MN voters, listen up!

November 06, 2006 by susan

by susan lenfestey

A letter to MN voters:

I know many of you are torn over tomorrow's race for governor -- and that many of you are supporting Peter Hutchinson. Mike Hatch was certainly not my first choice, and if Peter had run as a Democrat, I'd have supported him. (Disclosure: I consider Peter and Karla to be friends, and this has been awkward.) This is not because I'm hidebound to the DFL, but because I'd like our side to win for a change, and to stop the dismantling of our state by Pawlenty and the dissembling tax-slashing, fee-adding, social conservatives he represents.

I believed there was no way for Peter to start at zero name recognition and make it to the top without the enormous support that party endorsement -- and its huge workforce -- brings to the race. I urged him to skip the endorsing convention and run in the primary, not to go it as a loner, but we know that didn't happen.

I agree with Peter and others that the long, expensive sleaze-fest that campaigns have become is repugnant, but I don't agree that an endorsed candidate has to take that route. Witness Amy Klobuchar's terrifically upbeat - and apparently successful -- campaign. Also Tim Walz's splendid effort in the First Congressional district. It can be done. (I still think we need huge campaign reforms, however.)

But that's behind us, and now we must vote.

Peter remains in single digits, and even if half those are coming from Pawlenty's hide, the other half -- coming from Hatch's hide - could assure Pawlenty's re-election.

I find this intolerable for many reasons. One is the people Pawlenty surrounds himself with, listens to, and appoints. For instance, his candidate for Attorney General, Jeff Johnson, believes that the U of M should not receive public funds because it has received private funding for stem cell research. This is not legally possible (the funding cut-off) yet it gives you an idea where Pawlenty and his people place their priorities. They claim Michelle Bachman as one of their own.

Second, if Pawlenty gets another four years, we will continue to see drastic changes in Minnesota, from crumbling infrastructure, the deterioration of our cities due to the shifting of tax burdens (think schools, libraries and public safety, for starters) to the widening of the gap between those on the top and those scraping to get by. We will see the very non-issues Peter Hutchinso refers to - gays, guns, gynecology and so on, take front and center. We will see ideologically based appointments to key posts, including the judiciary.

And with the coming Republican convention here in the house that Norm (Coleman) built, you can be sure that Pawlenty will find himself touted as a rising star. After all, they owe him for stepping aside for Norm back in 2002. I find his breed of extremism, masked by a sort of affable average Joe faade, worrisome in extremis, and would like to see him knocked off course rather than given a boost by being re-elected.

So this is a plea to all of you who are undecided, or who have been supporting Peter, to vote for Mike Hatch. I know, he's not the most endearing of candidates, and many of you have personal history with him that makes this a stomach-turning concept. He's a bulldog, a loose cannon, and has a temper. Not good. But my neighbor, with similar feelings and first-hand experience, got over it, is calling voters today on Hatch's behalf, because she knows what four more years of Pawlenty means. Lesser of two evils? Yes, but MUCH less.

Last week I went to my first and only Hatch event to see him in action. I found him to be the real-deal, for better or worse. He was more focused and articulate than in his debates, and didn't seem to have a phony bone in him. I believe that in his gut he really does want to make Minnesota work well for everyone, shares the values that most of us do, and that the "little guys" who are all supporting him are doing so for a reason.

I think that he will surround himself with people who are more like Peter than like Pawlenty. I think he will make smart judicial appointments. I think he has real passion for the job, for Minnesota, and that his heart is in the right place. I even think that his scrappiness just might work in the legislative arena, not known for the loftiest level of debate.

I also think that he will, from time to time, behave impetuously, say things we wish he hadn't, and I'll wonder what ever possessed me to go out on a limb like I am now on his behalf!

But I'd rather be embarrassed by the verbal gaffes of a flawed man who is moving Minnesota in the right direction, than be embarrassed (and in despair) by the divisive and destructive policies of a smooth-talker who kowtows to the Tax-Payers' League and to the evangelical right.

Peter Hutchinson has done the best he can in a difficult environment, raised issues, been a voice of reason in the debates. To those of you who have stood by him, out of friendship or belief, I say, mazeltov. But the writing is on the wall.

Your vote is your business, but it's also a secret ballot!

Yes, I'm encouraging you to go in tomorrow, suck it up, and vote for Mike Hatch to make sure that we do not give Tim Pawlenty four more years to wreck our state with his anti-government policies and fear-based leadership. If this suggestion makes you furious, let the brick-bats fly.

ps. While I'm at it, don't forget the lower end of the ballot -- Mark Ritchie for Secretary of State, and Rebecca Otto for Auditor. And if you're in Hennepin County, Andy Luger for County Attorney.

Posted in

Comments

Anonymous (not verified) | November 6, 2006 - 10:07pm

Good article in the Tribune on Sunday. You were right on many points. The media, the magnified view of every event and comment.

You are wrong, however, on the Kerry comment part.

It was not anywhere near a "pretzel twist"

The gaff is a polished window into the real condesention he and his ilk have for people who believe in such out dated concepts as service to country....and yes , frequently service even when the mission is poorly excecuted.

It has to do with things we are asked to do because someone has to step up. And doing so even when we have no political ambitions where military sevice enhances a resume.

He is conflicted about his own service. Never sure when to lean on it, or away from it. He just can't hide his "left leaning" contempt for the military.

The rage over the comment is not manufactured....it is real. And Presidents do not apologize for things. Have you noticed? And...where did that cazy idea come from anyway, yet it comes up over and over again from the American euro-centrics.

This a "micro-example" of where the social fissure lies. For you it's "scrutiny of the trivial" For us it's highly revealing and insulting.

The article represents the sentiments of many...for sure. I am grateful, though, for the intelligent ballast of Debra Saunders.

(Who would have thought it would come from San Francisco!!)

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Soolen (not verified) | November 7, 2006 - 12:49am

Waaaydaaminit, Anonymous.

Kerry is conflicted about many things, no doubt.

But how can you say this? "The gaff is a polished window into the real condesention (sic) he and his ilk have for people who believe in such out dated concepts as service to country....and yes , frequently service even when the mission is poorly excecuted."

Kerry, with privilege and class similar to G. W Bush, chose to serve in Vietnam, unlike just about anyone in this administration. He may be condescending (look it up) on many things, but not on service to our country.

And you say, "And Presidents do not apologize for things. Have you noticed? And...where did that cazy (sic) idea come from anyway, yet it comes up over and over again from the American euro-centrics."
Well, yes, they do. Harry Truman, buck stops here and JFK for Bay of Pigs, Jimmy Carter for failure to rescue hostages, for starters. And what do you mean by American euro-centrics? Your logic and language is -- odd. And your spelling is worse. (She said with condescension.)

But I'm happy you read my piece and even bothered to comment, with much more reason and respect than many of "your ilk".

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Anonymous (not verified) | November 7, 2006 - 7:05pm

Odd language and logic....guess that makes two of us.

So you are a beter spellr.....so what??

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gtnbfghn (not verified) | June 6, 2007 - 6:24am

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