Dick DeVos and I have broken up

I have to admit, you had me for a minute, Dick DeVos. You make some good points.  Your commercials, what with you driving around southern Michigan, lamenting the disrepair our cities have fallen into;your interviews with our salt-of-the-earth, down-on-their-luck citizens, well, I thought about voting for you. Maybe we do need a change, I thought.  It's no shock that our state isn't flourising right now – gas prices are high and people are trading in their Ford SUV's for petite Honda civics and mazda proteges, so our industry is floundering. The big 3 car companies, held by the balls by the UAW, have finally stopped giving a shit and so if workers aren't being laid off then they are scared they will be – college graduates can't find jobs within the state, tourism is shrinking and up and down streets in cities throughout our state, houses are for sale.  It's not comfortable, to be a Michigan resident right now.

So naturally we look to our leader – our Canadian-born, can-never-be-president, clad-in-fabulous-pantsuits Jenninfer Granholm, and we wonder about her.  We wonder if she's failing us, if all her rhetoric is meaningless in the face of a fading industry; a fading state.  So you present us with a viable alternative and touching commercials and of course you seem like, you know, maybe not so bad. Even for a repubublican.

And then you go and allow the Free Press to publish part of your dense (and by dense I mean both thick and stupid) action plan, and, amazingly, IN ONE SENTENCE, you manage to so greviously offend both Wonderhusband and me that you lost our vote.  Curtail healthcare for public school teachers? And tort reform (okay, so Sam's the one who is really bothered by this, prone as he is to rainmaker dreams…) – you lost our vote permanently.

Why you go after school teacher health insurance and the, yes faulty, but nonetheless necessary, tenure system, when you could take a braver stand and once and for all consider some serious union reform, I don't know.  But I do know (and can only hope) that you lost a substantial number of votes today when you chose to align yourself with all the rest of the republican party by continually attacking teacher salaries and teacher benefits.  I mean, my God, DeVos – these are people who have committed their lives to educating children – they allow their creativity to be stifled in the name of national test preparation, they suffer under the No Child Left Behind Act, which has done more to abandon children than any other legislation in our history; in the suburbs they tolerate pushing parents demanding perfect grades for their perfect children and in the inner city and rural areas they confront invasive, desperate poverty; they make less in one year than the autoworkers did in a quarter and still are accused of earning too much simply because they get eight weeks off a year; and you want to curtail their health insurance in order to save the state a little money?

You do deserve congratulations, though – I mean, you single-handledly turned our little household of two from apathetic about Granholm to supporters, and we are eager to spread the word. So. Enjoy your ridiculously polled margin today – because once people begin reading your fine print they're going to realize that Granholm isn't at fault for our crumbling economy – an old industry and old ways of thinking are. 

I can't believe, Dick DeVos, that I ever liked you. We are so totally over.

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3 Responses to Dick DeVos and I have broken up

  1. You are right about union reform. I would love to see unions reformed. They have been ripping off the people that they were supposed to be helping for too long. When I think about taking a courageous stand for union reform, the Secret Ballot Protection Act (SBPA) http://www.freeworkplace.org/legislativeupdate/SBPAib.php introduced by Charlie Norwood (R-GA) comes immediately to my mind. What would you like to see done to reform unions?

    As for NCBLA, I find plenty to disagree with myself.

    I think that the Free press and MEA distorted his views on health insurance due to their association with MESSA. His ideas for decreasing the cost of health insurance include eliminating payroll tax on health insurance (SBT), increasing support for life sciences and creating more jobs. None of these would necessarily result in reduced health insurance for teachers, and may even help to increase benefits by reducing costs. I certainly think that teachers should have solid health insurance but I personally couldn’t care less whether it comes from MESSA or elsewhere.

    DeVos’ eductation plan has some quite strong points, including supporting teachers, helping math and science experts get the opportunity to teach, incentives for licensed math and science teachers, getting more money to the classroom (MI ranks 49th), merit pay for teachers, increasing funding for higher education. As a research scientist (and former WSU Teaching Assistant), one of the reasons that I am sticking with DeVos (though my research colleagues cringe) is his focus on science, technology and education. (see p34 of plan) Thanks for your blog, sorry to hear that DeVos has lost your support.

  2. Rick says:

    Great post! I totally agree with you. DeVos seems to offer a bait and switch of sorts–he talks big, but when you start digging looking for substance, you realize there’s nothing there!

  3. George and Rick – thanks for posting. George – it’s probably important for you to know that I am pretty liberal in all areas of my life, so voting for DeVos would have been extremely unlikely anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I do think he does have some good ideas and I am thrilled that this race, at least, will be between two competent, viable candidates. But some of the very points you raise in trying to convince me of his worth only stratify me further, simply because I would like to see more money poured into the arts, NOT more for science and math. We are raising an illiterate nation of children, children who only know how to read for tests and not for the art of it, children who know little about history as well. Don’t get me wrong – my pay check comes directly from scientific research grants so I want to that area elevated as well, but I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of merit pay, and if devos is going to get math and science experts to teach, why not writers and actors and museum curators as well? Now, it he claimed he could take education that way, and eliminate the ridiculousness of teacher training programs, I could maybe get on board. But overall I’m your typical pro-rights, pro-environment etc. liberal so in losing my support, DeVos never REALLY had it.

    Rick – I agree completely. But I also NEED Granholm to step up her game – we all do! This guy is pouding the daylights out of her and he’s really effective some of the time.
    She has my support, though. And really, she probably always did.

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