Friday, January 20, 2006

Exit Patty Wetterling

It appears that Patty Wetterling is getting out of the race for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Mark Dayton. This is interesting on many levels.

  • Having Wetterling out of the race clears a path for Amy Klobuchar to get the DFL endorsement for the seat, which will allow Klobuchar to turn her attention to running against the prospective Republican candidate, Mark Kennedy. Klobuchar vs. Kennedy will be a great race, pitting two smart, accomplished candidates, both of whom are far superior to Sen. Dayton, whose performance in the Senate has ranged from anonymous to embarrassing.
  • Wetterling's long-standing role as an advocate for missing children, stemming from the 1989 disappearance/kidnapping of her son Jacob, has made her one of the most admirable figures in Minnesota. She had hoped to parlay the 15 years of goodwill she has earned into higher office. I've always wondered why she would believe that becoming a politician would be more helpful that what she's accomplished with the Jacob Wetterling Foundation. I imagine that her popularity actually was hurt once she declared herself a partisan, especially since it was evident during her 2004 campaign that she had not thought through many of the issues currently driving American politics.
  • Press reports indicate that Wetterling was essentially coaxed out of the race by the majordomos of the DFL, who have long preferred Klobuchar. While Wetterling's name recognition in Minnesota is close to 100%, Klobuchar is a much better candidate for the DFL and the party operatives recognized that.
  • It's not clear if Wetterling is now going to sit 2006 out, or if she will instead throw her hat into the ring as either a congressional candidate (for Kennedy's seat), or potentially as a candidate to become the 494th consecutive female Lt. Governor in Minnesota. Wetterling had previously endorsed the unfortunately named Elwyn Tinklenberg for the 6th District seat, but she may change her mind. If Mike Hatch offers her a chance to be his running-mate for Lt. Governor, it may be difficult to turn down the invitation. She certainly is qualified for the position, considering such non-entities as Joanne Benson and Mae Strunk have held the seat.
  • I do wonder about the politics of fame; does being a famous person of good reputation make you a viable candidate for political office? As much as I've admired Wetterling, I never once thought she was a serious candidate. On the flip side, this is the state that elected Jesse Ventura and that continues to send the moronic Betty McCollum to Congress. We'll see about fame - in Pennsylvania, former Steelers great Lynn Swann is running for governor and is already ahead of his likely opponent, Ed Rendell. I guess to ensure equal time, perhaps Rendell should attempt to be a sideline reporter on the college football broadcasts. Or maybe Suzi Kolber would like to throw her hat into the ring....

1 comment:

Execu-bot said...

I'm convinced that name recognition is the only way that Jeb and Dubya have careers. -Well, maybe just Duyba.

I'll give you two guesses on how I feel about that -but you won't need them both.