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Wednesday, November 26,2014

Thanksgiving

It´s about the mall, not the meal

by Mickey Hirten
For many of us Thanksgiving has timeless qualities. It is our national ritual: family, turkey, football ... and shopping. This most American of holidays is becoming this most American of past times — shopping. Whether you find it appalling — which I do — or feel that it´s an ideal way to kick start the holiday season, hour by hour each year, commerce is overtaking consumption.
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Wednesday, November 19,2014

Keeping it real

Mid-term election voters couldn’t relate and Dems ignored their base

by Mickey Hirten
With the election season just a bad memory I had resolved to move on. Honest. That was until last week´s Capitol Issues Forum and a talk with polling guru Ed Sarpolis, who served up answers to questions I hadn´t even considered. It was, after all, an odd election: A convincing sweep by Republicans, except for the U.S. Senate; a beatable incumbent governor who won; and lackluster campaigns.
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Wednesday, November 12,2014

Angry voters miss opportunity

Most officeholders returned

by Mickey Hirten
To bastardize Howard Beale in the movie “Network”: “We´re mad as hell, and we´re not going to do anything about it.” People are fed up with partisan, ineffective government, and given a chance to change it, they voted for more of the same. That is, if they voted at all. Turnout last week at 3.2 million was less than in the last midterm election. Maybe this is the best we deserve.
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Wednesday, November 5,2014

Red Cedar? Maybe soon

City cites progress in talks with developers of $200 million project

by Mickey Hirten
Another week and still no word on Lansing´s much touted and still not ready for prime time Red Cedar Renaissance. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero said last week that he expected a “big announcement” development principals — private and public — met on Friday to hash out issues. It didn´t happen. But maybe soon.
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Wednesday, October 29,2014

The courage question

Why is Snyder afraid to lead on same-sex marriage?

by Mickey Hirten
Time and time again as he´s campaigned for re-election, Gov. Rick Snyder has been asked his view on same-sex marriage. Right idea, but it´s the wrong question. What we should ask the governor is why he lacks the courage to lead on the defining civil rights issue of this era.
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Wednesday, October 22,2014

Bishop: More of the same

Can contribute to Congress gridlock

by Mickey Hirten
The decision on whether to support Mike Bishop to replace retiring 8th District Rep. Mike Rogers is simple. If you like the way Congress governs, the partisan bile and appalling lack of governance, Bishop is your candidate.
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Wednesday, October 15,2014

One debate isn’t enough

Voters deserve better in the governor’s race

by Mickey Hirten
Early last week it looked like Gov. Rick Snyder was pulling away from Democratic challenger Mark Schauer. A live phone poll of 600 likely voters commissioned by the Detroit News and WDIV-TV, taken Oct. 2- 4, showed Snyder with an 8-point lead over Schauer, 45-to-37 with 15 percent of voters undecided. The poll had a 4 percent margin of error.
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Wednesday, October 8,2014

Predictable differences

Walberg and Byrnes far apart in 7th District congressional race

by Mickey Hirten
When looking at campaign financing, it is often the political action committees that define the candidate. The Koch brothers´ PAC contributions to Republican Rep. Tim Walberg signal arch conservative; money from the Sierra Club to his 7th District Democratic challenger, Pam Byrnes, reflect her liberal politics.
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Wednesday, October 1,2014

Schauer pledges to reverse cuts

Record reflects core Dem principles; Can he fire up the base, independents?

by Mickey Hirten
Although he´s been a congressman and long-serving Michigan legislator, Mark Schauer´s political record hasn´t really surfaced as an issue in his bid to unseat Gov. Rick Snyder. Snyder´s record, as befits an incumbent, frames the campaign so far. Voters know what they get with Snyder; Schauer is more of an unknown, which is good, and bad.
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Wednesday, September 24,2014

Second time around

Snyder finding tougher sledding as the incumbent

by Mickey Hirten
There are elections where voters seem confused, perhaps ambivalent, about candidates and their performance and positions on issues. Not so this year, certainly not for Gov. Rick Snyder. That he and the Democratic challenger, former U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer, are essentially tied two months before the election suggests that voters have paid attention during Snyder´s first term. At this point in his first run for office, Snyder was ahead of Democratic Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero by 20 points in most polls. This time, it´s not so easy.
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