When I was growing up in the Minnesota of the 1950s and 60s, the state was a proud bastion of national Democratic politics, producing Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Eugene McCarthy, Orville Freeman, and a host of lesser—known names active nationally, but in non—elective offices. But today, as John Hinderaker of Powerline notes, Minnesota may be entering a new golden age of national political prominence and influence, this time as a source of leading Republican candidates and activists.
Senator Norm Coleman has rocketed into an influential position in Senatorial and Republican circles, based on his sheer ability. Governor Tim Pawlenty, who has adeptly managed the state budget, and who enjoys wide political popularity, is considered a bright star among the strong bench of Republican governors. Either or both men could well end up on a national ticket in the future. As John notes, the emergence of the Upper Midwest as a battleground region could really help, too.
One matter John is too modest to mention is the emergence of a strong phalanx of Minnesota bloggers, doing their part to plow new ground in the new media regime, what I have called the 'new infostructure.' The Northern Alliance of Bloggers* was one of the key elements advancing the Christmas in Cambodia scandal onto the national agenda, despite the best efforts of the old media. They took on a local bully from the dominant old media outlet in the state, the Minneapolis Star Tribune's deputy editor Jim Boyd, and exposed his use of gutter journalism for the wider world to see. And they have been in thick of things for the AP's fraudulent story attributing boos to Republicans when asked to pray for ex—Presient Clinton. Two Northern Alliance members were among the small group of blogs accredited to the just—ended RNC.
The Northern Alliance blogs have also pioneered the first collective effort to link the internet to talk radio.**
I would not be in the least surprised to see Minnesota become a Republican powerhouse, nationally. The state has a longstanding tradition of pragmatism, flexibility, and unpretentious common sense. Its people are well—educated, intelligent, civic—minded, and well—mannered.
As Minnesota goes, so goes the nation.
Shot in the Dark
** I have to add 'collective' because my friend Lucianne Goldberg was the first individual to operate a major website and do a talk radio show, though her early morning Talk Radio Network program has regrettably ended, allowing her to get a decent night's sleep again, from time to time.