A change in political ads? (5×8 – 11/4/10)

The most effective campaign ad was a low-key one, will judges keep one eye on the law and another on the polls, interview with a lawn sign, underwater hockey, and the stuffed bear mystery solved in Fargo.


What was the most effective campaign ad of the just-concluded (sort of) election season in Minnesota? I’m going to posit that it’s this one:

No creepy “you know he’s a crook, right?” narrator, or Photoshopped images of the opponent, or out-of-context newspaper headlines. No smarm. Just a guy looking into the camera. You don’t see a lot of these types of political ads, anymore. Will it change political advertising around here?

What political ad impressed you most in 2010?

Meanwhile, MPR’s Stephanie Hemphill analyzes how rookie Chip Cravaack knocked off Jim Oberstar.

What does it all mean? Former Sen. Norm Coleman, in an NPR analysis today, suggests that whatever party is in power is in the voters’ crosshairs.

“Democrats had a four-year run, and now that run has turned around,” says Coleman, the former senator, who is now head of American Action Network, an independent group that spent heavily in support of GOP candidates this year. “But with 2 percent economic growth, that has to be a danger signal to anybody in power right now.”

Across the border, and from across the Atlantic, Wisconsin’s David Obey looks back at his career. It’s an outstanding piece that’s well worth watching.


Consumed as we’ve been with what’s been happening in Minnesota, we haven’t been able to pay enough attention to neighboring Iowa, where three of the state Supreme Court justices, whose interpretation of the Constitution legalized same-sex marriage in the state, were voted out of office.

“What is so disturbing about this is that it really might cause judges in the future to be less willing to protect minorities out of fear that they might be voted out of office,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of the University of California, Irvine, School of Law, in the New York Times. “Something like this really does chill other judges.”

It would be interesting to hear what judges have to say about that assertion, but judges tend not to talk to the media. Is it possible that judges will now have one eye on the law, and another on an upcoming election?

Sadly, all three judges who lost rejected interviews.


An exclusive interview with a Mark Dayton lawn sign? What’s it like to be related to a Norm Coleman lawn sign? “365 Things to Avoid in the Twin Cities” has the exclusive:

Here in Minnesota, statute 211B.045 posits that we can be up from 46 days before the primary until ten days after the general election. That’s a blink of an eye. One whole branch of our family were Kerry/Edwards signs. Kerry lost and Edwards is spreading his seed like Abraham yet they — as people — get to walk the streets. Most of my Kerry/Edwards sign cousins are currently spanning rafters in a Northeast garage to provide “temporary storage.” You know damn well they’re going to be there until those people move.


Minnesota Daily, the University of Minnesota newspaper, profiles a version of hockey that can’t be that much fun for the audience:

Under the water, players trade ice hockey’s protective pads for flippers, snorkels and tight swimwear, often Speedo-style trunks for men and one-piece suits for women.

Snorkels and goggles allow players to keep their eyes on the puck and find the play even when they surface for air, which they do about every 10 seconds, before diving as deep as nine feet for a crack at the puck.

Here’s an example from Texas:


The Fargo Forum has found the woman who’s been leaving stuffed bears on the windshields of cars parked at a local hospital.

She and the family distribute the animals year-round. She keeps stuffed animals in her car, so if she happens to see someone who appears to be stressed out, she’ll sneak an animal onto that person’s car.

“We just want to bring a smile to someone who is hurting,” she says.

She hasn’t had to buy an animal for a long time. They come from many sources: family, friends, stores that are overstocked. She stores them in a garage attic, in her late father’s vacated rural home, elsewhere.

But look, lady, since so many people know you’re doing this, why not run your name in the paper?

No way. If some people know, fine, she says. But if they don’t, even better.

“The world doesn’t revolve around me,” she says. “This is a God thing. He has blessed our family beyond anything we deserve.” This is just a small way of passing along those blessings, she says.


For the second time in two years, a statewide election is so close that a recount will likely determine its outcome. What lesson of the 2008 recount should Minnesota remember this time?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Gearing up for another recount.

Second hour: How and why animals migrate.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: U of M’s Brian Atwood.

Second hour: CNN commentator Candy Crowley at the Westminster Town Hall Forum.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: TBA

Second hour: TBA

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – A group of Ojibwe Indians has lived in Warroad for centuries, but they’ve never been recognized as a tribe by the U.S. government. One family, the Kakaygeesicks, has a land grant document signed by President Theodore Roosevelt. Now, the family claims they’re being pressured by the Red Lake Band of Ojibwe to give up their land to make way for a Red Lake tribal casino. MPR’s Tom Robertson will have the story.