Flint, Michigan Republicans — February 21, 2016 at 9:56 am

Michigan Republicans are secretly admitting that “running state like a business” has failed & has killed people

by


John Lindstrom, the publisher of Gongwer News Service, one of the top news outlets covering state government and state politics, published an essay this week that shows, despite the shiny, happy face that Gov. Snyder is putting on and despite his continuing calls for more privatization and the success of Emergency Management, they know full well it has been an utter failure and, in the words of one of them, “This is on us.”

Here are some of the highlights:

[C]onversations this reporter has had recently with Republicans, mostly, [are] so very interesting. We met in a variety of settings — at a funeral, at lunch, at the gym and other places – so they were all at ease, off the clock, during the conversations. Some are in government (and fairly high in government) some are business folks, some retired. All are well read, all thoughtful, all very up on the news. Some were in Lansing, some in Detroit. Some are old friends. Some this reporter has known professionally for years.

And all of them recognized Flint as a failure, a spectacular failure, of state government. They also worried that it was particularly a failure of their party, as they almost universally said: “Our guys.”

No matter the setting, or the day, or the circumstance of the conversations, or who was speaking (and not everyone speaking would have known each other), there was an almost stunning repetition to each conversation’s tone: They brought up the Flint situation, and they said, unprompted, it was a failure of state government and their party.

They acknowledged mistakes were made by Flint city officials and by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but they said those errors were not as critical as the mistakes and the attitude state government showed while the crisis was brewing.

One, a retired business executive, said with all the complaints about the water that went on for a year before the discovery the water was tainted with lead “Were they paying any attention to people at all?”

Another, a government official, said, “We screwed it up. This is on us.”

However, the most stunning admission of failure is this:

“We keep saying we have to run government like a business. But government isn’t a business. You can’t run it like a business,” one said. Turning briefly to the presidential campaign, the person said, “We’re real good at being the party of ‘no,’ but we have to show we can govern.”

I’m ambivalent to read these words (and you should read the whole thing.) One part of me is glad that these Republicans are finally coming around to the same position just about everyone else has already taken; that the catastrophe in Flint is the direct result of the failure of Emergency Management and a patriarchal government approach that puts a single, unelected person in charge of an entire city because it has “misbehaved”.

On the other hand, it makes me really angry. Because, despite what they say among themselves and despite what they tell John Lindstrom, their public actions and their public policies continue to take us down this road with no sign of retreat. They continue to push for privatization and to take punitive actions against municipalities who have the audacity to set their own course. Cities in Michigan can’t even pass their own civil rights ordinances thanks to actions taken by these supposed anti-Big Government patriots.

So, for all their private blather, when push comes to shove, they don’t appear to allow their personal beliefs to shape their actions in government. And we all know why that is. It’s because if they don’t toe the corporatists’ line, they will see their funding dry up so fast it’ll make their heads spin. The DeVos family and other wealthy political benefactors have an agenda that involves crushing unions, lowering wages, destroying public schools, and privatizing everything from education to prison operations and from caring for veterans to repairing our roads. And local governments that get in the way of that must be dealt with by disinvesting in them to the point that they are in fiscal crisis and ripe for a Big State Government Takeover.

It is time these Republican men and women are made to pay the price for their failed policies and we can do that in November if enough people vote.

  • Justice in Michigan

    Republican leadership in MI has cost many lives even beyond the mini genocide in flint.

    • loktar

      Actually Democratic Leadership has done much worse, easy to see the shit hole Detroit became with Coleman A Young, I got to grow up there during that wonderful period. Also the mayor of Flint is a Democrat as well.. hmm but it’s only the Republicans that are the problem, ok buddy ;).

      • MIckey

        You missed the part where Rick Snyder declared himself the dictator of Michigan’s city and sent in businessmen as ’emergency managers’ with total power to overrule elected officials & lawmakers in those cities? This is all on Snyder and his ‘CPA administration.’ Government and business are not the same thing. The responsibilities of government are entirely different that those of business. The ledger sheet can not be the biggest consideration. Today’s business people are short sited and going for the quick buck rather than investing wisely for future growth. It’s bad business and it’s horrible governance. So, yes, this is all on the Republicans, ‘buddy.’ It’s also an indictment of the disastrous idea of running government like a business.

  • judyms9

    Perhaps because so many churches started using the business model that has led to megachurches, the Republicans thought it would work with all institutions. Wrong.
    GOTV at every, every, every election no matter the ballot issues or candidates. It is our responsibility as Americans and as adults. The people in Flint can certainly tell us how much politics and elections affect our lives, right down to being able to give the dog some water and to flush our darned toilets.

    • Doug Scott

      Yes GoTV yes yes no alternative

  • T. Beck

    Not only will they not admit publicly what they might be saying privately, they can rest assured that the press won’t pick up on it or challenge them since that would get in the way of the media’s desperate attempt to maintain the illusion that “both sides do it.” Plus, as happened in the 2014 congressional elections, the Republicans will pay no electoral price for their governing failures, due to gerrymandered districts and a gelded press.

    • Gerald Parks

      Now …ain’t THAT the truth!!!!!

    • DetroitSam

      The press is well aware of the damage that republicans cause and some in the press may care BUT not enough to report the truth.

  • Gerald Parks

    “Michigan Republicans are secretly admitting that “running state like a business” has failed & has killed people”

    SHeese …no sh*t Sherlock!

    Everywhere GOP/Republicans have been and are in governance has been disastrous to US citizens in 21st Century America …starting with Bush/Cheney 2000 to 2008.

    CA is a great example of what not to do AND what to do!

    Republican businessman Schwarzenegger ran the State into huge deficits …then the electorate elected a career politician who “believes” in public service and government Brown. In less than 4 years …a complete turn around AND a surplus!

    Is that not what happened with POTUS Clinton …good governance and a surplus?

    Then Bush/Cheney GOP/Republican governance 2000 -20008 …poor governance AND near collapse of the US economy!

    The POTUS Obama …in less than 4 years …a complete turn around for the good.

    GOP/Republican governance in 21st Century America has been disastrous!

    The Senate ..MOST filibusters toward a sitting POTUS in US history!

    Republican led Congress both 113th and 114th …BOTH ranked the WORST lest productive in US history!

    EVERY State with GOP/Republican governance… poor governance .. dire financial issues and MI one has poisoned a CITY of 1000,00 US citizens for the past 2 years

    GOP/Republican governance is so bad …the Party is known as THE Party of No!

    “It is time these Republican men and women are made to pay the price for their failed policies and we can do that in November if enough people vote.”

  • AL Heath

    Government is not a “for profit” endeavor. The wealth of this state and this country makes it ridiculous that we can’t provide basic necessities for all.

  • Draco T Bastard

    The DeVos family and other wealthy political benefactors have an agenda
    that involves crushing unions, lowering wages, destroying public
    schools, and privatizing everything from education to prison operations
    and from caring for veterans to repairing our roads.

    Otherwise known as returning to full-on feudalism.

  • Oginikwe

    He lost me at “all thoughtful.”
    No.
    When someone is “thoughtful” they not only recognize the problem, they also do something about it. No one gives a damn about what someone thinks, only how they act and the results of those actions in how they impact other people. So when they think no one is paying attention they can admit to not being able to govern but refuse to act in changing things or even speaking out on the record, and that is a huge failure of courage and personal integrity.
    A GOP illustrative nod to Hannah Arendt and her coinage of “the banality of evil.”

  • pgwarrick

    The ultimate purpose of government is to serve ALL people, not just a group of oligarchs.

    Even businesses should acknowledge that, without people, they most likely would not exist.

  • David Kronner

    Chris I believe you articulated the current teapublican party very well privatisation is the goal it reminds me of a book I read …”The wrecking Crew”republicans have given bad schools,prisons and financially weak regulatory agencies .this is not only Michigan,but 27 other states the republicans owen….we got to VOTE ,and be vigilant…

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