Category Archives: Good Republicans

Bringing back Phil to manage my school board campaign

Alanna Oswald told me yesterday that she might not to vote for me because of all the posts in which I whine about having to campaign instead of writing about my Grandfather. She says my getting off the School Board might be the only way she gets to read that book.

Its a tough choice. I’d love to compare George Robb with his fellow Kansan, oil billionaire fifty times over, Charles Koch. My Grandfather was a rock ribbed Republican but Koch is making it his business to roll back not only Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society AND FDR’s New Deal BUT the trust busting reforms of Teddy Roosevelt. Koch truly wants to take America back 100 years to the Gilded Age and Jim Crow. Perhaps that explains the jarring video I saw the 82-year-old Koch along side our Era’s Stepin Fetchit Snoop Dogg. Koch is a lot more comfortable with a black idiot sidekick than a sober and brilliant Black President taxing his billions and restraining his pollution.

Hell, when I was exploring the Kansas State Historical Museums files on my Grandfather I got a peek at his old College scrapbook which gave a pretty strong hint that my then 21-year old Grandfather liked Teddy Roosevelt. He pasted in a flyer from Park College’s Teddy Roosevelt Club into the book the year the ex-president’s Bull Moose party challenged Wilson and Taft. It was probably Koch who talked right-wing talk show host, Glenn Beck, to denounce Teddy. Beck was regularly invited to attend Koch’s soirees to return America to the days of John C. Calhoun and State’s Rights.

But as tempting as it is for me to try to save America with a boring reminder of a more decent political past, my Grandfather also set another standard before me when he fought in the Great War. As the lyrics to one of his Era’s war songs put it “…and we won’t come back till its over, over there!” I’m afraid that my school board work is not over either.

My Grandfather’s war lasted about one year. Mine began 28 years ago (if not earlier) when I first ran an unsuccessful race for the Duluth School Board in 1989. That was two years after moving to our new home on 21st Ave E and my Daughter Keely’s request that I build a snow dinosaur. I was reminded of this a week ago when visitors asked if they could look at my scrapbook of a 30 year snow sculpting career.

Following my second failed attempt to run for the School Board I decided to make a not so subtle comment about the struggles of the Duluth Schools in 1991 in snow. The DNT’s head photog, Chuck Curtis, snapped a photo which made it to the Front Page if I remember correctly. A passerby with a camera took a photo of me sculpting it and sent it to me afterwards. Until the advent of cell phones Claudia and I got used to flashes coming through our drapes on winter nights from folks dropping by to take a picture of our front lawn to mail to their friends in warm weather states.

Like my Grandfather I conceived of my campaigns for the School Board like his Meuse-Argonne campaign. I ran a third time and lost that election as well. As a consolation Claudia gave me a small black figurine of a disconsolate Gorilla sitting chin on hand like the thinker for my birthday. That became my inspiration for yet another snow sculpture and perhaps an augury for a change in my political fortunes.

This sculpture was the first of a couple which made it to newspapers on the Associated Press circuit.

By now I had a name for my gorilla. Phil. It was prompted by yet another gift from Claudia which came with a card inspired by the cartoonist Gary Larson:

After christening Phil I decided to attach a story line to him. He became my “campaign manager” who couldn’t get me over the finish line. I pinned the blame on him in a letter I penned to the News Tribune. That’s in my scrapbook too and for school board wonks its a most interesting peek back at our school district’s history.

What I wrote is the gospel truth. In the 1987 school year (the year in which, by coincidence, I lost my teaching job) our school district reported that we had 1200 seniors. And yet only 775 seniors graduated. We were paid by the state of Minnesota to educate 425 students who seem to have vanished into thin air. It was school board counselors who told me to check the numbers and they were confirmed by an employee in the Minnesota Department of Education. Sadly, the MDE didn’t lift a finger to call the District on the carpet. It was a preview of how they would handle the preposterous financing proposed for the Red Plan.

Discovering that public school administrators would lie was as shocking to me as it was for Loren Martell to find himself handcuffed for addressing the Duluth School Board during the Red Plan. Its the sort of experience that turns concerned citizens into ever vigilant watchdogs. Its been my Meuse-Argonne ever since.

I thought I had left the School District in pretty good shape when I retired from the Board in 2004. Three years later, after the voters were denied a chance to vote on the half billion dollar Red Plan, I realized that if I could get elected again I could put the issue before the voters. I was prepared to offer a smaller plan should that referendum fail. Instead, the Dixon administration worked hand in hand with my critics to attack my motives and those of Gary Glass. In doing so school administrators passed on one more great lie – that Johnson Controls would earn no more than 4.5 percent of the building program’s cost. Throw in the wildly incorrect promise that the Red Plan would barely increase property taxes and you can see how my vigilance was rekindled.

The travesty of seeing my colleague Art Johnston raked over the coals has done little to restore my faith – especially after it become evident that 30% of Duluth’s eligible ISD 709 resident students have left us. Golly! We’ve got new half-billion dollar schools to fill up and maintain and we are not succeeding at either objective. I’ve got five months to make a case for shoring up our schools even while my Grandfather’s life story begs to be told.

This began as a light-hearted reintroduction of my old campaign manager, Phil. I’m bringing him back.

Phil has given me the idea to raise money for my campaign by selling snow sculpture trading card packs in lieu of political propaganda. Goodness knows I’ve taken lots of pictures of my creations over the years. Here’s the first page of my scrapbook’s Table of Contents:

I’m going to do things a little differently. Rather than ask for donations by mail this year I think I’m going to offer the trading cards in sets of five to help me recoup my expenses incurred to defend Art Johnston. That was because the school board used the excuse of a nonexistent assault to remove him from the Board. My Mother’s death left me with a modest inheritance that allowed me to give Art $20,000 to help defray the $75,000 legal charges Art incurred to defend himself from the vile accusations hurled at him, to wit:

“Racism” (He was a member of Duluth’s NCAAP Board for crying out loud)
“Conflict of Interest,” for sitting in on meetings affecting the employment of his school district employed partner. Nevermind, that a Red Plan supporting Board member sat in on similar meetings when a relative ran a school bus into a child – the relative was given a desk job!
“Violence” Who wouldn’t be mad after serving five years on the School Board while constantly denied public data and then discovering that the School Administrator who recruited your last opponent was now orchestrating a spy network to harass your partner starting on the very day you beat the candidate that said administrator encouraged to run against you?

$20,000 is almost all I “earned” over my first three years on the School Board. I spent just as much trying to get a Red Plan referendum on the ballot. Its been expensive to pay for the honor of serving the public.

So, if I print up trading cards, I’ll treat it as a small business and use the proceeds to pay for my campaign. Maybe I’ll break even on the cards and avoid going any deeper into the financial hole to stay on a school board that has finally calmed down from the insanity of 2014 to 2015. Calmed down yes, but we still need to get out from behind a $3.4 million dollar a year eight ball that costs us 36 teachers.

It may be hard for folks to take Phil seriously as my campaign manager so thank goodness my old rival, Representative Mike Jaros, has agreed to be my campaign chairman. He ran a dozen or more campaigns and never lost. Having only won three of 16 campaigns for public office myself, I am in awe of his record.

I just can’t wash my hands of Phil. He’s been the logo above my old webpage for almost twenty years now. Like me, Phil deserves a little respect.

Snakepits

I was desperate not to sit at home all day and read and a Park Point walk beckoned. It was a little breezy on the shore when I started so I moved to the inland trail and found this little garter snake. I think this is only the second time since I moved to Duluth 43 years ago that I’ve seen a snake. I found a redbelly snake with my kids up by the Pigeon River when they were little. I think I took a picture, or tried to, of that one as well.

I know gartersnakes are not uncommon because Claudia told me Minnesota Power had troubles at sub stations when garters overwintered in them in huge groups and occasionally slithered into the works and shorted out whole neighborhoods.

Speaking of snake-pits the latest history of Republicans, Destiny of the Republic describes the war between “Stalwarts” and “Halfbreeds.” The halfbreeds were sort of the equivalent of today’s RINO’s and like them their nickname wasn’t one of their choosing. While both sides of the party were ungenerous to the South the Stalwarts were all big business and Spoils system oriented.

The Halfbreeds would ebb and wane they gravitated towards all manner of populist parties in the decades ahead but in 1880 when the Party nominated James Garfield it was the Halfbreeds who had the upper hand. I should have been so lucky.

This is a ripping good book and its author, Candice Millard, also wrote another highly regarded book that I’ve often thought would be interesting to read, “The River of Doubt.” That one is about Teddy Roosevelt’s near suicidal exploration of a tributary of the Amazon after he lost the 1912 three way race that put Democrat Woodrow Wilson in the Oval Office. As my eight loyal readers no doubt recall I’m in the midst of reading books about the politics of my Grandfather’s youth. I have wondered for years whether my Grandfather supported the liberalish Teddy Roosevelt or William H. Taft who the conservatives found more acceptable in that race. I have my suspicions but I’m looking for something definitive – maybe I’ll find it in the many letters I copied and brought back from the Kansas Historical Society but have yet to dig into.

Reading these books is helping me put the 2016 election in perspective. My early years during the Cold War were a time of relative restraint once Tail Gunner Joe McCarthy was humiliated out of politics. There is something in people that drives them to divide themselves up and blow their differences of opinion out of all proportion.

A few days ago I reread the 22nd Amendment to check on the limits of Presidents. I couldn’t recall if it only forbade Presidents from serving a consecutive third term or any third term. I was wondering if Obama could serve a non-consecutive term like Grover Cleveland did after our four years of Trump are over. Sadly, that’s it for Obama. The Republicans who were outraged by FDR’s 4 consecutive terms got the 22nd Amendment passed in March 24, 1947, two years after Franklin Roosevelt’s death.

What I’ve learned from my recent reading is how often presidents in my Grandfather’s Era flirted with a third term. Teddy did, Wilson did and Ulysses S. Grant was willing to serve a third term as well. Lots of Republicans in the Reagan years wished the 22nd Amendment had never passed.

False Memories

I finished yet another book today, Mr. Speaker. Its the second book covering American politics leading up to my very Republican Grandfather’s adulthood.

Thomas Reed is described by some as one of the most important politicians that American’s have never heard of. He was a loyal Republican (hence the tie to my Grandfather) and he is famous for fixing the House of Representatives which had descended into a long Era of gridlock following the Civil War. In many ways the two political parties have changed markedly since then. Reed for his part resigned because he opposed the Spanish American War. That put him at odds with most of America at the time and his own Republicans.

I was interested in his expertise with Parliamentary procedure which is something that was missing at School Board meetings in my first couple of years back on the School Board. On Deck, Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard about the assassinated James Garfield, which will probably be followed by Karl Rove’s history of “the first modern presidential campaign” in 1896 that elected William McKinley who also was stopped by an assassin’s bullet.

Oh, and I almost forgot the title of this post – “False memories.” I wrote a couple of years ago that I’d first read about Thomas Reed in John Kennedy’s 1955 classic “Profiles in Courage.” As I finished Grant’s book on Reed today I was very curious to reread what JFK had to say about Reed’s courage. I found the paperback I’d re-read in 1995 (its on my reading list) and discovered in its heavily yellow-markered and separating pages that JFK made no mention of Reed in Profiles. I checked the index – nada. I skimmed a couple chapters of that Era to see if he was mentioned. No way.

Dammit!

On the day that President Trump will give his first speech to Congress…

… I was fixing old posts. One of them was this short post from JANUARY 23, 2012. Richard Nixon’s simple explanation for why America should have two political parties reaching for the center instead of the periphery demonstrates the wisdom he had and that he ignored in order to become President in 1968.

Today the Bernie Sander’s diehards are hoping to do to the Democratic Party what the Tea Party did to the Republican Party. Break it.

From that post:

In 1959, Vice-President Nixon, speaking to members of California’s Commonwealth Club, was asked if he’d like to see the parties undergo an ideological realignment, the sort that has since taken place, and he replied, “I think it would be a great tragedy . . . if we had our two major political parties divide on what we would call a conservative-liberal line.” He continued, “I think one of the attributes of our political system has been that we have avoided generally violent swings in Administrations from one extreme to the other. And the reason we have avoided that is that in both parties there has been room for a broad spectrum of opinion.” Therefore, “when your Administrations come to power, they will represent the whole people rather than just one segment of the people.”

Divorcingest – My Buddy fires back

Original message ——–

From: “Your Buddy”
Date: 2/2/17 11:12 AM (GMT-06:00)
To: harrywelty@charter.net
Subject: Re: 3 AM again | lincolndemocrat.com

Harry:

You said:

I do think that there is something admirable to be said for the virtue of loyalty which in marriage is generally referred to as fidelity. It is consonant with the traditional marriage vows of loving, honoring and obeying in sickness and in health.

From my quotations file:

Friedrich Wilhelm : One can promise actions, but not feelings, for the latter are involuntary. He who promises to love forever or hate forever or be forever faithful to someone is promising something that is not in his power.

Further, you had said:

Trump is infamous for never reading books.
Perhaps Kennedy and Clinton read much more than Trump reads, but they apparently still messed around.

“Your Buddy”

And I fire back:

Is your point that Neitzsche was right?

I think Freddy underestimated human will. That’s ironic because he was all about the superman. What kind of a superman has such a weak will?

As for Clinton’s and JFK’s shortcomings. It hardly exalts Trump for him to suffer from the same ones. Indeed, a part of my analysis was intended to point out that in addition to his being an unfaithful husband, Trump is, unlike those other two presidents, an intentionally ignorent, and even stupid president.

Any disagreement with this addendum?

Harry

I could add that Paul Ryan’s favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, was an apostle of Neitzche’s and that her novel the Fountainhead reaked of its narcissism. Congressman Ryan kept her books on prominent display in his office until it was pointed out she thought Christianity and all its humility crap was a terrible influence on a good superman. Donald Trump comes to mind.

There is in fact a college that has become a shrine to Ayn Rand and her philosophy. Hillsdale College has become a sort of Lourdes for young conservatives. It has a sordid history that once begun is hard to turn away from.

Oh, and the young Republican who said folks like me were mass murderers……..He graduated from Hillsdale.

Generosity and trust 2016 and on Aug. 29, 1942

I mentioned the magnanimity and solidarity of Duluth’s students yesterday particularly at Denfeld with its post-it note campaign started by its student rep on the Duluth School Board Johanna Unden. Today the DNT has another wonderful story confirming the class and thoughtfulness of our students, this time at East High. Shanze Hayee, a freshmen, found other students to join her in wearing a hijab an Islamic scarf that makes many Westerners nervous.

I’ve made much of my Grandfather, George Robb, in this blog. I’d like to share a letter I just received from his old Alma mater, Park College, in Missouri yesterday. It comes from the time following Pearl Harbor when American-Japanese were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. My grandfather was asked by the college’s president if it would be wise to enroll some of the Nisei as students during this time of war. Here is what he wrote:

Here’s an enlarged image:

Rhinocerous

Rhinocerous

Whether President Elect will attempt to rule like an autocrat remains to be seen. He ran as a demagogue. I expect that he will attempt to persuade the public as a demagogue when things aren’t going his way. I hope I’m wrong.

In any event I think this NY Times piece demonstrates my thinking. Contrast the current Republican President Elect with my grandfather’s Republicanism in the previous post to get a sense of how deep my feeling’s run.

Veterans Day 2016

These were given to me on Veteran’s Day when the Philip Billard VFW Post 1650 of Topeka, Kansas, honored George Robb on the 99th anniversary of Armistice Day. I gave this speech for the occasion:

I would like to begin by thanking Andy Olson for inviting me to speak on this Veterans Day in memory of my grandfather George Robb a humble recipient of the Nation’s Medal of Honor. For years I have wanted to write a book about my grandfather. And this week in Topeka while rifling through the archives of the Kansas State Historical Museum I have discovered so much new information that I think that my wish will be far more likely to become reality.

My grandfather began a short lived diary upon setting out to New York City for embarkation to the trenches of World War 1. It began like this:

“On the 28th of December 1917 the author of this diary arrived in New York City over the Pennsylvania line.”

“He left his home in Salina Kansas on the morning of December 19th at 2 o’clock a.m. He could not help but wonder as he set forth for the station WHEN he would see that home again and what experiences he would meet with in the meantime but he could not help but feel that whatever they might be he would move equal to them – he MUST move equal to them for his for his home folks sent him forth, with expectation and full confidence that he would be a real Soldier and Home Folks are under no circumstances to be disappointed.”

I knew my grandfather was a very big deal starting at a very tender age when I would fall and scrape my knee and come to my mother crying. She would tell me “Harry, you’re grandfather was shot in the war and he didn’t cry.”

As time passed I would grow in awe of his reputation for courage, honesty, modesty and one other quality I had only heard about from my Mother – George Robb’s ability to write a good letter. Until Andy Olson arranged this little gathering I hadn’t read more than one example of such. Over the past 2 days I have copied a thousand of them at the Kansas state archives all left to the state by my Mother Georganne and her sister Mary Jane.

I will read one of them to you at the conclusion of this speech.

One of the first lessons I learned from my grand father was of humility. You can’t read any account of my Grandfather in the newspapers without their mentioning that he didn’t want any fuss made about his Medal of Honor. If I ever had any doubts about his worthiness they have been laid to rest after several month’s reading and research. In my estimation  George Robb was eminently  worthy of the Medal of Honor that was bestowed upon him.

Although I do not have time to elaborate now I’ll mention 4 related moments of his life and Kansas experience. 1. His next door neighbor in Assyria Kansas in childhood was an escaped slave. 2. He served as a white officer in the storied 369th Infantry a unit whose soldiers were composed of African American soldiers. 3. His study of history was such that he understood better than almost anyone else the role that African-Americans have played in defending this nation. And lastly, While living in Topeka his grandson (speaker points to himself) was one of the first to experience the new world after Brown vs. Board of Education when Loman Hill Elementary welcomed the students from the segregated Buchanon Elementary. All of these circumstances concerning my Grandfather have played a large part in my life and my thoughts and have continued so to this day.

If you check the files at the Historical Society you will find the speech that George Robb delivered to Topeka’s famous Saturday Evening Literary Club written about the time that Harry Truman integrated the United States armed forces.

He laid out all of the arguments that have been given by white politicians to dismiss the ability of African Americans to fight in the armed forces. He knocked them aside one by one. And of course there was his service in the trenches and his first-hand observation of his fellow black countrymen as they faced death at the hands of a determined enemy.

My grandfather was a man of his time as well as a man ahead of his time. I believe that he was trying to tell his fellow white Topekans to be comfortable at the prospect of black men serving with their sons in the United States military.

To reassure his audience he suggested that African-Americans were not yet equipped to be officers but that was years ago. Today, I can’t help but imagine my grandfather looking down from heaven much gratified to see that the Commander in Chief of today’s Armed Forces is half African-American just as I am gratified  that, like me, President Obama’s mother was a Kansan and a white one at that. 

In light of our nation having endured one of its most divisive presidential elections I should mention one more thing about my grandfather. He liked Democrats even while he did everything he could to make sure they wouldn’t make a hash of the nation or the state of Kansas.

All of us would benefit from George Robb’s example as we move into the future. Much remains to be done to heal our wounds just as it was the case in my grandfather’s boyhood with Jim Crow and the denial of voting rights to most African Americans.

Upon returning this week to bury myself in the state’s archives concerning George Robb I had a couple of other things on my wish list. I wanted to visit my paternal grandmother’s old grade school now the sight of the Brown vs Board of Education National Historic Site.  I only got there with 25 minutes to spare of their opening hours yesterday. As brief as that stop was I was brought to tears listening to the voices of hate I remember  from my childhood coming from some of our Nation’s political leaders broadcast from a powerful display. In many ways they were tears of satisfaction comparing the state of America today with the conditions in my grandfather’s lifetime.

As you veterans know the integration of America’s military has had no small role in our progress.

As I  left the Historic Site I craved a dinner at Bobo’s Drive Inn which I remember fondly from my childhood. On the way to that restaurant I passed by the Stormont Vale Hospital where my brother and sister were born. As I approached the hospital I could see a dozen police vehicles lights flashing hugging the side of 8th Street. On the other side of the street people were holding up cell phones taking movies. Of course, I had to crane my neck to see. I saw a man the color of one of the non commissioned soldiers in the 369th Infantry lying on the curb surrounded by a dozen policeman. I did not watch the news last night so l do not know what transpired. It was a sobering reminder of the progress we have yet to achieve today.

At the beginning of this little speech I told you many of the reasons why my grandfather, George Robb, is worthy of the honor bestowed on him today 99 years after the end of World War 1. I told you I’d always heard he wrote a damn fine letter. Yesterday I read parts of a great many damn fine letters. I’d like to leave you with the letter he wrote to my mother who was a newlywed living with her husband in Arkansas City where I would be born about one year later.

This letter was a revelation to me. I have read many of the speeches my grandfather wrote and they were academic, proper and forbidding. I never got a letter quite like this and I can’t imagine many other fathers writing a letter to their daughters shortly after their marriage quite like this one. I hope you enjoy it.

But first I should preface this letter with this information. This was 1949. My Rock ribbed Republican grandfather had endured 20 years of Democratic Leadership by Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. He hated it. And yet as my mother told me George Robb liked Missouri’s Democrat Harry Truman. It was a different age. Here’s the letter:

Mrs. Dan M. Welty 
501 North B Street
Arkansas City, Kansas

Dear Mrs Welty,

I take my Pen in Hand to indulge in some congratulations. I congratulate you upon having successfully navigated 21 years of democratic rule. With all those years upon your shoulders you should have the wisdom of a hoot owl.

I congratulate you upon being the daughter of Mrs. Robb and the sister of the globe-trotting Mrs. Sage.

I congratulate you that your father has not been in jail recently.

I congratulate you upon having a handsome husband. Feed him well so that he may remain sleek and and pleasing to the eye.

If there is anything else upon which I should congratulate you, let me know and I will be glad to fill in the gaps.

Your aunt Mae recently underwent a very romantic experience. One of the nights when it was about 6 below, at 4 o’clock in the morning her telephone rang. She got out of bed and paddled over the icicles in her bare feet to the phone. On the other end of the line and inebriated voice said, “Is Dorothy there?” Your aunt said, “To whom do you think you are talking?” The Jolly chap replied “Wake up the other girls. I have a couple of friends who want to be entertained.”

I do not exaggerate when I say that “Madam” Peppmeyer poked his eyes out of the phone and then threw scalding water upon him.  In fact, her vocabulary became so heated that the next morning the company found two or three telephone posts burned to the ground. I also congratulate you on your aunt, but it would seem to me that that was rather an abrupt and unsympathetic way to greet romance. No doubt had your aunt been sweet twenty-one instead of seventy-six she would have been a bit coy with the poor chap.

On the morning of the 10th, I will stand up your mother and Edith and have them sing “Happy birthday” to you.

Sincerely yours,

Pop

May we all face our uncertain  future with such good cheer. That will be a little easier knowing that the defenders of our Nation’s military are composed of such as George Robb. I thank you all for your service and for remembering on this 99th Armistice Day one of your best and our nation’s best, my Grandfather 1st lieutenant, George Seanor Robb.

Not a fan of Hillary

I can always count on my Buddy to dis my digs at the GOP: My Buddy thinks I’m “tribal.”

From: “Your Buddy”
To: “Harry Welty”

Sent: Fri, 9 Sep 2016 04:32:41 -0500
Subject: Mongering, Fish, War, Clinton, take your pick | lincolndemocrat.com

Yeah, Harry, take your pick.
Regarding http://lincolndemocrat.com/?p=17515, see Trump Aces Forum; Clinton Looks Pathetic, by Dick Morris, at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0916/morris090916.php3. But what does a former political advisor to Bill Clinton, know?

Who can pick ‘em?

[your Buddy]

To which I replied:

Buddy,

Dick Morris is a smart man but a little like Anthony Weiner. His petard got hoisted when he bragged to a prostitute or a girlfriend about his connections to President Clinton and the world found out about it. I don’t remember the details but it was something like that. Ah. Got to love Google. Here’s a sample: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/local/longterm/tours/scandal/morris.htm

In more recent years I’ve read his prognostications and read a lot of self serving spin in them. He was a GOP consultant before his fling with Clinton and now he’s back in the GOP fold – sort of.

In this case Morris’s analysis isn’t much different than mine. We each saw what we wanted to see. But in Morris’s case he has to make sure he impresses the folks who will hire him again to give them political advice. The people likely to hire him will be Trumpians, of course. If he was in the pay of Hillary he could turn the tables on Trump. I’d call that an AC-DC consultant – not all that different from an attorney for that matter.

Whatever my motives they are not mercenary. Its hard to be a fan of Hillary but she doesn’t scare the shit out of me or offend my intelligence – my scruples maybe – but not my intelligence. She worked hard to be worthy of the Oval Office. Trump has worked hard to polish up his crass to make it look like brass. Of course, if he was really a billionaire he would be gold and not just an amalgam of copper and zinc. We’ll just have to wait till he releases his taxes to see if he’s lied about his fortune.

Harry

Republicans for Putin

I had heard the last of Robert Reich’s seven points but not the first six. The sixth is interesting because the GOP platform means nothing to Trump. After the conventioneers wrote in a plank wishing gay familial rights they cheered him when he wished them away in his windy convention speech. He was so surprised he thanked them. Their plank was one he had intended to ignore anyway and it turned out not to mean that much to the conventioneers either. However, Trump did weigh in on the platform to back away from defending the Ukraine against Russian military operations. I find it surreal that the GOP – the party of Joe McCarthy – is letting down its guard against a guy straight out of the Manchurian Candidate.

Here are the last two of Reich’s list of Russian/Trump entanglements:

6. The Trump Camp was totally indifferent to the Republican Party platform, with one exception: They changed the party platform to eliminate assistance to Ukraine against Russian military operations in eastern Ukraine. Not incidentally, this is the single most important issue to Putin.
7. Trump is also suggesting the US and thus NATO might not come to the defense of NATO member states in the Baltics in the case of a Russian invasion — another important issue to Putin.

I presume that the Clintonistas know all this and are sure it will turn voters away from Trump even while Putin (may have)
sicced Russia’s cyber security onto the Democratic Party to reveal the unsurprising information that its insiders were greasing the wheels for Hillary to thwart Bernie. Good thing this may have been Putin’s work. If an American President had authorized such an operation he/she might have been impeached and removed. Its much safer to get the intel from a source like the KGB or whatever Russia now calls it.

Here is the rest of Reich’s list not that it will dissuade Republicans tribally inclined to vote for their party’s candidate even if he has little but contempt for the religious convictions so many of them place above loyalty to nation.

Mondale lauds Reagan

From my Buddy:

http://millercenter.org/oralhistory/interview/walter_mondale:

Martin

I’m curious, as someone who has run for President and has served as Vice President, did your feelings about your average fellow citizen change as a result of these experiences?

Mondale

I told somebody afterwards that I think I would have voted for Reagan if I weren’t running, because he is a nice guy. He never was mean to me. I was never mean to him, and look at that campaign. It was a pleasant year, I think, for Americans. I think we ended up a united country, and so I could see why the average American liked the guy. They thought he was stable and good. They had a lot of memories about Carter and me that weren’t very good from the tough times we’d had, and that was a cloud over my campaign. Even though I could explain it, people don’t all hold doctorate degrees in political science and sort out this stuff. They have to deal with moods and feelings and tendencies, and he persuaded them that it was morning in America, feeling good, and it worked.

My Mom always told me you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Of course, no one ever censured her.

Among Florida’s other exotic species

It was gratifying to get one last look at the Palm Beach Post before I spend the rest of my day in the air returning to Duluth. Among other things I read a revealing story from the Post about two of the Republicans top three polling candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson. Not only do they both live in Palm Beach County (Jeb Bush lives elsewhere in Florida) but the two of them are in the process of undermining each other. Carson is hurting “The Donald” in the humility and faith department and Trump is trying to take out the good Doctor, as he has all of the other GOP candidates, in his St. Valentines Day fashion. In this case its with the hot button issue of the moment – “fetal tissue research.”

One last unedited political reverie…

… before the Duluth Shool Board election season kicks off

When I get back to Duluth from my Florida sojourn I’ll stick to school board business but that’s a few days off yet. Getting away from it all doesn’t really put it out of mind but does offer distance which can give one a healthy sense of perspective.

For some folks in Duluth my reputation as a Republican, freighted as that is with so many associations – the NRA, State’s Rights, Union busting, Moral Majority, Anti-choice, has always left me suspect even though my Republicanism was the polar opposite of these associations. That’s not true of all of them. Mike Jaros, who Republicans considered the next door neighbor of a commie when I arrived here in 1974, has become a fan. Today he laments that the GOP doesn’t have more folks like me in it despite the fact I ran against him twice in 1976 and 1978. Not that politics wasn’t rough and tumble then. It just wasn’t quite like recent years crusade mentality. It didn’t hurt that I called him up in 1976, told him was going to run against him, and then asked if we could have a cup of coffee together. I’ve never forgotten our conversation. He had roomed as a freshman legislator with my next door neighbor in Mankato, Dave Cummiskey. He probably didn’t know what to make of me when I told him that I’d gone door to door for Democrat Dave in 1972. That was also the year I declared myself a Republican. The Republican Dave ran against was growing senile but even back then that didn’t necessarily undermine party loyalty.

Since I filed as an independent candidate for Congress in 1992 I’ve pretty much been a man without a party although after that brief heresy I came back into the Republican fold. It helps me understand the ties that keeps today’s Democrats and Republicans from straying. Straying feels almost like family disloyalty.

So, today I read the Palm Beach Post’s scathing criticism of Florida Governor Rick Scott’s administration. Scott was a controversial nominee of the party after his company was given the biggest fine by the Federal Government for medicare fraud – $1.7 billion dollars.

Bear that in mind when you read today’s PBP editorial. The editorial gives a thumbnail sketch of 5 major Scott Administration appointees who resigned under “a cloud.” I kept thinking about how appalled my Republican Dad would have been to think this fellow was a Republican when I read it.

Dad got the political bug in junior high. I don’t know why. He made up lists of candidates for his parents to vote for at election time. He took particular umbrage to Boss Pendergast of St. Louis who’s corrupt administration lay just beyond Dad’s Independence Missouri doorstep. This was the late 1930’s when the GOP was still populated by small town progressives who decried corruption. To get a good sense of the era that produced such people I recommend Doris Kerns Goodwin’s Bully Pulpit about Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. That was a generation before my Dad was born and it was interrupted by World War I, the Roaring Twenties and Prohibition but those events left a firm imprint on the Grand Old Party of my Father’s time.

My Dad’s father in law, George Robb was born two generations earlier. An escaped slave lived next door to his family home in Assaria, Kansas. When Larry Lapsley died George’s razor strapp Dad, Thomas Robb came back muttering darkly about the evils of slavery after having helped prepare the ex slave’s body for burial. Although my Grandfather never dared ask his father what affected him so he gave a speech about Lapsley to a bunch of business types in the 1940’s or 50’s in which he speculated that Lapsley might have been castrated which was a simple agricultural practice of the slave era when children were sold away from their mothers and their fathers were treated like steers. (Made eunuchs to control breeding) After the Civil War tens of thousands of freed slaves traveled the countryside searching out lost (sold) loved ones.

When my Grandfather Robb was a boy the GOP was very much the “Party of Lincoln.” It had calved into two portions one financed by the great plutocrats of the age and the other by small farmers and businessmen being bled dry by the depredations of monopolies like the Railroads. Sadly but not surprisingly neither of these interests much worried about the fate of freed slaves after Reconstruction came crashing to a halt in the aftermath of the 1876 election. Black interests were sold down the river again and the nail in the coffin followed with the big business Supreme Court’s 1896 ruling, two decades later, in Plessy vs. Fergusson.

I was born in 1950 four years before Plessy was overturned by the Supreme Court led by a liberal Republican Earl Warren whose picture I saw when I went to my swimming lessons. It was on an “Impeach Earl Warren” Billboard. My swimming teacher (and next door neighbor) built a pool in his backyard shortly after the Holiday Inn told him he couldn’t use their pool for Red Cross instruction anymore unless he barred black children from the lessons. That was the beginning of my era of Republicanism. It’s been several era’s actually as John Birchers’ and Dixiecrats flooded the party and then the “me” generation’s now aging cohort smoked doobies through the Vietnam War; latched onto the Moral Majority; then championed Reagan’s “big tent” Republicanism before the party was downsized by purging RINO’s like me in favor of the PTL Club of Pat Robertson and business leaders like Rick Scott who knew how to make a buck and spend them to win public office with all the official GOP talking points.

Even if the heirs of Mike Jaros look on me with suspicion I can’t help myself or my blog. I hate talking points whether they come from political operatives like Roger Ailes of Fox News or sore winners of the Red Plan who would rather assassinate the character of folks who question them rather than own up to the disappointments of their excessive spending. Remember that when you drive by one of our new temples to education over the crappiest streets in Minnesota.

Ohhh that persistant gadfly…..

A riposte:

Harry:

But the Koch Brothers are not unique in their “Advertisement buying”, relative to Democratic financial contributors. So, “more accurate”, would not make your such characterization fair. But partisans seek demons, don’t they?

[Your Buddy]

My Reply:

Buddy,

Fair and legal are often in opposition.

As for accuracy, it’s always relative whether it’s your accuracy or mine.

Harry

The gadfly’s gadfly bites my haunches again

From: [Harry’s Buddy]
Date: 05/04/2015 7:01 PM (GMT-06:00)
To: Harry Welty
Subject: A letter on my making an ass of myself at lincolndemocrat.com

Harry:

From http://lincolndemocrat.com/?p=13375#more-13375:

I’ve never had much truck for those would subvert our election processes through misinformation, vote rigging or vote buying on the scale of the Koch Brothers.

The Koch Brothers buy votes? Pray tell how that happens; and if it does, whether and how such behavior is peculiar to the Koch Brothers. And you complain that Art Johnston’s character is being assassinated?

I suggest that you damage your credibility when you resort to bullshit.

[Your Buddy]

My Reply:

Buddy,

That was an ill considered phrase. “Advertisement buying” would have been more accurate than vote buying.

I wrote this letter month’s ago to have an arch liberal critic of mine back off her attack on me. Altering my text after the fact would have been dishonest. I was pretty sure that she would have regarded the Koch boys much like I do – as multi billionaires with too much financial leverage in the ideological arena for the Nation’s well being. I should have said that but didn’t.

That, however, wasn’t the chief point of my letter. It was human frailty and foibles. I guess you could say my overstatement where the Koch’s are concerned is but another example of that.

Harry

Don’t count the GOP out.

An interesting post from Andrew Sullivan linking to a John Judis and his analysis.

I think the Tea Party and the old social issues coalition will fade a bit and the RINO torture might even abate. Should this happen I might peek under Grand old Party’s tent myself to see if it could stretch enough to find room for me – an Obamacan.

Republican rebirth?

Our former Governor, Tim Pawlenty, who seemed pained to throw red meat at the Republicans he was courting in his failed bid for the Presidential nomination now shows in his retiring years that the red meat has turned rancid.

According to Don Davis’s Capitol Chatter Pawlenty said this:

“The Republican Party, I think, is going to need newer leadership, more dynamic leadership and leadership that’s genuinely interested in earning the support of those groups (it now does not serve) and has policies and the ability to go out and market and earn the support of those groups,” he told USA Today. –

Many months ago my eight loyal readers must have been astonished when I wrote that I might once again begin attending Republican precinct caucuses. After eight years attending DFL caucuses and being impressed at how much the Democrats venerated Abraham Lincoln. I think I need to return with some of the Democrats yeasty Lincoln starter to see if I can bake a little sourdough once again in the Grand Old Party.

Goodness knows I don’t expect to be greeted with open arms after six years of expressing my dismay with Republicans. Don’t believe me? Just check the endless posts in “God’s Own Party” (619 posts) or “Good Republicans.” (132 posts)

After twenty years of being maligned for being a RINO I think it may be time to put my alleged horn to use.

Hummingbird and Advil

As the day began to dim I was looking out at our garden while washing the pots and pans. I saw a familiar streak zip past a bunch of pink petunias. We’ve been waiting in vain for hummingbirds all summer. I scrubbed furiously as I searched the garden. Then sure enough a ruby throat-ed hummer hovered over the flowers. I dried my hands and hurried into the living room to tell Claudia that all her work planting hummer food had finally paid off.

I was going to hurry up after the dishes to enter this breath taking news into a blog post but I was so tired I laid down for half an hour to rest. When I got up I took an advil to sooth or mask the stiffness from carrying a forty pound grandson for a mile on my back during today’s %K Amberwing ColorRun. Or something like that. My daughter had bought a set of family tickets and there was one left over for me.

I’d planned to visit my Mother and sing to her. Ditto yesterday. Didn’t work out. We had grandkids and a wedding reception most of yesterday and today’s 5K. I was wearing jeans and had no inclination to join but I’m a sucker for a good time and by the time I’d parked the car I had reconsidered. While walking to find my family I dictated the beginnings of a new Reader Weekly column into my amazing Samsung phone. I’d brought my computer to type it in during the run but with the Samsung that wasn’t necessary. I just dictated a long email and sent it to myself.

Then I began my slog. Tanner and I were in the fourth wave of the several thousand runner. I kept up with him and then after a mile he realized he was thirsty. This slowed him down as I kept assuring him there would be water ahead. Instead we got profusions of rainbow colored chalk dust tossed on us. I carried him much of the way home in the heat and sang to keep up my good temper. Must have missed the singing for my Mom.

Gee, this is strictly Harry’s Diary stuff. I make it a general policy not to post pictures of my family in the blog. I write enough personal stuff in here without singling them out visually. Trust me I’ve got the pictures to prove we were a rainbow sherbet when we got home. We all took long baths or showers to scrub ourselves back into normalcy.

My PVC gave me a call after Claudia started grilling a six pound chicken – singing chicken she calls it. PVC (who really deserves a name reported on the latest phoning. He’s gotten to the end of my list and added quite a number of lawnsign locations for me. He needed a ride to Wallgreens for some items. (He lives without a car) It was a good chance to catch up as I’ve been hiding behind grandparenthood for most of the last week.

I grabbed one of my old books from 1992. I’d published over 5,000 of them with a mind to sell them to finance my campaign that year against Congressman Oberstar. I sold 300 and only began recycling all the clutter a few years ago. I’d set another 200 of my rapidly dwindling pile of them out to recycle and they had gotten rained on. I plucked a damp one out of a box to toss to my PVC. I told him the book was about me and that it was written before I was really ready to write or publish a book. That caught his interest.

To my surprise he texted back an hour later to tell me he’d been impressed with the speech in the book that I had delivered to a booing Republican audience. I thanked him.

My PVC has no clue how unorthodox my politics has been through the years. It seems to endear me to him. That’s fine with me especially if he keeps making phone calls on my behalf.

Decent and Boring old white guys…

…my kind of Republicans.

Sadly, they were drummed out the the GOP years ago. Here’s a story about one of the old GOP President’s I liked a lot long before the GOP adopted the Dixiecrat’s ethos and methods of operation to limit the vote.

PS. Now that our trip to the Black Hills is over I’ve resumed reading the Warmth of Other Suns to Claudia. Got another 75 pages read yesterday. What a good read it is.