2012-01-26 / Views

Gov. Snyder bores many with his lack-luster speech

By Tim Skubick

My oh my, the boo-birds were out in force taking pot shots at the governor for a rather lack-luster performance last week during his second State of the State missive.

He was off his game, but he confi rmed again that he is not a career politician and oratory is not his strong suit. Forever the CPA, even he confided before the address, “I’m going to be boring.” And now he is thinking about scrapping the speech altogether for next year.

Even though he had a bunch of flubs, like suggesting that Dan Musser was 125-years-old, when in reality his Grand Hotel is that age, you did not hire Mr. Snyder to be a great speechmaker.

“You hired me to be governor,” he is fond of saying and most folks could give two hoots about his struggles to be an inspiring public speaker.

Hey, he gives one major speech a year so it’s not the end of the word.

What is more troubling was his lack of candor in the address on what he proposes for the new year.

Governor’s get one shot a year to talk directly to the citizenry, unfiltered by the media, at least during the speech, and Mr. Snyder failed to fulfill his duty to talk straight.

For a moment there it seemed like he had retrogressed into his campaign mode where he rarely talked about specific stances on issues. Rather he glossed over them with vague generalities such as “I’m for education.”

Who the heck isn’t?

But there he was on the issue of including insurance coverage for autistic children. It’s a contentious issue as business does want to foot the cost and parents with those special need kids are left holding the bag.

So what did the governor provide on that?

“Let’s address that important topic.”

Ugh.

Or how about his $1.4 billion plan to fix Michigan’s sagging and World War II rotting road system?

He timidly suggests lawmakers “hold hearings on bills that will give Michigan a transportation system for the 21st century.”

Don’t kid yourself. The governor knows where he wants to go on this, which includes increases in your car registration fees, but rather than level with motorists on that, he called for hearings.

In his defense he explains he does not want to endorse this plan or that just yet because it would “galvanize” the opposition from the opening bell.

His buddies in the business company, after lapping up a nifty $1.8 billion tax cut last year, were back at the head of the line asking for more tax relief and there’s the governor right with them.

However to grant that additional relief, the governor would take $800 million away from local government. Rather than lay out a way to do it, he offered only this, “We need a long term solution.”

Even though he is still somewhat of a rookie governor, it’s a time honored tradition that governors propose (hopefully with specifics) and then lawmakers dispose.

There was no meat on his proposals in that speech.

Now his defenders will rightfully suggest that eventually he will provide the details in his budget next month, but there won’t be a statewide TV audience when he does it.

So in this respect, the consummate non-career politician is acting just like previous career-politician governors who acted exactly the same way. They never delivered any tough medicine when everyone was looking; they did it when the public was not.

It’s a mighty stretch to describe that as bold leadership.

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