Trump and the common bonds between Snyder, Whitmer

If you were asked to compare former Gov. Rick Snyder with the current governor, you’d be inclined to conclude, “What comparison?”

After all, he’s a Republican and she’s not. He’s a business guy and she’s a career politician. He’s got a boat load of money, she does not. And on it goes … to a point.

And that’s the point of this column. They have more in common than you might think.

Let’s take the simple stuff first.

Neither of them are big fans of Donald Trump. In fact, that is putting it mildly. Their disdain goes deeper than that, but neither has exposed it to the public media, for obvious reasons. Mr. Snyder needed help from the Trump administration on the bridge to Canada and other issues, and he correctly viewed a public confrontation to be counterproductive to reaching his goals.

He saw “no value,” as he liked to put it, in picking a fight.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is in the same boat. She has never called Mr. Trump out by name, but references the “president” when she talks about problems in Washington. Again, a full-throated blast gains her nothing except national headlines, which does nothing to solve Michigan’s infrastructure, water, and transportation challenges.

So the common bond between the two is clear: They are too smart to put their Michigan agendas in harm’s way by blasting the tweeter in chief.

Both of them also understand the importance of bipartisan cooperation to advance that pro-Michigan agenda, and they even did that together on expanding Medicaid health care coverage to 600,000 state residents who never had insurance before.

Mr. Snyder was deeply hampered by a House speaker and Senate GOP leader who couldn’t get along, and, while there were some accomplishments, Mr. Snyder remained frustrated by that lack of full cooperation. Because of that, he sometimes turned to the Democrats to help him out.

The current governor, on the other hand, appears on a road to work better with the new batch of GOP leaders. Of course, the big test of that will play out on the road funding issue.

Both Mr. Snyder and Ms. Whitmer have the same public service gene. He did not run for governor to enhance his personal resume, nor did she. They ran for the right reason of trying to improve the lives of those who elected them and even those who did not.

“My mom told me to never forget the little guy,” Gov. Whitmer discloses, while repeating, “I’m here to solve problems.”

And business guy Mr. Snyder saw his job as serving “my customers,” giving them the best bang for their tax buck.

Neither of them is “out there” on the fringes of politics. They feel most comfortable near the sensible center. He is a little right of center and she a little left, but they are not extremists by any stretch of the imagination.

Both are family grounded. She waited to run for governor until her kids got older and Mrs. Snyder did not sign off on her hubby’s bid “until the kids were older.” Yet there are still personal sacrifices in which the job does take precedence over the loved ones at home.

They both love this state and, on a lighter note, both think the executive residence on Mackinac Island is the best perk a governor could have.

Two peas in a pod they might not be, but close enough, as Mr. Snyder waits to see what his legacy will be and she is working on creating one.


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