kimberley Meltzer (R-33), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2009[102]
  • Former Rep. Tim Moore (R-97), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2007[102]
  • Rep. Aric Nesbitt (R-80); Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force
  • Former Rep. Tom Pearce (R-73), registered for 2006 ALEC annual meeting and paid 2009 ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds[102]
  • Rep. Amanda Price (R-89); Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force
  • Former Rep. Rick Shaffer (R-59), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005 and 2007[102]
  • Former Rep. Fulton Sheen (R-88), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005, 2006 and 2007[102]
  • Rep. Mike Shirkey (R-65), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2011[102]
  • Former Rep. John Stahl (R-82), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2008[102]
  • Former Rep. John Stakoe (R-44), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005 and 2007[102]
  • Former Rep. Glenn Steil, Jr. (R-72), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005 and 2007[102]
  • Former Rep. William Van Regenmorter (R-74), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005[102]

Senate

  • Sen. Jason Allen (R-37), former ALEC State Chairman[108], paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2006[104]
  • Former Sen. Patricia Birkholz (R-24), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005[104]
  • Sen. Darwin Booher (R-35), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005, 2007 and 2009 while a state representative[102]
  • Former Sen. Cameran Brown (R-16), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005[104]
  • Sen. Bruce Caswell (R-16), Health and Human Services Task Force[106]
  • Former Sen. Valde Garcia (R-22), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005[104]
  • Sen. Mike Green (R-31), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2011[104]
  • Sen. Goeff Hansen (R-34), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005, 2007 and 2009 (twice) while a state representative,[102] Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force member
  • Sen. Dave Hildenbrand (R-29), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005, 2007 and 2009 while a state representative,[102] and in 2011 while a state senator<ref="MichiganSenate"/>
  • Sen. Rick Jones (R-24), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005 while a state representative[102]
  • Sen. Mike Kowall (R-15), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2009 while a state representative, and in 2011[102]
  • Former Sen. Wayne Kuipers (R-30), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005[104]
  • Sen. Arlan B. Meekhoff (R-30), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2009 while a state representative[102]
  • Sen. John Moolenar (R-36), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005 and 2007 while a state representative[102]
  • Sen. Mike Nofs (R-19), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2008 while a state representative[102]
  • Former Sen. Bruce Patterson (R-7), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2009[104]
  • Sen. David B. Robertson (R-26), paid ALEC membership dues with taxpayer funds in 2005[102]
  • Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker (R-20), State Chairman[109]; Civil Justice Task Force

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