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.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Ramsey Re-Do in the Works

     Ramsey Re-Do in the Works
          Your name was plastered all over every tabloid rag in the country; the mainstream media had a field day dragging your name through the mad, and here you are poised to maybe run for political office which will shove you into the unsavory limelight all over again.
          Why would John Ramsey want to do that?
          You may get a chance to ask him as he considers another bid for the Michigan House of Representatives this August.
          If your memory is failing you, Ramsey and now deceased spouse Patsy were suspects in the Christmas death of their young daughter JonBenet. 
          The murdered and strangled little girl was found in the family basement in a case that drew national headlines but has quietly been shuffled into the cold case files.
           In 2004 Ramsey actually ran for the house seat from Charlevoix and made a respectable showing on the stump even though he ended up losing to Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer by a mere 500 votes.
            Well, Elsenheimer is running for another post and the house seat is now up for grabs and the GOP party big wigs up there are asking Ramsey to re-do his run for office.
            Ramsey was asked the question posed in paragraph two of this blog and his answer on why he would re-open this chapter in his life went like this:  We want to "put the notoriety to work for the public good."
            If he decides to run again, he'll get a chance and the tabloids and Larry King can hardly wait because next to the murder of the young college woman in Aruba, the JonBent murder is a sure ratings winner.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Please Stay Off The Island

  Please Stay Off the Island
       Your instincts tell you that the touchy decision has already been made; they are just sitting on it for the time being.
        Dollars to donuts the Mayor of Detroit has been quietly asked to stay off the island when the captains of industry huddle on Mackinac Island at the end of May.
        Every year the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce stages a two-day soirée up North. One of the highlights, or low lights depending on your perspective, is the Big Four conclave.  (Actually the nomenclatcher is misleading.  It should be the Big Two and the other guys.)
       That's because anytime you plunk Kwame Kilpatrick and Brooks Patterson on the same stage, they steal the show. You get fireworks, yuks, and if you are lucky, even a few words of wisdom on why the region continues to talk cooperation but never quite seems to get there.
       But this year is different.  The Mayor has a few other things on his platter and bringing him up the island would only open the door to a media feeding frenzy for two solid days and none of the coverage would be on the business agenda for Southeast Michigan.
       The folks at the chamber are not oblivious to all this. And it would have been fun to listen in on the closed-door chitchat about how to handle the delicate situation.
        Here's a hypothetical guess at how it went:
        Chamber boss:  So, the Big Four this year.  Our members always love that.  Remember when Brooks marched in wearing shades, with lots of bodyguards and made fun of Kwame for having such an entourage?
        Chamber staffer:  Yeah.  It was kind of funny but embarrassing at the same time.
        Staffer two:  With the mayor under indictment, imagine what Brooks might do this year.
        Boss:  Let's not imagine.  Somebody get the mayor's office on the phone and tell him the conference has been switched to July.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ride'em Cowboy

  Ride'em Cowboy
     The City of Detroit needs all the help it can get.  So take a gander over yonder in Commerce Township where a state lawmaker is saddling up his white horse to give the city all the help it needs.
     Hi---Oooooh David Law.
     Rep. Law is pushing legislation that could change the impeachment landscape in Motown as the city council considers whether to eventually bounce Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick from office.
     Right now the bar is mighty high.  His Honor would have to be convicted of a felony.  Rep. Law would lower the bar…really lower the bar to malfeasance in office.
     Now for you non-lawyer types out there in newspaper land, malfeasance is any wrongful act which could include everything from stealing pencils and paper clips to riding off into the sunset in a red Navigator with the city treasury.
     Either way, if this legislation ever got on the books, the council would have an easier time telling Mr. Kilpatrick to get out of Dodge, if it comes to that.
     Law contends he's been thinking about this plan long before all the fussin' in Detroit over text-messages. And he notes it's not designed just for city councils; townships could oust their supervisors with a two-thirds vote, too.
      With lawmakers off to warmer climes, it's a tad tough to get a handle on how this might fly in the Michigan House and Senate.
       Democratic Detroit Senator Hanson Clark told the MIRS newsletter folks he was a no vote.  He argues the people elect the mayor and only the people should un-elect him if they want.
      But what about outstate republicans?  Many of them are running for their house seats and it would make dandy headlines back home, if they joined Law on his white horse to "help" Detroit.
      Suburban lawmaker Law seems to have developed a real passion for this issue.  Just last week he offered a resolution calling on Mr. Kilpatrick to resign.  House democrats made sure it never got to a vote.
      You don't suppose this has anything to do with Mr. Law running for Oakland County prosecutor, do ya?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Oakland Losing Power

 Oakland Losing Legislative Power
      There are four powerful legislative leadership jobs in Lansing and Oakland County has enjoyed the rare privilege of having two of them.
      Not much longer.
      While the senate GOP leader Mike Bishop has two more years to go on his stint as the loyal opposition to the governor, Rep. Craig DeRoche of Novi is another story.  The House Minority leader will be term limited out of office at the end of the year and nobody from Oakland County is on the short list to replace him.
      In fact all of the potential DeRoche replacements are about as far away from Oakland as you can get.
      One of the contenders is from Portland.
      Not Portland, Oregon; Portland, Michigan a  tiny backwater berg just about 20 miles west of Lansing.
      Another likely candidate hails from St. Joseph and the other from Lowell more than 200 miles away from Oakland.
      Rep. Brian Calley, Rep. John Proos, and Rep. David Hildenbrand have not declared their intentions, but folks who get paid to watch this stuff claim they will be in the hunt.
     Hence Oakland is about to suffer the same demoralizing fate as the one-time power brokers from the west side of the state.
     At one time those folks had a strangle hold on the senate GOP leadership post as Ken Sikkema and Dick Posthumus lorded over the House of Lords.
     And in the house west Michigan republicans Chuck Perricone and Paul Hillegonds ruled as Speaker.
     So Oakland is about to go from batting .500 on the leadership scale, to .250 which means it will have to struggle more to get it's fair share of the state's largess.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Racial Divide Getting Deeper

 Racial Divide Getting Deeper
      Governor Jennifer Granholm is worried again.  She won't say it but you can see it on her face.  If the level of racial discourse in the democratic race for president gets much worse, the D's may be handing over the White House to John McCain.
      For obvious reasons the governor doesn't want that out there for public consumption but she does say, "I'm concerned that the focus on race is dividing the Democratic Party.  It is very unhelpful---the racial divide is getting deeper."
      National democratic committee member Debbie Dingell is not far behind.   "A lot of people are flaming the fires of fear."
      Both Granholm and Dingell. however, strike the same upbeat chord that after the pushing and shoving, the party will join hands.
      Pollster Steve Mitchell is not so sure.
      He has data that suggests a fat one third of the Barack Obama supporters will plunk for McCain if Hillary Clinton gets the party nomination.
     "People of color as well as young voters are going to be very disenchanted with that choice" if Clinton gets the nod.
      The nasty rhetoric needle has been on the upswing recently in the contest.  Former Clinton administration stalwart Bill Richardson endorses Obama and a Clinton guy calls him "Judas."
       Then there is the continuing flap over Obama's pastor.
       Granholm says, "There's been a lot of harsh words uttered."
       Dingell echoes, " It's raw and people want to blame, but we must work together for fundamental change."
       What has changed is the national story line.  A few months ago the democrats were going to win---take it to the bank. Political sisters Granholm and Dingell can continue to say that, but there are not as many depositors now as there were back then.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Nowhere To Be Found

  Nowhere to be Found
      Let's be generous here.  The sometimes frosty relationship between the good folks in the governor's office and the good folks in a certain mayor's office has produced lots of caustic exchanges all below the radar screen even though the two democrats profess to be good friends.
      So when the mayor of that certain city faced 12 counts of allegedly playing fast and loose with the law, Gov. Jennifer Granholm did not come to his rescue as she was conveniently over 500 miles away from Motown.
      It's unlikely that any of the Detroit stations bothered to track her down in the Upper Peninsula which must have been fine by her as she was not about to come to his rescue anyway.
      "This has been on the schedule for sometime," the governor's press person noted when reporters inquired as to the governor's where-abouts.
        Indeed the governor was not running and hiding from the unfolding drama surrounding Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and she was not changing her tune either in the wake of the indictments from the Wayne County prosecutor's office.
        Bottom-line the governor continues to stay out of all this noting that it's in the legal system and she has no intentions of wading into same.
         All of that is well and good but the governor has also said she wants a "quick" solution to the text messaging mess, but with the mayor fixin' to head into the court system, a quick resolution is not likely.
         Some say the governor could trump the judicial system and act now to remove the mayor.  She says she needs a conviction before her office would even consider holding a hearing on the matter if then.
         Maybe when she returns from the safety of the U.P. we can get her to say that on camera.  Beat she can hardly wait for that.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Getting It All Wrong

  Getting It All Wrong
       With all due respect to the national media folks who reported on the ill fated re-do of the Michigan democratic presidential primary, what mail-order journalism school did you all attend?
       Dateline Washington D.C. March 14th…the nation is awash in the "news" that Michigan had a "deal" to re-vote the contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
       To the casual reader, listener or viewer that obviously meant Michigan voters would be voting again.
       The "deal" was between four top state democrats who, with some input from both campaigns, hatched a 38-page bill to recreate the primary.  The problem was The Big Four of Carl Levin, Debbie Dingell, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick and Ron Gettlefinger could not unilaterally order anything.  They needed the legislature to ratify the agreement but nobody at the national level seemed to grasp the gravity of that.
        Rep. Matt Gillard, a democrat from Alpena, remembers watching CNN and being told what he was going to be doing the next week.
        "These guys got it wrong," he laughed.
        It was not the only thing they got wrong.
        Senator Cameron Brown, a republican from West Michigan, had nothing to do with the re-do debate but he was smart enough to issue a press release anyway that found its way into the CNN newsroom.
        He was promptly interviewed by a young lady.  By this time the re-do was dead but she asked Brown, "Now you are voting on this today?"
        Now there is a certain and understandable arrogance among national media types…after all they drag down a ton of bucks, they sop up lots of face time on the tube, and they give the illusion they know it all.
        But their performance was equal to a first year reporter who wanted to get the story right but didn't know how to do it.
        All it required was a phone call to somebody on the ground in Michigan, and the big guys would have looked great instead of totally inept.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Kwame Bill

  The Kwame Bill
     Up until now, state lawmakers have remained at arms length…no make that arms, legs, and hands length away from the saga unfolding with the Mayor of Motown.  Nobody wants anything to do with the messy story except Rep. Brian Calley.
     The mild-mannered republican from Portland just west of Lansing has introduced a bill  he could have labeled the "Kwame Bill"  but didn't.
     Here's what Calley wants his colleagues to approve: If a local official is convicted of a crime and if that crime cost his or her local government any money, the officials would have to pay the money back.
     What a novel idea.
     What a novel idea that has no chance of becoming law.
     Calley came to that conclusion too, but he is re-thinking it given the uproar in Detroit over the $8.4 million dollar settlement that the city reached with some fired police officers.
     Maybe you've read about it?
     The mayor may not have told the truth about the details behind the settlement and there is some chatter about an alleged cover-up to hide his text-message to-do with his former chief of state.
     The mayor has not been charged, has not been tried, has not been convicted and as long as Calley's idea remains just that, Mr. Kilpatrick won't have to pay anything if he remains unconvicted.  Besides he has already told his followers that with his hard work he is paying back the $8.4 mil everyday.
      So that takes care of that.
      Calley is wondering if he can find some Detroit lawmakers to help on this bill. 
      He got at least one, Rep. Virgil Smith, Jr.
      That's a start.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Clinton Stumps in Michigan, At Last

Clinton Stumps in Michigan, At Last
      She came, she saw, she spoke and she left, but at least Hillary Clinton showed Michigan citizens she knows how to get to Detroit.
      Give the Clinton for President campaign credit. It turned on a dime this week and brought her into the state for the first time to take advantage of an issue she hopes to use against her opponent.
      For public consumption the reason she was here was to pressure the Obama forces in Lansing to support another vote in Michigan.  When reports circulated on Tuesday that the re-do was all but dead, the Clinton folks decided to exploit it and she tried.
     "I call on Senator Obama to stand with me" and order another election "to make sure Michigan's votes are counted" she said to applause in a local union hall.
      The earth did not move in Lansing however.
      She didn't get her re-do but her hidden agenda was to gain the high ground over her opponent.  Now she can say, I came here Michigan and fought for your right to vote, but my opponent neglected you.
      On that front mission accomplished, but as one listened to the speech it lacked the fire and passion you often hear from Mr. Obama.
      "I've seen more passion and enthusiasm than anyone could have predicted," Clinton told her supporters in Detroit.  But she failed to add that most of it appears to be for him and not her.
       Former Gov. Jim Blanchard says the speech was well received but when told there wasn't much passion he added, "maybe it's because she had a cold."  Or maybe it's because she is cold?
       Regardless she got the issue she wanted.  As Blanchard put it, Obama took his name off the ballot in January and won't allow his name on the ballot in June which means "His people made it harder for him today to win Michigan in the fall," if he is the nominee.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ho-Hum Day: Not

Ho-Hum Day:  Not
     It really did start out as a ho-hum day in the Michigan Senate.  Everyone is looking forward to getting the heck out of here for a while, but then senate democrats turned a ho-hummer into hum-dinger.
     They emerged from a close door caucus and promptly announced there were not enough votes to create a re-do democratic primary for president.
     Reporters always like to reduce stories to their simplest terms so the question was, "Is the primary dead?"
     Well nothing is really dead in the legislative process until you toss the last shovel full of dirt on the grave, so key lawmakers chose different words that all but meant the same thing.
     Senator Buzz Thomas, Obama supporter from Detroit:  Is the re-do on life support and somebody has their finger on the switch?
     "That's a fair statement," he sort of smiled.
     Senator Gretchen Whitmer, Clinton supporter from East Lansing: Would you say the re-do is dead?
     "I've been around here long enough to know that nothing is ever really dead but (the re-do) needs CPR," she chuckled.
      Once those words via the media reached the ears of Debbie Dingell and Ron Gettlefinger they reportedly hit the phones to apply that mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
      Recall that the UAW chieftain and Ms. Dingell were part of the gang of four that hammered out the "deal" to stage another vote.
      Gettlefinger reportedly told some legislative democrats that not moving on the election was a national embarrassment for Michigan.  He's always been the master of understatement.
       He and she could pull this off but the Obama camp does not favor another vote which makes the CPR tougher.
       Gov. Jennifer Granholm really wants this primary, too, but at the end of a long and adventurous day, a source familiar with her thinking on whether Obama would give the green light whispered, "He's not going to do it."
       Baring an 11th hour miracle, she's got that right.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Term Limits Linked To Re-Do?

 Term Limits Linked to Re-do?
        Assuming there is another democratic presidential primary in Michigan, and that is a huge assumption, there is informal talk below the radar about tacking on a term limit question on the statewide ballot, too.
        Last week during a closed door meeting with leaders from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the governor raised the issue.  She supports the modification of term limits and so does the chamber so it was only natural that she picked the Chamber's brain on how to get there.
        No final decisions were made but the fact that the governor brought it up points to more than a casual interest in linking term limits to the race for president.
       Rich Studley from the chamber who was in the room reports that his group did not embrace the idea but he quickly adds, "I don't want it to be characterized that we slammed the door or shut the door.  It was just a "Hey what do ya think?" type conversation with the governor.
       The chamber tried to piggyback a change in the term limit law when lawmakers were drafting the ill-fated January 15th prez vote, but it never got beyond the, "sure-wish-we-could-agree-on-this stage.
        Based on the soundings in this town, ditto for this second effort this week.
        With the Obama folks making noises that they don't want a re-do, House Speaker Andy Dillon won't do squat on the primary.  His democratic caucus is all over the lot with some for Hillary and some for Barack and Dillon doesn't need another civil war inside his party.
        So the chances of a term limit thing showing up on the June 3rd ballot are remote at best and non-existent at worse.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Not So Fast On Re-do Not So Fast on the Re-do

    Not So Fast on the Re-do
         It's one thing for negotiators in Washington to agreed to a re-do of the democratic race for president in Michigan, but it's quite another for republicans in the legislature to approve it.
        In other words don't look for the Hill or the Big O to visit our state just yet.
        Give style points to the gang of four who hammered out a deal to re-stage a non-taxpayer funded primary perhaps on June 3rd, but all the best laid plans of Carl Levin, Debbie Dingell, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick and Ron Gettlefinger may be for naught.
        Over 100 republican votes are need to make the deal a reality and with that kind of political leverage the GOP will want something in return.
         First of all, as long as this battle drags on and the disarray continues on the democratic side, why in the heck would John McCain and company want Michigan republicans to bring peace to the other side?
        Secondly, the democrats in the legislature may want this primary but what are they willing to give the R's to get it?
        House GOP leader Craig DeRoche has broadly hinted that his side has other priorities in the legislative hopper that he may want before any of his members vote for another election.
        DeRoche also sees a bit of irony in all this.  He told FOX2 News the other day that while Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer wants DeRoche's help, the very same Mr. Brewer is trying to bounce Mr. DeRoche out of office with a recall.
        That may not put DeRoche in a mood to help Brewer, don't ya think?
        On top of that, the legislative clock is ticking as lawmakers want to scoot out of town for Spring Break the end of this month so they need to get hopping on the primary right now.
         So with the republicans having the democrats over the barrel, it's Let's Make A Deal Time in Lansing which means the re-do may be un-done but it gets done.

Friday, March 14, 2008

What Is Bill Schuette Up To?

  What Is Schuette Up To?
        When the candidate-filing deadline rolls around in May, don't bother looking for the name of State Appellate Court Judge Bill Schuette on the list. However there's a take-it-to-the-bank chance you'll see it there in 2010. 
        Note that the state constitution requires a potential candidate for another office to resign his current post within a year of any other election bid. So his decision not to run again for a court seat he most likely would win easily, will produce a ton of speculation: what is Schuette up to?
       But first, who is Bill Schuette?  He's the former mid-Michigan congressperson, former GOP state senator, former state agriculture director in the Engler administration and current jurist.  And he's too ambitious and too young to retire just yet.
        In the past Schuette has flirted with running for governor, but he would not be alone in a 2010 primary race that could be packed with lots of other aspirants.
        He could run for the U.S. senate again after Carl Levin defeated him years ago.
        Or he could run for State Attorney General.  After all there will be an opening as the current occupant Mike Cox is term limited in two years.
        The decision would be made in a GOP party convention and even though he's been ensconced on the appeals court for years, Schuette smartly has continued his networking around the state with the GOP base including serving coffee from time to time in his old Midland Congressional district.
        The competition might be limited as most of the possible candidates in the past from the ranks of county prosecutors have thought about it but passed on the opportunity.
        Schuette is likely to avoid saying anything public about all this as he continues to serve on the state's second highest court until the end of this year.
        But make a bet with your friends that he will run for A.G. cause you'll win when he does.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Big Four Fret ABout Motown

 Big Four Fret About Motown
     As the Kwame Kilpatrick controversy moves toward critical mass in Detroit, the top legislative leaders in Lansing are concerned about the impact on an economic recovery in the state.
      "Yes, I'm worried about it," suggests Senate GOP Leader Mike Bishop of Oakland County.
        "It is making a difference," echoes fellow Oakland County House Minority Leader Craig DeRoche who adds, "We should all be concerned about it."
           On the democratic side, the senate leader Mark Schauer chimes in, "There's some impact.  It's not helpful to Michigan."
         And House Speaker Andy Dillon, who earlier this week indicated the mayor might have to resign, told a business dinner on Wednesday night that legislators can't do much about the situation and the state should "let Detroit take care of his problem on its own, if they can." He again called for a quick resolution saying, "It can start to have ramifications."
         Bishop says he is not sure the rest of the nation is paying attention to the so-called text-messaging flap although it was featured again last night on CNN. It did a story on embattled spouses who stand by their man in the midst of a sex scandal, and Mrs. Kilpatrick was shown holding the hand of her husband during his televised apology recently.
        Whether the whole world is watching or not Bishop adds, "We need Detroit to turnaround. I definitely think it's got the potential to be counterproductive to the forward progress of Detroit. If it's impacting the ability of the city to continue its renaissance, I'm very concerned about that."
          In a lighter vein, Bishop may have had the quote of the night at the business meeting.  The four leaders were asked if they used the Blackberry to communicate.
          Rep. DeRoche was the only one who did not. Just as the interview with the Big Four was to begin, Bishop sat on the panel with his Blackberry in hand and offered this: "I'm shutting off the text part here."
          The audience laughed.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Black Caucus Reacts On Kilpatrick

  Black Caucus React on Kilpatrick
     Two members of the Detroit legislative caucus are not embracing what the Mayor of Detroit said in the last five minutes of his State of the City address on Wednesday night.
     "It was unfortunate that he had to do something of that nature in order to get his message across," says the son of former Detroit Mayor Coleman Young.
       Rep. Young Jr. declined the first offer to comment on the controversial speech saying,"Let me get back to you." Then he requested a minute to think about his response and added, "Personally I think it is sad…It was unfortunate he had to go to that level.  That was the wrong way to express it."
       In his remarks Mayor Kilpatrick lashed out at the media coverage of the so-called text messaging scandal and reported death threats and the use of the "N" word against himself and his family.
       Young's observations were echoed by fellow Detroit democrat Rep. Bert Johnson who says, "I wouldn't have done it."  Up to that point Johnson believes the Mayor delivered an effective message on what the city has accomplished on his watch.  "It was the Mayor at his best…he had laid out a pretty good case for accomplishments…."
       Then came the coda to the speech.  Johnson reflects, "There was an emotion (and) that component just got the best of him."
       Asked if he perceived some slippage of support for the mayor inside the Black Caucus, Johnson says, "I don't think that's so.  I've not heard that." 
       The mayor told his audience on Tuesday night that he would not quit and Johnson says he is not in a position to advise the mayor on that.
       "I don't know.  I'm not that sophisticated.  I can't say," he explains.
        So far there appears to be no negative impact on Detroit issues in the legislature, but one GOP lawmaker working on economic development issues wondered out loud saying, why would a company from Germany or Japan want to come to Detroit?
      Johnson says some of his white colleagues have told him, "Let me know what we can do" to help. 
      The freshman Detroit lawmaker will have a chance to expand on his remarks on Off the Record later this week.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Inferiority Complex

Inferiority Complex
    On most days trying to goad the governor to say something negative about her adopted state is like trying to convince Hillary Clinton that Barack Obama deserves to be president.
     The always rosy-eye and ultra-optimistic governor did have to face reality square in the face the other day however when she was asked on Michigan Public radio if Michigan had an inferiority complex?
     "I think we do," she sheepishly confessed hoping that nobody was listening. 
      Doing a blog about the state's self-concept at this time of the year only underscores the notion that we are our own worst enemies.
      Are we sick of winter?
      Are we sick of downsizing?
      Are we sick of potholes?
      Are we sick of the Mayor's dalliances in Detroit?
      And dare say, are we sick of each other?
      Yes to the 5th power.
       And we are not exactly doing anything to enhance that image to the rest of the country.
       Last fall Michigan came within a whisker of a budgetary meltdown which featured a brief shutdown of state government.
       Then state government followed that up by performing a huge flip-flop by first adopting a sales tax on services and then under the crush of public opposition, they undid what they did.  The nation got another chuckle.
        Now there is the aforementioned "problem" in Detroit which Nightline has inspected and it's only a matter of time before Jay, David, and the other late night boys pile on.
        And in recent days the absolute debacle over the Michigan Presidential Primary and the on again off again re-do of the election, must have the nation asking, "What the heck is in the water in Michigan?"
        Inferiority complex?
        At least were good at something.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Can't We Be Friends?

Can't We All Be Friends?
      All the big shot democrats around these parts are professing that even though the battle between the Hill and the Big O is contentious now, when all is said and done, democrats will unite behind whomever is the winner.
      It makes for nice chitchat but the polling data suggests that may be easier said than done.  In reality the findings send an ominous message about party unity which could hand this election over to John McCain.
      Get a load of this Rasmussen poll done for FOX 2:  Likely Michigan democratic voters for Barack Obama were asked what they would do if Hillary Clinton got the nomination.
      A piddily 50% said they would vote for her while 35% said they would not.
      It's not much better on the other side of the equation:  Only 52% of the Clinton folks would plunk for Obama while 25% said they could not stomach him for president.
      Unity. Smudity.
      Apparently there is not only bad blood between the candidates but with their constituencies as well. 
      Obama forces in Michigan are afraid of getting screwed by Clinton super delegates at the convention assuming the Michigan delegation gets in.
      And if Obama adds to his nationwide delegate lead, the Clinton forces are afraid her Michigan delegates won't be seated if this battle goes to the convention floor where Obama has enough votes to lock her out.
      Peace is not at hand….but then in the Democratic Party when is that ever the case?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Could McCain Pull An Austin?

 Could McCain Pull an Austin?
       Anybody remember Dick Austin?
       Austin was Michigan's Secretary of State for what seemed like a hundred years but in his 84th year, he ran for re-election and had s senior moment---right in front of a statewide TV audience.  It cost him the election.
       Is John McCain next?
       Democrats sure hope so as they keep an eagle eye on the 71-year-old GOP nominee for president looking for some sign of age, weakness or other senior moment that might cost him votes.
       Mark Grebner who runs a liberal democratic consulting firm believes the GOP is taking a risk by going with McCain saying, "He is a gamble."
       There are all sorts of what if's that could befall a senior citizen including stumbling through a speech, falling asleep in front of the cameras (even a younger Bill Clinton did that recently), stumbling and falling down the steps like Jerry Ford, or ending up in the hospital for whatever reason.
      "20% of those 71 and older go to the hospital regularly," Grebner suggests.
        Any one or combination of those things could mean "That is all she wrote" Grebner tells the Off the Record public TV panel this week.
        So far McCain has demonstrated no such propensity. He also gets a break now because he's no longer embroiled in a grueling and competitive campaign schedule.
        Heck he may even have time for a nap.  But you'll never see a picture of that.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Let's Do It Again

Let's Do It Again
       A month ago everyone dismissed the idea of re-doing the Michigan presidential primary as deader than a doornail.  Ah, but the corpse has winked.
       Now the first thing you want to know is who will get stuck with the tab for another vote?  Recall that the "election" on January 15th cost a cool $12 million smackers of your money.
       If democrats decide they want another bite of the election apple the party will foot the bill.
       With that out of the way, why the rush to vote again?
       Last Tuesday's election results have again propelled Michigan's convention delegation into the national spotlight.  When Clinton beat Obama in Ohio and Texas, suddenly the race was not over but only just beginning.
       With this contest so darn close, Michigan's 156 delegates along with the 200 plus from Florida could decide which candidate gets the nomination.
       There is no consensus yet on what form this new election might take, but democrats are united on one front:  They do not want to go to the national convention with the seating of the Michigan delegation still up in the air.  That could lead to an intra-party civil war between the two presidential camps which can only help the republicans.
       So what will they do to get Michigan democrats onto the convention floor?
       At this read your guess is as good as anyone's.
       There could be a "firehouse primary' where on a given day, voters can go to their local firehouse and vote for the Hill or the Big O.  There could be an accommodation reached on giving most of the uncommitted votes to Obama from last January's vote.
       What ever they decide, every camp will have to sign off and "fairness" will be the key.  Obama's gang will protest if somebody tries to steal this election and Clinton could do that with the bunch of Michigan super delegates on her side.
       Michigan democrats wanted attention and boy are they getting it. Now the question is, what will they do with it?
       As the governor likes to say, stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Now What Democrats?

  Now What Democrats?
       The on-again-off-again relevance of the Michigan delegation to the national democratic convention is back being on-again in the wake of Hillary Clinton's comeback wins in Ohio and Texas.
        Even though Barack Obama has a lead in the total delegate count, his supporters in Michigan concede he won't have the nomination wrapped up by this summer and neither will she.
        Detroit Senator Buzz Thomas on that:  "We see no mathematical scenarios where he does not go to the convention in Denver with a lead in delegates."
        Reminded however that Obama can't get to the magic 2025 number to nail down the nomination, he adds, "There is no one's math that gets them to 2025 before Denver."
        Which brings the embattled Michigan delegation back into play with the prospects of deciding the eventual winner if the race remains this close throughout the summer.
        "Michigan and Florida are very relevant again and it's going to create some tension" both at the national and state levels, he observes.
        Thomas says it would be a "catastrophe" if Michigan decides the winner or if "super delegates decide it vs. the popular vote" across the nation.
        To avoid that he was thinking about assembling all the Michigan super delegates to work out a seating chart, but he never sent the letter because he figured his guy would wrap up the nomination.
        "It would have been very easy for us to resolve Michigan last night," he said on Wednesday, but Clinton ruined that by winning big in those two states.
          Now the focus shifts to the March 28th Michigan Democratic Party caucus where delegates will be selected.  Thomas wants to make sure the uncommitted delegates "remain uncommitted but leaning toward Obama."
          Clinton backers may have something to say about that including the governor who observes, "You don't know what uncommitted means. This is unsettling."
          Thomas and Gov. Granholm agree on one thing, the two combatants need to stop combating.
           "I hope for no more negative campaigning," Thomas says.
            The governor chuckles, "We don't like to eat our young."

Schwarz On Congressional Bid

 Schwarz on Congressional Bid
      Although the drop-dead date for filing for office is not until May, former Michigan Congressman John Schwarz is politically dropping dead before that.  He will not run to regain his seat he lost to conservative Tim Walberg last time out in the Battle Creek area.
      Caught on the state senate floor on Wednesday, Schwarz was asked if he would run?
      "I don't think so. My plate is pretty darn full right now.  It would probably be inappropriate to get in a congressional race now," he reveals for the first time.
        The affable Schwarz is no stranger to Southeast Michigan as he ran for governor but couldn't get past the right wing fanatics in the state GOP who couldn't stomach a pro-choice moderate in the governor's chair.
       Schwarz finally made it to congress four years ago but lost his reelection bid.  Since then he has flirted with running again, or running as a democrat or as an independent.
         He notes that the democrats have "a candidate" and as for an independent bid he laughs, "The road to higher office is strewn with the bodies of people who have run as independents."
         Schwarz says he "came close but not close enough" to re-entering the contest but in the end, what he termed his "philosophical difference" with the core republican party in Michigan, kept him out of the hunt.
         Schwarz says his dream job is to be Secretary of the Navy in a McCain administration.  "I've thought about it, but not talked about it" with his buddy McCain who is the GOP nominee for president.
         As for the second spot on the ticket, Schwarz has some advice to his former Navy pal:  The 71 year-old McCain needs to find a V.P.  who is not 71.
        "I think younger, yes…it is a necessity," he argues. But he says when McCain is sworn in, if he is, he will be 72, which is "a couple of years younger than Ronald Reagan at his second inauguration."
       As for the Navy post, Schwarz figures,"It's not going to happen.  It's a pipe dream, but why not dream?"
       Why not.

Monday, March 3, 2008

McMillan Thanks Brooks

  McMillan Thanks Brooks
      Stop the presses.  Glory be.  Archconservative Tom McMillan of Oakland County has sent a thank you note to county executive L. Brooks Patterson.
      This is the same McMillan whom Brooks has lambasted for being anti-gay, anti-big tent GOP and anti-anti.  Yet McMillan sends a note of appreciate for all Patterson is doing to revamp the Cobo Hall expansion project more to the liking of Oakland County residents. What is this world coming to?
       Patterson has been one of the major stumbling blocks to piecing this deal together, but the popular wisdom is, once Patterson is safely reelected in November, he can then make his deal with the other players.  Until then, just to be safe, the theory goes, Patterson won't play footsie with anyone.
        McMillan scoffs at that notion.
        He also scoffs at the notion that ultra-conservatives will somehow abandon John McCain when he finally nails down the GOP nomination for president.
        That's been the chatter out there on the far right fringes of the Republican Party.
        Actually McMillan thinks with the hard right being hard on McCain, it may actually help him with moderate voters, who figure, if conservatives don't like McCain, he must be O.K.
        While McMillan remains hooked up with the Huck a.k.a. Mike Hucbabee, he can read the handwriting on the nomination wall and adds, "We'll end up" in the McCain camp.
        There is one caveat however:  "Barring any proclamation that really alienates us, and this is a real possibility," we'll be with McCain.
        Knowing McCain's penchant for saying what he thinks, McMillan will be listening very carefully.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Thanks But No Thanks

Thanks But No Thanks
  One of the knocks against Gov. Granholm is that making tough decisions is not one of her strong suits.  Her critics contend she finds that difficult because she wants everyone to like her.
  Well if you buy that, what are the chances she will move to remove her "favorite" mayor from Detroit?
  You got it: slim and none.
   Over the last few days as the Kwame Kilpatrick text-messaging mess creeps toward critical mass, a new wrinkle has emerged about the governor bouncing him.  She apparently has the power, but probably not the will.
   First confronted with the notion, the Granholm front office, dropped back ten yards and punted:  "We are not going to speculate about a matter that is not yet before us at this time," opined media mouthpiece Liz Boyd while taking her remarks from page one of the How to Avoid a Tough Stand book.
   However, inside the bowels of the Granholm administration, it must be a tempting notion.  After all the relationship between she and he has been rocky at best even though both have gone to great lengths to give the appearance that they are cozy.
    Years ago, somebody in the gov's office suggested:  The mayor is a good example of someone who needs adult supervision.
     Reportedly the mayor's folks are not fond of the governor, either.
     She has repeatedly said whatever happens in Motown should happen quickly because the swirling polemics will damage the state and the cities recoveries.  And over the weekend 2,500 Black Mayors who were coming to Detroit, pulled the plug and took their millions of dollars to New Orleans, instead.
     The governor has the power to end this thing right now if somebody were to ask her. But her trigger finger is likely to remain miles away from the trigger if they do.