by Jeff Wilfahrt
Jun 27, 2014, 11:39 AM

“Submit for Review” – a DFL page site button

The folks who run this site have never exercised any editorial license over these posts, perhaps someday that will come and that is when the last will come from these fingertips.

Recently in an attempt to be supportive of a DFL caucus here in CD2 I offered to be the mechanic, to get up the caucus posts, but I would not be the driver, that is to say I would not author the content. My role was simply to post the content from the caucus participants.

So it came to pass the first item came in and off I went to post it on the chapter caucus web site.

And there it was, a “Submit for Review” button.

The DFL is hardly a bastion of free and independent thought as it turns out. In fact, my gut reaction seeing that button was how reminiscent it was of the Stalinist era. I emailed my sense of protest to the caucus board but didn’t receive any particular comiseration. Probably just my ancestral Scot-Irish and German protestant anti-papist blood I reasoned in the moment.

Within a few days of that the Michael Roberts primary run against Mike Obermueller came to my attention.

Well let’s check this guy out. Let’s find out if he can inspire more volunteerism and local financial support than the endorsed candidate. Let us keep our minds open to other things.

Well I was soon to learn the DFL doesn’t like “open” once an endorsement is made. No way would Roberts be allowed to speak before the caucus gatherings up to the primary or election.

Co-incident to all this I take a call from Obermueller. I’m sure he wanted money but I didn’t let him get that far in his pitch. He launched off into how he was getting all this money out of D.C..

As Popeye used to say “So’se I thinks to myself…” that he’s just like Kline. He’s expecting the money from outside CD2 to carry him.

And why would a politician who actually inspires people to show up and get involved, let alone vote, rely on external money? Recall the Wellstone campaign against Boschwitz. Wellstone wasn’t the guy with the money, Wellstone was the guy who inspired people. Legend has it that even stalwart Republicans voted for the guy, didn’t like his politics, but they respected his earnestness and drive.

Mike goes on to brag about all he did for our campaign here in 57B. I interjected that they hadn’t done shit for us. All we got from his 2012 campaign was single field operative who showed up once to put this campaign’s volunteers on Republican doors. Not what our volunteers showed up to do.

But Mike’s campaign was quick to take, didn’t give much. Didn’t get much out of the DFL either for that matter. Labor liked this race, they put their money and effort where their mouth was, but people in Labor pull together and don’t let the other guy carry the water.

So it was with sadness that I ran across an attempt to remove the term Labor from from the DFL name this spring. Kline did that, he removed the term Labor from the national board. Draw your own conclusion on that point.

And then came the so called co-ordinated campaign. What a joke. The better title would the dictated campaign.

It amounted to them handing us stacks of Klobuchar’s and Obermueller’s flyers and expecting us to carry their water. Needless to say the number of volunteers from them was nil but it would seem our campaign was somehow beholden to them. I guess water is expected to run uphill in the DFL.

We wrote Klobuchar’s people early summer of 2012 asking to help garner press out here with a fundraiser in Bills’ backyard, 57B. She could have the money but help us get what is called earned press. Didn’t get shit from her either, despite the fact we started out against Bills before he went after her seat.

She did attend the Apple Valley parade but did so many units separated from the local DFL folks. Maybe we stank with sweat in the 100 degree plus heat. It was hardly co-ordinated but hey, we’re just the water carriers, down wind so to speak expected to push the water uphill.

Grabbed Franken at a Hamline University event, asked for fundraising help, got blown off there too. Now I have to carry his snail mail begging for money to the recycling bin. As I said, it runs uphill for these folks.

Obermueller frequently brings up Kline and the outside money. Do as I say, not as I do comes to mind.

What I learned from 2012 and our campaign is that money actually doesn’t matter all that much. If people become inspired they show up without being needled and pestered. They find inside themselves a motivation to show and join the struggle. They set aside their reservations to be labelled liberal or conservative and face people at the doors with a knock.

Obermueller doesn’t inspire me. Didn’t do so early on and doesn’t even to this day. Maybe that’s a personal thing, a leftover bad taste from 2012. But I know I’m not alone. The battle cry to remove Kline in and of itself inspires only a few. It’s not inspiring enough to get people in large numbers out on the doors.

So it was with great dismay I was to learn Roberts is not allowed, post convention, to stand before DFL caucus groups. He may or may not be able to stir that required inspiration. I don’t know and certainly now never will because the DFL effectively has a gag order in effect. No more discussion, no more search for an inspiring candidate, a candidate who won’t require outside money to do exactly what Kline does.

Dayton had the guts to run in spite of no endorsement. He handled the money issue with his own pocketbook. He carried his fight forward and challenged the electorate with the question of whether it is the DFL endorsement that matters or the ability to inspire volunteerism and participation. And as we saw it was a squeaker. But he did prevail. Was it money, I think not, it was his message and the inspiration.

We all know how the Republicans rely on money to buy elections. The Democrats do it too. Maybe the Republicans have a submit for review button also but I’m damn sure the DFL does, I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

Tony Petrangelo who does the excellent pieces here on polls and probable outcomes may have a better sense of whether Obermueller prevails over Kline. I don’t know. What I do know is that the outcome will be decided by external money because there is little or no evidence that aside from “Not Kline” there exists little inspiration. I’ll be surprised if that suffices.

Kline is and apparently always has been on the government tit. If the Republicans succeed in shrinking the government I doubt Kline will experience a weaning. Fact is he’ll probably gain weight. A case of less is more.

And if Obermueller succeeds in displacing Kline, having done so with outside money, then it seems he ends up suckling where Kline used to be. Obermueller will be over the same barrel Kline has been over, someone outside the district’s money barrel.

Maybe this Roberts fellow didn’t play by the DFL rules. Maybe he can’t inspire anymore than Obermueller. We’ll never get that chance to discover because something called a convention stifles that voice due to the DFL.

The DFL  I have come to realize is more alike than distinct from the right wing side of things. Look no further than the post by Steve Timmer on this apparent nut job MacDonald coming from the right. She’s endorsed and that is the end of the story for the Republicans. So it is with the DFL.

Every system needs to be tested, needs to stretch and be challenged, needs to inspire towards an improved state.

Things like a “Submit for Review” are contrapuntal to that end. The DFL needs a good shaking up, it needs to allow many and varied voices up to and beyond its endorsements, right on up to election day.

Dayton is a lousy orator, but an earnest and for my part inspiring politician. That’s what the DFL needs.

So maybe for my next post here I’ll find a “Submit for Review” button since with this one I’m putting it to the DFL. That’s not for me to decide. But if it shows up I’ll be looking for some other progressive home willing to challenge the status quo, to speak truth to power, to try and stir the electorate to think just a few inches deeper and realize it ain’t about the money, it’s about inspiration.

Supposedly Henry Ford said you can have any color you want as long it’s black.

The DFL in contemporary speak says “Submit for Review”.



Thanks for your feedback. If we like what you have to say, it may appear in a future post of reader reactions.