Someone should tell Governor Snyder that a “perfect storm” isn’t generally considered a good thing

The state of Michigan took out an incredibly-costly full-page ad in today’s Wall Street Journal, proudly announcing to the world not only that we’ve officially joined the likes of Alabama and Mississippi in becoming a so-called “right-to-work” state, but that we’ve finally put the embarrassing pro-labor legacy of the The Battle of the Overpass behind us. We want the CEOs of American to know that we have, in the words of the Snyder administration, orchestrated “the perfect storm.” We’ve broken the back of organized labor. We’ve slashed taxes. And we’ve laid the groundwork to roll back regulations. And, now, it’s time for us to reap the rewards. And, by “us,” I mean the 1% of Americans that benefit from such policies, not necessarily the people of Michigan… “Bring us your coal-powered hog-rendering facilities, and your toxic chemical plants.” That’s what we’re essentially declaring to the world. Like it or not, this is who we now are. This is “Pure Michigan.” We’re no longer the state of majestic sand dunes and pristine lake shores. We’re no longer the cradle of the American middle class. We’re now a cheap-labor state, hellbent on winning our nation’s race to the bottom.

An unintended loser in all of this, I’m sorry to say, is Michigan’s hospitality industry. The incredibly popular Pure Michigan campaign is one of the few things that our struggling state has going for it, and, by running this ad, I think the Snyder administration has put it in jeopardy. Who in their right mind would take a campaign which, for several years, has endeavored to make the world aware of Michigan’s pristine environmental assets, and decide not only to politicize it in this fashion, but to actually incorporate the fact that we’ve begun down the path of environmental deregulation? Who does that? And, more importantly, who uses the phrase “perfect storm” in an ad campaign that’s trying to convey a sense of confidence about a region? I’ve actually read The Perfect Storm. It’s a book about a desperate fishing boat Captain, who, in hopes of making a big financial score, heads his ship into a colossal storm front in search of an elusive school of swordfish, putting the lives of his crew on the line. And, guess what? There were no survivors! The irony of the Snyder administration referencing it, given what they’ve done to jeopardize the future of our state over the course of the past several months, I think, is hilarious.

[Special thanks to Brandon Zwagerman for responding to my late night bat signal with a scan of the Wall Street Journal, and to reader Curt Waugh for contributing the Perfect Storm photo.]

update: It gets even more hilarious. While strutting on the national stage and broadcasting to the world that we’re now a right-to-work state, the Republicans in Lansing are simultaneously saying that we need to put all of this behind us and move on. “I want to see the Legislature turn the page,” Speaker of the Michigan House Jase Bolger told The Detroit News. “I want to see us go forward and focus on the people we serve instead of focusing on party politics.”

update: This meme apparently has legs. Since writing about it here, the story has now appeared on Eclectablog, The Huffington Post, Deadline Detroit, and MLive.

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  1. Posted January 9, 2013 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    And Michigan “made” history when it created the middle class. What we’re doing now is erasing history.

  2. Andy Cameron
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    The Governor has dirty, dirty pillows.

  3. anonymous
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    Is that a euphemism, Andy?

  4. Andy Cameron
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    Carrie cannot tell a lie…

  5. Edward
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Is Carrie the Governor’s maid?

  6. Edward
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    OK, I Googled “dirty pillows” and it’s a quote from the movie Carrie.

    Margaret White: I can see your dirty pillows. Everyone will.
    Carrie White: Breasts, Mama. They’re called breasts, and every woman has them.

    My guess that Andy was drunk at the time of leaving the comment, and was referencing the Carrie header at the top of the page.

  7. Eel
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Personally, I like the new Arkansas ad campaign better. It’s more direct.

  8. Posted January 9, 2013 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    The reference actually makes perfect sense to me. This ad is all about Rick Snyder showing his “dirty pillows” to the world. He’s coming into his own as a mature politician, and he wants to flaunt it to the world.

  9. Knox
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Now I’ll be thinking about Snyder’s breasts all day. Thank you.

  10. Posted January 9, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Ugh. It’s so difficult as a middle class homeowner in Michigan to see any way out of this downward spiral. What can I who work ~50 hours/week at 2 jobs, and then still try to make some time for leisure with family and friends do to also make the time and effort that will be required to help the state where I have lived for nearly my entire life? Are we going to have to put our bodies and lives on the line the way labor leaders in the “Battle of the Overpass” that you reference did?! If we did, would the mass media in its current state even bother to turn its eye on us without roundly condemning our efforts? I guess I’m just venting my despair here. Sometimes I don’t know what else to do.

  11. Meta
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Snyder may get a discount, but, according to the WSJ’s 2013 rate card, a full page color ad goes for well over $200,000.

  12. anonymous
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    If I were the brand manager overseeing the Pure Michigan campaign, I’d be livid.

  13. Elf
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    When companies hand out notices to their employees, letting them know that their wages and benefits are being cut, they should use the “PURE MICHIGAN” stamp.

  14. Tony Buttons
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Can one of you graphic designers in the audience, mock up a version of this ad that says, “Invitation to Rape the People of Michigan” across the top, and follows that theme throughout, saying things like, “We have prepared the people of Michigan for your enjoyment. They will not fight back. Prepare yourself for ecstasy unknown since the time of slavery. Your every whim will be satisfied.”

  15. Jim
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    mlive story:

  16. Meta
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    M-live may not have mentioned this post, but Deadline Detroit did.

  17. Curt Waugh
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Best I could do in a hurry:

  18. Posted January 9, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    He can flash his boobs up and down Geddes Road for all I care…I just don’t want to ever have to see his penis. Unless I’m stepping on it :)

  19. anon
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

  20. anon
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

  21. anon
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

  22. Posted January 9, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Lovely work, guys. Curt, I’ll move the Perfect Storm one to the front page. And I’ll find another use for the other ones.

    I’m not sure why M-Live didn’t quote my post, but it’s cool that others are. I was just contacted by the Huffington Post, and they’re doing something about it. It’s cool to see this meme get legs, as more people realize that the Republicans in Lansing just shit all over “Pure Michigan” by tying it to Right to Work.

  23. Posted January 9, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    Linette had a good idea for a new MEDC campaign… “Michigan: Titanic opportunities!”

  24. BrianB
    Posted January 10, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    “I want to see the Legislature turn the page” — had to take out a full page ad of the governor flashing his dirty pillows to get them to turn it.

  25. Meta
    Posted January 10, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    The meme is catching fire.

    From today’s coverage in the Huffington Post.

    “I’m disappointed to see a wildly successful tourism campaign wielded as a tool for the right-wing extremists running Lansing,” said Communications Director Jessica Tramontana. “The only history made yesterday was when Gov. Snyder chose to drag the Pure Michigan name through the political mud.”

    Read more:

  26. anonymous
    Posted January 10, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    The Huffington Post article is followed by a poll asking people if Snyder and the MEDC were wrong to politicize Pure Michigan.

    Here are the results so far.

  27. MrMikesHardCoreSot
    Posted January 11, 2013 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    War, Class war, and you were the first to wage it under the cover of the powerful institutions you call order, in the darkness of your laws. There will have to be bloodshed; we will not dodge; there will have to be murder: we will kill, because it is necessary; there will have to be destruction; we will destroy to rid the world of your tyrannical institutions.[1]

  28. anonymous
    Posted January 11, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    The Free Press is now on the story as well, and they’re reporting that the state spent $144,000 on the ad. They even got MEDC CEO Mike Finney to comment.

    “All we’ve done is incorporate the most recent freedom-to-work law as a part of our messaging,” Finney said. “It’s really a very targeted message about the positive business climate things that have happened in the state in the last two years.”

    And a spokesperson for the Governor says that he didn’t know about it.

    Gov. Rick Snyder wasn’t specifically aware of the ad, spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said. But, she added, the new law was just one item in the state’s economic toolkit that will be used to attract business to the state.

  29. Eel
    Posted January 11, 2013 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Michigan Radio has also started covering the story.

  30. Posted January 11, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    NPR’s Marketplace is now on the story as well. Sadly, though, they did not mention my contribution.

  31. lazy american
    Posted February 26, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I was beginning to pay attention to this, but got distracted by celebrity sideboob.

5 Trackbacks

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    […] Someone should tell Governor Snyder that a “perfect storm” isn’t generally considered a good t… […]

  2. […] video, which features Joe Schwartz demanding accountability from those in the MEDC responsible for politicizing the State’s Pure Michigan campaign by tying it to the recently-passed right-to-work legislation in a full-page ad in the Wall Street […]

  3. […] that we should merge Ypsilanti’s Police and Fire departments in hopes of further delaying the perfect storm of fiscal armageddon gathering on the horizon as we face escalating legacy costs (mainly in the […]

  4. By How Dick DeVos made Michigan a right-to-work state on January 27, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    […] did not toe the line.) The plan that DeVos and Weiser had invested so much in had come to fruition. The perfect storm had been achieved. And the Republican endgame had been realized. All that was left was for Snyder, with a straight […]

  5. By Michigan Workers Get Porked on December 16, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    […] after referring to our home state as “Michissippi” in an article on about our passage of so-called right-to-work legislation. “Michigan,” said McClelland in the article, “has lost so many educated workers […]

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