September 29, 2006


Michigan woes fuel GOP election hopes (Charles Hurt, 9/29/06, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

[Oakland County Sheriff Michael] Bouchard often tells voters on the campaign trail that Mrs. Stabenow is a "nice" lady but that they're not running in a nice-lady contest. He then rattles off reasons why he thinks she should be replaced.

He tells people that Mrs. Stabenow voted to grant Social Security benefits to illegal aliens, is one of the biggest pork-barrel spenders in Washington and has authored only one successful bill in Congress: a law to rename a federal building in Detroit.

Last month, Mr. Bouchard toured the state in a moving van to highlight the exodus of Michigan residents leaving the state in search of jobs. The flight is so bad, Mr. Bouchard said in an interview with The Washington Times, that when his neighbors put their house on the market, they had to wait more than a week before a "for sale" sign was available.

On his tour, he promised to curb federal spending, reduce "regulatory burdens" on small businesses and make tax cuts permanent.

Mrs. Stabenow, he says, has spent six years in Washington with little to show for it. She has authored 68 bills, according to records kept by the Library of Congress, and only one has been approved by the Senate. The bill, S.1285, renamed a building in Detroit the "Rosa Parks Federal Building" in honor of the civil rights activist. [...]

Despite her successes, even Mrs. Stabenow's staunchest supporters are somewhat at a loss to name her accomplishments as a U.S. senator.

A survey by The Washington Times of delegates who attended the state Democratic convention in Detroit in August found no one who could list any specific successes.

Larry Lewis of Detroit said, "She's done an outstanding job."

Asked to name any accomplishments, Mr. Lewis replied: "I don't have her record in front of me. I couldn't go over it verbatim."

Thelma Murrell of Southgate said: "Off the top of my head, I can't name them. But she does a great deal of things for us. It's not just caring; she really does help."

Carol Poenisch of Northville couldn't name any legislative victories for Mrs. Stabenow, but applauded her efforts to stop Canadian trucks from hauling tons of garbage across the border and dumping it in U.S. landfills. It's an issue that has dogged Michigan politicians for years.

Just last month, Mrs. Stabenow issued a press release boasting that she and other Democrats in the state had reached a deal with Canadian officials "to stop shipments of municipal solid waste to Michigan over the next four years."

But Canada's environment ministry officials weren't losing much sleep over the deal they cut with Mrs. Stabenow. They told local reporters that it does nothing to curb industrial and commercial waste, which makes up more than half of the 4 million metric tons of Canadian trash hauled into Michigan each year.

Moreover, they said the relatively generous deal was prompted by fears that bipartisan legislation moving through Congress would end all trash shipments by year's end.

"Our garbage trucks could have been turned back from the border as early as January 2007," Ontario's environment ministry spokeswoman, Kate Jordan, told the Detroit News. "We needed to find a solution to avert that."

Indeed, that legislation was approved by the House a few days later. But it's not likely to go anywhere soon because the Senate version of the bill — introduced by Mrs. Stabenow — has languished for more than a year in the chamber's Environmental and Public Works Committee.

And, as part of her deal with Canadian officials, Mrs. Stabenow agreed to drop any efforts to get tougher legislation through Congress for the next four years.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 29, 2006 8:34 AM

Shouldn't we be the one dumping trash to the great white uninhabited north? What the hell is their trash doing here? That is why most Americans found their politicians despicable.

Posted by: ic at September 29, 2006 2:04 PM


I'll bet if you looked into it, you would find some lucrative contracts for townships willing to take the stuff. And union workers who get paid to haul it (and to maintain the landfills). Plus, there are probably obligations via reciprocity agreements with Canada (through NAFTA or something like it).

Posted by: ratbert at September 29, 2006 4:34 PM