Michigan Democrats did NOT sell out workers on minimum wage. Blame the right people and GOTMFV!

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Hold the right people responsible and GET OUT THE VOTE!

After my post yesterday, there has been a LOT of push back here at Eclectablog and on Facebook from people accusing Michigan Democrats, including gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer and Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer, of “selling out” minimum wage workers. This is absolutely unfair and entirely untrue.

Was this legislation intended to kill the Raise Michigan ballot initiative? Absolutely. Is the bill passed by the Senate yesterday with bipartisan support inadequate? Yup. It sure is.

But this is not a sell out by Democrats and it’s not a “terrible compromise”. It is in fact far better than we could have ever hoped for had not Schauer and Whitmer shown the sort of leadership we all expect from them.

Let’s take a rational look at the situation.

As I have said repeatedly, Republicans are petrified of the ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage. They don’t support it and they know it will bring Democrats to the polls in droves. That’s a given. So, there is no question that they intended to kill it from the start, whether it was with Republican Senator Rick Jones’ odious legislation or the bill introduced by Senate Republican Leader Randy Richardville.

Either of these bills, if signed into law by Governor Snyder, would have put a stop to the ballot drive. They knew this and Democrats in the Senate knew this, including Senator Whitmer. Senator Whitmer had two choices: let Republicans run over them with shitty legislation while Democrats stood on the sidelines shaking their fists, powerless to stop it, or get involved and try to make the legislation better for workers.

Republicans were going to pass one of these bills one way or the other.

So, Senator Whitmer got busy. In her own words:

As disappointing as it was to see this legislation introduced, when it became clear that Republicans were intent on passing it and take that choice away from voters, I decided to roll up my sleeves, take a seat at the table and work to make significant changes to the bill to infuse it with some of the real demands of our workers.

In large part, I’m proud to say we got there.

This bill passed today is substantially better than the bill that was introduced last week. It provides a meaningful raise to countless workers throughout our state and, more importantly, ensures their wage will properly adjust upward with the rate of inflation in the future without us having to have these politically charged debates over and over again in the legislature.

Anyone who suggests that this was a sellout apparently does not to realize that it was this or the BS legislation that was originally sponsored by Sen. Richardville. There was no third path. There wasn’t the option to not compromise and still have a voice in the process. Had Democrats chosen to do nothing, we would have had the paltry increase in the minimum wage to $8.40/hour, not tied to the Consumer Price Index which will increase it as inflation rises, that was originally introduced.

This is, simply put, a fact. Anyone who believes otherwise apparently doesn’t realize that Republicans hold decisive majorities in the House and the Senate and that Republican Governor Rick Snyder would have signed it into law the moment it hit his desk. Period.

Does it suck? Oh, yeah. It sucks. Royally. We’ve lost something that would have really helped to drive turnout by Democrats in November. But, the Republicans lost, too. They lost the battle to keep the minimum wage at the insulting level they would have set it at.

So, be pissed. Be angry. But remember that this is exactly what happens when you fail to elect Democrats.

This sort of thing is exactly why I spent two days on the couch in my pajamas after the 2010 election in a deep depression. This sort of thing is EXACTLY why I penned a screed titled This whole “Teach Obama a Lesson” thing is working so perfectly, isn’t it?”

If we want to change the way things are going in Michigan, we have to take our victories when we get them, even if they’re small or partial victories. And we have to use that anger at the situation to pull up our pants, hitch up our belts and Get Out the Vote (GOTV) from now until the polls close at 8 p.m. on November 4th, 2014.

If you think that this situation is a reason to do the opposite, to NOT support Democrats or to not get inolved in the Democrats’ GOTV effort, you’re part of the problem. We don’t get to sit back and whine about not getting what we want if we aren’t willing to get out there and get our candidates elected with every ounce of energy we have.

So, yeah, be pissed off. Be angry. Be outraged. But don’t direct that ire at your Democratic allies. Aim that laser beam of ferocious disgust at the Republicans and use that white hot energy to help with the cause. Because if we do in 2014 what we did in 2010 — stay home on election day — we will have only ourselves to blame. And all the GOP overreach we’ve been dealing with since 2011 is going to look like child’s play compared to what the Republicans will do to us and our beautiful state on behalf of their corporatist benefactors if we give them four more years of total domination.

Don’t let that happen. GOTMFV.

  • Brainwrap

    Well said. The key factor here is that THE BALLOT INITIATIVE WAS DEAD EITHER WAY. If that *wasn’t* the case, then I would fully understand the anger, but that’s the situation.

    Plus, if the House *does* kill the bill or they pass it but Snyder vetoes it, we’re no worse off than we were in the first place–the ballot initiative is still valid.

    UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, it sounds like Schauer/Whitmer played this the best they could. The inflation indexing is a nice touch.

  • Rob Ert

    I agree with you 100%! What I find very frustrating though is, trying to explain this to the blue and pink collar constituants. The above ground media here is not really reporting “from the middle” so to speak. The TV and newspapers are slanted to the right. Those that do have a job, here in the Detroit area, are working too much overtime to really absorb anything, and the “baby boomer” retirees (UAW) got their pensions and healthcare and don’t care about anyone else. My wife and I were both pushed out of the workforce early, and did not get all our benefits, and all of this is very important to us. Maybe we should try to make politics more like professional sports, or “American Idol”. If we don’t, we may all become idle Americans! (Check out 3RD World Comix on Facebook. My wife and I produce,write, and publish!)

    • I agree. Check out Rob’s stuff. It’s awesome.

  • communicationsguru

    I can’t believe there is push back against Democrats.
    In fact, people should be thanking Democrats. The goal of Democrats was to get
    an increase in the minimum wage linked to CPI. Mission accomplished, and I can’t
    stress how really huge this is linking it to the cost of living. Richardville’s
    goal was to kill the petition drive at all costs, and he could have got it done
    with just a 75 cent increase that would have been it for probably a decade. I’m
    sure he had the votes to get that done. We are in a great position. Either this
    goes forward, or the petition drive goes forward.

    • Amen, brother. And if you want to see pushback, check out the Facebook link in the first paragraph of this post. People are actually quite mean.

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  • Lou Novak

    How long are we going to keep playing this game?

    “The Democratic Party is where progressive politics goes to die”

    http://my.firedoglake.com/cassiodorus/2011/07/30/72111/

    • Tell us what you would have done differently that had a prayer of succeeding. Otherwise, you’re just a noisy part of the problem.

  • Northern Imager

    Just why is it that Democrats CAN’T or WON’T write RethugliCON proof propositions! How come the RethugliCONs are always able to find a end run around our propositions we cannot do it to them. We pass Medical Marijuana and RethugliCONs are able to gut it. They pass an anti-gay amendment and we can’t do shit to stop it. Are we just stupid? I am quite fed up. Don’t ask me to gather any more signatures for propositions unless they are RethugliCON proof! I’m tired of wasting my time on dead ends!

    • That would be because they control both the House and the Senate and the Governors office. Work to change that or you’re just part of the problem. All the “RepubliCON” blog comments in the world won’t change that.

  • Northern Imager

    Just why is it that Democrats CAN’T or WON’T write RethugliCON proof propositions! How come the RethugliCONs are always able to find a end run around our propositions we cannot do it to them. We pass Medical Marijuana and RethugliCONs are able to gut it. They pass an anti-gay amendment and we can’t do shit to stop it. Are we just stupid? I am quite fed up. Don’t ask me to gather any more signatures for propositions unless they are RethugliCON proof! I’m tired of wasting my time on dead ends!

  • Maria Huffman

    Well, I think the Democrats could have let Richardville raise the minimum just a little, and then that would have helped increase Democratic turn out in the fall. This was not a good deal, when all is said and done…

  • Pingback: How Republican-Controlled Michigan Became The Seventh State This Year to Raise the Minimum Wage « Main Street()

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