Partisanship isn't what really ails the Legislature, nor is it divided government. The problem is that lawmakers are summarily jettisoned from office just as they're figuring out how to write complicated tax law, regulatory rules, education policy and budgets that reflect a true understanding of the functions they fund.
Only thing is, Republicans keep admitting to partisanship being a problem - and anonymously, they will admit that their leadership has been the moving force behind it. Gongwer had a detailed piece on Friday about the upcoming change in House Republican leadership (everyone wave goodbye to Craig!), and the fierce campaigning going on behind the scenes as various R members try to line up support with current legislators and the potential incoming crop of newbies as well. No one can foresee what their numbers will be after the election, but current conventional wisdom holds that they will still be the minority party, and as such, they had better make adjustments to their style if they hope to accomplish any of their agenda. In other words, if they keep up with the same kind of crap they saw from DeRoche, they know they are in trouble.
Members of both returning classes voiced a need to step away from the tit-for-tat politics, no matter which party controls the House.
"We want someone who can walk the walk, who fully understands Republican values, and who has a maturity to them," one Republican said.
Another put it this way, "We need to stop throwing political grenades for the sake of throwing political grenades. There are still going to be disagreements (between the two parties). (But) we have to work together."
With that last quote, Republicans admit to being obstructionist just for the sake of partisan politics. Let's also return to Phil Power's "Tax Brinksmanship Hurts Business" column from May. When first printed in the Observer & Eccentric's Hometownlife.com site, it read like this-
A few days ago, I received a lengthy e-mail from a lawmaker (who wishes to remain anonymous) but who offers some valuable insights. Bottom line: "The service tax was the direct result of the brinksmanship of the GOP leadership in negotiations and (the) lack of GOP members (in) responding to the requests of their traditional supporters in the business community."
When the column was printed at Power's own Center for Michigan, watch for the extra word-
A few days ago, I received a lengthy e-mail from a Republican lawmaker (who wishes to remain anonymous) but who offers some valuable insights. Bottom line: "The service tax was the direct result of the brinksmanship of the GOP leadership in negotiations and (the) lack of GOP members (in) responding to the requests of their traditional supporters in the business community."
We have a confession from a Republican that their caucus is driven by partisanship, so much so they ignored their own base. Phil went on to say-
But neither Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop nor House Minority Leader Craig DeRoche was willing to step forward. They urged their members to hold back and let the Democrats take the political hit for a vote for more taxes. At one point, it looked as though there were as many as 10 Republican representatives ready to vote for an adequate income tax hike, but DeRoche wouldn’t budge.
As we've have pointed out before, Republicans are responsible for the whole MBT surcharge/service tax debacle, and they were doing it soley to make the Democrats "take the political hit" - it wasn't inexperience at tax law, as Luke would claim. And let's not forget Senator Schauer's press conference from a year ago, complete with graphs and charts and funny looking birds, that pointed to the sheer number of bills that were being ignored by the Republican Senate. It seems hard to believe that term limits or inexperience could be used as the only plausible excuses for their inaction. There was obviously more to it than that.
Partisanship is not the thing that totally "ails the Legislature", but it shouldn't be overlooked as a strong motivating factor behind the current dysfunction. After all, Republicans are confessing that it is.