Wednesday, August 30, 2006

MI-Gov and the MCRI

The so-called "Michigan Civil Rights Initiative" will be on the ballot this November. U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow could not keep the MCRI from appearing on the ballot because its supporters did not violate the Voting Rights Act. However, he did acknowledge the systematic voter fraud that its promoters engaged in.
Tarnow, however, said voters should be concerned by the supporters' conduct. If it passes, he said, it will be "stained by well-documented acts of fraud and deception."
The bad press is unlikely to hurt Republicans, who want nothing to do with the MCRI. Interestingly enough, even Dick DeVos has publicly stated his opposition to the ballot initiative. Ward Connerly, the California businessman behind the MCRI, has previously bemoaned the impact that DeVos' opposition to the initiative has had on his fundraising abilities. Connerly made these comments last week on "Off the Record,"
Speaking at a taping of the public television program "Off the Record," Connerly said, "People don't want to get on the bad side of Dick DeVos."

Republican DeVos has said he believes the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative goes too far, and has joined his Democratic opponent, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, in opposing it.

Connerly said potential GOP contributors to MCRI fear being on the outs with a DeVos administration if he is elected.
Given that DeVos has a clearly documented history of supporting very conservative causes and his socially conservative positions on many issues in this race, it would stand to reason that he would be in favor of the MCRI. However, this is not the case. DeVos is afraid of the effect that the MCRI will have on turnout in areas such as downtown Detroit, Flint, and Saginaw. It has often been speculated that Engler beat Blanchard in 1990 because of Blanchard's sub-par performance in Detroit. In such a close race, it is in DeVos' interests to keep Detroit from performing well for Granholm.

Thomas Bray of the Detroit News speculated today that DeVos' positioning on the MCRI and other issues may hurt his conservative credentials. In a column on DeVos' decision to criticize President Bush for not meeting with auto executives, Bray had this to say:
Nobody doubts DeVos' credentials as a Republican. But even before turning on Bush, DeVos had endorsed a higher state minimum wage, lectured oil companies to cut prices and come out against a referendum that would put an end to racial preferences in state hiring and admissions.

Maybe voters are beginning to wonder who DeVos really is. If Republicans should have learned anything by now, when voters are presented with a choice between a Democrat and a Republican who acts like a Democrat, they will choose the real Democrat every time.
As WK previously mentioned, many conservatives are likely more concerned with ousting Granholm than thrilled with DeVos.
"I think Dick still has some work to do to excite social conservatives about his candidacy," he said. "I trust at some point between now and November he will talk about the foundational values -- marriage and the protection of life."

He said social conservatives were more focused on ousting Granholm.

"I think there is more energy about removing Granholm than enthusiasm for electing Mr. DeVos," Glenn said.


At 9:21 AM, Anonymous Zack Pohl said...

This is a win-win if both Dick and Jen are against the MCRI. It means the proposition should go down in flames, and it just gives angry conservatives another reason to stay home on election day.

At 9:33 AM, Blogger David A Wishinsky said...

I must disagree. I sadly think this initiative will pass with a nice big 60-40 65-35 range. In Michigan politics everything is consistently a "Michigan vs. Detroit" battle (which in essence is an essentially white vs. black argument when it all boils down). The level of segregation within Detroit is so significant and the level of Detroit directed anger/frustration by suburbs is extremely high. This dichotomy has existed since the 60s and has sadly ceased to end. While, I think the MCRI initiative is awful and wrote about it as early as 2003 in the State News at MSU in a letter to the editor, I think sadly Michigan's openly and socially racist voters (sadly many of whom live in Detroit and Lansing, etc. (just look at Malcolm X's experiences in Ingham County and many peoples position that little has changed) and that this is an opportunity to put the nail in the coffin for them to dealing with Detroit's minorities. There is the perception among many that all our funding goes to welfare queens in Detroit, which couldnt be further from the truth but perception often trumps reality and I think as a result care of an-odd coalition of Western Michigan voters and suburban Wayne County, Macomb County and Livingston County voters (Oakland in this sense tends to be the much more tolerant county) none of whom may PUBLICALLY SAY "oh yeah I support it" nonetheless will and it will pass with a significant majority. Which is absolutely awful...


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