There is such a fine line between stupid and clever – Spinal Tap

I have decided it is entertaining to watch people doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons and somehow come close to getting it right in spite of themselves, but then ultimately failing. How else can you explain Big Brother being on the air for 15 years?

There seems to be an epidemic of stupid going on in my Republican Party, but it amazes me how close we sometimes come to getting it right only to fail spectacularly – the fine line between stupid and clever.

Exhibit A: Kurt Bills skipping the Star-Tribune editorial board interview. There must have been a reason for this, but if the candidate is going to skip the interview, then they should probably issue a statement explaining why. The endorsement and no-show story appeared in Sunday’s Star-Tribune but so far no word at all from the Bills camp about why he didn’t show up to talk to the Strib.

This was completely avoidable, if anyone was paying attention this summer.  Exhibit A1: Bruce Schwichtenberg pulled exactly the same idiotic stunt with the Star-Tribune, allowing them to easily endorse his opponent, Julianne Ortman, and giving her a ton of free press coverage and publicity while he sat in the corner, sulking. And not to forget, also losing the election.

So why can’t the Bills people learn from other’s mistakes?  We knew the Strib was probably going to endorse Klobuchar anyway, but why give her the free reign to say whatever she wants, unchallenged in the largest newspaper in the State?  The clever candidate would have met with the board and used the forum to express his ideas to the people and try to win some votes.  The stupid candidate doesn’t show up for the interview. A fine line.

Update: Ernie Leidiger also decided to snub the Star-Tribune. He did not complete the candidate questionnaire that appears in the print and online versions of the Strib voter guide.  Bad advice from Schwichtenberg, or just laziness? We’ll never know, because apparently you are not allowed to question the almighty Ernie, or they will come after you.

Exhibit B: Frank Long & the He-Men Woman-Haters Club boycotting the League of Women Voters candidate forums for County Commissioner.  I say most of the candidates have something to hide, which is the real reason they didn’t go, and they hid behind their right-wing extremism in order to avoid uncomfortable questions. Frank Long has drunk-driving convictions and an apparent drug-dealing conviction that would certainly make for awkward questions in a live forum. Tom Workman has financial problems and a pretty poor record of showing up for meetings unless he’s is getting paid as a lobbyist.

Unfortunately, these guys were set up by Exhibit B1: Ernie Leidiger being obnoxious at the League of Women Voters Voter ID meeting in Waconia. Once he made enemies by trying to vilify the League, these other candidates (all of which were endorsed by Leidiger in Primary season) had to leap to Ernie’s defense, and provide cover for all of them not to answer any questions from the voters.

The clever candidate would have gone to the forum and used the free airtime and crowd of potential constituents to thank the League for hosting the forum and for inviting you even though you disagree on major policy issues. The stupid candidate publicly denounces the League of Women Voters, yells at them and calls them names and then gets destroyed in the newspapers by letter writers. A fine line.

Update 10/23: Jeff Kolb at True North has an even better approach to League of Women Voters in his blog: What to do About the League of Women Voters

Yes, friends and neighbors there is a fine line between stupid and clever.  Actually as I read this back its not a very fine line at all.  These fatal gaffes were completely avoidable by people with common sense. These are not the actions of qualified candidates.

The election is two weeks away. The next opportunity for this gang to shoot themselves in the foot is Wednesday October 24 in Waconia Island View at 730am. Ernie Leidiger will be at a candidate forum hosted by the totally-not-communist Chamber of Commerce, the not-even-left-leaning Rotary Club, and the so-completely-neutral-you-can’t-stand-it Waconia Patriot.

The first question someone should ask him is, “You owe the tax payers like a million dollars, when can we expect to be paid back?”  Totally worth the $10 to get in just to see the fine line between stupid and clever.