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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Michigan’s ‘Meat Puppet’ Gov. Symbolizes GOP’s Moral Corruption, Dems’ Challenge

I LOL’d when I first read Dave Zirin’s post in The Nation referring to “Koch Brothers’ meat puppet Governor Rick Snyder.” Something about the image of a meat puppet parroting the barely-disguised voice of his corporate master was funny. But then came the awful realization that the description was depressingly accurate.
The Republican party is now full of elected officials who are utterly shameless about copying and pasting ALEC’s agenda into state law. Not one of the GOP’s state-wide executives has yet had the gonads to stand up and say to the Koch brothers, Norquist and others of their ilk “Go to Hell. Nobody elected you greedheads. I’m doing what is best for the people of my state.” I’m a little ambivalent here. If such a Republican ever came forward from the cowering shadows where his GOP brethren grovel, he might prove to be a serious threat to the Democrats.
But that’s a remote possibility, considering the current Republican landscape. There are zero Republican leaders today who reflect the moral seriousness of ‘Newsroom’s’ mythic Will McAvoy, which is conservative, but unbought and unbossed. America would be better off if there were a few, because it would challenge Democrats to higher levels of conscience and integrity, and both parties would be stronger.
At The Daily Beast, Michael Tomasky cites a post by Theresa Riley at Bill Moyers’s web site, which exposes some of the rancid origins of the GOP’s union-bashing agenda:

The Detroit News reports that after requests from Grover Norquist and others, Snyder switched sides on the issue. United Auto Workers President Robert King said in an interview, that the Koch brothers and Amway owner Dick DeVos “bullied and bought their way to get this legislation in Michigan.”
In an editorial headlined “Drinking the Kochs’ Kool Aid,” the Detroit Free Press was unable to account for the governor’s change of heart, but offered some theories on the motivations of State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville. He may have been under pressure, the newspaper said, from the anti-union Americans for Prosperity and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), both financially supported by the Koch brothers. ALEC’s model right-to-work bill “mirrors the Michigan law word for word.

Tomasky adds that “I’ll give them credit for a certain perspicacity. Norquist and the Kochs and others on the right are constantly taking the pulse of state legislatures to see where potential opportunities arise. ALEC, cited above, is the vehicle for much of this activity.” Democrats have to own that we have been out-organized and out-worked in too many states where Dems should have working majorities. Governor Meat Puppet has provided us with a sobering end to our 2012 victory gloating and a reminder that unions are critical to the future of the Democratic party.
As Tomasky concludes, “Democrats can’t afford to leave this fight to unions. The ultimate goal here is to weaken not just unions, but the Democratic Party. So the Democrats–the national party, the money people, and so on–have no choice but to put some muscle into this fight, starting today.”

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