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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A new day in Michigan

Elections earlier this month have signalled the start of a new era in Michigan, but I think we have already hit the bottom and are now on the rebound anyways. Our new leaders will just have to make sure that our recovery is more than the bounce of a dead cat.

The Republicans won in a landslide in Michigan as they did across the country. Frankly, I think if Democrats had campaigned solely on the auto bailouts, not a single Republican would have won anything in the state. In the end, however, Democrats shied away from their strengths in Michigan as they did across the country, letting the Tea Party and the Party of No dictate the conversation, and they paid the price. I just hope the rest of us don't pay as well.

Because of the bloodbath on the Democratic side, Republicans will be able to freely gerrymander most of the country, including Michigan, after this latest Census. This is a perverse twist to our democracy, discouraging compromise and promoting extremism in both parties. Indeed, gerrymandering cost Michigan David Bonior (and a shot at the Speakership) in the last go-around.

Still, it is not all doom and gloom. Our Governor-elect, Rick Snyder, certainly has many characteristics that will serve him, and the state, well during his administration. Business acumen, pragmatism, and a willingness to work with others would be a good change of pace, after years of incompetence in Lansing. Having a unified government will at least ease the gridlock of years past - our new government will certainly get things done. I just hope they are the right things. I especially hope that they realize we have already been cutting bone, let alone fat. I eagerly await the day a politician has the courage to call for higher taxes and campaign on that...certainly we can spend and tax smarter, but simply cutting is not an answer.

On a positive note, Governor-elect Snyder has put out a call for Michigan's talent to join him in rebuilding our state. Thousands have already applied for a few hundred spots, but that shouldn't stop you from putting your name in for consideration: