Thursday, November 10, 2005


Kelly In General, America In Particular

Earlier today, I discussed the fact that the ouster of Randy Kelly as Mayor of Saint Paul wasn't solely based on his backing Bush in 2004. The StarTribune's Lori Sturdevant has a column in today's Strib that runs along similar lines. Short versions of her main points: -- Randy Kelly won office by only 403 votes in the first place back in 2001. It's not as if the guy was wildly popular before he backed Bush. (Oh, and he was a moron for trying this in a staunchly Democratic town. -- "If, in endorsing Bush, Kelly was trying to position himself as an independent-minded centrist, one who rejects partisanship and stands on some broad political middle ground, he had to notice something these past months: That patch of ground is eroding, fast." This leads into her broader point: -- The fence-sitters are off the fence -- and into the camp of the Democrats, and are willing to use Democratic methods to fix problems: Raising taxes, beefing up social programs instead of cutting them, etc. (After he got his ass whupped by Coleman in the primary, Kelly resorted to the highly Republican method of being vocally anti-tax. The voters' responded by increasing Coleman's margin of victory from 25 percent in the primary to 38 percent in the general election. Oooops.) This attitude change is reflected nationwide, as shown by the wins of Democrats across the country this week. -- Kelly was too busy feuding with folks in City Hall to get much of anything done. Chris Coleman, by contrast, has an open and inclusive style of getting things done. One of the StarTribune's editorials today echoed these themes:

...the broadest and most encouraging theme seems to be that Americans embraced responsible government and leaders who behave like grownups. In California, voters rejected Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's simplistic promise of reform by proposition. In New Jersey, which chose Democrat Jon Corzine for governor, voters rebuked the politics of personal smear. In Virginia's race for governor, voters chose a Democrat who had been brave enough to support a tax increase when he saw it was essential to the state budget. And in New York City, voters reelected Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican who raised taxes, cut crime, improved the schools and ran his city with executive efficiency. [...] Perhaps the biggest loser on Tuesday was not any one politician, but Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, who has built a political movement around the proposition that you don't need government and you shouldn't have to pay for it. That notion doesn't seem so convincing after a year when the government visibly failed to respond effectively to Hurricane Katrina, when U.S. troops died in Iraq for lack of adequate armor, when schools laid off thousands of teachers and when the U.S. Treasury borrowed hundreds of billions of dollars from China because Congress won't ask Americans to pay for the public services they receive.
Americans are waking up, it seems.

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