In Regards to Keith Ellison

I’m going to catch hell for this… but Democrats need to take the allegations against Keith Ellison more realistically. I am very disappointed that Karen Monahan is not getting fair treatment or heard appropriately. I am also disappointed that Keith Ellison has not addressed this situation more directly – a flat denial seems inadequate….he seems to hope it just goes away. These responses are eerily the same as Judge Kavanaugh’s in regards to Dr. Ford.

Republicans and Democrats are attacking each other via Ellison and Kavanaugh, but the fact of the matter is really this…. they should be dealt with in a similar manner.

The DFL says that an independent investigation is underway. OK, but it needs to be more timely and given a full public airing… so that we can consider the aftermath and what it will all mean. In the same vein, Dr. Ford has requested a full FBI investigation and she is being denied that opportunity by GOP political gamesmanship. This isn’t about how partisans use these incidents – it is about resolving them fairly and without abusing the victims further.

GOP AG candidate Doug Wardlow is using the Ellison situation as his ticket to win the position of Attorney General in Minnesota. A Republican has not held that position in decades. But Wardlow’s emphasis on Ellison’s behavior cannot be the sole reason for making him the AG. Wardlow has his own moral and ethical problems that need to be addressed. To me, those problems are worse in regards to the actual position than the personal issues of Ellison.

After a careful look at this situation, I will still support Keith Ellison for Attorney General. Not because I do not believe Karen Monahan – I very much do – but because the position requires a person who understands what needs to be done from a legal perspective for the benefit of ALL Minnesotans. Even though this situation weighs on the character of Ellison, and that cannot be dismissed, it still does not mean he cannot do the job itself.

If Wardlow had no flaws in his own character, then maybe it would make the Ellison situation disqualifying. But that is not the case. Wardlow is a religious bigot – the very thing we do NOT want in the office of Attorney General. Wardlow has had legal ethical issues in the past – by giving personal political opinions in a blog while clerking at the Supreme Court. Wardlow was a one term legislator in the MN legislature and promoted Right to Work laws and attempted to kill the health exchange. His tenure as lead counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom gave him an active forum for transgender discrimination – and it is very hard to see Wardlow, as attorney general, defending the same-sex marriage law. These are substantive issues. They are very relevant to the position he seeks. The irony of Wardlow saying he will take “partisanship” out of the AG office is not lost on me. This is a person who is a partisan Republican with every fiber of his being.

The accusations against Ellison will be a negative for his candidacy – there is no question about that. As Democrats, we need to be consistent in how we handle our responses to women coming forward. It CANNOT BE A PARTISAN ISSUE. This is where we must differ from our hypocritical Republican colleagues. I hope that Ellison will be more forthcoming. I hope that the independent investigation is not just a whitewash. And I hope any further harassment of Karen Monahan will stop. She deserves better than that – she has been a strong Democratic issue advocate for years.

Like I said, I will probably get push back for this. The easy way through this would be stay quiet about Ellison. Let the situation play out. But this problem is not something to sweep under the rug. As Democrats, we need to tackle these situations directly. When Al Franken was in the public eye over is indiscretions, I called for him to resign – mostly because I felt he would be unable to be effective. Yes, I have since been rethinking some of that – especially in light of how Republicans have handled their own situations. I wanted Franken to have an ethics hearing. I wanted to hear more. And follow due process. I wish that could have happened. But it didn’t. But we acted appropriately and sided with women. That is what Democrats are supposed to do. I am not saying that women cannot make false accusations, but in the past, the assumptions have been that a woman’s accusation is automatically considered false, even before it is examined. That has to end.

Like I stated, I will still vote for Keith Ellison. Not because I think he is innocent of moral indiscretions – but because I think he will do a better job for Minnesota than his opponent.

In the end, the voters will have to decide. We need to put forth all the information and then leave it in their hands. Wardlow is going to get a lot of outside help on this. Republicans will do or say anything for advantage – even though they are hypocritically promoting Judge Kavanaugh over an eerily similar situation and denigrating the victim. The GOP has even tried to expand Ellison’s situation to other Democratic candidates. Which is more a sign of desperation than a legitimate argument.

This is an important election coming up. The Attorney General is an important position. I think Ellison is still the best one to handle the position. But that is not up to me. That is up to the Minnesota electorate. As it always is in the end.

 

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