We should all be rooting for Marty Seifert in 2014.
Let's forget who belongs on what team for a minute - or as long as it takes you to read this; then, if you're a die-hard Democrat, you can go back to supporting Mark Dayton, who has no DFL challengers in next year's race.
For now, don't think about Republicans vs. Democrats, or elephants vs. donkeys, or red vs. blue. Think instead of how nice it would be to have someone from rural Minnesota - and even better, southwest Minnesota - sitting in the governor's seat. This is a situation where rural should be considered more important than left, right or middle - and that's a scenario that has been playing out more in more in St. Paul.
You don't have to be a big Marty Seifert fan to admit that having a rural voice running our government would be a nice change of pace. The fact he's not a millionaire is refreshing. The fact he has deep ties to the area - our area - is a bonus. "Grew up on a small farm" is a good thing to have on your resum.
One thing we have learned in the past few weeks is that Seifert has kept his spot on the political radar since leaving the state Capitol in 2010, and it looks like he's more than a blip. During his time in the Legislature, we also learned he was quick with a quote, making him pretty popular with the metro press because of the off-the-wall sound bites he provided. We miss those sound bites because they stuck with us and they had a purpose (and, gotta admit, made us laugh a little, too), unlike some of the stuff we have heard in the past from some other notable Minnesota Republicans.
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty - whose humor is as dry as my skin in January - might not have been the first to spout out the wife-pimping drivel when he long ago referred to his better half as his "red-hot smoking wife," but he apparently opened the door for future politicians to do the same. One of Seifert's challengers in the 2014 race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, Kurt Zellers, said this when asked recently what separated him from others who want to become the state's next governor: "They aren't married to this hot a wife."
Uggggh. Please. Stop.
Good politicians are good with the one-liners; they use them to make headlines and get their names in the papers, not worried at all about a potential backfire. We gobble these quotes up because we love jabs and are smitten by controversy. But what's up with the "hot wife" references? Do these gentlemen think the "hotness" of one's wife correlates in any way with electability? Are elected officials who have hotties for wives better received in the public eye? If so, maybe President Obama, currently working on a new edition of the "Approval Ratings Blues," needs to get Michelle to do a few more news conferences or public appearances. His approval rating is so low he might want to think about putting her in a two-piece. OK, maybe a pair of biker's shorts.
Seriously, is there no other way for candidates to acknowledge the woman they married, their running mate in life, than by her physical appearance? Your lady is good looking, hooray for you, you lucky dog. We. Don't. Care.
Surely the now-50-plus-year-old Mary Pawlenty was flattered and bathed happily in the extra attention, and perhaps Zellers' wife did, too, but let's leave the locker room talk in the locker room, shall we? Objectify women if you feel the need, just don't do it in front of an audience.
Seifert didn't stoop to that level during Thursday's announcement that he will campaign for the GOP endorsement in 2014. That's really not the kind of guy he is. What he is is a farm-kid candidate who can speak for, and hopefully advocate for, rural Minnesota.
Seifert is the only candidate in the GOP field who lives more than a stone's throw from the Cities. We should embrace what's going on here and be grateful Seifert has chosen to put his personal life on hold to campaign. He doesn't need to tell us how much he cares about the people of rural Minnesota, because he is one, and it sure would be nice to have one of us calling the shots.
And he knows better than to go on the record about smoking-hot women.