Substance versus style was on display yesterday, at Anoka City Hall. Neither side won.
I’ll admit it; I’m not a big Tinklenberg fan. I’ve seen him a lot, but I’ve never talked to him, even though the last four times I’ve seen him are: a fundraiser for a Minnesota Congressman in January in a small room; standing in line for “refreshments” at the Blue State Ball; at the SD 56 Convention; and yesterday at The Cage Match. I’ve never had a discussion with El Tinklenberg. Yesterday, I was sitting two chairs away from Bob Olson’s wife, and prior to the “debate” Tinklenberg was working the crowd in Tinklenberg fashion – greeting those he apparently knows. Well, and ignoring some he knows, too: He ignored Bob’s wife, even though he was but two feet away and looking in her direction. So, when I attribute Tinklenberg to the “style” side in this story, I use the term loosely.
I’ve met and talked to Bob Olson several times. I’ve seen him speak, publicly, a few times. Yesterday was not his “A” Game, and several questions I’d be hard pressed for a “C”. That said, Bob represented “substance”. He was consistent, dogged, and determined – usually. A couple of answers he rambled; he rambled on his intro. Tinklenberg was smooth to the point of slick. He started out using Sunday’s Strib as a prop, and the story by Larry Jacobs as the point: “Whatever happened to starting small”? about Mike Ciresi as an attack on Bob Olson and his lack of previous electoral experience. Tinklenberg later took a shot at Olson, who by profession is a tax lawyer and banker. Olson talked about taxes and those making over 300K a year; in his rebuttal Tinklenberg suggested Olson has a LOT more experience with making more than 300 grand than he did.
Which I found ironic, coming from a lobbyist. What was more ironic was Tinklenberg, later in the debate, decrying the lack of civility, and then immediately going back to the Strib to take another shot at Olson.
And let’s be frank – for all his waffling, Tinklenberg is a lobbyist. As I understand it, lobbying is the essence of his firm. There are plenty of documents from various cities discussing hiring Tink to lobby for them. When asked by Olson about this, Tinklenberg stated there’s the general meaning of words, and there’s the legal meaning of words, and legally, he’s not a lobbyist.
So, I guess Tinklenberg is not a lobbyist, depending upon what the meaning of “lobbyist” is.
Tink waffled on the issue of a primary, too. In closing claimed he’d abide by the endorsement only if the process was honorable and fair. “Honorable”??!? By whose standards? His?
The question of endorsements came up. Tinklenberg became visibly angry. Quite frankly, his answer was misleading. A Tinklenberg staffer clearly stated in an e-mail blast, and I quote:
Folks, there’s an “endorsement” in there, that Tinklenberg flat-out did not receive.
Tinklenberg shouldn’t have gotten angry. Embarrassed, perhaps? Contrite? Time to offer on up a Mea Culpa or two is more like it.
And this wasn’t the first time Tinklenberg would become visibly angry, at questions and in challenging rulings of the moderator and challenging the debate rules his campaign agreed to. All in all, Tinklenberg reacted angrily to questions 4 times, in addition to his closing.
Quite frankly, it’s apparent that Tinklenberg will get the endorsement. Whether he’s earned it, is subjective. However, the delegate counts speak for themselves, and the math is fairly simple. Fortunately for Tinklenberg, a Bachmann Tracker wasn’t there taking video – at least, not that I could tell.
If quoting Tinklenberg’s previous statements, and then comparing them to later statements is an “attack” in Team Tink’s view, they ain’t seen nuthin’. If questioning Tink’s lobbying background is an “attack”, wait until “real” lobbyists, working on Bachmann’s behalf, take aim at Tinklenberg. If questioning taconite tailings in roadbeds and embankments is an attack, wait until some Karl Rove protégé jumps on this one.
I personally believe the questioning I’ve heard from Team Olson is, without a doubt, legitimate campaign questioning; and part of the normal vetting process.
Be that as it may, it’s apparent this race is all but over, and Team Tinklenberg will be carrying the DFL Standard for CD-6. What remains to be seen, is who they can rally to march behind it.
I had a funny feeling the race in CD3 was about over, so I thought I’d go up to Stillwater to see if they still had a race. And do they ever have a race! But before I did that, I wanted to see how the local GOPers were spending their time.
Fittingly, the SD42 Republicans were meeting at a church for their convention. I say this for two reasons: Grace Church is exceedingly fundamentalist, as are the Eden Prairie Republicans; and the Eden Prairie Republicans are going to need all the help they can get for Erik Paulsen in that quest for Congress. If GOPers can get endorsements from preachers that call on The Good Lord to have a hurricane smote New Orleans, who knows? Maybe they can one to get amnesia inflicted on CD-3 voters, thereby paving the way for The Hustler to avoid his record!
Last week, southern Minnetonka and Eden Prairie DFLers packed a high school cafeteria with party activists, well over 500 delegates strong. This week, the same area’s GOPers only needed a conference room at a church for their party’s faithful. OK, sure – it was kind of a large conference room, as far as conference rooms go, but while DFLers were filling “tables” as in “plural” to seat a precinct’s delegates, the GOPers were using a table – as in singular – to seat a precinct’s delegates – and not a big table at that.
I didn’t stay long; GOPer talking points defy credibility. Suffice it to say, if you want to read what the GOPer speakers were saying, just go to Minnesota Democrats Exposed to read the rhetoric the GOPers were parroting. The sad thing is, these GOPers still think reasonable people will believe it. What once was a proud party is now in the hands of extremists – extremists that helps keep the good folks at Snopes.Com in the business of debunking smears.
Stillwater beckoned – SD 52 and 56 were meeting less than a mile apart. And if these two Senate Districts are any indication, there is a real race for the privilege of taking out Michelle Bachmann. Team Franken has a solid lock on delegates, taking 10 delegates to JNP’s 3 with Cerisi being shutout. In 52, Franken took 10 to JNP’s 4 to Cerisi’s 1.
The House race is where it gets interesting. The only debate between El Tinklenberg and Bob Olson was way back in October, at St. Cloud State. For some reason, it seems Team Tinklenberg can’t find the time to debate. Why? Conventional wisdom dictated Tink had his delegates locked up; so why debate? Get the delegates locked, get through the SD conventions, take the endorsement at the CD Convention, and who remembers you wouldn’t debate the issues before?
Except, if 52 and 56 are any indication, Tinklenberg hardly has his delegates lined up, and the undecideds are getting more reasons to question Tink, then they are to vote for him. Olson’s speeches garnered a lot more applause than Tink’s.
I simply couldn’t believe that Tinklenberg, in his speeches, claimed, in essence, “all Minnesota’s DFL congressmen have endorsed me.” Betty? Sure. Oberstar? Of course! But Walz? Quite frankly, I didn’t think Congressman Walz had endorsed, so I called Mankato. Nope! was the answer; no endorsement. If I knew anyone in Peterson’s Office, I’d have called there, too. On this, and on a number of issues, Tink has some explaining to do. Too bad Tink won’t debate, so all could hear.
Quite frankly, Tinklenberg’s Pro-Life, yada yada yada conservative position didn’t fare well with a lot of the delegates. At both 52 and 56 there were subcacuses named “Franken – Olson – Women’s Issues” and they both took two delegates.
At 56, Tinklenberg took two delegates with his “Tinklenberg Kiss Bachmann Goodbye!” subcacuses, and one more with a “Tinklenberg – Labor” subcaucus.
Of 17 delegates, I have 56 down as 3 Tink, 2 Olson, 12 uncommitted – but I think Olson may have 4 more.
At 52, Tink took 2 delegates with a “Tinklenberg – Uncommitted” subcaucus, 1 with a “Franken – Tink” subcaucus – and possibly 4 more out of a Franken – Obama subcaucus; quite frankly I’m not sure but this probably will be scored 7 to 2, Tink over Olson. Even with that, it was quite surprising Tinklenberg didn’t have a tighter grip on the delegates and there’s still a race in the 6th.
With the 3rd all but over, with Madia’s Marauders performance today, the congressional race in the 6th should now be getting attention. I’ll be at conventions in the 6th next week, and will be talking more about this race.