by susan lenfestey
It's gotta be tough to stand up as a family values kind of guy in light of the recent folderol surrounding former Rep. Mark Foley's predatory one handed typing. Blame the Clintons, blame the media, blame the bloggers, blame the pages. Who knew? Nobody knew. Everybody knew. Hastert's sorry, stay the course.
Into this maelstrom enter Mark Kennedy, Republican candidate for senate, running a sleazy attack ad campaign against Democrat Amy Klobuchar, the front runner. In today's Star Tribune, there is a recap of where the candidates stand on social issues and values. Each lists ten values-based priorities. Representative "I'm-not-a-Bush-rubber-stamp" Kennedy's priorities almost all have to do with religion, abortion and homosexuality.
He wants to curb abortion rights, make parental notification mandatory and amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage. He wants to "press China" into honoring freedom of religion and human rights, yet preserve "under God" in the pledge of allegiance, and protect the flag. (The Constitution -- not so much.) He wants to extend the work requirement for former welfare mothers to 40 hours a week, make English the official language of the US and give the Boy Scouts equal access to all buildings and facilities! (Now there's a priority!) And number 10, he wants to "confirm, not filibuster, federal judges who are ethical, qualified and faithful to the Constitution." On those grounds alone the entire Bush administration would be eliminated.
Amy, on the other hand, speaks of closing tax shelters for multi-billionaires, controlling the federal debt, honoring veterans with the equipment and benefits they need and deserve, providing affordable heath care and good schools for kids, adopting a national energy policy, investing in farmers and workers in the Midwest, not oil cartels in the Middle East -- you get the drift. Not a word about your most personal and intimate life choices, and only this about religion. "Value faith as a guide through tough decisions, thinking about what's right and fair."
Creepy Mark (Foley, not Kennedy) played right into the stereotype of protesting too much. Beware those who are most vigilant against some perceived sin because most likely it is something that deeply troubles them in a very personal way.
That said, creepy Mark Kennedy might just really believe all this stuff. But can he really believe that this is what we expect him to concentrate on in Washington? These are his priorities? Those ads he runs portraying him as kind of a nerdy simpleton must be truer than we realized. The man really does have a very small capacity for thought.
Post note. I am a 100% supporter of Amy Klobuchar. She will be an extraordinary senator, combining the brains and decency of Fritz Mondale with the energy and passion of Paul Wellstone. But check out Independence Party Robert Fitzgerald's list. With the liberty that only the lonely outlier can afford, he puts out a simple list of the basics. To name a few: Protect the Constitution from politcally motivated amendments. Explicitly state that torture is unacceptable, unreliable and immoral. Safeguard the rights of all by not limiting the rights of some. I won't vote for him -- this time -- but I sure like his values.