Local Politics: An Exercise in Depression
Posted on 20 May 2012
I’ve mostly kept my powder dry about some of the drama going on in local politics. Time now to loose the fusillade.
- The ongoing drama about the Anuzis vs. Agema race for national committeeman vexes the mind. The state party remains fairly weak, a problem that plagued us during the Granholm years and shows no signs of abating. Although I appreciate Saul’s record, Delegate-gate (masterfully recorded by the folks at RightMichigan) is a big deal. Michigan is a bluer state than it ought to be in part because we have a bad track record of leadership at the state-party level, a problem that trickles down to candidate selection. I bear Anuzis no ill will, and I really don’t have a solid opinion either way about Dave Agema, but one thing I do know is that the old guard of the state party needs to be retired in favor of solid but pragmatic conservatives who will be more aggressive in the pursuit of the low-hanging fruit that Michigan offers but the leadership can’t ever seem to pluck. (Note: At this weekend’s state convention, Agema beat Anuzis — so Agema and Terri Lynn Land will serve as the state’s committeemen.)
- I exercise cautious optimism that the Kent County Republicans will get their act together. For years (roughly, the Joanne Voorhees stewardship) the county party felt more like a country club than a political organization, a place where well-connected people connected with each other. Several attempts to get involved, including phone calls and emails to various people in the county apparatus, were met with silence. And in the interim, we let folks like Justin Amash (Ron Paul’s heir apparent in the House) put MI-3 at risk of a Democratic pick-up. Word on the street is that the new leadership at the county level will be more open and engaging, but time will tell. I never had trouble getting involved directly in Kalamazoo or Ottawa; Kent’s impenetrability makes no sense.
- I submitted paperwork to run for precinct delegate. I’m not sure if it was received and properly processed — stay tuned. I’m told that Tea Party types have been quietly running for precinct delegate slots so that they can build a critical mass to “take over” at the county convention; surely, their efforts paid off with the Anuzis upset this weekend at the state convention. Usually, precinct delegate races are quiet non-events. The Tea Party makes it more interesting.
- The Rev. George Heartwell, mayor of Grand Rapids, recently made waves with a pro-Planned Parenthood spiel. Most of it didn’t make a lot of sense, and I understand that he’s apologizing at least for his tone because of pressure at the city commission meeting. It’s not clear why hizzonor felt the need to advocate for PP in the first place.
Never a dull moment. Major lesson: Political leadership, no matter how high or low, is a public trust, not a personal endowment. So be responsive stewards.