Commentary
1:01 pm
Fri June 24, 2011

Bumstead for Romney

If you paid attention to the news yesterday, you probably know that a tussle is still going on over redistricting in Lansing. You may have heard that the troubled Detroit school system wants to cut their employees’ pay ten percent and eliminated hundreds of jobs.

We’re pulling troops out of Afghanistan and the federal budget talks are a mess, but I want to fill you in on a story you may have missed. Yesterday, Jon Bumstead endorsed Mitt Romney for president. This actually happened. Bumstead endorsed him.

And he wasn‘t alone. Frank Foster did too, So did Dale Zorn and Phil Pavlov and Lisa Lyons, and fifteen other people, all of whom are in the legislature except Bill Schuette, the state attorney general.

Bumstead, incidentally, is not the cartoon character married to Blondie, but a freshman state representative from Newaygo.

Prior to being sent to Lansing, Bumstead worked in construction ever since he graduated from Newaygo High thirty-five years ago. He’s a hunter and a churchgoer and people seem to like him. However, I’m not sure Romney, who last lived in Michigan when Bumstead was eight, really knows him, and I find it hard to believe that anybody threw down their newspaper this morning and said:
  “Well, that settles it. Bumstead’s for Romney, and that’s good enough for me.”  So -- why are all these people endorsing the former Massachusetts governor now? Well, I haven’t talked to them.

But based on past campaigns, they are betting that he is most likely to win the nomination, and they want to get in on the ground floor. Good things sometimes happen to those who are early backers of Presidental campaigns. Of course, there are risks.

Jennifer Granholm was an early backer of Hillary Clinton’s four years ago, so much so she helped try to stage Michigan’s primary  to give her maximum advantage. Granholm isn’t exactly working in the Obama administration now. To me, this is all still ridiculously early. People who don’t know each other yet are going to meet, fall in love, and have babies before next year’s election.

But campaigns take a long time. By the way, Mr. Bumstead may be hung out to dry if Thaddeus McCotter, a congressman from Livonia, is the presidential nominee instead. More and more, McCotter is behaving as if he intends to run. What’s not clear is why. He was a young lawyer and state senator before being sent to Congress nine years ago.

He’s not a veteran, not vastly rich, and despite playing a mean guitar, isn’t nationally famous. Besides, we don’t normally elect members of the House to the Presidency. The last one was James Garfield a hundred and thirty years ago, and he was almost immediately shot in the back and then killed by incompetent doctors.

Frank Kelley, who was elected Michigan attorney general ten times, told me that there’s a bug certain politicians get, and they have to run, even for positions they have no chance to win. They can’t help themselves. He told me something else interesting, too.

Top-tier politicians almost never endorse down, in primary contests especially. Which means that Bumstead may be for Romney. But if you are waiting to see if Romney comes out for Bumstead … don’t hold your breath.