Michigan Policast for Monday, January 4, 2021In this episode:
- Segment one: COVID updates, Governor Whitmer's vetoes
- Segment two: Election reforms with State Rep Padma Kuppa
- Segment three: Political notes, predictions, and resolutions
- Segment four: Soundbites of the year and Trump's call to Georgia SoS
- Whitmer signs COVID-19 relief bill, but vetoes unemployment funds
- Confusion builds in Michigan over unemployment benefits as recipients wait for answers | WPBN
- Whitmer vetoes 13 bills, says one endangers lives of Michiganders
- Veto message – limit on DHHS Emergency Orders
- Veto sentence – Gov's emergency powers
- Enrolled Senate Bill 604
- Enrolled Senate Bill 748
- Republicans say Whitmer veto puts extension of jobless benefits at risk
- The Ms. Top Feminists of 2020 – Those women from Michigan
- Trump mean-tweets Nessel after AG suggests sanctions for election conspiracy lawyers
- How Michigan lawmakers voted on $2,000 stimulus checks
- Michigan health officials wrestling with who will get COVID vaccine next
Since it was my bill that was used for the extension I completely disagree. Remember we agreed no tie bar. The bill allows for this funding or federal funds. That being said, a simple solution, is just extend 26 weeks permanently.
— Senator Curtis Hertel (@CurtisHertelJr) December 29, 2020
‘Those women from Michigan’ led the state through its toughest year yet. https://t.co/FwBWfwJEd4 It is unprecedented to have a president “punch down” and take on three state-level officials so directly.
What he didn’t know was how hard those women would punch right back.
— Dana Nessel (@dananessel) December 27, 2020
Can’t a random state AG from the Midwest sleep in on a Sunday morning without waking up to find that the President of the United States has mean-tweeted about you overnight (again)? The answer is “yes” come January 20th. https://t.co/Oo96gw6Xea
— Dana Nessel (@dananessel) December 27, 2020
- Padma Kuppa | State Representative | 41st House District
- Kuppa, House Dems Announce Bills to Strengthen Michigan Election Process for Voters, Election Administrators
- House Bill 6525
- Rep Kuppa on LinkedIn
- Vanessa Guerra
State Representative | 95th House District
- Jim Haadsma
State Representative | 62nd House District
- Trump backers: Keep names of Antrim County ‘investigators' secret
- Michigan election officials slam report on votes in Antrim County
- Allied Security Operations Group | Antrim Michigan Forensics Report | REVISED PRELIMINARY SUMMARY, v2 | Report Date 12/13/2020
#Electionreform bills introduced by @housedems @PadmaKuppaMI41 @VanessaMGuerra @JimHaadsma address petition honesty, voter registration & AV list maintenance, AV processing, & more. Interview w/Rep Kuppa in our Jan 4 episode.Click To Tweet
May the New Year bring happiness and joy to you and yours! As the sun sets on 2020 and the unprecedented and difficult times that came with it, let's ring in 2021 with hope and cheer! Looking forward to serving Troy and Clawson for another term in Lansing! #Troy #Clawson #HD41 pic.twitter.com/cZTlYy5bEA
— Rep. Padma Kuppa (@PadmaKuppaMI41) December 31, 2020
- Michigan GOP eyes veteran official to challenge Whitmer in 2022
- Supreme Court ruling unlocks $5.25M for private schools, but challenges likely
- How Senior House Staff Blended Politics And Policy With Lucrative Results
- Nessel – No criminality in awarding of covid-tracing contract
- Justice Department backs Michigan private schools in virus challenge
- Michigan Democratic Party Rural Caucus
- GOP dominance in Northern Michigan has Democrats scrambling for survival
- Liberal Gun Club – gun violence and root cause mitigation
- Win with Weiser: Ron Weiser for MIGOP Chairman (Facebook)
- ‘If others have rifles, we’ll have rifles’: why US leftist groups are taking up arms
Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, said she was not supporting Pelosi and would vote present as she did in 2019. “It’s a commitment that I made in March of 2018 before I was elected. I spoke with her. We have a very professional relationship,” Slotkin said.https://t.co/H0i5SEMCUQ
— The Detroit News (@detroitnews) January 3, 2021
Conservative @DetNewsOpinion pleading with Republicans to not attempt a congressional coup to keep Trump in office: “Any [Republicans] who participate in the scheme are simply humoring Trump's delusion that he was the rightful winner…” https://t.co/4bxsCEWag2
— Chad Livengood (@ChadLivengood) January 3, 2021
Former House Speaker Paul Ryan denounces GOP challenge of electoral college certification: “It is difficult to conceive of a more anti-democratic and anti-conservative act than a federal intervention to overturn the results of state-certified elections.” https://t.co/o2WKb0Janp pic.twitter.com/AzfXIuBFDS
— ABC News (@ABC) January 3, 2021
- Governor Whitmer: It's Shark Week, m- F-er
- Dana Nessel to Ken Paxton: Stay in your lane
- Donald Trump: Gazing upon Yo, Semites.
- ‘I just want to find 11,780 votes’: In extraordinary hour-long call, Trump pressures Georgia secretary of state to recalculate the vote in his favor
Michigan’s 2020 presidential election was secure, transparent, and the results are an accurate reflection of the will of the people.
Tired of the misguided efforts trying distort that reality?
— Jocelyn Benson (@JocelynBenson) November 17, 2020
Walt Sorg 00:06
Happy New Year. This is the Michigan Policast. We're all about Michigan politics and policy and the National stories impacting our pleasant peninsulas. I'm Walt Sorg
Kimberly Guilfoyle 00:16
ladies and gentlemen, lovers of freedom and liberty and the American dream, the best is yet to come!
Walt Sorg 00:27
It's the runner up for sound bite of the year when that pretty much sums up 2020 the Trump family screaming at one and all telling us what a great job they have done and will continue to do. We'll look at a few other standout pieces of audio as we launch into 2021. As we say, Happy New Year. Christine.
Christine Barry 00:45
Happy New Year. Walt, it's good to see ya.
Walt Sorg 00:47
Good. See you.
Christine Barry 00:48
I am Christine Barry. We'll also take a look forward with some predictions along with the unofficial start of the 2022 campaign for governor because it never ends.
Walt Sorg 01:00
Hey, if it ended, then we wouldn't have a podcast right?
Christine Barry 01:03
Well, we could talk about actual governance. Oh, no policy.
Walt Sorg 01:07
Why should we talk about policy when we could talk about the horse races in politics. As part of our look forward, though, I will be talking with Representative Padma Kuppa on policy, a package of bills to fix some of the challenges highlighted by the 2020 election as we shift more and more towards voting by mail. Let's begin though with the continuing battle between the governor and the legislature over fighting the covid 19 pandemic. In the closing hours of the legislative session, lawmakers agreed to a $450 million package, which provides some much needed assistance to laid off workers and small business owners. But the governor vetoed nearly half of the money because it was really a text giveaway to businesses.
Gretchen Whitmer 01:51
When I signed the supplemental budget. I had to line item veto any items that were not subject to our negotiated agreement with the legislature that includes $220 million dollar giveaway of taxpayer money to the employer owned unemployment insurance Trust Fund. Be very clear, and this will not impact individual workers. general fund dollars have got to be used to fund essential services like vaccines, and PPE, not to give tax breaks to big businesses right now.
Christine Barry 02:27
Okay, let's take a look at what this really means. Now, normally, unemployment eligibility is for 20 weeks. So when you file you have 20 weeks eligibility. At most, the state has extended that to 26 already. Senate Bill 604 extends these benefits again to 26 weeks she signed that so people are going to be eligible for that six week extension. It's Senate Bill 748. She was talking about in that soundbite where she vetoed $220 million. And this was on line item veto. But she vetoed that because it transferred money from the general fund to fund that six week extension of unemployment benefits. Republicans say that her veto of that money prevents the six week extension. So they're saying a line item veto for that Senate Bill 748 prevents Senate Bill 604 from giving people more weeks of eligibility. That's not true. In fact, Senator Curtis Hertel Jr, who sponsored the bill and I think actually wrote it said that this is just a being misrepresented by the Republicans, they negotiated an agreement that 604 and 748 would not be time barred. The six weeks can be federally funded, or funded in, you know, some other way other than general files. So it really just comes down to a fight over whether or not to take $220 million from the general fund and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Republicans, they want to take that money from the general fund because they don't think it's fair for businesses to have to pay an extra money into the unemployment fund when they're being shut down due to state orders. And so I kind of understand that, but the governor is correct and trying to preserve general fund dollars that are actually used to run the state. That's what that fights all about. We'll have the details in the show notes, of course.
Walt Sorg 04:22
Meanwhile, there's a lot of confusion over what's going to happen to the people who have run out of unemployment assistance who expired at the end of last year. Now that the Federal supplement has gone into effect again, by waiting so long to sign the bill. He who should not be named exercising another one of his snips while he was playing golf. That stopped the benefits from going into effect for at least a week, although now there's some talk that it may be made retroactive. But meanwhile, the money's not being paid out. And that's the point. You know, they said well, they can wait a week they can wait two weeks. You know, Mitch McConnell doesn't care about that. But the reality is a lot of the people that are due to get that money really need it. Even though the $600 per adult, one time payment has gone out to anybody who filed electronically. I've sorted my bank account over the weekend. The unemployment benefit is much more important to people that have lost their jobs and been at work for months and months at a time because these are typically people who don't have any carryover benefits. They don't have any health care. They're probably behind on their rent or their mortgage payment. They're having trouble feeding their families, they're really in desperate need. And this political tip for tat is just killing them. And they gotta find out what's going on. What am I going to get some help that I desperately need? It's really very sad.
Christine Barry 05:44
The governor also as expected vetoed two bills passed along party line votes, which would have stripped her and the state health department from responding quickly to emergencies. And she actually vetoed 13 bills Walt, but they weren't all related to COVID, some were related to tax changes for solar projects, civil forfeiture, military vehicles, vehicles, on public roads, that kind of thing. So it isn't just COVID. But what was related to COVID was, first of all, a requirement that the director of the Department of Health and Human Services would be required to seek legislative approval to extend an emergency health order beyond 28 days, she vetoed that the bill that would repeal the 1945 emergency powers law, she vetoed that, and she vetoed the bill that would provide immunity for healthcare workers treating covid 19 patients in the event that the patient was injured or died and a lawsuit was filed. And her justification for that was that now we're several months into this pandemic. And we know enough about COVID. And the pandemic now, to know the difference between treating a surging a novel pandemic versus providing substandard care. So she felt that the patient should be able to have their day in court. So she did veto that immunity. And the republicans are attacking her on that as well. But I think that was, you know, it's a value judgment.
Walt Sorg 07:11
You know it's interesting to see the way that she did veto those two bills that limited the ability of the executive branch to respond to emergencies. She sent a five paragraph letter back to the legislature in the veto of the bill that limited the orders from the Department of Health and Human Services to 28 days, basically saying look at you if it's a true emergency, 28 days is an artificial limit. And what she doesn't point out but could have pointed out is the legislature is incapable of moving fast enough to respond quickly. To emergencies. It's just not set up that way. The Constitution, in fact, put some feet brakes on a lot of things that legislators can do. Whereas the executive can move very, very quickly if it is truly an emergency. What I found really entertaining was her veto message regarding the bill that would have repealed the emergency powers act of 1945. Let me read you the letter. Senators, I am vetoing enrolled Senate Bill 857. Respectfully Gretchen Whitmer governor, that kind of gets to the point very quickly, they knew she was going to veto it. They passed it to appeal to their constituency to show them that they were standing up to the big bad evil governor knowing full well that it was simply a symbolic vote reminded me actually of a press release I wrote years ago when I was working for the Speaker of the House, Bobby krim. He was considered the leading candidate to run for governor in the wake of Bill Milliken retiring from government. And there's a lot of speculation back and forth as to whether he'd actually run he finally told reporters look at I will tell you on a certain date, whether I'm in or out. So on that day, we put out a press release for immediate release contact and I was the contact person. statement by Speaker of the House Bobby krim. No. That was the end of the press release.
Walt Sorg 08:57
I had a lot of fun with that one.
Christine Barry 08:58
But it sounds like a lot of conversations I had with my parents.
Walt Sorg 09:01
Yeah, I labored over it for hours. You know, I made sure that I read it through spell. We didn't have spellcheck back then. So I was pretty safe ground. I enjoy I enjoy doing that greatly. And the governor's veto message was pretty much along the same line, dear legislators, screw you. I'm going to win this by See,
Christine Barry 09:18
you know what's interesting about the way that the legislature? Well, at least the republicans in the legislature are approaching this is that they start everything with, she won't work with us. And then they throw in a bunch of things about how she's so tyrannical. But they have so much that they can do that they haven't done and I mean, you look at all these things that they did just do together. There's some good stuff in there. But a lot of this is just bad faith wall and like you said the one about overturning the 1945 law that was just to appeal to their base. You don't have to do that. You know, you could stand up and explain to people look this is a that we have in place, maybe they do genuinely want to repeal it now, but they don't have to play this game. And you can see what they're doing. They don't want to take responsibility for the pandemic, when they did try to come up with a solution for managing the pandemic throughout the state, they basically kicked it off to the locals and said, We should let the county health departments and the county governments make their own decisions. That's terrible idea. So they wouldn't take responsibility there. And yet they don't want the governor to take responsibility either. And they have to pretend that they're fighting her like you pointed out. So it's a really disingenuous way to I hate to use the word govern. But that is really what they're, you know, they're supposed to be doing.
Walt Sorg 10:48
You're seeing a lot of the same posturing in Congress, where you've got the majority leader, saying, Yes, I'm all for the $2,000 benefit, rather than the $600 benefit. But I've got all of these things I want to tie to it. And you've got, as a result, several Republican senators who are appealing to get reelected right now in Georgia, among others, saying, Yeah, we're all for it. And they all notes not going anywhere, just like the president knew it wasn't going anywhere. Unless he really tried to get it passed, which he hasn't done. He's put out a couple of tweets on it. It's all just posturing to say, yeah, I'm on the right side of what you want me to do. constituency when the reality is they know they're not going to do it. And I find that kind of thing really disgusting. And it happens on both sides. Right now. It's coming from the Republicans in the Senate and the republicans in the state legislature,
Christine Barry 11:40
like we kind of alluded to earlier, this endless election thing. Just it just feeds each other and keeps it going. So it's really
Walt Sorg 11:48
frustrating. Meanwhile, on the policy, the state continues to maintain shaky progress in the battle against the virus. State Health Director Dr. Janae Khaldoon says the numbers are continuing to get better. But
Joneigh Khaldun 12:00
overall, there is reason to be cautiously optimistic, when it's important that people do not get complacent. What we are seeing in the data is not a cause to celebrate. While Michiganders are doing a great job bringing our cases down, that progress is fragile. We are still identifying many cases across the state every day. And it only takes one gathering for to spread through multiple households and their close contacts.
Christine Barry 12:30
The pace of vaccinating Michiganders is well behind hoped for numbers, a problem shared nationwide. In his usual It ain't my fault posture. Donald Trump said it's all the fault of the states that despite this prediction from before the election,
Donald Trump 12:46
we will deliver 100 million doses of a safe vaccine before the end of the year. It may be quite a bit sooner than that.
Walt Sorg 12:53
Christine Barry 12:54
President Elect Joe Biden echoed the call from Governor Whitmer and other governors that there must be a national strategy instead of 50 state strategies.
Joe Biden 13:04
The effort to distribute and administer the vaccine is not progressing as it should a few weeks ago, Trump administration suggests that 20 million Americans could be vaccinated by the end of December. With only a few days left in December, we've only vaccinated a few million so far in the face of accident. The vaccination program is moving now, as if you continue to move as is now. It's going to take years not months to vaccinate the American people. And Biden Harris administration will spare no effort to make sure people get vaccinated. I've laid out three challenges in our first 100 days. One of them is ensuring that 100 million shots have been administered by the end of the first 100 days, Congress provides the funding, we'd be able to meet this incredible goal would take ramping up five to six times the current pace to 1 million shots a day.
Walt Sorg 13:59
This is a problem with resources at the state and local level as much as anything else the vaccines can be made available. Although the shipments are running behind too. They haven't shipped anywhere near the 20 million or 100 million doses that the President administration promised. But more importantly, the states and local governments simply don't have the money to get it from the refrigeration systems into people's arms, that all cost money. You've got to buy supplies, you've got to have personnel to administer it. You've got to have locations to do it. And there's got to be a plan for all this distribution, and it simply doesn't exist. And that is really tragic when you see other nations are doing much better in terms of getting their people vaccinated. The United States is falling behind. It's especially frustrating in Michigan, because we have millions upon millions of doses sitting in refrigerators down at Pfizer in Portage. And it's just sitting there because it's not being distributed because there's no plan to get it out.
Christine Barry 14:58
Yeah, and This might be a situation where a public and private partnership would help in terms of the logistics and distribution, because we have several corporations in the United States that have great distribution logistics, it's just not that difficult to find a way to tap into a national delivery plan and get it out. Now, I understand there are special considerations with the vaccine, in terms of being able to keep it in the right environment and everything. But the United States shouldn't be having this trouble.
Walt Sorg 15:31
I find it amazing that I can order one of those prepared meal packages from one of the online companies. And it shows up on time on my front porch properly refrigerated and ready to go. Yet somehow, some way the administration can figure out a means to get vaccines out and then get them administered. It's going to take some some leadership that's going to be absent really until January 20. And even then there may be a little bit of a ramp up time because of information that's being withheld and continued to be withheld from the transition team. Part of the government by the administration, Trump is doing everything in his power to make things difficult for the incoming administration beginning January 20. And that is really sad. And the Vice President is finally beginning to ramp up his criticisms of the Trump administration now that the acceptance of the vote of the electoral colleges is on the verge of happening. And that's a whole nother story for a whole nother time. But that happens on on Wednesday. If Once that happens, it's all over for Donald Trump and Joe Biden's being cautious in ramping up his criticism of the Trump administration, but he's being a little more bold at the same time. First, he noted the nation's ability to fight foreign threats has been crippled in the last four years, something sadly highlighted by the Russian computer hacking and the refusal of the Trump administration to do anything about it. His transition team is also discovering though, we simply have a lot of empty desks in the national security offices,
Joe Biden 17:01
many of the agencies that are critical to our security, have incurred enormous damage. Many have been hollowed out in personnel capacity, and in morale, in the policy processes that have atrophied or have been sidelined in the despair of our alliances and the disrepair of those alliances, and our absence from key institutions that matter to the welfare of the American people in the general disengagement from the world. And all that makes it harder for our government to protect the American people to defend our vital interest in a world where threats are constantly evolving, and our adversaries are constantly adapting.
Christine Barry 17:49
And the Trump administration true to form is ignoring a federal law that requires it to provide full access and cooperation to the incoming administration during the transition.
Joe Biden 18:01
And right now, as our nation is in a period of transition, we need to make sure that nothing is lost in the handoff between administrations, my team needs a clear picture of our force posture around the world and our operations to deter enemies. We need full visibility into the budget planning underway at the Defense Department and other agencies. In order to avoid any window of confusion or ketchup that our adversaries may try to exploit. We have encountered roadblocks on the political leadership at the Department of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget. Right now, we just aren't getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key NASA security areas. It's nothing short in my view of irresponsibility,
Walt Sorg 18:45
and it's also dereliction of duty on the part of the President. He's been pretty much miaa when it comes to the pandemic, the Russian hacking of government computer networks, and the growing crisis of hunger, evictions and foreclosures. As previously noted, he claimed he wanted the Congress to increase the stimulus checks from $600 per person to 2000. But he did little to bring Republicans in the Senate on board other than send out a few tweets. Most of his time over the last week or so has been spent obsessing about the election. He lost and playing golf. Plus trying to gin up the crowd for the pay for play New Year's Eve party at Mar a Lago, which made him a couple of million dollars even though he and milania ducked out. And at the last second, if he wasn't already not collecting his paycheck, he probably shouldn't have gotten paid for the last month anyway, because he's stepped back. He's, it's like the second semester for seniors in high school. He He's totally gone. Mia, Christine. It's really sad.
Christine Barry 19:38
Yeah, other than to take the time out to say that he actually won the election. He really haven't seen him do much of anything. And before we move on, let's talk about what a dangerous time this is for our country. I think it was Elissa Slotkin a few weeks ago who said that transition is always the most dangerous time for the United States. Anyway, when you're transitioning between two presidents consider in the next few days. First of all, with Donald Trump, I don't know that we were ever really that secure, because I don't think his focus was there. But there could be a major foreign event between now and when Joe Biden is in office and actually has his his people in place. He could be taking over with a compromised infrastructure, we have no idea what the state of our infrastructure is, after that hacking event. And these two things could be related, they might not be related. There's so many things going on, because of Donald Trump's obstruction to Joe Biden, because of Donald Trump's disengagement. Because Donald Trump has a history of being weak on Russia. The list goes on and on. It's a dangerous time for America. And it's dangerous domestically too Walt because everybody is taught is is fighting over whether this election was rigged. And if you feel that the election was rigged, like these maga people do, and you feel you're truly saving America by you know, trying to prevent something or trying to fight for Donald Trump or something. I mean, this triggers domestic violence. Let's not forget how, how really dangerous This is there are lives at stake that go beyond what's happening with the pandemic, which is truly awful on its own.
Walt Sorg 21:20
And this thing over the transition is not a republicans versus democrats the at least it hasn't been until now. I was watching an interview with Michael Beschloss, the presidential historian talking about how really the tradition of providing 100% cooperation goes all the way back to 1952. When Harry Truman was leaving office, and Dwight Eisenhower was coming in, those two men despised each other, they absolutely could not stand to be in each other's company. But they managed to do it somehow. And Truman made sure that he wasn't leaving the incoming administration high and dry when it came to information. That was the situation he was in when he became president Upon the death of FDR. And he came in he didn't even know about the atomic bomb at that point. And he had no idea of what was going on in the government, because FDR just shut him out. He didn't want that to happen to Dwight Eisenhower, because he saw the danger in having that sort of gap in knowledge between administrations. And every president. Since then, Republican and Democrat, has cooperated fully with the person who is going to succeed them in office, it didn't matter whether it was a change in parties or not. The cooperation was there and the cooperation was total, most recently, the handoff from George W. Bush to Barack Obama, and then from Barack Obama to Donald Trump, again, very sharp political differences. But when it came to the transition, they were on one page, the new president needs this information and needs it as quickly and as fully as possible. This should not be happening, but Donald Trump is one of a kind. And what he's doing is, in fact, very unpatriotic, and very damaging to the country,
Christine Barry 23:00
and completely beneath the office of the presidency. But it's not like he hasn't done anything. He did manage to get into another Twitter feud with Michigan Attorney General Dana Nestle. Oh, yeah, it was, frankly, was short battle, won by Dana Nestle and a total knockout.
Walt Sorg 23:18
Yeah, Dana Nestle's response just wiped him out.
Christine Barry 23:22
Trump was going after her for wanting to sanction, Sidney Powell and, you know, basically punish these people who are putting false information into these lawsuits, which is against the code of ethics for the legal community in Michigan. And Dana Nestle makes it makes the point that, you know, these are professional attorneys, they have professional licenses, and they cannot just go and lie and put forth evidence that is not well, you know, it's not true. They can't they can't put lies in these things and then file a lawsuit based on these lies. And so Trump's response was, these lawyers are true patriots who are fighting for the truth and obviously getting very close, and that the AG should be sanctioned fight on. And that was that was his tweet to her or about her.
Walt Sorg 24:11
Yeah, her response. Can't a random state ag from the Midwest, sleeping on a Sunday morning without waking up to find that the President of the United States is mean tweeted about you overnight. Again, the answer is yes. come January 20.
Christine Barry 24:28
That's all I got his applause for that.
Walt Sorg 24:30
Yeah. bowling game set and match to Dana Nestle. Yeah. And just to make things even worse, for the Donald in terms of his state of mind, Ms. Magazine came out with its list of the top feminists of 2020. And lo and behold, coming in second place on the list in terms of how they were listed. Those women that from Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, Jocelyn Benson and Dana Nestle, all of whom have been part of the channel. winter storm coming out of the White House. Ms magazine made it very clear winner Benson and Nestle showed they wouldn't back down from standing up for their state. They listened to public health experts and enforced COVID-19 safety restrictions, even as the Trump administration attempted to undermine their decisions, and right wing terrorists attempted to kidnap whipper, which Trump refused to condemn. They also helped lead the movement for fair and secure elections this year mailing absentee ballot applications to every registered voter in Michigan, greatly increasing voters abilities to make their voices heard, safely. Whoops. Sorry about that, Donald, but I'm sure Ms. Magazine really enjoyed doing that as well.
Christine Barry 25:39
Well, I gotta tell you what, this is a little bit of a little off topic here. But the other day, I was cleaning out, like my file cabinet, my drawers and stuff. And I came across a letter that I got from Jocelyn Benson that said, You have the right to vote by mail, here's your application. And I thought, I really want to frame this letter because even though I knew I had the right to vote by mail, I vote all i mean is first time I voted by mail this year, but it wasn't that special in terms of me voting. But I thought that it was a very special moment. It was a very special thing that she did for the state. And it was exciting to me. And it's true that I do realize that this is a very geek ish and weird thing. But I just want to frame that letter and put it up because I think it represents a big moment. I think they earn every award they get for being the top feminist top activists. I think they've just represented and work for Michigan wonderfully. So. But let's move on to our sound bites.
Walt Sorg 26:39
Oh, I love this.
Christine Barry 26:40
All right. Well, let's move on to two of our sound bites of the year this spot prediction of the year it came back in February from representative Adam Schiff, in his closing argument supporting conviction of Donald Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors.
Adam Schiff 26:55
And you know, you can't trust this president, do what's right for this country. You can trust, he will do what's right for Donald Trump. He'll do it now. He's done it before. He'll do it for the next several months. He'll do it in the election if he's allowed to. This is why if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed. Because right matters. Because right matters. And the truth matters. Otherwise, we are lost.
Christine Barry 27:28
If they had removed him, and Mike Pence had taken over, I think Mike Pence might have won reelection and they might have kept that seat. But moving on to the he's been wrong at least 31 times in his predictions. This is Donald Trump talking about ending the pandemic.
Donald Trump 27:49
Are you worried about a pandemic at this point, oh, we're not at all and we're we have it totally under control. We think we have it very well under control. We pretty much shut it down. A lot of people think that goes away in April, with the heat worm, very good shape. I think it's going to work out fine, very well under control in our country. I think that's a problem that's going to go away because of all we've done the risk to the American people remains very low. I mean, view this the same as the flu, it's going to disappear one day, it's like a miracle, it will disappear. We are working on cures, and we're getting some very good results. We only have 15 people and they're getting better. Now the democrats are politicizing the Coronavirus. And this is that new hoax, if you're healthy, probably go through a process and you'll be fine. You take a solid flu vaccine, you don't think that would have an impact or much of an impact on Corona. Now, some of them go to work, but they get better. It'll go away. We're doing very well. And we've done a fantastic job, it will go away to stay calm. We have seen dramatically fewer cases of the virus in the United States that are now present in here are going to go away 1.4 million tests onboard next week. And 5 million within a month. I doubt we'll need anywhere near that. It's something that we have tremendous control of and I think we're going to win faster than people think I hope parts of our country are very lightly affected. You're gonna lose a number of people to the flu, but you're going to lose more people. By putting a country into a massive recession or depression they have to go back to work. I think it's going to happen pretty quickly. 2.2 million deaths if we could hold that down. As we're saying to 100,000 It's a horrible number. We all together have done a very good job, it will go away you know, you know it is going away. We think that death will be at a very low number is going to go away hopefully at the end of the month, and if not it hopefully will be soon after that.
Walt Sorg 29:49
The death count is up to 350,000 and continuing at a pace of more than 3000 a day. There's a 911 every day in this country from COVID-19 It's just so sad that for the last six months, the administration has been denying the reality of this horrific pandemic.
Christine Barry 30:10
I'm just so frustrated with all of his lies, you know that he's a lie machine. But when you hear all of that all together kind of has more of an impact, I guess.
Walt Sorg 30:21
Yeah. When you think that back when only 15 cases in the country, they could have done something more pronounced than just say it's going to go away and telling people that masks don't matter. And telling people, we don't have to worry about this. It's sort of FDR back in 1941, and said, Ah, yeah, that was a problem over at Pearl Harbor, but don't worry about it, the Japanese are going to just go away. they'll disappear overnight. And then once the war started saying, well, we'll provide you with the guns and we'll provide you with the tags, but it's up to the states to actually fight the battles and figure out how we're going to win this work.
Christine Barry 30:54
Yeah. More people die from polio. Shut up. Yeah.
Walt Sorg 30:59
Despite the claims to the contrary from the Trump campaign, the 2020 election came off with no major real problems. Just slow reporting of the totals thanks to the massive increase in turnout absentee voting and laws that needed to be updated. But the losers continue to whine especially about anthem county where there was a reporting error on election night, which was immediately rectified. The final count and anthem was verified by hand recounted the paper ballots, the latest in the made up controversy around that vote, a desire for secrecy from the Trump campaign. They don't want the name of their so called investigative experts, their forensic investigators who have been examining they say the voting process in Antrim County, they want to keep those names secret. And the reason I think they really want to keep them secret is they've come up with people that are total frauds, they're there, people just don't know what they're talking about. They're whining.
Christine Barry 31:53
Yeah, I agree. And they want to smear the the people challenging the Trump supporters who are trying to quote unquote, investigate this by saying, well, they're going to Doc's, us, they're going to get violent with us. So we have to protect, you know, these poor, innocent victims who are trying to perpetrate fraud on you. I am 100%, opposed to doxxing. And I'm really not into cancel culture at all. But when you get involved in elections, and if you're investigating something, as long as you're not in a protected class, like whistleblower, or, you know, a confidential informant kind of thing, then you know, your identities out there, because it's, it just is that's just how it works.
Walt Sorg 32:38
The Attorney General wrote back in response to the desire for secrecy. He meaning this porno attorney who is filing the suit, he wants the public to be able to read the report, but not to know who is responsible for creating it. But the public should be allowed to know upon whose word plate of basis his claims, and whom he asked the public to believe. That's just makes sense.
Christine Barry 33:01
Yeah. Like, I kind of follow flat earthers for fun, you get a weird sense of fun, dude, they're ridiculous. They're hilarious. And their logic is so flawed and how they I mean, the podcast I listened to last week that two people have voted for Trump. I don't know if they're mogh or not, but they're flat earthers. So they're crazy. The one guy argued that the election was stolen from Trump, because if you just look at Twitter followers, if you doubled Biden's Twitter followers, and cut Trump's Twitter followers in half, Trump still wins the election. And that's the kind of logic that we're dealing with here. And if I'm reading a report about election integrity, I want to know if one of those guys wrote it, you have to look at the credentials of the person who wrote the report. I mean, if we looked at this loss, these lawsuits filed by Sidney Powell, and just read them, you know, you wouldn't know. Oh, Sidney Powell wrote it. She's written several things that have already been debunked in other places. So it's important who writes it, you know, publish scientific research anonymously? I don't think I mean, I think you publish it with credentials of the people and the methods of how these this research can be reproduced. You know, it's, there's a standard for it.
Walt Sorg 34:25
Yeah, there. There was one problem with the election, though that was real. And that was the slow counting of ballots in several states, including Michigan. But in Michigan that could have been avoided simply if Republican legislators had listened to the Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and local clerks, Republicans, Democrats and independents from all across Michigan. They were all calling for the legislature to make some basic changes in state election laws to make things go smoother. a package of bills has already been introduced in the legislature that's about to adjourn will be reintroduced this month in the State House, one of the leaders sponsors of this package to clean up Michigan's election laws and get them up to date. His Democrat, Padma Kuppa of Troy, I talked with her about a reference to make elections more secure and more efficient. Representative Kuppa the package of bills that you have introduced, I assume that you will be reintroducing them for the the new session. In summary, what would they do to make our elections run better?
Padma Kuppa 35:23
Well, the package that I did, introduced with Vanessa Guerra, Jim Haadsma, they do seek to do two things. One is the bill that Vanessa Guerra introduced prohibits a circulator of a petition from intentionally making false statements or misrepresentations of the contents or the purpose or the effect of the ballot question petition. Because we know that people do tend to do this and a lot of people sign a petition, but we really want to protect those individuals who sign the petition or want to sign a petition, if they want more information or to make sure that there's accuracy and truthfulness in the petition language that they're signing. It also covers recall petitions, and it would find violators about $1,000 for each violation, and an entity employing a violator would be subject to a fine of $10,000 and also would be guilty of a misdemeanor. good pair of bills that representative husband and I introduced are to expand our ability to vote at home. The first one is very simple, Representative cosmas. It requires each township or city clerk to maintain a permanent absentee voter list. each county city or township clerk would mail to each registered voter a notice informing them of the their option to be placed on the permanent absentee ballot list. So they would get a if they're already registered, it wouldn't be to somebody who is not registered to vote in that jurisdiction. If that township or jurisdiction is already maintaining a permanent absentee voter list. Prior to enact an action of this bill declerck would continue to maintain that list as the permanent absentee voter list they would have to start a new one. It would require the option on a Michigan voter registration application to say that I want to be put on the permanent absentee voter list and it would also require the option on absentee voter application to be put on the absentee voter list. So both on voter registration and also on an absentee voter application that they could be on the permanent absentee voter list. individuals could contact the clerk where they're registered to vote, they could call them by phone, they could send them an email they could contact them by mail. And I also once were back to normal go to them in person. The clerk would be required to send applications for absentee voter ballots to voters on the permanent absentee voter list. And also voters can be request to be removed from the permanent absentee voter list. The clerk's would also have the authority to remove a voter if the voter has died, or if an absentee voter a valid application sent to a voter was returned to the township clerk or the city clerk as undeliverable every January that clerk would remove a voter from the list if they have not requested an absentee voter ballot in any election in the past four consecutive years. And if a voter on the permanent absentee voter list moves, their place on the list continues over to wherever the new voter is wherever they register to vote. So currently I live in Troy if I moved to Clawson that would go with me as long as I was registering Clawson. My bill is a little bit more complicated. And I always say it's a much thicker bill. The one that representative has been introduced who's a few pages and mine is about a half inch thick. It updates Michigan election law to better govern or prepare for an influx in absentee voting going forward. Because we know that in the last election, we saw a higher and I say last election, I mean in 2019, we saw a higher rate of absentee ballots even in 2019. This would require clerks to send each registered voter in their jurisdiction, an absent voter ballot application and a return on envelope with prepaid postage 75 days or earlier before the election.
Walt Sorg 39:23
And we should point out you're talking about a absentee voter application not an actual ballot?
Padma Kuppa 39:29
Correct? Correct. The application would come with a return prepaid postage envelope, you could drop it off. But as far as the actual ballot itself, if you request and you put that application in this ban allows you if you get absentee ballots, how you process those absentee ballots. This bill would impact the opening the processing and the tabulation of those ballots. So the first thing is that once you submitted your absentee ballot your mail in ballot, it would allow these ballots postmarked either before or on election day to be processed to be counted and tabulated. It has to be within 48 hours after 8pm on election day. So right now, our law says that it must be received by 8pm on Election Day, this would allow the clerk to process it, if it's received within 48 hours of a pm on election day, that it could be counted and calculated.
Walt Sorg 40:31
And then importantly, for the local clerks, they'd be given more time before the election day to start the work, which of course was that is really at the heart of the so called conspiracies that President Trump has been been citing, you know, Michigan, Wayne County didn't finalize things until Friday, but that was because they had so many to count. And they couldn't start counting until Election Day.
Padma Kuppa 40:54
Right. Many states, including Florida counted them much earlier than we did. They didn't release any results. But they definitely started processing because there's like seven steps. You know, in if you think about when you put your absentee ballot in the envelope, all the things that they have to do, you put it in the secrecy sleeve, then you put it in the sealed envelope. There's so many steps in the whole process of processing, voted home ballot. So this, if a township or any jurisdiction establishes an absentee voter counting board to open process, and tabulate the absentee voter ballots before election day, they can do that actually up to five days before the election, they can begin to do that processing. Right now. We had a special occurrence this year, that they were able to do it the day before. And that was only for this year. The bill that we passed in this legislative session was specifically for this general election this year. But this would be going forward.
Walt Sorg 41:56
One of the concerns of voting rights advocates is that people voting by mail, especially those who vote by mail for the first time can make inadvertent mistakes in the processing of the ballot the signatures wrong or they don't dot all the i's and cross all the T's and you make allowances for that in your bill as well.
Padma Kuppa 42:13
Correct because the tabulator used an absentee voter counting board before election day would have to be programmed not to reveal any results but also it would make sure that it's secured. There's an approved ballot container they're sealed and everything like everything is accounted for in this bill. There's there's a lot that what they said it's a half an inch thick. And there's a lot of steps that they have to go through. in managing not only the resolving the signature issues like if somebody forgets to sign the voter has to be notified by the clerk's office,
Walt Sorg 42:47
or for somebody like me, whose signature is Chegg registered to vote 100 years ago, and my signature has changed.
Padma Kuppa 42:54
Correct and so voters must be notified as soon as possible or at the very least 10 days before certification of the election if there are problems with verifying the voters signature. If there are problems with verifying the voters signature the ballot shouldn't be opened to that also prevents us from any kind of fraud. If the board of election inspectors determines if the signature on the absent voter ballot doesn't match the signature on the voter registration record, the Board of election inspectors will notify the clerk who then notifies the voter by mail by phone or email as soon as possible. Once the voter is notified, they can either go to the clerk's office in person before 8pm on Election Day, to verify their signature and obtain a new absentee voter at ballot. And they would have to vote again, for people who forgot to sign same thing. Sometimes we forget to sign I mean, I know as we age, our memory is not as as sharp as it was, or sometimes we have a lot of things on our mind. And so if you forget to sign, if there are problems with verifying the voter signature, the ballot isn't open. And so once the voter is notified of the rejection of their ballot, they have until 5pm of the third day before certification of the election results to verify their signature, by delivering it in person by email to the clerk.
Walt Sorg 44:11
Let's go back to the bill regarding the lying to people when you're circulating petitions, whether it's for recall or for initiatives or constitutional amendments. You've got a first amendment issue there that you've got to deal with. We know that lying is an issue, every election cycle, at least one petition drive the professional circulators in particular, will say anything to get a signature and they don't care if it's true or not. But how do you enforce something like that given the basic first amendment right to lie,
Padma Kuppa 44:38
there's a limit event you can't run into a crowded theater and yell fire. I think that that you know there there's some things that we even there, there's first amendment rights, we do no harm and so the goal should be to do no harm. So as far as the the legality, I would have to go back in and say that if you are intentionally making false statements, and so it's misrepresentation, deliberate misrepresentation of what you're doing. I don't know that that is legal.
Walt Sorg 45:07
Many of the reforms and many of the initiatives that you've talked about in this package of bills were suggested, either in the form of legislation or by administrative action by the Secretary of State Republicans. Basically, we're up in arms over them. have their attitudes changed since the election in our experience with what happened in Wayne County in particular?
Padma Kuppa 45:27
No, I believe that many of the republicans still are seeking to overturn or claim that there is fraud. But fortunately, on the last day of session, initially, they said that there was going to be Senate Concurrent Resolution 37 on the agenda, but then it ended up not being and I saw it on the agenda prepared a no vote explanation, including information about these bills and why we needed to have a safe and secure transparent election process.
Walt Sorg 46:00
What would that what did they resolution to say?
Padma Kuppa 46:02
Basically, that the continuing the same narrative that they've had all along that our elections are fraudulent and that there was they are questioning the the validity of our election results in Michigan?
Walt Sorg 46:17
That's a pretty frightening thing to say, given the fact given the fact that there's no proof unless you want to believe what Rudy Giuliani ranted in front of the Oversight Committee, Representative Kuppa have a great holiday.
Padma Kuppa 46:29
Thank you so much. Have a great holiday.
Walt Sorg 46:32
Time for some quick political notes. Christine, it's 2021, meaning the 2022 campaign for governor is already underway. There is no obvious front runner for a republican to challenge Gretchen Whitmer. So there are several names of the mix, although we lost one of them in the last few days. Much to my surprise, Mike shirkey. The Senate majority leader says he's not going to run for governor he has no interest at all in running. I give him credit for being forthright in making a statement where there's no ambiguity. But it still leaves a pretty interesting field. I would guess that includes the Speaker of the House whose term limited out and is leaving, but will still be around Lee Chatfield is very young man, john James who's a candidate for all elections, apparently as long as they are statewide. And the one that's getting the most buzz is Candace Miller, the former Secretary of State, who is now a county official over McComb County, and former member of congress and pretty well respected amongst Republicans and Democrats. My question with Candace Miller, does she have the fire in her belly to run?
Christine Barry 47:36
Yeah, it seems like she's happy where she's at. And, you know, I can see why she is an attractive candidate for them. She's won statewide election before. And many people say that she's likable and appeals, you know, she can she can mix with people. But I haven't seen any impression from her that she was interested in a different office or in such a big campaign again, I also can see john James as an attractive candidate for them because he has run statewide campaigns before, but has not One. One.
Walt Sorg 48:09
who's good at raising money, though. Very good.
Christine Barry 48:12
Yes. He'd be a good probably running mate as would Well, I think he'd be a good running mate. candidate, but not a good LG, if that makes sense. You know, I didn't think Mike shirkey could run a statewide campaign. I just don't think he'd be likable enough across the state. He might make a good LG candidate, if he gets along with the actual candidate, I don't know. And they also have to come up with an attorney general and Secretary of State candidates. So it's a big challenge for them this year. I think
Walt Sorg 48:46
it's gonna be very interesting to see who finally emerges from this. This fire in the belly thing, though, for Candace Miller I think is really something people underestimate until they have been there. I mentioned earlier when I was working for Bobby krim, who was the Speaker of the House and was considered the front runner to be the Democratic candidate for governor way back when. And ultimately when he stepped down and decided not to run it was simply because he didn't have the fire in his belly. He didn't really want to be governor all that bad. The same applies to to Frank Kelly, the 37 year Attorney General of Michigan, who by the way, just celebrated his 96th birthday on New Year's Eve. Happy Birthday Attorney General Kelly. Mr. Kelly could have easily been the Democratic candidate for governor several times over his long career as attorney general he was incredibly popular. But he told me many times the reason he didn't run was he didn't want to be governor. It was as simple as that he thought he could have won, but he didn't want the job. He felt he could do more for the people as attorney general. And he didn't want to go through a campaign for the the suppose top job in the state of Michigan. That is really important. That's where I think Candace Miller ultimately will decide not to run she's 66 years old here. Her husband has been an ill health for quite a while now. She likes her career. Her job a lot. She works on environmental issues. She is the equivalent I forget the exact title, but she's like the drink commissioner of McComb County, which sounds like a nothing position. But believe me, I know anything about drain commissioners, those are really important jobs.
Christine Barry 50:13
Yeah, yeah. And you know, to your point about that, you know, there's really two things for someone like Candice Miller to consider. Like you mentioned, she's 66, she's already had a very long career in public service. She obviously wants to be a public servant. But a statewide campaign is grueling. It's, it's long, it keeps you away from home, keeps you away from the family. And then if she won, she'd be taking office at a time when she may or may not have a friendly legislature, we don't know. But you can be sure that the governor, no matter who it is, is going to be beat on for four years. And why would anyone if they're happy now, why would anyone take that on? If you're already serving your community, you've already served in Congress, you've already served at the state level. Why would you take that on? It's time to enjoy your life.
Walt Sorg 51:07
It's also very difficult to beat an incumbent governor, somebody who's running for reelection. The last time that happened was when Jim Blanchard lost by 25,000 votes to john Engler. And that was after he had served for two terms as governor, and quite frankly, took the city of Detroit for granted. And that's why he lost the election is because he just didn't realize he had to work to get Coleman young support in Detroit and get the vote out.
Christine Barry 51:30
Yeah, you should hear Bus Spaniola's take on that.
Walt Sorg 51:34
Bus Spaniola longtime state representative from your neck of the woods.
Christine Barry 51:38
Yeah, yeah. And he's, he's got great perspectives on things. And he is open and frank, about when democrats just get too arrogant. And so it's really, it's really nice to listen to him. We should have him on sometime.
Walt Sorg 51:54
Yeah, it'd be fun. I was working for Jim Blanchard during his second term, and I left before the re election debacle. But I do recall one of the problems that he had was within his inner circle, the people that were likely to argue with him and tell him that, uh, no, maybe you're wrong on that governor had left. He had just gotten a divorce from his first wife. And she was somebody who spoke very frankly, to him. And also a couple of his staff, people who were willing to go head to head with him on policy and on strategy, had left the staff as well and moved on to other things. And the people that he had left, basically, were kind of like the people Donald Trump hires people that won't argue with the boss. And so that was, that's an analysis from a long, long time ago, and he lost by only 25,000 votes. Meanwhile, the battle for money in the schools continues, Christina, I'm sure this is something you've been watching pretty closely.
Christine Barry 52:47
Yeah, this is really interesting. This is a battle form for money to go into private schools, such as like Catholic schools, whatever. And this is money used to reimburse schools for state health and safety mandates that they you know that it costs them money to comply with $5.2 million has been awarded from the state to these schools by the Supreme Court party lines to pay for compliance with these mandates. And since the money is not for educational purposes, the republicans on the court ruled that it is not unconstitutional to give them state money. Now, remember, the court was still operating under a GOP majority at this time. And the money will pay for things like bus inspections, fire and tornado drills, playground safety, that kind of thing. There's no mention of COVID emergency rules here, which, frankly, Walt, I think you and I could probably both get behind helping the schools deal with some COVID emergency rules. But it's not for that it's typical administrative stuff that every school goes through. So advocates for these schools like the Mackinac Center and the Catholic Conference are saying they're glad to see the that these kids in these private schools are now being, quote unquote, treated equally, because they're getting funding for bus inspections and stuff. But you know, here's the thing that really frost my cookies, because in October, Catholic schools sued to get around COVID restrictions, you know, health and safety restrictions. They base that lawsuit on the religious needs of the plaintiffs. So are you going to be treated equally under health and safety mandates? Or are you going to call upon your religious freedom to get around state health and safety mandates? So I think it's a I mean, I don't think it'll hold up legal analysts say it'll probably go back to the court. And you know, the new court will change the decision, but it
Walt Sorg 54:49
probably will. You know, this is an area where elections really do matter. The vote on the Supreme Court, which was a challenge to a court of appeals ruling was three three, which means that the Court of Appeals rulings stood, you had the Justice Beth climat who set it out because of a conflict of interest due to her previous employment as in Rick Snyder's office. And so you got a three three vote, but now you've got a change with one of the justices who voted to uphold the ruling leaving and being replaced by a new Democrat. So I would guess his ruling could be overturned in the new year. A another note on elections matter and corruption matters. It's the best piece of investigative reporting we've had lately in Lansing and it wasn't done by a reporter. It was done instead by Simon Schuster is the executive director of the Michigan campaign finance network, a nonpartisan watchdog group that looks over numbers and public documents. He discovered the two state House staff members on the staff of speaker Lee Chatfield have combined very high state pay with even a higher consulting contracts for the people they supposedly work for. They are Rob Menard and his wife and he is the chief of staff to the Speaker of the House and she is the head of External Affairs meaning she's the political director at state expense for the house. Between them they are paid by the state $275,000 a year, Robin art actually makes more money than the governor. And on top of that their consulting firm Victor strategies has been paid a minimum of $1.1 million by Republican legislators campaigns and the PACs connected to them. At times for vaguely described services are apparently at exorbitant rates. And Mr. Schuester points out in his article on the campaign finance Network website, that Robin are declined to be interviewed over the phone did not respond to a list of email questions from the Michigan campaign finance network. None of this apparently is illegal. That's the frightening part. Now when I were I was I went back to check my records for when I was on the House staff. And we had a rule back then that no staff member could be paid more than a member of the legislature, let alone paid more than the governor and my salary reflected that.
Christine Barry 57:07
Yeah, but you are working there before term limits Walt, term limits now. Force people out of the legislature force them out of government and into the private sector. And power protects power. So if you know you're not going to be there to make policy because you know, you're not going to be in the legislature then here will help you make a good living, doing something legislature adjacent, so to speak. But you know what, Michigan is just the worst when it comes to dark money. We have people who talk about dealing with it never seems to go anywhere. I don't know that if we had a 100% Democratic majority in state government that it would even be even be fixed because like I said, power protects power,
Walt Sorg 57:52
the double dipping is absolutely wrong. I checked back with the people that had comparable positions to the to cited in this article back when I was working for the house. And they couldn't believe it, they found it absolutely abhorrent is something they never would have done. I knew they wouldn't have done it. I knew they didn't do it. And I knew that I didn't do it. And if I had done it, I probably would have been fired the next day by the speaker, because it was not something he would have tolerated. But sadly, the times they are changing, and they have changed in so many ways when it comes to what is continuing to be good and what is bad. A faux controversy, meanwhile, has come to a very quiet conclusion. You may recall that when we first started dealing with the COVID virus, the state issued a very small contract to a outside firm to help with contact tracing, which is a really important part of getting the pandemic under control. And the contract went to somebody who firm that had some ties to the Democratic Party. The whole contract was for less than $200,000, which basically was it was a no profit contract. In fact, the company I was told by some people would have actually lost money on the contract. They were doing it as a public service, because they believed it was important. But republicans tried to turn it into a huge political controversy and were successful. The Attorney General did an investigation involving 17 investigators and all sorts of interviews. And they found that maybe some procedures were short circuited because of the emergency situation. But there was nothing illegal done. And again, I think the investigation probably cost taxpayers more than the contract would have cost. By far. It was a nothing burger contract that was turned into this huge political controversy. And I think it was a totally ginned up controversy.
Christine Barry 59:38
Well, you know, two things. First of all, I'm sure the republicans would have had no problem with it. If it was Rob Menard and his wife Anne, doing the, you know, like COVID tracing, you
Walt Sorg 59:48
get a point there.
Christine Barry 59:49
And second, again, elections all the time. You know, we're going to attack somebody over this stupid thing because we can and you know, try to get the governor's negatives up or something instead of worrying about the pandemic, or governing in general,
Walt Sorg 1:00:05
before we go beyond that one quick note of full disclosure, I did do some contract work for the company, which was awarded the contract. I'm not close friends with them by any means. But I did have a financial interest in previous contracts that the company was involved in that was state government for with outside companies. So I wanted that to be on the record.
Christine Barry 1:00:25
Yeah. And you know, just going back to that, that COVID tracing contract, the actual work of COVID tracing was a specific project that this company was able to do, whether or not the other services that provided in a different way were used by the Democratic Party had nothing to do with the fact that they could do this. And like I said earlier, about, like logistics and distributions, sometimes you tap into companies that already have capability in place. And that's how I looked at this, this company had a capability in place that the state knew that they could tap into it, and flip a switch and get the outcomes that we needed. So it was a dumb thing to fight over. But, again, you know, it's about it's about driving negatives up for the other party.
Walt Sorg 1:01:11
Okay, let's, uh, let's now embarrass ourselves down the road set ourselves up for total embarrassment, with things that we say today that will haunt us later.
Christine Barry 1:01:19
Oh, no, but all right, let's, uh, let's wrap up first podcast of 2021. Let's talk about predictions and resolutions. So let's start with our resolutions for the new year. While Do you want me to go first?
Walt Sorg 1:01:31
Oh, please do I don't want to be embarrassed, I'll
Christine Barry 1:01:33
go first. Okay, so my resolution for the new year is actually very well thought out. I am not going to engage the republican messaging the way that I tried to do in 2019 and 2020. And I'm gonna explain this. The Republicans have very disciplined, focused messaging that they deploy very quickly throughout the state. And these are the republicans in the house in the Senate, I'm not really talking about the party itself. But the caucuses, between social media app ads, radio press releases, they have done just a great job staying on message in getting that message out. And I don't think Democrats have had an answer for that. And I have spent personally a lot of time trying to answer those messages where they're at. And I've just wasted a bunch of time that effort itself is worthwhile. But I think the best defense to republican messaging is a good offense. So my focus in that area is just going to, you know, be generating good solid, well sourced content that's proactive, and it's worthy of the subject matter, which is governing and public service and policy. So I'll still answer things, I just won't get mired down in them. Because it's, you know, well, it's like trying to drink the Flint River through a straw is what it is, there's no discernible difference in water levels, and you've just made yourself sick. Well, so that's my resolution,
Walt Sorg 1:03:01
I've got a pair of them. First of all, I am going to honestly try to understand why so many of Trump's supporters worship Him, despite his obvious flaws as a human being. And as a leader, he got more than 74 million votes, and I can't disrespect all 74 million of them. Many were because they like his policies, which is fine. I disagree on the policies, but I can understand policy differences. Many though don't care about policy, they just worship the man treat him as almost as a deity. And that's something we really need to understand if we want this democracy to go on. And as a part of that, I'm going to try to follow joe biden's lead and tone down my language when talking about people with whom I disagree, politically, no more name calling is tempting. as satisfying as that can be, I will do my very best to stop using bad words and behaving really sort of like the Donald Trump of the left.
Christine Barry 1:03:54
There are just very few things more satisfying than calling Beau LaFave a little bitch on Twitter. I really enjoyed that. Okay. So prediction, things that we currently believe will happen, but probably won't. I have two predictions actually have three, but I'll keep them Michigan based. First of all, I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that Laura Cox loses the election for republican state chair, I think it's going to be Ron Wieser again, I have no really good reason for this. But I thought, hey, it's predictions time, I'm just gonna throw it out there. More importantly, and what I really believe in is that my second prediction is that the rural democrats of Michigan and hopefully in other states as well will improve their organizing and their messaging. And and part of that is like just creating more awareness of frankly themselves and the need to organize and there need to talk about the things that matter to them the sustainability and self sufficiency, that you you find people in the rural areas, really value We need better messaging around that, so that people can organize and win. And I think, better messaging around the liberal perspective and supportive ownership of firearms, organizations like the liberal Gun Club, socialist Rifle Association, national African American gun Association, these associations in clubs and groups are going to continue to grow nationwide and concealed carry is going to continue to grow in Michigan. I think that the rural Democrats have to find out how to, first of all identify where these groups are going to be allies, and where are they? Where they can fit in with their platform. I don't think these groups are necessarily Democrats. I don't think all rural democrats would like these groups. But I think that there needs to be a conversation about firearms, and about the rule issues for Democrats because the Michigan Democratic Party cannot continue to treat rural elections, like they do urban elections and I just think that's, that's a mistake that we we make every year. And just full disclosure, I am a member of the board of the liberal Gun Club, the Michigan chapter, not the national but the Michigan chapter of the liberal Gun Club.
Walt Sorg 1:06:16
Okay and your prediction about Laura Cox and Ron weiser I don't know if it's going to come true. I think for the Republican Party, it would be good if it did come true. Ron, wiser, I think is the equal to lavora barns when it comes to organizing. And when it comes to fundraising, I think he was really solid when he was republican chair before. So the fact that I say he would be the better choice is probably the kiss of death for him. And my prediction, and Governor Whitmer will continue to push open the door for a future run for national office. She's already become the darling of national broadcast and cable news showing up multiple times each and every weekend zoom interviews from her home on both cable news and the Sunday shows. Tune in any time of the day any day of the week. And there's a good chance you'll see Michigan's governor chatting it up. It's a tactic that was used successfully years ago by john mccain in his run up to the 2008 presidential nomination. Whitmer clearly has ambitions beyond Michigan or at least has ambitions in keeping her options open. The challenge is the potential posed Biden field is vast. Of course, it begins with Kamala Harris, but includes many of the 2020 candidates, and likely several more are emerging from the ranks of US senators and governors across the nation. But I think you'll definitely see Gretchen Whitmer in the mix on the a list of potential successors to Joe Biden down the road.
Christine Barry 1:07:41
And now it falls to me to bring you our choice for soundbite of the year it comes from Joe Biden. And it sums up what so many of us have been feeling for four years.
Joe Biden 1:07:53
Would you shut up man?
Walt Sorg 1:07:55
that says it all?
Christine Barry 1:07:57
I love him.
Walt Sorg 1:07:59
I found it rather refreshing on a debate that was pure non debate, pure circus, great entertainment and probably a low point in our democracy. before we say goodbye this week, though, we'd like to recall one last moment in the news of 2020 a moment that gives us hope. It showed the underlying strength of our government and our democracy. It came with the impeachment hearings when whistleblower Colonel Alexander vindman, someone who sacrificed his military career to speak hard truth about Donald Trump explained why he did so without fear for his own personal future.
Colonel Alexander Vindman 1:08:34
This is America. This is the country I've served and defended. That all my brothers have served and here right matters.
Thank you, sir.
Christine Barry 1:08:53
All of his remarks were really amazing. That's it for this week's podcast. Thank you so much for spending last hour with us. If you would like to learn more about today's topics or just geek out and all that fun tweets and memes, head on over to the Show page at Michiganpolicast.com. We do welcome your feedback, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow us on our Facebook page or Twitter. And your review helps us in the apple podcast rankings or our listing, So please, if you like the show, head on over there and give us a review.
Walt Sorg 1:09:28
And then of course, if you don't like the show, just stay away from me while though cross your fingers for the Georgia vote on Tuesday, which probably won't be over until Friday, and get braced for the final chapter of the Trump effort to overturn the election with the official acceptance of the electoral college vote. That's Wednesday, probably through Thursday in the United States Congress. It will happen this week that but not before several reality denied republicans put on quite a show for us. As Betty Davis warned us many years ago in the movie All About Eve
Fasten your seat it's going to be a bumpy night.
Walt Sorg 1:10:03
that's it see in a week. The Michigan polycast is the production of Michigan citizens for a better tomorrow.