A Responsible Electorate


Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

During last Sunday’s “60 Minutes” interview, Sen. Jeff Flake was asked if he could have done what he did last week in the Supreme Court confirmation process if her were running for re-election. He was quick to respond. “No!” He and his colleague from the other side of aisle, Chris Coons, confirmed what many Americans have come to lament: the tar and feathering of compromise — the art on which a democratic republic depends.

In the simplified mindset of good versus evil, there is no room for compromise. The Judiciary hearing room was a room like that. But the behavior we saw in the hearing room wasn’t really about good versus evil. Jeff Flake’s “No” tore off the mask. It’s about money — the ability of candidates to secure financing for their campaigns on both sides of the aisle. Any candidate running for election in 2018 would be foolish to reach across the aisle, even though conscience might lead to do so. Sen. Mitch McConnell later put it bluntly: any Republican who votes not to confirm Kavanaugh will no longer receive campaign money. The Republican National Committee (RNC) will turn off the faucet.

256px-GOP_SquareMeanwhile, RNC money and dark money pours into the race in Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District. I’ve waded through mud many times over the years, but this is the dirtiest campaign I’ve ever experienced. Yesterday’s snail mail, for example, contained TWO slick negative ads funded by the Republican National Committee, slandering the Democratic candidate. These same ads leap out from my computer monitor whenever I open a YouTube video. Someone has mastered cyber analytics, and it’s not the Russians. The RNC-sponsored, complete with “I [Erik Paulsen] approve this message,” approved by Erik  paint Dean Phillips, as a monster, A hypocrite. They twist facts. The real message? Erik is the “good guy”; Dean is the “bad guy”.

Yet only Dean Phillips refuses to accept money from the PACs, special interests, and lobbyists that elects partisan loyalists who surrender conscience and the courage to compromise. The “good guy” refused to join the “bad guy” in that pledge. The money is pouring into the 3rd District from outside Minnesota — like fire trucks and rescue squads responding to a 5-alarm fire. The hoses spew mud.


It’s the responsibility of the electorate to slog through the mud and take off our waders before entering the voting booth.

Gordon C. Stewart, Minnesota 3rd Congressional District, October 3, 2018.

14 thoughts on “A Responsible Electorate

  1. If I was a politician I would not refuse to accept money from anybody. But, I would then not allow that money to sway my votes. Let people cut off supporting me on their own. The money that is pouring into Paulson’s campaign would never have gone to Phillips anyway. All Phillips did was cut off money from liberal PACs, unions and lobbyists from supporting him. Or, if he has secretly accepted money from those sources, the secret will not last and he will be (rightfully) labeled a hypocrite. Same goes for making a promise to limit the number of terms I’d serve. What a foolish promise to make! Just at the hour when I might be most useful to the country I would have to choose between my blind promise and my ability to serve. Some people think they are strong enough to fight giants with one arm tied behind their back. News flash…they aren’t.


    • Marjorie, the use of money to control a candidate is well-worn and not in the best interest of the citizens who elect our representatives in the halls of power. Fritz Mondale and John McCain tried to take this on years back, without success. Then along came Citizens United that unleashed dark money, unaccountable money, anonymous money, and it has flooded races for the House, Senate, and Presidency. “The money that is pouring into Paulson’s campaign would never have gone to Phillips anyway. All Phillips did was cut off money from liberal PACs, unions and lobbyists from supporting him.” You’re right, of course on both counts. And that’s the point. If he’s elected, he will not be beholden to the deep pockets that buy elections. “Some people think they are strong enough to fight giants with one arm tied behind their backs.” IMO, the money Phillips refuses to receive FREES both arms to fight the giants. Remember David and Goliath.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.


            • Agreed, pretty much. Paul Wellstone marched to his own drummer. The money came to him because of what he stood for rather than him standing for where the money would dictate. I was fortunate to with him several times. He was or real.


              • I actually think most of these guys start out “real.” They corrupt a little at a time. A favor owed to one, an obligation to another. A bit of give-and-take and a few “special gifts.” Garry was offered bribes. He was NOT bribable. But some were … it was always small stuff at the beginning that just gets bigger until suddenly, it was not a little bit.


                  • Some were from the mob and those upset him enough to make him avoid their restaurants (they ALL seem to own restaurants and usually, really good ones, too). One free dinner too many and Garry said: “We can’t go there anymore.” We didn’t. Another was (believe it or not) an artist who wanted someone to give him good reviews. He sent cash. Garry walked the money back and said, “No, thank you. I don’t take payment for stories” and the artist said he didn’t mean it that way, but obviously, he did. There were others.

                    Pols never offer “bribes” as money. They offer favors. Special access. Introductions. At least that’s how it starts. Once they have enough of you in a pocket, it gets increasingly difficult to break free. At least one of Garry’s colleagues used to brag about his mob connections. He also wound up dead in an alley full of equally dead mobsters. You really do NOT brag about relationships with the mob. It’s not only unwise, but it is also totally stupid.


                    • That’s an education, Marilyn. My Dad used to take us to a pizza place in south Philadelphia when I was very young. The name was Fonzo’s. After years of going there, Fonzo was nowhere to be seen. My father asked for Fonzo. His “brother” said, “Fonzo, he’s a not here no more. He won’t be coming back.” We suspected Fonzo had taken a dip in the Schulkyll River.


                    • Yes. That seems to happen. Garry wanted to be VERY sure he wasn’t one of them. Or me, either, so after all these years, he’s never told me anything about these guys. He knows a lot. He says absolutely nothing. That by itself is very educational.


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