In his weekly column in the Lansing insiders publication "The Dome," Tim Skubick joined the finger-wagging chorus bashing lawmakers for taking two weeks off for deer hunting season. The meme played by the Governor and attention-seeking statewide office candidates is, if they stayed in town they could "solve the school funding crisis, the economic mess, college kids not getting their $4,000 state scholarships," etc.
In most cases this is code for, "They coulda raised taxes." Whatever. Here's some questions that capture the reality of what will or will not happen because legislators aren't in the Capitol for two weeks:
How many lobbyist buffets will go unbrowsed? How many undrunk free drinks at the expensive Troppo's restaurant? How many lost hours of back-slapping, "Aren't we just so important!" bonhomie on the floor? Who can say how many undelivered speeches, empty of content but dripping with sanctimony. We can only guess how many hundreds of posturing Dead On Arrival bills both right and left will go unintroduced.
The reality is, this is most of what occupies lawmakers' time in Lansing. When actual fiscal or other policies are adopted (for good or ill) they are devised by a handful of individual minority and majority leadership position holders, not by 148 "statesmen" engaging in dramatic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-type floor debates.
The man with the highest character to serve in Lansing in the past 30 years - perhaps ever - was Stephen Dresch, a one-term "accidental politician" from Hancock, who back in the real world was a widely respected, world-class economist. He also had the best proposal yet for a part time legislature:
"Pay them $100,000 each year, and dock 'em $1,000 for every day they meet."