Sunday’s David Broder column on the Michigan governor’s race includes a key message for GOP incumbents and challengers seeking statehouses. Though this column is about Dick DeVos’ surging campaign against Michigan’s struggling Governor Jennifer Granholm, the ad message that is working for DeVos will work for Ken Blackwell in Ohio and Bob Beauprez in Colorado, as well as Arnold in California and Tim Pawlenty in Minnesota. The former two are behind but will close; the latter two are ahead and will extend their leads. Key graphs from Broder’s piece:
A poll released last week by the Detroit News showed the race a statistical tossup, with Granholm leading 50 percent to 47 percent over Republican challenger Dick DeVos. DeVos, a wealthy businessman, is exploiting Granholm’s vulnerability with some of the most distinctive political ads I’ve ever seen. One running now has an anonymous voter — filmed during a two-hour focus group somewhere in outstate Michigan — giving voice to the frustrations that so many Michiganders share these days.
The mustachioed man in his fifties uses blunt language: “I’ve spent two months looking for a job. This last month we had to dip into our savings to pay for health care, a thousand bucks a month, but I can’t do that very long without saying, ‘Crap! I got to move.’ Nobody seems to be serious about all the work that’s been leaving the state. The next governor, they need to be serious about bringing work into this state to take care of the people who are voting them into that office.”
The ad concludes with a DeVos for Governor banner, but his name is never mentioned by anyone; he appears for only a brief moment at the end during the legally required disclaimer. Absent, too, is any description of his proposed economic remedy — but it is spelled out in a booklet and on a Web site capsulized in other ads.
The message is that governors do indeed matter a great deal in whether state economies grow or contract. High taxing/big spending governors kill jobs. Gray Davis nearly drove California into the pit, and Bob Taft’s tax policies have had a similar effect in Ohio. Blackwell’s opponent Ted Strickland and Beauprez’s opponent Bill Ritter are hard core raise taxes Democrats. The Michigan example will repeat in Ohio and Colorado if they are elected. Ditto California and Minnesota if Phil Angelides or Mike Hatch wins in those races.
Broder’s Thursday column saw only woe and gloom for Blackwell, and the polls still show the impact of Taft’s Davis-like touch on all things Republican in the state.
But the message of the DeVos campaign isn’t copyrighted, and expect that it will appear in battleground states across the country. Jobs matter. Democratic governors kill them.