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, May 18, 2008
Barack's Kwame Problem
Take this to the bank. Here's something you'll never hear or see in the race for president: Ladies and Gentlemen get your hands together for Barack Obama and Kwame Kilpatrick! It's not that the two dislike each other. It's just that Barack Obama has enough problems getting elected without adding one more to the pile. The presumed democratic candidate for president needs a hefty voter bounce out of Detroit to counteract John McCain's likely strong showing in other parts of Michigan. If Obama doesn't get it, Michigan goes from a blue to red state and with it goes the White House. Even though his name was not on the ballot last January, Obama supporters showed up in droves and clobbered Hillary Clinton in Motown by voting uncommitted. So he will come back to Detroit this fall to make sure that happens again, but when he returns, what to do about Kwame? If Obama appears on the same stump with the embattled mayor, he runs the risk of offending most of the white voters in the suburbs and maybe even some of the African American voters in Detroit. But how can he come into Detroit and ignore the mayor without offending those in Detroit who firmly believed Kilpatrick is being rail roaded? There in lies Obama's political dilemma: He is darned if he does, darned if he doesn't. One strategy would be to avoid any appearance in Detroit, but having ignored the city last January, it's risky to do it again. Another strategy is to make sure the Mayor is on some junket outside of the state when Obama shows up in Detroit. A third alternative is to take a chance and do a rally with the Mayor for the whole world to see and let the chips fall where they may. If state Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer has his way, he'd opt for the last approach. He does not believe Kilpatrick is a political liability and he does not believe Obama would be damaged if he campaigned with the Mayor. When John McCain gets wind of that analysis, he'll be on the horn to Brewer offering to pay all of the expenses associated with the joint appearance. Take that to the bank as well.