Obama Heads to (?!?!?) Michigan

Update: Per martha, either Jane and I misheard or MSNBC doesn’t realize that there are GM plants all through the Midwest–Obama is going to Janesville, Wisconsin. And Wisconsin does, in fact, have a presidential primary well before 2012, so it takes no guesswork to figure out why Obama would go to a GM plant in Wisconsin. Thanks martha! And sorry for misleadig you all.

I heard NBC report (and Jane confirms that she heard it too) that Obama will head to Michigan tomorrow to give a speech at GM about the economy. Last I checked, there wasn’t a presidential primary or caucus scheduled in MI anytime before 2012. So what’s going on?

First, understand that I haven’t heard anything about a electoral mulligan from within MI–I’ve seen national reports of such a mulligan, but nothing from inside the MDP (though, of course, I’m in DC, not MI right now). Last week, MDP Chair Mark Brewer met with Obama supporters to explain how the uncommitted delegates will be assigned–so at least as far as has been said publicly, MI will proceed to assign delegates based on the grand clusterfuck.

So why is Obama headed to MI, rather than OH, to talk about the economy?

I’ve got several speculations–I’ll try to find a real answer in the next few days.

Possibility 1, the most likely: this is a bid for Edwards support

Note the timing. Obama was due to go request Edwards’ support yesterday, but then rescheduled. That means this speech at GM will happen before Obama heads to North Carolina to ask for Edwards’ support. Knowing that Edwards’ priority is fighting for the economically disenfranchised, making a big speech on the economy–in the state with the worst economy in the country–is a pretty good way of auditioning.

Possibility 2, just as likely: this is a bid for Edwards’ supporters’ support

As I said, the MDP is working with the assumption that we’re going to assign delegates based on the clusterfuck. That would mean Hillary would get 55% of the delegates, and "uncommitted" would get 40%. Or rather, Hillary would get 55% and Edwards’ and Obama’s supporters would fight over those 40%.

Now I suspect some of those delegates can be tied to specific supporters–"uncommitted" won my county, which has 40,000 students in it, many of them likely Obama supporters. And Conyers was advertising for "uncommitted" in Detroit, in support of Obama. So Obama can probably rightly claim a big chunk of the uncommitted delegates in places where he’s got very strong support. But if Obama has to fight for those 40% of MI’s delegates, he’s got to persuade Edwards’ supporters.

And if you think about it–those MI delegates are one of the very tangible things that Edwards would have to give Obama, if he gave him his support.

Possibility 3: What better place to talk about clusterfuck economy than Michigan?

In addition to having the biggest electoral clusterfuck in the nation, we have the biggest economic clusterfuck (yeah us!). So if Obama’s planning to make a big policy speech–one that will resonate in the almost as cluserfucky Ohio–doing so in the wake (in all sense of the word) of GM’s abysmal results from last year makes for good theater. Remember the saying, "as goes GM, so goes the nation"? It is not as true as it used to be, but it sure seems true in the Midwest.

Possibility4: MI is gearing up for an electoral mulligan

I don’t think we’re there yet–ready to start renting out caucus locations, the same ones we had rented until early January when it became clear our clusterfuck would be an election and not a caucus. But if Obama did know we were going to get an electoral mulligan, an appearance tomorrow would mean he’d get the privilege of spending the first campaign cash in Michigan. Trust us. We’re desperate, we’d be pretty happy with it. I doubt this possibility is the right answer–given that several top present and former NAACP figures (like Julian Bond) are calling to seat the clusterfuck delegates, I suspect people are getting ready to screw MI royally.

Of course, several of these possibilities may be true. If Option 1, 2, and 3 were all true, it’d be a pretty shrewd move on Obama’s part.

33 replies
  1. frahse says:

    GM has just announced another setback and further restructuring to come.

    Very serious sign.

    It means that the automobile decline is still on going despite massive restructuring, cutbacks, and givebacks.

    Very worrisome for the anyone in Auto Production, the general economy in MI, the US, and of course workers everywhere.

  2. MadDog says:

    As I’ve said here before, both MI and FL will get delegates seated at the Democratic Convention. And both states will have a say in the Presidential nominee.

    Though I can’t predict “how” it will happen, it will happen! Too much at stake for it not to happen.

    Additionally, many folks have unjustly critized HRC for her “pandering” for the Super Delegates. Very few have come to the realization yet that Obama will have to do the very same.

    It is highly likely that neither Hillary nor Barak will have sufficient delegates for the nomination upon the completion of the primaries/caucuses.

    That leaves the Super Delegates in the King/Queen maker role. And by the very nature of Super Delegates, the wooing and cooing will be done under low or no lights, and with or without parental supervision.

    • emptywheel says:

      I never said they weren’t going to get seated. What I have said is that the way that Hillary is going about calling for them to get seated is reckless–something I’d expect from Bush, not a Democrat.

      • nomolos says:

        I never said they weren’t going to get seated. What I have said is that the way that Hillary is going about calling for them to get seated is reckless–something I’d expect from Bush, not a Democrat.

        Unfortunately the DLC, clinton, republican lite, whatever have embraced some of the worst parts of gooperland such as money grabbing from bigbiz and nasty campaign tactics, this is a large part of the negativity toward clinton2.

        Somehow the delegates should be seated but if one has agreed to a course of action then the honorable thing to do is stick with that course and not stab people in the back.

  3. Evolute says:

    Almost as shrewd as you for figuring it out. All the above may be true, with a slight variation on 4. He may not know, but is willing to emphasize the need for an honest contest and suggest the campaigns, at least his, pay for what the DNC can’t cover. A national fund raiser would ratchet up his $mil a day rate and easily cover the cost.

  4. JTMinIA says:

    While you’re talking semi-conspiratorially, could you comment on the following idea, which came up over dinner: Obama changed his plans and flew back to DC for the FISA votes because he knew that it would prevent Clinton from using his not-voting record against him in the future. It seems he was originally scheduled to be in Wisconsin.

    • PetePierce says:

      He voted; she didn’t. I hope he uses it against her in the future. I’m using it against her, among a variety of other points.

    • emptywheel says:

      I think both said they’d be there based on whether it’d be close. Apparently, Hillary meant the whole bill (which any idiot would have known wouldn’t be close). Obama was there for the one amendment that was close: exclusivity.

  5. ticktock says:

    By any device or strategy I wish Obama the best and appreciate the fact he did take a stand with us on the FISA votes.

    Initially I favored Edwards I hope all that placed their hopes on him consider Obama because he is our best chance right now to actually win…

    • PetePierce says:

      I appreciate that many people who supported Edwards are now supporting Obama. I hope Edwards will do the same, and I hope all of them will feel after enough time has elapsed to tell, that their support directed toward Obama was justified.

  6. WaterRat says:

    One and Two for sure; his speech tonight ( I don’t want to use the word pandered) played much more to Edwards then any of his previous speeches. While still lacking any detail (which seems to work well for him) he mentioned workers much more often than normal.

  7. bobschacht says:

    So if Obama’s planning to make a big policy speech–one that will resonate in the almost as cluserfucky Ohio–doing so in the wake (in all sense of the word) of GM’s abysmal results from last year makes for good theater.

    But would OHIO voters be influenced by a speech given in MICHIGAN? I didn’t think there was much Wolverine Love in Buckeye country

    Bob in HI

    • klynn says:

      Well, when it comes to automobile manufacturing and the economy, a speech in MI will make it’s way to Ohio easily– and he can make a great entrance from Auto Country into Toledo and then over to Cleveland and continue on a “poverty tour” to win Edwards…Cleveland has the highest foreclosure rate in the country right now according to an article I read yesterday.

      Political ads started playing here (OH-Columbus) yesterday. Obama’s first ad was regarding his healthcare package…So, again, a play for Edwards I would say…Interesting ending on the ad for Obama. He said, “I approve this message because…” Not the plain “I approve this message.” His healthcare ad was very important and quite personal–it was about his Mom’s problem with healthcare bills as a single woman who had been a single parent and did not have any “back-up” to aid in paying her bills and how she worried about the bills until she died…

    • emptywheel says:

      Two reasons: 1) Toledo and a few other places are in the DT TV market for many things (I’m actually in the Toledo PBS market), and 2) Ohio has a ton of auto business as well. I’m not sure what “at GM” means–it may well mean “at UAW Division 1 HQ” which would be a nice perk for the UAW.

  8. nomolos says:

    Knowing that Edwards’ priority is fighting for the economically disenfranchised, making a big speech on the economy–in the state with the worst economy in the country–is a pretty good way of auditioning.

    I believe that obama would have to “get real” about his healthcare package before he can garner Edwards’ support. I do think, however, that it is less likely that Edwards would throw his delegates to clinton2 as he does have serious problems with pols that are wholly owned subsidiaries of bigbiz obama being only partially owned.

  9. martha says:

    EW–not MI, he’s going to the GM plant in Janesville WI this morning (Wed.) after the blowout at the Kohl Center in Madison last night…

    Interesting timing because that plant just offered lots of buyouts to workers and many realize they have to take them.

    Local TV saying he’s going to take a plant tour and give a “major economic address”…

    I’ll keep you posted.

    • BlueStateRedHead says:

      EW, does this change things? Or does the argument that what goes on in a GM plant goes to all the others, across state lines? Does it matter if the UAW is part of his presentation?

  10. BlueStateRedHead says:

    EW, second thought.
    Thanks for giving us something solid to work in this the Clinton/MI/Fl discussion. If FL is going to be the cause of blood letting again, it will be worse than ironic…It will be history repeating itself as farce. Instead on Clinton II we will get Napoleon III.*

    people in Josh’s comments on Fineman’s count analysis are already threatening to protest if she goes to the mattresses to seat them.
    What will Gore do?
    My guess is that Gore will not allow FL to mean the loss of an election to a popularly elected candidate, if indeed BO gets a majority of popular pledged delegates. But that’s arguing for historical justice, which rarely happens (except today, thank you Australia, for apologizing for your wrongs). What is the deep background on the Gore/Clinton relations that will come into play?
    Anyone? Am I making sense here after too much gym and too little, in fact, no caffeine?

    *cause Karl Marx made the remark about the Napoleon I/III difference.

  11. BayStateLibrul says:

    Speaking of MSNBC, the gray lady took a nasty bite out of Cable TV

    “Caution and even contrition were noticeable on MSNBC on Tuesday night, but it is unlikely to last. Cable anchors are not really journalists; they are opinion-mongers, news personalities who are expected to entertain viewers, either by amusing them or appalling them.” NYTimes

    You mean to say that KO is not a journalist?

    I’m offended and I hope Keith somehow responds…

  12. klynn says:


    Anyone having problems connecting to sites? I have HS internet and EW’s and the Lake take forever to load. Other progressives sites like TPM or Glenn are taking so long that my computer is timing out.

    Any others out there having these problems?

  13. martha says:

    Hi ew…here’s the press release from the Obama campaign re: this morning’s visit to GM-Janesville:

    “Barack Obama will visit the Janesville General Motors plant tomorrow during his swing through southern Wisconsin.

    Following a tour of the plant, Obama will deliver a major economic policy address laying out his “comprehensive agenda to restore economic balance and fairness, reclaim the American dream, and create millions of new jobs…”

    I’ll be curious to see if he goes beyond “hope” and offers some details. We cheeseheads like the hope stuff but tend to like details too. And, if he wants to get the demographic he doesn’t currently have, he’ll need to offer up some. Just my 2 cents.

  14. Redshift says:

    Evolute and others — anyone know if it’s possible legally for the candidates to pay for caucuses? Apparently the first hurdle in Florida is that the money the DNC is offering ($850,000 iirc) is only about 20% of what they say caucuses would cost (and a primary is even more expensive.) It seems like the best solution, but unfortunately I can’t imagine the Clinton campaign supporting it, because they have less money to spare for splitting the expenses, having Obama pay for the whole thing would obviously influence the results, and they have the most to lose in a “re-do” at this point.

  15. mkls says:

    Well, I couldn’t tell from my polling place — we have a high geezer quotient here and I voted at mid-day — but my VA county went 64-35 for Obama. And over 3000 more people voted in the Dem primary than the Republican. That’s astounding to me. We NEVER trend Dem. (Well, not since 1964…) The population is largely white, older (huge retired population in well-heeled gated communities) and conservative. I got one human and two robocalls reminding me to vote, but there were no signs out (just one for each candidate at the polling place).
    In any event, ew, keep on kicking the tires of this thing — we need to start and keep accountability going — but it was pretty amazing to me that Obama seems to be picking up votes in populations he never did well in at first.
    It was the bright note in an otherwise very bad day here — my alma mater’s president was fired by the board of visitors after a year of persecution by fundies and other FWs over removing a cross from the college chapel (William and Mary is a state-supported school), allowing students to choose what to spend student activities money on, increasing diversity in hiring of staff and student admissions, and increasing the number of scholarship kids. Of course the rector, who happens to be Michael Powell, said the cause had nothing to do with that, but with some other issues we just don’t need to know about. I didn’t think they’d really do it, but they did.

  16. BillE says:

    OT – I heard on the radio this morning that Chertoff was going to congress today and talk about domestic spy satellite use. The blurb from the news mentioned that everything was worked out to come on line and that only privacy and the usual “Old America” stuff was in the way. The report said that the spying wouldn’t be allowed on voice and written stuff ( which leaves out a ton of stuff. )

    I won’t be scared unless the Iraq defense/security contractors are kicked out and rebased in the US. Awe, thats just too paranoid.

    But, seriously has anyone heard any more about this stuff. The radio report was on KYW-1060 in Philly.

  17. flounder says:

    Doesn’t the whole baseball oversight thing have to do with the fact that that MLB has some sort of antitrust waiver that gives the Feds some deeper fingers into the way they run things? Must say, they have better things to do.

  18. freepatriot says:

    wow, a post by ew turns into a post by Miss Emily Litella

    what ???

    it’s about a GM plant in Wisconsin, not Michigan

    “Oh, that’s very different…”,

    Never Mind

    you’re still my muse


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