Traverse City Record-Eagle


October 14, 2012

George Weeks: A dangerous batch of ballot proposals


Ex-govs stir assorted pots

Michigan's living former governors have not quietly faded into the sunset. On occasion they do feel-good promotional events, as William G. Milliken, James J. Blanchard and John Engler did earlier this year on Mackinac Island in touting the 125th anniversary of the Grand Hotel.

But of late, some of them have been getting media attention on current politics. Most notably, California-based Jennifer Granholm, who has her own national show on Current TV, was a warm-up act at the Democratic National Convention and periodically is interviewed on networks for reaction to debates and other developments.

Engler, Washington-based president of the national Business Roundtable, made a splash in the Wall Street Journal Friday with an op-ed piece asserting that "America's corporate tax rate is too high and needs to come down." The National Journal has booked him as a featured speaker Tuesday at a conference it called to consider "options still available for the White House and Congress to avert fiscal calamity" in view of "the pending expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, a debt ceiling increase, and mandated spending cuts triggered by the failed negotiations of the Super Committee" designed to end the gridlock.

(In September, the magazine cited the conclusion of experts that "this Congress has been one of the least productive since at least the 1940s." But in its Oct. 6 issue it said that Rep. Dave Camp, R-Midland, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Montana Democrat Max Baucus, his counterpoint in the Senate, "have struck up an unlikely friendship within the Congress, and it could help pull the country back from the precipice.") Milliken, who from his Traverse City home speaks out occasionally on environmental and other issues, has endorsed the Proposal 3 ballot proposition on renewable energy. He has met with University of Michigan Law School dean Bridget Mary McCormack, a Democratic nominee for the state Supreme Court, and will endorse her as "an extraordinary candidate."

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