Monday, 3-25-2002


The Void

lunch with Julio - partisan politics

Much that is worthy of comment has happened this month. Conveniently my server was fouled up at the beginning of the month among other distractions like auto breakdowns and filling out taxes. I say conveniently because there were some political machinations going on that I preferred not to pontificate on where anyone could read what I said. That cost me any commentary on the political caucuses however. 


More recently Iíve had other political discussions, which I preferred not to comment on. The legislative redistricting panel handed down its new map for Minnesotaís legislative districts. Some of the conversations Iíve had would have tipped my hand and given others insights they might have found useful to anticipate my actions.


My focus for the past two years has been on running against Doug Johnson in the State Senate race. Doug ended that possibility by announcing his retirement the day before the new boundaries were announced. Then the Court announcement further dashed the possibility of a run for that Senate Seat by moving me out of the District altogether. That wasnít a huge surprise as the Republicans had offered up a plan for Duluth not unlike the one we now have. All of Duluth from Fon du lac out west to the North shore are now part of a single Duluth Senate District. Four Duluth precincts over the hill have, however, been added to a new house district which includes Hermantown, Proctor some townships and Esko in Carlton county. I represent one of these currently in my school board seat and I donít like losing it. On the other hand the new house district I find myself in is tailor made for me. It is all urban and half of it is my current school board seat.


It is however; a house district and Iíve been angling for a run at the Senate. This would put me at odds with the recently elected Yvonne Prettner Solon. Iím not inclined to run against such a newly elected candidate who I happen to like especially since she still qualifies as a ďgrieving widow.Ē The smaller eastern house seat beacons.


Currently represented by Tom Huntley, a former City councilman it actually has solid Republican precincts although not many of them. In my quarter century in Duluth it has been represented by Republicans three times. These include former Mayor Ben Boo, my fellow Glen Avon Presbyterian friend Jim Gustafson and before them the popular Jim Ulland, recently Governor Carlsonís Commerce Secretary. Itís no longer such a stretch to imagine myself joining their ranks. Iím an active campaigner and have reason to believe that Iím reasonably well respected after the last six years on the school board.


I will certainly make the argument that the DFL stranglehold on area politics has helped make it an unpalatable location for people to invest in new businesses. As much trauma as recent taxing decisions have forced on the Duluth Schools they may brightened the prospects for local business development.


This debate all lies in the future. I am now looking around me to see what kind of candidates come out of the woodwork in both parties as they sniff out the open and altered legislative districts. Iíve met recently with some potential Republican candidates. As always a mixed bag but with much better prospects than usual. Under the most favorable conditions I could imagine as many as three getting elected. Of course, most favorable for Republicans is about as likely as rolling boxcars twice in a row in a game of dice. But it could happen especially if the DFL craps out. The Greens could siphon off DFL votes as they did with Ralph Nader.


Of course after pulling off nearly 40% of the votes in the recent special election they would be crazy not to try to follow it up with serious campaigns in the new seats with weakened incumbents.


My literary endeavors have continued. My fourth column has appeared in the Reader. Bob Boone imagined my being a political commentator offering insights into local pols much like I might do in my web diary. That doesnít seem entirely fair to me. Itís too obvious an advantage and its unfairness could redound against me as others call for equal time or space. Better I should take my cheap shots here. Iíll see how long Bob is willing to take my more philosophical/historical pieces before he gets tired of it. Heís still publishing Jim Fetzerís opaque and doubly long discourses however. The only reason I can see wading through them is for the vocabulary but after half a dozen pieces arguing the proof of the JFK assassination conspiracy it would take a devoted follower to press on through future columns.


Iím enjoying reading and writing lately although Iíve gotten very little feedback on the later. Just finished the ďHidden HitlerĒ and added it to my reading list. Iíve taken a rather different impression of the book. I have very little doubt now that Adolph was gay. The author has assembled a remarkable lot of credible corroborating testimony. If so I canít help but reflect on how the persecution of Hitlerís circle of gays helped him create a secret society, which followed him into the radical political sphere. While some attempted to blackmail Hitler his eventual grasp on near total power rendered him nearly immune from their attacks. A third rate mind with first rate cunning, exceptional good luck, the power of the worlds most advanced industrial state, with a nation thirsting for vindication after the humiliation of the armistice and unencumbered by conscience.


If only Wilson had prevailed over Clemenceau and George? We would have been spared the Second World War. Of course, I would never have been born to shake up Duluth politics because my Dad would never have come back from the service and had my Mother offer him a coke in college.