Friday, April 18, 2008

Yet They Claim to Not Be Condescending

And now we pause to praise the most valuable members of society. No, not those hard working pork plant workers. I'm talking about DFL Front Groups Liberal Think Tanks.

Don't laugh. They're serious:

A progressive think tank's work, like all the world's, is hard work. We rise, shoulder our tools, and labor, moving Minnesota's public policy agenda forward. Then, we do it again the next day.

Let's all hear it for progressive think tanks ladies and gentlemen!


Using a baseball analogy, we want to win the game through singles and doubles, not home runs. The home run might jazz fans but in baseball's simple math, teams accumulate points when runners cross home plate. Home runs are, statistically, far less likely than base hits.

Using another, more apt baseball analogy, "think" tanks like MN2020 would like to see the government play the part of the pitcher, while the average taxpayer assumes the role of catcher.

Most of our public policy work is the think tank equivalent of a solid base hit because we believe that base hits win ball games.Conservative public policy makers and advocates have dominated Minnesota's public policy debate for twenty years in part because progressives have conceded the policy debate's larger public arena.

Please tell me more of this strange and distant planet you refer to as "Minnesota". It seems so symmetrically opposite of our earthbound version of the same name.

We believe that strong schools, affordable healthcare, good jobs and a robust economy strengthen families and communities. It is an article of faith for many of us.

I have no idea what this guy means by that, so we'll just smile, nod politely and move on.

That's the problem. Faith's expression requires no proof beyond faith itself. It makes for a powerful values construct but good public policy isn't simply built on faith. Rather, it's rooted in solutions addressing collectively expressed problems. In other words, we invest in public schools because we get something tangible from the deal: better lives.

But I thought faith was to be kept out of the public schools?

(OK, that was a dumb line. Let's forget I ever typed it and continue):

But, for far too long, we've declined to make the progressive agenda case to the larger public. We insist that we know what's best.

Fellow KARnies, good citizens of KARNation, infrequent visitors, and people who googled "MILF": I would like you for a moment to put down your guns, forget about your religion, put aside your hatred of immigrants, and read that graf again.

But, for far too long, we've declined to make the progressive agenda case to the larger public. We insist that we know what's best.

All hail the progressive Mommy Tank, who knows what's best.

Sweet. Holy. Crap.

It's not enough to be right.

In your case, it'd be a good start. Along with a little humility. You condescending booger.

Minnesota 2020 was born from the idea that people share our concerns and our values but they don't understand how we translate them into public policy. Most critically, they don't understand how a progressive agenda improves and enriches their lives.

And even more critically they can't seem to fathom that maybe- just maybe -we're taxed enough, and the way the legislature prioritizes its spending is a) self-serving; and b) stupid.

Talking only to ourselves or insisting that we're right with a three-year old's breath-holding determination won't change minds and it certainly doesn't build community.

So let's go to the other extreme and act as though we are the All-Seeing Masters of Time and Space Who Know Better. That's totally more mature and constructive.

That's why a think tank's business is hard work.

I would love to see this puke tell that to those guys who are risking nervous system disorders to blast brains out of hog skulls, just so that we may all enjoy a meal of delicious, porky bacon.

ThunderJournaling is hard work too. I have to read NonMonkey, and those poop jokes just don't write themselves.

It's rewarding, sure, but-

NO. wait a minute. I need to get this off my chest. Would it be too much trouble for you people to show a little appreciation for a fucking change? Guys like Ryan, Mynorthernalliancecolleague-nihilistingolfpants and I slave over a keyboard an average of three times a week for your amusement. And what do we get in return? Comment spam. Or some drooling leftist douchebag telling us to "go fuck Iraq" (yeah, I don't know what that means either, but it actually happened).

You know what we don't see? "Thank you," or "Job well done," or, "Dammit you are right! Spot the Dog probably does eat his own shit."

I, for one, am tired of your total and utter non-acknowledgement of my considerable ThunderJournalistic game. I demand a lavish banquet to be held in my honor and in the honor of the other aforementioned other acerbic irrelevancies, during which you recognize our great contributions to the internet while simultaneously picking up the beer tab!

There. I feel better. Let's continue.

It's rewarding, sure, but moving Minnesotans forward, making the case for progressive policy change, for investing in schools, healthcare, transportation and economic development is never achieved in a single home run.

Watch how the subject, verb and object work together in that sentence. It's as though Minnesotans can't move for themselves. They need some elitist left-wing think tank to move them.

Move this.

In contrast, consider the conservative movement. After a wildly successful run, Minnesotans are beginning to turn away from disastrous conservative public policy prescriptions. Conservatives, however, are not going quietly into that good night.

Yes, we're not citizens with a legitimate point of view. We are the enemy to be eliminated. By Mommy Tanks.

Last weekend, conservative talk radio host Jason Lewis and the no-tax greedhead crowd


Come over here you little punk so that I can shove my 2007 state tax return up your ass.


(And no it's not lost on me that he -like other drooling maternalistic Tic party proxy propagandists before him - mischaracterized the view of those gathered as the total elimination of taxes. Why do liberals hate the truth?)

held their annual State Capitol tax protest rally. They said the same things they always say -taxes are bad, government is bad, blah, blah, blah- so I won't bore you with the details except to say that an angry rant remains an angry rant.

Taxes aren't high enough, markets are bad, the government should do / regulate everything blah blah blah.

I won't bore you with details except to say that a condescending rant remains a condescending rant.

Their attendance numbers have been dwindling. Lewis claimed five or six thousand. Media accounts say one thousand. I'm thinking that it was more like seven or eight hundred but I'll generously concede the thousand.

Oh there's that again. One wonders how such a hard-working Mommy Tank person had enough time to attend the rally. This hard-working ThunderJournalist had other things to do (because this ThunderJournalist is of the view that holding up a sign on a stick in the blustering rain accomplishes less than spending time with his kids, working out and watching the Masters. I'm going to guess that this ThunderJournalist is not alone.)

They shouted at each other, at us and at KSTP-TV's camera, insisting that their liberty was lessened by taxes.

Which is a perfectly defensible position in the face of Mommy Tanks and Nanny Statists.

They saved an especially bitter enmity for the six State House Republicans that voted for the $6.6 billion transportation investment bill. They insisted that Minnesotans are the sixth most taxed state.

In all fairness, they were way closer than Matt Entenza who made the ridiculous claim that we're 32nd (keeping in mind that there are several states that don't even collect income taxes at all).

They weren't counting on being challenged but that's what we did.

OOOOO!!! Tough guy. It's like they're bodyguards. Bodyguards of those who want to forcibly take more of your money.

Wait - what?

After the rally, Minnesota 2020 founder and board chair Matt Entenza, in a Star Tribune interview, responded that, no, Minnesota is actually 32nd not sixth.

Which is a crock. That assertion is either a) a baldfaced lie; or b) based on some self serving cutesy calculation like "tax revenues from the upper 14% of households with annual incomes between $150,000 and $151,000 with less than 3 pets as a percentage of the GDP of Guam" or some such nonsense. Most reliable evidence points to 11 or 12.

Oh wait. Entenza's not done lying yet:

But he didn't stop there, he asserted our critical message: "The cost of a no-tax system is horrible schools, horrible health care, horrible roads.''


And that, friends, is how you move a progressive agenda forward. Do the research, craft a compelling narrative, and challenge harmful conservative public policy. Then, get up tomorrow and do it again.

Let's hear it one more time for our dedicated and hard-working think tank drones: manufacturing reality and thinking of new ways to extract and spend more of your money for ambiguous tomorrows!


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