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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Weekly Standard: Blowing Pawlenty's Horn

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 04/28/07 23:55

by Dave Mindeman

The Weekly Standard has apparently officially join the ranks of Republican sympathizers getting goo goo eyes for Pawlenty. The Sam's Club Republican? Yea... I bet all those Sam's Club shoppers are real happy with Pawlenty's policies.

Apparently, Pawlenty's "populist" ideas are so radical to the Weekly Standard that they assume the good governor has discovered some new political philosophy. Well, I think that may be a little far fetched.... and the first clue is to list Norm Coleman as your mentoring example for this radical new way.

Pawlenty's list of ground breaking Republican achievements are embodied in (1) His Canadien prescription drug program. He even brings up his old favorite slogan..."show me the dead Canadiens". What he doesn't talk about is the bureaucratic nightmare he had with the FDA; how the only seniors that could benefit had to be computer savvy; and that Medicare Part D essentially killed the program before it could even be fully implemented. Now if he came out for competitive pricing with the drug companies.... well, then we got a populist message. (2) He can take some actual credit for some of the ethanol requirements and alternative energy emphasis... however, he is still not looking forward enough.... studies showing the real energy savings will have to come from prairie grasses and we still need tougher conservation methods. Not enough movement there-- at least not the populist kind. But he did manage to peak some conservative interest when he talked about how the US is funding both sides of the war on terror -- our side (for sure) and theirs by buying oil. Great talk until you have to take on the oil lobby for real.... got any influence for McCain on that one, Tim?

To me, if the good Governor wants to be known as a conservative "populist" (now that little description makes compassionate conservatism look like a William Buckley hard right catch phrase)... then he can "show us the money" when the Democrats send up their tax bills. Will Tim Pawlenty stand with the "Sam's Club" consituents and shift the financial burden away from property taxes to the wealthiest in the state? Will our "populist" governor fund the roads in a fiscally responsible "pay as you go" method? Will he get serious about full health insurance coverage ?.... or stand with his token programs which fix the little cuts but let the "flesh wounds" bleed?

Yessir, Governor Pawlenty is getting noticed. His rhetoric may look revolutionary to a party that is desperate for new thoughts. But to those Sam's Club Republicans and Costco Democrats, you have to get off the stump...... you've got to chop the wood.

Do something really radical Governor. Sign those tax bills and get this state moving again.
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THIS MAY NOT BE VIETNAM

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 04/28/07 14:34

This is an open letter from Pat Dooley, a Vietnam Veteran who is concerned we are making the same mistake again.

BY PATRICK DOOLEY

It has been nearly 40 years since I stepped off the plane in Cam Rahn Bay, Vietnam October 1967. We were put on a bus; looking out the window I noticed two things - body bags being loaded and wire across the windows. ?Hey, what?s the wire across the windows for?? ?Keep the hand grenades from coming in.? Welcome to Vietnam!

Our stay was short in Cam Rahn Bay and being an energetic 20 year old I didn?t realize how good it was there. The short-timers you passed by, would see you and holler ?how many days you got left?? They were going home we were just getting there.

From Cam Ranh Bay we went to An Khe, headquarters for the First Air Cavalry. We stayed there a week, processing and a training school. Still didn?t know how good this spot was.

My adventures from there were many. We were sent to LZ English and spent time in the mid-central highlands. We went to Quang Tri. We were sent to Khe Sanh to help the Marines who were under siege. We also had an expedition to A shau Valley.

These adventures taught me some valuable lessons. As a 20 year old draftee I learned to question authority. Some of the situations we were put in called out for such questioning. Although questioning may be counter productive to Army missions; Army missions could be counter productive to your existence.

After one year in Vietnam you were flown back to the world and deposited. Life was the same for everyone else, it would never be the same for me.

When the current administration began beating the drum to get the US involved in Iraq, I had an immediate reaction; this is not right. Sending young soldiers to fight in a foreign land who had not done anything against us, stuck in my craw.

I got involved in the Anti-War movement, gave a couple of speeches in New Orleans before Katrina. I met Cindy Sheehan in New Orleans, her son was in the First Cavalry. I told her that when I got home from Vietnam and saw the look in my mother?s eyes, I realized how much the War had affected her. Tears still swell in my eyes whenever I think of it.

There were 58,000 Americans killed in Vietnam. More than that number committed suicide after returning. Agent Orange is still killing veterans. Vietnam vets are the ones that determined what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was. We are a forgotten group that cannot forget.

I have the utmost respect for all veterans; it is a respect you can only get by being one. We were sent in to combat as individuals, separated from your hometown friends. Sent home as individuals. The country blamed us for the war.

I searched and found some of my combat buddies after 35 years and cannot describe what it was like to see them after 37 years.

The current soldiers seem to bond from the get go and talk about their brothers in the present tense. This is something we didn?t have, it was something that I had to figure out.

While traveling through the Atlanta airport a couple of years ago, the USO led a group of soldiers through the terminal clapping and carrying on, encouraging people to stand and acknowledge. This display was bittersweet for me. I didn?t stand and clap for the soldier?s as others did. It struck me as kind of forced recognition. I guess I may have felt a little resentful that no one had ever clapped for me. I went over to a soldier who was standing alone, after they left, and thanked him.

The Iraq war may not be Vietnam, but all wars have things in common and bind those participants in ways only they can really understand. I had hoped that the War I took part in would have prevented the current war from taking place. The people who brought about this current tragedy do not have the frame of reference or listen to those who did. It is a rich man?s War but a poor man?s fight.

If my service and the service of all participants in the military is to have a meaning; let it be to allow the people to question authority. The government is given its authority from the people. This administration does not seem to believe it; they seem to impose their power from their own authority. Freedom of Speech means the freedom to Disagree.

Sincerely.

Patrick Dooley

Pat Dooley can be reached at patdooley@hotmail.com
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Minnesota Transportation Needs Less Comedy and More Action

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 04/28/07 13:27

by Dave Mindeman

Have you ever seen the comedian, Carrot Top? His act is totally dependent on props. A straight stand up routine is out of the question. His jokes are too weak to stand on their own, they need visual aids.

So it is, with the Minnesota Republicans these days. Props. Their subtitute for ideas. Bring out the fishing poles, the death certificates, the "veto" pen. Maybe somebody will pay attention.

One thing I like about the Pawlenty "veto" pen.... it's always red. As in red ink. It is highly appropiate because everything that Pawlenty proposes reeks of red ink.

Take transportation.... somebody please take it. Instead of a bill that will bolster road and transit revenue (which the Democrats are in the process of passing), Pawlenty says, how about borrowing some more? We are having a near crisis in transportation issues from past neglect, but the Pawlenty solution??..... 'hey kids, along with all the tuition hikes you are getting slapped with, how about you pick up the tab on the roads we travel. Mom and Dad need those tax breaks..... and when you have to pay, you can blame some future governor and tell him/her how irresponsible he/she is.. how about it, kids? Whaddaya say?... oh that's right, you can't vote, so I guess I'll have to decide for ya!'

Governor Pawlenty's precarious position is totally dependent on a unified GOP House and Senate caucus. In the case of tranportation there really are some forward thinking Republican members. They know their constituents in the 'burbs are hopping mad about inaction on their horrible commutes.

Well, think hard, Republicans. Pawlenty can stay beholden to his "no tax" cronies, but a veto override can make a statement to your districts that will be heard loud and clear for the next election. It is time to put the props in the broom closet and get down to the people's business.

Seifert can continue his Carrot Top routine if he must, but the hard working people of Minnesota need straight talk and for once... honest action without more red ink.
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