This is what a day looks like for Jennifer M. Granholm, the governor of Michigan, the state that sits, miserably, at the leading edge of the nation’s economic crisis.
Morning: Rev up government workers and ministers at a huge conference in Detroit to cope with expanding signs of poverty. Afternoon: Tell a room crushed with reporters here, in the state capital, why a federal bailout is essential for the Big Three automakers, who are also, of course, residents of her state. Evening: Pack for Israel and Jordan, where Ms. Granholm hopes to persuade companies that work with wireless electricity, solar energy and electric cars to bring their jobs to Michigan.
Whatever else Ms. Granholm, a Democrat in her second term, might once have dreamed of tackling as a governor (she barely seems to recall other realms of aspiration now), the economy is nearly all she has found herself thinking about, talking about, fighting about over the last six years. And Michigan, which has been hemorrhaging jobs since before 2001 and was once mainly derided in the rest of the nation as a “single-state recession,” now looks like an ominous sketch of just how bad things may get.
“This has been six straight years of jobs, jobs, jobs,” Ms. Granholm said, punctuating the word with three somber claps at her office table. Despite scathing critiques from some here who say she has failed to turn around Michigan’s woes, Ms. Granholm said in an interview that she still believed that her efforts to remake the state’s economy ”” in part by luring jobs that make something other than cars ”” would eventually overcome the steady stream of vanishing jobs.