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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, October 26, 2008

Shout Out Tradition

   The MSU-Michigan game is a deeply embedded tradition in our state.  A recent book on all the states, talks about it at great length as one family is pitted against another as the Green and White denounce the Go Blue crowd and vice versa.
    Years ago there was another tradition associated with the game that amounted to an instant political poll on the popularity of our governor.
    Each game at half time, the governor, who could not sit on both sides of the field at the same time, walked across the field to the other side, just to be fair to both teams.  It was that walk across the gridiron that produced the instant poll.
    You did not have to be George Gallop to determine if the cheers outweighed the boos.  It was often embarrassing for the governor but great theatre for the slugs in the political press corps who could hardly wait to write, "Governor Faces Catcalls on Stroll at Big House."   
    Despite those pitfalls, Gov. Soapy Williams walked. Gov George Romney walked and so did Gov. Bill Milliken.  But then one year out of nowhere, the walking stopped.
     The aforementioned slugs inquired.
     Security came back as the answer.
      Think about it.  The governor was the proverbial sitting duck as he strolled one sideline to the other. It only took one nut in the crowd to do the unthinkable. Recall in 1963, it had happened several times with a president, civil rights leader and a would-be president.
      So the tradition itself was killed, but the governor and his  staff must have been relieved on the political front, too.  No one wants to hear disapproving shout outs.
       But we still have opening day with the Tigers which is exactly why Jennifer Granholm has been a no show for several years.  Gonna guess she doesn't like booing either.


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