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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.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Strange bedfellows

When term limits took effect, the wise folks at Michigan State University, living within a stones throw of the state capitol, figured something must be done to train future lawmakers since on the job training was not an option.
        So the Michigan Political Leadership School was formed and in 1992 two future leaders became fast friends.  They kept in touch over the years and this week one of them will welcome the other behind closed doors where few democrats venture.
        Say hello to leadership grads Craig DeRoche and Ken Cockrel, Jr.  Yes THAT Ken Cockrel .
        The new interim Mayor of Detroit makes his first foray this week to the land once inhabited by another Detroiter…Kwame something or other. 
        Cockrel brings no baggage with him to the legislative halls but the city, from which he hails, is not exactly high on the list of priorities among outstate republicans many of whom get reelected by beating up on Motown.
        When he shows up on Wednesday, there will not be any of that stuff.  There will be plenty of time for brickbats after the honeymoon.
        Thus the aforementioned Mr. DeRoche, the House Republican leader, will fling wide the doors on the House GOP caucus and welcome the new mayor into the room.
         DeRoche may tell the unlikely story of how he was the one who launched his Democratic pal on the road to the mayor's office.
        "I was listening to the radio," DeRoche begins.  Cockrel was being interviewed and DeRoche, without giving his name, called up and asked if Cockrel was going to be Mayor of Detroit.
         Cockrel deflected such a notion and the show went on.
         Later that same evening DeRoche called the Cockrel home and when the Mrs. answered he said, "Can I speak to the next Mayor of Detroit?"
          She quickly handed the receiver over to K.C. and when he heard DeRoche's voice, this time he recognized it.
          "You were the one calling on the radio!" he blurted out.
          Little did they know, that would come to this.
          Politics does bred unusual stories as a suburban Republican embraces an inner city mayor and for the moment, friendship will trump politics.


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