Mr. President, Michigan Is Slipping Away


President Obama comes to town Friday to tout the success of his rescue of the American auto industry during one of the most troubled economic times in history. An industry that is not perfect but has done much to build the Black middle class for a very long time.

The White House issued a release Tuesday evening stating that the president will tour and speak to auto workers at a Chrysler plant in Detroit and a General Motors plant in Hamtramck. The presidential, visit just days before the Aug. 3 primary, provides an insight into how the White House is observing the elections in Michigan where the race for governor and the 13th Congressional District are up for grabs.

Obviously President Obama will talk about why and how he rescued the auto industry and saved thousands of jobs that would have been lost had he not answered the 3 a.m. call from Detroit. To his credit, the president, even though he issued strict guidelines on the auto bailout as well as tough restructuring, has helped saved an industry that once enjoyed a monopoly in the marketplace in Michigan.

Despite what has been done to restructure the auto industry to get it on the road to sanity, there are still those who think the bailout was the wrong action to take.

We should have, according to their logic, allowed the industry to collapse so thousands of families could crash and burn. That is the refrain some right wing Washington lawmakers were singing.

What is clear today is that President Obama made the right decision to intervene and inject the needed blood that allowed for the continued operation of the industry. Now that the auto industry is back on track, President Obama must now focus on helping to stabilize the Michigan economy. Doing so must go beyond what can be done to what needs to be done.

Whether President Obama knows it or not, the governor’s race in Michigan is partly a referendum on his administration’s performance so far.

I understand when the president says that the mid-term elections will decide whether people want to continue the Bush policy or change the course he’s introduced the nation to. But the reality is that the Bush ad ministration is no longer in power. The political mandate was given to him on Nov. 4 of 2008 to steer the democratic ship safely to shore.

Even though he inherited a dismal economy and a disrupted house, the onus is on him to work to get the house in order. The economic stimulus package worked but it is not enough because people are still out of work and are suffering.
Many families are not able to put food on the table. What that means for us in the inner cities across the country is an increase in the crime rate, at the same time we are being greeted with massive unemployment lines.

That is why President Obama must use the bully pulpit to fight for needed jobs and programs that will sustain the economy in places like Michigan and its largest urban center, Detroit.

In times of suffering and decay, playing diplomacy is grossly ineffective while thousands are waiting for rescue. Those who are opposed to the president have made it clear that they want the administration to see its own waterloo.
Their desire any meaningful and sincere negotiations is questionable because there is a concerted effort to make Obama a one-term president.

Knowing that Obama cannot comprise on programs that will help alleviate the economic recession, the administration should not allow those who are vehemently opposed to the stimulus packages — but now enjoying them in their districts — to define the mid-term elections. The White House message machine cannot be sleeping at the wheel just as it did with the Shirley Sherrod case where it allowed an already discredited and disgraced blogger to almost stop the wheels of government from moving.

To watch how the Sherrod case played out with the White House apologizing and the U.S. Department of Agriculture backtracking after Secretary Tom Vilsack was forced to swallow his own words within 24 hours is laughable.

And now the Republican response to have the blogger and Chairman Michael Steele headline a fundraiser clearly draws the line in the sand between what the spineless Democrats stand for and what the GOP is willing to do, no matter what the consequences might be.

I have long admired Republicans because they believe in their convictions. No matter what it is they will stand behind their opinions and actions, even if they sound crazy to their opponents.

In this tough mid-term election where many Democratic lawmakers are shaking in their boots, the president should take the battle between him and the Republicans to the public domain. He needs to convince the public of what he’s done to change things since he took office. He would be required to do much more than just visiting two plants in Michigan on Friday. If it means hitting the campaign trail canvassing votes for candidates seeking a re-election to Congress, he should do it.

The White House should not only be concerned about the president’s re-election. It must be equally worried about a House takeover by the Republicans. The worst thing that could happen is for President Obama to wake up the day after the election and realize that Speaker Nancy Pelosi is no longer there and that there is no Democratic majority in the House.


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