The Detroit Free Press, which endorsed MI Gov. Rick Snyder in 2010, sharply criticizes the governor for his flip-flop on so-called right-to-work legislation and his betrayal of the public trust.
Two years ago, a newly elected Rick Snyder told the Free Press editorial board he was determined to be a new kind of governor — a pragmatist focused like a laser on initiatives that promised to raise standards of living for all Michiganders.
And until last week, we believed him.
For two years, we supported Snyder as he took painful steps to restore Michigan’s fiscal stability and confront a crisis in which plunging tax revenues and mounting obligations to retired workers threatened to cripple the state’s cities and school districts.
We criticized the governor for signing legislation that burdened a woman’s right to choose, condoned discrimination against gays, and beggared colleges and universities to pay for business tax cuts.
But we also indulged many compromises Snyder maintained were necessary to advance his pro-growth agenda. And when ideologues on the right and left mounted campaigns designed to hamstring state government by limiting its authority to raise revenues, regulate labor relations, and fund critically needed infrastructure, we joined the governor in opposing them.
In short, we trusted Snyder’s judgment.
That trust has now been betrayed — for us, and for the hundreds of thousand of independents who voted for Snyder with the conviction that they were electing someone more independent, and more visionary, than partisan apparatchiks like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker or Florida’s Rick Scott.
Last week, in an abrupt about-face Snyder’s defenders said was born of his frustration with organized labor, the governor unleashed a legislative blitzkrieg that seems certain to bring a bill barring closed-shop contracts to his desk next week.
He has already promised to sign it.
Watching Snyder explain his right-to-work reversal was disturbing on several levels.