Sunday, February 14, 2010

Let's [blank] Michigan!

Their campaign messages seem to agree that it is all about Michigan.  From there, the candidates' begin to vary in focus and tone.  There are Democrats and Republicans that are looking toward the future of Michigan.  One candidate seems willing to fight alone for that future.  Another declares to everyone that we begin the future...  Whatever the heck that means.....  And, another would just have us move forward together without explaining how exactly, or how far and how fast we must go into that future.

We also have the candidates that are bound and determined to enumerate what's wrong so they can tell us we need to fix it.  Or, at least, pretend to care about fixing it without ever having to take any action, thus leading to more deadlock.

Right now, most folks agree that the Republicans and the Democrats in Lansing are not staying on task and are bickering over every little jot and tittle.  It is Lansing that we must fix, claims one candidate, then we can get Michigan back to work.  I'm not certain how slapping around a few Legislators and screaming at the Governor would do the State of Michigan any good. The bold ideas and the investment capital needed to create jobs won't come entirely out of Lansing.  And, we all know that a dysfunctional government hasn't helped the State of Michigan.

Of course the aggressive candidates will fight to fix Michigan.  One approach to the problems in Michigan involves the governor gathering lots of fix-it troops to be formed into teams to fix things.  Michiganders fixing things together.  Fixing, fixing, fixing....and fighting, fighting, fighting for Michigan families, jobs, and to make her "work", again.  Another candidate loudly states that we can't fix Michigan.  It must be reinvented.  Regardless of all the campaign rhetoric, the questions remain -- What are we going to fix?  What are we going to reinvent?  And, just who and what are we going to fight?

It seems right now that the Republicans in Michigan just want to fight all revenue increases proposed to pay for the work of Michigan Government.  They believe that slashing funds from our already much maligned school system will somehow encourage folks to move businesses to Michigan or expand employment.  Would you move people to a State with an alleged failing school system with bad teachers?  The Republican, no doubt, have been too successful in their decades long campaign to destroy "public" education in favor of homeschooling and fly-by-night voucher-funded charter or private-for-profit schools that thus far have not proven to have improved education in Michigan.  Is that how a world-class educational system is created?  I prefer not to talk to Republicans about the future of Michigan's schools.  They aren't interested in progress, innovation, or real reform -- bashing the unions in Michigan is really all they seem to know how to do.  Its seems to be all about power, not the welfare of Michigan and its citizens.

Anyway, I'm equally disappointed in the Democrats in the State of Michigan for their refusal to take their majority in the House and their current hold on the Governor's Mansion and actually do some good.  They've failed so far to lead effectively.  It perhaps is a bit amazing that in all the campaign slogans being used at present, no one seems to want to LEAD Michigan back to work, to LEAD the efforts to fix or reinvent Michigan, or even to LEAD others in the fight for Michigan's future.  Yes, Michigan has a dysfunctional government that is lacking real leadership in all branches of government.  Governor Granholm is doing her best, but without the support of her own Michigan Democratic Party and the cooperation of those Republicans that actually want to help govern, we will forever flounder.

We need real leadership in Michigan with concrete solutions for the problems that Michiganders face every day.  Doing the politically expedient doesn't work for Michigan.  We need a Governor and a Michigan Legislature that actually takes political risks in solving the real non-political problems of employment, energy, and education.  Stop looking to YOUR political futures and start to care about Michigan's future.

Here are the campaign slogans from the candidates websites:

Fix Lansing -- Get Michigan Back to Wor
k -- Mike Bouchard (R)

Fighting for Michigan's Future --  Mike Cox (R)

Together We Can Fix Michigan  --  Tom George (R)

Michigan's Future Begins With Us!  --  Pete Hoekstra (R)

Reinvent Michigan --  Rick Michigan Snyder (R

...together we can move Michigan forward  --  Alma Wheeler Smith (D)

Fighting for Michigan jobs.  Fighting for Michigan families.  Fighting to make Michigan work again!  --
  Virg Bernero

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