I went to hear Warren Read [on left, above] speak this evening at the Galleria's Barnes and Noble. His grandfather was an instigator of the Duluth Lynchings on June 15, 1920. [Grisly photograph] He is pictured above with a relative of one of the lynching's victims who attended this evening's talk. Warren Read just came out with The Lyncher in Me: A Search for Redemption in the Face of History. (I haven't read the book; I'm given to understand it describes an indirect way in which the murderous values of his forebears were very nearly continued right smack into himself, and how he's resisted.) Quite interesting. I was somewhat put off in hearing his title, as it seems to suggest one might rationally feel guilt for a specific horrible historical event, due to one's genes, but having heard the author speak I am reassured that that's not his point.
At the SD32 Convention in Maple Grove on March 8, a minor CD3 congressional candidate came forward to speak to the delegates. His name is Scott Greiman; he's a veterinarian practicing in Maple Grove. I spoke to him on the phone today; he's not crazy nor is he a stealth Republican. He has no organization or website and if he has any chance of receiving a single vote on April 12, it is invisible to me. He will abide by the endorsement decision of the April 12 convention.
Dr. Greiman, 55, is married to the romance novelist Lois Greiman (Taming the Barbarian, Bewitching the Highlander). They live in Dayton with three children and various quarter horses. The candidate comes across as a man whose life hasn't been changed one scintilla by the arrival of the internet: When I ask him for his email address, he gives me his wife's (without identifying it as such), telling me it ends in 'earthlink.com.' 'Might that be "earthlink.net"?' I ask. 'Yes, earthlink.net, thanks.'
Greiman grew up in Garner, IA. He's nice but doesn't kiss your ass. Twice during our interview, he pronounces something reediclous. If he's going to charm 90 delegates into dumping Bonoff and Madia on April 12, they're going to have to make the bold step. Greiman isn't about to slobber all over Wayzata to gain their support. He's aware he doesn't have a chance; there's a principle involved.
The centerpiece of the Greiman program is his tax plan. He wants to cut income and Social Security taxes in half on the middle class while raising taxes on the rich. The marginal tax rate on the rich should go up to 80%.
Greiman thinks John Edwards was the best presidential candidate but thinks Barack Obama might turn out okay. He admires Amy Klobuchar and Paul Wellstone. He despises the corporate stranglehold on life in America in 2008. He's very concerned about the environment and global warming. He thinks congressional Democrats have been far too timid toward the Bush Administration; Greiman would have advocated impeachment for Bush.
He opposes the legalization of marijuana; he even thinks the nation's goal on tobacco ought to be an eventual ban, though it 'won't be overnight,' he acknowledges.
I asked Greiman a bunch of questions to try to find some loony viewpoint; I find none [though that tobacco one gets a bit close, to me]. He thinks Israel treats the Palestinian people terribly and that we shouldn't be providing Israel with weapons and aid. We should pressure Israel to abandon its settlements in the Occupied Territories; we shouldn't automatically take Israel's side in every dispute. 'The Palestinian people have it terrible,' he says. Israel ought to be brought to surrender its nuclear weapons.
He favors a single payer solution to the health care problem. He says he opposed both the Iraq war and the Afghanistan war from their beginnings. We're there to steal their oil. 'We're over there to take everything these people have.'
Greiman doesn't believe a dime's worth of difference separates Madia and Bonoff and that neither can win. 'Would I be correct in calling you very liberal?' I ask. The cantankerous veterinarian upbraids me; he's an Eisenhower / JFK conservative, he insists. (I still don't get that part.)
Have you ever noticed how rarely people refer to Jim Oberstar as a perennial candidate?