I’ve had a couple of people ask me what I think about the outcome of yesterday’s election and I first have to say that I am far from an astute political pundit. That said I will also say that I’m not that upset about it. For all the noise about how it would be a Republican blowout the end result wasn’t as bad as it could have been. It’s certainly not the victory they enjoyed back in 1994 and, if history is anything to go by, it could result in Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012.
Quite a few of the candidates I was most worried about — Christine O’Donnell, Sharon Angle, etc. — failed in their bids to become members of Congress which should hopefully keep the crazy to a minimum. Quite a few of the Blue Dog Democrats, who were largely indistinguishable from Republicans, also got voted out which can only be a good thing in my book even if they were replaced with Republicans. The remaining Democrats are much more liberal and, hopefully, have more of a spine to stand up for what they believe in. If they do then the Republicans will have to learn to compromise at some point if they want to get anything done at all. Of course if the Dems continue to be the pussies they have been then it really may not matter who has control of Congress. I guess in short my opinion is that it could’ve been a lot worse and while the final result is far from ideal it’s still better than what occurred in 1994.
I’m more worried about my home state of Michigan as it was a Republican wet-dream. Not only did they take Governor, but both houses of the State Legislature, Secretary of State, Attorney General, and the Michigan Supreme Court. The Democrats in this state got their asses handed to them on silver platters and the Republicans have a super-majority to pretty much do what they want with. I suppose this isn’t too much of a surprise as Michigan would probably be a Red state if it weren’t for the highly Democratic strongholds of Detroit and Ann Arbor. The more you head into the rural parts of the state, and we have a lot of rural areas, the more Red it gets. The Republicans are salivating like crazy over this outcome. Already some of them are talking about pushing some of their favorite bits of legislation such as making Michigan a Right To Work state.
Given that you are probably wondering why I would admit to having voted for Rick Snyder, a Republican, for Governor of my state. From everything I’ve been able to read about him Snyder is a pretty moderate Republican. Enough so that my state’s Right-wingers weren’t all that happy with him snapping up the nomination. When the hard Right are calling him a RINO then I feel a bit more comfortable in considering him. Throughout his campaign he focused more on Michigan’s economy and his plans for revitalizing the state than social issues and while he doesn’t refer to himself as a moderate it’s pretty clear that’s what he is.
Then there was this profile of him on The Ann:
The extent of Snyder’s departure from the GOP gospel is hard to overstate.
“In Michigan as in other places, there’s usually no such thing as too conservative in a Republican primary, or too liberal in a Democratic primary,” says Craig Ruff of the Lansing-based think tank Public Sector Consultants. “The grassroots voters who turn out are the zealots at the extremes of the ideological spectrum. But Snyder staked out differences all over the map.”
Snyder participated in one debate with his rivals and impressed nobody. The next two debates he skipped. At the time, “I felt it was a strategic error not to debate,” Ruff says. “It’s one of the few ways you can go on television statewide and look voters in the eye.” But by absenting himself from that stage, Snyder “made all the other candidates look like mirror images of each other.” Meanwhile, he answered questions from voters at dozens of town halls across the state, stifling the criticism that he was hiding from scrutiny.
On the issues, Snyder was similarly out of sync. Snyder’s top two Republican rivals, state Attorney General Mike Cox and U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, both signed a pledge not to raise taxes; Snyder refused, calling it “kind of a gimmick.” On the eve of the primary, Washington-based Americans for Tax Reform issued a press release warning conservative voters that Snyder might raise taxes.
In July, the Michigan Tea Party Alliance rented the Eaton County Fairgrounds outside Lansing for a “LiberTEA Fair.” “All of the Republican gubernatorial candidates except for one came and gave speeches,” organizer Gene Clem told me. That one was Snyder.
Any Republican that willing to piss off his fellow Republicans and ignore the Tea Party is definitely one worth considering. Especially when he was so clever in clinching the Republican nomination:
It all added up to a candidate many conservatives derided as a RINO, “Republican In Name Only” — and that was before he set up a whole campaign touting his appeal to non-Republicans. In the end, nearly two-thirds of Republican primary voters cast votes for someone other than Snyder. But in a five-way field, 36 percent was more than enough for Snyder to win.
“They laid low, they positioned him properly, and then, in the last few days, they sprung up and said, ‘Hey, Democrats, independents, I’m your guy!’ And they did it so late nobody could respond to it and give him the punch in the nose he had coming,” said Mark Grebner, a Democratic political consultant and Ingham County commissioner. “They could have smashed him by saying that he’s not a conservative, that he doesn’t really have Republican credentials. He won’t even say he’s against all taxes! We don’t know for sure, but it’s possible he’s actually sane! It’s possible Rick Snyder is actually dangerously in favor of raising taxes, which everybody knows we have to do!
“But nobody said any of this stuff, because he was in third place. He was like the whale that doesn’t surface until he’s out of range of the harpoon boats. By the time you see him, the whale is all the way over there, and you say, ‘Damn, that’s one smart whale.’”
It also helped that Snyder’s outline for how he wants to revitalize the state is very forward looking whereas Democrat Virg Bernero’s plan is very backward looking. Bernero’s plan was to make manufacturing king in Michigan again, but over-reliance on one form of industry is what got us into our problems to begin with. Snyder wants to diversify Michigan’s industries which is exactly what I would like to see happen.
So, yeah, I voted for a Republican for Governor of my state. There were one or two other Republicans I also voted for because they were also moderate and had a good track record as far as I was concerned, but the vast majority of people I voted for — including my Congressional representatives — were Democrats. I was really hoping that the Republicans wouldn’t take the State Supreme Court and it’s very worrying that they have and the fact that they have a super-majority in the legislator is also bothersome, but I’m hoping Snyder’s moderate bent will keep all of that in check.
Plus it didn’t hurt that Snyder is an Ann Arbor resident and refers to himself as a nerd in his campaign ads. If nothing else he should have a better-than-usual understanding of technology than what you’d expect in a politician.