During the 2012 election, Jennifer Granholm, the former governor of Michigan, gave a stemwinder speech at the Democratic convention. Needless to say, the expectations for her were very high when she took the stage on Thursday at the 2016 convention. Rachel Maddow tweeted her anticipation earlier in the day:
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) July 28, 2016
Rachel — and the rest of us who remember that speech fondly — need not have worried. Gov. Granholm delivered. And, please forgive me mentioning her clothing like some kind of Fox News “pundit” but that red jacket. She rocked it.
Granholm started off with a message to “those Americans who feel you’ve been left behind.” Americans who believe that “you’ve been cheated,” which could be a nod to the Bernie Sanders supporters. She went on to assure those people that she knows “a little something” about that because she was governor of Michigan, a state that suffered mightily from the fall of America’s manufacturing greatness and of its resurgence. “Michigan,” she said, “built the automobile and the automobile built America.”
Her speech then went into how Americans tried to rebuild, retool and build better industries. Then, in 2008, she noted, we elected Barack Obama to help us do that. And he “saved the American auto industry.” Who, she also noted, paid us back in full. Because — and here is the overarching theme of the convention — “we are all in this together.”
One candidate gets this, Granholm asserted, and one candidate “as Joe Biden said last night, ‘doesn’t have a clue.'” Hillary, though has “yuuuge plans” to create jobs in America.
Imagine that. Actual plans. I must have missed that night at the Republican convention.
Plans. Written down. Plans with numbers. That add up. You can see them if you text “JOBS” to 47246. (Since I don’t have a smart phone, someone will have to try this).
Then she went after Trump. He detailed his “hopeless vision” of America last week and then said, “I alone can fix it.” Savoring the moment, Granholm smiled, puffing herself up into her best Trump impression:
Imagine Trump’s version of the Constitution. ‘I the person, in order to form a more perfect union…’ Or, ‘Ask not what I can do for my country, ask what my country can do for me.’
Granholm savored the reaction to that, then continued, deliciously invoking Carly Simon:
Donald, Donald. You’re so vain, you probably think this speech is about you. Don’t you, now?
The crowd ate it up and Granholm loved the reaction. But she didn’t linger. She went on to invoke the spirit of connectedness that binds all Americans. “When Flint’s water poisons its children, ” she intoned, “It hurts all of us.” Hillary Clinton knows , Granholm finishes, that “we are one family.” And, in a family no one gets left behind.
That last bit made me think of the Hawaiian concept of ohana, a word that means much more than just “family.” It means a group that lives and works together, helps one another, loves one another and sticks together through adversity. Jennifer Granholm is right; we are family. We just need to remember that.
Here is the video of the entire speech (6:49)
Feature Image via Screen Capture