Between now and the 2012 elections, Republicans must do two things and do them well, according to talk at the Wayne 11th Congressional District Republican Committee's annual Lincoln/Reagan Dinner on Monday evening.
Real estate agent and Michigan Republican Party Chairman Robert "Bobby" Schostak said adequate — "and then some" — money would be raised for political war chests.
But Wayne 11th Republicans need to be ready to work hard to develop "an army of volunteers" willing to recruit committed voters to unseat U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), he said.
Schostak also thanked Tea Party activists during his speech."God bless you for all you did," he said, to wild applause from the crowd. "You were the wake-up call."
The crowd of nearly 350 Republicans who gathered Monday at Laurel Manor in Livonia — one of the biggest turnouts for the annual dinner in recent memory, according to several present — responded enthusiastically and listened attentively to featured speaker Nolan Finley, editor of the Detroit News editorial page, and keynote speaker John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Finley and Bolton each praised President Barack Obama for approving the mission that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. They also both said the roots of success lay in the foundation created by President George W. Bush's administration. Bolton said the death of bin Laden vindicated "enhanced interrogation" methods, which included waterboarding.
Bolton covered a host of national issues, not the least of which being U.S. debt. Bolton said defense and intelligence spending should take priority over welfare spending, adding that he'd never seen a dollar spent well on education. He said defense spending was important because "when it comes to the U.S., I don't want to be in a fair fight."
He suggested that the president's approach to foreign policy is isolationist and that Obama does not place a priority on national security.
Finley told the crowd there was a time when he, as a journalist, scoffed at the phrase "liberal media," but not anymore. He cited mainstream media coverage of Tea Party rallies as well as the now-infamous Katie Couric interview with Sarah Palin, which Finley equated to a civics test.
The crowd included state Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton), who led the predinner prayer; state Rep. Kurt Heise (R-Plymouth), who introduced Schostak; and Wayne County Commissioner Laura Cox, who attended with her husband, former state Attorney General Mike Cox.
Joe Xuereb, Northville Township resident, laywer and Wayne 11th District committee chairman, was master of ceremonies for the event.
Wayne 11th's Volunteer of the Year award, renamed for the late Don Kolhoff, was presented to Cristal Smith.