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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Grivna vs. Knuth II - Game On

The stage is set for a rematch of the 2006 race for the 50B House seat this fall as the HD50B BPOU endorsed Lori Grivna as the GOP candidate this afternoon. You can hop on over to Mr. Dilettante for a brief but accurate synopsis on how the nominating convention unfolded as well as some excellent analysis of the results (it would really be nice if at least some of the local fish wrap reported in the clear, concise, and accurate manner that Mark over at "Mr. D" consistently does).

Although I strongly favored Gina Bauman for the nomination, I do feel that Lori Grivna can win the rematch with Knuth and she will do a fine job representing 50B. It will, however, require a lot of hard work by Lori as well as by those of us in the trenches. Lori Grivna is clearly a much more qualified candidate than Knuth but, as we found out the last time around, the better qualified candidate doesn't always win. Those of us who supported Gina or Nick Quade will need to close ranks behind Lori with some serious support and Lori will need to run a civil, but aggressive campaign in order to bring the Kate the Clueless Reign of Error to an end.

Make no mistake about it: Kate Knuth is merely the public face of a highly organized, well funded political machine that has the capability and propensity to play political hardball. In any battle the aggressor sets the rules. Metaphorically speaking in baseball parlance, when (not if) the Knuth campaign throws Lori a high, tight one (such as a misleading campaign piece about how Lori voted while on the school board) Lori's campaign and supporters have got to respond by spinning Kate's cap at the earliest opportunity. The Grivna campaign cannot afford to be constantly and quietly dusting itself off while Katherine the Green is portrayed to the voters as being above it all.

The Knuth Cabal will keep Kate's fingerprints off of the ball, but Lori can (and must) run a tough campaign without allowing the Knuth people to paint her as the bully. She has the knowledge and experience to make it obvious to all watching that Kate is not in the same league. Lori needs to take the role of an educator and unabashedly school Knuth at every opportunity to demonstrate to the voters how deficient Kate really is.

In 2006 the Knuth campaign successfully implemented a media spin that Kate was an idealistic, highly educated "breath of fresh air" whose natural leadership qualities spontaneously created a grass-roots wildfire of support (though with a minimal carbon footprint). Those of us who have been around the political scene for any length of time know that this portrayal of Kate Knuth is a sizeable a load of horse excrement, but her campaign will surely attempt to further aggrandize the legend they feel they have created with the public with carefully crafted tales of legislative leadership and accomplishment that have little or no basis in fact.

In the last election it appeared that the Knuth machine got away with their grand illusion by starting their spin early with a very organized, though painfully obviously orchestrated, "letters to the editor" campaign. These ostensibly spontaneous and independent testimonials all had a common theme that Kate Knuth was the proverbial "breath of fresh air". Obviously liberals have a problem distiguishing fresh air from that tainted by a load of horse excrement.

Unfortunately this early and frequent theme was allowed to commence with very little or no rebuttal and, from my perspective, it put the Grivna campaign in the position of having to play catch up right from the start. We supporters of the Grivna campaign waited far too long to posit the more accurate "breadth of fresh err" perspective. Thus the Knuth campaign was allowed to define the terms of the debate which gave them a huge advantage in terms of favorable media coverage and spin. We cannot afford to let this happen again!

The last time around Knuth campaign had, and will continue to have, the support of the local print media. The Bulletin and the Sun Focus have in the past downplayed things that hurt liberal candidates (e.g. check out their Northwest Quadrant non-coverage) and willingly propagated the liberal spin (they may as well start paying Knuth as an editorial writer) when given the opportunity and there is no reason to believe this will change. We conservatives cannot change the liberal media bias, but we can effectively deal with it.

Grivna supporters need to keep a steady stream of commentary coming into the editorial pages. We do not need to wait for an official request from the Grivna campaign--if you see BS from the Knuth campaign take a few minutes to respond to it. Lori Grivna, as the endorsed candidate, also needs to aggressively push to get full length commentary pieces published as Knuth seems to be able to run her self-serving pap whenever she wants.

The Grivna campaign and her supporters have the advantage of Lori officially being endorsed while the legislature is in session, and in this session Kate Knuth is supplying us with a virtual treasure trove of material that demonstrates her unfitness for the job. It is important for as many of us as possible to get the letters to the editor started now that call out when Knuth has voted against her constituents and at the same time let the public know that help is on the way via the election of Lori Grivna. We cannot afford to squander this advantage!

The Knuth machine may also start up a letter to the editor campaign to praise Kate for her "courage" in "making the tough decisions that are needed", especially if the mood of outrage over the DFL tax and regulate orgy grows. Any such letters need to be responded to and neutralized as soon as they appear. Those of us who blog can also use our posts as a vehicle to quickly respond and refute (and we aren't limited to the 300 words allowed for letters to the editor). The fire of outrage that the DFL has started with the public has got to be kept burning with a searing intensity and the Knuth campaign needs to feel the heat and not be allowed to put it out.

Knuth happens. And when it does one has to resign themself to the hard work of cleaning up the mess and get going.

The cleanup effort begins now and we all need to pick up a mop and get to work to prevent it from happening again.

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Blogger Thrifty Scot said...

As far as banging away at Knuth goes, that's like shooting fish in a barrel. But what will be offered as an alternative - "Not Knuth"?

That's not really a governing philosophy. After all, there's a heck of a lot of room to Knuth's right before you even reach the political center, let alone the right side of the spectrum.

see: O'Sullivan's First Law:

"All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing."


3/02/2008 9:06 AM  
Blogger Right Hook said...

Great point and well stated. I think you nailed it.

At first I couldn't believe how Knuth campaign managed to pull off winning an election with such an obviously unqualified candidate. Granted they had money, organization, and ruthlessness going for them, but still...

Looking back at it now, in the last election the Grivna campaign failed to make it clear to the public that the alternative to Knuth was much more than "Not Knuth" and the "breath of fresh air" BS won the day (and the election).

The word that Kate was a lightweight did get out (even the liberal Pioneer Press endorsed Lori on the basis that Kate was not really qualified), but what didn't get out was the magnitude of how superior Grivna and the conservative ideas were.

This is exactly why Lori must be distinguish herself from Knuth by putting forth the conservative alternative and clearly explaining why it is superior to what Kate is selling. This was actually a bit difficult last time because Kate was selling nothing but platitudes.

This time around, now that Kate has done some real damage in Saint Paul, Lori has plenty of concrete "compare and contrast" examples that she can and must articulate to the voters. Lori is not going to get a lot of help from the mainstream media on this. She needs to publicly take the lead by providing a clear alternative and, though it is painfully obvious to us conservatives, methodically make her case to the voters.

We who support her candidacy have to make sure the word gets out even if the mainsteam media does not do adequate coverage or attempts to apply a filter from the Knuth campaign. This can be via letters to the editor, our blog posts, and just plain word-of-mouth to our friends and neighbors.

3/02/2008 9:47 AM  
Blogger G-Man said...

Every election has its own dynamics. I cannot give Miss Knuth credit for "pulling it off" in 2006. She benefited enormously from the dynamics of that election cycle.

2006 was the year that Republican voters retaliated by boycotting the election. Nationally, Republican leaders disappointed their base – they spent too much, they caved too often, and they failed to challenge liberal deception. In short, too many elected Republicans put making nice with Democrats and the media ahead of honoring the commitment that they made to their supporters.

There is a large percentage of voters on both sides of the isle who have no clue who is running for the Minnesota House of Representatives until they get to the voting booth. Their motivation to vote is driven by national and state-wide races. When the Republicans in Washington D.C. dissuaded the base from voting, Lori Grivna and many other local Republican candidates lost valuable votes.

State-wide, there were 96,000 fewer votes in 2006 than in 2002 – the previous mid-term election. Given that the 2004 presidential election resulted in record numbers of new voters, this loss is quite significant. HD50B saw a similar decrease in voter turnout, all from the Republican side.

While I sympathize with the frustration of these "silent voters", in politics, you get what you voted for. By boycotting 2006, they gave the state to the DFL and ushered in the recent $6.6 billion tax hike. Hopefully, the reality of this sobriety will bring these voters back to the polls this November.

Message to Republicans who boycotted 2006: Politicians only hear votes. If you want more conservatism in your party, you have to vote for the most conservative candidate on the ballot – both for party endorsement and in the general election. Sadly, our Republican Senator looked at the results of 2006 and saw that "moderation and compromise" got the most votes. He didn't hear the message that boycotters were trying to send.

3/02/2008 11:45 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Thanks for the kind words -- I appreciate it. Unlike the writers for the local media, if I want to earn money for my writing, I have to make sense.

The analysis here is, as usual, spot on. You don't teach people a lesson by turning over the government to your enemies. Your enemies don't respect you any more for being principled - they read the result as an endorsement of their plans. And their plans include taking over every aspect of life that they can and draining your wallet with impunity. We can only hope that those would-be pedagogues who sought to teach a lesson have learned their lesson. It's been my experience that getting your butt handed to you tends to concentrate one's thinking.

3/02/2008 7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lori Grivna????? Give me a break!!!!!!!!!

The local Repubs have shot us in the foot once again running this School Board retread who supported every levy increase that came along. The only chance she has is if people are angry enough to come out and vote against Knuth in spite of having a school board hack as the alternative.

Gina Bauman was a far better candidate but it's clear that hacks in control wanted Grivna. Why? It's way beyond me!

3/04/2008 12:27 PM  
Blogger G-Man said...


Exactly who are these "hacks in control" and what did you do to help Gina get the endorsement?

3/04/2008 7:40 PM  
Blogger Right Hook said...

Anonymous -

I've talked to several people and have seen some commentary via e-mail and on other blogs with essentially the same feelings you express.

While I understand your frustration with the caucus and nomination process and the way things are sometimes run, we all need to calm down for a reality assessment here:

1) Lori Grivna is the endorsed candidate. Whether you like it, love it, hate it, or could care less about it that is the reality.

2) Lori will do a fine job as our representative. She may not be a movement conservative, but I've talked to her and read enough that she has written since the last election to assert with confidence that she "gets it" when it comes to what we need in a representative.

3) Kate Knuth is the real problem in the upcoming election. We need to focus our energy on defeating her rather than wasting it on rehashing how we got to this point. Any derision of Lori at this point in the campaign can do nothing to help defeat Knuth. On the other hand such negativity could actually help Knuth by giving her campaign a talking point that could be spun to their advantage. Even if Lori turns out to be 50% of what you want her to be as a legislator this is still a hell of a lot better than Knuth.

Take a close look at the last couple of Knuth press releases, or search this blog and read some of the previous posts if you need a reason to direct your ire in the proper direction.

Last year was bad enough, but the damage the DFL has already done in 2008 is devestating even if they quit right now. The problem is that they will be at it for the next couple of months or so. In one year Knuth has gone from some almost comical blunders to now authoring some of the potentially most damaging legislation ever seen and appears to be gaining the stature to actually get this crap enacted. We absolutely cannot afford for her to be re-elected. If she gets in for more than one term the effort it will take to knock her off in the future will be much greater as the system in many ways is stacked in favor of long time incumbents.

We have got to make sure that the message gets out this time. Lori can't do it alone and we as a group can't do it as effectively as possible if some are dragging diverting energy and intensity away from the task.

3/04/2008 10:47 PM  

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