Who the heck is this guy?
I’ll get to him in a moment. In the meantime, keep his visage under the microscope of your brain: The angry scowl, the fleshy countenance, the greasy long hair.
He is the Modern Democrat Party. Literally.
He is also the Democrat Party of 45 years ago. And he is a lifelong friend of Debbie Stabenow.
Now, I don’t believe in guilt-by-association. I do, however, believe in moron-by-association.
I’ve had to put up with the Lovely and Gracious Deborah Ann Stabenow my entire life. From the moment I first registered to vote in the early fall of 1981, Debbie Stabenow has been like a case of shingles: laying dormant in the Michigan Body Politic, always there, sometimes surfacing, always a potential pain in the neck.
Debbie Stabenow started her stratospheric rise in national Democrat Party politics the way most democrats do: By laser-focus attention to other people’s business, being a butt-in-ski and snitch. She was a hall monitor at the tender age of 15 at Clare High School.
Hall Monitor Debbie. Telling on girls who skirts were to short, or who was chewing gum, or who was running too fast.
From there it was on to East Lansing, where she was engulfed in the Bell Bottom Clad army of bra-less ERA marchers.
Well, not exactly, but sort of. The hippie movement was running on vapors by the time Debbie graduated from Michigan State in 1972. Draft deferments were being passed out like Bazooka Joe comics by that time so late in the Vietnam War. By the spring of 1973, Nixon suspended the draft, and all the air went out of the gas-bag of Student Protest. Gals like Debbie needed something to do, so they chained themselves to some trees on Grand River Avenue to keep the Highway Department from widening it near Harrison Road on the Michigan State Campus.
Ho hum. A prot0 Julia “Butterfly” Hill, that’s our Debbie.
This passing scene in the Parade of Bunkum led to wider exposure for Debbie, who ran for a trusteeship on the Ingham County Commission. She won. And there she met the man in the picture above: Mark Grebner.
Mark Grebner. Yawn. Like Debbie, Mark has been in the shadows (-kinda like a stalker) for the entirety of my political life. He, too, was a student agitator at the burned-out ends of the Abby Hoffman era, starting a “Grade The Professors” movement at Michigan State. He contributed to the underground press, marched around like good little Rebel, did all the requisite things that paunchy students-for-life do.
These people tend to envision themselves as the next great JFK; –minus the charisma, looks and wealth. The only things they seem to fully embrace are JFK’s alley-cat morals and ruthless political instincts. So, it stood to reason that Mark (like Debbie) ran for a commissioners seat on the Ingham County Board as soon as he was legally able. He, too, was victorious.
To understand Debbie Stabenow in fine, and the Modern Democrat Party in sum, is to understand Mark Grebner and the Ingham County Board of Commissioners. It was a swirling petri-dish of liberal democrat viruses, as it remains to this day. But, you see, Debbie moved on, from an ERA-marching feminist with a billowing coif of monstrous red hair and halter tops to modest blue blazers, from the Ingham County Board of Commissioners to the marble halls of the United States Senate.
Mark Grebner, though, is a commissioner to this day, forty years later. When he started, a commissioner earned about $20 per meeting. At his urging, though, and to help his forever-impoverished “student” patina, the commissoners started earning real wages, and today they earn about as much as a full-time McDonalds new-hire… for about 30 hours of work each month. Why schlep burgers when you can be a Philosopher-King and make the same scratch?
But, as I say, this is the Modern Democrat Party. Hangers-on that hang on well past their “sell-by” date, whom, for most, was several decades ago. Grebner continues to be a thorn in the side of taxpayers in Ingham County, but prefers to burnish his “iconoclast” bonafides, or his “eccentric” reputation.
I prefer the adjective “has-been”.
Like a long-past-his-prime Major Leaguer who own a runs a ramshackle Bubble-gum card shop, Grebner runs a “political consultancy” of small repute (although, to be sure, his database runs circles around the state Republican Voter Vault), and is, forty years on, still Grading the Profs. Grebner metastasizes the same small office he’s had in the student slums of East Lansing, hatching his small intrigues, plotting the eventual overthrow of the bourgeoisie. Stabenow, though, now jets about the country with Hillary Clinton.
Birds of a feather.
Grebner has been a fellow-traveler with Debbie since her first campaign for the 58th District Representative in 1978. Her Democrat primary opponent was Tom “Hoke” Holcombe, who would put on the schmaltz at the Ingham County Fair every year, and gave away free paper cups of Coke to the festive attendees. “Have a Coke on Hoke!” said the campaign, a winning one at that. “Hoke” was a institution with the gullible Ingham County Democrat Corn-pones. With Grebner’s advice, Debbie set up a booth right next to Holcombe’s, with the sign blaring “Have a Tab on Stab!”
She beat the venerable 3-term “Hoke”. And I’ve lived with Debbie Stabenow ever since, it seems.
Now, we’re all Stabbed with her Tab.
Hillary Clinton. Debbie Stabenow. Barack Obama. Mark Grebner. All greasy democrats cut from the same unctuous, pallid dough. All born of the same early 70’s radical squalor chic. Some have cleaned themselves up at the margins, put the bong away in the Self-Storage unit, donned conservative blazers and pantsuits. While Barack was smoking Ganja, Grebner was agitating to get it legalized (interesting from a man who, later in his life, was similarly agitating to have smoking in Ingham County Bars banned). Democrat radicals leftists, burned-out partisans, limousine revolutionaries. As I say, birds of a feather…
Remember this, though, and shudder:
THIS is the Modern Democrat Party. THIS is who is ruling our country– at least, for the next 17-odd days.
Mitt Romney is only five years older than Mark Grebner, but he is a universe away from him. Grebner, though, is emblematic of the Modern Democrat Party: Angry, gnawing the rinds of old, petty arguments, stuck in a mindset that was a 1960’s answer to a bunch of 1930’s questions.
November can’t come soon enough.