What I was reading the first time I ran for Congress

I have always hoped to catch lightning in a bottle or as the French would say it “la foudre dans une bouteille.”
(this will be a post about the challenges of disseminating my thoughts on line among other things However…..
….Je suis desole mais jardining calls. That’s Franglish for I’m sorry but gardening calls.


I’m back. Claudia and I have done some satisfying gardening.

I am about a third of the way through the book Is Paris Burning. I believe title comes from a quote by the desperate loser, Adolph Hitler, as his world was being eaten alive by the Russian and American armies. It didn’t happen. The book tells that history.

That title lodged in my mind when my Dad got the book. I didn’t read it until 1992 the first of two times I filed to campaign for Congress. I was unhappy with Republicans as they kept taking folks like me, moderates, and stripped us of our positions and ridiculed our milquetoast politics. Instead, they invited in their own set of special interests – gun nuts, anti-civil libertarians, pro life extremists and young folks who thought that America should return to the social-darwinism of Ayn Rand. They did this to counter the “special interests” they accused the Democrats of handing their party over to – Minorities, Woman libbers, unions.

Things have only got worse. I filed again in 2006 but barely campaigned at all getting sidetracked in investigating an old Democratic Party Scandal that upended them in 1978 when I was still a Republican in good standing.

I never took political parties too seriously. In my view they were more like two different fraternaties that always tried to out-hustle the other for the best pledges and other distinctions to be the biggest of the big men on campus. But my family had all been Republicans for generations and I although I started college inclined to be an independent the more my generation bad mouthed my people, my family, the more contrarian I got. My family was full of good people and if they were given a blanket condemnation I decided to wrap myself up in that blanket with them. I would do it my own contrarian way. I would not forswear my ideals which were for the most part idealistic and common sense. And back then the Republican Party was so desperate for young people my heresies, if that’s what free trade and civil rights were, were winked at. I even had a lot of company. In 1972 Minnesota’s GOP state convention passed a pro-choice plank.

This could all become the subject of a book. By 1991 I decided to try my hand at writing a book and I did and I published it. Oh it was a dreadful book far too autobiographical about a younger me being transported back to the time of the dinosaurs. But it was a great exercise in perseverance if not common sense. I spent a small fortune publishing it. But I had a method for my madness. I had decided to run for Congress having already served as a campaign manager for a Republican Congressional Candidate ten years earlier in 1982. Coincidentally, my counter part in that year’s Oberstar campaign was later sent to prison.

All Republican campaign’s of those years were impoverished. My independent campaign would be no exception so I came up with a plan to finance my campaign by selling my books, or rather, giving them as a token for contributions. I think I palmed off 250 of the 6,000 books I’d printed. It didn’t work out and I was stuck with a garage full of books that I finally parted with reluctantly twenty years later. They went to the landfill. I still have a couple hundred left. I’d made them virtually unsaleable by putting a pro-choice manifesto in the back of them. Its still the best and most prescient part of the book, but crimeny, who would buy it that way?

I couldn’t file for Congress today. Its a national holiday and I had gardening to do. But I did study French and I have more blog posts screaming for my attention. There is a lot on my mind. Having a friend of dicators as one’s president focuses the mind. My eight loyal readers might feel like a fire hose is aimed at them or maybe not. We’ll see.

Oh and here are the books I read in 1992 as I got fired up for Ross Perot and campaigned for Congress myself:

Lincoln and his Generals………………..T. Harry Williams
Is Paris Burning……………………….Collins & LaPierre
(How Paris was spared destruction in WWII)
Confucius and the Chinese Way…………… H G Creel

And so far this year …..

The Last of the Doughboys Richard Rubin
Fierce Patriot (Wm Tecumseh Sherman) Robert L. O’Connell
The Greater Journey David McCullough
Five Nights in Paris John Baxter
The Road from the Past Ina Caro
Is Paris Burning

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