John McCain has declared a rhetorical cease-fire and Norm Coleman has decided that he's going to try to play nice against the most loathsome opponent a politician could ever hope to have. If you wonder why conservatives are angry, it's because of stuff like that. So what to do?
Anger is understandable, but it has its limitatations. The better alternative is to spend time on campaigns for conservatives who are willing to fight, who aren't afraid to call their opponents out, who understand the real danger inherent in a complete governmental takeover by the Party of Government. For the next few days, we'll turn our attention back to people who are willing to fight.
In a year where the Democrats are riding high, not many people would expect a candidate running against an incumbent DFLer for a seat that has been in DFL hands for over 60 years to win. But in the 4th Congressional District, the Republicans are running the best candidate they've had for a long time. After chasing Betty McCollum for months, Ed Matthews finally gets to share a stage with the incumbent. The occasion is a "candidate forum" at Hamline University that takes place tomorow night, Monday, October 13. The event, sponsored by the theoretically non-partisan League of Women Voters, takes place at the Klas Center on the Hamline University campus at 7 p.m. The Hamline campus is just south of Pierce Butler Route on Snelling Avenue in the Midway district of St. Paul and the Klas Center itself is part of the athletic complex at Hamline.
Here is the key - all questions will come from the audience. Betty McCollum has done pretty well for the last eight years because (a) she has the right three letters after her name and (b) she's been able to avoid any real scrutiny. As a practical matter, McCollum is simply a foot soldier in the Pelosi army. Her only real distinction is the shrillness of her rhetoric, which has at times been audible only to domesticated animals. Her reputation as a leader is obvious by the noticeable lack of buzz surrounding her career. Ordinarily a 4-term congresswoman would be on the short list for potential higher office; say, for example, running for Governor in 2010. When a person like the disgraced Matt Entenza is on the short list and McCollum is not, it speaks volumes about the esteem with which Betty McCollum is held in her own caucus.
If Ed is able to get some of his supporters to attend the event and ask Rep. McCollum some questions beyond the usual NPR-style boilerplate, she can be exposed. Ed is a very sharp fellow with absolute mastery of the issues and excellent stage presence; he'll command respect that previous McCollum opponents have not been able to get. Ed Matthews isn't running as a sacrificial lamb - he's in it to win.
If you can get to Hamline tomorrow night, please do so. Almost all the local media attention for congressional races in this cycle has gone to the scurrilous campaign that Aswin Madia and his bobos have run against Erik Paulsen for the open seat in the 3rd CD, so a strong, visible showing by Ed Matthews would give the chattering classes something else to talk about for the next 3 weeks.
Cross-posted at True North