With a little more than two years to go before she heads out to pasture, the governor is working hard on her legacy which at this read is a mixed bag at best. The chapter on her ability to toss her political weight around, for example, is looking pretty flimsy. Recently her State School Superintendent Mike Flanagan tried to move up the education ladder and into the $5.2 million president's mansion on the campus of Eastern Michigan University. The governor gave it all she had to get Flanagan the promotion but even though she had appointed seven of the eight members on the EMU board, what she gave was woefully inadequate. The first rule of tossing your weight around is to never play the game if you might lose. And a corollary: If you are going to play, do it quietly so that if you lose, only a handful of insiders will know you lost. Apparently somebody forgot to tell her that, as she broke both rules and ended up looking weak and ineffective.
By going public with her endorsement of Flanagan, the governor put the board in a box. If they voted for him, it would look like the governor had "pressured" the board to make a decision.
That may have pleased the governor but might have been wrong for the university.
The fact is the EMU faculty wanted nothing to do with Flanagan who had neither a PhD nor any higher education experience to speak of. So from the get go, the governor should have know this was going to be a tough sell. She did work behind the scenes, but that didn't work either. Some complained the governor did not make all the calls herself and let some of her underlings do the heavy lifting. And when they did, one source says it was in a "threatening" tone along the lines of, "We're counting on this to happen." This EMU insider reveals, some of the board members were "offended" by the governor's actions. In the end Flanagan was the second choice making the governor look like she doesn't know how to play the game. Not exactly the image you want in your legacy chapter on political influence.