TIM SKUBICK: Let Rick Snyder be Rick Snyder

Those who call for governor to add a little ‘swagger’ don’t know who’s in office

Governors get advice all the time. It’s the nature of the beast. Some of it, they pay for, usually at election time. Once in office, they pay for internal polls to decide where the ship of state should be pointed. And they surround themselves with an inner circle of trusted advisers who are paid to slice and dice everything he or she wants to do to help avoid any pratfalls.

Moments after winning the 2010 gubernatorial election, Gov.-elect Rick Snyder speaks.

Governors also get tons of free-advice, most of it unsolicited, most of it not worth the paper it is written on. But if you are out in public and the public wants to bend you ear, your paid advisers suggest you listen.

Gov. Rick Snyder, the self-professed non-career politician, is smart enough to know that he needs advice. But he’s self-confident enough to believe in the end, it’s his call.

Example: Advisers tell him a pension tax on seniors will never fly. It flew because he said it was the right thing to do.

The governor has done internal polling and during the very tenuous mating dance with reluctant Detroit partners, the governor knew his approach to eradicating the interminable city deficit was resonating with local residents. Even though a vocal minority wanted to run him out of town on a rail.

In recent days some have suggested that the governor needs to add a little “swagger” to his walk. The head of the Detroit Chamber told the Detroit News, the governor has “got to toot his own horn.” And an editorial writer chimed in, “His reluctance to thump the drum allows his noisy opponents to control the narrative.”

In other words, Mr. Snyder needs to “brag” and engage in a little “self-aggrandizing that (is) essential to success in politics.”

No one was with the governor when he read all this free advice, but if you know anything about this guy, the “wisdom” lacks a fundamental understanding of who he really is.

“It’s not about me,” he repeats. “It’s about us,” he goes on. “It’s not about credit or blame” either.

The capitol press corps would love it if he broke out of that monotonous Relentless Positive Action stitch (sp) and said something different for a change. But don’t hold your breath.

Let Rick be Rick, seems to have worked quite well for him to date. The economy is on a roll, although he’s hard pressed to take full credit for that; his positive numbers are climbing back, but he does not live and breath by that.

Heck, if you wanted to tweak him, you would not start with swagger, you’d start with his speaking skills. It’s tough to fake swagger if you can’t capture an audience’s attention.

You’d start by teaching him how to use a tele-prompter; get some speech lessons, and try to lower his “distinct” voice.

But he has done none of that because he knows who he is and he won because of that. He can’t be somebody he isn’t. If voters wanted a glib guy filled with political moxie and over the top swagger, they would have picked that Angry Mayor guy instead.

Nope, Mr. Snyder is his own best council on all this. Be who you are, do what you think is right, stay away from saying anything nasty about anybody and do the best you can. And always have a Plan B, if Plan A doesn’t pan out.

The last thing he wants to be as a career politician, and if he suddenly were to change his style, he’d be accused of being just that. As a former president once said, “Not goin’ happen.”

 

Tim Skubick is Michigan’s Senior Capitol correspondent and has anchored the weekly public TV series Off the Record since 1972. He also covers the Capitol and politics for WLNSTV6 in Lansing.

Leave a Reply