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The Real Motive of Michigan Republicans’ Right-to-Work Push is ‘Pure Greed’

Last updated on February 8th, 2013 at 12:31 pm

MI labor protest CARLOS OSORIO/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Greed: The inordinate desire to possess wealth, goods, or objects of abstract value with the intention to keep it for one’s self.

What to do if your party has become a no-man’s land of old white men that can’t win a national election? Do you regroup, get your act together, rethink some policies, or stop the hate against The Others? Or do you keep doing what you were doing – that is, divide the nation even further, seek to defund the opposition and hope you can deny enough Americans of their franchise that the Old White Man vote will still carry the day?

If you’re the GOP, you opt for the latter. You keep banging your head against your irrelevancy and so you must defund your opposition. In order to do this, you have to defund unions (largely Democratic and also middle class — neither of which benefits from the Republican greed for the 1%) in states where you have installed party hacks as Governors who ran as Republican “independents” or “moderates”.

So it came to be that during the lameduck session of the Michigan legislature, Governor Rick Snyder encouraged his Republican legislature to ram through “Right to Work” legislation, which actually translates to “right to work for less.” This, in the home of the union movement, from a guy who ran as a “moderate nerd” from liberal Ann Arbor — the guy who was going to be a common sense dude.

Snyder is expected to sign the legislation Tuesday, after it was rammed through without debate during the lame duck session (the same lameduck session that national Republicans say is no good to do anything during). They attached a nifty procedural trick to the bill so that voters won’t be able to vote on it per referendum as they did in Ohio. In other words, this is not a democracy.

You don’t like what Snyder does? Tough luck. He broke his promise not to go after unions? Oh well. That’s what you get with a “moderate” Republican in these times. (Note: Rick Snyder is proof positive that if they have an “R” after their name, no matter what they say, they are going to push ALEC/Koch Brother legislation.)

However, national Democrats are not taking this without a fight. Democratic leaders, including Senator Carl Levin and Reps. John Conyers, John Dingell, and Sander Levin, met with Snyder Monday morning in an attempt to talk him down from the crazy ledge. Their biggest hope seems to be that he might have the courtesy of allowing voters to vote via referendum after he passes his middle finger to the middle class. It’s a shame when you have to beg for democracy.

President Obama is expected in Michigan today to push his fiscal cliff solutions and is scheduled to meet with Snyder. Naturally, Snyder will be avoiding the Obama stop at the Daimler Diesel Plant in Redford, where Daimler will be announcing the $100 million investment in U.S. production and jobs (read: good middle class jobs). Awkward!

Michigan Laborers plan to gather and lobby at the Capitol today and have an even larger protest planned tomorrow.

The Detroit Free Press, which endorsed “Republican venture capitalist” “businessman” Rick Snyder, has found itself once again shocked and dismayed by a Republican, writing “we trusted Snyder’s judgment. That trust has now been betrayed.” They continue, saying Snyder betrayed Michiganders who elected him with a “conviction that they were electing someone more independent, and more visionary, than partisan apparatchiks like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker.”

The Free Press isn’t buying Snyder’s transparent excuses for the attack on unions. They conclude, “The real motive of Michigan’s right-to-work champions, as former GOP legislator Bill Ballenger ruefully observed, is “pure greed” — the determination to emasculate, once and for all, the Democratic Party’s most reliable source of financial and organizational support.”

Imagine if, in the exact same financial crisis, Democrats spent all of their time attacking the (largely Republican base of) megachurches’ tax status instead of dealing with the real issues of the day. It’s called having nothing to sell yourself — so you spend all of your time trying to force your opponent to lose. We might ask why anyone would consider attacking the one institution that protects the wages of the middle class, when the middle class continues to suffer as the 1% gets more and more of the wealth. But then, we know why. Republicans do not represent the middle class.

It’s sad to reread the Detroit Free Press’ endorsement of Snyder, where they hail his plan to work in “partnership” with Detroit unlike other Republicans, claiming “(I)t is pragmatism over ideology, a recurring theme in Snyder’s campaign.” They were most concerned with Snyder’s “outsider” status – worried he would have no support in Lansing. Turns out, they bought into yet another remake of the Republican tough guy/businessman/cowboy theme, this time packaged perfectly for Michigan in the practical “nerd” guise. Snyder has no lack of support in Lansing, because Snyder is not an outsider or an independent.

A lesson for modern times: You might not like the Democrat, but you’re going to hate the Republican. Sometimes voting is simply a matter of mitigating the possible damage.

At 5:30PM Monday afternoon, Governor Snyder will be serenaded by pro-labor (pro middle class) demonstrators singing Christmas carols outside of his Superior Township home.

Sarah Jones

Listen to Sarah on the PoliticusUSA Pod on The Daily newsletter podcast here. Sarah has been credentialed to cover President Barack Obama, then VP Joe Biden, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and exclusively interviewed Speaker Nancy Pelosi multiple times and exclusively covered her first home appearance after the first impeachment of then President Donald Trump. Sarah is two-time Telly award winning video producer and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Connect with Sarah on Post,  Mastodon @PoliticusSarah@Journa.Host, & Twitter.

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