And I have never seen anything even remotely like this. We have two major crises that are threatening to damage vast sections of the state of Michigan, perhaps even beyond repair. First, we have the worst state government financing crisis in modern history.
That’s something that threatens our colleges and universities, our roads and our bridges. We are heading for a complete meltdown next year unless some hard decisions are taken really soon.
At the same time, we have the worst leadership crisis I have ever seen. We are being led -- and that’s the wrong word -- by a governor and legislature who seem to lack both courage and a clue.
Just look at what happened yesterday.
The governor sent a letter to State Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, a Republican, and House Speaker Andy Dillon, a Democrat. The letter “reminded” them that a deal had been made to raise the income tax and expand the sales tax to some services.
Bishop then flat out said she was lying. That‘s right, lying. The actual words he used were “outright mistruth.” He said there was no agreement, nothing even close. Did the Speaker then stand up and rally to the support of his governor and fellow Democrat?
Not on your life. He ran and hid, sending an aide out to say that he “would not comment on ongoing negotiations.”
What does this tell us? First of all, that Jennifer Granholm is close to proving that she is an utter failure as a leader.
You don’t have to be a management whiz to know that you never, ever, announce a controversial agreement - if you have one - unless you have everybody on board. And you don’t do it in a letter. You have a press conference before the cameras.
You have all the parties there, for solidarity, to rally support and to put them on the record as supporting whatever the agreement is.
But this also tells us that the top priority of our legislators, especially the Republicans, is not our best interests. It is not our children’s future. It is their narrow, selfish political agenda. Which in the case of Mike Bishop, apparently means running for governor.
If Michigan is to have a future, we have to have a tax increase, or risk crippling forever the institutions, especially the colleges and universities, that we need to get us out of the mess caused by the collapse of the old muscle car and muscle power economy.
We also must have elected leaders with courage, who think that in the final analysis, we are more important than they are.
We don’t have either now.
And that just may be the biggest crisis of all.