Readers of this blog know that I sometimes get a bit carried off onto moral tangents. Well, that’s my inclination; I confess to it.
The moral dimensions of this year’s election are all too apparent, however. Some of them stand out in high relief here in Michigan.
I’m voting to reelect Governor Rick Snyder. And yes, I do see a moral dimension in that choice.
It’s not that there’s a moral imperative in Rick Snyder being governor — at least, not Rick Snyder, the man. The Detroit News, in its endorsement, says that Rick Snyder “deserves” to be reelected, but I don’t see it quite that way.
No one deserves high office — it is a trust given by the people.
However, there is a profound moral imperative that the State of Michigan be first, solvent, and then, prosperous. If it isn’t solvent, it will fail to accomplish its basic constitutional mandate. If it isn’t prosperous, great human needs will not be met.
Rick Snyder’s policies and actions have set our state on the road to solvency and prosperity. Should Mark Schauer succeed in turning Snyder out of Lansing, the recovery which has gained steam over the past four years will be stunted, because we will quickly return to the failed policies of the Jennifer Granholm years. Which means that, very shortly, we will be headed back toward insolvency.
This is guaranteed because a Schauer victory would be attributable only to the machinations of the UAW-led coalition that bought Granholm two terms despite political ineptitude and economic chaos.
As the Detroit News endorsement editorial put it…
“Think back to January 2011, when Snyder took office with no political experience …. The state’s unemployment rate stood at a near nation-leading 11.7 percent, cementing what has been called Michigan’s Lost Decade, a 10-year stretch of economic decline, job losses and business closings. By the time the Great Recession hit the nation in 2008, Michigan had already lost 315,000 manufacturing jobs over the previous eight years. That number would eventually grow to nearly 1 million. Every economic trendline was heading downward, and the state ranked at or near the bottom of every business climate measure.”
What have we heard in the Schauer campaign ads? That Rick Snyder has favored the rich and shipped jobs overseas.
Have rich Michiganians benefited from the Snyder rebound? Undoubtedly. But so have the ordinary workers who’ve filled the nearly 300,000 jobs created in Michigan during the last four years, raising average household incomes across the state for the first time since 2007.
Once more from the Detroit News…
“The governor showed leadership and ingenuity in his effort to chart a prosperous course for Michigan. His deft management of state government and his persistent effort to develop pragmatic policy solutions have shown him to be an effective governor who is willing to take a risk if it will achieve progress for the state’s future.”
Schauer has claimed that Snyder cut state education spending. This is a charge which, as the News points out, has been “proved false by independent fact-checkers.” Also…
“The governor signed critical accountability reforms and provided incentives for districts to adopt best financial practices. He also dedicated money to pay down retiree pension costs, which were devastating local district budgets. And he is restoring money to colleges and universities.”
Schauer has complained that Snyder’s tax policies favor business at the expense of individuals. The News answers that as well…
“Making the business tax flatter and less complex has put the state in a competitive position for attracting jobs and investment. And while the governor is taking heat for some of his tax policies, broadening the tax burden and making it fairer benefits all taxpayers.”
I realize there are people of conservative outlook who have mixed feelings about Rick Snyder because he isn’t actively Pro-Life. Indeed he vetoed legislation that would have banned insurance coverage of abortion with no exceptions for rape, incest or the mother’s life. Still, he did sign another bill that prohibits partial-birth abortion while allowing a life-of-the-mother exception.
You can criticize him for inconsistency or even half-heartedness on the right-to-life question. But Snyder has always been candid in admitting that his focus is on the economy, and that he shies away from the social/moral issues he sees as “divisive.”
The voters of Michigan — Republican and Democrat — must not sacrifice the future of our state by succumbing to class-warfare rhetoric and group interest. Equally, it would be wrong to sacrifice genuine improvement in the name of a sense of rectitude narrowly defined.
As the old expression goes, the perfect is always the enemy of the good. And a state that isn’t hemorrhaging the people’s wealth is in a much better condition to make ethical progress in all areas of life.
So there may not be quite a moral imperative in reelecting Rick Snyder. But over the past four years he has shown us a path out of the chasm of despair into which our state had been led. To turn from that path now would be less an exercise in free political choice than an act of moral blindness.
We have an obligation to secure the future of Michigan. And so I urge everyone to vote for Rick Snyder.