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On Making Michigan an Easy Target

Cross-posted on Right Michigan at www.RightMichigan.com.

A lot of news has focused these past two weeks on Detroit’s “Big 3,” Washington, DC and the space between, literally and figuratively, and with good reason.  There is universal agreement that the autos are in one heck of a mess, that it’s of their own making and that a lot of good, hard working people are going to suffer when whatever comes next finally arrives.

Of course, that’s all been compounded by the fact that the Democrats in Congress took the occasion of our governor’s ill-timed vacation to the Middle East to declare the entire state of Michigan persona non grata at our nation’s capitol.  Gone is Jennifer Granholm from Barack Obama’s economic advisory team and gone too is the dean of the US House of Representatives, Detroit Congressman John Dingell, from his leadership post on the committee most directly tied to the auto industry.  

That move in particular led the Ivory Tower’s Brian Dickerson to ask if the left-coast was intentionally “plotting Michigan’s ruin.”

Read on…

The same day the House Democrats voted to unhorse Dingell, the mayors of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose held a news conference to unveil plans for a $1-billion network of electric car charging stations in the San Francisco Bay area.

Within hours, several alert Free Press readers e-mailed me the story, speculating that Waxman’s move on Dingell was part of a larger California conspiracy to displace Detroit as America’s Motor City.

Well, duh.

I can’t believe I’m going to type this, but… Dickerson’s position is right.  Fifty states make fifty places for economic experimentation, competition and knife sharpening.  Michigan has been the home of the auto industry for the last one-hundred years and California Democrats are pouncing on their chance to claim their own slice of the pie.  Michigan Democrats are too week-kneed and ineffectual to stop them.  

Our governor leaves the country while the Big 3 arrive in DC, hat in hand, our Senate Democrats have proven over the last eight years to be two of the most irrelevant, ineffectual members of their majority caucus and Michigan’s Congressional Democrats can’t even keep their committee assignments.  

Meanwhile, back at home, the Democrats running the show in Detroit and Lansing prove time and time again that they’re worth little more than a punch line or a slap to the forehead.  We expect anyone to take us seriously when these or the folks we keep electing in the Motor City?

If you haven’t followed the travails of the current Mayor and candidate Nick Hood the third, they’ve had some campaign finance violations that could, legally, prevent them from even appearing on the Mayoral ballot early next year.  It’s a big mess that was expected to be sorted out today.  A couple of problems, though.  The Detroit News reports:

Two of three officials set to decide today whether Mayor Kenneth Cockrel Jr. will remain on the Feb. 24 ballot have failed to file timely late-contribution reports — the same issue that could end his candidacy.

City Clerk Janice Winfrey, who chairs the city’s Elections Commission, hasn’t paid $4,000 in fines assessed in 2006. Council President Monica Conyers has not been assessed fines by the Wayne County clerk for late contribution report violations that date to her 2005 campaign.

Oops.

This has folks calling on Winfrey and Conyers to recuse themselves ahead of today’s decision and I’m inclined to think Winfrey might at least consider the notion.  Conyers?  To quote Ozzie Guillen, “pfshhh, please.”

The mayors of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose are announcing billion dollar investment plans to make California THE global player in the automobile industry and here in Detroit we can scarcely find a single public official without the sort of legal problems that could cost them their jobs.  One state is refining it’s game and bettering it’s climate.  Here at home, well, Jennifer Granholm just got back from her overseas sight-seeing tour… so that’s something, right?

And the Lansing she returned to looks suspiciously like the Lansing she left behind.  The lame duck legislature can’t even manage to keep their pre-election promises.  The Lansing State Journal reports that those lifetime health care benefits the Democrats in the House were so eager to kill, the issue that Robert Dean trumpeted here in the 75th House District in every piece of literature he ever mailed his constituents, nothing’s been done and nothing’s going to be.  Andy Dillon is content to let the issue disappear during lame duck, requiring it to be resubmitted in January, if at all.

Under current law, former lawmakers can tap into the health insurance once they turn 55. During heated budget discussions last year over government reforms, lawmakers said the generous health care benefit should be adjusted to be less costly to taxpayers.

The House and Senate overwhelmingly voted last December to make lawmakers work longer before having most of their health care premiums picked up by taxpayers. Neither chamber passed the same version, however, so the old system remains in place. And lawmakers seem content to let the issue die rather than deal with it when they return in early December.

Here’s the rub, and a detail the LSJ conveniently omitted from their report… the House bill, Bob Dean’s bill, makes one particular exception in this benefit-right-sizing.  It doesn’t include him or any of the other current first-termers.  They made sure to kill life-time benefits for the young pups coming to town in later years, but they protected every last dollar they were planning to take home themselves.  

Selfless of them, right?  Now that a new freshman class of Democrats is about to hit the Capitol City I wouldn’t want to hazard a guess on the over-under that theyl correct that intentional oversight, assuming they bother to resubmit the legislation to begin with.

When Democrats in Detroit don’t take the law seriously and Democrats in Lansing don’t take the taxpayers seriously is it really any wonder the Democrats in DC don’t take Michigan seriously either?

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