Ninety-Nine Percent Paulsen (leaked communication from the Committee to Elect Republicans to Congress)

Dear Erik,

That’s the branding me and the boys on the committee have come up with for your part in a new campaign initiative we’ve cooked up. This initiative should make it a lot easier for Republican candidates this election year who, like you, are afraid to hold town hall meetings to defend your votes, and reveal to their constituents what spineless cowards you are. It does this by taking away a lot of the pain involved in campaigning, allowing you access to the latest Republican strategies for distracting the voters from what you’ve actually done for them and, in your case, from the fact you haven’t really done much of anything at all, other than suck up to the money guys.

We call this initiative the Ninety-Nine Percent Club, and it’s open to Republicans in Congress who’ve sided with our history-making President at least ninety-nine percent of the time. You are receiving this communication because, Erik, already on your own you’ve racked up impressive stats in that sucking-up category. Based on your performance to date, I and the boys on the committee are confident that you have the courage, or rather lack of it, that will enable you to become a full-fledged member of the Ninety-Nine Percent Club, and enjoy all its benefits and privileges.

Naturally you will need to re-commit yourself to Republican party principles, especially the one that them that has must always have more, and the devil take the hindmost. You’ve already done pretty well in that department, haven’t you Erik?

But although we can sympathize with your desire not to meet with or listen to anyone unless they have a lot of money, you might want to take some steps to avoid leaving the impression that you’re a ginormous tool: of big money, big corporations, Republican donors and, above all, of our history-making President, whose boots you’ve helped polish to a fine spittle sheen.

And it goes without saying that you will need to up your loyalty quotient to our history-making President. Ninety-seven or ninety-eight percent is a good start, but you’ll need to up your game to join the Ninety-Nine Percent Club. Just vote for anything our history-making President supports; we’ll read the bill for you so you don’t have to, and score it according to how much it pays to you and your donors.

We also have ready a pre-set strategy to distract the voters from paying attention to any of the multitude of shortcomings you exhibit as a waste of space in Washington, or your near slavish subservience to our history-making President.  This will involve a heavy dose of good old-fashioned Republican scare tactics and conspiracy theories, tactics especially useful for this election year. Some of the conspiracy theories to be aired, in addition to the spooky Deeeep State, will include:

That the Democrats want to eliminate Christmas (again), and replace it with Gay Pride Day, where everyone has to attend a same-sex wedding, and enjoy it.

That the Democrats will require every American household to host, free of charge, at least one MS-13 gang member for life, or death, whichever comes first.

And, that the Democrats plan to release a gang of flying attack monkeys who’ve been converted to Islam, to spread Sharia law across the country.

Of course, we’ll sprinkle all this with generous helpings of Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Barack Hussein Obama, Stephen Colbert, Democratic Deeeep State spies, the janitor who cleans your office, the Tooth Fairy, and/or Puff the Magic Dragon. Distraction’s always worked wonders for you in the past, Erik; why fix it if it ain’t broke?

That’s what we’ve come up with so far, Erik, but I’m sure we’ll come up with more crazy stuff as the campaign progresses.  We’ll need to do this sooner or later in the campaign, that is, throw everything at Phillips to see what sticks.

We have to do this, because, Erik, let’s face it, otherwise, we got nothing.

As to what we’re for, other than more money for the rich, we can point to our current proposal to amend the Constitution so as to remove all the text except for the Second Amendment; we don’t pay attention to all that other stuff in there, anyway. In addition, we propose to translate the Second Amendment into Russian, for the benefit of some of our biggest donors.

And, last but not least, membership in the Ninety-Nine Percent Club entitles you to an automatic promotion from boot-licker to ring-kisser of our history-making President.

I’d like to spend more time with you about this initiative, Erik, but me and the boys on the committee have a meeting this morning with our defense attorneys.  Here’s hoping the money pours in for you, and that we stay out of jail.

Sterling Weezil,

Ninety-Nine Percent Club Campaign Coordinator

Of Children and Of Light

The Democratic “Big Tent” has room for all kinds of believers, including those who don’t. So I hope y’all don’t mind some reflections on two Bible verses that’ve been on my mind of late, verses among the noblest and most inspiring in that book, both from the prophet Isaiah.

“And a little child shall lead them.”

The NRA, in its valiant crusade to seem more hip – and not so much the bunkered refuge of testosterone-addled white males – has even – gasp! – hired a black spokesman. This guy attacked the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high schoolers for exploiting their white privilege to gain celebrity for their modest cause of surviving long enough to take their algebra test.

First, I’m truly heartened to learn that Republicans and NRA-zealots are finally admitting that there is even such a thing as white privilege.

Second, if white privilege can be used in the service of those students’ modest cause, then, yes, guilty as charged.

Whatever it takes. And just to take the March For Our Lives rally at the capitol in St. Paul last Saturday – thousands “braving” the wind of early spring in Minnesota – although MSD students did speak, it wasn’t all about them and their “white privilege” of being gunned down between classes. Names and images of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Philando Castile, and others, also appeared, a list too long already, and lengthening by the day.

Speaker after speaker reiterated the point that this movement isn’t just about school shootings, bad as they are. The reason why increasing millions gravitate to a certain slogan of the movement – a slogan that’s such a red flag to those who see guns as a way to maintain control – the reason why the slogan “gun control” has such a hold on us is that plainly guns are OUT of control.

And just as plainly the NRA answer that we need even more guns – their antidote for all ills – is nuts.

But, folks, all that ain’t even the heart of it. An MSD student, 15-year old girl, spoke of her last conversation with a friend, who was planning her classes next term, classes she will never take. The 15-year old survivor, in a voice often breaking with grief and anger, told how she now writes her friend’s name on every homework assignment she hands in.

About then some water somehow got on my cheeks, and I just had to wipe it off because, you know, it made my cheeks cold in the wind of early spring in Minnesota.

We have failed our children. I usually oppose assigning collective responsibility, but here the case fits.

So since we have failed our children, people especially of my generation have a moral responsibility to join hands with these our courageous children and grandchildren, and combat this spiral of madness abetted by the NRA – a domestic terrorist organization if ever there was one – as well as quash the sociopathic cruelty of their political allies, the national Republican party.

I’m sorry … was that too mean?

Here’s what’s happening: The younger of us are overcoming their distrust of politics, and planning to vote, and vote Democratic. For them, how could that choice, now, be plainer?

Democrats are registering new voters, and need to do more. Besides signing up eighteen-year olds, we also need to, systematically, reach out to those UNDER eighteen, and enlist them also as participants in this historic moment.

Of course, there’s a practical point to tapping into youthful idealism; thereby we recruit Democratic voters for years to come, not just for this year.

Speaking of this year …

“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those that dwell in a land of darkness, light has dawned.”

Anger is vain and futile unless translated to action. There are times, especially in a democracy, when vast, subterranean currents intersect with individual people and events; the result is transformation and reform.

In a dark land, THIS is such a time. Not 2020 … who really cares that much, now, about who bears the party banner for president?  The Democratic base, that isn’t their passion right now.

THIS is the year, THIS is the year we fight back.

Besides, if we don’t, THIS year, really take it to them, what good is 2020?

If we can’t, THIS year, rock the Republicans back on their heels, when can we?

And if we can’t, or won’t, do all in our power to win race after race after race, in districts blue and red and purple and all the colors in between, what does that say about our country, let alone our party?

In a dark land, where the Republicans and the NRA are busying themselves with thoughts and prayers, while our schools – our schools! – have to become hardened fortresses against the madness THEY condone and defend … in that dark land, a light has dawned.

That light is in the voices of the young, of immigrants, of people of color, of women, and yes, of even many white men, voices angry and aggrieved at what our country is becoming.

This isn’t the country we want. This IS the year that light shines in the darkness, a light already fiercely ablaze.

We as Democrats need, THIS YEAR, to do what we can to cause that light to blaze all the brighter.

Blue wave? Republicans, you wish.


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Blue Wave… Or Volcanic Eruption?

Sometimes an “outsider” can see more clearly in Minnesotans what those born here might miss;
sometimes a loner senses more keenly what the gregarious lose in the constant background hum
of social intercourse. I am both: a transplant from the South who moved here almost forty years
ago, and a man usually content with a tiny circle of family and friends.

So how did a “non-native” Minnesotan, how did someone who’s a bit of a social introvert end up
at the Senate District 41 convention last Saturday? The answer is pretty straightforward, and is
provided by the date: Year Two of The Abomination.

For like many this year, I’ve come to the horrifying realization that our beloved republic is in
danger; that our beautiful democracy is being dismantled right before our eyes. And if anyone
thinks that language is overblown, I humbly submit that they haven’t been paying attention.

Like so many there last Saturday, I felt bound and determined to get off my keister and do
something about it. To get out of my comfort zone, and raise holy hell.

Minnesotans tend to be a phlegmatic bunch, doubtless due to the Scandinavian influence. Keep
calm, be gracious, just go quietly about your business. Sometimes known as Minnesota Nice.

I’ve got news for you. The era of Minnesota Nice has faded into yesterday.

What I saw at the district convention was what a false choice it is between focusing on local
issues as opposed to “nationalizing” this fall’s elections. I could see among the delegates what so
many Minnesota Democrats may not see themselves.

That there is an almost crazy anger raging just beneath the surface of Minnesota Nice, a boiling
anger at what the party of The Abomination is doing to our country and to our state.

Others who were there must have seen what happened whenever a speaker even merely nodded
in the general direction of the outermost suburbs of the unmentionable name of The
Abomination. I sensed in the crowd a foot-stomping, almost animalistic fury that, if they hadn’t
been Minnesotans, might have torn down the auditorium. I don’t blame the speakers for treading
lightly on the subject, for otherwise the convention delegates, Minnesotans or not, might have
simply exploded.

And yet, I’m even now not sure that all our DFL elected officials fully grasp what they are
dealing with. The constant, daily drumbeat of atrocities perpetrated by The Abomination and his
party, made in his image, not just at the national level, but even here in our beloved state, have
finally transgressed upon a hidden chamber of the heart, a violation that they must be made to

To put it mildly.

I’ve heard talk of a “Blue Wave” that is building, that will begin to turn back the depredations of
The Abomination and his band of buccaneers, gangsters, and traitors. But I’m starting to think
we’ve got it wrong.

What’s happening is looking to me more and more like the buildup to the volcanic eruption of a
barely suppressed fury. When I saw in our subcaucus the face of a mild-mannered, middle-aged
Minnesota woman twisted with outrage at the daily desecrations of our democracy – something
I’ve not seen before, and especially here in Minnesota – then I can feel the tectonic plates

I’m starting to wonder, fellow DFLers, if a large part of our work hasn’t already been done for
us. Sure, we have to work our butts off to register new voters, and kick our fellow Democrats in
their mid-term butts to get them to the voting booth.

So don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a counsel of over-confidence.

We have been dealt, by our opponents, an opportunity that doesn’t come around very often in a
democracy. An opportunity that enables us to move beyond the idea of merely defeating the
Republicans this November.

We must do our damnedest to harness this volcanic energy out there …

To crush them.


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