Bill Schuette, Flint, Rick Snyder — May 31, 2017 at 9:42 pm

Michigan needs a legislature of and for the people, not Calley’s corporate cronies


Conservative hopes to cash in by promising Lansing to the lobbyists

You could argue that Michigan’s Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley and I just have a slight difference of opinion.

Calley is proposing a ballot initiative that would amend the state’s constitution to give the state legislature most of the year off. I’d rather give most of this legislature — all of the Republican majority, in fact — the entire year off.

Hell, if it were up to me, these sad bags of flesh would never work in anything resembling public service again. And I ‘d encourage Rick Snyder to pack his buddy Calley in a child seat before he zooms off on the getaway from our state the ex-governor will almost certainty make the moment he’s done with his second term.

The Republican Party acts as if we aren’t aware that its dominance of our state’s government since 2011 has led to the poisoning of our seventh-largest city. Amidst a myriad of other failures, only cloaked by the success of President Obama’s auto rescue and Medicaid expansion, Michigan’s schools have seen the worst test score gains in America.

Obviously, these massive failures weren’t the result of an overactive government too involved in everybody’s business, but the opposite. Michigan’s GOP is a party that has been captured by corporate interests and immune to any serious oversight by voters, thanks to its built-in advantages from gerrymandering and billionaire backers.

Conservatives always attack government’s ability to function as they seek employment in it. But our legislature is a uniquely safe target for Calley, who is nearly indistinguishable in his lack of charm and admirable accomplishments from his chief rival for the Republican gubernatorial nomination Bill Schuette.

Instead of fixing our roads or making a reasonable effort to get Flint water they can drink from the tap, our state lawmakers have fixated on more giveaways for the rich and a bill that bans banning plastic bags.

By backing this corporatist wet dream in front of the state’s political elite at the Mackinac Policy Conference , Calley hopes to raise his profile among special interests and kickstart his fundraising. But his plan to have our legislature meet only 90 days a year would, as Michigan Radio‘s Jack Lessenberry notes, do the nearly impossible — it would make our situation in Michigan even worse:

Since they could only meet for a few weeks every year, and wouldn’t be paid enough to live on, all our lawmakers would have to be retired or have full-time jobs. Not many jobs allow you to take off for a few weeks every so often.

Nor is anyone going to seriously cripple their career for a part-time political job that can only last six to eight years. So what we would get is incompetents and lobbyists. This would also amount to a serious transfer of power away from the people’s directly elected representatives to the governor and, especially, the special interests.

This plan would cut out the middle man and transition Michigan directly to a government of, by and for the lobbyists.

The notion of public service seems quaint in a era where the president of the United States’ only preparation for his job was avoiding taxes and stealing the valor of other generous donors, but we need to be doing more to Michigan’s government transparent and responsive to the people. Not less.

Brian Calley may look forward to our representatives copying and pasting legislation from anti-worker and fundamentalist “think tanks” even more often than they do now.

But here’s a wild idea: How about we elect people who want to work full-time on the behalf of the people? It would a nice change from the last 7 years in this state.

[Photo by Bill Rice | Flickr]

  • willow

    I do not support Calley. Like Snyder, none of these corporatists have enough independence or character to stand up to the looney, religious right. We end up with the worst of both groups. However, MI legislators are the 4th highest paid in the nation. They get 93K for 83 scheduled days of work. Whether we pay them 93 or 46.5 K a year, we’ll still end up screwed by them.

    The real problem is the Democratic Party. I am still angry that the Clintons and DNC stole the primary from Bernie. He would have won, and we wouldn’t have Trump and his mess. My anger includes Peters, Stabenow and the rest of the MI superdelegates that ignored Michigan’s voters and supported Clinton. 8 years of Obama destroyed the 50 state strategy and lost most of the state offices and the four branches of govt. I have no interest in voting for any Democrat that aided and abetted Bill Clinton in the destruction of the Democratic Party.

    • Your desire to punish the Democratic Party has rendered you irrelevant, then. If you’re not working to make things better and to build the Democratic Party into a stronger Party, you’re little more than someone sitting in a lawn chair on the sidelines shouting, “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!!!”

      • willow

        You willingness to reward a failing, corrupt party has rendered the Democratic Party irrelevant. While you take the easy route and enable them, people like me are working to hold them accountable. YOU are the mom sitting on her behind yelling at her toddler not to hit the dog.
        They ignore you because they know they can. You have no place else to go. The Democrats always say so.

      • willow

        You haven’t changed a bit.

        • And I’m not one bit ashamed of that. Democrats in my area are kicking ass and we’re teaching other Democrats to do the same.

  • Scott Brodie

    How about a unicameral full-time, non-term limited legislature?

  • BurinMRB

    We have a lot of Americans sitting around complaining about ‘how bad things are’. Most of them don’t do anything to help, They don’t get involved in anything; they just whine. Most of the readers of this magazine don’t remember JFK because they are too young. But he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” That is as relevant today as it ever was.