NOTE: With the impending election, trying to keep up with all of the news is like drinking from a firehose and, with a day job and other activities I’m involved in, I simply don’t have time to do an individual blog post for everything that is going on. I’m considering doing a “grab bag” like this one every day or two, sort of a “news round-up” to at least point out some of the stuff I don’t have the time to do a full-blown post about. Some of the news may be a day or two old by the time I write about it but maybe it’s something you missed. Let me know your thoughts about this in the comments.
Rick Snyder has officially lost the media
It started with Nolan Finley’s column in The Detroit News last week where he described Rick Snyder in his most recent campaign ad as “as dull as a valiumed-up dental patient”. Then the Detroit Free Press piled on with an op-ed today positively excoriating Snyder’s handling of the Aramark scandal.
Here’s a taste:
That’s the only word to describe the way Michigan has handled privatization of its prison food service. A $145-million, three-year contract awarded to Aramark Correctional Services is saving the State of Michigan about $12 million a year (at the cost of 370 state jobs). […]
Aramark’s first bid for the prison food contract was rejected when it didn’t meet the state’s 5% cost-savings threshold. But at Republican state lawmakers’ urging, the Department of Technology, Management and Budget re-reviewed the contract and found that “errors” were made in the analysis, meaning the state could move forward.
Now, about those fines — Dan Heyns, the director of the state Department of Corrections, said he would “delay or cancel” one $98,000 fine, giving Aramark time to correct its deficiencies in response to an e-mail from Gov. Rick Snyder’s chief of staff, Dennis Muchmore. He asked Heyns, “Do we need to get (a) drink?”
We say again: Huh.There’s nothing wrong, in theory, with private contractors providing public services. But the measure for the wisdom of pursuing that kind of outsourcing needs to be particular, and strictly enforced.
Obviously, in Michigan, it hasn’t been. Aramark seems to prove that more with each sordid revelation about its stewardship of prison food services.
The state could cancel its Aramark contract (with no financial penalty to the state if the contract is canceled for cause). But that won’t prevent this kind of thing from happening again.
Only exacting management from state officials and lawmakers can do that.
It’s good to save money. But not at any price.
Then comes Susan Demas at MLive who suggests that Snyder has borrowed the worst campaign tactics of failed … wait for it … Democrats!
First, the guv dismissively declared that he didn’t “know if [citizens] need” debates. (Translation: I’ll be the judge of what you need, plebeians).
Then Snyder announced he’ll just be doing solo town halls, thank you very much, with audience members hand-selected by his campaign.
Snyder’s campaign manager, Kyle Robertson, blithely told reporters why the guv wouldn’t deign to be in the same room with the Democrat:
“Mark Schauer lacks the intelligence to keep up with him in a format like a town hall.”
(Translation: I am smarter than everyone. Just coronate me now). […]
There’s a reason why Nolan Finley, editor of the conservative Detroit News editorial page, recently penned a savage rebuke to Snyder, brutalizing him as being as “dull as a valiumed-up dental patient.”
Conservatives are begging Snyder to metamorphose from a CPA into a street-fighter, stat.
But is it already too late?
Meanwhile, his Democratic opponent Mark Schauer is getting warm and fuzzy coverage like a piece from WWMT that shows him to be a hard-working candidate who is connecting with average Michiganders.
Schauer told us his day begins at 7 in the morning and ends at 10 in the evening, often going back and forth from the east side of the state to his home in Battle Creek.
This afternoon, he had two events and spent several hours working the phones, fitting a boxed lunch in.
We heard him say several times what he shows on his vehicle’s bumper–that Governor Rick Snyder raised taxes, hurt pensioners, and hurt public school children.
“I have always run tough races, battleround districts, always been the underdog, and we’ve overcome that by running great campaigns,” Schauer said.
Between the scandals and the scandalously terrible campaign ads, Rick Snyder has a LOT of ground to make up. We all know that he’s saving his big guns (read: money and spending) for the last month. But Demas’ question about whether or not it will be too late by then is a worthy one.
Family of Terri Lynn Land heavily funds a group that sees the Muslim religion (along with others) as “an obstacle” to their goals
With Land’s campaign in a death spiral, I’m starting to feel like it’s piling on to write about her. But this particular news is so egregious that it’s worth mentioning. It turns out that the Land family is heavily invested in supporting a group called “World Mission”. And that group doesn’t like other religions at all:
An evangelical Christian non-profit group operated by the family of republican U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land lists Islam, Judaism and Buddhism as “obstacles” to its mission in a promotional video.
Land’s campaign spokesperson told the Huffington Post, which broke the story last week, that Land “has no role” in World Mission, the non-profit in question. But according to IRS documents, Land’s husband signs on the group’s tax returns. World Mission was also located at the same address as Land’s former campaign office when she was secretary of state.
World Mission is listed as one of the charities supported by Land’s family’s real estate company, Land & Co., where the candidate worked for 20 years.
“It is extremely offensive that Terri Lynn Land would see the Muslim community as inferior and an obstacle to be overcome,” said the Michigan Muslim Democratic Caucus Chair Dr. Shahid Tahir.
“How does she expect to represent Michigan’s diverse communities in Washington when she and her family are getting tax breaks to promote intolerance around the world?” Tahir asked. “Ms. Land’s silence about her personal contributions and tax breaks to this divisive charity are unacceptable and wrong. We believe that Michiganders deserve to hear an explanation.”
Once again: a fair question.
On a related note, Chad Selweski at Politically Speaking writes that Land has flip-flopped on how she thinks President Obama should be handling the crisis in the Middle East.
Largely overlooked in the Senate race pitting Republican Terri Lynn Land against Democratic Rep. Gary Peters is the apparent flip-flop by Land on the issue of military intervention in Syria.
Many congressional Republicans who shied away from — or outright blasted — President Obama’s plans of a year ago to hit Syria with missile strikes have suddenly become gung-ho on intervening in a big way. Of course, Obama’s 2013 plan represented retaliation for the Assad regime’s ugly chemical weapons attack, while the current impetus is the ISIS terror group’s beheading of two Americans.
Another obvious factor: the polls that were so soundly against military strikes in 2013 are now strongly in favor of what amounts to a new war.
In Land’s case, her words from almost exactly one year ago contradict what she said last week. (And it’s still unclear if she would vote for U.S. funds for the Syrian rebels.)
Selweski gives explicit quotes to support his observation. Click over for the details.
Former Michigan Governor WIlliam Milliken continues to stir up angst in the GOP
Michigan Republicans are ticked off at former Governor William Milliken, one of the last remaining reasonable, centrist Republicans, for failing to endorse a couple of their candidates – Terri Lynn Land and Bill Schuette, specifically. As I noted in my post earlier this week, Michigan Republican Party chair Bobby Schostak stooped to calling Gov. Milliken “irrelvant”, proving just how extreme they have become. Schuette’s campaign is full of sour grapes, as well, suggesting that Gov. Milliken doesn’t know Mark Totten, the candidate he endorsed for Attorney General, well enough to endorse him:
“Attorney General Schuette likes Governor Milliken and respects his service, but seeing that Mr. Totten stakes his candidacy on being a prosecutor, I wonder if Mr. Totten told Gov. Milliken that he has never once convicted a criminal in trial court, and never once held a paid job as a prosecutor. That is the heart of his case for why he is qualified to be attorney general, but it doesn’t hold up,” said Schuette Campaign Manager John Sellek.
However, the article notes, Totten volunteered as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the court from 2011 to 2013, working on cases.
In response to Sellek’s slam of Gov. Milliken, Totten’s campaign manager Manager John Keig shot back:
Yes, Governor Milliken is very familiar with Mark Totten’s record as a prosecutor and mastery of the law. That’s why he endorsed him. To suggest otherwise is an insult to Governor Milliken. Bill Schuette’s record is the real issue: pandering to corporate sponsors and pursuing extreme ideological crusades, such as denying women contraceptive coverage and justice for the families of those hurt or even killed by faulty pharmaceuticals. The difference between these candidates is clear, and that is why Mark Totten has earned Governor Milliken’s endorsement.
Maybe it’s time for Rick Snyder, Terri Lynn Land, and Bill Schuette to come to grips with the fact that the media and, in some cases, reasonable, rational Republicans just aren’t that into them.
I’m just sayin’…