Wednesday, October 10, 2007

They Don't Send Us Flowers Any More

What is it with the Democratic Party and Michigan voters? Is it ingratitude? Is it that they're so confident Michigan is so “safe” a Democratic state they can take Michigan voters for granted? (If so, I wonder what Michigan Democrats have ever done to deserve that kind of treatment?)

Or is it that Michigan’s problems are too real, and too complex, to just throw slogans at, the way Democrats loving throwing slogans around about “health care,” and “climate change,” and “energy alternatives.”

First, in May, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, and Barack Obama, all dropped out of September’s Democratic candidates’ debate in Detroit, for the highly-principled reason that it was being broadcast by Fox News, and moderated by the notorious right-wing bombthrower, Brit Hume. (“Why Buy the Cow When You Can Milk It for Free?”).

Now, we learn today that “Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama, John Edwards, Joe Biden and Bill Richardson are withdrawing from Michigan's Jan. 15 primary ballot, dealing a blow to this state's hopes of having Michigan's issues heard in both sides of the 2008 race.” (“Clinton stays, four Dems quit Michigan presidential race”).

As the headline says, Senator Clinton is the only major candidate to keep her name in. The four candidates say they “are pulling out because Michigan, like Florida, has violated national Democratic Party rules by moving up its primary date in a challenge to the traditional monopoly on early voting held by Iowa and New Hampshire.”

Barack Obama’s spokesman, Ben LaBolt, said “This is an extension of the pledge we made, based on the rules that the DNC laid out…We still hope that Michigan Democrats can adopt a process that meets DNC rules and, if so, look forward to fighting for the votes of men and women across the state.”

Got to follow those rules, guys. Can't go against the party leadership. Especially if you want to job of leader of the free world, proving to the UN and the World Court and foreign dictatorships that you’re no one to be trifled with.

Then the News reports this astounding bit:

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick agrees that it's a dangerous strategy, his spokesman said. He said Clinton's decision to stay on the ballot recognizes Michigan's importance in the national campaign.

But he disagrees with the decision by the others to withdraw.

“We aren't just going to stand with Democrats just to be Democrats,” said spokesman Matt Allen. “Given the position the state is in we definitely need to hear from both parities.

“If the Democratic candidates choose not to address the issues facing Michigan, it could be a big win for the Republicans.”

Did we readthat right? Democrats treating Michigan as flyover country could actually make Democrats wake up and vote for the other party? (Are you hearing this, Republicans?)

Even reporter Gordon Trowbridge gets a little bit edgy when he talks about the attitude the Edwards campaign :

Edwards' manager David Bonior, who was a long-time Michigan congressman, defended his campaign's decision to boycott Michigan.

“Michigan is a great state with some of the finest Democrats in the nation, but it's important we respect the role that the four early states play in the nominating process,” Bonior said in a prepared statement issued by the campaign.

“In Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada voters can look their candidate in the eye and determine who is best to bring about real change in America. In these early states issues matter more than money, celebrity and advertisements.

“Voters want and deserve a candidate who represents real people, not corporate special interests, and this primary process will help ensure that's exactly what the American people get.”

It was unclear to whom his criticism was intended -- the Republicans, Clinton or another target.

Except it’s not unclear at all, Mr. Trowbridge. Bonior's target was Michigan Democrats, his former constituents, who have no stake in “real change,” because so many of them happen to work, (or used to) for “corporate interests,” (or what we around here call, “the auto industry”). Edwards has much bigger "real problems" fish to fry, like delivering the White House to the American trial lawyers, and seeing how fast he can get the US out of Iraq. But when it comes to tackling real problems of real productive industries, like we have in Michigan, it's no secret that the Democratic Party doesn't know jack squat. So, say Edwards and Bonior, Michigan voters just need to shut up and let the Mommy Party talk grown-up business with the man at the door.

Those of you from outside our state may remember David Bonior, Michigan’s own “Lord Haw Haw”. One of the last official acts of former Rep. Bonior, was, along with Rep. Jim McDermott, to travel to Baghdad in 2003 as a last ditch effort to protect the Iraqi dictator from inspections, (“Baghdad Bonior”), or otherwise accounting for his unaccounted WMD (I know, I know: but if you can’t tell us where they are, please don’t repeat where they aren’t: they had to go somewhere, or are you one of those who rejects science in favor of blind faith?).

Bonior’s feelings before we invaded Iraq were, ``I think you have to take the Iraqis on their value--at their face value.” But, he had no hesitation saying he thought the American president, “would mislead the American people.”

We are so lucky to have him as one of our former Congressmen.

And we’re not sure why Bonior’s promised talk show on Al-Jazeera fell through. But since he was already so close to the bottom, it was an easy career move for Bonior to attach himself to the campaign of John Edwards.

As is becoming more apparent here in Michigan day by day, (literally), Democratic solutions don’t hold any promise for Michigan’s “real people” and real problems, (e.g., rising taxes, wrecked school systems, fleeing businesses). Republican solutions, like lower taxes, business-friendly policies, school vouchers, could transform Michigan, if Republicans could ever figure out how to reach dissatisfied Democratic voters.

We noted last May that the Democratic candidates were treating Michigan voters as if they were safe, predictable, and could be counted on to vote Democratic in November 2008 regardless of how bad the party treats them. I still think that’s the case, and I still think Michigan voters will turn out for the Democratic candidate. There is just too much party loyalty, especially in the cities and amongst government employees.

But when even a party creature like Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick implies the state could end up voting against the Democrats, things are getting serious.

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