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.
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