What label do we put on a world leader who travels the globe vacillating between apologizing for the poor behavior of his constituents to being reminded that those same constituents were responsible for saving the world from some of the worst tyrannical despots who ever lived given the modern age with modern weapons and modern transportation.
Within 72 hours he stroked the very people whose forebears were responsible for the Holocaust while at the same time ignoring the results of those actions still being felt by present day Israelis and nearly simultaneously stroked those who are still trying to destroy them.
I just can't help wondering if anything he witnesses at Normandy Beach or talking with Elie Wiesel is enough for him to feel somewhat humble in their presence and enough for him to tell Michelle that perhaps there is something more to be proud of in our American heritage than just electing a minority President.
Oh, well--guess we'll never know.
SO LET'S GET BACK TO MICHIGAN BUSINESS!!
First, let's play a little catch up and breathe a sigh of relief that Cameron Brown wasn't avoiding us, just a mix-up in communications. So we'll post his answers to the first two questions and then do a comparative on #3.
Brown's priority on the duties: For many Michigan residents, their interaction is limited to renewing their driver's or boat license at the local branch office. Continuing the outstanding efforts of Candice Miller and Terri Lynn Land improving customer service and capitalizing on new technologies will be among my top priorities. However, we have the tremendous responsibility of protecting one of our most sacred rights - the right to vote. The elections of 2008 are a reminder to see that this right is constantly at risk from groups like ACORN who would bend, if not break, election law if not for strong, vigilant secretaries of state. Protecting our state and nation's "one person, one vote" will be my top priority as your next Secretary of State.
And #2 on his experience allowing him to do better or revamp present practices: Our next Secretary of State is lucky - the groundwork has been laid by two outstanding secretaries in Candice Miller and Terri Lynn Land. I will build upon their accomplishments in customer service, technology and overseeing fair elections.
Now let's get all three answers to a pretty heavy question: IS THE SOS BUDGET PRETTY MUCH CAST IN STONE OR WOULD YOU ANTICIPATE CHANGES IN AREAS OF EMPHASIS?
(We'll go last name alphabetically.)
Sen. Brown: Having served on the Appropriations committees in both the House and Senate throughout my time in the legislature, I have a detailed knowledge of our state budget. Every budget has programs and line items that can be adjusted. My top priorities for the department budget will be branch office customer service (including technology advancements that make transactions easier for customers) and election management. In addition to the most efficient branch office experience possible, Michigan residents rightfully expect that their Department of State will defend the integrity of our elections.
Sen. McManus: In these challenging budget times, departments and agencies throughout state government are looking at all options to reduce their operating expenses. Difficult choices are facing all of us as we struggle to balance Michigan's budget. As Michigan's next Secretary of State, I am committed to ensuring all Michigan residents receive efficient, high-quality customer service from the Secretary of State's office. (Ed: In general conversation I remember that McManus has served on Appropriations which she said gives her a good background on working with budgets and costing.)
Clerk Norlander: I will bring a creative, dynamic and fiscally responsible agenda to the Secretary of State's office. I want to take customer service to an even higher level by applying innovative concepts. For example, I will explore the possibility of offering multi-year vehicle registrations. That would eliminate the need for annual renewals saving time for both customers and department employees (time is money.)
I will champion needed reforms to our campaign finance laws and the way in which they are enforced. Our laws do little if they are not enforced in a timely, meaningful way. That's why I will promote greater transparency in campaign spending and work to rededicate greater resources within the Secretary of State's office so that campaign finance complaints are addressed in a timely manner. I look forward to applying the same principles at the state level as those which brought improvements to Calhoun County. And I will want to hear your thoughts as well. Together we'll make sure your needs are met.
So there we have a third of the serious questions under our belts. I just can't help putting the right to vote, which is such a major part of the SOS race, with the reminders of D-Day without which we may not even have this kind of right and responsibility.