That's Unfortunate . . . Now We Play Hardball
By Kevin Rex Heine, Section News
I grew up as the second of six siblings. My parents were absolute geniuses at molding natural sibling rivalry into six sets of well-honed competitive instincts. We were taught that if someone's keeping score, then winning's important, and you either play to win (within the rules of the game) or don't bother playing; full-contact euchre is a regular event at family get-togethers. We also were taught how to be both considerate winners and gracious losers, and that once the final score is on the board, you shake hands, go have a beer, and get over it. My three now-adult children were taught the same concepts, as were most of my two-and-a-half-dozen-or-so nieces and nephews (including the in-laws).
It would appear, however, that the GoverNerd never learned the same lessons. If you can tolerate listening to all of the logical fallacies and factual misrepresentations, the money quotes start at about 5:01, 11:17, 21:47, 22:24, and 23:19.
Keep in mind that the Governor's press conference was happening while Senators Bert Johnson (D, District 2: Highland Park), Vincent Gregory (D, District 14: Southfield), Mark Jansen (R, District 28: Cutlerville), Roger Kahn (R, District 32: Saginaw), Arlan Meekhof (R, District 30: West Olive), Rebekah Warren (D, District 18: Ann Arbor), Patrick Colbeck (R, District 7: Canton), Gretchen Whitmer (D, District 23: East Lansing), and Randy Richardville (R, District 17: Monroe) were commenting on the passage of Senate Concurrent Resolution 0009 (2013) along strict party lines without taking up House Bill 4714 (2013) for a floor vote (which bill was referred to the Committee on Government Operations just prior to adjourning until Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.). With the exception of Jansen and Meekhof, the comments are preserved on the record in 2013 Senate Journal Number 60.
The Nerd King's churlish behavior, resembling an unruly two-year-old who pitches a hissy fit because his parents won't let him have his way, conveniently ignores the truth that the nine-week summer recess is intended to be an in-district work session, not a two-month vacation. By the way, thanks, rick-head, for giving the Senate Minority Leader a tagline that MDP Chairman Lon Johnson will convert into a commercial that'll be running in every Michigan media market this summer right alongside the "Pure Michigan" pabulum. A cursory Google search of "take a vote, not a vacation" readily shows that the statewide drive-by media and lefty blogs have already started propagating the meme.
Senator Richardville, to his credit, adhered to the "Majority Of The Majority" Doctrine, as he said he'd do, and refused to push a vote on the bill without at least 13 members of his caucus onboard with a "yea" vote. Contrary to Senator Whitmer's assertion that this is an unwritten rule, the doctrine was originally articulated and codified by Dennis Hastert (R-IL-14, 59th Speaker of the House, and the source of the popular nickname "Hastert Rule"), but was in practice in the U. S. House at least as far back as Tom Foley (D-WA-05, 57th Speaker Of The House). Violating that rule? In Speaker Hastert's own words: "Maybe you can do it once, maybe you can do it twice, but when you start making deals when you have to get [the opposition party] to pass the legislation, you are not in power anymore." And that means that we might want to start researching how many times Speaker Bolger has violated this rule (besides 2013-HRC-11 and 2013-HRC-241); maybe a lower house "no confidence vote" is in order.
The only way to override this rule (without the chair's cooperation) is to have a majority of the chamber's voting membership (20 senators, in this case) sign off on a discharge petition in order to force a floor vote. Get 20 senators, regardless of party banner, to sign off on such an instrument, and Richardville can override the fact that both the Senate Majority Floor Leader (Arlan Meekhof) and the Assistant Majority Floor Leader (Phil Pavlov - R, District 25: St. Clair) are aligned with the opposition camp. I mean, if the 50 professional insurance industry lobbyists were correct in claiming that at least 9 republican senators were onboard, this should have been a given, right?
However, a little bit of "track eight analysis" shows that the matter may not have been as simple as that.
Recall that back on Thursday I described briefly the basic logic of Whip Count Math. No one who actually understands how whip counting works would dare suffer a question to be called for vote without knowing, in advance, within ±5%, how the final tally is expected to come down. A logical corollary of this principle is that, in a close vote, the caucus leader wants to have enough insurance votes, equal to 5% of the chamber's voting membership, to cover his ass if someone goes wobbly on the roll call. I also calculated that margin of error to be 38 × 0.05 = 1.9 ≈ 2 senators in addition to the 20 needed for majority.
In other words, if Richardville were inclined to make the importance of this bill a suitable excuse to violate the Hastert Rule, and assuming that he's got the entire 12-member democrat caucus onboard, he'd have to know that he's probably got 9 republican senators willing to vote "yea," and certain that he can rely on at least 7 of them, not including Calley as the tiebreaker. We knew going into Thursday morning that five republicans (Hansen, Kahn, Kowall, Marleau, and Richardville) would vote in support if the question were put. In order to arrive at his necessary nine, Richardville needed to get at least two of the four known fence-sitters (Casperson, Emmons, Hildenbrand, and Jansen) to sign on to a discharge petition that would allow Tupac Hunter (D, District 5: Detroit - Minority Floor Leader) or Hoon-Young Hopgood (D, District 8: Taylor - Assistant Minority Floor Leader) to override Meekhof and force a floor vote. Richardville didn't have the votes.
The flip side of that coin is that Tonya Schuitmaker (R, District 20: Lawton), Senate President Pro-Tempore and nominal leader of the opposition bloc, with 17 senators committed to voting "nay," also needed all four of the fence-sitters (assuming that she had at least one of the rumored three democrat defectors) before she could dare push forward a floor vote to kill the bill. Schuitmaker didn't have the votes either.
Both Richardville and Jansen got it right: The State Senate is intended to be a deliberative body, to think a matter all the way through and consider the foreseeable outcomes. The House had had the bill for at least five weeks, the Senate for maybe seven days. Quoting Richardville: "I think it's not really a responsible thing to say 'take a vote, not a vacation,' when we are a deliberative body and are going to take a hard look at something. We've got plans to go look at some things that we think are important in the legislative schedule."
Damn straight. I recommend taking a hard look at Senate Bill 0422 (2013), which will get the federal fingerprint out of the state Medicaid system altogether, and set it up as a state-funded, state-operated trust fund, therefore protected by 10th Amendment State Sovereignty against federal meddling.
Oh, and a sidebar for any of the lefty lurkers on this site (yes, Eric Baaren and Christine Barry, I'm referring specifically to the two of you) who may attempt to counter with how quickly the Workplace Fairness and Equity Act was passed, I'll point out that Public Act 348 of 2012 was originally Senate Bill 0116 (2011), which was introduced on February 9, 2011, and then sat in the Senate Economic Development Committee for damn near two full years before being brought out to the floor for an up-or-down vote. That's plenty of time for debate, consideration, and amendment. That the House concurred without amendment five days later reflects the reality that the lower chamber is designed to represent the popular will; and Proposal 12-2 going down 57.40% to 42.60%, along with Proposal 12-4 going down 56.23% to 43.77%, was considered as popular will wanting Freedom To Work passed as the law of the state.
Way back in March of 2009, as the tea party movement in Michigan was still in its embryonic stages, Nick DeLeeuw warned us about an unknown moderate who was seeking the Governor's Mansion under the Republican banner, apparently for no other reason than to scratch a "to do" item off of his bucket list. However, with three more conservative candidates splitting the bold colors vote (three points separated the frontrunner, Hoekstra, from Cox and Snyder going into the final weekend, with 18% undecided) and Rick Michigan openly courting democrat crossover votes, we wound up with a nominee who didn't win a majority on primary night (381,327 ÷ 1,044,925 ≈ 36.49%) and whom ~63.51% of the republican primary voters didn't want.
This historical fact alone ought to make the case for statutorily mandating some sort of run-off option to a primary in which no candidate wins a clear majority. It's also "Exhibit A" for why, if we're going to advance a primary challenger next year, then it ought to be exactly one known conservative. I'll get back to that.
Back in December of 2008, I quoted an address by Ambassador Peter F. Secchia to the Kent County Republicans. Because it's so relevant, I'm going to requote it here:
Ambassador Secchia also said that, in his judgment, if you have elected officials who demand leadership, then they should win that leadership from their peers, in their caucus, from the people wearing the same party uniform and sharing the same "locker room." Siding with your opponents is not, as the Grand Rapids Press stated, "reaching out," it is changing your uniform in the middle of the game. Once you do that, no private political strategy is unshared, and no appointments are fairly represented. It is "pretend" leadership without a team uniform . . . leadership that will never be able to decide who owes what to whom.
I won't go into all of the details in this article, but the regulars of this site are generally aware that Governor Rick Snyder has established a pattern of being more interested in accomplishing an agenda uniquely his own, that does not necessarily have the best interests of either the state's residents or its infrastructure in mind, and that poisons the party brand in the process. The tea-party driven red tsunami that swept the Republican Party back into power in Michigan in 2010 cares about two priorities above all others: state sovereignty and constitutionally-restrained government. Though he's made it pretty clear recently that he doesn't overmuch care what the tea party thinks of him, to quote Joanie Fabiano, "Next time someone says the Tea Party is insignificant, tell them to ask Israel."
ObamaCare, by its very nature, runs diametrically and diabolically counter to the two chief priorities of the liberty-minded network. Bill Schuette, our Attorney General, gets that, which is why he's been on the front lines against this juggernaut, whilst Snyder is quite content to let the beast in through the back door. Not only did the GoverNerd invite the one-woman death panel into the state to assist in the snake oil sales pitch, but when he didn't get his way last Thursday, he effectively sicced the state's moocher-and-looter class on 21 state senators who did their damn jobs. And in doing this, the Nerd King is ticking off the republican base, and either doesn't realize it, or honestly believes that it doesn't matter.
Governor Snyder, while eligible for re-election, hasn't yet publicly declared whether he'll do so. I suspect, as I've said before, that he's waiting for the Biennial Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference (September 20 - 22, 2013) to make it official, and in the meantime is deliberately dragging his feet on the gamble that he can coax potential challengers to reveal themselves out of impatience. Given that his best poll performance in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup with Mark Schauer was reported as dead even, he's got to know that he's vulnerable to a credible primary ouster, even though he's apparently oblivious to the reality that his behavior is poisoning the party brand.
And I'm fine with that, because there's now credible backchannel scuttlebutt that a viable primary challenger has already been recruited. Said challenger has pre-existing statewide name recognition, can independently fund a primary campaign, and has sufficient grassroots cred within the infamously fractious liberty-minded network that the Nerd King's primary ouster just became an open question. The name however, is being kept under the tightest of wraps for the time being, because Snyder is clearly not accustomed to losing, and is known to readily adopt a "by whatever means necessary" approach toward getting things done (including keeping his office, if that's important to him). The challenger would be a fool to surface one minute before he has to.
All I'm saying is that the countdown clock up in the upper left corner, and the unscientific poll over there in the right sidebar, aren't there for show. The poison in the party brand needs to be neutralized and removed.
That's Unfortunate . . . Now We Play Hardball | 55 comments (55 topical, 0 hidden)
That's Unfortunate . . . Now We Play Hardball | 55 comments (55 topical, 0 hidden)
Related Links+ Mark Jansen (R, District 28: Cutlerville)
+ Patrick Colbeck (R, District 7: Canton)
+ Gretchen Whitmer (D, District 23: East Lansing)
+ Randy Richardville (R, District 17: Monroe)
+ Senate Concurrent Resolution 0009 (2013)
+ House Bill 4714 (2013)
+ 2013 Senate Journal Number 60
+ for giving the Senate Minority Leader a tagline
+ Majority Of The Majority
+ as he said he'd do
+ Senator Whitmer's assertion that this is an unwritten rule
+ 2013-HRC-1 1
+ 2013-HRC-2 41
+ back on Thursday
+ Quoting Richardville
+ Senate Bill 0422 (2013)
+ Workplace Fairness and Equity Act
+ Public Act 348 of 2012
+ Senate Bill 0116 (2011)
+ Nick DeLeeuw warned us about an unknown moderate
+ going into the final weekend
+ Back in December of 2008
+ Governor Rick Snyder
+ he doesn't overmuch care what the tea party thinks of him
+ invite the one-woman death panel into the state
+ effectivel y sicced the state's moocher-and-looter class
+ hasn't yet publicly declared whether he'll do so
+ Biennial Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference
+ best poll performance in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup
+ Also by Kevin Rex Heine