What a letdown.
My old pal Leon Drolet swore there would be recalls by the dozens thanks to boatloads of cash and a groundswell of popular support. But the GOP former legislator has only mustered one real effort against House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford Township.
And how much has the Michigan Recalls Organization raised in Dillon’s 17th District?
A whopping $5, which can buy you a Whopper value meal at Burger King, as long as you don’t get all greedy and king-size it. I should note that since campaign finance reports were filed through April 20, the group claims to have raised a full $75 more.
Even Drolet - whose best friend is a giant foam pig named Mr. Perks - admits in his lucid moments that a taxpayer rebellion this isn’t.
But no matter - he’s got a good chance of pulling the recall off anyway.
This would, of course, be devastating for the state, as even Republicans know Dillon is hardly the symbol of all that is wrong in Lansing. He was the voice of centrist sanity last year while the state faced a $2 billion shortfall and is the architect of the only notable economic program passed in recent years, the 21st Century Jobs Fund.
If all legislators had Dillon’s intellect, conscience and wit, the state would be in far better shape, even in this era of cowardice and crippling term limits.
Drolet’s henchwoman, Rose Bogaert, fired off a grammatically challenged e-mail to me weeks ago whining that Dillon is personally responsible for the tax hike, which costs the average family $200 a year. That’s about a month or two’s worth of gas price increases, but I don’t see Bogaert protesting OPEC.
Learn to keep a budget like the rest of us, sister. And what were you doing to help save Michigan while it burned last year? Andy Dillon was so sleep-deprived and anxiety-ridden that he dropped 15 pounds in September living off protein shakes.
It’s out of sheer ego that Drolet is hell-bent on “making history” to recall the first sitting speaker of the House. Anyone who thinks Leon, himself a victim of term limits, is content as a mere Macomb County commissioner (which evidently ain’t a time-consuming job) probably believes Mr. Perks is a real porker, too.
No, with Leon, it’s all about headlines (send me a thank-you card later) and what he wants to be when he grows up - be it a congressman or a professional anti-tax warrior with any one of the whacked-out groups in Washington.
So thanks to some wealthy, misguided donors, Drolet amassed $103,000 to boot Dillon.
It’s eerily reminiscent of plutocrats who fueled U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg’s bid in 2006, thanks to the shadowy Club for Growth lobby. It was a trip to call up his donors in the posh enclaves of Andover, Mass., and Santa Monica, Calif., and ask what they knew about Walberg, R-Tipton. None of them, of course, could pick the good reverend out of a police lineup.
Yep, that’s democracy at work.
But on Thursday, Drolet’s group turned more than 15,000 signatures, far more than the 8,427 required to put a recall on the Aug. 5 ballot. The fact that the recallers reportedly had to pay $10 a signature to job-starved, out-of-district circulators and lie that petitions would stop a 12-percent gas tax hike (which was caught on tape) once again shows the deafening clamor to dump Dillon.
Drolet’s made a lot of noise about Michigan Democratic Party “thugs” hired as petition blockers, ignoring the fact that his hired guns aren’t exactly pure as the driven snow. The Pigman has even convinced a couple naïve TV stations there’s something fishy about state employees volunteering after hours to help Dillon in the “war zone,” as Drolet calls it, when that’s standard fare during election season.
And while Drolet makes me chuckle every time he calls with more recall and anti-tax propaganda, his over-the-top metaphors comparing a chief Dillon ally to Bull Connor and raising taxes to rape makes my stomach turn.
Where we go from here depends on voters. Dillon has more than $600,000 in the bank, which will help, but groups like Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform are waiting in the wings to fill Drolet’s coffers.
Sure, the Dems will fight the petitions in court but they’ll lose, just as they did with the blatantly fraudulent anti-affirmative action ballot measure in 2006 (another Leon Drolet production). Michigan law is notoriously inept in this regard.
Dillon can beat the recall flat-out if his supporters turn out, not just the angry mob. If he loses, he can turn around and run for reelection again in November and only be out for a few months.
If either happens, Leon will forever go down as a Lansing punchline. But at least nobody’s started their own revolt to recall him - yet.