Talk to anyone in Ann Arbor about Mark Ouimet and they are sure to tell you that he’s a really “nice guy”. I’ve never met him but I feel certain that he is, indeed, a really nice guy.
But he’s also a politician and he’s also a Republican. So I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me when robocalls started showing up on my answering machine slamming his opponent, Christine Green.
Here’s the transcript for the first one:
[WOMAN'S VOICE]: Spending WARNING! I wish I had the ability to spend money without worrying about how to pay for it like they do in Lansing or Washington. Christine Green and her fellow Democrats keep spending away our future while we can barely make ends meet. In November, say NO! to wasteful government spending. Say NO! to Christine Green.
That’s it. No attribution. No “paid for by”. Just an anonymous, deceptive message from an unidentified woman’s voice. The comical but maddening part of this is that Christine Green is a Scio Township Trustee. She has absolutely no ability to travel to Lansing or Washington to spend our tax money. The Board of Trustees must run a balanced budget, in fact.
Here’s another one:
[SAME WOMAN'S VOICE]: A message on out-of-control spending: Christine Green and her Democrat friends can’t get enough of our hard-earned tax dollars. We don’t need Democrats like Christine Green that would support programs like the Obama Stimulus Package that cost you and me $862 billion that gave us nothing but trillions in debt and record unemployment. In November, say NO! to out-of-control government spending. Say NO! to Christine Green.
Again, Christine Green, as a Trustee, has no ability to raise taxes and her “Democrat friends” in Washington have actually lowered taxes on 95% of working Americans and on small businesses as well.
A third one from Friday, October 1st. You can use the audio player below to listen to it:
[SAME WOMAN'S VOICE]: A message about your tax dollars. 862 billion dollars wasted in stimulus spending. 750 million dollars in over-inflated budgets in Lansing. Christine Green’s Democrat friends in Lansing and Washington, D.C. have run up quite a tab. In November, tell Christine Green we’ve had enough overspending. Vote NO! on wasteful government spending. Vote NO! on Christine Green.
Yet again, the same woman’s voice. Yet again nothing to identify the source of the call. Yet again, blaming wasteful spending on a woman who was not part of it.
And, finally, the one I received this week on October 5th. This one is particularly personal and particularly deceitful. Again, here’s the audio:
[SAME WOMAN'S VOICE]: Hi, this is Anne, and we need to elect people that are responsible to the legislature. Christine Green has a long history of tax problems. If Green can’t even balance her own budget how can we expect her to balance the state budget? This November, vote NO on Green.
This was accompanied by two different pieces of mailed literature from the Michigan Rebublican Party. One is shown below, both use the same doctored photo of Ms. Green to make her look as bad as possible. According to people I have spoken with, robocalls and literature like this have been sent into many districts across the state where the elections are close.
The piece that I received refers to Ms. Green as a “Personal Injury Lawyer”. It gives a page on her website as the source but the web address is wrong so that people can’t see that the actual statement is that her “practice includes civil rights, employment discrimination, wrongful termination and personal injury”. In other words, she’s a civil rights lawyer.
In response to this ridiculous mudslinging, the Green campaign released this press release:
ANN ARBOR, MI – “It is becoming clear to voters that Mark Ouimet and his Republican Party backers in Lansing are determined to drag the contest for State Representative from the 52nd District into the gutter,” says Democratic candidate Christine Green. “Instead of talking about issues of importance to district voters – the economy, education and the environment – he is relying on vicious, misleading and unfair attacks on me and my family.”
“Ouimet’s latest attempt to mislead voters is a brochure which suggests that I have unpaid taxes. This is false, and Ouimet knows it. In the 1980’s, when I was a student at the University of Michigan, and my husband was working hard to establish his practice in Ann Arbor, we got somewhat behind in our taxes. All of these taxes were paid in full by 1989, more than two decades ago! All of this is public record.” “Ouimet even tells voters that I have been ‘delinquent’ on my property taxes because one payment was a few days late six years ago.
“These tactics show exactly how insensitive Ouimet is to the economic stresses and problems of ordinary families. Perhaps that is what we should expect from a man who hasn’t needed to work full-time for eight years, owns millions of dollars in Ann Arbor rental properties and was able to contribute over $78,000 of his own money to his campaign before the primary, even though he had no opponent.
“Ouimet can’t pretend that he didn’t know that these attacks were coming, or blame his party for them. More than a week ago, I wrote a private letter to him, telling him that these attacks were being raised in phone calls to local voters, giving him the full facts and circumstances and asking him to renounce and stop the misleading attacks. He acknowledged receiving the letter but, obviously, was happy to see the attacks go on.
“So far, Ouimet’s campaign has been nothing but a series of ridiculous, automated robo-calls and over-the-top mailings holding me responsible for everything from the federal stimulus package to a state bailout of Detroit’s Cobo Hall, even though I’ve never spent a day in state or federal government. I’ve been outlining specific approaches to fixing our economy, providing a quality and accessible educational system, and protecting our environment. The voters have heard nothing but attacks from Ouimet.
“He accuses me of being a big spender, although I haven’t advocated any increased spending, whatsoever. It is Ouimet who is being fiscally irresponsible, advocating repeal of the Michigan Business Tax, but without saying how he would replace any of the revenue.
“Ouimet is trying to make this election about what’s happening in Washington, instead of what voters are experiencing in this community. Ouimet’s attacks show that he’s out of touch with the voters’ concerns, that he and the Republican Party have no new ideas, and they just want to take us back to the days of George W. Bush.”
Mark Ouimet may have a reputation for being a “nice guy” but his campaign tactics reveal something else entirely. He’s nothing more than a typical Republican candidate, perfectly happy to have his party run mudslinging smears on his behalf, smears which are full of half-truths, innuendo and outright lies to tear down his opponent and promote his candidacy. It’s particularly ironic that these latest pieces would come out just as it’s revealed that Mr. Ouimet may have some financial misconduct of his own to deal with.
A commenter on my blog post about the accusations that Mr. Ouimet has inappropriately collected thousands of dollars in fees and reimbursements from the County government during his time as County Commissioner said this:
As a resident of Scio Township (and a Democrat), I was an attendee at several of the “all sorts of meetings” at which Mark Ouimet “had no official role”. These particular meetings involved the issue of the rehabilitation of the Delhi Bridge and were representative of his tireless efforts on behalf of his constituents and should not be dismissed as “politically motivated”. Mr. Dowty’s press release is a good example of the latter. Judgment about the reimbursements should be reserved pending further investigation. Quoting Mark Ouimet, “The problems we face are Michigan’s problems, and we must act as citizens, not partisans, to solve them”. “We have to be focused on results. We can no longer afford to be caught up in party politics.”
That sounds quite nice, all this nice-guy talk about “focusing on results” and “not getting caught up in party politics” but it’s nothing more than pure hypocrisy on the part of Mark Ouimet to utter such platitudes when his own party is running a smear campaign against his opponent.
Until he repudiates these calls and makes a public statement, he’s nothing more than a hypocrite. And, since he’s allowed it to go on for so long with a fifth call going out to some area voters late this week, any repudiation at this point is too little, too late.
Mark Ouimet might want you to think he’s a “nice guy” but the reality is that he is a hypocrite wading in the gutter with the Michigan Republican Party, slinging mud and completely caught up in partisan politics.
I’m just sayin’…