When Congressional Democrats rammed through a healthcare bill that will likely bankrupt the country, those who rallied in opposition were labeled bigoted, racist and un-patriotic. When Republican legislators voted to make Michigan the 24th right-to-work state in the nation, they were accused of being enemies of democracy. Coincidence? Hardly. It’s all part of a plan to paint proponents of limited government as anti-middle class, anti-minority and anti-American.
In contrast to the Tea Party, union members protesting in Michigan’s capital city of Lansing Tuesday were hailed by many as modern day heroes, even though they physically assaulted a Fox News contributor and tore down an Americans for Prosperity tent near the capitol building. Because, you know, that’s what democracy looks like. Or something.
The left is understandably outraged over the passage of Michigan’s right-to-work legislation, as statistics show unions in right-to-work states are significantly weakened. But they brought this upon themselves. The moderate Republican Governor Rick Snyder has repeatedly said right-to-work legislation was “not on my agenda,” and has done a praiseworthy job of working with both Republicans and Democrats during his first two years in office. But labor unions forced his hand when they sought to enshrine collective bargaining rights into Michigan’s Constitution with a ballot proposal last month. The proposal failed by a 15 point margin, so conservatives made a bold decision to take up right-to-work legislation, even though most polls show Michiganders are split on the issue.
Whether or not Governor Snyder will pay a political price for his acquiescence is unknown. He isn’t up for re-election until 2014, and there is talk that boisterous Senate minority leader Gretchen Whitmer will run against him, but other Midwestern Governors who battled the unions, most notably Scott Walker, came out on the winning side.
Not only has Michigan been a hotbed of activity for economic conservatives, it has quietly become one of the most socially conservative states in the country. Just last week, state Senators passed a set of bills that will prevent insurance plans in Michigan’s Obamacare exchange, as well as private plans, from covering elective abortions. Coverage for abortions can still be included in the plans, but the policyholder will have to pay an additional premium for the service. The Senate also passed expanded conscience protections for institutions and individuals who have moral objections to providing or performing services that violate their deeply held religious beliefs.
Ed Rivet, legislative director of Right to Life of Michigan, noted the significance of the legislation: “We’ve lived for 40 years with abortion being built into most benefit plans, and you have to opt the coverage out of the plan. Now, it’s reversed. Now, if it’s abortion coverage, you can still have it, but you have to add it.” The bills, once signed into law, would make Michigan the 18th state in the union with restrictions on abortion coverage in the looming Obamacare exchanges.