Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Measure of a Man

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands on moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

The great difference between one person and another is how he takes hold and uses his first chance, and how he takes his fall if it scored against him. - Thomas Hughes

Okay, yes, I got out my "positive quotations" book today. But I knew there would be something apropos of the godawful situation with the Coleman/Franken election.

I have met Norm Coleman and on many occasions have heard him speak. This is a man with a good heart, a man with integtrity, and one who conducts himself with decorum in adverse situations.

Contrast him with Al Franken, who is angry, bitter, rude, selfish and boorish. I could go on, but you get the point. And when I saw him on TV this morning saying he demands a recount and that "the Obama admistration and I have received reports of irregularities," my first thought was, how classless and predictable.

We should have known this man couldn't accept defeat with dignity. Meanwhile, Coleman has grasped his victory with humility and grace.

"The Measure of a Man..." That's what I think of when I look at Al Franken. I just want to shake him and say, "Man up and stop whining. For once in your life, show some integrity!"

I can't do that, but I just wish he would get an epiphany and stop this silliness. Just let it go Al, let it go. But he won't. That's not who he is.

That's why we have to hope and pray that Norm's victory sticks. I don't trust the "Franken Machine" not to try to steal this election. And I can't bear the thought of sending that despicable man to the Senate.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

The difficulties of life are intended to makes us better, not bitter. - Anon

Yesterday, and for the many months prior, I felt that an Obama win would be devestating to our country. I believed it so strongly that I volunteered and called voters, wrote letters--some published and some not--and did everything I could to make sure McCain came out on top.

Yesterday, while driving my son to school, he asked, "So what's so bad about Obama winning?" This is a 16-year-old kid who has forgotten more about American history than I ever knew, who teaches me something new every day, and who is deep into the subject matter of his AP Euro class, in which, lately, the discussion has turned to this election. I was tired and made a big mistake.

I had just heard an economist on TV say the ideas Obama has for the economy are a modern-day version of what Hoover did at the beginning of the depression that prolonged it for another 6 years (raising taxes on the "wealthy," etc.). He also said that what Obama has in mind for this economy will bankrupt the next two generations. They will not know prosperity. In a moment of, I don't know, insanity, I repeated this to my son.

As the day went on, and I was volunteering, and buying champagne for the celebration of my candidates' winning their elections, a thought crept into my mind that if Obama pulled it off and won, I had just given my son a picture of his future similar to the one I remember was given to my generation in the eighties: you have no future, so why bother. Russia's going to nuke us anyway, so party now before the world ends. Still, I tried not to think negatively, and focused on a McCain win.

As we all know, it didn't happen. I was exhausted and fell asleep on the couch about the time the talking heads declared that a McCain win was a mathmatical impossiblity. I awoke to President Elect Obama giving his acceptance speech.

The house was dark, and I thought everyone had gone to bed. As I started up the stairs, I noticed my boy, sitting in the dark, watching Obama speak. I went and put my arm around him to watch the historic moment with him. We saw the faces of the African American people, with tears streaming down their faces as Obama spoke. Believe it or not, the sight of Reverand Jesse Jackson, a man whom I don't respect, with tears running down his cheeks, looking like an old man who had just seen something he never thought he would see in his lifetime, opened my heart.

This morning on the way to school, I told my son that even though we didn't want Obama to win, he is going to be our president and we must respect that. I told him that we can't be bitter about something that clearly means so much to so many. All we can do is pray for him, I guess. My son agreed.

He has told me that he feels an Obama administration will echo the Carter administration, and he'll be gone in four years after everyone gets fed up with him running the country into the ground and ruining our foreign policy, and they will throw him out of office.

That was yesterday. Today we should focus on what electing the first black president means to this country. Tomorrow, we shouldn't make the mistake I did of letting our young people think there is no hope. That kind of message can destroy a young life. And tomorrow, we must stand behind Obama and pray that he makes the right decisions for our great country.

After that, he's fair game. But I'll keep the kids out of it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Star Tribune Omitting Important News?

A regular reader of the Minneapolis Star Tribune might believe no one cares about Joe Biden’s strange, frightening comments about Barack Obama. They’ve hardly been mentioned.

During speeches last weekend, Biden said, “Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama …” “Remember I said it standing here, if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.” “We’re going to face a major international challenge. Because they’re going to want to test him…”

Yet when congressional candidate Michelle Bachmann commented that Obama might have “un-American” tendencies, people acted as if it were the most important thing on earth and flooded the media with outrage.

Wednesday’s Letter of the Day was concerned with comments by Rush Limbaugh, who isn’t running for office, and who makes idiotic statements daily.

Oh, and did you catch Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live last weekend? Everyone’s talking about that.

But when vice presidential candidate Biden—in very strong language—predicts calamity if presidential candidate Obama is elected, people ignore it.

Is it because it’s easier to focus on these petty things instead of important things, like Obama’s own running mate expecting a “generated” international crisis if this unqualified man is elected? Or is it because it’s easier than admitting how Biden’s comments show why we should vote for John McCain, whose “mettle” has already been tested?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Senator Coleman Calls for Positivity

Here's the link to the blog post Norm Coleman wrote about calling off negative ads for his campaign. I think it's incredibly important for anyone who supports Norm to read this and follow his wishes:

Friday, October 3, 2008

It's Okay to Eat off the Floor This Morning Because Palin Wiped it with Biden Last Night

I'm in a rush, so it'll be short and sweet. Sarah Palin made Joe Biden look like and angry, bitter old man. Her genius for speaking directly to the American people as if she were sitting in their living room having a cup of coffee is what won her this debate.

While Joe Biden lectures, she converses. While Biden talks down to the people, she talks with the people.

My lauding her communications strengths so evident in last night's debate isn't to discount her obvious intelligence, ability to lead, and strength that the mainstream media are trying to smack down at every turn. She excelled in this medium, and it was a wonderful thing to behold.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Al, You Make Me Feel Uncomfortable

“…And for 35 years I was a writer. I wrote a lot of jokes. Some of them weren’t funny. Some of them weren’t appropriate. Some of them were downright offensive. I understand that. And I understand that the people of Minnesota deserve a senator who won’t say things that will make you feel uncomfortable…” Al Franken, Accepting the DFL Nomination in June

So it seems Al Franken had a hand in Saturday Night Live's most recent political skit featuring Darrell Hammond as Senator John McCain in a spoof about his approving radio ads for his campaign. There have been varying reports (some from within the Franken campaign itself) as to Franken’s level of involvement in the skit. Some say it was an idle observation he made while talking to an old friend; some say after SNL decided to try to make the idea into a skit Franken was involved, again by phone, in the formation of the skit; and some say Franken was listed as a co-writer on the script. Whichever story you choose to believe, the truth is Franken was involved.

I wasn’t born without a funny bone. I saw the skit and, frankly, I thought most of it was funny. Of course I don’t agree with the portrayal of McCain as an old, crotchety man who will take the word of anyone as truth and then agree to it. But sometimes you have to be able to laugh at yourself, or in this case, your own candidate or political party.

I stopped laughing, however, when the skit turned ugly:

Sarcastic Announcer: Barack Obama has fathered two black children in wedlock.

Hammond as McCain: My friends, I must say, that reminds me of an attack George Bush made on me in 2000.

Staffer: He won that election, right?

Hammond as McCain: (immediately leans into the microphone) I’m John McCain, and I approve this message.

I couldn’t believe it. Okay, so we try to have a sense of humor about ourselves. But to even bring up the horrible incident from the 2000 election concerning McCain’s adopted daughter was going too far. At that point, the skit became offensive.

The skit was referring to a smear campaign against McCain in which his opponents spread lies that his daughter Bridget was his illegitimate child instead of a severely ill orphan adopted by McCain and his wife from one of Mother Teresa’s orphanages. To suggest that McCain would, in order to win a campaign, endorse a message attacking Obama in the way he was attacked in the 2000 campaign is egregious.

The 2000 incident was deeply painful for the McCain family. This excerpt from a Newsweek article titled, “In Search of Cindy McCain" illustrates just how painful it was:

When her husband dropped out of the race, Cindy retreated once again to Arizona, furious. She now admits it took her a long time to get over it, much longer than her husband. "It was my daughter," she says. "I think any mother would agree with me. You can go after me, but stay away from my children."

Cindy decided not to tell Bridget about what had happened in South Carolina until she was old enough to understand. But not long ago, the 16-year-old discovered it on her own when she Googled her name. She asked her mother why President Bush hated her. "I did the best I could to say it wasn't President Bush," Cindy says. "But what she doesn't understand is … how could people say things like that." *

As in the case of Bristol Palin, this subject also involves the minor child of a candidate. Once again, Franken and his friends have shown that they don’t know when to stop or where to draw the line. That’s why Franken has to apologize so often for trying to be funny when he’s not.

His consistent display of faulty judgement is just one of the reasons we should feel "uncomfortable" with the idea of Al Franken as Minnesota’s senator.

* (I highly recommend this article to people who want to know more about our potential first lady. Read it at

Monday, September 8, 2008

Vote for Norm in Tomorrow's Primary

A lot of Republicans might feel they don't need to bother voting in tomorrow's (September 9) primary, but we should do it anyway.

The primary is mostly about deciding contested seats on the Democrat side (still another example, in my opinion, of how the Dems have problems even running their own election process), but it doesn't hurt for us to go out and show our support for Norm Coleman, Erik Paulsen, Shari May, Jennifer Loon, etc.

So, if you were thinking of skipping it, or didn't even know about it, drop by and drop in your Republican vote. Supporting our candidates never hurts.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Candidate Paulsen Addresses the RNC

Congrats to Erik Paulsen on his speech tonight at the RNC. Paulsen seemed very comfortable on the large, national stage. His speech was very natural; and I wasn't surprised, because he spoke of the traditional Republican values he stands for. There would be no need for him no over-rehearse because he was speaking about things he truly believes in.

After serving us well in the legislature in Minneosta, Paulsen is absolutely ready for the 3rd District seat vacated by retiring Representative Ramstad.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

On Sarah, Short and Sweet

On television, I saw women with tears in their eyes and rolling down their cheeks after watching Governor Palin speak. I was one of those women.

Women have been waiting for centuries to see a woman rise to this level of power with a baby on her hip. Geraldine Ferraro wasn't that woman. Hillary Clinton wasn't that woman.

Tonight, Sarah Palin was that woman.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I was disgusted when I turned on the morning news shows today only to see that Governor Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy was the top news story of the day, even overshadowing the damage caused by hurricane Gustav.

Reporters are asking the McCain camp and pundits are opining about how this reflects on abstinence-only sex education. Their questions and speculations are disgusting and inappropriate.

How in the world do these people, who don’t know Sarah Palin or her family, presume to know what kind of sex education her daughter, Bristol, has had during her lifetime? How dare they try to use this young girl, who is clearly going through enough already, to push some kind of agenda about sex education?

This young woman is five months pregnant. She has probably had to endure first the realization to herself that she is pregnant, had to notify the father, and their parents. She is a senior in high school, and everybody at school has probably known for a while that the governor’s daughter is pregnant. That would be enough stress for any young woman.

Then her mom is chosen to be the vice presidential running mate for John McCain. Maybe she has dreaded the moment her pregnancy would hit the national news, maybe she is secure enough in the circle of love of her family that she is either insulated from it or no longer cares who knows about it because she has grown to love her baby and is proud to bring it to life. No one but she and her family know how she is feeling.

That is as it should be.

I can’t finish this blog without talking about the accusations that because Sarah Palin’s daughter is pregnant Sarah is a bad mother.

There is a list of things you don’t want to happen to your child. The biggies are: not graduate high school, do drugs, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, get arrested, get pregnant or get someone pregnant. When one of those things happens, you have to deal with your own private feelings of failure. Can you imagine the entire country weighing in on your parental qualifications under such circumstances?

The only people who should be judging Sarah Palin or her daughter are: people who were never pregnant or never got someone pregnant out of wedlock; people with grown children who can prove those children were never personally involved in an out-of-wedlock pregnancy; and people who have never had or will never have children.

Speaking of children, what happened to them being off limits in politics? Chelsea Clinton remained nearly untouched through the entire Clinton administration, including the campaigns. Even Obama rightly says Palin's children should be a non-issue.

If only the media would stop talking about it and move on. It’s none of our concern. Bristol Palin’s pregnancy makes absolutely no difference as to Palin’s qualifications for Vice President. That’s all that matters.

Monday, September 1, 2008

An Honor for a Minnesota Woman

Congratulations to Angela McDermott, Miss Minnesota, who has been chosen for the honor of singing the national anthem for the opening of the Republican National Convention at about 3 p.m. CDT today.

Angie will be representing the great state of Minnesota in the Miss America pageant in January. She's an incredibly talented singer; she won both the talent and interview portions at the Miss Minnesota Scholarship pageant in June before taking home the title of Miss Minnesota.

Congrats to Angie, and the Miss Minnesota progam. She'll do us proud.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Envelope Please

And the award for the two most despicable Americans goes to:

Michael Moore and Don Fowler.

They both had the same stupid idea at the same time, and I'm sure they weren't the only ones. They were, however, the only ones to talk about it in public.

From Michael Moore: “I was just thinking, this Gustav is proof that there is a God in heaven.” (laughs) “To have it planned at the same time – that it would actually be on its way to New Orleans for day one of the Republican Convention, up in the Twin Cities – at the top of the Mississippi River.”

This pearl of wisdom was uttered by Moore on MSNBC’s August 29 “Countdown with Keith Olbermann.”

As for former DNC Chair Don Fowler, he was caught on tape giggling about Hurricane Gustav's timing, saying the potential that it could hit New Orleans, "just demonstrates that God's on our side." “It’s gonna hit New Orleans about the time they start,” he repeated. You can watch it on YouTube.

I'll accept this award on their behalves, because I'm sure their acceptance speeches would just contain backtracking and using the popular non-apology "if anyone was offended" by their comments, which they both have actually done since realizing that joking about a national disaster might be considered distasteful by some.

In fact, their comments would probably be considered in poor taste by the grieving loved ones of the 78 human beings who died in Haiti, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic.

Their comments might also be particularly offensive to the thousands of Americans evacuating their homes and businesses with fear in their hearts, uncertain of what they will find when they return home.

To actually think God hates Republicans so much that he would kill innocent people who aren't even Americans, and risk the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Americans who may be Republicans, Democrats, Independents, or have no political affiliation at all--like babies and children--is a sick concept that could only come from the mouths of people who have no understanding of the existential concept of a God.

Moore and Fowler say these things while a fine American like John McCain is urging us to serve a cause greater than ourselves.

They say these things while untold numbers of Americans, some of them from faith-based organizations, are standing at the ready, waiting until they are able to swoop in to help those afflicted by this terrible storm.

I think the best response to at least one of these two idiots was made by Representative Steve Scalise (R. Louisiana): “I demand an immediate apology from Michael Moore to the people of south Louisiana for his offensive and inappropriate comments. People in Louisiana, regardless of political affiliation, are making plans to leave to protect their families from this serious storm, and the God I know would not share Michael Moore’s glee for our plight.”

I like that word, "glee." Moore, Fowler, and their ilk take glee in the suffering of others if it appears to advance their cause.

I have nothing more to say; I'm too sickened.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Barack Who?

I am blown away by McCain's choice of Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska as his Vice Presidential running mate. The word that comes to my mind when I see her and hear her story is "maverick." I know they use that word to describe McCain, and to me it means he has chosen the perfect running mate.

The Obama camp's knee-jerk statement about Governor Palin this morning was so ill thought out it was laughable. "Today John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heart beat away from the presidency..."

You know how they say people are more likely to recognize faults in others they themselves have but can't admit to? Obama's main weakness is lack of experience, which he lamely tries to shoo away with his, "this campaign has never been about me; it's about you," blather. Then the first thing they say about Palin is to try to make her seem inexperienced (even leaving out the fact that she is the GOVERNOR of Alaska). If they wanted to invite comparisons of Obama's inexperience to Palin's experience, their statement did a great job of doing so. All it has prompted from the talking heads is an onslaught of comments like, "She's has eight years of executive experience to Obama and Biden's none," etc.

As if that weren't bad enough, their comment again highlighted the Obama campaign's distain for small-town America. Way to go, Obama campaign.

My father just called to say he ran into an Obama supporter and struck up a conversation. This man said that he was going to vote for Obama, but after hearing Obama's speech last night, and comparing it to the McCain/Palin speeches today, he is definitely going to vote for McCain. He said he "would have voted for Hillary in a minute, but Obama has done absolutely nothing." All I can say is that I hope there are more voters out there like this gentleman.

Governor Palin has a long history of taking on corruption and changing the way things are done--real things. Conversely, the Obama camp promises a mirage of "change" but can't prove their candidates have ever accomplished it in the way both McCain and Palin actually have.

Who are the candidates for change now?

After last night's acceptance speech by Obama, some of the talking heads I was watching couldn't stop commenting on the incredible fireworks display after the speech, and they were wondering how the Republicans could top it.

Today, John McCain did just that.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Propaganda: misleading publicity; deceptive or distorted information that is systematically spread

The following letter surely meets the definition of propaganda. It was published in the Star Tribune on Saturday, August 23.


Is he in favor of one?

I was disappointed to see that the Star Tribune did not report that John McCain is in favor of reinstating the draft! He told a town meeting this week that he would be willing to do just that when he becomes president. To me, that is news that the public needs to hear about this presidential candidate.

When I saw this I was enraged. When I listen to liberal radio, they are frequently ranting about "corporate media" and how it is biased against Democrats. I don't know what world they are living in, but it's not the same world I occupy. This letter is an example of how liberal bias will allow propaganda to be published in a newspaper on which most people in a large metropolis rely for their news.

To answer the letter writer, the reason almost no legitimate news source reported this is because it wasn't a valid news item. (There is a YouTube video of MSNBC's "coverage" of this "story" that is so incredibly biased it's almost a parody of itself.)

The letter referred to a town meeting in Los Cruces, NM, during which a woman made a statement—at best rambling and at worst incoherent—lasting one minute 30 seconds. The statement touched on several unrelated subjects and ended with a comment on the draft. McCain said he agreed with her and thanked her for supporting veterans. It seemed a polite way of getting her to stop talking so the meeting could move on.

For the letter writer to take this incident and turn it into, “He told a town meeting this week that he would be willing to do just that (reinstate the draft) when he becomes president,” is a gross exaggeration of the facts. McCain said no such thing. That doesn’t seem to matter to the throngs, particularly on the Web, who are racing to put words in McCain’s mouth. Those who use this incident for fear mongering also like to omit that it takes an act of Congress, not a presidential whim, to reinstate a draft.

The hysterical response to this non-story does, however, require a response from the McCain camp, because--to quote a very wise Republican I have the privilege to know--a lie unanswered becomes the truth.

I urge all Republicans not to let lies go unanswered. Write; shout; blog; educate your friends; pass along writings by those who stand up for the truth to everyone you know. Every day propaganda is spoken and written by so-called legitimate news sources. It often goes unanswered.

Republicans, please, do everything you can to keep these lies from becoming the "truth."

Monday, August 18, 2008

Seeing Between the Lines of the Coleman/Franken YouTube Debate

I just finished watching the YouTube debate between Al Franken and Senator Norm Coleman. Senatorial candidates will be answering questions posed by YouTube users, and Franken and Coleman are the first to participate.

My most important observation is that Norm Coleman didn't mention Al Franken even once in any answer he gave to questions ranging from energy policy to increasing voter participation.

On the other hand, Franken mentioned Senator Coleman in every answer he gave. It's like he had a really strange form of Tourette Syndrome, in which he was compelled to say something disparaging about Senator Coleman whenever he spoke. It came across as a little desperate.

Norm spoke about bringing people together to get things done, which to some may seem that he's just reciting his own slogan as an answer to a question. However, the examples he gave about how he is able to work across party lines are effective in pointing out that Norm can work with people from both sides of the isle, while Franken has called those on the other side of the isle "monsters" and worse.

There was another interesting thing about Franken's answers. At the beginning of every answer, he thanked the person who asked the question in a way that reminded me (I'm dating myself here) of the teacher on Romper Room. He talked to the people supplying the questions as if they were preschoolers. Conversely, Norm spoke to the people as if they were intelligent adults.

This reminded me of a comment from a young person I know who told me that she was open to Franken's candidacy early on and decided to look at his web site to find out more. She said she came away from the site feeling he was talking down to her and treating the people who visited the site like children.

That young woman is now a strong supporter of Norm Coleman.

I urge you to watch the "debate" and judge for yourself. Here's the link:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Al Franken's TV Ads: Something's Gotta Change

I've been involuntarily watching Al Franken's latest slew of campaign ads in the last week or so. One thing stood out among the swill: one of his new slogans. He has so many. I think it's a slogan. If it is, it's the weakest one I've ever heard. From anyone. Ever.

It comes at the end of his ad, "Two Images," in which he states, "It's time for Norm to go." Then comes a photo of Al, with his voiceover, which says, "I'm Al Franken. Something's gotta change, and that's why I approve this message."

"Something's gotta change?" This is Al's big idea for not only his Senate campaign, but for what he will do if elected. He is running for the United States Senate. What would it be like if people in other occupations used this mantra?

You invite a decorator to your house to decorate your living room. You don't know him personally, but your friends say he's great. He walks in, studies the room for a few minutes, and then says, "Something's gotta change." That's it. Period. He has no other ideas, just that he doesn't like your current living room and he thinks it needs to be changed. Would you hire him?

You've fallen and injured your knee. The pain is so intense that it's driving all other thoughts from your brain. You're desperate for help. You see a doctor who was recommended by friends. He looks at your knee, which is clearly in need of serious help, and says, "Something's gotta change." You want to punch him in the face.

I could go on, but you get the drift. "Something's gotta change" is just a random thought, not an idea, or a plan, or a proposal. Why in the world would anyone hire Al Franken for the job of United States Senator from the State of Minnesota based on something this weak?

I believe that how one runs his campaign is indicative of how one will run his business. Franken's campaign has shown its utter ineptitude by not checking into its own candidate's business records, past pornographic writings, etc. Now, they've paid good money for air time so that Al could share this gem of a slogan with all Minnesotans.

If this is all the Franken campaign is capable of, then something's gotta change.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Gift from the Star Tribune

Here's a link to a fun article entitled, "Candidate with Character" that ran in the Star Tribune on Friday, August 8. The more Al "The Joker" Franken can be associated with silly, ridiculous, over-the-top, tasteless, or in this case, crazy characters, the better. Move over Stuart Smalley. Make room for The Joker.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I thought I was watching Saturday Night Live

I was at the doctor the other day. While sitting in the lobby, I noticed I had my orange "Norm '08" button on my purse. The thought to remove it crossed my mind, as I had no idea of the political affiliation of the doctor I was about to see, and she might be performing minor surgery on me any minute. What if she sees it and hates me? She has a scalpel.

I didn't remove the button. I don't know if it was so much that I decided not to, or that my name was quickly called for my appointment.

After the procedure, as the doctor was walking out, she said, "Oh, I didn't see your purse before. I see your button." She then turned, winked, and said, "You have a lot of friends in this office. I love Norm." Then she added, "I just saw my first Al Franken commercial this morning, and I couldn't shake the feeling that whenever he was on screen, I was watching an old Saturday Night Live rerun." She smiled, gave me a thumbs up, and left.

I loved it. An old Saturday Night Live rerun. I thought about it a lot as I left the office. Isn't that, in fact, what we're doing, watching a prolonged Saturday Night Live skit with Al Franken playing the role of the "serious" senator?

And just to cement the idea, the Franken campaign came up with a bad SNL-esque move today on the Capitol steps. They hired a President George Bush impersonator to say disparaging things about Norm Coleman. I have to say that whenever I think of seriousness, class, decorum, and all the qualities a senator should possess (but that Al Franken wants you to think he possesses but doesn't) I think of a bad Bush impersonator making a spectacle at, of all places, our State Capitol.
Good move, Al. I think my doctor is right. She, and the rest of us, are being subjected to a bad SNL skit posing as a campaign. I just hope enough Minnesotans realize it and turn the channel.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Commander in Chief, not Orator in Chief

A small letter I wrote was published in the Star Tribune on Tuesday. Here’s the link:

I have much more to say on the subject than what was published. The letter was even shorter than originally sent and much shorter than the one I originally wrote before edititing it down for submission. It was heavily edited by the Strib; but that’s okay, they have really good editors and its substance was intact.

The letter was in response to an article published in the Strib about McCain brushing up on his teleprompter and other public speaking skills. It was the perfect springboard for me to write about something I’ve been thinking about for a long time: We’re not voting for the orator in chief, we’re voting for the commander in chief. There’s a difference.

We’ve all been hearing from the left about what a wonderful orator Obama is. I don’t disagree. I do disagree that it’s as important as the left thinks it is. Last week, while listening to liberal radio, I heard the morning talk show host gushing about Obama and how if we elected him, wouldn’t we look great to the rest of the world? He’s handsome, and really articulate, she said (I’m paraphrasing), and just think about how having him for a president would be great for our image around the world.

Our image? Really? Should that be our main concern in this election? I know it’s been a really big concern for the left, judging from the “they don’t like us” mantra they’ve been spouting ad nauseum since September 11. And yes, it would be nice if we were well liked by everyone.

Happily, conservatives and other deep thinkers understand that being the Sally Field of the world isn’t and shouldn’t be our most important goal. National security should be. These same people know that in an election between Obama and McCain, McCain is the one who will ensure our security, even if he can’t read a teleprompter as well as Obama.

Obama has rejected McCain’s invitation to have town hall meetings together. Why? Maybe it’s because he is uncomfortable without a script. He knows McCain doesn’t excel at the podium, but he excels at the town hall meeting. He is funny, engaging, intellectual, articulate and charming in this setting.

“I think the people deserve to see us side by side,” said McCain at Friday’s town hall meeting in Hudson, Wisconsin. “They deserve to see us directly between the candidate and the voter, and I hope the American people will encourage Senator Obama to come to these things,” he said.

Of the town-hall-meeting-style of speaking to the American people, McCain said, “I promise you it makes me a better candidate—and the most important thing—it will make me a better president.”

One may argue that part of being the president is to give speeches with teleprompters and podiums. While that’s true, I believe McCain is right when he says the town hall meeting style of campaign will make a better president, and that the American people deserve to see both candidates together in that setting.

Fat chance.

I guess I can understand why Obama wouldn’t want to accept McCain’s invitation, simply because Obama wouldn’t have the oratorical upper hand. He counts on vagueness (Change) and shallowness (I’m the better speaker, therefore I am the better candidate) to win this election. He can’t count on substance because he’s in very short supply.

We aren’t in need of the better looking, taller, more smooth-talking leader. Nor are we in need of a man like Obama, who appeared to lose control over his own campaign stop in Fargo last week because of his continual pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey approach to withdrawal from Iraq. We’re in need of a leader who has a proven ability to work across party lines, with a long history of service to country, who has seen his own son deployed to Iraq, and who has a clear vision of what is needed to lead America into the next decade.

I know there are voters who aren’t obsessed with whom Lindsay is dating or who Paris is wearing. Let’s show those who are banking on America’s superficiality that we are deeper than they hope we are. Let’s look at the actual substance of our presidential candidates.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Letter to the Editor - Star Tribune, Tuesday, June 17

Here's the link to my latest letter to the editor in the Star Tribune. It's in reaction to a piece in Friday's paper by Paul Krugman about how Republican's can no longer use racial division as a political tool.

It's the last letter in the bunch under the heading: Race and the '08 Election, Not a GOP Issue

I wrote it because I think it's important for Republicans to stand up and reject the labels the left puts on us.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Why In The World Did You Pick That Name?

I've been asked the above question by many friends and family about my blogsite's name being, "" I have a lot of answers.

First, I know it's a really long name. I tried to choose "fnr" instead, but it was taken. I then shortened it to "fnrepublican..." Then someone told me that I had just named my blog "effen republican..." So I had to use the full name.

I've had acquaintances who want to check out the blog ask for the name and say, "You'd better write that down; I won't remember all of that." So I oblige. I have to repeat it a lot so people get the whole thing. But this is my name, and I'm sticking to it.

Why? It's important to me to use the name "friendly neighborhood republican" because it's who I am. I am your neighbor, your friend, the woman you see at the grocery store. I go to the movies. I love my dogs. I break with my party on certian issues, like gay rights. I am part of a community. I make my own decisions.

I am not the boogeyman the left paints all Republicans to be. Indirectly, I have been labeled, (just to name a few) a "child hater," "anti-choice," "anti-feminist," "bigot," "stupid," "religious zealot," and let's not forget Al Franken's gem, "fucking shameless."

Some would assume I'm against education because I don't believe there should be a Department of Education at the federal level.

They’d consider me insensitive to the mentally disabled because I agreed with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ dissenting argument in a case that outlawed putting low-IQ inmates to death. He made the right decision because the law opened up a huge loophole for death row inmates to jump through by intentionally doing poorly on IQ tests. It was a bad case. If they had tried it without the giant loophole, I would have been for it.

As for those labels, I am pro-life, not “anti-choice.” I think you can make all the choices you want as long as they don’t result in the death of someone else. And I’m not “anti-feminist” just because I am pro-life. I believe in equality for women and believe strongly that abortion hurts women. But that’s another blog.

Governor Pawlenty recently vetoed a bill that would have expanded required genetic testing of newborns. To Democrats afflicted with knee disorders (they jerk the moment someone doesn't agree with them) that would mean "Republicans Hate Children." The reason he vetoed the bill, however, was because it didn't give parents enough power to keep a child's samples from being used in long-term research. Most of the left's examples of how much Republicans hate children are along these lines. The simplistic thought is to say, "That's good for kids, but Republicans don't like it. That means they hate children." The linear thought process says, yes it would help children but we can't okay it until it covers all the bases and doesn't create new problems. (insert exasperated sigh)

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a bigot. I once threw a friend out of my home for using a racial epithet. One example of so-called Republican bigotry was used in a column by Paul Krugman of the New York Times. He said Republicans used stereotypes of welfare queens driving Cadillacs to increase the racial divide. The problem with that argument, however, is that statistics have shown that more white women were on AFDC than women of color, so how was being against welfare abuse and negative social engineering racist? This is typical of the swiss-cheese arguments used to paint conservatives with a bigot brush.

Mensa would disagree that I’m stupid. I don’t use religion as a basis for any of my political beliefs. And Al Franken’s comment, well, says more about him than it does me.

If Democrats would quit proposing laws full of holes, bills full of pork and start trying to have linear thoughts, much of the glue for the labels they stick on Republicans would disintegrate.

I don’t let Democrats define me. I am a unique individual. I’m also a Republican. So I’ll keep my long, hard-to-remember, hard-to-type blog name. It suits me just fine.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Don't Blame Me...

I've been really busy lately, and this may seem lazy, but I feel the need to repost a previous blogpost I wrote about Al Franken's "I'm a satirist" excuse. It's still really relavent:

So Al Franken finally paid a $25,000 fine—one that he ignored for more than a year--for failing to carry worker’s compensation insurance for his employees. Why should he have to pay? Plenty of people don’t.

While I was growing up, my father ran a small business of which he was very proud. He would always rail against his competitors, most of whom didn’t run their businesses on the up-and-up. “They don’t pay workers comp, they don’t pay payroll taxes, it’s all under the table!” he would rant. I used to wonder, well, if everyone else isn’t doing it, and no one is bothering them about it, then why are you paying? If you stopped paying all of those silly fees, wouldn’t you be able to buy me more clothes? Gosh!

Just joking. Well, not exactly joking, because I’m not really a comedienne. You could say I’m more of a ... satirist. Many of my published works would most certainly be considered satire, so I guess the label fits.

It’s the label Al Franken hides behind. When I think about it, this new title could come in really handy for me as well. I have always tried to be an upstanding, law abiding citizen, but who knows when one might need an “out” when she gets into a little trouble. “But officer, I wasn’t really speeding. I was just demonstrating for my son, in a rather droll manner, the driving habits of certain people in our culture whom I don’t respect. You can’t give me a ticket. I’m a satirist.”

How liberating! I could do anything and expect to get away with it! I could play by different rules and be held to a different standard than everyone else!

I could, at will, discount all of the other things I am, such as wife, mother, writer, friend, neighbor, daughter, sister, pet owner, aunt, grandmother. When in trouble, I could throw all of these titles away and hide behind Franken's favorite word: satirist, just as Franken often uses it to replace what should be his most important title: Senatorial Candidate.

If anyone were to bring up any illegal, distasteful, racially insensitive, boorish, frightening behavior, I could just say (and just for fun, in a degrading, stereotypical parody of an Asian accent) that they were trying to avoid talking about real issues, like how our roads have too many pot holes. But that argument would be hollow because my detractors, by pointing out how they dislike my behavior, would in effect be saying, “Your satire helps show us who you really are, and we don’t much like or trust that person.”

Let’s have a small civics lesson for those who still don’t get it. Parody and satire are protected forms of speech in the United States. You have the right to use them to say anything you want and be protected from libel and slander suits under the umbrella of this Constitutional right.What this right does not do is to stop people from being offended by the content of an individual’s protected form of speech. The reader or listener can find it distasteful, racist, reckless, and find it to be a true window into the personality of the person saying or writing it. It does not protect the satirist from public opinion, and negative public opinion can be a pesky little problem for a political candidate.

Because I'm a satirist, why aren’t I running willy nilly through the countryside doing and saying things without regard for anyone but myself? Because I am my father’s daughter. I have pride, integrity and a backbone. I try to do the right thing in the first place, not just after I get caught doing something wrong. But I’m not running for office...

Al Franken is.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Link to Eden Prairie News Column

Here is the link to the Voices of the Prairie column I wrote for the Eden Prairie News on May 1.
It's now posted on their website as a blog. Here's the link:

It's about the compact fluorescent light bulb mandate and how we must think these things through before we mandate things that could be harmful, all in the name of environmentalism.

Thanks to those of you who have asked for this link. I hope you enjoy the article, and even more, I hope you learn something that motivates you to think before you act in your own home, and also to put your support behind Representative Michelle Bachman, who has endured ridicule and has been dismissed by those who will robotically do anything Al Gore tells them to do. I commend her for her courage to speak out against anything that has to do with the environmentalist machine.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May 1 is a Very Good Day

Here's a link to a letter I wrote that was published by the Star Tribune today about Al Franken's "accounting problems." It's under the heading: "Candidate is Sloppy."

Today also marks the beginning of a new column I am taking part in for the Eden Prairie News called "Voices of the Prairie." I will be rotating articles about political issues with other Eden Prairie writers.

I am honored to be published today in both of these publications. I am particularly excited about the "Voices of the Prairie" column because I will be reaching readers in my community.

Thanks for clicking!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Republicans, Enjoy

I have a confession to make. I listen to liberal talk radio. It's a blast. I don't often get to say this, but being a Republican (especially in Minnesota) has been really fun lately.

I am having a great time listening to Democrats tear each other apart. Frankly, with all that's being said, I don't know how they'll recover. The Obama people are ripping Hillary to shreads, while Hillary continues to dig into Obama until he's almost unelectable. It's really nice to have other people do your work for you, isn't it?

But it might all be over. The big day has come. The day so many Democrats have waited for. This is supposed to be the day when the winner of the Democratic nomination will be clearly decided. Or will it?

Hillary has said that she has to win today's Pennsylvania primary to stay in the race. Most pundits think she will, especially after Senator Obama's gaffe last week. Who really knows? I suspect that whatever the outcome, Hillary will hold onto this race by her fingernails, the Dems wellbeing be damned.

For me, and I'm sure for other Republicans as well, it's been a most entertaining ride, one that we hope we don't have to get off of just yet. Our greatest dream would be to have the Democratic infighting continue until August, so there are only 3 months left for the Dems to attack John McCain. At which point they will lose the general election because they couldn't see the forest for the trees.

They couldn't run their own party well enough to avoid the silly Michigan and Florida delagate problem. Then they tore their own candidates apart for weeks on end. Is this the party that should be running the country? They can't even run their own endorsement process.

In the meantime, I'll just sit back and enjoy being a Republican.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Children, It's Time To Pull Out Our Dictionaries

I can’t count how many times this week I have seen and heard liberals whipping out their dictionaries to read their special, make-believe definition of the word “elitist.” The dictionary readers have ranged from radio talk show host Ed Schultz to Joy Behar from The View, and everything in between. To have so many liberals quoting the same wrong thing is laughable.

What has sparked this sudden mania for dictionaries? Barack Obama made a comment last weekend while speaking at a function where his audience consisted of wealthy California donors. If you haven’t already heard or read the comment a million times, here it is:

“Our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to regenerate and they have not.

“And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Cue the fury of his opponents--mostly in his own party—who started bandying about the “E” word. Then cue his supporters to drag out their dictionaries to help them shout the wrong definition of “elitist” to anyone within earshot.The Obama supporters certainly seem to have gotten the memo. It probably reads something like this:

Dear Supporters of Senator Obama:

When people who are part of the Clinton cabal or the Bush-Cheny-McCain-Coleman regime call Senator Barack Obama an "elitist" (because of his recent remarks about Americans clinging to their guns, god, etc.), refer to the dictionary definition of "elite,” which is:

e·lite or é·lite: A group or class of persons or a member of such a group or class, enjoying superior intellectual, social, or economic status. The best or most skilled members of a group.

Our talking point is: what is wrong with being elite? Of course Obama is elite. He was educated at Harvard. He is a Senator. He is the first African American man to run for president. He is one of "the best or most skilled members of a group." We should have our best and brightest running for president. Therefore, being elitist isn't a bad thing.

Keep repeating this point at every opportunity. If you can, take out your reading glasses for effect because it makes you look smarter. We know people won't notice that you're using the definition of "elite," which no one called Obama, rather than the definition of "elitist," which is what they actually called him, and the definition of that word makes Obama look really bad.

For your information only, the following is the definition of “elitist.” Do not under any circumstances use this definition, because it doesn’t help us sell our point.

e·lit·ism or é·lit·ism The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources. The sense of entitlement enjoyed by such a group or class. Control, rule, or domination by such a group or class.

e·lit'ist adj. & n. elit·ism :1: leadership or rule by an elite 2: the selectivity of the elite; especially : snobbery

We think that by getting the public to buy our own definition of “elitist,” instead of the real one above, they will begin to believe it is the true definition. Also, by concentrating on deflecting the accusation of Senator Obama's being "elitist," we can distract the public from the fact that his comments could be construed by many as offensive, no matter what they are labeled. After all, we are using dictionaries to prove our point, which makes us look intelligent and superior, and who could argue with that?


Your Leaders

What makes the tactic so insulting is the very elitism behind exchanging the word “elitist” for the word “elite.” It’s as if they think we won’t notice, or open a dictionary ourselves to learn and judge for ourselves whether or not we think Obama’s comment was elitist.

I, and many likeminded people, have long felt that the Democratic party as a whole is very elitist. They seem to function on the idea that they know better how to spend our money than we do. Conservatives have watched as the “tolerance party” repeatedly shows its intolerance of people who won’t mindlessly go along with its every thought. We’ve seen it play out with our own Senator Coleman, who, when his life’s journey led him to become pro life, was cruelly rejected by the Democratic party because he didn’t hold the same belief they did. Liberals do this because they think their group has the right to rule over everyone else because they perceive themselves to be superior. Sound familiar?

So, was Obama’s comment elitist? He was assuming to know that small town America's faith in God or position on gun control, etc. stems solely from government's failure to provide them with all of their needs. In my opinion, his comment was not as much elitist as it was snobbish, but that is included in the definition of elitist, so I suppose the answer is yes. At the very least, it was insulting.

Is the dumbed-down-for-the-little-people reaction of his supporters elitist? I’m certain of it.

Has the Democratic party long fit the definition of elitist?


1. without exception, completely; wholly, entirely.
2. positively; certainly.
3. (of a transitive verb) without an object.
4. used emphatically to express complete agreement or unqualified assent.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Senator Coleman Says It Best

I planned that my next post would be about the things Norm Coleman has done for Minnesota and for our Country. The Senator's speech at the launch of his reelection campaign on March 26 said it better than I ever could. These are his words:

My face and my name are familiar. But there are some things most people don’t know. I have lived in the same house on a quiet St. Paul street for 20 years. We send Sarah to college in the fall; at the same time Jake heads to the U of M law school.

Like families on every street we’ve had to empty out part of our retirement plans to pay for our kids’ education and support elderly parents.

And a few months ago we laid my dad to rest in Arlington Cemetery. He was a man of boundless enthusiasm and love. This is the first big step of my life I’ve taken without him by my side.
But his spirit encourages every beat of my heart today and I honor him by trying to serve with every ounce of energy God gives me.

I am very conscious of the fact that I stand between two generations: trying to honor the values and sacrifice of my Dad’s generation and working to create even greater opportunities for the world my kids will grow old in.

I respect and believe in public service as a high calling. As my favorite legendary mayor Joe Soucheray says, you don’t do it to be important; you do it to be useful. Public service is not about celebrity; it’s about problem-solving. And politics only has value if it leads to progress. We’ve made progress in the last six years in a challenging world. And we can do even more.

These past few years we’ve accomplished a lot for our state and our country. But America is a race without a finish line, and Minnesota is a leading participant in that race. After 150 years, we’re just getting started.

Proud of our past and eager to reach for our common future, I am humbled and excited to announce: today I am a candidate for another term as your senator.

I want to say right up front that I run for this office as a proud Republican because this party expresses and achieves the highest ideals of America.

Republicans believe in freedom first, and government programs after.

We believe in a strong national defense and an unshakeable relationship with our ally Israel. We should never go to the UN for a permission slip to pursue our national interest.

Republicans are for small businesses (especially those who pay their workers’ comp insurance) and we’re for the entrepreneur, not big media, big business, trial lawyers or any other special interest.

We are for quality jobs for working men and women.

We are for the family farm.

We are for the free exercise of faith.

We are for strengthening the family.

We are for limited, effective government.

And we are for protecting all life, from the moment of conception to natural death.

And we welcome to this campaign all those who decide, like I did, that they want to pursue their American ideals above and beyond partisan politics.

Now we all know these are challenging times. Our economy has slowed. Our politics are divided. And our families are stressed. My wife and kids and I enjoy our lives, but we open the morning paper with the same anxiety all of you do. What’s going to happen today?

But life is more than emotion and history is more than circumstance. The ancient Hebrew prophets said without a vision the people perish. It is our common belief in a better future that helps us survive and prevail.

It is the task of leadership to define and nurture that vision.

That is almost reason enough for me to run for re-election: to be a voice of optimism in a cynical time.

If we as Minnesotans don’t believe we can succeed, then we are probably right. But I’m here to say I believe in Minnesota’s and America’s bright future.

Optimism is not a republican virtue, or democrat virtue; it’s an American virtue. Optimism is more than a feeling, it’s an approach.

It’s a way of seeing obstacles as opportunities; it’s an ability to turn challenges into chances for greatness. America’s greatness and Minnesota’s also - comes from our ability to summon optimism and hope when the facts seem to point to despair and defeat.

Our economy is hurting; folks are losing their homes and worried about the cost of their health care.

We have reached such a time when we really, really need to draw about our resilient spirit of confidence and our unified capability for action, and move our nation forward.

My heroes are hopeful people:

David Ben Gurion who said, “Anyone who doesn’t believe in miracles is not a realist.”

Ronald Reagan, who talked about the song the settlers sang as they pushed west, “It is the American sound… hopeful, big-hearted, idealistic, daring, decent, and fair.”

And Helen Keller, who said: “Security in this life is an illusion… life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing at all.”

I love my country and I love Minnesota… Because we are perfect? No. Because unlike other places on this globe, we always find the motivation to rise above circumstances and end up better than where we began.

The events of 2007 say more about MN than any politician ever could about what kind of place we are: we had floods, fires, droughts and the bridge collapse, and yet our people and their government stepped forward and met those extreme challenges one by one. Minnesotans refused to quit or to whine or become victims. We chose to be neighbors instead.

We didn’t just survive, we prevailed; we’re not just moving on, we’re moving forward. We didn’t just find a way out, we found our way together.

We are part of a proud history. In his message to the Congress of 1862, Lincoln called America “the last best hope of earth.”

He said that at a time when millions remained in slavery, the Civil War was claiming thousands of lives each month and terrible economic hardships were weighing on the people.

And yet he was full of the kind of optimism that sustains and leads.

In a small, local way, I know something about this from personal experience. I became mayor of Saint Paul, in a dark time. Jobs were leaving, crime was growing and taxes were rising. By the time I completed eight years of no tax increases, of eight years of making our capital city more livable and affordable for middle class families: thousands of new jobs were added; billions of dollars were invested in reconnecting with our Mississippi River and we brought the National Hockey League back to Minnesota-where it always belonged.

As a mayor I simply brought people together to work very hard to get things done for our city. We didn’t point fingers, we joined hands. We softened our voices and we lifted our sights. That is my experience, my pattern and my approach to governing during 32 years of public service in Minnesota.

With Norm Coleman, bringing people together to get things done is what you see and what you get.

I am running on my record, because unlike my likely opponent, I have one. What a concept: before you serve in the U.S. Senate, maybe you should have done something to show you can actually do the job.

In my 17 years with the Minnesota attorney general’s office, I traveled to every corner of this great state prosecuting criminals.

As mayor, I helped rebuild a capital city that we could all be proud of.

As your Senator I’ve tried to be “Minnesota’s mayor in Washington”: putting the emphasis on serving your needs, no project too big or too small. I’m willing to work with anybody who helps get the job done. I learned a long time ago that there are some problems that are too big for one party to solve.

I’ve visited all 87 counties at least twice, listening and learning what you need from your national government. My staff and I have been to every single City in this state over 800 - large, small and in between. We’re not looking for a medal: that’s our job.

I’ve been a champion for ending our dependence on foreign oil with renewable fuels, wind energy, clean coal technology, nuclear energy and deep water drilling.

And I kept my promises to Minnesotans. I said I’d oppose drilling in ANWR and I did.
I said I’d support or troops and our veterans and I did. I succeeded in improving health care for our veteran’s and securing funding for a national “made in Minnesota” model for reintegrating our brave troops coming home from Iraq.

And so much more:

I’ve worked to increase low income heating assistance for the poor and fought cuts in service to the most vulnerable Minnesotan’s.

I’ve championed rural development and worked to insure that the quality of health care doesn’t depend on your zip code.

As Chair of the Permanent Investigation subcommittee I uncovered $14 billion in wasteful Washington spending.

I blew the lid off the corruption of the Oil for Food Program that financed Saddam’s terror at our expense.

I’ve held millionaires and corporate America accountable by exposing sham tax shelters-and brought billions of tax dollars back into the U.S. treasury.

I worked with the our Minnesota delegation, the administration, the governor and local officials to fund the new I-35W bridge that is already rising from the river as symbol of recovery and progress.

We helped over 3,000 Minnesotan’s secure passports after the system collapsed-and that nightmare will never occur again, because we’ve brought a passport office to Minnesota next year.

I worked to protect our ports so we can have greater security that terrorists aren’t smuggling-in nuclear weapons.

I have worked with family farmers on disaster assistance, and helped break the log jam that was preventing passage of the critically needed farm bill for Minnesota.

I said I’d help bring seniors a drug benefit under Medicare and I did. I said I’d support good judges, who interpret the Constitution, not reinvent it, and I did and they’re making wise decisions that protect this country and foster freedom.

I could go on and on, and during this campaign, I will! … about all that has been accomplished, but there is so much more we need to do.

At a time like this, when national partisanship is so inflamed, we need uniters not dividers.
And when its all said and done, after all the bills, all the hearings and the votes, I would say what matters most to me are the people I’ve been able to help.

I met Pete Panos here, over in Iraq, when he was a member of the famous Red Bulls, the greatest National Guard unit in America.

Now he advises me on how we provide support for all veterans. After listening to Pete and many other Minnesota veterans, I personally spoke to Secretary Gates and helped guarantee full education benefits for all of our troops who served in Iraq.

I pushed for GI bill education benefits for spouses who had to quit school to care for their families when their spouses were on 15 month tours of duty. And we just recently, for the first time in over 30 years raised the mileage reimbursement for vets traveling to VA facilities for health care. Pete, we thank you for your service.

Joe and Linda Goleski here had in their hearts the hope of adopting a baby from Guatemala. They were caught in a bureaucratic nightmare.

As Linda put it, “Until you’ve been alone in a foreign country, with a new baby, and no one to be your advocate, you have no idea how scary the experience can be.”

We became their advocate, leaned hard on the Guatemalan government and they brought baby, Sophia, home to be a Minnesotan.

And Sergeant Tom Shilling is with us here today, too.

Tom went through the military process to get a two week leave from Iraq to be at his daughter’s wedding.

It was all approved — until his commanding officer tore it up. We were on the phone in 5 minute intervals for hours to get someone on the line with the authority to fix it.

It was small joy to us and huge one to him when he arrived with 24 hours to spare and walked his daughter down the aisle. Thanks for your service, Tom and for the chance to serve you.
Friends, it’s not labels or speeches that matter: it’s people. Protecting their freedom and creating policies that serve them.

I’m fighting for the people’s interests, not the special interests.

The soldiers, the elderly, the college kids, the middle class and the working families–these are the people who deserve a senator who fights for them-and has shown he can produce results.
I have, I am, and with your help in November, I will for years to come.

I was born a long way from here. But 32 years ago I made a choice that gave me the incredible opportunity to lead a Minnesota life.

My heart brought me to this place to marry the woman who stands with me in this adventure. Our love brought me the two beautiful children who stand with us today as young adults.
Over those three decades I’ve experienced the joys of fishing on crystal clear Minnesota lakes, celebrating two baseball world championships-and dropping the puck at the first game of the Minnesota Wild.

I’ve also faced difficulties and heartbreaks here. Laurie and I buried our first son Adam and our youngest daughter Grace in the good earth of Minnesota.

But our grief gave us a greater love for the sanctity of all human life.

Through it all, the spirit of family and faith that is so strong in this state has sustained me.

I’ve never lost the sense of hope and optimism that this is the land of 10,000 dreams and daily miracles in the lives of regular people.

Minnesota is a place that respects hard work, common sense and public service. That’s the Minnesota I want to continue to work for in the uncertain future that we face.

For limited, effective government that lives within its means.

For success in Iraq and then an orderly withdrawal.

For affordable health care for all Minnesotan’s, without turning it over to the government folks who did Katrina relief and the welfare programs that ruined so many.

For tax cuts, less regulation and free and fair trade, not a clumsy, inflexible and intrusive government and protectionism.

For a judiciary that respects the Constitution and traditional values, and not one that tries to govern through social experimentation from the bench.

I see beyond today’s cloudy horizon to a bright American future.

I’m not willing to cede the 21st Century to the Chinese or anyone else. That’s because I will work hard to make sure we have the smartest kids, the best trained workers and a dynamic economy based on our unlimited entrepreneurial spirit.

I see a bold new American technology leading the way to the next stage of global economic growth.

I especially see new green technology creating robust new 21st century job opportunities as we fulfill our commitments to clean the air, the water and the land we hold so dear in the Land of 10,000 lakes.

I see citizen engagement, market principles and innovative government solving our problems in health care, housing, energy and education.

I see the march of freedom continuing over the rocky road of terrorism and totalitarianism to a better future for all.

And I see Minnesota and Minnesotans leading the way in all of these areas.

Lincoln closed that famous message to Congress I quoted earlier with these words, talking about the unique American pathway through trouble: “The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just — a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.”

That’s the path of public service for me: plain - not Hollywood; peaceful - not divisive; generous - not mean spirited; and just - not political.

Isn’t that what we all want? Republicans, Democrats and Independents?

As Minnesotans, there is so much more that unites us than divides us. This campaign isn’t about me…it’s about you — your families, your dreams, your future. That’s why I asked to be your senator six years ago. And that’s why I ask you today to let me continue the job.

Together, we can make a great state even greater and a proud country even prouder.

Let me repeat something I said when I first sought this office six years ago. In the Bible it says that those who have been faithful in little things will be entrusted with greater things.

I have learned a lot in all my experiences in public service - from both my successes and my mistakes.

I would say with honest humility, I think what I do best is what Minnesota needs most: an experienced, optimistic problem-solver who can do more than talk about change: I can actually bring people together to get things done for Minnesota.

As Americans, we are the last best hope of earth: let’s rise above lesser things and make our parents proud and our children grateful.

May God continue bless America and the State of Minnesota as we work to be worthy of that blessing.

And may God bless you all.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Don't Blame Me...

So Al Franken finally paid a $25,000 fine—one that he ignored for more than a year--for failing to carry worker’s compensation insurance for his employees. Why should he have to pay? Plenty of people don’t.

While I was growing up, my father ran a small business of which he was very proud. He would always rail against his competitors, most of whom didn’t run their businesses on the up-and-up. “They don’t pay workers comp, they don’t pay payroll taxes, it’s all under the table!” he would rant. I used to wonder, well, if everyone else isn’t doing it, and no one is bothering them about it, then why are you paying? If you stopped paying all of those silly fees, wouldn’t you be able to buy me more clothes? Gosh!

Just joking. Well, not exactly joking, because I’m not really a comedienne. You could say I’m more of a ... satirist. Many of my published works would most certainly be considered satire, so I guess the label fits.

It’s the label Al Frankenhides behind. When I think about it, this new title could come in really handy for me as well. I have always tried to be an upstanding, law abiding citizen, but who knows when one might need an “out” when she gets into a little trouble. “But officer, I wasn’t really speeding. I was just demonstrating for my son, in a rather droll manner, the driving habits of certain people in our culture whom I don’t respect. You can’t give me a ticket. I’m a satirist.”

How liberating! I could do anything and expect to get away with it! I could play by different rules and be held to a different standard than everyone else!

I could, at will, discount all of the other things I am, such as wife, mother, writer, friend, neighbor, daughter, sister, pet owner, aunt, grandmother. When in trouble, I could throw all of these titles away and hide behind Franken's favorite word: satirist, just as Franken often uses it to replace what should be his most important title: Senatorial Candidate.

If anyone were to bring up any illegal, distasteful, racially insensitive, boorish, frightening behavior, I could just say (and just for fun, in a degrading, stereotypical parody of an Asian accent) that they were trying to avoid talking about real issues, like how our roads have too many pot holes. But that argument would be hollow because my detractors, by pointing out how they dislike my behavior, would in effect be saying, “Your satire helps show us who you really are, and we don’t much like or trust that person.”

Let’s have a small civics lesson for those who still don’t get it. Parody and satire are protected forms of speech in the United States. You have the right to use them to say anything you want and be protected from libel and slander suits under the umbrella of this Constitutional right.What this right does not do is to stop people from being offended by the content of an individual’s protected form of speech. The reader or listener can find it distasteful, racist, reckless, and find it to be a true window into the personality of the person saying or writing it. It does not protect the satirist from public opinion, and negative public opinion can be a pesky little problem for a political candidate.

Because I'm a satirist, why aren’t I running willy nilly through the countryside doing and saying things without regard for anyone but myself? Because I am my father’s daughter. I have pride, integrity and a backbone. I try to do the right thing in the first place, not just after I get caught doing something wrong. But I’m not running for office...

Al Franken is.

Monday, March 17, 2008

All-Sugar Diet Leads to Political Decay

One day it started raining as my son was walking home from school. I was in the middle of a home improvement project with a friend, and I wondered out loud if I should drop everything and pick him up. My friend answered, “What is he, made of sugar?” I laughed.

Made of sugar. What would happen to a person who was made of sugar if caught in the rain? He would dissolve. Thank goodness my son is made of flesh, bone and spirit. He made it home through the sprinkling intact.

I thought of this as I listened to Senator Coleman speak at the Republican Party District 42 convention on March 8. The Senator, after having been met with a lengthy standing ovation, spoke of many things. He spoke of accountability, and of not raising taxes on citizens during an economic downturn. But I thought the most important part of his speech was when he said (I must paraphrase), that Democrats seem hungry for change, but they are just on a “sugar high,” when what they really need is to be fed something substantial.

We have all seen the momentum building around Barack Obama, and to a lesser degree, Hillary Clinton. The mantra “change” is being chanted everywhere, with very little substantiality to back it up. I think maybe Hillary Clinton herself said it best when she, referring to Obama, spoke before an audience at a Rhode Island college, "Now, I could stand up here and say, 'Let's just get everybody together. Let's get unified. The sky will open. The light will come down. Celestial choirs will be singing, and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect.'" I know the same could be said about other Democratic campaigns as well, as the “change” mantra trickles down to the Senatorial campaign level.

I asked a respected friend, who is a staunch Al Franken supporter and who has heard him speak in relatively intimate settings, why I shouldn’t be terrified if he were to be elected as the Senator from Minnesota instead of Norm Coleman. She thought for a minute, then said, “Because he likes families. He’s for families.”


Sadly, my friend seems to be on a sugar high. I’m sure Norm Coleman likes families too. If a Democrat were to ask me the same question I asked my friend, there are so many things I could say. I could say Coleman really thinks things through, and despite the leftist rhetoric that he’s George Bush’s puppet, he is his own man. I could say he has the experience to really get things done in Washington, and pull out a laundry list of his accomplishments. I could say he understands economics and believes that the people, not government, know best what to do with their own money. I could go on an on, and you know why? Because Coleman is made of flesh, bone and spirit. His campaign is built on a solid foundation of ideas and integrity.

Franken, on the other hand, seems unable to get a substantive message across to even his most ardent supporters. Some don’t even know why they want to vote for him. His supporters are on a sugar high because he and his campaign are made of sugar. Why is that a problem? Because in Washington, very real, important things that can change the lives of Americans rain down on our Senators every day. And after the rain, Coleman would remain standing, while Franken, and those like him, would dissolve. And those on the sugar high, well, they would be in for one hell of a crash.