Grams should quit, say the unions

Tonight there was a silly bit of news about area labor unions which are calling on Rod Grams to quit the race for Congress.

Sure, Rod’s campaign has been drivel – complaints about trips to Paris and Jim’s home in Maryland. Rod’s recent story in the Trib about the poor farmers who were jailed for draining their swamp was patently absurd and slanted, but should he quit the race?

The unions are upset that Rod is trying to make the claim that Jim Oberstar has been a job killer. So what? Its just over the top campaign rhetoric. The public won’t be impressed.

I tried explaining while on Duluth Solutions today that economic development was more of a state matter than a fedral matter but my friend Mel has a much better take on a congressman’s limitations than I managed. Neither Oberstar, Grams or Welty can be expected to bring jobs, jobs, jobs to the Eighth District’s economy.l

Tidbits about today

Although belatedly finishing the FEC report was the highlight of the day, a couple other things took place. I ordered one more ad for the UMD Statesmen in hopes that the college students would keep the Welty name in mind if and when they vote. I was also interviewed for ten minutes by a Park Rapids Radio station. That was nice because its a city in the western region of the District where I have had little chance to campaign. I was able to do these things this morning because I traded my scheduled morning slot reading news on the radio for the Blind with a December 4th reading from a fellow reader.

I screwed up at noon because I’d mismarked my calendar. I thought I was scheduled to participate in an online chat. No one showed up and I only found out about the mix-up when Mel sent me an email explaining that I was 24 hours early. I always love to be reminded that I don’t deserve a swelled head.

It was wickedly windy today and the weather is supposed to take a turn for the worse. We might even get snow late tonight. After mailing my FEC reports I decided to go swimming rather than try to put up lawnsigns. After I got home I switched on WDIO news.

I had been told a couple days ago by one of the station’s reporters that they were going to give both Rod and Jim three minutes to lobby viewers for votes. (As if these guys needed free TV time?!) Today was the day that Jim would be on. Since I hadn’t been invited I took great comfort in the uncertain, ill at ease presentation of our Congressman. I can’t imagine that it will win him many enthusiastic votes.

I finished up the night on an up note by watching a PBS program that filled my peepers to the brim with tears. It was by a son who told the story of his father’s crash landing in the low countries during the war and the brave Belgians and Flemish people who tried to keep him safe from the Abwehr and Gestapo. It was a testament to the civilians who helped to rescue downed Allied airman.

The title began “Last Best Hope” and I would heartily recommend it to anyone who loves good history.

Bush Leagues

I was reading Juan Cole’s blog and he had this to say about Bush’s war:

“The sad irony of the last five years is that al Qaeda gambled and lost. Their attack offended more Muslims than expected and their military position in Afghanistan folded like a house of cards. Then, unbelievably, with bin Laden’s outfit on the ropes Bush gave them exactly what they wanted.

To this I would add that Bin Ladin managed to escape George Bush. The bastard that killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11 is apparently still alive because George Bush had plans elsewhere.

Other than giving Al Quaeda the new life that Juan Cole is fulminating about George W Bush succeeded in undoing his Father’s only major accomplishment. The first Bush got America over Vietnam. The Baby Bush shoved Vietnam right back down our throats but it must have been worth it. Republicans were able to use the war to win two elections in a row. Now there’s short term thinking for you and it only has cost 3,000 American lives to keep Republicans in power for four years. Cheap victory.

I’m so glad Jim Oberstar could make common cause with the President’s House Republicans on Terri’s law. Now we can all look forward to the chairmanship he will wield should he be reelected.

Feeding the FEC

I was finishing up my FEC report today, four days late, when I finally got a return call from the FEC a week after I first called them for help. After I explained that I had finally figured the reporting requirements out and was preparing to mail the report by certified mail I got a lecture about how turning it in late could subject me to a fine. I told my caller that I was aware of this. The FEC will get my report tomorrow afternoon a week before the election. It shows that I received no PAC money and no contributions of over a hundred dollars from anyone other than myself.

I’ll be back

Oops. My calendar had some confusing scratches on it that I misinterpreted. It was trying to tell me that I would be available on Tuesday, not Monday for a twelve noon online chat. Come back tomorrow and I won’t be so lonely.

Pumpkin carving and the debates

Last night Claudia and I carved pumpkins for All Hallows Eve while we listened to Minnesota’s gubenatorial and senatorial debates.

I thought the Independence Party candidates handled themselves quite well. In fact, after the Governor’s debate I commented to Claudia that Minnesota could be proud to have fielded three such bright and articulate candidates this year.

I won’t vote for Hatch. Worse than his take-no-prisoners demeanor is the worry that he could end up with a Democratic legislature. I’m now a proponent of divided government. So it’s between Hutchinson who impresses me far more than the last IP candidate, Jesse Ventura, and Pawlenty. I’m so irritated with the GOP now that I’m not sure I can bring myself to vote for Tim. I wrote a column a couple years ago saying that if he reneged on his campaign promise not to raise taxes I would vote for him. He didn’t renege and so I don’t feel obligated to vote for him.

Two notable Pawlenty accomplishments:
1. Drastically reducing Minnesota’s Income taxes.
2. Dropping Minnesota, which was once fifth, to 30th on the fifty state rankings for per-capita-spending for students in our public schools.

I’ve been leaning for Hutchinson ever since I first heard him speak two months ago. As an independent candidate myself I can hardly fail to vote for a man just because one of the lessers of two evils are more likely to win.

We had pumpkin gore all over the newspapers by the time the debate was winding down. It seemed metaphorical.

Chat Reminder

If you would like to take part in a live chat with me Tuesday from noon to 1:30, drop by the Duluth Solutions web site. You can lurk in the background and simply read the entries by periodically refreshing your page or you can lob questions my way. If no one checks in I’ll just type stream-of-conscious thoughts or engage in fierce ideological battles with Chris, the host of Duluth Solutions and my campaign manager.

To particiapate in the discussions just sign up as a forum member. Membership is free.

First Ad gets an OK

Claudia hadn’t seen my TV ad until this afternoon. We were fixing dinner in the Kitchen when she said “Harry Look!” My TV ad had just popped up on the ABC Sunday night news with its picture of Oberstar’s “working” lawnsign. The ad continued on with the Republican rogue’s gallery that Jim pandered to and finished up with the head shot of me promising to work hard. My wife said it was good which for her was high praise.

My ad was immediately followed by a brand new Oberstar ad touting how hard Jim works in the Congress. We both enjoyed the juxtoposition of my ad lambasting Jim’s work companions and his ad exulting in his hard work. It sure would be nice to buy a couple thousand dollars more ad time.

Poll dancing

I’ve been getting updates on the KDAL vote early and often online poll. After suggesting that my partisans only vote once the Grams and Oberstar voters are voting like crazy. KDAL needs a couple election judges.

Cure for Health Insurance – Capitalism

Barrons has a provocative review about a new book which suggests that there is nothing wrong with American health care that a little capitalism can’t cure. Here’s a sample.

“Imagine the expense of car insurance if it covered oil changes and routine maintenance, the way health insurance covers annual check-ups and routine medication. Imagine, further, the cost of car insurance if there were no insurance adjusters, so that people could take their car to any body shop or mechanic without inquiring about the price in advance.

The 46 million uninsured Americans turn out to include considerably fewer seriously afflicted people than we usually hear: Their numbers are not growing any faster than the total population. About half who don’t have insurance at any particular time get it within five months. One-third of the 46 million earn more than $50,000 in the year in which they are counted. Many are in good health and simply don’t need medical care. If they do get sick and are poor they can sign up for Medicaid at the hospital emergency room.”

How the mighty have fallen

Dick Armey was one of the congressional Republicans at the 1994 revolution. He has been griping about the new Republicans for several months now. His take on recent political history is interesting. He suggests two directions that Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats could take as they take back control of Congress. He says they will either push toward moderate centrism or let loose the demons of liberal fury that have been smoldering since 2000.

Congressman Armey is largely right when he blames the GOP for their self-inflicted calamities. He suggests that by returning to their old limited government ways they can eventually recover. He says that the Democrats, if they win, will only have the GOP to thank as they mostly covered their heads during this campaign. I agree with this although I think Armey has not given the Iraq War its due in the brewing stampede.

Only time will tell what the Democrats make of their unexpected windfall. I’d love to be in Congress to caution moderation.

Pumpkins to carve

The one thing I’m sure I will win is the distinction of spending less per vote received than either Jim Oberstar or Rod Grams.

Rod will spend 3 or 4 hundred thousand buckeroos for his 30% share of the vote and Jim will spend around one-and-a-half million for his 60% share. If I only receive 10% of the vote my $10,000 in spending, though exceedingly modest, will have been much more potent. I’ll have gotten each voter for about 30 cents. Oberstar will have spent closer to $7 for each of his votes.

Last night Claudia finally asked me how much I’d spent. She was appalled but laughed at the sum. It was double what I’d mentally set two months ago as a personal limit. What can I say? I was overcome by vanity. She was appalled but she also laughed ruefully as she pointed out it was a year’s tuition for some colleges. I told her that if I ever ran for anything again it would be with other people’s money.

I’ve been struggling with the darned Federal Election Commission report. I’m a lousy accountant. Even with a calculator toting up sums my fingers miss as badly as th3ey do when I’m typing.

I’m a day or two overdue on my first report. I didn’t have to turn anything in until I crossed the $5,000 spending barrier which happened at the beginning of October. I read somewhere that the fines for late reports had been reduced for tiny campaign budgets like mine. I did fax a 48-hour report to the Commission yesterday saying that I’d received (from myself) recent contributions over $1,000. Since I’ve received no PAC contributions and no donations from wealthy benefactors of greater than $200 I’m not too worried about having to pay huge fines.

I could have worked on the report again this morning in hopes of overnighting it to the FEC but I decided to go swimming instead. I have other campaign stuff to finish off like putting up more lawnsigns. I plastered them all along 21st Ave East for the 25,000 vehicals that travel up and down its slope daily. Next I want to surround UMD with them in hopes of influencing the young independent college voters of UMD and St. Scholastica. I’ll tackle the report again on Sunday, meanwhile, I’ve got leaves to rake and Halloween pumpkins to carve.

Miner Praise

I picked up the latest Reader Weekly today after swimming 2000 meters to check on my latest ad. The lastest ad directs people to my TV ad which shines a spotlight on Congressman Oberstar’s collusion with Tom Delay. To my absolute delight (since I haven’t bothered organizing a pro-Welty letter-writing campaign) there was one unsolicited endorsement letter from a Paul Miner. Mr. Miner shared his reasons for losing faith in Jim Oberstar

1. Oberstar’s opposition to the changes in the Medicare Part D program and

2. Jim’s pandering to Tom Delay Republicans over Terri’s Law. Then concluded his tome with the line:

“If you are a cynic who says your vote won’t count, remember that if you don’t vote, it certainly won’t be counted. Go Harry Welty!”

Music to my ears.

I approve of this Editorial

The Duluth Budgeteer, which non-Duluthians can’t fathom because its half advertiser, half newspaper, just published a great editorial. Here’s the nub:

“Voters should not just vote along party lines or vote for incumbents who have been in office for years.

Several of the incumbents on the ballot have held their positions for years — if not decades. Maybe they’ve held on to the position because they’re doing a top-notch job.

Or maybe they’ve just held that position for so long because people assume that the incumbents are the best men or women for the job.”

Me Tubed

I just took a few minutes to upload for videos of varying quality to You Tube. It was as easy as Flickr is for uploading still images. Perhaps because they are wmv files instead of mpgs they don’t have very good resolution. At least its not as clear as when you look at them on my campaign website.

I’m not sure how you find them on You Tube otherwise I’d create a link to the exact spot.

I’m ahead!

The Duluth Politics blog made an interesting discovery a couple hours ago. Apparently KDAL has an online poll for the congressional race. As of this evening I was ahead. It wasn’t even close. Duluth Politics is a little skeptical that these results will mirror the results on election night.

Holy Cow! I just checked it out. After casting a vote for myself I was still in the lead. I better go and vote a couple hundred more times to improve my margin of victory. I hope the Grams and Oberstar voters don’t think of that.