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Republican Showdown in Michigan

By Hans Zeiger

Disregard for the U.S. Constitution is the norm in Congress these days. Whether constitutional government will survive is contingent on two factors: the character of the American people, and our capacity to decide rightly in matters like Michigan's 7th District race for Congress.

The 7th District is one of this year's most hotly contested Congressional primary races, where Congressman Nick Smith is retiring from his longtime seat. It is a secure Republican post, so whoever wins the August 3 primary will win the election. The six-way Republican race features three moderates with extensive legislative experience, a man without any sort of political experience, a man with a radically liberal record named Joe Schwarz, and a proven conservative statesman named Tim Walberg.

The moderates are State Representatives Gene DeRossett, Clark Bisbee, and Paul DeWeese. DeRossett has voted to raise taxes and preserve anti-small business "living wage" ordinances, and liberal unions have given him their support. Bisbee also voted to raise taxes, to increase the state budget, and he voted against the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. DeWeese voted to raise taxes and spending as well, to allow illegal immigrants to obtain a Michigan driver's license, and to maintain affirmative action and racial preference programs.

During his sixteen years in the Michigan legislature, Tim Walberg kept a promise never to vote in favor of a tax increase. When other Republicans voted to up the tax on cigarettes, Walberg kept his pledge. The state constitution his constant guide to policy, Walberg earned the respect of legislators on both sides of the aisle, not through unnecessary compromise but through honorable integrity, humility, and prudence.

Like the late Ronald Reagan, Tim Walberg is an eternal optimist, a man with a tremendous stock of hope invested in the American dream. Walberg is a longtime pastor whose Christian ministry has taken him around Michigan to mobilize Christians to make a difference.

Unfortunately, the moderate candidates are competing with Walberg for the conservative vote, risking a default victory for the liberal, Joe Schwarz. Commentator Robert Novak estimates that Schwarz is the current frontrunner in the 7th District Congressional race.

Schwarz, a former Michigan legislator and chairman of John McCain's victorious Michigan primary race in 2000, is a fiscal liberal and a social liberal. He has the touted endorsement of the Republican Main Street Partnership, a wealthy coalition of so-called RINOs - Republicans in Name Only - who identify themselves in their mission statement as the "pragmatic center." Even the League of Conservation Voters, left-wing endorser of Clinton, Gore, and Kerry, has wildly thrown itself behind Schwarz's candidacy.

All in all, Joe Schwarz does not belong in the Republican Party. He is a Democrat at heart, and a socialist at mind. At a recent candidate debate, Schwarz demonstrated that he is thoroughly pro-abortion, warmly in favor of universal federal health care, and enthusiastic about increased federal spending for higher education.

"He is the proven liberal Republican and I am the proven conservative Republican," says Walberg. "Everyone else is either untested and a mere status quo moderate."

The point is, Tim Walberg should win a seat in Congress, and Joe Schwarz should register to vote in the Democratic Party. Congressional races have national consequences, and this one in particular.

Supporting a candidate like Tim Walberg is important for the future of the Republican Party and the future of America. Last year, the California Republican establishment ditched Senator Tom McClintock in his candidacy for governor of California in favor of the liberal Arnold Schwarzenegger. McClintock was not only qualified for the job, he believed in the principles of the Republican Party.

The same could be said of conservative Congressman Pat Toomey, recently defeated in the Pennsylvania Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. Toomey lost to liberal incumbent Senator Arlen Specter by a margin of less than two votes per precinct after George W. Bush and Senator Rick Santorum foolishly rallied Republicans to support Specter.

In character and principle, Tim Walberg is much like Tom McClintock or Pat Toomey. In the outcome of Michigan's 7th Congressional District primary race, let not that comparison be made. It would be a shame if Republicans allowed Joe Schwarz to win this race. We can avoid another RINO in Congress by visiting Tim Walberg's website at

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