Mara MacDonald: GOP gathers at Mackinac

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter


It's supposed to be the Michigan GOP's weekend to rally the troops. This year a good portion of those troops are unhappy.

As I sit on the porch of the Grand Hotel writing this, the whispered (and not so whispered) conversations are about anger over Medicaid expansion.

There is nothing MIGOP conservatives or Tea Party types loathe more than Obamacare and this expansion.

MORE: Mich. Gov. Snyder all but declares re-election bid.

They view it as a betrayal by Governor Rick Snyder that he championed it and signed it. Now it's about fallout, and the questions surround how many GOP senators and house members will face primary challengers over this vote. Already, a challenge is on record to Lt. Governor Brian Calley. Tea Party members are going to attempt to kick him off the ticket when the state convention comes around.

With this as the undercurrent, high ranking party members like Attorney General Bill Schuette are playing to the base. At a breakfast this morning Schuette reaffirmed his opposition to gay marriage and promised he would fight against it.

Potential GOP presidential hopefuls are on the island as well, along with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. The biggest buzz is over Senator Rand Paul. A straw poll gets underway at noon on Saturday. Usually the straw poll is only about presidential hopefuls. This year conference attendees are being asked to vote on who they'd prefer as Lieutenant Governor and those results while surely not representative or scientific ought to be interesting. It's a sign of internal discontent that the question is even being asked.

Gov't shutdown splits possible 2016 GOP contenders:

Sen. Ted Cruz says he will oppose the health care overhaul even if it means shutting down segments of the federal government. But former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush warns that such an approach is "quite dicey" politically.
A clear divide over the health care law separates the emerging field of potential Republican presidential candidates. And it offers a preview of the battle Republicans nationwide will fight in their effort to build the party and win back the White House. On one side of the health care debate are Florida's Sen. Marco Rubio and others who say they are standing on principle.
On the other side are Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and others taking what they call a pragmatic approach by accepting the law and moving on.

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.