Dirt

I’m going to the State GOP convention next weekend. 

As I’ve said elsewhere – I don’t do endorsements, myself.   I told the people at my district who I’d be voting for as a delegate; I suspect the campaigns both know. 

For the record, either Marty Seifert or Tom Emmer would be a better governor than any DFLer, living, dead or yet-unborn, as the leader of this state.  I’ll work myself to exhaustion for whomever wins the nomination.

Now, over the past few days there’s been a roiling froth about the campaign; the Seifert campaign sent delegates a letter from a Republican activist, Sandra Berg (no relation that I know of) regarding a couple of DWI-related charges, that his competitor, Tom Emmer, got 19 and 29 years ago – questioning not only his character due to the arrests, but some legislation he backed that’d have had the effect of treating drunk drivers as innocent until proven guilty and making DUIs private information after ten years of good behavior – in other words, allowing people who’d made  a dumb mistake to function and get their lives back. 

Drunk driving is an emotional issue – made all the more so by groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the rest of the drunk driving lobby.  It’s understandable; anyone who’s lost a loved one to a drunk driver is justifiably motivated to seek change.   But the .08 blood alcohol level limit is a ludicrious waste of resources, and the resources spent on hammering on first-time, only-time offenders with low levels of intoxication are largely a complete waste.

Question:  Does saying the above mean I “support” or am “soft on” drunk drivers and drunk driving?

But it’s ludicrous to treat attempts to make the system fairer and more rational as “sympathy for drunk drivers”.  Almost as ludicrous as assuming two mistakes made a generation ago are defining traits about a late-fortysomething guys’ judgment.

The Minnesota GOP needs to do a lot better than this.

This isn’t affecting my choice at the convention – whoever he is – one iota.

17 thoughts on “Dirt

  1. If these tactics are true, I really can’t support Seifert. It was wrong when they did it to Bush and it is still wrong today. I understand that the Democrats use such tactics; so what does this say about Seifert?

  2. I dunno — I don’t like it at all, but I’d rather that Emmer’s past be out now than have him win the nomination and then have it revealed by a DFL operative on, say, October 28.

  3. Ah, that would be Nazis Against Drunk Driving. They have every right to petition government, but they really are beyond the pale.

  4. Knowing both men quite well, early on I chose Emmer. If you look at the list MDE has provided, Tom’s legislative endorsements show that conservative members of both the Senate and House generally have agreed with me.

    http://www.minnesotademocratsexposed.com/2010/04/23/mngop-race-for-governor-endorsements/

    Surprisingly, two conservatives of note have fallen to Marty. One has a personal axe to grind and I suspect the other has as well.

    As for the DUI issue, I’ve never seen Tom have a drink and have never seen him intoxicated – and I used to spend a whole lot of time with him. The offenses occured a long time ago and is not a problem with me. I’ve known of them for years.

    I can’t fault Marty for making an issue of it, however. This is fair game.

    These guys aren’t having a pillow fight. Politics, at this level, is a very serious matter. Marty’s mistake here was that the method of the disclosure was ham-handed and unprofessional.

    If Marty does end up winning endorsement, let’s all hope his campaign shows better tactics than we have seen before now – because this just won’t cut it against the DFL.

  5. Either Emmer of Seifert would make a great governor. The differences between them are like debating the difference between -30 and -35 in the winter, or winning 240 million or 245 million in the lottery.

    The problem is that conservatives need to be united behind whoever is endorsed, and the strong personal feelings caused by this issue will make that harder to do.

  6. I don’t see how this wouldn’t have a backfire effect even if the DFL did it. Darn near everyone knows one person that has had a DUI. Most normal people would agree that what might have happened more than 10 years ago, not to mention 29 years ago, isn’t really anyone’s business.

  7. My thoughts on this:

    1) I’m supporting Tom Emmer but will support Marty Seifert is he is the endorsed candidate. As someone once said, politics ain’t beanbag. If it’s enough to cost Emmer the GOP endorsement, than it probably would be enough to cost him the general election. If he gets the endorsement after this was brought up, it’s less likely to have much of an effect in the general election.

    2) I’ve seen the report from the NTSB about drunk driving statistics and BAC levels. It simply doesn’t make sense to use 0.08 as the BAC level when it’s drivers at or above 0.10 who are the most impaired, the most likely to cause an accident and the most likely to have multiple offenses.

    3) I think that there should be a clearer distinction made in the law between someone who got a DUI and someone who actually caused an accident because they were impaired. I don’t think that the two are morally equivalent.

    4) There are limited resources that we as an electorate are willing to surrender to the State government (at least there should be) to protect public safety. I don’t think that spending tax dollars to go after 0.08 BAC is a wise use of our tax dollars when it’s 0.10 that is causing the bulk of the problems.

    5) I have no problem with locking up someone who is a danger to the public but it’s a power that carries real costs and needs to be exercised carefully. I would rather that someone who was convicted of a DUI or DWI (that didn’t cause an accident and harm someone else) be home confined at their expense with an ankle bracelet than sit in jail and after released on the unemployment line. Ditto for the automatic suspension of a driver’s license.

    6) I don’t have an opinion on whether DUIs should be considered private information after ten years of good behavior. I’m assuming that if someone was drunk and caused an accident (versus just blowing over the limit on the breathalyzer), that would still be a matter of public record just as it would still be a matter of public record if someone caused an accident but weren’t intoxicated.

    7) Both my mother and brother have been in accidents where they were hit by a drunk driver (I don’t remember the BAC level but it was well over 0.10). My heart goes out to what this woman is going through (my mother still has some of the injuries and my brother spent the better part of a year on crutches) but I can’t bring myself to support a policy that I believe is counter-productive when there are better approaches to dealing with this issue.

  8. I have to say that this strikes me as unbelievably petty, squalid and stupid on MS’s part (and my assumption is that he knew about and OK’d this before it left the gate). It certainly diminishes him in my eyes.

    But what Dave said.

  9. Do you mean ‘yet-unborn’ as in “if they survive their DFL moms’ womb?”

    This snarky “gotcha” stuff is what really turns people or at least me off about politics. It should be reserved for the Democrats and their usual blue-on-blue bloodbaths. The Demo’s have a primary race in Philthydelphia where the incumbent Dem labeled her opponent “not gay enough” for the district because he was or claimed to be a bi-sexual.

  10. D’oh!! Just read the next post. Mitch is all over the not gay enough bisexual (and I mean that in a good way). Do you think they would label a pre-op transexual male as not womyn enough on Womyns issues?

  11. I liked a comment from Seifert comparing the DFL to the GOP like a wedding reception having an open bar to one with a cash bar.

  12. Speaking of Gubernatorial endorsements, Kelliher won the DFL Endorsement. Of all the DFL candidates out there, I was hoping she wouldn’t win. But only because someone I went to school with and am facebook friends with worked her ass off to get MAK endorsed.

    But I’m not that petty. usually.

  13. The drunk driving issue is a pet peeve of mine. I have no skin in the game, haven’t been on either side of a DWI accident or received a DWI. For me, it’s the principle of the thing. I think the way we’ve come to treat drunk driving borders on pre-crime, especially when you get to the point of running checkpoints to see if people have drank when they’ve broken no other law.

    In my opinion, intoxication shouldn’t be a crime until it causes a problem; that is to say, the subject should be observed driving recklessly or get in an accident before the intoxication is considered criminal. I’ve driven tired and been worse off than I would have been wide awake with a couple cocktails. Texting is worse than drinking. Tuning the frickin’ radio can be worse than drinking. All the same arguments apply, reaction time, distraction, etc.

    The bottom line is, you have a responsibility to drive safe. As long as you do so, which is to say you follow on the traffic laws and don’t get in an accident, your supplementary behavior should be no one’s business.

    The observation that everyone knows someone who’s gotten a DWI is probably true. It’s also true that many more of us could have gotten DWIs than actually have. As long as bars are allowed to have parking lots, I don’t buy the public safety argument for DWI laws as they currently stand. It’s about generating revenue and leveraging the emotions of victims to win elections. DWIs have become modern scarlet letters.

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