Rick Snyder won the election and is starting to shape his team, but challenges, mostly from his own Party, will be significant. Fact is the MI GOP is divided, and his team (FULL Initial Profiles HERE) so far appears to be much of the Same Old Buddies of John Engler.
Venture Capitalist and former CEO of Gateway computers takes the
Governorship Chair & CEO of the State of Michigan.
Just Who the Heck is this Nerd Guy Elect?
Snyder's new 'portfolio company' is now called "State of Michigan Corporation" or "SoMICH Corp." (Traded on DJI: MI or MICH)
Cross-posted to BFM.
Snyder Transition Challenges and Analysis BELOW...
First, a few observations in a profile from AnnArbor.com which gives glimpse of his leadership and management style of Michigan
Governor Chair & CEO Rick Snyder.
AnnArbor.com’s Kid Reporter Nat Bomey is starting to out ‘scoop’ much of the Michigan establishment press and corporate media machines with his reporting on Rick Snyder (guess he has a phone and drives a car or has a bike).
Just a few observations from Bomey’s article "Behind the boardroom: Rick Snyder's 'steady' leadership style offers political preview":
Ted Dacko, former CEO of Ann Arbor-based venture capital firm HealthMedia:
"He’s about the most even-keeled person I’ve ever met in my life" "He never let us get too high, and he never let us get too low."
Tim Petersen, Managing Director of Ann Arbor-based VC firm Arboretum Ventures:
"Rick is very steady in the storm""Rick, in the boardroom, never feels obligated to dominate the conversation. He’s very thoughtful and chooses his words carefully."
Ken Nisbet, executive director of U-M’s Tech Transfer Office
"He has both top-down vision but also isn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves and do the work." "He is a guy that is perceived to be extremely bright and leads by both example and consensus" (break) "What I mean by that is he wants to persuade people very well, he wants them to understand his point of view and he wants them to buy into it based upon being appropriately convinced." "He doesn’t brow-beat people, he doesn’t manhandle people. I think he builds relationships and he manages based on the goodwill he builds in those relationships."
Michelle Crumm, Co-founder and Chief Business Officer of Adaptive Materials:
"He’s quiet but powerful. He really is the smartest guy in the room," "I think he will run it like a business, and if there’s tough financial decisions to be made for the betterment of the whole state of Michigan, he won’t shy away from those decisions. I just have great respect for him."
But what about his Politics? another Engler? another Milliken?
Can Snyder sip from the GOP with Moderation?
We all remember, in the statements of just defeated Democratic candidate for Governor Virg Benero in his concession speech:
"[Snyder] has promised as governor as a moderate to be like Bill Milliken, like John Engler"
"If he does, and he creates policies good for all Michiganders, not just the few at the top, I promise I will partner with Rick Snyder and work with him hand-in-hand, and I’ll call on you to support him as well.
But if that doesn’t happen, you and I will be watching, won’t we?"
Why did Virg do that? Because he is putting the love of his State above all else, that’s why. But the looming $1.5 Billion Dollar Question is can (or will) others do it too?
The future will show whether or not Snyder can deliver as (literally) advertised, and be the Independent Governor Elect of Michigan.
You are Who You Hire?
But, words from business associates and friends are not actions and so far Snyder has publicly announced a number of appointments to his transition team and they are mostly John Engler retreads:
Doug Rothwell – Appointed by John Engler as head of MEDC and MEGA
Sharon Rothwell – John Engler Chief of Staff for 8 Years
Mark Murray – Worked under John Engler in Education, Budget and as Treasurer.
Jeff Barnes – Policy Advisor for the Snyder Campaign
George W. Jackson, Jr – President & CEO, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation
It’s my Party and I’ll Try if They let me...
Despite the big win across the State, the Michigan Republican Party is far from unified and is perhaps more divided after Snyder won the Republican nomination for Governor Chair & CEO of Michigan SoMICH Corp in years and years. Guess that’s the hazard of being completely in control of the Executive and Legislation branches.
A (keeping it simple) breakdown of the MI GOP might look like this:
(1) Standard MI-GOP former Englerites / Saul Anuzis / DeVos devotees / Mackinac Center / Heritage / Hillsdale / Privatize Government / Insurance and Business Lobbyists and tow the "National Slogan" line crowd that voted Mike Bishop Homecoming King for awhile,
(2) a emerging group, whoever the heck is Brave & Stupid enough to join Snyder in being GOP 'moderates' - a caucus that Michigan hasn't had since the "Mainstream" movement in the 1980's, mostly Milliken fans have been forced under ground, and
(3) whatever emerges from the 28, or is that really 40? different Michigan "Tea Party" organizations running around the countryside waving
According to Ken Sikkema, former Republican State Majority Leader, and now Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants:
"If Governor Elect Snyder decides to pursue some issues or an agenda that Republicans are not comfortable with, I think he’s in deep, deep trouble."
Susan Demas from MIRS and Dome Magazine
puts it this way:
"The question is how well can Rick Snyder work with Republicans in the Legislature. He’s perceived to be far more moderate that the class of lawmakers that coming in and we’ll see if there are divisions there."
Snyder has called for an end to such labels, and no doubt was probably directing that more at his fellow Republicans than at Democrats, of which somewhere between 130-180,000 crossed the Red - Blue divide to vote for him (no hard numbers on this... yet).
From a MPR story after election night:
"Snyder has big Republican majorities in the Legislature to back him, if he can keep his party together. But he also promised to work with Democrats and end the political gridlock in Lansing. He asked Republicans and others to reject labels that have divided people in Michigan."
"[Snyder] swept to victory in the August primary and Tuesday’s general election by maintaining a sharp focus on one overarching goal — reviving the state’s moribund economy. And he did so in a manner that sought to unify rather than divide Michiganians.
Snyder won broad support from Democrats and Republicans with a positive campaign that didn’t attack rival candidates, avoided bashing labor unions and public employees and refused to play up divisive social issues."
So far, there has been no indication of him crossing the isle seeking out talent from anyone within the Democratic ranks. Bipartisan environments are a place in which Rick Snyder has been seen before, but the fractures in the Partisan culture in Lansing may not let him consider that. Whether or not he has that type of courage to back up his talk on the campaign trail remains to be seen.
UPDATE #1: Andy Dillion (R-D-?) Floated for Snyder Admin Position
Michigan House Speaker Andy Dillon, a Democrat, is under consideration to be State Treasurer in Governer-elect Rick Snyder’s new administration. That’s according to WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick, who reports Dillon is "intrigued" by the idea.
Dillon ran for governor, but lost in the Democratic primary to Virg Bernero. Dillon did not support Bernero in the general election.
Note: Just wrong... on so many levels, that one. Dillion was a Republican remember, and merely returning home.
UPDATE #2: Personal Bi-partisan Relationships Critical
Long time Lansing analysis and one of the few Lansing reporters left, Tim Skubick makes this observation:
...Granholm wanted to replicate the bi-partisanship created by former Gov. William Milliken; ditto for Snyder. Granholm never really pulled it off, although there were some successes.
[Snyder] thinks he can do it, but rest assured this is not William Milliken’s Legislature.
[Milliken] had a long-standing, working relationship with the Democratic leaders. Two former speakers — Bill Ryan and Bobby Crim — actually liked Milliken. They didn’t always agree, but they worked to find a compromise more often than not.
The Skoop is right, Snyder's best hope is to form individual relationships with his legislators, one-by-one, away from the high school peer pressure that has haunted Lansing for some time now.
UPDATE #3: Michigan GOP Noise Machine; Snyder Can Handle Right Wing?
"Everyone's speculating about whether the Republican Party can "control" its supporters from the tea party movement and keep them from dragging it out of the mainstream... (break) During the president's campaign swing on behalf of Democratic candidates, he was heckled at nearly every stop by left wing groups... (break) Snyder, on the other hand, never received such treatment from the tea party on the campaign trail."
Oh, yeah... keep reading.
Nerd Guy’s First Challenge from the Fringe Right
The Michigan Tea Party has already made a serious run a Snyder, who was saved by at the Michigan Republican Convention by some backroom arm twisting of Bill Cooper, who courted the Tea Party, and was failed candidate for Congress in Western Michigan (MI-02).
From an article in the Muskegon Chronicle "Tea Party to nominate Bill Cooper for Michigan Lt. Governor, despite GOP candidate Rick Snyder's choice of Rep. Brian Calley":
The state delegates of the Tea Party of West Michigan are set to nominate [Bill] Cooper for the state's second-highest executive post today at the Republican convention at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.
When Cooper, who courted the position the night before, finally withdrew there was a period of mayhem at the Convention (fun to watch), that for the first time in decades, went well into the early evening.
More about the Convention chaos in an interesting article on A2.com, one of the other news sources to cover the story in "Michigan Republican Convention erupts in anger; Rick Snyder calls for unity":
The Michigan Republican convention erupted into anger Saturday as tea party activists fought with party regulars over candidates and convention rules.
Gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder appealed for unity, but the moderate Ann Arbor businessman got only a tepid response from conservatives in the crowd.
Many in the Michigan and National Republican Party released the hounds when they promoted, financed and encouraged the Tea Party Movement, which now has plenty of folks not willing to return to the kennel.
In any event, Snyder has his work cut out for him, and maybe he should be given a bit of a chance to execute a couple plans. We will see what his ‘Deliverables’ look like, after his fellow Republicans take they cut, if they ever see him that is, Snyder plans to continue to live in Ann Arbor, not Lansing, the smartest decision he’s made so far.
Oh yes, Nerd Guy... For the sake of Michigan you need to succeed, but we will be watching... very closely.
Permission Granted by the authors to repost as you see fit.