Friday, February 12, 2010
Into the Lion's Den
The Michigan Education Association, which promotes itself as a bi-partisan group, is really known in town to have a decidedly democratic tilt. Which is why when two republicans showed up at an MEA event last week, some eyebrows were raised and some cue dos were in order. Remember, even though the MEA calls itself an association, the dirty little secret is it is actually…come closer so it can be whispered, it is really a labor union. Thus into the lion's den marched Paul Scott and Pete Hoekstra, GOP candidates for Secretary of State and governor respectively. Both worked the room of 250 or so teachers and later during a gettng-to-know-you Q and A, the joint got suddenly quiet with Genesee County state Rep. Scott concluded his remarks by adding,"I'm a republican." The surprise revealation sort of laid there for a moment and then everyone laughed. Hoesktra laid out his party affiliation early on but took the edge off it by proudly announcing that as a Republican he had voted against the "No Child Left Behind" law pushed by former GOP President "W". The crowd went nuts since the MEA is loathed to back anything with a "W" stamped on it. The forum in enemy terrority was perfect for Hoekstra who is pushing his maverick image of breaking with Bush along with his desire to be a bi-partisan governor if he is elected. Frankly his message ressonated. At one point he was blunt. Asked what he would do about changing Proposal A which revamped the way schools are funded, Hoekstra observed: If the MEA comes up with a plan for the ballot, it will fail. If the other side comes up with a plan, it will fail too. What we need to do is bring all sides together to draft a plan that can pass. Scott was also quite moderate in his words invoking his mother as his life long mentor and saying nothing that would leave the impression that he was off center. Hence he left out his stuff about being against trans-gender folks getting any help from the Secretary of State. Maybe he forgot to add that? At any rate, it was a gutsy move by both guys and they deserve a pat o the head for showing up.