Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tim Melton: A man without a party

There was a lot of buzz amongst the Michigan political chattering class Tuesday when Democrat Tim Melton announced he was resigning as a member of the House of Representatives to take an out-of-state lobbyist job.

The storyline that’s garnering most of the attention is that Melton’s departure is a result of term limits (he’s in his third and final two-year term).

While that’s one explanation — and it does have some merit — the more likely storyline in the case of Melton is something completely different.

Melton, who has been described as a moderate Democrat by some despite a liberal voting record, simply doesn’t have a home in today’s Democratic Party.

The mainstream media routinely run stories on some Republican-in-name-only who supposedly left the party because of its conservative inclinations yet the same reporters seldom talk about the Democrats who no longer have a party. (Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, included.)

Today’s Democrats are considerably to the left of Melton and Andy Dillon, the current state treasurer who, as speaker of the House, was a political ally of Melton.

Melton likely did the political math and realized there wasn’t much of an opening for him in today’s political landscape.

With Republicans controlling the governor’s mansion and both houses of the Legislature, the Democrats remaining in town are considerably more leftist than liberals Melton and Dillon.

You could  even call these gentlemen Democrats-in-name-only, though it cannot be emphasized enough that they are by no means conservative.

Sure there was talk Melton was going to run for Congress, but the leftist grassroots of today’s Democratic Party weren’t too enthused about that prospect.

Opining on Melton’s resignation, one leftist blogger said: “It’s one thing to have ideological diversity within a party; it’s entirely another for someone to show barely veiled contempt for some of the key platforms of your party and its constituents.”

I must confess that as a conservative Republican, it’s always nice to watch a Democratic civil war, but in a way it’s sad.

Despite being endorsed in past campaigns by the usual suspects, Melton is a lone voice for sensibility in an increasingly socialist political party.

Such trends will surely help Republicans, though this partisan advantage comes with a cost to good governance. 

Melton’s replacement will surely be as leftist and big-government as they come, which won’t help the struggling community of Pontiac.

And in the end, it’s his soon-to-be former constituents who will suffer.

— Dennis Lennox

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