THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Thursday, July 29, 1976
Huber: The conservative crusader
By JIM TOBIN
Second in a series of four
"Mos of these peonle who run for office are afraid
to take firm p1osi/ions. They it ant to be on both sides
of an issue. I hare cry stron beliefs. Take a look at
11e Bible; you know, the Lord said, You're either hot
or cold, or you shall be toniteed forth.' That's in the
Bible, and I think u e're ev>pected, if we have any
reli-ions understands ng, to be hot or cold on the
issues." -Robert Jiuber
Robert Huber has spent his entire political life, and
his current campaign for the Republican U.S. Senate
nomination in particular, trying to tell voters just how
strong his stands on the issues really are. In a political
year characterized by politicians who loath being
branded either liberal or conservative, Huber makes no
bones whatsoever about touting himself as a rock-hard
rightist, a ferocious advocate of the free enterprise sys-
tem, American military might, and a return to "alle-
giance under God." Huber, without a doubt, will never
be 'vomited forth.'
At 53, the terse, portly Huber, has been thought to
be past his political peak. After many years in local
and state politics during which he served as mayor of
Troy, an Oakland County Supervisor, and state senator,
Huber won the 18th District's U.S. congressional seat
in 1972 on an anti-busing groundswell. He lost to the
Democratic landslide of 1974, but quickly began test-
ing the waters for a try at the Senate this year.
HUBER CLAIMS to have found a huge conservative
constituency in Michigan through a privately conducted
survey, and he has sought ever since to paint himself
as the candidate who can appeal across party borders
to voters who want an end to government meddling.
His opponents in the August 3 primary are Congress-
man Marvin Esch, former state Supreme Court Chief
Justice Thomas Brennan, and University Regent Deane
Baker. Huber, the most conservative of the four, has
attacked Esch, the leader, as an equivocator and a
member of the "wishy-washy" party hierarchy. But
this year's approach is nothing new; Huber has re-
jected traditional Michigan Republican politics before.
In his first attempt at the Senate nomination in
1970, Huber thumbed his nose at the party hierarchy
and campaigned against the leadership's choice-
Lenore Romney, wife of former Governor George.
Huber missed by only a few thousand votes.
Two years later he walked away entirely to form his
own Conservative Party, but returned to the fold just
in time to run for Congress as a Republican. At the
beginning of the current campaign he proposed to run
on three tickets-Republican, Conservative, and Ameri-
can Independent-in order to broadcast his conser-
vatism and appeal to rightists of any party label. The
Conservative Party failed to get on the ballot and
Huber was threatened with legal action on the two-
ticket plan, so he dropped the scheme. He regrets the
tactic's failure. It might have given him the recogni-
tion he needed to knock "mushy middle" occupants
Esch, Brennan, and Baker out of the race.
HUBER HAS blasted the present party structure
and the state's Republican leaders for bullying con-
servatives out of the party.
"I'm not running with the party leadership," Huber
declares. "The Republican party is not the party lead-
ership. The problem is that parties are not meaning-
ful anymore in terms of philosophies. If we had mean-
ingful parties, I would not be in a party with Bill
Milliken, that's for sure. I'd be in a party with say,
Jim Buckley, and Barry Goldwater, and Ronald
"You only have to become a fence-straddler when
parties are meaningless," he continues.."If your party
says it's an umbrella that embraces all philosophies,
like Milliken says, then you have to be a fence-strad-
dler. When you have this mushy middle that every-
body's crowding into, then you get this problem of
continual compromise and that's disastrous."
THROUGH HUBER'S candidacy runs a strain of
fervent moralism, an intense belief in his cause borne
of his strict religious upbringing and his considerable
success in private business.
"I was brought up in a religious family, I spent a
couple of years in a Jesuit school," he explains. "I've
found in my observations of life that morality is essen-
tial to any decent individual. The whole history of the
United States government is one of recognizing God.
We pledge allegiance under God. That isn't just a
couple of idle words."
See HUBER, Page 10
Elsman: The bark of an underdog
By PHILLIP BOKOVOY
Birmingham lawyer James Elsman is bucking the
odds and the state Democratic establishment in his
bid to get the senatorial nomination in the August pri-
mary. And that is a difficult situation for any poli-
tician to be in.
He has centered his low-budget campaign - $15,000
of his own money - on attacking the branch mana-
ger system which has existed'under opponent Rich-
ard Austin and previous secretaries of state. His at-
tacks on the system have not only earned him badly-
needed free publicity but have forced Austin to end
the practice of accepting (or demanding) - campaign
contributions from the branch managers he appoints.
ELSMAN BEGAN his campaign attacking that sys-
tem and it appears he 'will end it the same way. Mon-
day he filed suit to recover $1 million in campaign
contributions received through the branch manager
system. He wants the money to be put in the state
treasury "where it belongs." (The money came from
the fees paid by Michigan residents for license plates.)
His dogged persistence in pursuing the issue has
earned him a nickname among Austin campaign staf-
fers - "the Birmingham Eccentric" - also the
name of a newspaper in Birmingham.
Elsman calls himself a conservative-"a practical
conservative on the issues" - but at the same time
considers himself sensitive to the social needs of
Americans. He once said the Democratic Party is the
only one that has any sensitivity to people.
HIS CONSERVATIVE side includes some views that
might seem to be more at home in the Republican
ranks. He calls himself "a true free-enterpriser" and
favors tax breaks for businesses so they can hire new
workers to help relieve the unemployment problem.
But at the same time, many of his stands seem to
be time-worn Democratic issues. He believes the gov-
ernment should be the employer of last resort and
favors a continuation of detente with the Soviet Union.
While he has been campaigning primarily on the
branch manager issue, Elsman has also talked about
an interesting economic program to promote jobs in
the private sector - "the Elsman double deduction
THE PLAN WOULD allow employers to take a
double deduction if they hire another employee. This
would amount to the employer deducting the new em-
ploye's salary from his or her income tax. Elsman
says the government would benefit since, instead of
paying an individual unemployment or welfare it
would be collecting taxes. According to his calcula-
tions the government gets the same amount of money,
the person gets a job, and the employer doesn't have
the burden of paying an additional employee.
Elsman considers this the main way to relieve
the unemployment problem, but if private employers
cannot be found for everybody who can work the
government should be the employer of last resort.
Not only does everyone have a right to work, main-
tains Elsman, they have an obligation to work. "I
would not pay unemployment comp(ensation) to any-
one who refused to take a job reasonably related to
their skills," he explained.
HE HAS BEEN a strong supporter of the Equal
Rights Amendment (ERA) and feels that every work-
ing mother has the right to day care for her chil-
dren. But he opposes the federal government being
involved "in the raising of the family".
This separation of the federal government from
the lives of its citizens has been the other major issue
Elsman has campaigned on. He wants to operate the
government the way a business would be operated
because (he said) this would make a more efficient
use of taxpayers' money.
Another of the things he calls for is a requirement
that the federal government balance its budget every
year. This would come about through an across-the-
board ten per cent cut in appropriations for every
department of the government. This includes the De-
THE PROPOSED B-1 bomber is one of the prime
examples of wasteful government spending, says Els-
man. It is a colossal waste of money - he estimates
$100 billion over the lifetime of the program. This
money, he feels, could be better used in other areas
Elsman attended the University law school and
his specialization is international law. He feels this
would be valuable experience for him if he were
elected to the Senate. He says, "There's one road that
says detente and another that says third world war."
This is one of the crucial issues facing the U. S. at
this point, he claims, and his experience would lend
valuable guidance to our foreign policy.
One interesting Elsman suggestion was that the
U. S. grant to Israel "mutual defense treaty status" of
the type it granted South Viet Nam. When asked if this
would lead the U. S. into another type of Viet Nam
experience he said -it would not because we would
be supporting government that was not corrupt.
Elsman opposes abortion because, he says, "I see
sanctity in human life. Someone has to speak for the
embryo." He also favors a constitutional amendment
to prohibit aoortion on demand.
He opposes the death penalty for the same reasons
as he opposes abortion, and favors a moratorium on
the construction of nuclear power plants.