May 23, 2017 rss
header twitter link facebook link home link
View Resource Guide and Job Postings

Departments
Book It Photo

BookIt

Gov. Granholm’s Hybrid

by Bill Castanier
September 18, 2011

Former Governor Jennifer M. Granholm and Daniel Mulhern’s new book, A Governor’s Story: The Fight for Jobs and America’s Economic Future, begins with more of a bounce than a bang.

The book opens with Dan Mulhern, the governor-elect’s husband, bouncing for joy on a bed in a downtown Detroit hotel room in November 2002. Granholm has just been elected the first woman governor of Michigan, and her husband is bouncing on the bed yelling, “You won! We won! You won!”

How the exuberance of victory would soon lead to eight years of crises, budget cuts, a downward spiraling economy and the near loss of the auto industry then becomes the focus of their story.

In a recent interview, Granholm told Dome, “It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We were coming in at the right time.”

Granholm was making reference to being elected to her first term right at a time when Michigan was at the bottom of the economic cycle. It is considered a politician’s dream to be able to lead a state from a trough to economic resurgence. In fact, her predecessors, Jim Blanchard and John Engler, had been elected in somewhat similar situations.

In the book, Granholm advisor Dave Katz is quoted as telling Granholm, “…when things bounce back later this year, you’ll reap the credit for the turnaround.” Although Granholm makes no claims that some of the advice she received was sketchy, the book indirectly makes a case for it, and Katz’s advice would not be the first nor the last time her advisors show their naivety.

As the book simply points out, reality was to be found elsewhere. Deficits had been piling up, consumers had quit buying cars and the anti-tax, smaller government movement was festering.

Granholm relates in the book how her administration quickly realized the economic turndown wasn’t cyclical, and she writes how, “Life in the governor’s chair quickly turned out to be less about enacting my agenda and more about managing a cascading series of crises.”

It is in writing about these crises, especially the fall of the Big Three, that the book really takes off. At points too chatty and sluggish, the book and Granholm appear to be at their peak in chapters titled “Free Fall” and “The Unthinkable” (Read an excerpt from The Unthinkable), which detail the December 2008–June 2009 industry meltdown and Granholm’s role in saving the U.S. auto industry from extinction. During this time the book recounts how hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs were lost, perhaps forever, and the unemployment rate skyrocketed.

The Granholm-Mulhern book is difficult to categorize. It’s neither a true political memoir nor a true autobiography, and even though it is a first-person narrative it is clearly written by the first couple. Mulhern, whose name appears on the book dust jacket in the same size as Granholm’s, is not relegated to the role of ghostwriter. When asked if one was ever considered, he said, “No — never.”

Granholm, who Mulhern identified lovingly as his “value partner” in the interview, agrees the book is not easily categorized and calls it a “hybrid.”

“It’s about a specific period of time and crafted in a way to illustrate the similarities [between Michigan and the U.S. economies]. It is prophetic. Our problems weren’t cyclical, they were structural, and what Michigan experienced is being experienced now nationally.”

And in response to the question “Why now?,” she said it was written so soon after her term ended to “help form the [national] debate.”

“Right now debate is happening in Washington and the crises are similar to what happened in Michigan — there are so many parallels.”

She cites in the book and the interview examples of gridlock, a wealthy businessman facing off against the president (referring to her race against Richard DeVos), the rise of the conservative right and the emergence of the international economy.

“It’s déjà vu.”

Mulhern said what the Obama administration is now encountering “wasn’t unlike what Jennifer encountered.” In fact, when Granholm took office, both legislative houses and the Supreme Court were controlled by the Republican Party. She said that for someone who came in wanting to play offense, she was forced into the role of defense.

Granholm and Mulhern in the interview said they were candid in the book about how the economic crisis put stress on their marriage and family life. It’s made very clear in the book that Mulhern at one time saw himself as running for governor and then found himself as primary parent for their three children.

Granholm writes that “there was slow burning resentment in him: my preoccupation with all things Michigan had made him feel that he’d given up both the wife and the life he’d expected.”

Several scenes in the book depict some tense moments at the “control center” — twin computer screens in their bedroom where they worked side by side.

“We worked really hard to be candid,” Mulhern said.

He said the book is also about their own “personal reinvention and that leaders and followers are very much in the same boat.” And as the story is retold in the book, the boat was quickly filling with water, no matter how fast everyone bailed.

“It was such a scary time for all of us. There were so many people hanging by threads,” Granholm said.

Early in the book, she relates how she would help broker a deal to save the Detroit Medical Center from closure. Deep into her second term she would use that experience, along with the experiences learned from dealing with massive closures and layoffs of companies like Pfizer, Electrolux, Delphi and Comerica, to go on the offensive to help save the U.S. auto industry.

Unlike most memoirs, A Governor’s Story contains no blockbuster revelations or Palinesque partying stories. Readers will likely be disappointed that there aren’t at least more details about her actress tryouts and her role as a Palin stand-in at debate practice for Vice President Joe Biden.

That and her experience with the automotive bailout would help create a high profile for Granholm within the Obama administration, and she would ultimately be on the president-elect’s team of economic advisors.

Of that appointment Granholm writes in a self-deprecating manner: “I felt like the imposter, the one who’d been invited by mistake. But everyone knew why I was there. I was the voice of the most troubled state in the nation, home of the most troubled industry in America.”

In the hybrid-memoir Granholm-Mulhern also offer “eight strategies that are working in Michigan” to reinvent the economy. The list was recently trimmed to a five-point plan for an article in USA Today.

The eight strategies are what Granholm-Mulhern call “cracking the code” or changing traditional ways of looking at the economy. They write: “We experienced some failures and a growing number of successes. In the process, we learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t.”

She said in her interview that Michigan tried all the traditional methods, including lowering taxes and making government smaller, and none of it worked until the Obama administration allowed what she called “partnerships with government.”

In a chapter titled “Green Shoots,” the book details Michigan’s partnership with the federal government to create battery and clean energy projects in Michigan and what she called a “uniquely American strategy.” Those investments, if they pan out, could prove to be her legacy.

The Granholm-Mulhern team is now teaching at the University of California Berkeley — in what some see as the ultimate irony for a governor who was a proponent of cool cities to keep Michigan’s best and brightest from moving away. A spokesperson for the book said the Granholm’s no longer own property in Michigan, but they are in the market for lakefront property.

Granholm said she would like to someday be able to add “another chapter” to the book.

“I would love to in a few years be able to write a chapter of reinvention — it could be a story with a happy ending.”

This week expect to see Granholm popping up on a plethora of Michigan radio and national television news and talk show programs to promote the book, everything from Hardball to The Daily Show. Granholm and Mulhern both take the stage for their first Michigan book appearance the evening of Tuesday, September 27, at the Michigan Theatre in Ann Arbor.

Although what Granholm-Mulhern write about in A Governor’s Story is recent history, it’s easy to forget the chronology and details of one of Michigan’s most desperate times. The book does an excellent job in defining those times and provides a behind-the-scenes look at a real-life, gut-wrenching drama as it unfolds.

As you might expect, it is a sympathetic look at a governor who got more than she bargained for. After all, even in a hybrid memoir you get to tell your side of the story.

Note: An excerpt from the book showing the stress of the demanding auto bankruptcy and bailout is available here, thanks to the publisher. The excerpt finds a nervous and apprehensive Granholm awaiting a call from President Obama regarding whether the federal government would force GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy.

Bill Castanier, a retired state government administrator and Michigan State University advertising graduate, writes a weekly literary column for Lansing City Pulse and manages the blog mittenlit.com, a daily look at Michigan literature and authors. He also is a member of the Michigan Notable Book selection committee and the board of MSU Press.

September 18, 2011 · Filed under Bookit

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mark S // Sep 19, 2011 at 11:46 am

    “You got to be kidding me”— comes to mind as I read this and other excerpts of the failed Gov’s and hubby’s book.

    Amazing for a guy who considers himself a “leadership coach” and a Gov who talked about leading and never lead would write such revisionist history.— No, I take that back– par for the course.

  • 2 larold // Sep 20, 2011 at 9:47 am

    The governor was assembling and writing this book while still in office. She and hubby gathered input from all over state government while still on the payroll and trying to place their appointees in permanent jobs around government. I don’t doubt she had the state’s best interest at heart as governor but wonder why she has a book out less than a year after leaving office. Who is the last governor to do that? Bill Castanier was a long-time employee at Department of Labor allied to Democrats including former Gov. Jim Blanchard.

  • 3 Former Governor Granholm draws crowds for book signing | Lansing Online News // Oct 30, 2011 at 7:08 am

    […] Michigan back on track despite being pummelled by a faltering national economy. In an article in Dome Magazine, I described the book as a hybrid: not quite a memoir and not quite an autobiography. The book […]

  • 4 have a peek at this website // Mar 5, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    741854 626465

  • 5 bitcion // Mar 8, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    242335 402547Up to now, you require to term of hire an absolute truck or van and will also be removal equipments to valuable items plus check out the new destination. From the long run, which end up with are few things except anxiety moreover stress and anxiety. removals stockport 978295

  • 6 Hidemyass Pro // Mar 11, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Steel Team, on board just a little Bird helicopter traveling via Paris, drops off Sandman, Grinch and Frost on a rooftop. The whole assembly is wearing fuel masks, because the bordering area continues to be contaminated through the fuel assaults. The 3 make their way via a broken home that contains dead civilians, and towards the edge from the constructing where a large hole supplies a morbid see from the streets under.At this time, women who want fashionably cheap bags resort to large. They’re able to now get a broad variety of wholesale bags at astonishingly minimal costs. Collectors are pleased for the reason that they’re able to acquire very good items in bulk.We have to do this as we’ve a mixture of customers. We agree tough deadlines and deliverables together with the regular ones, leaving plenty of contingency in our organizing. Then we slot in totally agile jobs for our agile customers, to in essence soak up any spare time within the routine.Lucio, then again, supports that “the team that provides God the utmost glory deserves to become the winner within the World Cup 2006. Time will tell which of this year’s World Cup groups will ensure it is to become the world Champion of 2006, but one factor is for certain. the begin of latest Yr is the fact that essentially the most wanted time to grasp the long operate.I spent pretty much two hours researching this brand (yet another cause I am very slow about obtaining new items listed. Am thinking I really should swap into a profession in vintage clothing/label investigation?) and sadly discovered that the company shut just final yr. It appeared to become yet another situation from the outdated fashioned, smaller city merchant company swallowed up by pathetic consumerism of imported crappola from a large discount chain store or two.as for Mourinho, I won’t deny that I feel he is quite possibly one ofif not themost tactically talented manager within the recreation, but I’ve no use for his approach. he is a recreation killer, and it really is intended to become one thing of attractiveness and awe. like a lover and former participant, I’ll generally consider enjoying the right way and getting inconsistent final results over obtaining wins in the expense of art..On my weblog I do a great deal of testimonials of planners/ diaries and notebooks. One from the factors I began my weblog was for the reason that I used to be purchasing for any planner and couldn identify very good testimonials from the ones I used to be enthusiastic about. Once i do a critique, I try to include things like data a person thinking of buying it would desire to know, and a great deal of images from the characteristics..This may very well seem strange to several, but customers who complain are accomplishing you a service by helping you increase your business. The the very least any organization really should do should be to thank them wholeheartedly. It may very well consider these customers by surprise, but a easy “thank you” can lighten the environment and make it possible for sad customers to have a change in frame of mind and come to be your most faithful customers..Look over your retains pile once again. Do you discover various related items? Do you’ve 6 pairs of black dress slacks, 3 pink sweaters and so on? Do you honestly have to have 6 pairs of black trousers? Choose two or 3 of your favorites, or even the ones which can be in preferred shape and toss the rest. Do exactly the same together with the sweaters.Each and every signature is sewn with each other making use of thread, then all of the signatures are sewn with each other to create the entire from the book. Ultimately, the collated signatures are then bound towards the book’s spine and go over as one reliable piece. The book’s spine is generally backed with flannel, for even greater durability.Maybe you’ve noticed about this on television, this latest sensation of persons suffering significant illness, and in many cases death, consequently of blood circulatory issues. Within this contemporary age of travel and occupations that call for less bodily labor, we’re quick turning into a sedentary race, and sad to say this can be creating many health matters like great vein thrombosis. Fortunately, this can be an conveniently preventable condition that does not consider a lot function..Pathologic or abnormal rate of nocturnal emission may very well guide method to various health risks. Psychological upsets, minimal sperm focus, hormonal problems and abnormal shape and motility of sperms are some key documented impacts of frequent nocturnal emission. Now, allow see in detail what particularly triggers nocturnal emissions in persons..When Nelson was 9 many years of age, he missing his father to Tuberculosis, an infectious illness that affects the lungs. Jongintaba, the regent of his area, became his guardian from then on. Later on on, in 1937, he moved to Healdtown to show up at the Wesleyan school there.

  • 7 TS shemale Gabriela Lewisham Greenwich London // Mar 12, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    116316 790438Sorry for the huge review, but I


Advertisment

Advertisment


Advertisment

Advertisment


© 2007-2011 DomeMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Site design by Kimberly Hopkins, khopdesign, llc.