Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cherry's Decision Changes Race Instantly

There's an old saying that 24 hours is an eternity in politics -- and Gov. John Cherry's decision to bow out of the 2010 race for the Democratic nomination proves the validity of that once again.

Cherry's departure is good news for the other two already announced candidates -- Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith and former state Rep. John Freeman. at least temporarily. Democrats likely will take a closer look at them now.

But the race won't stay that way for long. New candidates will emerge, generating new excitement. If House Speaker Andy Dillon gets in the race, others will follow, as more progressive party members will demand an alternative. Lansing Mayor Virgil Bernero will likely hop in, as will someone else whose name we aren't even thinking of right now.

Cherry's departure, however, means that the candidate most experienced in working with Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature -- and most concerned about working people -- won't be at the helm. And that's sad.

But his departure also says a lot about the kind of guy Cherry is. It took guts to make this assessment. More than one politician would have stubbornly stayed in the race, making it about him or her and not about what's best for the party and the state.

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