Thursday, March 23, 2006

A pox on both your houses

Posted by Craig Westover | 4:44 PM |  

Nothing like the Nazi card to get people riled up. I opened up the flap on the Dean Johnson controversy, so I’m taking the crap that’s starting fly around on this issue personally.

Let’s start with the basics. Dean Johnson didn’t just screw up.” Dean Johnson consciously lied (if you believe Chief Justice Anderson) and compromised the integrity of the state Supreme Court and the state Senate. He has had numerous opportunities to clear up the matter and he hasn’t taken them. He’s the only one that can repair even a portion of the damage he has done to the Court and the Senate. He should be hounded until he does so.

Move to phase two. Marriage for Minnesotaand the Republican Party gave it a good try to stick to the issue of Johnson’s compromise of the Court and the Senate, but they couldn’t resist the temptation to score political points at the expense not of Johnson, who left himself open to it, but at the expense of the larger issue of Court and Senate integrity. Every new Republican press conference reminds me of my kids tattling at the dinner table -- “Dad, Tyler’s looking at me funny again.” Nothing like snatching defeat from the jaws of victory -- at elast in the battle for the moral high ground.

Onward. Now we’re starting to hear from the lefty blogosphere and apologists with smokescreen tactics. Well, Bush lied and nobody said anything. It took Cheney four days to tell the truth about shooting a guy. Marriage amendment supporters are a bunch of homophobes. Pastor Brent “violated the Geneva Convention” and whatever. Moral high ground? The integrity of the state Supreme Court and the Senate ought to be just as important to the Democrats. It’s more important for them than for Republicans to get Dean Johnson to come clean. But no, this time it was the Democrats hiding in the bushes waiting for the GOP to screw up.

Let’s talk about Minnesota Democrats Exposed, who has done an outstanding job keeping up with the rapid developments in the Johnson story. Unfortunately, he too couldn’t resist taking a swing at the tar baby that is the liberal blogosphere. Now the fighting is over whether MDE photoshopped a Nazi reference on a web post put up by Beckey Lourey. MDE’s posts have almost a gleeful tone as Dean Johnson digs himself deeper into a whole. He’s still the go to sight for the Johnson story, but a friendly word of advice -- leave the yowling from fence posts to the left. It’s not commentary.

Back to the left. Becky Lourey, whom I praised for her lone vote against the bill restricting protests at funerals, has entered the fray as a defender of Dean Johnson. Problem is, she’s not defending Dean Johnson --- she’s attacking Republicans. As David Strom noted when giving Ember Reichgott Junge the benefit of the doubt in their debate on "At Issue," Lourey is probably responding to Republican name calling. I think that’s ture, but that, too, doesn’t change the fact that Lourey’s response (while it puts her head and shoulders above other would-be Democrat leaders in the way of courage) has taken the focus of the issue even further off track by dragging national and irrelevant state politics into the fray.

No, MDE, Lourey didn’t call you a Nazi. She’s making the point that if you let people trample over others, as the GOP is doing since it lost its way on this issue, eventually they are going to trample you. The poem quoted is a cultural icon -- deal with it.

Which I guess brings us back to Nazis and full circle. Let’s keep it simple --

The issue was, is and, regardless of all the crap people through at it, will be about the damaged integrity of the state Supreme Court and the Senate. Democrats can try and make it about the war in Iraq, and Republicans can try to make it about the preservation of traditional marriage and civilization as we know it. And if either side wins on those points, we all lose.

Democrat or Republican; left or right -- let’s keep this thing focused on what’s important. Then but only then, for God's sake let's move on.