America is suffering through its worst economic recovery since WW2, debt at European levels of 70 percent of GDP, Washington health care reform running up medical costs, businesses not hiring for fear of Obamacare and looming taxes on investment – and U.S. bonds have been downgraded for the first time in U.S. history.
So on Tuesday, just 20 percent of Michiganians showed up at the polls to send the same crowd back to Washington.
August primaries traditionally turn out light numbers – but the truth is that (perversely) most elections are now decided in August thanks to partisan redistricting. In Metro Detroit, for example, the lines have been drawn to such partisan precision that no district is considered a bipartisan tossup. (Due to the outrageous antics of GOP Rep. Thad McCotter, only the 11th may be up for grabs if only because there are doubts about the competence of Krazy Kerry Bentivolio.)
In the last four years, the U.S. has transferred unprecedented power – most significantly the U.S health care system – to 535 Washington politicians. And yet those elected officials are less equipped than ever to wield such responsibility. Two examples from Tuesday’s primary: Gary Peters and John Conyers.
Peters won the Democratic 14th District Tuesday after being the only major Michigan pol to march with the radical Occupy Detroit last fall. Peters sported a “I am the 99 Percent” button despite being a millionaire former Merrill Lynch financial manager. A caricature of the fork-tongued pol, Peters was against letting the Bush tax cuts expire before he was for it. This complete 180 took place in just one election cycle and despite a worsening economic outlook.
Next door in the 13th District, John Conyers won apparently because his name is John Conyers. Despite a run of ethics embarrassments (not including his ethically-challenged wife Monica), he has served Detroit for 48 years. How effective has he been? Have you driven through Detroit lately?
To such talents have Michiganians voted incumbency for life and control over its health care and energy resources. Well, just 20 percent of Michiganians that is.