Picking the right running mate
The popular wisdom is that nobody votes for governor based on the running mate. Yet the popular wisdom also warns that the pick of a lt. governor should “do no harm to the ticket.”
At this early read it’s fair to say it’s a little fuzzy as to whether Bill Schuette broke that rule as the question is still out there: Did the selection of West Michigan Lisa Posthumus Lyons create a potential problem?
The pundits in this town give Mr. Schuette high marks for selecting her because she brings to the table what he needs to win.
(1) He needs to beef up his appeal in Grand Rapids and the surrounding environs. Ms. Posthumus has proven voter appeal. Voters sent her to the state capitol for six years in the Michigan House and after that she came home and they elected her Kent County clerk. So check that box.
(2) He needs someone who can talk to independent female candidates with kids in Oakland County and other areas where Democrats have made inroads with that key voting block. Check that box.
(3) She’s young. Her 38 years to Mr. Schuette’s 60 plus. She knows the legislative process and a key advisor is her father, Dick Posthumus, who was lt. governor with Gov. John Engler and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 202. Check that box.
However the box that the pundits are not checking is how she was presented to the public and the media in what they call the roll-out. Let’s be kind. The roll was bumpy and handed the Democrats a potential issue to use against the GOP ticket.
After dodging the bullet at the first event in Grand Rapids, Ms. Lyons ran into a buzz saw on stop number two in Lansing.
Question: Did you vote for Donald Trump?
The premise for the question is grounded in the comments she made in October 2016 just after Donald Trump was caught on tape wallowing in his less than gentlemanly conduct toward women and their bodily parts.
She tweeted he was demeaning to women and “he has not earned my respect nor my vote.”
So did she vote for him?
“I support the president,” she offered.
Did you vote for him?
“I support the president,” she repeated again just in case the reporter was deaf.
So you are not going to answer the question?
“I support the president and his policies,” she stayed on message.
Recall that her running mate Mr. Schuette has wrapped himself up in the Trump presidency but you had the specter of him standing next to someone who declined to answer the simple question, did you vote for Mr. Trump.?
So you’re going, so what? This is just another biased inside-baseball example of the news media glomming onto a meaningless story line that seeks to drive a wedge between he and she.
The criticism might have some gravitas if it were not for the fact that Mr. Schuette spent a ton of money accusing Brian Calley of not supporting Mr. Trump as Mr. Schuette sought to rope in all those Trumper’s out there. And he did.
Hence is he equally as critical of his running mate?
Does he hope this is a two day story?
But that depends on what, if anything, the Democrats do with this according to pollster Bernie Porn. He says if the D’s think they can depress the Trump vote for this GOP ticket by reminding Trump voters that Ms. Lyons’ probably didn’t support their guy, they’ll make her eat her words.
Until the D’s make a move, the jury is out on whether the roll-out was a huge error by the Schuette team or just a pot hole on the road to the governor’s office.