Friday, February 13, 2015

Mostly Smooth Sailing For #Schuette2018 So Far

AG  Schuette "fistbumps" his son Will (now a Georgetown student) after his 2010 victory while wife Cynthia and daughter Heidi look on

By Brandon Hall
(Email him at

Governor Bill Schuette? Get used to it, boys and girls-it could be the reality for Michiganders in 2019. As he gears up for a likely run, the Attorney General has been racking up wins left and right since scoring a second term in November.

He successfully blocked State Rep. Joe Haveman's proposed criminal justice reforms in lameduck, he was the talk of Lansing on inauguration day, hosting multiple impressive events, and now it has been announced that all remaining 11,000 "Detroit rape kits" will be tested-a key Schuette priority.

Also helpful to Schuette: Pope Francis has recently been drawing significant attention to the issue of human trafficking, another  long-time priority for Schuette. Lt. Gov. Calley stumping for the disastrous May 5th "road package" doesn't hurt the AG, either.

AG Schuette

WMP has reported that Schuette is gearing up to run for Governor in 2018, and his willingness to consider ballot language for marijuana reform in 2016 is a great microcosm that illustrates Schuette is a brilliant tactician who knows his strengths and knows his potential vulnerabilities.

While Schuette won't exactly be chillin' with Cheech and Chong anytime soon, his transition from extreme anti pot crusader to moderate pot skeptic is as interesting as it is important.

>>>SCHUETTE 2018? The Man Who Could Be Michigan's Next Governor

Another issue Schuette is transitioning on (or at least notably adjusting his rhetoric) is gay marriage. Rhetoric has shifted from emphasizing the importance of  "defending marriage as one man, one woman," to "protecting the right of the people to vote."

In a recent op/ed, Schuette writes:

"Imagine what would happen if the attorney general of a state ignored a federal court ruling, failed to uphold the state constitution and paid no attention to the results of an election supported by 59% of the people statewide.It sounds shocking. Yet amazingly, that is exactly what some voices are advocating in the debate over the definition of marriage."

He continues:

"(U)rging the state attorney general to decide on his or her own which laws to enforce and which to ignore is a slippery slope. Let me give one example: Michigan law does not allow for the death penalty. Yet nationally, a majority of citizens support the death penalty for convicted murderers, and an overwhelming majority support the death penalty for certain offenders, such as cop killers.Last year was a particularly brutal year for law enforcement. Nationwide, more than 100 officers lost their lives in the line of duty, including two brave peace officers here in Michigan.

Under the theory advanced by some gay marriage defenders, the attorney general and other elected officials should ignore Michigan's prohibition and apply the death penalty to those criminals convicted of killing police officers "

To compare not defending a constitutionally questionable law in court to unilaterally ordering an execution of a COP KILLER is a surprisingly weak example from a normally strong politician.

Not to worry though, Schuette has a few years to get his messaging down. Calley on the other hand will have a lot harder time defending why he supported the May 5th roads package, littered with pork and controversy.

I surmise GOP primary voters, especially after Schuette took immense heat from the left and middle for pursuing the case at all, will be more likely to "forgive" Schuette on this issue than they will Calley for the May 5th road package.

 And hey, if Schuette comes out against it, we'll get a little taste of what 2018 might look like.

As for Schuette, he's ready if the Supreme Court rules against him:

"(K)eep in mind that laws can change. Court rulings can be overturned. Both of those events happen every day in America. So it may be that the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the ruling by the Court of Appeals and invalidates that part of Michigan's Constitution defining marriage. And if that were to happen, then all those who take an oath to uphold the laws and the constitution will faithfully discharge their duties and follow the court's latest ruling."

If recent court rulings are any indication, they'll probably do just that. Regardless, getting gay marriage off the table and out of the news cycle will probably help Schuette and fellow Republicans anyway.

Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at 


Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

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