Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Mackinac Experience: Fix Michigan by Akindele Akinyemi

The Michigan Republican Party has just completed its 28th annual Biennial Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference and trust me it was worth the 4.5 hours getting there. As usual, the stakeholders in the party are here for one thing.

Fix Michigan.

Yes, while our state is suffering massive unemployment and Lansing's lack of ability to lead many grassroots, business, educators and state party leadership came together to find solutions and ways on how to Fix Michigan. What caught my attention is how John Rakolta simply told the audience in the first Fix Michigan panel that race still plays a role in blocking regional cooperation.

This is true.

However, with Michigan's general election next year we need to prepare ourselves to move forward. But we cannot fix Michigan if we still think going back to a security blanket of ideas will work. We live in a different America now as opposed to 1994 when we had the Contract on America.

What I heard from some of the people attending the conference was how the party must go on offense if we want to win in '10. We cannot get arrogant and lazy this time around. We assumed in 2006 that we had Gov. Granholm and the rest of the Michigan Democrats on the ropes. Instead, Michigan Democrats reloaded quickly with Jon Stryker and the Coalition for Progress. They got a whiff of smelling salts in the corner, had their eyes cut, was splashed in the face with some water, and charged out like a bull, knocking the GOP back on its heels. We did not recover in 2008 either but things will change.

It's time to get personal and get specific. I have been saying all along how we need to touch every demographic without fear.

Finally, we need to stop wasting time on insane, utterly ridiculous goose-chases such as MLB steroids, or televangelists. How completely ridiculous. People are sickened of the fact that our Senators have nothing better to do than to investigate Benny Hinn. This convinces people, more than ever, that the Republicans are out of touch.
I am approaching Mackinac City off I-75. After ducking state troopers and sheriffs I finally made it.
We are getting on Shelper's Ferry to cross over from Mackinac City to Mackinac Island.
I love the Mackinac Bridge. I crossed the bridge to see the Upper Peninsula. What a different world.
The Straits of Mackinac. The water is beautiful.
Congressman Eric Cantor from Virginia speaking to us at breakfast.
Congressman Eric Cantor takes a picture with the urban conservative.
Nick DeLeeuw from Right Michigan doing God knows what.
State Senator Mike Bishop throws a party at the Pink Pony on Mackinac Island. People could barely get in the party because so many people were there.
State Representative Paul Scott has his supporters. Many wonder if Rep. Scott will run for Secretary of State of Michigan. We shall see after the budget crisis.
More supporters for Paul Scott.
9th District GOP Chairman of Oakland County Glen Clark pumping up the crowd for State Rep. Paul Scott.
5th District GOP chairman Lutullus S. Penton of Genessee County pumps up the volume for Rep. Scott.
State Rep. Gail Haines, Sheriff Mike Bouchard's daughter and State Rep. Sharon Tyler making their presence known at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.
State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Dr. Tom George speaks to Kelly Mitchell.
Ingham County GOP Chair Linda Lee Tarver is on her way to the evening reception with her husband Clint. Both of them are always stylish as usual.

Finally, it's silly to chide donors for not "opening their wallets" when as of now, they have nothing or no one to open them for. Stryker was important, not because he poured money into the moribund Democrat Party, but because they gleefully used the money to attack Republicans. Something to think about.

History shows us that since the end of the Whigs (who never had a chance, hence they were called "stillborn" by one historian), we have had two viable parties and only two viable parties. That won't change. Change must come within the GOP. We did it before, we can do it again. But a major purge is in order, and I fear some black times are ahead for the state until we get our act together.

But the conference was awesome as usual.

Here are the straw poll results from the weekend:

Votes cast: 1,244
Mike Bouchard: 298 votes (23.95 percent)
Mike Cox: 300 votes (24.12 percent)
Tom George: 41 votes (3.30 percent)
Pete Hoekstra: 219 votes (17.60 percent)
Rick Snyder: 386 votes (31.03 percent)

Attorney General
Votes cast: 1,212
Mike Bishop: 446 votes (36.80 percent)
Bruce Patterson: 69 votes (5.69 percent)
Bill Schuette: 697 votes (57.51 percent)

Secretary of State
Total votes: 1,186
Cameron Brown: 311 votes (26.22 percent)
Judy Emmons: 11 votes (0.93 percent)
Michelle McManus: 404 votes (34.06 percent)
Anne Norlander: 248 votes (20.91 percent)
Paul Scott: 212 votes (17.88 percent)

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