There comes a point in a relationship when things become a little too obvious.
Look at Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Months before Pennsylvania and Ohio went blue, Granholm had been everywhere for her Main Man, Barack Obama.
Just last week, Granholm was on the “Today” show with Matt Lauer, CNBC, MSNBC and National Public Radio. Of the 17 people Obama appointed to his holy-crap-this-economy-stinks committee, Granholm was the only governor and one of only two elected officials.
Here in Michigan, the Legislature is trying to figure out what it wants to get done before Christmas – repealing the Michigan Business Tax surcharge, readjusting our gas tax, small market insurance reform, no smoking in restaurants, Detroit Public School . . . blah, blah, blah.
That stuff is so second fiddle for our governor, right now. The Big Three automakers are sinking faster than the Titanic, and SOMEBODY needs to be yelling at the federal government to do something. Granholm has taken that charge with zest.
Although the governor has more than two years to go before she is term-limited out of office, she is already gone. Mentally, she’s already cleaning the Romney Building. Last week, she announced that budget cuts were coming before Christmas without the benefit of the regular January revenue-estimating conference. What’s the rush?
The signs are all there. Her main communications staffer is now in Washington. Her chief legal adviser left two weeks ago to start his own firm. Even Granholm’s own “I’m not a quitter” rhetoric of a year ago is feeling Charmin-soft these days.
Look, Obama has 8,000 appointments to make, according to The Associated Press. Up to now, his leadership team is ultra-light on female representation, and Granholm has laid on tracks for Obama. She actually pretended to be Sarah Palin for a few days in the run-up to Joe Biden’s debate.
Think about that!
Here’s what Obama told The Detroit Free Press about Granholm:
“I don’t think there are many people who are more talented than Jennifer Granholm. … Her vision on the energy economy here in Michigan and what it means to revitalize manufacturing and how to rework the auto industry so that it is sustainable … has been right on target. Look, I’m somebody who appreciates talent. So, I’ll leave it at that.”
If that doesn’t say “Fire up the U-Haul!” what does?
So where is Granholm going? Obama’s team said no new Cabinet posts will be filled this week, so we’ll need to wait until at least next Monday to find out, but here’s where the smart money is:
1. Energy secretary – Former U.S. Senator Spence Abraham of Michigan did it and his main qualification was being able to change a light bulb. Granholm has completely immersed herself in solar energy, wind turbines, bio-mass and the like for years. She even got Obama to parrot some of her rhetoric at the Lansing Center. Remember her Sally Jessy Raphael-like energy talk show during primetime at the Democratic National Convention? Can you say dress rehearsal?
2. Judgeship – Granholm’s performance as pseudo-judge over the Kwame Kilpatrick removal hearing could go down as her most impressive feat as governor. Throughout the proceeding, she covered her legal bases meticulously. She kept her poise in the face of some insulting remarks from Kilpatrick’s legal team. She just looked judicial. Unlike a Cabinet appointment, a judicial appointment could come at any time, granting Granholm’s public wish of serving as governor for a Democratic president ... at least for a few months anyway.
3. Labor secretary – As the governor of a “Rust Belt” state and someone intimately involved in the blight of manufacturing and organized labor, Granholm again would make a nice fit here. Granholm hasn’t always been on the right side of organized labor, but Obama never really was either. Like Granholm, Obama was most labor unions’ third choice in the Democratic primary.
4. Attorney general – If Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, also a former state attorney general as well as a federal attorney, wasn’t in the picture, Granholm would have been great here in the name of gender balance. That said, does this country really need another gas-gouging press conference?
5. Ambassador to Sweden – It may not be worth leaving the Governor’s Residence for immediately, but Obama probably isn’t in a hurry to fill this post anyway. The Swedish-Canadian-American Granholm certainly knows her way to the Scandinavian country.
As they say in Sweden, “Hej da, Gov. Granholm!”
(Kyle Melinn is the editor at the MIRS newsletter. His column runs weekly. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.)