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The Christmas Movie Debate:

I like being light on the politics during the Christmas season. December seems like a good time to dodge politics. With this in mind here are some websites that I’m looking at to discern our discussion about the best Christmas movie ever on Sunday’s show:

http://www.auburn.edu/~vestmon/christmas_movie.html
http://www.easternecho.com/cgi-bin/story.cgi?7417
Arizona Republic

Among some of my finalists are the 1938 “A Christmas Carol” (the one with the British stage performers), the Chevy Chase classic “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and the all time great “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” (which I indeed own)

Other notables include Bill Murray’s “Scrooged,” “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” and the now cliche “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Feel free to debate away in the comments.

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Can I take door number 3?

Andy from Residual Forces has news of a possible challenger to governor Tim Pawlenty [collected from a numerous posts]:

I’ve just caught wind that a person will be running for Governor as an independent from the right.

I cannot say who, but I can assure you that this person is on the right side of the political spectrum. The person is very upset with Pawlenty’s recent policy decisions, and has decided to challenge him for his job.

Hey, everyone. The person is running as an Independent. Not in a Republican endorsing battle. This is a general election foe. Another name on the ballot. I have already heard some of the campaign message a few months back, and it will be even less flattering to Pawlenty than anything the DFL could come up with.

This is bigger than I expected. I thought no one would really get on me, but it seems some people think I am nuts. (as usual)

I would love to divulge the name and ID of the person, but I have been sworn to secrecy for now. I cannot say for sure that this person does intend to go through with this. Who knows if they really intended to push this through until the general election next November or if this is just a tantrum. But I felt it was too big a deal for me to sit on. I’m not big on keeping exclusives. My philosophy is get the information out there so everyone can make up there own minds or prove them false.

Almost immediately people started jumping on this mystery candidate. The GOP party base has a gut check mentality towards supporting their incumbants no matter their sins. I am one of those who doesn’t jump all over an office holder everytime they make a compromise or vote against the party. I understand that in a democracy compromises need to be made. I’m okay with that, ideological purity has a bad tendency of turning into genocide (Communists, Nazis, Islamofascists, Crusaders, the Spanish Inquisition, Soccer Fans). However, I also understand occasions when you need to make a stand against a bad incumbant, and I explain it in a comment I left on Andy’s blog:

Of course Pawlenty was going to get a challenger from the right, the Minnesota Constitution Party and the Libertarians always find someone to run, and they typically get on the ballot. That’s not a big deal. What I think might be a big deal here is if the mystery person is a more established Minnesota Republican who has a long history of being loyal to the party. That would hurt Pawlenty quite a lot. It also wouldn’t surprise me, since Pawlenty endorsed Eibenstiener over Carey, which would put him on the rocks with a lot of the party base. I don’t know for sure, and when the mystery person is named we can look at it more closely. The immediate demonization of this person is unwarranted though.

In 1976 Ronald Reagan ran against then incumbant Gerald Ford. Did that action mean that Reagan was a bad person? Even though by dividing the base of the GOP Reagan may have thrown the election to Jimmy Carter, the worst president this century? No, since it brought about a greater good, Reagan’s presidency. You have to ask yourself, you who are blindly loyal because you fear the democrats, would you have traded a Gerald Ford re-election to avoid Jimmy Carter if it meant that Reagan would not be able to be president? The what-ifs of history are many, and there are plenty of examples of challengers from the right creating a greater good than what existed before. I’m not saying I don’t support Pawlenty, he still has time and I think he’s done an okay to so-so job. But let’s see what time produces, as we have time before the 2006 general.

I know Reagan coined the 11th commandment, but that obviously didn’t prevent him from running against Gerald Ford. (I don’t want to get into an alternate history discussion here either. It could be argued that Ronald Reagan could still have become president in 1980 after Gerald Ford’s second term or in 1984 after the Ford’s full second term. That’s possible but unlikely, since the modern pattern for two term presidents is that their vice presidents follow in their footsteps as a sort of referendum on the previous president’s policies. It’s also possible that Reagan did not weaken Ford by running against him, but that argument further proves that Reagan was right, since Ford couldn’t have won a re-election, then he’s a bad candidate and incumbant and needed to go.) Reagan’s speech at the ’76 convention is a must read.

That aside, there’s still a question as to whether Pawlenty deserves a vote of no confidence. Right now I would say no. While I have disagreed with a lot of what Pawlenty has done, Pawlenty has been able to turn the 4.5 billion dollar Ventura deficit into a possible one billion dollar surplus by 2006. He did this without raising the income or sales tax. (Okay, the tobacco tax still has me frustrated.) He passed conceal and carry reform. He’s put 50 more state troopers on the job and has beefed up “first responders by funding interoperable radios that enable law enforcement, EMS, and other emergency response personnel to communicate.”*

And he has done things I don’t like. Cigarette taxes, support for state-wide smoking ban, and his Racino plan. Despite that I give him a vote of confidence, but that may change:

Pawlenty had earlier gone through how great the quality of life in Minnesota is, and a major cause to that was our higher than average amenities and programs. Mayo, U of M, 3M, etc. The big recipients of Government aid. It is a fact that with out them, our state would be as the Governor put it, Arkansas. We are the only Midwest state that does not face a dwindling population, and that is because we have stuff here to do. Entrepreneurs come to Mayo or on business trips, and end up liking the place. They also build businesses and create jobs.

In order to continue that streak, Pawlenty says that we will need to find the balance of providing such amenities (i.e. government spending) and paying for it (i.e. taxes). If we can continue to get people to come to Minnesota and see for their own eyes that we are not just a cold dark place with nothing to do, they will stay and in turn create jobs and further economic growth.

Okay, I think just about everyone agrees with that. But Pawlenty then took a shot at David Strom and Mike Wigley. Pawlenty said that he could not fight a 3 front war next year and be reelected. He couldn’t fight the moderate (i.e. Liberal) Republicans on marriage and abortion, the fiscal conservatives, and the Democrats.

This was the very end, and a building theme of the speech was how great Minnesota is, and that Pawlenty wanted to continue down that path. Meaning more spending on “fun stuff”. He even asked that the people in that room personally sacrifice for it (excuse me, that sounds Mondale-esk).

I got the feeling that this was the point at which Pawlenty was asking for the fiscal conservatives to shut up and let him get reelected. That we should expect more of the same, and that we had better like it or else we’d get a DFLer who everybody knows will tax our arses off.

As Pawlenty departed, I think most of us were rather shell shocked.

Read the entire post from Andy.

I feel that if Pawlenty abandons his fiscal conservatism he will be handing the DFL victory by admitting that GOP policies are wrong. We’re not wrong and the good economic numbers prove that. He would be throwing away all the work he did over the previous three years as governor of Minnesota. That would deserve a vote of no confidence. It hasn’t happened yet, I hope it doesn’t and until it does Pawlenty is my man.

Kevin Ecker, Peter Swanson and Father Time

After numerous searches on numerous search engines I have put together most of that which was eckernet.com. Kevin had back ups for most of his blog, it was the last three months that he lost, and by using search engine caches, we were able to recover all but two or three of his posts. If you didn’t know, major search engines take “pictures” of websites to make searches go quicker. Some engines, like Google and Yahoo make their caches available to view. You can recover lost data from these caches. Now you know.

To more interesting subjects, Peter Swanson is doing his Man of the Year and Father Time awards:

It is getting close to the end of the year. SwanBlog must pick the winners of the Father Time and Man of the Year awards again.

The Father Time award goes to the person in media or politics whose best days are clearly behind him (or her). Stale methods and stale ideas are a plus in this category. Nick Coleman was a consensus choice for Father Time last year. His fudging of facts, thin skin, and mud slinging were the deciding factors. In Minnesota, Coleman symbolizes Old Media.

John O’Neill was SwanBlog’s Man of the Year for both 1971 and 2004. In 1971, O’Neill was a crew cut wearing Navy veteran who challenged the anti-war movement, particularly the statements of an ambitious young veteran named John Kerry. In 2004, O’Neill donated a kidney to his wife. During his recovery, he noticed that Senator Kerry was promoting his war record in the presidential primaries. Once again, O’Neill stepped up to correct the record. Man of the Year is a combination of a yearly achievement award and a comeback award.

My nomination for the Father Time Award is Howard Dean. Dean’s reliance upon language that dates to the anti-war movement of the Vietnam era, Dean’s insistance upon returning his party to policies that date back to the the 1930’s, and Howard Dean’s outright defeatism and surrender addiction dating back to 1940 France make him a person of “stale ideas and stale methods.”

My nomination for the 2005 Man of the Year goes to Michael Yon. His reports from the frontline of the Iraq War put other embedded journalists to shame. He risked everything to go to Iraq on the small chance that his reports might get noticed. Thanks to the blogosphere, he did.

Personal Update

Posting may be a little light, Kevin Ecker’s server went down, taking his website with it. I’ve been going through search engine caches trying to get all the posts, comments and pictures that can be salvaged. I should return to my regular schedule of posting soon.