We listened to Representatives Walz and Bachmann on Mid-Morning with Kerri Miller. It was a great contrast. Walz talked about how tenuous and simplistic an assumption it was that one could make snap judgments assessing a situation after a few hours in a country, then talked about various measurements for considering the Iraq effort. Walz reiterated his belief that the administration had rushed into this war without properly exhausting other options.
He stressed the need to get on with reconstruction projects (less than 5 percent of the money set aside for such projects has been spent) and criticized the the Bush administration's priorities. He also repeated his view that the Administration rushed into the Iraq War without exhausting other avenues.
Bachmann gushed on about her feelings and the facial expressions of those she met on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, throwing in an anecdote or two. She talked at length about her idea that Iran is a major player in the Iraq War.
Her ideas about Iran are, well, we'll let our friends in the Sixth's blogosphere take them apart. But they do illustrate the sharp contrast between those members of congress who are stoking the notion of going to war with Iran, and those of someone like Walz, who was critical on the show of the war we already have, but did not babble one word of hysteria about Iran.
Both were asked about dealing with the recession. Walz favored getting money into the hands of those who will spend--an approached favored by the Federal Reserve chair, while Bachmann said she wanted to cut corporate tax rates to 25 percent. She did say she'd be open to proposals for stimulus packages.
But I had to laugh aloud at her response to a question about the coming campaign season, when she talked about being out in her district talking to people. When was that?
And here's another sharp contrast between Bachmann and Walz. It's not just Bachmann's paranoid fantasies about Iran that would make Richard Hofstadter sit up in his grave and salute her style, versus
Walz's focus on the fact at hand. The representatives' differing notions of what constitutes meeting with the public contrast as deeply as the ying and yang of the Taoist tradition.
It's a frequent complaint of friends and bloggers in the Sixth that Bachmann has not held a single town hall meeting or forum since entering Congress. They look with envy to the First, where Walz has held dozens and dozens of public meeting, most well publicized, to listen to what his constituents thinks about policy issues ranging for the Iraq War to the Farm Bill.
In the netroots, our friend in Southwestern Minnesota's Corner House Comments asks Good Lord! Does Bachmann have a clue?:
Over at Think Progress they have a story featuring comments made by Minnesota’s Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). Apparently she made this comment:
I am so proud to be from the state of Minnesota. We’re the workingest state in the country, and the reason why we are, we have more people that are working longer hours, we have people that are working two jobs.
What can I say? According to her standards I must be a slacker.
Walz mentioned this remark in his interview with Kerri Miller, noting that he thought that was a peculiar measure of economic health. Walz thought a sign of a healthy economy would be a person having one good job that allowed him or her to spend more time at home with the family.
Lots of coverage of the trip to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Star Tribune reports Rep. Tim Walz visits war zones to study veterans' care system The Post Bulletin reports Walz's Iraq trip reveals deficient medical records for troops and MPR Walz calls for better access to soldier's medical records.
Young and old join campaign to oppose 'toxic trade'. In December, Walz expressed this support of another consumer safety proposal, the SAFE Consumer Product Act. Walz's news chief of staff, who is based in the Rochester, formerly worked for the Steelworkers. The protest must have made for an interesting reunion.
Vox Verax looks at Walz returning his pay raise to the Treasury in What's this? A congressman who actually practices what he preaches?. An investment blogger notes that
Tonight on C-Span, six democratic members of the House of Representatives, including Minnesota congressman Tim Walz and Keith Ellison, took the podium for an hour to discuss an economic stimulus package for middle income Americans that would pump $100 billion into the economy and target subsidies for health insurance, small businesses, employment, housing crunch victims, and more. Several of the congressmen mentioned that although Americans continue to increase productivity, wage increases have not moved forward
We happened to be channel surfing and caught some of that. However, when Iowa Rep. Steve King got on and started carrying on about categorizing legislation into whether or not the efforts would define the nation or not (with health care insurance, economic recovery and so forth getting assigned to the no column) we found a far more exciting re-run of Law & Order somewhere.
Saturday, Congressman Walz will be visiting National Pheasant Fest 2008 in St. Paul. There will be a discussion of the Farm Bill:
Farm Bill Forum - Pheasants Forever's Farm Bill Forum on Saturday, January 19th, at 10:30 AM will include the three most important people shaping the Federal Farm Bill: Acting U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner; U.S. Senate Agriculture Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA); and U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN). The Forum will be held in the upper ballroom level of the Saint Paul RiverCentre Seminar rooms 10 and 11. The Forum will be preceded by a press conference at 10 AM with a special wildlife conservation announcement from the United States Department of Agriculture.
Admission is $10. Tomorrow, however, there will be a parade:
National Pheasant Fest 2008 will kick off on Friday with a Bird Dog Parade led by Ron Schara and Raven. Over 25 different sporting dog breeds and their owners will march in the parade that begins at 12:30 PM at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, site of the Bird Dog Stage presented by Purina. The parade route will then make its way outdoors around the Xcel Energy Center, starting at 5th Street West, then 7th Street West, and finally onto Kellogg Blvd West. The parade will conclude at the Saint Paul RiverCentre entrance prior to the ribbon cutting and opening of National Pheasant Fest at 1 PM.
Let's hope their owners bring the dogs' sweaters for that jaunt. It's cold out there!