Living in the upper Midwest, I hear a lot about how Republican state governments are constantly trying to rewrite the laws to disenfranchise the populace with stricter voter ID laws, gut the public school systems with less funding or more vouchers, or completely hide their campaign shenanigans. When you hear about it in national news, it is most often mentioned in Wisconsin or Kansas.
Kansas has Sam Brownback, whose Libertarian “supply-side” economic experiment has forced the state to revise their budget every year because they have been well below tax intake estimates. Surprise, surprise reducing taxes on the rich doesn’t spur job growth. We have 35 years of nearly uninterrupted Reaganomics that has already proved this. We didn’t need the Kansas stupidity experiment to prove it again. It doesn’t even matter because conservatives will refuse to see this as proof of the failure of their beloved dream anyway.
Wisconsin has Scott Walker and his extremist Republican cast who are all bought by the Koch brothers. Since he was running for President, a lot of our state’s dirty laundry got aired out pretty quickly, and his chances crashed pretty quickly when everyone realized he was a one-trick pony with as much intelligence as a marmoset with a lobotomy.
What has been missed with this focus on these two buffoons is the sneaky conservative under-handedness that has occurred across Lake Michigan. Rick Snyder, the governor of the state of Michigan, has been virtually ignored nationally, except for a few times. He placed an emergency manager over the city of Detroit that oversaw the rightfully elected mayor and city council and could overturn anything they decided. That was national news, but not for the real reason that it should have been.
Most news agencies couched the issue as a matter of bringing Detroit’s debt back in line, and the only way that could be done was by taking extraordinary measures. So, even though this had never been done before, many outlets thought this was a good idea. Was it a good idea to have emergency managers across the state to many other cities like Flint, Pontiac, Benton Harbor, and others? All of those places had massive civil problems that could only be solved by the governors chosen representative, who would privatize government assets, fire government workers, and completely abrogate union contracts. All of this was to save money, though! If you believe that, I have a bridge I want to sell you.
However, this is only the first problem, but it led directly to the second major problem. In Flint, the emergency manager needed to save money, so he took the city off the Detroit water system it had been using for years because it just cost too much money, and started using the old system that siphoned water in from the Flint River. There is some dispute whether or not the officials knew that the old pipes were lead, but many of the residents of Flint have been poisoned because of this very foolish decision.
There is a new issue now. A bill has just been signed into law that Rick Snyder is downplaying but will certainly be used as a weapon against the people in coming elections. This bill passed with no public hearings and with only Republican votes that prohibits local officials from discussing ballot proposals or millage issues within 60 days before an election. Local officials and others have claimed this is a state imposed gag order. The governor just says it is intended to prohibit targeted advertisement style issue ads using taxpayer money.
You can say whatever you like there Slick, but that isn’t the way the law was written. You may want people to think that, and it may have originally been intended that way when you actually had the support of Democrats. When the bill was inflated from 13 pages to 53, the context and purpose completely changed.
Herein lies the problem with the Democratic Party in regards to the country – most of the states are totally or virtually in the hands of Republicans. While the Democrats focus on the Presidency, they have let slip away the states and Congress. Sure having the Presidency is a fine thing, but you cannot fix the country by just having one office. There are so many more seats of power in this country, and you neglect them to your peril.
Image via Michigan.gov