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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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It Could Have Been Worse

  It Could Have Been Worse
       The governor is a deeply religious woman and while there is no proof of this, one suspects that she has felt the hand of the Good Lord in her life the last few days.
       Stuck in a Lansing hospital room with only her Blackberry, the tube, and her private thoughts, Jennifer Granholm is probably reflecting that her fate could have been a lot worse regarding her twisted intestine that's been corrected by emergency surgery.
       She was scheduled to be on the big bird en route to an economic mission to the Middle East and if she had been in the air when this intestinal thing hit her….well you can do the math.
       Her doctor did.
       "It could have been an emergency," he quietly reflected.
        Instead, all of this came to a head starting last Sunday when she did not feel good.  Trooper that she is, she hustled down to Detroit to hear the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.  Returning home, she felt worse but declined her hubby's offer to get medical help.
       "Let's see how I feel in the morning, and if I'm not any better, I'll go," she reassured Dan Mulhern.
         Monday rolled around and the pain in her tummy shot up even higher after a night of throwing up, not being able to drink liquids and not being able to sleep. 
         She was sick and in deep pain and by Tuesday night she was under the knife…all this just hours before she was to have left the country.
         What might have been, did not unfold.
         But now the tough part.  Doctors say she has to stay in the hospital for a week and after that, two more weeks at home.
         For this energizer governor who can't sit still, it will be hard medicine to swallow.
         And her doctor knows it.  "She is strong willed," poor Dr. Timothy McKenna observed admitting that he had not yet worked up the courage to tell her about the three-week hiatus.
         Which is another sign of the Good Lord at work--- she needs the rest.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wright is Wrong for Obama

Wright Is Wrong for Obama
      You're not going to hear a chorus of Stand By Your Man from the Barack Obama camp regarding the candidate's former pastor and spiritual adviser.
       In fact in the wake of two nationwide appearances of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright this week, Mr. Obama was in full damage control mode including a televised statement where he put even more distance between himself and the good Reverend.
       Is it too little, too late?
      State Senator Alma Wheeler Smith, who was inclined to endorse Hillary Clinton but at the urging of her son went for Obama instead, admits there's been some collateral damage.
      Referring to the Rev. the senator says, "I think he's been a difficult addition to the campaign…It's unfortunate."
      But the African American legislator believes the "hurt" is not insurmountable.
      Also checking in is the former vice chair of the state Democratic Party "Butch" Hollowell.
      "I love Barack Obama. I think he is terrific," the close friend of the governor gushes.
       As for Rev. Wright, Hollowell, who is also Black, is less joyful.
       Asked if Wright is a diversion for the campaign he concludes, "I'm not sure."
       Asked if Wright is hurting Obama, Hollowell believes the issue is being "blown out of proportion" and in the end "the quality and humanity (of Obama) will ultimately bring the country together."
       Which means Hollowell does not want to get into the Wright mess.
       Unfortunately the candidate does not have the same luxury.
       And based on the distance Obama is trying to create, it's unlikely Rev. Wright will be the Billy Granham to Barack Obama if he ever gets to the White House.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Wayne Who?

  Wayne Who?
      They are coming out of the woodwork these potential candidates for governor next time out.
       The latest to emerge is not exactly a household word.  In fact you're going to go, "Wayne who?"
       Wayne who, is really State Senator Wayne Kuipers from Holland.  A long shot potential candidate, Kuipers says others have suggested he take a look and he says he will.
      "I'd be interested, absolutely," he confesses.
       But first he is making all the appropriate soundings and if the word comes back that he is "crazy" to even consider a bid, he says he will factor that in.  If the feedback is more positive he adds, "We'll see where it takes us."
       If he does get in, the GOP primary in 2010 could look like a re-do of West Side Story.  That's because there could be four, count'em, four candidates from the West side of the state.
       You'd potentially have Kuipers, Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land from Grand Rapids, Congressman Pete Hoekstra from Holland, and the soapsuds guy from Ada, Dick DeVos.
        There is one school of thought in town that DeVos can again re-open his fat wallet and scare everyone else out of the race much like he did in 2006 when he ran a lack luster campaign against you know who.
        Asked if he would bail if DeVos did that, Kuipers pauses and says, "No.  I think it will be a wide open primary."
        Add Macomb County Congresswoman Candice Miller to the list. She won't be pushed around by anybody including moneybags DeVos.
        So Kuipers continue to explore while others claim he is merely trying to force Congressman Hoekstra to get into the race for governor so Kuipers can run for Hoekstra's seat in Washington.
        At any rate you now know whom "Wayne Who" is.

Dead Body Bill

The state legislature is often maligned for dealing with stuff that does not require dealing with. The public wonders how many hours can they waste on insignificant matters?
     Take for example a new bill to order citizens to report a dead body.
     Yep…a dead body.
     So what is the problem here?
     Joe Six Pack is out walking in the woods up North and comes across a dead body and ponders, "Hum. I wonder if I should report this?  Naw.  Somebody else can do it."
     Do we really have to pass a law mandating that Joe do his civic duty?
     Well turns out the proposal is not aimed at Joe, but at others who would, for financial gain, ignore the dead body.
     In Canton Township some time ago it actually happened according to Rep. Richard LaBlanc who is backing the legislation.
     Seems two drug addicts were living together and one of them croaked. The other tossed some blankets over the body in the apartment and wrote the victim's father claiming his daughter needed money. And being a good father, he sent the money along.
     Other druggies entered the apartment, and they didn't call the authorities either. This went on for three weeks when finally an anonymous tipster gave the local cop shop a heads up.
     They got a search warrant and discovered the corpse. But when it came time to charge everyone, it was discovered it is not against the law to ignore a dead body.
     Hence, the new legislation.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Helicopters: Here We Go Again

   Helicopters:  Here We Go Again
      What is it with helicopters and Michigan politics?
      First,  GOP candidate for governor John Engler made the whirlybird and issue when sitting governor Jim Blanchard used it to fly hither and yon.
      Engler tagged Blanchard the "Imperial" governor and pointed to the chopper as exhibit A.  The issue did not decide the election, but it was part of the successful mosaic that Engler weaved to unseat Blanchard who was not supposed to lose the election.
      To put a point on it, days after he was elected, Engler appeared at the state police helicopter hanger and slapped a for sale sign on the thing.
       Now comes would be governor Dick DeVos with his own batch of chopper problems.
       GOPer DeVos, who did not impress a lot of folks with his less than sterling 14,000 vote lost to Governor Jennifer Granholm in 2006, is out exploring another bid in 2010, and he is using his own chopper to do it.
       Sometime ago he applied for a zoning change so he could land it in his own backyard near Grand Rapids.  The first sign of problems came from some of his "friendly" neighbors who thought it was a noise nuisance.
       In recent days, according to the Detroit Free Press, one of those neighbors has come forward claiming it might actually be an asset to the already ritzy neighborhood in that it might attract more big shooter executives.
       The zoning issue may be the least of Mr. DeVos's challenges.
       State Democratic Party chair Mark Brewer has the helicopter in his political gun sights….again.
       Seems the flying machine is made in China, according to Brewer whose eyes light up when he discusses it.  Recall that Granholm, Brewer and company made a big deal out of DeVos "sending Michigan jobs to China" when he ran the last time.
        So Brewer is reloading the China issue by pointing out that instead of buying an American product, DeVos chose China again.
       So here we go again. Could it be that a helicopter could play another dominant role in the next race for governor?
       Who'd a thunk it?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Business tax breaks don't work

  The head of the state's largest teacher's union has attacked the touchstone of the Granholm administration namely its economic development strategy.
  Lu Battaglieri is blunt, "The way we are doing economic development is ludicrous."
  The MEA executive director's remarks came at a workshop in East Lansing for a group of management and labor officials.
  He took aim at the administration's use of P.A. 198 the so-called "Mega giveaway" program as he labeled it.  He told the audience it is one thing to grant a twelve year tax abatement to attract or keep businesses to Michigan, but there is "no accountability" to show if the program is working create.
  Of course from the educator's standpoint, any loss of property taxes means fewer dollars for the schools.  Battaglieri contends a billion dollars a year is lost in property taxes to local government.
  "A dollar on education produces more than tax subsidies," he argues and for every one-dollar spent on pre-school education, he contends the state reaps seven dollars in return.
  Battaglieri's appearance came after reports were released that the drop out rate for Detroit high school students was the highest in the nation, however he told the audience "$3.7 biliion would be added to the economy if we got more students of color to graduate from high school."
 Given his anti-Mega remarks, Battaglieri was asked if he was joining the Mackinac Center which has opposed P.A. 198 from the time former Gov. John Engler reluctantly proposed it.
 The union head gave a firm no.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


This is a first.  Never before have two petition drives been launched on the same subject and that could doom them both.
Up in Saginaw, the father and son team of Al and Greg Schmid are on their fourth, that's right fourth attempt at creating a part time legislature.
Over there in Kalamazoo country, the local chamber of commerce wants to do the same thing with one difference; its petition drive would also abolish term limits.  The chamber is getting some help from an Oakland County activist, too.
"It is confusing the voters. It hurts both" drives, complains Greg Schmid as he blames the other PTL folks of creating a Trojan Horse.  Schmid believe the Kazoo folks are using the part time legislature as a "loss leader" to kill term limits.
 There is no question that if either or both of the grassroots efforts gets enough signatures to place it on the statewide ballot, the voters would flock to a PTL like kids to an ice cream truck.
 But there is a huge question regarding the gathering of 500,000 petition signatures to win that ballot spot.  Schmid concedes he's got 27,000 unwashed signatures in hand which means many of those are invalid. 
Look it.  It would take the collection of over 8,000 signatures everyday to even come close to the 500,000 mark.
 Schmid has a measly budget of $50,000 on paper.  He does not have that much in the bank, and is not paying for the names.
The one ace in the hole the Schmid and Schmid have is last October.  Or have your forgotten?
 Remember: unbalanced budget, protracted political wrangling, and a partial shutdown of state government?  Schmid hopes to parlay the public anger over that into signatures.
This issue is not sexy and won't garner the media attention that petition drives on same sex marriage, banning affirmative action, and killing doves generated.
So barring a miracle of historic proportions, the Schmid boys are about to go "O" for four on a part time legislature and as for the Kazoo folks, there chances aren't much better.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Honey, should I run?

At some point former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer will have to confront that question with his wife.  And if Trudy Archer gives the thumbs down, the Archer for Governor campaign may never get off the ground.
In case you missed it, Mr. Archer is actively laying the groundwork to run for governor just in case he decides to take the plunge.
He's running all over the state meeting with this group and that, and while he has not made his own decision, some close friends point out that it's not his call alone to make.
"Part of his decision still hinges on his wife…She enjoys having him at home," reports Archer confidant State Senator Buzz Thomas.
"Uncle Dennis", which is what Thomas calls his long time friend, has had several conversations with the senator and Thomas was asked if the wife says no, does that mean no to a bid?
"She would get a very strong say in this," is the candid response.
Former mayoral candidate Freeman Hendrix has had a chat with Mr. Archer about the contest, and Hendrix says, "That is a good question" regarding what the Mrs. will eventually say.
The Archers enjoy a beautiful life style.  He has a lucrative law practice; they vacation near Sarasota; he enjoys widespread respect in the business community and that stint on the State Supreme Court doesn't look bad on the resume either.
So why get into a grueling race for governor?
Archer talks about public service and wanting to give back.
But she may be asking, at what cost?
It's a darn good question.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Waste of Time

  Waste of Time
       Remember what you did during the last fifteen minutes of school?  Some kids counted the seconds off the clock, others made sure all the crap on their desk was tidy, some threw spitballs and others teased whomever was within reach.  In other words, the last minutes of school did not exactly contribute to a higher score on your SAT's.
       With that in mind, now comes word from a Macomb County school district that it is tacking on an extra 15 minutes at the end of each school day to make up for six snow days.
       What genius thinks that will contribute anything to junior's education other than teaching them to count the 900 seconds off the clock?
       "It doesn't accomplish the education we're looking for," concedes Macomb County Senator Mickey Switalski who is the ranking democrat on the K-12 School Aid budget.
         He thinks the state ought to go back to the old system of mandating a certain number of days of instruction rather than hours.
         And his counterpart in the Michigan House agrees.  Rep. Matt Gillard of Alpena confesses he voted for the hour system but it was probably the wrong thing to do.
         The real mystery here is why would any school think this is good move.  If you missed six days, logic would dictate you tack on six days of school at the end of the year.
         Oh yeah.  Forgot.  That might delay summer vacation.
         Summer vacation vs. more time in the classroom---it's a no brainer.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Big Brother Is Watching

Big Brother Is Watching
     Author George Orwell would love this.
     Out in Oregon they are trying a new way to collect money for the roads by attaching, get this, a GPS unit that will tally up the miles you drive and you're assessed a fee accordingly.
      Can you say Big Brother?
     The good news is the Michigan Department of Transportation director Kirk Stuedle can't…at least not yet or in the foreseeable future.
      Nonetheless Stuedle briefed a house committee here this week on how the Oregon plan works and turns out it does.
      "The Oregon study proved it can be done…I don't know if it's the best to do," he quickly adds.
        For one thing there is the privacy issue.  Even though the government installed GPS unit would not record where you drove and with whom, suspicious motorists might not believe it.
       Can you imagine the public outcry if the state ordered everyone to get hooked up with one of these gizmos?
       A ton of hardware is also needed to count the mileage including attachments at the gas station.
       Stuedle called it a "web and a complicated mess."
       But other states are looking at this because everyone knows the money collected from the gas tax is steadily declining with no reversal in sight.  Consequently basing a payment system on miles driven would be more equitable and might produce more revenue.
       A special task force is expected to look into this alternative and Stuedle figures there might be a variation of the Oregon plan out there, but he is unaware of it right now.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dueling Diplomas

  Dueling Diplomas
        Governor Granholm's list of legislative accomplishments is not that massive, so when somebody talks about taking the polish off of her beefed up high school curriculum requirements, she is not in a compromising mood.
        That does not faze fellow democrat Rep. Joel Sheltrown one bit.  The West Branch lawmaker is locking horns with the governor because he is adamant about creating a duel high school diploma system with one sheep skin for college bound kids and one for students with vocational skills.
        The governor sees that as lowering the standards. Sheltrown counters not every kid wants a four-year education and adds, "I'm not lowering the standards.  I have a different curriculum" for the carpenters, building trades men and women and mechanics of the future.
        He warns if some accommodation is not made in the current math and science laden class load, the state is headed for a "train wreck" as more and more students drop out of school rather than tackle Algebra II, Chemistry and the like.
       The last thing this state needs is a higher drop out rate.
       So Sheltrown is basically ignoring the governor for the moment and will hook-up with Oakland County democrat Tim Melton who chairs the House Education committee.  A work group will be formed to develop a two high school diploma system.
       And if Sheltrown convinces enough colleagues to adopt it, then the governor has a tough choice: veto it or acknowledge that her first blue print was not responsive to the non-college student. 

Monday, April 14, 2008

Trivial Pursuit

   Trivial Pursuit
         While working in the radio newsroom the other day, the CNN all news channel was blaring away as the vigilant news hounds were hammering out another hard hitting story on the race for president.
         Some clown with a microphone in one hand and a picture of Hillary Clinton in the other was showing it to folks on the streets of New York and asking for their opinion.  Clinton was shown holding a class of booze and the clown/reporter wanted to know if that would affect this person's vote?
         This is not made up.  Honest.
         O.K. everyone who is deciding the race for president based on a glass of whisky, raise your hands?
         And if your hand is up, get a life.
         CNN was doing what all responsible media outlets do from time to time, we pursue the trivial.  Such tomfoolery does not destroy the democracy, but it does give you pause.  With so many substantive issues out there to explore with these candidates, should we waste three minutes on this crap-ola?
         This is not an isolated incident.  A check the other day on NEXIS, where we go to check on stories being covered, revealed there were an astounding 1,043 hits showing Barack Obama bowling; more than 3,000 hits with Obama and his pastor, and 1,079 hits on Hillary Clinton and a Monica Lewinsky story.
         Contrast that with the meager 16 hits on the story concerning the president suspending the Fourth Amendment to the Bill of Rights for "domestic military operations" in this country.
         Now you know why the media panders with the mundane.  Somebody out there is reading and watching it.
         So if it's a choice between a whiskey story or the Bill Rights, apparently in some newsrooms, it's not a close call…or the right call.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Clinton Loses Michigan To McCain

  Clinton Loses Michigan to McCain
       A lot has happened to Hillary Clinton since she racked up an impressive 55% win in Michigan last January, and none of it is good.
       If democrats want to carry this state, they better pick somebody else.  Clinton loses Michigan to John McCain by a 37% to 45% margin.  Put Barack Obama in the nomination and he defeats McCain here by a five-point margin 42%-37%.
       The latest EPIC-MRA data reveals Clinton losing to Obama in Detroit 33% to 38%, and losing to McCain in the rest of the state by a 35% to 49% spread.
       Pollster Bernie Porn suggests her negatives are rising in the after math of the misfiring over the non-firing in Bosnia.  50% of the 600 Michigan voters who were sampled have an unfavorable rating of the former First Lady while 45% are favorable.
       If there is a glimmer of hope for her, it is the results were conducted prior to the latest flap involving her opponent's comments about disenchanted gun owners and those who "cling" to their religion in tough times.
      Obama is taking incoming verbal artillery sniper fire from both Clinton and McCain for that, and while he has apparently survived the flap over his pastor, it's unclear in Michigan if this new misstep will cost him votes here.
      One shocking finding apart from the Big Three candidates is the showing of the little fourth candidate, Ralph Nader.  In Detroit he secured 28% of the vote.
      What is in the water in Motown?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Racial Divide On MEAP

   Racial Divide On MEAP
        The MEAP scores were dished out this week and there was a collective sigh of relief from the governor on down because a major aspect of the story was missed by the mainstream media.
        The bulk of the coverage was quite glowing with all sorts of headlines about scores going up for the third year in a row.  Sure 30% of the kids were flunking, but as long as there was progress, who could really complain?
        Well if you are a parent of an African-American or Hispanic student, you had plenty to gripe about, but that angle didn't get much coverage, if any.
        Buried in the myriad of MEAP data were these findings: 81% of the Asian and 79% of the white students got passing grades.  But only 56% of the Hispanic and 43% of the African-American students passed.
        Put another way in more human terms about every other Hispanic student and six out of ten Black students are struggling to read, write, and figure out math and science.
        In other words there continues to be a huge racial divide in our schools and there is no quick fix to close it.  The implications are far reaching including a prison population that will continue to mushroom and a welfare system that may be stretched to its limits as uneducated persons grapple to make a living, legally or otherwise.
        State School Superintendent Mike Flanagan, to his credit, did acknowledge that Michigan confronts a tough challenge in our urban and outstate rural districts.
        He reports there are some "shinning stars" in those areas. But let's be blunt: The MEAP scores reveal, most of the "stars" are tarnished.
        How long to turn it around?  He thinks three to four years.
        Maybe miracles will happen.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Gov. On Teen Drivers and Kwame

   Gov on Teen Drivers and Kwame
           If the governor had her way, about the only thing drivers under 18 could do in their cars would be to drive them.
           While that might be unpopular with the young drivers, the governor tells reporters, "I'm all in favor of measures that will create greater safety."
           Her remarks come in the wake of a tragic accident in Macomb County where three teens recently died in a car mishap.
           The governor went well beyond just banning passengers as suggested by one piece of pending legislation.
           "That includes restrictions on passenger numbers, restrictions on cell phone use, restrictions on text messaging. You name it."  She wants to "make sure that the driving experience for the inexperienced drivers is a more safe one."
            Asked about teenagers having constitutional rights, the mother of two teens shot back they do but  "They are minors and therefore the state has a greater responsibility to insuring their safety.  I'm in favor of that."
            However she does not favor what is unfolding in Detroit regarding another kind of text messaging.
            "I'm certainly concerned about the impact that it has on the city and it's progress," referring to the Mayor Kilpatrick allegations. Granholm goes on, "I don't think there's anything you can look at with this situation and find a silver lining.  I think it is all not good."
             But for the umpteenth time she refused to wade into any reaction to the allegations per see repeating that she will not say or doing anything that might "compromise" any future rule she may or may not have in the case.  She must be lighting candles that there is no future role at all.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Life Vs. Life Battle

   Life Vs. Life Battle
       This may be the calm before the battle over life with Michigan voters caught in the cross fire over the emotional embryonic stem cell research issue.
       Senior citizens will be targets in this debate over saving lives.
       The pro-research side will tell seniors that there is hope in the lab that deadly diseases can be cured but the pro-life side will counter, this is all about "destroying human embryos so it will be about destroying life…It will be an argument over life," concedes Paul Long from the Michigan Catholic Conference.
       With the other side banked rolled with enough money to collect 400,000 signatures to place it before the voters, Long concludes, "We're planning that it will be on the ballot."
      And once it gets to the November ballot, the warfare will begin.
      Long is confidant that Michigan has a long history of being pro-life including the state's opposition to the death penalty, welfare abortion funding, and assisted suicide?
      But the other side is confident this type of research can lead to cures for Alzheimer's, heart disease, and even cancer.
      Long says his opponents will be "formidable" but, "We can end disease without destroying embryos."
      One shutters to think what type of ads will flood the airwaves as both sides go back and forth.  It will not be pretty.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Hurray For Hollywood

     Hurray for Hollywood
          The governor was beside herself. It was just the kind of event she loves the most. There was bipartisanship oozing all over the joint; there was plenty of talk about creating a whole new industry and diversifying the economy, and best of all none of the wise guys in the media peanut gallery had a gnarly question for her to tackle.
         In other words the signing of the Hollywood movie tax break bill was a p-e-r-f-e-c-t day for Jennifer Granholm.
         The state is now offering a whopping 40 percent tax break for any movie maker who wants to shoot a film here.  That's the highest credit anywhere which allowed the governor to gloat, "This makes this the best place in the nation to make films."
         And it's already working.
         Normally the state film office sees about six movie scripts a year.  Even before she signed the thing, 84 came flying in and all of them from legit movie moguls and not some college kid working on a term paper.
         In New Mexico where they bumped up their tax credit, the movie business jumped ten fold to $500 million a year.  The governor would be happy with half of that.
         Critics contend the state is selling the farm with the 40 percent giveaway.  The governor, who was not a math major but was almost a movie star, counters, the state is getting nothing right now so reaping a 60 percent profit ain't all that  bad.
         And let's face it Michigan has plenty to offer.  For example if MGM or somebody else is looking to film a story about college kids rioting, East Lansing is open for business.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

How'd You Get In This Game?

  How'd You Get In This Game?
       He's been in the Congress, served eight years in the governor's seat, and made his mark as Ambassador to Canada, but if it was not for his old high school basketball coach, Jim Blanchard's resume might look a lot different today.
        Far as we can tell this marks the first time Blanchard has revealed how he got into politics.  It was not his first choice.  Being a starter on the Ferndale High School basketball team was.
        F.H.S. was on a roll having nailed down two state championships and Jamie Blanchard wanted to be part of the action.
        "I went out for basketball," the 5' 9" ex-jock recalls.
         It didn't take very long for both him and his coach to reached the not so flattering conclusion:  He was not going to make the team.
         Sensing a hidden talent in his reject, the coach told him, "Jamie.  Everybody likes you.  Why don't you be the team manager?"
         As his hopes of making the squad faded like a three point shot that turns into an air ball, Blanchard accepted the post.
         "But then I got interested in girls and being team manager with a bunch of smelly towels was not the way to attract them."
          So as he prepared to hang-up the manager's job, the coach urged Blanchard to run for student council.  He did.  He won.  And as they say the rest is history.
          Blanchard, whose dad was not around, spent a lot of time at the coach's home with his pal the coach's son.  "If it had not been for him pointing me in that direction…" and then the former Congressman, former Governor, and former Ambassador's voice trails off….
         Funny how failing at one thing can lead to success in another.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


     It will not cost him the overall election, but if Barack Obama loses the Pennsylvania primary in two weeks, the number 37 will be the reason why.
     In modern day politics, every politician worth his or her salt tries, often in unnatural ways, to identify with voters.  Former V.P. and millionaire Dan Quayle was famous for stopping the campaign bus on a dime to dash into the local burger joint to pump paws with the locals and practice spelling the word potato on the French fry menu. 
    So it was only natural that the vote hungry and very non-blue collar guy named Obama would want to cuddle up to the very blue collar folks who reside in Altoona, P.A.
     Which is why the network TV crews captured a very clumsy candidate at a local bowling alley racking up an astounding score of 37 for ten frames.  (We're assuming he did not get any bonus balls in the 11th and 12th frames.)
     Didn't anybody on his crack campaign staff bother to ask him if he knew how to bowl?  And if they did and he said no, why didn't they squeeze in some practice frames out of the camera view first?
     So there he was with the blue-collar guys looking on as he unceremoniously tossed one gutter ball after another.  You can hear the snickers in the bar.  "He sure ain't one of us."
     The network and cable news hounds have played it over and over. Comedian and phony anchor-guy Jon Stewart did a whole segment on it during the Daily Show and if anybody in Pennsylvania felt closer to Barack Obama as a resulted of the ill fated escapade to "be one of them", they must be relatives.
     The first lesson of politics is be yourself.  Anybody remember the presidential contender who rode around in a tank with a helmet on his head?
      Barack Obama meet Michael Dukakis…you now have something in common.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ramsey To Run Again

  Ramsey to Run Again
       "I'm going to file," the voice on the other end of the phone announced.
         And with that John Ramsey is running for the Michigan House for a second time after losing to Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer two years ago by 500 votes.
         Ramsey, the father of JonBenet Ramsey who was found murdered in the family home in 1996, says he is "committed" to running and only has to file the paper work to make it official.
         "This was the last thing on my mind," Ramsey says right after "what are we having for dinner?" But when Elsenheimer decided to relinquish his seat to bid for a seat on the state appellate court, Ramsey got phone calls from local GOP leaders urging him to run.
           He would not have run if the incumbent had stayed in the race.  "Absolutely correct," he says.  "It is tough to beat an incumbent."
           He goes into the contest having "learned a lot" from his last venture into elective politics.  "It is a lot of work," he says but "I'm eager to get the state on the right course."
           Ramsey says part of that right course is enacting a part time legislature. He believes it is a structural reform the state needs.
           He is already piecing back together his campaign team saying, "so far so good." 
           Ramsey, whose father James once chaired the state Aeronautics Commission, has a summer home in Charlevoix and says he is excited about running again in the 105th district, but he will have plenty of company as at least three other GOPers are in the hunt, too.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Blanchard Sides With Granholm

    Blanchard Sides With Granholm
          The current governor remains on radio silence regarding the affaire Kwame while a prominent business publication is calling on her to break that silence and get into the act.
          Crain's Business magazine in an editorial argues for the good of the regions economy, the governor should take action now on the Mayor of Detroit flap.
          She will not and former Governor Jim Blanchard agrees.
          Democrat Blanchard says, "I would wait for the legal process to ensue.  If he is convicted of a felony he will have to resign and the governor will have no choice but to remove him if he doesn't."
          But various business folks can't wait for the grinding wheels of justice and they are nervous that any economic turnaround in the region can be stymied by all the attention focused on alleged wrongdoing, court battles, and text messages that appear to be never ending.
          Blanchard, whose mantra while in office was "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs" is not insensitive to the concern but he warns if the governor were to move now, the mayor could take her to court and claim her action was "arbitrary and capricious" and "She would probably lose and that would weaken the governor, still continue to add to the problem and do nothing for economic development."
          The two-term governor advises Granholm to work around the controversy and keep on with her talks with industry to create more jobs.
          Meanwhile behind closed doors you have to believe that the Kwame thing is being discussed by potential prospects who demand certainty before making any business decision to relocate here.
          The Kilpatrick matter is the anti-thesis of certainty.