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.




6 Replies to “Why Michigan Is Not the Next Wisconsin”

  1. If you change Michigan to Pennsylvania and Snyder to Corbett, you just described PA perfectly as well. Our nasty Governor seems rational and smart in comparison to Scott Walker, and says he's not anti-union, even as his minions forward bill after bill after bill that will eviscerate labor even further. 

  2. You completely ignore that due to mid-terms in 2010, MI not only elected a GOP governor/lt.gov, but both GOP majorities in house and senate, atty. gen'l, sec. of state and GOP controlled courts.  Show me a bill that has been passed by house and senate that Snyder hasn't signed. He ran a vague campaign about his agenda and due to weak Dem. candidate in Bernero, fooled moderate GOP and many Dems. to cross over and vote for him based on his business background. Gov. Snyder keeps the ALEC model on his desk.  Don't be lulled into some sense of complacency by his "one tough nerd" personna. This legislature has rammed through a record number of  right wing bills to demonize public employees, defund their unions and change evaluation, unemployment & disability standards. They have raised caps on the number of charter & cyber schools allowable that do not operate with same mandates required of public ed. The state has cut funding substantially from K-12 and higher ed. budgets to public universities including research budgets and raised taxes on the poor and seniors to fund cuts to business taxes. Personal property tax is being eliminated with not all the revenue being replaced by other resources. They have also cut  revenue sharing to cities who were already operating under duress. These cuts put them at risk to trigger consideration of being taken over after old EM law was revamped and triggers were expanded. This legislature who claims to want less regulation and  be "less government intrusive", just today in the house health policy committee, rammed through a 60 page omnibus anti-abortion package of legislation that is considered to be one of the most extreme in the country. The full house, controlled by GOP majority, will vote early next week to allow passage and send to the senate. The Emergency Manager law circumvents democracy and provides for taxation without representation to citizens of communities where their elected officials are rendered powerless. There has been no effort to reinvest in the cities which have been deprived of their manufacturing tax base and citizen flight has reduced property tax revenues. Emergency mangers have the authority to sell off all assets, bust union contracts and privatize services. In one recent takeover of a school district, the EM has decided to turn entire district from public to charter schools.  MI has more "for profit" charter schools than any state in the country. Privatization is the goal. Walker might suggest he is not for right to work, but his "divide and conquer" video doesn't square with his words.  Right to work (for less) in WI & MI will be sold as allowing these states  to be competitive with IN and other southern right to work states. Given Snyder's record of signing versus vetoing bills crossing his desk, this legislatures' radical right wing agenda and "a bridge" that Snyder would like to build to Canada but doesn't yet have the GOP support he needs, suggests it would be fool-hardy to count out right to work in MI. There are many more right wing bills under consideration. Progressives can only watch and despair as they are introduced and signed into law while the GOP have the majorities to make them a reality.  To your point of the consent agreement, it begs the question, did state gov. decide that by going with CA vs. EM they might not draw an investigation by the Department of Justice for civil rights violations?  Given the cities already under EM control, adding Detroit & Inkster would have meant that African American population without elected representation would have exceeded 50%.

  3. Jason I live in Michigan and agree with this article 100%. Snyder is not crazy and I respect him for that plus he knows PBO will win this state again which can only help him, Snyder, succeed in Michigan.

  4. Snyder is following the global economy playbook, which disempowers self-governance (see his financial managers appointments) so that public sector workers are cut, leaving the field to international corporations and financiers to get their mitts on our stuff.
    Snyder, however, can't be as outright anti-union as Walker, because of three letters that mean a lot in MI: U A W.

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