Dick DeVos

Rick Snyder: One Unpopular Nerd

Public Policy Polling decided to see what Michiganders thought of the radical measures the ALEC Ducks passed last week.

They’re none too happy with it.

In addition to supporting unions 52-33 and opposing the so-called Right to Work law passed last week 41-51, Michiganders’ view of Rick Snyder has soured considerably.

ust last month when we took a first look at the 2014 landscape we talked about how much Rick Snyder had improved his popularity during his second year in office and how he led a generic Democrat for reelection by 6 points, even as Barack Obama won the state comfortably.

Last week he threw all that out the window.

We now find Snyder as one of the most unpopular Governors in the country. Only 38% of voters approve of him to 56% who disapprove. There are only 2 other sitting Governors we’ve polled on who have a worse net approval rating than Snyder’s -18. He’s dropped a net 28 points from our last poll on him, the weekend before the election, when he was at a +10 spread (47/37).

[snip]

Snyder trails every Democrat we tested against him in a hypothetical match up. He’s down 49/38 to 2010 opponent Virg Bernero, 47/39 to Congressman Gary Peters, 46/38 to State Senator Gretchen Whitmer, and 44/39 to former Congressman Mark Schauer. The Bernero numbers are what’s most striking there. Snyder defeated Bernero by 18 points in 2010, so Bernero’s 11 point advantage represents a 29 point reversal. The Democrats all lead Snyder despite having very little name recognition- only 44% of voters are familiar with Bernero, 36% with Peters, 28% with Schauer, and 27% with Whitmer.

And the Republican crazies in the legislature are even more unpopular.

The Republicans in the legislature are even more unpopular than Snyder after their spate of last minute legislation.

Only 31% of voters have a favorable opinion of them to 58% with an unfavorable one. Democrats lead the generic legislative ballot in the state by an amazing 56/32 margin, one of the most lopsided generic ballots we’ve ever seen in any state.

Which makes now the time to turn this radical agenda to an anvil on this party, even as they try to consolidate their power.

Unfortunately, PPP polled neither voters’ understanding about this legislation, measuring whether it has been influenced by Dick DeVos’ campaign to brand low wages as “freedom,” nor the gun bill, from which Snyder is (thankfully) backing away from.

So we don’t yet have a complete picture of how to best pile on this unpopular group of radicals.

But pile on we must.

Update: A number of hours after PPP released this poll, Snyder vetoed the guns-in-schools bill, citing concerns that schools could not opt out. While I’m sure that’s partly because of Newtown, I suspect he also noted his tumbling approval ratings.

Grand Rapids Press: A Pox on All Their Houses, But Not Our Own

The local rag posted an editorial “reflect[ing] the views of The Grand Rapids Press editorial board,” blaming almost everyone involved in the so-called “right to work” fight for the ugly way things went down Tuesday.

Right-to-work laws may or may not end up helping Michigan, but no one should be pleased with what happened in Lansing this week.

The whole process that led to the bills prohibiting workers from having to pay dues or fees to unions as a condition of employment has a patina of ick that unnecessarily divides and casts the state and its lawmakers in the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

[snip]

We’re disappointed in the whole lot.

The issue deserved the sunlight of the traditional legislative process, not moved through a lame duck session at breakneck speed amid threats and raucous protests, all played out in the national spotlight.

That’s not the Pure Michigan image we’re hoping to project as we rebuild the state’s economy and attract new businesses.

We all deserved better.

It blames Rick Snyder for betraying his “relentlessly positive” promises and flipflopping on an issue he had said wasn’t on his agenda.

It blames union leaders for all the violent images (some–perhaps most–not the unions’ fault), including the disputed tent collapse, the riot gear clad cops, and Jimmy Hoffa’s promise of a “civil war.”

It blames legislative leaders, calling out Doug Geiss and Dave Agema for their violent language and Lisa Posthumus Lyon for her hypocritical attempt to exempt her husband’s profession from the law.

Yet oddly (or maybe not so oddly), the Grand Rapids Press placed no blame on the man who, perhaps more than anyone else, bears responsibility both that this went down, and for the nasty way it was jammed through.

As (the umbrella that owns the Press) MLive’s own senior political columnist Tim Skubick explained, this went down in the way it did in significant part because of Grand Rapids’ most prominent citizen, Dick DeVos.

Surely you remember the GOP candidate for governor and former CEO of Amway. Well he’s back on the political field and he worked tirelessly behind Gov. Rick Snyder’s back to push Right to Work.

[snip]

Having performed the 180, Mr. DeVos ramped it up. He told senators that if they don’t vote for this thing, he would launch a petition drive to place this before the voters.

Recall that Mr. DeVos spent $35 million of his own money to beat Gov. Jennifer Granholm, (money wasted). Legislators on the other end of his phone calls knew he has the deep pockets to not only gather the required signatures, but also to find a way to sell it to the voters.

Other press outlets (and presumably Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville) were less polite, calling what DeVos and his anti-labor friends did “threats” and “arm-twisting.”

Precisely the kind of implicit violence the Press found so distasteful when union leaders or legislators did it.

It’s all very nice for the Press to blame people on the other side of the state for the ugliness in Lansing on Tuesday. But they’re utterly irresponsible if they don’t also blame the ugliness here at home.

They’re right: We all deserved better. And the place to start demanding better is from Dick DeVos.

The Libertarians Against Coercion Applauding Dick DeVos’ Coercion

I had a pretty revelatory experience last night interacting with a bunch of self-identified libertarians about alleged violence in Lansing yesterday and so-called Right to Work. I asked several of them why they were supporting a bill that should be anathema to libertarian principles. Here’s a more coherent version of the argument I made.

I also consider the restrictions right-to-work laws impose on bargaining between unions and businesses to violate freedom of contract and association. So I’m not cheerleading for the right-to-work law just passed in Michigan, which bans closed shops in which union membership is a condition of employment. I’m disappointed that the state has, once again, inserted itself into the marketplace to place its thumb on the scale in the never-ending game of playing business and labor off against one another.

[snip]

The ideal role for the government in business-labor relations is to stay the hell out of it and let the parties work things out themselves. I may preferone outcome or another, but I don’t have the right to enforce it by law, and that’s what right-to-work legislation does.

While I don’t embrace that view, it is the stance I would expect true libertarians to adopt. I’m gratified a couple of libertarians weighed in and pointed out the inconsistency of the arguments my interlocutors were making, which at least caused them some confusion (and led one to admit he would freeload on taxes if it were not for fear of legal repercussions).

One thing these self-identified libertarians kept coming back to, however, was alleged union coercion. They don’t want to be coerced into joining a union, paying dues or representation fees. These people at least pretended to be adamantly opposed to coercion.

Which is why this detail of Michigan’s union-busting is an important part of the narrative.

Michigan Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat told MSNBC that some of her Republican colleagues complained to her privately that DeVos was twisting their arms over the anti-union legislation.

“I spoke with someone in Republican leadership who was angry because these heavy-handed tactics were being used with the members,” she said. Republicans told her, she said, that DeVos had “threatened primaries, threatened to spend whatever it takes to beat them if they don’t support these bills.”

It’s not just Gretchen Whitmer saying this. Detroit Free Press said it specifically about Randy Richardville, who flipped his position on RtW.

Certainly, there are a large number of Michigan legislators who are beholden to Americans for Prosperity, or the Koch brothers. Word is the groups threatened Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville’s leadership post, and promised him a primary challenge in 2014, if he refused to move right-to-work forward.

And Tim Skubick named DeVos too.

Having performed the 180, Mr. DeVos ramped it up. He told senators that if they don’t vote for this thing, he would launch a petition drive to place this before the voters.

Recall that Mr. DeVos spent $35 million of his own money to beat Gov. Jennifer Granholm, (money wasted). Legislators on the other end of his phone calls knew he has the deep pockets to not only gather the required signatures, but also to find a way to sell it to the voters.

Folks in MI are fairly clear about one thing: a billionaire who was soundly defeated by voters in 2006 has instead brought about a radical change in the state’s law by coercing people, precisely the kind of thuggishness “Right to Work” supporters claim unions engage in.

“Right to Work” supporters insist that no one should feel like their job depends on capitulating to coercion about who or what to support.

Except that Dick DeVos and his thuggish special interest group friends used precisely that kind of coercion to cram this law through. Randy Richardville, among others, was told his job depended on supporting policies and groups he otherwise wouldn’t support.

I guess libertarians like the kind of thuggishness billionaires engage in?

Breitbart Folks Appear to Fake Violence in Lansing

[youtube]GtbWbw66KrI[/youtube]

When I saw this video–claiming that a “violent mob” destroyed the tent the Koch brothers had paid for in front of the Michigan Capitol–I knew right away it was likely a false flag. After all, Stranahan, James O’Keefe’s buddy, first posted it. Within minutes it was up at Drudge.

Just as this whole narrative was rolling out, Dick DeVos’ paid hack was calling for RICCO [sic] charges against union leaders.

All this, in spite of the fact that witnesses say the Americans for Prosperity people were trying to provoke union members to violence, and witnesses reportedly saw AFP people loosening the ropes on the tents so they would come down. And in spite of the fact the place was crawling with cops (shipped in from around the state) who didn’t do see anything amiss. (Cops are as we speak arresting people engaging in civil disobedience at the Romney Building, where the Governor’s office is.)

Sadly, many of MI’s local journalists don’t know enough to distrust anything a Breitbart affiliate says and have repeated the violence narrative, based on such discredited sources.

This is developing (and I’m home sick, so working remotely). But it appears the KochBots just staged a false flag.

Update: And now Fox is going with the narrative.

And all this is happening just as Michigan State Police begin to mace those peaceful protestors at the Romney building.

So literally coinciding with the roll-out of actual police violence we’re seeing this narrative of violence.

Apparently according to Gongwer, a news service in MI, ”State Police downplayed the incident and said no one was arrested.”

Continue reading

It’s Not about Workers, It’s about CEOs

Many of the editorials about the anti-union attack in MI have supported the unions or–even from conservative papers–criticized the way the Republicans crammed it through. This is one of the few in favor.

Predictably, this one, from Daniel Howes, either doesn’t know or chooses to deceive readers about how unions work.

And organized labor, fresh from a failed effort to enshrine collective bargaining rights in the state constitution, faces its most serious existential threat since the Sit-Down strikes and Battle of the Overpass cemented the institutional permanence of the UAW.

Until now. A right-to-work law that gives members the choice to join a union rank-and-file — or not to join — threatens to stanch materially the union dues flow, membership and, accordingly, the political muscle predominantly used by unions in the service of the Democratic Party.

Workers already have a choice whether to join a union or not. If that’s what Howes wants, that’s what he’s got already in Michigan.

But I appreciate it for one thing. Unlike the propaganda Snyder is tweeting out like a nervous school girl, which claims this offers anything for the workers–union and non-union–who will lose $1,500 in wages, Howes identifies honestly who this is meant to impress.

CEOs. Not workers.

It probably won’t. But the move, coupled with a coming financial workout for Detroit, is likely to reshape positively the debate about Michigan and its largest city among CEOs and investors looking for opportunity and growth — provided the national economy isn’t pushed back into recession by Washington’s plunge off a “fiscal cliff” of its own making.

This is the same “job creators” nonsense that Mitt spewed for a year, unsuccessfully.

But you have to look no further than this anti-union campaign to discern whether impressing CEOs will do a damn thing for workers.

In the million-dollar ad campaign Windquest and former Amway CEO Dick DeVos has ponied up, rather than using real Michiganders or paying local actors to bray about “freedom,” he used stock photos.

Even if you impress Dick DeVos, it seems (and he is the one bankrolling and twisting arms to make this happen, he’lll still treat workers like a cut and paste.

It’s very simple. Impressing CEOs who prefer disempowered, desperate workers doesn’t actually help workers.

White House Brags about Exporting our Pyramid Schemes to Korea

The list of statements of support for the Korea Trade Agreement the White House sent out last night tells you a lot about what you need to know about the trade agreement. Among others on the list are Tom Donohue, whose laundering of foreign money into election coffers had a significant role in the shellacking Democrats took in November. Donohue thinks this deal is great:

This agreement will create thousands of new jobs, advance our national goal of doubling exports in five years, and demonstrate that America is once again ready to lead on trade. The administration has done its part. Now it’s time for the new Congress to make passage of KORUS a top priority in January. We will do everything in our power to round up the votes.

Then there’s John Engler, who for a while as head of the National Association of Manufacturers instituted a policy of refusing to meet with Democrats.

Then there’s the CEOs of credit card nation, Vikram Pandit and Jamie Dimon.

But to me, the most telling endorser of this agreement is Dick DeVos, the CEO of Amway and perennially one of the biggest single funders of the Republican Party. DeVos is thrilled because this will help Amway meet their growth targets.

Like most companies, we support a more competitive playing field. This new trade agreement allows Amway to continue meeting aggressive growth targets, and gives a much needed boost for all export business in Michigan.

So we’re going to push through this trade agreement so Dick DeVos can expand his pyramid scheme, get richer, and funnel that money into the Republican Party.

But then, I guess that’s what Pandit and Dimon have in mind, too.

Fred Johnson Takes on Blackwater in Erik Prince’s Home Town

Fred Johnson is the Democratic candidate for Congress in MI’s 2nd Congressional District.

When his opponent–Crazy Pete Hoekstra lackey Bill Huizenga–claimed to want to cut costs in a debate the other day, Johnson called him on his hypocrisy regarding cutting spending on military contractors, starting with Blackwater. [my transcript]

Johnson: When that one question [about Blackwater] came up [in an earlier debate], we have a private corporation, that is taking taxpayer dollars to basically making profit off of war, they all agree that yeah, they should keep on using those kind of entities. If we’re going to have everything on the table–if you’re really serious about spending, if you’re really serious about cutting back, trimming the budget–those kind of things have to go too. Not to mention that those kind of corporations are beyond the purview of the US Constitution, the US Code of Military Justice, and they often times present as much a headache when it comes to diplomacy and when it comes to good relations, some of those countries being our defense partners.

So it’s kind of disingenuous to say, you know, we have a prioritization. I’m talking about, not just talking about it, I’m talking about actually doing it. I’m talking about going down there with the vision and the courage to make those cuts.

Johnson’s call on Huizenga’s hypocrisy is interesting for two reasons. First, MI-2 includes Holland (where Johnson lives). That’s Erik Prince’s home town.

But just as interesting–the reason why Huizenga and other Republicans in this part of the world are particularly vulnerable to this claim of hypocrisy–since they’re reliant on funding from Prince’s sister Betsy and her hubby, Dick DeVos, and boast about being high school friends with Prince.

Mind you, Republicans nationally are dependent on DeVos cash. But at a local level this hypocritical demand from Republicans that we keep paying more for security services that make us less safe so that their donors’ families can keep getting rich is palpable.

Help Fred Johnson.

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @puellavulnerata Actually don't know. Lots of possibilities.
5hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @alanhkaiser What? Sorry, that's fucking nuts. Of course he's lying. @trevortimm
6hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @liferstate Oh, they're generally sorted. I need to go through & decide what to keep, what someone might want, what has too many annotations
6hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @billmon1 Nothing a few InfoOp fliers can't fix.
6hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @John_Hudson Well, I think I've got a solution! Primary challenge threats! It's the solution to everything!
6hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @B_Amer Yup. Didn't expect that kind! Music related? @alreinke
6hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @John_Hudson To be fair, kind of hard for city to deal w/100 year flood and top 10 snow year in same year. Blame Fat Al Gore.
6hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @B_Amer ? Am I not looking closely enough at pics? @alreinke
6hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @B_Amer Fun pic. Looks gorgeous. (Tho hot.)
6hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @polyparadigm Since DeVos may demand anything on threat of primaries, he should just demand they use some ... novel material.
6hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @Gaius_Publius Yes, saw them once or twice a year back in the day against the Suns. Still, been long time, had forgotten ho evil really were
6hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @B_Amer You missing someone??
6hreplyretweetfavorite
April 2014
S M T W T F S
« Mar    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930