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Mike Bouchard Courts Tea Party Votes


David1946
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This guy has no place in any office of authority. He's an egomaniac and would arrest his own mother and grandmother if it furthered his political career.

This article was published before the last primary that he lost. Thanks RevThad for pointing out I had omitted the date when I posted this story. I wanted people to know more about his motives and actions.

David1946 8:17PM

http://www.freep.com/article/20100618/NEWS15/6180312/1001/news

 

 

Mike Bouchard was a solid conservative as a state senator in the 1990s.

 

Still, Democrats praised his ability to compromise.

 

As sheriff of Oakland County, he has cut millions of dollars from his budget in the last three years, leading to disagreements with some of his unionized employees.

 

Still, they say, he has their respect.

 

Since joining the race for governor a year ago, he has advocated creating a part-time Legislature and bringing salaries and benefits of state employees in line with those of the private sector. He wants to privatize many state services to save money.

 

Those principles remain mainstays of his campaign speeches.

 

But there have been new wrinkles to his message as he has courted Tea Party activists: He wants an Arizona-style crackdown on illegal immigration and says he opposed federal rescues of General Motors and Chrysler.

 

"I think the Tea Party is your neighbor," he said.

 

 

Ask Bouchard what job he loves the most, and he answers quickly: "The one I have right now."

 

Law enforcement has been a touchstone of his professional life, from his days as a rookie cop with the Beverly Hills Police Department to his years in the 1990s as a state legislator focused on public-safety issues to his current job: Oakland County sheriff.

 

But for the second time in four years, Bouchard, 54, wants to try something else. He lost a U.S. Senate race in 2006, and this year is running for governor, believing he can help right Michigan's economy.

 

"I'm like many Michigan citizens who feel that somebody needs to step up and fix this with a sense of urgency," he said. "I know state policy and budgeting and the process, and it's broken."

 

Searching for his niche

Along with the urgency, Bouchard has personal charm, a blueprint on how to cut the state budget by millions of dollars and serious money for the race, according to campaign finance reports filed in January.

 

Still, in virtually every poll, Bouchard ranks third or fourth -- though still within striking distance -- among the five Republicans in the race.

 

"He's got to find a niche to break into this race," said Lansing political consultant Tom Shields.

 

Joe Schwarz, a colleague and fellow Republican when Bouchard served in the state Senate, said the Oakland County sheriff was well-liked by Republicans and Democrats. Schwarz is now an Independent.

 

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, another Republican, said Bouchard gets his support because he cut millions from his sheriff's budget without complaint.

 

"He has been a team player. I gave him a hell of a hit on his budget, and he didn't cry, he didn't squeal," Patterson said.

 

County Commissioner David Coulter, D-Ferndale, said he had to applaud the sheriff for the tough choices he made to cut his budget. Since 2008, the department has gone from 1,136 employees to 1,048 without layoffs, and the budget has been cut more than $13 million.

 

"He's very personable and more of a hands-on type sheriff," said Deputy Arnie Terrell, vice president of the county's Deputy Sheriff's Association. "He loves to hop on a Harley and ride with the guys."

 

Harsh words about Bouchard did come from Wolfgang Mueller, a Berkley attorney who represented a deputy fired from the department. The federal civil trial in March painted a picture of an out-of-control department, sprinkled with drunken deputies, scofflaws and sexual deviants.

 

"What I saw was atrocious. It would appear from the outside that it is a good old boys network," Mueller said.

 

Bouchard noted that the deputy lost her case, and in a department of more than 1,000 employees, the 1% who act inappropriately get all the attention.

 

"I'd fire them all, but the courts bring them back over our objections," he said.

 

Appealing to the Tea Party

Bouchard's strategy to win the Republican primary might make some longtime friends uncomfortable with its unapologetic appeal to the Tea Party movement.

 

He even joined a group of Tea Party supporters protesting the government's rescue of General Motors and Chrysler -- the only candidate for governor to show up for the event.

 

"I'm not a big believer of the government taking over business," he said. "I still don't like the way the bailout was structured. And whether it was successful remains to be seen."

 

Bouchard also wants Michigan to adopt a law similar to one passed this year in Arizona that is considered the nation's toughest on illegal immigration, giving law enforcement officials new authority to stop and demand papers from suspected illegal immigrants.

 

"We have 150,000 illegal immigrants in Michigan and more and more people on terror watch lists coming across the border," he said during a recent town hall gathering in Brooklyn, near Jackson. He listed three crimes committed by illegal immigrants since 1999. "We can pull you over on the street for just about anything and arrest you, unless you're an illegal," he said.

 

He rails against the federal health care reform bill and promises to fight federal mandates. He doesn't believe in mandatory seat-belt laws or the recently enacted state ban on smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars.

 

"They've stepped on our basic freedoms," he told the small crowd in Brooklyn. "It's a real dumbing down of society."

 

He revels in those thorny views, saying it shows he won't kowtow to anyone.

 

"In the end, I walk the line of what I think is the right thing to do," he said.

 

Looking for an edge

And yet, Bouchard couldn't convince the group that he was their best choice.

 

"Give me a solid proposal that someone from the Tea Party would say, 'That's my guy,' " asked one audience member who declined to give his name.

 

Bouchard listed plans, but the man still hadn't made up his mind by the end of the forum.

 

Neither had Bob Elrod, Columbia Township supervisor.

 

"He's a task-oriented person who doesn't seem to be afraid of tackling the really tough issues," Elrod said. "I liked what I heard tonight, but I haven't made up my mind yet."

 

Shields, the political consultant, said Republicans move far to the right during the primary season.

 

"There's a contingent out there that is going to vote in a Republican primary for whoever is the most conservative person," he said. "And he's looking to get an edge with that voter."

 

So Bouchard keeps plugging away. Expect, he says, a flood of TV advertising as the primary approaches.

 

He predicts this headline on Aug. 4: "Bouchard wins in a close one."

Edited by David1946
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