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A mere three months ago, GOP leadership wasn't going to raise the minimum wage

by: Eric B.

Thu May 15, 2014 at 15:36:30 PM EDT

Dear the Media:

Republican leaders in the state House and Senate are not eager to take up bills to raise it above $7.40 an hour.

"It's a firm 'no' for me," said Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe. "I think that individual CEOs of companies in Michigan should make those decisions based on the marketplace, not some arbitrary law."

There's a photo circulating on social media today of Richardville and Mark Schauer in warm embrace, while surrounded by microphones of reporters and such. The person who took the photo was MLive's Jonathan Oosting. Did anyone ask Richardville why he felt the need to bring up a bill that just three months ago said was a bad idea?

Meanwhile, to the House of Representatives!

“I’d never close the door to any conversation ... but this is about as close as it gets,” said Bolger, R-Marshall, adding the minimum wage proposal looks like an effort to bring Democrats to the polls in November.

“The motivation to put this on the ballot is because (Democrats) can’t get excited about their gubernatorial candidate,” Bolger said.

Obviously, Jase Bolger could still scuttle this, and given his pointless opposition to helping out Detroit, there's a good bet he will. Buuuuut, the point is that less than four months after the leaders in both chambers said that raising the minimum wage wasn't on their agenda, it suddenly was.

If ye be working in the media, please consider this your invitation to use this as a springboard into further inquiry as to what changed, and to add this all to your coverage of this issue.

Eric B. :: A mere three months ago, GOP leadership wasn't going to raise the minimum wage
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Bad Politics
I can totally see the possible 11-dimensional chess scenarios Schauer is trying to play, but this is a good reason why he'll lose if he ends up losing.  Playing this game is bad, bad politics.  Of course we were trying to politicize this.  

I realize he can't say that, but to come out so strongly in favor of something that short-circuits the ballot initiative process was completely and utterly unnecessary, and it shows me his political chops aren't as good as some may think.  He just undercut tens-of-thousands of people who were going to vote for him.  I can't tell you how discouraging this is.  For folks not into politics as me, but looking for a reason to come out in November, this could have a chilling effect.

I hope to god he did this because he expects Bolger to scuttle this.  Schauer could have came out in support of either of the two other bills pending in the legislature which didn't repeal the existing law, but he chose to embrace the one that did.  This is utterly insulting, and now I see why folks like Bob King and a few others were trying to get others in the race at the last minute...

First of all, the Republicans were never going to bring up either of the bills that didn't repeal the existing law. This bill is the only one that matters.

Secondly, I think it's actually a smart move by Schauer. Theres a good chance that either Bolger or Snyder fail to get this through. If they don't, it shows a big difference in the mindset of Michigan Republicans and will give more energy to the min. wage movement. If they all do pass it, it could definitely dissuade some republicans for voting for their incumbent in tossup races or make Snyder's approval rating on the right drop.

If they all do pass it, Schauer can take credit for them adopting some portions of his plan (which he is already doing) and show that he can get things done, even before he is elected.

I understand your point that it could lower voter turnout, and I don't dispute it. It very well could if everything falls that way. I just think this is a calculated risk that could play out big. Plus, now we don't have to hinge all of our hopes on a min. wage increase on this ballot initiative. If that had failed, we weren't going to see another one in at least 4 more years.  

[ Parent ]
It wasn't
That's the thing that makes this bizarre to me, though; it wasn't going to fail.  When you've got 60-70% support, when you're in the drivers seat on an issue, when you have such moral high ground, for something, this is not how you go about compromising.  Again, why not attach yourself to either of the two other bills in the legislature and then pressured either Richardville or Bolger to take either of those laws up?  You don't fold this early in the process.  There is no excuse for taking Richardville's bill, particularly without even debating it.   This kind of deal-making is why you're everyday voter is so cynical about voting in the first place.  There were no committee hearings, no debate, no discussion with Raise Michigan about where and how they wanted to go.

It's one thing to get begrudingly get behind this (see: Gretchen Whitmer).  It's another thing to be all up Richardville's ass.  That was completely unnnecessary, and it's just plain bad politicking.  There is just so much wrong with how this went down.  Maybe, I it's because I'm far more concerned about this constant short-circuiting and undermining of the ballot initiative process and what they did to recalls, but this is where I'd take a stand.

Seeing this spun as a political victory blows my mind.  I can see how getting something being better than nothing is certainly a policy victory, if even only a partial one, but it is shameless, idiotic spin to try and pretend this is anything beyond the GOP having been able to neutralize this for the fall.  This WAS NOT a Democratic political victory, when it could have been (along with being a policy victory).  

This honestly downgrades in my mind our potential to pick up anything in the fall beyond keeping our Senate seat.  Mark's been running a troubling and questionable campaign, and this is kind of the period on it, for me.  I'm really kind of at a lost.  This makes me far less likely to give anyone any money or volunteer any of my time.  If the organizers, our foot soldiers be they in a campaign for a candidate or for a ballot initiative, are treated like this by their own party, why waste my time or money when our chances are being undercut like this?  

I'm just about done, really.

[ Parent ]
Agreed MiddleGrandGuy
The whole coming onto the floor and posing with Richardville thing was bizarre!

Sen. Bert Johnson did a tremendous job begrudgingly supporting it on Let it Rip on Fox 2 News last night. And he made Rocky Razczczkkzkowski look Ridiculous while doing so. Worth a watch. Follow this link and click on Raising the Minimum Wage (Video Part 1): http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/ca...

[ Parent ]
Declare victory
When Raise Michigan first launched their effort to raise the minimum wage, the proposal was, I believe, $9.50 an hour.  Later they upped it to $10.10.   The Senate essentially adopted a scaled-back version of Raise Michigan's first proposal.  No, it's not what folks need. Yes, the legislation includes the Republican trickery that kills the Raise Michigan ballot proposal by repealing the law Raise Michigan proposes amending.  

But the smart and right play for Raise Michigan is to declare victory but keep the pressure on until the bill is passed and signed by the governor.  If it weren't for all of the work Raise Michigan has done people making minimum wage would be looking at no raise at all.  Raise Michigan deserves all of the credit for any raise passed by the Legislature.  

They should own that hard-fought victory when it comes.  

Politically, if anyone thinks that Mark Schauer and the Democrats are going to get credit for getting this passed - and that still remains to be seen - then they are crazy.  They can declare victory all they want; it doesn't change how this is going to be reported.  At best, this is reported as Republican neutralizing an issue for them in November, at worst, Richardville and his party are given credit for compromising.  You guys can fool and lie to yourselves all you want; I'm not.  Baghdad Bob had less shame and delusion.

This was terrible and horrible political execution of very elementary and necessary policy.  If this is how our party's standard bearer is going to handle an issue where the power was on our side, and issue where we were originally debating from a point of strength, I fear for what it's going to look like when we're put on defense.  

On an issue like this where both the politics and the execution of the policy have to be won, it is a crime to leave the former on the field.  On a very basic issue like raising the minimum wage - so basic that while it's important it's more symbolic than it is practically imporant - winning the politics of this is very, very imporant, probably even more so than the policy since the policy part of this is so basic and common sense.  It is a crime to pull the rug out from under ourselves, politically, on an issue where we'd been debating from a place of strength since Day One.

Yeah, you guys are going to have to hear me rave, tonight.  I've had to sit mostly silent while a certain someone(s) have railed against the grassroots of this party, even while the elected politicians - Republican and Democrat - have shirked their responsibilities for years.  I'm done with that.  Raise Michigan and those like them aren't the problem; how this has gone about has shown yet again it's the fault of elected government.  Folks like Raise Michigan wouldn't even exist if our elected politicians did their godd@mned job for once in their miserable lives.

And, here, tonight, Randy Richardville is mugging for the cameras saying that he thinks that this "solves the issue for the long-term."  And, you know what?  With how this went down, he's right.  We will get nothing else.  On an issue that is just the start of addressing income inequality for people like us, this will be all we get, and we've willfully given up a tool for November that would help get people like us elected.

[ Parent ]
Policy and Politics
First of all, its not a bad compromise. Is it at the level most Democrats want to see? Probably not. But 9.20 is very reasonable considering the political landscape and what comparable states have. The yearly increase indexed to inflation is a huge win for the workers.

As for the politics, how would it look to people if Schauer came out against this? He obviously had to take a stand on one side or the other. He can't be against it because then 1. he is opposing a min. wage increase that most people will consider substantial (including the AFL-CIO, etc.) and 2. he will look like a stubborn politician who is unwilling to concede anything, even if it helps the average worker, to oppose Republicans.

There is no way Schauer could campaign until November on raising the minimum wage over a .90 difference between the two plans.  

[ Parent ]
No one was going to turn out to vote on the minimum wage. No one.
I'm sorry, but raising the minimum wage wasn't going to turn out voters in November. I don't know why Democrats keep insisting that putting the right proposal on the ballot is a suitable alternative to running a competent GOTV campaign, because they seem to do it every election and every election are left standing around wondering how they got jackstomped so badly.

Although not as good as raising the minimum wage to $10, and I mean that as a measure of boosting the economy in general, this helps thousands and thousands of people and if they took the most cautious approach they took the one least likely to cost people their jobs.

And, you're complaining that Democrats can't use this as a campaign issue in November. That in itself might tell you why people might really hate Republicans, but don't find Democrats a much better alternative.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
People need a reason to vote
There are only so many of us who vote out of pure civic duty - and will therefore vote in every election.

To win, we need sporadic Democratic voters to vote. And in order for them to vote, they need to have a reason to vote.

In presidential years, the presidential race drives turnout - so I doubt that any of the proposals have much of an effect on presidential-year turnout. But midterms are a different story.

As much as I like Granholm - and as solid as her campaign was - I have a hard time thinking she won in 2006 just because people liked her (or despised DeVos). That year, as you'll recall, we had several controversial proposals - mourning dove hunting, education funding, and affirmative action. The theory out there is that these proposals got people talking - and voting. While they had a ballot and voted for or against the different proposals, they also voted for our candidates.

In 2010, there were no controversial proposals on the ballot. People hated con-cons and cons in elected office.

So, back to the minimum wage. The theory is that had it appeared on the ballot, low-wage workers would've had a reason to vote. If it passed, their paycheck would've gone up. Oh, and while they had a ballot, they would've voted for candidates for Governor, US Senate, etc. - and more of them would've voted for Schauer and other Democrats.

Now, there might not be a causation between proposals and Democratic performance - but many people do see a correlation. And until it can be proven that there is no causation (if that can even be proven), I don't see The Powers That Be changing their minds on this.

In the meantime, the next 172 days need to be focused on giving our base a reason to vote.

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

[ Parent ]

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