Limited Options

Well, look at what term limits has wrought.

The governor's race in Michigan is more wide open than a 24-hour diner. In my almost 40 years of following politics in the state, I don't recall a race with as many question marks this late in the game.

And it's late, alright---less than eight months to the primary. That used to be a long time. In this day of the marathon campaign, eight months with this little done is as nerve wracking as it is to a bride planning a wedding---who has no hall, no church, and no dress picked out.

No one has any money to run, nor can raise the loot. Or they're short on experience. Likely, they're both.

You can thank term limits for all this.

The first domino to topple is the incumbent herself, Jenny Granholm, who's being forced out after her maximum two terms.

Her Lt. Governor, John Cherry, quit the race last week, citing the usual---no dough, and little hope of raising it.

John Freeman, a former State Rep. from Madison Heights and a health care activist, bowed out, also from the Democrats' side. Reason? Imagine Freeman plunging his hands into his pants pockets and pulling the insides of those pockets out, empty.

Two of the folks who could have bankrolled a successful campaign---Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano and U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow---have already said thanks but no thanks.

Thanks to term limits, we now have a state legislature short on experience and, in turn, short on money. And, also in turn, unelectable. Even the House Speaker, Andy Dillon, considered the Dems' frontrunner by default, may struggle to raise cash.

The Republicans' presumed frontrunners, Attorney General Mike Cox and Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, would appear not to have any money concerns---at least not now.

Before term limits, there would have been no shortage of candidates from the halls of Lansing from which to choose. That's how we got Jim Blanchard, and John Engler. And many before them.

Now, no one is allowed to be a state politician long enough to gain any foothold, support, or---most importantly---money.

Denise Ilitch

One person who might run on the Democratic side, who should have no trouble in the money department, is Denise Ilitch, daughter of Mike and current University of Michigan Regent. She was at the White House on Tuesday, part of testing the waters and gauging the support of the officials there. The prez himself dropped by, according to reports.

Yes sir, the guv race is wide open. But not because there are so many great candidates---because there are so few.

Thanks to term limits.


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