Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Free the Fourth!

Teresa Collett, St. Thomas professor and GOP endorsed candidate for Congress in CD4, appeared on NARN last week and the podcast is now available here. She's an impressive candidate and has the people excited about her chances, as evidenced by the many calls we received.

If you'd like to support her campaign, the best way is with her Twenty For Teresa campaign. For a mere twenty bucks (cheap), this is the kind of representation we could be sending to Washington:

"By many estimates, each of us owes roughly $184,000 for the nearly $13 TRILLION national debt and today’s current politicians are adding and additional $6.8 million per minute in 2010.

I am committed to reigning in government spending and expansion, while encouraging innovation and expansion by entrepreneurs and small businesses. We can return common sense and fiscal restraint to Washington D.C. this fall, but it will take everyone’s help!” -- Teresa Collett

Needless to say, that kind of attitude would be a marked change from the End of Rome style spending decadence of the current occupant of that Congressional seat. (Details provided in the voluminous FL Betty McCollum archives).

Of course, this pattern didn't begin with Betty McCollum. For whatever reason, St. Paul and the 4th Congressional District has been sending liberal Democrats to Congress for generations.

The year was 1946, a young lawyer named Edward Devitt was elected as the last Republican to hold that seat. An unremarkable event, as nine of the previous 14 Representatives for the district were also Republicans. However, after serving only one term, he was decisively waxed in the next election by a young whippersnapper Democrat, and St. Thomas professor, Eugene McCarthy.

A future senatorial career and presidential run based on anti-war pacifism was merely a gleam in Gene's eye in 1948. According to Thomas Roeser in his fascinating account of the 1948 Minnesota elections, the 59% - 41% result against Devitt was a result of the following dynamics:

The big weapon that McCarthy had in the general campaign was Devitt's vote for Taft-Hartley, which rang hollow in that heavily Democratic and union labor district. McCarthy also was helped by a heavy avalanche of Democratic votes for [Hubert Humphrey] for the Senate—and at the tag end of the campaign, for Harry
Truman. By 9:30 p.m. on election night, it was clear that McCarthy was elected--by 24,902 votes (he estimated he might win by 5,000).

Roeser's account of how McCarthy won the highly contentious Democratic primary is even more entertaining:

When the radio said that [his opponent] was ahead by 5,000 with only about 3,000 votes left to be counted--almost sure defeat--one of McCarthy's volunteers, Elizabeth Dunn suggested they say the rosary. Since everyone was Catholic and had nothing else to do they agreed including Gene.

When they were on the third decade of the Joyful Mysteries (the birth of Christ), the phone rang and Dunn answered while everyone else was praying. It was Tony Blaha, a McCarthy volunteer at the courthouse who said, "I got good news!"

When Gene took the call, Blaha told him there had been a mix-up and they had counted the 11th ward--(a Barrett stronghold)--twice. McCarthy announced it. They finished the rosary and drove down to DFL headquarters at the Lowry Hotel. Twice they stopped to pick up newspapers: one edition said Barrett won, another McCarthy. By the time they got to the Lowry, he was ahead and a few lawyers volunteered to watch his interest in the canvass--which he won by 550 votes.

Victory through miraculous, catastrophic election judging error. Gene McCarthy was the Al Franken of his day. And on that wing and a prayer, thus began 61 years, and counting, of unbroken Democrat control of CD4.

After 10 years of McCarthy, Joseph Karth moved in for 18 years, followed by 22 years of Bruce Vento. Perhaps the most noteworthy achievement of either was from Karth, as detailed in his obituary in the Washington Post:

Mr. Karth served on the House Science and Aeronautics Committee and was chairman of its subcommittee on space sciences and applications.

... a Minnesota Vikings football fan, he named the Viking spacecraft, the first space vehicle to land on Mars.

I'm sure all Minnesotans are shocked to learn that the Viking spacecraft was actually successful and did not crash and burn just before reaching its goal of landing on the surface.

Which brings us to Betty McCollum, over her ten years most known for such spending hits as: The More Books for Africa Act of 2009.

From McCarthy to McCollum. After six decades, even the quality of the Democrat representation (if that's what you want) has not gotten any better.

It's time for a change. If not now, when? If not her, who? Collett in 2010.