Editorial

Governor is powerless; legislators all hail the caucus

April 5, 2013
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Last week New York’s most colorful politician suggested that true grassroots democracy will be achieved only after both the Republican and Democratic parties cease to exist. True, Harvard graduate Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been elected as a Democrat, a Republican and an Independent, but once again the seed of his reason touches a deep chord that is provocative for its solution to an obvious problem and at the same time dismissed as impossible.

But the conversation continues, around the country and in Michigan. While voters rail against the absolute refusal (in Michigan) of Republican legislators to act with reason, even Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is ignored and, evidently, completely powerless.

The crisis of Michigan road conditions and Snyder’s rational list of funding options are left in a first-quarter scrap pile. The Republican-led Senate simply shrugged that there was no caucus support for the governor’s plan.

Caucus support? Caucus support is more important than representing the interests of voters and business leaders who have repeatedly listed it as the No. 1 issue? The caucus wins — not Michigan business owners and residents. The matter is left in a House transportation subcommittee that adopted a transportation budget with no new funding.

While these same demagogue-behaving GOP politicians give lip service to fiscal restraint and the importance of balanced budgets, they stand united to bring a whopping $40-million net loss in funding provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act health care exchange heaped on Michigan taxpayers. Snyder’s attempts to create the exchange under penalty of federal law were incredibly dissed and dismissed, now forcing the state into a penalty system. No one can call this reasonable.

If this runaway gang of irresponsibility and irrational behavior completely disrespects the leader of the Michigan GOP, they certainly have no respect for the judicial branch either.

With just the right amount of provocation, Ingham County Judge William Collette made note last week in proceedings regarding the lawsuit challenging Michigan’s new Right to Work law. The Associated Press and Detroit Free Press quoted Collette taking a swipe as arguments began, saying he was amazed legislators would create laws “to avoid me.”

Collette denied the state’s request to dismiss the lawsuit, which claims the Legislature violated the Open Meetings Act when taking up the matter during a lame-duck session, during which the Capitol doors were closed to the public.

The point here is lame legislators created this action and jeopardized the very Act they so fervently supported.

Even in West Michigan where “traditional values” and the integrity of businesses are highly regarded, one among us was corrupted by the “caucus”: State Rep. Roy Schmidt, the Democrat turned Republican in a dirty scheme lost his seat last fall when the real constituents fought back. House Speaker Jase Bolger’s caucus appears intact.

Perhaps Michael Bloomberg is on to something.

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