Category Archives: Harry’s Diary

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:
Demonstrate competency for public service.
Read the United States and Minnesota constitutions.
Support and defend these constitutions as the foundation of governance by law.
Abide by the IP principles.
If elected, work to enact the IP platform planks with which the candidate agrees.
Publicly state the differences the candidate has with the IP platform.
Conduct issue-oriented campaigns and political dialogue with civility and decorum.
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.
Keep one’s campaign promises.
Accept no PAC money where public campaign financing is available.
Where public campaign financing is not available:
(a)  Publicly disclose the source and dollar amount of each PAC
(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

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.

Star Tribune Voter’s guide

I just checked out the Strib’s voter’s guide. They have an old photo of me with considerably less grey in my beard and none of my replies to the questions they sent me. It is still probably in the early stages and they are not yet drawing attention to it. That’s just as well because I noticed they had a link to a contribution site for Oberstar and they didn’t for me. Since people could contribute to my campaign:   I’ll want to make sure the Strib includes this link as well although I doubt many Strib voter’s guide will take advantage of it any time soon.

(update from 8-6-06) It turns out that this is not the official Strib voter’s guide. It was lifted from their site from the 2004 election cycle and modified for this year by someone else.

Grams is calm

Here’s an extensive story on Rod Gram’s campaign. He’s taken to the road with an RV and is prepared for some tough shots about his personal past. Not from me he won’t get them. We all have clay feet. Its when we have clay heads that I get worried.

I’ve got some shots for him but only about his part in the souring of the Republican revolution. Rod’s dismissiveness about lobbying in the face of the K-Street project is laughable. That’s the clay head.

The Internet rescues me from Dog days of August

Its hot. The election is four months away. No one is paying any attention to politics. And I’ve got lots of distractions keeping me from doing what I need. In short for the first time in the five months I’ve been building up to this campaign I was feeling a little down.

Not any more. The promise of the Internet that I’ve been counting on kicked in a little. My campaign got two mentions here and here. Thre will be more, many more.

100 words for the Strib

The Strib asked me to tell them in 100 words or less what I would do about the one issue that is most important to me. This is what I told them in 99 words:

“Congress has been so busy waging partisan warefare that it has allowed the national deficit to spin out of control. At ten trillion dollars it will put a monstrous burden on our children just when they have to face competition with the dynamic economies of China and India. This burden is just one of many accumulating for the next generation including lost health insurance, abandoned pension plans, and a shaky social security system. As a member of the Duluth School Board I devoted myself to keeping our district’s spending in line. I would do the same as a congressman.” 

Ad ing it up till 1:30

Since there was no one to be bothered at home I stayed up till 1:30 AM. I puttered around with an idea for an ad for my campaign.

My campaign manager saw the link to Micah and then watched the fun claymation ads that he made for me. Chris thought they might do the trick this time. I emailed back and told him: “been there done that.”

Still, the idea of a tongue-in-cheeck ad again was tempting. I quickly imagined a new claymation ad and then thought about how I might go about getting it made without Micah who, considering his imminent marriage, obviously has other things on his mind now. 

Before heading to bed I also filled out a candidate questionaire that the Minneapolis Tribune sent me which and they will be posting on the Internet. I also took a few pictures of myself at their request to upload to their site. When its up I’ll direct your attention to it.

Gun Owners of America

Even though I haven’t filed my campaign papers for the FEC the lobbying community has me in their sights. There was a fat letter waiting for me from Gun Owners of America. Apparrently a rival of the NRA, GOA’s website has this to say for itself:

“The GOA Board of Directors brings over 100 years of combined knowledge and experience on guns, legislation and politics. GOA’s Board is not satisfied with the “status quo.” Americans have lost some of our precious gun rights and WE WANT THEM BACK! This is why GOA is considered the “no compromise” gun lobby.”

I heard a story recently that congressional candidates are refusing in ever greater numbers to fill out the many questionaires sent them by special interest groups. For the first time in twelve elections I’ll follow suit. I’ve been telling people that I have more opinions than you can shake a stick. In fact, I’ve got many of them on my website including some information on Gun Control. Here and Here for instance.

Iraq is the best example I can think of of a society where everyone’s ownership of guns affords little of the protection that our founding Fathers envisioned when they wrote the Second Amendment. Back then the cumbersome, single shot hunting rifles owned by our farming population were the backbone of an almost nonexistant military.

The most unfortunate aspect of single interest politics is their no foot in the door attitude. Even when compromise is obviously called for none is tolerated. Gun control is just one example. I told my campaign manager that its fairly obvious that the concealed & carry provisions Minnesota recently adopted hasn’t been the disaster that the anti gun forces predicted. Still, my acquainence who’s sister was blown away by an angry husband should not be ignored.

The GOA seem to think that arming everybody is the personal equivelent of the 1960s policy of Mutually Assured Destruction in which the US and the USSR were guaranteed not to go to war because, since both nations had nuclear weapons, it would mean the total destruction of both nations. By this GOA reasoning the woman who was shot by her husband only had herself to blame for not answering her door with a loaded weapon.

I don’t think so.

Cooling waters

I’ve returned from the hottest weather I’ve ever experienced. Claudia and I drove up to Sonoma with our kids for the day to taste wine. By our second stop the car’s outside thermometer read 113 degrees. We stopped for lunch in Healdsburg at a restaurant where all the air condiditioning seemed to be sucked out with each patron who opened the door.

The Minneapolis airport was 85 Degrees when we returned this afternoon and by the time we drove to the crest of the hill overlooking Lake Superior it had climbed to 91 degrees. It plunged to a temperate 74 by the time we turned up 21st Ave E. It was heaven! Thank you Lake Superior.

Among the several phone calls waiting for me was one from Richard Winger who publishes a newsletter about third parties. He wanted to know if I was in any way tied to Unity08. I called back and told him that while the Unity title was partly inspired by them I was not affiliated. He was from San Francisco which I had just left and it gave me a good occasion to complain about the lousy weather I had just left. What was that that Harry Truman said about the kitchen? Mr. Winger may do a story about me in his newsletter. If he does he’ll send me a copy.

Tomorrow I meet to discuss shooting some video but only after I spend the morning reading the news at Lighthouse for the Blind’s studio. Claudia will leave even earlier than me because she is flying off for business and to pick up her Father from Florida for a visit. It will be his first visit to Duluth in about 16 years. I wonder if there is any heat left for the East Coast what with California hogging it all?

San Fran Man II

Yesterday we got out of the car at our hotel in Novato and the temperature was a scorching 107 degrees. The last time and only other time I endured weather like that was when I visited Scottsdale, Arizona as a seventeen year old. That time I tried to play some tennis and learned some important lessons in human limitations.

We took the boat to Alcatraz on our first night in California. It was a very interesting tour and some of us in our party are not easily impressed. We took the last tour of the day and the heat of the day was still, uncharacteristically, in the air as the evening turned dark and the San Fran skyline lit up. A lot of the Rock was off limits in part, I suspect, because of the neglect of the Federal Park budget by the Bush Administration. Still, despite its ongoing crumbling away the stories were fascinating.

Alcatraz was never filled to capacity. Today we are still building more supermaxes for our worst of the worst. Is it something in the air or were those really simpler times?

Yesterday we spent half an hour parking by and beginning the walk across the Golden Gate. It was just enough time to get to the first suspension spire (I can’t think what its really called)from which the cables are suspended. We got to Novato and our hotel and jumped in the pool with the kids. It was probably the first time in ten years that we did this and very likely the last time. The water was warm from the baking temps. Afterwards we mingled with my side of the family at the reunion where the youngest generation puzzled over their connections.

We had a remarriage and a new family start up and the children from both sides were very unclear as to their interrelationships. I woke up at 6:30 well ahead of the rest of my clan and to my delight found that the hotel’s business center didn’t charge for this computer usage. I’d decided not to pack our laptop afterall because we only packed carryon luggage for convenience.

I’ve been able to exchange a couple emails with my campaign manager. He’s beginning to check in the FEC (Federal Elections Commission) rulebook and he’s still recommending me blogs to read. On this our last full day my little group of four is breaking away to travel the wine country and then come back on coast highway. Its supposed to be just as hot. Hope the AC holds up.

San Fran Man

I had a very productive flight out to San Francisco today; wife, son and daughter all in tow. I brought 4 Duluth Tribs to finish and then alternately dozed and woke up to jot down a to-do list which should last me for a month. If I complete it, it will go a long way to making my campaign a very formidible affair indeed. Its interesting how a little quiet time helps one focus.

We met my brother and his family and ate at Fisherman’s Wharf in Allioto’s. It was a wonderful meal with a view of the Golden Gate in the distance. Took a walk to Ghiradelli square. (sorry about the spelling) and had ice cream with hot fudge. Tonight we cruise over to Alcatraz. I was warned that the wind off the bay would be cold so I bought a jacket to keep me warm.

I had an email waiting for me when we checked into the Mark Hopkins. I’ve offered a very capable local journalist the position of being my press chief. The email from the journalist in question suggested that we get together to talk it over when I return next week. It would be very limited work to begin with but if we work something out it would be another coup for my campaign.

My internet clipping service noted that I had gotten a mention in the Hibbing Trib and that Al Franken was heading a fund raiser for Jim Oberstar in Brainerd. The comic is promoting the wrong candidate this year but when I run for reelection that will change.