Dude, you are NO Democrat
NOTE: As promised, I have updated this post with Cody Bailey’s responses to some of my questions and have included other statements sent to me, as well.
In my piece last week about fake Democrats, non-Democrats running as Democrats in Michigan, I declined to characterize Cody Bailey as a fake Democrat. However, the more I have dug into his campaign in Michigan’s 11th State House District, the more I have become convinced that he is, indeed, a solid Republican, running as a Democrat in the 11th District simply because a Democrat is more likely to win. In my opinion, the clear choice for progressives in that district is his opponent David Knezek.
Let’s first take a look at Bailey’s logo since it’s a nice visual place to start:
Ooo! That’s NICE! VERY Democratic! Look, it has a wind turbine in it!
So, how “green” is Cody Bailey? In word (okay, two): not very.
Michigan has a unique opportunity with our skilled labor force and empty factories to lead the nation and world in energy independence and promotion of a cleaner, healthier environment. Just as generations before used the Apollo Project to spur a new era of innovation and opportunity, we can do the same in working for renewable energies and protections of our parks, wetlands and Great Lakes. If we are to be true to promises of job creation and diversification of our economy, then a focus on a new green economy is not only a viable solution but a true step to rebuilding the great Michigan middle class.
Okay, that’s a good start. Sounds very much like a Democrat. He wants an Apollo Project for spurring new green energy initiatives and that will spur job growth. Let’s see what else he’s got:
I believe that the government has a role to play in spurring new industry and innovation. The aggressive reforms that I propose to the tax code (click here to read my economic plan) will provide credits and deductions that can bridge the cost of updating facilities and obtaining new ones. I support the 2008 legislation that provided security for Michigan’s energy providers. This 10% cap on out of state energies protects the multi-billion dollar investments Michigan providers (and their customers) continue to make in our economy, while at the same time requiring that a level of all new energy-creating facilities to do so in a “green” manner.
Again, sounds darn good. But here’s the thing: it just sounds good. He doesn’t actually put forth any specific ideas about it and, if you click through to his economic plan, there isn’t a single mention of environmental issues or investments in renewable energy. I expect fluff on the website of any politician but, fer cryin’ out loud, this is a guy whose logo has a freaking wind turbine in it!!!
It gets worse. He’s now got a website up slamming his opponent, David Knezek, that says, “Knezek wants our utility bills to skyrocket.” What is his justification for this? It’s that Knezek supports the renewable energy ballot initiative that will require Michigan utilities to source 25% of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025. In other words, Mr. Wind-Turbine-In-My-Logo is actually against something that would do the very thing he claims to be for which is to jump start the renewable energy industry in our state which would create new jobs.
In other other words, he says he’s for it and he appears to be for it. But he’s not for it.
It’s truly insulting to Democrats in the 11th House district that this guy thinks he can just slap a wind turbine on his logo and his campaign lit and he will get voted in as a Democrat.
Let’s take a look at his endorsements:
- Michigan Chamber of Commerce
- Michigan Restaurant Association
- Michigan License Beverage Association
- Associated Builders and Contractors
- Friend of Retail, Michigan Retailers Association
- Preferred Candidate, Michigan Bankers Association
Well, look at that! A veritable Who’s Who of pro-business, anti-labor groups. Why, this looks like the endorsement list of a Republican candidate!
Two groups not yet listed on Bailey’s website are the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP) and Students First, both anti-teachers’ union, pro-charter schools groups. GLEP has received nearly $1 million over the years from Dick and Betsy DeVos. Students First is a group headed by Michelle Rhee and appear to be intent on destroying the public school systems of the USA and replacing them with for-profit charter schools.
In addition to being endorsed by GLEP, Bailey has benefited now from three separate mailers and four series of robocalls fully paid for by the group, each one worse than the one before, accusing his opponent of a range of things that are complete distortions and lies. In fact, according Knezek, he was forced to respond to the robocalls with one of his own yesterday afternoon.
I’ve mentioned the anti-Knezek website Bailey has put up. David Knezek filed his paperwork with the state to run for office on December 5, 2011. However, Cody Bailey actually owns the domain www.davidknezek.com. Take a look at the WhoIs report:
Garden City, Michigan 48135
Registered through: GoDaddy.com, LLC (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: DAVIDKNEZEK.COM
Created on: 06-Dec-11
Expires on: 06-Dec-12
Last Updated on: 03-Aug-12
Bailey, Cody firstname.lastname@example.org
Garden City, Michigan 48135
Bailey, Cody email@example.com
Garden City, Michigan 48135
Well look at that. Bailey bought that domain the very next day after Knezek announced.
The utterly amateur website itself is an absolute train wreck. It contains images taken from stock photo sites, one of which they didn’t even bother to remove the watermarked “X” from:
The “Truth” sign is the first one that pops up on a Google image search for “Truth sign”.
Here’s Bailey’s version:
Here’s the Google search results:
Here’s Bailey’s “patriotic construction worker”:
Finally, there’s the kid with the dunce cap:
He got that image HERE.
Having talked to a number of people, Bailey’s campaign manager Robert McLachlan appears to take the “be a jerk to people to get your way” approach to most things. When I wrote my first piece, he characterized it as a “smear” piece in the comments despite the fact that everything was completely truthful.
Would really like to see factual content in your smear piece. Knezek clearly calls for a tax increase in his “policy paper”. More troubling, though, is your regurgitation of the statement that Cody Bailey has questioned Knezek’s military service. NEVER HAPPENED. Show me one instance where the Cody Bailey campaign has ever suggested Mr. Knezek did not serve.
Um, yeah. We are not, nor have we ever, denied any of the so-called “Republican” past of Mr. Bailey. However, when you leap to a label that is in and of itself untrue, misleading, and without basis in fact, then, yes, it is a “smear piece”. Telling? Yes. Reveals your obvious bias without bothering to research factual information. Your “guy” clearly states in his now infamous “policy papers” that he advocates for the extension of the sales tax to services in our great state. That, sir, is a tax increase. As for the completely manufactured comments accusing Mr. Bailey of questioning Mr. Knezek’s military service, I again ask you, or any of your kind comrades, to provide the proof that such a sentiment was ever uttered. You cannot do so, because frankly, it doesn’t exist. I do give you props, though, for continuing to pivot and divert attention away from your own guys’ misgivings.
The irony in this last comment is that he his lying about Knezek with the tax comment AND about the military service stuff, all the while claiming that others are lying.
I asked David Knezek, a two-tour Iraq War vet, about the claims he made that the Bailey campaign was spreading rumors that he hadn’t, in fact, served in the United States Marine Corps.
“That came from us knocking doors,” he said. “At first we just ignored it. But we started hearing it over and over and over again. And then I got a really offensive hate email…”
What they were hearing from the folks they met during canvassing was that people who had canvassed them from the Bailey campaign had told them that Knezek is lying about his military service. Not just one or two people told them this, but LOTS of people. It was then that the Knezek campaign made this sleazy attack public, speaking about it on the First Shift with Tony Trupiano radio show (listen HERE) and elsewhere.
Again, typical Republican smear tactics while accusing your opponent and his supporters of the same thing.
What’s Bailey’s main charge against Knezek? That he wants to raise taxes! Yes, this so-called Democrat is using the age-old Republican attack line that his opponent wants to raise your taxes. Again from the anti-Knezek website Bailey put up:
Not sure what David has been smoking, but his “policy paper” that he posted on his official website states, very clearly, that “our tax system is woefully behind the times: we tax the sale of goods at 6%, but don’t touch the provision of services”. This is a huge hit on the lower and middle income working families in our State. His detailed plan, interestingly, does not provide any exemptions for things like doctor visits, dental costs, etc. For Heaven’s sake, funerals would be taxed under his broad policy. This tax increase would be historically one of the largest in the history of Michigan.
This fabrication is probably the most egregiously slimey act in Bailey’s campaign. The white paper they refer to does not talk about taxing services at all. In fact, the sentence they put in quotes doesn’t actually appear in Knezek’s policy papers. They took several different statements, one about businesses paying more taxes if they benefit more from government services, and pieced them into a fabricated lie that they have been hammering on over and over and over again until people begin to believe it. It’s a shameful act of desperation and reeks of Republican strategy.
Speaking to Knezek, he says he has never advocated increasing taxes on “everyday people”.
“These GLEP robocalls say I want to raise taxes on oil changes and movie tickets and funerals and haircuts. It’s absolutely ridiculous,” he said.
If you want to see how a REAL Democrat talks about tax policy, take a look at the Knezek policy paper that Bailey is distorting:
Our tax system is still woefully behind the times. The tax paid by our state’s businesses is based more on the amount of machines and equipment used to produce their products than on the profit they make in selling them, and tax our citizens more on the size and value of the land and homes they own than on their income they make or the wealth they have accrued. Each of these is a regressive tax that leaves the working- and middle-class citizens and Mom-and-Pop small businesses to shoulder more than their fair share of the tax burden while big business and the superrich pay a relatively small (and decreasing) amount.
My solution is likewise simple, and it is based on the reason why we have taxes in the first place: because everyone benefits from the government providing certain essential services – police, fire, schools, courts, roads, bridges, post offices, etc. If you share in the benefits, you should share in the burden in the same proportion.
That sounds very much like the argument that President Obama has been making and Bailey’s attack sound very much like the lies Mitt Romney has been telling. It’s no surprise: Bailey interned for Mitt Romney during the 2008 election.
McLachlan crowed about their smear page on his Facebook page:
Part of where he “went” was to show a photo of David Knezek smoking a hookah while he was in Iraq. That’s why he says “Not sure what David has been smoking…”, suggesting that Knezek was smoking illegal drugs
This was first posted by McLachlan back in April on his Facebook page:
Smoking tobacco with a hookah is quite common in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. Many Middle Eastern restaurants here in the USA now offer this, in fact, but McLachlan is clearly trying to insinuate something improper, even though nothing improper took place.
Once again: dishonest and slimey.
Finally, Bailey has even managed to hijack one of Knezek’s newspaper endorsements. Here’s the endorsement he received from the Detroit Free Press:
(Garden City, Inkster, part of Dearborn Heights, and adjacent slivers of Livonia and Westland)
The star candidate of this district’s open-seat Democratic primary is DAVID KNEZEK, 25. A Dearborn Heights native, Knezek boasts two tours as a Marine in Iraq with honorable discharge, a slew of big name endorsements, and broad knowledge of the issues. As a substitute teacher for Wayne County and recent graduate of U-M Dearborn, he is passionate about education and deeply invested in prison reform. His charisma, knowledge and leadership will make him an outstanding representative. Other candidates include Bill Kaledas, 59, who has served as city council member and mayor of Garden City, and young hopeful Cody Bailey, 21, of Garden City, who offers thoughtful ideas on tax and education reform.
The actual endorsement goes to Knezek but here’s how Bailey spins it on his anti-Knezek website:
You’d almost think HE got the endorsement despite the fact that he also published this sour grapes, childish comment about the Detroit Free Press on his Facebook page:
My opponent, who professes to want to protect Michigan families, has just proposed the largest single tax hike on Michigan families in history. Congratulations to the Free Press for endorsing such a strong advocate for tax increases! [Screenshot]
So far as I can tell, Cody Bailey is no Democrat. There is nothing about him that points to him holding Democratic values. He makes the right noises and has the right pretty pictures on his website but, at his core, this born-again Democrat was born again out of political expediency. He was going to run in the 23rd district but he would have had to face incumbent Rep. Pat Somerville. So, after filing for the 23rd district, he switched to the 11th district just a month later. Knowing that if he were going to have any chance at all to win in either of these districts, he’d have to do so as a Democrat, he changed parties. However, so far as anyone paying attention can tell, he did not change his ideology. That’s why he picks up endorsements from the same anti-Democratic groups you’d expect to see from ANY Republican.
Cody Bailey may be a moderate Republican but he’s not a Democrat. Voters have a true Democrat to vote for in the 11th State House District and that person is David Knezek.
UPDATE: Cody Bailey, through his campaign manager Robert McLachlan, responded to my questions and, as promised, his responses are below:
1. What inspired your dramatic switch from hardcore, Romney-supporting Republican to running as a Democrat?
I was never “hardcore” any party, so there was no dramatic shift. As I have stated repeatedly since July of 2011, when I entered this race, I interned for Mitt Romney as a high school student as part of a school project. At that time, Romney was the only Presidential candidate with a presence in Michigan. I have also stated, proudly, that I consider myself to be a conservative Democrat – one who is willing to work to build consensus to address the needs of my community.
2. Will you be supporting Barack Obama’s reelection?
Yes, I am supporting Barack Obama’s reelection.
3. To what do you owe your endorsements from the anti-labor, pro-business groups like the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Associated Builders and Contractors, the Michigan Retail Association, and the Michigan Restaurant Association?
I “owe” all of my endorsements from individuals and groups to my well-developed platform, and my stated willingness to bring all parties to the table to discuss issues that affect all of us.
4. Why is the pro-charter schools group the Great Lakes Education Project sending out pieces attacking your opponent on your behalf?
The Great Lakes Education Project has indeed endorsed my candidacy, and they made a financial contribution to the campaign. They are also doing independent activities, which we are not allowed, by law, to know about or coordinate. We have seen the pieces, since mailing, and we believe they accurately portray the stark differences between me and the opponent.
5. Given that you just switched to Democrat last year and are running a reasonable safe district for Democrats, and the fact that you are receiving overwhelming support from anti-Democrat groups, why would anyone believe that you aren’t simply trying to portray yourself as a Democrat when you are actually a Republican?
I did not “just switch” to a Democrat, and yes, I am running in a fairly safe Democratic district. Again, I refer you to the numerous statements I’ve made as a conservative Democrat. I make no apologies for stating the truth.
Additionally, Bailey/McLachlan had some other things to say:
Now, I’d like to address yesterday’s “blog”. First, you make an assumption about the campaign logo. Had you bothered to check your facts (which is a pattern with you), you would know that the windmill design is to refer to “New Energy…New Ideas…A New Michigan” in a symbolic way to draw attention to the fact that I do not adhere to the old regurgitated policies of the Democratic Party Old Boy’s Network.
I’ll grant you this: I completely missed the use of wind turbines to suggest a candidate’s new energy and new ideas for Michigan. It looks to me, and many others I have spoken to, like a Republican trying to pretend he’s a pro-renewable energy Democrat. It’s either that or a symbol that was so poorly chosen that it completely misses the mark.
Next, you claim that we are spreading lies about Mr. Knezek’s tax plan. Mr. Knezek’s policy papers were downloaded from his site on July 16, 2012 (see below). He clearly states in his tax policy that he wants to extend the sales tax to services. He makes no mention of any exemptions to that. After this campaign held him accountable for that outrageous tax increase proposal, Mr. Knezek “scrubbed” his site, changing his position (known in politics as “flip-flopping, by the way), and attempting to call critics liars in the process. Speaking of “corrective action”, I do wish to thank you for pointing out our use of copyrighted photos on the site we created. Instead of deleting them, pulling a “Knezek” and calling you a liar, we immediately went back to the original source, and paid the royalties.
I have reread the pieces he screencapped (they are linked below) and still fail to see the sentence they put in quotes or any suggestion for taxing citizens for things like funerals, haircuts, etc. What Knezek is referring to is taxing government services proportional to the benefit a business receives from them.
Let’s talk about the alleged email that was sent. We traced the email address to New York. We immediately denounced it, both because we had no knowledge of it, and because we know it to be sick and untrue. However, we did reply to the alleged writer with a cease and desist demand, and have heard nothing. We have always, ALWAYS, acknowledged Knezek’s service with respect and gratitude. The now infamous hookah pipe and booty shorts photos were posted in response to Mr. Knezek’s attack on Mr. Bailey with a cut and paste portfolio from Facebook, also taken totally out of context. On that point, how sad is it that Mr. Knezek relies on a site reference to Facebook in his smear piece that was sent out last week?
Getting to the www.davidknezek.com site, the reader can determine what Mr. Knezek may or may not have been smoking. The point made, quite effectively, is that one would have to be hallucinating to think they could propose one of the largest tax increases on the middle class without getting challenged on it.
THE SCREENSHOTS FROM KNEZEK’S SITE ARE ATTACHED TO THIS EMAIL. You can clearly see the date on them, and that they are “locked” pdf files. The change Knezek made was AFTER we called him out on it. We expect a public retraction on the issue.
I’m glad to hear they denounced the email but this doesn’t explain why people canvassing on behalf of Cody Bailey are misrepresenting David Knezek’s military record and Knezek has every reason to call it out for the lie that it is. As far as the hookah photo goes, that’s just gutter politics and anyone looking at it can see that. Just like the buying of the davidknezek.com domain in order to run a smear site against him.