…was, paradoxically, only incidentally about Ryan Winkler.
Our Big Game of Telephone: From the mid-nineties on, when Michele Bachmann was still organizing the Maple River Education Coalition, before she even ran for the State Senate, the late Karl Bremer was dinging on the future Presidential candidate and conservative lighting rod.
And conservatives, in turn, dinged on the irascible Bremer. I’m not one to speak ill of the dead – but it’s a simple fact that the guy was prone to using imagination when the facts didn’t give him the story he wanted. For years, finding and pointing out all the logical and factual holes in his peevish tirades was for conservative bloggers what “mending nets” is for Spanish fishermen. In short – he was like a blogger, only more so.
But if you ask a left-leaning member of the Minnesota Media “elite”, you got a different story; Bremer was lauded as a hero, treated as one of the club, given the secret handshake. He won an award from the “Society of Professional Journalists” – something like “best digger of documents”.
It was all, every bit of it, related to Bremer’s nearly two-decade-long mania for “covering” / writing about / stalking Michele Bachmann. The enemy of the Twin Cities’ media’s enemy is the Twin Cities media’s friend.
And had Bremer turned all of that manic energy on Paul Wellstone or Keith Ellison? Not a single member of the Twin Cities media would have acknowledged his existence, much less pissed on his grave.
Warm, Fuzzy: With that in mind, take a good read through Doug Grow’s profile of the retiring Representative Ryan Winkler.
Entitled “Why the Legislature will miss Ryan Winkler”, it’s full of assurances, via Pat Garofalo, that Winkler’s big and rapidly-moving mouth was “all business, nothing personal” – which is a fine thing, and mildly reassuring (although mere nonelected proles who encountered Winkler on Twitter had mixed experiences with the lad)…
…and maybe even true, as far as it goes.
But read the article.
You’ll scan it in vain for any mention of Winkler’s “Uncle Tom” jape. And that’s fine; people make mistakes; to err is human and to forgive divine, yadda yadda. If every political “opposition researcher” in the world suddenly broke their femurs and spent six months in traction, and the world could forgive politicians their past oopses, the world would be a happier place, and maybe a little bit better one too.
That might actually be a wonderful thing.
But as I – and quite a few other people – noted when Winkler announced his retirement, Winkler was only the symptom. The disease? The Minnesota Media’s double-standard.
Because if Winkler’d been a Republican, you can bet “Uncle Tom” would have popped up in Grow’s epitaph; it’d be carved large on the media’s collective memory of the guy for all eternity.
Winkler has painstakingly avoided ruling out a return to Minnesota politics. Five will get you twenty that when he does, “Uncle Thomas” will not rate a single inch of copy.