2017-12-07 / Views

Doublespeak about negative campaigning

By Tim Skubick

Finally, he’s in.

After a long cat and mouse game with the media over whether he would run for governor, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley ended the game by announcing he is.

And in one of his first comments on the campaign trail he proudly announced, “I hate politics!”

Come again?

A guy who served on his local county commission, did a stint in the Michigan House and was plucked from obscurity to be Rick Snyder’s first and only running mate and he hates politics. What a strange thing to say but he’s serious.

“Everybody hates politics,” he begins his analysis the second day into his effort to replace his boss.

He’s hugely bothered by all the fighting that goes on including “bickering, looking backwards, pointing fingers and that’s all the stuff that makes people skeptical about public service.”

Mr. would-be governor is, of course, onto something here. The public appears to be fed up with all the nasty back-and-forth and would prefer action, not fighting.

But let’s not forget that the same public does respond to negative attack ads which are used to win elections.

For example would you say Donald Trump ran an uplifting campaign that brought the good out in everybody?

Mr. Calley says it is OK to fight for what you believe in, but “people brag about fighting in politics. I’ll fight for you; I’m fighting here and there (but) they get elected and just have a bunch of fighting and nothing gets done ... They leverage the divide for their own personal agenda (and) that’s not what our people deserve.”

Having said all that the Bill Schuette campaign for governor has been working overtime to feed the political newshounds a contrasting story line, which suggests Mr. Calley says one thing but does another.

The B.S. campaign of Mr. Calley’s advisors called Mr. Schuette a “political hack.” Mr. Calley himself blamed his opponent for using the Flint water crisis for his own political gain and being unable to “go one day without getting down in the gutter.”

And then this shot at Mr. Schuette rhetoric: “We have enough plastic veneer sound-bite spewing politicians out there.”

Mr. Calley wants to mirror his boss who has tried, unsuccessfully, to change the negative political culture in this town. Mr. Calley doesn’t use the term “Relentless Positive Action,” which the governor has worn down to a frazel. But he asserts that “because we didn’t spend all our time fighting, we were about the work and the results.”

Which is why Mr. Calley has joyfully joined himself at the hip with Mr. Snyder as they go about trying to convince voters that four more years is what they need. And despite the popular wisdom that lieutenant governor candidates need to separate themselves from the baggage of their boss, Mr. Calley thinks the Snyder record is not a problem with the voters.

We’re about to find out if he’s right.

Let the fighting begin. Or not.

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