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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

No Heads Up

    No Heads Up
           In politics no one wants to be blind-sided, so one of the unwritten rules is: Give me a heads up if you are going to whack me or help me.
           Apparently state Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer forgot to read that rule and consequently he has some unhappy campers in his ranks.
           Brewer, without confirming it, is being pegged as the "mastermind" behind a massive petition drive that basically turns the current state constitution on its ear.  It is far-reaching, controversial, and unfortunately for Brewer very secretive. 
           So secretive that in fact during two 11th hour skull sessions to belatedly bring other democrats up to speed and hopefully on board with the effort, Brewer has run into a buzz saw of questions, criticism and in some cases downright dissatisfaction if not anger.
            Legislative democrats knew squat about this plan to put all this before the voters in November.  And like any good politician, each democrat is weighing the impact the amendment will have on them personally and their constituents.
            Whenever there is dissention in the ranks, all the players attempt to clamp a lid on media coverage so as not to damage the party's image.  But the Detroit News over the weekend reported a conference call involving key players, the governor and supposedly Brewer who got an earful.
            Two days earlier the MIRS newsletter reported that Brewer invited interested lawmakers to huddle in the basement of party headquarters where he was not exactly patted on the head for this stealth petition drive.
             In fairness to Brewer his strategy since last December was to conduct this drive in secret so that opponents could not persuade folks not to sign the petitions.
             But now he is reaping the wrath of some of his own party members who felt left out in the cold.  Some will abandon the chairman; others will hold their noses and support him, while others will be gun-ho.
              But the story line here will be: Democrats upset and not unified on changing the constitution. It's not the story line Mr. Brewer wants to read, but he has himself to blame for that.


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