Tuesday, May 29, 2018

An Open Letter to Democrats

This year’s national election may well be the most important in our history. Never before has our Republic been so threatened from within. There can be little doubt that Donald Trump is not only using the Presidency for personal gain but he has continuously attacked all institutions that provide stability and confidence in our democracy. In addition, he has a vast built-in support system in the media from Fox News to right-wing radio.

This is not to be underrated. What most political observers thought would be a democratic landslide in 2018 has evolved into a situation where public opinion is evenly split between the two parties and Trump’s numbers continue to rise.

If the Democratic Party continues on the old path and fails to reform, another 2016 election will occur. That our nation cannot afford. This is what brings the two of us together in this mission to do all we can to bring moderate Republicans and independents into the Democratic Party fold. But you, as Democrats, hold our national fate in your hands.

Although we are strong supporters of Richard Painter for the United States Senate, we are not writing for that purpose. No our concern is that Tina Smith’s candidacy may well fall short of victory in November thereby keeping Trump Republicans in control of the Senate. We say this because red flags are waving making it imperative that all delegates and all those involved in the nominating process make certain that the relevant concerns are publicly resolved before any support is offered.

Rest assured that if these issues are not dealt with now they will be aired very publicly in the months ahead by her Republican opponent and their media system. Secrecy and surprise are not options.

Tina Smith has refused to debate. We have been around politics long enough to know that debates can involve gamesmanship. That is not the case here. Senator Tina Smith has supported and voted for suspending the tax on the medical device industry. Many Democrats would agree with that vote since so much of the industry is located in Minnesota. But what is wholly unacceptable here is that she also holds millions of dollars of stock in these companies and directly benefits from the suspension of that tax. Further, Senator Tina Smith has fully participated in an industry fundraiser promoting her candidacy.

Using the powers of government to enhance one’s wealth is precisely what Donald Trump has been doing. How can a Democrat Senator criticize Trump for behavior she herself practices?

In addition, Senator Smith has not supported Medicare for all. This is a single payer system – Medicare for all - strongly advanced by many Democrats including Senator Bernie Sanders and Richard Painter. But it is also opposed by many healthcare companies that profit from the current system including the medical device industry.

Another major concern that warrants public debate is copper-nickel mining in the Boundary Waters area. How can we risk permanent damage to our state’s most valuable natural asset and allow foreign financial interests to simply exploit it? All for 300 jobs.  Certainly with metro overcrowding, moving 300 jobs to Northern Minnesota cannot be all that challenging. Growing employment in rural Minnesota should be the priority not destroying our environment.

Now, we accept the reality that this letter will create pushback. No matter how flawed critics may think we are, the fact remains that we are not the candidate and we are not the ones blocking the emergence of the truth. The unwillingness of Senator Smith to debate and disclose is the real concern.

Again, it is the unique importance of this election that cries out for the highest level of scrutiny so Democrats can stand tall in the fall election and declare to the voter without hesitation that “we do not accept Trump, we do not accept his dishonesty, we do not accept his beliefs.” As John F. Kennedy challenged us: “We can do better.”

We very much respect your service.


Janet Entzel                                                                             Arne Helge Carlson
Minnesota House (DFL -1972 – 1984 )                                  Governor of Minnesota  (1991-1999)
MN Deputy Commissioner of Corrections                            Republican – now Independent


  1. Real words of wisdom from my favorite governor ever. Always Minnesota and the Nation first. Partisan politics always second.

  2. AnonymousMay 30, 2018 at 2:54 PM
    Republican Arne Carlson wants Minnesota Democrats to nominate Republican Richard Painter to the US Senate.

    Richard Painter, who was the “chief White House ethics lawyer” for the George W Bush Administration that lied us into the Iraq War. Richard Painter, who was the “chief White House ethics lawyer” for the George W Bush Administration that ran offshore torture camps. Richard Painter, who was the “chief White House ethics lawyer” for the George W Bush Administration that outed a CIA agent for political spite. That Richard Painter. Some “ethics lawyer” that guy was.

    Arne, it's really sweet of you to look out for a fellow Republican this way. And Arne, it’s really clever of you to try to get Democrats to dump the real Democrat in the race for this “ethics lawyer” Republican. But Arne, really, thanks but no thanks.

  3. Painter served in Bush's administration in Bush's 2nd term, after the lies about Iraq after the torture and after Valerie Plame's outing. He quit in the same month that Bush commuted Scooter Libby's sentence (although I don't know if that was his reason for quittitng).

    Just clarifying some facts. I'm not a Republican. But I do like Painter.

  4. Painter joined the Bush Administration in early 2005, months before Amnesty International referred to the Guantanamo base as "the Gulag of our times" (bit.ly/1sMzbjI). Sorry, but Mr Painter doesn't get a free pass because the bad stuff started before he got there. Arguably, the fact that he was willing to join those guys after their activities came to light makes him even less ethical than had he not known.


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