mercredi, novembre 15, 2006

Local Dustup; or Satire without Collateral Damage is Preferred

I live in Minnesota, where we’ve got quite a little dustup involving a member of the Minneapolis School Board and an Independence Party candidate for U.S. Congress.

First, look at the congressional candidate’s site.

Then look at the satirical site based on that congressional campaign.

Here’s a little background.

Chris Stewart is a newly elected member of the Minneapolis School Board.

He’s in a bit of trouble for creating (or being involved in the creation of) the satirical site. BTW, the satirical site was not meant for public consumption. Stewart is part of a group that has a web site, but it is password protected. I tried to log on to it as part of my research for this story; I couldn't. I was blocked.

Martin Sabo, one of Minnesota’s favorite elected officials announced his retirement earlier this year.

His announcement touched off a flurry of political activity, much of it focused on candidates seeking the Democratic Party nomination.

Sabo endorsed his Chief of Staff (and former state DFL Chair Mike Erlandson).

When Erlandson and Ember Reichgott Junge lost the party endorsement to eventual congressman-elect, Keith Ellison, and then lost to Ellison again in the primary, Sabo “endorsed”* Independence candidate Tammy Lee.

Why didn’t Sabo endorse Ellison?

This question raised eyebrows in the black community. Folks wondered if Sabo would have endorsed Lee if Reichgott Junge won the nomination. In other words, did Ellison’s race (African-American) or religion (Muslim) compel long-time party member and long-time Congressman Sabo to abandon the typical process (and his long-standing respect for the party’s voice) to endorse a candidate from another party.

Was it that he disagrees with Ellison on the issues? Ellison is a long-time environmental advocate, he supports single-payer health care, he’s pro-choice, he’s worked hard on poverty issues, he has a long record of supporting education. He’s a DFL wet dream. So why endorse someone else? So, no. That probably wasn't it.

Anyway, why didn't Sabo endorse Ellison is the satirical site hoped to ask. To the extent that I take issue with the site (and I do have a sense of humor), I take issue with the fact that it criticizes Lee more than it should and Sabo not enough.

As I see it, Sabo – Sabo is the one who is worthy of criticism, not Lee. Although many out there feel the satirical site skewered Sabo no one can argue that it didn't go through Lee to do it. I felt it was a shotgun approach that peppered Lee (hat tip** to Dick Cheney for adding "peppered" to our national vocabulary!) where a rifle aimed only at Sabo would have been more effective. I like my satire without collateral damage. Thank you very much.

By the way, Lee lost (and she should have). Perhaps Sabo will endorse Ellison when he runs for re-election.

*Sabo never officially endorsed Lee, but he allowed his picture with her to be posted on her site. Not good: it equivocates. If he didn’t want to endorse Ellison for fear that Erlandson would feel bad, then why “endorse” anyone at all. If you’re going to endorse anyone, go all the way.

**Hat tip is the nerdy blogsphere way of saying "thank you for the idea or suggestion or inspiration." In this case, the real hat tip goes my mother-in-law who suggested that I write on this exciting topic.