Mike McFadden’s Desperately Naive Campaign Pledge

Mike McFadden Wrong for MinnesotaMike McFadden doesn’t have a record and his party has no serious ideas.  As a matter of policy, in fact, Republicans have done little more than cause trouble and get in the way.  They simply don’t like government and have no respect whatsoever for the current Obama administration and Democrats in office.

So it isn’t surprising that McFadden’s primary focus in his campaign is to call out Al Franken for voting in favor of issues supported by the Obama Administration.  If you’re party is little more than anti-Obama, anti-anything, this might make sense.  It is even somewhat intellectually honest.  Republicans reject even the simplest and least controversial proposals from our President.  They just don’t like the man and that seems to be all they have for a campaign issue.

Oh…but let’s not forget that McFadden does mention Minnesota’s education gap.  He’s going to do something about that, he says.  In a campaign filled with fluff, that mention merely sounds trite and conniving.  Perhaps a desperate grasp for a minority vote.

But nothing is more desperate than his apparent pledge not to vote 97% with any party.  In his recent television ad he promises to pack up and come home if he does.  What, exactly, does this mean?

Al Franken

Al Franken is doing a great job for Minnesota and the country.

This is an attempt to reach uninformed people who have either limited understanding of what’s happening in Washington or don’t like government or both.  In large part he is speaking to his base — Republicans — and that might not be a bad strategy.  He has nothing to offer other than promising to be an ideological puppet.  It is a good idea to reassure the base that this is true.

However a promise like that cynically calls out to disengaged voters generally and unfortunately there are too many of those among us.  Too many of us are poorly informed and have been misled regarding the role and place of government in our lives.  I find it disturbing that we would consider someone who fosters this ignorance and distrust a suitable candidate for serious public office.

Moreover, the pledge is plainly stupid.  It should surprise no one that a strong Democrat like Senator Al Franken would vote for with his party.  Are Republicans any different?  Much has been made about the divide being stronger today than it has been in generations.  Party line votes generally are the norm today, but that is a condition of our national political nightmare.  We have a lot of bad people in public office working to undo the work of government.  Sides are therefore digging in the heels.

Pragmatically, what is McFadden saying here?  I suppose it is a safe pledge to make is you expect to be a senator while a Democrat is president.  Although one wonders…would he find anything to support if we have a Democrat president?  What happens if we’re faced with a President Cruz?  I suppose then even a well-coached political pawn might find an policy supported by the president to oppose.  Cruz is outrageous.

My point is you don’t know what your voting record will be years in advance of votes.  To keep the vote balance sheet within the pledge, would we expect him to vote for or against an issue just for that reason?  How useful is that?  How does that serve his constituents?

The pledge is a political trick, one without substance or value.  And in that way, it is entirely consistent with Mike McFadden.

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