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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Dysfunctional Farmer Labor Party

Posted by: Jambo / 1:26 PM

I was robbed over the weekend. Peter McLaughlin stole 13 hours of my life from me on Saturday. That's how long the Minneapolis DFL City Convention spent NOT endorsing anyone for the Minneapolis mayor's race. It made me pine for the days of smoke filled rooms anointing candidates and wonder if it is possible to have a little too much democracy. I like the current mayor R.T. Rybak. I volunteered for his campaign 4 years ago and am doing the same this year as well. But I can admit that the policies of a mayor McLaughlin would be very similar to a to those of mayor Rybak. And that is the problem. It raises the question "Why the hell is McLaughlin running?" From what I could gather at the convention it appears to be almost entirely personal. Sure there are some areas where McLaughlin is attacking Rybak but for the most part they are trumped up attack ad sorts of issues rather than any substantive matter of policy. In fact a number of them are downright disengenuous. Someone at the convention mentioned to me that McLaughlin was a big supporter of former mayor Sharon Sayles Belton and that there was some animosity over the fact that Rybak defeated her four years ago. (I did in fact see Belton Saturday with a McLaughlin button on but couldn't tell if she was particularly angry.) But whether it is animosity or simply naked political ambition all he managed to do Saturday was keep the party from endorsing a sitting mayor who has been doing a pretty good job in tough financial times.

So the bottom line is that there is now going to be a nasty, hard-fought contest the result of which will have almost no noticeable effect on how the city is run. It will however be expensive and most likely damage both candidates.

We will spend tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of dollars and thousands of hours of volunteer time on a race between two Democrats who in the end would run the city in a very similar manner. And every one of those dollars and every one of those hours will be one NOT spent on getting rid of Norm Coleman. And not spent getting rid of Tim Pawlenty. Not spent getting rid of that dull-witted theocrat Michelle Bachman. And not spent getting rid of that steaming pantload Mary Kiffmeyer.

Now I certainly don't want to emulate the top down style of the Republican party but they do seem to avoid this sort of thing better than we do. When Coleman wanted to take another shot at governor Dick Cheney paid him a visit and next thing you knew he was running for the senate instead. This year Rod Grams wanted to challenge Mark Kennedy in the primary for a shot at his old senate seat. That lasted about two weeks before he pulled out and I have no doubt that someone in power leaned on him pretty heavily to get out of the race. On the flip side look at the DFL. It's not just the Minneapolis mayoral race. Patty Wetterling no doubt could have had the endorsement for another try at a house seat just by asking. But instead she has jumped into the race for the senate ensuring that she and Amy Klobuchar, and likely a couple others, get to fight it out while Mark Kennedy piles up money unopposed. I have heard literally dozens of people ask why Wetterling isn't running for the house and I don't have a good answer. I don't know if she does either. Of course I don't want anyone swooping in from out of town (not even Howard Dean) to dictate who will run for each office in the state but I sure would love to see someone at or near the top start pressuring candidates to consider something beyond their own self interest when it comes time to throw their hat in the ring. And say what you will about the Republicans, for the last ten years they have been a hell of a lot better at winning elections than we have. And that's the bottom line, isn't it? If you don't get elected it doesn't really matter what you planned on doing in office. If you don't win nobody cares what you think

So thanks for nothing Peter. You are doing nothing good for the city of Minneapolis and nothing good for the state Democratic party and you're wasting my time and that of an awful lot of other people.

(Full disclosure: As I said above I have done volunteer work for the Rybak campaign in the past and am doing so again this year. The opinions stated here are entirely my own and are not printed at the behest of the Rybak campaign or even with the campaign's knowledge.)

4 Comments:

Do both candidates support the Twins stadium?

By Blogger Hammer, at 1:52 PM  

Yes. That has long been one of my (few) complaints about RT. McLaughlin is a more gung ho about it than RT is but that hardly matters.

By Blogger Jambo, at 2:59 PM  

I always thought DFL was for Dead Fucking Last. Then I moved to MN.

By Anonymous Ba Ha Ha, at 6:30 PM  

The City Pages article on the stadium really changed my mind. Sounds like yet another windfall for baseball's richest owner.
Seems to me the only way to unseat RT is to oppose the stadium.

By Blogger Hammer, at 7:14 AM  

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