Tim Skubick: Bi-partisan cooperation not likely in Lansing
By Tim Skubick FOX 2 Political Analyst
LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) -- At the national level in this post election euphoria you've heard all the usual clamor for bi-partisan cooperation. There are so many olive branches on the Potomac you can't see the water.
In the state capitol, there are no olive branches in sight. In fact the brick bats are over there in the corner.
The Republicans are hacked that house Democrats went after House GOP Speaker Jase Bolger and came with a sliver of knocking him off.
The Republicans are hacked at organized labor that it put Proposal 2 on the ballot and forced a nasty confrontation between unions and business and that has spawned a boomlet for Right to Work legislation which is sure to anger labor.
And the incoming House Democratic leader, with a whopping 8 months of legislative experience under his belt, is already warning the GOP not to go there. Rep. Tim Greimel (D-Oakland County) fires a warning shot: If there is any chance of bi-partisan cooperation, the Republicans will blow it to smithereens by pushing Right to Work.
But that's not all.
Layered over the bitterness from the election is a more immediate problem in the form of Rep.-Elect Brain Banks (D-Detroit). The issue is: To seat him or not seat him?
As a young man Mr. Banks committed twenty felonies. Apparently he was very adept at bouncing checks. He claims he is now a reformed "bouncer" with college degrees coming out of his ears and work on his PhD continues.
One might be inclined to say he learned his lesson but during the campaign for the house he was evicted for not paying his rent and another apparent check kiting issue has arisen.
Which means there could be a move by the GOP to deny him a seat in the House even though the voters in Detroit duly elected the man with the full knowledge of his past and present baggage.
Word from one outside the capitol source hints the Republicans see this as a chance to get even with the Democrats for going after Mr. Bolger.
This is getting ugly isn't it?
The fate of Mr. Banks may rest in the constitution. It reads that a person can not be seated if convicted of a felony for "breach of the public trust."
Those in the Bank's camp contend, what he did was not such a breach.
The Republicans are in closed door discussions on what to do. They are being advised that it would be wrong to deny him a seat now. But, if he is seated, the party could then seek to expel him which would set off an intra-party feud, the likes of which we've not seen in years.
"I think that's horrible," protested Rep.-Elect Theresa Abed (D-Grand Ledge.) "We need to have people in office that have integrity, that have told the truth, that people can trust," she wades into the thicket.
Rep.-Elect Andy Schor (D-Lansing) is willing to seat his colleague but, "I don't know the definition of "breach of public trust…I won't say a definite yes or no but at this point, I go with the voters and I don't see a reason for Lansing politicians to reject the voters of one district."
Watching all this with a concerned eye is the governor. It's not his job to referee potentially damaging disagreements in the house or senate. Yet what happens there does impact what he wants to do.
If he plays Henry Kissenger,(sp) lawmakers may tell him to buzz-off but if somebody doesn't resolve this before it blows-up, his reinvention plans could blow up, too.