Measure of a man 

If you want to get some insight into one of Michigan’s gubernatorial candidates, pick up a copy of Walking to Mackinac, by U.S. Rep. David Bonior. In 1997, the Democratic House minority whip and his wife, Judy, spent three weeks hiking 300 miles from their home in Mount Clemens to the Straits of Mackinac.

It’s been our experience here at News Hits that a good way to find out what a person’s really made of is to go camping with them. Out in the woods, with only yourselves to rely on, it is easy to separate the workers from the slackers, the cheerful from the chronic complainers, and the tough from the wimps.

We can’t know for sure what the likes of Rush Limbaugh would say about Bonior’s tome, but from our progressive vantage point it’s difficult to come away from this read without liking the guy a lot.

Along the way he laments the chaining of America — “The Wal-Mart phenomenon has sucked life out of small-town America and contributed to our sprawl problem, which eats away at a sense of community…” — and reveals his sense of competitiveness when the couple is forced to “break the integrity of the journey” and travel one day in a car — “Such emptiness. It is like losing a championship ballgame. I feel the hollowness in my gut knowing there is no retrieving a lost opportunity.”

Right now, polls show Bonior running a distant third to Democratic rivals Attorney General Jennifer Granholm and former Gov. Jim Blanchard. But News Hits thinks it would be a mistake to count him out just yet. If nothing else, Bonior has shown he’s good for the long haul, blisters and all.

Published by the University of Michigan Press, the soft-cover version of the book is available for $18.95. (All royalties will be contributed to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy of Michigan.)

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette, the Metro Times news editor. Call 313-202-8004 or e-mail

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