It's also no wonder that Detroit, Grand Rapids
and Flint were three of the top five media markets nationally for the
number of political advertisements in the week following the party
conventions, according to the University of Wisconsin Advertising
Project. Grand Rapids alone saw 1,197 of them.
Most polls have
given Obama a small lead but he has special problems here. Because of
the Democrats' wrangle over delegate rules, Obama did not campaign in
the state's primary. "There's a lot of catch-up going on," says Sen.
Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat.
you like what Jennifer Granholm has done in Michigan, you'll love what
Barack Obama will do for America," says Anuzis, reciting the
Republicans' battle cry. But Democrats like Stabenow scoff at the idea
that Republicans will be able to use Granholm to dodge local ire over
President Bush's policies.
Obama is counting on a huge African-American vote in Detroit, but the
city's politics are in turmoil following Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's
departure from office Thursday as part of a plea agreement related to
perjury charges. Anuzis said the controversy has left the Detroit
Democratic organization "splintered and divided." And a pro-McCain
group has run an ad, clearly aimed at white suburban voters, linking
Obama and Kilpatrick.
"It is one of the most taboo subjects people can talk about," Anuzis adds. "Every time I bring it up, people cringe."
But by forcing Obama to sharpen his economic appeal, the bad news from
Wall Street may prove to be a particularly potent tonic for his chances
here. Former Democratic Congressman David Bonior believes that a very
bad economy will brush aside "the Reagan Democrat social issues that
are normally important in our state." So does Stabenow.
E.J. Dionne, Jr. is the author of the recently published Souled Out: Reclaiming Faith and Politics After the Religious Right. He is a Washington Post columnist, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a professor at Georgetown University.
By E.J. Dionne, Jr.