Republican senatorial candidate Mike Bouchard visits IAGD as part of his campaign
Troy–September 9–Ordinarily a Republican political candidate wouldnâ€™t stand a chance in a meeting at a mosque in the post-911 atmosphere of war and terror, but Mike Bouchard is an exception to that rule.
Mr. Bouchard visited IAGD during its fundraiser meeting on Saturday night, and waited patiently while mosque officials and imams spoke for several hours on the virtues of the coming month of Ramadan, and during our observation of the maghrib prayer.He brought his two sons to the event; they showed good manners and listened attentively and patiently.
Bouchard was introduced as a friend of minorities and especially of Muslims, the sheriff who helped protect the mosque immediately after 9-11 by providing round-the-clock police protection, a man of Lebanese ancestry who understands through his own direct experience what it is like to be unfairly maligned by rabid Republican scare-mongers.
His speech opened the hearts of those in attendance. He mentioned several times his Lebanese ancestry, being derived from a grandfather who came to America from Lebanon with â€œliterally nothingâ€ and went on to establish a successful business and to generate substantial wealth which he then passed on to his descendants.
Mr. Bouchard emphasized his own background as an entrepreneur as well, and emphasized the need for government to stay out of the way of business in order for business to succeed, saying that most jobs (seven out of eight) are created by small businesses.
He emphasized the dire situation of the Michigan economy, saying that Michigan has continually lost jobs every year for the last three years, unlike the other states of the US. This was not a direct attack on Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm, (who had attended the same mosque only weeks earlier), but a still clear, if indirect, implication that her policies have failed to help Michigan recover.
The main focus of his will was Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who he said has received very bad reviews from all business-oriented groups for her performance, including especially the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), which he said rates Stabenow an â€œFâ€–in fact the NFIB gives her a 14% rating according to her votes in relation to business issues. Mr. Bouchard did not mention that union advocacy organizations give her a very good rating (AFL-CIO gives her an 85% rating).
He went further in discussing Stabenow, saying she has never, during her time in office, brought a bill from conception to ratification in Congress–he said from this that according to the rules of business it must be time to let her go, from non-performance.
Bouchard said that Stabenow has been rated as 95th worst out of 99 on a rating of the effectiveness of American senators–a dismal achievement given that some of the senators below her had barely even deigned to vote.
He emphasized the overly-litigious nature of America today, citing this as an issue that should be addressed in order to protect small business.
He emphasized his proven abilities as an administrator, saying that he had dramatically improved the facilities of the Oakland County Sheriffâ€™s Department without asking for additional money from constituents, and said this kind of experience would be useful in Washington.
He emphasized his having championed the sex-offender registry, tax cuts, and said he had completely rebuilt the sheriffâ€™s department, establishing the largest K-9 unit among all police forces (with 14 dogs), 30 motorcycles, and 2 helicopters and 4 pilots–all this without asking for more money.
He futher emphasized his contributions after Hurricane Katrina, saying that he refused to wait for government clearance before going down to New Orleans in the wake of the tragedy there (which clearance came only days after the event), but went himself immediately after to support the rescue and recovery effort.
He emphasized his fairness also, saying that while the focus of the sheriffâ€™s department had been finding wrong-doers in the community, he had not stayed his hand from prosecuting his own employees when they strayed from the law.
He deflected questions based on the IAGD communityâ€™s reluctance to accept a Republican candidate in the wake of civil rights abuses by the standing Washington Republican regime of sometimes extreme legislative and executive branches (saying for instance in response to questions about the USA PATRIOT act that he understands what it is like to be attacked on an unfair basis but not addressing the core issues of the act). He also failed directly to condemn the new practice of using secret evidence at the federal level for terrorism-related cases (he said at his level he has never used secret evidence but did not give an opinion on federal secret evidence).
Notwithstanding this, Mr. Bouchard has compiled an impressive record of standing up for oppressed people and against oppressors; he also has an aura of trustworthiness, effectiveness, and past accomplishments in supporting business development–not to mention his willingness to shelter mosques from abuse and to address Muslims and ask for their support–these qualities will likely garner him substantial Muslim support in the coming election.
IAGD is clearly the most active mosque in the region in bringing out the political candidates to address an important, large, and wealthy Michigan constituency–so far two of the four most important candidates have spoken there, Jennifer Granholm and Mike Bouchard; IAGD also hopes to bring Debbie Stabenow and Dick Devos.