Did a main street deplorable disrupt some Biddle Marsh big club backroom quid pro quo shenanigans?
Roughly three weeks out from a state convention, and ordinarily I’d be armpit-deep in some to-do list, but I’ve spent most of the past nine weeks considerably preoccupied. (If you really want to know why, then the obituary is here, and the funeral is here.) However, about four weeks ago, I had reason to have a rather lengthy and interesting conversation with one of the candidates for Michigan Republican State Committee Chair (the actual full title). I gotta tell you, it’s kinda nice to see that certain things really don’t change.
Michigan republicans have a bad habit of making national news for all the wrong reasons.
According to Article IV, Section G, Paragraph 1 of the Bylaws of the Michigan Republican State Committee, “The Chairman shall have the power to declare vacant the seat of any officer who refuses to support the Republican nominee for any office within the State of Michigan.” That’s the language, and it’s straightforward. If you’re one of the officers specified in Article IV, Section A of those same bylaws, then you support the republican nominees, up and down the ticket, or else risk immediate termination . . . end of discussion.
That paragraph is something that a certain lady, whom I still consider a friend, should have considered before shooting her mouth off, knowing the cameras were rolling, last Friday.
Someone needs to impress upon the MRP legislative and executive leadership that “NO” means “NO” . . . period.
Roughly nine months ago, We the People of Michigan, by a record-breaking 4-to-1 statewide margin, told our elected nobility in Lansing “HELL NO” on a proposed tax increase, which they’d tried to sell as a road proposal, but which the voting public saw clearly as a political sausage job that produced a cronyist’s grab bag of goodies. Thus, every single county in this state, without exception and in no uncertain terms, clearly delivered a mandate-level message that we are no longer interested in extending the legislature a taxpayer-funded line of credit, until such time as they get their spending priorities in order. You would think that a statewide vox populi shellacking, with a turnout rate typical of the biennial congressional primaries, would clue in the GoverNerd, and the rest of the MRP/MIGOPe professional political establishment, that We the People are done being their ATM.
You would think that . . . but you would be wrong. Six months after that ballot box rejection, while most of us were tucking our children into bed (or monitoring local election results), the lords and barons in the Michigan Legislature essentially told we the proletariat that our opinion is irrelevant, and that “no” really means “don’t ask again” – which, of course, they didn’t – by passing a “road funding” tax package that was nearly identical to the core of Proposal 15-1, less the elements required to force it onto the ballot. In doing this, they flatly rejected the clear will of the people, imposed through legislative fiat that which they couldn’t persuade the electorate to publicly ratify, and took yet another step toward government by aristocracy.
Here’s hoping every township, and county clerk is ready with a bill for services on May 6, 2015. In fact, maybe it might not be a bad idea to remind your local election officials to ready the receipt pile and get a stamped envelope ready to submit the invoice for officiating one of the most senseless proposals yet.
Proposal 15-1 is going to cost us money no matter what. Legislators added about $9 million or more dollars to the cost of doing state business when they punted to the citizens of Michigan in that December lame duck. A recent special election in Grand Traverse County cost over $85,000 and we have about 90,000 for population. At a cost of about $1 per Michiganian, each county, city, and township government is having to officiate what is accurately called a ‘special election.’
Will Proposal 15-1 become a bridge too far for the GoverNerd?
According to a colleague of mine, the power of government (at any level), over its law-abiding citizens, is directly derived from the taxation authority. Think about that for a moment or two. In a truly free society, the government has no means to control the behavior of its citizens who aren’t actual criminals, nor will those citizens tolerate any such action from their duly-elected public servants. And while the citizenry does indeed pay taxes – because even in a free society, the government still has the authority to tax – control of the taxation mechanism isn’t left to the arbitrary whims of government functionaries, and the true tax burden is plainly visible for all to see.
By that measure, it’s been at least five decades since Michigan was a truly free state. Since being gifted with an income-based taxation model, and a full-time legislative model, the state that was once the engine of freedom has progressively mutated into a socialist laboratory, at best a generation between now and whatever bankruptcy chapter awaits a nominally sovereign state collapsing into receivership. And in that regard, I don’t think it overly dramatic to suggest that this statewide special election to decide the fate of a legislative piece of sausage is similar to Gettysburg . . . if we don’t stop them here, then where will we ever be able to stop them at all?
The upside is that We the People received a bit of good news on this front yesterday, though how this’ll ultimately play out is still an open question.
Safe Roads YES! is already running media ads . . . why aren’t their opponents?
So, about three weeks ago, Safe Roads YES! launched their radio and television ad campaign, designed to convince us that jacking up our per-person state tax-and-fee burden by roughly $248.12 – permanently (not including inflation adjustments to the wholesale fuel tax) – is a good idea. To do so, they’re using the standard tactics of bogus statistics and emotional appeals, praying that the typical low-information voter isn’t going to do even the basic homework into the legislative piece of sausage that the GoverNerd and his hodge-podge of allies are doing their damnedest to slide by us roughly six weeks from now.
And you’d think that at least one of the organizations or individuals lined up to oppose the Michigan Sales Tax Increase for Transportation Amendment would have already snagged media buys for at least one well-produced television commercial. I’ll freely admit that I don’t spend much time in front of the boob tube these days, but I can’t seem to get through even one prime-time television show (regardless of channel) without seeing at least one Pro-1 30-second spot. The reason that bugs me (both the pro-1 ad campaign and the absence of an anti-1 ad campaign) has less to do with polling, and more to do with my understanding of voter behavior.
Do we really want a third term for a Vice Chair who appears to be more interested in pandering than in outreach?
Since early 2014, there have been ever-escalating smear attacks against our national committeeman, Dave Agema, that have been as predictable as the calendar, in that they’ve occurred, if my memory serves me correctly, during the runup to every national or state committee meeting last year, as well as during the weeks immediately preceding the “fall” state convention (and are now occurring concurrent to the weeks preceding the “spring” state convention four weeks from now). The pattern is also predictable, in that either Ken Braun or Dennis Lennox (occasionally Kathy Hoekstra just for the sake of variety) will get wind (via one of their trolls) of a social media post on Agema’s Facebook page, will then cherry-pick some alleged “money quote” from the source article (or an article buried up to three links deep from that source) and then report that “money quote” as though Agema originally said it . . . and never-you-mind that they can’t be bothered to accurately report what he actually said with regard to why he found something post-worthy. The next step, again ridiculously predictable, is that the three amigos will then use their press credentials to publish opinion pieces, which allegedly-more-credible reporters will then use as source material for front-page “news” stories, which the usual suspects will then use to fuel a smear campaign of manufactured outrage, which the party’s useful idiots and low-information voter bloc will dutifully echo as an ever-increasing crescendo of calls for Agema to step down “for the good of the party.”
Fully detailing this pattern and the miscreants perpetuating it – which I intend to do – is a topic for another day soon. My purpose in mentioning it here is to merely highlight the hypocrisy of selective outrage within the party leadership, specifically in regard to a certain vice chair whose own conduct has been perhaps more offensive than that of the national committeeman for whose resignation she has recently called.
Young man, the plain language of the law is the plain language of the law, even when it works against you.
Regulars on either this site or the old one likely are sure to recall the Michigan Dele-Gate Fiasco. The quick synopsis, for the Johnny-come-latelies, is that, on the final night of February in 2012, the MIGOP Credentials Committee (at that time consisting of Bobby Schostak, Sharon Wise, Saul Anuzis, Holly Hughes, Eric Doster, Bill Runco, and Mike Cox) had the high-tech equivalent of a middle-of-the-night, smoke-filled-back-room meeting, and decided, by a 4-2 vote – Hughes didn’t get word of the meeting until after its conclusion – that the published and promulgated delegate allocation rules would be overridden, ex post facto, for no other purpose than to preserve the narrative of a “favorite son” presidential primary win. The resultant grassroots backlash culminated in the Showdown In Motown, where the alleged chief engineer of the fiasco, one Saul Anuzis, was convincingly replaced with Dave Agema (to the ongoing agony of Michigan Republican Progressives).
However, with now mere days before the MIGOP Policy Committee meets to rule on the affidavits of candidacy for the various 2015 State Convention candidates, we see a similar scenario playing out . . . with at least one familiar player in the mix.
Is the handwriting on the wall for the tea party movement in Michigan?
The saying “the handwriting is on the wall” has as its source an incident in 539 BC, recorded for posterity in Daniel 5, in which King Belshazzar of Babylon is plainly told that he has been weighed in the divine balance and found wanting, that the days of both his kingdom and his life have been numbered and brought to an end, and that his empire will be divided between the Medes and Persians then advancing on the city. The concept survives in modern English idiomology to imply that circumstances are such for a person or organization that it is now clear that their ultimate failure is to be expected, or at best will be effectively impossible to avert.
Given the thorough pasting that the constitutionalist insurgency endured in Michigan last month, as a statewide aggregate, it wasn’t exactly a leap for reporters and pundits (likely working from a coordinated set of talking points courtesy of the Michigan Republican Party old guard) to insert dramatic prophecies of impending doom for the tea party movement into their headlines and opinion pieces. David’s missive and Jason’s observation notwithstanding, I don’t think it unreasonable to ask the question: Given the significant events of last August, let alone the past 5-1/2 years, is the tea party movement on the verge of becoming just another footnote in Michigan political history?
March 15th, 2016 appears to be the likely date of the Michigan Republican presidential primary in the next election. The Michigan Republican Party’s Policy Committee approved the date, which is the earliest a primary can be held without losing delegates to the Republican National Convention.
If a candidate wins over 50-percent of the statewide vote, he or she will be awarded all of Michigan’s delegates. If the winner has less than that threshold, the delegates will be split up based on the vote.
Which, initially, left me a bit at a loss for words. Apparently, someone was praying that this wasn’t going to get noticed. Of course, that raised the question of “why” . . . and a cursory review of the details provides us with a quite predictable answer.