Zoe Clark http://michiganradio.org en Lt. Gov. Calley’s future could be decided on the bottom of the August ballot http://michiganradio.org/post/lt-gov-calley-s-future-could-be-decided-bottom-august-ballot <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">There are some big stakes in the primary elections less than two weeks away, and fierce fights over congressional and legislative nominations are getting a lot of attention.</span></p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Not that it’s likely to boost what is usually anemic turnout in the primaries, and that’s despite the reality that most seats are so firmly partisan that the primary is actually the decisive election that really determines who goes to Lansing or Washington.</span></p><p>Like other politicos, we’ve paid a lot of attention to the face-off between the Republican establishment and the GOP’s Tea Party wing. And while that fight is playing out in some state House and Senate races, and some big Congressional races, it’s also playing out locally. Very locally.</p><p>We’re talking about the humble precinct delegate.</p><p> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 17:45:22 +0000 Rick Pluta & Zoe Clark 18516 at http://michiganradio.org Lt. Gov. Calley’s future could be decided on the bottom of the August ballot Spying on candidates may be unsettling, but is it really such a bad thing? http://michiganradio.org/post/spying-candidates-may-be-unsettling-it-really-such-bad-thing <p>Cue the James Bond theme as we take up electoral espionage. We’re talking campaign black ops. Political spying.</p><p>We learned this week that Republicans here in Michigan sent two young operatives equipped with a tiny video camera in a pair of glasses to infiltrate a Mark Schauer for Governor campaign event -- looking for whatever they might find. And what did they get? Found out.</p><p>Our ace operatives bungled the job. Dropped the disc with the video where it was found by Democrats. Who, then, made it public, including their brief conversation with Dem lieutenant governor candidate Lisa Brown.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Republicans didn’t deny the operatives were theirs.</span></p><p>Democrats and the Schauer campaign cried foul calling it sneaky, dirty tricks. They got some newspaper headlines. Effective messaging helped along by the fact that it fit did neatly into a narrative courtesy of some missteps -- or what seemed to be missteps -- by Governor Rick Snyder’s campaign.</p><p> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 16:11:06 +0000 Rick Pluta & Zoe Clark 18432 at http://michiganradio.org Spying on candidates may be unsettling, but is it really such a bad thing? Signed a petition to oppose Asian carp? You actually signed a petition to allow wolf hunting http://michiganradio.org/post/signed-petition-oppose-asian-carp-you-actually-signed-petition-allow-wolf-hunting <p><span style="font-family: Arial; font-size: 15px; line-height: 1.15; white-space: pre-wrap;">This week, pretty much unnoticed, the deadline came and went for opponents to file challenges to petitions filed by the Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management campaign to initiate a law. This is part of the ongoing political battle over wolf hunting in the Upper Peninsula.</span></p><p></p><p><span style="font-family: Arial; font-size: 15px; white-space: pre-wrap; line-height: 1.15;">The </span>CPWM<span style="font-family: Arial; font-size: 15px; white-space: pre-wrap; line-height: 1.15;"> petition drive would create a new version of the law to allow wolf hunting, and it would take future decisions on designating game animals and put it with the state Natural Resources Commission instead of the Legislature.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: Arial; font-size: 15px; white-space: pre-wrap; line-height: 1.15;">Now, not everyone may recognize that petition campaign. But, if you signed a petition to oppose Asian carp in the Great Lakes, you signed a petition to allow wolf hunting in the UP. If you signed a petition to allow active duty military personnel to get free hunting and fishing licenses, you signed a petition to allow wolf hunting.</span></p><p> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 18:05:28 +0000 Rick Pluta & Zoe Clark 18349 at http://michiganradio.org Signed a petition to oppose Asian carp? You actually signed a petition to allow wolf hunting Detroit Mayor gets a lot from Lansing in his first six months, but will it last? http://michiganradio.org/post/detroit-mayor-gets-lot-lansing-his-first-six-months-will-it-last <p>It’s been almost six months since Mike Duggan took over as mayor of Detroit. He took over a city however, run by someone else: state-appointed Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.</p><p>But, that doesn’t mean Duggan has been denied all the rites of passage of the job including the schlep to Lansing to ask the state Legislature for something. Every mayor has to do it. And Duggan had to go to Lansing with a really big ‘ask.’ We’re talking about the $195 million dollar rescue package for his city (that’s right, ‘rescue,’ ‘settlement.’ Just don’t call it a ‘bailout.’)</p><p>Getting the Republican-led state House and Senate to go along with sending almost $200 million dollars to a Democratically-controlled city was not an easy task. Fri, 27 Jun 2014 22:01:27 +0000 Zoe Clark & Rick Pluta 18193 at http://michiganradio.org Detroit Mayor gets a lot from Lansing in his first six months, but will it last? Here’s why the state Senate couldn’t pass road funding http://michiganradio.org/post/here-s-why-state-senate-couldn-t-pass-road-funding <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; font-size: 15px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent;">"Unfortunately, this is an issue that I would admit there are too much politics going on." </span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; font-size: 15px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent;"> That was Gov. Rick Snyder last night, after it became clear that a major roads funding package was not going to get passed in the state Senate.</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; font-size: 15px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent;">"</span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; font-size: 15px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent;">...If we were sitting at the kitchen table as a big family,” he continued, “and you looked at this issue, we would have solved this problem.”</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; font-size: 15px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent;">Sure. Or our big family would fight about who wrecked the roads in the first place and that it was your fault – you and your big truck – which is why we can’t have nice roads and don’t you know I have a primary and, by the way, I haven’t forgotten who wrecked the roads that you won’t fix because you should.</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; font-size: 15px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent;">But, we digress.</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; font-size: 15px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent;">There were a lot of reasons why this road-funding deal failed to come together, despite some recent instances of actual bipartisanship, like increasing the state’s minimum wage and the Detroit rescue package. But those were exceptions in this era of Republican hegemony in Lansing. Fri, 13 Jun 2014 17:34:37 +0000 Zoe Clark & Rick Pluta 17993 at http://michiganradio.org Here’s why the state Senate couldn’t pass road funding Why presidential politics could stall a deal in Lansing to fix our roads http://michiganradio.org/post/why-presidential-politics-could-stall-deal-lansing-fix-our-roads <p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">With money to fix roads hanging in the balance, presidential politics could stand in the way of the new trend of bipartisan action on big, controversial issues.</span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">But, really, any notion that there’s a new era of bipartisanship at the state Capitol should be shelved, despite the Democratic and Republican coalitions in the Legislature that pushed through deals on increasing the minimum wage and the Detroit rescue package. And that’s because each was an anomaly that brought Democrats to the bargaining table in Republican-controlled Lansing. </span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">When you break down the Detroit votes, for example, you see two very different pictures in the House and in the Senate. In the House, almost all the Republicans voted for the rescue. A few Democrats were the holdouts. In the Senate, Democrats made up the difference as most Republicans</span><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:bold;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;"> </span><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">-- 16 out of 26 -- voted “no” on the main bills in the Detroit package.</span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">What this says is the parameters of each deal were different (even when we’re talking about the exact same legislation) depending on whether it’s the House or the Senate. &nbsp;For example, a larger proportion of the Republicans in the Senate have serious primaries. Fri, 06 Jun 2014 17:52:09 +0000 Zoe Clark & Rick Pluta 17894 at http://michiganradio.org Why presidential politics could stall a deal in Lansing to fix our roads Despite waffling, Snyder did join call to add LGBT protections to state's civil rights law http://michiganradio.org/post/despite-waffling-snyder-did-join-call-add-lgbt-protections-states-civil-rights-law <p>This week at the annual Detroit Regional Chamber’s policy conference on Mackinac Island, Governor Snyder joined the chorus of people calling for an update to Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights act to include protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people… sort of.</p><p>There is a lot of spoon-feeding to the press here on the Island – a litany of press conferences and media scrums. And, yesterday, one of those press conferences was held by a group of business leaders who want LGBT protections rolled into the civil rights law.</p><p>Meanwhile, at almost the exact same time as these business leaders were making their announcement, the Governor was talking to us, telling us he thought the legislature ought to take the issue up.</p><p>But, did he actually endorse it? “I’m encouraging them to say there’s been a lot of dialog and discussion on this. It’s been healthy in the public and I think it could be an appropriate topic for the legislators to take up. I would appreciate that,” the Governor said. And, that statement is fairly typical of the multiple exchanges we had with the governor on this topic.</p><p> Fri, 30 May 2014 18:32:01 +0000 Zoe Clark & Rick Pluta 17810 at http://michiganradio.org Despite waffling, Snyder did join call to add LGBT protections to state's civil rights law State aid to Detroit gets overwhelming support from Republicans (yes, you read that correctly) http://michiganradio.org/post/state-aid-detroit-gets-overwhelming-support-republicans-yes-you-read-correctly <p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">In Lansing yesterday with the state House approving that $195 million for Detroit, a lot of us were anticipating a close vote. A very close vote.</span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">There</span><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;"> was a lot of back and forth about how many votes the Republicans would have to put up and how many the Democrats would have to put up. But, in the end, it wasn’t even close.</span></p><p><br /><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">Other than the dust-up over the Detroit Institute of Arts millage the package passed by big lopsided margins and overwhelming Republican support. Which, when you think about it, is a very interesting dynamic: overwhelming GOP support for the state coming to the aid of a city run by Democrats. Fri, 23 May 2014 18:56:46 +0000 Zoe Clark & Rick Pluta 17738 at http://michiganradio.org State aid to Detroit gets overwhelming support from Republicans (yes, you read that correctly) Rumors of the demise of minimum wage petition drive are greatly exaggerated http://michiganradio.org/post/rumors-demise-minimum-wage-petition-drive-are-greatly-exaggerated <p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">So now that the Michigan Senate has approved a new, higher minimum wage, with bipartisan support (14 Rs, 10 Ds) no less, this is practically a done deal. Right?</span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">Not so much.</span> <span id="docs-internal-guid-a850aade-0650-754c-0145-0e2550edd44f" style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">The </span><span style="font-size:16px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">headlines and stories that said it would “kill” the petition drive are speculative and premature.</span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">This Senate bill is – at the bottom of it all – an effort to pull the rug out from under the ballot drive to raise the Michigan minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. It's a cause beloved by Democrats and progressives.</span></p><p><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">So why then did 10 out of 12 Senate Democrats go along with it? Particularly after some had already blasted the proposal as a gimmick and too paltry – especially for workers earning the lower tipped wage?</span> Fri, 16 May 2014 18:38:35 +0000 Zoe Clark & Rick Pluta 17640 at http://michiganradio.org Rumors of the demise of minimum wage petition drive are greatly exaggerated Latest GOP minimum wage salvo could spark restaurant war http://michiganradio.org/post/latest-gop-minimum-wage-salvo-could-spark-restaurant-war <p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:16px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">Republican state Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, may have just turned up the heat in the fight over increasing Michigan’s minimum wage. But the petition campaign – headed by <a href="http://www.raisemichigan.com/splash?splash=1">Raise Michigan</a>&nbsp;– is already planning its pushback.</span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:16px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">Richardville proposed yesterday his own legislation to raise the state minimum wage from $7.40 to $8.15, and a boost for tipped workers, too. But, really, this is not so much about raising the minimum wage as derailing the petition drive underway to raise the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour plus a really big raise for tipped workers.</span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:16px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">The Richardville proposal is separate from <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/gop-plan-stop-drive-increase-minimum-wage-increase-minimum-wage-course">an earlier bill sponsored by Senator Rick Jones,&nbsp;</a>R-Eaton Rapids, that would also raise the minimum wage. That one also meant to blunt the petition drive.</span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:16px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">Both were introduced because it appears the petition drive is on track to turn in the necessary number of signatures before the deadline at the end of the month. Under the Michigan Constitution, once those signatures are certified, the state Legislature would have 40 days to vote it into law. If it doesn’t – the question goes on the November ballot.</span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:16px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">And the polling shows, it’s pretty popular. Popular enough, Democrats hope, to boost turnout among their voters who tend to stay home in mid-term elections. Fri, 09 May 2014 17:50:24 +0000 Rick Pluta & Zoe Clark 17545 at http://michiganradio.org Latest GOP minimum wage salvo could spark restaurant war GOP still has to manage and romance Tea Party as LG challenge fizzles http://michiganradio.org/post/gop-still-has-manage-and-romance-tea-party-lg-challenge-fizzles <p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><strong>Update: 1:25 PM, Monday, May 5th, 2014</strong></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-0c38d9df-cd69-cfe3-b106-620f8c24926d" style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">Well, blow the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8XTpCwicwE">“trumpet of shame”</a> on us. Right after we predicted here that the prospective challengers to Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley would fall short, Wes Nakagiri <a href="http://wesyes.com/index.php?option=com_acymailing&amp;ctrl=archive&amp;task=view&amp;mailid=47&amp;key=bf4b76aaaf6282c5c2fbefd97f33f583&amp;subid=6844-e837c7f09aa13ed1725fe8aa981bc310&amp;tmpl=component">goes and turns in 33 signatures</a> from the ranks of Michigan Republican State Central Committee to get his name placed in consideration at the party’s summer convention. The rules require at least three signatures from committee members in at least three congressional districts. It appears Nakagiri’s crossed his t’s and dotted his i’s, but the Michigan GOP’s policy committee still has to affirm the signatures. That could happen at its July meeting, if not sooner. Calley’s still the odds-on favorite to win re-nomination.</span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">---</span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">We’ve talked quite a bit already about the friction within the Michigan Republican Party between the GOP establishment and its perpetually perturbed Tea Party wing. The Tea Party’s restless longings are coalescing lately around the possibility of toppling Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley from the ticket.</span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">It almost happened four years ago as many in the Tea Party deemed Republican nominee-for- governor Rick Snyder as insufficiently conservative, and tried to put one of their own on the ticket in place of One Tough Nerd’s choice, then-state Representative Calley. And when that effort failed (but not by much), they felt robbed. </span></p><p><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">“In politics, you know, they do whatever it takes! They scratch! They claw! They bite!” said one angry delegate to the 2010 GOP summer convention.</span><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Arial; font-size: 15px; line-height: 1.15;">Tea Partiers now harbor some hopes of pulling it off this year as a payback for the Medicaid expansion, Common Core, the autism insurance mandate and other Snyder administration initiatives.</span></p><p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Arial; font-size: 15px; line-height: 1.5;">But Lieutenant </span>Gov<span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Arial; font-size: 15px; line-height: 1.5;">.&nbsp;</span>Calley<span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Arial; font-size: 15px; line-height: 1.5;"> seems to have warded off that challenge – for the moment.</span></p><p> Fri, 02 May 2014 18:29:36 +0000 Rick Pluta & Zoe Clark 17468 at http://michiganradio.org GOP still has to manage and romance Tea Party as LG challenge fizzles GOP plan to stop drive to increase the minimum wage: increase the minimum wage, of course http://michiganradio.org/post/gop-plan-stop-drive-increase-minimum-wage-increase-minimum-wage-course <p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:16px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">It’s Michigan minimum wage redux. This week, conservative Republican state Senator Rick Jones introduced a bill to increase Michigan’s minimum wage from $7.40 to $8.15 an hour. The measure would also increase the minimum wage for tipped workers from $2.65 to $2.75 an hour.</span></p> Fri, 25 Apr 2014 18:46:21 +0000 Zoe Clark & Rick Pluta 17365 at http://michiganradio.org GOP plan to stop drive to increase the minimum wage: increase the minimum wage, of course Can the GOP maintain that Tea Party love and win mid-term elections? http://michiganradio.org/post/can-gop-maintain-tea-party-love-and-win-mid-term-elections <p>History suggests that this election year should be friendly to Republicans. That’s because Republicans are more likely to turn out in mid-term elections than Democrats, and the party out of the White House, especially in a president’s second term, tends to have an advantage. With about six and a half months to go before the November election, a lot of Republicans are harboring hopes that this is going to be a good year to be a Republican.</p><p>But here’s a question: Which kind of Republican is it best to be this year?</p><p>In Michigan -- just like nationally -- there’s some tension between the three threads of the GOP coalition. That’s the &nbsp;Establishment Republicans, the Tea Party, and the Liberty Movement.</p><p>We’ll get a better idea of how big this fight is (and if it’s a fight at all worth talking about) after this coming Tuesday’s filing deadline. We’ll see exactly where and how many Tea Partiers will “primary” an establishment Republican figure, and where the Republican establishment (and by that we mean chamber of commerce Republicans) will try to dislodge a Tea Partier from Congress or the Legislature. Fri, 18 Apr 2014 22:12:01 +0000 Rick Pluta & Zoe Clark 17285 at http://michiganradio.org Can the GOP maintain that Tea Party love and win mid-term elections? Will POTUS visits, petition drive help turn out Obama voters? http://michiganradio.org/post/will-potus-visits-petition-drive-help-turn-out-obama-voters <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">President Obama was in Ann Arbor this week at the University of Michigan to throw his Democratic base some red meat* by stumping for the minimum wage. He called on Congress to pass legislation to boost the national minimum wage and he also endorsed a petition drive under way in Michigan to raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.40 an hour to $10.10 an hour by 2017.</span></p><p>Democrats’ hopes of keeping control of the U.S. Senate in 2014 rest largely with keeping the seat that Sen. Carl Levin is retiring from later this year. Republicans appear to be in good shape come November because their voters are typically more likely to turn out in the off cycle, and because the party out of the White House typically does well in midterm elections.</p><p>Republicans also think they can win by relentlessly reminding the public of&nbsp;Obamacare. But what if Democrats can jujitsu that? That’s the political point of these presidential visits.<img alt="&lt;--break-&gt;" height="1" src="file:///C:\Users\MBrush\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\clip_image001.gif" width="1" /></p><p> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 18:53:41 +0000 Zoe Clark & Rick Pluta 17106 at http://michiganradio.org Will POTUS visits, petition drive help turn out Obama voters? Politicos must do some fast thinking if they want Rogers’ seat http://michiganradio.org/post/politicos-must-do-some-fast-thinking-if-they-want-rogers-seat <p>A political stunner slapped all of our political cheeks awake this morning, just like that <a href="http://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=mcafee&amp;type=A010US0&amp;p=mukuly+culkin+face+slap+aftershave">scene with Macaulay Culkin</a> in Home Alone.</p><p>The news? Seven-term Republican Congressman <a href="http://michiganradio.org/term/mike-rogers">Mike Rogers </a>announced he is <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/us-rep-mike-rogers-wont-seek-re-election">retiring from Congress</a>. Retiring from Congress, but not the political circus. He is going to start a national radio show devoted to foreign policy and national defense, which is his bailiwick as the Chairman of the powerful House Intelligence Committee.</p><p>Rogers is also a well-known talking head. Last year, he <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2013/12/mike-rogers-sunday-shows-101603.html">appeared more than any other elected official </a>on the Sunday morning news circuit. And he’s got the TV sound bites down, just <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bkx7NWPH1TQ">last week on Meet the Press</a>, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin, “goes to bed thinking of Peter the Great and wakes up thinking of Stalin.”</p><p>It’s not just how fond he seemed of Congress that is what makes Rogers’, who represents Lansing, Brighton, Howell and parts of Northern Oakland County, announcement so surprising, but his fondness in particular for the House of Representatives. In fact, there was speculation last year that the reason he didn’t jump into the race for Carl Levin’s<a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/isnt-another-levin-retrospective-were-talking-political-implications-his-retirement"> open Senate seat </a>was because he enjoyed his job in the House so much. Fri, 28 Mar 2014 19:05:40 +0000 Zoe Clark & Rick Pluta 17019 at http://michiganradio.org Politicos must do some fast thinking if they want Rogers’ seat Could the Supreme Court stop lies in political ads? http://michiganradio.org/post/could-supreme-court-stop-lies-political-ads <p></p><p>The political campaign ad season is upon us. We’ve already seen the first trickle of ads here in Michigan, but we know the spigot is barely open at this point.</p><p>And, this brings us to an interesting court case out of Ohio that will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in just over a month. At issue is whether a state can preemptively enforce a ban on a supposedly false and misleading political advertisement.</p><p>This started when the Republican independent committee the Susan B. Anthony List wanted to put up a billboard that accused an Ohio congressman of supporting taxpayer-funded abortions. The Congressman cried foul under an Ohio law that forbids knowingly or recklessly making false or misleading statements about candidates.</p><p>The billboard never went up after the congressman threatened to file a legal complaint. But the Susan B. Anthony List and some other groups challenged the law. That lawsuit was dismissed on a technicality and that was upheld by the U.S Sixth. Circuit Court of Appeals – of which Michigan is a part. Fri, 21 Mar 2014 18:41:11 +0000 Zoe Clark & Rick Pluta 16933 at http://michiganradio.org Could the Supreme Court stop lies in political ads? How many wolf hunt questions can we squeeze onto the November ballot? http://michiganradio.org/post/how-many-wolf-hunt-questions-can-we-squeeze-november-ballot <p></p><p>It looks like a referendum on the controversial issue of wolf-hunting is headed to the November ballot – again. This will be the second hunting-related ballot question (and, possibly, not the last) voters will decide in a little less than eight months.</p><p>The Keep Michigan Wolves Protected Campaign turned in petition signatures to the state Bureau of Elections just yesterday. It takes 161,305 signatures, and we can reasonably expect the campaign has enough names. Because, after all, they’ve done this before.</p><p>Most recently, just last year, when Keep Michigan Wolves Protected filed enough signatures to suspend and challenge the first Michigan wolf hunting law adopted after the gray wolf was taken off the federal endangered species list. That is the first referendum challenge and it is already on the November ballot.</p><p>But the Legislature, as well as Gov. Rick Snyder, would not be thwarted. They adopted a second law to allow wolf hunting (among other things), and that is the target of this newest referendum campaign. Fri, 14 Mar 2014 19:07:09 +0000 Rick Pluta & Zoe Clark 16854 at http://michiganradio.org How many wolf hunt questions can we squeeze onto the November ballot? White men coveted by Dems and GOP this November http://michiganradio.org/post/white-men-coveted-dems-and-gop-november <p>There was an interesting <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/03/us/politics/democrats-try-wooing-ones-who-got-away-white-men.html?_r=0">article</a> this week in <em>The New York Times</em> with a strong focus on politics in Michigan. It dealt with a particular aspect of the Democratic Party’s trouble winning in off-presidential years: the coveted white male voter. Yes, working class, high school-educated, married white men are wanted.</p><p>Republicans, in fact, have relied on dominance among white males to win elections for many, many years now. And a lot has been made of the fact that right now Republicans are facing big troubles winning over minority voters - African American, Hispanic - as well as immigrants and single women, a weakness that Democrats have been able to use.</p><p>But Democrats have been, for many years, losing the white male vote. Remember the Reagan Democrats? White, blue collar, many of them union members, with a strong presence in southeast Michigan and, over time, they stopped being Reagan Democrats and just became Republicans.</p><p>Exit polls from <em>The Washington Post</em> show President Obama <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/2012-exit-polls/">lost white voters by 20 points</a> in 2012 to Mitt Romney, the largest losing margin among whites in 30 years. Now, of course, every election is different. We know not as many voters will cast a ballot in 2014 as 2012 because it’s a midyear election when the presidential race isn’t on top of the ballot which creates, in turn, less voter excitement. Fri, 07 Mar 2014 18:26:02 +0000 Zoe Clark & Rick Pluta 16765 at http://michiganradio.org White men coveted by Dems and GOP this November Michigan's same-sex marriage trial has political implications for state's GOP http://michiganradio.org/post/michigans-same-sex-marriage-trial-has-political-implications-states-gop <p>We are one week, halfway through, the <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/lesbian-couples-challenge-michigans-ban-same-sex-marriage-starts-tomorrow">trial in federal court in Detroit</a> centering on the <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/meet-couple-challenging-michigans-gay-marriage-ban">challenge </a>to Michigan’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The arguments are supposed to go on for another week, and then we’ll wait for the judge’s decision. But the case’s mere existence, the fact that it’s occurring, is having an effect on the political landscape in Michigan.</p><p>And, it should be noted that these hearings are not taking place within a vacuum. Just this week we saw two more gay marriage rulings. Texas’ ban on<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/judge-strikes-down-texas-gay-marriage-ban-paving-way-for-shift-in-conservative-bastion/2014/02/26/201d6cd0-9f1f-11e3-9ba6-800d1192d08b_story.html"> same-sex marriage was struck down</a> and Kentucky was <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/02/27/283508733/federal-judge-rules-kentucky-must-recognize-gay-marriages">ordered to recognize same-sex marriages</a> performed in other states.</p><p>There is also another <a href="http://www.mlive.com/lansing-news/index.ssf/2014/02/gov_rick_snyder_asks_federal_j.html">federal case underway</a> here in Michigan that is challenging the state’s refusal to allow live-in partner benefits for public employees. It’s the mechanism that was created to allow same-sex couples to use their benefits to cover partners and children who would otherwise be denied coverage under Michigan’s marriage amendment, approved by voters in a statewide election 10 years ago. Fri, 28 Feb 2014 22:43:59 +0000 Zoe Clark & Rick Pluta 16667 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan's same-sex marriage trial has political implications for state's GOP Auto no-fault overhaul is GOP’s ‘Holy Grail’ http://michiganradio.org/post/auto-no-fault-overhaul-gop-s-holy-grail <p>A political controversy in Lansing that just won’t die is back: <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/few-issues-reveal-political-divide-auto-insurance">auto no-fault insurance</a>. There is yet <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/gop-lawmakers-try-revive-no-fault-overhaul">another Republican effort</a> to muscle through an auto no-fault overhaul, this time being led by state House Speaker Jase Bolger.</p><p>There’s a lot in this proposal, released just yesterday, but one of the main things is a cap on the state’s currently unlimited medical benefits if you are injured in a crash. Under the Bolger plan, these benefits would top out at $10 million. Other parts of the proposal include limits on hospital fees and payments for in-home care, incentives to avoid litigation, and a guaranteed rate rollback in the first two years of coverage.</p><p>Essentially, there is something in this plan for all of the special interests that have a stake in the auto no-fault system – hospitals, insurance companies, trial lawyers – to dislike. But, Bolger says, bring it on. Fri, 21 Feb 2014 20:44:01 +0000 Zoe Clark & Rick Pluta 16550 at http://michiganradio.org Auto no-fault overhaul is GOP’s ‘Holy Grail’