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Monday, December 03, 2007

Much Ado About Mark Ritchie;
Brian Melendez Shovels Dirt

Mark Ritchie

Mark Ritchie - a Democrat - is the Secretary of State of Minnesota, elected in November 2006. He ran against incumbent Sec of State Mary Kiffmeyer - a Republican - whose unremarkable tenure as Sec of State left many people, including myself, wondering what exactly was her goal and purpose as an elected official.

Brian Melendez is the chair of the Minnesota Democrat party. In a lengthy guest editorial published in the Saturday, December 1, Minneapolis Red Star North Korean Tribune (MRSNKT), titled, "'Betrayal' rhetoric is misdirected at Ritchie", Melendez espouses his support for Mark Ritchie. (Note: Do a search on Google of the title, "'Betrayal rhetoric is misdirected at Ritchie" if the direct link to the MRSNKT story defaults to their usual claptrap of requiring you to register before permitting you to read the story).

Here is what happened: Ritchie used public data from the secretary of state's office - a potential "new" list or group of names - to solicit via e-mail for political support and fundraising. When asked how this information was obtained, he originally claimed he didn't know how it happened. Later, Ritchie reneged on his original statement of not knowing from where the "new" list of potential donors came from and admitted the information came from his own secretary of state office. Two people - two people! - were outraged that they received an e-mail solicitation from Ritchie asking for their support. MPR:

    Two political activists filed a complaint with the Office of the Legislative Auditor last month after receiving campaign solicitations from Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. Both men had attended an educational event sponsored by Ritchie's office.

Melendez, in his MRSNKT editorial, lashed out at Republicans for politicizing this issue. Melendez writes:

    I'll give the Republicans one thing: They've done a good job of making a mountain out of a molehill, with partisan and increasingly strident attacks at Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. Republican operatives have called for his resignation, resorting to such overheated rhetoric as accusing him of a "betrayal of trust."


    What Ritchie did was extremely common: His campaign accessed public data from the secretary of state's office, which is both legal and appropriate.


    And when Ritchie misspoke about how his campaign accessed the data, he promptly and voluntarily corrected the record, and accepted responsibility for his mistake. The matter should have ended there.

And you know what? Melendez is right, I agree with him. A handful of local Minnesota Republican bloggers seem to interpret that what Ritchie did is the political equivalent of the flaming Hindenburg crashing down upon a sinking Titanic during the Watergate break-in. There is little doubt in my mind that if Ritchie were a Republican and it was Democrats squealing for his resignation, the Republicans would be labeling the Dems as a bunch of whiny and petulant nitpickers.

Some Republican bloggers appear to be surprised that a politician tried to back peddle his words or spin and re-spin his original statement? You've been writing about politics for how long? Well, I guess virgins exist even in the political arena of the blogosphere. You'd think they'd know better by now, but maybe not.

Let me state for the record (as I have in the past) that I consider my political affiliation as being a Conservative first, a small "L" Libertarian second, and a Republican third. I'm not going to get into any mudslinging or battles with those who consider what Ritchie did as an egregious offense of political office. I'm not going to name or link to those bloggers who overstate this issue and who genuinely believe that the Republican party can gain political mileage from inflating what is relatively a non-issue. I have railed against Democrats, Liberals and Progressives on this blog from Day One. No one can call me sympathetic or supportive of Democrats, Liberals and Progressives. But this Ritchie matter is one of a petty nature. From a zero to 10 scandal scale ("10" being - as John McLaughlin would say - metaphysical scandal of the worst kind), I'd rank it as .5 (point five).

Nor should what I write here be interpreted as supporting Brian Melendez. His editorial in the MRSNKT is pathetic. Instead of exclusively focusing on defending Ritchie, Melendez instead obfuscates and muddies the Ritchie issue by including non-Ritchie issues as part of the problem.

Brian Melendez, striking a pose seated behind a desk pretending to be important.

Melendez, instead of concentrating on only the Ritchie issue, writes:

    ...the Republicans are seizing upon a gaffe by Ritchie to divert attention from gross incompetence and mismanagement in the [Minnesota Governor Tim] Pawlenty administration.


    Meanwhile, a bridge fell down, a top manager was missing in action, and we're still waiting for [Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner] Carol Molnau's apology. Minnesota is bleeding jobs because of the governor's failed economic policies; our schools are shutting down options for our children because the governor won't fund first-rate education; our property taxes are skyrocketing because the governor raided local-government aid, and our roads and bridges are crumbling because the governor vetoed a transportation bill.

Mr. Melendez, did you actually write your editorial by yourself or did you have Chicken Little as a ghost writer?

The I-35W Minneapolis bridge didn't just "fall down" - something caused its collapse and the NTSB at some future point will tell us the reason(s) why it fell. Latching on to the bridge collapse as a political issue, as Melendez does, is partisanship of the most deplorable kind. Melendez acts as if a tragedy never occurred during the entire history of any given Democrat Administration, local, state or federal.

Carol Molnau has nothing for which to apologize. For what, Mr. Melendez, do you think Molnau should apologize? Melendez doesn't explain or expand on this because his assertion is meant only to cloud the Ritchie issue.

Minnesota is not bleeding jobs. Instead, Minnesota's odious business and property tax climate is forcing companies to relocate to more tax-friendly states that have less onerous business environments. This is happening because Democrat and Liberal Minnesota politicians believe that businesses are evil, that businesses are unmitigated polluters and exploiters of labor, and that Minnesota businesses can be taxed and regulated into infinity. Democrats in Minnesota have never done anything - ever - to make the business climate more friendly. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand why companies in Minnesota relocate to South Dakota and other states that welcome and support private enterprise and the jobs they create instead of anchoring their business in Minnesota.

And let's not forget that restaurants, bars and hospitality industries have closed their doors and gone out of business because they've lost their customer base of cigarette smokers because numerous anti-smoking zealot groups - all wholeheartedly supported by Democrats and some RINOs - consider smokers the equivalent of being a serial killer.

Minnesota schools have so much money they don't know what to do with it. Instead of spending it where they should - on the children, remember the children? - in the classrooms, it is instead spent on administrative positions that have titles such as the Assistant to the Assistant to the Associate Assistant of the Principal. Just what the school districts need, more administrative overhead employing someones' brother or sister-in-law, right Mr. Melendez?

Property taxes are indeed skyrocketing in Minnesota. It's odd Melendez didn't bother to write that property tax reduction was a priority of Governor Pawlenty in the previous legislative session. Instead of addressing property taxes, though, it was more important for the Minnesota legislature to provide corporate welfare for Minnesota Twins owner billionaire Carl Pohlad. Huh (scratching my head), I wonder why Melendez fails to mention this? It sure is a mystery.

Make no mistake about it, Pawlenty (again, to remind everyone - I voted for him in 2002 but did not vote for him in 2006. In '06 I voted for a Third Party candidate knowing full well I was throwing my vote away), also must accept his degree of responsibility for not pressing harder for property tax relief. Instead of prioritizing property tax relief, Pawlenty opted for saying he didn't want to be remembered as the governor who "lost" the Minnesota Twins. I shake my head in disbelief at all politicians and pundits who seem to think that any professional sports team is so Über-vitally important to the so-called "quality of life" of any state or locale.

The transportation bill, rightly vetoed by Pawlenty, was vetoed because it was nothing but a tax increase which was proposed and sought by a majority of Minnesota Democrat politicians. Ah, the answer and cure to everything according to Democrats: Raise Taxes, Spend Money, Raise Taxes Again, Spend, Raise Taxes Again!

We all pick and choose our battles; those to get involved in, those to ignore and when to let an issue expire. If more essential and critical matters were not facing the state, perhaps I could get excited over this Ritchie issue, but this just isn't the case. Some, no doubt, will continue to ride the Ritchie issue until their last inhaled gasp and they are certainly free to do just that. If anyone is shocked and surprised that an elected politician lied or spun a story, well...how naive can anyone be?

As far as Brian Melendez, it's easy to see why he's the chair of the Minnesota Socialist Party. He did a wonderful job muddying up the Ritchie situation with issues that are both irrelevant and not germane. But then, isn't this what a Democrat party "leader" is supposed to do.


It does seem like a small issue for the republicans to pick at and I'm a life long MN republican.

I agree political parties have to pick and chooose their battles and this one on Ritchie seems a poor one to pick.
Hi Gordy and thanks for your kind words. I have thrown more votes away on voting for third party candidates than I care to remember because both the Democrat candidates are socialists/Marxists and the Republican candidate was a RINO, so I considered the Repub detestable, just slightly less than the Dem. Thus, I wasted my vote on a 3rd Party. I'm not griping about this, I'm proud to have often voted for neither major party.

I'm tired of RINOs and I dislike the phoniess of anyone applying a different standard to the opposing party than they do their own. Both parties are guilty of this.

Agree with you agreeing with me (heh) that we all have to pick and choose our battles, and to reiterate, the Ritchie issue just seems small and nitpicky.

thanks for commenting Gordy. You're a rarity in MN being a life long Repub! God Bless ya!
you are full of shit. you have be a Democrat operative. how can you excuse Mark Richie? He lied. He LIED? Do you GET IT asshole?
Oh I love potty mouths, especially from Anonys like you!

Yeah, I sure am a Dem Operative, you've blown my cover. What else can I say?

One question, though: Are you retarded, drunk or the product of incest? Let me know, mmmm-kay?
Noooo!!! Say it isn't so DD. You're not a Demop. You can't be. Well unless we're in the evil parallel universe like the one with Evil Spock and the clean and sober Uncle Teddy. I wonder what Evil Ghandi would have been like? Makes me shiver.
I agree with almost nothing the Dem/Lib/Prog party has ever thought up. They are Socialists and Stalinists. Republicans are not perfect either - not by a long shot - but at least they are the party of what should be smaller government, less taxes, strong defense and more personal freedom (i.e. less strangling regulations and laws).
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