Debbie Stabenow Up Against Pretty, Vacuous Trump Fan In Michigan's US Senate Race
Michigan's senior senior US Senator, Debbie Stabenow, tends to be a fairly low-key member of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body. No rumors of her running for president, just doing the hard work of legislating and occasionally getting rated one of Congress's "most liberal" members, at least in her last election cycle in 2012. She even got the dubious honor of being targeted in 2015 by Arizona rightwing loon/superpatriot/crybaby Jon Ritzheimer, who vowed to road-trip to Michigan and "arrest" her after she voted to support the Iran nuclear deal. That was too much for the anti-government militia Oath Keepers, which threatened to throw him out; Ritzheimer then quit the group with a screaming video fit because Oaf Keepers clearly didn't love America enough. Ritzheimer was later sentenced to a year in prison for his role in the Y'All Qaeda Wildlife Refuge Jamboree and Armed Standoff.
Oddly, Stabenow continues to walk free, and is running for a fourth term in the Senate.
Most recently, Stabenow found herself just this week the target of a Donald Trump Dumbshit Tweet accusing her of hating American Farmers, as one does when they're one of the "Big Four" Congressional leaders on agriculture (she's the ranking member of the Senate Ag Committee). Trump is, of course, A Idiot:
Like many Trump tweets, that actually requires a bit of unpacking: for one thing, Stabenow doesn't oppose the Farm Bill at all -- in fact, as she reminded Trump in a reply on Twitter, the Senate already passed its version of the bill back in July; the bill was co-authored by Stabenow and by Kansas Republican Pat Roberts, who chairs the Senate Ag Committee. She's certainly not fighting tooth and nail to defeat a major bill she co-wrote, because she is not Marco Rubio. In fact, the Senate bill passed on an 86-11 vote, a huge bipartisan majority in these fractious times. As one Michigan teevee station put it (after getting the number of votes wrong, too), it was "the moist [sic] a Senate Farm Bill has ever received," and it probably has what plants crave.
Ah, but look at that last line in Trump's tweet, about work requirements. That's what the idiot is hissing about. Trump wants harsher work requirements on every government program that helps poor people, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), aka Food Stamps. But here's the thing: SNAP already has a work requirement for able-bodied adults who don't have dependents. Now that the House and Senate are working to resolve their versions of the Farm Bill for a final vote, Trump wants a provision from the House version included, which would impose work requirements on SNAP recipients who have dependent children over the age of six, because ratcheting up the pressure on poor people so more kids go hungry is a family value. Your kid is seven? Back to the mines, which have to reopen even if no one wants coal.
No, really, that's it. Democrats -- including Stabenow -- aren't out to screw farmers; they're out to keep Republicans from screwing poor people harder. Hell, Pat Roberts, who's nobody's idea of a liberal, opposes including the House work requirement in the conference version of the bill, because it could kill the bill in the Senate, and the current version of the bill (written by Stabenow, by the way) expires at the end of September, so let's please pass a farm bill, yes?.
Oh, and it's probably worth mentioning that what's really hurting American farmers at the moment would be Trump's stupid trade war and tariffs. Of that stupidity -- and Trump's strange economic war on Canada and other US allies, Stabenow said last week,
I think that the White House really is, first of all, they are disrupting all kinds of things from NAFTA to charging Canada as a national security threat [...] what we have in this administration is just basically shooting in all directions and creating complete instability in terms of decisions that need to be made.
Stabenow made a bit of news when she said, very early on, she might be willing to work with Trump, but only if he brought up any proposals that would be good for Michigan or working people, like maybe a real infrastructure bill. But nahhh, that never even became a possibility -- as expected, Trump's populist stuff was more about dividing Americans and pumping up his base with anti-immigrant stuff, so no thanks. In late 2017, she said,
I don't see him unrigging the system. I see him through rolling back consumer protections and health care protection, [...] all I see is him rigging the system even more in favor of the wealthy and the well-connected.
Stabenow is one of the ten Senate Democrats from states that went to Trump in 2016, but she's definitely not among the ones who are terribly worried about losing their seats -- she's more like Ohio's Sherrod Brown or Pennsylvania's Bob Casey: in a purple state that went fairly narrowly for Trump, but very well-liked and reasonably secure for the midterms. She's got the usual endorsement from EMILY's List, and is a perennial supporter of legislation to reduce domestic violence, including a bill to keep guns out of the hands of abusive partners and stalkers. Despite all that, yes, this is where we fall back on the caveat from Noted Political Pundit Our Girlfriend, who says "A-CHOO!!" (feel better, love!) and also there are no longer any sure things in politics, because yeesh. Gotta get out there and pound on doors, people.
Also too, because we couldn't find anywhere else to mention this, Stabenow also had a cameo role in Batman vs. Superman, where she grimaced at a campaign speech by Lex Luthor. She said she prepped for her look of bafflement by imagining listening to Donald Trump. But Stabenow is an amateur compared to colleague Patrick Leahy, who has appeared in six Batman productions.
Stabenow does have a Trump-endorsed GOP opponent, John James, who is certainly an attractive enough candidate for ads (yes, he's pretty easy on the eyes), but apart from that, not a lot of substance there: He's an Army vet, went to West Point, so hooray, and runs a family-owned business that's "a global provider of logistics support for Fortune 500 companies," which we guess means either trucks, software, or both. And just like Donald Trump, James doesn't have a single bit of political experience. Really, people, knowing nothing about governing is not a qualification for the Senate!
Trump's endorsement for James in the Republican primary came with an all-caps "Spectacular" and the usual blather about being pro-military and "strong on crime and borders," so you know Trump looked deep into his soul and picked the primary candidate who looked like he was straight from central casting.
Also, Trump endorsed a black candidate so you can never call Trump racist ever again, you filthy liberals. James told the New York Times he'd never met Trump, but he sure has a knack for Trumpian vagueness and disparaging people "on the coast" who don't understand Real America:
there are going to be some people who are so blinded by their hatred of the president that they'll miss the opportunity to have someone who will do everything he can to serve everyone in the state of Michigan. I'm looking forward to treating people like independent thinkers [...]
I actually heard on the trail somebody say Donald Trump is Rust Belt Robin Hood. And I took that to mean that we finally have a president that's listening to the people in the Midwest.
Yeah, "Rust Belt Robin Hood." Not a lot of policy specifics in that interview; his website's "Issues" page is similarly broad Republican boilerplate ("I am 100% Pro-Life. Always have been. Always will be."), with occasional moments where he reminds us HE WAS A SOLDIER:
I understand how to secure a border because I've done it before. Sovereign nations must have secure borders and entry points. I support Kate's Law and I will support defunding 'sanctuary cities,' or as I call them, 'outlaw cities'.
Guess that means setting up an armed perimeter and shooting migrants on sight -- or at least rightwing voters can dream. Only one of James's "issues" statements gets more than three sentences; most are about as substantial as this terrific plan for "entitlement reform":
Dependency should not be the destiny of any American. Michigan deserves a Senator who will work to eliminate poverty, not just make it more comfortable.
Oh, that reminds us! Go check out this terrific little New Yorker piece from 2014, in which Stabenow pushes back -- in disgusted amazement -- on a bunch of Republicans agreeing the main reason for income inequality is that middle-class Americans displaced by the Great Recession simply decided they loved being on welfare so much they just decided to never work again, and that's why the wealthy keep getting wealthier. Sounds like Mr. James would get on that bandwagon without any hesitation.
Stabenow is currently polling well ahead of James, with a 55-33 percent lead in a poll conducted earlier this month by a polling firm called "the Glengariff Group." -- they do good polls, but they sure say "fuck" a lot.
But James has a great line against Stabenow, or at least his campaign manager, Tori Sachs does: Sachs appears in a WHOLE BUNCH of sources with variations on this line: Stabenow is a "43-year career politician who has been paid nearly $4 million in taxpayer salary," which we suppose may be true if you added up every penny she's made since she was first elected to the the Ingham County (county motto: "Not a Typo") Board of Commissioners in 1975. Shame on her for a long career of public service -- better dump her for a guy who looks nice and has no specific ideas.
While Stabenow is probably a good bet for the fall, there's no doubt going to be a lot of outside money coming in to help James, and we wouldn't be surprised if Trump shows up for a rally where he can call James "my African-American," so if you want to send some money to Stabenow, we bet she'd appreciate it.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.