Chanting Points Memo: Watching The Detectives

Pat Kessler is one of the small pack of “deans of Minnesota political journalism”.

And he’s done some good work during the campaign so far.

But his “Reality Check” piece yesterday deserves a look.

First, Immigration:

Tom Emmer, the Republican Candidate for Governor, said he supports Arizona’s tough new immigration crackdown. However, on Sunday, he toned down previous comments about how “wonderful” it is.

“What I said was … I was asked one question: ‘what do you think about the Arizona law?’ I said ‘it’s a good start when you talk about Arizona,'” said Emmer on WCCO Sunday Morning.

But, IN FACT, that’s not what he said.

On Minnesota Public Radio, Emmer described Arizona’s law as “wonderful,” said it does not target minorities and that it’s appropriate for police to ask for papers.

“I think what Arizona did is a wonderful first step,” said Emmer. “I’m very disappointed at the federal government.”

That’s the big “reality” check? Emmer went from a “Wonderful” start to a “Good” start?

So we’re parsing adjectives, here?  Is there some hidden difference in weight between “Good” and “Wonderful” starts?   Especially since both adjectives describe precisely the same approach?

Given how illegal immigration polls, I’d say either adjective works just fine with the voter.

Emmer was also noncommittal about whether he supports allowing Minnesota to opt out of federal laws, like President Obama’s new health care plan.

“You said I proposed that once,” he said. “What I have always proposed is that you gotta go based on the constitution.”

IN FACT, Emmer is a sponsor of a constitutional amendment to exempt Minnesota from all federal laws that are not enumerated in the Constitution. Under his plan, no law could go into effect unless two-thirds of the Minnesota legislature votes to approve it.

I wonder if Kessler is confused; rejecting federal laws not enumerated in the Constitution is the precise definition of “going back to the Constitution”.

9 thoughts on “Chanting Points Memo: Watching The Detectives

  1. “Emmer went from a “Wonderful” start to a “Good” start?”

    He should have said it’s a “necessary start”, or even better, “an unfortunate but necessary start”.

    Then the DFL/media wouldn’t have a soundbite, and this wouldn’t be an issue.

  2. The nerve of that Emmer. Next he’ll be claiming Minnesota is a sovereign state and not a vassal of Washington DC. That’s crazy talk!

  3. Couple of thoughts

    1) It’s pretty lame to suggesting that going from “wonderful start” to “good start” is somehow “toning down” Emmer’s views on Arizona’s immigration enforcement law. Unless someone is determined to repeat the exact same sound bite every time that they speak on a particular topic, it’s perfectly natural and normal for people to vary the words that they use even when they’re talking about the same thing.

    2) The fact that Pat Kessler uses the phrase “ask for papers” in reference to checking the immigration status of people being stopped or arrested by the police, gives readers a pretty good idea of what his own personal views are on the Arizona law. I realize from hearing him speak on “Holding Court” that he has some pretty strong opinions but when you’re holding yourself out as a neutral arbiter of fact as opposed to an advocate, it’s important to avoid using biased language.

  4. I usually change the station when I hear Kessler come on. I think a large part of being the “dean” of anything is merely hanging around long enough. Whenever I’ve paid attention to anything Kessler’s said or written I find him to be about as deep as a dog dish.

  5. I think a large part of being the “dean” of anything is merely hanging around long enough.

    That’s especially true in the television news business. If Kessler were any good, he’d have left the Twin Cities for a larger market or the national news years ago. Ditto Esme Murphy.

  6. Mr. D;

    Although nothing would make me happier, it would probably be tough for Murphy to leave, as her husband owns the Sofas and Chairs stores.

    I think that Kessler’s wife also is anchored here.

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