Friday, February 16, 2007

Meanwhile, back in Minnesota

I am so pissed off with American politics. The last few years, ever since the banana-republic style s/election of 2000, have left me frothing-at-the-mouth and disaffected. Non-debates over non-binding resolutions, indeed. If it weren't for despicable shenanigans in Florida in 2000, or Ohio in 2004, we'd have (maybe) experienced a different world. If Al Gore cared as much about the republic then as he now cares about the ice cap, maybe we wouldn't be in the mess we're in. But only maybe, because the truth is I'm having a harder and harder time figuring out just what separates a Democrat from a Republican. And I have no real way of knowing how Al Gore might have responded to 9/11; and John Kerry ran on a platform of a REALLY, REALLY BIG SURGE back in 2004. All I know is, looking forward to the 2008 presidential elections, I'm not impressed by anyone. No need to go into details; let's just say that what most of my friends consider to be a "dream ticket" I consider to be a political train wreck.

But back in Minnesota, there is a new senatorial candidate I am excited about. I found myself giddy today having the opportunity to send off a donation via I grew up with the guy, at least through the TV screen. I don't know him personally, but we grew up in the same suburb, and it sounds like we had similar experiences there. It's a gut feeling, but I think he is the real deal. He made me laugh all throughout my adulthood. He's also been a smart cookie ever since he put politics and opinions above humor - though humor seems to stay with him even as he enters the fray. We don't get Air America here in Hartford, but when his show was being run on the Sundance Channel I'd watch quite regularly. I don't want to sound too gushing...but here is a person I wish I could do more for. At least I can blog...

Minnesota was of a certain political makeup when I was a kid. In 1968, when I was 14 years old, my uncle was a printer for the Humphrey campaign, and on election night I got to go to the Leamington Hotel, which that night was national campaign headquarters, to watch our native son go down in flames. 1968 was the year that turned me into a lover of politics, a love that has since gone unrequited. Eugene McCarthy's anti-war campaign transformed my political worldview. I remember watching in tears the Chicago convention of 1968; Mayor Daley's cops beating the shit out of all the anti-war protestors outside; the machinations of unworthy politicians on the inside. While I lived as a voting age citizen in Minnesota, I participated in caucus night for the presidential primaries in 1972. I've met Walter Mondale - the other great progressive senator of a certain age - more than a few times, once in Jerusalem when he invited me, a college junior with a set of dubious press credentials from the local Twin Cities Jewish newspaper, up to his suite at the King David Hotel for a 30 minute encounter. In 1984, when I had moved to Connecticut, I maintained my New Hampshire voting status (having taught for 18 months at Dartmotuh College) just so I could travel for one night up to Hanover to vote for Mondale in a failed effort to beat Gary Hart there. I was long gone from Minnesota when Paul Wellstone arrived, and to be quite honest, there was something about Wellstone I found a bit hard to take. But I remember a progressive quality to Minnesota politics - a legacy that unraveled with the likes of Rudy Boschwitz, Dan Durenberger and now, Norm Coleman. Once the proud home of that unique entity of the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party (I really once thought that the entire national party was really all DFL), Minnesota has become a state of suburban voters, and those voters have pulled state politics to the right.

So for recent memory, the state was represented by 2 senators of opposing views. One a solid liberal democrat (Wellstone or Dayton or now Klobuchar); the other a republican "moderate" (Boschwitz or Durenberger or now Coleman). Can Minnesota return to a time, as in the 1970s, when it would be represented by two liberal progressives? Hard to know, but I was willing to make that rarest of expenditures today from my discretionary budget. I donated 25 bucks from 1000 miles away on the hope that this decent, witty, funny, and thoughtful guy might himself someday bloviate on the floor of the United States Senate. I'd watch CSPAN-2 a lot more...


  1. I'm not sure what all the recent buzz about this has been, because I remember hearing weeks ago that he decided to run. The coolest thing about it for me? I'll actually be able to vote for him!

    I realized that when I was talking about it with some friends on Skype, and one commented about how he would vote for him, and then it hit me that, hey, I'll be able to vote in 2008. I've just become so used to supporting candidates that I've never been able to vote for, until now.

  2. He's good enough, he's smart enough, and doggonnit, people like him. You keep sending him $, i'll send him my vote in '08

    - shmoo

  3. I'm so, so tired of voting.


  4. Who the hell is this blogger??

    "Why not?" Why not not do it?


  5. It's hard to believe that this blog remains up. Who the f*@! is this blowhard?

  6. Day after useless boring day, this blog remains on line. A travesty to free speech.