Influential Right-Leaning Political Analyst Declares Snyder’s Governorship A “Failure” In Washington Post Op-Ed
The Left has been screaming since Rick Snyder presented his budget. Then, when Snyder proposed deep cuts to education to “reinvent” Michigan’s economy, Independents started in on the Governor’s “vision for Michigan.” Just a few days ago, one of the most well-respected and influential political thinkers on the Right, Dr. Norman Ornstein, called Michigan’s Governor a “failure” in a piece published by The Washington Post. According to Ornstein, Snyder’s problems stem from “hubris.”
Welcome to Kansas, Dorothy, where the media report on Michigan’s Governor and Michigan politics thoughtfully and critically. For instance, on May 31, 2011 Mother Jones reported that Michigan’s Republican Governor was tied for the dubious titled of the “Most Unpopular Governor in the United States.”
Republican governor Rick Snyder has come a long way from Oz, where AnnArbor.com’s business news director writes wide-eyed puff pieces. Two days after Mother Jones published the piece that revealed Snyder’s approval ratings were just 30 percent, making him one of the most unpopular state leaders in the entire United States, the AnnArbor.com business news director posted “Rick Snyder, Scott Walker discuss job creation….” — misty-eyed Mackinac Policy Conference coverage at it’s best.
Fortunately, Mother Jones, U.S. News & World Report, The New York Times and the Washington Post reporters don’t simply listen to what politicos say, publish it verbatim, and call it “reporting.”
Two weeks after the Mother Jones piece, in which political pundits suggest that the low approval ratings of the Republican governors in Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin and Ohio could actually help Barack Obama in 2012, U.S. News & World Report weighed in with some more solid Michigan reporting. Writer Anson Kaye writes about Snyder and his fellow Republican “boy wonders” in a piece titled, “Why Polls Are Sinking For New GOP Governors Like Scott Walker”:
Let’s see: Your approval numbers are in the tank, and all you’ve got left are gutting schools, letting out convicts, and taking healthcare away from disadvantaged kids. I’m guessing, as a re-election strategy, that leaves something to be desired.
In other words: fellas, it ain’t working. And what’s so surprising about all of this is that for some, it’s so surprising. Is it really so hard to figure out that one of the reasons government is its current size and shape is that people have needs that they want their government to try and meet? It doesn’t always work, of course. But frustration over government spending on programs that aren’t working isn’t the same thing as saying people no longer want good public schools. Understanding that distinction is the difference between doing the hard, more complicated work of reforming something that isn’t working as well as we would like, and becoming fixated on an ideological goal that doesn’t end up fixing anything at all.
Kaye goes on to point out that, along with political writers on the Left, political writers on the Right are equally as disenchanted with Michigan’s “one tough nerd,” and his “reinvention” of Michigan’s economy. Kaye writes,
But in Sunday’s Washington Post, Norman Ornstein of the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute took a moment to detail the woes these boy wonders have since encountered…..Seven months ago they were the toast of the town. Now, milquetoast. What happened?
Well, as Ornstein describes it, the governors launched initiatives aimed at “cutting benefits for the poor and middle class while adding tax breaks for the rich” while also trying to get rid of collective bargaining. As you might imagine, that wasn’t very popular with a lot of people (for instance: the poor and middle class). And, shockingly, it hasn’t done much to balance their state budgets either.
Norman Ornstein? That’s like Babe Ruth joining in a sandlot pick-up game of ball. Don’t know Ornstein? No problem. He’s a beltway insider with political cred that just doesn’t quit. This comes from his bio posted to the American Enterprise Institute:
“Norman Ornstein (pictured, left) is a long-time observer of Congress and politics. He writes a weekly column for Roll Call and is an election analyst for CBS News. He serves as codirector of the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project and participates in AEI’s Election Watch series. He also serves as a senior counselor to the Continuity of Government Commission. Mr. Ornstein led a working group of scholars and practitioners that helped shape the law, known as McCain-Feingold, that reformed the campaign financing system. He was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004.”
Oh, and he holds his Ph.D. and M.A. in Political Science from the University of Michigan.
Ornstein’s June 10, 2011 piece in the Washington Post is titled, “How Republican governors could help Obama in 2012.” Oh, snap! Ornstein writes:
Last November, the GOP was rejoicing in its sweeping electoral victories. The impressive wins in the House and the big gains in the Senate were, if anything, exceeded by the remarkable victories in the states. Republicans picked up their most seats in decades in legislatures and won key gubernatorial races.
Seven months later, however, things look rather different for the Republicans in governors’ mansions. In Michigan, Rick Snyder has only a 33 percent approval rating, with a hefty disapproval rating of 60 percent. Down in Florida, Rick Scott is at 29 percent approval and 57 percent disapproval. Ohio’s John Kasich has 33 percent and 56 percent, respectively. Wisconsin firebrand Scott Walker is right there at 43 percent approval and 54 percent disapproval.
Governor Snyder has told the media he doesn’t know what all this recall hubbub is about. He’s just doing “what he promised to do” while running for office. The problem, of course, is that he didn’t promise to tax the working class, attack unions, expand the EFM law to the point where national political analysts refer to it as “fiscal martial law,” take away crucial tax credits from the poor, slash education funding, then turn around and give a billion dollar tax break to Michigan businesses.
Rick Snyder ran an $11,000,000 say-nothing, blowsy, 10-point “plan” campaign put together by a DC heavyweight image agency supported with ads crafted by pricey Hollywood dream-makers. His campaign also promulgated a sly misconception, helped along by his Democratic political friends, supporters, reporters, and donors in Ann Arbor, that he was a “moderate.” The Ann magazine even published a profile of Snyder in September 2010 that suggested he was a RINO. Rick Snyder is, of course, a Republican ideologue who, as Anson Kaye writes, “is fixated on an ideological goal that doesn’t end up fixing anything at all.”
In the Washington Post, Ornstein explains what he sees as Snyder’s political problems:
Republican governors…usually with the avid support of GOP-dominated legislatures…have deployed combative policies and politics, promoting confrontation and eschewing compromise, cutting benefits for the poor and middle class while adding tax breaks for the rich, and in many cases trying to eliminate or at least cripple collective bargaining by public employees. Those tactics have energized the Democratic base, certainly, but even more significant, they have turned off independent voters.
A right-leaning political analyst says it out loud: Rick Snyder and his gubernatorial pals in Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida chose to: “cut benefits for the poor and middle class while adding tax breaks for the rich, and in many cases trying to eliminate or at least cripple collective bargaining by public employees.”
Ornstein calls the political decisions made by Michigan’s governor the result of “hubris.” Ornstein also points out astutely:
In swing states, any GOP presidential candidate will have to convince voters that he or she has the best plan to improve the economy. The only problem is that every Republican contender supports the same types of economic policies that have driven GOP governors into a ditch. According to the Post-ABC poll, Mitt Romney is the only candidate tied with Obama at the moment, but he’ll have to find a way to sell his message of private-sector experience while explaining away the failures of businessmen such as Florida’s Scott and Michigan’s Snyder.
Snyder has told the Michigan media that Michigan residents will come around to his way of thinking sooner or later. In May, upon hearing that 60 percent of voters disapproved of his job performance, Snyder told the media, “I believe I have strong support from the general public and that’s continued in a very positive way in respect to all the reinvention projects we’ve got going.”
Poor man. He’s not the CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK or in Oz anymore.
Oz, where the local Ann Arbor News and AnnArbor.com protected Rick Snyder from scrutiny. Where, perhaps in exchange for a seat on the Board of Ann Arbor SPARK, former Ann Arbor News Publisher Laurel Champion was bought and sold with access to potential advertising relationships. Champion heads AnnArbor.com and still sits on the Board of SPARK, an enormous conflict of interest.
It should be no shock, then, to find out when Snyder made equally delusional statements while heading up Ann Arbor SPARK, the local media simply repeated what he said, without digging deeper to find out if it was the truth. In 2008, when Rick Snyder signed SPARK’s Annual Report that claimed the taxpayer-supported non-profit had “created” and “retained” over 12,000 jobs between 2006 and 2008, the local newspaper simply printed the fiction as fact. When he went on to run for governor, AnnArbor.com reporters never questioned Snyder’s “job creation” claims based on his “successes” at Ann Arbor SPARK.
Norman Ornstein’s analysis of Snyder’s “reinvention projects” is sharp-eyed. Ornstein writes that because Snyder’s governship is a “failure,” that GOP presidential candidates will have to explain away the disaster that is Rick Snyder as they campaign through Michigan in 2012.
Ouch. Then again, we have to wonder: Does Governor Snyder read The Washington Post or U.S. News & World Report?
“Protesters gear up, encourage grads to turn their backs on Rick Snyder during University of Michigan Commencement” was posted to AnnArbor.com on April 25, 2011. The piece about the protests begins: “When Rick Snyder first visited the University of Michigan as a high school senior about 35 years ago, an academic counselor wanted him to enroll so badly that the counselor found a way to get Snyder into the university a semester early — a rare move at the time.”
Four days earlier, on April 21, 2011, organizers had submitted the petition language for the recall of Michigan’s governor for approval by Washtenaw County officials. There was no mention of that fact in AnnArbor.com’s April 25th piece about the protests.
Perhaps Rick Snyder told the Michigan media in May 2011 that, “I believe I have strong support from the general public and that’s continued in a very positive way in respect to all the reinvention projects we’ve got going,” because he still believes he’s in Oz, where the local newspaper serves up political reporting that resembles a field of poppies.
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