In Michigan this year, it appears to be the Year of the “Nice Guy” RepublicanTM. We have Rick Snyder running for governor, an Ann Arbor native, and we have Mark Ouimet, a Washtenaw County Commissioner, also from Ann Arbor. They are viewed as “Nice Guys” by many Ann Arbor-area Democrats to the point that many of these Democrats will be splitting their ticket next week to vote for them.
I am not.
Why? Because I have scratched the surface of the campaign’s of both men and found them to be typical Republicans. And if there’s one thing you can say about the Republican Party it’s that they do not let their members go “renegade” and begin working with Democrats once they get into positions of power. They do not. This, in large part, explains why we have such intractable gridlock in the state legislature right now.
In Ouimet’s case, he’s already capitulating to his Republican Party bosses. Despite saying last spring that he would work across party lines, it’s clear that Ouimet has no ability to say “no” to his party. While Ouimet runs a radio ad saying how much he “hates negative campaigning” and a television ad saying he’ll work with Democrats to get things done in Lansing, his party is running a series of the most offensive smear mailings and robocalls that I’ve ever seen
In addition to the five robocalls against Ouimet’s opponent Christine Green that I have already written about (HERE and HERE), there have been two more, each more a more nasty personal attack on Green than the last.
I have also received dozens of mailings against Green from the Michigan Republican Party. They have almost comically bad Photoshopped photos of Christine Green tying her to higher taxes and wasteful spending in Lansing and Washington. But Green is a Scio Township trustee. She’s never voted for a tax hike in her life. On two of the more recent mailings the Republican Party put her home phone number on the literature.
Mark Ouimet’s response? To run an incessant radio ad saying how much he hates negative campaigning and a television commercial about how he’s going to work with Democrats. Really, Mark? How are you going to work with Democrats when (a) you can’t even get your Party to stop running a mudslinging attack campaign against your Democratic opponent and (b) you and your party have so demonized Democrats that there is simply no longer any way for you to work with them?
Meanwhile, as I reported last week, Ouimet had to remove endorsements from his webpage after he was called out for lying about them. He has received many times the amount of per diem reimbursements that his fellow County Commissioners have. He claims that, if they are found to be ineligible, he’ll pay them back. But if he took them improperly, he should be fired from his position, not allowed to pay them back! And certainly he should not be rewarded with an even more powerful position.
This pattern is being repeated across the state in close elections with the Michigan Republican Party going to new lows to promote their candidates and these candidates had damn well toe the party line when they get to Lansing or they will receive no further support from the Party and they will be left out in the cold when it comes to committee appointments and other positions of power within our government.
Rick Snyder is no different. The Michigan Republicans are running negative ads for him as well. But a more insidious part of Snyder as a candidate is his idea that we can fix government by running it like a business. But here’s the thing: Snyder can not run our state like a business. He cannot fire the people he’s working with in Congress if he doesn’t like their style. He cannot simply pursue short term gains for profit over the long-term needs of the state and its citizens. Government is NOT a business. Government serves people.
At the end of the day it’s Democrats who have the better vision for our state. They believe in investing in green energy, new industries, education and workers. Republicans want to gut our government, strangling it to the point where we return to the horrible days of the Engler administration where infrastructure crumbled, our natural resources were exploited at increasing levels and our state parks and forests, major drivers for our tourism industry, were allowed to wallow and deteriorate.
Mark Ouimet and Rick Snyder are nice guys. I get it. But they are Republicans and, at the end of the day, if they take office, they will be forced by their party to be “Good Republicans” rather than “Nice Guys”. And Michigan simply can not afford that.
I’m just sayin’…