This past weekend, the Chairs of both the Michigan Republican Party, Bobby Schostak, and the Michigan Democratic Party, Lon Johnson appeared on Fox 2’s “Let it Rip!” program to discuss the upcoming election.
Schostak showed up without a tie, carrying an aloof and almost derisive attitude. He struggled to defend his candidates time and again. In contrast, Johnson was well-dressed, poised, and on message the entire time. He hammered several points over and over again: Gov. Snyder has cut education by $1 billion, raised taxes on seniors’ pensions, labor has been attacked and had their collective bargaining rights stripped, women’s reproductive health choices have been diminished, and, despite occupying every single major government position, Republicans have not been able to fix our roads.
You can watch the entire show, in two segments, here:
There were a few extremely interesting exchanges worth noting. First, Bobby Schostak promised that there will be debates:
CHARLIE LANGTON: Let me ask you guys, why won’t you debate? Where are the debates? You guys can do it but the candidates won’t. Bobby Schostak, c’mon.
BOBBY SCHOSTAK: Look, there’s all this talk. There’s no reason to panic about the debates. The debates are gonna happen. What’s most important that the candidates are across the state, criss-crossing, talking to the voters out there about the issues of Michigan’s recovery, the issues of great leadership…
CHARLIE LANGTON: Terri Lynn Land says she won’t. Will she debate?
LON JOHNSON: We just had the Chairman of the Republican Party say that we’re going to have debates? Is that right?
SCHOSTAK: What I’m saying is that the issues are out in front of the people today and the discussion’s goin’ on every day. They wanna talk about talking about talking about debates. Let’s talk about the issues.
JOHNSON: We’re ready. Gary Peters and Mark Schauer both have said they’re ready to debate, anywhere, any place.
Later in the show, Schostak called former Michigan Governor William Milliken, a centrist Republican beloved by many, “irrelevant”:
LANGTON: Governor Milliken, this week, endorsed Gary Peters. What’s going on with that?!
SCHOSTAK: [Laughs] Well, what’s goin’ on with Governor Milliken? He’s not relevant any longer. It was relevant when…
LANGTON: A fellow Republican is not relevant?!
SCHOSTAK: He’s not relevant to this election. What’s relevant to this election is what Governor Snyder is doing, what Terri Land will do to represent…
JOHNSON: It’s very relevant what Governor Snyder has done to this state! When he took over we were at the fifth highest unemployment rate. Now we’re at the third.
Finally, Schostak appears to have quit reading polls. He contended that the polling on the Peters/Land race is “back and forth” and that they’re going to continue to be “goin’ back and forth”. For his part, Johnson easily deflected attacks on President Obama and the Affordable Care Act, saying the Michigan Democrats are proud of our president and his signature achievement and that President Obama is welcome to come to our state “any time”.
LANGTON: Bobby, let me ask you, you have over $18 million spent on ads. That seems like an awful LOT of money and your candidate, Terri Lynn Land, is not doing very well in the polls. Are you troubled by that?
SCHOSTAK: Look, there have been polls back and forth all election season here. There’s been polls where she’s up by two, there’s polls where she’s down by four. They’re gonna be goin’ back and forth. But most important is making a decision, the voters gotta make a decision, do you want someone who promised you can keep your healthcare and can’t keep your healthcare now, you can keep your doctor, you can’t keep your doctor. Now, that happened with Gary Peters while in the Congress. Is that who they want who they want to represent them in Congress and the answer is no. They want somebody who is going to represent Michigan values and Michigan citizens’ needs in Washington.
TARYN ASHER: Lon, Obama, his approval ratings are quite low right now. With the midterm election, are you worried that they may hurt Gary Peters?
JOHNSON: They’re higher in Michigan than Governor Snyder’s! We’ll take President Obama any time he wants to come to Michigan. Gladly. He won this state by nine points and he never came here, was outspent four-to-one and yet this was still Romney’s home state.
SCHOSTAK: Obamacare is toxic. Obama will not be campaigning in Michigan.
JOHNSON: We are proud of Obamacare and what it’s done. Creating the ability for people to have affordable health care, to make sure that people are not dropped once they get cancer or some other catastrophic disease, and to make sure that women are not paying more than men. We’re proud of that fact.
It really is pathetic watching the derisive Bobby Schostak trying to defend the indefensible, is it not?