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January 06, 2009


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I think you are giving the Governor unfair blame. Sure, she is partly to blame for the mess in Michigan, not because of her actions, but mostly because of her inaction. She did stand up and fight hard for Michigan to get the auto bailout. She showed a lot of passion, I just wish she would show that passion more often.

Take a look at those state lawmakers, though. They have been unable to compromise on just about anything meaningful. Over 70% of Michigan residents support an indoor smoking ban, yet they could not pull off a compromise bill last year, despite massive evidence that such a ban is good for everyone.

Most of those problems are DUE to the term limits. The term limits do not allow for experienced leadership to emerge, which limits the amount of meaningful tasks that get completed in the legislature.

Mark --

Oh yeah, there's blame enough for the legislature too. But so many people give JG a free ride. What has she done for the state since she's been here? Answer: drive it into the ground.

BTW, the executive branch takes most of the credit/blame for results. If Bush is mostly to blame for our national problems (and most people would say he is), why isn't Jenny to blame for problems in Michigan?

And if she's not to blame (which I'm not buying), then at least she's ineffective at stopping those who are to blame, wouldn't you say?

Yeah, it is pretty sad to see one of the countries most thriving economies turn into the absolute worst.

Blame it on bad governance, indeed, but last I checked governors don't pass bills.

Frank --

Neither do Presidents, do they?

The last I looked, the governor doesn't lay off auto workers and freeze up the credit markets either.

A Michigan company (Whirlpool) bought an Iowa company (Maytag) a few years ago and promptly laid off thousands of workers in Iowa while shifting jobs to Michigan. Should Granholm get credit for that? Should Iowans blame their governor for the fact the Maytag CEO, with stockholder approval, chose to take the money and run?

If only things were as simple as you seem to think FMF. As long as the Wolverines keep losing in football, keep re-electing her. I'm sure that's her fault too.

RWH --

So you're saying a governor has no impact on what happens in a state? Really? Or are you saying JG has no accountability for the woes in Michigan? I find both positions to be ludicrous.

Certainly nothing is one person's complete fault (just like it's not entirely Bush's fault for what's going on in our country -- we do have a Congress after all, but they seem to have gotten a free pass in the last election.) That said, if the President/Governor isn't the MAIN person responsible for what happens in a country/state, who is? (and why did our country vote for a new president to "change" things if he really can't?)

Michigan is a one-trick pony, and the pony is old and lame. Michigan is like Evander Holyfield, used to be great, now is washed up. Is it really any more complicated than that?

Michigan is a one-trick pony, and the pony is old and lame. Michigan is like Evander Holyfield, used to be great, now is washed up. Is it really any more complicated than that?

Oops, sorry for the double post.

"...why did our country vote for a new president to "change" things if he really can't?"

Are you seriously asking this question?

FMF --

This is the most blatant straw man argument I have ever seen.

Where did I once mention the President? Are you trying to start a discussion on Bush when it isn't due?

Cause from what I can tell I thought we were talking about the Michigan governor and the Michigan economy and any connection that may exist between the two.

Just spouting off "LOLZ if you blame the president than it must be the governors fault too!#!#" is not an argument. Let's stick to the issue at hand?

(And btw, you are comparing apples to oranges when you compare federal government to state government)


Pop --

Got an opinion?

Frank --

I'm comparing the chief executive officer of one governmental body to another. Certainly there are differences, but certainly there are similarities as well.

Your argument was that "govenors don't pass bills." So are you saying they have no blame/responsibility at all? That's what you seem to be implying. And if it's not, what exactly are you saying?

The majority of Americans are becoming increasingly more dependent on the government, and the majority just voted for a socialist who promised them the most stuff.

BTW, I'm assuming you all live in Michigan. Correct?

Pop --


Ok, now I see where you're coming from.

Just wanted to make sure you weren't from "the chief government executive isn't responsible for anything" camp that seems to be running wild on this post.

FMF --

What in this article prompted you to compare the two, though? It does not seem to have any bearing whatsoever. The only thing it seems it is accomplishing is that it is letting you make a political statement.

And my argument is simply that the whole governance is responsible for making Detroit go from Penthouse to Gutter. The governor did not accomplish it alone, it took a huge input from the legislative branch too.


And if you really want to keep pushing the Bush issue, people chastise him because we was the head of the party. He did not do a thing to keep his party in check as they were the majority leaders in Congress. He used ONE veto in six years. In contrast, Reagan vetoed 78 bills (8 years), Bush senior vetoed 44 bills (1 term!), and Clinton vetoed 37 bills (two terms). So, why do you think people hold Bush responsible for letting the Republicans do what they want for the past 8 years?

106th Congress (1999-2001)
SENATE: Majority Party: Republican (55 seats)
HOUSE: Majority Party: Republican (223 seats)

107th Congress (2001-2003)
SENATE: Odd years.. it was dead even, then dems took lead, then repubs took lead.
HOUSE: Majority Party: Republican (221 seats)

108th Congress (2003-2005)
SENATE: Majority Party: Republican (51 seats)
HOUSE: Majority Party: Republican (229 seats)

109th Congress (2005-2007)
SENATE: Majority Party: Republican (55 seats)
HOUSE: Majority Party: Republican (232 seats)

110th Congress (2007-2009)
SENATE: Majority Party: Democrat (51 seats)(if you cant the two independents)
HOUSE: Majority Party: Democrat (233 seats)

FMF --

Don't include me in "the chief government executive isn't responsible for anything" camp...

The only camp I am part of that is running wild on this post is "bloggers should hold themselves to higher journalistic standards and not use logical fallacies to push arguments and make political statements" camp.

Frank --

It sounded as if you were giving her a free pass -- blaming only the legislature -- which I don't agree with. As I mentioned in my post, the legislature is certainly to blame, but to me, the governor is the MAIN person responsible for what goes on in a state. Do you disagree?

Also, do you live in Michigan? I'm interested in knowing.

FMF --

BTW -- the 1 veto I am referring to was during the Republican controlled Congress. There was actually 2 in 2006, sorry.

The most recent numbers I can find (correct me if I am wrong) is around 12 vetoes. 10 coming in 2007 and after.

Again, this is why people think Bush is only doing harm. His approval ratings show this.


Frank --

If you're holding me to "higher journalistic standards and not using logical fallacies", I think you're reading the wrong blog...

No free passes.

I think one of the large problems in Detroit is the existence of a corporate tax that is third highest in the nation (I think?). But on the flipside, they also have too much corporate welfare. It is an interesting situation.

No, I am not. I just love reading about Detroit's fall from grace.

It is really an interesting case study to show how one of the countries top economies can topple within 40 years.

It almost takes an active effort to make that happen... and unions, company executives, and governance all played a part.


FMF --

Am I reading that wrong or are you essentially taking pride in using logical fallacies?

That is one of the things that everyone should strive to take out of their arguments... it just leads to ridiculousness!

I obviously keep coming back cause I like the blog though, just have some different opinions on some stuff :)


Frank --

Ok, I think we're on (relatively) the same page.

Sure, Detroit has a HUGE part to play in what's wrong with our state, but there is a whole lot of state other than the southeast corner. The fall of the auto industry isn't all that's been wrong with Michigan. People from outside the state often think that it's all the auto industry, and that's obviously a large part of it, but there's much more that's wrong here.

A few other thoughts from someone (me) who's been living in the state for almost 10 years now:

1. JG has been in bed with the city of Detroit from day one (including on-going support for Kwame Kilpatrick -- details here: ). She certainly didn't bring on the auto collapse, but her policies, actions, friends, etc. contributed to it.

2. I believe the Michigan House has been of the governor's party for the entire scope of her reign (though I believe the Senat hasn't been). So it's not like she's facing a legislature that's been 100% against her -- she's had much of her way in this state.

3. JG's been in office for six years now. What has she done to impact the economy in a positive way, bring in new jobs, etc. in that time? Answer: not much.

4. I'm not sure to be hopeful or in dread. I just found this:

Hopeful: "She has been mentioned as a possible replacement for New Mexico governor Bill Richardson as the Secretary of Commerce in President-Elect Barack Obama's cabinet."

This would at least get her out of the state. It would also let the rest of the country experience what we've had to deal with for six years (be careful what you ask for!). That said, then our country would take the full impact of her "expertise." Yikes! Not sure this will happen though -- Obama seems smarter than that from what I've seen so far.

Dread: "She has been mentioned as a potential Supreme Court justice for President-elect Barack Obama."

Really? Double yikes! If she got appointed, she'd certainly fit this bill:

And no, I'm not taking pride in (or even admitting to) illogical fallacies (we could debate the president thing all day). I'm just trying to not take myself too seriously.


I really don't place blame for Michigan's economic problems on either the legislature or the Gov. Michigan's economy has tanked because it's primary industry (manufacturing) has tanked. The choices and decisions of the Detroit auto companies led to a disastrous collapse over the past 8 years. There was little that JG could do to prevent this. Tax breaks, executive orders, whatever cannot save a collapsing industry.

The only thing she could do was try to diversify our economy, and she has tried. She has travelled around the country and around the world trying to attract businesses to come to Michigan. She has tried to make the state as business friendly as possible, and has offered tax incenctives to anyone that will consider locating here. The problem is that taxes only play a small part when a company decides where to locate it's operations, and all states can match our incentives, so what do we have to offer here? An expensive workforce, cold climate, crumbling infrastructure, etc. Basically nothing.

John Engler, as governor, helped create the current tax climate in Michigan with the cap on personal property taxes and the Michigan SBT tax. JG has done the best she could, and Michigan is right in the middle of the pack when it comes to corporate tax burden.


"So you're saying a governor has no impact on what happens in a state? Really? Or are you saying JG has no accountability for the woes in Michigan? I find both positions to be ludicrous."

Nope, didn't say either of those things. I don't deal in absolutes.


1) Your statement #1 above is a bit innaccurate. JG held a hearing to remove Kwame from office. It was this hearing that ultimately forced him into accepting a plea deal and step down as mayor.

2) State laws and regulations, etc. do very little to impace the economic status of a state. Look at California and New York. They have some of the highest tax rates, and most restrictive business environments in the country, yet they are economically the two richest states in our nation.

Mark --

Do some research. She was tight with Kilpatrick for years and only forced him from office when it was apparent he was guilty and a political drain on her.

RWH --

So you're saying...


What specifically has your governor done that has hurt Michigan?

What laws did she support or fail to support? What policies has she been in favor of?

You can blame her for not saving Michigans economy but thats a bit extreme to expect a governor to somehow quickly undue an economic collapse that has been the result of decades of problems in the auto industry. But even if she hasn't fixed it or if you don't expect her to fix it outright, she should be pointing the state in the right direction. Why specifically do you think she isn't heading the right direction or why do you think she's failing to get things done exactly?

I don't know much of anything about Michigan politics specifically but its clear the auto industry failure is the sole cause of the states problems.


Change that last sentence I just wrote above. The auto industry is the PRIMARY cause of Michigans problems, but not the 'sole' cause.


Jim --

Basically, I'm trying to hold her accountable for what she promised to do for our state economically when she ran for office. Is that not fair?

And, BTW, it's interesting that so many people who live outside our state know so much about it (or think they do.) There's a lot more going on than the 25,000-foot view you get from reading the Wall Street Journal or USA Today.

If Steil was one of the select few politicians/gov't officials actually doing their job, then this is not poetic justice, but a shame. We should be cutting the fat in gov't, not the meat.


What did she promise to do specifically and how has she failed to do it?

Honestly I don't know if I can recall a single politician who has met all their campaign promises.

You're right, that most of your audience isn't familiar with Michigan politics and I think thats a lot of the problem. All we see is you saying how horrible she is cause she hasn't fixed Michigan yet. But we don't know the details about HOW she has failed or what exactly she has done wrong cause we don't live in Michigan and aren't familiar with the details. On the other hand I think its considered common knowledge that Michigans problems are primarily due to the auto industry failure and I don't see anything refuting that.


Jim --

Getting our economy on track isn't simply one campaign promise among a thousand of them -- it's a key promise that she ran on. Imagine if the US economy is in the same (or worse) shape in four years after Obama. Think people are going to say "oh well, that's just one of his promises he didn't fulfill. He did save the spotted tree frog, though, so he's doing ok." No way -- they'll ride him out on a rail.

So why isn't JG held responsible for Michigan's economy? Is it because she has no impact on it? Is it because the situation is bigger than she is? Or is it simply because people are willing to give their leaders a free pass? I'm at a loss for why you (or anyone) would say that a governor doesn't have some impact on a state's economy.

If you want to review her exact words and promises, go for it -- Google is your friend. As for me, I've gone on long enough with this post.


JG had the guts to step up and remove a former friend and political ally from his office. I don't fault her for siding with KK or aligning herself with him politically. Prior to the revelations of his criminal behaviors he seemed to be a pretty good mayor.

Also, I am all for a costructive argument that cites facts along with opinions. However, it is obvious that your political views are conservative in nature and disagree with those of JG. Therefore, it is natural that you would place blame on someone with which you have political differences.

Can you name one thing that you think JG could have done better for our state since her term started? What would you have done if you were governor to avoid the current economic catastrophe?

Mark --

"Prior to the revelations of his criminal behaviors he seemed to be a pretty good mayor."

Really? Really? Are you serious?

I'm not governor. I didn't run for governor. I don't make policies or develop economic plans. But nice try on trying to put the blame on me. I'm not the governor of Michigan, JG is. And it's her record we're discussing.

I'm a voter. I listen to the candidates, hear their ideas, and decide on which of them I think will do a better job. JG had four years to make progress, made none, and we re-elected her. So I guess we're getting what we asked for.

You're obviously liberal in nature (I'm making this statement based on the same sort of facts you're using in making the conservative comment about me), so it's natural that you'd side with her. But really, do you think she's done a good job on the economy? Why/How can you? Is everything so politically motivated that people can't step outside of their own personal beliefs and judge an elected official on what he/she said they would do and their success at doing it?

I can look back at candidates I've supported in the past and seen that they haven't done a good job. In those cases, I say that they haven't done a good job. If they come up for re-election, I don't vote for them. Can you do the same (recognize that simply because someone is of your party that maybe they're not doing a good job)? If you can, I find it highly doubtful that you could give JG a passing grade on the Michigan economy.

Mark --

And BTW, she didn't have the guts to do anything. When it was clear that Kilpatrick was a criminal and that the evidence against him was overwhelming (not to mention that he pushed around an officer), there was nothing she could do. She HAD to get rid of him or the voters of Michigan would have let the backlash come back on her. In short, she did it because it was politically necessary, not because she had the guts for anything.


I think what I said was pretty clear. I gave you a specific situation in which a Michigan company bought an Iowa company, closed down the Iowa facilities and moved the jobs to Michigan (and elsewhere) and asked if your governor should get the credit for it, or if Iowa's governor should get the blame.

You responded with something completely out of left field (or right field if you wish) and otherwise dodged the question entirely.

I'm just sayin........

RWH --

I'm not talking about one incident. Things like that happen in a state both for good and bad. I'm judging by the overall economy in Michigan which is bad, BTW. But you wouldn't know the details since you don't live here.

I'm just sayin...

1) I consider myself to be left-center politically.

2) I voted for Devos, not Granholm, so I have no incentive to defend her. I felt Devos, with his business background, would have done a better job at managing the economic crisis. I also voted for Bush in 2004 and have no problem roasting him for the problems we are facing as a nation.

3) KK did get some things done in Detroit despite his other issues. Not a great mayor, but he was actually better than Coleman Young.

4) Even though I voted for Devos, I still think that the challenges were too great for any governor to avoid. Even if Devos was governor I think we would be in a very similar situation, I just think the problems are much larger than the state government can control.

5) I am enjoying this spirited argument. I think you are misinterpreting some of my comments because tone is difficult to convey in writing.


BTW- I curse JG every single day as I drive to work on pothole riddled streets. I think the governor has more control over those types of things (infrastructure, safety, etc.) than they do over the economy.

FMF --

Another logical fallacy...

So the only way one could possibly understand the details is if they are the ones living within the situation?

If that is the case we should all keep our mouths shut unless the topic of discussion relates to our tiny spheres of influence.

And couldn't one also just argue that you do not understand the politics and economics of the situation because you are neither a politician nor an economist and "wouldn't know the details" and complexities of the predicament?

We all have an amazing ability, especially in 2009, to read and educate ourselves on issues half way across the world...


Frank --

Yes, we can all read and educate ourselves, but people living in a situation know a bit more about it than others who get bits and pieces here and there from various media sources.

Mark --

Another good point -- though I don't recall her claiming that she'd ever fix the roads.

Oh, and the snow removal here has been hideous this year! Can we blame that on her too? ;-)


I am pretty sure she talked about infrastructure, which I interpreted to mean roads. Maybe that is because it is an important issue to me.

Yes, our county cut their snow removal budget too, I picked a bad year to get rid of the 4x4.

Mark --

I'm not sure Devos would have done better, but I was willing to give him a shot. I do think someone with a business background would have a better chance of success.

"I also voted for Bush in 2004 and have no problem roasting him for the problems we are facing as a nation."

Yeah, join the club. Talk about promising one thing and delivering another. But that's for a different day.

"I think you are misinterpreting some of my comments because tone is difficult to convey in writing."

Could be -- it is hard to interpret tone in writing.

In the end, my POV comes down to whether I think she's making a bad situation better or worse. And I'd have to say worse at this point. I see her trying a lot (I'm not saying that she isn't trying to do something) but she's just not effective. And I think her tax policy is probably neutral at best -- though that's hard to quantify.

Nice to hear from someone actually in the state though...

FMF --

And if the person actively seeks out more than "bits and pieces" are they then qualified to discuss it?

Just a very slippery slope of an argument...



Thanks for the good discussion.

I agree with your points above about JG not being effective. Her law background is solid, but she lacks any strong policies that have made a difference at any level.

It seems to me like she disappears for weeks or months at a time, and then makes appearances when there is a major event, etc. She is not out there pushing solutions day in and day out like I would have hoped. Then again, maybe she is but we just don't see it in the news.

In the end I feel that even with effective policies from the Governor, we would still be in a terrible mess as a state, but maybe recovery would come quicker at best.

I would say that JG has not been BAD (we could live in but she has not been GOOD either. I say neutral, which just does not cut it during tough times, so she has failed our state, but she shares that blame with the legislature, auto companies, Bush, etc.

Mark --

I think we're coming to the conclusion. Maybe I should have just said "she's neutral, which just does not cut it during tough times, so she has failed our state" and have left it at that.

Frank --

Here's what I'm saying:

A few years ago, I read about all the street kids in Moscow. I read several hideous stories of despair, "understood" how they lived, "felt" their pain, etc. That was one sense of understanding.

Then I went there and saw some and served with a group feeding the young orphans. I could see their troubled eyes, smell the filth they lived in, hear them tell their stories themselves (through an interpreter), etc. I had a much better understanding of their plight after this trip. This said, the people that live and work with them on a daily basis have a much better understanding than I do.

That's the point I'm getting at. You can read and become educated to a certain point -- but ultimately experience AND education trumps education alone (similar to what happens in careers.)


Agreed. I was just making the point that you MAY have been a bit harsh toward the Gov.

You and I, both Michigan residents, hate to see this state in such a dismal condition, and we are venting our frustrations by blaming who we think is responsible.

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