Remember when South Carolina KKK symp Joe Wilson screamed out that President Obama was lying during the State of the Union? Decent Americans were mortified and-- not knowing the first thing about his Democratic opponent-- chipped in over a $1,000,000-- for a campaign unlikely to make much headway. And the opponent, Rob Miller, what does he stand for? Is he a conservative? A progressive? Does he favor women's choice, the rights of working people to organize to bargain collectively, equality for all Americans? Does he want to end the war in Afghanistan? Does he want to expand the war in Afghanistan and bomb Iran to boot? No one knew-- and he sure never returned my calls-- but the money just poured in. Because he wasn't Joe Wilson.
I don't even remember what the trigger was a couple years ago when Michele Bachmann caused the same kind of hysteria and unleashed a cornucopia of cash-- almost half a million dollars in 24 hours-- on Elwyn Tinklenberg, a conservative former preacher who opposes women's choice and favors a constitutional amendment to prevent same sex couples from ever enjoying marriage equality anywhere under any circumstances. I understand this kind of tribalism, but it's idiotic.
Blue America didn't endorse Tinklenberg or Miller. Do we want Wilson to lose? You bet! Did we want to see Bachmann lose in 2008? Of course. But none of us would ever ask Blue America donors to contribute to campaigns we wouldn't personally donate to. I would never write a check for a conservative like Tinklenberg, whose social views are nearly as repugnant as Bachmann's-- even if he's wearing a blue jersey instead of a red one. And Miller? I don't buy pigs in pokes-- also the reason Blue America never endorsed Bill Halter, but raised money for progressive state Senator Joyce Elliott, running for Congress in Arkansas on the same day Halter was running against Blanche Lincoln. And Democrats aren't stupid. Joyce won her primary runoff, even as Halter's $12 million campaign came to naught. I wish Lincoln had lost-- and I wish I could say that I wish Halter had won. I just don't know what he was really all about.
I do know what Tarryl Clark, the Minnesota state Senator running against Michele Bachmann this year, is all about. She's about standing up for average American families against the overwhelming and avaricious power of Big Business and the politicians they've bought and paid for-- like Bachmann. How do I know? She has a clear and outstanding record and she was willing to answer the straightforward questions Blue America requires of all candidates seeking our endorsement. And today Tarryl will be joining us at Crooks and Liars (11am, PT and 1pm in Minnesota) for a live blogging session where anyone interested can ask her the kinds of questions they think congressional candidates should answer. Halter and Miller refused to ever do that. I hope you'll come by and make your own decision. Bachmann hasn't exactly been laying low, though her outrageous extremism doesn't seem to motivate progressives any longer. We've come to expect her to sound like a cross between Mussolini and Joe McCarthy.
Fortunately, Tarryl would be a great choice even if she were running against a garden variety Republican instead of a fanatic like Bachmann. It may not be as "sexy" as having a Republican start screeching uncontrollably that the president is a liar, but MN-06 has the most devastating unemployment rate in Minnesota and the worst foreclosure crisis in the state. But Bachmann has neither understood nor been sympathetic to her constituents finding themselves in a jam because of the vicissitudes of an economy buffeted by disastrous conservative ideological experimentation. She has not only not contributed to finding solutions to these very real problems, she has tried to capitalize of politicizing them. Tarryl's reaction, as a state legislator, has been the exact opposite. Instead of running around the country and ranting and raving at tea parties, she proven herself an effective leader for the people she represents, working to secure the funds to upgrade the facilities at Saint Cloud State University, working to ensure Central Minnesota's nursing homes are paid fairly, working to establish a special law enforcement unit to fight gang activities in Central Minnesota. Tarryl's been a champion for issues including early childhood and higher education, health care, serving veterans, protecting Minnesotans from predatory lenders, and investing in the local communities that make America strong. Because of that her colleagues elected her to serve as the Senate's Assistant Majority Leader. Bachmann's colleagues have recognized her as a clown and have tasked her with going on Fox to stir up divisiveness and animosities.
Tarryl's record of results on reducing unemployment:
• Created 22,000 jobs with last session's bonding bill
• Helped small businesses add new jobs with Angel Investor Tax Credits
• Authored the Central Minnesota Bioscience Initiative to bring jobs in the biotech industry into the 6th district
• Authored economic development bill that improved workforce development (job training) and expanded the Small Business Growth Acceleration Program, and entrepreneur and small business development grants.
Tarryl's record of results on reducing foreclosure:
• Authored legislation to protect seniors from predatory lenders and reverse mortgages
• Helped families in keep their homes with the MN Subprime Borrowers Relief Act
• Authored legislation to reduce the burden of property taxes on middle class families
Tarryl is the newest member of the Blue America family. If you can volunteer for her campaign there's a sign up form here and if you can help the campaign financially, she's on the Blue America endorsed candidates list.
Follow Howie Klein on Twitter: www.twitter.com/downwithtyranny