Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.

Community Voices features opinion pieces from a wide variety of authors and perspectives. (Submission Guidelines)

Pieces on Ron Paul, Mike Hatch elicit comments

Ron Paul’s snubbing by the GOP, Mike Hatch’s era in the Minnesota attorney general’s office, persistent racism and Arne Carlson’s take on this year’s legislative session were among the issues prompting MinnPost readers’ recent comments… 

Ron Paul’s snubbing by the GOP, Mike Hatch’s era in the Minnesota attorney general’s office, persistent racism and Arne Carlson’s take on this year’s legislative session were among the issues prompting MinnPost readers’ recent comments.

* * * *

Several readers had lengthy reactions to Craig Westover’s Tuesday post, “Ron Paul plans to take his message outside GOP state convention Friday,” including these excerpts:

From Matt Ehling:

These actions on the part of the Republican Party reveal an institution on the brink of ideological crisis. In rejecting the infusion of energy and ideas that Paul’s supporters are attempting to bring to the party, the GOP seems to be tacitly acknowledging that its contemporary doctrines are not strong enough to drive the party’s political machinery on their own merits anymore. Rather, GOP elders seem to be indicating that the party machinery must be insulated against ideological reform — even if that reform comes up through the party itself.

It remains to be seen what the GOP will ultimately decide to do. The Paul voters could be absorbed into the party structure for the long-term if they can be assured that they’ll have a voice in reformulating the direction of the GOP. If not, they may schism off to the Libertarian party, in numbers that could make or break John McCain’s candidacy. …

Jeff Urbanek‘s reaction:

It still blows me away (and scares me) that Ron Paul garners so much support. This is a man whose newsletter included several racist and inflammatory comments. Look on David Duke’s website — see what he endorses and what he believes in. And then notice that he endorses Ron Paul as the best candidate to come along since himself. …

Bernice Vetsch added:

Yes, Ron Paul has crazy ideas, especially about economics, but no crazier than John McCain’s view that we need to stop “crippling” business with government regulation. This no doubt comes from his economic advisor Phil Gramm, who as a senator in 2000 slipped some provisions into a huge budget bill that forbade the government from regulating the financial services industry. The intended result was to allow the companies to be more “creative.” The actual result was the housing meltdown that is harming both lenders and buyers here and around the world. Perhaps they got too creative without proper oversight. …

Brian Kirscht had a different view:

It’s astonishing how some people have no idea what Ron Paul is all about. Perhaps they should read his website and his book.

Crazy economic ideas? He’s the only one in all of Washington D.C. that truly understands free market economics! Government regulation in any part of the economy is a horrible idea. … The Federal Reserve is ruining the dollar and inflation is making every single one of you poorer. … It’s time for the GOP old guard to step down and let the real, true conservatives take over and put the party back on the right path. Right now the GOP is nothing better than a bunch of Democrat liberals that want to spend us into bankruptcy. …

And from Jonathan Kovaciny:

… The racist smears have been discredited long ago, and Ron Paul has won several congressional elections since those allegations surfaced. I am not saying that the newsletter content was excusable. I am saying that it is campaign mud that you only hear about because his opponents know it costs him votes regardless of its veracity. The fact that these allegations “surfaced” on the eve of the New Hampshire primary should give you some clue that these are politically motivated attacks.

Ron Paul is arguably the least racist person in the federal government because he does not vote for bills that grant special privileges to groups of people (“blacks”, “minorities”, etc.) but rather fights for the rights of the individual as outlined by the Bill of Rights. The rest of our government makes race a very big issue, asking about it in census data, offering grants to minority-focused groups, etc.

… Ron Paul did not arrive at his economic stances lightly. Rather, he has spent literally decades studying free market economics with the likes of Hayek and Mises. Paul has written multiple books on economics, detailing why he believes what he believes. I don’t think you’ll find any other presidential candidates to have given even close to that much thought to economic policies.

* * * *

Joe Fleischman commented on David Brauer’s May 22 post, “Strib finalizes new features section lineup”:

What? No daily section devoted to “American Idol?” Never mind, that’s what the front page is for.

* * * *

Patrick Donnelly appreciated Jim Walsh’s May 23 post, “When Ashleigh emotes and Eller takes your breath away, how can you care what rankings say?”:

God, Jim, you haven’t missed a beat. Great to be reading your passionate writing again. I always said you were the best at putting music into the context of life, rather than just parsing the beats and lyrics and images of the pop stars of the day.

I read that same [USA Weekend magazine] article last weekend, suckered by the headline just like you. Funny, they didn’t mention Vegas either. Can’t Manilow and Cher get a little love once in a while? OK, our omission was well deserved, but I was equally stunned that MSP didn’t make the cut. But like you said, those who matter already know what that scene is all about. …

* * * *

Tim Davis
had a suggestion inspired by Pat Borzi’s May 19 post, “Food for thought: Twins vendor weighing what to serve in new stadium”:

How about White Castles? While perhaps not uniquely Minnesotan, these little burgers (buy ’em by the sack) would work well at the new ballpark — just the smell of all those steamed onions …

* * * *

Thomas Olson was among the commenters on Eric Black’s Wednesday story, “An explanation for recent agonies in attorney general’s office: Mike Hatch’s traumatic reign”:

In 2002 or 2003, Hatch was invited to speak to a conference of the Minnesota Planned Gifts Council. The AG’s office has significant oversight responsibilities for charitable trusts and wills as well as for solicitation practices and other matters. I recall that our audience of perhaps 250 or more were eager to hear from Mike on many current issues. When Mike got up to speak he introduced his Assistant AG in charge of charitable matters — a 30-second dismissive intro — and then launched into a diatribe about the health insurance business. It was all about Mike and all about politics. Most of us shook our heads and wondered why we’d invited him, and I venture to say he made no friends that day. To me, as a complete outsider to the AG’s office, all that is now being revealed rings true. Thanks for your great reporting.

From Barbara Miller:

There are many reasons why I supported Steve Kelley for governor when I was a delegate to the 2006 DFL convention. Part of my decision was instinct that said Mike Hatch was the wrong person for the job. I took a boatload of flack from a few staunch Hatch supporters for my unwavering support of Kelley.

Every word I read in your post, Eric, confirms my worst fears about the volatile former AG and his apparent reign of terror in the AG office, then and now.

“… the state cannot have a jamboree of chickadees chirping different legal policy from every branch of government. …” Thus speaketh Hatch about the employees he apparently brow-beat into submission (or into fleeing). Frankly, I would prefer a jamboree of chickadees any day to one savage hawk.

Eric Schubert

This “command and control” style is so yesterday. When you have this many people raising concerns, there’s most likely a problem. It should have been a huge red flag for Minnesota when Mike Hatch served in the new AG’s office. That’s just downright weird and dysfunctional. If they so desire to work together, they should share an office in their own firm.

* * * *

Eric Ferguson
commented on the separate statement issued by Mike Hatch, published in MinnPost on Wednesday:

I’m disappointed that a staunch DFLer like Hatch (and I hope that description fits Swanson) is so hostile to the union organizing effort. Assuming they’re right that it’s illegal for the union to organize, they could and should advocate for changing the law. If staff act anonymously, that indicates they think they need union protection. What having a union has to do with having the state speak with one legal voice goes past me. I’d still prefer Hatch over Pawlenty, but I’m less likely to support him in an intraparty contest. I also thought his attitude towards blogs rather haughty. If a blogger seeks to get first hand information, doesn’t that counter the impression of bloggers Hatch is holding?

* * * *

Deborah Morse-Kahn commented on Tuesday’s Community Voices essay, “Iron, cold iron: on bridge collapses and 9/11,” by business writer Clayton Bennett:

Chilling. Marvelously written and to the point. The more I learn of the history of the bridge’s inspection – of all of our infrastructure – the more disheartened and shocked I feel. Almost daily the “new” news of the old story comes to light. I know Mr. Bennett’s writing well, but as a writer of books: if this is how he begins on commentary, I hope to see more of his work.

Tom Johnson

The iron ring could be a solemn reminder of the consequences of irresponsibility or simple error. But as I read to the end of Kipling’s poem “Cold Iron,” I have to ask, in these circumstances, how does the iron in three nails, 2,000 years ago, triumph over modern politics? Have we transformed the simple truth of propitiatory sacrifice to mere political posturing? Does any of us have any concept of shame?

* * * *

Ron Gotzman weighed in on Steve Berg’s May 23 MinnPost.World essay, “The blame game: Why the big numbers at the gas pump?”:

The dirty little secret — the “greens” love high energy prices.

An excerpt from Mike Harrison‘s comment:

We have been convinced that we should be ashamed of how we live. … We have created epic worldwide disasters, which nobody has proved to exist, but we believe them as we believe in the theory of evolution, even though it is still just a theory. It is our shame or pride that has put us in this position and regardless, both are worthless. Name a nation in Europe that is not exploring for crude and natural gas. China is drilling 200 miles off the coast of Florida but we are not. Canada is increasing its production, as well as Mexico, but we should be ashamed and embarrassed to do so.

We do have a choice that was not considered in this article and that is increased domestic production. … Realistically we know biofuel will not work; it gives us the choice between our fuel tanks or our stomachs. … We have reserves in this country, both tapped and untapped … The oil is still there and we can get it, so why don’t we? …

* * * *

Jeff Urbanek
had this to say about Delma Francis’ May 23 post, “Just when I thought nothing could faze me … “:

I would like to think racism is something that is mostly a conditioned response and that with repeated interactions we can work it out of our systems. But a couple experiences yesterday left me a little shaken.

Yesterday an article in the Star Tribune addressed the possibility that Obama was picking a running mate. One of the comments in the article stated that the only thing Obama would be doing in the White house would be folding the sheets and sweeping the floors. … I posted a response saying that was hateful, wrong and evil and that racism, sexism and hatred can not be tolerated. Nine people out of 33 disagreed with me. Not one other person out of the 51 people who commented on the article bothered to make their voice heard.

I am encouraged that Obama is garnering support and may very well be our president. But I am disappointed, sad and a little scared to see the amount of racism that still persists.

* * * *

Bill Siegel had a pithy comment on Robert Whereatt’s Wednesday post, “Arne Carlson’s view of last session: no big deal”:

Can we PLEASE get Arne to run as Gov again?