TIM SKUBICK: Snyder facing dissent from all sides
Candidate Rick Snyder told everyone he was not a career politician and by golly he's proving it.
A career politician, on the eve of his or her reelection, would never push for a tax hike to fund the roads; would not want to insure 400,000 of the states poorest residence using the president’s widely unpopular Affordable Health Care Act to do it; he or she would not create a market place health care system that many conservatives are loathed to support, and a career politician would not have the guts to stick his or her nose in the financial mess in Detroit.
But there is Gov. Rick Snyder center stage on all four monumental issues and taking incoming political fire from both the left and the right and from members of his own party in the legislature.
His “friends” on the far right are simply beside themselves as “their” governor wades into that no-man’s land of trying to tax residents to rebuild the state’s post WWII infrastructure.
The Michigan chapter of the very conservative American’s for Prosperity, which earlier opposed the governor on his bridge to Canada project, has now got something to really gripe about. It is mounting a full court press to kill the Medicaid expansion for the uninsured, to kill the market place health care Internet site and the road taxes.
The Tea Party folks, who came within a mere 84 votes of dumping the governor’s candidate for state Republican Party chair, are none too happy either. In recent days it seems everything they stand for from smaller government to less taxation, the governor promotes.
Nobody has surfaced but if this keeps up, the governor could be “rewarded” with a primary challenger as he seeks the GOP nomination.
Ambassador Bridge magnate Matty Moroun, no fan of the governor, could certainly help to bankroll such a movement, if it ever got off the ground.
And while the governor battles on the right, the left in Detroit is going to town accusing him of usurping their voting rights with the impending imposition of an Emergency Manager on the state’s largest city with the largest debt.
The UAW, the NAACP, local ministers, local legislators, and community activists are itching for a court fight and some even talk about civil disobedience to underscore their displeasure with the GOP governor from Battle Creek.
The newly installed state Democratic Party chair, Lon Johnson, is picking up on the Snyder-bashing where former chair Mark Brewer left-off.
Mr. Johnson calls the EM a “hostile takeover” that removes local control and Democracy. And to make matters worse, some of those in the conservative pundit world did the governor no favor by suggesting he should tap Mitt Romney to be the EM.
After all Mr. Romney is looking for work and he is held in high regard in Motown where a whopping 2% of the residents supported him for president. Mr. Snyder quickly snuffed out that simmering fire that threatened to turn even more Detroiters against him.
Given the gravity of all this push back on multiple fronts, a career politician might be thinking about opening the executive residence on Mackinac Island right now and dashing up there is avoid the political flak.
But not this guy. He’s doing what he perceives to be the right thing to do, and taking the hits for doing it and apparently not fretting about the next election.
His critics will contend this is evidence that he is one dumb “nerd” to take all this on. He’s getting a chance to prove his assertion that he is one “tough” nerd instead.
Tim Skubick is Michigan’s Senior Capitol correspondent and has anchored the weekly public TV series Off the Record since 1972. He also covers the Capitol and politics for WLNS-TV6 in Lansing.