TIM SKUBICK: Snyder guilty of ‘career politician’ sins

Even Gov. Rick Snyder concedes he is not the world’s most inspiring speaker although he is improving. Yet the other day, he hit a home run with a bunch of executives. It reveals one of the reasons voters picked him over the angry guy.

It was his time-worn, yet effective line about him not wanting to take credit or blame for stuff that is accomplished in Lansing. It was his vintage, “I’m-not-a-career-politician” shtick that produced the cheers.

Common folks gravitate to non-professionals in office and the governor can stake claim to the label except when it comes to the Nerd Fund.

On this puppy his critics argue he looked like, acted like, and shucked and jived just like all the political pros. He consistently said he had done nothing illegal, yet the editorial writers piled on for being inconsistent, another career politician sin.

The charge was he embraced transparency but when asked to release names, he would not budge saying he promised the big shooters anonymity. That’s what career politicians always do.

And true to his word, when he woke up and finally chucked the Nerd Fund, the names were kept secret until the bitter end.

His media spokesperson in describing the slow and agonizing demise of the fund noted it “had simply become an unnecessary distraction.”

A distraction that could have been avoided by quicker action. Another career politician sin i.e. taking too long to extinguish a political fire before it gets out of hand.

Google the phrase, Gov. Rick Snyder Nerd Fund and start counting. After 13 clicks, a total of 111 different media stories were found.

Most of them were not very flattering and left the distinct impression that on this matter, Richard Dale Snyder was no different than all the rest.

It’s not the impression he wants as he seeks four more years.

The flap was an early Holiday gift to Democratic challenger Mark Schauer. He adroitly joined in the chorus of criticism suggesting that the unidentified donors may have curried favor with the administration and since there is no way to prove it, the specter of possible influence peddling hangs over the administration.

In an attempt to regain the moral high ground, the governor’s folks suggest a new fund, not likely to be called Son of Nerd. It will have all the transparency one can imagine including names, amounts, and “detailed overviews of expenditures.”

Which leads one to wonder, why the heck didn’t they do that in the first place?

The governor explains, “I hadn’t had this experience before, having funds of this nature. I was not in the political world. I think there’s an opportunity for all of us to learn and improve.”

Maybe so, but certainly the seasoned veterans around him should have warned him of the pitfalls of owning, what some call, a slush fund. Yet they advised him that everybody else does this, so no problemo.


The ultimte political question, does anybody, other than the players in this little drama, give two hoots about the fact that names were withheld and the dispute was allowed to drag on forever?

Given the attention that the so-called electorate pays to this stuff, the answer is probably no.

The Snyder team can only hope that in six weeks the story has evaporated.

Ah, but if the Democrats have data that suggests it’s a liability for the incumbent, this story might get legs as the Democrats try to convince voters that the non-politician they supported last time, is not running this time.