It appears that less than 24 hours after Dillon proclaimed for the cameras and the press that he was "90%" with the governor on the budget, and that Democrats were "fighting to fund early education, scholarships for college students, Medicaid and funding police and fire", he decided to cut a deal with Bishop that would devastate all those things, perhaps in the hopes that this mess would land right in the governor's lap and they could blame any shutdown on her if she vetoed this "draconian" budget. Further proof that this might be true - they canceled a planned budget meeting with the governor on Friday to talk between themselves, and now we get this quote from Mike Bishop...
"We need to do this with or without the governor," says Bishop, who was unaware of Granholm's trade mission. "I give all the credit to Andy Dillon for stepping up and providing leadership. He wants to do what's right."
Dillon and Bishop won't comment on what they're up to. But those close to the talks say Dillon has persuaded his caucus to accept the Senate's $1.3 billion spending cut target.
Doing "what's right" in the eyes of Mike Bishop means doing exactly what he wants. There is no such thing as "compromise" with the Senate Republicans - we all should know that by now. Especially Andy Dillon, who Mike Bishop happily threw under the bus when he lied about the budget deal in '07, causing a series of events that led to the shutdown and the subsequent creation of the MBT surcharge. But, rather than stick up for the citizens of Michigan and fight for the things that are important to quality of life in this state, it appears that Dillon would be much happier to take the low road and join forces with the same Republicans that once betrayed him, and stick it to the governor.
"This puts her on the spot," Bishop says. "If she vetoes a budget we send her, she'll be responsible for shutting down government."
And that would make Mike very, very happy. Seeing as how the Senate Republicans said they would be "demonized" for making those cuts, you can understand why they would be absolutely thrilled to pin this all on the Democrats, especially Gov. Granholm.
No quotes from Dillon or other House Democrats that indicate that this is truly a done deal - but Mike Bishop's enthusiasm here might be all the indication you need to see. Will someone in the House stand up to this plan and fight for the things that they claim are important to their constituents and to Michigan? Or will they just stay silent and let this happen to save their own hides?
Or, will it fall to the long-suffering Senate Democrats to deny immediate effect for these budget bills? It would be wonderful to see them finally get to have their say in the matter after Bishop has spent the better part of the past two-and-a-half years abusing them. If Gongwer is right...
But it would only - maybe - get a budget through the Legislature, if at least 13 House Democrats joined the entire Republican caucus in support. It would then (have) to gather enough Senate Democratic votes to give the bills immediate effect.
... then the Senate Democrats will be sitting in the driver's seat. Normal procedure that says a bill only takes effect 90 days after the end of the vote, "immediate effect" requires two-thirds, or 26 senators, to pass.
Republicans have 21. And we certainly don't have 90 days left in the budget year.
If it comes down to that, if the House bends to the Republican wishes and actually votes this through, it would be quite the stroke of poetic justice if the idea died in Bishop's own chamber. If Andy Dillon doesn't have the spine to stand up to the Republicans and the likes of the right wing extremists like Nolan Finley who only want to see the Democrats fail, there might be some Senate Democrats just chomping at the bit to show him how it's done.
Next week will tell if all this speculation is really true. It could be that Bishop and Finley are the ones setting up Speaker Dillon for some betrayal of their own, for you know that Andy is expendable to the Republicans in the end game. He can be used to do their bidding and help destroy the party's ideals now, and then they will shove him aside for their own candidates later.
If this goes down as stated above, that would be a stroke of poetic justice as well - but for the sake of our people, let's hope that all of this chatter is wrong, and it doesn't come down to relying on Andy's bad karma to save our state in the end.