consultants are sandburs

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Dear Abby: She tweets, she greets, and she wants the District 35A seat. Yet -- She's not my cup of tea.

Abigale Whalen. She tweets:

She greets and wants that seat:

But - and those images show it - wanting to screw over the ultra-poor, the full time laborers suffering under an outdated and inadequate minimum wage; that is bad policy and uncharitable to boot. (It is her "firm and unwavering position on" that issue; per Cato rhetoric -- pie charts, and all.)

No matter what biased "think tank" rationalizations and propaganda points the lady musters, she clearly dumps on raising the minimum wage to help working folks in the district and that's not my cup bag of tea.

Not if opposed to an increase in the minimum wage.

No way. No how.

It offends. Everybody should have a living wage for a day's work in our legislative district, and in our state and country.

We, after all, remain the most prosperous nation in the world. The money for boosting the wage is there, but the will is lacking among Whalen and her cadre of privilege.

If only those Ms. Whalen is catering to were to take a little bit less, there would be sufficient cash to spread around to help our working poor and our middle class folks who struggle to make ends meet.

Whalen seems to Romney away any shot at appealing to the 47% of us who know we're getting screwed, in order to hope to propagandize and mislead enough of our remaining working folks who have yet to fully figure out the scope of the screwing (and which side of it they and family are on).

SO: Will propaganda prevail, or will a sufficient number of those needing to wise up do so? Whalen must really be prospering to lack suitable sympathy for those being left behind.

A quick online background search suggests Whelan is not a privileged Republican of the Mitt Romney mould; but more a Michele Bachmann clone, one or two generations younger. And --- that's scary.

From her campaign website [see above image/link] Whelan is running her campaign from a townhome she and her mother jointly own, on the Mississippi just west of the Anoka Bridge. Online county assessor info notes the home's last sale was to Whelan and her mom, 12/13/2011 at $145,000 with all taxes paid timely.

Online litigation docket info shows no litigation involving Abigale Whelan. Mother sued in Anoka County for marriage dissolution, 09/05/2007, with an order of dissolution granted, 10/09/2008; Case No. 02-FA-07-1279. Father, Dean Michael Whelan had an Olmsted County DWI, 11/20/2007, Case No. 55-CR-07-11221. A civil case is listed involving a Lori A. Whelan, 07/10/1985, also Olmsted County, Case No. 55-F7-85-006032, unclear as to the issue.

Whelan's LinkedIn page reveals a history of odd jobs, lifeguard, barista, academic TA, political volunteer, and intern, with ties to Republicans Mike Jungbauer and John Pederson; neither of whom are, to me, impressive figures.

The odd job history suggests summer work during Whelan's extended academic career. It is unclear if she ever has held a full time day job at above minimum wage during her life; the closest to full-time work appearing (from LinkedIn):

Intern: Campus Ministry, University of Minnesota

Educational Institution; 10,001+ employees; Higher Education industry

June 2013 – March 2014 (10 months) Twin Cities, MN

Spreading God's love to students, faculty and staff at the University of Minnesota, seeking to make Christ known to all. Praying for God to move on campus, to raise up leaders who follow Jesus completely, and ultimately for Truth to reign in hearts and minds at the University and beyond.

Inexperience in the real world might be inferred. Although that might not be the case, the question exists for Whelan to clarify as her campaign progresses. Whether the record shows a seasoned enough person to send to the legislature will, obviously, be determined in November in the event Whelan prevails in a likely GOP primary.

To me, there is a touch too much Michele Bachmann to Whelan. Two generations younger, without the law degree, but otherwise a close match. Opinions may differ. She did prevail against Huizenga at caucus. I of course was not there and do not know how factionalism within the local GOP played out at the time. There is this tweet:

Retweeted by Abigail Whelan
Andy Aplikowski ‏@AAARF Mar 1

@MarthaWeaverMN @jenniska @HarryNiska nancy and Jim Bendtsen deserve a huge kudos for all the work they did

All the usual suspects, and that March 1 date was Dist. 35 caucus/convention time.

In closing: with an odd-job work record it is unclear why Whelan opposes a long overdue, decent minimum wage. That, again, may become a campaign issue she will have to face and explain.

FURTHER UPDATE: The Student Debt Crisis Issue -- Whelan needs to make public a "firm and unwavering" stance here. As an extended academic, she has to know of and thought over the issue even if she was fortunate to have had taxpayer subsidy during her extensive schooling to where she herself may stand relatively debt free.

Surely the TA situation with Larry Jacobs was paid out of university (i.e., public) funds, or via a possible publicly funded grant. Either way she faces a debt load or has had a free ride on those working and paying taxes. Either way Whelan has to have a position grounded on both personal experience and on direct familiarity with the problem.

Voters deserve to know. It seems an issue Whelan cannot credibly avoid. Should she be a typical Republican hard-liner, with a Franson-like "don't feed the animals lest they grow dependent" attitude she should say so, while if more understanding of nuance, that needs to be publicly disclosed.

And whatever stance Whelan takes, we need to view it in light of her own actual education financing experiences. Meaning if she wholly bootstrapped her education costs from working summer and part time, she should say so, while if subsidized, then make that fact clear while defining a position.

Any try at side-stepping things will speak for itself.

Ball's in her court. However, her hard-lining on minimum wage relief nonetheless stands in stark contrast to her willing acceptance of the Jacobs TA handout. There are no two ways to that. No me vs everybody else. How Whelan explains away that inconsistency will be definitive of the credibility she can muster. Voters deserve to know.

FURTHER UPDATE: Specious argument about low-end jobs somehow disappearing, if the minimum wage increases, must be avoided. Little reflection over Whelan's own resume is needed to belie that notion. However priced, Dunn Brothers needs retail servers in its shops and public municipal pools need lifeguards - be it at minimum wage or better compensated.

Most likely Whelan's summer jobs would have paid her better had the minimum wage then been higher.

It seems wrong, misguided if not mendacious, for one with Whelan's background to not sympathize with the downtrodden.

It looks as if Whelan is turning her back to something she should face and empathize with, and support.


Wes Volkenant said...

Thank you, Eric! I have linked this column to the newly revised SD 35 DFL Facebook page. You are indeed a great font of interesting opinion and speculation here in the Ramsey-Anoka area! Your work here continues to be appreciated!

eric zaetsch said...

Thanks, Wes. Because opinions differ, I also published from comment moderation a contrary opinion of what Crabgrass is worth.