‘Cheap shot’: Guv, Brooks take the gloves off (The Michigan View 12.27.10)

Posted by hpayne on December 27, 2010

After eight years of division, bridge-burning, and kicking the can down the road, it was only appropriate that – in her last days as perhaps the state’s most ineffectual modern governor – Jennifer Granholm would take a shot at the state’s most effective pol, Oakland County Chief Executive Brooks Paterson.

“He through out his career has fanned the flames a lot,” she said of Patterson’s recent criticism of Detroit’s corrupt water department. “I urge him to come to the table with an open hand rather than a fist.”

Incendiary words from a Lansing politician whose ineffectiveness as governor has been in stark contrast to Patterson’s success as CEO of the state’s richest county. Indeed, as Granholm floundered in Lansing through two budget shutdowns, Patterson’s innovation in the face of reduced county revenue made him a rare bright spot in a leaderless landscape. “Inside Politics” political guru Bill Ballenger called Granholm Michigan’s worst governor while nationally-renowned, Lansing-based economist Pat Anderson called Patterson the “most successful elected official in Michigan.”

But the governor decided to stick her foot in it one more time. Patterson’s retort was typically frank.

“These were cheap shots, chicken shots,” he told Fox 2 News, noting that she made no similar remarks about the non-partisan Mayor Jim Fouts of Warren who has also been critical of Detroit corruption. “She’s a former prosecutor. . . either prove the charge or shut up.” Citing his extensive negotiations and contacts with Detroit officials, he said Granholm’s salvo showed “ignorance on her part. She doesn’t know what we’ve been doing. I’m disgusted. I think we’ve made a significant contribution to this state.”

Patterson also ridiculed Granholm’s attempt to take credit for diversifying the state’s economy, a strategy he says she stole from his own Automation Alley efforts in Oakland County. “The governor says her legacy is (economic) diversity,” said the Oakland County exec. “It’s absolute plagiarism.”

Granholm made her comments to Fox 2 political reporter Tim Skubick who was quick to came to the governor’s defense in his Oakland Press blog, blaming Patterson for forgetting “what time of the year this is…you know all that stuff about peace and good will.”

But Patterson’s reaction comes on the heels of similar remarks from outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester Hills), painting a picture of a governor who was more interested in scoring political points than getting things done.

“Gov. Granholm is a very smart lady,” Bishop told The Detroit News editorial board Dec. 10. “But she does not have one important thing: leadership instincts. She had a media machine that constantly attacked. I couldn’t leave town without fear of being attacked behind my back.”

The backstabs continue even as she exits the capitol.

Bishop says he warned Michigan voters in 2008 that “if you want your country to look like Michigan, then elect Barack Obama.” That is true not only of Granholm’s market socialist economic policies, but also of the deep partisan divide she has left in her wake.

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