One of my students who watches Rachel Maddow passed this on to me. Apparently the Republican controlled Michigan state legislature is playing games with the legislative process. The Michigan Constitution requires that new laws take effect 90 days after the end of the legislative session, unless a 2/3 supermajority votes to have it take effect immediately. Republicans don’t have enough votes to do so, but have presumably put about 90% of the laws they’ve passed this session into effect immediately. Instead of having a roll call vote on the issue of immediate effect the presiding officer is calling the vote, and immediately banging his gavel, claiming there was a sufficient vote in favor (watch the clip in the video at about 12:45.)
That kind of quick vote isn’t unusual in politics, but this particular use of it is. Maddow (who seems to me not as bright as her reputation would have it*) finds this shocking. I don’t. I find it mildly amusing and ultimately fairly predictable. That said, I support the Democrats’ lawsuit trying to block immediate effect of these bills and hope they are successful.
Unfortunately, this video demonstrates much of what is wrong with personality-driven political talk shows. To cover enough time she has to add lots of extra blather that doesn’t really say much. And she also spends plenty of time complaining about Michigan’s emergency manager law, and how it is “destroying democracy” at the local level. That’s a lot of nonsense and demonstrates that Maddow is essentially operating ideologically rather than thinking deeply about the issue. There is no requirement for local level democracy in the U.S.–states have, and always have had, authority to create and uncreate local governments. As well emergency managers are explicitly temporary beings. And they are assigned only in cases where local democracy has failed abysmally and the local governmental unit is so indebted and incapable of managing its own finances that they are, or are going to be, displacing their costs onto the rest of the state. Maddow seems to think that forced riders have no right to a say in the decisions of those who are forcing them to bear costs, and that the state cannot legitimately intervene in such cases. Basically the emergency manager is just a form of receiver for a local governmental unit that’s functionally bankrupt.
* Yes, she has a doctorate in politics from Oxford and was a Rhodes scholar. I won’t pretend I can top or equal that. But she doesn’t give me the impression of someone who ever understood that political science is about something more than ideological politics, and those types of folks are a dime a dozen. As both my undergrad and graduate mentor tried to impress upon me, there’s a difference between analysis and advocacy. Maddow superficially gives the appearance of doing analysis, but really she’s doing advocacy with pretty superficial analysis.