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Inside the Snyder Transition Team...

Keeping the King’s Discipline:  Mackinac Center’s Demands on Rick Snyder
The Midland, Michigan based Mackinac Center for Public Policy's shot over the bow of Governor CEO-elect Rick Snyder’s new Transition Team, appointments and administration, has already been fired.

Immediately after Snyder won the Michigan Republican Party the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the arm twisting of Rick Snyder continued with an Open Letter from the Mackinac Center to Rick Snyder...

Cross posted to BFM.

More on the Mackinac Center's Letter and Observations BELOW...

UPDATE: Rick Snyder's Attorney General's Office taken over by Mackinac Center operatives -

Richard McLellan, appointed Senior Counsel, and is acting as liaison with Governor-elect Rick Snyder's transition team for Bill Scheutte AG Elect.

RELATED: Rick Snyder Appointments Unabridged Profiles HERE
RELATED: Rick Snyder Transition Team Profiles HERE
RELATED: Snyder Transition Challenges and Analysis now posted HERE.

Michigan’s Oxymoron: Mackinac Center for ‘Public’ Policy
Hates Government, Loves Government Contracts & Public Assets

The Mackinac Center was created and backed by John Engler, Richard D. McLellan, Dick DeVos, and initially funded by Michigan’s Insurance Lobby and Dow Chemical, and an affiliate State level branch of the Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C., and part of large network of conservative organizations and numerous Right Wing think tanks and organizations in the conservative politics industry.

The Mackinac Center, based out of Midland, Michigan gets it's funding from a long list of conservative donors and sister organizations. It has multiple ‘media’ and internet outlets, including the Detroit News, and a long list of associated activities.

From the Mackinac Center: An Open Letter to Rick Snyder
What are your priorities?

August 13, 2010
By Paul Kersey
Director, Mackinac Center

[Paraphrased Content]

(1) ... you [Snyder] stated that you [Snyder] would sign a right-to-work law if you were presented with one, but that it was not part of your "agenda."

Can we [Mackinac Center and Right Wing Michigan GOP] conclude that right-to-work will not be made law during a Snyder administration?

(2) Would you [Snyder] consider taking teacher merit pay out of collective bargaining, allowing districts to reward teachers based on student performance without the need for union approval?

(3) Would you [Snyder] repeal the state's prevailing wage law...?

(4) Would you [Snyder] support repeal or substantive changes to the binding arbitration process for police and firefighters?

(5) ...would you [Snyder] pledge to reverse the forced unionization of small-business owners who provide day care out of their own homes?

(6) On the subject of union benefits - rationalizing benefits will likely entail a protracted legal and political battle with government employee unions. What steps would you take to ensure that the state is in a position to win these battles?

(7) our [Mackinac Center] interview you hedged on whether or not you would support the removal of limitations on the number of charter schools in Detroit... You {Rick Snyder] appear to be open to this idea but say you need assurances about quality.

What sorts of assurances would it take to get you to "yes" on Detroit charters?

(8)  Will you [Snyder] support litigation or legislation designed to dismantle federalized health care?

(9)  The state's economic development programs seem to have become vulnerable to abuse - as illustrated by the RASCO and Hangar42 debacles... As a former MEDC director, it might be too much to expect you to tear down your handiwork, but...

... Would you support a sharp reduction in MEDC's funding and prerogatives until it has re-established its professionalism and competence?

Statement in the Mackinac Center for Public Policy Letter to Rick Snyder:

"...  I [Paul Kersey, speaking on behalf of the Mackinac Center] suspect that making that clean break will be especially important for you [Rick Snyder].   Bernero is from the current governor's party [Michigan Democratic Party] and has the support of many of the same government employees, unions and other interest groups - what has been described as the political class - that backed Gov. Granholm."

Implied Threat of this Letter and Agenda of the Mackinac Center:  

Can we expect you [Rick Synder] to tow the Mackinac Center company line, once referred to by John Engler as Engler’s "Administration in Waiting", or are we [the Mackinac Center] going to have to put you in your place right off the bat?

We will see what happens soon enough...

Additional Note:
One of the founders of the Mackinac Center, Richard D. McLellan, a paid lobbyist with Dykema Gossett PLLC and Michigan Insurance industry operative for decades, has been planning for the next gubernatorial Republican Administration for some time, on the project "Michigan’s Next Governor" in which a 200 question work sheet was created in September of 2009.  

UPDATE#1: Richard McLellan named liaison with Governor-elect Rick Snyder's transition team, and Senior Counsel to AG Elect Bill Schuette.

UPDATE#2: Richard D. McLellan Declares His Vision for Snyder's Attorney General's Office (figure head Bill Schuette AG Elect), straight from McLellan in a Letter to the Detroit News:

Well-within AG's role
In response to your Nov. 4 editorial, "Snyder needs to keep big GOP majority on target":

When did the Free Press decide that Michigan's newly elected attorney general will not hold a policy-making office in this state? In pushing his tough-on-crime agenda, Attorney General-elect Bill Schuette is acting in the tradition of all his predecessors of the past 50 years.

The state attorney general is a constitutionally elected officer and possesses all the inherent powers of an attorney general. As the Official Record of Michigan Constitutional Convention stated: "The activities of the attorney general's office range over the entire breadth of state government. His scope of interest is as great as that of the governor."

Prisons, public safety, taxes and many other issues are important to the citizens of Michigan, and they need a strong attorney general to weigh in.

Richard D. McLellan
A member of Bill Schuette's transition team, Lansing

Also, 2010 Republican candidates for Governor of Michigan, Mike Cox and retiring long-time Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra, both spent days at the Mackinac Center offices.  Although no ‘official visit’ to Midland was identified for Mike Bouchard, Bouchard did publicly embrace a number of the Mackinac Center’s positions.  

Note: At the time of this posting, there has been no evidence uncovered by the authors indicating that Rick Snyder, who did an interview Ken Braun, Managing Editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential, the Mackinac Center’s internet ‘news’ hub, attended similar policy briefings and work sessions at the Mackinac Center.

From the Herman Melville story entitled Billy Budd Foretopman:

"And good-bye to you too, old Rights-of-Man..." shouted the young groundling being rowed from the merchantman to the Man-of-War the HMS Bellipotent, into the world of Master-at-Arms Claggert, where "patriotism was the last refuge of the scoundrel" and "flogging was the only answer...".  For Billy, "his innocence was his blunder."

Will Rick Snyder and the Snyder Team, on Snyder’s Ship of State, the Merchantman "With Moderation", toe-the-line and hove to? Allowing his ship's crew to be removed and be impressed into service by Michigan's Radical Right Conservatives and Lobbyists?

Originally posted to Hector Solon on Mon Nov 08, 2010 at 07:02 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Heh (3+ / 0-)

      Snyder wasted no time last week, appointing Engler's chief of staff as well as one of Engler's economists to his transition staff.

      All those "public-private partnerships" Snyder promised to build will amount to the GOP selling off state government and facilities to for-profit corporations.

      "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

      by gsbadj on Mon Nov 08, 2010 at 07:18:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Privitization... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ... is the core theme for the Mackinac (Heritage subsidiary in MI) Center.

        They have stayed very well on target with their founding objective, attempting harvesting revenue from major union related health care programs, which is in the 10's of billions in Michigan alone.

        Founded by Insurance lobbyists, the rest is just 'nice to have', icing on the cake so to speak.

        •  Is there formal affiliation? (0+ / 0-)

          I didn't know about any tie to Heritage.

          "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

          by gsbadj on Mon Nov 08, 2010 at 07:30:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Start here and read... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ... this analysis by Frederick Clarkson, who is an expert in this area from In the Public Eye series:

            "Takin’ It to the States: The Rise of Conservative State-Level Think Tanks" (this is the link in the piece 'Right Wing think tanks and organizations').

            Just one clip:

            State Policy Network member organizations range in size from small operations with revenues under $50,000, such as the SPN affiliates in Connecticut and Vermont, to organizations with multi-million dollar annual budgets, such as Michigan’s Mackinac Center, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and the South Carolina Public Policy Council.

            Each one of the paragraphs related to Mackinac Center have links that will get you started.

          •  Also follow the money... (0+ / 0-)

            ... by searching for their "Form 990" and the filings of associated organizations.

            For example, Google this search string [ "Mackinac Center" and "Midland, MI" and "form 990" ].

  •  not a snag (6+ / 0-)

    just a friendly reminder of how all little corporatist bought tools are expected to perform.

    The Republican working class people of Michigan are going to get exactly what they voted for, government of, by and for the corporations that don't provide jobs but ship them overseas.

  •  How is this a snag? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I like reading about what is happening in other states but you are assuming we have way too much inside knowledge for this to make much sense.  IMHO.

    •  Other states... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ... already have the Heritage "State-Governmen-in-a-box". It is very clear what the agenda is and how they will do it.

      NOT in OUR STATE, thank you.

    •  I don't see the snag either... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ... and I live in Michigan.

      Basically, the story is that Snyder campaigned for Governor as an outsider, a businessman who thinks independently.  He touted his ownership of Gateway Computers and its job creation in selling the voters on his ability to create jobs in this miserable state.  He danced around hot-button social and economic issues, which led a lot of people (including moderate Dems) to think that he wasn't going to tow the GOP party line and wasn't, as a result, going to be THAT offensive a GOP'er as Governor.

      Mackinaw Center is a wingnut think-tank, connected to the old guard, the staunchly corporatist GOP.  After Snyder got nominated, Mackinaw sent the letter quoted in the diary, basically telling him that he BETTER tow the GOP party line.

      So far, Snyder's transition team looks like Old Guarders.  We're probably screwed, especially since the GOP now has both Houses of the Legislature as well.

      "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

      by gsbadj on Mon Nov 08, 2010 at 07:29:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  One of the founders... (0+ / 0-)

        ... of the Mackinac Center mentioned, Richard D. McLellan, was actually head of then incoming Gov John Engler's Transition Team in 1990. Situation doesn't appear, right now, to be that bad.  

        We can only hope, Rick Snyder will chart his own course, at least for some period of time, solving problems a majority, not just the GOP, can agree on.

  •  it will be interesting to see (4+ / 0-)

    if snyder has a spine. I can't imagine any politician with the immense ego that goes with being a politician would like being told that he will be "put in his place" if he does not do as he's told.

    Given past performances of publican politicians in this state, I fear we're looking at a northern version of Mississippi in the near future.

    A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

    by dougymi on Mon Nov 08, 2010 at 07:31:20 AM PST

    •  I was at the ... (3+ / 0-)

      ... West Michigan Policy Forum this summer when Bernero and Snyder appeared (separately) at a breakfast Q&A on the last day. While many of the political operatives working for Snyder were the same ideological conservatives and political pros who always turn up around these high-profile races, it was equally clear that Snyder was allowed to maintain his "charming independence" because it was marketable, not because any of the hard-line GOPers found it the least bit compelling.

      I suspect, at some point soon, if it hasn't happened already, the facts of life will be explained to him in more explicit terms than the public crap oozing from Heritage North up there in Midland.

      Asking whether he has the political courage to maintain his independence is a fair question. Whatever else he is, Snyder's not a pol ... he's a businessman who measures success only in quantifiable terms. Any other considerations don't seem to mean much to him.

      In many important ways, he's another Bill Milliken, but without the generosity of spirit.

      •  I agree largely (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hector Solon

        but remember, ceos are political animals too. Just not public political figures. They get and maintain power the same way as public politicians, just with a different constituency. I consider him a politician regardless of his background. The same rules apply. And the same ego.

        On an aside, it'd be difficult to see Bill Milliken even entertaining the idea of selling the Mackinac Bridge. I have a feeling he'd walk out of any meeting where such an idea was even broached.

        A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

        by dougymi on Mon Nov 08, 2010 at 08:13:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Business execs, particularly those ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ... who have achieved great success on the ladder, do know how to play the political game, you're right. There are some differences, though, and they have to do with the playground itself.

          Electoral politics is nearly always beyond guys like Snyder and they tend to defer to the pros during a campaign. the buttonhole, favor-trading approach that works in a company doesn;t work with masses of voters.

          Their experience tends to kick in once they're elected, when the turf looks more familiar and the inside game becomes everything. I would argue that the swollen egos we usually see from elected pols is even worse with them because they're used to dictating and having everyone jump. Good luck with that in Lansing, Rick.

          And, yes, Snyder's "humble nerd" act is exactly that ... an act ... and, no, he's no Bill Milliken, a man who had Michigan in his DNA and loves this place, making him one of the few Republicans in this state I can admire.

          Where I think Snyder will really differ, and it may be his undoing, is with the partisan stuff. He seems to have no patience for that. In the executive suites, there is one party and any opposition to the ruling elite is more of a secret incurgency.

  •  If you live in Michigan ... (0+ / 0-)

    ... you're now residing in a laboratory for experimental "post-partisan" politics and all the push and pull that implies.

    In that respect, Snyder is a sort of GOP Obama.

    No beliefs. No core principles. Just count money, votes and poll rankings.

  •  Toe the line (0+ / 0-)

    See wikipedia

    Just so ya know...

  •  Michigan made a huge mistake by electing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hector Solon

    this nerd with no political experience.  Virge would have told the Mackinac Center to stick their letter where the sun don't shine and bring it on baby!  Rick will take us back to Engler tactics that put us billions in debt while cutting back services for the people of Michigan.  He's even expressed interest in privatizing the Macknac Bridge - I totally do NOT trust Rick.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe." A. Einstein

    by moose67 on Mon Nov 08, 2010 at 07:48:12 AM PST

  •  Midland based MACKINAC center? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Any idiot with a hand, or at least a good mitten, knows Midland ain't anywhere Mackinac. Or did you mean Midland, TX for these corporatist oil lovin' right to work as a slave'ers?

    "Excuse me, Governor. Your Masters are on Line 1. Something about obedience training."

    Arf Arf

    Shit happens. So when you flush thank a liberal.

    by BobBlueMass on Mon Nov 08, 2010 at 08:51:12 AM PST

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