'Bully' Or 'Bipartisan?' Pundits Dish On Whitmer's 1st SOTS

Editors' Note: MIRS asked political pundits to share their reaction to Governor Whitmer's first State of the State address.

"Bipartisan" was a word used by at least two political observers to describe Gov. Gretchen WHITMER's performance in her first State of the State (SOTS) address tonight.

Yet, the Governor was also described as coming "off as a bully at times" and criticized for delivering "every platitude she could find" by two GOP consultants. Whitmer, according to Vanguard Public Affairs' Jen EYER, "hit the most pressing issues facing our state -- clean water, education, roads -- and was clearly looking for bipartisan support." In addition to providing "real bipartisan policy," Grassroots Midwest's Adrian HEMOND said Whitmer also "threw partisan red meat" as well as "a little humor and substantial charisma in equal measure" in her speech. "She was just as disciplined and on message as she was on the campaign trail, but she showed us something new tonight: she was comfortable, confident and in command," Hemond said. Yet, Stu SANDLER of Grand River Strategies said the Governor "used every platitude she could find to hide the fact she has no idea what she is going to do to try and solve the problems facing Michiganders. "We aren’t going to fix potholes with social media tweets," Sandler said, referring to Whitmer urging the public to use the hashtag #FTDR – an acronym for her "Fix The Damn Roads" line – to document potholes and vehicle damage. And GOP consultant Dennis LENNOX said that compared to former Gov. Rick SNYDER's way of referring to the Legislature as his partners, Whitmer "did come off as a bully at times -- particularly with her body language at the rostrum and her direct threat to veto bills with an appropriation that prevents a referendum. "Apparently, she forgot that Michigan is a tripartite republic with the Legislature as the first branch of government," Lennox said.


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