Thursday, July 01, 2010

July 1st

And the clock ran out.

"It would be wishful thinking to think we could have all the budgets done by July 1," said Rep. Cindy Denby, R-Handy Township.

She could have added that it is wishful thinking to think that Dillon and Bishop, who both are eyeing higher office, would actually do their jobs. But, no, in the Michigan Legislature, that's Alice-in-Wonderland thinking.

Instead, Dillon, who thinks he should be governor, goes out of state to hire a firm to run an ad that says people should hire Michigan workers. And Bishop, who wants to be attorney general, can't do his job because he is too busy with petty politics — he won't let his mindless Republican robots in the state Senate confirm even the most routine appointments made by the governor.

It's as if Dillon and Bishop think that the Peter Principle is embedded in the state constitution. They are total failures at their current job, so they figure they are entitled to promotions.

Later today, they are expected to pass the K-12 budget. Then, they are going to run off to vacation and/or campaigning, patting themselves on the back for chipping in a whole $11 towards a previous $165 per pupil cut, when the only real victory here is that they somehow managed to not screw up a budget that had a surplus. Which is pretty amazing, actually, considering their track record.

Other than that - the budget that they promised and promised and promised would be completed by now is nowhere near done. Don't even have committees assigned. Not even close. Can't use the Republican obstruction in Congress as an excuse, because that did not come up as an issue until just recently. If the budget were complete, and they had to revisit it as other states now are doing, that's a bit of a different story. But no.

That's not what happened here.

There isn't a deadline this Legislature doesn't run over. Government shut down twice in the last three years. What were the repercussions? Nothing. The Constitution doesn't mandate that lawmakers take it out of their checks. That they should see the back of a jail cell. That they be flogged at sunrise. Nothing.

Instead, we hear Capitol prognostications that lawmakers won't pass a real state budget until after the Nov. 2 General Election to spare lawmakers running for re-election. How considerate.

This is Standard Operating Procedure. And everyone knows it. The latest poll reflects the damage that has already been done by the dysfunction; Senate Republican obstruction and lack of pushback and coherent plan from Speaker Dillon and the House Democrats have taken a huge toll. And now the Republicans are very, very happy, dancing and bragging about the fact that they have destroyed the public's confidence and have effectively "broken" state government...

The survey results, particularly the finding of how low public trust was in state government, were immediately trumpeted by Republicans.

... and that is going to cost the Democrats dearly.

Charles Ballard, an economics professor at Michigan State University and director of the survey, said that if he were advising the political parties on the basis of the results he would say to Republicans, "Keep hammering away," and to Democrats, "Get a budget."

When you add this latest bit of bad press to the previous calls for Dillon and Bishop to resign, it's hard to fathom how either one of these guys gets elected to higher office.

And that's a really bad thing when the guy that is supposedly on your side is running for governor.