Skubick: Snyder's 3rd State of the State will be his most challenging
By Tim Skubick FOX 2 Political Analyst
LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) -- Having digested 42 State of the State speeches over the years, most are memorable for not being memorable. There was the one in which Gov. Jim Blanchard called for a tax increase and one lonely Democrat in the back of the room applauded.
Senator Basil Brown (D-Highland Park) long ago left this earth, but the echo of his two hands clapping remains a fond memory.
There was Gov. John Engler's last SOS during which he got teary-eyed as he thanked his family for enduring his many years in office and standing with him each step of the way. It was very touching and a side of the blustery Mr.Engler that was seldom on display.
Which brings us to the upcoming third State of the State of this relatively new governor Rick Snyder.
Not known for his oratory prowess, he proved it last year with a less than historic message. If there was a lead, it was soon forgotten although it was long on optimism including the phrase, "We need to be positive, inclusive, and confident that Michigan holds a bright future for our children and theirs."
However 2012, especially near the end, was short on the positive and the inclusive stuff was non-existent. Democrats and labor were stiffed armed by the GOP conservatives and an apparent reluctant governor was dragged along for the ride as unions suffered through the Right to Work debate.
The rancor from that will provide the backdrop for the January 16th message from Gov. Snyder which will be his most challenging to date.
It's hardly the Relentless Positive scene-setter this governor wants but it's there nonetheless and many will be watching how he handles the elephant in the room i.e. Democrats are bruised, angry and eager to get even.
Betting money is, he won't acknowledge the beast as the SOS is hardly the vehicle for mending fences, but it can be used to begin the process.
There is plenty of other unfinished business.
"No one in Michigan is satisfied with our roads. Let's solve this problem now," he advised the legislature on January 18th last year.
Since the house was up for re-election last year, members answered the call with a resounding, "let's not" because a vote on new revenue for the roads was a one-way ticket to the unemployment line for those Republicans who dared to say yes. And none of them did.
While some hearings were held, and some head-fakes were made in the direction of redirecting state resources into the roads, the governor's 2012 dashboard on infrastructure got a fat goose-egg.
And with Democrats not in the mood to help the governor, Mr. Snyder needs GOP votes. He has 59 in the house but not all of them are a lock, which means if he doesn't reach out to Democrats another goose-egg looms on the infrastructure horizon for the second year in a row.
The beginning of his third year in office is devoid of the 'let's-give-him-a-chance" attitude that the loyal opposition was willing to give the new governor two years ago.
With some, but not an over abundance of bipartisanship during years one and two, and now the bitter divide over Right to Work, some D's will argue, the governor had his chance and he blew it. In other words, you're on your own buster.
To make matters worse, this new year marks the beginning of the race for governor which is another backdrop that is counter to his smiley-face way of conducting state business. It complicates his life and reduces his chances for success.
While that contest is two years down the road, what he says and does in this SOS will provide the raw meat the Democrats are eager to exploit. Their goal is not to help him but to make sure after this speech, there will only be one more from Rick Dale Snyder.