Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

John McCain’s withdrawal from Michigan means the state is abandoned once again

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Originally published on on Fri, 10/03/2008 – 3:03pm

UPDATE: At least one person agrees with me that Michigan should get more attention. But who knew that person was Sarah Palin? The Alaska governor sent an e-mail to the McCain campaign that “Todd and I would [be] happy to get to Michigan and walk through those plants [with] car manufacturers.” Gov. Palin found out about the Michigan strategy from a reporter, not from the campaign.

Is Michigan a good bellwether state? Not counting the uncertainty of the last two elections (MI went for Gore and Kerry), the last time the state voted against the presidential winner was 1976 when favorite son Gerald Ford lost to Jimmy Carter. Before that, 1968 was when Michigan went from Vice President Hubert Humphrey instead of Richard Nixon.

And John McCain, already in a tough fight, has given up on Michigan. Pulled staff, pulled ads – the whole ball of wax.

McCain’s troubles started in Michigan when he noted in the primaries that “some of the jobs that have left the state of Michigan are not coming back.” In 2000, McCain won the Michigan primary, even though he was already pretty much out of the race. In 2008, Mitt Romney, whose father was Michigan’s governor, won the primary.

Not that McCain didn’t try in Michigan. His campaign ran a deceptive ad, blaming Barack Obama for the loss of jobs in Michigan.

The loss of jobs in the auto industry — is a multi-complicated issue. But losses in the state have been more severe under Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush than under Bill Clinton.

Michigan is more than just the auto industry. There have been lost manufacturing jobs at many points around the state. Tourism is huge, but people are doing less traveling due to financial problems and the rising cost of gas.

I do have a bias toward the state — grew up there and spent a couple of post-college years there. It is a state that has seen hard times, and only ends up in the spotlight when there’s crime (Detroit, Flint) or corruption (Detroit) or sad news about the auto industry.

Presidential years force some attention to the Great Lakes State (four of the five Great Lakes touch Michigan), but with McCain leaving with more than 30 days to go in the race and two key debates remaining, the state will once again disappear.

It would be nice for Barack Obama or Joe Biden to spend some time in Michigan, and not just the auto belt and Grand Rapids. Though to be fair, Obama and Biden were in Battle Creek over the Labor Day weekend, speaking at the minor league baseball stadium. I called Battle Creek home for a couple of years; it was where I saw Bill Clinton speak in 1992.

Yes, Obama and Biden will do well by the fact that McCain is leaving Michigan. And indirectly, this may help those in Michigan who might see more opportunity under an Obama Administration.

But it’s sad for the people in Michigan who might have had more of their voices heard. The people of Michigan often get used and abused by politicians saying, “This time will be different.” To be fair, McCain didn’t patronize them back in January, though he paid a price. But having McCain, Sarah Palin, Obama, and Biden make more stops in Michigan would have given voters there a chance to feel like those in Washington care about them.

It’s bad enough the people felt ignored due to the bizarre path the Democratic Party primary, and to a lesser extent, the Republican Party primary, took in 2008. It’s even worse than one of the major party candidates gave up on them with more than a month to go. Michigan deserves better than that.


Written by democracysoup

October 3, 2008 at 3:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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