Political leadership is about doing what you think is right, not worrying about the next election.
Sixteen Republican lawmakers apparently never read former Gov. Bill Milliken’s shrewd advice, or they did and ignored it.
Politico recently reported that 18 Republican lawmakers had signed a letter urging Florida Gov. Ron DaSantis to run for president in Michigan. Rep. Bryan Posthumus of West Michigan personally delivered the letter to the Florida man, who is reportedly more than happy to consider the invitation as he considers the White House. (If nothing else, he should be visiting Michigan citizens, since at any given time, half of Michigan is in his state).
Only two of the 18 reportedly confessed to writing the request. To his credit, Posthumus and his colleague, State Rep. Phil Green, did not run and hide, but spoke to reporters about the incident.
The other 16 pigeons jumped into the tall grass and never came out again. Some said they thought the letter would never get out.
Talk about naivety.
It’s one thing to be innocent, but quite another to not have the courage to reveal what you’ve done.
You don’t have to have a PhD in political science to figure out why these 16 guys are so shy about what they do when they clearly think it’s the right thing to do.
By embracing DeSantis, they weren’t embracing anyone else.
Who would that be?
Green said he knew “there would be a backlash” but he did it anyway.
Where are the rest?
Explaining their decisions publicly, which is part of what politics should encourage, would expose them to the wrath of Donald Trump.
Democrats who call the former president a bully will argue that it was just an act of cowardice, and that the fear of standing up to Trump encouraged him to continue bullying because it worked.
Intimidation is part of the political game, and players have to figure out how they’re going to respond.
If the signers really believed the Florida governor would make a better president, some of their constituents might be upset, but others might say, “Thank you for having the courage to tell us why. You’ll get credit for that.”
As Green explained: “We have a lot of people who are inexperienced in the legislature”.
One of them was state Rep. Tom Kunse, who explained he didn’t go public partly because, “I’ve been in town for four days. I know where the restrooms are and my parking spot,” so on the subject “I listened to others”.
That being said, he was willing to talk and, to his credit, concluded, “If it costs me the election,” so be it.
Milliken was pleased to see new lawmakers invoke the guidelines suggested in the first paragraph.
What about the other 15?