It’s nice to sit on the sidelines and observe the great political competitions as they play out. People often criticize those of us on the sidelines and claim that we’re not pulling our weight. But we see things from our vantage point that those playing the games do not. One example is the apparent inability of those playing for the Minnesota Republican Party (MNGOP) to see how ineffective their strategies are.
The MNGOP is currently putting its weight behind taking Al Franken’s seat. Considering Franken’s political track record this competition should be in the bag. Franken’s track record of supporting draconian intellectual property and Internet censorship laws and defending the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance apparatus should be enough ammunition to get young politicos fired up against him. At that point the MNGOP would only need to run a candidate who could stop himself from saying stupid shit in public, advocated Internet freedom, and demanded the abolition of the NSA to achieve victory.
But anybody with knowledge of Minnesota politics knows that the MNGOP can’t bring itself to use winning strategies. Instead one of the leading candidates for the MNGOP senate candidacy has decided to play the Democrat Party’s war on women strategy:
In a petition published on her Facebook page yesterday, Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Julianne Ortman says a recently released secret recording of Al Franken joking around in an Arizona driveway shows he “still doesn’t take women seriously.”
Here is the video in question:
Pro tip: never attempt to use your opponent’s strategy against them unless you actually understand it. The war on women strategy only works when the target has said something in a serious manner that makes him look misogynistic. It’s a strategy that works wonderfully against Republican candidates because they have a habit of saying very stupid shit in public. But Franken has never really said anything too misogynistic so using the strategy against him is foolish. In fact the video, which makes it obvious that Franken was trying to be comical, does more to humanize him than make him look misogynistic.
But the failboat doesn’t only dock at that harbor. Ortman also demonstrates that she’s not opposed to the NSA’s surveillance apparatus:
The FISA Court first was authorized in 1979 and operates in secret and ex parte (only the government gets to present its case). It makes sense that we don’t want our foreign enemies to know how we are gathering information to protect ourselves. However, I am deeply concerned that the court has migrated to granting orders authorizing the wholesale gathering of information about presumably innocent private citizens and residents of the United States under the guise of intelligence gathering against unnamed foreign threats. This is where there must be more transparency. To begin with, we should insist that the FISA Court’s analysis and legal justifications be reviewed and discussed publicly by policymakers, with the right of the general public to be heard and considered.
Justifying secret courts is something only a petty authoritarian would do. So that justification was the first mistake. The second mistake was asking for more transparency instead of complete abolition of the secret court. She could have said that the secret courts made sense at the time but now their time has passed and saved herself from looking like a complete authoritarian. But she chose to justify the establishment of the secret courts and then argue that they are still necessary but a little additional oversight would be nice. Franken’s campaign won’t be able to argue against secret courts due to its candidate support of the NSA surveillance apparatus. What it will be able to do is point out that Ortman also supports the NSA surveillance apparatus and render the issue irrelevant for the race.
To quote my friend, “This is why the GOP can’t have nice things.” The party is flailing in a desperate search for a life preserver. Franken’s seat would be pretty easy to snatch if the MNGOP would use an effective strategy. Instead it’s marketing a candidate who is little more than Fraken lite. I’m not aware of any races where an incumbent was removed from office by a candidate advertising him or herself as a lite version of the incumbent.
What’s even more pathetic is that the MNGOP will likely pull the same stupidity in the governor race. Mark Dayton has burned a lot of bridges and his seat could easily be taken but the MNGOP will likely run another lackluster candidate and use absolutely idiotic campaign strategies to ensure its defeat.
This is one hell of a game to observe but I sure am glad that I’m not playing it.