Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Milliken Moderates Huddle
Turns out the Milliken administration in exile needed more than a phone booth to accommodate the 240 political insiders who met this week to honor the former Michigan governor who gave moderation a good name in this state. The Michigan Political History Society raised over $80,000 at the event that featured former Milliken administration stall wards such as Joyce Braithwaite-Brickley a.k.a. the Dragon Lady, former State GOP chair Bill McLaughlin, former Milliken lobbyist Keith Molin, Bill Rustem who did policy work for his "mentor and hero," and former MSU Trustee Peter Fletcher who added his own erudite signature to the event as the Emcee. Milliken holds the record of 14 years in the executive office and got two standing ovations during his address. The republican expressed great hope for Barack Obama and said his election "could only happen in America." He also, to=2 0strong applause from the audience, denounced term limits noting that he found it unusual that citizens would want "politicians without experience" running the government. It was a bit ironic that the event came two weeks after the Michigan Republican party took a bath at the polls. Many are now calling on the party to revisit the moderate approach that Milliken used so successfully to forge public policy with disparate groups in the state during the 1970's. In fact that was pretty much the theme of the evening as those who lived through the Milliken years reflected that his style of governing is what is so badly needed not only in the state but also in Washington. As one audience member put it, "compromise and bipartisanship" are not four letter words.
Milliken was there with former First Lady Helen Milliken who was also singled out for her contribution to20civility in politics and her passion for advancing freedom for women.
One wag, noting the composition of the audience observed, "There are even some republicans here" reflecting Milliken's appeal to democrats which was an anathema to the ultra right wing of his own party.