The sexual shenanigans of John Edwards, Elliot Spitzer, Bill Clinton and Andrew Weiner define the entire history of the Democratic Party. Everything about the Democrats – their beliefs, their policies, their legacy, the intellectual currents that led to the DFL being what it is today – all of it. Every single aspect of Democrat life and thought in America is defined by affairs, hookers, harassing interns, and sending pictures of one’s wedding tackle.
More locally? Jim Metzen’s drunk driving arrest is, in fact, the action that defines the DFL Party in Minnesota – all its activities, its policy positions, everything.
And at both levels, those incidents show the brazen hypocrisy of Democrats, in Minnesota and nationwide.
Now, you might read the above, and say “Hey, wait! Those actions, by individuals and small groups, do not, in and of themselves, “define” an an entire party. They’re the actions of individuals, which have had consequences”.
And you’d have a point.
And my point is, in response, you’d be a smarter person, more logical writer and more ethical columnist than the Strib’s Jon Tevlin.
Although it’s not like you couldn’t see this one coming:
A short history of the current Minnesota GOP, in their own words:
June 2009: Members of the GOP’s Central Committee elect Tony Sutton as chairman.
“Yeah, we’re in soul-searching phase, but I think we’re coming to the end of that,” Sutton said. “I think we’re starting to get our sea legs back. We have to get back to our philosophical roots, so when we talk about fiscal responsibility, we mean it. We have to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. ”
June 2009: “We went way off track in the last eight years,” said Sutton. “The party of fiscal responsibility was spending money like crazy in Washington.”
Repeat through a series of quotes involving Tony Sutton and his predecessor, Ron Carey, talking about how they were in the midst of leaving the party in better financial shape than they found it.
And not just leadership.
June 2009: Rep. Steve Drazkowski runs for office, emphasizes his “rural values,” which included tax cuts, fiscal responsibility and gun rights.
And not just money. No, Tevlin found examples of Republicans uttering the dreaded “V” word – Values.
March 2010: Sutton tells Minnesota Public Radio the GOP is trying to convince Tea Party members it’s returning to core values: “We’re going to have to do it through our actions, not just words. We had spent eight years of being the party of so-called fiscal responsibility, but were spending money like drunken sailors.”
The word is like catnip to partisan pundits from the left and media (pardon, as always, the redundancy), who love bagging on (other groups’) values, when individuals don’t live up to them.
But only when they’re the values of the right.
A columnist could find a rich vein of jape-worthy material on the left, of course. One could mock the left’s bepspoke “commitment’ to “education”, while they and major benefactor, the teachers’ unions, preside over a system that is (at least in Democrat urban areas) collapsing in every area but budget.
A truly curious columnist could squeedge boundless yuks from a party that proclaims sensitivity to the poor, while marching in lock step behind policies that do nothing but keep them poor.
A talking (typing?) head might cavort and romp around the fact that the DFL keeps gays in line as voters by paying lip service to a concept that they, from their president on down, only rarely support when it’s their actual vote on the line, barring the odd flurry of lip service before elections.
A columnist with genuine interest in holding institutions accountable might note that there is a party whose “values” claim to support children on the one hand but kill millions of them a year on the other, and whose “support” for “the family” is manifested in policies that are destroying the family.
That same columnist might note that the DFL is in plenty of debt itself, even after farming out its messaging operation – the parts that the Strib, WCCO, KARE, the City Pages, the programming side of MPR, and the entire Sorosphere don’t cover, anyway – to the plutocrat-and-union-financed “Alliance for a Better Minnesota“, which essentially does all of the DFL’s PR work gratis.
But Jon Tevlin is none of those. He was hired to do Nick Coleman’s old job; be the “bad cop” to Lori Sturdevant’s “good cop” on the Strib’s DFL narrative-buffing team.
And that narrative is that this…:
March 2011: Alex Conant, a spokesman for Gov. Tim Pawlenty, assesses the legacy: “Hopefully, Gov. Pawlenty’s record of fiscal responsibility and government reform will be a model for the future.”
March 2011: “I believe so much in that personal responsibility concept and that city officials must be masters of their own fate, as pleasant or unpleasant as it is,” said Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake.
February 2011: All 37 Senate Republicans send a letter to Gov. Mark Dayton that restated their complete opposition to his plan to raise $3.3 billion in taxes, mostly on the wealthy. “We do not have a revenue problem; we have a spending problem.”
…are completely, utterly and irrevocably negated by this:
May 2011: The GOP misses the first of many rent payments on their headquarters.
April 2012: The GOP’s landlord files eviction papers against the GOP, saying it owes $111,000 in rent, which it hasn’t paid in a year.
…which serves as a blanket indictment of this…:
October 2011: Hennepin County Commissioner, national committeeman and fiscal “watchdog” Jeff Johnson writes in a blog about Occupy Wall Street: “I frankly get very annoyed at the propensity of some to blame our greatest problems on the free market or successful businessmen and women rather than on government policies and the politicians who have gotten us into this massive mess.
You can tell Tevlin’s a professional. He uses “scare quotes” to as a written substitude for giggling theatrically when saying “watchdog”, as if Jeff Johnson – who, a columnist with integrity would note, has led the effort to get the GOP’s budget house in order – were some profligate wastrel.It’s called the Tu Quoque Ad Hominem – the idea that if anything one has ever done is inconsistent with one’s thesis, that and that alone invalidates the thesis. It is a fact that the MNGOP – let’s be charitable – gambled on spending a lot of money on political races at a time when political donations were dropping through the floor, much like a Democrat politician demanding a bigger budget as the economy head south. There was little choice, in a sense – the GOP has to buy favorable media, since it doesn’t have the Strib, MPR and the rest of the Minnesota mainstream press serving as its de facto PR agent. And the party is now suffering some fairly grievous fiscal consequences. A lot of good people are working to fix that. And it has nothing – zero, nada, zilch, bupkes – to do with policies proposed by pols who are members of the MNGOP, but whose job as legislators doesn’t involve administering the Minnesota GOP’s daily business. But the Strib’s priorities are, and have always been, clear.
- It’s election time.
- The DFL, with no legislative achievements to talk about at any level, needs help.
- So the Strib will get back on narrative patrol, no matter how they have to waterboard logic, fact, ethics or context to do it.
Expect a “Minnesota Poll” any day that shows Minnesotans think the GOP should sit this election out to sort out its finances. I’d almost put money on it…
…but I’m way too fiscally responsible for that.