Sunday, August 13, 2006

Grandmas for Kelley

I spent some time talking with my grandmother this weekend, and inevitably our conversation turned to the dangerous realm of politics. It's always tricky engaging your 86 year-old grandma in a political conversation, urging her to cast aside her lifelong affiliations and vote for "the other guy." Nonetheless I continue to try.

I started with an easy target: Dallas Sams. He's a pro-gun, pro-life, anti-gay marriage democrat from Staples, MN, and my grandparent's state senator. I figure if I, a life long democrat, committed to liberal ideals, can support someone like Dallas Sams, then surely my conservative grandma can. I've never gotten a commitment from her, but I continue to sell Dallas as a helluva nice guy and a great state senator. It's dems like him that continue to keep the Minnesota State Senate in democratic control.

So when I read in the paper that Steve Kelley had been endorsed for Attorney General by the DFL this weekend, I thought it would make a good teaching moment.

Kelley is the opposite of Dallas Sams in terms of the issues, in terms of style, really, in terms of everything. Steve is a wonk's wonk, and is just the kind of guy I want looking out for the State's best interests. As a bonus, he's great on all the issues I care passionately about: the environment, transit, early childhood education. And he can beat Rep. Jeff Johnson, who comes across as a partisan, party-focused Republican (which is why his website talks about how "the office should not be about partisanship and political advancement.") Kelley, as chair of the Senate Education Committee, has been in front of the spotlight and has proven he can stand the heat.

But before we get to that, we have a primary to get through. Let me just say I am generally biased towards DFL-endorsed candidates. So if, by some fluke, another dem had been endorsed, I'd likely be making the case for them--well maybe not here: Kelley is the only candidate I personally know and is a pretty nice guy. But back to that primary. Solicitor General Lori Swanson and former Congressman Bill Luther will be the other deems on the ballot, so I should probably offer a word or two on them.

I don't have anything against Swanson personally or politically. My only caution with her was when I saw her on TPT's Almanac. She was representing Hatch on driver's license data privacy. Hatch was right, and I agreed with Swanson here, but Eric Lippman from the governor's office tore her apart and got her waaaaay off message. It will happen again. View the video here.

I think Bill Luther is a tough politician, and would make a strong attorney general. But he just comes across a little smarmy and, well, icky. Call me petty. Oh, and there was that shot of him drinking in a Capitol office, in the same Fox 9 "story" as ousted state representative Scott Waslik. Granted, he wasn't a voting member of congress or any other body, but the video is there, and could be damaging. And Rep. Johnson will use it. Again, petty.

No, my vote will go for Kelley, I want the class nerd, the guy who was president of the honor society--the guy who can understand and effectively explain Minnesota's complex health system--as the next state's Attorney General. He has a massive organization in place from his failed run for governor, and is ready to run a tough campaign on the issues that matter. I believe he can do it.

So there's my case for Steve Kelley for AG, Grandma. He's smart, likeable and comes off nice on the TV. What else can you ask for?


Anonymous said...

great post, eric. well argued.

Jane said...

Go Steve Kelley!

Jezzie said...

I'll take smarmy Luther any old day..
I want someone who doesn't vote with
Insurance companies...
I'll go one farther...Lets see what happens when republicans try to tear apart a sweet little lady like Lori

Tomboy said...

Why does everyone forget to mention that Steve Kelley was the #1 taxpayer subsidized stadium pusher? Enough of boys with their toys -- I'll take Lori.

MN Campaign Report said...

I'll tell you what happens when the GOP goes to tear her apart - they'll tie her to Mike Hatch with a heavy, heavy chain. Like it or not, AG is a political position, requiring both legal and political experience - Swanson has only one of these.

As for the stadium, remember who it's popular with - Jeff Johnson's voting base. Kelley has a host of progressive accomplishments, and a few that reach pretty far across the aisle, like the Stadium.

Douglas said...

On Joe's recommendation, I've just added your blog to the Blogs for Kelley list at Johnson v. TBA

Dana said...

I'm with you on this one...and hope Dallas' latest health scare isn't his last. :(