Wednesday, November 13, 2002

never let it be said we are not open to all views

we are quite unsure why we received the following email, but we share it with you:

"fear, false accusations, and slanted polling data have always seemed to work for minnesota's left - but not this november. institute chairman bruce sanborn writes on the local victory. we invite you to link to the piece at: http://www.claremont.org/writings/021112sanborn.html. please let us know if you do. --kevin"

well, we took a look at mr. sanborn's piece. we were in the middle of writing a query letter to kevin - wondering if kevin has even bothered to ever read our blog. we then decided to go ahead and post the link, and share our thoughts about mr. sanborn's writing with everyone.

in the beginning of his essay, mr. sanborn writes,

"woebegone in minnesota? in their one and only debate, on the day before tuesday's election, walter mondale addressed norm coleman as 'norman.' that didn't work. on the next day the voters made norm senator-elect coleman."

we wonder exactly how calling mr. coleman "norman" was supposed to "work." mr. sanborn implies that it was some sort of dirty democratic trick to fool the minnesotan voters, but we can't think how. either it was supposed to make people hate mr. coleman for having a name resembling that of the serial-killer proprietor of the bates motel, or just confuse everyone at the polls ("hey, i can't vote for this guy 'norm coleman!' i want to vote for norman coleman! damn! i guess i'll have to vote for mondale!")

mr. sanborn implies that mr. mondale's incorrect salutation "didn't work," as if it was a "lie, false accusation, and false polling data" that was mentioned in the subheading of the link. yet he failed to address the myriad of conservative pundits on television in the days before the election implying that walter mondale was too old to do the job. we'd call it a wash, ourselves.

mr. sanborn continues:

"at that point, minnesota's democrat 'humorist,' garrison keillor, made an ammo run to t.s. eliot, and as coleman walked away with his new title, keillor squeezed off a burst, attacking coleman as a soulless, passionless, joyless, slick, glib, hollow man."

sorry, but the use of mr. keillor as a voice for the left holds no water with those of us at skippy, as it is our opinion that mr. keillor stole his whole act from jean shepherd, who did it first, and better. so we will not attempt to defend mr. keillor's words or deeds.

mr. sanborn, again:

"in the voting booth, minnesotans defied years of voting the liberal-progressive line. they declined to elect walter mondale, long-time keeper of the progressive flame — acolyte of hubert humphrey, vice president under jimmy carter, and janissary for bill clinton. minnesotans voted for coleman both because they liked bush's positions and liked coleman's presentation of them in the final week."

ok, aside from thinking that 'janissary' was some sort of monk who worshipped the middle brady girl, we were a little surprised, but not too surprised, at mr. sanborn's claim that minnesotans 'defied' years of yada yada and voted for coleman because of yada yada. what is true is that 50% of the minnesotans who voted, voted for coleman, as opposed to 47% for mondale. so, 3% more folks tipped the scales. true enough, in elections, you only need one vote more than your opponent to win (witness the 4-3 supreme court victory of mr. bush in 2000). but it's a bit disengenous to imply that all minnesotans threw out years of progressive thought. but we say we aren't too surprised at mr. sanborn's approach, because that seems to be how republicans think these days: a plurality is the same as a mandate. screw the other 49.999999% of the people, we win, you guys are losers, nyah nyah ne nyah nyah!

but wait, there's more! mr. sanborn then gets down to it: "bush clearly is attractive to many americans [ed. note: so is cock fighting] even though liberal-progressive intellectuals spent a lot of time trying to paint president bush as being way dumb." we admit that's true. the same way conservatives spent a lot of time trying to paint bill clinton as horny.

mr. sanborn: "for instance, under the heading 'the moron in chief,' an email making the rounds this week [ed. note: never heard of this email] quotes bush saying, 'i am a pit bull on the pant-leg of opportunity.' [another ed. note: never heard this quote either] i myself would not deny that i'm dumb and would admit i love that line. it sounds like something p.g. wodehouse might have written (maybe the "w" in george w. bush stands for wodehouse). "

we don't think so. but if you sincerely think bertie wooster would ever ask jeeves "is our children learning?" we'll give that one to you. personally, most of the staff at skippy think the w is an inverted m, standing for mrs. malaprop.

but now, our favorite bit by mr. sanborn: "on the campaign trail this fall in minnesota, democrat-progressive alec baldwin of hollywood explained 'what an american really is.' according to baldwin, it's someone who believes the government should 'do the most for the most it can' — someone, then, who favors unlimited government."

first of all, thanks for specifying which alec baldwin you're talking about, mr. sanborn! we wouldn't want to get him confused with the alec baldwin of seattle, or the alec baldwin of natches, or colorado springs, or battle creek! but mainly, mr. sanborn incorrectly interprets what mr. baldwin (the hollywood one, not the one of augusta or montpelier) is saying.

the words 'do the most for the most it can' already implies limits. an unlimited government would be one that does everything for everyone all the time. so, mr. sanborn, you are putting words in mr. baldwin's mouth (the hollywood mouth, not the fargo or boca raton mouth).

we do concede mr. sanborn's point that the turnout was the highest in minnesota's off-year election history. and the plurarity won by the republican party does indicate that a plurality of people who voted did not want walter mondale. we don't think it's such a landslide, however. we could be wrong. next time we see alec baldwin (the one in hollywood), we'll ask him.

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