20 - The Michigan Daily - Orientation Edition 2005
A falling star
JASON PESICK ONE SMALL VOIG'
- Oct. 12, 2004
wo years ago, things
were very different for
The young attorney general
was manhandling Lt. Gov.
Dick Posthumus in the state's
gubernatorial election. Her
political skills, intelligence and
movie-star looks propelled her
not only past Posthumus, but
also onto the radar screens of the national media.
Her primary victory against former Gov. James
Blanchard and U.S. Rep. David Bonior even got the
attention of The New York Times. Jonathan Cohn
wrote a favorable profile of Granholm in The New
Republic, which is a big deal for a centrist Democrat
like Granholm. In October of 2002, he wrote that if
she were elected, " ... on November 6, Granholm
will instantly become a figure of national impor-
tance - not just because Michigan is such a critical
state on the electoral map but because her combina-
tion of intelligence, charisma, and centrist politics
make her an ideal spokesperson for Democratic
politics in the early twenty-first century." He went
on to note the comparisons political observers were
drawing between Granholm and Bill Clinton, and
then continued, " ... if you hear one lament about
Granholm from her fellow Democrats, it's this:
Because she was born in Canada, she can never
Boy, how things can change in politics. Her lack
of experience and understanding have caught up
with the state's first female governor. To be fair, she
does have very few friends in the state Legislature,
which Republicans dominate. Her cabinet is made up
of Republicans as well, with a Republican secretary
of state and attorney general. She also happens to be
governor during difficult economic times, when the
trickle of revenue into the state's budget ties her hand.
And Granholm barely controls her own party, split
between economically liberal labor Democrats and
the rest of the party.
But even during difficult times, a governor needs
to set priorities, and those priorities should help end
the difficult times. Granholm has chosen a priority,
and that priority is trade, attracting manufacturing
jobs and not alienating the unions. At the Demo-
cratic National Convention this summer, trade and
jobs were the focus of her speech. She repeated
her call not just for free trade, but for "fair trade,"
whatever that is.
The speech was not well received. It was poorly
delivered, poorly written and far from compelling.
The national media were not impressed. And on
that night, Granholm went from being a star in the
Democratic Party to another bland Midwestern
This was an especially bad time for Granholm to
underperform. Arnold Schwarzenegger's national
popularity has contributed to a movement, headed by
U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), that is pressing to
amend the Constitution to allow foreign-born indi-
viduals to run for president. It's a long shot, but Gra-
nholm sure isn't helping her cause.
Granholm's convention speech focused on the past
- manufacturing and factory jobs. At one point,
Granholm actually had the gall to say, "While good
jobs for those without a college education are on the
decline, tuition is on the rise." The logical response
to that statement is that politicians therefore need to
work to increase the proportion of Americans going
to college, and one way to do that is to keep tuition
from spiraling out of control.
But in Granholm's state, funding for the flagship
university, the University of Michigan, has declined
by more than $43 million dollars over the past two
years. She's tried to cap tuition, but cutting money
from the state's universities and then asking them to
keep tuition low is not sustainable. Speaking about
the Legislature and the governor, former state Sen.
Joe Schwarz, who is now running for Congress,
said, "I don't believe public higher education has
been a priority."
When Granholmwas born, the state paid for about
80 percent of the University's general fund budget.
Now that number is closer to 30 percent. Two years
ago, the University Investment Commission, made up
of a group of state leaders, released a report that said
that in order to close the gapbetween what Michigan
and the more affordable states spend on higher edu-
cation would have required $270 million that year.
Although University President Mary Sue Coleman
told me she is optimistic about the future, Granholm's
efforts to improve higher education have been limit-
ed to creating commissions and making vague state-
ments that she does not intend to find the money to
make a reality. At some point, the governor needs to
stop serving a slice of her constituency and start serv-
ing the people of the state of Michigan, principally,
by aligning her priorities with the state's needs.
Pesick can be reached at email@example.com.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Gender and sexuality
requirement a misguided
burden on students
TO THE DAILY:
I am writing to echo the sentiments that Clark
Ruper expressed in his response to the gender and
-sexuality requirement (Required sexuality course
proposed, 12/09/2004). While the result of the gay
marriage ban is no doubt a hotly contested issue,
it is not in any way beneficial to add yet another
general requirement to the already long list of
classes that the College of Literature, Science, and
the Arts students are required to take. How would
this help the cause of fighting for or against a ban
on gay marriage?
A freshman writing requirement, race and eth-
nicity, four semesters of foreign language ... the
list of unnecessary and undesired classes LSA
students must take is quite long enough. Ask any
freshman or sophomore (or junior or senior, for
that matter) and he will most likely tell you his
freshman year was full of unnecessary general
requirements, often of little interest. Forcing me,
or any other student, to take a class on sexuality
is a burden, nothing more. Such a class would
do little except raise my level of aggravation, as
the university I pay good money to attend forces
another class of little to no relevance to my con-
centration down my throat. I came hereto study a
concentration of my choosing; I didn't come here
so the University can dictate what I will study.
I strongly encourage each student to seek
knowledge and learn about important issues of
our time, but it is not possible to force interest on
people. In order to graduate from college, majors
must be obtained, and making it more difficult to
attain them helps nobody.
- Jan. 6, 2005
Anti-Semitic verbal assaults
have no place in Ann Arbor
or on campus
TO THE DAILY:
Last Wednesday night I attended a vigil honor-
ing the two soldiers murdered and the numerous
citizens injured in yesterday's suicide bombing
attack in Jerusalem. Growing up in a family that
is dedicated to the state of Israel, and after spend-
ing my junior year abroad down the street from
where the bombing took place, this hit really close
to home - as every bombing does. It was a short
and poignant ceremony that reminded me of how
it feels to have a strong bond with others, even
though you may not know them personally.
On my walk home with two of my housemates,
we stopped outside Espresso Royale on South Uni-
versity Avenue to talk to some of our friends. Wear-
ing our blue and white "We stand withIsrael" shirts
bearing a large Israeli flag, there was no doubt as to
our sentiments. A moment later, a tall, older-look-
ing man walked by very quickly and after passing
us turned and screamed, "Sharon should tear down
that fence, that dirty Jew bastard!"
I was in utter shock. I simply had no words. After
coming from such a meaningful ceremony honoring
people who had died protecting the citizens of their
country, I was stunned by this first direct, vitriolic
anti-Semitism that other than on a visit to Poland, I
have never experienced before. Before I am a Jew,
before I am an American, before I am a female, I am
a person. And no person, regardless of raceor ethnic-
ity, should be subject to such irrational behavior, such
senseless abuse, particularly on the grounds of an
institution that prides itself on its democratic values.
-Sept. 27, 2004
Yeah, we've got that.
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