Governor Snyder’s Road to Washington
In the event Michigan voters are not already sufficiently bumfuzzled as to how they should vote on Proposal 1 — aka, the ballot question on roads and sales tax, or was it fuel tax? or vehicle registration fees? infrastructure improvement? school funding? revenue sharing? Or perhaps, simply put, the measure has become the great legislative platypus of Michigan. Step aside wolverine, we now have a new candidate for state animal, or perhaps mascot for Snyder’s potential bid for a 2016 presidential run.
It’s enough to make one wish to stick their finger in their eye. Yep, Prop 1’s come to be one hot mess, uniting odd political bedfellows — both for and against, with newspaper editorial boards engaging in acts of head-splitting cognitive dissonance, often too painful to read in their entirety. The pro/con lists on the subject consist of both practical realities and ideologies that seem to defy typical partisan patterns.
So, it pains Democracy Tree to point out yet one more divisive blip on the Prop 1 political radar for the already put upon voter’s consideration.
Item: Gov. Snyder has been sniffing-around political circles and media pundits about a possible 2016 presidential bid, and, at least in his own mind, success or failure of the roads package vote may be the pivotal point in his decision-making process.
Prop 1 is the governor’s baby. He brokered the labyrinthine bipartisan deal after the legislature demonstrated their continued inability to, well frankly, produce basic and necessary legislation of any kind. The package is what is called a “Christmas Tree Bill”, with a little something in it for everyone. In this case, it’s a series of tie-barred proposals that function more like a Rube Goldberg machine than actual sound and responsible public policy.
With the vote looming, the Associated Press reports that Snyder is on the brink of a decision, apparently neatly timed with the May 5th vote:
An aide close to the governor said Snyder is considering a presidential run and that a decision could be made in a few weeks. The aide was not authorized to speak publicly about Snyder’s plans and requested anonymity.
In terms of pure politics, Snyder very much needs Prop 1 in his win column, both for his legacy and to bolster his street cred as a ready for prime time player in the beltway.
In the meantime, Snyder’s team is busy dipping a flirtatious toe in the crowded GOP presidential pool. In addition to forming a 501(c)(4) group to raise money for a potential bid (’16 and/or ’20), the governor has slated a national speaking tour to promote the economic recovery of the state. It is doubtful he will mention the role the federal stimulus and auto bailout played in the comparatively less than impressive results of the Great Lakes State, but the state Nerd-in-Chief will certainly take credit for the albeit anemic clawing out of the hole.
Another possibility is that Michigan’s governor is hedging his bets here by positioning himself as a possible running mate for one of the rare, not-so-looney, yet better known presidential potentials — a group as scarce as hens teeth in Iowa. One way or the other, Snyder would never concede to play second-fiddle to a rabid social conservative, Tea Party advocate, or full-on Libertarian, even though his actual legacy has often swerved severely past them to the farthest reaches of the right. Jeb Bush may find the ideal dance partner in the Michigan governor. Snyder, not known for his dynamic communication skills, has nonetheless not engaged in the level of abusive hubris-laden rhetoric found in other contenders such as GOP governors’ Scott Walker of Wisconsin and New Jersey’s Chris Christie, both who seem to take a sick delight in taunting and insulting public sector employees, particularly teachers.
It’s all down the road though…literally.
How will I vote on the May 5th roads proposal? As of now, the plan is to go to my precinct at the crack of dawn, grudgingly show my photo I.D., enter the voting booth, and promptly stick my finger in my eye — after that, all bets are off.