Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Det. News - Knollenberg won't budge

Laura Berman

Knollenberg race heats up

Congressman Joe Knollenberg won't budge. - 10/16/07 -

And his refusal to back a bill to ramp up an existing children's health insurance program by $35 billion over five years could be a principled stand.

But his opponents don't think so. And they're using his opposition to the so-called SCHIP bill as a way to publicly launch their 2008 congressional campaign against the seven-term Republican.

It's one example of how the bill, which is unlikely to overcome President Bush's veto this week, is creating political heat.

Democrat Gary Peters, the state lottery commissioner-turned-Knollenberg-opponent, posted a wagon outline on his Web site for little Democrats to print, color angry red and mail to Knollenberg.

Former radio show host Nancy Skinner used Knollenberg's visibility over the weekend to announce her candidacy.

And it all coincided with video of Knollenberg in a Rochester drugstore.

Political trickster hits blog

On Saturday, Democratic trickster Bruce Fealk -- a former court stenographer who now works energetically and nearly full-time to ridicule and undermine the seven-term Republican -- confronted Knollenberg in Lytle, a downtown Rochester drugstore.

While Knollenberg didn't respond to Fealk's challenges about the war and children's health care, he stayed cool on camera.

But his chief of staff, Trent Wisecup, exploded.

Fealk promptly posted four minutes of seething Wisecup footage to YouTube.com.

The outing was a blogger triumph for the dogged Fealk and his bag of political tricks.

"You're not a citizen, you're a political hack," groused Wisecup, who apparently forgot that hacks tend to be citizens, too.

Besides running two anti-Knollenberg Web sites, Fealk owns a gigantic papier-mache head of the congressman that he dons for strategic appearances.

Last summer, Wisecup called the police after Fealk plopped himself on the front porch of Knollenberg's home.

"He's frightened Mrs. Knollenberg, he's upsetting the women in my office," says Wisecup, who calls Fealk "a stalker" and "un-American."

Whatever its merits, the on-line fracas undercut Knollenberg's efforts to recast himself as a moderate since the last election. It's a potent political issue, in part because it so starkly sets off priorities.

It gave Skinner an opportunity to point out that justifying votes against sick children as a budgetary move may not play well for one of the president's strongest allies in the almost-trillion-dollar Iraq war.

The proposed expansion of health care for children includes a 61 cent tax on every pack of cigarettes.

Knollenberg argues the tax won't cover the bill's cost "without 22 million new smokers."

To make that point, Wisecup says, his office plans to mail back the Gary Peters-backed red wagons "with cigarette wrapperson them."

You can reach Laura Berman at (248) 647-7221 or lberman@detnews.com.


Chet said...

Bruce, this was an op-ed column. The columnist opined that you are a "political trickster". Not good for your job prospects to repost, particularly when the columnist is considered a respected liberal among your potential employers.

Unless your selling a bag tricks?

Personally, my political business is built around selling the power of a positive message based on issues and research, and campaign services that provide insightful analysis of data, lists, and graphical expression. While campaigns must defend against the negative slime (like yourself) and be prepared to offer meaningful contrast, they are won on a positive & meaningful human level. Sometimes is pure message and sometimes both campaigns in a contest truly fail to connect and its a battle of who's least effective and who loses, rather than wins.

I encourage Gary Peters to hire you if he hasn't already.

Weaseldog said...

While one party works to win on a positive & meaningful human level, the Eric Cartman Party grows fat on an endless series of victories.

The Mrs. Cartman Party works to reduce strife by satisfying the Eric Cartman Party's every need.

And so the war and slaughter continue, as both parties vote for more war.

Turkey is about to enter the war. They have amassed 60,000 troops on the border. If we hit Iran, we will be engaged in World War III. Something it appears that both parties want, so they look like they are tough on terrorism.

In 2003 the Eric Cartman Party was pitching the war as a chance for our generation to experience the glory of World War II for ourselves. They lamented that we hadn't had such a chance to show how noble we are, as 60 million people were slaughtered to stop a nation that doesn't know when to stop conquering other nations.

I looks like their dream may soon come true and the Mrs. Cartman Party is bringing party favors.