Thursday, May 26, 2005

Partisan, Political, and Pouting

Nick Coleman pouts in his most recent column that local bloggers, and not Coleman, were invited to the governor's mansion. It must really eat away at this son of a prominent Minnesota Democrat (who "knows stuff") that these whippersnappers are mingling in the house that is his birthright.

The column is Coleman's usual fare, including his old charge of unfair "partisanship." As I wrote when he was named Father Time 2004, Nick seems to think that a person's involvement with one conservative organization means that every other activity in that person's life is linked to that organization. If you attend a Republican precinct caucus, the theory goes, and then join the Subway frequent customer stamp club, the sandwich shop and all of its employees are now "partisan."

Governor Pawlenty's spokesman didn't help matters much by stating, "'Nonpartisan' means nonpolitical, and this was a nonpartisan event." Many things that are nonpartisan are nonetheless political. Rallying for childhood literacy is political, perhaps even ideological, but unless it is the "Republican Rally for Reading," it is nonpartisan. This is true whether you are talking about IRS Regulations for nonprofits, campaign finance reform, or other legal guidelines. I haven't read the rules for the governor's mansion, but I suspect that "nonpartisan" is not defined. If the word is defined, I doubt that it requires that equal numbers of liberal and conservative guests be invited. What would happen, say, if a liberal guest left early? Would you have to boot a conservative out the door to retain balance?

I suppose I am being too hard on Coleman. This is a guy who is unable to distinguish between the Park Police and the Minneapolis Police Department. How can I expect him to understand the difference between "partisan" and "ideological"?

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