Apr 8, 2010
GOP hypocrisy trickles down to Michigan Senate Republicans
The hypocrisy of Republicans on display during the health insurance reform debate was stunning, and it now appears it is trickling down to the Michigan Senate Republicans.
Republicans were horrified that the Democrats were going to use reconciliation to get a bill passed that will reduce the budget deficit $130 billion in the first 10 years, but it was OK that former President Bush used reconciliation numerous times, including to give tax cuts to the richest 1 percent that helped create the current budget deficit. Republicans are also upset that President Obama recently bypassed the vacationing Senate and directly appointed 15 nominees that have been held up, but they forgot that Bush had already made 10 recess appointments by this point in his presidency and he made another five over the spring recess, including the disaster John Bolton.
Now, Senate Republicans are getting into the act, and they are upset that Gov. Jennifer Granholm recently made appointments to six public university boards that will take effect the day she leaves office, according to subscription only Gongwer.
"I don't really like the idea of this governor making appointments for the next governor," Gongwer reported Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop as saying. "It's not fair to the next administration, whoever that might be. I'm sure that our members are going to have that same concern about fairness."
Granholm press secretary Liz Boyd told Gongwer that the Governor has followed previous precedent in making the appointments and wants to ensure the university boards don't lack members after a new governor takes office. And what exactly is that previous precedent?
Former Republican Gov. John Engler made a number of appointments for board positions, including a number of cronies – including current and former department directors and closest advisers such as Community Health Director James Haveman, former Corrections Director Bill Martin, Treasurer Doug Roberts and legal counsel Lucille Taylor - right before he left office.
Understandably, Senate Democrats were upset, but being in the minority there was little they could do about it. According to a 2002 edition of Gongwer they called the appointments “inappropriate and said the subject was being researched.”
Engler claimed that the appointments were legal because under the constitution his term expires at noon January 1 while under statute the university board terms expire December 31, giving him a 12-hour window.
The Senate Democrats could not even speak out about it during the confirmation hearings or on the Senate floor because the Senate Republican had given up on its duty of "advise and consent" over gubernatorial appointments under Engler. In fact, the Republican-led body did not take a vote on appointees during the 12 years Engler was in office. Appointments are effective if not rejected by the Senate within 60 days.
Only after Granhom took office did the Senate resume its duty of advise and consent. The hypocrisy of Senate Republicans is stunning.
The 60 day clock is running, and it appears the Senate has until late May to decide whether to reject the appointments. Bishop told Gongwer he would refer the appointments to the Senate Appropriations Higher Education Subcommittee.