Friday, August 25, 2006

Lies & Greed: Republican Politics Minnesota Style You write with great love about your native state and its traditions of Scandinavian decency. But Minnesota also elected Norm Coleman-- what went wrong?

Garrison Keillor: Norm Coleman is a man without a single principled bone in his body. He was a liberal Democrat who saw greater career opportunities on the other side and one night he sewed himself a new set of beliefs and crossed over. He is the first truly cynical politician in Minnesota in my lifetime. What went wrong? Sen. Paul Wellstone's plane crashed in the woods.

Another Bush, another war, another attempt by Minnesota Republicans to distance themselves from the President. In 1992, when I moved to the Land of 10,000 SUVs, the Minnesota Republican Party was referring to itself as the Independent Republican Party in a shameless attempt to distance itself from George Douche the first. Now, they are doing the same thing, only without the name change.

Senate candidate Mark Kennedy has been appearing in TV commercials boasting of his willingness to differ with the President. But as Congressional Quarterly notes, Kennedy sided with the President 97 percent of the time for three years running. Last year, however, Kennedy’s record dipped to just 87 percent. Could it be that Kennedy recognizes the peril in appearing too close to the White House? As Wy Spano, director of the Masters in Advocacy and Political Leadership program at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, points out, “Right now, pretty much all Republicans who are closely associated with the president are just not going to do well.” That could be why Kennedy doesn’t even mention his party affiliation in the ads. That, and the fact that he has been trailing his opponent, Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar, by at least six percentage points since January, when pollsters began watching the race. Most polls even show Kennedy trailing anti-war activist Ford Bell, who has dropped out.

Meanwhile, Senator Norm Coleman – Al Franken’s probable opponent in 2008 – was busted editing his Wikipedia entry, as was three-term Minnesota Republican Congressman Gil Gutknecht. Coleman, it seems, was trying to eliminate references to his hippy past, as well as his 98 percent record of siding with the White House in his senate voting. Coleman, you may recall, is the guy who won the St. Paul mayoral race as a Democrat with Minnesota Attorney General Hubert “Skip” Humphrey’s endorsement and then quickly changed his party affiliation. Gutknecht’s Wikipedia editing attempt focused on his self-imposed three-term limit – a limit he is now abandoning.

But wait! There’s more!

Anti gay activist and sixth congressional district candidate Michele Bachmann orchestrated an impressive sleight-of-hand trick when her campaign turned $40,000 into half a million dollars at President Bush’s recent campaign stop. You see, by spending less than an hour of the campaign stop speaking about health care, (PRESTO!) G.W. Douche was able to characterize his visit as a “policy event.” That means the taxpayers picked up the tab for a campaign rally. To be fair, it should be noted that the Bachmann campaign ponied up the forty grand, which is enough to pay for about 45 minutes of Air Force One’s $57,000-per-hour operating cost. But what’s $57,000 when we’re pissing away 4,807 times that much every day in Iraq.

Let’s see. Did I forget anything? Lies, greed, lies, greed and lies. Nope. That about sums it up. Laters.


rvm4 said...

Good stuff. Good stuff. A minor correction; the IR party has been, sorry WAS, the IR party long before Bush the Elder started blowing up darkies to improve his poll ratings. The "Independent" adjective goes back to the days when a Republican couldn't get arrested in this state (of course, several of them should be arrested today for slander, lies and greed. Alas, those things are not only not illegal, they're expected in today's politics.) To show how lefty Minnesota USED to be, the DFL needed the Farm and Labor Party just to survive our winters. Just wanted to make sure you're facts are as accurate as possible. It makes your arguments all the more powerful.

Big Daddy Malcontent said...

Thanks for the correction. I think I read somewhere that it was the Watergate scandal that actually inspired the "Independent" moniker. Being a relative newcomer to the Gopher State, I naturally assumed it was Bush I who inspired the name change. In any case, the desire for Minnesota Republicans to distance themselves from the national party seems to be cyclical. And who can blame them? But too bad rooting for the Dems isn't as easy as ridiculing the Repubs. Thanks for visiting.

tuckmac said...

Big Daddy Malcontent:

You are a gifted writer. A wonderful Liberal, and a joy to read. You put me to shame, sir.

Keep it up. I found you through the City Pages Blotter - Blog of the Day And you are truly a "Minnesota Blog of the Day."

I'll keep coming back. Thank you!