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The self-blinding brilliance of Jason Lewis

Jason Lewis
Jason Lewis

Radio talk genius Jason Lewis provides a tour de force (in his Sunday Strib op-ed) of the wonderful effect of willful self-blindness.

Jason is saddened by the defeat of the voter ID amendment, a defeat he attributes to lies, dirty tactics and the efforts of “massive sums of left-wing money.”

I don’t know if he has his facts right, but for the moment, I’ll stipulate that opponents of the amendment outspent proponents. Is Jason outraged by massive sums of right-wing money such as has been deployed by the Koch brothers, by corporations that have been freed by the Citizens United decision to directly spend their stockholders’ dollars to advance corporate agendas? Will he join the call (which, so far as I can tell, has come almost entirely from lefties) to find some way around that U.S. Supreme Court decision that created the current money-driven politics? If so, I welcome him to the cause.

I very much appreciate the opportunity to read intellectually honest arguments that disagree with my own viewpoint. But the sine qua non of intellectual honesty is to deal straight with the inconvenient facts and arguments. Mr. Lewis comes from the opposite school. Facts that do not fit his arguments simply do not exist.

So here are a couple of facts, or maybe arguments, that Jason failed to mention.

In almost every instance in recent U.S. state political history, when Republicans take over a state legislature, they pass a law requiring photo ID for voting. The model law on the topic was developed, refined and circulated to Republican legislators by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit, tax-exempt organization that develops such model laws, pretty much all of which are laws introduced and supported by conservatives and Republicans and opposed by liberals and Democrats. ALEC runs on money (not “left-wing money”) from corporations and from dues paid by its many state legislator members (almost all conservative Republican legislators).

Proponents of voter ID laws never acknowledge that the likeliest effect of such laws will be to depress the turnout of voters who do not possess photo ID’s and that, as everyone who has ever looked at the issue with even a modicum of intellectual honesty has acknowledged, are disproportionally from segments of the population that tend to skew toward supporting Democrats. That’s a fact.

Let’s call this an inference, rather than a fact: That’s why Republicans support voter ID laws and why Democrats oppose them. If you try to talk about the idea of photo ID for voters without acknowledging these facts and inferences, you are engaging in casuistry, sophistry and either willful self-blindness or make-believe self-blindness.

In his op-ed, Jason adopts the familiar pose of one saddened by the apparent indifference of liberals and Democrats to the problem of voter impersonation. C’mon, man. The election’s over. The DFL has regained control of the Legislature. Voter ID will go away unless and until the Repubs get control back. You should probably find another topic for a while.

But if you most go there, at least acknowledge the basic facts and their most obvious inferences. Yes, Democrats oppose these laws because they do not cotton to the idea of reducing Democratic turnout in all future elections, the same reason that Republicans like the idea.

By writing about this issue without acknowledging that, Lewis only diminishes his credibility.

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Comments (55)

Mr. Black's point resonates

Mr. Black's point resonates with other pundits as well. David Frum calls this "the alternative knowledge system" which results in "conservative media's isolation from reality".

It will be a great first step when conservatives insist upon accurate political information.

No voter fraud in MN

Thanks, Eric, for exposing Jason Lewis, the biggest fraud.
Voter fraud is a serious crime, and there is not much to gain by committing it - one vote out of millions cast. Which is why it is an almost non-existent crime.

Jason

I did think Jason's column was kind of amazing yesterday. From where I sat, the anti voter ID campaign wasn't funded that well at all. The gay marriage amendment both for and against seemed to be where the money was going. The voter ID campaign was very much of an afterthought.

Ideas, Not Spending

Yep, the money cry has gone up from the ill-managed GOP as an excuse for candidate losses, too.

Lewis can't fathom that non-lefties helped defeat these amendments in a divided electorate.

Lewis considers money to equal speech, but he can't fathom that money doesn't equal sense.

Overall spending

Where I live, it seemed that Republicans outspent DFLers by a considerable margin. A close race in my state Senate district seemed about even counting money spent by the candidates and the state parties, whereas close races in Rochester were dominated by Republican spending. Given what happened during the legislative session, I would expect Repblicans to be handicapped in fundraising. I haven't seen or heard any final numbers for expenditures, but I will be unconvinced that Republicans were outspent until I do see them.

One of the fondest hopes of

One of the fondest hopes of the Democratic party is for the conservatives to take to heart the idea that the conservative message is good, it just needs to be said louder.

Yes, I say, repeat even louder in 2014 and 2016. Using Sen. Lindsey Graham's analogy, "reload the gun you shot your foot with". Get increasingly more conservative people to run for office. Next time, for sure, guaranteed, "real Americans" (the "silent majority" AKA "moral majority") will win the elections

One theory of Mr. Lewis and his compatriots is that they are doubling down on their message because that is where their their bread is buttered by Koch, Adelson, and the "vast right-wing conspiracy". There's money in them thar' fools...

If the big money goes away to different forums (piss-poor ROI in this election--ask Mr. Rove), where will Mr. Lewis find a paying audience?

No option but to double down on a losing strategy. Wave hands and say they were outspent. Hope no one bothers to analyze why they got their butts kicked. Hope no-one asks why the delusions of big wins were perpetuated by Rove, Lewis, Limbaugh, OReilly, Hannity, Beck.

They are the sucker-fish at the mouth of the shark. In the end, the big money is interested in the money, not Mr. Lewis's precious theories and pathetic triangulations. He's a tool that can easily be put down and another picked up.

How better to encourage more

How better to encourage more money from right-wing sponsors than to say that the right-wing tools were outspent?

Can't get any more money by saying the message is wrong, which is especially bad when you are the paid message-maker.

Reaction

My first reaction to reading Lewis's piece was to ask whether he needed cheese with his whine. Supporters of voter id never seemed to acknowledge that they were selling a pig-in-a-poke. If he had a complaint with how opponents characterized the possible affects of the amendments, maybe he should have complained to the proponents for not having crafted a clear statement of how they would expect the amendment to be implemented. They purposely left it vague, making it reasonable for opponents to fill in the possible blanks.

Quite the list of groups

My amusement was the length and content of the "left wing" groups cited by Lewis. It went on and on, led by AARP and the League of Women Voters.

It is unfortunate that the Strib chooses him and Katherine Kersten to represent conservatives. They will never get to 50% with those two spouting their wisdom.

Given the Strib's tilt,

why would it want any effective representatives of conservative thought? (Assuming that there are any today; the PPress publishes little written from any position other than the right, none of which I find well constructed.)

The GOP denial of reality is a chronic condition

Another day, another denial of reality from the GOP.

Mr. Lewis has been doing this for a long, long, time.

And no, he won't examine his assumptions for any connection to reality.

The Question Asked:

***"Is Jason outraged by massive sums of right-wing money such as has been deployed by the Koch brothers, by corporations that have been freed by the Citizens United decision to directly spend their stockholders’ dollars to advance corporate agendas? "*** Of course not. On twitter, it's noted as #IOKIYAR

I wish for columnists that provide light rather than heat

I want good, well-reasoned opinions from liberals and conservatives and everything in between.

Unfortunately, I guess, that is not what conservatives want to read. Has the conservative mindset become so juvenile that it only wants reaffirmation? It appears they want to read something that reinforces their own beliefs - right, wrong or completely bizarre. And the Strib has the two biggest flame fanners - Lewis and Kersten. I guess, giving a portion of its readers exactly what they want.

And as for Lewis concept that this was some big-money, falsely reported, lie-strewn campaign is ridiculous. First, let's start with the fact that the amendment wasn't really what it appeared to be. There were no real specifics of how this would work, and when opponents questioned possible aspects, proponents would claim it was a lie. I'd like to know how that works when NO ONE had any facts about what it would or wouldn't do because none of the details were created yet. Second, this was a modern-day equivalent of a bunch of civics teachers getting together to tell a bunch of bored students how their constitution should work - not exactly an big-money, lie-a-minute, crazy race. It was one of those issues with no sex appeal and yet Arnie Carlson and Mark Dayton - neither of whom are bombastic - managed to convince voters that they should pay attentions to potential bad policy.

However, in the end, the campaign won by suggesting the legislators mucked it up and we should send it back to them. Boy, that was easy to believe - especially in light of the last two years of incompetence. I'm sure that was the easy sell in the whole 2012 campaign.

Why?

I'm constantly bewildered as to why the Strib uses this bloviating scribbler
in their pages. I'm in total agreement with those who question why the
Strib engages such bottom-feeders to represent the conservative voice.
There must be plenty of articulate, non-logic challenged persons who
could do this job better than the current fuzzy-thinking extremists.

Frankenstein Monster

Mr. Lewis and other right wing message dispensers have created a monster -the Tea Party- and it is coming back to haunt them. Fed a constant stream of hate, half truths, outright lies and a narrow and intellectually dishonest worldview, is it any wonder they've begun to believe their own spin?

Even the folks at the top of the GOP are not immune to self delusion: Mr. Romney was "shellshocked" at his loss. Romney relied on right slanted pollsters rather than more honest polling (termed "Liberal Media Elite" by conservatives) and therefore didn't even bother to write a concession speech. Heaven help us if he became president and continued to hear only what he wanted to hear.

People won this election not money. Spend all you want -if the people say no, you lose. We do need to get money out of elections but we'd do better getting voters more aware of the historically omnipresent forces of power, money and extreme religion which will always seek to bolster their positions without regard to the welfare of anyone else.

The GOP legislators who did

The GOP legislators who did ALEC's bidding by trying to pass a voter ID amendment to the MN Constitution did not want MN voters to think before they approved that referendum item. Their billboards saying "It's common sense" expressed that, clearly.

Once the not-well-funded (does Lewis have any proof of anti-vote ID funding?) anti forces were able, via their ground game and some YouTube stuff, to get people to think through the complications of the initiative, they voted against it.

Poor Jason Lewis.

The other factor

in Mr. Lewis' sophistry is that, as Rolf Westgard suggests, the rationale presented to the public for the voter I.D. amendment was voter fraud, more specifically the kind of fraud that involves voter impersonation, of which there's virtually none in Minnesota (and, I would add, in most other states, as well). This message was NOT clearly presented, and with good reason. Doing so would have made the Party the laughing stock of the election in Minnesota, where that sort of voter fraud simply has not happened.

As Rolf pointed out, it's a serious crime, and – unless you can get thousands of other, equally fraud-minded citizens to go along with you – there's virtually no reward. Most states (save, in recent years, Florida and Ohio) have election setups that are rather careful to identify, without bias, voters who should be or shouldn't be casting a ballot. Because Minnesota has a rather well-deserved reputation for being squeaky-clean when it comes to elections, using voter fraud/voter impersonation as a rationale for this proposal, especially when there's plenty of evidence that it's a non-issue, should have been a loser from the get-go, and eventually the public decided that, too. I'm inclined to agree with Hiram Foster that, of the two proposals, the definition-of-marriage one seemed to get the most money, time and attention by a wide margin.

If all the Republicans convince themselves of as a result of this year's election defeat is that they need to keep repeating the same message – only louder, or in Spanish – Democrats may be in power for the next century. Apparently, the notion that the core right-wing message, “Government is evil,” might be at least part of the problem doesn't seem to have occurred to any of the Monday-morning quarterbacks so far.

Tell me why...

Anybody willing to guess why the Strib keeps devoting valuable Sunday op/ed space to Jason Lewis.The opinion pages and their readers deserve better.

The rambling Lewis op-ed

Read even worse because of the other two excellent articles in the editorial pages - Peter Smith's discussion of being a veteran in the US and Lori Sturdevant's account of the actions of Jeff and Lori Wilfahrt after the death of their son in the Afghan war. What a striking difference!

Free ID's

One of the provision of the amendment was to provide free government ID's for people who cannot afford them. They said that this provision would cost little or nothing. They said that it would help people participate more fully in our society.

I wonder if the GOP will introduce legislation to make this happen.

the Carlson/Dayton commercial

I agreed with Lewis that the Arne Carlson/Gov. Dayton commercial was misleading. First, the duo complained that showing photo ID when voting would be expensive. Most voters, including minorities and young people, would show drivers licenses they already have. How could that be expensive? Second, photo ID opponents seemed to have changed their schtick. In the beginning they complained that photo ID would suppress minority votes. Later, as shown in the Carlson/Dayton commercial, they acted as if they thought election integrity needed to be protected, but this amendment wasn't clear or complete enough to show voters what it entailed. The amendment needed to be sent back to the legislature to be "fixed," they said. Actually, Carlson and Dayton don't want the amendment to be "fixed." They want it gone, and they misled viewers about that.

So, people are only allowed

So, people are only allowed to have one reason to be against a piece of crummy legislation?

You say minorities and young people "...would show..."

"...drivers licenses they already have. How could that be expensive?"

Your claim that these groups already have licenses is false. See below:

"More than 30% of American 19-year-olds in 2010 (30.5% to be precise) did not have a driver's license, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute."

(that's from Detroit Free Press in July - http://www.freep.com/article/20120721/BUSINESS01/207210417/Fewer-America...)

"African Americans have driver’s licenses at half the rate of whites, and the disparity increases among younger voters; only 22% of black men aged 18-24 had a valid driver’s license."

(that's from the NYU School of Law, Brennan Center for Justice - http://www.brennancenter.org/content/resource/policy_brief_on_voter_iden...)

stats

Do you have any stats on MN in this regard?

Live by the sword...

So it's a bad thing when two governors "mislead" but just fine for ID proponents to lie outright about there even being any voter fraud an ID would fix and hiding their real intentions: the addition of voter ID to purging of voter rolls and caging and poll challengers and robo calls for the wrong day for voting and voter registration where they throw out registrations of people saying they'd vote Democratic and, in Ohio, fewer voting machines in Democratic precincts, and, and, and. Republicans over a long period of time have done anything they could do to suppress Democratic votes. I do not feel sorry for them at all.

Though I'd prefer we remain above that kind of crap, I'll forgive the Governors' "tactic" in the face of so much intentional trickery. Bummer for right wingers but turnabout's fair play -live by the sword, die by the sword.

Kersten/Lewis

Readers who want to complain about Kersten and Lewis in the Star Tribune should contact the Star Tribune, not Minnpost.

One has to laugh at folk who

One has to laugh at folk who think that the Strib has not received letters of complaint about Kersten and Lewis. Those two are still there, and frequently given Prime Space on Sundays, because of the suburban and out-state readership the Strib's owners and editors have to gear the paper to.

.

The debate is over.

Rosalind and Lewis can keep recirculating the bogus arguments that lost the debate if they want but they only demonstrate an abundance of intellectual dishonesty when they do so. The accusations of voter fraud were discredited by everyone who examined them in any rational way (including Republican lawyers who admitted no fewer than 4 times in 4 separate court cases that they could not produce a single case of voter impersonation nor could they present ANY evidence that such fraud is occurring). Likewise if you really want to know how much this system would have cost and why, it's easy to look up. Anyone can read the amendment, and read the ballot question and see for themselves that the two were barely related. Only the willfully ignorant can continue to argue that this voter ID amendment was anything other than an attempt to politicize our election system. From the false claims about voter fraud to the promises that election day registration would be preserved this amendment was an exercise in deliberate deception from day one.

Voter fraud

"With 1,099 examples identified by Minnesota Majority, and with evidence suggesting that felons, when they do vote, strongly favor Democrats, it doesn’t require a leap to suggest there might one day be proof that Al Franken was elected on the strength of voter fraud.

And that’s just the question of voting by felons. Minnesota Majority also found all sorts of other irregularities that cast further doubt on the Senate results."

From a review of the book on voter fraud by John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky. The law that proscribes voter fraud is Minnesota Statute 201.014 sub. 3: "Any individual who votes who knowingly is not eligible to vote is guilty of a felony."

"Minnesota Majority took the information to prosecutors across the state, many of whom showed no interest in pursuing it. But Minnesota law requires authorities to investigate such leads. And so far, Fund and von Spakovsky report, 177 people have been convicted -- not just accused, but convicted -- of voting fraudulently in the Senate race. Another 66 are awaiting trial. "The numbers aren't greater," the authors say, "because the standard for convicting someone of voter fraud in Minnesota is that they must have been both ineligible, and 'knowingly' voted unlawfully." The accused can get off by claiming not to have known they did anything wrong.

Still, that's a total of 243 people either convicted of voter fraud or awaiting trial in an election that was decided by 312 votes. With 1,099 examples identified by Minnesota Majority, and with evidence suggesting that felons, when they do vote, strongly favor Democrats, it doesn't require a leap to suggest there might one day be proof that Al Franken was elected on the strength of voter fraud."

Anyone who claims there is no voter fraud in Minnesota is either ignorant of objective fact or is lying.

"Anyone who claims there is

"Anyone who claims there is no voter fraud in Minnesota is either ignorant of objective fact or is lying."

Actually, Neal, anyone who claims that Hans von Spakovsky can be trusted to understand basic statistics and to convey factual information on voter fraud is either ignorant of objective fact or is as big of a liar as is Mr. von Spakovsky:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/10/29/121029fa_fact_mayer

This New Yorker article exposes the numerous lies that Mr. von Spakovsky tells about voter fraud when interviewed and in his book.

For evidence of Mr. von Spakovsky's ignorance of basic statistics, see:

http://tinyurl.com/Hans-von

Please explain

I request you keep the discussion to the subject matter - existence of voter fraud that was discovered by Minnesota Majority. There *is* voter fraud. You, for ideological reasons, wish to ignore it.

Please don't post links to an article about Al Franken trying to rebut *anything*. He's a comedian. The New Yorker can do all the hit pieces it wants. I'll wait for Mr. von Spakovsky to respond to Mrs. Mayer's allegations about her assertion there is a "voter fraud myth".

Instead of throwing around ad hominem against one of the authors, let's get back to the question of objective fact - those cases of fraud of fraud identified by Minnesota Majority.

"With 1,099 examples identified by Minnesota Majority, and with evidence suggesting that felons, when they do vote, strongly favor Democrats, it doesn’t require a leap to suggest there might one day be proof that Al Franken was elected on the strength of voter fraud.

And that’s just the question of voting by felons. Minnesota Majority also found all sorts of other irregularities that cast further doubt on the Senate results."

From a review of the book on voter fraud by John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky. The law that proscribes voter fraud is Minnesota Statute 201.014 sub. 3: "Any individual who votes who knowingly is not eligible to vote is guilty of a felony."

"Minnesota Majority took the information to prosecutors across the state, many of whom showed no interest in pursuing it. But Minnesota law requires authorities to investigate such leads. And so far, Fund and von Spakovsky report, 177 people have been convicted -- not just accused, but convicted -- of voting fraudulently in the Senate race. Another 66 are awaiting trial. "The numbers aren't greater," the authors say, "because the standard for convicting someone of voter fraud in Minnesota is that they must have been both ineligible, and 'knowingly' voted unlawfully." The accused can get off by claiming not to have known they did anything wrong.

Still, that's a total of 243 people either convicted of voter fraud or awaiting trial in an election that was decided by 312 votes. With 1,099 examples identified by Minnesota Majority, and with evidence suggesting that felons, when they do vote, strongly favor Democrats, it doesn't require a leap to suggest there might one day be proof that Al Franken was elected on the strength of voter fraud."

Mr. Walker? Any further evidence on your part that electoral fraud doesn't exist or isn't a problem?

Al Franken is our Senator

And your continued insistence on ignoring that in favor of identifying him only as a comedian is quite disrespectful.

And speaking of ignoring things, why to you continue to insist upon ignoring the fact that the recently rejected "Voter ID" amendment would have done nothing to address the felon voting issue that you seem to be so terribly concerned about?

And that a measure that would have addressed that problem (access to the felon database by elections officials) was passed by the legislature but vetoed by Pawlenty?

Where's your concern over that?

Battalogia

Minnesota Majority "identified" 1,099 examples of voter fraud. That proves nothing: special interest groups often throw around wild claims. The National Unicorn Foundation can "identify" 1,099 unicorns frolicking on the streets, but it doesn't prove they exist. Prosecutors--who have to rely on real evidence--showed little interest in the matter, probably because wild accusations are not the same as evidence. Out of 1,099 examples, there were 177 convictions ("awaiting trial" is no help towards proving your point). That's an accuracy rate of around 16%. Now, the challenge for vote-suppression fans is to prove how many of those 177 votes would have been prevented by voter ID. Do you have "evidence suggesting' what that number would be?

It's a real leap to suggest that felons "strongly favor Democrats." Care to show the figures backing that claim up? Wishful thinking is not substantiation.

Please explain why you

Please explain why you continue to ignore the fact that the recently rejected "Voter ID" amendment would have done nothing to address the felon voting issue that you seem to be so terribly concerned about?
I would really like to know.

C'mon...Really???

YOU are gonna insist other people provide evidence? I'm still waiting for yours!

This proves my point.

That regardless of information presented, evidence cited, the progressive left will refuse to acknowledge objective fact. This is the same problem that exists in the DFL and this is why I resigned.

Replying to the usual suspects on Minnpost serves only to remind myself and other readers of the absolutely useless exercise of attempting to have a legitimate debate with religious fundamentalists, whether they are takfiris, progleftists and no matter the venue.

The prosecution rests, your Honor.

Your point?

You cited "evidence" that is not credible, and "facts" that have no relation to your argument. Yourself has not presented any "objective facts," so you have proven nothing.

It wouldn't matter

what evidence I provide. I've had "discussions" in the past on e-Democracy like here at Minnpost. I could cite all the objective fact to no avail. It wouldn't matter.

I reiterate to the Court:

That regardless of information presented, evidence cited, the progressive left will refuse to acknowledge objective fact. This is the same problem that exists in the DFL and this is why I resigned.

Replying to the usual suspects on Minnpost serves only to remind myself and other readers of the absolutely useless exercise of attempting to have a legitimate debate with religious fundamentalists, whether they are takfiris, progleftists and no matter the venue.

Counsel thanks the Court in view of the rhetorical objection by one RB Holbrook. The prosecution rests, your Honor.

Just more

GIGO

you know i have

Yes contact has been made with the strib about their choice of columnists. I cannot believe they printed this garbage. But then again neither did they rerun any of nate silver's work.
I suppose LK Hanson can comment of their choice of editorial cartoonists lately as well. This ain't the paper I knew as a kid. They are slowly entering the echo chamber. Gone are the days when Eric black could do a wonderful multiple series on the constitution as you had old ink stained wretch or the eye opening g series on Russia I miss a good paper.

Agree

Ditto* to Logan Foreman's comment about Peter Smith's opinion piece in Sunday's Strib about veterans in America. It is a joy to read anything written by someone who knows how to write.

*non-copyrighted term

Who's lying?

MN Majorities numbers were all discredited. They produced a number of bogus numbers regarding everything from returned postal verification cards to cost estimates. The so-called felon list was one of them. The only verifiable number that Dan McGrath ever produced was the number of conviction since 2008. That number if you'll recall was "around" 200... out of nearly 6 million votes cast in two elections, and that number merely duplicated other studies. No one said that there is "no" fraud problem (although it is a fact that there have been zero voter impersonation cases). Several independent studies and observers (as well as opposition) simply pointed out the fact that it is a very small problem, and that photo ID would have done absolutely nothing to prevent it.

The idea that all these alleged felons supposedly vote for Democrats is also based on a myth. We vote by secret ballot so we really have no idea how any individual votes. No one ever surveyed these "felons". What we have are anecdotes; one felon left a message for his parole officer that he was off to vote for Norm Coleman.

Of course all of this is moot now. Like I said, the debate is over. I do find the "true believer" phenomena to be kind of interesting however. I hope these folks realize that you can divorce yourself from reality if you want to, but the price of willful ignorance is often irrelevance.

And your source is...

what?

Mr. Ustrand wrote:

"MN Majorities numbers were all discredited."

You need to provide your citations and evidence for your counter argument to be valid. It is not reasonable to state there is no electoral fraud or that it is not a problem. It defies common sense and more importantly - objective truth.

"Of course all of this is moot now. Like I said, the debate is over."

As long as there are elections, Mr. Udstrand, the debate over how to stop electoral fraud will continue.

Finally:

"I do find the "true believer" phenomena to be kind of interesting however. I hope these folks realize that you can divorce yourself from reality if you want to, but the price of willful ignorance is often irrelevance."

Projection.

County attorneys

County attorneys would be the people to prosecute voter fraud. It would be political gold to come up with hundreds of cases to prosecute, but no there aren't many cases to prosecute. The large majority of county attorneys were opposed to a Photo ID amendment and disputed the numbers put forward by Minnesota Majority.

To change this state's entire election system because of a few confused felons wasn't deemed practical by county attorneys or county election officials. To put this piece of folly in the state Constitution exacerbates a bad idea. The state did the right thing and saved our legislature from itself.

Kersten and Lewis are toxic

I believe in free speech but none of the arguments for printing the tripe that Lewis and Kersten produce are convincing. Week after week these two just produce one toxic column after another in attempts to sow division, fear, and disinformation. To the extent that they succeed they damage our community and our political and social discourse. Is there no difference between a columnist and a propagandist?

I don't expect to agree with every commentary that gets published, but this absurdly low bar that conservatives have set for themselves actually promotes intellectual dishonesty. No claim is too bogus or inflammatory. Why can't columnists be subjected to some minimum standards of factual accuracy? I see no constructive contribution here, just toxins.

The Strib is a business

Katherine Kersten and Jason Lewis appear on the Strib editorial pages because they drive up readership. The readership is not the people who would agree with them. Jason Lewis's fan base listens to him on the radio (not so many big words). No one takes Katherine Kersten seriously, except that little boy and stuffed tiger over at the PowerLine tree-house. The only people who read their pseudo-intellectual wind are liberals looking for some outrage.

The Strib doesn't care why people read. Just pay your admission and come on in.

Holbrook has a point

Every time you click on that tripe you send a message. The Strib doesn't care whether you agree or disagree, they only care that you read, readership drives sales. Corporate media like the Strib is basically a sociopathic entity, they don't care who's reading or why, only that they read. They don't have to serve a constructive purpose in society, they just have to make money for investors, many of whom never even see the Strib.

Star Tribune conservative columnists

What I would like to see is the Star Tribune find conservative columnists with original ideas. The current ones are just mouthpieces for the radical right wing of the Republican party.

As example would be a conservative who has some idea how federal and state government can realistically pay for all needed services. At the state level, borrowing billions from school districts to make the budget balance just isn't viable. Nationally, the fiscal cliff looms.

Whether they like it or, the two ill conceived amendments are dead, and in part because of mismanagement and bad strategy of the Minnesota Republican Party, which won the last Legislative election based promises of job creation - with the only jobs potentially created by the amendments being extra election judges to count all the provisional ballots that would have been generated from their new way of doing things.

Today, Romney is talking about how Obama bought the election through gifts to special interests - youth, women, minorities and union members. Well, if you want to do the math, that as a majority of the population as opposed to the top 2% of the population that benefits the most from Republican ideas. In fact, the one special interest that has consistently got its way on everything it wants is the rich.

The reality is that if one is purely partisan, one should rejoice about those two columnists - because the extreme right wants to hear what it wants to hear, and the ideas of the left are not significantly challenged by anyone so consistently biased and fact-challenged. However, if our country is going to get better, the conservatives need to find people who can articulate ideas that resonate with the groups Republicans are know calling "bought off."

Jason Lewis: In General, No Longer Credible

What amazes me about any discussion involving Jason Lewis is that people can take him seriously any more. Mr. Lewis has such an odd view of the world, defying as his view does almost any evidence when presented with such. Normally, I much prefer to engage in some kind of give and take about issues and politicians, and so forth. But time and time again, and the voter ID issue is a prime example, Mr. Lewis simply shifts gears and goes off in another direction, that is to say, any direction that favors his argument.

Mr. Lewis is not opposed to big money such as that of the Koch brothers for the political arena. So his argument involving money in politics is automatically disqualified, and not worthy of much more than the length of this comment. I can see, however, that MinnPost wants more length to the discussion, as that would benefit those who may not be familiar with Mr. Lewis or with arguments similar to his. Frankly, that the Star Tribune considers Mr. Lewis worthy of a column just about gives its own definition of what a major regional newspaper can sink to: quite low. 'Nuff said.

proof read man

"But if you most go there, at least acknowledge the basic facts and their most obvious inferences. "

should be
"But if you must go there, at least acknowledge the basic facts and their most obvious inferences. "

Two can play at that game

Your title is missing a comma and capitalization and should more properly read:

"Proof read, man".

But do you really consider the corrections of another poster's occasional typos a worthwhile use of these comment threads?

YES!!

Yes I do fell it is worthwhile, my actions clearly display that. The Minn Post says it has quality journalism, well in my book, proof reading and spell checking should be included.

Three can play at this game...

Guided by the Golden Rule, I feel compelled point out that "proofread" is the standard spelling of the term. As a grammar-lover, though, I must gently disagree with your implied statement, Mr. Berg--the pursuit of better grammar is (almost) always a noble quest!

Jason Lewis and Katherine Kersten

I find it quite amusing that Jason Lewis, Katherine Kersten and those who read, listen and for the most part agree with their commentaries be

Questions for Mr. Black

1. Does Mr. Lewis have his facts right regarding the amounts of money donated to defeat the amendment?
2. Is Lewis outraged about the efforts of the Koch brothers, and if not, does it follow that he should never be outraged about big money influence?
3. Is ALEC is a rarity, or are there also liberally-funded law modeling organizations in Washington?
4. Did ALEC donate money to the MN voter ID law?
5. Has Mr. Lewis admitted that voter ID laws would suppress voter turnout? Does he support lower turnout?
6. Do you have any historical statistics on the issue of voter fraud in MN? I’m not sure where I stand on the issue, but I know that I could have voted twice this year. I am still registered at one precinct where I voted in 2008, but I moved to a new precinct this fall and registered there same-day. What would have prevented me from voting at both locations?

I think columnists and readers must address these topics if they're fairly discussing intellectual honesty.