Saturday, December 23, 2006

Kiffmeyer and the blogger

MDE had has multiple posts calling Secretary of State elect Mark Ritchie unqualified for office.

MDE was the only "media" member invited to attend a transition session with Kiffmeyer and Ritchie. No wonder the meeting lasted only 20 minutes or so. What qualificiations does MDE possess in the SoS realm? None the I am aware of.

Blog House at the Strib took her to task as well.

One of the big raps against Minnesota Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer was that she had politicized the office. Not so, she responded, despite the fact that she:

• Was an advocate for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

• Recruited and trained poll watchers from groups like the Minnesota Taxpayers League and the Minnesota Family Council.

• Pushed policies that would have, in effect, made it more difficult for minority and elderly voters -- two groups predominantly Democratic -- to register to vote.

On Nov. 7, DFLer Mark Ritchie finally made the rap stick, defeating Kiffmeyer 49 percent to 44 percent.

The first transition meeting was held Thursday. In attendance were Kiffmeyer; Ritchie; Beth Fraser, a Ritchie senior staffer and soon-to-be director of intergovernmental affairs, and, of course, rabidly partisan blogger Michael Brodkorb of Minnesota Democrats Exposed.
No, Kiffmeyer's not political at all.

For something important like a transition meeting, you'd think Kiffmeyer would invite an aide to attend, as Ritchie did.

"Mark brought one of his campaign people with him -- a very adversarial, political operative campaign person [Fraser]," Kiffmeyer said in an interview. "I kind of thought that might happen. And I wanted someone. I didn't want to involve my official staff or any of my campaign people ... [I wanted] someone who would be able to be an advocate for me."

No one better than Brodkorb for that role. When you're looking for Republican water to be carried, look no further than MDE.

And he came through. The brief meeting was in the early morning; Brodkorb had an anti-Ritchie post up by noon.

Brodkorb's not the bad guy here. Any blogger would have accepted this kind of access. But it's hard to imagine any other officeholder doing what Kiffmeyer did.

She claims she was protecting herself. "If someone walks out and mischaracterizes the meeting, then I would have the ability to make sure that it was clear and understandable."

Ritchie didn't have much of a chance to mischaracterize anything. Brodkorb started posting less than four hours after the meeting broke.

Kiffmeyer said she was "shocked" that Brodkorb was posting about the meeting: "If I had known that, I would have told him not to." But she wouldn't commit to asking him to relent from future posts.

If Kiffmeyer were really interested in a record of the meeting or in protecting her office, she could have invited a representative of the media, rather than the state's leading GOP attack blogger.

Kiffmeyer recalled that, during the campaign, Ritchie had charged "that I'm incompetent, my staff is incompetent, we're all just terrible," she said. "These kinds of comments ... do make a difference."

Fine. But right now, she's still on the state's dime, and the transition between administrations is important. If Kiffmeyer is miffed about the campaign, she can make crank calls to Ritchie when she's Private Citizen Kiffmeyer. In the meantime, she's Secretary of State Kiffmeyer, and, for a change, she might want to leave her politics at home.

Enough, already

Right invite a GOP blogger to a transition meeting and you expect MDE to not post anything about it? Come on Kiffmeyer? Are you really that naive? From a man with hundreds of posts expected him to not take a shot at Ritchie?

I agree, enough already. We'll remember the partisan nature she ran a non-partisan office of advocacy when Mark Olson is removed from his House seat in 16B and Kiffmeyer runs in the special election.

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