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Why Michigan Is Not the Next Wisconsin
No. It's not.
In short, Michigan's Gov. Rick Snyder is not Wisconsin's Gov. Scott Walker. Both of them are repulsive in their own right, and each of their states would be considerably better off with them gone, but despite the perceived similarities with the uprising of the unions against them and the Republican agendas of both men, there are some significant differences.
First of all, Gov. Snyder has always been smart enough to keep his distance from the Tea Party crowd, even if some of his policies (the passage of the emergency manager legislation) are just as rightwing oppressive as anything the Tea Party could have ever thought up. But the difference is that Snyder, who for example has said that he opposes turning Michigan into a right-to-work state, has always taken care to present himself as more reasonable than combative. He made sure to point out that, unlike Gov. Walker in Wisconsin, he doesn't have any interest in eliminating collective bargaining.
There are no hidden videos (at least none that we've seen yet) of Snyder whispering to someone when he thinks he's off-camera about how he plans to demolish the unions or turn back the clock on all progress. Snyder simply presents himself as someone who sees a problem that is causing distress in his state and needs fixing for everyone's benefit. So, for example, when it was determined that the City of Benton Harbor wasn't able to get its financial house in good enough order to meet the good Guvnah's satisfaction, naturally it was the 'reasonable' thing to do to circumvent democracy, ignore the will of the voters, and impose massa's will on a dysfunctional municupality that obviously could never function properly without the benefit of massa boss's benificent and loving oversight. Same thing in Pontiac. And in the Detroit Public Schools. Incidentally, Detroit itself is currently operating under a consent agreement which isn't a whole lot better and is being challenged by Detroit's lead attorney Krystal Crittendon who serves as the city's Corporation Counsel.
From the Detroit News, June 4, 2012:
Crittendon's May 11 legal opinion declaring the consent agreement illegal convinced the City Council to delay action on the deal, including its two appointments to a new Financial Advisory Board.
Crittendon filed a formal complaint Friday in Ingham County Circuit Court after she was unable to sway state officials during unofficial talks last week. She maintains the deal is void because the state owes Detroit money, and state law doesn't allow intergovernmental agreements if unpaid debt is involved.
But getting back to how Wisconsin compares to Michigan. Although it is visibly true that the union movement here feels more energized based not only on what happened in Wisconsin but due to the resurgence of the automotive industry and what that did for improving Michigan's dismal jobs picture, the likelihood of Gov. Snyder being recalled is, in my estimation, somewhere between slim and none. And whatever slim chance there was of a Snyder recall just vanished like an ice cube in a bonfire after the failure of the Wisconsin recall election to remove Walker. And because Snyder has not shown himself to be blindly willing to dance to the Tea Party tune, he is also demonstrating that he doesn't really need them to stay in office or to get his agenda implemented. He also recognizes that (at least according to the Huffington Post electoral map) both Wisconsin and Michigan are seen as leaning toward Obama. Snyder realizes his best shot at staying in control is to walk that line.
In short? Snyder has proven himself just smart enough to avoid any successful attempt at a recall. Matter of fact, I wouldn't be surprised if we wind up stuck with him for a second term.