Blogs > Skoop's Blog

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.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Ficano For Gov? Not Yet

Ficano for Gov?  Not Yet
     Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano drove from Livonia to East Lansing through a snowstorm to be on TV on Friday. He did not land in a snow bank enroute, but things got slippery en-studio.
      The Off the Record public TV crew, of course, wanted to know Ficano's take on all things Kwame.  Ficano did not call on the Detroit Mayor to resign nor did he really say that Kilpatrick should stay on.  He expressed faith in the judicial system to work its way through this morass, and he noted that the Mayor had an important role to play on Cobo Hall and other matters.
       Ficano pledged to work with the mayor in the middle of all the hub-bub.
       But the headline writers at the Detroit News and Free Press drew a different conclusion. Both papers suggested Ficano was advising the mayor to stay put and not resign.  Trouble is, Ficano never said it.
       Suffice it to say, Ficano's office had something to do on Friday afternoon i.e. they went into damage control to clarify his TV statements. The statement noted that it was the mayor's decision not to step down.
       On his own political future, Ficano says he loves his current job but when pressed about running for governor in 2010, Ficano admitted, "I'll take a look at it, sure."
       He did not dare going any further than that for fear it could mess up his crusade to expand Cobo Hall.  After all if the republicans in Lansing got wind of a Ficano for Governor effort, they just might be reluctant to give him some state dollars to get the job done.
        Naw, they wouldn't put politics in front of public policy?
        In a New York minute.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Get Out The Pliers

  Get Out the Pliers
       They don't teach oral surgery in journalism school but by gum they should.
       Sometimes it's like pulling teeth to get politicians to admit something especially when it relates to their future plans.  Bring up the subject and they suddenly get lockjaw.
       Patient Paul Gieleghem of Macomb County is a perfect example.
       Everybody and his uncle knows that the former state lawmaker is interested in becoming Macomb County Executive, if local voters create the post sometime soon.
       So when Pauly showed-up on the house floor the other day chit chatting with former democratic colleagues, he was fair game.
       So, you interested in running for county executive?
       "Ah, I think it'd be a great job." But he wisely notes the post has to be created first.  Fair enough.
       But he didn't answer the question on his interest.
       So, should we put your name on the list?
       "At this point no.  We need to create the post first."
       Where did we hear that before?
        So then, tell me you won't run.
        Dead air.
         Repeat of same question.
        Repeat of same dead air.
        The reluctant patient was reminded all of this was being recorded for use on the radio and it would be nice if he provided some sound.
        "We're going to take a look at every option that's out there," he finally gives some ground.
          In other words, if he gets reelected to the county commission, and the voters create a county executive, count him in the hunt.
          But he won't be alone.  Macomb Sheriff Mark Hackel and the chair of the state transportation commission Ted Wahby will look at it too. Former Congressman David Bonior, Gieleghem says, will not.
         As for his own candidacy he refused to confirm it.
         Maybe next time a little Novocain might help.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Road Bucks Dished Out

Oakland County got the short end of the stick when the governor unveiled a list of 34 road projects that will cost $150 million and create 2,100 new jobs this spring.
Macomb County will get $23 million for 10 overpass bridges along I-696 to keep the concrete from falling on the heads of unsuspecting motorists. Oakland County gets $5.9 million for new freeway signs perhaps to keep local drivers from getting lost?
For you "conspiracy theory of history" buffs, you will immediately conclude that Oakland got the shaft because the senate GOP leader resides there. After all why would a democratic governor want to pour money into Sen. Mike Bishop's backyard when there are so many more democrats who could use the boost instead?
The question did come up in the governor's news conference, and she and her transportation director say no conspiracy. They reassured everyone there were no political shenanigans. The decision on where the money goes was based on projects that were teed-up for completion M-DOT head Kirk Stuedle explains.
None of the $150 mil will go into your favorite pothole however. The governor says these are federal dollars that must go into federal projects, however she announces the state does have $300 million for potholes and when the weather clears, and at this rate it could be around July or August, those holes will be filled.
In fact Mr. Stuedle promises within 30 days all of the potholes will get fed some asphalt. Every single one? Yep all of them.
But there's a catch. The promise only applies to about 10,000 miles of roads that the state controls.
That leaves another 110,000 miles that are not covered by the promise.
In other words, local counties, townships and cities, you're on your own when it comes to pothole patrols.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The "R" Word

Even though the word "recession" is nine letters long, if you talk to an economist about it, you would swear they treat it as a four-letter dirty word, which maybe explains why they don't want to use it.
Had an interesting chat with an interesting chap the other day about the state of Michigan's lackluster economy. Mitch Bean is the head bean counter for the House Fiscal Agency which is a bunch of economists hired by state lawmakers to figure out all things economic. Sometimes they get it right, other times they don't. (See economic recovery that is just around the corner.)
"So are you using the "R" word?" our little exchange began.
"No," was his terse and direct response. (Economists, unlike journalists, don't get paid by the word.)
When you get a short answer, you instinctively know there is more to the story.
Bean did admit that Michigan could be in a recession right now, "but we may not know it until it's over." How convenient for someone who doesn't want to use the "R" word.
But let's be real here. Most consumers believe we are already in a recession even though Bean and company don't want to concede the point. Even so, he reflects that consumers may be pulling back on their spending because of that attitude, but that still doesn't constitute a recession he insisted.
So let's see if we have this straight: Even though we all behave as if there is a recession, we're really not sure there is one because we won't know it until it's over.
Now don't you feel better? And now you understand why economists get paid so much money.
BTW. After the interview Bean smiled, "You tried to get me to say it, but I didn't." Of course not. It's a four-letter word.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Not A Dime's Worth of Difference

If you've sat through any of the democratic presidential debates, you come away with one overwhelming conclusion: There's not a dimes worth of difference between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the issues.
They do disagree on the war as she voted to get in while he voted not to go, but beyond that, try to find something significant where they truly disagree.
Yeah, she's for universal health care coverage and he would phase it in, and yeah he would meet with Cuban officials sooner and she would wait for signs of a change.
But really, will voters make their choice based on that distinction without a difference? Nope.
So the race comes down to image and emotions and not substance on the issues and guess who wins on that?
Clinton like Mitt Romney can't seem to cross that divide between head and heart. If voters voted with their head, she would win. If voters voted with their head, her message about having more experience would resonate so loudly, Obama would not have a chance.
But increasingly voters vote from the gut instead. Clearly Obama is touching all those buttons even though is call for "change" is hardly new.
John McCain reassured his GOP base, "I will…make sure Americans are not deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change."
Now Obama believes the change is real and obviously his legions of passionate supporters agree, and passion is the operative word there.
You can cut the emotions with a knife at an Obama rally, but Clinton is struggling to match his intensity. So in a race where there is not much difference on the issues, voters move to something else…feelings. And right now he's got it and she doesn't.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Clinton's Waterloo

Hillary Clinton's Waterloo could be in Texas and or Ohio.
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, who still backs Clinton for president, admits that the outcome of the primaries in those two states on March 4th could determine the outcome of the contest with Barak Obama.
Stabenow concedes if Clinton loses in those two states, "It will be difficult for her (to win) if she does." No, duh!
Concerning all the speculation that the Michigan democratic delegation could determine the eventual nominee if the race remains neck and neck, Stabenow is not from that school.
She tells reporters in Lansing, ""I don't think it will go to the convention…we have to let this play out in the country. We may well know who our nominee is within the next month. I think Ohio and Texas may very well decide it."
If the spirited contest is not resolve in Ohio and Texas, Stabenow says the final outcome could play out in Pennsylvania after that.
Another important Clinton backer around here echoes Stabenow. Lt. Gov. John Cherry is pretty good at reading the handwriting on the wall and it's painfully clear, Clinton is facing her final curtain unless she pulls it out. He's not predicting it, but Cherry seems resigned to that outcome.
Cherry and Stabenow are in good company. Even wanna-be First Hubby Bill Clinton has said it's Ohio and Texas or the showers for his wife.
Somebody warm up the hot water back in New York.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ernie For Governor

On at least three or four occasions over the years various Michigan politicos approached veteran Detroit Tiger broadcaster Ernie Harwell urging him to run for office.
Harwell says nobody really asked him to seek this office or that, but they did suggest, "You ought to run for something."
"What did they ask you to run for?" he was asked.
Laughing out loud, the popular Harwell noted, "They said I ought to run but not for office."
Asked the same question again, he said, "Dog catcher."
Although Harwell would not confirm it, a source indicates he was asked about running for Congress, U.S. Senate around the time Spencer Abraham ran, and for governor, and former Gov. John Engler might have been one of those asking.
The Hall of Fame announcer did reveal, "There's been some talk about that, but I know better than that. You find out how many enemies you have when you do that…It was just talk and didn't mean anything."
Harwell concluded he did not have the drive nor the ability to put the arm of people for money that it takes to seek elective office.
"Maybe if I was a little younger, but it's such a sacrifice with your family, and either you've got to be power driven or you've got to be very patriotic and make the big sacrifice, and I wasn't either so that was it."
And as for soliciting the bucks to do it, he adds, "I hate asking people for money."
So to borrow one of his descriptive phrases, his never-to-be political career was like the house by the road…standing there and not going anywhere.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Big Mo vs. No Mo

If you hooked up a seismograph to the Clinton and Obama campaigns, you would see no movement on her needle and his would be off the Rector scale.
Put another way, he has Big Mo for momentum and she has none as both campaigns move toward a showdown on March 4th in Texas and Ohio which could be her Waterloo.
Hillary Clinton is on the ropes and you can tell because she is desperate. When she complains that he is plagiarizing his speeches, you know she's in trouble.
The Clinton folks are so discombobulated that they uncovered and then trotted out a kindergarten essay by little Barak Obama saying he wanted to be president. Come on.
So much of politics these days is based on feel. Watch a Clinton stump speech and you get the feeling we've heard all this stuff before. View Obama's stump speech and you get the feeling we've heard it all before, but you feel good hearing it all over again.
In Michigan the Obama forces are putting the heat on Clinton super delegates to defect. These are the big wigs in the party.
But most of the "supers" are supporting Ms. Clinton because she and her husband supported them when they ran for office. It is payback time. The Hill and the Bill expect them to stay on board the S.S. Clinton as it sinks slowly in the west.
What the Obama folks fear most is that their guy will win the popular vote around the country, but with her stash of super delegates, Clinton could win the nomination in the backroom at the convention.
Detroit Senator and Obama backer Tupac Hunter is blunt: "If they go in the back room and my guy loses because super delegates decide, "Well we're going to ignore the rest of the country, and we're going to pick our nominee," well that would be problematic."
And that would be an understatement. It would mean Michigan democrats would be deeply divided going into the fall election and over in the corner you can hear John McCain applauding.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Too Much Mother's Milk

If money is the mother's milk of politics, former candidate for president Mitt Romney's cow was too fat.
The Monday morning quarterbacking continues on Michigan's adopted native son and why his well-heeled campaign collapsed because he had too much money.
One of the Michigan financial backers for Romney explains, if the candidate had fewer bucks, he would have campaigned in New Hampshire and stayed out of Iowa. Instead, because he had a bankroll large enough to do it, he hit both states and lost both, and after that, he never fully recovered.
Some believe Romney would have been better off to ignore the corn state because he ran into voter sentiment that questioned his Mormon faith. The push back turned out to be stronger than anticipated.
Despite his well-received speech on religion, one Romney supporter on the ground in Iowa reports, "We kept running into voters who wanted to know if Romney's religion taught that Jesus and the Devil were related?"
This source contends it was tough to overcome what he terms that "religious bigotry."
Romney also had problems with the "passion" thing. This source confesses the son of former Gov. George Romney never really connected on an emotional level with his audiences.
In addition Romney had enough money to surround himself with high-priced campaign aides and since they where there, he delegated too much of his speech writing to them, this source reveals.
"The two best speeches he gave, he wrote himself," a Romney backer reports. First there was the one on religion and ironically the last one, when Romney appeared before a conservative group and announced he was pulling out of the race for the "good of the party."
Maybe the next time he runs for office, he'll leave some of his stash in his CD's.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Pot Calling the Kettle Black

 Pot Calling the Kettle Black
      Shame, shame on John McCain for pulling a Romney.
      Whether you like John McCain or not, he got style points from independent and moderate voters because he said what he believed and he did not pander for votes.  What you saw is what you got.
      And the Arizona Senator was not bashful about blasting others who changed their mind on this issue or that.  Former GOP candidate for president Mitt Romney can testify to that.
      But alas, in his desperate attempt to curry favor with the far right wing of the GOP, McCain has done what Romney did: He flipped his flopper on the no tax pledge.
      Last September McCain, the maverick, told the AP, "I don't have to sign pledges."
      Now the chameleon McCain tells ABC news he will sign.  His new mantra is "no new taxes."
      Moderate and independent voters who propelled McCain to a win over George W. Bush in Michigan 6 years ago won't like this one iota.
      They see through the promise as nothing more than a feeble attempt to line up votes from folks who claim McCain is not conservative enough to warrant the GOP nomination for president.
      The no tax pledge may well solidify his shaky ultra-conservative base. However in the general election moderates and independents will think twice about a guy who claimed to talk straight. Then when it was politically expedient, he talked like every other politician who is willing to bend his or her principles in order to win.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sheen Hopes Huckabee Helps

Many successful petition drives in this state have had a recognizable figurehead leading the charge for this issue or that. Think Dick Headlee with his tax limitation amendment and George Romney calling for a new state constitution.
Rep. Fulton Sheen is thinking Mike Huckabee.
The Plainwell republican has launched the Fair Tax petition drive and needs 400,000 signatures by July 7th or 2,800 names a day. He predicts Huckabee will be tapped as the running mate with John McCain and will then campaign in Michigan for the ticket and the Fair Tax.
"I can provide the venue," Sheen tells the Off the Record panel this week as he reminds everyone Huckabee favors a national Fair Tax and has said so on the stump.
"It's an uphill battle," Sheen concedes as he passionately spent the last three years refining his blueprint to abolish the state income and business taxes and replace them with a hefty 9.75% sales tax.
He confides the best thing he has going is the "anti-government and anti-tax attitude" in the citizenry especially at this time of the year as everyone fills out their tax forms.
He begins the effort with $30,000 in the bank and he admits that is a weakness at this early stage. By next week he'll have 50,000 petitions printed and this past weekend, he had 50 volunteers collecting signatures at the state GOP convention in town.
"Crisis will breed change. People are ready to see something happen," he contends.
Nonetheless, Sheen's chances are not very good. No money, no organization, no big name to front the effort, and an issue that is complicated with a capital "C."
But if he can get Huckabee in here, the prospects would improve. Wonder if Sheen's got the Huck's cell number?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bishop For McCain: Not So Fast

When is a political endorsement not a political endorsement?
Oakland County Senate GOP leader Mike Bishop was chatting with reporters the other day when the John McCain flap came up.
Unless you've been on another planet recently, you've heard that the Rush Limbaugh wing of the national GOP is making noises that Mr. McCain is not a true conservative. One McCain critic even went so far as to announce she was voting for Hillary Clinton because McCain didn't pass the conservative muster.
Mr. Bishop has been watching all this and was asked if the ultra right-wingers were wrong?
"It's not about being wrong. They've got reservations."
But Bishop has none.
"He is an American hero and easy to rally behind. I don't think it will be hard for the conservative base to rally behind John McCain" especially when they weight the alternative, Bishop noted.
Bishop added he had "no reservations" about McCain.
Does that sound like an endorsement to you?
True, he didn't say he was voting for McCain, but his straight talk observations left the impression he was in McCain's camp.
Not so fast writes a member of the Bishop inner circle.
"Endorsements usually come in a formal fashion…The problem here is that people don't want to hear this stuff from reporters, they want to hear it directly. Mike and Sen. McCain have not spoken on this issue lately."
Those who get paid to protect Bishop's image think it "would be nice to have a formal conversation with Sen. McCain before we do any kind of an endorsement."
McCain was probably worried night and day about nailing down the Bishop endorsement and will undoubtedly be on the horn post haste to have that formal talk.
A Bishop aide thinks the two may actually meet soon. Believe it when you see it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

So Much For Unanimity

  So Much For Unanimity
        Well that didn't take long.  The democratic governor and senate republicans have their major dust up over the new budget.
        She wants to spend millions on bricks and mortar for new state buildings on college campuses as a way to create new jobs and jump start Michigan's sub zero economy.  But what Gov. Jennifer Granholm wants, she will have to wait to get.
        The chair of the senate budget committee, a republican, has other ideas.  He wants to sit on the so-called Capital Outlay budget for a spell.  Senator Ron Jelinek from West Michigan is in no hurry to hurry more state spending when there is a chance the state's economy will dip lower before it gets better.
       As he told an audience of county officials the other day, he wants to set the building bucks aside in sort of a mini rainy day fund just in case.  Jelinek figures it doesn't make sense to spend now, if you're going to need that money later on.
       Hearing this for the first time was the ranking democrat on the senate appropriations committee.  As you might expect Sen. Mickey Switalski of Macomb County sides with the governor.  He figures an infusion of new construction projects is just what the sickly state economy needs, so why wait.
       Switalski will lose this opening round because what the chairman wants, the chairman gets.
       While this amounts to the major disagreement between the governor and the senate R's, it is not a cantankerous disagreement the likes of which we saw all last year.
       Philosophical discord is actually a healthy sign and it does not burst the bi-partisan bubble the governor blew up last month.  On this one, everyone can agree to disagree in a disagreeable manner.  Maybe. 

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008


   Cherry Hits the Stump
        There was one thing missing from the media report on a recent speech by the lt. governor in Flint recently.  It may have been his first defense of the Granholm administration's economic policies as an unofficial candidate for governor himself.
         For sure John Cherry has not announced his candidacy for 2010, but it may be the worse kept "secret" in town that he harbors ambitions that go beyond serving out his current term with Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
         In case you have not noticed, he has upped his statewide visibility lately.
         Which is why his little noticed speech in front of the Flint Rotary club deserves a look-see.
         According to the Flint Journal, Cherry "touted the goals set by Granholm" as he told the group, "It's not simply a collection of policies designed to get us over a temporary lull in the business cycle…We need to create a new foundation and create new tools…Our governor is honing in on the industries of the future."
         Defending the governor's strategies is nothing new for the L.G., but from here on out, her strategies become his as he lays the foundation for his own bid for the front office.  The popular wisdom is, the more successful her economic blueprint is, the better the chances Cherry will replace her.
          Conversely, when it comes time for him to run and it looks like her strategy is not working, Cherry will have to place some distance between himself and the outgoing governor and start to develop a strategy of his own.
          The always-faithful second in command shows no signs of bailing out and privately believes the path she is on is the right one.
         As he told the Rotarians, "Change will be with us.  The challenge that we face is managing change."
         That, of course, applies to both the economy and his own desire to takeover from where she leaves off with a jobless rate that is not number one in the nation.

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Tale of Two Press Releases

  Tale of Two Press Releases
            In politics sometimes, it's not so much what you say, but how you say it and when it comes to Oakland County's two legislative leaders, they continue to say it differently.
            The governor issued her new budget last week and Senate GOP Leader Mike Bishop intoned that this year's process, unlike last year, has "started on a bi-partisan tone."
             House GOP Leader Craig DeRoche came at her with, "This is just more rhetoric from the governor…long on style, short on substance.  It's a short-sighted budget."
             Maybe the water in Rochester Hills is different than the stuff DeRoche is drinking over in Novi? But whatever the reason, it is painfully clear that the two GOP guys are marching to different drummers as they have been for weeks.
             Bishop is playing nice with the governor saying she is making an effort to "communicate priorities in face to face meetings, rather than through the media."
             DeRoche won't be getting much face time with the governor as he continues to whack her at every turn.  ""She has again chosen to tell the world we are sticking our heads in the sand."
             DeRoche does make a good point that the Granholm bunch has not solved the state's agonizing and continuing structural budget deficit problem.  But that gets lost in his all- negative-all-the-time attacks.  Reporters simply stop reading his tirades because it's nothing new.
            Bishop has critical comments too such as, "We should not spend money on new programs and experimental initiatives" but that he couples that with, "I'm confident we can make a turn toward responsible fiscal governance, but only if we continue along a bi-partisan track."
            It's pretty clear that the typical citizen is tired of the partisan bickering and demands cooperation. But DeRoche is more worried about winning back control of the house and has concluded working with the governor won't get him there.
            Bishop's gang has done the math and is on a track to leave fellow republican DeRoche out of the equation. 

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Soviet-Style Elections

    Soviet Style Elections
           Staging a Democratic Party caucus to select Michigan's convention delegates is like a "Soviet style election.  If you don't like the results, do it again….no one in their right mind would suggest that."
            That's the take of former Gov. Jim Blanchard who co-chairs the Hillary Clinton effort in Michigan.
            Blanchard understands that Barak Obama supporters in Michigan want a piece of the convention delegation and Blanchard says talks toward that end should begin.  But he says the talks begin with the premise that his candidate gets 55% of the seats.
            "They are entitled to some accommodation,' Blanchard comments on the unfolding flap over the composition of the state delegation to this summer's democratic national convention in Denver.
             Blanchard argues the man to resolve this impasse is Michigan's senior senator Carl Levin who has never declared his preference for Clinton or Obama.  "
             "He is neutral," Blanchard says and the national Democratic Party which threatens to lock out the state delegation should "climb off the limb they are on and it should be sooner not later."  He wants a resolution prior to the convention when the acrimony could be at a fever pitch especially if the Michigan delegation could secure the nomination for Clinton.
            Blanchard has never been a fan of the caucus system claiming it is open to manipulation by party leaders.  "The primary is the way to go," he argues and to create another caucus now is "absurd."

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Romney Out Of It

 Romney Out Of It
      Apparently it takes more than good looks and a sack of money to become president.  Or put another way, Michigan's adopted native son sure looked the part but couldn't get past the audition.
      Lansing was awash in reaction to Thursday's announcement that Mitt Romney was "suspending" his campaign.  Apparently since he hates to lose, he could not bring himself to tell the truth and admit this was not a suspension.  It was the end of the road.  Period.
      What went wrong?
      Where to begin.
      Romney never connected on an emotional level with his audiences.  He is no Barak Obama when it comes to lighting up a crowd.  If he had passion for the White House, he kept it neatly and tightly wrapped-up in his head.
      Romney was too plastic.  No one keeps his hair that coffered all the time.
      Romney was inconsistent on issues.  As much as he denied he was not a flip-flopper, the more he protested, the more the charge stuck.  He even did it in a recent debate where he sided with California on regulating auto emissions and the next morning, he said he did not.
     While he pieced together an impressive coalition of independents, far right conservatives, and moderate republicans to win in Michigan, he failed to replicate the achievement in other states.
     Romney proved once more that voters wanted more than the shop-worn mantra that, "I'm a businessman and I know how to turn things around."
     Ask Dick DeVos about that.
     So there came a point, where it didn't make sense to spend another nickel when the handwriting was on the wall.
      It just took Romney and company a little more time than usual to read it. 

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Obama, Jackson and Sharpton

Something You'll Never See
       One picture is worth a thousand words.  And there is one picture that could cost Barak Obama more than a thousand votes.  In fact that picture could cost him the election.
       If Lansing democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter Joel Ferguson is right, you will never see a photograph with Obama and African-American leaders Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton.
       First blush, you would assume the trio would be the three amigos on the campaign trail.  They have a common agenda to help the disadvantaged.  They have a common agenda to advance civil rights, but what they don't share is a desire by Obama to use them to win the White House according to Ferguson.
      Big Joel, who is close to Jackson, believes Obama is deliberately avoiding appearing in public with Jackson and Sharpton because it could cost him votes with the white community.
      Right now Ferguson argues Obama has aligned himself with Oprah Winfrey who is very popular with white citizens. But you won't see Obama with those two guys because some white voters are turned off by the rhetoric and tactics of Jackson and Sharpton.
      They are lightening rods and Obama wants no part of that especially if it will cost him white support.
      Jackson has appeared on the cable political shows and talks about Obama in positive terms, but Ferguson says Jackson has not been asked to campaign with the Illinois senator and it's not because the invite was lost in the mail.
      Fergy figures the invite will never be sent and the picture of the three African American leaders will never be seen.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Miller and Archer for Governor

  Miller and Archer for Governor?
        It was a chance meeting and nobody had a camera.  Too bad because it could have been the first photo of the candidates for governor in 2010.
       Macomb County GOP Congresswoman Candice Miller and former Detroit Democratic Mayor Dennis Archer embraced when they spotted each other just before they both testified on a bill to clean up Michigan's driver's license law.
       Wonder if she knew he had not ruled out a run for governor and vice versa?
       Miller has clearly not.
       "I'm thinking about it (and) I'm not going to close any doors," was her first response to, "Do you want to?"
       Word in the deepest recesses of the capitol has been that she is already running, and she even said as much at a GOP gathering on Mackinac Island last fall according to a republican office holder from West Michigan.
      If so, Miller does not want to go there just yet but she's already got a story line if she jumps in.
     "I've certainly had a number of people indicate that they would like to have somebody run for governor who actually has a proven track record of managing state government."
      Well not quite. She did run the Secretary of State's office for eight years but it's a stretch to profess she ran the entire government.  Maybe she misspoke?
      But there was no mistake about her next comment aimed at the current occupant of the front office.  Miller snarily added, "There's a real deficiency of any management in state government and the governor's office right now."
      When pressed if she was doing more than just thinking about it, Miller stayed on that message and advised, "I'm trying to be sincere and trying to be as candid as I can.  I've honestly made no determination."
      And frankly she and Archer have something in common…neither has he, but he is not talking.
      Archer's name has not been on anybodies list of potential candidates, but a source familiar with his thinking reveals he is "watching."
      And that's probably because some time ago, his name popped up on a list of possible candidates and he came in with just over 10% support.  While that may seem like chump change, it's rather startling in that he has pretty much been off the political radar screen for years.
      Wouldn't it be ironic?  The nation is watching a showdown between a Caucasian woman and an African-American man for the White House. 
     Michigan might have it's own version of the same thing in two years.
     Archer vs. Miller? 
     Could happen.

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Monday, February 4, 2008

Gov and Hub Love Clinton-Obama Ticket

 Gov and Hub Love Clinton-Obama Ticket
      Six months ago if anybody had speculated about a Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama democratic ticket for president and vice president, you would have been laughed out of town.
      Somehow, everyone has stopped laughing as now there is some serious chatter coming from Michigan's First Family about the so-called Dream Ticket.
      Governor Jennifer Granholm tells the Detroit News, "It's important to have an exciting and dynamic ticket.  It would be phenomenal."
      First Hubby Dan Mulhern, always in step with the boss, adds his two cents.  "It would be pretty awesome."
      So what's happened to turn the once impossible scenario into something that might actually take shake?
      For one thing Clinton and Obama have apparently cut out the rhetorical rough stuff and are making nice instead.  During their last televised appearance on CNN, which was billed as an historic and potentially feisty confrontation, in reality it turned into a 60's love-in.
      "I liked Hillary before the race and I will like Hillary after the race," Obama smiled. 
      Sure they disagreed on some of the issues, but by the end of the so-called debate, both were smiling, laughing, and they almost hugged. They left the distinct impression that all the bad blood had been sucked out of their relationship.
      In fact, the two were asked by the Wolfman, a.k.a. Wolf Blitzer, about running with each other.  Obama suggested, "Hillary would be on everybody's short list" and she said, "I agree with what Barak has said."
      Now the media can't stand for a race with no conflict so you're likely to hear more about race. Mulhern has a take on that, too.
     "The media is overplaying the race issue.  Absolutely and totally," he opines.
      He says common folks are more interested in the issues not race.
      And just one more thing on the Clinton-Obama ticket, he believes the V.P. choice will come down to ego.
      If he's right, you can forget about an Obama-Clinton combo.

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Reporter Envy Sorta

Reporter Envy
      Political correspondents often envy their brethren and sistern in the sports arena.  First of all sports garners infinitely more attention that politics. After all who wins the Super Bowl has a greater impact on our lives than who gets elected to the White House.
     Sports writers also get to travel all over the place including warm climes.  In strong contrast no state legislator has ever voted on a tax hike in sunny Florida unless of course he or she promised to do so during a vacation financed by a well-heeled lobbyist.
     And then there are the interviews and the clichés.  There is nothing comparable in politics, and where would sports writers be without them?
    "They left their game in the locker room."  Maybe they should have moved the game in there.
    "They're trying to milk the clock."  Graduates of the Cow college cringe each time they hear that.
    "The secondary looks porous."  Three-quarters of the audience and the players have no idea what a "porous" is.
     Combining a bunch of them creates imagery that is unmatched: "He's slow getting up because his bell was rung due to the freight train that ran over him as everyone piled on."
    The best clichés are the obvious ones and there are a ton of those. "They have to stop the big play.  They have to establish a running game" and its corollary, "he needs to put the ball in the air."
    And of course the outcome of the contest depends on "where they spot the ball."  (See game of inches.)
    For math majors there is "They all count one" and its companion "We play them one at a time."
    And for those of you who know nothing about sports, a costly turnover is not a pricey muffin at your local bakery.
    You know with all the emphasis on increasing productivity and saving time, maybe sports writers could save the time of readers and save the newspapers a bunch of ink by assigning a letter to each cliché.
    Oh yeah..forgot, the alphabet has only 26 letters.

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