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Auchter's Art: The Perfect Governor Candidate

Sep 22, 2017

A few years ago, an episode of the TV sitcom "Parks and Recreation" featured a character named Congressman Dave Murray. He was a handsome, congenial politician who would perform perfectly everything his handlers asked of him — without question and without controversy.

Even better, when he wasn't shaking hands or talking into a camera, he'd go off into a room and sit staring off into the distance waiting for his next assignment. The regular characters (who were from the Midwest) were aghast. But the congressman's Washington DC advisors didn't care if he might in fact be a robot; he was the perfect political candidate. I thought it was a brilliant piece of political satire.

Cut to Bill Schuette announcing his run for governor of Michigan. While the attorney general definitely has a mind of his own, his insistence on calling himself the "jobs governor" portends a candidacy where he does not plan to use it. What does "jobs governor" even mean? I don't know, but it sounds nice, and it's catchy. (See? He made me repeat it.)

Cut to a story on Michigan Radio last week. The Michigan Civil Rights Commission was about to adopt a proposal on allowing protections to be applied to LGBT people in sex discrimination cases. At the eleventh hour, the attorney general's office stopped the process saying it was a matter for the legislature (after earlier declining to offer a legal opinion). That reveals something about the character and intentions of candidate Bill Schuette.

I wouldn't have known about this if not for Michigan Radio. Certain candidates are happy to hide in their script — journalism reveals their character and intentions. I know the fall pledge drive is over, but it bears repeating: This is why we need responsible journalism. (And political satire is nice, too.)

John Auchter is a freelance editorial cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder the University of Michigan.