I Was A Republican
was a strict Republican. When he went into the poll booth I am sure he was one of those guys that just put an X on the party
box at the top of the ballot. I never knew how my mother stood politically because
in our house, if you didn’t agree with Dad it was best to keep silent about such matters. Grandfather Andrews on my
mother’s side was a factory worker, a union member and consequently was a strict Democrat. When Grandpa and Dad got
together the house timbers sometimes rattled when they yelled politics.
up and worked in a strong Republican area in Michigan. I always considered myself an independent voter because I never liked
some of the people the Republicans and Democrats put up as presidential candidates. For example, I loved Kennedy, liked Jimmy
Carter and Gerald Ford and didn’t like Lyndon Johnson. I strongly disliked Nixon, was not happy with Reagan or Clinton
and really disliked George W. Bush. One year I was so angry at the party candidates I voted for George Wallace.
County, where I worked as a bureau reporter, was so strongly Republican that nobody dared to run for office as a Democrat
and expect to win. At least until I was reporting the news. We had a woman that ran as a Democratic Party candidate for County
Commissioner who was extremely bright and was so superior in the way she conducted her campaign, and because I gave her fair
and even coverage in our newspaper, she actually won the office. She turned out to be such a good and hard working commissioner
I believe she won a second term.
the Republicans dominated the political scene in Sanilac County. They held county conventions that were heavily attended and
politically charged. The Democrats held caucuses that drew perhaps 50 or 60 people. I covered them both, but rarely got much
of a story from the Democratic meetings.
hot political year while present at the Republican county convention, there was a call for people to volunteer as delegates
to the looming State Party convention in Cobo Hall, Detroit. Those were the days before delegates were elected for these jobs.
The people showing up at the county conventions just picked the ones they wanted to attend from those present at the gathering.
By that time I was so well known among all of the county elected people, Republicans all, and because I was present at the
convention, they seemed to forget that I was there as a reporter and picked me as an alternate delegate for the state convention.
inclination was to refuse the appointment. But I was tempted to go just to find out what went on behind closed doors at state
conventions. I called my editor the next day to talk it over. He was open-minded about the whole thing. We joked about the
opportunity and he gave me his permission to go, but cautioned me about getting too involved in the politics. As an alternative,
if I was lucky enough, I would get to be no more than a fly on the wall watching things that few news reporters ever get to
it was time, we car-pooled our way to Detroit and shared rooms in some of the high-priced downtown hotels.
was a grand experience. I saw state and national political figures giving rousing speeches, met with delegates from all over
Michigan, listening to them hammer out resolutions declaring issues to be put before the entire body before the end of the
week. Some of the issues involved small, local matters, while others involved such matters as dealing with housing, unemployment,
and all of the other things that political figures use for platforms when seeking public office.
I do not remember now what they were, the Sanilac County delegates had certain issues that they strongly wanted put on the
table. But to get this done, they had to make back-room deals with delegates from other Michigan counties. We agreed to support
their issue if they voted for ours. Sometimes compromise agreements were established in some of those cloak-room meetings.
In the end, nobody got all that they wanted out of the convention, but everybody walked away with something they could take
home with them
the inner workings of that convention gave me a very clear picture of all of the shenanigans that are constantly going on
in state capitals and the U. S. Capital. The larger the level of government gets, the more complex the kind of deal making
that goes on, I suspect. One thing we did not have to deal with at Cobo Hall was lobbyists trying to buy our votes.
final day of the convention, everybody gathered in one large meeting hall where we put the issues up for votes and drafted
the party campaign platform for the next state and federal election. Then we voted to approve the final document. Finally
we listened to a speech by the party’s state chairman and then the governor. I believe it was James Blanchard. How soon
we forget stuff like that.
to my bureau office, wrote a broad personalized story of my experiences in Detroit, and that was that. For a while after that
I actually thought of myself as a Republican. I did until the Republicans did something really lame. As I said I liked Gerald
Ford, a Republican who replaced Nixon, and Jimmy Carter, a Democrat that followed Ford. I think it was Reagan who began converting
me back to being an independent.
Bush I swung to the extreme left and became a Democrat.