How It Be In The D

October 31, 2006

Who’s the Vos?

Like many in Michigan, I recognize our desperation. It is during these times that politicians as gubernatorial hopeful, Dick DeVos, present themselves as messiahs—someone coming out of nowhere to rescue us and restore.

Our present situation reminds me of Nicolo Machiavelli’s The Prince, where he says, “for men change their rulers willingly, hoping to better themselves and this hope induces them to take up arms against him who rules: wherein they are deceived, because they afterwards find by experience they have gone from bad to worse.” DeVos is this type of politician trying to play off dissatisfaction. I question whether he has a viable alternative to offer Michigan.

If the debates were an indication of his competency, then DeVos is not our man. Through the three debates, he seemed stiff and unprepared. Without his scripted commercials, DeVos could not think on his feet. His answers consisted of attacking Governor Granholm and offered nothing that I could grasp onto. I thought that maybe in his eagerness, DeVos forgot that debates are about candidates answering questions to demonstrate their platform, which he has failed to do.

Besides the attacks, DeVos made some unreasonable statements. One of the worst was during the Tuesday, October 10th debate. Following Gov. Granholm expressing her interest to provide affordable health care, DeVos said that people could obtain it by working. Granholm retorted that there are plenty of working people that are unable to do so. She followed up by accusing DeVos of contracting temporary workers at Amway so that he wouldn’t have to pay them insurance. His weak, poorly thought statement left his jugular open to Gov. Granholm.

I was surprised by DeVos’ failure to capitalize on Michigander’s unhappiness. The brunt of his earlier commercials was directed toward Gov. Granholm’s failure to “do her job.” His assertion that her failure to bring us out of these difficult times and his being the leading gubernatorial challenger should make him governor is unconvincing. Besides stating the obvious, I don’t feel that DeVos said new. So Gov. Granholm might have failed us, why should I vote for him? What will he do to not fail us? The allegation that she hasn’t done enough isn’t reason enough for me to vote for DeVos.

While Gov. Granholm might not have done everything possible, she has at least talked a good game. While DeVos maintained that people can get insurance through employment, Granholm mentioned MI First, her proposed plan modeled after one in Massachusetts, where lower-income people and other uninnsured could have access. Furthermore, she said that she would work to assist business in providing health care, since we are one of the few industrialized countries where manufacturers are obligated to cover their workers and not the government; thus, raising the prices on many goods—especially automobiles. Lastly, one of Granholm’s priorities is diversifying Michigan’s economy by focusing on four industries: life sciences, homeland security, advanced manufacturing and alternative fuel manufacturing. Toward this goal, community colleges and MI Works offices would work to certify workers and to further educate them. Also, she said that she looks to institute tax cuts for industries that would stay in Michigan.

All in all, DeVos has failed to live up to his potential as someone that I would voted for. I don’t buy into the propaganda that Gov. Granholm has failed. Michigan seems to forget that when gas prices rose, she held gas stations accountable for price gouging. Additionally, Granholm inherited a monstrous budget deficit from her predecessor, John Engler. Her budget cuts coupled with disappearing jobs resulted in a ripple effect. If nothing else, we are learning that manufacturing alone cannot be our sole salvation. DeVos’ commercials attacking Gov. Granholm has not addressed the issues, serving to illustrate how he does not truly understand Michigan’s problems. This above everything else shows me that he cannot be governor.

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