Tim Skubick: The biggest political losers of 2012
By Tim Skubick
Drum roll: The biggest political loser of 2012 is….err, make that “are.”
Yep, it’s a tie: Matty Moroun and Michigan organized labor.
This past year had all sorts of pratfalls from this player or that as folks went about their business playing the political game in our fair state.
Clearly the owners of the Ambassador Bridge, led by Matty Moroun, did their best to endear themselves to the citizenry as they tried to cement their monopoly. The governor had different ideas: He wanted to break the monopoly by building a second span between Detroit and Windsor.
And $42 million later, Moroun’s statewide ballot proposal remains one of the most expensive yet least successful as voters saw through the stretching of the truth, according to various media outlets, that led to its defeat. And to make matters worse, Mr. Moroun also bankrolled another ballot plan making it next to impossible to raise taxes. That went down in flames, too.
All this was grand news for the TV stations who wallowed in Moroun money.
And then there’s the union movement, which took hit at hit from the GOP legislature and formally thought-to-be-moderate Gov. Rick Snyder. Leaders had it up to here and retaliated with Proposal 2, which began as a way to block Right to Work. Instead, it mushroomed into a top-heavy ballot plan that had everything but the kitchen sink in it. It sank because voters refused to enshrine “collective bargaining rights” into the state constitution.
Along the way there were many runners-up. House GOP Speaker Jase Bolger and his sidekick, former Rep. Roy Schmidt, concocted a stupid scheme to secure Mr. Schmidt’s re-election. It was ugly from the get-go and got uglier as it went along. Now a one-person grand juror will decide whether they broke any laws. The Battle Creek Speaker confessed that his desire to win that seat got in the way of his judgment. Give them both credit for saying they were sorry, but it did not erase their deeds.
Staying on the GOP side of things, the House GOP leadership team made national headlines by turning off the microphone of a female House Democrat who said the word “vagina” during a debate over abortion. Ironically it was a precursor of things to come as other Republicans around the county said stuff about women that they wish they had not.
Democrats in Detroit chimed in with their own performances. In order to prevent the city from drowning in red ink, the governor worked a consent agreement with the mayor and city council. But it took a long time to implement as the local officials had buyers remorse. One can understand the opposition, given the history of Lansing trying to tell the city what to do. But in outstate Michigan it did not play well and as the old year flows into the new one, the fate of the city hangs in the balance.
The list goes on, but they only allow 350 words for these works of art.