Archive for the ‘Mark Brewer’ Category

Does Michigan Need a Constitutional Convention? Absolutely Not

July 12, 2008

So, earlier this week, Dennis Lennox made the following statements, proposing that Michigan Legislators put a call for a constitutional convention on this November’s ballot (instead of waiting until 2010 like it otherwise would):

It’s Time Michigan Call a Constitutional Convention

With radical disgruntled Democrats pushing a host of deceptive constitutional amendments under the Reform Michigan Government Now umbrella, it’s time for sensible legislators in Lansing to ask voters in November to call a constitutional convention in 2009.

The constitutional convention question would have automatically come in November 2010 – it appears on the ballot every 16 years – but with the threat of Michigan government being destroyed by a partisan agenda, it’s critical voters revise the state Constitution with practical solutions to the issues plaguing our state.

Just as sensible Democrats, Republicans and independents came together under the leadership of George Romney and the auspices of Citizens for Michigan in the early 1960s, it’s time for the same sensible folks to come together to ensure Mark Brewer’s twisted fantasies aren’t passed be naïve voters who think they’re cutting the pay of senators and representatives and downsizing state government.

While few in state politics have paid much attention to the issues surrounding a constitutional convention until very recently, I have been on the issue for more than year and had the opportunity to write bipartisan amendments aimed at cleaning up the Constitution of 1963.

As a student at Central Michigan University, I participated in a semester-long research project by then-professor and Inside Michigan Politics editor Bill Ballenger. We examined the Constitution and possible changes that included virtually everything ever talked about and then some. We also decided we  needed a constitutional convention now instead of waiting until a vote in 2010. In the end, a large number of my proposals were adopted by our class using a mock legislature format. Unfortunately, some of my better proposals – such as eliminating individual boards of control for the 15 public universities and creating a single board of trustees that is partisan and elected on the statewide ballot – didn’t gain support across the aisle to have the two-thirds support to pass. Nevertheless, what did pass was a good package of reform that was later adopted by Senator Michelle McManus, R-Lake Leelanau, who had me testify before a committee hearing and later introduced the measure as Senate Joint Resolution I.SJRI passed not only committee, but also the Senate as a whole. Sadly, it has been stalled in the House Judiciary Committee since early November 2007 – making passage and placement on this year’s general election ballot unlikely. It was originally our hope that the House would have passed it in time for a vote to take place during the presidential primary election.But with yesterday’s news that House Republican Leader Craig DeRoche, R-Novi, supports a constitutional convention question on November’s ballot, there is renewed hope that my proposal will once again gain attention – driving the discussion towards the issues that a constitutional convention would likely examine.

This is why I support a constitutional convention and will work to see the question passes if it’s placed on the ballot in November.


Certainly there are downsides to a convention – namely the high costs.

There would be a special election for delegates, who in turn would have hefty campaign expenses as they would run on a partisan basis. You could expect hotly-contested campaigns, as a convention would essentially become an ideological tussle for many interest groups.

Another major cost is the actual convention. Unless the Legislature took the unusual step of adjourning during the convention – freeing up the two chambers and associated committee rooms for convention delegates – there would need to be space allocated, as well as offices and staff support.

This would all come at a high price for a state with a budget and economic crisis, but it would certainly be worth the cost when you weigh the alternative – complicated amendments that would essentially rewrite the Constitution bundled together in a deceptive package aimed at confusing voters.

During my five months of in-depth study into the Michigan Constitution, I came to the conclusion a convention would have to consider term limits, consolidation of local units of government including the merging of counties to create regional authorities, the election of judges, removing archaic and invalid provisions from the 1963 text, restrictions on ballot question groups and numerous other issues.

However, the biggest issue for both Democrats and Republicans was term limits.

My proposal extended the maximum length of service to 20 years – allowing a legislator to serve four, two-year terms in the House and three, four-year terms in the Senate, or 10, two-year terms in the House. This was controversial, and was the only item in our package not introduced by McManus in the Senate.

In an ideal situation, a successful reform of term limits proposal could also change the length of terms. There was significant support to limit House members to two, four-year terms for a total of eight years, while senators could serve two, six-year terms for a total of 12 years.

This would allow legislators to focus more on serving constituents and do-away with the constant election cycle, and it wouldn’t significantly increase their time in Lansing.

While some might moan about allowing a representative or senator to spend 20 years in Lansing, the average length of service in states with and without term limits has historically been about 10 or 12 years – far below a possible cap of 20 years.

But these are just a sampling of issues that would be examined in a constitutional convention. You can expect everything to be looked at, which is arguably good for Michigan.

It’s simple: Our state is broken. We need real reform, and a constitutional convention would give everyone the opportunity to participate and have their say – not just vested special interests, drawing up ballot proposals in smoke-filled Lansing offices.





For the most part, I agree with Republican Michigander’s and Chetly Zarko’s responses (available on RightMichigan), but I’ll lay out my oppositions to a constitutional convention:


  • I’ve always been an amendment guy.  There aren’t enough problems in Michigan’s constitution for us to say, “Ditch the whole thing and let’s start over!”  We run the risk of only having to amend say 10% of the constitution to satisfy us to needing to amend 25% of a new constitution.  Why start all over?  Fix what you want to fix,  don’t throw out the whole document because of a few problems.
  • It’s costly:
    • Special election for delegates (The Democrats complained about recall elections, you think they’ll support this?  And too many Republicans oppose this already, that the added costs of simply the election will turn more off).
    • The convention itself – space and staff.
  • The liberals have more money than the conservatives, and like I said before, holding a convention would increase the chances that conservatives lose in a new convention.  We could come out of a convention with a constitution that needs more amendments than the current one does.  I simply see this as a long, draw-out ideological fight.  I’d rather vote Yea or Nay on 1 issue at a time, than compromise my views on 1 issue because I like the constitution overall, but have problems with it in other parts.  Amendments are the easiest way to fix things.  When you try to fix too many things at one time, more things become broken rather than get fixed.

I know I am going to take some heat for this next comment: I also question Lennox’s motives here.  About half of his article (I know it’s the wrong word) talks about his ideas for how to fix the constitution, not why we need a convention.  If you ask me, it sounds more like a Dennis Lennox for Constitutional Convention Delegate campaign ad than an argument for a convention.  And why bring this up now?  You said in the article that you thought a convention was needed back when the mock legislature voted on it.  I’m not saying I know this for sure, but this just seems like Dennis wants to run for something now that his campaign for State House is over.

But all of what Dennis said isn’t bad.  I like his stance on lengthening term limits, but I’d rather just do away with them instead of extending them.  I’ve never been a fan of legislative term limits, but I don’t think we need a convention for that – a simple amendment would do.

So, for now, I just say wait until it comes up on the ballot in 2010, and I’m pretty sure I’ll vote it down then as well (unless a lot of crazy stuff happens in 2 years – and  with Michigan, you never know).

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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DNC Agrees to Seat All of Michigan’s and Florida’s Delegates with Half Votes

June 1, 2008

Today, the Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC) voted to seat all of Michigan’s and Florida’s delegates, allowing each to get a half vote (unlike the Republican way where they combined 2 votes into one, making the other an alternate) – similar to Guam, Puerto Rico, etc…

This will up the magic number from 2,025 to 2,118, and here’s what that will do in…


  1. Clinton 52.5 delegates
  2. Obama 33.5 delegates
  3. Edwards 6.5 delegages


  1. Clinton 34.5 delegates
  2. Obama 29.5 delegates

Here are some quotes from the meeting:

“I am stumped that we have the gall and chutzpah to substitute our judgment for 600,000 voters. Mrs. Clinton has instructed me to reserve her rights to take this to the Credentials Committee (they will meet in July to send a final report on delegations for a vote on the convention floor),” Harold Ickes (Clinton), RBC member.  The crowd responded with, “Denver! Denver! Denver!” … Ickes: ” [the deal] is not a good way to start down the path of party unity.”

Ickes and Tina Flournoy, another Clinton supporter in the RCB issued a statement saying, “We reserve the right to challenge this decision before the Credentials Committee and appeal for a fair allocation of Michigan’s delegates that actually reflect the votes as they were cast.”

“[Clinton] reserved the right [to do that, but she "will want to confer with her supporters in Michigan and others across the country" before making a final decision," Howard Wolfson, Clinton's Communications Director.

Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe said, "We're extremely gratified that the commission agreed on a fair solution that will allow Michigan and Florida to participate in the convention.  We appreciate their efforts, and those of the party leadership of both states, to bring this resolution about."

DNC Chairman Howard Dean (D-VT) said that the decision "was not made easily or lightly. ... But after listening to oral arguments made by the complainants, state parties and both presidential campaigns, we believe this to be the most fair and equitable solution allowed within the rules.  The committee arrived at its decision with three basic principles in mind.  One, that we must be fair to the voters in both states.  Two, that we must be fair to both campaigns who abided [sic] by the rules in good faith and three, that we must be fair to the 48 states that followed the rules.”

Obama, while campaigning in South Dakota, told reporters, “Our main goal is to get this resolved so we can immediately turn the focus of the entire party on winning Florida and Michigan.  I recognize that there were compromises on all sides in resolving this issue.”

Former Michigan Governor and Clinton supporter, James Blanchard told reporters, “If you turn your back on the voters of Michigan or Florida, you are flirting with a McCain victory.”  That I ABSOLUTELY agree with.  Although, I think this deal is WAY too little WAY too late, plus, the fact that Clinton supporters are already talking about possible appeals shows that this is only a deal to make voters happy, but if Clinton can squeeze out an (illegal) win, she’ll go for it.

Meanwhile, Florida Senator Bill Nelson told reporters, “These voters violated no rule, they committed no crime, they did not move the primary forward. The Republican legislature did.”  Well, that may be true in Florida, but it was the Democrat’s fault up here in Michigan.  Ironically, it was mainly the fault of Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer, a John Edwards backer, in hopes of helping his candidate.  And where is Edwards now?  Out of the picture.  Looks like Brewer’s plan backfired and has torn Michigan’s Democrats apart.  (YAY!!!!)

So, I’ll keep you updated if anything else happens with this.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Michigan Should Not Re-do Its Primary; Democrats Agree

March 17, 2008

Alright, so lately we’ve been hearing a lot of rumors about a do-over primary here in Michigan, and possibly in Florida.  For now, we’re going to leave out Florida, because it seems like actual progress for a plan is moving quicker in Michigan.

Personally, I think it’s a terrible idea for the Democratic Party – but if they do do it, I think that it would be great for the Republican Party come November.

Here’s what’s been proposed by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and Representative Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Detroit) (yes, she’s Mayor Kwame’s mother, and unfortunately my representative [13thCongressional District] - one of the most liberal people in the house.  She wants us to pull out of Afghanistan!  Most Democrats support the war in Afghanistan.  That and her office is the most disorganized  thing I’ve ever seen in my life), United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger, and Democratic National Committee Member Debbie Dingell:

  • A primary would be held sometime in June (the rumor has been June 3rd).
  • The primary would be run by the Secretary of State, but funded by the Clinton and Obama campaigns.
  • Anybody would be allowed to vote as long as they did not vote in the Republican Primary (Michigan does not keep track of party registration, only who takes which ballot).

The group put out this statement on Saturday: “We agree that the Michigan delegation should be seated at the convention, and without a fight before the Credentials Committee or on the floor of the convention.”

Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer called the movement a “good first step.”

The Michigan Legislature would have to pass a law, since it would be run by the Secretary of State (Terri Lynn Land [Republican]).  The Senate Republicans (who are in control) have said that they would not stand in the way, but some Democrats in the Democratic controlled House may oppose it.  As of now, nobody is getting delegates, and even if Obama does lose, the delegates that he would win (because it would be a proportionally awarded system) might push him over the magical number.

In addition to the Michigan Legislature, both the Obama and Clinton campaigns would have to back the plan.  Obama released this statement, “I will continue to work with all involved to resolve the issue of seating our delegates at the National Convention,” while Bill Burton, an Obama spokesman said, “We hope a resolution can be arrived at that is fair and practical, and look forward to building a winning campaign in Michigan for November.”  As of yet, Clinton has not released a statement.

So, how do Democrats feel?  Well, let me introduce my friend and roommate, Livid Liberal, who I have allowed to guest post so that we could get the view of a Democrat on this (and he’s just one of many Democrats that I know that share this view):

As a first-time voter the Democratic Party has done a wonderful job destroying my enthusiasm for politics. I’m going to start out by saying that I feel like the voters of Michigan were screwed over by the DNC. First we’re told we are not going to be allowed to vote just because a few of our people managed to upset the party. Those of us who were educated and informed didn’t want our votes to go to waste so we decided to vote in the Republican primary. At least that way someone is listening to our opinion. Now after all the hassle about how we broke the rules and how we deserved not to have our opinion count (a violation of the democratic value of equality I might add) it turns out the Democrats actually want our opinion. Unfortunately the Democrats really managed to screw things up because the informed Dems voted in the Republican primary and won’t be able to participate in the real primary. I suppose they don’t have a choice unless they let all the Republican voters participate also, but it seems like those of us who were trying to plan ahead and not throw away a vote are now being punished for doing what at the time was the most reasonable choice presented to a Democratic voter in Michigan.

~~Livid Liberal

I agree wholeheartedly.  If you’re going to hold a primary, you should open it to everybody.  And you better bet that I’m going to vote in it.  The Democrats crossed over in 2000 and 2008, so do you honestly think that I’m going to sit here when I have the opportunity to vote for both a Republican and Democrat?  NO!

We’ll have to wait and see what happens – if the Obama or Clinton people in the House fear that it’ll help their opponent too much, they may vote it down, and this will become a non-issue.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican and Livid Liberal
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Michigan Democratic Party May Redo The Presidential Primary

February 7, 2008

The Michigan Democratic Party is looking at redoing their primary so that the DNC will seat its delegates; however, this time the MDP would be forced to hold a caucus, costing the party over $1,000,000.  Why a caucus?  Because why on earth would the state of Michigan pay for 2 elections!

Obama will be all for this, because I think that it’s likely that he’d win.  Clinton really can’t say no or she looks like a fool to the country and the party (oh, wait, she already does).  Florida is looking at doing the same thing.

The controversy all stems from the Super Tuesday results and the Democratic party heads don’t want a brokered convention (I really don’t blame them).

Governor Granholm, a staunch Clinton supporter doesn’t back the plan and is insistent on getting our current delegates seated.

Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer said, “Everybody involved, the candidates, the DNC and we, need to remain open-minded. So if someone comes up with a creative way that meets everyone’s interests, we can do that.”

This could really hurt the Democrats on a couple levels:

  • People get annoyed at having to vote again.
  • People get annoyed in hearing more campaigning all over again.
  • We could know our nominee before the caucus, and that would be a waste of over  $1,000,000.

So, go ahead – have a caucus!

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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DNC Has Stripped Michigan of Its Delegates

December 1, 2007

Well, it’s official, Michigan has lost its delegates for the Democratic National Convention.  The vote occurred earlier today, but Michigan Democratic Chairman Mark Brewer thinks that the nominee will insist that the delegates be seated (I’m guessing he thinks that’ll be Clinton, since she’s the only major candidate on the ballot).  John Edwards, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, and Joe Biden have withdrawn their names from the ballot, leaving Hillary Clinton, Dennis  Kucinich, Chris Dodd, and Mike Gravel on the ballot. 

Mark brewer told the DNC rules panel that he thinks that “it is unconscionable that we continue to grant special treatment to some states in this process.”

Alexis Herman, co-chair of the DNC rules panel, and Yvonne Gates of Nevada defended the decision as many panel members said they sympathized with Michigan but felt that they had to uphold the rules (and frankly, I’m going to agree here – the Michigan Dems FORCED the Reps into an early primary because MIGOP can’t afford their own primary, so it would’ve been a caucus).

On the other hand, former DNC Chairman Don Fowler and Senator Carl Levin insist that the delegates will be seated and that “it will be plain for all to see that the privileged position that New Hampshire and Iowa have extracted through threats and pledges from candidates is on its last legs.” (Levin)

I think it’s stupid – and the controlling Michigan Dems need to get a life and live with it – not everybody can be first so shut up and live with it – same to any Republicans out there – sure, it’d be nice to be first, but we haven’t ever been in the past, so just deal with it people!

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican


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