« The man behind the curtain | Main | Wetterling hits Bachmann on light rail »

Campus media

I was interviewed for an article in the Minnesota Daily. The author did a pretty good job of conveying what I said, but even the statements in quotes aren't verbatim. If reporters are not going to quote people accurately, they should just drop the quotes altogether. Anyway, here's my part of the article:

English and Russian language junior Pat Smith is also familiar with the campaigning process: He's been blogging about the 6th District U.S. Congressional campaign this summer.

Although Smith writes in support of Democratic candidate Patty Wetterling, he is unaffiliated with her official campaign.

Wetterling's Republican opponent, state Sen. Michele Bachmann, represents Smith's hometown, Stillwater.

Smith said he is supporting Wetterling for two reasons.

"(Bachmann's) done a poor job," he said. "And, (Wetterling) is offering a way out of the chaos in Iraq, a tax plan for the middle class and she's done great work in the past lobbying. I'm proud to have cast a vote for her in 2004 (when she ran for Congress)."

Smith also worked for John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign at an on-campus phone bank and went door-to-door to promote the candidate.


Smith said he has strengthened his personal political identity and his understanding of government on a broader scale.

"I have become more informed and I feel more of a connection to the process of government," he said. "Voting's very important. It is both a privilege and a responsibility - and it can have an impact."

I actually told the reporter that Wetterling has done great work lobbying Congress on child-safety and crime issues, and compared that to Bachmann's do-nothing record. I mentioned Wetterling's pro-student stance. I gave reasons why Bachmann has done a poor job, especially her focus on extremist social-conservative goals at the expense of accomplishing anything. On the issue of voting, I specifically mentioned that until college students and young people vote, politicians won't take us seriously.

On a related note, last night I wrote a letter to the editor of the Daily, and I just received word that it will be published tomorrow. I wrote it in response to an ostensible 9/11 memorial held by the College Republicans that was used as a recruiting tool for the organization. I borrowed the rhetorical frame of the letter from a suggestion by Josh Marshall over at TPM. You saw it here first... I'll post the link to the Daily's version tomorrow.

I wouldn't mind that the College Republicans politicized 9/11 with their recent "Never Forget 9/11" recruiting event if our Republican-controlled government hadn't failed so badly at capturing those responsible and at keeping our homeland safe.

I just saw a picture of a guy who pledged on September 12th, 2001, not to trim his beard until Osama bin Laden was captured or killed. After 5 years, his beard's getting pretty long. President Bush recently warned bin Laden, "America will find you." Strong words from a man who said he was "not that concerned" about bin Laden. Bush decided to pull out most of the special forces and CIA operatives searching for bin Laden in early 2002, when we had a good idea of his whereabouts, to prepare for the invasion of Iraq, a war which had nothing to do with 9/11 and has actually made our country less safe by stirring up anti-American sentiment among those who would do us harm.

And let's not forget the Republican record when it comes to protecting America. Five years later, the most basic recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission to improve homeland security have not been implemented. We still scan less than 1% of the shipping containers entering our vulnerable ports for smuggled WMDs. Our mass transit systems, like the light rail here in Minneapolis, have been proven vulnerable by attacks overseas, yet transit security remains desperately under-funded. Republicans have also been more interested in dishing out pork in security aid to states than on spending the money in places where it is needed most, like our most populous and vulnerable cities.

Republicans talk the talk, but they can't walk the walk. It seems that Republicans have forgotten the lessons of 9/11. Vote for change in Washington this November 7th.

Here's the picture of the beard guy: