Two Candidates, One Blogger: A Michigan Homecoming

I don’t know how else to write this, so I’m just going to be blunt.

It can be very depressing to hang out in metro-Detroit.

I’ve been back “home” visiting family for 48 hours now, and the stories of lay-offs and foreclosure and moves out-of-state are overwhelming.

In all honesty, downtown looks terrible. The suburbs are littered with for-sale signs.

My family and friends continue to keep on, keeping on.

At a family gathering on Sunday, the typical occurred.

We ate and the kids ran around.

The adults sitting around the patio talked about what the ‘Big 3′ needs to do, my Aunt got animated discussing how she doesn’t like Senator Obama (she doesn’t ‘trust him’), another Uncle told a racist joke (no one laughed this time), and I very quietly listened.

While I attempted to be stealth and ninja like listening…my blackberry gave out a huge DING DING DING, and all eyes fell on me.

They know what I do at BlogHer, and had been careful choosing their words around me all day.

With a half dozen pairs of eyes on me, I looked down, and read aloud: “Sen Obama to Unveil His ‘New Energy for America‘ Plan in Speech Monday. From Lansing. ”

Everyone got quiet.

We ate desert and talked gradually picked up again.

Cynicism and cautious optimism abound.

“Lansing …from Michigan. Could be risky. Could be brilliant,” said one uncle.

“He should do it here, they need it most here,” said my Mom.

“I don’t care what he says, I just don’t like him,” said an aunt.

So it was with great interest my mother, my aunt, and I watched the Senator speak from Lansing this morning.

As the Senator discussed his very detailed New Energy for America plan, touted by Climate Progress as “…easily the best energy plan ever put forward by a nominee of either party…” republicans were emailing me to let me know they were handing out tire gauges to mock Obama’s reminders that keeping your tires properly inflated saves gas.

They were mocking a gas saving tip while sending this to my inbox:

“Today, I’m asking for your help in putting Senator Obama’s “tire gauge” energy policy to the test. With an immediate donation of $25 or more, we will send you an “Obama Energy Plan” tire pressure gauge. Will simply inflating your tires reduce the financial burden of high gas prices on your wallet?

It’s clear Senator Obama has no plan to address the energy challenges we face as a nation. He has said no to offshore drilling, no to expanding domestic drilling and no to nuclear energy. He has no plan to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”- Rick Davis Campaign Manager, John McCain 2008.

I read this aloud to my Mom.

She threw her hands in the air, entirely disgusted. She was watching Senator Obama give detailed information, point-by-point, on a plan that not just reduces our dependence on foreign oil but rids of us reliance on Middle East oil on 10 years.

“Why do they do that?”

My Mom asked, still shaking her head over the McCain Campaign email.

For the record NASCAR and the US Department of Energy agree with Senator Obama on the whole tire gauge thing, and the GOP is trying to make a joke of this:

Sugar writes, “Oh gosh I know the Ozoids are writhing even as I write this! lmao I tell you, the McCain camp is making this fun for me again because it is such a joy to see an opponent who doesn’t have the constraints that Hillary did, giving it to Obama raw. Hillary couldn’t ream him like she should have because of that party unity bullshit, but the McCain camp doesn’t have anything to lose…but the election…and they are going all out to ensure that they don’t. I’m loving it. “

But if they’d like to know how their “joke” played with Michigan voters….jokes on them. I’ve got several here either not getting it or disgusted with the gimmick.

They don’t want campaign gimmicks. They want jobs.

The tit-for-tat over who misspoke where over what isn’t playing well with this crowd. Not unless those jokes can pay their mortgage.

Meanwhile, my Aunt (undecided who she is supporting) is listening closer than I thought she would.

I can tell.

My Mom let’s out a ‘WOW’ at Obama saying his plan will create five million new green jobs. My Aunt raised an eyebrow and says “well that’s good.”

TankWoman writes, “I switched to CNN, and was pleasantly surprised by Obama’s plan. Okay, I take that back, I was more than pleasantly surprised, I was excited and inspired by the ideas that Obama spoke about this morning in the birthplace of the auto industry. And though I know that this speech was tailor made for Michigan, and designed to strengthen his poll numbers, I believe that this energy plan is the only way forward for our nation, and that if Obama is serious and dedicated to these issues, we may have a solution not only to climate change, but to the ailing economy.

The things that we need to do to stall the oncoming danger of climate change, are the very things that Obama outlined in his speech. We must invest heavily in alternative energy, if we don’t come up with the capital to take the risk out of these start-up industries, they will fail. We need investment tax credits for solar energy, and wind power, without them, there are major solar projects that will move to Europe, and the wind farms will not get built here, but move to Germany. Our auto industry is near bankruptcy, Ford and GM have reported the lowest sales in nearly 30 years.”

She’s right.

I’m here.

I’m seeing the factories empty and the friends and family members collecting unemployment. It’s been happening for a long time now, and there needs to be a real solution in bringing back not just this state’s economy, but the nation’s.

Tomorrow Senator McCain comes to town to tour a Nuclear Plant. Fermi 2, to be exact.

The same plant I see every time I visit my hometown. I’ll be watching and listening closely to compare the Senator from Arizona’s ideas to the Senator from Illinois.

And after spending the day with my family excited about Obama’s ambitious plan to provide real solutions to the people of Michigan-

Senator McCain had better show up with more than a tire gauge.

Cross posted at blogher.com

Of Cares and Cars

Dock

I’m in my hometown near Detroit.

The boats are on the water, kids are in bathing suits at every lake, and my family is near.

With a Ford in the driveway here, and a Chysler parked in front of my California home, there is nothing I’d like to see more than this city and state revived.

Energy policies, economic incentives. They don’t seem to matter much when you’re helping your sure-of-foot 5-year old down his first wobbly, Michigan dock.

I miss this town. I’m still proud of this town.

I am happy to be home.