When it comes to the general election, the Democrat with the best shot of knocking off Norm Coleman is Nelson-Pallmeyer a.) because he offers the clearest contrast to Coleman and b.) he is able to articulate clearly, passionately, and with no hesitation positions Minnesotans are desperate to hear.
As a result of this paradox, leading progressive DFL officeholders are torn. Though actively courted by the Franken and Ciresi campaigns, their hearts belong with Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer who, for whatever reason – lack of resources, a principled refusal to indulge in politics-as-usual – has not been as active in garnering their support. Now It’s not unusual for party activists to feel that their hearts belong to one candidate but their heads belong to another, with “electability” usually trumping “idealism.” In the case of Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, however, no such split between heart and head is necessary. If DFL-ers can shake off conventional wisdom and take a really clear-eyed look at today’s political realities, they will see that, this time around, Nelson-Pallmeyer is that rare electoral commodity, an underdog who is, in reality, the topdog – an outsider with the best chance of landing a Democrat in Coleman’s Senate seat.
Indeed. Courted by the other Senate campaigns, I think deep down, I always identified with Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer. Bluewoman and I had this discussion months ago, after seeing Jack again in Biscay. To be completely honest, Bluewoman was a strong JNP supporter before I was. I was on the fence, per se, looking for an easy out, an easy way to dismiss my own political senses about Jack.
The whole "electability" tag is something that has bothered me for quite some time now. Oftentimes, it's outside interests that work to determine a candidates "electability". I've heard it said about Bob Olson and Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer.
We all heard it about Paul Wellstone too! It reminds me of one of my favorite Wellstone quotes.
"If we don't fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don't really stand for them."
So true. It's time for progressives to stand up for what we believe in, and fight for it. That's why I have been fighting for Bob Olson, and will fight for Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer. They are not the "good ole boys club" of DFL politics. The last thing we need is another elected official who will work for the special interests!
To finish this post/rant off, here is a wonderful comment by Bob Spaulding:
It’s been years since I would have written a piece like this. There’s something profoundly different about this year. Change is in the air, America’s long reflection on issues of peace in our world and change in our climate are making the electorate yearn for a new vision for our future. Rich’s general premise — that in a year of change, Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer has the best chance to win — is a truly compelling premise, and deserves focused consideration by my fellow DFLers.
Americans are yearning for new ideas and approaches on issues like climate change and global peace. These are transformational issues that reach us so deeply, with such profound consequences, as to have the rare power to lead us to new, unforeseen opportunities. Jack owns these issues. This is a quintessential transformational moment in American politics, a time when the ground is quaking beneath us. It’s not a time where narrow, poll-tested messages can produce outcomes with any consistency. Especially in a state with Minnesota’s history.
As a sufferer of Norm Coleman’s reign over St. Paul (whose aftereffects still reverberate today), what a contrast Nelson-Pallmeyer would be. We’ve learned all too readily that Coleman exudes a weak compass, frequently seeming to average Minnesotans like some sort of huckster that dropped in on us from the
east coast, even as his wife cavorts out west. Franken indeed does not have the
consistency of character to be a good contrast, and may struggle to shed his own east coast carpetbagger image. Ciresi’s somewhat better, but comes off too frequently like a chilly lawyer, not a leader ready to harness the wind of transformation.
Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer so obviously and genuinely speaks from the heart, and is so obviously brings credibility and strong character, and represents the best of Minnesota in a way that will contrast decisively with Coleman. He brings a familiar reassurance along with critical hope on issues of peace and the outdoors that Minnesotans care deeply about.
Sometimes the we need a candidate that exudes safety before possibility and hope. Two years ago, I supported Amy Klobuchar as the kind of candidate Democrats needed in a time where Americans were still deeply uncertain about the political climate. But at other times, when the momentum of the country aims so clearly for change, the DFL’s best chance of winning is to hitch its bandwagon to that theme of change. Our best chance of unseating Norm Coleman is by producing a candidate who can articulate a hopeful vision contrasts clearly with Norm’s compromised leadership. We need a candidate that inspires confidence and consistency of character needed to score a win.
As a Chair and leader in my local DFL unit, there’s a clear role for the Amy Klobuchar’s of the world, when the electoral DFL needs are different. But in this year, in our Minnesota, we need someone to speak the plainly and honestly, and harness change in a way that resonates with average Minnesotans. Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer best captures that opportunity. We ought to take this opportunity this year to support the candidate that can not only transform the debate, but in seizing this transformational moment, also has the best chance of winning.
Character does matter...