- Outstate.US is off to a good start in a short time. A pleasantly unexpected number of unique visits to our website, and good feedback.
- Outstate.US has gotten some positive reviews from some unexpected sources.
- There is one Twitter exchange that reminded me how the 1st Amendment protects an amazing freedom for private individuals, yet those in public life need to be extremely guarded.
- Politics is dirty. With everything that is wrong with politics today if we could fix one thing, it would be to put the truth back into politics. Harry Truman, we miss you.
Our online news and information source, Outstate.US, has already shown great promise. In a very short time, we have been pleasantly surprised by the number of visitors to our website and positive feedback. I am very glad to be viewed as objective and honest about my biases. As we invest in more online functionality and features, it is nice to know those efforts speak to a wider audience.
One of my original articles on Outstate.US entitled “A Friendly Heads Up To Minnesota Republicans” made the rounds on social media, in which the political realities of potential copper-nickel mining on Minnesota’s Iron Range was explored. At one point in the article, I commented that unencumbered by politics I could more fully explore both sides of the non-ferrous mining issue. I wrote, “Now that I have turned the corner on political life and have assumed the mantle of a political and policy commentator, I have shifted to a more objective viewpoint.” One person’s comment on Twitter regarding that sentence was “pause and ponder why any politician represents non-objective stances.” My Twitter response was “Once you lived it, where they can take any few words out of context, then you will know.” That person’s response was gracious and understanding. It was clear that I was not alone in the awareness that the political climate of today puts not only the candidate through a meat grinder but also the very truth about who that candidate is as a human being and where they stand on the issues. Political campaigns are where the truth goes to die. Politics has become a team sport. Long gone are the days when northern Republicans could partner with enlightened Democrats to pass civil rights legislation. Today, one side or the other would hold up the legislation from passage to save it as a campaign issue. Inevitably there would be carefully crafted TV commercials focusing on ultimately meaningless amendments designed to go nowhere, offered on bills intended to be sacrificed at the altar of partisanship.
The Outstate.US project is not only exciting because of the array of future possibilities of what this can morph into, but equally exciting as a vehicle to analyze topics currently not being investigated, or to explore those topics from a different standpoint. The meat grinder example is apt, as I have seen through my two congressional campaigns, how the sausage gets made and what it is made of, and how it proverbially gets fed to the American voter. Foreign interference in our elections is real, so is “Fake News”, but the one thing that doesn’t get near the coverage it should is the lies, distortions, and smear tactics that campaigns and political action committees perpetrate. I intend that to be an ongoing topic to be covered by this publication. To begin peeling back that metaphorical onion, I want to start with a firsthand stunning example of how lies and misrepresentations permeate the political process.
In 2016, I was the Republican candidate for the 8th Congressional District in Minnesota.
Shortly before the election, a false and malicious ad was aired that used an edited recording of me to suggest I supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (“TPP”). I do not, nor did I ever, support the TPP. I am now looking for information leading to the identity of the person or persons responsible for the audio recording attributed to Stewart Mills in the YouTube video titled “MN-08: ‘Surprised’”. Outstate.US is willing to pay $5,000 to the first three people willing to come forward with verifiable information and/or documentation, electronic or otherwise. If you have verifiable information or documentation please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The democratic process is severely hurt when a conversation can be secretly recorded, possibly between two people who did not know they were being recorded, and then a misleading ad is produced designed to deceive voters. We must get back to a simpler time, to a time like when in 1948 Harry Truman successfully salvaged his presidential campaign by simply standing on the back of a train and telling people who he was and what he stood for. I think that in this time, in this political climate, when we need straightforwardness and authenticity the most, a candidate like Truman would fall victim to the meat grinder. We all lose. However, sunlight is the best disinfectant.