Mark Schauer, Michigan, Rick Snyder — August 12, 2013 at 9:00 am

With four years of a downward spiral, will Rick Snyder even run for another four as governor?


“I tried to do stuff” isn’t really a platform, is it?

[Caricature by DonkeyHotey from photos by Anne C. Savage for Eclectablog]

I find it a bit puzzling that Rick Snyder hasn’t yet confirmed that he is running for governor in 2014. Most people didn’t know about his 2010 candidacy until he ran the now-famous “one tough nerd” ad during the Superbowl in February so perhaps there is a reason he’s not making it official yet despite the fact that Mark Schauer has and is running against him already. Until Snyder announces, it’s going to be a one-sided campaign with Schauer lobbing volley after volley at Snyder who stays silent in the face of the onslaught.

It’s going to very interesting to see how Snyder campaigns. Exactly how does one campaign for reelection with this set of accomplishments:

  • Five new cities under an unelected Emergency Manager’s rule — Flint, Hamtramck, Allen Park, Inkster, and Detroit, Michigan’s largest city
  • Over half of Michigan’s African Americans without democracy at the local level
  • Five new school districts in financial emergencies and under Emergency Managers — Pontiac, Hazel Park, Buena Vista, Highland Park, and Muskegon Heights
  • Enacted a new Emergency Manager law just three months after voters rejected the previous similar one at the ballot box
  • Dissolution of Buena Vista and Inkster school districts due to lack of funds
  • One in ten Michigan schools facing bankruptcy
  • Michigan’s unemployment rate stagnant two months ago and actually increased last month.
  • Taxes raised on over 50% of Michiganders
  • Taxes increased on seniors
  • School funding slashed
  • Decimation of our public school system through increasing numbers of for-profit charter schools, the highest percentage in the nation
  • Huge tax break for corporations that appears to have had little if any effect
  • Michigan’s largest city in bankruptcy
  • Lack of transparency in his administration including a top aide being paid from a privately-funded slush fund
  • Secret “skunk works” group working to privatize/voucherize Michigan schools in violation of the constitution
  • Passage of widely unpopular right to work legislation
  • Failure to pass Medicaid expansion that will save billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives

It was widely accepted in 2012 that, if gas prices were over four dollars per gallon, Barack Obama couldn’t be reelected. If that’s the low bar we set for the national election, it’s hard to imagine how Rick Snyder can survive this list of utter failures at the state level. It really calls into question comments like the one political consultant and so-called expert Bill Ballenger recently made:

I don’t think he’s mortally wounded or particularly vulnerable.

Really? What exactly is the good governor going to run on? Despite promises that cutting taxes on businesses and making the birthplace of the labor movement a right to work state, Michigan’s record on job creation is tepid at best and our struggling urban areas, lacking any real investment by the Snyder administration and their colleagues in the legislature, continue to struggle.

For all his talk about dashboards, metrics, and relentless positive action, we’ve seen very little in the way of positive results to show for it. Between April 2012 and April 2013, Michigan “enjoyed” a job growth rate of a mere 0.8%, tied for places like Alabama and Louisiana. Much of that can be attributed to the resurgence of the vehicle manufacturing sector thanks to intervention by the Granholm and Obama administrations and something vilified by Republicans across the country.

According the Governor’s own website Michigan Jobs Insight, less than 15,000 new jobs have been created in Michigan this year. So much for tax-breaks and Right to Work being the saviors of our economy.

It’s all enough to make you wonder if Rick Snyder has had enough of the hassle of having to deal with politics and with groups he can’t simply issue orders to like he could when he was a corporate leader. Is it possible he’s going to decide to throw in the towel and let someone else clean up after him? After all, the tea party, a group that was a major factor in the 2010 Republican wave, dislikes him and is even looking to replace super-conservative Lt. Governor Brian Calley with someone who is even MORE conservative and are threatening not to support Snyder in 2014.

Democrats despise him. The tea party has turned their back on him. People who in 2010 were mistakenly led to believe that Rick Snyder is some sort of moderate now know otherwise. Just who, exactly, is his base? Corporatists, of course, but they don’t make up enough of the electorate to be considered anything close to a plurality. All that sweet, sweet DeVos family and Koch brothers money isn’t going to make much difference when groups on both sides dislike the candidate. Mitt Romney proved that to the world in 2012.

So, maybe Rick Snyder will decide to skulk off into the sunset to land a cushy job with some corporation, leaving some other sacrificial lamb to face the populist campaign of Democrat Mark Schauer. It’s probably unlikely but, if I were Rick Snyder, I’d be giving the idea very serious thought.