Bah humbug! No gifts exchanged in Lansing this year

Bah humbug! No gifts exchanged in Lansing this year

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LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) -

In most families around the state "Tis the season to be jolly" except within the political family at the state capitol.  Here the "family" is hopelessly dysfunction as the name calling, finger pointing and post lame duck fallout continues to engulf the two political parties.

So much for holiday cheer around here.

While citizens are hoping for a badly needed good dose of inter-party cooperation, they are witnessing an ugly family argument that will run well into the New Years eve party and way beyond that.

A perfect example was at the Electoral College the other day where Democrats gathered in what party chair Mark Brewer called a celebration to elect their guy president.  

But the joyous event quickly degenerated into a "bash the Republicans" hate-fest where legislative Democrats blasted the governor and the GOP for jamming through a host of bills without much input from the D's or the public.

Whatever trust there was between the two parties is now but a fond wish ."We've taken a step back" on bipartisanship the governor lamented the other day.  Actually he's off by a couple of steps.

His behavior on the Right to Work legislation has "poisoned the water" the new House Democratic leader Rep. Tim Greimel (D-Oakland County) has repeated and repeated.  It appears he has no relationship with the GOP governor as evidenced by the fact that after he won the leadership post, there was no immediate and traditional congratulatory call from the governor.

And as far as the "relationship" between the governor and the Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, forget it.  She is not only off his Christmas list, she doesn't get phone calls and has pretty much reached persona non-grata status with the front office.  The fact that she may be running against him in two years complicates the lack of warmth between the two.

So that leaves the governor seeking what he wants done in the new year without much Democratic support.  In fact Mr. Greimel has pledged to deny the governor any yes votes.

Another poignant  example of the lack of trust centers on the talks with the unions to avoid Right to Work.  For ten days labor leaders entered the executive office, without the governor, and offered up this and that to avoid the RTW cliff. (The governor says he did his talking on the phone.)

Labor was willing to toss a number of Democratic sacred cows under the bus. It offered elimination of teacher tenure; let the gov pick the state school superintendent and ditch the state board of education; let him pick state supreme court justices denying voters the right to do that; and while unwilling to abolish the state civil service commission which the gov's guys suggested, labor offered to revamp the system regarding worker classification and bumping rules.

But there was never a counter offer from the gov's guys as they instructed labor to work a deal with the two GOP leaders.

"Serious offers were made," reveals Michigan Education Association President Steve Cook who refused to confirm the giveaway goodies listed above. But at the end of the day he concluded, "We never really felt, as we got into the later stages…that we had a working partner in the governor on all of this…."

UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada was more direct when asked, Do you trust the governor?
"No, I don't."

For his part the always upbeat governor contends, " We had a good dialogue.  I did it in good faith.  I have no doubt about that. I have a clear conscience about it."  But he does admit that "collectively" everyone should have started on their RTW problem-solving much earlier in the year.

He concedes it is tough to build trust in the middle of a controversy.  As a result instead of a lasting peace, citizens got war instead which shows no signs of ending, "tis the season" notwithstanding.
    

So now you can see why nobody is wasting any time buying gifts for each other.  After all how long does it take to purchase a piece of coal?
     For his part the always upbeat governor contends, " We had a good dialogue.  I did it in good faith.  I have no doubt about that. I have a clear conscience about it."  But he does admit that "collectively" everyone should have started on their RTW problem-solving much earlier in the year.

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