Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fight the Power Part One -- 4th CD

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


Gino said...

"who understand the real danger inherent in a complete governmental takeover by the Party of Government."

you mean 'our socialism vs their socialism'?

Mark Heuring said...

No, I mean limited government vs. unlimited government. Check Ed's website and see.

Gino said...

they all say that, and look at the congress under the GOP.

Anonymous said...

Gino has got a pretty good point. For seven and a half years, almost nobody on the starboard side has concerned themselves with the huge expansion of government that took place under Dubya. But, now that it looks like the Dems are about to become the dominant party, you are all suddenly concerned about massive spending and borrowing.

Is it fair to assume that when Republicans are in power, you're Big Government Conservatives, and when the Democrats look imminent, you revert to Fiscal Cons? It sure seems that way.

Mark Heuring said...


I didn't like what Bush did one bit in re: big government and have said so. I understand why it happened - he had a war to fight and he had to horse trade on a lot of stuff to get the funding he needed. Should have have done it? I wish he hadn't.

And remember, Bush can't spend a dime unless Congress appropriates it. If you're looking for Republicans to blame, that's where I'd start. I'd also mention that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid certainly haven't reformed matters in the past two years either. And there's little prospect to believe that things will get better on that score if The One takes over.

As for the bailout, which is certainly a big part of Gino's point -- I would have preferred a better approach, but there wasn't one on offer. People I respect (like John Kline here in MN, Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, etc.) tried to make the bill better. They got some of what they wanted. So did others who turned it into an even greater porkfest than it was.

But I can't change any of that now. What I can do is attempt to send good people like Ed Matthews to Washington. If Ed were to win, would he become corrupted? I would hope not, but he'd be a damned sight better than Betty McCollum, who is simply a rubber stamp for whatever Madame Speaker wants.

And if the implication is that because Republicans have sinned that means I have no right to complain about Democratic sins real and contemplated, I reject that. I 'm not just going to lie on my back and think about England just because my side had a big role in what's happened over the past 8 years.

How was Appleton?

Anonymous said...

you make some great points, and I don't really disagree with you. The Conservative movement needs to be rebuilt, and getting bright, young and honest politicians elected is a good place to start. Ed Matthews sounds like he might be one of them, and I generally trust your judgement on such matters. But it isn't specifically Matthews I was addressing -- it's more like Matthews as a symbol for intellectual honesty in your party, and here's why:

In many ways, this election is shaping into a referendum on the dishonesty of of far right rhetoric. So much of it has recently been proven wrong. But there has been, for at least the last four years, a cottage industry of rightist thinkers patting each other on the back as they make excuses for the failed Bush administration by blaming everything and everyone else. To wit, the Fannie/Freddie excuse for the mortgage crisis, and the nomination of Sarah Palin. Did the Mac's have a role in the crisis? Absolutely. But to try to pretend that it is the sole impetus for this credit crisis, as so many on the right are doing, is preposterous. And Sarah Palin is preposterous for so many reasons, that I am not even going there right now. Ditto the failed and unnecessary war in Iraq (tactical military victories do not equal victories). With the verdict on the Bush years being nothing short of failure by almost any metrics (I'll give Bush credit for not allowing another major terrorist attack on American soil), to prop up this brand of conservatism that has poisoned the GOP amounts to, at best, cognitive blindness, and at worst, intellectual dishonesty. At some point, the right is going to have to stop carrying water for Bush/Rove/Palin, and let your brain and gut win out over dogma. This will probably infuriate the dead-enders, but at least you would revitalize your brand and strike a blow for rebuilding the GOP.

My 2 cents. I am trying to be objective, and hope I wasn't too harsh. And I am not so delusional as to think that my side of the street couldn't undergo a similar withering criticism. But my side hasn't held most of the reins of government power for the last decade.

Appleton was great. My son really liked Lawrence, and it has jumped way up on his list. He had a great experience/good interview/good class to monitor, etc.
Appleton really is a nice town, and we were there on the kind of Autumn weekend that makes Midwestern winters seem worth enduring. Also, my nephew had one of his best games ever on Saturday. He is a Safety for the Foresters, and had 10 tackles, two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Not a bad day!
Thanks again for all the info. On Saturday morning, I took a jog by McCarthy's grave, saw your high school, got lost trying to find the football stadium, and had a great meal at the Bavarian Inn.


Mark Heuring said...


I'm going to let most of what you said pass for now. I will only suggest that things are going to look very different concerning Bush 43 in a few years, especially if the 44th president turns out to be your guy.

Glad you liked Appleton, by the way. It is a nice town and I'm fortunate to have grown up there.

Gino said...

and in 40yrs, you'll both be praising my name and superior wisdom while wishing you listend to me concerning ron paul.