[ home | archives | email ]
MICHIGAN: MORE BALLENGER [Henry Payne 10/31 07:46 PM]
The second of three excerpts from an interview with Bill Ballenger, editor of "Inside Michigan Politics." Crowned by The Detroit News as "Michigan's undisputed Crown Prince of Punditry," the colorful Ballenger holds a masters from Harvard's Kennedy School, served in the Ford administration, and was a Republican state senator and rep before making a career as Michigan's top political analyst.
It’s the economy, stupid. Ballenger says Bush has had an uphill climb here all year because “the economy has superceded the Iraqi and anti-terror leadership that he’s been able to exploit elsewhere.” “I don’t think the economy has been that bad. It’s been overblown,” Ballenger continues. “But in percentage terms, we’re up there in the top 2-3 states hardest hit by the loss of manufacturing jobs. And the press just keeps repeating it.” For evidence, one need only open Sunday’s Detroit News and Free Press, which despite 3.7 percent growth in the third quarter and a national jobless rate below that of Clinton’s re-election in1996 - declares that “the economy continues to tank.”
Add to this blue-collar manufacturing base “a black population that makes up 15 percent of the state’s population,” says Ballenger, and Democrats begin every campaign with two strong pillars of the Democratic foundation in place.
Might two culturally conservative ballot issues - one limiting state gambling, the other gay marriage ring out more conservative voters this campaign? Ballenger is skeptical: “I’ve seen no evidence that ballot proposals pull people out in a presidential election year. If voting for President of the United
States doesn’t get you out of bed, you won’t get out for anything else.”