WHAT I SHOULD HAVE SAID ON "ALMANAC"
My bully of an older brother played a “game” called Think Fast. It consisted of him throwing a basketball at me as hard as he could when I wasn’t paying attention.
The game of Think Fast on Almanac doesn’t physically hurt, but the psychic pains last a lot longer.
This is my first time running for office, and I’m still not catching on to the rules, namely (1) keep talking and talking until someone stops you, (2) interrupt other people when they’re making a point, and (3) don’t bother answering a question directly, just talk about whatever it is you want to talk about.
Say what you will about Mary Kiffmeyer, she has definitely mastered these rules. She was able to claim she was nonpartisan, that she loved open debate, and that she is a light of positivity, and I just sat there.
It only takes one example to show that what she says and what she does are completely different. Two years ago, as a naive volunteer brimming with optimism, I campaigned for a bill that would allow my city, Roseville, to use ranked voting (IRV) in one city election. The first thing I did was talk to her deputy and ask for the support of the SOS office. There was never a response, nor did she appear at any hearings on the bill. Before the House vote, she sent her deputy to the Republican locker room to prod members of her party to vote down the bill. Where was the open debate then? Where was the positivity? On Almanac, she expressed concern that IRV would disenfranchise seniors, but we wouldn’t know that until we tried it, would we? Roseville is full of seniors. An election for a temporary city council member would have been the ideal place to test her beliefs. She could have at least told Roseville candidates, council members, legislators, and citizens to our face that she opposed it. Instead, it was a sniper attack. To tell the public that you are neutral, and then to say something completely different to your own party is the definition of partisanship.
I never grabbed the question about voting equipment and steered it to the Help America Vote Act debacle. Why would Minnesota, in year 2001, want the federal government to get involved with Minnesota’s election process? We already had a good system and didn’t need the feds butting in. As an alleged fiscal conservative, she should have defended Minnesota by trying to limit HAVA. Instead, she became a cheerleader for it, and Minnesota taxpayers took the hit. Minnesotans got $44.5 million in federal funds, but will pay $56 million in federal taxes for the privilege. And we were forced to spend the funds in ways that our legislature never would choose. Putting a disability machine in every single polling place was too expensive, given that there was a choice of only one machine–thanks to Kiffmeyer. A reasonable temporary accommodation for the disabled could have been made, at least until there were options on the market.
I never mentioned the importance of ranked voting capability in our voting equipment, and Kiffmeyer’s role in preventing us from having that capacity. Oops.
Once again she took credit for high voter turnout, when competitive elections and Minnesota’s civic tradition are the cause, not her.
Another thing never mentioned is that virtually every topic we discussed on the show is a legislative issue, not within the control of the SOS. The SOS is the election guru and is presumed to have know-how in these areas, but ultimately is not the decision maker.
Final tally: Kiffmeyer spoke for 6 minutes and 30 seconds. Ritchie 4:15, Spoonheim 3:01, and me 2:36.
Left to Right: Eric Eskola (host), Mark Ritchie (DFL), Bruce Kennedy, Cathy Wurzer (host), Joel Spoonheim (IP), Mary Kiffmeyer (Rep.)