State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing) announced recently that she was running for Michigan attorney general. I can't comment on her tan or her readiness, but after eight years of doing nothing in the legislature, she should certainly be well-rested.
Using the state's legislature website, I searched records going back to 2001, Whitmer's first year in the House. I examined every bill for which she was the primary sponsor. In the House and Senate to date, Whitmer has sponsored 128 bills. Of these, a grand total of 3 made it to a vote, and 2 were passed. The third was defeated 81-22 in the House. She has not had a single bill make it to a vote since June 29, 2005.
If you're keeping score at home, that's 2 passed bills out of 128 attempts, which is a .015 batting average, enough to make Hank Aguirre blush.
So, there's no substantial accomplishment as a legislator in terms of quantity. But is the quality there? Has her legislation been of such monumental importance that we can forgive its infrequency?
In the words of Ted Kennedy, "Ah, no."
Whitmer's first legislative triumph was in 2004, when she sponsored HB 4703. From the Floor Analysis of the bill:
The bill would amend the Public Health Code to increase construction permit and license fees for campgrounds and public swimming pools. It also would create the "Campground Fund" and the "Swimming Pool Fund". (Punctuation in original).So, a tax increase. Oh, excuse me -- a fee increase.
The following year, still recovering from the heady success of soaking Michigan's campground and swimming pool operators, Whitmer sponsored HB 4405. From the Floor Analysis of this bill:
The bill would amend the Public Health Code to eliminate the authority of a disciplinary subcommittee to impose sanctions against a pharmacist for employing the mail to sell, distribute, or deliver a drug that requires a prescription when the prescription for the drug is received by mail.In other words, the bill permitted a pharmacist to mail out prescribed drugs when the prescription was received by mail.
Wow. That bill ranks right up there with the Declaration of Independence and the Magna Charta.
Two bills in four years! Raising taxes, er, fees, and letting pharmacists mail out prescriptions in certain cases -- woo hoo! Such success would certainly motivate a person to continue the trend, right?
Since June of 2005, Whitmer hasn't gotten a single bill to a vote. 70 bills in a row, referred to committee, never to be heard from again. Oh-for-seventy. An average of .000. If the 2008 Detroit Lions were a legislator, they would be Gretchen Whitmer.
And now she wants to be attorney general. Announcing her candidacy, Whitmer said, "Michigan families work hard and play by the rules. We need an attorney general who puts people first."
How about an attorney general who works hard, has a record of leadership and good judgment, and has demonstrated the ability to get things done? How about an attorney general with some experience in law enforcement or the courtroom?
We don't need someone who simply occupies space waiting for the next electoral opportunity -- we need someone who gets things done. By that standard and almost every imaginable standard, Whitmer fails.
As my kids would say, epic fail.