In the auto industry's all-out battle for survival, Gov. Jennifer Granholm has been at the forefront of the fight.
Car executives say the governor has been relentless in lobbying the Obama administration, the president's auto task force, Congress and anyone else who would listen to her about the potentially devastating impact on the country if Michigan's signature industry goes under.
As I pointed out with great frustration in DJ's diary, I can see this as well - but it's almost impossible for the casual observer in our state to notice when it gets drowned out in the din of Michigan's immediate troubles. But it is out there, the fact that this woman works round the clock at fighting for our state...
"She's doing tireless work. To have the governor out there fighting for you has been a big help," said Greg Martin, spokesman for General Motors Corp. in Washington, D.C.
"It's good to have such a strong voice to combat misperceptions about our industry, especially on the coasts."
To be sure, Michigan's congressional delegation has also played a critical role in the discussions, meeting dozens of times with senior administration officials and the auto task force. Dashing off e-mails at 3 a.m. was not uncommon.
But it's Granholm's shuttle diplomacy that has garnered the attention of those at the center of the efforts to influence national decision-makers.
She has talked about cars in more than 100 interviews with the national media since November, with everyone from CNN's Larry King and Wolf Blitzer to PBS' Judy Woodruff, MSNBC's Chris Matthews and correspondents from the networks.
... we just need to highlight this more, because whether we like it or not, we are still heavily dependent on this auto industry that is currently taking this state down with it as it undergoes the biggest restructuring effort it will probably ever see, in our lifetimes anyway. The fallout from Chrysler's bankruptcy has yet to be felt, and GM, at best, is only going to be half the company it was before. At worst it might totally implode, and the consequences will be even more devastating.
Know what that means? That means that it's gut-check time here in Michigan. Even after applying the stimulus, we are still looking at anywhere from a $1 - $2 billion dollar budget deficit, with very little way to make it up, unless people want to get out there and fight for the things they care about. A radical change is taking place, right here, right now, and our future is being determined by the steps we are taking today, and the ones we take in the next few months. We can either join in the media rabble and point fingers at the governor, we can sit silent and quietly protect our own interests, or we can stand up for the things that matter. You don't have to be a Granholm devotee - but realize that she is fighting the good fight, every waking moment of single day, and give her some credit for that.
This next line has always stuck with me, said by the newly-elected governor in 2003, who was a media darling at the time and could do no wrong, just like a certain President is today. She asked this of this citizens of Michigan, and it means as much now as it did then, maybe even more so:
So now, with the doors of our destiny thrown open wide, I invite you to participate in the bending of history in some purposeful way. You were drawn here today. Someone rapped upon, tapped upon, whispered at your door. Someone, flesh or spirit, said, "Go, you need to be there - this moment, when history is made." Our history - the story that began with our founding fathers and mothers - beckons to you, right now, and says quite simply, "You matter. Now, what to you shall matter?" What chapter of our history will you now write?
What, to you, shall matter? Better decide now, and be willing to fight for it, because history is upon us.