Cherry on Top?

John Cherry is too big to be lugged around by coattails. He needs to make the trek on his own.

Cherry holds the position of Lieutenant Governor of Michigan, which is like being Vice President of the United States, only much, much worse. You could join the Witness Protection Program and have more notoriety.

Yet from this role, Cherry hopes to be governor. He aims to follow his boss, Jenny Granholm, into the big chair in Lansing. There are naysayers. Skeptics. Derisive comments are being made.

And that's from within his own party.

There are serious concerns within the Democratic camp whether Cherry is a strong enough candidate to fend off the higher profile Republicans who are about to duke it out for the GOP nomination, come next November.

Those concerns are well-founded, me thinks.

But don't come crying to me. I made a perfectly good suggestion a couple months or so ago, but heaven forbid anyone listen.

Yet all might not be lost.

I also told the story, in this space, of John Engler, and how his gubernatorial hopes seemed folly in 1990, until I unwittingly helped screw things up for my man Jim Blanchard.

Granholm, despite two terms, hasn't grown coattails long enough, or strong enough, for someone like Cherry---or any lieutenant governor, for that matter---to ride them to victory without some help.

And since when do lieutenant governors ascend to governor in Michigan?

John Cherry: The Man Who Would Be Governor?

Even the Obama Administration has some doubts about Cherry, and has reportedly whispered them to the Dem leaders in Michigan, a state which, if it went red, could be a bad omen for 2012.

But aside from my idea (hint: it's Bob Ficano, in case you decided not to click on the above hyperlink), there really isn't anyone else who seems to have the temerity or name recognition to get anyone excited.

Not that name recognition is always a good thing. Just ask Tiger Woods.

Andy Dillon, Michigan House Speaker, doesn't have enough experience. Rumors are that U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow was even approached, at the behest of the Obama people, and she politely (I assume) declined.

John Cherry hasn't done anything in eight years, though it's not his fault. It's the job he has. The party needs to brand him with some sort of accomplishment, even if it's somewhat contrived. They need to point to Cherry and say, without him, such-and-such wouldn't have happened.

And they have only a few months to do it.

If Granholm wasn't term limited (don't get me started), I think she would survive whomever the GOP ends up nominating, albeit barely. But it would absolutely be no cakewalk.

Ironically, the Democrats might be better served to point out the differences between Cherry and Granholm, as opposed to the similarities. That's about as un-coattails-ish as you can get.

But there are eight months before the primary. As John Engler showed us, that's practically an eternity. Kind of like his tenure as governor.

But that's another column.


UPDATE (Jan. 8, 2010): Cherry dropped out of the governor's race on January 4, 2010, citing an inability to raise enough funds. Later in the week, Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano announced that he would not seek the Democratic nomination, despite Cherry's dropping out. House Speaker Andy Dillon appears to be the frontrunner, as of January 8, 2010.


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