Category Archives: Harry’s Diary

I’m on hold

I’m on hold. I’ve been on the phone with India for the last three hours trying to figure out how to upload videos to my campaign website. I’m exhausted but my tech is an hour past the time when she’s supposed to be off work.

Now to finish this post up. I’d actually gotten on the phone twice before to techs starting a little before 1PM. Each time I thought I’d resolved my problem but by the third time I realized that there was a problem that they weren’t seeing. The phone call mentioned above lasted for about four hours and the problem was never solved. I’ll be called back again tomorrow after the techies get their heads together.

The tech was supposed to be off work at 3AM India time but she didn’t leave me until 4:30. I felt sorry for her but she was very professional. We cleaned out almost 2,000 temporary files……I was just a little overdue for a cleaning. That didn’t help. We uploaded tons of updates for my Microsoft office software. That didn’t help. We dumped and reloaded Frontpage web making software. That was useless too. Those are the only potential solutions I could understand.

Its past midnight now. After pizza with Claudia I got on and found a solution which I managed to completely undo when I made some esthetic changes to my website. I’m still on hold.

Calendar of Welty Events

Mel who has taken upon himself the onerous task of getting me out to meet folks has been insisting that I set up a calendar of events page on the welty4congress website. Well I’m pleased to announce that it is done.

You don’t have to bother visiting it if all you want are my appearances because here they are:

125th Birthday Celebration for the City, Pine City, Friday August 18, 10 a.m – 1 p.m.

Carlton County Fair, Barnum, Friday August 18, 2 p.m – 5 p.m.

Lake County Fair, Two Harbors, Saturday August 19, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

 

I’m going to win!

I’ve just had the most incredible two hours of mental lightening strikes. I think I’m going to win. I’ll explain later but I’ve got more work to do and my poor brain needs some bandaging.

The Damn Speech helped get the mental storm started and I just noticed that the previous post about it is, like the damn speech, still awaiting explanation…..Its all part of the epiphany but Claudia just got home. Its time for dinner and perhaps some dancing. Tonight and tomorrow will be a lot of fun behind the controls of the computer.

Damn Speech

I began fussing around with my website to find an alternative way to upload the videos’s. Mel called and asked if I was going to swim my mile. Since I missed it yesterday I decided I should make it up and have lunch with him to talk over the campaign.

Afterwards we looked at some of the videos and I explained how I thought they would be useful. In the meantime we made plans for the weekend where he will drive me to three area events and will pass out bookmarks by the dozen.

 

Video Archiving with a Quistian

Since 1992 I’ve captured a couple dozen videos of myself. They incluced videos of me snow sculpting or doing School Board work or campaigning for office. The images were all on VHS tapes and of varying qualities. I stayed up till 1:30 on Sunday night reviewing them. I chuckled and cringed at some and picked out 16 that revealed something or other about me.

I took them to one of the best video techs in the state Monday and spent the day with him turning them into digital images that could be watched on my campaign website. Today I’ll put them in context and set up a page on my campaign website for watching them. I have to finish wrap up this web building stuff pretty soon because times a wasting. Yesterday Mel, who will be driving me to three late Summer events around the District Friday and Saturday sent me an email announcing that there were only 85 days left to campaign. Today it 84 days.

Working with Matt was great fun. He’s my daughter’s age and he too went to school in Mankato only at MVL. Minnesota Valley Lutheran is a Wisconsin Synod school. I’d never even heard of it when I was in public high school and met one of its graduates for the first time when I was attending college at Mankato State. Back then I think MVL had graduating classes barely in the double digits. Its grown since then as Matt was in a class of 70 students. Private schools are doing well.

Times have changed for MVL. The first MVL graduate I met told me that students didn’t dance such were the moral strictures of the Wisconsin Synod. Matt, however, is the official DJ for MVL’s dances which he puts on four times a year. I teased him that he was a sign of the Synod’s moral decline.

Matt learned his tech skills at Bethany College in Mankato. It was another tiny little school back when I was at Mankato State but apparently today it offers a first class video tech education. One of his teachers, Alan Quist, was the nemesis of Moderate Minnesota Republicans. I told Matt how back in the early Nineties I fought the Quistians tooth and nail as a soldier in Arne’s Army (Governor Arne Carlson). Matt thought the word “Quistian” was pretty funny and he was amused that the mild mannered Alan Quist could be regarded as such a threat. He and Quist’s son went all the way through school together and he was often over at Alan’s home, had him as an American History teacher and considered him a close friend.

If Matt’s any indication not every graduate of a conservative education poses a threat to the nation.

Can he Win? Can he upload videos?

Darn it. I thought I’d put a video on my Congress website three weeks ago but apparently I hadn’t. It was a short video explaining why I think I can win. Mel just pointed out that it didn’t play because it’s still in my home computer. That may be why I was able so see it working when I went to the website but no one else could.

I’ve got to get the uploading of videos straightened out soon because I plan to load several more soon including my first stab at a campaign ad.

 

Bandwidth Blogging & Baloney

This is an apology to Mel who was puzzled by my inclusion of two “You Tube” videos on the blog. Mel’s dial-up connection hasn’t got the horsepower for videos without a deadly long wait. Since half the Internet connections of this district’s voters are dial-ups a lot of my potential visitors could be put out. I’ll have to warn them when I link to videos.

Mel is new to my blog and started reading it in the last couple of weeks when I didn’t have time for the miscellaneous “Hoots” I’d been sticking on the blog earlier. I’ve assumed that regular visitors would be interested in a little variety and not just my fevered rants and ruminations. Some of the things I run across are gems even if they have nothing to do with politics. I’ll include them if I figure they might lift an eyebrow or coax a guffaw out of a visitor. That improbable video of the police officer investigating the DUI suspect got a laugh out of me. If nothing else the things I stick on the blog give evidence about the kind of person I am – deadly serious one minute but eyes twinkling the next.

If you don’t have the bandwidth to watch a video then skip them but as for me, I like to lighten things up after a morning taking in grim news. I plan on living to be one hundred and I’ve always agreed with Reader’s Digest that laughter is the best medicine.

Request for Independence Party endorsement

I just emailed the following message to the 8th District Chairman of Minnesota’s Independence Party. I’ve been warned that Mr. Richardson takes a dim view of cross-over endorsements. That’s what happens when one party endorses the candidate of a second party. Republican Senate candidate Mark Kennedy did this today when he endorsed the Democrat, Joe Lieberman, who was just defeated in the Connecticut Primary.

8-10-2006

Chair P J Richardson
Vice-Chair Don Waller
Minnesota Independence Party
Gentlemen, 

I have lived in Duluth, Minnesota, and the 8th Congressional District, since 1974. Although I have maintained a 35-year relationship with the Republican Party it has been a rocky one. In 1992 I challenged the Republican endorsed Congressional nominee and the Democrat’s James Oberstar as an Independent. I received 22,000 votes.

I come from a family of teachers and value public education and graduated with a teaching degree from Minnesota University, Mankato in 1973. I was a teacher in the Duluth schools off and on until 1987. For two terms from 1995 until 2003 I served on the Duluth School Board. I earned a reputation for telling people what they needed to hear rather than what they wanted to hear.  I am a fiscal conservative and a libertarian regarding personal conduct. I have been a writer for Duluth’s alternative paper the Reader Weekly for the past four years.

I am a centrist and a moderate. I strongly believe in the separation of church and state. Long before the Independence Party called for transparency I began outlining my positions on numerous controversial issues so that there could be no doubt in the public’s mind how I would likely vote. Many of my positions can be found at my website www.snowbizz.com , on my blog: www.lincolndemocrat.com or on my campaign website: www.welty4congress.org

My only piece of campaign literature – a bookmark – which directs voters to my websites can be viewed at this link. I have filed for office as an independent candidate and have a copy of my affidavit of Candidacy from the Secretary of State. I will be listed on the ballot as representing the “Unity Party.”

I hereby request consideration from Minnesota’s Independence Party for their endorsement of my race for the 8th Congressional District seat.

If you require a more formal letter for such a consideration please advise me and I will put this in the mail as well as a photocopy of my affidavit of candidacy.

Sincerely,

Harry Welty
candidate for Congress, 8th Dist

Oberstar’s spending advantage

This Sourcewatch graph on campaign spending by Jim Oberstar and his opponents since I ran against him in 1992 shows that to all intents and purposes he had never faced a serious challenge. Under these circumstances his 65% showing is extremely unimpressive.

Jim has apparently raised over $800,000 this year but he only had about $200,000 left to spend a month or two ago. Rod Grams by contrast has already raised over $100,000. Jim isn’t going to get a free ride this year. Too bad for Rod that Republicans are poison.

Baby you can drive my car

Well, Well, Well, a day that was sacrificed to family, when my sister and her sons dropped by for a visit, may end up being yet another profitable one for the Welty campaign. I baked my blueberry buckle for Becky and the boys before we took a mid-morning tour of Glensheen.

After I got back late in the afternoon I found an offer for a part-time chaffeur. I think this is an offer that may be too good to be true so I’m not counting on it but the offer is generous and I’ll likely take some advantage of it.

Now if I can just get to work on the short to-do list that I showed Mel and Chris yesterday I’ll be in good shape.

 

Lunch with my political homies

I’ve been content to email Chris and Mel for the past couple weeks. When Mel told me that he would be at a local bagel shop this morning and needed bookmarks I hurried over to give him some. While there he had me pass some out. Because I had a lunch planned with Chris I spontaneously invited Mel to join us so that the two of them could meet.

I’ve already commented in the last post about our desire to beat the self-fulfilling prophecy but we talked with great animation for two hours about a great many aspects of our campaign. I told them both after we left that I was already ahead of any previous campaign because other than absentee chairmen telling me what to do this was the first time that I actually had two people working with me hand-in-hand. Their emails back and forth have been invaluable for brainstorming.

Chris told me that his son Rob (one of my paraders) had gone to my campaign site and ended up finding my little tease about the 1977 Scandal that intrigued him very much. I explained that the way things are going I may not have time to get much further on my book but that the historian in me is fascinated by this chapter in Minnesota’s political history. I also said that if I lost this book would be my next project.

Mel raised the objection that because the story was unflattering to one of my opponents I could be regarded as slinging mud. I hid behind the well-worn excuse that history is history. I admitted that when the information fell into my lap I paused before pursuing it because I had no interest in being a mud thrower. Besides, I’m still not sure what happened and, in addition, what happened 32 years ago may not be relevant today except as evidence of the character of the people involved. I’m inclined to think this may be important.

At a time when we are in a war that seems to have been dictated by the character of the people in charge of the White House, it may be well worth pondering the character of the fellows I’m challenging as well.

Self-fulfilling prophecy

I just finished a long lunch with my campaign manager and my editor. We had a long discussion – more on that later- and one item was on all our minds. It is the notion of a campaign-defeating “self-fulfilling prophecy.” To wit: that third party candidates, no matter how appealing, can’t win because voters don’t want to waste their vote.

This will be a tall hurdle for us to jump but we live in Minnesota and this is a state famous in recent years for big surprises. Jesse Ventura springs to mind first but before him were two mavericks that prepared the way – Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone and Republican Governor Arne Carlson. Granted these two candidate were not third party but in almost every way both appealed to the huge numbers of independent-minded Minnesota voters to pull off unexpected victories.

My challenge will be to convince voters that a vote for me will not be wasted. Ten to fiften percent will vote for me if for no other reason than to register a protest. I, of course am looking for a percentage of the vote in the mid thirties. The Washington Post poll just referred to verifies what I sense in the general voting public. It registers with me because it’s just how I feel.

The poll and Minnesota’s maverick tradition give me hope that I can get 35% of the voters to disregard the prophecy that I can’t win.

It should also be noted that so far neither of the leading candidates has made any reference to my campaign. They don’t dare draw attention to it. For one thing I make much more serious criticisms of both Grams and Oberstar than either of them are able to make against each other.  Drawing attention to me will only draw attention to their flaws. For another, the more attention my campaign receives the more votes I will pull from them in ways that are as yet unpredictable.

Washington Post poll

This is a poll which gladdens my heart. It shows that no congressional incumbent is safe from an an angry electorate:

Of particular interest to me:

“The poll mirrored results of surveys at this point 12 years ago, just three months before Republicans swept out Democratic majorities from both houses of Congress. Fifty-three percent now call themselves anti-incumbent, while 29 percent describe themselves as inclined to reelect lawmakers — almost precisely the same percentages as in June 1994.

In another echo of 1994, the poll showed Congress remains broadly unpopular, with six in 10 Americans disapproving of its performance. The only consolation for members is that the 36 percent who approve represents a slight bump up from May, when the institution hit a 10-year low…

The survey suggests that it is not just Republicans whose incumbents are in jeopardy. But it includes one important caveat — as of now, few Republicans or Democrats plan to stray from their parties in November. The Democrats’ lead stems from a big advantage among independents.”

A very Republican thing for me to do

From the Cox News Service last Thursday. 

‘”It’s a virtual certainty that Republicans will lose House and Senate seats in the Nov. 7 midterm elections,” Charlie Cook, one of the capital’s best known political handicappers, reports in his latest Cook Political Report newsletter.

“The only question is whether those losses will be small (single digits in the House, one or two in the Senate), medium (10-14 in the House, three to five in the Senate), large (15-20 in the House, six in the Senate, with control shifting in both chambers) or extra large (more than 20 in the House, seven or eight in the Senate),” he adds.’

I’m an agnostic on the GOP’s prospects this year but they have only themselves to blame.

I called a long time moderate Republican this morning to ask her advice about my campaign. She was surprised, but not horrified, when I told her that I would be caucusing with the Democrats if elected. Actually, this will be a very Republican thing for me to do. Republicans are great believers in consequences.

Since the current crop of Republicans have turned their back on their hero Ronald Reagan’s call for a “big tent” by purging moderates they deserve to be penalized. This in fact seems to be the least of their crimes.

What I’m telling the military

I got a letter this morning from the Department of Defense.

They allow candidates to record messages for our troops. It can be accessed by phone. This is what I recorded for them. I was thinking of Andy, a member of our special forces who I used to attend church workcamp with. He shipped out a couple weeks ago.

I’m Harry Welty, the unity party candidate for Congress in Minnesota’s 8th District. I’m the only unity party candidate because, frankly, there is so little unity in America today. I’m really an ex Republican of 35 years running as an independent.

I’m angry that President Bush gambled on Iraq when he wasn’t willing to put enough money behind his gamble for it to pay off. He and I both lived through the Vietnam War only he seems to have learned very little from it. Now we are in a quagmire helping people who never asked us for our help and the American military and Iraqis are both paying a terrible price for Bush’s gamble.

I’m a David taking on two powerful political Goliaths. 32 year incumbent Jim Oberstar who is good at talking Republicans into giving him pork barrel projects and former US Senator Rod Grams who wants back in Congress to put an end to the nasty politics that he helped start when he voted to remove Bill Clinton.

I’ve got more opinions on my website. It is www.welty4congress.org

To all the men and women serving in combat zones beyond America’s borders. Watch your butt because we can’t watch them for you and a little of us dies every time one of you is hurt.

This is Harry Welty, Unity Party candidate for Congress Minnesota’s Eighth District.

Money Money Money

Mel found this info on the “Green Papers.” I’m not sure if the word green is a reference to money but the page does list how much money has been raised by the three of us contenders for the 8th District seat. I’m in third place.

Just in case anyone is wondering I’m not required to file papers until I’ve raised at least $5,000. I’ve plunked in $500.00 in myself and raised another $400.00 from a letter I sent out to about a hundred friends. I’ve also spent a couple hundred bucks out of pocket in miscellaneous expenditures like printing and office supplies. I’ve got another $3,000 at least to raise before I have to file anything and for the moment I don’t need the money.

In July this blog got about 25,000 page views. That’s only a fraction of the voting strength of the Congressional District but it accumulated in July when nobody but the candidates and their groupies were thinking about politics. My expenses for the blog are only a hundred dollars or so and won’t get much bigger before the election.

Funds reported to the Federal Elections Commission by Minnesota’s three candidates for the Eighth District Seat:

Congressman James L. “Jim” Oberstar $815,925

former Senator Rodney Dwight “Rod” Grams $135,224

Harry Welty “FEC financial report not available”

The question before the voters of the Eighth District

The ten days of my father-in-law’s visit are over. We took him to the Twin Cities to meet his son where Dad will continue his travels. He’s been housebound in Florida for many years taking care of his recently departed wife who was in failing health. It had been sixteen years since his last visit so I felt duty bound to put my campaign on the back burner. I didn’t completely abandon my quest and Dad was gracious enough to pitch in and help me with The Spirit Valley Days Parade when I got the idea to participate 48 hours before it began.

Dad’s stay was not a time of complete indolence for me. I did a little blogging although my time to catch up on the news was much more limited. More importantly I used the last week and a half to ruminate on how this campaign could grow so that I could start being taken seriously.

My gut instinct tells me that even if I didn’t campaign anymore I’d pick up at least 15% of the vote. Floyd Henspetter and I split 10% in 1992 when the public was out of sorts about politics but not particularly focused on Congress. This year the Congress is in everyone’s sights and I won’t have to split the vote with any other third party candidate.

Although my name is unknown to the major Minnesota Pundits in the Twin Cities, my eight years on the Duluth School Board and other attention-getting activities of mine make me one of the best known personalities in the largest city in the Eighth District. In addition, my campaign website is the only substantive website among the three candididates and I doubt that either Grams or Oberstar will attempt to put anything of consequence on their websites. Certainly they will not bother to write anything themselves but are likely to have hired pros to put some bland nostrums up for the public to yawn at. Oh, and Grams’s site is finally up. Take a look.

I’m not a standard-issue politician and I suspect that any visitor to my website will quickly conclude that of the three candidates only I would be likely to shake up a dithering Congress. I believe voters take pride in sending people to Congress who will make a difference. If they send Oberstar they’ll get pork our children can’t afford and if they send Grams they’ll get a guy who’s promising not to do what he spent eight years doing in Washington the first time he was there – be a Republican claque.

If I can present this choice and these likely outcomes to at least 75% of the voters(about the number who have internet access) I will do far better than 15%. This little holiday has given me time to think about how to accomplish this. The parade simply confirmed what I already suspected – that a lot of people in Duluth like me. Will they vote for me or would they prefer a 32-year back bencher or a has-been who tried to remove a President of the United States for dubious reasons?

I’m not the sharpest pencil in the box but I know how I’d vote.

I luv a parade

It was worth it. From lining up six entries behind Rod Grams gas guzzling bus

and fending off Rod Grams’s passive-aggressive supporter who smiled sweetly as she repeatedly tried to slap a Grams sticker on my shirt. I had a marvelous time.

My father-in-law, Claude Scott, drove our rinky dink Prius which got better gas milage than Rod Grams’s bus. You can see Dad looking to his left towards my friend, Jan, and my daughter, Keely.

Here’s what we were selling: Welty‘s candidacy and Lincoln’s spirit. My manager’s son Rob walks past the Prius.

And, of course we donned our favorite American’s famous visage. This is our happy little squad. Standing from the left: Rob, Shauna, Tricia, Harry, Keely, Melody, Bevan, and Jan. Seated on the ground? Darned if we know. This little fellow saw us lining up for the photo and asked to join us. We are a very magnetic organization.

 

 

There were an estimated 10,000 spectators and we figured that we must have passed out at least 3,000 bookmarks. Everyone had nice stories about people cheering us on. This is my first parade for one of my own campaigns after thirty years of running for office. It was about time. I even kissed a baby which my son-in-law, Santana, kidded my daughter that I would do. Hey, I couldn’t make him a liar! Pretty soon I’ll be ready to defend motherhood, apple pie and the American Flag.

LWV

I answered the League of Women Voter’s questionnaire tonight. I’d started filling it out a couple days ago but kept getting interrupted. They asked a series of momentous questions which a serious answer requires an expert and a book but gave us a 50 word limit. I was considerably shorter. I will not make a habit of filling out questionaires in this campaign but this one wasn’t from one of the mindless “I’ll give up when you pry my cold dead fingers off the trigger” type organizations.

Its lengthy and some of my answers are pretty flip but I’m no expert on many of the querries:

What is the role of the federal government in encouraging exploration and innovation for future energy needs?  (50 words)
Its regulatory role is preeminent to assure that there is minimal environmental degradation.  Only the government can be trusted to enforce the reduction of carbon and methane.  Its role in fostering energy conservation is also critical but it must not place unnecessarily burdensome requirements on private industry.
Are market forces sufficient to ensure a clean environment?  If not, what regulatory actions would you support?  (50 words)
No they are not. Environmental degradation is a hidden tax on the future.
How should the costs of maintaining national parks, historic sites and national forests be paid?  (50 words)
The national parks are natural treasures that should be primarily dependent on taxpayers for support. User fees should only augment their upkeep.
How can immigration policy balance US economic needs, the interests of US workers and security?  (50 words)
 Not easily
What are the long and short-term impacts of the deficit on the economy?  (50 words)The short term impact has been to prime the economy for the political benefit of incumbents. The long term consequence is a great burden placed on the shoulders of the next generation which is already facing huge demands from the increasingly geriatric baby boom population.
If Social Security and Medicare place significant burdens on future budgets, how would you make up the balance?  (50 words)
By a combination of raising the age for payouts and raising the taxes to pay for the promises made and the sooner the better.
What steps, if any, should the government take to make health care more accessible and affordable?  Explain.  (50 words)
There should be a greater national role in providing health care so that there is less effort by the medical community to shift costs.
How can we ensure effective response to disasters and/or pandemics?  (50 words)
For one thing by making sure that competent professionals take over the agencies that oversee this responsibility rather than political cronies.
How can civil liberties be preserved while giving our government necessary tools to fight terrorism?  (50 words)
By not criticizing the motives of people who are pointing out the continuing erosion of long established rights.
How best can elected officials foster separation of powers as laid out in the US Constitution?   Explain.  (50 words)
By honoring that separation rather than denying it.
Does the current system in Congress allow for fair and thorough review and judgment of ethics charges brought against its members?  (50 words)
Probably not.

Hooray! I’m in the parade

Hooray indeed. A week ago it hadn’t occurred to me that I could pull off a parade but now I’m in it. My father-in-law suggested some engineering changes but we’ll have a day to work on them. If I talk my daughter and son-in-law into joining us we will have one driver and eight of us passing out bookmarks.