Category Archives: Harry’s Diary

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.

 

My Manager says I have to post this picture

So I decided yesterday to try to enter the Duluth Spirit Valley Days parade. I’m trying to find some people at the last minute to hand out my bookmarks with the blog and campaign addresses printed on them. I’ve got some “Lincoln in Thought” shirts for them to wear (just for the parade. I’ll need them back). I quickly came up with the idea of decorating my white prius with cloth’s lines with Lincoln t-Shirts hung from them. Its hokey but I need to let the folks in West Duluth see me campaigning. Anyone who wants to help just give us a holler at: welty4congress@charter.net The parade starts lining up at 5PM tomorrow.

Here’s the picture I sent Chris.

 

The thread is getting longer

The thread and my addition to it:

PostPosted: 06-08-02 04:55am e Post subject:

Harry again,Sorry about the confusion on whether the Unity Party is affiliated with Unity08. This is the internet where wires really do get crossed and where there is such a welter of related ideas that a google search on any one of them will turn up a hundred million hits. What’s more important is that a clear majority of America’s voters are centrists by nature and are being ignored. Without any single organization speaking for them its no wonder that a profusion of like minded netizens would be scrambling to find a centrist alternative. 

This is not madness. Its mad fun. Its rather like one of those experiments where DNA is pulled apart and then tries to put itself back together again.

I’m delighted to return to this thread and find a little hubbub. The election is still three months away. A lot of things will sort themselve out by then. After November the Presidential race is another two years away. My out of the woodwork campaign is an opportunity to experiment. If I win and other moderate centrists see that it can be done it might tempt other centrists to try the same thing in 2008. Or it could send a message to the major Parties not to forget the majority of Americans in their quest to win over unreasonable activists.

Mel to the Rescue

I’m getting some tech help. Mel, who has been advising me on my spelling, has just dropped by to help me figure out the technical problems that I face. I’m showing him how easy it is to use WordPress. Maybe he can figure out how to do stuff I’ve been afraid to try for fear of losing everything I’ve ever put on the blog.  As I told Mel. Volunteers are worth every penny you pay for them……..Poor Mel. 

I have a wiki page

Someone has set up a Wiki page for me. I guess its like wikipedia where anyone can contribute anything about the subject in question. In this wiki’s case the subject is me. The person who set it up has done some research and sized me up pretty well. At least I think so because the summary of my campaign is flattering.

Since it appears that anyone can add to the page this may not remain the case. That’s OK. I’m usually the first person to criticize myself.

Issues Issues Issues

While I’m playing host I’ve been forced to try and write before my Father-in-law wakes up and after he goes to bed. My first posts have been around 6AM and my latest posts have been uploaded after 10:30PM. Its not surprising that my writing often reflects my grogginess.

My friend Mel is particulary concerned about this and he has been joined by my campaign manager. Tonight Mel pointed out that spinach is the correct spelling not “spinich” and that I should have writen over instead of “of” in one of my posts. Mel is correct that some readers will consider this a poor reflection on me but I’ve concluded that most blog readers prefer instant comment to grammatically correct comments. Ironically, I have been the pronouncer at our regional spelling bee for the last ten years. Note that is “pronouncer,” Pro-noun’-sir not s-p-e-l-l-e-r.

Mel wrote that he enjoys reading the diary aspects of this blog but he thinks I should put more issues content on it so people can see what I stand for. Again, if I had more time I would like to do this. Indeed, its what I did for the first four months of this blog’s existence. The evidence is to your right where many issues are listed with links to postings that make it clear what I think about them.

To do this blog justice I need enough time to read and find worthwhile issues articles pro or con that I can react to.   Time is a luxury I am finding it harder to come by. I used to tell people who were angry that the Duluth School Board could pass all the resolutions it wanted requiring our administration to plant money trees but that it wouldn’t do any good because there are no money trees.

Granting voters more time can’t be legislated either although, as I recall, one state recently changed its daylight savings time in part because they thought it would increase the state’s productivity. I think it would have been better if they had simply issued sleep ration stamps. Then we could monitor people’s sleep and use the Patriot Act to arrest anyone who tried to sleep in.

Oops. I think I may have just let an opinion on an issue slip out. Call the FBI.

Politicians Families and the News

Today’s Pioneer Press has a story about recent Minnesota politicians and the unwelcome news generated by their family members. Its prompted by Mike Hatch’s daughters and their scrapes with the law. Since he is our Attorney General, and the DFL Gubenatorial candidate, his full press offensive to stop the Strib from asking questions about them has become a story in itself.

I suspect that this is one of the most common reasons why good candidates shrink from running for office. When I was on the Duluth School Board I had kids in the schools. I recall one principal telling me how a fellow board member’s son had swung from a pipe fixture at his school and broken it causing a minor flood. It was a humorous story and never made it to the press and shortly thereafter the son transferred to a local private school. I was grateful that it was another Board member’s child and not my own being commented on.

My daughter was never going to be a problem. She’s strong willed but she’s always played by the book.  My son hated school, skipped it on occasions when he deemed it irrelevent to his life, and started a major food fight on his last day of junior high.

I raised my son to believe, as I do, that you have to live with the consequences of the actions you take. Fortunately, my son, in his contrarian way, seems to have adopted this attitude himself. As for me the Father, like my Father before me, I’ve always trusted in trust. I’ve always extended my children pretty long ropes to hang themselves with and crossed my fingers that they wouldn’t get their necks stretched. So far so good.

A very good day and very little campaigning

According to a fundraising letter I got today from Mrs. Mark Kennedy, wife of the Republican candidate for Minnesota’s US Senate Seat, there are only a little more than 100 days to campaign. I won’t be doing much of that for the next six days that I’m playing host to my father-in-law. I also will take two weeks out of early September for a vacation that has been a year in the planning. If I can’t win this election without mucking up my family I’d rather not get elected at all.

Our legislatures and the halls of Congress are full of pols who shucked off their spouses for their political ambitions. Besides, my wife’s constant irritation with politics helps remind me about what’s really important in life.

Today Claudia and I took Dad to pick blueberries. As so often happens I got carried away and we ended up picking twelve pounds of them when I decided I had to have lots of blueberry jam. Then while we were driving home I though of the bountiful chokecherries I’d seen a couple blocks down from our house.

After a long productive afternoon in the kitchen we now have about 12 cups of blueberry jam and 8 cups of chokecherry jelly. I love PBJ sandwhiches. It will be a very good year. We also have five fat freezer bags full of blueberries in the freezer.  I’ll have more antioxidents coursing through my veins than you can shake a stick at for the rest of the campaign. Blueberries are much better than spinach and I’m sure will help me prevail over the two Blutos that everybody else expects to win this race.

Between blueberries and chokecherries we saw a marvelous old movie from 1942 with Claudete Colbert, Robert Stack, and Jack Benny. To be or not to be was remade ten or so years ago by Mel Brooks. I never saw the Brooks movie but I remember Siskle and Ebert saying what a wonderful movie the original was. It was a hoot and had a million times more bite than Chaplin’s The Great Dictator.  Even my father-in-law whose not much of a movie watcher got a kick out of it.

Oh and one more thing, when I checked my email late tonight I discovered that the Unity Party is not at all put out about my flirtation with the Independence Party…..We can be a regular political menage a trois.

 

The Unity Party

Yesterday I got the suprise of my life. I discovered that there was a Unity Party. I posted to that effect. I got an even bigger surprise when a Unity Party member sent me an email telling me that I was the talk of the new party. I was thrilled. Some of these folks are tech savvy in ways that could help broadcast my message.

I did a quick check of their forum and discovered that the talk had turned to some doubts about whether I was the candidate for them. What caused the stir was a recent post about the possibility of my getting Minnesota’s Independence Party’s endorsement. Can two minor parties share a candidate?

I sent a short reponse to the Unity Party’s forum suggesting that in politics coalitions help form majorities and that since both Minnesota’s IP and the Unity party were parties for moderates that this could be a good thing.

I’m eager to find out how both parties feel about sharing me.

 

Who will I hurt more?

It remains to be seen which candidate I will hurt more, Grams or Oberstar. My first reaction upon hearing that Grams was going to run was dismay. But when I thought about it the more I realized that the two established candidates would split important consituencies and give me a fighting chance.

If anyone doubts that Grams will be hurt by my campaign they have only to look at the Slate Article that a Google Search dredged up for me. It paints Rod Grams as a sort of Tom Delay. My pointing this out will not benefit Rod Grams very much.

This Blog’s quick conclusion is that I would do more damage to Oberstar but I think I’ll be an equal opportunity foe.

 

IP Endorsement?

I just returned a call from an Independence Party official who called me a couple days ago. We had a friendly chat and I told him I would be interested in IP endorsement. Actually, a few years ago I asked them for an endorsement but I was running as a Republican and it wasn’t in the cards. Perhaps my “Unity” party status can be overlooked and I could get the party’s help in my race.

Here are the requirements for endorsement from their website:

 

To be eligible for IP endorsement, a candidate must:
1. 
Demonstrate competency for public service.
2. 
Read the United States and Minnesota constitutions.
3. 
Support and defend these constitutions as the foundation of governance by law.
4. 
Abide by the IP principles.
5. 
If elected, work to enact the IP platform planks with which the candidate agrees.
6. 
Publicly state the differences the candidate has with the IP platform.
7. 
Conduct issue-oriented campaigns and political dialogue with civility and decorum.
8. 
Deliver to the IP copies of all campaign literature, questionnaires, press releases, finance reports, and other such items that document the candidate’s policy positions and campaign promises.
9. 
Keep one’s campaign promises.
10. 
Accept no PAC money where public campaign financing is available.
11. 
Where public campaign financing is not available:
(a)  Publicly disclose the source and dollar amount of each PAC
       contribution.
(b)  State in writing the affinity the contributing PAC’s principles,
       policies, and operations have with the IP principles.
(c)  Truthfully certify that the principles, policies, and operations of
       the contributing PAC do not substantially conflict with the IP
       principles.

Time Out

If Amy Klobuchar can take some campaign time off for hospitalization then I can probably safely take some time off myself.

My father-in-law is visiting us for the first time in sixteen years. I just went to the fitness center with him and we’ve done some grocery shopping. He brought us two bags full of Key Limes from his home in Florida. We squeezed them and I can hear the mixer now as he prepares two keylime pies. (We have enough juice for eight pies!) Although I would love to go to the Morrison County Fair tomorrow near Little Falls I really shouldn’t.

This is what I’m doing this summer:

I’m writing a book about an ex con who was, I believe, wrongly convicted by a cabal of some of Minnesota’s most respected politicians who were the ones who were probably guilty of the malfeasance that he was imprisoned for.

I’m running for Congress.

And I’m trying to do all this without my wife noticing.

Oh yeah, and I try to swim a mile a day.

Sneaking out to campaign while I have company might give my secret away and it would really call my credentials as a good host into question.

I have a political party!!!

 

The things you learn on the net. There is a Unity Party. I discovered this on a page by a political junkie who lists dozens and dozens of minor American Political Parties on this page. I found it when I discovered someone had linked to my campaign website from his site:D.C.’s Political Report.

I wondered if the Unity Party listed was mine and discovered that it was born in 2004. I just sent them an email telling them of my discovery and warning them that I could be their first candidate in Congress.

I hope they aren’t mad at me for using their name. It appears on a brief inspection that we share many beliefs.