Jennifer Granholm, former governor of Michigan, recounts her two terms in office from 2003 to January 1, 2011. The first female governor of Michigan, Ms. Granholm recalls her administration’s challenges in the eight largest state in the nation, as she faced an economic recession coupled with a depleted manufacturing sector and multiple infrastructure issues. Jennifer Granholm speaks with her co-author and husband, Dan Mulhern, at the Mechanics’ Institute in San Francisco.
The (Unofficial) Political Bestsellers — Oct. 2, 2011
Something rather astonishing has happened to the political list this weekend — not only is there an ideal number of 10 books on the list, but every last one is actually a current title, a book published within the last month. For countless weeks, the roundup has been a mix of up-to-the-minute and some rather old (at times really old) books. A sign of the new publishing season, no doubt.
And, there’s a prevalence of governors reflected below, from (former) Gov. Granholm of Michigan to (current) Gov. Daniels of Indiana, both with prescriptions for America’s ills, to (not quite one term and former) Gov. Sarah Palin, examined in a somewhat controversial book by journalist Joe McGinniss.
Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and I don’t agree on a lot of things, politically, but I still enjoyed reading her new memoir A Governor’s Story (co-written with husband Dan Mulhern, and new out from PublicAffairsthis week).
When Granholm took over the helm of the state of Michigan in 2003, the car industry was enduring tough times. Everyone thought they were merely cyclical. The state budget was built on the assumption of a thriving manufacturing sector which would eventually return to health.
Over the next 8 years, however, this assumption proceeded to burn up like a Ford Pinto. Granholm would get multiple notices of mass layoffs every day, culminating in the 2009 GM and Chrysler bankruptcies. As Granholm writes, “The reality of manufacturing in America was undeniable. The jobs were gone, and they weren’t coming back.”
Keith and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm discuss “class warfare,” the role of unions in job growth and the need to tie corporate tax benefits to job creation in this country. Granholm, referring to a quote from China’s President Hu Jintao’s biography, says, “He wakes up every morning trying to figure out how to create 25 million jobs a year for his people.”
Sept. 20: Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich., and writer Dan Mulhern join Morning Joe to discuss her experiences as governor, her new book “A Governor’s Story,” the president’s debt plan, and U.S. job creation.
Democratic strategist Bob Shrum and former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich., debate whether President Barack Obama’s new tone is key to a victory in 2012.
9/18/11- Book review: The saga of Jennifer Granholm and Dan Mulhern
BRIAN DICKERSON and LAURA BERMAN, who just marked their third wedding anniversary, are longtime columnists for the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News, respectively. Both have written frequently about the Granholm administration and its travails. Today they share their thoughts about the new memoir by former Gov. Jennifer Granholm and her husband, Dan Mulhern.
BRIAN DICKERSON: Let’s get straight to the weirdest thing about this book: The cover lists two authors, but the title suggests that it’s one person’s story — the governor’s — and it’s told entirely in the first-person singular (I, not we). Except for the introduction, in which an unidentified, third person narrator explains that “Dan insisted that the book be written in Jennifer’s voice, and she insisted that he be listed as coauthor.”
What are readers supposed to make of all this? Are Jennifer Granholm and Dan Mulhern the same person, like Clark Kent and Superman?
LAURA BERMAN: Actually, I think they’re two people, working hard at partnership.
BRIAN: One of the things readers might expect to learn from this book is how influential Mulhern really was. Plenty of people — jealous insiders as well as political adversaries — have portrayed him as playing Rasputin to Granholm’s Empress Alexandra, invisibly manipulating affairs of state from somewhere offstage. In her telling, he comes off more like a Yoda to her Luke Skywalker.
LAURA: “Listen to the Force!” He’s the spiritual one, handing her self-help books and doses of wisdom. What’s clear is that he has sacrificed more than he bargained for, helping her to have the career he once wished for himself. But he’s wonderfully graceful — in her voice, of course — about having made that sacrifice, and honest about some of the discomfort he feels. He comes off, in the end, as more soccer mom than Svengali. They share star billing on the cover, but she’s the action hero.
By MONICA DAVEY
Published: September 17, 2011
CHICAGO — In the search for models to navigate the nation’s unemployment misery and the states’ budget woes, Michigan is rarely mentioned.
After all, years before the rest of the country fell into recession, Michigan, so vested in the automobile industry, was wrestling with a single state downturn — and one that just kept going until the rest of the country unhappily caught up. And years before the rest of the states found themselves trying to patch state budget holes because of falling tax revenues, Michigan was staring at gaps to fill.
And yet, Jennifer M. Granholm, the former Democratic governor of the state, who led it through much of its rocky last decade, says she sees a key lesson from Michigan — a warning, perhaps, more than a model — for the rest of the nation as it tries to create jobs and emerge from an economic funk.
“Everything that is hitting the country hit Michigan first,” Ms. Granholm said in an interview, reflecting on eight years in office in which the state’s economic crisis overshadowed all else. Her response to the crisis, she said, was to cut spending, cut government jobs, cut taxes — the very approach now being promoted elsewhere, particularly after Republican victories in statehouses around the
The former Michigan governor bears globalization’s worst scars, but still itches for a fight. Watch out, Rick Perry
Jennifer Granholm, the former governor of Michigan, has a story she likes to tell about the Chinese. Granholm visited China in March. At one meet-and-greet, a Chinese official buttonholed her and asked when the U.S. was going to implement a national energy policy. By her own account, Granholm hemmed and hawed, mentioning the rise of the Tea Party and the inability of the current Congress “to get its act together.”
Granholm and I are sitting in a corner office of a building on the University of California at Berkeley campus, where Granholm is spending a year of “sabbatical.” She leans over her desk, looks me in the eye, and demonstrates how the the Chinese official rubbed his hands together like a kid unable to contain his glee right before unwrapping Christmas presents. “‘Take your time,’ he tells me,” says Granholm. “‘Take your time.'”
She shakes her head as if in disbelief at how short-sighted the American political establishment has become. Her point is obvious, and oft-repeated during the course of our interview: In a globalized world, the U.S. economy will not thrive unless we get serious about targeting strategically important sectors of the economy. The rest of the world is playing the economic development game for keeps, while the U.S. seems willing to abandon the board all together.
“We operate as though we are not in a global economy,” says Granholm. “In theory, free markets and laissez faire make perfect sense, but in practice, our competitors are eating us for lunch.”
Jennifer Granholm and husband Dan Mulhern thought their lives would change tremendously when she stepped down as Michigan’s first female governor at the end of last year.
But the former First Couple is finding that while their day jobs are different, they’re still fighting for the same cause — trying to get Michigan and the nation to avoid cutting taxes and worker pay and benefits to the bone and instead focusing on investing in education and a national industrial policy that can keep the U.S. competitive in a global economy.
“If people think that cutting taxes and shrinking government by themselves are going to improve their economy, they should look at what happened to Michigan over the (past) decade,” Granholm told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
“The tea party and others who are focused on 20th century solutions” just don’t get that those strategies “may have worked in the last century, but they’re no longer valid in a global economy when our economic competitors are being much more aggressive,” the Democrat said. “You must cut where you can, but that’s so you can invest where you must.”
Granholm and Mulhern, who also spoke on the call, have co-written a 320-page book in which they talk about the eight years they were Michigan’s First Couple and the direction they think the state and nation need to go.
They plan to promote “A Governor’s Story: The Fight for Jobs and America’s Economic Future” (PublicAffairs, $27.99) in Michigan during a Sept. 27 evening conversation and book signing at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor. Tickets to the event are $10 or $25 for admission and a copy of the book.