Saturday, November 12, 2005

 

Mark Kennedy? Independent? Upcoming Rant?

I think not. One vote against President Bush's agenda does not an independent voting record make. The New Republic and several conservative local blogs have been burning up the GOP talking points of late, running Mr. Kennedy away from his own record, but facts are facts: Mark Kennedy is a foot soldier of the Republican party. Not necessarily a right-wing foot soldier, but a foot soldier nonetheless.

For him to be trailing not one, not two, but three Democrats this early in the race, only two of whom have strong name recognition, runs directly contrary to New Republic's claims of Mark Dayton's Senate seat "leaning Republican takeover". What will happen when Dick Cheney's approval rating stays low, as do the President's, and the heavy hitters from Washington aren't as welcome in Minnesota for those high-dollar fundraising dinners?

Minnesotans of all stripes are tired of hearing the same worn-out talking points from the Republican party, and they're tired of hearing every last political leader who doesn't agree with their bait-and-switch policies branded a liberal. Liberals believe in providing opportunities to the underprivileged, making sure our roads are kept intact, and making sure that families don't have to choose between keeping their home and keeping their health coverage (don't believe it happens? Think again). When did those things become evil?

And thus we come to the primary delusion of the Right. These wonks with the New Republic and the Taxpayers' League think that starving government is a good thing, that the bureaucracy is a waste of money. Worse, they've gotten a lot of working-class and poor voters to believe that screwing themselves over at the ballot box is the way to a bright future.

The problem is, these "fiscal conservatives" don't think through the consequences of their ideals, and don't stop to think how "starving government" might have negative consequences for the rest of the community. The only possible question I can think of in response to this is "Why should I care about anyone else" and it sounds a bit hollow and more than a bit callous. I care about others, and so do most liberals. Democrats and DFLers don't raise taxes for the sake of raising taxes. They make sure that essential services don't go underfunded. They make sure our roads don't fall into disrepair. They make sure our schools get (most of) the funding they need to make sure Minnesota's kids get a world-class public education. So I suggest everyone stops and thinks about someone besides themselves for a moment, and we all might see a shade of a liberal in ourselves.

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