He’s been an elected official for more than a dozen years, serving in leadership roles for most of that time. Armed with a master’s degree in public administration from
But it’s Schauer’s past life heading one of the admirable Community Action Agencies - whose innovative anti-poverty programs keep many cities afloat - that offers the most promise.
When I interviewed the affable Democrat extensively last June, I was hoping to finally peel away his cloying exclamations (“Hiiii, Susan! So glad a reporter from my hometown paper can be here!”) and get back to that guy who just wanted to make
Unfortunately, there’s not much there there. Despite his fervent insistence, he hasn’t been an integral player in any of the major budget and tax negotiations.
He can talk about the issues but stumbles when he actually has to relate to other human beings, which is why he’s openly despised by many in his caucus. It’s his way or the highway. Especially when you’re in the minority, that’s a one-way ticket to irrelevance.
Schauer struggled to discuss Doris Kearns Goodwin’s glorious
Mark couldn’t name a policy position differing from Jennifer Granholm (“We have a special relationship,” he boasts, quite often). Of course, whenever they’re together, Gov. Photo-op always seems to look through him, a silent reminder that he’s not really part of her
The one bright spot was when Schauer talked early childhood education, something he’s clearly passionate about and has researched extensively.
Then came his flat denial that he was never, ever gonna run for the 7th District Congressional seat. Not even if U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg voided on the Battle Creek City Hall steps (which metaphorically, he has).
About a month later, Schauer changed his tune, gravely informing me that he was the only man up for the job. Even asking the obvious query (“How long was this plan cooking?”) brought howls from St. Mark and his minions. How dareth you question the motives of the only man who can bring down the evil that is Walberg?
Methinks the senator doth protest too much.
Mark didn’t want to talk issues; it was all strategy - how superior he was to the other Dems he’d recruited to run. The fact that he’d stab his longtime friend former state Sen. Jim Berryman in the back was both distasteful and disheartening. A stand-up guy if I’ve ever met one, Berryman handled his knifing with aplomb and never badmouthed Schauer once.
The newly declared frontrunner promptly proceeded to lock himself in a room to raise money for four or five hours a day, which began to take its toll on his once-mostly brown hairline.
Fundraising is another slippery area for Schauer, who’s being investigated for his connection to $440,000 in allegedly illegal contributions to the Senate Democratic Fund in 2006 during his quixotic quest to take back the upper chamber. Mark denies this (his staffers call it a “witch-hunt”) but I guarantee that if this was on the up and up, Republicans would have done it years ago.
You’d think this might raise an eyebrow with Democrats, who would want the strongest candidate, as well as one with a solid moral compass. But some are starry-eyed college kids terrified of Walberg’s reactionary politics who idealize Schauer as their savior.
Others from the loony left blogosphere pen junior-high paeans to him (“Mark! Mark! He’s our man!”) that he no doubt sniggers at while gladly cashing their ActBlue checks. Of course, folks who cheer Tony Snow’s death and spit on John McCain’s years of torture have no problem with Schauer’s scruples, as they lack any themselves.
But when Democrats fail to demand accountability and high standards from their leaders, instead gleefully and conveniently eviscerating the GOP for all of society’s ills, you get Michigan Democratic Party head Mark Brewer. He’s free to launch a stealth “constitutional reform” petition drive, which is just a blatant power grab for the party.
And you get opportunists like Mark Schauer.
But vote for him anyway. Not because he’ll make a difference on climate change, trade agreements or health care reform. The Dems will be in control whether he wins or loses and he’ll have no power whatsoever.
The one thing Schauer has going for him is he does give a damn about the district. Not as much as he does about his own ego, but certainly more than Walberg, whose very marrow has been purchased by far-right lobbyists.
If there’s a wave of plant closures, Mark won’t tell folks in foreclosure the free market works. He’ll at least know who to call for help.
I'd like to think that old CAA director is lurking somewhere in Schauer’s soul. To be honest, I think he’d do more for