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Hans Zeiger
May 1, 2006

The most important Congressional primary election this year takes place in Michigan’s Seventh District. There a liberal represents one of the most conservative regions in the country. The liberal Congressman calls himself a Republican, in a place where words still mean something. His name is Joe Schwarz.

The first time I saw Joe Schwarz was in a six-way Congressional debate at Hillsdale College. Republicans in the district made the mistake in 2004 of tolerating five generally qualified conservatives to run up against Mr. Schwarz and each other in the primary election. At the debate, Schwarz defended his pro-abortion position and his endorsement of universal health care. Those positions don’t resonate with the people of Michigan’s Seventh District. So the five conservatives pulled in 72 percent among themselves, handing victory to Mr. Schwarz with only 28 percent.

Needless to say, Joe Schwarz has been a disappointment.

The National Taxpayers Union recently assigned Mr. Schwarz one of the lowest ratings of any Republican in Congress. The median score for members of Congress is 48 percent. Schwarz earns a 47 percent or C- for his record on taxes and spending. According to the NTU, Schwarz’s rating “represents a minimally acceptable voting record on controlling taxes and spending.”

After Hurricane Katrina, Schwarz spoke of undoing the Bush tax cuts to finance the hurricane cleanup. He supported the $223 million “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska, part of the gargantuan Highway Bill. He voted to fund the terribly unnecessary Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the equally unnecessary National Endowment for the Arts. He even voted to federally finance the purchase of impotency drugs. Cutting spending does not seem an option to Mr. Schwarz. A little 1 percent spending cut proposal was met with his big no vote.

Schwarz’s record on private property issues is horrendous. After the Supreme Court’s Kelo decision that expanded eminent domain powers, Schwarz opposed a bill to protect private property rights. While the size and power of government has grown, individual ownership has become increasingly insecure. Joe Schwarz is actively helping to perpetuate that insecurity.

Gun Owners of America gives Schwarz a puny 50 percent rating (even though Schwarz represents a major hunting and outdoors constituency). Schwarz pulls in a mere 60 percent rating from Eagle Forum, and a 62 percent rating from Family Research Council. Schwarz is one of the few Republicans who stands against a federal Marriage Amendment. He voted in favor of John Conyers’ bill that would deliver special punishments for so-called hate crimes.

Enough about Schwarz. He will likely be one of the few Congressional incumbents defeated in a primary election this year. He simply doesn’t represent his district.

Schwarz’s primary opponent is Tim Walberg. Walberg served for sixteen years in the Michigan House of Representatives, where he never voted to raise taxes and battled against existing taxes and spending. Even when other Republicans favored sin taxes, Walberg kept his principles. He devoted himself to the Michigan State Constitution and knew it through. He voted without exception to protect human life, and the National Rifle Association gave him it’s A+ rating. Walberg has been a pastor and community activist, and he understands the values and priorities of Michigan’s Seventh District.

Club for Growth, Michigan Right to Life, and Citizens for Traditional Values have endorsed Walberg. Supporters see in him a rare combination of principle, character, and constitutionalism that is desperately needed in Congress.

Walberg ran for Congress in 2004, the year Joe Schwarz won. In the same debate I mentioned earlier, Walberg was asked whether he might be too conservative. He replied that if being conservative means being pro-life, supporting the traditional family, and fighting for smaller government and lower taxes, why, he was guilty as charged.

So we need Tim Walberg in Congress. In the most important of Congressional primaries this year, Tim Walberg needs national support. Joe Schwarz needs to be expelled from Congress. Visit

Hans Zeiger is author of Get Off My Honor: The Assault on the Boy Scouts of America and the forthcoming Reagan’s Children: Taking Back the City on the Hill.
He attends Hillsdale College.

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