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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.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

GOP Debate for Gov.

   It was billed as the first GOP debate for governor, but it was actually the second, but then who's keeping score.  Nonetheless five would be governors consumed about 75 minutes of WJR radio time this weekend and here are some first blush impressions.
   No clear winner. No major goofs. No memorable moment that goes into the history books ala, "I knew John Kennedy and you are no John Kennedy."
   First timer Rick Snyder did a commendable job in getting his message out that he's a business guy and not a professional politician.  But he remains untested because of the format; we have no feel for how he will stand up under some tough questioning from reporters and opponents when the gloves come off, which we know they will.
   Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, unlike Snyder, actually has hands on experience in the legislature noting, "I know how it works." He20dodged one bullet.  He whacked the state's strategy of doling out tax breaks to attract businesses as he wants the "market place to decide" where the jobs go.  Does that mean he opposes the tax breaks that will reopen the Ford Wixom plant in his own backyard? Nobody asked.
   Attorney General Mike Cox did better this time than the last debate on the island.  He was not nearly as hyper and aggressive and hit hard on his plan to revamp Michigan while winning the battle to give out his web address the most times.  Bouchard however clipped the A.G. who said he supported higher education but also wanted a $2 billion tax cut.  The sheriff noted, "You can't cut two billon and fund education."
   Congressman Pete Hoekstra was not as strong this time as he was at the Detroit Chamber debate last May. He did break a story, which no one followed up on in the debate.  He wants to create a tax system with only one tax, the sales tax.  It9 9s a provocative idea.  He took some nice shots at the sitting governor, but he's not running against her.
   State Senator and doctor Tom George sounded like he was running for surgeon general.  It seemed like every answer, even to non-health related questions, came back to his mantra to reform the health care system.  He did stand out from the pack by embracing tax credits to lure jobs and saying tax cuts and smaller government alone would not fix Michigan. And there was something that is almost unheard of at GOP gatherings, he mentioned Flint and Detroit.
   Best line of the event went to Cox.  As time was running out, moderator and class clown L. Brooks Patterson rang a bell to shut Cox off.  Cox winged this response, "Brooks you have a bell. Mike (Sheriff Bouchard) has a gun but I have a plan for Michigan."


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