Mills: Didn’t See That Coming

The Strib endorses…

Stewart Mills in CD8.

I must confess, I didn’t see it coming – and reading the Strib ‘s piece, I’m going to guess they didn’t either:

Among the district’s immediate challenges is a choice between two imperfect candidates for Congress. On balance, we conclude that this changing district would be best served by a fresh voice, and we give the endorsement edge to retail executive Stewart Mills.

One wonders how often the Star Tribune specifically notes candidates are “imperfect”. I imagine it’s less of a surprise to most readers than the Star Tribune may believe.

One charge relentlessly leveled at Mills is that he is the beneficiary of inherited wealth through his family’s Fleet Farm empire. But we doubt that many Minnesotans really consider such a background a disqualification from public office.

While it would be a bit much to expect the Star Tribune to attack the DFL for making Mills’s wealth – for which he worked – an issue while endorsing a trust fund baby for governor, one could always hope.

Still, the endorsement does go on to tell Mills’ story fairly:

Having begun his Fleet Farm career scrubbing toilets and emptying trash, Mills today is vice president in charge of the chain’s health care plan, covering 6,000 employees and their dependents. He has developed a hands-on understanding of the intricacies of the health care marketplace, coming to see wellness and prevention as keys to controlling costs.

Mills says his objections to the Affordable Care Act are central to inspiring his run for Congress. His candidacy follows what he calls the “Hunting Camp Rule”: If you complain about something, you get the job of fixing it. His condemnation of the ACA is too sweeping, given that he backs the law’s key goals. But the market-based approaches he prefers — including more price transparency and tort reform — could contribute to needed improvements in the law.

I know, I know – I shouldn’t complain too hard; the Star Tribune just endorsed a relatively free-market conservative.

But would a little honesty, or at least economic literacy, kill the “newspaper of record”? (Emphasis added):

Mills is challenging Rep. Rick Nolan, who returned to Congress in 2012 after a 32-year hiatus. Nolan lists several accomplishments, including working with Minnesota Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar in securing $10 million in federal funds for improvements for the Port of Duluth-Superior.

Nolan has been a leader in efforts to clamp down on foreign-made steel dumping in this country. He has also worked to expand invasive species protection in the Great Lakes. And he says he’s committed to campaign finance reform and efforts to improve the legislative process.

Nolan’s “accomplishments”, in other words, involve coughing up taxpayer. goodies for the special interests in his district.

Speaking of special interests:

We differ with Mills on a number of issues — not least on his unyielding stance against firearm regulation.

Running in the Eighth Congressional District? That’s a feature, not a bug.  So, by the way, is supporting the Constitution.

But here’s how we know it’s really, really a Star Tribune endorsement (emphasis added):

But we’re also persuaded that Mills has the intelligence and pragmatic instincts to learn, grow and adapt in office.

Mr. Mills – I hope you get elected. And that you then resist “growing in office” with every fiber of your being.

If elected, Mills will face a learning curve in Washington. But he has the energy, the zest for ideas and the deep commitment to northern Minnesota to make a success of it.

Yeah, it’ll take a lot of learning to get up to the level of a Nancy Pelosi or a Sheila Jackson Lee.

But those are the marginalia. It’s an endorsement. It’s only a newspaper endorsement, but it’s the last thing I ever expected.

10 thoughts on “Mills: Didn’t See That Coming

  1. Mitch,

    This isn’t a surprise – the editorial board read the tea-leaves and determined that Mills was going to win in CD8, possibly win big. After checking with the DFL leadership, they decided this was the race they could safely go against the DFL nominee and create an air of plausible denial – you see them do this for one race just about every election.

    It is not a sign of anything positive happening at the paper, just them going with the winner when it helps them pretend to be non-partisan.

  2. Brad, you beat me to it. The Star Tribune gave a tokan Republican endorsement to a strong candidate you is going to win anyway.
    Nolan is running one of the worst campaigns I have ever seen. Mill’s hair is an issue? And GP plant closing in Duluth is MIlls fault? Really Rick? You Democrats like trial lawyers. You should sue your campaign manager for malpractice.

    if this was a close election, they would have endoreced Nolan to try to buy the win for him.

  3. If you strip away the union influence, the hearts of the people up north are red. And curbing guns is never a good idea in a district with frequent surprise appearances by wolves and bears.

  4. Good points, Brad and Chuck. I guess I wasn’t feeling nearly cynical enough this morning.

    It doesn’t happen often.

  5. TBS don’t neglect the often tasty appearance of deer, grouse, ducks, rabbits, geese and the occasional moose.

  6. Kel:

    Will killing that skunk create a quartine period for you or will you do what Rubin K in that one episode of the Partridge Family did was to get the group to take a bath in tomato juice?

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  7. Based on the except I read of the endorsement I think what might have tipped was that they saw Stewart as the person who wants to improve health care for the average person. Their problem which they needed to write around was that they were in effect endorsing Republican ideas on heath care instead of saying that Obamacare is destroying the healthcare system.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  8. Walter, the idea of using a long gun would be to obviate a tomato juice bath – I can speak from experience and recommend not killing a skunk under the front porch.

  9. For skunks a 120 or 220 conibear if your not worried about pets in your area. Otherwise a live trap bait with canned cat food or applesauce. You can get all of this at Mills Fleet Farm too.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.