Having proven to the Koch brothers of the world that he can be trusted to do their bidding, Rick Snyder sets his sights on the Presidency

At the end of Rick Snyder’s first term as Governor of Michigan, it was announced that Mike Finney would be stepping down as president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and taking a new role within the Snyder administration. His new title, according to Snyder, would be Senior Adviser for Economic Growth, and, in that role, Finney would be focusing more on initiatives with “social impact.” Behind the scenes, though, it was rumored in Ann Arbor that Finney, in this new position, would be spending more time traveling the country, testing the waters for a Snyder presidential bid. While Snyder played down any presidential aspirations that he might have, saying that he was more interested in fixing Michigan’s roads than running for higher office, it was pretty much common knowledge that, through Finney and others, he was trying to determine whether or not he could expect to compete for campaign dollars against the likes of Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush. And, according to news coming out of Las Vegas this weekend, it would seem the answer might be yes.

According to a report earlier today in The Guardian, Snyder spent this last Friday mingling with conservative donors in Las Vegas at a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, where he gave many the impression that he had already made the decision to run. Former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman, who was at the meeting, told reporters, “I met with Rick Snyder yesterday. He’s running. He’s running.”

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Snyder, for what it’s worth, has yet to come out and say definitively that he’s made a decision one way or the other. Here’s a clip from The Guardian:

…Snyder, who was recently re-elected for a second term, is a business-oriented and comparatively socially moderate Republican. A former president and chairman of the board of the computer company Gateway, he won a Republican state primary in 2010 as a first-time candidate and underdog who ran as “One Tough Nerd”. He now uses the phrase as his Twitter handle.

In office, Snyder has pushed legislation to put Detroit under emergency bankruptcy management and signed a controversial “right to work” bill that greatly restricted the ability of unions in Michigan to collect dues from members.

Jarrod Agen, a spokesman for Snyder, told the Guardian in an email: “Governor Snyder is traveling the country to tell the remarkable Michigan comeback story. The country can learn from the historic reinvention of Michigan and the governor is helping change the perception of the state nationally.”

Agen went on to say that “the feedback to Gov[ernor] Snyder at the RJC was excellent and created a lot of buzz. The governor indicated that he’s watching the presidential race closely and hoping a common sense problem solver emerges, but he has not made any decisions about entering the field at this time.”

A Republican consultant familiar with Michigan politics told the Guardian: “If he does run for president, Snyder has a record with serious appeal. He’s an effective governor and excellent campaigner.”

The operative pointed to Snyder’s 2010 win in a crowded primary field as proof of the appeal of a man not known for his charisma…

It’s possible that Snyder has no intention to run. Maybe he just enjoys having people write about him in the national press, wondering whether or not he might throw his “tough nerd” hat into the ring. And, why not? What have you got to lose if you’re Rick Snyder? It’s nice to be fawned over. And it doesn’t cost much to travel around the United States and flirt with rich Republicans, making their old mouths water as you tell them how you crippled unions, built more for-profit charter schools than any other governor, and passed some of the most restrictive reproductive health care laws in the country. “If I could pass right-to-work in the state where unions were born,” I can imagine him saying, “just think of what I could do as President.”

Personally, I think that he wants to run. I think he’d like the adulation, and the prospect of people referring to him as “the savior of Michigan,” even if that wouldn’t be the least bit accurate. With that said, though, I think there are two big things standing in his way. First, I don’t get the sense that his wife is the kind of person who would want to be out there, shaking hands on the campaign trail, which is kind of expected these days. And, second, I don’t think he probably has the stomach for it. I just can’t see him accepting the level of scrutiny that comes along with a serious presidential bid… It’s one thing to have a few Detroit Free Press reporters calling on your former Gateway employees, and asking about the outsourcing of jobs to China. It’s another, though, to have the New York Times and Washington Post up your ass 24/7, questioning every decision you’ve ever made… Furthermore, I can’t picture him willingly walking out onto a stage to debate the finer points of foreign policy. [Do you remember how hard he fought to keep from debating during his gubernatorial races?]

With all of that said, though, I think that he might actually do it. Aside from the fact that Michigan is an abysmal mess, he’s well positioned for it. [Today’s Washington Post refers to him both as an “anti-politician,” and “a former businessman who plays by unusual rules”, which, one would think, would poll extremely well with the Republican electorate.] And I can see how big donors like the Koch brothers might gravitate toward him, given that he was able to pass so-called “right to work” legislation in Michigan, where others, like Scott Walker, had failed. [Snyder did more to further the conservative agenda as a faux-moderate, than even the party’s most radical operatives.] I hate to say it, but I think that he could be the perfect Republican stealth candidate. While I’m sure that the men who fund the Republican party would rather have an ideologue in office, I think they know that a Tea Party candidate won’t win the general election. And, given that, I can see them embracing a man like Snyder who, although he calls himself a moderate, is easily led and willing to do what he has to in order to get tax cuts passed for the wealthy, which is what truly motivates him. Sure, there’s the issue of him not having any charisma, but maybe they can get people to accept it as part of the “tough nerd” package. And, with enough money, they can work miracles. [I can picture the Kid Rock video announcing the campaign now.]

Here’s the bottom line. If he runs, and if he can raise enough money to stay competitive, I think it could come down to him and Jeb Bush, and, at that point, I think that he’ll probably try to strike a deal to become VP, which is probably what he’s really after. It’ll get him in the White House without subjecting him and his family to too much scrutiny, and it’ll put him in position to run at a later date, if he chooses to.

God help us.

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10 Comments

  1. Kim
    Posted April 27, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Are we still at the very bottom of states when it comes to job creation, despite Right to Work and the cutting of business taxes?

  2. Meta
    Posted April 27, 2015 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Snyder didn’t merely address the RJC. He ate dinner at the home of Sheldon Adelson the night before.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2015/04/25/michigan-gov-rick-snyder-hints-at-presidential-bid/

  3. Tony
    Posted April 27, 2015 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    I’m sorry but Snyder is socially moderate?

  4. Mr. X
    Posted April 27, 2015 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Consensus seems to be that he doesn’t care one way or the other on social issues. He’s proven again and again that he’ll do what’s politically expedient in order to shift the tax burden from the wealthy to the working class, without taking a personal stand. He won’t, in other words, come out like others and say that homosexuals are abnormal, but he’ll still pass the same laws against them. It’s the best of both worlds. He gets to call himself a social moderate while still signing the same laws that he would if he hated gays.

  5. Dylan
    Posted April 27, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Politics aside, I truly do not think Rick Snyder is presidential material. He’s easily the least charismatic in a growing pool of candidates. A nasally slouching dweeb doesn’t stand a chance in 2015. Besides, there is no way he will have any superficial appeal to the substantial base of Republicans who maintain a tendency toward the least intellectually oriented candidates.

  6. Lynne
    Posted April 27, 2015 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know. I think that if given a choice between Hillary Clinton and well, ANYONE including Rick Snyder, the rabid GOP base will vote for that person. The real question is if Snyder is conservative and/or charismatic enough to appeal to the primary voters, who generally tend towards the extremes.

  7. XXX
    Posted April 27, 2015 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    The darlings of the Republican primary season rarely advance. That’s why we get people like Romney.

  8. Aruna Fonseka
    Posted April 27, 2015 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Am I the only one who sees this as him doing Jeb a huge solid by taking the union busting air out of Walker’s sails?

  9. Bob Krzewinski
    Posted April 27, 2015 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Mark – According to a recent issue of Time magazine, you have it ALL wrong about the Koch brothers. Time writes … “Some also know them for their activism in the political realm. All of these are important contributions to society. What is underappreciated is their passion for freedom and their commitment to ideas. Unlike many crony capitalists who troll the halls of Congress looking for favors, the Kochs have consistently lobbied against special-interest politics.”

    And if you can believe that bullshit, Time goes on to state “For decades they have funded institutes that promote ideas, not politics, such as Cato and the Mercatus Center. They have always stood for freedom, equality and opportunity. Consistent with their love of liberty, they have become prominent advocates for criminal-justice reform. The Koch brothers’ investment in freedom-loving think tanks will carry on for generations, reminding all of us that ideas and convictions ultimately trump all else.”

    Here is the link to Time’s unbiased, deeply researched “journalism” – http://time.com/3822767/charles-koch-david-koch-2015-time-100/

  10. TaterSalad
    Posted April 27, 2015 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    The Clintons are a malignant tumor on the body politic. They have a history of doing anything for money and when it comes to their personal bank accounts, there’s apparently never enough zeroes.

    http://www.independentsentinel.com/chart-o-the-day-how-the-clinton-global-initiative-used-its-funds-during-hillarys-tenure-at-state/

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