Writing and speaking publicly in behalf of our fine cause - more and smarter public investment in behalf of the common good, and building a wider prosperity in Minnesota - is rewarding work. And it's just about my favorite role as president of Growth & Justice, up there with policy research and digging into tax-and-budget spreadsheets. (It's funner than you might imagine).
But occasionally I'm asked by my former colleagues in the news media to offer my two cents on the broader politics-and-government scene, on the shaky assumption that I might have something useful to say after a 30-year career covering and writing about politics and government for both the Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Of course I ALWAYS acccept the invitations to speak about Growth & Justice. And I USUALLY try to accept the requests for political chatter. I figure I can at least get some words in edgewise, during the latter, about the former. I bring this up because I was honored to be asked twice this month to talk on WCCO-AM about presidential politics, with a focus on the Iowa and Minnesota caucuses. On the evening of Sat. Dec. 15, I was on for an hour with my long-time colleage Dennis McGrath, a senior editor at the Star Tribune, and CCO host Esme Murphy, best known as a veteran and versatile WCCO-TV reporter. Didn't get much chance to sell the G&J message on Dec. 15, but every time in and out of the station breaks, our name and description of us as a progressive think tank was repeated.
Today (Friday, Dec. 28) I got an unexpected early-morning call from CCO, again with a request to talk about presidential politics, this time with the delightfully wry Tim Russell (man of a thousand voices, Prairie Home Companion star). And this time, on prime drive-time airspace, I got a chance to give the brief Growth & Justice "elevator speech'' and spell out our website address. And also I got a chance to raise some serious doubts about the fairness of presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's proposal to scrap the strongly progressive federal income tax, and the Internal Revenue Service, in favor of a national sales tax.