The economy - and what politicians do about it - is widely expected to be the #1 issue in next year's election for Governor. But just as important in any election is another issue that gets far less attention: Trust.
Trust is always important for a number of reasons. When we vote, we trust that those for whom we vote will do the best they can if elected. Politicians aren't perfect; they're humans like the rest of us. But we should expect them to do their best, even when we disagree with them.
Trust is even more important now in an age when many governors - including Mark Sanford, Sarah Palin, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rod Blagojevich, and Eliot Spitzer - have humiliated themselves and their states. Local pols Kwame Kilpatrick and Monica Conyers have done likewise in Detroit.
If you think Michigan needs more embarrassment on the national stage, I suggest you support Mike Cox, who had an affair and blasted others for exposing the affair. Or you can get behind Pete Hoekstra, whose record in Congress stretches from opposing working families who have been hit by this economy to being hypocritical about the CIA to having an entire blog dedicated to his crazy tweets. Or how about Mike Bouchard, who was caught in a "pay-to-play" scheme in which he rewarded a company that contributed to his 2006 Senate campaign?
But if you think our lovely though beleaguered state deserves better, then I highly recommend supporting John Cherry.
How many people in Lansing know as much about working families - and the challenges they face - as John Cherry? Here's a guy who worked for Sen. Gary Corbin and served as political director for AFSCME before being elected to the state House in 1982 and 1984. He then won election to the Senate four times in a row, eventually becoming Senate Democratic Leader.
Then, in 2002, Attorney General Jennifer Granholm asked him to be her runningmate in that fall's election. The rest is history.
Or is it?
See, when you've been in Lansing as long as Cherry has, and when you've held a post like that of Senate party leader, getting caught up in the politicking of Lansing can cause you to forget the people whom you are supposed to serve. Not Cherry. From last year:
Republicans credit Cherry with keeping a level head, having a long-range perspective and improving relations after talks got rocky and legislative leaders sniped at each other in the media.
"This lieutenant governor has done a terrific job... Obviously, we disagree politically. But I have found him to be a very good guy to work with."
Ed Sarpolus of EPIC-MRA said that "Cherry's respected by both business and labor" after Granholm chose him as her running mate.
A level-headed, respected consensus-builder whom even Republicans say "has done a terrific job?" Good chance he'll be the same as Governor. Really important, even when - no, especially when - few people on the other side are willing to cooperate.
But why just 'trust' people's words? (Thanks everyone, I'm here all night. Try the veal.)
- The Detroit News named Cherry one of "Michigan's Most Effective Lawmakers."
- His colleagues elected him Chair of the National Lieutenant Governor's Association in 2006.
- During the 2002 and 2006 campaigns, the Posthumus and DeVos campaigns could not find any sort of scandal about Cherry with which to try to topple him and Granholm. Yes, it's true that people vote the top of the ticket - in Presidential and even more so in gubernatorial elections. But if there was something scandalous about Cherry, then why didn't they bring it up?
Oh, and one more thing. U-M Alum:
Need I say more? :-)
Maybe not. But I will note that that picture of Cherry - featured prominently on the bio section of his campaign website - was taken at CMU. More reason to trust him!