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UAW, Teamsters, others seeking to replace Brewer

by: ScottyUrb

Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 14:46:54 PM EST

Next month's election for MDP Chair just got interesting. From Gongwer:

Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer's 18-year run at the helm of the party appears in serious jeopardy with major players from several corners mobilizing to replace him in next month's election at the state party convention.

Mr. Brewer still has some key allies in his corner - namely the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan and Michigan Education Association - but the firepower lining up to unseat him is formidable.

The article goes on to say that the UAW and Teamsters leadership are among those seeking a new Chair, as are Rep. Sander Levin, U-M Regent Mark Bernstein, and Justice Bridget Mary McCormack.

It appears the main sticking point is whether anyone formidable will actually come forward to run for Chair.

Now, I've been on both sides of the Brewer coin - I've praised and defended him on many occasions, but I have been critical of some of his actions. I do see a lot of issues with the MDP, including a lack of grassroots focus, wasting money on projects with little ROI, an almost nonexistant farm team for future elections, limited grassroots fundraising, and so forth. Because of this, we have missed everal opportuinities for electoral success.

That said, I'm not sure that replacing Brewer is the way to address those issues. Those kinds of issues go beyond one person.

That being said, we do need to have an honest discussion about the future of the Michigan Democratic Party.

ScottyUrb :: UAW, Teamsters, others seeking to replace Brewer
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So, let's throw out some names...and for now, let's concentrate on if they can DO the job, not if they WANT it
I'll ante with...

Mark Schauer.

Pros: Former Legislator and Congressman, proven vote-getter and fundraiser with strong Progressive credentials.

Cons: No statewide name recognition, no easy union allies, lost to Tim Walberg.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

I wouldn't make too much of the fact that Schauer lost to Walberg. Schauer lost because of bad Democratic turnout. He did get more votes than many other Democrats in much of the 7th in 2010. In Eaton County, for example, while Ruth Johnson got about 4,000 more votes than Jocelyn Benson, Schauer won Eaton County by nearly 1,300 votes.

While Schauer may not be well-known among the general population in much of the state, he seems very well-known in progressive and Democratic circles - which is what matters for an MDP Chair.

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

[ Parent ]
What about ....
Dave Bonior?

Strongly Progressive, strongly pro-labor, not beholden to any particular union or faction.

[ Parent ]
Bonior: Makes the Most Sense
Pro: Good Organizer. Good Support Group.

Con: Has his "Bonior Boys" Rat Pack that have been over grazing Macomb County for years and have developed heavy political baggage. That and some of his operatives have been over trained in the "proper" politically rude "affect" and some are just-plain-stupid.

[ Parent ]
If not Mark Brewer, who?
Tim Hughes
Ed Bruley
Dianne Byrum
Dave Katz
Mark Schauer
Marya Sieminski
Tom Hickner
Ken Brock
Dave Woodward
Dennis Archer
Mike Duggan
(one-term state rep from HD101 whose name I've forgotten)
Jim Berryman
Mike Huckleberry
John Freeman
Amy Chapman
Jim Giddings

Some of these names only make sense if the job is split again into two parts:  Chair, and Executive Director, which I think is overdue.  The decision to merge responsibility for day-to-day operations (E.D.) with the duty to represent the State Party in the media and with constituent groups has resulted in compromising both functions.

[ Parent ]
Dianne Byrum is about the only acceptable person on that list.

[ Parent ]
Good List, Mark

[ Parent ]
What About ...

[ Parent ]
Grebner wouldn't be a good choice.
For one thing, his grip on sanity is already so weak that a few months at Hart-Kennedy would finish him.  For another, the job as currently specified requires a diplomat rather than a technical genius, and whatever his claim to the latter, NOBODY would believe him to fill the former role.

If Grebner has any future with the MDP, it'll be as a part-time consultant.

[ Parent ]
He's not BORING.

[ Parent ]
I'd support Archer for anything in a hot minute.  To me, he's a great potential transitional candidate for just about any office we need to take while we're building a young team.  I was hoping he'd have run in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.  Not sure he could have beat Snyder, but he would have had a shot.  The great thing about him is that he's amiable on the outside, and serious on the inside, someone folks underestimate before he puts you down.

That said, I haven't believed Mark has been the central problem with the MIDems, and still don't believe it.  So, I really couldn't care any less about this.  Anybody that comes at Mark better come correct, as they say.  I hear a lot of gnashing of teeth, but that's about it; and to bring this in the 11th hour shows some serious incompetence.

[ Parent ]
Dennis Archer still thinks like a judge, not an executive. And, he is ... BORING. Like watching-grass-grow BORING. Heck, for that matter Brewer is BORING.

[ Parent ]
And another name just for discussion's sake....
What about...

Hansen Clarke?

Pros: Former Legislator and Congressmen (gee, where did I see that before?), strong in the City of Detroit, charismatic with great media presence, links to both Progressives and Unions. Ran an outstanding 2010 campaign.

Cons: Ran a simply horrible 2012 campaign. More an ideologue when the job demands a pragmatist willing to compromise.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

Hansen is an interesting idea, because of his home base (Detroit) and diverse background, as well as a good personality. However, as with Schauer, I can't imagine that our only choices are congressmen who've been voted out of office (I do realize no sitting congressman will step down to take such a spot).

I've heard Freman Hendrix mentioned. I think he's making way too much money to take the spot.

Anyone have thoughts on Byrum (either of them)?  

Hansen burnt every bridge he could have walked across in the primary. I would think people are floating Schauer because he is someone who has been very active in Democratic politics for 20 years and managed to flip some of the toughest districts in the state more so then him being a former congressman that lost in an impossible district in '10. But he is already on the recorded in Gongwer that he would not be running for chair.

[ Parent ]
Had I done a third "What about...?" post, it would been for Freman Hendrix
Pros: Deputy Mayor under Dennis Archer; served under Ed McNamara; should have been elected Mayor in 2005. Unquestioned Detroit ties. Strong manager; excellent fundraiser; proven record of stepping back from private sector to serve (chairman of the "Reform" Detroit School Board; elected to the Detroit Charter Revision Commission).

Cons: Appointed to that "Reform" Board by John Engler(!); lost to Kwame Kilpatrick in '05 and the special primary to replace KK in '08; disliked by some in the City of Detroit for those two reasons (and by those who opposed the revised City Charter). Not really active in the Party these days (AFAIK).

Having typed all that...damn. If his only downsides are a few Detroiters with hurt feelings from elections past and that he was willing to do thankless jobs in public service, sign me up for Team Freman!

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

[ Parent ]
I know Freman pretty well.
And I didn't include him in my list for two reasons.  First, I don't think he'd be interested; he's gotten pretty tired of politics.  Second, he's not the sort of flexible, back-slappy, deal-maker who is needed to run a coalition as disorganized as Michigan's official Democratic Party.

He's a very talented guy, and quite ethical.  Rather stern.  Sometimes inflexible. Not very creative.  No sense of humor.  Shrewd at understanding other people's motives, but not shrewd at figuring out how to get groups to change direction or work together.  A very good choice for some jobs, but maybe not for MDP Chair.

It was one of the most tragic days of my life when Detroit rejected him in favor of Kwame.  That was a moment that things could have gone one way or the other; and the voters' choice was destroy any chance the city had.  Very sad.

[ Parent ]
or how about sense the problem is Organizing
how about someone with a organizing background?

I mean anyone that has been chair or would be float as a chair has organizing experiences. Anyone that has been elected to even the lowest office has organized and people like Schauer or Clark have done it on very high levels. Mark Brewer certainly has many many years of organizing experiences.

[ Parent ]
yes but,..
if the problem with Mark, is that he hasn't lead the party very well in organizing areas, what we are saying is his not a good organizer.

[ Parent ]
To each his own, I would rather have a chairman that is out raising 20 million bucks like Schostak so we can afford to organize then having a chair in the field.

[ Parent ]
good point
having a number of friend that working for the party, money is a issue, and more money does help, hire more people so we can organize better.

[ Parent ]
When was the last time Mark Brewer and the Michigan Democratic Party raised $20 fricking million?  

[ Parent ]
I think that was his point

[ Parent ]
I too would like to have some millionaire "Schostak" raising $20 million from fellow millionaires and billionaires, but that's not going to happen with the MDP.  So, I'd rather have an "organizer" as chair...

[ Parent ]
which why i bought it up.
am not sure which i would rather have if it was either or, but if we could get both that would be good

[ Parent ]
It would be short sided to assume the MDP does not have millionare or billonarie friends or that it has never raised 20 million. You should maybe go through the reports to learn more.

State party chairs are not field directors and hiring one is not how you fix problems in organizing.

[ Parent ]
you need to have money to hire people to organize, and you have to have enough people to organize as much as we need to, the list is pretty long on what we need to do.

" lack of grassroots focus, wasting money on projects with little ROI, an almost nonexistant farm team for future elections, limited grassroots fundraising, and so forth."

and i know there are people current working at the MDP know these are the problems and that we need more people, but the money has to be available to hired said poeple

[ Parent ]
for example
to build a farm teams, we need to work with the local party, with a good chunk of which have wither, to the point of not working at all. which needs to be worked on first, problem is you can meet with all the local party in a single month, easily sense almost all of them like to meet on the same week either first or last of each month and for some reason on Wednesday or Thursday even with, them have a Political Organizer Director and at least 2-4 Organizers, for the whole state, it extreme hard to do what needs to be done with so few people

[ Parent ]
Hasn't some new talent emerged
from Organizing for America (now Organizing for Action) over the last four years?

What about the Progressive movement? MoveOn, Working America, etc.  

New voices in the Labor Movement?  SEIU, nurses, Wakeup Walmart, etc.

I have to believe from what I've seen, that Brewer suppresses any perceived threats from potential challengers. That and his backers, the financial backers of the party, were not interested in replacing him.

[ Parent ]
i have to question this
if this is really the case then why form the JLC?

[ Parent ]
What's the back story to this? The man who was described as achieving more job security every time he failed, is now suddenly on the third-rail?

UAW, Teamsters, Sandy Levin, Mark Bernstein and McCormack lining up against Brewer? After years of indifference why does Levin suddenly care to replace Brewer? And the rest?

Well, got to agree with ScottyUrb: grassroots organizing sucks, no return on expensive investments, no farm team and no grassroots fundraising.


Do you realize
that, on the masthead of the MDP website, 3 of the 8 pictured officeholders are over the age of 80?  And a fourth, Carl Levin, is 78 1/2?

This party has hardening of the arteries.  If we don't give it the needed angioplasty, who will?

[ Parent ]

[ Parent ]
Which is one reason why Dennis Archer (just turned 71) would be less-than-optimal
Sad, but true.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

[ Parent ]
What a stupid way to roll this out.  If you really believe so much about replacing the guy, you'd have been forming a coup months ago, instead of putting out some RFP pleading for help the month before the convention.  These aren't serious people.  This is not how you recitfy preceived issues.


Very well said

[ Parent ]

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