Beckmann: Obama effect may doom Dems
Michigan has always been a little different, politically.
Some would say our state is schizophrenic, but it’s easily one of the more “purple” states in the union, neither dominated by the “blue” Democrat Party of the “red” Republicans.
Our state hasn’t elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate since 1994, and hasn’t supported a GOP presidential candidate since 1988.
But while Democratic politicos have owned those statewide races, Republicans have been voted in as attorney general and secretary of state on a regular basis.
The eight governors we’ve elected since World War II have been equally split between party affiliation at four apiece.
Additionally, the GOP holds more congressional seats and the Legislature is dominated by representatives of the Grand Old Party.
So it shouldn’t come as a great surprise that Democrats are getting ready to welcome President Barack Obama and his toxic polling numbers to Detroit for a campaign rally this weekend, just days before the latest midterm elections.
Across the country, candidates are staying away from Obama and his remarkably low job approval numbers.
Some Democrats even refuse to reveal whether they voted for him in 2012.
Obama recently appeared on behalf of Maryland gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown and his lead in the race immediately dropped from 11 percent to 2 percent, according to pollsters.
In the past couple weeks, some attendees walked out during Obama’s remarks in Maryland, an occurrence that was repeated in Wisconsin.
But again, Michigan is different, and with the Democrats’ professed desire to turn out greater numbers of African-American voters — who traditionally sit out the midterms in large blocs — the logic of bringing Obama to energize Detroit’s predominantly black population is understandable, especially in the tight governor’s race.
One wonders, however, what benefit Obama’s appearance can really provide Democrats in Michigan, given the president’s record and tanking poll numbers.
Obama’s foreign policy has been a disaster — see the Ukraine and Islamic State failures — while his domestic agenda hasn’t been much better.
The president can claim Democratic candidates will help lead development of his Obamacare program, but voters have seen their access to doctors limited and their insurance premiums increase markedly under his signature initiative.
He can again make the false claim that his economic efforts have revived the quality of Americans’ lives, but too many people are among the nearly 100 million who are out of work and not among the highest earners who have seen their wealth increase, while the wealth gap has widened under the president who claims to be a friend of the common man.
Even Vice President Joe Biden recently said the middle class has been left behind.
“But you know the truth,” said the gaffe-prone VP.
“The middle class is still in trouble. You don’t have to know the numbers, you can feel it. You can feel it in your bones.”
And Obama’s anti-quarantine stance on Ebola has been anti-logical, especially with this week’s announcement by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that American troops returning from Africa’s Ebola zone are going to be quarantined for 21 days as a precaution against possibly spreading the disease back home.
Democrats, even in Michigan, could be taking a risk by bringing in Obama, who will no doubt claim that his effort to continue the Bush administration’s auto bailout strategy was more responsible for our state’s economic rebound than Gov. Rick Snyder’s policies.
The number of auto jobs has increased by more than 300,000 since Obama took office, but the untold story is that the total number of Big Three employees — even with the recent additions — is still about 275,000 workers lower than the 1.1 million-member workforce they had before the recession began.
But let’s face it, this visit is more about supporting Mark Shauer to unseat Gov. Rick Snyder in a close race than it is about benefiting U.S. Senate candidate Gary Peters, who enjoys a substantial lead over rival Terri Lynn Land in those same polls.
Democrats are counting on the appearance of Obama to energize the base, especially since an estimated 300,000 of their supporters stayed home for the last midterm elections in 2010.
Getting those people to the polls will, no doubt, rely on two factors.
Will Obama’s appearance and speech motivate them to get out and vote next Tuesday, and will the weather encourage or discourage a bigger turnout?
If the POTUS brings his teleprompter “A” game — and not too many people leave early — then he’ll help out on the first count.
But the weather calls for a high in the mid-50s next Tuesday with a 55 percent chance of rain.
That adds up to the same kind of uncertainty that has marked Michigan politics for decades and helped make us the “purple” state we are.
Frank Beckmann is host of “The Frank Beckmann Show” on WJR-AM (760) from 9 a.m. to noon Monday-Friday.
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