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Monday, September 19, 2005

Kersten's Komments

Katherine Kersten's column appeared in the Star Tribune today, so that means that there is stupidity to follow. True to form, she doesn't disappoint.

Today's column is about how bold a leader Randy Kelly is because he's a Republican who used to call himself a Democrat. Kelly's bold leadership became apparent when he endorsed George Bush for president last year. He is also a bold leader because he is pro-life. It's funny how much of a bold leader you can become when you are a Republican, isn't it?

First off, let's deal with a bald-faced lie, one that I hope readers will be willing to contact reader representative Kate Parry about: her claim that Bob Casey wasn't allowed to speak at the Democratic National Convention in 1992 because he's pro-life. This is a lie that lots of right wingers like to parrot, but it is in fact a lie: Casey wasn't allowed to speak because he didn't support Clinton, not because of his pro-life views. Ask a winger whether it would be acceptable to let somebody speak at the Republican National Convention who did not endorse George Bush for president, and watch their heads explode.

But on to the main point of the story, which is that Kelly is being unfairly targeted by the extreme elements in the Democratic party (she mentions the tried-and-true bogeymen of pro-choicers, teachers, and public employees) and that Democrats just aren't tolerant anymore. Why Democrats should be tolerant of Republicans she leaves unanswered, but it is clear that Kersten believes that Democrats need to worship those people who do not share their beliefs. It's as if Kersten cynically wants to co-opt the Democratic message by painting any message other than Republican-lite as "out of touch." Who could imagine that she would do such a thing!

But when you get right down to it, it's the Republicans who are not tolerant. Sure, Kersten pays some lip service to the notion that Republicans are less tolerant these days too, but that's an afterthought and she does not see the reality of today's Republican party. I challenge her to poll legislators in the Minnesota House of Representatives and see where they stand on the issues. I will wager any amount she names that there are more pro-life Democrats that pro-choice Republicans, for example. It's Republicans that tolerate absolutely no dissent on major issues like taxation that gay rights, as countless examples can show. Kersten also points out such "mavericks" as Arlen Specter and Lincoln Chafee to show that there are "liberal" Republicans out there, but to the extent that either of them are liberal the only thing I can see is that they are pro-choice. If you want a pro-life Democrat, look no further than Minority Leader Harry Reid. Other than abortion, Chafee and Specter aren't liberal; no liberal would have the judicial voting record that these two people have when it comes to voting in lockstep with the craziest conservative Republicans.

Finally, there's good old Norm. See, Coleman switched from Democrat to Republican about ten years ago, and that bold leadership has resulted in him being (gag) one of the "rising stars" in the Republican party. So bold Randy leadership Kelly is just doing the same thing.

The big problem with this is that Kelly is not Coleman. Coleman has to be one of the slimiest spineless shysters in all of politics today, who doesn't even know what he believes in, but he had several things that Kelly does not. He switched when it was suddenly cool to be Republican, when we had new Newt Gingrich and the Contract With America and the grand sweep of the 1994 elections. All of a sudden, it was hip to be a Republican, now that they were coming in from the wilderness. The economy of the 90s also meant that it really didn't matter what Coleman was; as long as everybody was reaping the benefits and property taxes weren't going up, Coleman could have been a Communist for all it mattered. Lastly, Coleman actually has charisma, to the extent where his aw-shucks grin could make people forget that he was born in Brooklyn and not in some Minnesota corn field. People actually liked Coleman.

Contrast this with Randy Kelly and today's climate. The economy has not been doing as well as a decade before. Republicans are no longer the saviours of this country, but the root of its problems, especially for big cities; St. Paul isn't getting any favours from Bush or people like Delay. It's not so cool to be associated with Republicans these days. Finally, Kelly is a jerk. He is not a "people person." You don't leave a meeting or a rally with Kelly and feel like you have made a connection with him on some emotional level.

So far-left liberals aren't punishing Kelly because they aren't tolerant of him. They are punishing a guy who has jumped on the side that is hurting the city, and they know it. It doesn't make him a "bold leader" to try to curry favour with a party that is directly against the interests of his constituency. I don't know what it make him, but I have a feeling that one thing it will make him is a loser at the polls in November.


At 7:23 PM, September 19, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And Chamber of Commerce-friendly Chris Coleman is soooooo liberal, too.

Kelly's people may not have been able to spin the voters, but they're doing a pretty good job with the media. There's a story on MPR today about the race that goes like this:

Kelly endorsed Bush. Now Democrats are punishing him. We can't think of any other reason he might have performed so badly. [Kelly is quoted taking credit for increased LGA to St. Paul from last session. No one who might dispute this interpretation is quoted in the story.] [Interchangable political science professor: "St. Paul is a DFL town. Poor Randy. Poor, poor Randy."] "The big players in this race are George Bush and John Kerry, who endorsed Coleman." [actual quote] Chris Coleman is not quoted, nor is anyone from his campaign.

At 10:05 AM, September 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are completely wrong on what the legislature thinks of gay rights.

At 7:16 AM, September 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that Kersten's latest attempt at consciousness reads more like a "See? Democrats are intolerant too, so that makes the world OK for us righties to blast away too" piece than anything else.

I'm not impressed. With that kind of moronic thinking going on, this upcoming election cycle could be designated as a Superfund site.

Most voters (myself included) are forced to make a choice moreso on the basis of which candidate represents the lesser of two evils. And yes, I AM a *bleeping* independent. I have never been able to vote a straight party-line ticket in a general election, but I am also of the opinion that if you do not vote at all, your right to complain is limited.

I'm already picking out the clothspin I will likely need to block out the stench for next year's elections. Maybe I need one for the right nostril and one for the left to show balance... ;-)

At 5:44 AM, October 12, 2005, Blogger nope said...


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Melissa K. W.
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