Michigan Rising’s effort to recall Gov. Rick Snyder moves ahead despite friendly fire from detractors

After reading a number of disparaging comments on the Facebook page of First Shift with Tony Trupiano, aimed at the organizers of Michigan Rising (formerly known as the Committee to Recall Rick Snyder, CRRS), I thought it would be a good idea to dig deeper and sort out truth from fiction.

I have a piece up today at A2Politico titled “Michigan Rising: Aiming to Recall Snyder—While Disgruntled Former Volunteers Target Michigan Rising” that is the result of my inquiries.

In the process of preparing the article, I met with most of the core organizing committee for Michigan Rising. I spoke with folks from Daily Kos and Fieldworks who helped them in the latter stages of the first recall effort. I spoke with former CRRS spokesperson Tim Kramer who was let go from his position last summer and I reached out (unsuccessfully) with some of Michigan Rising’s detractors.

What I found was that, as is typical of any large scale grassroots organizing effort, there are some people who felt the effort was not being run properly. Many of these people put in long hours and lots of hard work and, understandably, came away disappointed. In some cases, people felt they were lied to or treated shabbily, and some of these people are now taking to the internet to undermine the organizers, particularly CEO Julius Muller and Public Committee Chairperson Marty Townsend.

However, I found nothing unethical, illegal or out of the ordinary on the part of Muller and Townsend or any of the other organizers.

What I did find is a rejuvenated recall team. They have spent the past few months preparing training materials and strategic plans for the second recall attempt and are now working to raise funds for the new recall attempt.

Here is a snippet from my piece and I encourage you click through to read the rest and share it widely.

Michigan Rising’s detractors claim to be part of a large number of unhappy former volunteers. The facts suggest otherwise. While their complaints about being treated poorly may be valid, none of their accusations center around anything illegal or unethical. The worst offense one can accuse Muller and Townsend of is being novices and, perhaps, of having somewhat poor management skills.

These disgruntled former volunteers frequently talk about their passion during the recall and how hard they worked. Given what they put into the effort, an effort that was ultimately unsuccessful, it’s understandable why they feel as they do. What is unfortunate is that they are now seeking to discredit and, arguably, derail a second recall attempt.

Before my meeting with the Michigan Rising organizers ended, I asked them why they were doing this again. Why, with the odds stacked against them and a small group of former allies who seem determined to undermine them, would they willingly do this again? Muller has since left Michigan because of the economy, but remains committed to recalling Snyder. He puts it this way: “My experience in South Africa showed me what can happen when those in power disenfranchise their citizens. Governor Snyder and the Republicans have done more damage to Michigan in one year than has been done in the past 60 years. Anyone with an interest in Michigan knows we can not afford to wait. There is no time to waste.” […]

The name Michigan Rising may turn out to be a very aptly-chosen moniker. Muller, Townsend and the other core team of organizers are clearly much better positioned this time around than they were last summer. They have a clear strategy, have developed comprehensive training materials and are diligently working to raise funds. They appear poised to rise again—this time armed with knowledge and experience that will aid their endeavor.

I will be supporting Michigan Rising as their recall effort moves forward and encourage you to do the same.

Cross-posted from Eclectablog.

I am a chemist by day and progressive liberal blogger by very early morning and very late night. I live just outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan with my lovely and talented photographer wife, Anne C. Savage. I am a vegetarian and an avid organic gardener who loves to cook. I'm heavily involved in county-level Democratic Party activities and am on the Washtenaw County Democratic Party Executive Board as co-vice chair for precinct organizing.
Chris Savage (aka Eclectablog)
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  1. “…having somewhat poor management skills.”

    This much was apparent to me from the very first time I visited the CRRS website. The concerns that were expressed there, the priorities enumerated (including voter registration!! — utterly irrelevant to the task at hand), the desire to exercise rigid top-down control over a weakly-funded effort that could succeed, if at all, only with a great degree of local autonomy — all argued that an effort led by these folks was doomed to failure.

    They should have spent last year in preparation — building a state-wide coalition, trying to coax reluctant allies to sign on, sharing, or ceding, leadership roles if necessary, and fundraising, fundraising, fundraising. That may sound like Monday-morning quarterbacking, except that I was saying the same thing last March. For expressing some of these concerns at dailykos, I was more-or-less called a quisling by some of the enthusiasts there.

    I participated in the effort, against my better judgment, to the extent of gathering several hundred signatures. Most of these did not even count when the committee ‘shifted the window’. Since the MDP did not endorse the effort, those of us who are Democrats participated entirely outside of party channels.

    Mark Brewer simply disagrees with recalls for reasons of policy disagreements. He thinks they should be reserved for removing someone who misbehaves in office (I’m not exactly certain what his standard is, but I think I’m close). So it appears that MDP will still not be participating. Will the committee have any luck getting other elements of the progressive coalition to sign on?

    Now, you tell me that they are “rejuvenated” and “much better positioned”. The relevant question is, what have they learned?

    I really hate being negative. 90% of the time I’m not. This is one of those times I gotta call it as I see it.

  2. Michigan Rising is focusing on fundraising and signing up volunteers. The almost 500,000 signatures gathered in the first effort will be put in a database and I’m confident that we can get the people that signed the first petition to sign the second.

    The success in Wisconsin recalling Scott Walker will do nothing but be a huge boost for the effort in Michigan.

    If anything, things have gotten worse since the first effort ended. Snyder’s approval rating is 19%, the worst in the country, below Scott Walker.

    Instead of being a negative Nelly, get off your butt and help change Michigan for the better by getting rid of our totally inept governor.

  3. Mark Miller says:

    One of the reasons I spent some of those beautiful afternoons in late May and early June last year collecting signatures was so that nobody could say things like “get off your butt” to me when we discussed it in the aftermath.

    Guess that didn’t work out too well.

  4. I think you are giving up too easy, Mark. Recalling a governor is even harder than you seem to think.

    Just because the first effort didn’t hit the signatures needed doesn’t mean it was a failure. Getting almost 500,000 signatures only $40,000 is quite an accomplishment.

    Do you think Republicans might be counting on people saying things like what you are saying and trying to keep people from being involved with a second effort?

  5. Mark Miller says:

    If I start to swim from Florida to Cuba, and drown after I’ve swum 5/8ths of the distance, it may be quite an accomplishment, but it still counts as a failure.

    “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” –Luke 14:28

    No, recalling a governor is not harder than I seem to think; it is exactly as hard as I think. I analyzed the situation, publicly, last March as we were all first talking about this. Later, Mark Grebner posted at ML a more quantitative analysis which agreed with what I was saying. As I mention above, I was castigated at dkos for what I was saying, but the bottom line is, I was right.

    And now, I am not saying (yet) that this new effort won’t work, or that I won’t participate. I’m asking a question — what have they learned? What is the budget? What is the timeline? How many paid canvassers? Go back and read Grebner’s articles. The problem is not the NUMBER of signatures required; it is the PROPORTION required, and the different tactics required to reach that proportion.

    Maybe the organizers don’t want to share these details. That is their right. But you cannot say that I have not earned the right to be skeptical.

    As far as your last statement, that’s the “Clap harder for Tinkerbelle” line. I don’t think the Republicans care a whit what we do, until we bring it. And I don’t think anyone is going to let a few words from me in a blog comment stop them from doing what is in their heart. I just want to stay reality-based.

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