Wednesday, March 05, 2008

What have the Senate Republicans done for us lately?

Are they working on the energy bills that will bring us an RPS and the potential for new jobs and investment? How about the Promise Zone legislation passed by the House last fall that would help more kids go to college? Did they get to the MSHDA refinancing bills that could save homes facing foreclosure? Or that smoking in public places bill? Reducing their own salaries and benefits? Or any of the other legislation that they let stack up last year? Was Mike just kidding when he said they would be "less combative" this year?

Apparently so. Here is what made it out of committee yesterday.

Republican lawmakers again are trying to pass a bill critics say would make it too difficult for girls to get an abortion without their parents' consent.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the legislation Tuesday on a party-line 4-3 vote, with Democrats in opposition.

Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm vetoed a similar measure in 2004.

Yes, even more abortion legislation that faces a veto. In other words, wasting your time yet again on issues that have nothing to do with the "jobs, jobs, jobs" that Bishop promised to work on, and everything to do with playing the puppet for the people who pull the strings in the MI GOP - those extremists that give them 'da money.

Lessenberry wrote on "The Real GOP" just recently, and even he was so bored by the Michigan Republicans that he went back to beating on the Democrats in the same column. Still, it's worth repeating what the Republican priorities are, so when we come out of our Clinton/Obama haze and wonder why nothing has been accomplished in Lansing, we have the Republican playbook to refer to...

Four issues. And tell me this wasn't written by Dick DeVos' money.

They took positions on four major issues. Two were standard campaign boilerplate; one called for more educational choice, a veiled swipe at public schools. The other (yawn) advocated more efficient, cheaper and smaller government.

But Republicans agreed on two other positions that made it clear that the party that once liked to call itself a big tent is now fast becoming a hardened little sect.

If you are a union member or sympathizer, know that they adopted this language. "The Michigan Republican Party supports Right-to-Work and Paycheck Protection from personally unauthorized deductions."

That means union-busting. That would mean outlawing a union shop and would mean no automatic deduction of union dues. Practically speaking, it would mean all existing unions would be destroyed.

Now try out this position:

"The Michigan Republican Party believes that life begins at conception and that the State of Michigan should always defend innocent human life from conception to natural death."

Always. That means no abortion, period. No exception for rape or incest. Nor, so far as I can see, is there even an exception for the health of the mother. As a matter of fact, this seems not even to allow an abortion to save the mother's life.

That's the real face of the today's Republican Party — strong, wrong and controlled by religious fundamentalists.

So far, it seems that is pretty much what has happened in the Republican Senate. They blew up the budget, they are working on passing abortion legislation that will go nowhere.

Yes, they are addressing the energy bills, and that is complicated. I'll give them that. But there are so many other things that they are ignoring so they can move forward on that extremist agenda. One can only conclude that they are focused on keeping Dick happy first, and the rest of us will just have to wait. Forever, if need be.

It's March. They have a two-week vacation starting April 1st. Stay tuned to see if they get anything of substance accomplished.