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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Getting It All Wrong

  Getting It All Wrong
       With all due respect to the national media folks who reported on the ill fated re-do of the Michigan democratic presidential primary, what mail-order journalism school did you all attend?
       Dateline Washington D.C. March 14th…the nation is awash in the "news" that Michigan had a "deal" to re-vote the contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
       To the casual reader, listener or viewer that obviously meant Michigan voters would be voting again.
       The "deal" was between four top state democrats who, with some input from both campaigns, hatched a 38-page bill to recreate the primary.  The problem was The Big Four of Carl Levin, Debbie Dingell, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick and Ron Gettlefinger could not unilaterally order anything.  They needed the legislature to ratify the agreement but nobody at the national level seemed to grasp the gravity of that.
        Rep. Matt Gillard, a democrat from Alpena, remembers watching CNN and being told what he was going to be doing the next week.
        "These guys got it wrong," he laughed.
        It was not the only thing they got wrong.
        Senator Cameron Brown, a republican from West Michigan, had nothing to do with the re-do debate but he was smart enough to issue a press release anyway that found its way into the CNN newsroom.
        He was promptly interviewed by a young lady.  By this time the re-do was dead but she asked Brown, "Now you are voting on this today?"
        Now there is a certain and understandable arrogance among national media types…after all they drag down a ton of bucks, they sop up lots of face time on the tube, and they give the illusion they know it all.
        But their performance was equal to a first year reporter who wanted to get the story right but didn't know how to do it.
        All it required was a phone call to somebody on the ground in Michigan, and the big guys would have looked great instead of totally inept.


Blogger Sen. Cameron S. Brown said...

Interesting read on the national coverage of the primary, Tim.

However, I thought I would clarify one thing regarding your comment that I had "nothing to do" with the primary re-do debate. As you might recall, I played an instrumental role last fall in changing Michigan's primary to January 15th. As the Vice Chair of the Senate Campaigns and Elections Committee, I sponsored a bill to move our election towards the front of the line, and eventually offered the amendment on the Senate floor that made the change official. Therefore, I was particularly interested in whether or not the results of that primary were going to be invalidated by holding a second election.

The goal of the earlier primary date was to make Michigan more relevant in the process and bring national attention to our unique economic challenges. Thanks to the participation of the Republican candidates and 1.5 million voters from both parties, I believe this goal was achieved. Unfortunately, the Democratic candidates chose not to take part – a decision many of them clearly regret now.

March 24, 2008 at 8:50 AM 

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