LANSING -- Republican lawmakers are increasingly irritated with their state party boss, Saul Anuzis, because they say his steady drumbeat against raising taxes is making it more difficult to work out a deal to resolve Michigan's nagging budget deficit.
It's not that difficult. Lansing fouled things up by spending too much. Lansing now is mad that Saul isn't accepting Lansing asking us to bail them out.
"It's a gray area at best, but it's indicative of the partisanship that exists in Lansing that keeps us from getting work done in a statesman-like manner," said Rep. Lorence Wenke, R-Galesburg, who occasionally parts with the GOP leadership on policy matters.
"Is Saul Anuzis breaking some new ground here? It seems he is setting the new low standard."
Anuzis said it's his role to "reflect the feeling of the party. We want real reform first before discussion of any tax increase. I think I am representing the views of our party members."
I'll give Wenke a little credit for putting his name behind this post. That's about all the credit I'll give him. Wenke is in the state house where the dems have a majority. Why the hell is he complaining about taxes then, when it could pass without any republican votes? The anti-tax sentiment does not keep you from getting your work done, Mr. Wenke. It keeps you from taking the easy way out. The last time we had a big majority in the state house and acted "Statesmanlike" against Granholm and raised taxes with the help of 15 turncoats, we lost our majority. The people - your boss - don't want a tax increase.
Wenke said Anuzis is doing the bidding of the national party, which wants to establish a conservative brand for the 2008 presidential election.
"The party clearly is positioning itself for the '08 election, and this is what party leaders like Saul are paid to do," Wenke said.
Replied Anuzis: "My job is to make sure we as a party don't lose our brand, don't lose the image that attracts people to vote for us."
I can't speak for Saul, but I did not see a lot of economic conservatism coming from the national party recently. That's the problem to begin with and a reason why we got slapped in the side of the head back in 06 when much of our base stayed home and Reagan Democrats voted democrat. Our base understand it, and our elected officials need to understand it before they join the unemployment lines.
One Republican lawmaker, who asked not to be named because of concerns about crossing swords with party leaders, said: "The last thing we need is somebody who is not an elected official publicly hammering on us. He's not the one who has to put his name on the line and vote for or against this. I've never seen this before, and I've been in the party a lot of years, where a party chair is dictating policy. It's inappropriate and a growing number of us are sick and tired of it."
To the coward who didn't put his name down, let me tell you how things work, son. You are an elected offical. You work for the people in your district. We as party activists do not work for you. Saul doesn't work for you. He works for the state delegates who selected him at a convention. We are the party base. People like you are the problem. You knew well in advance that you have to put your name on the line in a vote. That's your job and why you get paid the big bucks. Stop complaining, stop looking for bailouts, and start doing your job.
If you vote for a tax increase, Saul is the last person you should be worried about. It's your base that you should be worried about. The last time our party took the safe route and caved on taxes, we lost our majority here. The last time our party went leftist, we lost our majority. It's time to take a stand, and that means no new taxes. If you're in the way and vote for it, you should be sent home as well in the August primary, if not a recall election.