19 October 2010

Whatever Happened to Minnesota Nice?

Reports of the debates between Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN 8th) and Republican challenger Chip Cravaack were surprising due to the chaotic, raucous nature of the debate.  The debate at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center Auditorium was not a mild mannered Oxford styled debate.  It was characterized by the Duluth News Tribune as angry mobs facing off against one another rather than a candidate forum.

As the debate was starting, Oberstar was met by catcalls from Cravaack supporters saying “Liar” and “Obama Junior”.  Oberstar supporters from the Democrat Farm Labor party responded in kind and this continued throughout the 90 minute debate, despite entreaties by the moderators for civility.  The speaker system seemed inadequate so the audience participation drowned out the debate.

This rowdy crowd was a marked contrast to the Gobernatorial debate last month, where there was virtually no heckling or cheering during the debate.  A Cravaack supporter thought that emotions were heightened due to the federal issues of health care, the economy and abortion.

It is unfortunate that the meeting dominated the message, as Oberstar, the 76 year old Congressman, had a couple of incoherent responses, like “If you don’t like clean water then...join the Supreme Court”. And it is remarkable how Oberstar wants to pass legislation to correct Associate Justice Scalia’s “incorrect interpretations” of law.

I am sorry that this candidate forum contradicts the illusion of Minnesota nice.  But after the Franken-steal (sic) recounts of 2008, Minnesota nice seems as fake as WWF wrestling results, apologies to ex-Governor Jesse Ventura (Reform-MN).

No comments: