A couple weeks back, the family and I checked out the St. Anthony Village VillageFest parade (How could we not?). Of course, the candidates for the 5th District were there – well…I shook hands with Ember Reichgott Junge (points for a cool sign and strong German name) and Mike Erlandson (points for Sabo endorsement). I don’t remember seeing Paul Ostrow or Keith Ellison in person (losing points), but their reps were there…I think.
Afterwards, reviewing their positions – read like more a race for who disliked Bush more. Listening to the MPR State Fair debate, they’re tripping over each other on who’s more progressive. At first glance, they all look very similar.
Here’s a quick comparison table highlighting their differences from what I gleaned in the MPR debate. Note, they all talk real fast, so some of the quoting might be off, and yea, most of it is “what I heard”.
Ellison: We need to stand up to the Healthcare “man” – that’s why we don’t have it yet.
Ember: The Healthcare industry controls the federal government – that’s why we haven’t had it yet.
Erlandson: Democrats need a financing mechanism for universal health care – that’s why we don’t have it yet.
Ostrow: Healthcare is a national issue, needs a national solution – that’s why we don’t have it yet.
Ellison: We need to stand up to the oil and coal industries.
Ember: We need lots more light rail lines. It takes years for light rail to happen.
Erlandson: All public transit should be free. We can find creative ways to fund stadiums, we need to do the same for public transit.
Ostrow: Me too.
Ellison: I supported the cease fire, before the cease fire was cool. “I’m for talking with people…even those you don’t agree with.”
Ember: The prerequisite of peace is disarmament.
Erlandson: Israel is the only democracy in that region – it has a right to defend itself.
Ostrow: Iraq is a war of lies. The US has no international credibility – we need to rebuild those relationships.
Crime & Safety:
Ellison: I’ve got more street cred than Mike Erlandson.
Ember: Early childhood education is the #1 way to prevent crime.
Erlandson: More education for 3 & 4 year olds. Invest in the neighborhoods and fund education. More cops on the streets.
Ostrow: Republican policies have gutted public safety. We should add serial numbers to bullet casings.
President George Bush:
Ellison: Impeach him – I’ll do it right now.
Ember: Investigate impeachment, Congress needs to get a backbone. Bush needs to be accountable.
Erlandson: Let’s not waste the next two years on impeachment, Let’s fix the financial problems caused by the Republicans. Bush can make a war abroad, but not a peace at home.
Ostrow: Congress needs to put a smackdown on Bush – across the board.
On Raising Federal Taxes…
Ellison: Federal taxes need to be re-appropriated.
Ember: Repeal federal tax breaks for most affluent.
Erlandson: Federal taxes need to be raised on most affluent.
Ostrow: Me too.
On Bringing the Troups Home
Ellison: “I’m the peace candidate.”
Ember: All troups out in 12 months.
Erlandson: Set a date to begin withdrawal, apologize to the rest of the world for Bush’s failed war.
Ostrow: Troops out now, we need an exit strategy.
Ellison: Vote for me, I’m endorsed by the DFL, and all y’all can help me take down the “man”.
Ember: Vote for me, I don’t like Bush, and I’ve been in office for 18 years and I’m a woman.
Erlandson: Vote for me, I’m endorsed by Sabo and have worked in Washington with him.
Ostrow: Vote for me, I don’t like Bush.
For me, Ostrow and Ember lost this debate. The race is between Ellison and Erlandson. I like Erlandson’s jawline more and his endorsement by Sabo. Ellison seems a little feisty. At this point, I can’t tell what Ellison’s Talk vs. Walk ratio is, so I’m still sticking with Erlandson.