Representing, then and now

Anthony R. Travis points to positions taken by Steve Pestka, in the May 1 Battle Creek Enquirer, and of course, in 2001.

(Steve) claims that he learned over the last 10 years. He is also representing a more diverse constituency. When he was in the state legislature he largely represented West Side Catholics. I am inclined to take him at his word as the 3rd has been redistricted to become marginally more Democratic and with Pestka vs. the libertarian we have a good chance of winning.

Much depends on who else was around 10+ years ago; there are plenty of women who told Steve he was making a mistake then. The notion of mistake is harder for a college student to make (see Anna Bennett in HuffPo) or even a Trevor R. Thomas, since they were young then and at least in Trevor’s case came out of the very culture that Steve was actually representing.

Time also has changed things — it’s not just redistricting. Even as the GOP has shifted radically rightwards, the general conversation on gays and women’s health has moved away from the older conservative stances. In that sense , Steve’s responses also reflect a general development within Democratic centrists in this last decade.


The Money Race

Nate Reens covers the looming congressional cash battle

(Steve) Pestka, a former Kent County judge and state lawmaker, banked nearly another $130,000 in contributions from others to put him on even footing with incumbent Rep. Justin Amash, R-Cascade Township, according to the records that cover the first quarter of fundraising this year.

Given the national stature of Amash, it would be foolish to think this $200k is anything more than pocket change. A serious threat — and Pestka is clearly approaching the serious threat threshold — will be the motivation. As the proclaimed heir to Ron Paul, Amash can tap some incredibly deep pockets.

That’s why for the D’s it is less a matter of dollars than of organization. Of the two Dems, the Pestka campaign has the present advantage here over that of Trevor Thomas — certainly it has deeper connections into the community.

Down With Tyranny was in full progressive mode the other day, pushing the Trevor Thomas campaign and smacking down Steve Pestka

Trevor is the fighting progressive we need. He comes from a working class family and he has a record of helping to pass major federal legislation, namely the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. . . . Let’s help spread the word and work to stop this faux-Democratic challenge and stand by our party’s platform to help protect women now.

But I have my doubts.

Curiosity gets the better of me: in what way is Trevor fighting, or has fought for West Michigan? By all lights his campaign is pretty green, offering little to date in the way of political engagement with Amash (n.b. his web site offers values not issues). He has clearly put together a nice team, but do they look like, do they connect with the actual district? Let’s just say that for a campaign based on “for us all,” minority representation lags. This is the natural product of young or first-time campaigns. Amash’s first run in 2008 looked a lot like this, too.

But this is not a post-graduate seminar, or the chance to demonstrate one’s progressive creds. Take a look again at the task at hand: two metropolitan regions, a democratic base that is racially diverse, strength in cities and support in suburbs. This will be both a media intensive campaign (including all matter of social media) as well as require a robust, motivated, well-organized ground game. You can not do it with your own cohort. And by all lights, such a campaign will have a final budget well into seven figures.

In short, as any one on the ground knows that this campaign is going to take work.

So again the question, in what way is Trevor actually fighting, actually engaging, actually demonstrating that he has the smarts to win