Patterico's Pontifications


Newsweek Has An Intriguing Article On Its Website About How Detroit’s Mayor’s Problems Portend Big Michigan Problems For Obama

Filed under: General — WLS @ 3:49 pm

Posted by WLS:

This Newsweek article by Keith Naughton paints a grim picture – notwithstanding the efforts at spin by the Obama campaign – of Obama’s task in trying to carry Michigan. It’s like the “Perfect Storm” of difficulties in what may be a “must win” state in a close election.

I earlier suggested that Romney as VP would give McCain a good shot to carry Michigan given his popularity in the state. If McCain were to carry Michigan, Obama would have to win Pennsylvania and Ohio to have any shot at a winning electoral college outcome.

The Newsweek article covers the impact of the decision yesterday by Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to plead guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice, resign from office, and serve 4 months in jail. This followed closely on the heels of Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s decision to convene a commission to look into removing Kilpatrick from office over his misconduct.

Lets catalogue the problems Obama has with Michigan:

Sixteen months ago Obama appeared with Kilpatrick at an early rally in his campaign for the nomination. Even though Kilpatrick had long been a lightning rod for controversy in Detroit and its suburbs – Detroit is 81% African-American, while its surrounding suburbs are 81% white – in embracing Kilpatrick, Obama said he was a “great mayor” who will do “astounding things for many years to come.” Quite prophetic, but not in the way Obama intended.

This was followed by Obama’s decision to take his name off the Michigan primary ballot after the Michigan Democratic Party violated DNC rules and moved its primary up on the calendar. Out of respect for the rules, Obama never returned to Michigan to campaign. He was absent from the state for nearly a year.

Next, the Democratic party in Michigan has had control over all branches of state government [with the exception of the State Senate — DRJ; H/T Foo Bar] since Granholm’s election in 2002. While the rest of the country enjoyed economic prosperity in 2003-2006, Michigan missed out. The Michigan economy has been in the toilet for nearly a decade, mostly as a result of the downturn in the Detroit auto industry.

Which leads to Obama’s next problem with Michigan – he’s too green and anti-gun. Beyond Detroit, Michigan is much like Ohio and Pennsylvania and in its northeast region, like Alaska.

Finally, the Democratic party in Michigan is riven by racial strife. Kilpatrick has a strong core of loyal supporters in Detroit who despise the Governor and see racial motives in her efforts to drive him from office. At the same time, Kilpatrick had a 2% approval rating in the rest of Michigan.

But nothing evidenced the racial tension more than the vote on the 2006 ballot initiative that barred affirmative action by the government. Pre-election polling showed the measure losing but, although Michigan voters re-elected Democratic Gov. Granholm and Democratic Senator Stabenow, they overwhelmingly passed the ballot initiative. There was a huge “Bradley” effect on the proposition – voters telling pollsters they would vote against it but going into the voting booth and voting for it:

“Since then, Kilpatrick has stoked racial tension, accusing his critics of having a “lynch-mob mentality” and invoking the N-word in a defiant state of the city speech. “Race is the elephant in the room,” says Steve Mitchell, the mayor’s former pollster. “Because the mayor is African American, it has fueled some real racist thoughts in people.”

The article says that one political analyst in Michigan thinks Obama needs 60% of registered voters in Detroit to turn out in order to overcome the other problems he has in the state. By comparison, John Kerry won the state in 2004 by 3% with only a 40% turnout in Detroit.

With Kilpatrick in jail and Obama not having run in the primary, the concern is whether the Obama ground operation will be able to drive turnout to that degree. Granholm can’t do it because she’s so unpopular in Detroit.

McCain has run strong twice in Michigan GOP primaries, and Palin really helps him in the NRA loving Northeast section of the state. Obama’s got a lot of work to do, and he’s got to hope the “Bradley” effect doesn’t show up at the voting booth.

26 Responses to “Newsweek Has An Intriguing Article On Its Website About How Detroit’s Mayor’s Problems Portend Big Michigan Problems For Obama”

  1. Bush won in 2004 by 34 electoral votes. Obama would need to flip 17 in order to get to a 269-269 tie.

    Michigan has 17 electoral votes. If it goes to McCain, that would almost offset if Ohio (20) flips to Obama.

    aunursa (1b5bad)

  2. Don’t forget that, while not very heavily populated, the UP (Upper Peninsula) will go solidly for the GOP ticket. After spending many Fall vacations in that area, I’ve met not one soul who doesn’t own at least one gun, and many still hunt for their meat requirements (it’s a quota of 2 deer/season, and I don’t know how many moose you can bag, but they’ve got plenty up there as well).

    Dmac (874677)

  3. Not to be an Eeyore, But I could see Granholm using a pro-Obama organizing project as a way to try to mend fences with the AA community in Detroit. If she wasn’t dumb as a post.

    Karl (1b4668)

  4. But wouldn’t lack of association with the former Mayor help Barak?

    seaPea (1cfc37)

  5. Race baiting will be the order of the day, I suspect, in Michigan but I don’t think it will work. Detroit looks like Berlin in 1945. My daughter was stationed there for nearly 10 years and the contrast between Detroit and the surrounding suburbs is astonishing. Then there is Michael Moore’s Flint but I don’t see that working. Maybe it’s time for John Engler to come back and save them.

    Mike K (155601)

  6. He’s not nearly the public speaker yet that his wife is, but I wonder if the McCain-Palin campaign can send Todd Palin to campaign in some blue-collar areas. It hasn’t been very often that the GOP has sent a card-carrying member of the United Steelworkers on the trail there. It would probably be worth there while to send both Gov. Palin and the First Dude there. I agree that Michigan could be a surprise flip-state.

    Listening to Gov. Palin’s speech Wednesday night, I also gained new hope for Minnesota, despite the absence of Tim Pawlenty on the ticket. There’s definitely some of that Northwestern accent that Gov. Palin shares with the womenfolk of Minnesota, doncha know?

    Beldar (aec07e)

  7. That’s an excellent idea, Beldar, but I hope they don’t do it. Many women support Palin, the mother, because she’s leaving her child with her husband, the father. My guess is there are grandparents and other relatives helping with baby Trig but if both parents campaign on a regular basis, that question will come up again and be harder to deal with.

    DRJ (7568a2)

  8. Michigan has surprising resiliency, but their state government is clueless and leaderless. Their governor is simply ineffectual.

    steve miller (3c2c90)

  9. A couple of weeks ago, I said that I thought that politics aside, Jennifer Granholm was hotter than Sarah Palin.

    I retract that statement. I can’t set aside the ideology similarities, but it doesn’t matter. I’m smitten, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Todd Palin, how does it feel to be envied by millions of guys!

    L.N. Smithee regrets the error.

    L.N. Smithee (0931d2)

  10. Next, the Dem party in Michigan has had control over all branches of state government since Granholm’s election in 2002

    This is not true. Republicans are currently in the majority in the Michigan Senate.

    Please fix. Thanks.

    Foo Bar (03f778)

  11. Foo Bar, thanks for pointing this out. The Senate has been the sticking point in the budget impasses recently.

    steve miller (3c2c90)

  12. Race-baiting is indeed the order of the day. Mike K. as you can see from this news item.

    David Ehrenstein (961ad1)

  13. There’s definitely some of that Northwestern accent that Gov. Palin shares with the womenfolk of Minnesota, doncha know?

    I assume you know that Palmer, the next town east of Wasilla, was settled by Minnesotans as an experiment by FDR. It was 1935 and several hundred families were offered land and assistance if they relocated. Palmer is the place where the giant vegetables are grown. I’ve seen cabbages 3 feet in diameter. The growth is due to the summer 22 hour a day sunlight. Both towns are delightful in summer.

    Mike K (155601)

  14. This post is tangential to the one way BHO wins – ballot fraud.

    Who needs people to show up when one can have phony baloney numbers reported to the Secretary of State?

    The GOP has simply gotsta have an unprecedented vote fraud monitoring operation. Detroit is one place I would flood with observers.

    Ed (f35a20)

  15. WLS…
    That is a pretty good desciption of the chaos of current MI politics. I would only quibble with one point on semantics.
    You said “…2006 ballot initiative that barred affirmative action by the government…”. Would it not be more descriptive to replace AA with “racial and/or minority preferences“?
    That has been the thrust of Ward Connerly’s efforts – very successful in CA and other states –
    to eliminate preferences in government hiring, college admissions, contracting, etc.
    If the MI initiative was anything like the one here in CA, it would not effect any legitimate affirmative action outreach efforts, it just says that you can’t use minority status as a preferrence.
    Get them to the door anyway you can, but everyone who walks through the door competes on merit.

    Other than that, I agree that BHO has a rough row to hoe in MI, and this latest development doesn’t make it any easier.

    Another Drew (faec8a)

  16. Some good issues to pound Obama on would be the Democrats’ refusal to deal with the price of oil/gasoline that is killing Detroit’s automobile industry. The Democrats’ harping on hybrid / alternative fuels is not helping Detroit as much as it is helping Japanese car makers.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  17. I don’t think the turnout will happen in Detroit–all the bosses will be fighting each other for control of the spoils system Kilpatrick left behind.

    Hee, Hee. McCain just might do it!

    Patricia (ee5c9d)

  18. seaPea — Obama can’t disown Kilpatrick and still drive 60% turnout in Detroit. If he tries to drive turnout by showing sympathy with Kilpatrick, he’ll kill his chances in the rest of the state.

    WLS (26b1e5)

  19. I have no idea what the people of Michigan think of Ted Nugent, but I’ve gotta believe he’d be a supporter of Palin.

    mark (05aa11)

  20. I think the BigO can mealy mouth his way to not offending anyone (much).

    60% Detroit turnout for the 1st Black major candidate, seems easy to me.

    mockmook (3de7d5)

  21. How dare someone call the One (TM) uppity! heh we need a good racial code-words guide around here (co-bloggers maybe?)

    Foo: while making corrections (or asking for them), could you act like you are helping the post instead of demanding your ‘rights’

    Lord Nazh (9a408b)

  22. Turns out Nugent likes Palin:

    “Those pundits and Fedzilla fanatics who proclaim Gov.Palin has no experience to run the country are the very punks who want to continue to feed Fedzilla. They advocate taking more of our paychecks, wasting more of hard earned money, and not being held accountable. I would like to buy these Fedzilla punks a one-way ticket on the express train to Hell.”

    Sarah Palin Is My Girl

    mark (05aa11)

  23. Maybe Monica Conyers can threaten to beat people up if they don’t get out and vote. She could be a big asset to Team Obama. Another unhinged lefty.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)



    JD (5f0e11)

  25. What of?
    The incoming class at the GrayBar Hotel?

    Another Drew (e872c7)

  26. Ok .. OK .. enough with Excitable Andy.

    I don’t know if you’ve noticed the trend in your pieces on Excitable Andy.

    It’s obvious that he hates women

    Neo (cba5df)

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