Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Fool me twice

Spot thinks this is how it goes:

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice . . . . . you can't get fooled again.

George W. Bush

As with many things, Bush is wrong here again. Proof of the error of George's maxim came yesterday, when the Star Tribune endorsed the "veteran" (Lori Sturdevant's term) Geoff Michel for a second term in Senate District 41. Because the Strib will take down the endorsement at some point, and because Spot expects to have plenty of opportunity to rub the Strib's nose in the mess it made, Spot reproduces the entire endorsement of Michel:

Republican Sen. Geoff Michel's quest for a second term got easier in September, when his hard-charging DFL opponent, Andrew Borene, dropped out of the race. Michel is the better candidate left standing -- despite the principled, progressive campaign being waged by the Green Party's Julie Risser.

We're encouraged by signs that Michel recognizes why Borene's campaign was gaining traction through the summer. Many voters agreed with Borene's take on Michel -- that his "no new taxes" pledge four years ago, opposition to a gas tax increase and his conservative stance on social issues did not represent the views of his district. Michel isn't taking an antitax pledge this time. While he still wants to send a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage to the ballot, he's also open to some legal protections for same-sex couples. He also says he's more open to new funding sources for transportation and transit.

An attorney with experience in and out of government, Michel has great potential as a legislator. His founding role in the Legislature's 2020 Caucus illustrates his capacity to be an innovator and consensus-builder. We hope to see him put those skills to greater use in a second term.

While neither time nor space allows a full recitation of the senator's record, a couple of things need to be mentioned. In 2002, Michel changed his position on abortion between the time he won the Republican primary and the general election, causing him to lose the endorsement of NARL. (You can look it up. It's getting close to Spot's bedtime.) He was also a sponsor of the waiting period for a woman before an abortion procedure.

Apparently, he told the editorial board at the Strib that he was in favor of some rights for same-sex couples. No he's not. At a forum last December, Michel told the assembled that he wanted the Bachmann amendment on the ballot, but domestic partner rights could be discussed after the amendment passed. This is not the case, because the Bachmann amendment would not only prohibit gay marriage, but any "equivalent" relationships like domestic partnership. Obviously, Michel knew this; his comments to the group gathered at the church were a bald-faced lie.

Michel's position on new funding sources for transportation is simply a factor of the ire of constituents over, among other things, the Crosstown debacle.

And finally, the laughable 2020 Caucus. It is just window dressing for some legislators, certainly Geoff Michel among them, who were worried about charges of partisanship being leveled against them. For good reason, usually. Did you ask, Lori, if the 2020 Caucus has ever actually accomplished anything? Of course it hasn't. Michel doesn't stick his neck out.

Geoff Michel is a feckless and shameless opportunist. It is no tribute to the journalistic skills of the Strib that it accepted at face value what Geoff Michel told them, rather than making an evaluation based on the legislative record he has produced.


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