In what was a surprise to pretty much nobody, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed Republican Rick Snyder this past week. He’s also spending $2 million on pro-Snyder ads. I say it’s unsurprising because (a) Bloomberg held a mega-fundraiser for Snyder back in June in the midst of the road funding battle in the Michigan legislature that ended up
fully funding our road repair needs going absolutely nowhere in the vacuum of leadership provided by Gov. Snyder and (b) the Multi-Millionaire’s Club is small and they take very good care of each other.
But another odd thing happened: The National Rifle Association (NRA) also endorsed Snyder. The group, whose goal is to arm as many people with as many weapons as possible, is the archenemy of Bloomberg who has spent millions of dollars on supporting gun control measures in his state and around the country.
This confluence of endorsements puts Gov. Snyder in a tough place. There is no possible way for him to make both of these groups on the issue of gun control. In fact, the very idea of a Bloomberg endorsement is likely to give some NRA members the howling fantods. It might actually be enough for them to not vote for Snyder, a trend that seems to be building on the conservative right.
“The name Bloomberg in the gun-rights community is like acid. It will only hurt Snyder with us,” according to Tom Lambert of Michigan Open Carry, who said the governor has a mixed record on gun issues.
This is much the same situation that Snyder finds himself in with regards to the tea party. In an effort to be everything to everybody, Snyder has embraced all elements of the Republican Party, including the tea party faction that is intent on seeing the Affordable Care Act repealed and nearly every other initiative of President Obama destroyed. But there’s Gov. Snyder, sitting in the middle between the more rationale (if I dare use that phrase in this context) Republicans on the right and the extremist tea partiers on the even farther right. Because Gov. Snyder is now running on his expansion of Medicaid in Michigan, a key component of Obamacare, the very mention of which raises the hackles/dander/ire/pitchforks of tea partiers everywhere.
And that’s not all. Snyder is also advocating raising taxes to pay for road repairs. It’s obviously the only solution but tea partiers and the ultra-conservative “Read My Lips, No New Taxes” crew would rather see our highways crumble into gravel than have their taxes raised by one penny.
So, Gov. Snyder has a self-created situation where he is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t on some issues in play in this election that are very emotionally-charged and which are deal breakers for some of his base.
What’s amazing to me is how much rancor and divisiveness Republicans can cram into such a little tent.