Chris Christie and Scott Walker: Models of courage and strength. Rick Snyder of Michigan? An appeasing wimp
Harsh title, I get it. But Governor Snyder deserves a good kick in the butt with this post. From his limp-wristed veto of Voter ID to having the votes to push through Right to Work and collective bargaining, the governor of Michigan’s political stances have been sorely uninspiring, even depressing Republicans in the House and Senate. Now, sensing that Governor Snyder is a wimp, unions are trying to push through legislation that in essence would embed collective bargaining into the Michigan constitution and create a litigious abyss that would send Michigan to the way of California and Illinois.
The Michigan Supreme Court recently approved the placement of a proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot. If passed by voters, the so-called Protect Our Jobs amendment would give public-employee unions a potent new tool to challenge any laws—past, present or future—that limit their benefits or collective-bargaining powers. It would also bar Michigan from becoming a right-to-work state in which mandatory union dues are not a condition of employment. The budget implications are dire.
Michigan public unions began pushing the initiative last year, shortly after Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder—facing a $2 billion fiscal hole—capped public spending on public-employee health benefits at 80% of total costs. This spring, national labor unions joined the amendment effort after failing to prevent Indiana from becoming a right-to-work state.
Bob King of the United Auto Workers said that Michigan’s initiative would “send a message” to other states tempted to follow Indiana’s example. The UAW, along with allies in the AFL-CIO and the Teamsters, poured $8 million into gathering 554,000 signatures—some 200,000 more than needed—to put Protect Our Jobs on the Michigan ballot.
The amendment says that no “existing or future laws shall abridge, impair or limit” the collective-bargaining rights of Michigan workers. That may sound innocuous, but according to Patrick Wright of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the amendment would hand a broad mandate to unions to challenge virtually any law they don’t like.
Mercy, capital would flee out of that state faster than investors are getting out of France. Read the whole article. What I highlighted is just a small portion of an economic nightmare that will unfold and bankrupt the state of Michigan. This is what happens when you have a wimp in the executive office. People follow strength and courage. Look at what happened when Christie and Walker took the fight to the union leadership. They are balancing their budget and their approval ratings are up. Apparently Governor Snyder doesn’t have the heart for this and is doing his best impression of John McCain kumbaya. (facepalm) I have a lot of friends up in Michigan. It is a great state, lots of good, hardworking people. However, Michigan is one of the sad historical tales that when unions and socialism are at the helm, an economic graveyard always results. Phil Rahe also has an excellent breakdown on events up there and a warning for Mitt Romney of going down this aloof path should he be elected president:
The polls suggest that Mitt Romney has a shot at taking Michigan. He is behind 4.4% in the Real Clear Politics polling average. But that may be misleading. The two most recent polls – Rasmussen and the Detroit News – have him behind 7%.
I am wary of the polls this year, and I would love to know the party breakdown of these polls and of the polls taken back in 2010. But I would not be shocked if our side suffered a debacle in Michigan this year. If the ballot proposals being pushed by the left pass, if the left takes over the state supreme court, I shudder to think what will follow. This is the sort of damage that it is likely to be impossible to repair.
If my fears are realized, it will be due to the fecklessness of a single Republican – who had a chance to set things right but failed to recognize that bad management is not the chief source of Michigan’s problems and that he had to confront more fundamental problems and articulate an argument appealing to justice in defense of what he intended to do.
This fact ought to give one pause. If Mitt Romney wins in November — and I still expect him to win by a landslide — I sure hope that he does not revert to the technocratic, apolitical bipartisanship that marked his tenure as governor in Massachusetts. If he does, we may see Barack Obama back in 2016 . . . or someone worse.
Fixing things requires courage and hard decisions, some of which will cause the other side to howl and may make people upset. However, Governor Snider was elected to fix a mess and put Michigan on a path to a new direction that will make it prosperous in the long run. He is failing because he is unwilling to fight for Michigan’s long term economic survival and then, prosperity. It is because he is not speaking up against this initiative that his GOP legislature is not speaking up and people whom live there remain blindly unaware of the awful calamity that is at their door. As Rahe succinctly put it:
But, locally, silence reigns.