My Point of View: Feehan will represent with sincerity, dignity

Published 7:57 pm Monday, October 1, 2018

My Point of View by Jennifer Vogt-Erickson

Jennifer Vogt-Erickson


Have you met Dan Feehan yet? He’s an Iraq War combat veteran, educator and former acting assistant secretary of defense. He’s a family man who decided to raise his kids in Minnesota’s 1st District. He’s young and fit and ready to return to service in a new role — that of congressperson.

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I like Dan, so it’s easy to sing his praises and vote for him with enthusiasm. He stands for affordable health care, educational opportunities, workforce development and a strong farm bill that supports family farmers. He would oppose tax cuts that give away trillions to wealthy magnates while driving up the national debt and eroding our social safety net.

Truth be told, though, I would rather vote for a pineapple with Groucho glasses than for his opponent. Don’t just take it from partisan me. The conservative-leaning Washington Examiner called Jim Hagedorn “the worst midterm candidate in America” in April.

Why would that newspaper say such a thing? Well, you see, Hagedorn wrote about politics in Washington for a decade, often targeting women, Native Americans and minorities. Here’s a recap of some of his greatest hits regarding females from his now-defunct blog, Mr. Conservative.

Over and over, Hagedorn disparaged accomplished women. For example, he referred to Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray as “bimbos in tennis shoes.” He said George Bush nominated Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court to “fill the bra” of retiring justice Sandra Day O’Connor. He even said, “Good news from Hawaii, (Congresswoman) Patsy Mink is still dead.”

Sarah Palin, however, was an exception. He all-caps slobbered over the governor of Alaska when John McCain picked her as his running mate in 2008, declaring, “On behalf of all red-blooded American men: Thank you Sen. McCain, Sarah’s hot!”

He clearly says he values women first and foremost for their looks, even if they’re Republican.

It gets worse. Anybody with a passing knowledge of biology or a shred of common sense knows that Todd Akin’s remark during the 2012 senate race in Missouri was deeply misguided. He said, “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing (conception) down.”

To suggest that women can’t get pregnant from rape was beyond the pale for too many voters, and Claire McCaskill won the seat. Yet prior to the election, Hagedorn wrote, “during this entire incident, the only actual rape that took place was the one inside-the-beltway establishment Republicans inflicted upon Akin.”

Hagedorn cast the candidate who freely made an ignorant and harmful statement as the true victim. In doing so, he minimized the trauma of violence against women.

Hagedorn did talk about Mollie Tibbetts’ murder, but only as a pretext for pushing his “secure our borders” agenda. Mollie Tibbetts’ family soon asked politicians to stop using her death to promote bigotry. When another young university student, Celia Barquin Arozamena, was murdered as she played golf last month in Iowa, Hagedorn didn’t tweet about it. This time the lethal violence against a young woman didn’t fit his narrative of immigrant crime, which, by the way, is proportionately lower than native-born crime.

Violence against women, no matter who commits it, is a serious issue on its own. Women are people, not props or objects.

Hagedorn is proud of not being “politically correct.” Let’s cut the baloney. Being “politically correct” simply means trying not to be a jerk. It’s also known as civility. Some people don’t want those restrictions, or they don’t think those restrictions should apply to them. Heck, I often chafe at those boundaries. But those norms have an important purpose in a democratic republic, especially among the people we choose as our leaders. Civilized discourse is key to our government being able to function with a two-party system.

Hagedorn has also hitched his wagon to President Trump. He is “all in” for the president, even as the president’s approval rating has eroded. Numerous accounts, including Bob Woodward’s latest book, have pulled back the curtain on Trump as an erratic leader with little capacity to govern his own thoughts, much less a powerful country. What we greatly need in Congress now is checks and balances, not sycophants.

In Freeborn County, Trump’s win was what you might call a flash in the pan. Going back to 2000, this county voted for Al Gore, John Kerry, and then Barack Obama twice. We’re not true Republican territory by any means. We lean Democratic, with a populist streak.

Dan Feehan is the man who can. In Congress, he will represent us all well, with sincerity and dignity. He shows respect for women — always. Please show up for him at your polling place and give him your vote.

Jennifer Vogt-Erickson is a member of the Freeborn County DFL Party.