Hello folks! Phoenix Woman here, and while I really don’t have any news on the Franken-Coleman thing — nor will I, or anyone else really, until June 1 when the Minnesota Supreme Court hears the oral arguments in the appeal case — I believe I do have some insight into the oft-asked question "How can Minnesotans, who used to be known for their sane and level-headed liberalism, elect dorky Republicans like Norm Coleman, Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann to public office?" Today’s post of mine is an attempt to provide somewhat of an answer to that question.
First off, Norm Coleman originally got elected mayor of St. Paul because he ran as a Democrat. But he wasn’t interested in remaining mayor for very long — his eye was on national office. Since there were too many persons in line ahead of him in the DFL (our local branch of the national Democratic Party), he switched parties and managed to retain his hold on the mayorality thanks to the magic of incumbent inertia. But his welcome was starting to wear thin, so he decided to run against Paul Wellstone for Wellstone’s Senate seat in 2002. Ironically enough, he ran into the same problem that caused him to switch parties a few years earlier: There was somebody ahead of him in line for that job, namely Tim Pawlenty, who was then the House Majority Leader and the guy the Republican Party of Minnesota had selected to run against Wellstone. No matter: Norm called up his buddies in the Bush-Cheney White House, and they leaned on the local GOP, and presto! Norm Coleman was on his way to a Senate seat. The big irony was that rumors about Norm’s personal life — rumors of the sort that would instantly end the political career of any local or national Democrat — have been floating around Saint Paul ever since he was mayor, yet it is considered verboten in local media circles to so much as mention that these rumors exist, which is why Garrison Keillor was raked over the coals for doing so, even obliquely, back in 2002.
Speaking of Tim Pawlenty, one reason he manages to eke out gubernatorial wins is because he can count on a third-party candidate to siphon off votes from his DFL opponents; so long as he stays above the 40% mark, he’s generally safe. It also helps that the local traditional media almost never draws any linkage between the tax cuts he helped push through, both in the state House and in the Governor’s Mansion, and the ongoing decline of employment, social services, and overall quality of life in what used to be the best state in the union in so many categories.
Coming to Michele Bachmann, the same Cone of Silence the local press throws over Coleman’s and Pawlenty’s more interesting deeds covers her actions as well. A recent cartoon feature in the weekly paper City Pages — which was the first local news entity, and the first entity outside of the Dump Bachmann blog, to cover her deeply troubling beliefs and IRS-taunting ties to a local megachurch mogul — mocks how comparatively gently she’s treated by the local corporate media, which had no qualms about savaging Paul Wellstone and has no qualms about going after liberal guys like Keith Ellison and St. Paul city councilman Dave Thune (who famously stood up for the RNC arrestees when no one else in authority would).