Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?
At Least One Grassroots Organization Is Through Messing Around
By Kevin Rex Heine, Section News
First off, let me remind all of my readers that the very fact that 2013-HB-4111 is still sitting on the Senate Schedule means that Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville can call it up for a vote the second he thinks that the grassroots aren't looking (assuming that he has the whip count necessary to ensure passage). So we need to keep the pressure on our state senators (by all lawful means, including face-to-face discussion when possible) until this Trojan Horse is at least referred to a committee. However, we also need to keep in mind that the progressives aren't stupid, and will take advantage of our focus to accomplish other things while we're not watching "the other hand," and so in addition to raising a royal stink about the alleged party of smaller government caving to the single biggest expansion of federal government intrusion in our lifetimes, we must keep our other eye on everything else that's going on in Lansing while we're at it.
You may remember me mentioning a couple of weeks ago that the grassroots are just a tad ticked at 29 "republican" squishies who caved on House Roll Call 11 and brought this state one step closer to what is perhaps the single biggest government intrusion into private lives that I can recall in my lifetime. While I'm not going to go into too many technical details here, I will say that one particular organization isn't screwing around.
A week and some change ago I was in on a conference call with iCaucus leadership, both National and Michigan. The topic was what iCaucus Michigan was going to do about a certain endorsed representative who'd gone off the reservation and voted to enable the "ObamaCare Partnership Exchange." What the state leadership found most odious was that this representative had voted "yes" even after multiple discussions regarding the reasons that he should vote "no." As I said at the time, chief among the issues that actually unites the vast statewide grassroots network is the federal takeover of the American economy known as ObamaCare. The NFIB v. Sebelius decision made it clear that the several states have the individual authority to nullify the PPACA within their own borders. Voting "no" was the expectation of even the rank-and-file establishment Republicans.
When the phone conference started, every option that I'd mentioned two weeks ago was initially on the table. As the discussion progressed, I convinced the leadership that a recall campaign was a really bad idea, as that would waste resources better reserved for a primary campaign. (The primary campaign option, by the way, is still on the table.) It also came out during the discussion that House Roll Call # 11 is this guy's only truly bad vote so far, though he probably couldn't have picked a worse time to make his first mistake.
Nevertheless, iCaucus National leadership was pretty clear that something needed to be done. Here's a hint to all iCaucus endorsees going forward: When Cheyenne gets wind of your mistake before state leadership has the opportunity to brief them, your ass is officially in the stewpot.
The timestamp on the e-mail that showed up in my inbox this morning was: "Monday, March 18, 2013 @ 3:41 AM"; the subject was: "iCaucus Michigan - 2012 Endorsed Candidate News - March 17, 2013." The text of the letter is available at this link, but I'll include a few key excerpts in my commentary (emphasis in original in all instances):
Mere words cannot display our shock and utter disappointment in the action taken by our Representatives, but in particular, Representative VerHeulen. His vote to fund the set-up of the exchange is in direct opposition to iCaucus stated principles (particularly in regards to the State Sovereignty) and in our specifically stated opposition to assisting, in any way, the current Administration's desire, at both the state and federal levels, to implement this overreaching unfunded liability sent to us by the federal government in the legislation popularly known as "ObamaCare."
Rob VerHeulen (R-74, Walker) was fully aware of the principles he was expected to uphold regarding State Sovereignty against federal overreach of any kind. At least three different members of iCaucus Michigan leadership reached out to him during the run-up to the floor vote on 2013-HB-4111 to remind him of these principles. I know that at least one member of the state leadership spoke with him directly on the day of the vote.
To that end, and as outlined in our iCaucus National Charter, we the members of iCaucus Michigan do hereby reprimand Representative VerHeulen and place him on One Year Probation (effective 28 Feb 2013). iCaucus rules do not allow for us to pull an endorsement of a newly elected representative until after the first 6 months of his term have expired and/or enough votes have been cast by the Representative. This rule is in place so that a pattern of voting can be established and a fair assessment can be made before implementing our most severe sanction.
Had this vote happened after July 1st, then more severe sanctions would have been available. Because of the nature of how the iCaucus National Charter handles probation, more severe sanctions are available going forward. As I said, a primary challenger to VerHeulen has already been recruited, and the same campaign organization that leveraged VerHeulen's primary win last year is now being reorganized to ensure his primary defeat next year.
Also in accordance with stated iCaucus National rules... we invite Representative VerHeulen to post an explanation for his vote so that it will be a matter of permanent record and so that he might have opportunity to persuade the membership that his actions are unworthy of the sanctions now established. Further, we will be reviewing the records of all iCaucus Michigan endorsed candidates (whether from the 2010 or the 2012 cycle), whether at the federal, state, or local level, to determine if their conduct in office also warrants similar disciplinary action.
I am really curious as to what Rep. VerHeulen's defense might be for his "yes" vote, and whether or not he's going to have the stones to deliver that defense at tonight's Kent GOP Executive Committee meeting. As a member of that committee, I plan on being in attendance, and I'd love to hear what he has to say for himself.
But this reprimand also casts a warning that ought to make at least 17 other people (note the names mentioned in the tags) take a hard look in the mirror, even if they're pretty sure that they've not done anything wrong. That VerHeulen's screw up has motivated iCaucus Michigan to go roto-rooter on the records of all 18 people that have been endorsed since 2010, and are still in office, ought to have at least two of them more than a little nervous, as their records open them up to considerably more severe sanction than a mere reprimand-and-probation letter . . . the term "benched" comes to mind.
How this ultimately plays out between now and May of 2014, whether in the context of a specific primary campaign or in the larger picture of a general grassroots uprising, is an open question I suppose. I do think, though, that we can consider this yet another opening salvo of the larger backlash that's coming.
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