I realize there are a few other things going on today, such as the mess in Egypt, and the aftermath of President Obama’s historic trip to Marquette, where they gave him a Stormy Kromer hat.
There’s also a major story the media missed last night. Governor Rick Snyder spoke briefly at a Michigan State University political leadership forum in Livonia, remarks that included a sensational announcement.
Mr. Snyder said he would remain in office until the Lions appear in the Super Bowl. Which means he pretty much declared himself governor for life. The Lions last won a world championship the year I entered kindergarten, a year before Governor Snyder was born.
Maybe that’s an approach Hosni Mubarak should have tried, telling his people that the second the Lions won, he’d be history.
Anyway. I need to get on to the really important story of the day, which is the new poll by Resch Strategies that showed that by a margin of fifty-eight percent to twelve percent, citizens of this state prefer to call ourselves Michiganders, not Michiganians.
Well, of course we do. But I have to say our reporting of this story left out something important, which is why this is so.
The term Michigander was actually coined by Abraham Lincoln, who was, in addition to his greatness, by far the funniest politician of his day. Here’s how it happened.
The date was July 27, 1848. Lincoln was a freshman congressman from Illinois who was both pretty obscure and a lame duck, since he wasn’t even going to be renominated.
Lewis Cass, on the other hand, was a big deal who was the Democratic nominee for President that year. Lincoln was a loyal member of the Whig party and an opponent of the Mexican War.
Cass, who had once been a general, supported the war, and Lincoln made a speech attacking him and his fellow Democrats. He accused them of trying to tie the tail of a great military reputation “onto the great Michigander,“ meaning Cass.
The name stuck. For one thing, Cass was in his mid-sixties, considerably stout and, I have to say, sort of looked like an old mean goose. Go look at a picture of him if you don’t believe me. Cass, who had been favored, lost that election, thought that was more due to the fact that he was running against an authentic military hero, Zachary Taylor, than to Lincoln’s witty slur. There’s also sort of a Michigan curse in presidential elections: He was the first of three Michiganders nominated for President. The other two, Thomas Dewey and Gerald Ford, also lost.
Dewey lost twice. But the name Michigander caught on. The story did have a semi-happy ending. Cass went on to become Secretary of State when the Democrats got back in power.
When James Buchanan refused to take a strong stand against secession, Cass resigned. He went back to Detroit and worked hard to raise troops to put down the rebellion. Though he was old enough to be Lincoln’s father, he survived him by a year.
I was born close to where Cass lies buried, and an autographed picture of him is framed over the desk where I‘m writing these words. Michiganders, after all, should stay loyal to their flock.
State Senator Mike Green of Mayville has introduced a bill to allow concealed weapons to be taken into bars and churches. Michigan Radio’s Political Analyst Jack Lessenberry takes a look at the measure…
Newly elected State Senator Mike Green, who comes from beet-growing country in Michigan’s thumb, seems to be a good and decent man. He was a tool and die maker for General Motors for thirty years, and operated a family farm most of that time.
He’s had the same wife for forty-three years; raised five kids and has more than enough grandchildren for two baseball teams.
The senator also owns a business that would make Abraham Lincoln proud -- Green’s Log Rails and Custom Log Furniture. Like Honest Abe, he is a Republican, and lacks college education. But he is very enthusiastic about guns.
So much so, that he has introduced legislation to allow people with concealed weapons permits to take guns everywhere -- churches, synagogues, bars, Joe Louis Arena. He thinks banning guns anywhere is outrageous. “Why do you need to give your Constitutional right away when you go to some places?“ he asks.
There are a number of ways to answer that, but the easiest and simplest is that there is no Constitutional right to take a weapon anywhere. That’s not a left-wing anti-gun point of view.
That’s how the solidly pro-Second Amendment majority on the U.S. Supreme Court sees it. Until a few years ago, by the way, many, if not most legal scholars thought that gun ownership really wasn’t a Constitutional right. They thought the Second Amendment had to do with the states’ need to establish national guard units.
But within the past three years, the current Supreme Court has ruled that there is indeed an individual right to keep and bear arms. However, as I said here several weeks ago, they’ve specifically indicated that right is not absolute.
Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority in the most important of these cases, District of Columbia v Heller, said “nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places.”
That is clearly the opinion of every member of the nation‘s highest court. There is no right to carry a gun in church. Apart from the question of rights, allowing concealed weapons everywhere wouldn’t seem to make much common sense.
I suppose allowing people to pack heat at a bar might be good for the mortuary business, but other than that, it sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.
Senator Green isn’t doing this on a whim. He’s been waiting more than a decade. He was in the state house ten years ago when, over his objections, lawmakers banned gun owners from taking their hand cannons into certain places.
Green told a reporter, “People feared a good, honest, law-abiding citizen would use it in a way that would hurt or harm other people. But the fact is, there’s not been hardly anything that happened like that.” Except, of course, that a man with a concealed shotgun went into a police station and shot four officers this week.
Green’s bill would have allowed the man who shot Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to legally take his Glock to her Temple during services.
Mike Green has a long record as an agricultural and family farm expert. It might make more sense for him to craft legislation aimed at improving those areas instead.
Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Weaver voluntarily left the court last August after almost 16 years on the bench. Michigan Radio’s Political Analyst Jack Lessenberry says she thinks it needs major reform.
Yesterday I talked about a conversation I had with former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Weaver.
Some of Justice Weaver’s views and actions have long been controversial. After she voluntarily left the court last summer, she made headlines when she revealed that she had secretly taped some of the court’s deliberations, and released transcripts of them.
That earned her a vote of censure from her former colleagues, but she said that didn’t bother her. Weaver says the state’s highest court is doing the people’s business, and so should be open to public scrutiny. That particular opinion may not be widely shared. But Betty Weaver is far from alone in thinking Michigan’s Supreme Court needs to be reformed. The University of Chicago law school ranked it as the worst state supreme court in the nation.
Last year, then-Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly told me she had real concerns about the politicization of the court. Now, she is co-chairing of a task force that plans to take a year-long look at possible reforms.
Betty Weaver says she welcomes the task force, because it will keep focus on the issue. But she also has her own six-point plan for how to fix the court, ideas which I think are worth hearing.
First of all, she’d do away with the current system where candidates for the court are placed on the ballot by the major political parties. She thinks they should earn a spot on the ballot by petition, which is what all other Michigan judges have to do.
She’d like to see justices elected by district, to allow some geographic diversity.
Currently, all seven justices live in only three counties, Wayne, Oakland and Ingham.
That’s why she was so keen on Judge Alton Davis of Gaylord being named to replace her. His defeat meant, she said, that two-thirds of us have no justice from our immediate geographical area.
Weaver also thinks we need to move to a system of public fiunding for judicial campaigns, and until we are fully there, she would require transparency and accountability in campaign finance reporting. That means knowing who is giving which candidate how much money, and being able to find out within two days. “We should allow absolutely no secret or unnamed contributors,” she said.
She’d also like term limits for justices -- perhaps a single term of fourteen years. I’m not sure why she thinks that’s a good idea.
But her last idea, involving what happens when a justice dies or resigns while in office, is hard to fault. Currently, the governor can name anyone he or she likes to the post. Former Justice Weaver would establish a broad-based Qualifications Commission.
They would provide the governor with two recommendations, and the governor would be free to pick one -- or pick someone else if they explained why. But in any event, the appointment would be subject to a public hearing, and then confirmation by the Senate.
You don’t have to always agree with former Justice Weaver, or even admire her style, to admit these are ideas worth considering. She told me she intends to continue to campaign for court reform, and may write a book about the subject.
He was a young man when he first came to Congress, tall, gangly, and with questionable taste in haircuts and ties.
Owlish old Sam Rayburn swore him in on a chill December day, saying something, no doubt, about his father, who had held the seat before him, and who had died just months before.
That was more than fifty-five years ago. General Motors, the world’s richest corporation was putting ever bigger tail fins on their cars, and consumers were just starting to wonder if they’d ever be able to afford one of those sensational new color TVs.
That was the world when John Dingell Jr. arrived in Washington at the end of 1955, the country‘s newest and youngest congressman. He was twenty-nine then. This summer he will be eighty-five. Everybody else who was in Congress when he arrived is gone.
Most are dead.
When he arrived, Barack Obama and Sarah Palin were years away from being born. He’s stayed in the House longer than anyone in history. Two men have stayed in Congress longer, when you combine time in both chambers. John Dingell will pass one of them soon. But to beat the other, West Virginia’s Robert Byrd, Dingell has get reelected one more time, next year.
This week, the man they used to call the truck announced that he intended to try to do just that. He’s running again.
That didn’t especially surprise me, although the timing did at first. The next election is not till November 2012. Big John has had knee problems, heart problems, and a hip replacement.
Shouldn’t he wait? Then I remembered: This is a redistricting year. Michigan is going to lose a seat in Congress, and someone’s district is going to disappear. Dingell is telling the legislature not to make it his. Oh, the boundaries will change, but he wants a district he can run in, and win. It won’t be called the fifteenth district anymore. Michigan is only going to have fourteen. It may have more Republicans in it. And he’s likely to have a race on his hands.
Last year, a cardiologist named Rob Steele gave Dingell the first real general election challenge he’s ever had. Steele even led on election night, till Dearborn and Ann Arbor checked in and wiped the challenger out. But Dingell had a scare.
Or I should say, his friends did. Nothing seems to scare, or stop, Big John. They took his committee chairmanship away two years ago, and his party is back in the minority.
But he’s keeping on. Next year’s election will come exactly eighty years after Michigan first sent a John Dingell to Congress, to fill what was then the brand new fifteenth district.
That was his daddy. Last year John Dingell, who first stepped onto the floor of Congress at age six, saw his father’s dream of national health care finally fulfilled.
Next year, he’s hoping the voters give him one last hurrah. You can say he should retire. Dingell thinks otherwise. He thinks he‘s still the best man for the job, and intends to leave it up to the voters to decide. And even his Tea Party critics have to admit this much; It is his perfect constitutional right to do so.
When it comes to speeches, Rick Snyder cannot begin to touch Jennifer Granholm in terms of style.
At no time during his State of the State speech last night did he come close to matching her perfectly modulated tones. He’s getting better, but the governor still sounds much of the time like a college student making a speech in a class he’s required to take.
But when it comes to substance and leadership, he blew her out of the park. He took one of the most divisive issues in the state, made it his own, worked out an astonishing deal with the federal government, and happily co-opted both his friends and enemies.
Nobody had a clue before last night what the new governor would do about the proposed new bridge over the Detroit River.
For years, Matty Moroun, the billionaire trucking magnate who owns the Ambassador Bridge, has managed to block construction of a new internationally owned bridge.
Last December, Moroun’s allies in the state senate blocked a vote on the bridge, which virtually every other interest group in the state has wanted for years.
During last year’s election cycle the Ambassador Bridge’s owner donated more than half a million dollars to candidates and their committees, with the clear expectation they‘d continue to protect his interests. Nobody knew how Snyder stood on the issue, but supporters of the new bridge had little reason to be optimistic.
But then Snyder stunned the state.
“It’s time to build the new Detroit River International Crossing Bridge,” he said flatly. And then he added a bigger surprise. He’d gone to Washington and negotiated a deal.
The federal government would allow the $550 million dollar loan Canada had offered Michigan to get the bridge deal done to count as matching funds for federal highway dollars.
That’s not only a good deal for Michigan, it offers Republicans who had opposed the bridge a face-saving way to change their minds.
“Forget everything you heard in last year’s debate,” the new governor told them. After all, this wasn’t the bill they rejected last year, but a new and better deal for Michigan.
There are some who are saying the new governor was backing the bridge to please the Democrats, to win bipartisan support. Well, it may have that effect, but some of the strongest backers of the DRIC bridge have been Republicans outside the legislature, like former Governor John Engler and Oakland County’s Brooks Patterson.
The Michigan Chamber of Commerce wants the bridge, as do all the auto companies. Snyder decided to try to end the logjam saying he was tired of “rhetoric and paralysis. It’s time to solve problems.” Now, the bridge isn’t a done deal yet.
Nor did the governor explain how he proposes to close the massive budget deficit. That’ll come with his budget, next month.
But everything he said indicated he is a man of rational, commonsense solutions. He wants full funding of the successful Pure Michigan ad campaign. Most of all, he wants anything and everything that will create jobs. Ironically, by the end of the night, his somewhat wooden delivery had accomplished something his predecessor never did. He really did blow people away.
And I have a sneaking suspicion we ain’t seen nothing yet.
Tomorrow Gov. Rick Snyder will deliver his first state of the state speech to a joint session of the legislature and a statewide television audience. I’ve seen a lot of these speeches, and believe this may be the most eagerly anticipated one ever.
Michigan is stuck in twin enormous economic crises, one affecting state government, which has a perennial massive deficit, and the other affecting hundreds of thousands without jobs.
Governor Snyder is brand new, and we are still getting to know him. We want to have a better sense of who he is, and, especially, how he plans to get us out of the mess we’re in.
But all this got me wondering: Who was the first governor ever to give a state-of-the state speech? The first I remember was Governor Milliken, but how far back did the tradition go before him?
I knew that in the old days, governors just sent an annual written message to the legislature. U.S. Presidents used to do the same, until Woodrow Wilson started the tradition of showing up at the capitol and delivering a speech in person.
Since then, almost every president has done so. But who was the first governor to do so? I asked Bill Ballenger, the publisher of Inside Michigan Politics. “Wow,” he said. “I don’t know.”
Neither did State Senator Steve Bieda, maybe the legislature’s biggest state history buff. So I left a message for former Governor Jim Blanchard, who delivered eight State of the State speeches. He texted back that he hadn’t a clue.
I called Governor Milliken, who delivered more State of the State speeches than anyone in Michigan history.
“I just don’t know when they started,” he told me. “You’d think I should know, but I don’t,” he said, laughing.
So who did start the custom? I was pretty sure it wasn’t my favorite governor, Epaphroditus Ransom. He served only two years, from 1848 to 1850, and once sent this crusty message to the legislature: “It seems best to dispense with all unnecessary and useless communications.” He then took off to run an Indian land office in Kansas, where he died. Actually, he isn’t my favorite governor at all. I just always wanted to say Epaphroditus on the radio. Next I called George Weeks, author of the only definitive book on all of Michigan’s governors, Stewards of the State, which actually has the only picture I’ve ever seen of Epaphroditus Ransom.
George sheepishly told me he didn’t know either, though he was sure that Milliken’s were the first to be delivered in the evening and televised. Next, I picked on Dennis Cawthorne.
Now a top Lansing lobbyist, Cawthorne is a former Republican leader of the House, and a well-known expert on Michigan political history. “I can’t believe it, but I just don’t know when the first state of the state speech was,” Cawthorne told me.
He said he remembers at least one Soapy Williams state of the state, and he is pretty sure the custom started in the 20th century.
So there you have it; an authentic Michigan historical mystery . If anyone knows definitively when the first state of the state speech was, please let me know. On behalf of old Epaphroditus …
Today is the federal holiday honoring the birth of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior. Michigan Radio’s Political Analyst Jack Lessenberry wonders how much we really know about the man behind the day.
Last week I talked to a woman in an accounting office about an issue involving an electronic tax payment. “I’ll take care of that Monday,” she told me. I don’t think you can, I said.
Monday’s the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
“What?“ she said. “Oh that. I don’t celebrate that,” she said with a tone of annoyance. It wasn’t her holiday, she wanted me to know, and she thought it was highly inappropriate for anybody to get a day off, and for government offices and banks to be closed.
You won’t be surprised to learn that she wasn’t African-American. Nor that she didn’t know much, really, about Dr. Martin Luther King. However, I’m not sure that a lot of the people who do enthusiastically celebrate it know much about him either.
I know another woman who is taking her kids skiing today. She was, and is, an enthusiastic Obama supporter.
But she is going to use her day off to hit the ski slopes, which is probably not what Dr. King was talking about when he spoke of leading his people to the promised land, the night before he died.
What we’ve managed to do in this country is make MLK, as the kids call him today, into some sort of sanitized plaster saint.
The official myth goes something like this: King was a young preacher with a fantastic voice who had a dream that everybody would have the same rights to vote and to eat at the same lunch counters in fast food restaurants.
Best of all, he was against violence, unlike that bad Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown. He wanted everybody to get along, and led peaceful protest marches. And then, when he was helping some people in Memphis, Tennessee a bad man shot him.
And he died. But his dream inspired millions, and today we have an African-American President in the White House. The End.
Well, there is a little truth in that. But the real Martin Luther King Jr. was a far more complex man, who wasn’t regarded as safe at all by the establishment during his lifetime.
A year before he died, he denounced the Vietnam war in utterly blistering terms. He was turned off by materialism, conspicuous consumption, and the military-industrial complex. Historian James Washington concluded that MLK offered us “a blueprint for what America could become if it trusted its democratic legacy,” but that this dream proved too threatening. Not because it promised political equality.
But because it hinted at economic redistribution.
There are those who disagree. But it is very clear is that King is a man who deserves to be studied. They are doing just that in Grand Rapids this evening, with the filmmaker who made “Eyes on the Prize” giving the keynote speech.
They are doing similar things elsewhere around the state, and nation, as part of day of service programs established in his honor.
I know enough about King to suspect he’d like us to be doing one of two things today. Volunteering somewhere to make this world a better place. That, or learning what he was really all about.
I think that as long as enough of us do both things, his dream will indeed never die.
History and literature are full of stories of gallant last stands. Stories in which the remnants of a once-mighty army sally forth against a far more powerful foe. Most of the time, they realize they have no chance. In some cases, they hope for a miracle.
Or at least they hope that their epic final charge inspires future generations. Maybe even, becomes the stuff of legends.
I was reminded of all that this week, when I learned that the United Auto Workers union has set aside sixty million dollars in an effort to organize transplant factories. Those are auto plants here in the United States that are owned by foreign automakers, like Toyota.
Many are in the South. None are in Michigan. And the UAW has utterly failed to organize any of the transplant factories, except for a few joint ventures with Detroit automakers.
This is not an accident.
Foreign automakers have deliberately located their plants as far from UAW-influenced areas as possible, and spent heavily in a successful effort to discourage workers from turning to the union.
Meanwhile, during the last two decades, the number of transplant factory workers has steadily increased, while the number of workers represented by the UAW has nosedived.
Thirty years ago, the union Walter Reuther built had more than a million and a half members. The most recent statistics show that has fallen to barely 350,000, many of whom aren‘t auto workers.
Mark Gaffney, head of the AFL-CIO in Michigan, once told me that unless something changed, that by 2012, there would be more U.S. auto workers not represented by the UAW than were represented by the union. If that happened, he hinted, the union would be doomed. Now, new UAW leader Bob King has vowed to do something about it. He isn’t, however, pounding his fist on the table like a 1940s labor leader, vowing to succeed or die trying.
Instead, King told the Automotive News World Congress the other day that he intended to fight for fair union elections in the transplants. “We just have to convince them we’re not the evil empire that they think,” he said. Twenty years ago, when asked about the union, Japanese auto makers generally made polite noises, and at least tried to sound reasonable. Today, they feel less need to do so. When told of King’s remarks, one spokesman sniffed, “Honda has had no dialogue with the UAW, and has no interest in a discussion with them.”
But the UAW needs to try to start that discussion and score some victories. Some think they may be able to succeed with Mercedes Benz before the Japanese and Koreans. For now, all King is saying is that the UAW wants a fair shake.
Last summer, I met a retired Ford manager who told me that years ago, King, who already had a law degree, went to work for him in a plant. Why are you doing this?” the older man asked.
“Because I intend to be the next Walter Reuther someday,” King supposedly told him. One thing‘s for sure. If Bob King can find a way to organize America‘s transplant factories, he’ll give his union a new lease on life. And that would make Walter Reuther very glad.
No doubt about it - it’s been a momentous and bruising year. But it could have been worse. Remember eleven years ago, when everybody was convinced the much-feared Y2K crisis would shut down America, or at least our nation’s computers?
On New Year’s Day, when the crisis failed to materialize, one Ohio newspaper ran this huge headline: We’re Still Here.
Well, this holiday season seems a bit like that. Okay, well, we’re still here. Too many of us still don’t have jobs, true.
There’s a fair share we could be gloomy about.
We don’t have a Michigan State Fair any more; we’ve lost the Michigan Promise Grant scholarship, and we are losing a seat in Congress. The Lions are still mostly losing, the Tigers are mediocre, the Red Wings are a little better, the Pistons, are really bad.
And of course, standards of taste prevent me from saying anything about Michigan football.
It was a trifle dismaying this week, when the U.S. Census bureau informed the nation that Michigan was the only state in the union to actually lose population during the last decade.
However, there are things to be happy about. Two years ago, we thought General Motors and Chrysler might be gone by now.
But they’ve reconstituted themselves; they are all still here and making money, and there are even cars people are excited about, like the Chevy Volt.
Whatever your politics, it’s been a disappointing few years. Our elected leaders in Lansing failed to get the job done, either in reinventing the economy or dealing with the deep-seated problems that give us huge deficits every year. However, things are about to change. We elected a new governor this year, a man few of us knew anything about a year ago. He doesn’t take office for another week yet, but there are reasons to be hopeful. Rick Snyder says he isn’t interested in the squabbles and pettiness of the past.
Someone close to him tells me he intends to focus like a laser beam on recharging and reinventing the economy.
No matter how successful he is, we need to remember we aren’t going to get back to prosperity and full employment overnight. What we are doing is getting ready to move beyond the shadows of the past. That’s happening in Detroit. The city finally seems to given up on the Kilpatricks.
Any chance of a comeback for the former mayor seems to have ended forever with the massive federal indictments filed this month; in August, voters told his mother they didn’t want her to be their congressman any longer. The city and the state seem to be moving into an era when we are looking for government by grownups.
Which isn’t all bad. There is bound to be some tough sledding ahead next year, but here’s a couple things to remember.
The days at least are now getting longer. Unemployment is beginning to fall. And Nevada, the state that grew the fastest in the last decade, now has a jobless rate higher than Michigan.
There are almost ten million of us still here, and some of the nicest scenery in the world. There are things to celebrate this holiday season. And Michigan is clearly not ready to roll over and die yet.
The first census figures are in, and it’s clear that theses rows of numbers have set the stage for some very intense political melodrama to come. Michigan Radio’s Political Analyst Jack Lessenberry explains…
Well, we finally have the official census figures, and for the first time in history, Michigan lost people in the course of a decade. Worse, we’ll have fewer members of Congress.
Over the last thirty years, we’ve lost five seats in the House of Representatives.
That’s equivalent to losing the voting power of the entire state of Connecticut. Put another way, we’re now back to having only one more representative than a century ago.
That means that we’ve lost virtually all the political clout we gained during the age of the automobile. True, that era’s last remaining titans are still in Washington -- the Levins, John Conyers, and of course John Dingell.
But they don’t have the power they did. For one thing, they are all Democrats, and the Dems are losing control of the House.
For another, the auto industry doesn’t have the clout it did, even as recently as the 1980s. Back then Dingell ran the House Energy and Commerce Committee with an iron hand, and managed to look out for both the industry and the auto workers union.
But Big John lost his committee chairmanship last year, and in January, his party won’t even control the committee. Back in Michigan, the census means several Democratic congressmen will be fighting for their political lives next year, when the legislature will be running a deadly game of musical chairs.
Michigan will lose a seat in Congress. Since we will have nine Republicans and six Democrats, you might think we’d give up a Republican seat. But you’d be wrong.
The redistricting plan will be written and passed by a solidly Republican legislature, signed by a Republican governor, and reviewed a GOP-controlled state supreme court.
While every district has to have the same number of people, they will draw the lines to produce as many GOP seats as possible, and that means eliminating at least one Democrat.
Most likely, they will combine the southeastern districts now held by Gary Peters and Sandy Levin, forcing them to run against each other in the 2012 primary, unless one steps down.
They could also put John Conyers and John Dingell into a seat where they have to run against each other.
Elsewhere, they will try to pack as many Democrats as possible into as few districts as possible, while strengthening Republican incumbents. This is a delicate process.
If they get too greedy and try to create too many GOP-leaning districts, they could leave some Republican incumbents, like Thaddeus McCotter or Mike Rogers, potentially vulnerable.
All this may lead to the retirement of some of our Congressional titans. John Dingell will be eighty-six before the next election. He might be able to perform one last service to his party by working out a deal to retire to save someone else‘s seat.
If Peters is thrown into a district with Levin, it might be well to reflect that while Sandy has had an amazing career, he will be eighty-one next time. Peters, fifty-three.
It might make sense for the older man to make a graceful exit. Watch for all this and more to play out over the next couple years. The census itself may not seem very sexy. But as a catalyst for political melodrama, nothing has it beat.