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What’s this ‘we’: How involved was Amy Klobuchar in the campaign to defeat the marriage amendment?

photo of rally outside minnesota capitol
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
In 2012, 51 percent of Minnesota voters voted “no” on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
In 2012, voters in Minnesota decided against amending the Minnesota Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

The month before the election, polling for the marriage amendment was neck and neck. Forty-eight in favor. Forty-seven against. A week later, forty-seven in favor. Forty-eight against. Minnesota did become the first state to defeat a ballot initiative of this kind. But the defeat wasn’t by a large margin: 51 percent voted “no.”

Speaking at an LGBTQ Presidential Forum at Coe College in Iowa earlier this year, Sen. Amy Klobuchar celebrated that victory: “We were able to defeat that amendment, in a major election, my re-election in 2012. And not only did we defeat it, we took back the state legislature and we passed gay marriage in Minnesota. And so that’s my journey.”

But according to several people who were involved in the campaign to defeat the marriage amendment, Klobuchar’s use of the word “we” doesn’t tell the whole story. While some say Klobuchar was supportive of the campaign from the beginning, at least in private, several others describe a senator who avoided public involvement in the effort until the last minute. Klobuchar’s presidential campaign declined to respond to request for comment for this story.

“Whether or not she’s been willing to be a leader or be public on these equity issues is important to me, especially because I personally reached out to her. This is not secondhand,” said John Sullivan, who was on the board of Minnesotans United for All Families, the main group that worked to defeat the amendment. Sullivan said he has been supportive of every Klobuchar campaign until her presidential run.

At one point, Sullivan said he asked Klobuchar to publicly oppose the amendment, but Klobuchar said the marriage ban was a state issue. “It sort of sticks in my mind when she tried to educate me on the difference between state issues and federal issues.”

“Her response was that this was not an issue she was gonna take a position on,” Sullivan said. “She said, you know, that ‘I oppose it, but I’m not taking a position.’”

The marriage amendment

In May of 2011, the Minnesota Senate passed a bill that proposed the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, 37-27, with all Republicans  and one Democrat voting in favor. The House passed an identical bill the same month, 70-62, with two Democrats and all but four Republicans supporting it. At the time, same-sex marriage in Minnesota was already illegal. But the amendment would go further: If passed, courts and future legislatures would’ve been blocked from recognizing same-sex marriages.

The proposed amendment read: “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota.”

The opposition campaign was swift and attracted support from across the DFL.

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, who was then in the state Legislature, gave a stirring opposition speech prior to the vote that went viral. 

“We have to be careful about trying to enshrine our beliefs, however religiously valid we may believe them to be, in the Minnesota Constitution,” he said in May of 2011. “What I’m hearing today and what I heard on Friday was largely a religious justification. I don’t think that’s right. I don’t think that’s fair. I think it departs from our tradition.”

DFL state Sen. Scott Dibble, one of only two openly gay state legislators then, said at the time: “We’ve been punched in the gut, but we’re a strong, resilient people.”

photo of politicians celebrating
MinnPost photo by Terry Gydesen
Sen. Scott Dibble, left, celebrated the defeat of the marriage amendment.
Even though proposed constitutional amendments are not subject to gubernatorial veto, Gov. Mark Dayton decided to symbolically veto the bill anyway. “Although I do not have the power to prevent this unwise and unnecessary constitutional amendment from appearing on the Minnesota ballot in November…. I am vetoing the amendment and its title; I urge Minnesotans to reject it in November,” he wrote.

At the time, Sen. Tina Smith was Dayton’s chief of staff. Smith held a number of private meetings with the campaign on overall strategy, offered advice on fundraising, messaging and development. Smith said she had a personal reason for supporting the campaign against the amendment. Her brother-in-law, Craig, was gay and died of AIDS in 1986. 

“There were many people who worked much, much harder than I did on the actual campaign and put together a really remarkable campaign. But I was always so supportive of their work and wanting to do everything I can to help them,” Smith said. “And of course, Gov. Dayton was exactly the same way.”

Attorney General Keith Ellison, then a member of Congress from Minnesota’s Fifth District and vice chair of the congressional LGBT Equality caucus, and then-Sen. Al Franken were also early supporters of the campaign. Ellison announced his opposition to the amendment in early 2011, while Franken starred in a Human Rights Campaign ad supporting gay marriage.

Former Vice President and Minnesota Sen. Walter Mondale joined the effort, endorsing the Minnesotans United for All Families coalition in March of 2012 and forming a sub-group, Lawyers United for All Families, along with Retired Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court Kathleen A. Blatz.

In April, Obama for America’s Minnesota chapter endorsed the campaign against the amendment. The next month, in May, Barack Obama became the first president to endorse same-sex marriage.

“At a certain point,” Obama said, “I’ve just concluded that — for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that — I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

Franken said it was a step in the right direction.

“I’ve long believed that people should be able to enter into loving, committed marriages regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Franken said in response. “And I’m glad the president agrees.”

Klobuchar, who had yet to take a stance on same-sex marriage, agreed as well. “We are a country that was founded on equality of rights and I agree with the president’s comments today,” she said. “Nothing in his statement changes the ability of religious institutions to decide whether or not they perform same-sex marriage.”

In October, Franken’s staff in both Washington and Minnesota dressed up in support of the campaign against the amendment. And Franken and his wife starred in an another ad telling people to vote against the amendment.

But until that month, people MinnPost spoke to said they hadn’t seen much from Klobuchar, one of the most popular DFL politicians in the state.

“From my perspective she was running for re-election with minimal opposition but chose not to speak against the amendment like most other DFLers did,” said Beth-Ann Bloom, a Woodbury resident who volunteered as an organizer opposed to the amendment.

“As you heard her say from Coe College, she touts the triumph of marriage equality in Minnesota when she was ‘at the top of the ticket.’ It is a painful disconnect for me and I imagine it is even more painful for those who worked more intimately on the campaign for equality.”

Klobuchar gets involved

In October of 2012, the month before the vote, Klobuchar made a public speech endorsing the opposition campaign at the Big Gay Race, a fundraiser organized by Jacob Frey (now the mayor of Minneapolis).

Klobuchar’s campaign donated $10,000 to Minnesotans United on Oct. 22, about two weeks before the election, according to records from the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board. In an email to donors in late October, Klobuchar made her stance clear:

“Defeating this amendment matters — for all of us. Thirty states have already faced amendments like this, and in every single one, these amendments have passed,” she wrote. “We’ve got a real chance to make history — a challenge I know that Minnesotans never back away from.”

Klobuchar’s presidential campaign cited a few more times the senator mentioned the marriage amendment prior to her October email: In September of 2011, at a Human Rights Campaign gala, Klobuchar called the amendment “divisive.” During a debate at the State Fair with Bills, Klobuchar said she opposed the amendment in response to a question from an audience member. ”

Klobuchar, then and now, has remained one of the most popular DFL politicians in the state. She has outperformed national presidential candidates consistently in red districts — it’s one of her main campaign pitches as she seeks the Democratic nomination for president. At the time, the same polls that showed the ballot amendment was close showed Klobuchar had a commanding lead of 30+ points over her Republican opponent, state Rep. Kurt Bills. All of this is exactly why several people asked her to go out and campaign against the ballot measure more actively — she was at the top of the ticket and they believed a more forceful endorsement would be helpful.

“I can say for me as a rabbi, and as a gay man, as a dad, as a now husband, I did phone banking, I showed up at press conferences, I showed up at rallies, I spoke on panels, I donated and attended fundraisers and events, I wrote op-eds. I was interviewed on the television, I door knocked,” said Rabbi Michael Latz of Shir Tikvah, who actively organized the Jewish community during the opposition campaign.

“So I guess my question would be, ‘Senator, what were the tangible ways in which your support was manifest?’”

‘Over time, she became more and more active in the campaign itself’

Richard Carlbom, the former campaign director for Minnesotans United, has a somewhat different view of Klobuchar’s actions.

“My attitude is that it took thousands and thousands of people to defeat the amendment and no single person deserves all the credit and they’re just a lot of people who deserve credit for being part of the historic victory of Minnesota,” said Carlbom, now a consultant for DFL politicians. “And she certainly was one of the people who deserve credit for that historic victory.”

When asked about those who say Klobuchar took too long to get involved, Carlbom said that Klobuchar said she was on board with the campaign early on and stayed in touch.

“Over time, she became more and more active in the campaign itself,” he said. “I get frustrated with people six, seven years later looking back and trying to blame people for not doing enough, when in fact a lot of people did a lot of work and we don’t need to try and decide who did enough and then who didn’t do enough. We should just instead focus on what the next battle is.”

Ken Martin, the current DFL chairman, was one of the founding board members of Minnesotans United. Martin said that Klobuchar was supportive from the start. (Martin said that while he is neutral in the presidential race, he could speak in a personal capacity about his time on the board.)

“My sense of when she says ‘we’ is she means collectively Minnesotans beat back this amendment. We were the first state in the country to beat back a constitutional amendment trying to define marriage between a man and a woman. I can’t speak to her comments about her personal journey. I don’t know what she was referencing there,” Martin said.

“I don’t know the chronology of the various events that she participated or didn’t participate in, but what I could say is that she was a consistent supporter.”

photo of people celebrating after marriage amendment defeat
MinnPost photo by Terry Gydesen
Opponents of the marriage amendment celebrated after its narrow defeat.
When asked about Sullivan’s contention that Klobuchar had explicitly told him multiple times she would not be public in her support, Martin said he wouldn’t dispute what Sullivan had to say.

“I’m not going to dispute what John’s saying ‘cause I wasn’t part of that conversation and I love John. And there’s no reason not to believe him that that’s true.”

‘The community generally loves her’

Sullivan and Latz said they wouldn’t have spoken out had Klobuchar accurately represented her record. They cited personal experience, interactions with the senator, and noted her absence at many of the public events they went to.

“The community generally loves her…  But it’s in those circumstances where she’s talking as if she’s been our strongest ally from day one that bother me. And you know, she is very careful with her language,” said Sullivan. “She may not say it directly, but she certainly intimates that she played a much bigger role than those of us on the front lines believe she played.”

Latz said he would be glad to apologize to the senator if she can point out what she did to consistently and actively support the opposition campaign. Otherwise he thinks it’s important to clarify the record.

“Here’s the thing,” said Latz. “There’s actually a really powerful story to tell here. Of moral redemption and transformation, right? Of saying, you know, like, ‘I was really unsure of this and it took me a while to wrap my head around it for a variety of reasons. And while I look back and I’m so proud of all the work my fellow Minnesotans did do to defeat this amendment and then to pursue marriage equality. It has made us a better state and a better union …’”

“I don’t think anybody would have faulted her and this would be a non-story had she done that,” he said. “That’s the part I don’t get.”

Comments (108)

  1. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 10/28/2019 - 12:27 pm.

    Is anyone surprised by this? Klobs leads from tbe middle, if not the rear.

  2. Submitted by Betsy Larey on 10/28/2019 - 12:31 pm.

    Amy Klobuchar has accomplished more as a US Senator that the rest of the Senate combined. This kind of crap from the far left drives me insane. I call it the “far left litmus test”, Mark my words, it’s as bad in its own right as the far right abortion litmus test.
    So according to Sullivan et al, she’s no longer “good enough” to support. Think Warren or Sanders can beat Trump? NO THEY CAN’T.
    And for the damn record, that’s the only thing that matters. The far left peeps do not seem to get this. In 2016, the Sanders supporters handed the election to Donald Trump ( via Jill Stein ) thank you very much.
    You know what I look for in a candidate? Someone who can get things done. And her record speaks for itself on that point. She voted against the amendment, and that’s just not good enough?
    If the far left continues down this purity path, you will all be responsible for handing the election to the Republicans ( trump, pence or whoever they put up).
    Klobuchar and Biden are the only 2 candidates with any appeal to moderate Republicans and Independents. So before you get on your high horse purity test, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

    • Submitted by Mike Schumann on 10/28/2019 - 01:02 pm.

      Well said!

      • Submitted by Steve Timmer on 10/28/2019 - 02:16 pm.

        Name the big initiatives in the Senate that Amy was a leading champion for.

        Well, other than running an end-around the Weeks Act to transfer land from the Superior National Forest to PolyMet Mining, to increase the amount of pollutants flowing into the St. Louis River and result in the largest destruction of wetlands in Minnesota history.

        • Submitted by Doug Duwenhoegger on 10/28/2019 - 06:00 pm.

          Well let’s see. Bipartisan bill to protect our elections, giving states money to update voting machines, and develop more secure processes. .S. 524, Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act
          S. 178, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015
          S. 894, Innovate America Act
          S. 218, Veterans to Paramedics Act

    • Submitted by Susan Herridge on 10/28/2019 - 01:03 pm.

      Its primary season. Its perfectly appropriate to review the statements of candidates running and assess how well they match our recollections of the events described. We don’t need to be clubbed into lockstep support for the candidate that you favor, nor for any candidate. I speak. I think, for the “far left” the “middle left” and the “right left”. Let us go through the process of evaluating the candidate(s) while we keep a modicum of civility amongst ourselves and yes, eventually we will unite to support the nominated candidate.

    • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 10/28/2019 - 01:55 pm.

      I was going to let your rant go, but this is a bridge too far:” In 2016, the Sanders supporters handed the election to Donald Trump ( via Jill Stein ) thank you very much.”

      There are plenty of reasons Hillary lost to Donald, but claiming it was Bernie supporters is pure and utter Bullsh*t. What happened to she won the popular vote? It was Russian bots? It was James Comey?

      We’d all be a lot better off it you “Centrist” types spent as much time attacking the opposition as you do attacking those on the left.

      • Submitted by Steven Bailey on 10/28/2019 - 05:10 pm.

        Thank You !!! Polling showed HRC lost not because of Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders but because Republican leaning Independents who voted for President Obama did not support HRC.

        • Submitted by Mary Gustafson on 11/01/2019 - 10:52 am.

          HRC lost because of the electoral college. It doesn’t matter what the polls say.

          • Submitted by Mike Schumann on 11/03/2019 - 12:29 pm.

            HRC lost because a lot of people didn’t like her. If she had kicked Bill out of the White House after his affair with Monica, instead of standing by her man and trying to destroy anyone who got in the way of his career, it could have been a different story.

      • Submitted by John Edwards on 10/28/2019 - 05:42 pm.

        Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and his Republican running mate Bill Weld as well as former Republican Evan McMullen running as an independent had far more impact on the race than Stein. They took away a combined 5.2 million votes from Trump versus the 1.4 million Stein siphoned from Clinton. Without third party candidates Trump would have also won the popular vote.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/29/2019 - 08:17 am.

        No, polling showed that Clinton LOST white women and won 98% of Sanders voters. These facile attempts to blame Trump’s victory on anyone but HRC and Democrats who put her on the ballot are way past their expiration date. Klobuchar is a bust, she won’t make it out of Iowa more than likely. Too bad so sad and we find that the “center” is NOT where “centrists” are living.

    • Submitted by Cameron Parkhurst on 10/28/2019 - 01:59 pm.

      Betsy – my take is that you don’t get it. I don’t dislike Amy, but her brand of incremental moderate politics is what put us in this position. And if you think Klobuchar and Biden are the only ones that can win, I want whatever you have put in your pipe to smoke.

      This is not a litmus test for me, I have concluded that more progressive policies are what are needed not ones that have a starting point that is already in the middle. All I hear from Amy’s supporters is that she appeals to the moderates, which I suppose is good, but she needs to articulate a vision that encompasses more than that she is the candidate that will offend the least number of voters.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 10/28/2019 - 02:20 pm.

        Actually, that’s completely wrong. The Democrats won back the house by running moderates in the suburbs. Bernie Sanders would be absolutely destroyed in a national election, especially once the focus on what a fraud and hypocrite he really is. I’m hoping that Warren is a good enough candidate to beat Trump if she gets it, but I’m skeptical.

        • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 10/28/2019 - 04:00 pm.

          Actually you are completely wrong, I know its the party line, although it took a while for Centrists to coalesce around this meme, but its not entirely accurate, some big centrist names went down in the midterms,
          Claire McCaskill (Missouri), Joe Donnelly (Indiana), and Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota) all lost despite their centrist campaigns. Its not all unicorns and bunnies for the Centrists.

          As for Bernie losing big time in a national election, I have just as much evidence that says exactly the opposite, which is to say there is no real evidence one way or another. We just don’t know, what we do know is Hillary lost to the cretin serving in the White House.

          In the words of the great man Jim Hightower: “There’s Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos”

          • Submitted by Pat Terry on 10/28/2019 - 10:56 pm.

            The centrists who lost were in all in conservative states, where progressives never would have won in the first place. The centrists didn’t win them all, but the house majority was built by moderates winning suburban seats, while the progressives running for those seats lost. We lost the Florida governor’s race, which should have been an easy pickup, because we rwn a progressive.

            • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 10/29/2019 - 01:01 pm.

              I guess you didn’t read my list, those three were all incumbents. The Florida race was razor thin, there is little to no evidence that a “centrist” would have won. As usual there were lots of “irregularities” in the vote counting not to mention voter purges, but let’s not look there, let’s just blame the “liberals!”

    • Submitted by Steven Bailey on 10/28/2019 - 05:13 pm.

      I’m a little confused here. Are you saying marriage equality and the people who fought for it are “far left” ?

      • Submitted by Betsy Larey on 10/29/2019 - 07:28 am.

        I am not saying that at all. I am saying I thought it was wrong for Sullivan et al to pull their support for Amy this year based on the fact that she didn’t come out early and loud to support this. She gave money, and voted. But that’s not good enough. These “purity tests”, whether they come from the right or the left are not helpful.

    • Submitted by Anthony Ross on 10/29/2019 - 12:36 am.

      “more for America than any other senator”

      Bernie got Amazon to raise their minimum wage regardless of location to $15 without a single piece of legislation. Solely through a bully pulpit as a senator from tiny Vermont, on an underdog campaign as a Socialist for president.

      Now take your list of bills she’s voted in favor of, vs that one quantifiable achievement from Sanders, and you tell me which one means more in the minds of the working class voters who voted for Obama twice, but crossed the aisle for Trump in 2016.

      The Democratic establishment would rather see a second Trump term than a Sanders presidency.

    • Submitted by Wes Davey on 10/29/2019 - 09:10 am.

      Equality for those who are LGBT is “crap from the far left”, a “far left litmus test”? Really? Equality is “far left”?

      Apart from Sen. Klobuchar’s less than enthusiastic opposition to the Republican led drive to constitutionally ban gay marriage, she was slow (unenthusiastic) in supporting the repeal of the Defense Department’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy.

      For those who don’t remember, DADT prevented gays from openly serving in the military; an effort to repeal that ban began in earnest around 2006. Even the pragmatic then Rep. Tim Walz (a veteran himself) realized the need to end that ban, and he became a co-sponsor of the repeal bill early on.

      As for Klobuchar, she became a co-sponsor of the DADT repeal bill in the spring of 2010, but only after her office was inundated by phone calls from DADT repeal supporters (after an OutFrontMn rally at the Capitol urging them to call her). Prior to that, she had remained mute on the issue – even when her support would have really helped repeal efforts. To her credit, she did vote for repeal later that year.

      Ask those who spoke out for peace and the end to endless wars how supportive Klobuchar was of their efforts. On those “far left” issues she was all but MIA, and only occasionally/rarely did she listen to the concerns of peace organizations.

      In the end, while it can be acknowledged that both Klobuchar and Joe Biden have done some good during their years in the Senate, the idiom “Go along to get along” has always ruled their day, and always will. And going along to get along (with Republicans) has not worked very well over the past several decades.

  3. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 10/28/2019 - 12:34 pm.

    If Richard Carlbom is satisfied with her statement, than so am I.

  4. Submitted by Pat Terry on 10/28/2019 - 12:58 pm.

    So, its clear that she was supportive, communicated with the campaign, spoke out, donated money, and is praised for her efforts by the head of the campaign. But now she is being criticized for not doing enough? Good lord.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/28/2019 - 02:12 pm.

      Now, she is being criticized for talking like she was always at the forefront of the campaign. It’s not a matter of not having done enough, it’s a matter of taking undue credit.

  5. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 10/28/2019 - 01:33 pm.

    This article feels like a personal vendetta. With Trump in office appointing crazy conservative judges, Democrats need to present a united front to preserve progressive gains. When you got what you wanted, this kind of nitpicking is destructive.

    • Submitted by Steve Timmer on 10/28/2019 - 02:12 pm.

      Joel, Amy has voted to confirm most of those crazy, conservative judges.

      The article is eminently fair. Amy is known as “the queen of small ball,” and this article is an example of why the moniker is appropriate.

      • Submitted by Betsy Larey on 10/28/2019 - 03:13 pm.

        Because a Senator’s job is to confirm a judge based on qualifications, not their political persuasion.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/28/2019 - 03:29 pm.

          Can you tell me what leads you to make that assertion?

        • Submitted by Howard Miller on 11/01/2019 - 10:03 am.

          Two thoughts there.

          One, since Robert Bork, there has been a tendency – more by Republicans – to nominate right wing ideologues supported by the Federalist Society for judicial appointments. Bill Clinton nominated 2 liberal justices, RGB and Breyer. Republicans put Thomas, Roberts, Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. All clearly right leaning justices supported by the Federalist society. Obama put Kagan and Sotomayor, who are centrists imho. To ignore the ideological leanings of justices is to be terminally naive.

          Two, if qualifications matter, Justice Garland should have been confirmed. Instead Republicans wouldn’t even give him a hearing. And under Trump, literally “not qualified” nominations (ABA ratings) have been confirmed for lower court appointments in the Republican controlled Senate.

          One party doesn’t care about qualifications any more, only ideology – Republicans. Democrats have at least kept qualifications as a key standard

          That is not good for citizen faith in our justice system, nor getting fair opinions from our courts that build a more just society

  6. Submitted by Stephen Dent on 10/28/2019 - 02:14 pm.

    Amy is not and never has been a progressive. Still, I support her even though she was silent regarding my ability to marry my husband after more than 30 years together at the time. I resented her for that and still do. Can she beat Trump? I don’t know. While I contribute small amounts to her campaign, I am rooting for Pete Buttigieg and contribute to his campaign as much as I can. Perhaps this country is still too homophobic for him to win, but he’s kinder and smarter. I wish him luck.

    • Submitted by Fredric Markus on 10/29/2019 - 05:12 am.

      I’m with you at this point in time. I’ve known Amy since her daughter was a babe in arms and she’s a great member of the Senate. But she is also an incrementalist and here I suggest that Mayor Pete is far more hard-edged in a progressive way. His youth is not an issue for me. Amy’s stern behavior as an executive is an issue for me because unanimity is not some sort of given and I don’t see her as being very adept at dealing with dissent within her ostensible ranks. Conversely, Mayor Pete is clearly a work in progress but he’s a mighty quick study and I see him is far more likely to forge alliances that will effectuate real change in Washington mindsets. The Presidency is not just a career path.

  7. Submitted by John Evans on 10/28/2019 - 02:28 pm.

    The culture in Minnesota was changed by that campaign, and it doesn’t bother me at all if Klobuchar was not in the leadership of that change. It may be tacky of her to claim that she was, but whatever.

    As a US senator, she did not have a direct role to play on this divisive state issue. Taking a position was likely to lose her more votes than it would gain. So why do it? US senators don’t lead on issues like this anyway. They follow, they represent. Democracy sort of implies that you win by supporting the stuff that’s popular that you believe in, and stay quiet on the stuff you believe in that’s unpopular.

    Klobuchar was looking for the political center on this issue, and it took a while for that new center to emerge, thanks to the work of others. The work that changes culture mostly has to be done in the culture, and not in Washington.

    • Submitted by Stephen Dent on 10/28/2019 - 03:03 pm.

      “Democracy sort of implies that you win by supporting the stuff that’s popular that you believe in, and stay quiet on the stuff you believe in that’s unpopular….”

      Really? Isn’t that what hypocrites do? Good politicians stand by their beliefs and values whether they are popular or not. That is the definition of authenticity and leadership and that’s what I want with my elected officials. You can trust them because you know what they stand for.

      • Submitted by John Evans on 10/28/2019 - 05:32 pm.

        Looking to politicians for leadership is futile. They take the positions the people force them to take. Ideally, your representatives won’t be completely spineless, but it doesn’t pay to hold that against them. It’s really up to us.

  8. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 10/28/2019 - 02:33 pm.

    The LGBT community is going to have to explain to us all whether this attack-Amy effort is a purity test (where only the ideal is acceptable and one must fight to defeat their every initiative thereafter) or a petty nit-picking by those who want shouters instead of doers.

    Because, boys and girls, this is about as petty as I’ve seen.

    Does any candidate for Senate have a right to decide to not lead on every issue? Because that’s what Amy Klobuchar did with the Vote No on the amendment question: She didn’t get out front and lead with this issue. She supported the “right” side, but was visible on it only in the last month or two before the vote. And she always votes right. Or maybe that doesn’t matter?

    Oh, my.

    In the days when we have a horrible president who never says “we” but always “I,” in good dictatorial form, we have to attack Klobuchar for daring to utter the word “we”?

    • Submitted by Stephen Dent on 10/28/2019 - 03:08 pm.

      “Because, boys and girls, this is about as petty as I’ve seen.”

      So, you think it’s “petty” that a senator from the state of Minnesota felt it was “okay” to sit on the sidelines as my civil rights were being voted on by a hostile population and not say a word because of “political realities”?

      I met her at a University of MN homecoming parade in 2012 and as soon as I asked her about marriage equality she turned and walked away without saying a word. She’s luck I sent her $10.00.

      • Submitted by Brent Stahl on 10/28/2019 - 08:33 pm.

        Give it a rest, Mr. Dent. You won the gay marriage fight, so be grateful. Whether Klobuchar was active enough on the issue by your standard is irrelevant now for the issues we are facing now. Given the tone of your comments here, I suspect there is more to the story about your meeting with Klobuchar; I wouldn’t blame her for walking away, if that is what happened.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/28/2019 - 11:32 pm.

          Good grief man, you people sound like the conservatives you’re supposedly railing against. Reminds me of 2008, a relative of mine, one of those folks you don’t like to speak with at Thanksgiving, had a response to the election of President Obama, (I’ll edit for content), “Now those damn “” (use your imagination) got their President, I better not hear another word about racism and how I’m a racist ever again” ” They can just “shut up” (again, imagination) and go away”. Kinda like “You won your marriage equality, what MORE do you need” don’t ya think?

          • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/29/2019 - 03:16 pm.

            There’s a tale about a robin who mistakenly returns to a farmyard too early for spring and gets caught in an ice storm, which freezes his feathers and pins him to the ground. At the threshold of death, along comes a cow, which plops a couple of warm piles of excrement on top of the robin. The robin, now thawed and overwhelmed with joy, starts to sing. Upon hearing the singing, along comes the barn cat and promptly devours the robin. Moral of the story: when you’re up to your neck in poo, but you’re warm and happy, keep your mouth shut.

            While I definitely think the “you got what you wanted, so shut up already” attitude could definitely go away, what part of the issue is relevant right now? Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Just like in a court of law, on the internet, anything you say can and will be used against you. And, quite frankly, if we end up where we are now in 2020 because the Repubs use this sort of article to divide the Dems, trust me, I’m gonna use it against all of the people who are busy murdering the good with demands for the perfect.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/30/2019 - 09:22 am.

              That’s all fine and good, but it goes in both directions. There will be no Democratic victory if the centrists insist on driving the left away. The days of assuming that the left could be safely ignored, with the assurance that they’d HAVE to vote for the lesser of two evils, are over. 2016 was the end of that. They are part of a coalition, and it would do them well to remember that.

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/30/2019 - 10:55 am.

              Don’t the perfect be the enemy of the good… uh huh. Better to promote the imperfect as the ally of the good… by that standard Trump is the perfect candidate.

              Listen, no one is looking for perfect, rejecting mediocrity and a failed status quo’s isn’t a demand for perfection. This centrist tendency to attack voters they disagree with rather than talk about candidates and agendas is way past it’s expiration date. And you guys should know it’s not going to get your candidate on the ballot, it’s just divisive and toxic.

  9. Submitted by Eric Snyder on 10/28/2019 - 04:30 pm.

    It has almost become cliché that Klobuchar is a “doer.”

    This is ironic given that under the doer-ship of Klobuchar and others we now have crisis-level problems to deal with, problems that arguably have their roots in the centrist, play it safe careerism that has been the hallmark of Klobuchar’s tenure as senator: unaffordable housing, education and medicine. Leadership, if it means anything, means being ahead of problems in order to lessen or preclude them.

    There’s the grave issue of climate change. For many years now we’ve needed fundamental energy and economic restructuring to deal with the climate crisis. Practically by definition this can’t be done if you’re committed to the pre-evidential political metaphysics of centrism. We need people in positions of high public visibility to fulfill the roles of moral leadership, of educator of the public, of steerer of the public discussion. Where’s Klobuchar been?

    Klobuchar as “doer” has always struck me as the fallback position among those who can’t quite acknowledge that when it comes to leadership on most issues, Klobuchar is nowhere to be found.

    Note the comment on this page by Stephen Dent. How painful to read about, even for a straight guy like me. How many years did Klobuchar maintain this politics of justice delayed, of equality that forever bides its time until the safe political moment, of the ethical imperative smothered under career calculation and the political obscurantism of the “moderate.” This is Klobuchar’s style and always has been.

    She can’t withdraw from the presidential race quickly enough.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 10/28/2019 - 11:01 pm.

      It wasn’t just Klobuchar late to the game. Bernie Sanders publicly opposed gay marriage for a long time.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/29/2019 - 09:30 am.

        “It wasn’t just Klobuchar late to the game. Bernie Sanders publicly opposed gay marriage for a long time.”

        This another facile Clintonista claim:

        “By all measures, Sanders was ahead of his time in supporting gay rights. In 1983, as mayor of Burlington, he signed a Gay Pride Day proclamation calling it a civil rights issue. He was one of just 67 members in the House of Representatives to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act, a politically tough decision he prides himself on and points to as a key progressive bona fide. Sanders opposed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in 1993, another President Bill Clinton-era policy, and supported civil unions in Vermont in 2000.” Sam Frizell, Time Magazine, October 28, 2015

        The worse thing about Clinton and her supporters is the toxic dishonesty they end up resorting to time after time.

  10. Submitted by Sheila Kihne on 10/28/2019 - 05:12 pm.

    This is old news. You Democrats need to worry about your candidates’ position on the real reason to legally redefine marriage — taking down the churches and private schools.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 10/28/2019 - 10:59 pm.

      Why would they take them down. A lot of churches perform gay marriage now. Any real Christian supports gay marriage.

      • Submitted by Mike Schumann on 11/03/2019 - 12:38 pm.

        “Any real Christian supports Gay Marriage”??? I don’t consider myself a Christian and I do support gay marriage, but this kind of slander is what is going to get Trump reelected.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/29/2019 - 11:57 am.

      What Democratic candidate has proposed “taking down the churches and private schools?”

  11. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/28/2019 - 05:39 pm.

    Bill Maher addressed this nicely in his final commentary Friday night:

    “This should be easy — just be less crazy than Donald Trump are you guys seriously struggling with this? 69% of voters say they dislike Trump personally, and there’s no sign anything can change their minds. But Democrats reaction to that is “OK, but let’s try.” Let me help you. You don’t need to be 100% Twitter approved on every issue. Twitter is not America. Most of America, all they want is to vote for someone who’s not weird. Play to them, and stop worrying that you’re gonna lose social justice warriors to Donald Trump.”



    And the need for candidates to out do each other to primary voters rather than simply running on beating Trump is best summarized by:

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/28/2019 - 11:40 pm.

      Nothing like the arrogance needed to assume that one is “normal” while all others are “weird”. Do you honestly think that society is as static as you believe (or wish) it to be. The amount of change I’ve seen in 40 short years, and so many still think its the world of whatever ideal they cling to. Nostalgia is such a powerful drug, perhaps the most dangerous one of all.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/29/2019 - 10:28 am.

        I would say an individual that proclaims:

        “I am a stable genius”

        For all to hear may be safely categorized as “weird”.

        One person’s opinion…

        Maher’s point is that expending political capital on things that will never happen at the expense of alienating voters who can be lured away from Trump is a bad strategy.

        I find my self more in line with Warren than any of the other candidates. I think she has great “plans”. Unfortunately, most of those plans are going to take a 60 seat Senate majority to enact. Achieving that majority means winning seats in places like Nebraska, Kansas and Alabama. That requires an approach that initially requires the Ds to not appear to be what those voters see as left wing loonies. I believe that as the Ds gain power and enact the things that Warren is advocating a majority of all will see them as a good things: reconsidering their initial reluctance / cautions. Who knows, this may eventually get us to Medicare For All. In the meantime the very best we can do is build on what was created during our last small window of a 60 seat majority: The Affordable Care Act. Make it incrementally better, ease in a public option and move forward from there as needed to improve. Ingrain the ACA over time like Social Security & Medicare and soon the Rs will profess their undying commitment to the ACA and remind us it was an idea from the Heritage Foundation in the first place. And that is winning.

        • Submitted by David Rhoades on 10/29/2019 - 10:43 am.

          I agree with everything you said.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/29/2019 - 11:59 am.

          That’s the same line that’s been used since before I was born. I was born in 1979, I fail to see where the incrementalist approach has achieved any of the goals you state, how long shall I wait? Until things have moved beyond a stage that the solutions even matter? The problems need solving now, I don’t particularly care about the political failures of the past that lead folks to timidity. Drive the conservatives out, render them powerless, and enact the needed change now. If one finds that challenge too daunting, to frightening to contemplate, step aside and clear the way for someone who does not.

          • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/29/2019 - 03:49 pm.

            “Drive the conservatives out, render them powerless, and enact the needed change now.”

            And your strategy for doing that?

            What states do you see as part of the 60 seat majority?

            What if Ted Kennedy did not die and the Ds had a longer 60 seat majority?

            What would have followed the ACA?

            Immigration reform?

            Voting protection?

            Campaign finance?

            Trump sure would have been busy trying and failing to undue all of those things.

            Stomping your feet and demanding immediate, drastic change simply will not make it happen. It is a state by state strategy, picking up Red states that have just about had their fill of failed R promises and tired incumbents: Colorado, Tennessee, Kentucky, Maine, Iowa, Arizona, Georgia X 2, North Carolina would be the D dream. And even then it is 3 more seats to 60.

            Get a sane D President, a House and Senate majority and show that they can govern in a responsible manner and they can creep to 60 in 2022 or 24…

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/30/2019 - 09:29 am.

              I hear. lot of “can’t” in your assessment. I’ll ask again, how long should I be prepared to wait? Should I tell my kids to expect ACTUAL, meaningful, results for THEIR kids, or maybe it will be a few generations further on? While you may think your approach is somehow more rational and “grown up”, what good is it if it doesn’t ever DO anything? In case you hadn’t noticed, time is running out, some problems won’t graciously wait for those who fear doing anything to drastic for their timid hearts to bear.

              • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/30/2019 - 04:22 pm.

                No, you failed to see the “how” in my assessment.

                I offered the way that I see as the quickest means to an ends where we likely have considerable agreement on. And I agree fully with your:

                “Drive the conservatives out, render them powerless, and enact the needed change now”

                Again, I asked: how do we do this?

                Are you saying it is time to “refresh the tree of liberty” and storm the gates with our Second Amendment remedies?

                Or, are we going to do it at the ballot box? If so, how?

                I’ll give a prime case in point: Jim Jordan, as conservative a neanderthal as one can find and richly deserving to be thrown out and rendered powerless. I agree 100%. How do we do it?

                • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/31/2019 - 10:34 am.

                  1. Dismiss the notion the there only certain places that honest to goodness liberal ideas “play”.
                  2. Quit being ashamed of our policy ideals.
                  3. Quit accepting that we must unilaterally disarm in terms of engagement with conservatives, the “high road” is for those who don’t need worry about the consequences of defeat, find people who will be willing to call out conservatives for what they are. To your question, I want a candidate against Gym Jordan that is gonna call out the molestation scandal at every turn, make that monster answer for it every single moment until election day. It’s exactly what HE would do, were situation reversed. Decorum is pap.
                  3. Quit grasping for slivers of an electorate and instead grasp for the ocean of non voters by first actually attempting to assess why it is they don’t vote, and then addressing that need.
                  4. Insist on a core set of values, which is somewhat accomplished by things like the party platform now, that can serve as a basic “mission statement” of purpose for Democrats, that candidates WILL be held to in order to garner formal support. I’m not suggesting we get rid of the big tent, just trim its margins a bit and allow the ability for messaging to be be more easily clarified.
                  5. Get a LARGE contingent of youthful activists involved in nothing but a messaging capacity. There is the possibility to ingrain liberalism for a generation as THE positive political outlook after the disaster that is Trump, and we should be starting now, with those who know exactly how to sell it to their peers, to cement this legacy for the foreseeable future

                  None of this is served by rehashing the failed approach of the last 40 years, none are served by demanding the currently energized left sit on its hands while the “adult” centrists spin their wheels seeking bipartisan consensus for the next 20 years.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/30/2019 - 09:52 am.

              One final thought, it would be nice were our opponents to take the same view towards incrementalism that it seems you think we must. I brought up when I was born earlier for a reason, of course. 1979 heralded the birth of the Conservative revolution, (though the seeds were long planted), Reagan and his believers had no compunction about drastic change, and no aversion to its pursuit. In my relatively short time on this rock I’ve seen the social safety net gutted, the middle class destroyed, the media corrupted by corporate influence, the financial sector elevated to tyrannical economic superiority, the education system pillaged, and the very word Liberal transformed into a pejorative. Most of it accomplished in the span of years, not lifetimes. Yet WE must content ourselves with cobbling together a few votes here and there, hoping we might get a quarter or maybe a fifth of what we would actually like to see accomplished, but only if the other side thinks it ok and doesn’t yell at us too much. Why should ANYONE, of any sort of Liberal persuasion, accept that this is the proper approach, or the best that we should strive for? Why are we supposed to be so afraid?

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/29/2019 - 01:08 pm.

          There are other seats in other states that can be won. And the 60 vote threshold that the old filibuster rules enforced has pretty much been demolished. You may recall Obamacare survived by one vote that brought the repeal up short by one vote.

          Anyways, a political fact that “centrist” democrats have never been able to comprehend is that you build power and momentum by delivering results. Running on accomplishments will always build more strength, influence, and electoral support than running against accomplishments. Running behind an agenda that accomplishes as much as it can is always more effective than running behind a record of doing less.

          This is Klobuchar’s problem. She’s always pointing to all the bills Republicans have supported but she needs to show what she can do without Republican support, because they oppose everything a Democratic president tries to do.

          • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/30/2019 - 07:50 am.

            “And the 60 vote threshold that the old filibuster rules enforced has pretty much been demolished.”

            From 2017 to 2019 the Rs controlled the Presidency, House and a slim Senate majority. If the filibuster has been demolished and we know what the Rs would like to enact given ultimate authority, why was their only legislative accomplishment the usual Reagan / Bush / Bush tax cut?

            The filibuster still has great influence.

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/30/2019 - 11:01 am.

              Republican’s have not failed legislatively because they held the majority, they’ve failed because they’re disorganized and incapable of governing. If the filibuster is in tact, how did they pass their tax bill without 60 votes?

  12. Submitted by Jim Lit on 10/28/2019 - 09:32 pm.

    To me this is rehashing a time when these were hot button issues. She is a moderate & that has been her calling in the Senate. Today we have become two political party’s run by the extremes..There is no room for the independent in today’s world. That is why Sanders & Warren have no chance at beating Trump. They are too far left for the average American. Klobuchar also has no chance due to the extremist element who rule the Democrat Party. She might sneak in as a vice-president candidate. I vote the person not the party and none of these wannabes interest me in the slightest.
    But please don’t bring up such a minor item as what she did or did not do in 2011. Not relevant today.

  13. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 10/28/2019 - 10:59 pm.

    The entrenched Democrats are pushing this narrative that only a “moderate” can win.

    Note that the Republicans don’t run “moderates.” Is Trump a moderate? Is Pence a moderate? Is Mitch McConnell a moderate? Is any current Republican in Congress moderate?

    There are hardly any moderate Republicans left, in fact, and there haven’t been for a long time. It feels as if they’re all engaged in a full-time effort to get the Democrats to become Reagan Republicans and to call the Neo-New Deal Democrats “too far left.”

    If you look at the editorial pages of the New York Times, their Republican columnists, Bret Stephens and Ross Douthat, along with occasional guest columnists, seem to write about little else. Why aren’t they working within their own party to find that perfect moderate candidate?

    Americans like to think of themselves as “moderates.” After all, “moderation” is supposed to be virtue, so if politically disengaged people are asked where they stand on the political spectrum, they are likely to say “moderate,” because that sounds all mature and respectable. But ask them about specific issues, and you usually find a mixed bag of attitudes, if indeed, they have an opinion at all.

    My beef with Klobuchar is not that she’s “moderate,” since that is really a meaningless term, and while I was happy that my gay and lesbian friends could get married, it wasn’t a personally relevant issue. No, her problem is that she is afraid to take a strong stand on anything of vital importance.

    Safe pool drains? No texting while driving? Guardians shouldn’t swindle their vulnerable charges? She’s all for these no-brainer, commonsense ideas. But ask her about, say, the Iraq War or climate change or medical care or any other major issues, and you’ll get equivocation and double talk.

    For the past forty years, this country has been pushed farther and farther right by a combination of aggressive Republicans and spineless (or bought-out) Democrats who are still coasting on the achievements of the 1930s through the 1960s.

    Those of us who are essentially New Deal Democrats at heart and look to social safety nets like those in Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand as goals for a Second New Deal are ignored and told to sit down and shut up because “we’ll scare the moderates,” but oh, do the Establishment Democrats ever want our money, our phone room time, and our door knocking at election time, because they know that their precious “moderates” can’t be bothered.

    When Trump joined the crowd of Republican candidates, the Republican Establishment was at first appalled and pushed candidates like Cruz and Rubio, but when they saw that Trump was attracting much more enthusiastic crowds than any of their preferred candidates, they ran with him. He had a con man’s instinct for what the audience wanted to hear, and sure wasn’t moderate. The fact that he ended up not doing most of what he promised was irrelevant at the time. He spoke to people’s frustrations and claimed to offer an alternative to the status quo.

    Instead of saying, “Who will appeal to the moderates?” or “Whose turn is it to run?” the Democrats should be asking themselves, “Which candidates are attracting the biggest crowds? Which ones have the most enthusiastic volunteers? Which ones offer a vision for a better future?”

    Hillary Clinton was convinced that she could win on the votes of Republican women, and I suspect that’s what led her to tone down some of the policy suggestions that had proved popular with Bernie Sanders’ supporters.

    Yeah, that worked, didn’t it? Republican women went almost entirely for Trump, and Clinton’s wins in the primaries in the South were in states that were never going to go Democratic anyway.

    The Democrats need to go after the real prize, the people who don’t vote now. The conventional wisdom is that non-voters don’t vote because they are ignorant and/or apathetic. Perhaps some are, but I have met non-voters whose experience has been that nothing ever improves, no matter whom they vote for.

    I think Amy Klobuchar would make a great Attorney General, but I can’t see her inspiring non-voters.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/29/2019 - 08:35 am.

      Well, Karen… when a “moderate” Democrat has won 1 out of the last 6 presidencies you can’t argue with their track record can you? Obviously these people are political geniuses who know an “electable” candidate when they see one.

      Personally, I’m kind of having fun watching these “centrists/moderates” melt down in the face of socio-political reality. The display of frustrated privilege and entitlement is refreshing and encouraging. Their candidates are gaining no traction and their savior Biden is a bust.

      As for Klobuchar, there’s not much point in even discussing her campaign. The “perfect” candidate is barely getting 3%, even among Democrats. Whatever, let them “celebrate” their candidate as she manages to meet minimum requirements.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 10/30/2019 - 04:07 pm.

        One out of 6? All of the Democrats who have won since FDR were moderates. Obama certainly was – Sanders wanted to primary him in 2012.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/31/2019 - 11:05 am.

          Pat, dude, please don’t make anyone give you a history lesson. Kennedy didn’t run as a moderate in our current sense of the term, Johnson and Truman only ran once and Truman’s War on Poverty, Jim Crow, and support for Medicare weren’t exactly a “moderate” programs, that leaves us with single term Carter. You can add 7 more presidencies to the count if you want, but you’re going to get two more “moderates” out of the deal. 4 out of 13 doesn’t make you an “electability” wizard.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/31/2019 - 11:16 am.

          Furthermore, the contemporary concept of “moderate” in American politics is radically different in post 1970’s era than it had been in the post FDR pre Jimmy Carter era. The concept of “moderate” or “centrist” that emerged in the late 70’s and mid 80’s was a product of neo-liberal “New Democrats” who took control of the Party. This is why Clinton ended up declaring that he was a Eisenhower Republican… THAT was the new Democratic “moderate”. The Democratic Leadership Council was child of post 60’s conservative “liberals”, it wasn’t a feature of the post FDR political landscape.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/29/2019 - 08:46 am.

      “Unable to deal with the declining appeal of centrism in their party, moneyed Democrats are fantasizing about imaginary presidential candidates.”

      Interesting perspective from The Nation: “Anybody But Bernie… or Warren” They don’t seem to think Klobuchar is an option.

  14. Submitted by David Rhoades on 10/29/2019 - 01:53 am.

    I’m starting to like the idea of Amy Klobuchar as President of the united States. I’ve read her positions on the major issues facing this country and basically agree with all of them. I like the things that she says she will do in her first 100 days in office too. Am I right to like her?
    Dave from California

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/29/2019 - 03:55 pm.

      I like her, too. You are not wrong. Nor are the people who like other candidates better wrong. What’s wrong is the purity test, plain and simple. Republicans have a test–is there an R behind their name? That’s it. They vote, they always vote, and they clearly aren’t bothered by a little lack of morality so long as the candidate says what they want to hear. So, they love that we have purity tests. They will always win because we can’t let go of imperfection.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/30/2019 - 08:36 am.

        Yes, the “purity” complaint. Condescending to anyone who doesn’t want to vote for the “centrist” candidate by complaining about the “purity” principle is a facile observation.

        We’re all adults here, the desire to vote for a popular candidate with a compelling agenda and a desire to run an effective government that recognizes and solves problems isn’t a search for “purity”.

        The REAL purity people here are the “centrist” who insist that anyone promoting an agenda outside the incredibly narrow confines of a status quo maintenance program is “un-electable”. When you’re rejecting every candidate except the one who’s nearly dead last in fundraising and barely managing to stay in the debates… YOU’RE the one with the purity principle.

        Listen: No one is looking for a “perfect” candidate, we’re just looking for a candidate we want to vote for and a better future for our Nation and communities. That’s not a “purity” test… it called “democracy”.

        • Submitted by Mary Gustafson on 11/01/2019 - 11:12 am.

          I agree that arguing about whether an article is a “purity test” or not is somewhat information but probably not very effective either way. What I’m concerned about, very simply, is that Warren and/or Bernie (both of whom I like) are not going to win in the States that the electoral college requires them to win. If they can win, great, put one of them on the ballot. But if medicare-for-all (which I sort of support because I support a national health system but maybe not the B & W exact plans) means that more people come out to vote Republican in those critical electoral college states, I’m going to be extremely sad.

          Remember, HRC lost because of the electoral college, period.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/01/2019 - 12:12 pm.

            HRC lost because she didn’t get enough votes despite getting 3 million more than Trump. That contest was far closer than it would have been had HRC been a popular and trusted candidate with a clear message that connected with and motivated voters.

            The 2016 election was basically an unpopularity contest that Clinton ended up winning. That was a bizarre election contest between historically unpopular candidates that most Americans didn’t want to vote for. The fact that neither HRC or her Party could figure out how to deal with Trump only compounded their obstacles.

            The magnitude of the 2016 failure is so great that it kind of act like a black hole upon the American political landscape. It’s important to remember that Clinton was an historically awful candidate with multiple handicaps, and no agenda other than simply being HRC in the White House.

            Thus far it looks Joe Biden is the only candidate that approaches HRC’s level of campaign incompetence and lack of agenda or message. While Klobuchar also lacks an agenda or message beyond being from Minnesota (“moderate/centrists” never have much of an agenda anyways) she doesn’t have the baggage that HRC brought to the table. The problem is: like HRC there appear to be a majority of voters who don’t want to vote for Biden or Klobuchar.

            Biden comes in 4th with 17% behind Warren, Buttigieg, and Sanders in the last NYT’s Iowa poll. klobuchar comes in with 4%. That means that 80% of the Iowa voters are looking for someone else to vote for.

            What’s weird about centrists who wring their hands about electability is they assume the least popular candidates are the ones everyone want’s to vote for? They “worry” that the most popular candidates with the highest approval ratings and compelling agendas will “lose” votes somehow? This is how they handed the White House to Donald Trump and lost 5 out of the last 6 presidential elections.

            • Submitted by Mary Gustafson on 11/01/2019 - 01:00 pm.

              Well, Paul, at least I gave you a chance for a very long post. We’ll have to agree to disagree. I don’t think Warren or Sanders will have what it takes to win the electoral college. (I don’t think Klobuchar does either and that is really the focus of this article so I digressed in my other post.)

  15. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/29/2019 - 08:26 am.

    Centrists Democrats had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the marriage amendment fight. For years they warned that robust attempts to assert GLBT rights would backfire and over-reach. When Republicans put the measure on the ballot Democrats didn’t want to touch it with a ten foot pole and when they did come on board it’s was a minimal effort. Other groups did the heavy lifting and much to centrists surprise they defeated the amendment.

    Yes, I remember Democrats claiming victory AFTER the fact at the time, but that was a facile claim then, and it’s just as facile now.

    Klobuchar sat it out, like any good champion of the status quo will always do.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/29/2019 - 03:58 pm.

      And you know what? We reacted the the Republicans overreach. It backfired on the Republicans because the issue was ripe. I honestly believe that, as wrong as it is, Minnesotans would not have been ready to deal with the issue even 2 years earlier. If there had been a push before the Republicans tried to put it in the MN constitution without any provocation, we would have ended up with a constitutional amendment that would have put freedom to marry back at least another decade. Instead, we led the country in many ways–we were the FIRST state to vote down such an amendment, and it’s not because we’re the most liberal state that looked at it.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/29/2019 - 07:01 pm.

        Yes we stood up, and the timing was right, and sentiment changes quickly. But the fact remains that “centrist/moderate” DFLer’s were going to stand down and not take those amendments on… the fight was led and initiated by progressives and liberals.

        • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 11/04/2019 - 06:24 pm.

          Yes. Liberals and progressives started and led the charge to support gay marriage. But, you know what, a bunch of them failed to show up to the polls because some of those “liberals and progressives” were more concerned with being catered to than preventing an unmitigated disaster. So, as a liberal progressive (though not liberal enough for some), I’m going to take the pragmatic view that, at this point, winning is the goal and if that means a moderate, get over it.

  16. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/29/2019 - 09:18 am.

    Look: The terms: “Centrism” and “Incrementalism” don’t describe any REAL location on the political landscape or policy alternatives. Far from occupying the neutral ground they pretend to inhabit “Centrism/Incrementalism” is actually an extreme ideology that rejects anything outside an extremely narrow range of consideration.

    “Centrist” ask us to pretend that their limited imaginations and comfort zones dictate our reality despite decades of failure. We’re supposed to dismiss common sense policy proposals simply because “centrists” can’t imagine them, and for decades “centrists” enjoyed that privilege and power. Those days may be coming to end and like anyone who’s losing privilege and power “centrists” are throwing a fit. Whatever.

    The problem with “minimum” requirement candidates with little or no agenda or message beyond “vote for me and won’t try to do “too” much” is that when they get elected… they end up doing too little. When you aim low, you end up shooting low.

    After decades of not doing “too” much American voters are demanding competent policies that actually work and deliver progress rather than perpetual stalemate and crises. This is why candidates that make big promises control the polls. You have to remember Biden is only getting 20%-23% of the votes right now, and he and his campaign are slipping.

    “Big promises yield big failures” will say “centrists” but again, this is the product of limited imaginations and comfort zones tied to the status quo. If we didn’t already have Civil Rights legislation, Social Security, and Unemployment Insurance, and Medicare/Medicaid, “centrists” would be against it. Klocuchar would be telling audiences to look under their chairs for the magic Social Security check that isn’t there, telling audiences that she’d love to wave a magic wand and deliver pipe dreams like Medicare to people but we live in a “real” world. Were it up to “centrists” the New Deal would never have gotten off FDR desk… too radical, to far “left”.

    Whatever. We’ll see what happens when people start voting.

  17. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 10/29/2019 - 09:40 am.

    Centrist Dems fancy themselves the adults in the room. But they can’t win the White House without a deep recession while a Republican is POTUS.

    Sad, really.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 10/29/2019 - 10:03 am.

      And the progressives can’t win the white house no matter what happens.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/29/2019 - 07:05 pm.

        “And the progressives can’t win the white house no matter what happens.”

        Says the guys who said Trump couldn’t win no matter happened.

        When Sanders or Warren emerge with the nomination they WILL go on to defeat Trump.

        • Submitted by Mary Gustafson on 11/01/2019 - 11:18 am.

          Only if they can win those critical electoral college states. You’re not going to get one more vote in the already blue states in the electoral college. If we could have only a popular vote, since we have no more slave states which the electoral college was meant to appease, then there is no question that we could have a serious debate about how much to change our society and all the things that Bernie and Warren want (as well as the Green New Deal).

          Are we there yet? If Democratic voters stay home because they don’t like the candidate that is picked in the primaries, caucuses, etc., because the candidate is not progress/liberal/whatever you want to call it, then we will have 4 more years of Trump and continued R control of the Senate. Then the Democratic controlled House will continue to not matter.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/01/2019 - 12:25 pm.

            Yes, and we know those voters stayed home the last time Democrats put a “moderate/centrist” on the ballot.

            Look, given the changes that the Party elite made after the 2016 fiasco it looks like the outcome of the Democratic primary season will far more representative and democratic that it was in 2016. Whoever gets the nomination will be a far more popular and electable candidate than the one the party elite selected in 2016.

            These people who keep thinking they know electable candidates when they see them are the ones who keep losing more elections than they win. Whatever.

            It’s kind of simple, decide who you want to vote for and vote. Don’t think you’re more clever than you are.

  18. Submitted by Chuck Repke on 10/29/2019 - 09:46 am.

    What a load of crap to even question Amy’s commitment to the issue.

    She was the top of the ticket. Without her support we go down in flames. The money dries up and that takes the power away from field work and GOTV. Anyone who was actually involved back then knows how lucky we were to have her there. By the end she is even taking resources AWAY from her campaign and GIVING them to the Vote NO campaign. You can not do any better than that.

    I love how the far lefties create these false flags to question someone like Amy. Its pure junk. Amy’s work on the issue was a portrait of courage and commitment.

    Let’s not forget Sen Paul Wellstone (still the champion of the left) voted FOR the Defense Of Marriage Act that is what being a coward looks like.

    Amy’s commitment shouldn’t be questioned.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/29/2019 - 12:56 pm.

      Dude, Klobuchar is almost dead last in fund raising and has spent 1.5 times more than she’s raised. No one is going “collapse” financially if she drops out but her campaign may collapse financially if she stays in.

      Her record on this is public, and it’s not impressive. Of course we can question her claims, and she needs to answer for her actions and inaction’s.

  19. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 10/29/2019 - 01:40 pm.

    Same sex marriage is a big accomplishment of the Minnesota DFL and its supporters in terms of advancing equal treatment under the law. Those who provided leadership deserve a lot of credit, but it was only because the attitudes of a large number of Minnesotans moved on the issue that is got passed legislatively, without court involvement. Faulting people who were brave enough to change their positions is no way to advance progressive ideas. This happens a lot easier as people start to understand that children are hurt by our prejudices.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/30/2019 - 08:57 am.

      No one is “faulting” those who changed their minds, but people had to change their minds don’t get to claim they led the charge and take credit for the initiative. Those who delayed and blocked an initiative BEFORE they changed their minds don’t get to claim they were the champions of the initiative.

      Look, a “no” vote was a “no” vote, and those who changed their minds deserve credit for putting us over the line, that’s great.

      But we’re not going to re-write history and put those who either opposed gay marriage or supported it the most tepidly UNTIL they changed their minds credit for being it’s biggest champions.

      If Klobuchar want’s to claim she supported gay marriage rights fine, but she has to do so honestly. Klobuchar has to put her support in it’s proper context and perspective, not exaggerate it for political gain.

  20. Submitted by JUDITH MONSON on 10/29/2019 - 04:56 pm.

    Am I just an over-the-hill 79-year-old lesbian, that this article seems to me so contorted, like a burned pretzel? As for Sullivan and Latz, isn’t there a point at which we say to ourselves, “get over it?” What’s the point of their grudge-match? Male entitlement? “I baked more brownies than you for all these queers.” “I suffered more,” etc. This is silly!

    Why can’t we all agree that none of us (at least in retrospect) is perfect, especially female politicians who eat their salad with a comb? Let’s talk about that some more, eh? Let’s celebrate sexism in politics, especially the subtleties! Let’s point out how many white males (that includes you, Gabe) in this article so clearly DID THE RIGHT THING! As my Grandma would say, “Lordy, Lordy!”

    I am proud of what all of you did who voted “NO” and worked your buns off to defeat this amendment. But I refuse to take part in regurgitating in detail how one politician came up short (if she did) in the eyes of however many.

    In summary. Seven years is a long time to hold onto anger, feel vengeful. It saps one’s strength. It can eat you up. I wish for all those who can’t move on, a more charitable heart. We have more important fish to fry, to get this very El Sicko Dude out of the White House. If you don’t count how many doors I will have knocked on in the next several months, I promise I won’t count yours (much less publish the findings).

    • Submitted by Beth-Ann Bloom on 10/30/2019 - 02:15 pm.

      I doubt that any of us quoted in this article thought very often about Senator Klobuchar’s actions in 2011 until we heard her on national television claim credit for marriage equality in Minnesota. This issue is not a broader one than a call for candidate truth-telling even for issues that others consider settled or trivial. WE have had too much experience with the caustic impact of untruths from DC to tolerate even minor ones from Democrats.

  21. Submitted by David Rhoades on 10/29/2019 - 06:36 pm.

    I’ve read through all of these comments, and I want to say that I think you Minnesotans are a scrappy bunch, but I like the way you (collectively) think. I read an article recently about some really good historical social thinking and progressive policies and politics in your State, which I also like because it represents social justice and true democracy to me. If I (a Californian) can like and possibly (I’m not positive yet) support a Minnesota Senator for President because I believe she comes from good stock and from a society that has good values and a history of progressivism, and believe she will carry those beliefs and values onto the national stage and fight for the common citizens in our American society, then perhaps all of you (her fellow Minnesotans and constituents) could throw your support behind her too?

    Please let me know if you think there is a more electable Democratic presidential candidate in the race that I should consider instead of Amy, and your reasons why (note: I do like Elizabeth Warren too). Thank you!

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/30/2019 - 08:16 am.

      I’m sure the Klobuchar campaign appreciates your comment.

      Any candidate that is more popular and gets more than 3% of the vote is more electable than Klobuchar. By the way, you should know that MN went for Sanders in 2016, and Clinton had the weakest MN turnout for a Democrat in decades.

      I doubt you’ll get your chance to vote for Klobuchar in the next presidential election. She might break out in Iowa but I doubt it. We’ll see. Even if Klobuchar makes a decent showing in Iowa, it’s just gets tougher after that, in many ways Iowa’s the most favorable state for her among the early states. If Klobuchar comes in any further back than second or third in Iowa she’s toast.

      The problem with “centrist/moderates” is they assume that they represent a majority that is as comfortable with the status quo as they are… Trump clearly demolished that assumption. The electorate is clearly ready to dump Trump, but they’re not ready to return to the status quo that produced decades of failure, this is why Biden is only capturing 23% in the poles.

  22. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/30/2019 - 08:22 am.

    Just one last comment about trying to capture or turn Trump voters; “centrist/moderates” keep trying to declare that only moderates can peel away Trump voters. Setting aside the fact that chasing those votes in the first place is a fatuous strategy, we actually know that Sanders is actually the guy most likely to get those votes. In the 2016 election we know that a significant number of Trump voters who rejected the “centrist/moderate” candidate would have voted for Sanders if he’d been on the ballot. Sanders would have defeated Trump for precisely that reason. If you were looking for someone to peel away Trump voters Sanders’s would be your guy, not a “centrist/moderate” like Klobuchar.

  23. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 10/30/2019 - 12:16 pm.

    There are a couple of claims one often hears from “moderate” candidates.

    1. “I’m pro-business and for a strong defense.” This claim is especially common among those who running in Republican-held areas. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. But what does it even mean? “Pro-business” can mean “I want to create a climate in which small businesses will flourish” or it can mean “I want to make this country even more of an oligarchy than it already is.” Being for “a strong defense” SHOULD mean, “I’m going to go after the waste and fraud and find out what happened to those missing trillions” but it is more likely to mean, “I’m going to write more blank checks to the best-funded military establishment in the world that can’t even provide for the basic needs of its enlisted personnel.”

    2. “I’m not crazy like the other Democrats.” This was Claire McCaskill’s line in Missouri. She lost, as you will remember. Saying, “I hang out with a bunch of people I don’t like, but I’m different from them” is an odd strategy, aside from the fact that she was agreeing with the AM radio talkers’ contentions that the Democrats are “the loony left.”

    3. “I’m socially liberal and fiscally conservative.” That sounds all grown up and responsible. You know, you don’t care about people’s private lives, but you don’t like the way the federal government spends your tax money. Well, here’s something from the solidly Republican “National Review.” It’s mostly about Howard Schultz’s “blink and you missed it” candidacy, but it contains some interesting figures.

    The “socially liberal but fiscally conservative ” cohort is a single-digit segment of the population, 3.8%, according to the article, and confined mostly to the wealthy. The opposite, “socially conservative but fiscally liberal” is at 28.9%, larger even than full-blown conservatives, 22%.

    What does this say for the Democrats? I’d advise them to background social issues if they are campaigning in Republican-leaning areas. This doesn’t mean giving up reproductive or GLBT rights or anti-racism (unless if locally relevant, as it is in parts of Greater Minnesota), but not making them the centerpiece of the campaign. Instead, highlight economic issues, like health care, the survival of family farms, infrastructure (including rural broadband), and others with immediate relevance to the voters.

    Of course, someone will speak up about “perversion” or “killing babies” or some other such AM radio talk, but the answer to the “perversion” question is “How is forbidding a loving couple from legalizing their relationship going to help you make it to the end of the month on what you earn?”

    The answer to “killing babies” is “What are you doing to work against the reasons that women have abortions?” (Lengthy list follows.)

    The key is to maintain control of the conversation.

    But yeah, moderates, go ahead trying to placate the top 5% of the population with your platitudes and ignoring the needs of the majority. I’m sure it will work THIS time.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/30/2019 - 08:03 pm.

      Good points, though I disagree with the last. Why even engage in those issues? You won’t convince the zealots, and at best you leave yourself open to the claim that you’re just saying what folks want to hear. Just announce your position, and when challenged, simply state that yes, I’m pro-choice, yes, I’m whatever the hot button topic. If those are the only issues that concern you, I’m not your candidate, however if, (whichever of the things you stated) concern you, here’s what I’ll do…

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/31/2019 - 08:26 am.

      There’s one more claim that “centrist/moderates” like to make, specially when they run for office: They like to claim that they’re actually “progressives”, yet they’ll tell you that progressives can’t win elections.

  24. Submitted by Jim Marshal on 10/31/2019 - 11:49 am.

    “Klobuchar once requested a $500,000 earmark for Minnesota Teen Challenge, an anti-LGBT ministry that claims that Halloween, Harry Potter, and Pokémon are gateways to drug addiction (via Satanism).” -The Intercept


    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 11/01/2019 - 01:54 pm.

      Wow….I’d give this more thought if the author that wrote the piece did. Government grants money to private and (gasp!) even religious organizations to do good work in local settings. The earmark was for drug prevention programs. Also, sometimes you can’t tell that an organization isn’t squeaky clean, especially when they decide to jump the shark more than a full year after you vet them. After all, I once happily ate at Chik Fil A (more than once, actually) before I found out their bigoted agenda. Oops. I suppose I’m now blacklisted as a potential liberal candidate for anything because I wasn’t either perfect or clairvoyant.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/01/2019 - 03:44 pm.

        “to do good work in local settings. The earmark was for drug prevention programs.”

        TI’s the “good work” part that becomes problematic here. There’s no shortage of drug prevention programs and $500k is a lot of money to move towards a Pentecostal denomination that attacks the GLTBQ community. There were plenty of drug prevention programs that didn’t associate drug addiction with homosexuality at the time. This group was part of the Assemblies of God church, nobody jumped any sharks this church is well known for it’s positions. At any rate, these kinds of prevention programs that mix prevention with proselytizing are the least effective prevention programs we have, they might be good works (if you set aside the whole church and State issue) if they worked.

        Look, it none of my business by Kobuchar supporters aren’t doing her any favors when they try marginalize legitimate LBGTQ concerns or characterize those who raise them as immature “purest”. You guys are basically confirming the premise of the article you’re trying to refute.

        We get it, you don’t care… good for you.

        No one is telling anyone how seriously they have to take information like this, but patronizing those who might take it more seriously than you do will probably keep Klobuchar off the ballot.

  25. Submitted by Bernard Friel on 11/03/2019 - 07:29 pm.

    Amy Klobuchar was correctly characterized as the “Senator of small things” and it might be added legislatively supportive of “God, green grass, and motherhood” about which few would disagree. Nor does she have a stellar environmental record, at onetime being the only Democrat elected to Federal office from Minnesota who was NOT a sponsor of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. And she has yet to express any position on the dangers feared by proposed copper-nickel mining in Minnesota to the Great Lakes and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Her “Minnesota Nice” is just “Klobuchar careful” not to take a position that might be unpopular.

  26. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 11/04/2019 - 04:54 pm.

    What the “nobody here but us moderates” faction of the Democratic Party forgets is that most people belong to neither party. Even if everyone who has ever voted Democratic in their entire life turns up at the polls, that’s not enough to win.

    The types of people who write columns for the New York Times or pontificate on PBS are part of the 1%. Whether they identify as Republicans or Democrats they are not hurting, and while they don’t like Trump and think he’s dangerous and crude, they love those tax cuts and worry that President Sanders or President Warren might cause the stock market to drop or their taxes go up a couple of percentage points.

    They want to vote Democratic, but not so much that they’d give up even a quarter-inch of their privilege. They’re liberal Republicans at heart, but there is no more room for them in their former party, so they want to remake the Democratic Party.

    With rare exceptions, they do not know anyone who has trouble making it to the end of the month on their earnings, anyone who avoids going to the doctor or dentist for fear of the expense, or anyone who has been long-term unemployed or homeless. They don’t know anyone who lives in a neighborhood with no public transit and therefore lives in fear of their car breaking down. They don’t know anyone whose tap water is polluted or who lives next to a pollution-spouting factory. They don’t know anyone who has become addicted to opioids because it’s cheaper than getting their excruciating chronic pain properly treated. They don’t know anyone whose teenager has joined a gang. They don’t know any bright and talented young person who might make a great doctor or engineer but gives up on the very idea of going to college or is forced to drop out for financial reasons. They may know about these things in the abstract, but none of these phenomena touch them personally.

    There’s a meme circulating that says, “White privilege isn’t about what has happened to you. It’s about what has not happened to you.”

    You can say the same for affluent privilege. Affluent privilege puts you at a safe distance from many of the problems that ordinary Americans face. You can pretend that everyone is doing just fine, simply because everyone you associate with is doing just fine.

    For the affluent, voting for someone they consider “safe,” that is, someone like Biden or Klobuchar, neither of whom is likely to rock the yachts, seems like the pragmatic, adult thing to do. Such a move gets rid of that embarrassing buffoon in the White House but don’t change the system that supports their privileges.

    The “moderation at all costs” crowd forgets two things:

    1. Most people in the U.S. are not loyal to any party, and they mostly consider their lack of affiliation to be a virtue. They may lean one way or another, but calls to “vote blue, no matter who” will bore or alienate them. If you talk to such people, you will find that they are a mixed bag of positions on the issues.

    Railing at former Obama voters who stayed home in 2016 is useless, because it is not the job of the unaffiliated voters to be loyal to a party that mostly ignores them. It’s the job of the party to persuade the unaffiliated voters that it would be to their advantage to vote Democratic.

    2. Voters want candidates who understand or at least appear to understand them. After two terms of Obama, those who were struggling or currently OK but afraid of losing their financial footing, had seen little change in their status. Hillary Clinton’s vague platitudes and somewhat distant personality promised more of the same.

    On the other hand, Trump, like the skillful con man that he is, read his audience’s mood and adjusted his campaign accordingly. The fact that he had no intention of helping ordinary people was irrelevant during the campaign: he put on an angry persona that gave the illusion of being angry on ordinary Americans’ behalf. He was not moderate. In fact, it’s been a long time since the U.S. has seen a candidate who was more immoderate on the campaign trail.

    The swing voters by definition have no party loyalty. If the Democrats want to win them over, lukewarm statements that amount to “I’m not as bad as Trump” or “I mostly agree with the Republicans, but I have a cuter family” will not do the trick. Rather, they will come out for someone who says, “I see your reality, and here’s what we can start doing to improve your lives.”

  27. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 11/07/2019 - 10:37 am.

    Amy will always suffer from Willy Loman-itis. She is liked but she isn’t well-liked.

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