Tim Skubick: Guv's mouth gets her in bind
Child protection claim puts Granholm in backpedal mode
By Tim Skubick
For the Lansing State Journal
Talk about your double standard.
If former Gov. John Engler had misled the media on a story, he would have been convicted on the spot.
When that misdeed came from the current governor, she got a "Get Out of Jail" card.
Fact: A 7-year-old boy's body was recently found near Lansing.
Fact: Gov. Jennifer Granholm's Human Services Department had investigated parental abuse charges prior to the boy's killing.
Fact: That department is understaffed with Child Protective Service caseworkers.
Fact: The governor has "repeatedly" sought to beef up the ranks of those employees.
Facts Nos. 1-3 are accurate. But fact No. 4, uttered by Granholm, turned out to be dead wrong.
While she never said it, the implication was obvious: The Republican-controlled Legislature never coughed up the bucks, so new caseworkers were never hired.
It was a nifty move, which shifted any responsibility in the Holland case away from her and onto the backs of GOP legislators who write the budget.
The Associated Press published the interview and soon the GOP chair of the House Appropriations committee called the executive office. Rep. Scott Hummel, R-DeWitt, was direct: The governor had never "repeatedly" asked for anything.
Turns out Hummel was right, and so was the Republican leader in the Senate.
"The governor never asked for additional funding ..." and "to use the horrible tragedy of Ricky Holland's death to score some kind of leverage in budget negotiations is in poor taste and unacceptable," said Sen. Ken Sikkema, calling Granholm on her claim.
Adding salt to the wound, Sikkema also reported the GOP, without the governor's request, had added 14 workers two years earlier.
So, here you have the governor saying one thing that was wrong, totally unaware more workers had been hired. One could conclude somebody in the front office didn't know what was going on.
To their credit, the governor's folks issued a three-paragraph statement conceding "the administration has not asked for additional resources for Child Protective Services in the past."
The AP ran that story, too.
Amazingly, the concession hasn't made most of the media coverage. Go figure.
Now I don't pin most of the blame on this on Granholm other than a case of the buck stopping at the top. That wasn't the point of this. The problem is the almost blatent partisan media biasness against Republicans and for Democrats which is so pervasive in this country.
Tim Skubick is right here in the fact that Engler would have been roasted. If there's a standard for one, there should be one for all of them, even media darlings like Granholm.