RNC Glean: Sneering at community organizers

Local dailies agree “feisty” Sarah Palin hit a home run, at least with the GOP faithful in Xcel. The Strib’s Kevin Diaz and Pat Lopez term the reaction “exuberant.” Delivering vice-presidential red meat with a smile and a sneer even Tim Pawlenty couldn’t pull off, Palin earns this quote from an Isanti delegate: “Obama probably has sweat on his brow tonight.” The Fox9 home page declares “A Star is Born.” Meanwhile, a Minneapolis-woman-on-the-street calls Palin “catty.” Sexist!

Wednesday night speakers repeatedly denigrated Obama’s days community organizing in Chicago. Palin, referencing her time leading 9,000-person Wasilla, Alaska, fired this killshot: “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer — except that you have actual responsibilities.” Of course, she was mayor in 2002 and he last community organized in the late-’80s, before going to law school. No local news org notes this. The Deets’ Ed Kohler offers a rather pithy distillation of Palin’s message.

Strib editorialists say Palin “passed the introductory test,” but point out she hasn’t yet faced the press. A PiPress editorial calls Palin’s speech electrifying, by says when considering her, “We should remove the ‘vice’ … [because] the chief duty of the office is the one that no one wants the VP to assume.” But despite the need for a “full-court vetting,” now that we know about the teen pregnancy, the PiPressers state, “We can pull the veil of privacy over the daughter and her husband-to-be.”

Why Palin and not Pawlenty?, the PiPress’s Rachel Stassen-Berger and Bill Salisbury ask. One intriguing response from top state right-to-lifer Scott Fischbach says “Folks can wrap their arms around Sarah much more than they could around Tim,” because of Palin’s Down Syndrome baby and teen-pregnancy response. All those years cultivating a flawless image, and Pawlenty is undone by imperfection? It’s also a great illustration that Palin’s family is a terrific political prop, though GOPers term it offlimits for criticism.

Policy points: The Strib highlights Palin’s promise to drill offshore and “lay more pipelines … build more nuclear plants … create jobs with clean coal … and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources.” U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman calls it a “kitchen-sink approach,” the Strib’s Jon Tevlin writes. Tevlin notes McCain has “struggled” to connect the dots on broader economic proposals, and quotes local economist C. Ford Runge saying the Arizona senator has “an extremely limited grasp of economics in general.”

MPR’s Tom Scheck says the homemade-looking “hockey mom” signs were fake; they were made by the McCain campaign.

In his convention speech, Norm Coleman punched the European-resentment hot-button, noting McCain “would rather spend his time creating 200,000 new jobs in America than speaking to 200,000 Germans in Berlin.” The Strib’s Mark Brunswick says Coleman called Obama’s energy plan “way too little, way too cautious, way too late” and said he “doesn’t want the folks who run the IRS to run my health care.” Norm also proposed abolishing Medicare and the VA. Just kidding about that last one.

More Norm: MPR’s Molly Bloom notes Coleman’s disapproval rating has hit 51 percent; it’s the highest in SurveyUSA’s three-year-old tracking. On the flip, 44 percent of Minnesotans still think Norm is fine.

You sure you want to go there? Ex-St. Cloud Times reporter Bill McAllister, now Sarah Palin’s press secretary, likens his new boss to Paul Wellstone, the Strib’s Rochelle Olson and Mike Kaszuba write. Before you finish that coffee spit-take, McAllister notes the ideological differences, but says “You could have a conversation with Wellstone about anything. It’s the same thing with Sarah Palin.”

The arresting moved to downtown Minneapolis last night, as 102 people were pinched after a Rage Against the Machine concert, PiPress staffers write. A street-clogging crowd of 200 eventually dwindled to 75. No reports on property damage, and Minneapolis’s police chief says he expected worse. (Be careful what you wish for.) Fox9 video here. Minnesota Independent’s Andy Birkey has more coverage. MPR’s Sharon McNary checks the cognitive dissonance between the Rage show and Palin’s speech.

With demonstrations waning, both dailies take a step back and ask whether policing was too aggressive. The Strib’s Randy Furst and Anthony Lonetree note 38 percent of felony arrests have been dismissed outright; another 22 percent were referred for downgrading, adds Minnesota Independent’s Paul Demko. Five St. Paul councilmembers plead for more time to assess overreach, though they regret some peaceful demonstrators were caught amid criminal actors. The ACLU may file a civil rights lawsuit.

The PiPress’s Dave Orrick and John Brewer compile a great look-back at police and anarchist strategies in St. Paul’s streets. It’s full of fascinating detail: Anachists didn’t fling urine, but instead used ball-peen hammers to bust windows; they used a 50/50 mix of water and liquid antacid to wash eyes and skin. Officers waited to make arrests until they had numbers over protesters. A sidebar notes that anarchists took lots of photos of officers to ferret out possible infiltrators.

The PiPress’s Emily Gurnon details the cases against eight people charged with felony conspiracy. Seven are in custody on $75,000 bail except one Minneapolis woman who was released (accidentally?) and is now being sought. There’s talk of literature, color-coded maps, PVC pipe and six police scanners, but does that add up to a crime or is something more required? That something more may be confidential informant testimony.

More arrest details: MPR’s Bob Collins provides a PDF of the 18-page search warrant police used. Via Collins, MPR offers a fabulous map of where arrestees are from, nationally and even internationally. MPR’s Jessica Mador talks to families of the arrestees.

RNC Welcoming Committee members will reveal themselves today, KSTP says in a piece looking at police infiltration. A second report looks at released arrestees.

GOP arrestee: The Strib’s Nick Coleman writes about a 22-year-old “faithful Republican” and former state Senate staffer arrested for watching protests. Sam Welna, who was swept up Monday, says police gave contradictory orders; he was still in jail as of Wednesday evening. His parents are “appalled at the actions that have resulted in our son’s loss of freedom for three days.”

No arrests at the Parkway Theater, where the New York Times’ David Carr blogs about MinnPost writer Jim Walsh’s alt-all-star Parkway Theater Hootenany. The event featured Billy Bragg, Ike Reilly and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello. Carr says Bragg performed what might be the only version of “Street Fighting Man” with a violin solo. “The evening was a mix of pratfalls, laughs, protest, and yes, abundant Jameson,” Carr writes.

The Strib’s Tom Horgen follows gay Republican delegates and friends to local clubs. One says he asks gay liberals, “What have the Democrats done for you?” Seriously, he asks that.

PiPress reporter Jason Hoppin follows a nonprofit corruption exposer as she crashed a swank GOP party using a pass found the night before. The Sunlight Foundation has made a big deal out of connecting “private, secretive” events to public actions. Nancy Watzman made it past four checkpoints at a Holman Field hangar, and found “a popcorn machine, a mini-doughnut trailer that could have come straight from the State Fair, and top-shelf booze.” It’s a fun yarn but pretty thin soup. Watzman has been turned away from several events.

Civic Fest is a huge bust. The Strib’s Bill McAuliffe says many democracy-paraphernalia vendors have left town. Sellers say they were promised attendance of 1.5 million; organizers say they only claimed 150,000; just 50,000 have shown up. The Business Journal’s John Vomhof, Jr. notes that vendors paid $2,500 each, but McAuliffe reports many grossed less than that. The $15 admission was cut to donations-only earlier this week. The non-event mercifully ends at 5 p.m. today.

The Strib’s Pam Louwagie follows up on Bob Collins’ MPR report of a few days ago: No one is showing up to see speakers at St. Paul’s Open Forum Stage near Xcel Energy Center. A nice Jim Gehrz photo that makes the point definitively. MPR’s Tim Post has a similar report.

Hometown pride: The PiPress’s Joe Soucheray writes, “It has become terribly evident that you are safer in St. Paul with the occasional anarchist than you are in Minneapolis not knowing from whence the next gunshot might be fired.”

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Albert Maruggi on 09/04/2008 - 11:04 am.

    Here’s the interesting dilemma in American politics and communications. The most active in both parties, those attending conventions, are toward the end of their respective, liberal and conservative spectrums.

    Combine that with orchestrated brand building vehicles called conventions and you have a communications tightrope to walk.

    Playing to a crowd of passionate advocates in hopes of thunderous applause lines that plays well inside the hall, while appealing to an undecided voter watching is a difficult task. Worse yet, what may seem like a great line inside the hall that the speaker feeds off of, may result in an unintended perception. An example may be the famous Ann Richards Silver Foot speech in 1988, and perhaps Giuliani’s community organizer reference last night my fall into the same category.

    These sarcastic albeit funny, one liners make for good theater, and even ratings, holds the potential to disenfranchise some to the political process and sour their opinion of all candidates. Yet we are all part of this dilemma because we move toward it like a moth to a flame.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/04/2008 - 11:25 am.

    “Sneering at community organizers”…yes, indeed.

    Why, one could almost visualize an outraged Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton spewing Crystal down the front of their Armani suits, onto their Enrico Monti shoes and all over the Gabeh rugs.

    Poor babies.

  3. Submitted by Glenn Czulada on 09/04/2008 - 11:44 am.

    you have two choices, either Trig is not Sarah’s and her 5th child being hers is a HOAX or she is the Worst Mother in America, travling 16 hours, at least, roundtrip to go to a conference with 6! other Governors in Texas, while she was 8.5 months pregnant. Then traveled home 8 hours LEAKY? 30,000 ft in the air, and didn’t tell any stewardess’s? Read these simple new articles that have nothing to do with smear, written March/April. We’ll all find out, you might as well sooner rather than later.

    Two weeks before she announces Preg, at 7 months, she is ready to hike Glacier on cable TV show. Worst Mother in America

    Everyone is shocked she is pregnant!! at 7 months, no one suspected the “Governor” was.

    Secret is out. Notice her non-preggie face and how she is sitting down the entire time, covering herself with paperworks. Doesn’t seem to be a very joyous occasion to me.

    Worst Mother in America!

    She did attend the governors conference on April 17th-18th. 8.5 Months Pregnant with Downs Child

    leaky 8.5 mo preg Worst Mother flies 16 hrs roundtrip plus travel, to meet with 6 other governors.

  4. Submitted by Ted Snyder on 09/04/2008 - 12:47 pm.

    Community organizing is about teaching people how to operate effectively in the public arena and to build power for policy change. It is non-partisan. Many churches support community organizing. Good community organizing starts with building trust relationships with neighborhood leaders — something many pols would find challenging. It is hard work with long hours and requiring much patience. Dissing Barak Obama’s community organizing experience was a cheap, ignorant shot by two people whose poltical careers have mostly been about themselves. The willingness to help people excluded from the policy decision making that affects their lives to plahy an active citizenship role should be applauded rather that misreprensented and scorned.

  5. Submitted by Tom Poe on 09/04/2008 - 01:00 pm.

    Now that the country understands Minneapolis/St. Paul residents truly embrace the police state, and understand that many need to be abused in order to minimize some windows being broken, it’s time to get back to important matters. The stadium, or bridges? Oh, sorry. We’re not supposed to bring up the idiocy of the residents of Minneapolis/St. Paul folks.

  6. Submitted by CA Wren on 09/23/2008 - 09:09 am.


    Given McCains age and health history she could in deed become president.

    I am terrified at the prospect of this less than open, inexperienced, undereducated woman might be representing the United States.


    For a short time she was a sports reporter
    4 years on a small town city council
    6 years as the mayor of a small town with less than 7,000 people
    2.5 Years as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people.
    On the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission

    Palins lack of curiosity about the world and international affairs.
    Ms. Palin first applied for a passport last year.


    After changing colleges 5 times she did graduate with a Journalism degree

    Less than truthful? “Thanks but no thanks”

    Regarding the bridge to nowhere. In 2006, Palin ran for governor on a “build-the-bridge” in her platform. She urged quick work on Alaska’s infrastructure projects “while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist.” (Ted Stevens) After the bridge received sharp criticism from John McCain and other congressional members she backed down.
    Sarah Palin’s transportation department has JUST completed a $25 million gravel road leading to the site of a (The Bridge To Nowhere) bridge that Palin, now boasts that she stopped, so as to save taxpayers money. The road was built with federal tax dollars. A ROAD TO NOWHERE

    Troopergate. A Democratic Witch Hunt?

    Alaskan Senate President Lyda Green, a Republican is critical of Palin’s recent behavior. The Alaska Legislature has yet to decide whether to impose fines or pursue contempt charges that could lead to Todd Palin’s arrest.

    The council, which approved the troopergate inquiry, is made up of eight Republicans and four Democrats. The inquiry was initiated, (Before her nomination)and continues, only because Alaska Republicans many of whom have worked with and supported Palin in the past agree with Alaskan Democrats that the question of whether Palin abused her authority must be addressed.
    The Trooper-Gate investigation and the link of Sarah Palin to the Right Wing Religious organization Focus On The Family. Liberty Legal Institute is the legal arm of the Free Market Foundation, a conservative activist group associated with James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. They are now involved in the investigation. (A Sign Of Things To Come?)

    Book Banning Question

    In Oct 1996 Palin inquired as to whether Emmons (Wasilla town Librarian) would object to library censorship. Emmons resisted. Palin then raised the possibility that people may circle the library in protest, to which Emmons replied that the American Civil Liberties Union would get involved. Palin backed down. Palin fired Emmons on 1/ 30/1997. The next day she withdrew the firing after an expression of public support for Emmons

    Quite frankly the thought of Ms. Palin sitting across the table from the likes of a Mahmoud Ahmadinejad chills me to the bone. She is NOT qualified to be Vice President let alone President.

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