So, is Keith Ellison merely a misunderstood visionary who will represent Minnesota’s 5th Congressional district with distinction, bringing a Wellstonian fervor to the causes he champions? Or is he a corrupt two-bit pol with radical tendencies and a penchant for ignoring petty little things like existing law? Hard to tell; one thing for sure, don’t expect the Star Tribune to sort things out for you.
Consider the newspaper’s performance on this issue following Ellison’s victory in last week’s primary. Ellison’s Republican opponent, a fellow named Alan Fine, greeted Ellison’s victory with a fusillade of statements impugning Ellison’s character and fitness for office. In other words, Fine began his campaign by campaigning. Well, apparently he’s not allowed to do that, at least according to the Star Tribune. Fine made his comments on Wednesday, generating a broadside from Doug Grow, the more well-mannered of the two lefties that serve as Metro columnists for the Strib. His Thursday column is here:
The next day, the always excitable Nick Coleman, long known for being a champion launcher of invective, took Grow’s grousings one step further, essentially telling Fine that he should be quiet now. His column is here:
If that weren’t enough, Friday’s lead editorial in the Star Tribune made it quite clear that Mr. Fine needs to meekly accept his looming defeat and not do anything egregious, like point out Mr. Ellison’s shortcomings. The editorial is here:
Oddly enough, Katherine Kersten, the Strib’s only out conservative, didn’t toe the evident company line, as her Monday column detailed a fair amount of evidence contradicting the earlier assertions that Ellison and his apologists have made, and more importantly demonstrating that Ellison has willingly accepted support from arguably anti-Semitic organizations for his current campaign. That column is here:
In times like this, I’m reminded of one of my favorite rock lyrics, from the Dire Straits song “Industrial Disease”:
Two men say they’re Jesus/One of them must be wrong
Ellison can’t be simultaneously an honest visionary leader and a habitual flouter of the law.
There’s long been a tendency among certain leftists to rally around charismatic rogues. It is no coincidence that Che Guevara and Bill Clinton rank high in the pantheon. Both are seen as simultaneously transgressive and progressive. If they happened to leave misery in their wake, that wasn’t a big problem. I suspect that some of Ellison’s appeal stems directly from his essential dismissal of societal norms. Perhaps that doesn’t matter and Ellison will serve Minnesota well. But Alan Fine, Katherine Kersten and others who wonder about that are obliged to say so, even if the Star Tribune would prefer that they didn’t.