Monday, March 23, 2015

Straw men and fabricated facts

Former Republican turned blogger Michael Brodkorb has a post at the StarTribune calling 'Keith Downey's' ad campaign to 'Give It Back' Dead on Arrival.  Brodkorb, whose current notoriety is based solely on his ability to drop Mentos in the MN GOP soda bottle, relies on several straw men and a few facts fabricated out of thin air.

Straw man  #1- Downey 'introduced his personal dogma of Give it Back'

A massive over taxation of MN taxpayers leads to a logical conservative position of giving back the money to the people who were over taxed.  Similar sentiments have been expressed by conservatives every time the MN budget shows large surpluses.  Downey was expressing the thoughts of a large percentage of Minnesotans, and specifically of the various Tea Party groups in the state.

Straw man #2- Legislators and members of the state exec were 'confused' by the ad campaign

This argument is wonderful irony coming from Brodkorb, who is the cause of the problem he pretends to lament.  Brodkorb's reliance on unnamed, anonymous, and unattributed sources inside the party for his gossip column/blog created an environment where the details of the ad campaign had to be kept close to the vest.  Further, the ad was a product of the state party, and did not need to be cleared or coordinated with members of the legislature.  The intended audience for the ad was the taxpayers of Minnesota, not just GOP lawmakers.  The public can make their voices heard to every member of the legislature, DFL and GOP.

Straw man #3- It has become clear that $350 checks...will not be arriving in mailboxes

No one from the state party, the state exec or the donors who believed in this ad campaign ever stated or implied that refund checks were the way to 'Give it Back'.  In fact, the specific downsides of sending refund checks were discussed and it was quickly dismissed as impractical because of the cost involved, as well as the limited and temporary nature of such a refund.  Tax cuts, in the form of changes to the MN tax code that permanently reduce taxes on Minnesota families was always the intended focus of the Give it Back campaign. 

Fabricated fact #1- The ad campaign has created more discord than unity

Besides being completely subjective and based on nothing more than anecdotal evidence (according to Brodkorb), this is ideologically false.  Staking a position to the right of the GOP House caucus is not disunity; it is the military equivalent of sending a small force on a flanking attack.  Much like when a state party runs negative ads during an election season because the candidate wants to stay positive, the Give it Back campaign establishes support for a position farther to the right of the House caucus, allowing the legislators to focus on their job of negotiating the best bills they can in a divided legislature.

Fabricated fact #2- Downey was authorized to spend 'up to $999,999.99' on the ad campaign

This is either an outright lie by Brodkorb, or a 'fact' fabricated by his supposed source.  I wont go into the details of the conversation by the state executive committee, but no such motion was made, nor seconded, nor voted upon.  The authorization for the ad campaign was for a specific amount of money, not an 'up to' amount, and the dollars spent were to be limited to the amount of money raised specifically for the campaign.

Fabricated fact #3- the ad campaign was 'not designed by an astute political tactician'

David Schultz, political professor and vocal commentator on all things political in Minnesota and usually favoring the left, said the ad campaign was 'brilliant politics'.  He commented that tax cuts have been a staple message of Republicans for decades, and that DFL opposition to the campaign helps cement their personae of being 'the tax and send liberals we know they are'.  Moreover, 60% of Minnesotans favor giving it back, a number echoed in small town newspaper polling around the state.

Michael Brodkorb is a blogger who relies almost exclusively on anonymous comments from sources who may be pursuing their own political agenda.  Read him for entertainment purposes, but take him with a very large grain of salt.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Brodkorp is a moron. His columns have zero value and show that the Strib is only interested in him because he's a former Republican who is willing to trash Republicans. He can't write, he doesn't trade in facts, and it won't be long before his schtick wears out and he slinks away like the worm he is.