Whitmer not about to get even
After you have been down and out for 40 years at the hands of an enemy that didn’t give two hoots about your agenda, the natural human instinct is to get even when the tables are turned.
Or is it?
That pretty much describes one of the options in this town as the Democrats prepare to take control of the entire state Legislature. Some of the current Democrats were not even a gleam in their daddy’s eyes the last time their party was calling the shots and the Republicans were at their mercy.
Someone who was alive but not serving in the Legislature at the time will have something to say about the getting even strategy — if there is one.
She grew up in a household with a Milliken Republican father and a Frank Kelley mom and, needless to say, the chitchat around the Whitmer dinner table centered on bipartisanship, which were the hallmarks of Republican Gov. William Milliken and Democratic Attorney General Kelley.
Gretchen Whitmer eventually went on to serve 15 years in the Legislature under Republican dominance and now is perched to launch into her final four years in office.
She knows now is not the time to poke a stick in the other side’s collective eyes.
And she won’t.
“Even though they are in the minority doesn’t mean they don’t have a seat at the table,” she opines on the eve of her new term.
It’s the right signal at the right time that underscores her constant banter about being willing to “work with anyone at any time who wants to solve problems.”
And not only is her familial lesson coming into play here, but she knows she will need Republicans on some issues to pass her agenda, so it’s not a good move to hack them off first thing out of the box.
Which is why she has placed on hold the granddaddy of “get even” issues, killing the right-to-work law that the Republicans unceremoniously and vindictively crammed down the Democrats’ throats in 2012.
If there are those who want to return the vindictiveness right off the bat, the wise governor reflects, “I’m not leading with that.” And, just to make it clear, she confirms it will not be the first thing out of the box.
The governor was not a math major (she actually wanted to be a reporter on ESPN), but she can count. She has a one-vote margin of control in the state Senate and ditto in the state House, and she knows full well she will need some Republican votes because her Democrats will not vote for everything she puts forward.
“Everyone will be obstinate on some stuff that we want to do. I’ll be obstinate on some things probably on occasion. It doesn’t mean we can’t be up to the task ahead of us” to do something positive for the citizens of this state.
So, rather than pick a fight, she will mark time.
Make no mistake, she will eventually give her blessing to repealing what former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder did with his GOP-led Legislature.
It will be after she hopes to lay a solid foundation of cooperation with the other side so that one “get even” vote does not destroy the bipartisanship stuff she learned at the knee of her wise parents at din din.