A couple of things stood out for me watching Virg Bernero’s gutsy move to invade Rick Snyder’s 59th Town Hall meeting yesterday.
First, it was a brilliant decision by Bernero to use Snyder’s ducking debates to grab lots of attention from a media that is bored silly with the frontrunner’s outsized lead in the polls and his campaign’s tightly controlled ads, stump speeches and stage-crafted town halls.
Give Bernero points for last night’s Snyder party crash. But on another point–pressing for debates–Bernero is acting in everyone’s interest in keeping up the pressure on Snyder to debate.
At some point soon voters need to look under the Snyder hood and see what’s really driving this political machine in terms of plans for Michigan. Last night, thanks to Bernero, we caught a glimpse of contrast that begs for more debates. Snyder likes Proposal A and Bernero thinks we need to look again at how we fund schools.
Another revealing thing about last night was that Snyder was perfectly comfortable talking about cutting government regulations and in the next breath introducing the notorious candidate for state Senator John Pastor, who was fined $35,000 by Attorney General Mike Cox for pollution violations by his company.
When do we get to ask Snyder about how he plans to reconcile his rhetorical support for protecting the Great Lakes with how that protection plays out in enforcing pollution laws under a Snyder administration that’s laying off environmental enforcers and cutting back on regulations?
The fact is, Snyder’s stump speech is pretty much boilerplate Republican pro-business, anti-government stuff flavored with lots of happy talk about bipartisanship and our great state of Michigan. Before we crown Snyder governor how about we get beyond the happy talk and start asking some tough questions.
For example, Mr. Snyder, you are refusing to negotiate debates with your opponent because, well, it’s better for you not to debate. All of which is very CEO of you. But what about when you’ve got to negotiate with the Legislature and a whole bunch of pesky politicians about the budget, taxes, regulations etc?
Believe me, you won’t think that’s fun either. But for the past several years not negotiating has helped create the Lansing mess you keep talking about, Mr. Snyder. So how about showing us that you can negotiate successfully with Mr. Bernero in the interests of Michigan voters and get these debates going.
Then, maybe, we’ll think you’re tough enough for Lansing.