Will conservatives resolve to make government leaner and meaner in 2012?

Lansing Republicans are toasting the close of what was certainly a banner year for them. Lawmakers were able to blast through a wish list that had eluded them for years.

They’re high-fiving each other for having made reforms to local and municipal revenue sharing, business tax cuts, reforming K-12 education and teacher tenure, cutting the number of weeks the unemployed can collect benefits and limiting the number of months families can receive public assistance. They’ve made what some call Draconian changes to the state’s Workers’ Compensation system, and passed legislation to tax pensions.

It was a long list of pent-up wishes conservatives had wanted for years — even decades. What in the world is left for them to do?

Well, the conservative Mackinac Center’s “Michigan Capital Confidential” newsletter has a few ideas.

In today’s edition, the Center ticks off the items still left undone. Many of the initiatives have enough steam to be reintroduced next year. Among them: the repeal of prevailing wage laws, and what the Center calls “stealth unionization.” The “right to teach” bill was also tabled. It would have stopped school districts from making agreements with the Michigan Education Association to require union membership as a condition of employment. The Center suggests that while there was some support for the ideology, the bill was a poorly written attempt at political payback, and may not have enough legs to be re-introduced in 2012.

Certainly for the upcoming year, workers and employers alike will be waiting to see whose resolutions stick, and whose fall by the wayside like a “forgotten by April” gym membership.

Advertisements

Early polls show GOP candidates lead Dems

Ask

I can’t imagine what the numbers look like vs. Cox, Snyder or Hoekstra.

… and ye shall receive.

The two leading Democratic candidates would lose to any of the three top Republican challengers if the election were held today, according to the poll by EPIC/MRA of Lansing released exclusively to the Free Press, WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) and three outstate TV stations.

Between the two Democratic candidates, Dillon leads … unless people actually know the differences between the candidates.

House Speaker Andy Dillon leads Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero for the Democratic primary — 22% to 15% — although Bernero shows signs of closing the gap. When voters were given brief descriptions of the candidates, Bernero jumped ahead of Dillon, 29% to 24%.

Interesting. People tend to say they support candidates that they think are going to win, even if they don’t know any differences on issues. Dillon is better known, so when two names are put out there, people say the one they’ve heard of.

Pete Hoekstra leads among GOP candidates …

Among Republicans, U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Holland has a lead of six percentage points over Attorney General Mike Cox.

Support for Cox and businessman Rick Snyder has leveled off since February.

"People are not jumping on the Rick Snyder bandwagon, even though he’s gained 12 points in name recognition" after a series of TV ads, Porn said.

… and presumably against everyone else.

Voters preferred Republicans Cox, Hoekstra or Snyder by significant margins when each was matched against either Dillon or Bernero.

Right and Left Join Forces on Criminal Justice

From The New York Times, an interesting story about liberal and conservative groups that agree that law enforcement agencies are going too far.

In the next several months, the Supreme Court will decide at least a half-dozen cases about the rights of people accused of crimes involving drugs, sex and corruption. Civil liberties groups and associations of defense lawyers have lined up on the side of the accused.

Edwin Meese III, a former attorney general, once referred to the American Civil Liberties Union as part of the “criminals’ lobby,” but on this issue, he says, he is willing to work with the group.

But so have conservative, libertarian and business groups. Their briefs and public statements are signs of an emerging consensus on the right that the criminal justice system is an aspect of big government that must be contained.

The development represents a sharp break with tough-on-crime policies associated with the Republican Party since the Nixon administration.