Category Archives: elections

Would Obama seriously curb ruinous entitlements?

That is a million dollar question and I don’t have the answer to it. I have believed it to be true and have believed it was his inclination. I could be wrong and politics may drive him away from such a course if he determines short term political advantage is more important.

I have been pleased that a few brave Republicans began hinting that they would be grown up and negotiate the curbing of entitlements even if it meant putting some new taxes on the table. I was wrong to think that Republicans would dare stand up to the the fools who drive their party. That’s apparent from this letter which begins:

Dear Grover, Can I stick my nose any further up your underpants?

Ford and Rubin

On the earlier post Vic rightly comments:

“To say that what someone said is not true, is not synonymous with saying that that person is a liar. One can simply be wrong about what one says, which is not synonymous with being a liar.”

And I might add the reporter has inserted the worth “truth” which implies that one of them has engaged in deception.

Still, my suspicion, and it is just that, is that Rubin communicated his interest in succeeding Mitchell to Ford one way or another and that it was no secret among the staff. There is nothing wrong with ambition or candor. At the moment Rubin is a candidate with more and bigger lawnsigns and the endorsement of the DNT. He’s doing just fine. The last thing he needs is a last minute accusation that he felt entitled to succeed Mitchell. No one much likes entitlement. Certainly Rubin is working very hard to win the job from Ford so he’s not waiting for it to be handed over. And according to Ford’s recollection that’s what she told Rubin he would have to do four years ago.

Maybe, as Vic suggests, she or Rubin is simply wrong, perhaps due to faulty memories. I don’t think I’d buy that conclusion considering the circumstances. Whatever conversation took place between them would likely have been burned pretty well into their memories because it involved something the one had just achieved and something the other had very much counted on. I simply suspect one of them is being less than forthright about the conversation. The conversation itself is not very important – rather like Martha Stewart’s receiving inside trading information. As you might recall that’s not what sent her to prison. In the criminal justice system the truth is supposed to count for something.

the burden of proof

I was surprised and delighted when Melanie Ford defeated the previous long standing St. Louis County Attorney Alan Mitchell. My sense was that he was the power behind the scenes and I didn’t like a rumor I once heard circulating about him. I certainly didn’t like the shabby treatment Ford received at the hands of County Board after unseating Mitchell. This seemed to confirm an unhealthy influence on the Board by Mitchell.

I’ve no particular interest in the race. Ford never came to the aid of Let Duluth Vote but I would have been surprised if any County Attorney had. Her challenger Mark (I think) Rubin has the support of the old staff which once again smacks of good ole boy politics. He also grins a lot while Ford looks the cold fish.

I was tugged in her direction today with this short passage from a Trib story on the race:

“Shortly after I was elected, he told me that he was supposed to be the successor to Alan Mitchell,” Ford said of Mark Rubin, a veteran of the office who has worked there 32 of his 56 years. “I said, ‘Mark, you’ve got to run for the job.’ And here we are.”
Rubin denied having such a conversation with his boss.

“Integrity means speaking the truth; none of that is true,” he said, also disputing a contention by Ford that he has been running for the office for four years. He says he publicly announced his intention to run in April 2009 and made it formal a year later.

What Ford says has the ring of truth. Lots of similar offices have a guy on staff ready to take the place of the leader upon his retirement. My Father was one example. As a young staff attorney in the Kansas State Insurance Commission he thought about replacing his boss the Commissioner at some future date.

This is now a his word vs. her word issue. While some might have found fault with Rubin for saying this it could just as easily have been a mark of Mr. Rubin’s honesty. He does not claim that Ms. Ford ever did anything to make his work difficult. I think thats a mark of a good leader. Perhaps Ms. Ford has chosen to withhold some critical detail. Clearly Rubin is running and I’ll bet this is no surprise for anyone who works with him. What he has done, however, is to say that his boss told a lie about him. That is a very serious charge especially because what she said is so believable.

I’ve called people liars in this blog. Its an outlandish charge but one I’m fully prepared to back up. I would have believed Rubin had he put some credible spin on his conversation and I can think of many justifications for his alledged comment not the least of which is candor. Instead, his flat out denial leaves me to choose between the adversaries in this race something I can not do without guessing. Her charge against him is that he was ambitious, candid and unhappy to find his long range plans upset. His charge is that his boss is a liar. Melanie Ford is clearly right that he was ambitious. Rubin is clearly right that a lie has been told its just not certain by whom. In a court of law there is something called the burden of proof. Its a burden Mark Rubin can not carry.

Mr. Facebook

I just got a call from someone who thought I was still running against Roger Reinert for the State Senate. My caller had first attempted to call Roger at a former campaign headquarters but was informed that Roger no longer worked out of it. The woman answering the phone promised to relay the caller’s concerns to Roger.

For my part I offered to look Roger’s phone number up in the phone book for my caller. I was astonished that to discover that Roger has an unlisted number. Astounding! And yet the Tribune made Roger’s Facebook page half their reason for endorsing Roger’s Senate Campaign because it showed his innovative efforts to be available to the public.

A fat lot of good that will do most of Roger’s senior voters who have not established Internet accounts. Mr. Web looks to be hiding from the very folks he wants to elect him to the State Senate. Now that’s being connected.

Jungle Primaries – weeding out the wing nuts

I’ve had the extremely complicated “ranked choice voting” explained to me numerous times. I’ve remained skeptical that it is a worthwhile innovation. In some ways it is similar to the complicated US presidential electoral system which when a minority candidate wins leads to much unhappiness. I do understand this system and can offer up reasons to prefer it to a pure majority vote winner.

The ranked choice method seems directed at diluting the power of extremists and flaky third parties.

I just read about another way which could neuter the crazies – a “jungle primary.” Minnesota is already half way there. Our primaries are open to any voter of any party. It has given me one of my most pleasing victories when Democrats flooded a GOP primary to vote for the serious Arne Carlson over an extremist Gubenatorial candidate.

I think this “jungle primary” where one primary pits everybody against everybody else sounds much simpler and is even more likely to cut out the wingnuts.

More on Demographics – Liberals to disappear

There was an interesting story on National Public Radio today on the world’s population trends. A demographer pointed out that the highest birthrates tend to be in nations with the most conservative (read: family oriented) nations. The elevated birth rate is encouraged by the “be fruitful and multiply” ethos of fundementalist Jews, Christians and Muslims. For instance, Utah; a state of, for, and by, the single-mindedly, family-oriented Mormans; has the highest birth rate in the nation.

What will happen to all the family oriented people when the world can no longer sustain itself was not addressed. The fear of being swamped with mass procreating aliens “yearning to breath free” is not new. The US was swept with fears about the “Yellow Peril” late in the 1800’s which led to the “Chinese Exclusion Act.” The fear of being overrun by Eastern European immigrants helped lead to the Eugenics movement of the early 1900’s. It also explains much of the fear about border crossings at the Mexican/American border today. (Ironic Note: it is conservatives not liberals who seem to be the most excercised by illegel immigrants)

The upshot of the NPR story was this: Liberals have small families and thus face a diminishing role in the politics of the future. Lest conservatives get too cocky they should read what Jared Diamond says in his latest book Collapse – How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. I just have one disc left to listen to in the book’s audio version. I read and loved his previous best seller Guns, Germs and Steel. Diamond’s new book is a descendent of the much panned sixty’s oracle: The Population Bomb. That book’s predictions of a starving future were postponed by the phenomenal success of Minnesota’s Nobel Laureate, Norman Borlaug, and his “Green Revolution” which showed how we could harvest vastly more food per acre than with older agricultural techniques.

A cynic could scold the apostles of the Green Revolution by pointing out that when no more food can be wrung from the Earth it will just mean that there will be more people to die of starvation. Its hard for the pragmatist in me to deny the truth that lays behind the cynic’s scolding. Diamond argues convincingly that the recent genocide in Rwanda was much more the result of people fighting for enough land to feed themselves than it was a war between Hutu’s and Tutsi’s.

I wonder if there are any liberals left in Rwanda?