Sunday, March 04, 2007

Missing... Presumed Drowned

Sorry about the lack of posting- things fall apart, the center cannot hold, blah, blah, blah. Going through some difficult times here, and I probably won't be able to do this much until things get settled. Assuming they do.

But enough about me. Some other folks have been missing too.

I've been watching with interest as the blogs are tearing apart the Michigan Republicans for their lack of disclosure on this miraculous $900 million dollar budget cut plan they supposedly have, but there was this nagging question in the back of my mind... and I can't help but think once again-

Where are the Michigan Democrats?

Oh. Found 'em. They're right here- mouthing Republican talking points. Isn't that swell.

"It's too soon to say it's dead," House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford Township, said Friday. "But it needs to be vetted and go through committee hearings. And I think Michigan residents want to see us tackle cuts and reforms first before we talk about a new tax."

Dillon's words mirrored what Republicans have been saying since Granholm announced her plan last month.

Once again, instead of showing some courage and backing up the Governor, Democrats open the door for the Republican catch words to become the norm, preferring to hide behind "the process", when they know damn well what needs to be done here.

Matter of fact, Sen. Michael Switalski narked them all out in the Macomb Daily.

The Legislature remains in disarray over Gov. Jennifer Granholm's tax and budget plan, with indecisive lawmakers flirting with a political logjam that could paralyze state government, said the top Democrat on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

Sen. Michael Switalski, a Roseville Democrat, said Granholm's plan for budget cuts and a 2 percent tax on services has been second-guessed by virtually all 38 senators and 110 representatives in the Capitol. But no one is coming forward with a reasonable alternative.

"Everybody thinks they've got a better idea. There are 148 plans outs there but nobody is willing put their name on one," said Switalski, who supports the Granholm plan.

And that's why I love my Governor- she has the vision to put out a plan, identify the cuts, roll with the punches on raising taxes, and take the Traveling Salvation Show on the road to the people one more time. This week we are going to party like it's 2003 all over again.

She has the guts to get out there and face the tough questions. Will the Democrats back her up? Or are they are going to huddle with the Republicans and give them bipartisan cover for some horrific cuts to come?

"Scary" Eddie Sarpolus goes "booga, booga, booga!"

"Andy Dillon has to decide: Does he want to keep the House or help the governor?" Lansing political consultant and pollster Ed Sarpolus of EPIC/MRA said. "They'll help the governor as much as they can, but in the end, they have to hang on to their majority."

How about helping the people of the state. Maybe that should factor into the decisions somewhere, sometime, please, for a change.

And here is where I get to have some fun- I get to play Tim Skubick off of Ed! Wonders never cease.

People are throwing the word "recall" around like it was as simple as tossing a Frisbee- but this time the tables get turned. You would think they are talking about Granholm, but you would be wrong.

Some in the anti-government movement are saber-rattling about recalling lawmakers who support the governor's two-penny excise tax on services. Heck, Republican Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson confirms he's gotten exploratory calls about recalling the governor - which he has, by the way, ignored.

Now there's a variety of education groups that wholeheartedly embrace the governor's tax increase and may turn the tables on the recallers.

In an exchange of private e-mails, the members are kicking around the idea of a reverse recall. Instead of going after those who vote yes on the tax, these folks might target lawmakers who vote no.

What a switch-a-roo.

You betcha, Timmy. Better tell Eddie that his thinking might be off here.

There is a reason why the Pubs won't tell us exactly what those cuts are. After all, they never had a problem telling us whom they would hurt before.

No, this time around, people are tired of cuts, and they are going to scream loudly about it. $900 million? They will surround Lansing with torches and pitchforks.

Librarians are up in arms already. The Pubs themselves are complaining about prison cuts. Mobs of mayors, police and hospital officials have shown up at the Capitol, and that was before any cuts were even announced.

Democrats could step in here and fill the void left by the suddenly silent Pubs, but no, so far they seem to be running scared. No mention of this on the front page of any Dem site.

Um, people, Michigan is in a crisis right now. Would you care to comment?

Even the GR Press editorial today said we need some action, suggesting that we raise the income tax rate for a few months to cover this emergency. The Press. Suggesting that we raise taxes. Everyone should stop and think about that for a moment.

If the Democrats don't think that they have cover here- they're wrong. They do. Only the craziest of the Norquist naysayers are balking at the idea of taxes at this point. They are loud, but I believe they are in the minority.

Democrats can look like heroes if they could just find some courage to point out the problems, explain the obvious solution, and get us moving forward.

Take charge of this issue, just like the Governor is, and you can be winners. Be leaders for a change. The Pubs are going to hand you some cuts that will make everyone wince; be sure and share them with us. Tell us what they want to do, and then loudly proclaim, “No! We won’t throw grandma in the street! We won’t hurt little Johnny’s education! How dare they suggest such horrible things!”

And then slam-dunk ‘em.

Or, keep hiding behind the Republican talking points, give them cover on their plans, muddle along through the year because you’re afraid, this crisis will become huge, and watch what happens in 2008. The Pubs will say that you can’t lead- after all, look at what they tried to do to Granholm last year.

Didn't work, but you're not her.

They will do it to you, too. Never forget that.

C'mon Dems. Show some spine. It might not be as bad as you think.