DFLers singing Kumbaya (www.mirror.co.uk).
by Steve Timmer
Aug 3, 2018, 4:00 PM

Sitting around the campfire singing Kumbaya

A letter in the Strib on August 3, 2018:

To my dear fellow Democrats, especially those who wrote the Aug. 2 letters with such disdain for the DFL Party and U.S. Sen. Tina Smith: Time to check your purity and single-issue politics at the door and draw attention to the issues that unite us. Look at the website for Tina Smith, and compare its specifics to those vague platitudes of the Republican candidate. If you value clean energy and the economic power it will give to our state, respect for grown women to make our own decisions about our bodies, logical legislation to get the ridiculous number of guns off the streets and as much support as possible to our public schools and teachers, you will vote for the candidates on the DFL side. None of them are perfect, but the Republican Party has become an anti-everything-except-tax-cuts-and-gun-rights party, and it is currently in charge. Time for a change, folks, and time for us all to look up the candidates to see their policy statements. The primary on Aug. 14 and the main election on Nov. 6 are the dates to vote.

Although I wasn’t a letter writer on August 3rd, I think this charming little piece of spittle-flecked invective was directed at a lot of people like me. Somehow, I doubt the letter writer really meant “dear fellow Democrats.”

It is perhaps unnecessary to say that letters like this don’t make a lot of people want to sit around the campfire and sing Kumbaya. People who don’t think an individual appointed to a senate seat on a single vote (by the governor, and let’s be honest, it was an inside job) and then was endorsed by a cadre of Party Members is entitled to a coronation for the nomination.

That’s just silly, and it is why the endorsement system is strangling itself. It’s also silly — no, it’s downright funny — that the writer accuses people who don’t get behind Tina Smith of being “single issue” voters and “purists.”

Which is the “single issue” we’re hung up on? Corruption and lawlessness in government? Single-payer healthcare? Protection of the environment, including the prevention of sulfide mining in northern Minnesota? Reasonable regulation of guns, including universal background checks? Rural revitalization? Protection of LBGTQ rights? Reproductive rights? Campaign finance?

The list goes on if you read Richard Painter’s issues page on his website. Which “our” letter writer clearly has not.

The writer is the single issue purist: vote endorsed candidates only.

I am posting again an interview that Richard Painter gave to well-known politics professor David Schultz a few days ago. I think it shows that Painter has great positions and grasp of a broad range of issues.

It’s insulting, really, to insinuate that Painter supporters are somehow uninformed, when Tina Smith won’t even come out of her hidey-hole to debate the issues. Gubernatorial candidates are and congressional candidates are. Why not Tina? Instead, she is relying on the smear-tactics artistry of the DFL party chair and a few other insiders. And some letter writers.

Addendum: The thing that probably drives me the craziest about this is the hypocrisy all around. Tina Smith appears at an event with the unendorsed Keith Ellison and Bernie Sanders. Unendorsed Mike Rothman and the endorsed Dean Phillips appear at Chaska River Days together.

This is truly like Animal Farm. Some endorsements are more equal than others. Nobody, especially the DFL chair, is dumping on Ellison, Rothman, Torres Ray or Anderson-Kelliher for running in the primary. Or even Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan.

Just one final point on this: The current DFL chair has the job because the unendorsed Mark Dayton won the primary and the general election in 2010. He was Dayton’s pick for the job. That’s fine; I have no quarrel with it. But it is unseemly in the extreme for him to savage a candidate in the same process that got him the job.

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