If there’s one thing Michiganders need to keep in mind about who they should trust as their next Governor or, more specifically, why they should absolutely not trust Gov. Rick Snyder, it is the fact that this is the man who ignored the demonstrated will of his own constituents when they didn’t vote the way he wanted them to. Snyder essentially hijacked their voting rights in November of 2012 rather than respect the fact that the majority of those constituents voted to repeal the controversial beefed-up Emergency Manager law that Snyder signed into law the previous year in 2011.
If the person who you elected to represent you only listens to you when you are saying what he wants to hear, then perhaps it’s time to choose someone else to represent you.
Yes, this is what it comes down to. Because remember this is the same man who managed to smooth himself into a first term by portraying himself as a moderate “nerd” who could be trusted to be conservative, sure, but in a reasonable and comfortable way that would make sense to all reasonable people. Engler wanted to make sure that Michigan residents did not confuse him with those crazy Tea Party types who were all the rage back then. Gov. Engler was certainly not one of those types of Republicans. Heavens no. Back in 2011, Snyder was happily on record as saying he would nehhhhhhhver never never consider anything like pursuing a right-to-work law for Michigan. There were just so many more important and less divisive issues. Let’s listen in to what Jonathan Oosting reported on the issue in a December 2011 issue of MLive.:
“I don’t think it’s an appropriate subject for us to be dealing with today,” Snyder said this morning in an extended interview on WJR-AM 760. “Because we have higher priorities that need to be addressed in our state.”
House Republicans reportedly are working on legislation that would prohibit employers and labor from making union membership and dues a requirement of employment.
More than 20 other states have right-to-work laws in place, but pointing to ongoing controversy in Ohio and Wisconsin, Snyder warned that introducing similar legislation would cause divisiveness the state does not need.
“We need to come together as Michiganders and show some solid results on things we can agree on first before we have any discussion along those lines,” he said. “As a practical matter, the other things I’d mention to you is that we do have to be more competitive, we do have to be more proactive, but I want to see how we can worth together. So I’d just as soon work with labor on being proactive.”
Almost exactly one year later in 2012 Gov. Snyder feigned amnesia and did a 180-degree hard pivot to the right as he slapped labor in the face and joined his rightwing colleagues in the Michigan Legislature to implement Right To Work. He praised what a wonderful thing this would be for the business climate in Michigan, and said workers should be given the choice whether or not to join a union and pay union dues, completely ignoring the fact that all the benefits currently enjoyed by those same workers are enjoyed whether they pay dues or not. Even the once-upon-a-time liberal Detroit Free Press, which happily supported Snyder’s decision to anoint an emergency manager and ignore voting rights and democracy that same year, chastised Snyder for so blatantly reversing his decision in an appropriately titled editorial, “A failure of leadership: Snyder’s about-face on right-to-work betrays voters”.
But then here we are two years later in 2014 and the Free Press is once again endorsing Snyder despite it all – even though they say it was a tough call and that they still have concerns. Gee. Well, at least they’re concerned, right?
And so by the narrowest of margins, with keen reservations, the Free Press endorses RICK SNYDER for a second, four-year term as Michigan’s governor.
If Snyder’s economic reform isn’t an unqualified success, nor is it an unmitigated disaster. Michigan’s not adding jobs in record numbers, but it has stopped losing ground. State government is fiscally sound.
And it’s impossible to overstate Snyder’s role in Detroit’s nascent financial recovery. There’s a palpable sense of optimism about the city these days, a marked change from the pervasive sense of impending financial ruin that has characterized Detroit for the last decade or more.
The decision to guide Detroit into municipal bankruptcy was a rare instance of strong, decisive leadership from our self-described nerd governor, and — because of the strong, historic relationship between the Democratic Party and labor unions — it’s the kind of necessary decision-making that we cannot imagine a Democratic governor offering.
Actually, it’s the kind of reckless, democracy-be-damned local imperialism that characterizes today’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder and many more in his derailed political party just perfectly.
Keith Owens (AKA Black Liberal Boomer) is a Detroit-based writer who has worked for The Detroit Free Press, Detroit’s alternative newsweekly the Metro Times, the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, and other newspapers. He was also a nationally syndicated columnist with Universal Press Syndicate for three years beginning in 1993.