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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.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Show or Work Horse

Besides losing in the race for the GOP nomination for governor,
candidates Mike Bouchard and Tom George share something else. After
months of campaigning, their support never budged an inch.
Senator George is now known as "2%-Tom" and his side kick Mr.
Bouchard forever will be tagged with "10%, give or take a point, Mike."
So how could the popular Sheriff of Oakland County fail to move the
Let us count the ways.
Late start. While the others in the field were moving into high
gear, Mr. Bouchard, because of political protocol, sat on the sidelines
to give his buddy L. Brooks Patterson plenty of room to decide if he
would run.
As the clock ticked, candidate Mike Cox swooped into Oakland County
and vacuumed up most of the money that Bouchard needed if he ran. And
by the time L. Brooks bowed out, Bouchard was hoping the Oakland County
mega funders would abandon Cox and come home.
Bouchard is still waiting.
He did do something unique. He picked a running mate right out of
the gate. Problem is Terri Lynn Land did not produce the energy,
excitement and umpth on the west side of the state where she was going
to cut into the lead held by fellow west Michigan guy Pete Hoekstra.
She did not. Call it a dud.
Where's Mike?
That was a common theme in the political press corps. Was he
getting around the state to work the party conservative base? Where
were his TV ads?
When he finally popped the first one, folks in this town went,
"What the heck was that???"
It was the sheriff standing next to a vending machine. Was he
trying to swipe a candy bar, trying to fix the thing, or exactly what
was the message? It was not a good launch.
To be fair, he did very well in the debates. He was engaging,
funny, showed a deep command of the issues and you could see him being
governor. But that failed to move the numbers, too. Seeing that indeed
he was stuck in the mud at 10-12% in the polls, the sheriff moved into
his Hail Mary phase of the campaign.
There was the "Right to Work" commercial. Nicely done by the
performer/candidate but it didn't work.
In the end, there was some talk that he might do something really
bold over the last weekend of the race i.e. drop out and shift his
support to somebody else.
That would have been a nifty move, but remember at the end of the
game, the Bouchard camp was touting it's internal polls that he was
going to win.
Maybe the tag, Mike is a show horse and not a work horse really says
it all?


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