Saturday, June 03, 2006

On the GOP-MN whistlestop tour...

I had the chance late this afternoon to meet the Minnesota Republican slate of candidates at the St. Cloud Regional Airport. On hand was United States Senator-to-Be Mark Kennedy, Minnesota Secretary of State incumbent Mary Kiffmeyer, Minnesota incumbent state auditor Pat Anderson, Minnesota Attorney General GOP hopeful Jeff Johnson, and local Senate District 15 candidate Jeff Johnson (no relationship; no website either--gotta work on that)[I stand corrected, Jeff does have a website--thanks King] . Although Governor Pawlenty was scheduled to attend, he couldn't make it due to a death in the family.

I got in a little late (went to the wrong terminal originally--duhhh) just as Mark Kennedy was speaking. When it came time for Mark to field questions, I asked (to paraphrase),

"Congressman Kennedy, I would like to ask you about your energy policy. First of all, let me say that I am all for the development of alternative energy sources. But given that a viable alternative is still at least ten to 20 years down the road, and given that the U.S. House just voted to extend the moratorium on offshore drilling, what are your plans to provide for our immediate energy needs so as not to be as dependent on foreign oil?"

In response, Mark did the same song and dance, saying that in order to be independent from foreign oil, we needed to be independent from oil itself; and that we need to focus on alternative energies, such as wind, solar, nuclear, and coal gasification.

I respectfully disagree with Congressman Kennedy on this issue. Why is it that we need to sit with our collective thumbs up our arses to the third knuckle to wait for alternative energy sources to come online, when we have viable stores of energy currently in our backyard (like here, for example) and off our own coasts?

These two actions (exploring and extracting current reserves, while simultaneously developing alternative energy sources) are by no means mutually exclusive. We have both the intellectual and physical resources to accomplish both, and to accomplish both well!

You want to speed up the process for alternative energy development? Here's an idea: offer a billion dollar reward to the person or concern in the private sector who is the first to come up with a clean, viable, renewable and cheap alternative energy source, as well as a concomitantly cost effective means for its use. I can guarantee you that with the proper incentives this country will produce a viable alternative within the space of a decade; probably sooner.

I agree with Congressman Kennedy on almost every other issue; but on this issue, I believe that we are at loggerheads.

Moving on, I also got the chance to see Minnesota Attorney General hopeful Jeff Johnson speak. To give you out-of-state readers some perspective, we in Minnesota have a recent history (within the last ten years or so) of attorneys general using their office as

1. A political arm of their party,
2. A cash cow (for law firms) in going after deep corporate pockets
3. As a stepping stone to running for governor.

Listening to Jeff Johnson speak, I see quite the opposite. Jeff Johnson will bring integrity back into the attorney general's office. Rather than the above-mentioned maladies, Jeff wants to end politically motivated witch hunts, to end frivolous lawsuits that either drive business away or scare business from wanting to come here; and most of all, to do the job of Attorney General, period. In the words of Johnson, The "A.G." in Attorney General should not stand for "Almost Governor."

At any rate, the full contingent of St. Cloud bloggers was on hand, along with around 27 others. Too bad I couldn't say the same for any of the St. Cloud traditional media, who were nowhere to be found. No St. Cloud Times reporters were on hand, nor were either of the two St. Cloud radio news stations. Not one area media microphone or camera was on hand. I guess bloggers really do perform the work of the mainstream media nowadays.

I did manage to have a nice chat with St. Cloud's mayor, plus had a St. Cloud blogging pow-wow with King Banaian, as well as with Gary Gross. Although Gary blogs with me at Murtha Must Go!!, it was the first time I had the chance to meet him face-to-face. He's a genuinely nice guy, with a keen political mind. He's currently looking for a job as a political writer, and any think tank would do well to snatch him up.

All in all, Minnesota's Republican Party is well-poised for victory come November. With this calibre of candidates, it is certainly the MN GOP's election to lose.


Gary Gross at Let Freedom Ring has an awesome synopsis of today's proceedings; also, the SCBA is born! (St. Cloud Blogger's Association).

Thanks, Gary!


King Banaian has his usual insightful thoughts regarding the proceedings here.

(Filed under elections, energy madness, great blogs)