To set this up: Earlier this week, after the feds passed the aid to the states bill designed to save teaching jobs and shore up Medicaid funding, Mike Bishop flew into his usual default "just say no to everything" stance, indicating that he was going to insist on an all-cuts budget anyway. Try and contain your shock at that one. Skooby tells us the tale:
The state senates majority leader says he doesn't want to use $660 million in new federal funds to erase the budget deficit. Instead Mike Bishop wants more service cuts to eliminate a so-called "structural" deficit. All of this sets up another battle with the governor.
Of course it does. That's all Bishop has done for three years as leader of the Senate - obstruct anything and everything that will help the state of Michigan during the most severe downturn since the Depression. The answer is always "no", it doesn't matter what the question is. Republicans want power back, the game was to take out Governor Granholm and the Democrats, and, thanks to the lack of pushback from Andy Dillon and the House, it appears that this "just say no" strategy is going to work. We really don't have to drag the poll numbers out here, do we?
A year ago Senate Republicans essentially forced through a budget with no new revenues, and bitter cuts to popular programs. Every effort by Ms. Granholm and legislative Democrats to either stand them down or force them to retreat failed.
Having succeeded once, along with facing the best chance Republicans have had in years to recapture the governor’s office, and with a fair chance of taking total control of state government, Republicans will not bend on a budget doing anything less than what they accomplished a year ago.
But Bishop jumped the gun on trying to refuse to use this federal money, and both Ron Jelinik and Matt Marsden stepped up to walk Mikey's latest tantrum back for the press.
Matt Marsden, Bishop's spokesman, said Thursday that the majority leader's comments were meant to be philosophical.
"We're going to take this money -- it's going to help us out of our problem this year," Marsden said. "But we're still going to have this problem next year. We're passing on to the next generation of leaders ... a budget that is still broken. And we can't expect the feds to come in and help us every year."
Senate Republicans made damn sure the budget was "broken", that the government was "broken", and, just like their counterparts in DC who ran up the federal credit card during the Bush years with tax cuts for the rich and now want to turn around and complain about deficits, you can bet that Michigan Republicans are going to take full advantage of this situation for election purposes. It was a stupid mistake for Bishop to spout off like that, facing the deficit that we are. Nasty cuts are coming anyway, and, since the Democrats won't stand up, chances are they are going to take the blame. The lesson of the Promise Scholarship ring a bell with anyone?
But it's nice to see that Matt Marsden made the admission that this legislature is a failure. Just so the record is clear and all. For history's sake. So, let the legacy show that in a time of great crisis, all the Republicans could do is say "no", and pass the problem along for someone else to fix.
And if that means the Republicans have to fix it, so be it - but what do you want to bet they will simply point their fingers at someone else when they fail again.