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.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gustav Political Fallout

   There is nothing political about hurricane Gustav, but there is some heavy indirect political fallout from the impending natural disaster as it methodically takes aim at the U.S. mainland.
       The national Republican Party has made the wise move and scrubbed most of Monday's convention activities in Minnesota and politely asked all of the delegates to raise money for the hurricane victims rather than raising the roof at the myriad of parties that were on tap.
      The spectacle of GOPers partying down while another part of the country was battling for its life, was the wrong picture to send especially since this GOP administration botched the last hurricane disaster a year ago this week.
      From a crass political standpoint, John McCain is now able to avoid his own Kwame Kilpatrick dilemma.  Just as Barack Obama wanted nothing to do with the beleaguered Mayor of Detroit at the democratic convention, John McCain did not n eed a lot of face time with the current president of the United States at his.
      Sure the democrats have enough pictures of McCain and George W. Bush to last until November, but the D's were hoping to replenish their supply at the GOP meeting where both the president and Vice President Cheney were set to speak on Monday night.
      Both have scrubbed those appearances to stay on top of the hurricane.
      Originally the GOP was going to stuff Bush and Cheney into the convention program on Monday night which just happened to be Labor Day eve when most Americans would be on the road and not in front of the tube.
      McCain would have taken a hit for trying to hide the duo, but now the only thing that will hit on Monday night is Gustav. For McCain it is an unsought after political silver lining in an otherwise very dark natural disaster.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lightening Rod

   Pull out your handy dandy thesaurus and look up the phrase lightening rod.  Right after the word you'll find the name Adolph Mongo.
   Mr. Mongo has forged a career as a political consultant in the shark infested waters of Detroit and while he's been bitten a few times, he knows how to bite back.  His "tell it like it is" style hacks off somebody every time he opens his mouth.
    During the last race for governor, the Granholm cabol was mighty upset with Mongo for cuddling up to Dick DeVos the GOP challenger.  Mongo went on statewide public TV to announce that he was "pi__ed off" at the governor and the democrats because they never tossed him any consulting work. So there.
    Now comes Mr. Mongo with his take on the race for president, the mess Kwame Kilpatrick is in, and he's flirting again with supporting DeVos in two years.
    On Obama, Mongo says he won't win Michigan.
    "A lot of people still have a problem voting for an African American candidate," Mongo concludes on the eve of Barack Obama and Joe Biden invading the state including a stopover in Motown for the Labor Day parade.
     Mongo predicts if Obama doesn't convince 60% of the Detroit voters to show up on Election Day, he can't win.  And he notes that kind of turnout has not happened in 25 years.
     As for His Honor, "The Mayor has met his Waterloo.  At this point he is surrounded by his enemies.  How many fights can he fight?'
    Mongo says Kilpatrick surrounded himself with a bunch of rookie soliders and promoted them to general when he took office.  "He hasn't had the kind of experienced people around that would have kept a lot of this stuff from happening."
     Mongo, the former democrat who now works both sides of the aisle, complains that State Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer is the "biggest hypocrite" and if DeVos runs again for governor, Mongo says he might vote for him.
    You can watch Mr. Lightening Rod on this week's edition of Off the Record which is up on the web site starting at noon on Friday.  Bring your asbestos suit if you have nothing better to do.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

13 Minutes of Fame

        Everyone gets 15 minutes of fame the old saying goes, but at the Democratic National Convention, Gov. Jennifer Granholm got only 13 minutes and 11 seconds.
        In case you missed it and lots of folks did, the governor was front and center at the DNC conclave conducting a hastily produced Obama info-mercial masquerading as a "National Town Hall Meeting" on alternative energy.
        As expected she supplied most of the energy as she played the role of talk show host/cheerleader interviewing four carefully selected pro-Obama supporters.
        With the governor providing the leading questions, the panel members shared memorable insights such as, "gas prices are going up" and "It's unacceptable" that we don't have an energy policy.
        O.K. no body thought this would be news making or earth shattering, but what was added to the national debate over energy that we did not already know?
        What's that you say?  That was not the objective?
        One panelist lamented that this country does not have an energy policy because of "failed policies and lack of leadership."  What she failed to tack on was that the bi-partisan guilt crosses administrations dating back to Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush Two.
       The governor does have a career alternative as a TV host as she remembered all of the panelist's names in the introduction, unless there was a hidden teleprompter and when it came time to introduce a man on the street interview, she absolutely nailed the name "Przeslowski."  You try saying that in one take.
       The audience seemed disengaged however.  When one panel member berated the "excessive profits" at Exxon Mobil and noted that John McCain would give big oil more tax breaks, no one hooted, hollered, or showed any emotion.
        And finally the governor reflected that John McCain came into Michigan and told autoworkers their jobs were not coming back.  She forgot to add, she has said the very same thing.  But then in 13 minutes and 11 seconds you can't stuff all the facts into a town hall meeting.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Word Association Game

     It's called the word association game.  You hear a name and you supply one word that goes with the name.
    If someone said, Tigers.  You'd say gawd awful.  Sorry that was two words, but you get the idea.
    The game was recently played on the rubber chicken circuit where the audience of 100 and highly sophisticated citizens were asked to select a word to describe a guy named Obama and another named McCain.
    You can play along right now by not reading beyond this sentence until you have a word for both.
     (Insert music from Jeopardy here.)
     This should come as no shock to anyone.  30% of the audience members picked the word "old" to describe you know who. In strong contrast, 10% selected "young" to describe the other guy.
     The most common reaction to Barack Obama was "inexperienced" with 12 persons using that while nine used "experience' to describe McCain.
     Going into the dinner, one assumed that with the Democrats trying to link McCain to President Bush, that relationship would show up in huge numbers.  Nope.  Only five linked the two.
     Likewise, every other word out of Barack Obama's mouth is change but apparently only four folks in this group had heard it enough to repeat it.
     No other words, save one, emerged as=2 0any kind of an indicator of note.  Obama was called cute, charming, crooked, shallow and charismatic by one person each.  While McCain was tagged with being stagnant, tired, angry, stubborn and honest.
     The real kicker, however, was this one. Seven persons for Obama and one for McCain called them "scary."
      What the heck is that all about?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Rising Star Is Falling

       Given the turn of events over the last six years, it is hard to remember that just after Jennifer Granholm was elected governor there was national chatter about her running for president and some big time commentators were even talking about changing the constitution so that the Canadian born rising star could do it.
      My, my, how times have changed.  Instead of a rising star in the national Democratic Party, Gov. Granholm enjoys a popularity rating right down there with President Bush, and she had to scramble to get any share of the national spotlight at the party convention this week in Denver.
     Up until last Friday, she had no role at all.  None. Nada. Squat.  Now at least on Tuesday night in prime time she=2 0will get to show off her prowess on the energy issue in a national town hall meeting on the convention floor.  It was an 11th hour overture from the Obama camp to show her some love because after all the Big O does want to win this state.
     But it is interesting to note that 13 of her democratic gubernatorial colleagues will give speeches at the conclave.  The governor gets to act like Oprah Winfrey instead.
     Unaccustomed to the declining star status, this governor is not to blame for all of the polish that's been removed from her once rising star.  Blame Michigan's ugly economy which steadfastly refused to turn around during her tenure and frankly shows no signs of doing it during her last two years in office.
     But she will have to burden some of the "credit" for not doing as well as many hoped. The popular wisdom is, even in some democratic circles, that the bar was so high for her, that she could not fulfill the expectations and inde ed she has not.
     They have not written the final legacy chapter, however, as she has time left to salvage something out of her eight years in office.
     So for now she will give it her all on the national stage Tuesday evening, but when her performance is over, nobody back stage is going to whisper, "Hey, she'd make a great president some day."
     Those days are but a fond memory.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Attitude Problem

     Congress has a severe attitude problem when it comes to the domestic auto industry and a Macomb County congresswoman blames "extreme environmentalists" for creating it.
      Rep. Candice Miler minces no words contending the Democratic Party is "held hostage" by those extremists and when it comes time for the federal government to help the Big Three, she fears the help won't be there.
     "The Calvary is not coming to town," the GOP lawmaker advises and to make matters worse she believes the anti-car folks in Washington are "gleeful and ecstatic" that Ford, GM, and Chrysler are "on their knees."
      She says those extremists blame the car makers for the climate change challenges this country and the world are facing.
      Miller says it is a "very dishearten ing attitude" she confronts with her colleagues in the U.S. House.
      She notes that the Japanese government infuses about $1.5 billion into research and development for its car makers while Washington tells the Big Three, "Go handle it yourself."
      The conservative congresswoman argues, "its appropriate for the federal government to help a bit."
      In recent days there's been talk of a new energy package that would include some loan assistance  for the autos and even though democrat Barack Obama has endorsed that and John McCain has not, Miller contends her guy would do more for the industry than Obama.
      During an interview on the broadcast Eye on Michigan Politics on WWJ Newsradio 950, Miller was also asked about the seven mansions reportedly owned by Mr. McCain.
      Mi ller, from a very blue-collar and shot and a beer district, laughed it off saying, "He married very well" referring to Cindy McCain whose daddy owned a lucrative beer distribution company which she now runs.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Take Another Peak

       Rep. Paul Condino is not pointing any guilty fingers, at least not right now, but he believes the Michigan State Police ought to take another whack at determining if they danced the night away at the Mayor of Detroit's home five years ago.
       Maybe you heard about it.  You know the unconfirmed gathering featuring a stripper or strippers, who later showed up in the county morgue?
       Michigan's top crime fighter, Attorney General Mike Cox, declared the story an "urban legend" and closed the investigation.
       Southfield Democrat Condino wonders if there is more to the story?
       "The state police investigation was cut off suddenly.  That's certainly not something they do on a regular basis," the criminal attorney of 25 years observes.
         The state cops told Condino there were lots of folks who wanted to divulge what they knew but because Cox sat on subpoenas, they never sang.
          Reopening the probe could result in more revealing warbling?
         Condino and Detroit Rep. Steve Tobocman will huddle this week and decide whether to send the letter to the governor asking her to order the MSP to take another peak.
         Asked about that, Jennifer Granholm magically turned into Gov. No Comment.
         Just what=2 0she needs, another Kilpatrick flap to digest.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Lose Your Job-Get An Honor

        The Granholm administration has always struggled with telling the whole truth regarding why certain members of the administration were shown the door.
        But the governor usually telegraphed the move by labeling the soon to be departed employee "a valuable member of the cabinet."
        Former Michigan Department of Transportation director Gloria Jeff did not hang around long enough to get tagged with that, but when she left town well over a year ago, let's just say the governor did not throw a going away party nor did she present Jeff with an orange memorial barrel.
       The ex-MDOT director had lots of enemies in the legislature and elsewhere but the last straw for the governor was when Jeff did a little free-lancing behind the gove rnor's back regarding taxpayer expenditures at the Mackinac Bridge Authority.
      Two weeks after Jeff went on her mission, the governor discovered, via the media, the mess Jeff was creating and had to do some one on one diplomacy to calm the troubled waters under the Big Mac.  Soon thereafter Jeff was gone with no reasons given.
      Well apparently you can hack off the governor and still get a pat on the head because when they dedicate on Friday the new Detroit Mexicantown International Welcome Center underneath the Ambassador Bridge, you guessed it, "the center will be dedicated in honor of the former MDOT director Gloria Jeff."
      The governor will find something else to do on Friday.
      Surprise.  Surprise.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Charter Can of Worms

       Infusing more charter schools in the Detroit School system has always been a ticking time bomb.  When she and the mayor were talking ions ago, Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick put the kybosh on an ambitious proposal from a millionaire who wanted to invest $200 million in such a project.
       At the time the word was Granholm and Kilpatrick did it to protect union jobs at the Detroit Federation of Teachers.
       Now comes the Granholm administration's top education guy calling for…you guessed it, more charter schools in Detroit.
       The MSM in Detroit missed the story as it remains fixated on the "other" more sensational Kilpatrick sa ga, and Mike Flanagan should thank his lucky stars nobody read his remarks.
       Well actually not everybody missed them when he said, "I think there's a place for them" and "I think people should be open to all the alternatives."
       Charter school advocates got wind of the remarks and circulated them faster than Jim Leyland can yank a lousy relief hurler from the mound.
       It is unclear if the Flanagan remarks reflect a shift in thinking in the front office or whether he was just being true to his charter school philosophy honed while he ran the Wayne Intermediate School District.  "I started charter schools," Flanagan reports.
      There's clearly been a shift in attitude over at the Michigan Education Association which now represents union workers at charter schools.  A below the radar outreach strategy has been launche d with former candidate for governor Doug Ross included in the effort.
       Ross runs a successful charter in the Motor City and he the MEA may be part of an effort to expand the movement there.
       Which brings us back to the DFT where union leaders have been dead set against charters since the word was invented.
       Could we have a teacher union civil war with the MEA and the DFT at odds? 
       Could Flanagan be in trouble for opening this charter can of worms without the governor's blessing?
       And let's not lose sight of the fact that many Detroiters, who have kids in the Detroit Public Schools, are looking for alternatives and are voting with their feet as they leave the district in droves.
       All this means the charter debate may be moving to the front pages, once that "other" story is resolved.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dillon Vs. DeRoche on Kwame

 The Detroit Mayor has not only complicated his own life, now he is impacting what Democrats are trying to do in the Michigan House and dealing with Kilpatrick is not one of them.
 However House GOP Leader Craig DeRoche sees a political opening and, as he is want to do, he's walking in.
 The Novi Republican wants the House to vote next week on four items that would send Kwame Kilpatrick a strong message: Leave.
 House Speaker Andy Dillon doesn't think much of the DeRoche request saying, "He's playing politics with a very serious issue in this state (and) the legislature has no role."
 On the contrary, fires back DeRoche. He notes that Southeastern Michigan is losing an "extraordinary" amount of money over the mayor's follies and "to say we're playing politics because we want to fix it, defies logic and I take personal offense to that."
 The Republican believes House Democrats want to skirt the issue because they are "worried about losing votes of Detroiters" this fall.
 What Dillon is worried about is making an ugly situation even uglier. Asked about allowing a vote on the DeRoche stuff, Dillon asks, "What's the productivity out of that? I think the states got tough enough times. I don't think we need to be throwing rocks at each other."
 That guy over in the corner with a rock in his hand, looks an awful lot like Mr. DeRoche.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's Not Crap Now

 It's Not "Crap" Now
     Last May before the Kwame Kilpatrick stuff came to a head, a panel of reporters at the Detroit Regional confab on the island were speculating about the mayor becoming a political liability for Barack Obama.
    The mayor got wind of the comments and told one of the correspondents it was "crap."
     Tell that to the Obama campaign which is internally weighing the possibility of the candidate asking Kilpatrick to step down.  Mind you no such decision has been made, but even the fact that they would consider it, should underscore how critical this Kilpatrick mess is for democrats.
     "Wow.  It's hard to find the words to re spond to that," notes Novi Republican Rep. Craig DeRoche who concedes the mayor is a liability for Obama but adds; it's fair to link the two and judge Obama "by the company he keeps."
      Governor Jennifer Granholm doesn't think it's fair at all, and in fact she thinks it is wrong.
      As for linking Obama and Kilpatrick in a possible TV ad this fall, Granholm concedes, "I fear they will do that.  It's been their practice in the past."  She optimistically believes the voters will see through such linkage, which she labels "incredibly cynical and wrong."
      DeRoche counters "it speaks volumes" that Obama would call Kilpatrick his friend and now when the mayor's story is reaching critical mass, for Obama to consider calling for a resignation amounts to "groping right now and pandering."
     =2 0DeRoche says if Obama "throws another one of his personal friends under the bus" it will have no credibility with the voters.
      Granholm says the mayor's problems has nothing to do with presidential politics.
       Apparently the folks in the Obama campaign have concluded otherwise.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

She Made No Deals

  She Made No Deals
      When you've survived the rough and tumble world of Wayne County politics for 35 years, you've pretty much seen it all, but what State Senator Martha Scott saw on primary day , is not what she wanted to see.
      In rather an amazing outcome, the winner of the Detroit Congressional contest, got less than 50% of the vote.  In fact the incumbent mom of the mayor of Detroit got a lousy 39%. Senator Scott and former Rep. Mary Waters gobbled up the other 61%.
     Now that the dust has settled, speculation continues to rumble that somehow Scott was lured into the race in a clandestine plot to assure a victory for Kilpatrick.  The theory being that if there was only one challenger, Kilpatrick would surely lose which is why she needed Scott in the hunt.
     "Let me tell ya'll something," the feisty Scott rose to the question.  "I have never ever compromised by integrity for anyone and never will.  That's who I am."
        When pressed with, "So nobody came to you to offer you a deal to get in?"  She fired back, "No one offered me a deal.  My constituents did ask me to run."
      You gotta believe Scott because the animus between the Kilpatrick's and the senator runs long, deep, and nasty.  Sort of the Wayne County version of the Hatfield's and McCoy's.
      Scott does reveal that she had a brief and chance encounter with Ms. Waters and the two tried to convince the other to get out.
      Waters offered to give Scott a job if she did not run.  Scott told her she had a job and than made the same offer to Waters.
      They agreed to disagree and Kilpatrick won.
      On the notion that Scott handed the Kilpatrick's the victory she was told, "You would concede, had you not been in the race, Kilpatrick would have lost."
      Always the gamer Scott shot back, "If Mary hadn't been in the race, she would have lost.  O.K.?"
      Got it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cox: One For Two

  Cox:  One For Two on Kwame
      The state attorney general is batting .500 on his handling of the Kwame Kilpatrick mess.
      From the curb it looks like A.G. Mike Cox got it right by going back into court alleging that the Mayor of Detroit violated the terms of his bail by being in the same place at the same time with two witnesses in the alleged shoving match several weeks ago.
      Cox believes the bail judge was very clear in that the mayor was not to meet with his sister and a member of his Executive Protection Unit.  Reporters claim to have seen Kilpatrick in his mom's house over the weekend and sister Ayanna was seen coming and going at the same time.
  C2  "The order's clear," pronounced Cox mouthpiece Rusty Hills. "There's not supposed to be contact.  There was contact."  He did not suggest the EPU guy was there, however.
       The mayor's folks tell the Free Press, the A.G., who may be running for governor, may be engaged a bit of political grandstanding and has it all wrong.
       Looks like, on this one, Mr. Cox is just doing his job and the courts will decide if he or the mayor is correct.
       However, Mr. Cox still takes heat for his handling of the other part of the Kwame story i.e. the alleged little party at the Mayor's mansion.  The party that never was, according to Cox, which lots of folks believe really was, continues to dog him.
       He declared the whole shebang "urban legion" but his finding was predicated on a one on one interview he staged with Kilpatrick and no record of that has ever been disclosed.
       Legal eagles continue to scratch their collective heads on why Mr. Cox would conduct such a critical interview in such a clandestine manner.
       Cox defends it, but lots of folks aren't buying it which leaves him one for two on matters of Kwame and who knows what will follow to either boost or lower his batting average?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mama Mia

  Mama Mia
    Does anybody remember Shirley Eder, Dick Ozgood, and Bill Kennedy?  If you don't, they were the consummate movie critics in this area for years and nobody went to the movies unless they signed off.
    Now this is supposed to be a political blog, but would you permit one deviation from that subject, in order to pick up where Ms. Eder, and Messer's Ozgood and Kennedy might have gone regarding the movie Mama Mia.
   About the only good thing you can say about the flick is that the theater was air-conditioned.
   If you have not seen it, don't bother.  But here's what you missed:  The movie was an excuse to play the greatest=2 0hits of the Swedish group Abba.  The producers could have saved themselves a ton of money by scrapping the movie and just pass out CD's and headphones to the public.
   The plot was thinner than Twiggy (Anybody remember the thin model?) The acting can hardly be called that.  One reviewer opined that Meryl Steep "gave the worse performance of her life." And then there was the singing.  Picture if you will James Bond a.k.a. Pierce Brosman mouthing an Abba hit.  Right, you can't picture it and he couldn't sing it either.
   The only redeeming features were the beautiful location shots in Greece and the closing credits.
   Send out an SOS on this one.
   Thanks for allowing a little venting here.  Just needed a break from all the Kwame stuff.  Certain ly you will understand that, right?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Bad Week For Kilpatrick's

   Bad Week For Kilpatrick's
       Son in jail.  Mom loses 61% of the vote. Dad remains under the watchful eye of federal prosecutors.  It's not what you would call a great week for the Kilpatrick family.
       You gotta wonder what else could happen?
        Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick declared victory last Tuesday night but it was hallow with a capitol "H." She got 39% of the vote but because two of her opponents divided the rest, she amazingly hung onto her seat.  Take Mary Waters or Martha Scott out of the contest and Ms. Kilpatrick is looking for work.
       We'l l never know if the voters who are upset with Kwame Kilpatrick, took it out on the mom to send a message, but popular wisdom tends to support there was some of that going on…big time.
       Then there is the son who found himself unceremoniously sent to a jail cell Thursday for breaking the rules of his bond.  No more needs to be said on that shameful story.
       And let's not forget that the feds are reviewing the behavior of Dad Kilpatrick and who knows where that will lead.
       Meanwhile the governor has decided she will wade into this mess over the mayor and hold a hearing September 3rd on whether to remove His Honor from office.  They should sell tickets to that to help reduce the state's deficit.
       So where is the silver lining in all this?
       If you can find one, please send it along.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


      In 38 years of covering this stuff, this one takes the cake.
      Sparrow Hospital in Lansing has confirmed that an undisclosed number of employees were caught rifling through the governor's personal hospital records.
      Talk about your invasion of privacy.
       Gov. Jennifer Granholm's office confirms it was notified on Wednesday by hospital officials that an internal investigation had uncovered the violation of hospital policy resulting in the subsequent dismissal of hospital workers.
        Of course the question that may never get answered is, why?
        If you are the suspicious type you might wonder if there was any political espionage angle  or was it just prurient interest on the part of some nosey and apparently unethical workers.
        The governor's office, in the understatement of the year, says it was "surprised" and called the breach of her personal hospital records "unnecessary and unfortunate."
        Recall the governor was in Sparrow last May for an emergency bowel obstruction operation which may have saved her life.
        The governor was so sensitive about the operation that she personally tried to convince her doctor to use another term other than bowel obstruction.  If she was upset with that, imagine what she must be thinking now. 

The Name Game

The Name Game
     In this illustrious age of term limits, a new game has emerged in which those lawmakers, who are forced out of office, try to hold onto some power by promoting a relative with their same name to run for their seat.
     The game was played in earnest on Tuesday and it didn't work.  In four races where the out going incumbent embraced that relative, the voters said, "Thanks but no thanks."
     The power of the incumbent's name was also called into serious question as twelve current house members who could not run for their old seat, tried to transfer their name power into a local office.
     Four of those soon to be former representatives were also sent to the showers.
     Even though the GOP will play this up, it was hard to detect a "throw the bums out" attitude in other house races where the income tax increase of last fall apparently was not a major factor.
      Best one can tell, only one democrat in Genesee County may have been bounced because Rep. Ted Hammon supported the tax hike.   A more likely explanation for his loss was that he was outspent by a three to one margin by his opponent who kicked in about $30 thou of his own cash to send Hammon to the unemployment line.
      If anybody was going to be the victim of the tax hike, it had to be House Speaker Andy Dillon of Redford.  He marshaled the democratic votes in the house to pass the tax hike and then faced a nasty recall effort that died on the vine.
      Given a chance to get even, Redford voters decided to send Dillon back to Lansing.  So much=2 0for a downriver anti tax revolt.
      The only clear impression that emerged from the primary election was that most voters were more interested in the sagging and pathetic Tigers than in showing up at the polls on a warm summer's day to make democracy work. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Getting Roped Into It

    Getting Roped Into It
     They call it the rope line.  Candidates often walk into the audience to grip and grin with supporters while they remain separated by a tiny rope.
     Barack Obama did that in Lansing on Monday.
     Candidates are annoyed when the media tries to ask questions during this up close and personal face time with the audience. So when a reporter shows up, well it can get interesting which it did on Monday.
      One reporter with TV camera in tow waded through and got to the rope line moments before Obama passed by.
      Standing on a chair with microphone outreached, the question was, "Senator, would you have voted for the Chrysler bail-out package?"
      You might be tempted to dismiss it as ancient history. It was not because an answer, either way, would have laid the groundwork for the follow-up, "If one of the Big Three was headed for bankruptcy, (hasn't there been some rumbling about that recently?) as president would you help them out?
      And the answers were?
      Obama trotted out a line he used on a female reporter in Detroit to brush off her rope line inquiry.  "We're going to have a news conference, sweetie, and we'll discuss that then" or something to that affect.
      Minus the sweetie, he repeated the same line, but this time he tossed out a complimentary crumb of sorts, "It was very enterprising of you to work your way up here…I'm shakin' hands right now."  Which was code for, "take a hike."
      There indeed was a press avail, but when the bail out issue was raised, Mr. Obama brushed it aside again saying it was hypothetical
     The Chrysler bail out vote did occur.  There was nothing hypothetical about it at all.
      Maybe Mr. Obama feared the repercussions of a direct answer.  If he said yes, McCain would criticize him for being anti free market, and if he said no, the entire state of Michigan would have been on him for being two-faced about supporting the auto industry.
      And oh yes, there was another question.  This one was about somebody named Kwame Kilpatrick and with that the Obama gang ended the news event.
      Maybe an answer to that question had repercussions, too?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Obama: Car Guy

  Obama: Car Guy
     Any residue from his speech last October that hacked off everyone in the auto industry is now long gone as Barack Obama tells a Lansing audience he'll do lots for the Big Three and his opponent won't do squat.
     The presumptive democratic nominee for president celebrated his birthday in Lansing while giving the U.S. domestic auto guys lots of gifts including a multi-million dollar grant to stimulate new energy car research not to mention $7000 to folks who buy one.
     In fact if you closed your eyes during his 35-minute energy independence speech, and if he had raised his voice a couple of octaves, you would have sworn it was Gov. Jennifer Granholm talking up alternative energy.
     Many of her ideas found their way=2 0into Obama's script that outlined an aggressive agenda for weaning this country off of foreign petro within ten years. Yep ten short years.
     Billed as a policy address and not a campaign rally, there were empty seats in the house, no signs waving and very little chanting.  In fact only once or twice did the 900 or so loyalists erupt into the traditional "Obama, Obama" cheer.
     And when it came time to sing Happy Birthday, the audience sort of mumbled through it.  Maybe folks forgot the words?
     "There is no place I'd rather been on my birthday than Lansing, Michigan," he acknowledged the half-baked birthday greeting.
       O.K. maybe he didn't really mean it, but what the heck, he's running for office.  Don't they all stretch the truth just a tad?
       All the pro-auto stuff was grand, but he left out one tiny detail.  If he gets elected and the republicans take control of one house in Congress, his energy stuff could run out of gas before he even starts the ignition.