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If a Horner vote is not a wasted one, then what is it?

Michael Osterholm, who has one of the longest titles attached to his name I have ever seen (Ph.D., MPH, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy), says he has never ventured into the realm of partisan politics before, but for the sake of his “children and grandchildren” he comes forward to endorse Independence Party candidate Tom Horner for governor.

Osterholm outlined his thinking in MinnPost’s Community Voices with the title: “A vote for Horner is not a wasted vote.”

To which I would have to ask: If it is not a wasted vote, then what is it?

Is a Horner vote a vote for populism? Like voting for Jesse Ventura?

Hardly. Horner is the virtual opposite of Ventura. A public-relations guy by trade, Horner will never be compared to any no-holds-barred persona who can take an election by storm. Horner carefully chooses every word. His statements have a precision that steers clear of the spontaneous or the inflammatory. He won’t appeal to the restless populace because he would never be able to relate to them in their day-to-day life — only in how to sell things to them.

Is Horner a vote for a truly independent voice?

Again, hardly. Horner has made his living catering to corporate interests. He wants things from them; they want things from him. His thought processes are those of a lobbyist. The firm he co-founded, Himle Horner, helped Flatiron get the I-35W bridge contract. Horner carries the Independence Party banner, but the name of the party is the only thing that can remotely describe Horner as any kind of independent champion.

Is Horner the anti-government candidate?

Oh, brother. Horner may not have served in public office, but his tentacles have wound around every aspect of government. His partner was a former legislator and he spent several years as a spokesperson spinning tales for the Republican Party. He was ever present in his connections to Gov. Tim Pawlenty in the early days of the T-Paw tenure — and it was only when the conservative wing of the party began to shut out people like Horner that he decided to take an outsider approach to getting “in.”

Is Horner that true centrist, middle-of-the-road guy?

The middle of the road has intermittent painted yellow lines. You don’t drive over them; you stay on one side or the other. I don’t think Horner has any intention of playing the middle in any kind of reality. His budget policies protect whom? Corporations and the wealthy. When the nurses went on strike, whom did he side with? The hospitals. When talking about a football stadium, whom does he champion? The billionaire owner of the Vikings. When he talks about protecting education, what helps to balance his budget? The $1.4 billion shift away from education. When he talks about tax policy, where does he start? A corporate tax cut and taking wealthy income taxes off the table. He gets his revenue from a regressive clothing tax.

So what is Horner?

Well, you get a pretty good clue by his big announcement regarding former GOP legislators endorsing him over Tom Emmer. He has visions of resurrecting the Arne Carlson coalition — moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats joining forces to eke out yet another 35 percent plurality.

And what’s worse, Horner would be a governor who won with barely a third of the vote and absolutely no legislative allies. Horner is not building any Independence Party machinery … have you seen him looking to campaign for any Independence Party candidates? Seen any grass-roots organization? Anybody pounding the pavement?

No, Horner seems to be just another IP candidate looking to boost his own ego — to use the IP platform as a way to get media access, to get a ticket to the debates, to “sell” his way to the governor’s mansion. After all, that is what a PR guy does. He tells us what we want to hear and makes us think that we just have to buy it.

Are we buying it?

Dave Mindeman, of Apple Valley, is the main blogger for mnpACT!, a nonprofit dedicated to progressive issues and ideas.

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/14/2010 - 08:30 am.

    Horner: Just another pretty face on corporate greed and public impoverishment.

    Considering the budget hole King Timmy has left us with, Horner’s budget approach will be lying crumpled in a heap, dead before the bell even rings at the starting gate: several days late and billions of dollars short of turning back the tide of destruction and beginning to rebuild our state into one which works for the vast majority of its citizens and attracts the kind of high tech, highly-profitable businesses that produce well-paying jobs with decent benefits.

    That’s the better business climate that we want. That’s the better business climate that King Timmy has worked so hard to dismantle in the name of chasing the kinds of jobs that are already long gone off shore.

  2. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 10/14/2010 - 08:52 am.

    Q: Is a Horner vote a wasted vote?
    A: No, it is a vote for Dayton.

  3. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 10/14/2010 - 10:20 am.

    What really captures my attention is someone who can at least try to govern from somewhere near the middle. Us versus them has been over worked for too long now. The party who can capture the middle (center right or just plain center) will dominate the arena. With deficits as large as they are, it is pure hogwash to say that you can just cut your way out of it. The party that can be honest about the solutions and the pain that we will have to go through to achieve our goals is tops with me. There is no free ride.

  4. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/14/2010 - 01:18 pm.

    “Michael Osterholm, who has one of the longest titles attached to his name I have ever seen (Ph.D., MPH, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy)..”

    Yeah, I guess a guy doesn’t run into that sort of thing too often down at the union hall.

    I’m sure Dave would find it utterly implausable that not only do people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of their lives earning those titles, but in some circles they are recognised as quite valuable.

    Silly, I know.

  5. Submitted by Brian Simon on 10/14/2010 - 02:13 pm.

    A Horner vote in 2010 is no more wasted than a Hatch vote in 2006. Or a Moe vite in 2002. Or a Humphrey vote in 1998. I could keep going, if you’re up for more.

  6. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 10/14/2010 - 03:59 pm.

    A Horner vote is a wasted vote, if for no other reason, because Horner isn’t going to win. Horner was polling in the mid-teens several months ago, and the argument by his supporters was that he was in a good position then and that his support would build as the election got closer. We are now less than three weeks away and Horner is still polling in the mid-teens and running a distant third.

    That isn’t going to change. We’ve had a ton of debates and Horner has had a ton of (mostly positive) media coverage. People know him as well as they are going to get to know him and they just aren’t interested. As I like to point out, Horner isn’t a charasmatic actor and former professional wrestler. He’s a bland moderate Republican. If you want to have any impact in deciding who ultimately becomes governor, then a vote for Horner is a wasted vote.

  7. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 10/14/2010 - 04:23 pm.

    The “either/or” thinking that worked in the past is no longer effective. The ability to think in terms of “both/and” will be valuable to discerning in the future what is occurring around us.

    “The test of a first-rate intelligence,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald in words that could not ring truer today “is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

    Many of us fail the first part. We cannot hold two opposing ideas. This is an ability we will have to quickly acquire if we are to make sense of an increasingly complex and confusing world.

  8. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 10/14/2010 - 05:56 pm.

    The best argument for a third party might be so voters can pulp Democrats without letting the Republicans out of the box prematurely.

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