Category Archives: Good Republicans

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



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:


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.


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.

157 million dollar bailout?

A couple weeks ago the Duluth paper published an update on appeals to the state from the Duluth Teachers pension planners to bail them out since they had run short of the funds necessary to pay for the pensions of retired teachers. In part this shortfall came from not reducing payments soon enough as the economy tanked a mistake that fell only on the shoulders of the pension board of directors. The story said that the state had decided to plug the hole to the tune of six million dollars. That almost got my hackles up but I couldn’t tell if the payment was a one time payment or not. I didn’t mind a one year cash infusion but I wondered if the state was planning to expend this money for many years into the future. I was too busy to call and ask what the situation was but I had planned to post my question on the blog.

Now I know the answer. It came in the DNT when it republished the St. Paul Pioneer Press’s editorial on the subject. The answer is yes. For each of the next 25 years or so the state has agreed to plug DFRTA’s hole to the tune of $6.3 million annually. That means that our retired teachers could get a $157 million windfall to cover the poor decisions of their pension plan. Other pension plans will be getting similar bail outs and we will just have to wait to see what happens to the mother of all public pensions in Minnesota, PERA, with a projected $16 billion shortfall.

“…the remedies should come with a loud note of caution for the public: Public-employee pension funds are under the influence of politicians who, as they apply the remedies, have the power to do favors and solve problems with somebody else’s money: ours.

The Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement, which also approved $6.3 million per year in state aid for the plan for Duluth teachers, got what amounts to a reality check in testimony from retired Rockridge Elementary Principal Tom Threinen. He told lawmakers the additional contribution costs for the district will result in the loss of at least five teaching positions and make it harder to reduce class sizes and increase offerings, as both the Duluth News Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.”

I’ve commented before about pension plans most recently on the red ink in Illinois. One of the faults with democratic elections is the emphasis they put on today at the expense of tomorrow. In the last two decades of the war declared on moderate “RINO” republicans the consequence is that sane fiscal voices like Congressman Jim Leach of Iowa and many others have been killed off in GOP primaries by simple minded, short term strategists who have opted to push “pure” ideologically driven and dreadfully impractical candidates. The vacuum this has left in the vital center of American politics has fallen to Democrats like President Obama. Its still a huge vacuum.

Its hard to give any credit to the current GOP minority in the legislature because there aren’t many centrists left. Their current leaders describe the remnants of the Republican side of the legislative aisle as the “grownups.” I wish.

Decisions like this one to bail out overly ambitious and unsustainable pensions give all such pension boards an incentive to game the system knowing that poor and incautious investing could be bailed out by taxpayers. Its simply not fair and its not sustainable.

The pernicious effects of the GOP getting all Dixiecrat on the nation.

After inviting Southern Whites into the Party leading them to take it over and kick out distastful Republicans its worth pondering the results. The last post pointed out the new more war like GOP. This one is about one of the worst domestic mistakes the inflicted on the nation.

I used to call myself a Rockefeller Republican. Certainly in 1964 when he fell to Barry Goldwater I supported the New Yorker. Then 1968 happened and Tricky Dick Nixon ran a campaign to peel southern voters away from George Wallace. He did it by promoting “law and order.” To notherners it was a message to keep the drug addled college kids from rioting in the streets and to Southerners it meant keeping blacks out of sight. Rocky, who never gave up his wish to be President, became a hardliner in 1973 as this NPR story today relates.

It was a good liberal who took us from a nation of 300,000 convicts to a nation with 2 million largely non threatening druggies in costly prisons. He did it because that’s what Nixon and Reagan’s new southern strategy called for. Million of blacks have been put in prison and no longer can vote. It costs us a ton to keep them there. Its more expensive than putting them through public school but it keeps millions of blacks a few steps behind the rest of us law abiding white folks.

How Ironic that Rocky would have left the nation this inheritance. Experts saw its uselessness early on. Political operatives (especially GOP operatives) saw its political usefulness early on too. Guess which set of folks prevailed?

To honor my Grandfather can I even remain a Republican?

As i’ve repeated ad nauseum my Grandfather set me straight when I was in Junior High. He only voted for one Democrat and it was the worse decision of his life. He voted for Woodrow Wilson because he pledged to keep America out of War. By the time I was in junior High the damned Democrats had gotten America into four wars. WW1, WW2, Korea and Vietnam.

My Grandfather was a Kansas Republican and I heard his warning echoed in 1976 when Kansan and VP candidate Bob Dole debated Democrat VP Candidate Fritz Mondale. He inadvertently outraged veterans across America by saying Democrats started wars.

Since that time Republicans in office have started no less than three wars. Iraq One and Two and Afghanistan. They have out Woodrow Wilsoned the Democrats that my Grandfather warned me about. So should I honor my Grandfather by supporting Republians because of Grandfather’s experience with Democrats during his lifetime or support Democrats today because of my experience with Republican wars over the course of the last twenty years?

What if the “Pursuit of Pleasure” was in the Bill of Rights?

This is another irreverent thought I had during snow sculpting.

The Second Amendment’s defense has been financed by gun manufacturers for decades now much as the fight against nationalized health was financed by Doctors. The latter is no longer the case. Doctors have come to their senses and realize some sort of socialized medicine makes sense. Not so the National Rifle Association.

When I was a kid the NRA (gun manufacturers) warned that we needed our guns to thwart the Red Menace (Commies). Somehow all the gun owners would unite like the militias of old. When that argument paled it was the protection of the home from the much feared criminal class. We would need guns to protect our castles.

Now we need guns on our hips to protect us from predators in our midst. The NRA which has managed to sell as many guns as there are Citizens of the US wants us all armed in case a random shooter starts banging away. Boy would I love to be in a dark theater with a hundred well armed conceal and carriers when a lone gunman starts shooting up the place. Geez when a dozen police start shooting at a bad guy there’s no telling how many innocent citizens will get shot up in friendly fire.

Ah but we have a Second Amendment to make it impossible to rationally pull back from the arms race the NRA has helped foster. So what, I wondered, would the Tobacco Lobby have managed if the pursuit of happiness was a right. Tobacco makes people happy. The Pursuit Amendment would guarantee smoking rights and snoose rights. Efforts to curtail tobacco products would be dead in the water. Poor Big Tobacco. The needed an amendment.

Lincoln Day Dinners

Until Ronald Reagan the Republican Party used to hold Lincoln Day Dinners. They are out of fashion much as the Democrats no longer bother with Jefferson-Jackson Day dinners. FDR and Kennedy eclipsed the former and neither of them were slave owners. Times change. Damn shame about Lincoln though. He doesn’t change. He just gets deeper. Maybe Spielsberg’s movie will help reintroduce him. He loved Shakespeare and by God his Presidency was worthy of a couple of Will’s plays. Fitting, perhaps, that an actor should have been his assassin.

As I was sculpting this afternoon I fixated on Lincoln Day Dinners. I’ve threatened in recent posts to resume my association with the GOP. I’d be a bit like Marley’s ghost to Scrooge. It occurred to me that I could sponsor one and invite everyone who feels that they want to make some statement about having been disowned by the gate keepers of the Grand Old Party when it shrunk Ronald Reagan’s Big tent and limited its attendance to revivalists, speaking in tongues and folks who take for granted that their riches guarantee them a seat at the table. A few of us old timers might show up to demonstrate that our old loyalties die hard.

I organized one Lincoln Day Dinner back in College. We made some money although courting reluctant volunteers led to my punching a wall and breaking my hand.

I could promote similar Lincoln Day Dinners for Obamacons. When the Democrats really do dive off the wall of ultraliberalism a new saner less paranoid Republican Party could right the ship of state just like Abraham Lincoln did.

The deleterious inspiration of today’s GOP

I remember reading a review of Farlie’s book, Bite the Hand that Feeds You,” because it was such a great title. In 1980 he wrote this about the new conservative drift of the GOP under Ronald Reagan and the Moral Majority:

“The America which Europe fears is the America of the Reaganites. The America once of the Scopes trial; the America of prohibition; the America of ignorant isolationism. The America then of ‘better dead than red;’ the America of McCarthyism; the America of the last fundamentalists of the 1950s. The America now of the new evangelicals; the America of the Moral Majority; the America of a now ignorant interventionism; the America which can see homosexuals as a conspiracy; feminists as a conspiracy; perhaps even women as a conspiracy.

The America of fear. For it is in fear that the ungoverned and the unfree are doomed to live. And there was this America in control at Detroit. It is time that we reminded ourselves, and said aloud and more often, that it is from these people that nastiness comes. It is time that we pointed out to the neo-conservatives that democracy has never been subverted from the left but always from the right.

No democracy has fallen to communism, without an army; many democracies have fallen to fascism, from within. The Reaganites on the floor were exactly those who in Germany gave the Nazis their main strength and who in France collaborated with them and sustained Vichy. If the neo-conservatives cannot sniff danger, surely the rest of us can be alert.”

The GOP that is currently attempting to take down war hero and Republican dove Chuck Hagel is simply an amped up version of the party Farlie described thirty years ago. It is the deleterious inspiration for my latest snow sculpture which I should be able to finish tomorrow.

It’s not done but I can show you the little modeling clay model I perched on top of the Rebel flag to guide my sculpting.

I can’t guarantee it will even make it through the night since I’ve just given my detractors a head’s up. The sun will decompose it in a few days although it should be cold enough to remain through the weekend. I can imagine an ignorant Republican knocking it down as an insult to the Party. It is. I can also imagine an ignorant person knocking it down because they are too dimwitted not to realize it in no way exalts the Confederate battle flag.

A dozen cute titles have occurred to me. The GOP whistles Dixie is one. That’s ironic because one of the last wonderful anecdotes about Abe Lincoln is telling a jubilant crowd that he instructed a band to play Dixie at War’s end. I could also call it the Ascension of John Wilkes Booth – Republican martyr.

This year I have sculpted my two most meaningful sculptures. The Angel was deeply felt and this one reflects the frustration of my adult life. Forty frustrated years of working towards and pining for a rational Republican Party.

How the GOP loots Republicans

Its not just Fox commentator Sean Hannity raising money for veterans so that he and his family can live the high life and travel at no cost.

Its not just Glenn Beck pushing gold and getting paid mega bucks to do so.

Its all the so called “conservative” organizations rallying around the flag to raise money for themselves that annoys me. Their flag has a dollar sign on it. I guess that’s what it is to be a Republican these days.

Oh, and group think. Don’t forget group think. We can’t tolerate any heretics like independent-minded Chuck Hagel out there spoiling our group think.

George to Mitt – Don’t do it

George Romney wasn’t writing to his son. He was writing to Barry Goldwater objecting to what would become the South’s take over of the Republican Party.

First, as to your remarks in Jamaica concerning the possible realignment of the Republican and Democratic parties into “conservative” and “liberal” parties. Whatever the circumstances of the statement, you have indicated that you believe that might be “a happy thing.” I disagree.

We need only look at the experience of some ideologically oriented parties in Europe to realize that chaos can result. Dogmatic ideological parties tend to splinter the political and social fabric of a nation, lead to governmental crises and deadlock, and stymie the compromises so often necessary to preserve freedom and achieve progress. A broad based two party structure produces a degree of political stability and viability not otherwise attainable.

Here’s the whole letter. I recommend it to Mitt.
Continue reading

Obama Derangement Syndrome

My Buddy used to taunt me that me and my ilk suffered from Bush Derangement Syndrome. We were like the good Doctor who keeps writing screeds in the Reader Weekly who believes that the CIA was behind the planes that flew into the World Trade Towers.

Let me make this clear before I proceed any further. Most Americans don’t suffer from the latest edition of the Derangement Syndrome the one reserved for President Obama. Certainly the 12% who switched from Obama to Romney after the last debate did so because of the debate not because of any syndrome. But some people have it bad and some of them are in Congress.

Since the Day that Congressman Joe Wilson shouted “YOU LIE!” at Obama during an address to Congress its been apparent that the distaste for Obama has been so visceral that mere partisanship doesn’t explain it. Here are the considered words from another Republican, Jon Hubbard, (an Arkansas legislator) in a book he has just published:

“… will it ever become possible for black people in the United States of America to firmly establish themselves as inclusive and contributing members of society within this country?”

The conviction of such people is rock solid as when another Congressional Republican recently stood up for the Bible by proclaiming:

Georgia Rep. Paul Broun said in videotaped remarks that evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory are “lies straight from the pit of hell.”

Maybe, as my Buddy keeps insisting, I’m just a bigot for expressing such chagrin for the Current Republican Party’s politics. What else could you expect from a blogger like me who evolved from the pit of hell.

The Best GOP candidate available in 2012 – Pt 2

My Buddy who so often annoys me with the drivel from the bought-and-paid-for-GOP pundits redeemed himself big time this morning by sending me the explanation for why Mitt Romney was the best candidate the GOP could muster in 2012. The only sane GOP candidate this year Mitt was one of the last remnants of the defunct moderate wing party. To win he had to disguise his moderation to the point of making his mind as opaque as a black hole.

Why is this so? Because the GOP and its pundits have built their outhouses under the outhouse of the real leader of the party one whom they never dare cross or contradict.

This is the email from my Buddy. It was titled “Humor from the Oval Office.” The joke was told by Wyoming’s former GOP Senator Alan Simpson. One of the good Republican’s and sadly retired.

From Bob Woodward’s, The Price of Politics , regarding Obama’s selection of Senator Alan Simpson for the Bowles Simpson commission:

“Rush Limbaugh, he’s just going to say I’m sleeping with the enemy,” Simpson added. “Mr. President,” he continued, “that reminds me of a joke. A guy goes and buys a really expensive car, but takes it back to the dealer and says, “God damn it, I just spent $300,000 on this car and the radio doesn’t even work. And the dealer says, “No, no, you have to understand, you bought such an advanced car that your radio is the newest. Just say what you want to hear and it comes on the radio. You say jazz, and on comes jazz. You say country, and on comes the country station. The guy, once again really proud of his new purchase, drives off the lot and gets cut off by another driver. “Asshole! he yells, and Rush Limbaugh comes on the radio.”


…the Spielberg movie:

It would be nice if the Grand Old Party could see this movie (adapted apparently from Goodwin’s book Team of Rivals) and remember that Lincoln not Reagan was the father of the Republican Party.

Although Thaddeus Stevens didn’t make much of an appearance in Goodwin’ book I see one of the principal actors portrays the old radical. I think the book I just bought on him will be the next book I read. Stevens was the principal character in the Reconstruction of the South to follow Lincoln’s assassination. Its still not quite over although all the Johnny Rebs became Republicans.

No on can tell me that history doesn’t have a sense of humor.


In researching think tanks I noted that the PEW research center wasn’t on one list. I wanted to know if it counted as a partisan tank and opened up their web page where I saw a twelve question test to see whether one was a democrat or a republican. According to the test I was a very liberal Democrat. Ick! It was a very cursory examination but in today’s environment probably correct.

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When US politics wasn’t a blood sport

I just stumbled on this delightful exchange between Woody Allen and the arch conservative William Buckley. It took place in 1967 when the Vietnam war was ballooning out of control and Detroit had suffered bloody race riots. Despite the poison there could still be good humor between Democrats and Republicans. The last funny and goodnatured Republican conservative was Bob Dole. Sadly that’s ancient history.


It turns out that Republican mad bombers only support …

the minority in Israel who are mad bombers and that means an Israeli minority. Extremists always seem to gather in a posse together. That makes it all the easier to conduct a lynching.
It also turns out that the leader of the Israeli mad bombers mostly wants to weaken President Obama’s chances at reelection even if there is no telling how messed up he leaves the world and fouls up America’s interests. You have to read the first link in the link above to catch that. I can only conclude that the Israeli mad bomber wants the mayhem to boost his own political party’s chances of staying in power. So we Americans are being pressed to go to a third middle east war to let a minority supported mad bomber pick a fight for which Israel only gets a couple year delay in a possible Iranian production of a nuclear weapon……..Oh I can see why Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Mitt (to bomb or not to bomb) Romney want us to give Israel the go ahead to start a fight. Makes perfect sense.

This is pretty repellent stuff. For me there are many ironies. Here’s one. Ron Paul is a favorite with young Americans. So the GOP is not only busy alienating blacks, hispanics, pro-contraceptionists, union members, but its also alienating young white voters.

Here’s another irony. My Grandfather was as devout a Republican as you could have found in the 1960’s. When I was about twelve years old he gave me a memorable lecture about how Democrats always start wars suggesting that they couldn’t be trusted. The worms have turned.