Sunday, June 11, 2006

On Hatch's DFL endorsement

Posted by Craig Westover | 1:57 PM |  

Okay. It’s official. Mike Hatch is the endorsed DFL candidate for governor. Yes, there is still Becky Lourey to dispense with in the primaries, but unless Hatch or the DFL in general goes into self-destruct mode (not entirely unlikely), Hatch is the guy.

The Republicans have more or less defined their campaign theme -- “Hatch is an ass” -- and they continued that pitch after Hatch’s nomination.
Hatch's endorsement offers a clear choice for Minnesota voters, state Republican Chairman Ron Carey said outside the convention hall.

"Mike Hatch is an angry, abrasive, attack-dog liberal," he said. "Contrast that with the charming and gracious common-sense leader in Gov. Pawlenty."
As I noted in making peace with supporting Pawlenty, I’m not choosing a father. I’m voting for whom I think will do the best job running the state. Comparatively, I’m voting for whom I’d invite to my house were I having a party. “Angry, abrasive, and being an attack dog” are not bad traits in pursuit of the right objectives. They are not reasons not to vote for Hatch -- his proposals are.

But you wouldn't know that from GOP press releases. I’ve made the point, ad nausea as far as some are concerned, that the GOP has to come up with a little more than “Hatch is an ass.” But if another reason is needed, just do a a side-by-side comparison of Gov. Pawlenty’s campaign web site and that of Mike Hatch.

The governor gives us bullet points, Hatch provides position papers and speeches. Hatch made his own case in his convention speech --
"I am chock-full of ideas about what we need to do to restore our greatness," he said in a lengthy speech that touched on dozens of issues. . . .

Hatch said he offered big ideas and bold leadership.

"While I've been called a lot of things in this political life, no one has ever accused me of being cautious," he said. "And that's the difference between me and Tim Pawlenty, because over the years nobody has ever accused him of doing anything other than playing it safe."
Position papers versus bullet points. A vision versus “Hatch is an ass.” That’s where we’re at. Hatch is offering ideas; the GOP is dismissing them and at best offering tweaks around the edges of problems.

What the GOP is missing is this: Just because Mike Hatch proposes a solution that won’t fix the problem, will probably make it worse, doesn’t mean there’s not a problem. What voters are experiencing are real problems -- health care, education, transportation. What they see is one party with proposed solutions and another offering only “Hatch is an ass.”

In the battle of ideas, the GOP is already on the defensive -- not because the DFL has good ideas, (they don’t) but because the GOP hasn’t articulated any ideas or vision of their own and certainly hasn’t been willing to fight for ideological positions it says it holds.

If I belabor this point, it’s because I don’t see anything changing. When I look at the Pawlenty and Hatch web sites, I see a sharp contrast in content. I see Pawlenty campaigning on the “nightmare” platform while potential Hatch running mate Steve Kelley talks about dreams.
"Pawlenty's pint-sized picture of our future is not enough,'' Kelley said. "Our vision for Minnesota has a larger frame and bolder colors. It is time for us to lead again."
It’s past time for the GOP to wake up.