I have been a supporter of Bob Olson for some time now. After he came to me last fall and asked for my support and discussed the issues I was impressed enough to devote significant time on this blog advocating his positions. Through these past months I have worked hard to portray Mr. Olson in a positive manner and tried to convince others of his virtues. He is a good man with a good heart and progressive beliefs which closely mirror my own.

However, our beliefs diverge in how campaigns and campaigning should run. It is NOT my belief that slash and burn politics are an effective means to win an endorsement and it is NOT my belief that it is necessary to bloody our opponents in order to achieve victory.

Over the past few months I have witnessed a campaign that has gotten either progressively more desperate or progressively more bitter in its tone. In my naivety, I tried to justify this tone as the game of politics. The tipping point came tonight as I watched one of the most painful sights I have witnessed in my life. Mr. Olson took his campaign down a road that even his campaign team urged him not to travel. A campaign team that appears to be heading for the lifeboats while its captain pursues the "white whale" to his own eventual demise.

It is time, Mr. Olson, to take your exit from this race. It is time, Mr. Olson, for you have done significant damage to your image and to progressive politics. It is time, Mr. Olson, for you to apologize to Mr. Tinklenberg for the disrespectful way you carried yourself at the debate.

While the Tinklenberg campaign may need to do some courting of this blogger in order for me to fully embrace his candidacy, I can no longer count myself as a Bob Olson supporter.

On the other hand, it was equally disheartening to watch high level Tinklenberg supporters (campaign managers and such) openly mock, laugh, and ridicule as Mr. Olson spoke. The actions of Mr. Olson were certainly not excusable or even the slightest bit defensible but it also does not make supporting Mr. Tinklenberg easier when you watch the unprofessional manner that his staff display. Elwyn Tinklenberg handled himself well and I admire him for that but his campaign team does him a disservice by claiming the high road but acting in such a manner as they did in full view of the public. I have chastised the likes of Steve Gottwalt for similar actions and it would be hypocritical of me to ignore those actions when coming from a Democrat.

Within the next few days I will have up video segments of the debate for people to judge for themselves, but I can no longer be party to a campaign as vitriolic as the one I saw tonight. For now, I will be focusing on Michele Bachmann as I still believe she needs to be replaced but I will not be posting on the Democratic candidate in the 6th District until I can be convinced that they are respectful enough to warrant discussion.

Cross Posted on Dump Bachmann


11 responses to "An Open Message To Bob Olson..."

  1. Anonymous On March 16, 2008 at 10:39 PM

    What you call vitriolic and disrespectful, I saw as courageous and honest.

    I believe Olson said what he felt needed to be said despite the risks to his campaign, not out of desperation for victory. He has fulfilled his promise and retained his honor, while Tinklenberg remained disingenuous as ever.

    Cowardice in the Republican party allowed the rise to power of the Neocons and their lackeys like Bachmann. I believe the Democrats will hold the Presidency and both houses of Congress when this election is over. We must not repeat the mistakes of others.

  2. Political Muse On March 16, 2008 at 10:52 PM

    The display I saw tonight had little to do with honor. Any man that stubbornly resists four hours of convincing by his own campaign to stop has lost his ability to see reality and only does himself and the rest of us a disservice.

    You have every right to believe what you want but any honest evaluation of the night must cringe at the tactics of Mr. Olson.

  3. Anonymous On March 17, 2008 at 1:33 AM

    I am glad to see that you saw what I saw this evening. I thought Bob spoke effectively to the issues of Energy Solutions. Unfortunately, that was the only issue to which, I feel, he spoke with any certainty. Elwyn Tinklenberg out-classed him every step of the way. As for the crowd reactions, I noticed them from both sides. Thank you for keeping it real.

  4. Blueman On March 17, 2008 at 7:14 AM

    You're right Muse, it's pretty much over, knew it Saturday after I heard the convention results.

  5. TwoPuttTommy On March 17, 2008 at 7:21 AM

    I was there, and my take is that Tinklenberg's performance was disingenuous.

    I cannot support someone that wants to put taconite tailings in the roads in my neighborhoods. As Blueman said, and I quote: "We can't dump this stuff in Lake Superior but we can use it all over our roads? "

    And I'm sorry - clearly, Team Tink claimed endorsements they did not earn; rather than 'fess up - or, even blame it on "semantics" - they simply gloss over and ignore it.

    And I'm not going to write about Team Tink's performance in the audience, but I definitely agree with the assessment here.

  6. Anonymous On March 17, 2008 at 7:46 AM

    Sounds like a certain troll who once plagued Dump Bachmann has found a new home. You should put comment moderation on.

  7. Anonymous On March 17, 2008 at 9:34 AM

    Why did Tinklenberg think it was right to drag Olson's volunteers into the debate? Is he trying to ruin reputations so they can't work in the CD6 again with any credibility?
    Why won't Tink answer questions about his change of stances on the Iraq war, GLBT rights, and a woman's right to choose? Why does he feel attacked when legitimate questions are asked?
    What I saw from Olson's supporters was much more respectful than how Tinklenberg.s supporters acted.

  8. eric zaetsch On March 17, 2008 at 12:02 PM

    Kid. John Wayne, Lee Marvin, and James Stewart in the Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was before your time. Keep your ears open more, and your mouth shut, until you've reflected more.

  9. Anonymous On March 17, 2008 at 7:56 PM

    I am so sorry this happened. Over the course of this race, I've seen things get progressively more nasty, but I understand why they do.

    Any candidate who has lost a race has felt enormous guilt for letting their supporters and cause down, whether or not they could have done anything to change the outcome.

    After you've looked into that abyss, you'll do almost anything to avoid going over that cliff again. I think that's what drives people over the edge into unsavory tactics and illogical choices.

    How one handles that pressure says a lot about one's character. I don't think Olson handled it well, but I can fully understand why not.

    The more sympathy we can have for candidates in these positions, the more likely the rest of us will avoid taking pleasure and potshots at their downfalls - another character test most of us fail at least occasionally.

    It's time for to all take a look at how we scored on this latest electoral ethics quiz and use the results to do better on the final test.

  10. Anonymous On March 19, 2008 at 11:53 AM

    There are many thoughtful and accurate comments in this post and a few that are not so helpful. I write from the perspective of being one of the three unpaid Olson volunteers who went into the lion's den last Sunday. We were thrown under the bus by our candidate, many of our fellow Dems and by our own naive decisions. Almost anything I say will be viewed by the cynics out there as self serving. It may interest some that when the debate was over, most of the people I thought of as friends and colleagues treated us like lepers; obviously blaming us for Olson's meltdown. It is true that some of Tinklenberg's paid staff acted in a boorish manner throughout the debate. It is also a fact that the only two people to approach us with compassion, understanding, and grace were his son in law, Jon and Elwyn himself. It said a lot about the man. I have learned a lot. I know how few true friends you have in politics. I have learned how unfair, stupid and destructive it can be when people make personal assumptions or attacks simply because the have a different opinion, issue or candidate. Two weeks ago I wrote my first Law of Politics: It is the only job where you instantly make twenty enemies simply by saying you like someone. I have two new ones. Walk into a campaign carefully and slowly. Be prepared to walk out with great haste. Whomever the last Anonymous is, I agree completely. You get it. So do I now.

  11. eric zaetsch On March 19, 2008 at 3:55 PM

    Summer soldiers, sunshine patriots.

    Fairweather friends.

    Bob did what he did because Tink is who he is. It is not solidarity. It is standing for right, against wrong.

    Several generations ago the Dixiecrats had to be confronted. Now the revolving door how to become a millionaire by revolving door lobbyist activity is either confronted or conviently compromised with. Enjoy whatever compromises any of you feel proper.

    I support Olson confronting a situation not in the long term interest of the DFL.

    In my view.

    Have whatever view you like. I support what Bob Olson did and it took courage to not take the easy way out, "Well Tink, good luck."

    Easy that way, yes.

    Right? You decide. It's your future.