Holding off on the tsunami

Two posts ago I wrote about the tsunami to come. It was a rushed and inelegant post that I promised to edit. Friday turned out to be a pretty busy day and I was too mentally drained to improve it. I may not get to it and simply hope that it makes sense even in its rough draft state.

After writing it I turned my attention to finishing off the questionnaire for the state teacher’s union Education Minnesota. I toned down some smart alecky answers and headed over to the interview. I arrived 15 minutes early hoping to be able leave early to get to the Soup Kitchen where I was supposed to serve for the noon meal.

I sat opposite four teachers one of whom I knew as a parent from my children’s Chester Park Elementary days and another I knew as an excellent elementary teacher. The half hour grilling became a 45 minute conversation so I didn’t get out early after all but that was OK with me.

This panel won’t be making the decision but will offer their insights. I told them I expected Roger to get the nod and added that if he was given $500 or so to spend by their PAC that it wouldn’t make a difference. The reason? Because this primary will be based on the Red Plan and whether Roger’s existing foot-in-the-door and uncontrovesial nature or my bull in the china shop reputation appealed most to the small number of possibly irate people who will show up to vote on August 10th.

One of the panel members dutifully asked questions but her body language suggested to me that my role in fighting the Red Plan probably disposed her to viewing me as an enemy. Her school building is one of the legitimate targets of Red Plan construction and in a better world would have been completed long before any work on the much newer Stowe and Lester Park elementaries.

Because I made it clear that I did not agree with all of Ed Minn’s positions these became the focus of several extensive mini-debates. For instance, I argued that the union’s desire to limit teaching to folks with education degrees was wrong headed. How, I asked, could the union try to prevent an Einstein from teaching physics?

They were friendly debates and I didn’t make all the good points. I explained that whenever my top eduational priority – giving the best possible education to children – was the same as Ed Minn’s they would have an eloquent and energetic ally in me.

When asked who my education heroes were I mentioned it probably wouldn’t be anyone who endorsed No Child Left Behind. I mentioned the AFT’s old President Al Shanker and author Johnathon Kozol.

I only put in a shortened 45 minutes slinging hash at the Soup Kitchen then had to hurry home to compose ads for three soon-to-be-published periodicals and make out checks to get them published. I also printed up a few handouts for the weekend using the ads as my template.

This weekend I’ll have to decide how important it is for me to raise the last thousand of the three thousand I need to raise by Tuesday to qualify for the $5,000 the state could give the winner of the DFL primary. I simply mailed out my fundraising letter too late. That letter went to contributors to Let Duluth Vote and raised two thirds of the $3,000.00 in eight days. I never found time to mail a similar letter to previous donors of my campaign. [BTW – I will have raised $3,000 by Tuesday just not in $50 per person chunks. Contributions in excess of $50/person don’t count.] Actually, I’ll have $4,000 in my account because I loaned $1,000 of my money to the campaign to pay for fundraising mailings. If I don’t get the state match I will probably just swallow the loan and turn it into a contribtion.

As I told the Ed Minn panel in some ways I don’t need the state’s match. If I win the primary I’ll be close to a shoo in to win the General election whether I spend any money at all. Its one of the facts of life I used to find very annoying when I ran for the legislature as a Republican candidate. Sheer stubbornness kept me a Republican for years and left a lot of people with the impression that I must be a Rush Limbaugh myself to stick with the party. Nope. I just didn’t like the idea that my once standard moderate Republicanism should be subjected to a purge. I suppose I was a little like the old Trotskyites who stuck with the Communist Party despite the fact that the Stalinists were busy assassinating them.

If I fritter away the weekend without raising any money that will pretty much guarantee that I will forfeit state funding and the repayment of my loan. I’ll let you know what I decided to do.

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