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.


Oppo Research

Look what the Google alert dragged in. This is hardly late breaking news. Its six years old but it sure sheds a light on the kind of campaign Rod Grams waged in his 2000 loss to Mark Dayton. A sample from a Slate article:

“Grams’ campaign has done little to allay suspicions. It issued a flimsy, weaselly denial once the Minneapolis Star-Tribune broke the story. “We didn’t put this together and send it out of the Grams campaign office,” campaign spokesman Kurt Zellers told the newspaper. Cooper, it should be noted, does not work in the Grams campaign office. He is based in Virginia. The next day, the campaign went no comment. Cooper, Gunhus, and Chura haven’t surfaced. Grams has never pledged a full investigation.”

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.

Mark Kennedy’s “Great” ad

Last fall, before I decided to become a Democrat and challenge Oberstar, I thought seriously about running as a Republican against Mark Kennedy for the Senate. That would have been a futile campaign but that’s how unhappy I was. Kennedy is generally a good guy but he’s been a clone of every other Republican in Congress. If the Party was still a reasonable party it would be easy to support him for the Senate but the Party is not a reasonable party. Minnesotans seem to realize this as lags behind Amy Klobuchar in the polls.

My campaign manager found these two ads for Mark on his campaign website. The first is short and humorous and will soon be on the airwaves. The other is long, tedious and full of BS.

I wasted last night trying to make a video putting down the longer ad. If I had any doubts about how ba my video turned out my son made it clear. “Let me put it this way,” he told me after helping me shoot it, “If I saw that I wouldn’t vote for you.”

In the interest of exposing Kennedy’s BS I’m posting his ads dialogue with the portentous announcer’s words made bold, Kennedy’s words tabbed in and my jibes in italics:

There’s a new day dawning – and a new leader emerging.

I’m Mark Kennedy
He comes from humble beginnings where he learned the value of faith family and hard work.

My passion is the American Dream. Because I’ve really had an opportunity to live the American dream and my parents taught me that America never promises us success but it gives us a chance. The rest is up to us.

He’s a fourth-generation Minnesotan the first of all those generations to go to college.
When I was in college I was an accounting major. I hated accounting I wanted to switch to being a history major. My Mother said if you can tell me a job that you want that you can do as a history major then you can change, otherwise you can’t. She sat all seven of us kids on the living room and read us newspaper clippings so that we knew how to apply the values that she and my Father taught us to the world around us. I’m a history teacher – that’s a job!
He’s an independent thinker He did what his Mother told him

How do you change Washington? you change Washington by saying I want to work with you on solutions that you that are important to families back home. I don’t want to work with you on solutions that are important to your party or your President. I want to do what’s important for families. That’s how you change Washington.

He’s a leader but not a politician He trashed Patty Wetterling – Wasn’t that political?
Spend money as its yours because that’s the way I was when I grew up.
He’s a CPA who strives for fiscal responsibility. Ten trillion $ deficit He’ll make sure you keep more of your own money so we can grow jobs.

Growing jobs keeping the American dream alive requires us to reward hard work, innovation, risk taking. We need to make sure that we keep that American work ethic alive. In China!

He’ll fight to cut government spending and finally give us the line item veto.

It means keeping spending under control so that we don’t have to raise taxes. Ten trillion $ deficit

Take tax credits back from oil companies Mark hates Texans and develop alternative energy resources like ethanol. Wave corn cob (don’t ask me why but I had a plastic corn cob)

When I was running for Congress six years ago I set out a goal of doubling ethanol production we have doubled ethanol production and we passed an energy bill that sets a goal to double it again.
He’ll make sure patients and doctors are in charge of health care not government and insurance companies. 46 million uninsured Americans
He’ll keep us safe by securing our borders and protecting the homeland Wall off Canada
He’ll defend local control of our schools. Thanks for No child left behind Mark!
He’ll protect the values that make Minnesota Great
Improving the quality of education for our children is all about setting high standards expecting a lot from our students and making sure that we’re rewarding those that are doing an excellent job of delivering that great education. Mark for school board
And he’ll bring the right kind of change Washington needs.
People expect you to face the tough issues head on and vote based on your principles not part of your president or special interests that are moving you in one way one direction or another I want to be a leader that all Minnesotans can look to.
Kennedy votes 90% with Bush
Mark Kennedy the next Senator from the great state of Minnesota

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.”