The DFL Graylist

Sandy Pappas – In June 1999, Sandy Pappas was on Almanac defending Sara Jane Olson (Kathleen Soliah). Olson had been a fugitive on the run from the FBI accused of attempting to kill police officers with pipe bombs a couple decades earlier. Pappas felt that Olson had rehabilitated herself, after all, she was a wonderful actress, mother, and Pappas even mentioned a gourmet cook. Absurd! Olson is a criminal! Blacklist!

Skip Humphrey – I just didn’t trust him. I mentioned I can hold a grudge right? Did I tell you it can be a baseless grudge?

Then there is Mark Dayton. In 1998, Mark Dayton ran for governor. He did not do very well in the DFL primary, against fellow blacklister Skip Humphrey. At the time, Dayton was not on the blacklist. Then in 2000, there seemed to be a lack of recognizable candidates to run against Rod Grams for Senate, so at the last minute, Dayton threw his hat in the ring. Outspending his opponents, he went on to win the primary and the senate election. I felt like he just wanted to be elected, and was a bit of an opportunist. I didn’t like it. He supported great things, but didn’t seem to lead on anything, although he was overshadowed by Paul Wellstone. Then in 2004, he became “crazy.” Fearing a terrorist attack, he closed his capitol office. It wasn’t that he closed his office, but he had such a hard time communicating his reasons in a reasonable way. I think his reasons were legitimate, but his inability to communicate, allowing the whole “crazy” episode to get out of hand convinced me he was not suited to office.

So why am I taking him off the list? There are a couple reasons. The first being a pragmatic reason. Although I like Paul Thissen, the odds on favorites based on name and money are Dayton and Entenza. If it came down to Dayton and Entenza, I would lean toward Dayton fairly heavily. I think John Marty and Steve Kelley have proven they cannot win, so I can’t imagine DFLers giving them another chance. I think Bakk, Thissen and Gaertner just don’t have the statewide recognition to compete with Dayton and Entenza, or Marty and Kelley for that matter. Secondly, I think Mark Dayton really does care. There are plenty of candidates who are candidates for personal reasons, maybe I should say egotistical reasons. I don’t think that is the case with Dayton. I’m sure he does have a certain personality that is required to want this sort of job, but I don’t think he makes decisions or acts on issues for prestige or to get re-elected. He is casual, fishes, wears wrinkly pants sometimes, no tie, he is really down to earth. The more I read from and about the candidates, the more I like him. It does bother me a little that he isn’t a great communicator, but I think I can live with that. I am not saying he can beat Pawlenty, or even Laura Brod, but I didn’t think he could beat Rod Grams either. Of the candidates in so far, he is near the top of my list.

Maybe I should call it a graylist…

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3 thoughts on “The DFL Graylist”

  1. Great post Stephen, love the analysis!

    Too bad I can’t agree with you more on policy…but as one Republican once said, it seems easier for Republicans to accept a conservationist than for Democrats to accept a pro-lifer.

    Boy is it tough to stick with today’s Republicans though…

  2. It has always been funny, or maybe it is annoying, that a person can agree with a candidate on 99 out of a 100 issues, but if that one issue they don’t agree with is pro-choice or pro-life, they dismiss the candidate. So you are right, but that comment you quoted is rhetoric. It is not apples and apples, it is apples and oranges. Environmentalism and abortion are not equal issues. It is just as hard for the Republicans to accept a pro-choicer as it is for the Democrats to accept a pro-lifer.

    In the Minnesota 2008 election, the only party to nominate a congressional candidate that went against the party platform of pro-life or pro-choice was the Democratic endorsement of El Tinklenberg. That seems to counter your Republican comment. Additionally the Republicans nationwide have been very active in campaigning against their own elected members who “aren’t Republican enough,” including right here in my own local district 36B a couple elections ago. That is the whole reason Arlen Specter just defected.

  3. I don’t think either party is more accepting of a candidate than the other on the issue of abortion. There are examples in both parties, but they are always the exception to the rule.

    And let’s be serious, Tinklenberg wasn’t a serious candidate any more than Keith Ellison’s opponents will ever be serious candidates. Bachmann’s election showed that as long as you’re in a gerrymandered district that overwhelmingly favors your party, you’re good to go for life.

    Oh, and you’re absolutely right, conservationism and abortion are not equal issues. One is life and death and to a certain degree, it deserves the greater attention it is given. I still find it maddening, especially considering that the law never really changes regardless of the candidates’ positions…

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