Join the Metro Times Press Club: Because no news is bad news.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Republicans are victim-blaming Gov. Whitmer

Posted By on Tue, Aug 4, 2020 at 6:00 AM

click to enlarge STATE OF MICHIGAN
  • State of Michigan

Sometimes we come across a headline here at the Metro Times quarantine office where the gulf between what it promises and the content of the actual story is so vast that we get whiplash.

Such was the case with an MLive exclusive published Monday. "Michiganders are bitterly divided on the coronavirus response," the headline declared. "Could Whitmer have done more to win Republicans over?"



Nearly 1,300 words later, toward the end, the article refutes a central premise of its own headline. Michiganders are largely very supportive of Whitmer, the article concedes, and her approval rating has been "consistently high," with MLive citing a CNN poll found that 69% of respondents said she was doing everything she could to lead through the crisis. Other polls have found her with more than 60% support.

So where is this "bitter divide?" In fact, the only Whitmer critics MLive got on record were Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and John Truscott, the Republican half of bipartisan PR firm Truscott Ross Rossman.

Even though the MLive lede has Shirkey saying he hasn't seen Whitmer in person since before the pandemic hit in March, he later adds the Senate Republicans and Whitmer’s office "continue to have good communication" and have held regular virtual meetings with her. Shirkey tells MLive that at first he felt like Whitmer was doing a good job keeping him in the loop, but about four to six weeks into the crisis she started cutting him out.

What happened in those four to six weeks? That's around the time of the anti-lockdown protests, where right-wing protesters, egged on by President Donald Trump, carried assault weapons to the Capitol and held signs calling for Whitmer to be hanged.

While Shirkey called those gun-toting protesters "jackasses," he did little to dial down the partisan rhetoric: the very same day, he compared Whitmer's extension of her emergency powers to the attack on Pearl Harbor ("a day in our State’s legacy which will last in infamy") and called her "drunk on the addiction of unfettered power."

Shortly after, Shirkey sued Whitmer over her emergency powers, arguing she needed to seek legislative approval before extending them. Many experts think it's a futile lawsuit: the Emergency Powers of Governor Act of 1945 does not require legislative review. Whitmer called the lawsuit a "power grab," while her spokeswoman called it a "partisan game that won't distract the governor." Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens tossed the case, and the Supreme Court refused to fast-track it. It's now heading to the Court of Appeals.

MLive
asks what Whitmer could have done differently to win Republicans over. But what could Republicans have done differently to win Whitmer over?

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

Tags: , , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit