The “decisive ideological struggle”

All the Bushies are going around trying to convince a dubious public that the war in Iraq ranks up there with World War II or the Cold War. Bush has called it the “decisive ideological struggle.” What tripe. He ought to read a little history.

I was listening to historian, David McCullough, yesterday and he said a couple things worth considering. For one he noted that unlike any other war time period we have it pretty good on the homefront today. McCullough noted with displeasure that our President hadn’t asked the American people to sacrifice.

I’ve got my grandmother’s old ration book from World War II. Americans sacrificed back then. George Bush just asked us to keep spending money. Its only the troops who have been asked to sacrifice.

The scattered Muslims who are conspiring against America don’t come close to Joseph Stalin’s or Adolph Hitler’s police states. The Third Reich and the USSR both had resources that were as great or greater than those of the United States. Osama bin Ladin is hiding in a cave for crying out loud.

The ideological struggle is this. Freedom and material wealth, vs. a medieval and narrow interpretation of often ambiguous religious ideas. This is no contest. The vast majority of the Islamic population, who we have succeeded in alienating, would much prefer westernization to the veil.  The best Bin Ladin and crew can hope for is that America keeps stomping around cluelessly and making more enemies of young hot heads.

The other thing McCullough said was that we owe it to our nation to act respectfully toward our President. He didn’t say we had to like George Bush. He didn’t say we couldn’t point out that he was wrong. He didn’t even say he had to respect him. McCullough said we should treat him respectfully.

Too bad the Republicans set such a low bar on this standard towards Bill Clinton.

Radio Ad Text Debate

If you’ve listened to the ad that the previous post linked to its worth considering the debate we had over its content. It went something like this.

I came up with the text which repeated the campaign website three times and spelled the name W-E-L-T-Y once. There wasn’t really enough time in 30 seconds (there never is) to get any subtle points across other than the most general eg “we love apple pie and the flag.” In my case I mentioned fiscal responsibility and something “about getting along.”

The getting along stuff was gentler than my original text which was pretty biting. It dealt with the definition of insanity. Mel wanted it softened to sound more statesmen-like. I’m getting a lot of this from Mel because he’s fed up with the bickering in Washington. Who isn’t?

Well, after a round of email and various proposals I left the computer to run some errands. I had to pick up samples from my printer and some envelopes for my first major fundraising letter. On my way home it ocurred to me that the only reason for the ad was to draw attention to the website so I mentally added more references to the name Welty and its correct spelling. Two weeks ago Mel had already warned me that the numeral 4 would be a problem in radio ads so I purchased the alternate domain name with a “for” in it for people who couldn’t hear the difference between 4 and for. (That’s everyone, of course)

If anyone hears the ad and tries to find the website as a result they will be much more likely to type in the correct address. W E L T Y F O R C O N G R E S S (dot) O R G because now its OK to type in a “for.”

Other than this the ad is piffle. I wish I had fifty thousand dollars to blast my piffle over the air waves.

India didn’t call and other priorities

and thank goodness it didn’t. I had too much to do. India and I evidently got our wires crossed but I had so much to do I didn’t miss the two hours of tech help I would have had to endure.

I had to give Chris authority to sign my checks while I’m gone and that took some gofering. I ran to the City Clerk to vote by absentee ballot. I’m not telling! I’ve got thank you cards from Mel to belatedly send to my early supporters.

One nice thing about a small campaign committee is that it is very flexible. I, as the candidate, retain veto authority but we get things done in a hurry like the radio ads.

We had to give up on some advertising that we don’t have the money for but Mel is working on setting up candidate appearances before a variety of groups.

Tomorrow Claudia goes to the Twin Cities for a meeting of the Minnesota Safety Council. I’ve decided to travel with her to visit my Mother. Mom can barely remember me now but I tell her stories about her childhood which still makes her smile. Because I’m leaving for a two week vacation I won’t see her for a while. I’ve got lots to do but I know my priorities.

 

 

Radio

No posts until now because Mel, Chris and I have been busy. I had a secret meeting this morning about a big project I hope to have undertaken in early October. I want to keep my rivals on edge so I won’t spill the details yet but I think it will wake some people up.

As a result of that meeting it was highly recommended that I buy radio time now during the primary season while the political ad rates are at their lowest. I hadn’t thought about that so it meant writing and recording an ad pronto since I will soon be in Denmark.

Mel, Chris and I fussed over the final product and I must say I’m pleased. You can hear it on this page of my website.

One more call from India

I’ve just turned on my firewall again. I turned it off to make changes to my campaign website. A call from another Indian technician helped me figure out that, for the time being, I can’t access my website because the firewall can tell a stranger (another Indian techie) is in the process of trying to repair some software. I’ve spent way too much of two days on the phone trying to get things fixed.

At least I found out I was the only person in God’s creation unable to view my websites. Others are seeing them just fine. After a lot of aggravation I’ve gotten the chance to clean them up a bit. Tomorrow I’m expecting one more call. If that doesn’t solve my problems I’ll just tell the tech to let it go. I’ve already figured out a way to fix the problem even if it is awkward.

I’ve only got a few days to get things squared away before I go on vacation.

Good night.

Loose Cannons

You probably noted the response from Mel a few posts back explaining my technical difficulties yesterday and the origin of his title “official loose cannon.” We stand on formality here at the Welty campaign. If there are going to be any loose cannons around here other than me they will have to be “official.”

Racing to Denmark

I’m trying to tidy up my campaign before my wife and I leave on Labor Day for Denmark. I’ve got to press Minnesota Debate to allow me to join the debate with Oberstar and Grams. I’ve got to get my first serious fundraising letter sent out. I’ve got to finish my financial disclosure forms for the Clerk of the House of Representatives. I’ve got to clean up my website where I created way too many pages explaining who Harry Welty is. I’ve got to prepare for my meeting with Mel and Chris at which time I will hand over the reigns of the campaign.

I’ve also got to get ready for Denmark. We purchased a stay in a thatched roof, country home in the Jutland, Peninsula last year at a fundraiser for the Bong World War II Memorial in Superior, Wisconsin. Richard Bong was a Wisconsin flyer who earned the nickname “Ace of Aces” in WW II.

The home was offered at the last minute by a couple in Duluth. I’ll be taking our laptop and a phone to keep in touch if necessary. When I return I’ll have the most important six weeks of the campaign left to get myself elected. Its an awkward time to leave a campaign but I decided before embarking on this that I wasn’t going to let campainging interfere with our home.

Answer Bus

Today will be a much better day if the computer doesn’t die on me. I’ve got a long list of things to do but most of them are at least half-done so its just a matter of tidying up.

I’ve got a couple emails waiting from Mel and Chris about a meeting we are planning later in the week at which I will hand over blog and campaign duties to them.

I’ve been agonizing for the past couple days about the statistics for my websites. Because my web host updated their system its taken me five days to find the new stats. There were hundreds of them before. Now there are thousands. They will take some getting use to, but I discovered that my pageviews at www.welty4congress are still increasing, and this was an interesting: 31% of my visitors are marking the site on their browsers as a favorite place.

I found a new site that had linked to this blog called Answer Bus. Its a new search engine which kicks back seven or eight quotes from other Internet sources in response to very specific questions like “How many stomachs does a cow have?” Check it out.

Giving Blood

It’s been a tough day but I’m finally back. I’d let my computer get too cluttered with applications that gummed up the RAM memory. I’ve got things running again but it’s been a long day of waiting as my computer seized up again and again. Thank goodness I got it running again because after a week’s silence India will be calling tomorrow to fix that long standing technical issue that has caused me no end of problems. Different problems!

At least I did some useful things in between fighting my computer. As I mentioned earlier I read for Lighthouse for the blind. Its only my third time and today’s partner Gloria made me be the lead reader as we read local papers over the radio for folks who can’t read for themselves. Monday is always a thin day for articles because the Duluth Trib is so thin. After we left Gloria said she’d vote for me.

My computer was still frozen when I returned so after fiddling with it uselessly I was grateful for a call from the Memorial Blood Bank. They told me they desperately needed A positive blood. I hate giving blood but escaping my technical problems was a relief. They told me I have four pints to go before I’m up to five gallons. That’s when my name will be added to their plaque of big time donors. I’m a piker by comparison with the rare folks who’ve given twenty gallons.

I got some other chores done while waiting for my computer to heal itself. I called the Clerk of the House of Representatives for details on filling out my financial disclosure form. I couldn’t print anything out with the computer on the fritz but it looks like that difficulty will now be solved.

And I might have something to report too. I’m having an insert printed for a fundraising letter. I went whole hog and ordered 5,000 copies even if I only send out 1,000 initially. As Mel said, there are a lot of people pulling for me. They just want to make sure I’m not a Don Quixote before they commit their time and money.

I don’t blame them. That’s how I feel about giving blood.

Why an Official Loose Cannon?

“Official Loose Cannon” seems like a wierd job title, how did you guys come up with it?

Harry and I were sitting in Jitters discussing where I fit into his campaign. I was groping for a title that would encapsulate how I look for ideas for spreading the word, research certain issues, and do grunt work like editing posts and some gofer work. Creative director seemed a bit presumptious, publicity director is really beyond my experience, and Chris is already campaign manager. Given my unpredictability the description “loose cannon” popped out of my mouth.

Harry responded with glee, “Official Loose Cannon!” So until my job has more focus, other than getting Harry elected, I will be doing things as I see they need to be done.

And one of the things to be done is remind you to visit the campaign web site to pass the word and to make a contribution. Printers and T-shirt makers don’t work for free.

– Mel

Harry’s computer rebelled

Harry asked me, Mel, to post a note that he won’t be entering so many blogs for awhile. His computer froze this afternoon and he’s working on getting things in order again. It is up and running but we all know how we have to look for all those things that may have gotten messed up.

– Mel, Official Loose Cannon

Bike paths for health

In an otherwise good story in the Star Tribune today Jim Oberstar unintentionally revealed how out of touch he is.

The column was about how he and Congressman Colin Peterson stand to be influential in the next Congress because of their seniority. Oberstar is the longest serving congressman in Minnesota history.

But Oberstar described how he was going to attack childhood obesity by funding more bike paths. 

“Oberstar said he wants to focus on battling obesity in school-age children by using federal transportation money to build more bike paths and sidewalks. He said Minnesota wouldn’t necessarily see an increase in road aid.”  

 

Oh Puhleese! Sure we’re raising a lot of coach potatos but the way to overcome this is to spend more money on physical education and stop subsidizing the foodstuffs that make kids fat – Sugar, Wheatflour and fruit drinks. I’d like to see Colin Peterson, the likely new Chairman of the Ag Committee, push for cuts in subsidies like that. The sugar beet farmers in his district would raise the roof.

If that’s the best thing we have to look forward to as Jim Oberstar adds another two years to his record tenure while we’ve got an eleven trillion dollar deficit he’s dotty. Now repaving some of our crumbling highways…. that makes sense. Too bad Oberstar has no interest in the priorities of the State Highway Department.

Mel’s Revenge

Mel has let me know in no uncertain terms that he didn’t much appreciate having me describe him as a Nervous Nellie. Uh oh. He’s the only guy with the password to this blog and I’m letting him take over on Labor Day when I go on vacation. I’m in trouble now.

[Harry, you exaggerate! It is my job as Official Loose Cannon to question my boss and come up with wild ideas that he may never accept. As to revenge, have you checked each and every entry you’ve posted?
– Mel]

Keeping the Clerk happy

I’ve spent six hours this evening filling out a financial disclosure form for the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Its absolutely necessary to monitor conflicts of interest but it’s one more reason that a lot of good people would avoid a run for Congress. No privacy. This form was not greeted with much enthusiasm by anyone in this household.

I’ve never paid a lick of attention to the considerable paperwork coming from my spouse’s workplace for retirement plans and benefits until today. Claudia told me I’d be on my own filling this thing out so I had to go through tons of paperwork as though I were filling out my taxes and do some research on unfamiliar things like Rabbi trusts. I’m a little rusty at this sort of thing. I gave up doing our taxes two years ago and I know our accountant is much better at it.

I think I’ve finally got a handle on this but I’ll put a call into the staff at the Clerk’s offices to go over a few questions tomorrow after I’ve finished my stint reading the news at the Lighthouse for the Blind.

 

Into every blog a little bug must fall

Today I’ve had great difficulty with my Internet sites. The Blog was off limits for several hours and so was the campaign website. My web host recently made some updates and I think that this could have knocked things out of whack.

One by one the problems have been sorted out through emails to the support staff, but the final one is still alive and kicking. All the navigation pages on the campaign site that allow visitors to move freely from one location to another have been erased. They may still be imbedded in the instructions; but if they are, they aren’t allowing the page to be displayed so that the navigation bars are visible. I hope this is resolved soon because I don’t wish to let my guests get too disoriented.  If that has meant you…..Well, I’m sorry.

Sheep and Wolves

I explained the difference between Jim Oberstar and Rod Grams to an interviewer today:

Rod Grams is a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing and Jim Oberstar is a sheep dressed in Wolf’s clothing.

Rod Grams was a rabidly, partisan, Republican wolf with a 97% Republican voting record who voted to remove a Democratic President for the flimsiest of reasons. Now he’s appealing to voters like a sheep upset with the nastiness in Congress that he helped start.

Jim Oberstar wants voters to think that he is a tough wolf looking out after their interests when in fact he’s been a back bencher for 32 years. In that time he’s never said boo in Congressional debates and he has been quick to do the bidding of whoever is in charge even at the expense of the Democratic Party as when he joined Tom DeLay to pass the Terri’s Law to whip up partisan Republicans around the nation and put Democrats on the defensive.

 

Press calling

Someone noticed my press release. I got a phone call from one of the district’s daily papers this afternoon and spent twenty minutes being interviewed. We had a delightful conversation. It really would be a shame to elect either of the big shots. What dreary fellows they are. If the story makes the Internet I’ll link to it. It could be tomorrow or next Sunday depending on how much more research the Editor decides to put into it.

I gave him a good analogy to describe the two incumbents. Check the next post above.