An Investment – Like The Brooklyn Bridge

Jeff Rosenberg from MNPublius has sent an “Open Letter To Amy Klobuchar” that explains, if nothing else, how little DFLers really understand about their “Senior Senator”:

Congratulations on your endorsement by the DFL this weekend, and on what looks to be a relatively easy re-election bid.

(As a side note?  Look for a lot of “bandwagon”-mongering from the DFL and the media (pardon, as always, the redundancy). Research shows that if you can create a sense in your opponents’ minds that voting is fruitless, they won’t do it.  They may never say that that’s why the “Minnesota” and “HHH” polls released right before election day are so inevitably, grossly, comically inaccurate in favor of the DFL, especially for close elections – but it’s difficult to see how they’d do it any different if if were utterly deliberate).

But I digress:

You’re the most popular politician in the state by a wide margin, and in your single term as a Senator so far, you’ve built up quite a bit of political capital.

I’m writing to ask you to invest some of that political capital in making positive change here in Minnesota in 2012. Notice that I’m not asking you to “spend” your political capital, but “invest” it.

Because “invest” is always the euphemism DFLers have for “squander on something I’d like someone else to pay for”.

But, again, I digress:

With a bit of work, you’ll make it back with hefty interest, making you not just the most popular but one of the most powerful politicians in the state. What is political power but the ability to affect change?

It is that, plus many, many other things; the ability to provide for ones’ special interest (“change” be damned) is a key one for DFLers.  In fact, that’d seem to be the main thing A-Klo does with it…

…dammit, I just keep on disgressing!

That’s why I’m asking you to devote a portion of your time and energy this year to fighting the harmful constitutional amendments on the ballot this year and returning the DFL to power in the state legislature. Your overwhelming popularity gives you significant influence with swing voters, and your fundraising prowess could transform marginal seats in the legislature into major opportunities. Your involvement could mean the difference between winning and losing all of these fights.

Interesting theory – but let’s set a few things straight.

A-Klo isn’t so much “popular” as she is “not unpopular”.  She’s cautious.  She’s taken the popularity she started with – as the daughter of a Twin Cities media icon and some time as a prominent and media-savvy if not especially effective county attorney – and husbanded it carefully.  She takes no positions that will anger enough Minnesotans to hamper her polling – and counts on her Praetorian Guard in the Twin Cities media to mute any coverage of those things that she has to do to not get thrown out of the caucus locker room back in DC.

For example – Klobuchar supported the Medical Device Tax, which is going to flense and gut Minnesota’s Medical Device industry, one of our great growth industries – but it got less coverage in the Strib than the Wayzata Middle School girls volleyball game.

I know your popularity is built, in large part, on your efforts to be a bipartisan figure, so you may want to stay “above the fray.”


But what is the point of amassing this level of support if you can’t use it to make a difference?

Because if you “make a difference” in a way that blows that “support” sky high – or erodes it to the point where one has to work especially hard to retain ones power – then it was all as if nothing happened.

And here’s Klobama’s problem; she can read polls.  She can see that Minnesotans, even the liberal ones, overwhelmingly support Voter ID, and that the Marriage Amendment’s internal numbers, while lower, lead to an issue so fraught that even the mighty Obama has to “oppose” it in the weakest way possible.

And she knows that her popularity is a mile wide – look at those numbers! – but an inch deep, a product of name recognition and six years of carefully-cultivated and media-guarded innocuity.  And a good way to blow all that is to come out against an issue most Minnesotans are definitively for. 

It’s the same reason Paul Wellstone – he, the patron saint of Minnesota “progressivism” and the “1” in countless 99-1 Senate votes –  supported the Defense of Marriage Act.  Because he knew all of his “popularity” and “power” could go out the window with one badly-timed position on an emotional issue in an election year.

Just as A-Klo does.

You’ve earned the trust of millions of Minnesotans, but that trust has little value if you can’t or won’t use it to advance a positive agenda.

And there’s the conundrum, for a thinking liberal (and let’s say they do in fact exist, because they do); A-Klo is popular and powerful – but that popularlity and power is, I suggest, predicated on keeping hands off of the issues that progressives most want.

And this in an election year when Barack Obama’s going to have all the “coattails” of a T-shirt.

Senator Klobuchar, I hope 2012 will be a year of great triumph for you. I hope it will be the year you win re-election by an overwhelming margin — and the year your coattails mean victory in the legislature and on the constitutional amendments.

Yeah, good luck with that.

(Anyone but me think that Rosenberg’s post sounded like a prayer of supplication?)

5 thoughts on “An Investment – Like The Brooklyn Bridge

  1. “A-Klo isn’t so much “popular” as she is “not unpopular”.

    Remaining politically invisible and off of everyone’s radar is the key to reelection when people don’t pay attention. What she stands for isn’t nearly as important as being uncontroversial. Go along, get along, get reelected.

  2. What is political power but the ability to affect change?
    It’s nice to see that Jeff is a Walker supporter.

  3. I’m surprised that Jeff didn’t say spend your political capital trying to get the budget balanced. Something that she thought was bad in 2006 when it was like $200 billion. Now it has been over a trillion every year.

    That is what affects everyone! Not the marriage amendment or voter ID.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  4. “Deficit reduction” is the new Democrat code for “tax increases”, Walter Hanson.

Leave a Reply

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