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, November 9, 2009
The Experience Card
The four former democratic Speakers of the Michigan House reunited briefly last week to embrace Lt. John Cherry for governor. Boiling their comments down, it came down to, "John Cherry has the experience to be governor." And if "experience" was the determining factor, Cherry would be your next governor since he has more than anybody else in the field on both sides. But alas for Mr. Cherry and Speakers Crim, Owen, Dodak and Hertel, experience nowadays don't mean squat and pardon the lousy English. If experience counted, John McCain would be your president; Dick Posthumus and not Jennifer Granholm would be finishing his second term in office; and Hillary Clinton would have been the democratic nominee for president. To repeat, experience don't mean squat even though it should mean a bunch. Somewhere between the 1950's, when experience counted for lots, and today, the tide shifted. Citizens began to lose faith in their experienced elected officials and this culminated in 1992 when state voters delivered the ultimate death sentence to experience when term limits were enacted. "We don't want professional politicians calling the shots," the majority of voters said to the "experienced" lawmakers. So here come the four former speakers foolishly believing they are doing Mr. Cherry a favor by touting his experience in front of an electorate that wants anything but. For the moment for most voters, Mr. Cherry is a blank slate much like former Senate Majority Leader John Engler was before he unseated sitting Gov. Jim Blanchard. Being that blank slate for Cherry is a plus because it gives him a chance to define himself before the republicans do it for him. So, if anyone was paying attention the quartet of Speakers, Cherry now has this written on his slate: He's got lots of experience. The majority of voters who support term limits will love that.