Mr. Convincible


The latest newsletter from my favorite Congressman.

Greetings Constituents!

Usually at this time of the year, we members of Congress are back in our districts thinking about the next election – touting our achievements, pressing the flesh and shaking the trees for more money. But this year is different! We’re stuck in Washington, thinking about the next election – defending our principles, stomping out of meetings, disparaging the inflexible opposition and shaking in our boots! We don’t want to wreck the economy but it might have to happen so we can be positioned with the best possible advantages for the Fall of 2012!

Yes, that’s really what it’s all about!

I know some of you are so mad you want to throw ALL the bums overboard, but I’m pretty sure that between now and then I can convince you that the other guys are much, much worse than I am.

I’m not the problem because I like compromise! I compromise all the time. I compromise with the opposition, with people in my own party, and I even compromise with myself!

Many mornings I wake up with this sure feeling that I know exactly what’s what and I will never yield an inch on the points that are most important to me.

Like yesterday, when I started out pretty certain that all this gay marriage that’s going on is just not right and we ought to make a clear statement that some things are simply not acceptable! C’mon! Who are our great couples? Adam and Eve! Tarzan and Jane! George and Gracie! Fundamental stuff, right?

I said something in our staff meeting about how we ought to make an issue out of this, and a couple of our summer interns looked disappointed in me, like I’d really bummed them out. That was too bad because I really like them! That’s the reason I have interns – to help me feel young and hip. It hurt to think that they thought I was even a little bit lame. But darn it, sometimes you have to be tough!

However, maintaining that steely resolve takes a lot of energy, and by early afternoon I was starting to think how great it is to be young and in love. Or even old and in love! Why would we want to ever get in the way of that? I mean, aren’t there enough real problems? Love is the least of our worries, regardless of who’s involved!

By evening I was so tired of hanging out at the Capitol just waiting for all these posturing yahoos in the leadership to get their acts together, I began thinking how nice it would be to make a festive weekend escape to New York City.

By midnight I was dreaming that a pair of my constituents would ask me to officiate their gay wedding at the top of the Empire State Building! What a hoot! Could I wear feathers?

See? That’s real compromise! Sometimes your mind changes of its own accord, and sometimes by the angle of the light! I’m so open to new ideas, I always agree with the last person I talked to – even if it was a radical version of me!

So if our ship of state goes crashing into the rocky shoreline of the Needlessly-Stubborn Islands just because the top people were wrestling for control the steering wheel, please remember that all the while I was on the promenade deck trying to organize a nice, happy party!

Your flexible Representative,

Loomis Beechly

How changeable is your mind?

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57 thoughts on “Mr. Convincible”

  1. Much more than people suspect. I could argue either way on several of the hotter issues of the moment.
    “I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times.” Long-time Illinois senator Everett Dirksen

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      1. Oh, Clyde! How wonderful to be reminded of Everett Dirksen. Young baboons would never know that when they see a caricature of an overblown, bombastic old fashioned politician that the original for that stereotype is Everett Dirksen. Dirksen looked like a powerful senator as played by a ham actor. He clearly loved the sound of his own voice, and there was a touch of majesty in his pronouncements. Like Loomis Beechly, he often changed positions with changing political winds, and was dubbed “the Wizard of Ooze.”

        Dirksen had a certain amount of cynicism about politics that is endearing today. His famous quote, of course, is that one about how if you spend a billion here and a billion there, pretty soon “you’re talking about real money.” But my favorite Dirksen quote is his response to an attempt to adopt a bylaw requiring senators to be germane when they spoke to an issue. Dirksen said (with that wonderful polished oratorical style): “The Senate germane? Ho, Ho, Ho! And if I might add, Hee, Hee, Hee!”

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      2. everet dirkson sang wild thing so did bobby kennedy here is the evert dirkson version

        funny on youtube he is liste as everett mckinnley (mountain fetish i guess) n idea what the adult lead in or follow up has to do with anything but the schtick is good.

        here is bobby

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  2. well, i have changed my mind about four times already this morning – about how much coffe it will take to get me moving. the amount keeps getting larger. trouble is i’m drinking decaf :-)
    good day to You All

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  3. Rise and Shine Baboons! And that’s an Order! Don’t mess with me you apes.

    My first thought about this entire deal is that just wanting Obama to fail is not a credible position on an issue. My opinion is that this is the point of the present “showdown” as it was 15 years ago with Bill Clinton. Right now that opinion of mine is pretty inflexible unless some Republican somewhere shows me something different.

    There are somethings about which I am a tower of wiggly jello, especially a person’s private, individual choices–I just don’t care. Do what you want, just leave me alone, please. However, when it comes to public policy that affects many people I can be pretty opinionated and leaning to the left, unless it’s about money. About money–don’t spend what you don’t have. Period.

    So there.

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    1. As I read this, I must say I do not support these present attempts to correct spending. I believe that should be a long term plan, not a sudden crazy stab in the economic ether.

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      1. The problem is that while no one thinks it’s a great idea to spend more than you have, everyone has a different idea about what you should not spend on.

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      2. My sense, LInda, is that virtually all Americans believe it is a good thing to spend more than you have, just so long as you don’t get caught. Where we differ is in that calculation about how long and well we can avoid getting caught. Or am I being cynical?

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  4. I am quite inflexible about the notion that compromise is a good thing. Being able to compromise is a skill everyone should be able to manage, but I think we’re not teaching it to our kids very well, and that is reflected in the adult population, too. Daughter has already expressed frustration with friends who won’t compromise, or who say, “I will compromise, but only if you do it my way.” We get so wrapped up in our own needs and wants that compromise rises to the level of giving up some of yourself – which is just plain ridiculous nonsense. So, just like it says in the song, “teach your children well…”

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    1. Anna, I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying. Are you suggesting that compromise isn’t a good thing?

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      1. On the contrary – I’m saying it is. It’s just that we have gotten so wrapped up in fighting for our own needs and wants and putting ourselves first, that compromise has taken on the patina of giving up some of yourself rather than just good sense. Starting with my generation we were taught that our own needs and wants should always come first – which leads to a lot of selfishness, and less compromise. The “me” generations have gone overboard to the detriment of working well with larger groups. And everyone’s lack of compromise is impinging on my need for consensus. ;)

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  5. Good morning to all,

    I have some basic beliefs that are not very flexible. I guess they have changed a little over time and when I was really young they weren’t very well formed and I was even drawn to a much more so called conservative position. What I do about my beliefs is flexible and I wish some how I could do more. From my point of view, the world is in very bad shape and not much is being done to make things better. I still have hope that we will reach the point where important changes will come.

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    1. Jim, that pretty much sums up how I feel about things. Change WILL come, of that I’m sure. The question is whether it will be a well reasoned, deliberate change or change precipitated by the economic collapse of a political and economic system spun out of control. At the moment I’m not terribly optimistic.

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      1. PJ, I’m also not very optimistic regarding the future. Some one said it doesn’t cost any more to be optimistic or more positive, so we might as well take that position and hope for the best. I do try to be more positive because things can change in the right direction quickly when you least expect it.

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      2. Oh, I agree. I try not to dwell on my anxieties about where we’re headed as a nation. I remain hopeful, that in the end, reason will prevail. One of the reasons that I attend joyful events, such as the dance at the MN History Center last night, is that it reminds me of the glorious profusion humanity comes in. That makes anything is possible!

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  6. It sounds like most baboons have fairly sold basic principles but are also pragmatic. One political beast I wish we had more of here in the US is the “Red Tory” which I understand to be a Canadian conservative who is fiscally watchful but socially liberal, someone who wants to curtail spending while still meeting peoples’ basic needs. Imagine the possibilities! With my own children I tend to growl but give in to well reasoned arguments. I am brutal when it comes to my stand on responsible parenting by people who divorce or who parent separately.

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    1. There are a lot of “Red Tory” people in the US, but they are less likely to vote because they don’t find a candidate that fits their positions. The year Jesse Ventura was elected governor in Minnesota there was very high voter turnout, and polls indicated many new voters supported Ventura, who was promoting a platform that was basically socially liberal, but perceived as tighter with the pursestrings than the Democratic candidate.

      The opposite side of the quadrant houses the voters who were famously described in What’s the Matter With Kansas, low income people who seem to naturally belong to the progressives, but turn conservative in the voting booth because of their opposition to abortion and gay rights.

      These voters are a good reason to support instant runoff voting – it would increase voter turnout if more people found candidates that they really wanted to support. Then when the votes were analyzed and second choices taken into account, we would likely elect candidates that better represent the electorate’s views.

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    2. I’m not very impressed by the people who call on us to be more financially conservative. Most of the people calling for a balanced budget are willing to let Wall Street continue to run wild and are not willing to cut back on massive spending on bad programs including military spending.

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      1. Well said. And now two institutions, Wall Str and Congress are making huge, risky gambles on all our economic futures. Not very conservative if you ask me.

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  7. What is refreshing about Loomis Beechly is his lack of principle. Beechly is a good, old fashioned political leader who determines which way his people are marching and then scurries to get out ahead of them. His first political principle is “LIke me!” And his second seems to be “Even if you don’t like me, vote for me!”

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    1. so does that mean the good Congressman would side with the majority of those Americans polled and agree that some increase in tax revenue might just be a good thing and not the ultimate evil to be avoided at any and all cost?

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      1. He might more or less side with the majority, but I think you can count on the good Congressman to avoid any strong, courageous stands on anything except the desirability of voting for him. So he might espouse the sensible choice but would do it in such qualified terms you will be confused about where he stands. He is unequivocally against terrorism and cancer, although he is clueless about how to stop either.

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  8. I don’t change much on most issues, but I confess I go back and forth on compact fluorescent light bulbs. Some days I am in favor, some days opposed.

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  9. Greg Brown is singing his wife, Iris DeMent’s, song:
    Everybody’s wonderin’ what and where they all came from.
    Everybody’s worryin’ ’bout where they’re gonna go when the whole thing’s done.
    But no one knows for certain and so it’s all the same to me.
    I think I’ll just let the mystery be.

    Some say once you’re gone you’re gone forever, and some say you’re gonna come back.
    Some say you rest in the arms of the Saviour if in sinful ways you lack.
    Some say that they’re comin’ back in a garden, bunch of carrots and little sweet peas.
    I think I’ll just let the mystery be.

    Everybody’s wonderin’ what and where they all came from.
    Everybody’s worryin’ ’bout where they’re gonna go when the whole thing’s done.
    But no one knows for certain and so it’s all the same to me.
    I think I’ll just let the mystery be.

    Some say they’re goin’ to a place called Glory and I ain’t saying it ain’t a fact.
    But I’ve heard that I’m on the road to purgatory and I don’t like the sound of that.
    Well, I believe in love and I live my life accordingly.
    But I choose to let the mystery be.

    Everybody’s wonderin’ what and where they all came from.
    Everybody’s worryin’ ’bout where they’re gonna go when the whole thing’s done.
    But no one knows for certain and so it’s all the same to me.
    I think I’ll just let the mystery be.
    I think I’ll just let the mystery be.

    I think Greg’s deep voice has gotten a lot deeper over the years.
    That’s my answer and I’m stickin’ to it.

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  10. i could go either way on this topic
    i don’t kow if i’m flexible or not, a little on some things a lot on others but that changes too…. i just don’t know

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    1. Great, tim! That calls to mind the famous quote from Jim Scheibel, a former mayor of Saint Paul. It has been publicized as one of the “100 Dumbest Things Politicians Have Said.” Scheibel was annoyed at at charge from a national reporter that he was indecisive. “I’m not indecisive,” he said. Then, turning to an aide, Scheibel said, “I’m NOT indecisive, am I?”

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  11. Greetings! I change my mind fairly easily on many things, but there are a few basic ideas and principles that I just won’t budge, and I guess I’ve been known to be rather stubborn in these areas. But generally, I will tend towards what’s the best thing to do, what makes sense and is best for everybody and is ethical. Other baboons have articulated this position far better than I.

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    1. That’s a concise and honest summation. It’s a good thing we don’t believe in mission statements – you might get conscripted to write one.

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    2. Oh, Joanne! I just hope you have the luck of getting to choose “what’s the best thing to do, what makes sense and is best for everybody and is ethical.” How glorious it would be if choices fit all those categories at the same time. It gets tricky when what is best for one person is not best for another, when what makes sense in one context is not sensible in others, and when what is ethical in one context is ethical in others. For me, the true challenge of being a good man is how you handle decisions where you do your best to sort through the issues and you find that the arrow on your moral compass points two ways at the same time.

      I’m not making fun of your statement. And the amazing thing about morality is that when a good-hearted person like you tries hard to do the right thing, no matter how complicated it is, she does do the right thing.

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    3. So true, Steve, so true. I’m afraid I was trying to make a simple statement of what is usually a complicated decision. Good thing I’m not in politics or work as an executive because I would be paralyzed by too many decisions to make.

      My father was the Supervisor of Maintenance for the Green Bay school system, responsible for $1-2 million budget and dozens of workers. His decisions generally took the long view — which meant he was not popular to most folks in the school system. His peers loved him and greatly respected his ability to make tough decisions for the long term good, even if it pissed people off in the short term. He was also wise enough to take the onerous decisions on himself, so the foreman could keep a good relationship with their immediate workers. Then they could all blame that “goddamJerryAhl” together and keep a good working relationship. My father’s middle name was “integrity” in my mind. He wasn’t infallible and he could get on his high horse at times (“people are stupid”), but his decisions were carefully considered and usually took into account the best result for the most people in most instances to stay within budget. Everybody has to sacrifice a little to make it all work.

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  12. OT, but things are developing rapidly with regard to Rock Bend.

    If you are looking for lodging, I’m afraid it’s going to be tricky. The Locust Street Hotel is the only B&B and they are booked. The AmericInn is the best but they’re reserving for a wedding as well as all the rooms for Rock Bend bands. There’s another, lower rent motel called the Viking Jr. It’s adequate but perhaps not for everyBaboon. There are a number of hotels, really nice ones, down the road in Mankato. If AmericInn won’t let us book any more rooms for bands, we’re going to be putting them up at the Mankato hotels. I recommend booking with AmericInn NOW and let us struggle with where to put the bands.

    AmericInn: 1-800-634-3444
    Viking Jr.: 1-507-931-3081
    http://www.mankatodowntown.stayhgi.com

    There might be something available in Le Sueur but I don’t know.

    There IS camping in St Peter. They have a municipal campground right in town, on the Minnesota River (and behind St. Peter’s Pearly Gates – yes, they really have Pearly Gates). Here is a link to info about St. Peter’s municipal campground. http://www.ci.st-peter.mn.us/recreation/camping.php3. Campsites are available on a first come, first serve basis. No reservations are taken. Campers must register with the Police Department. Please call the Police Department at (507) 931-1550.

    I go home on Saturday night and come back on Sunday morning – even though it’s a long way and I’m tired. It’s 27 miles from my house to Minnesota Square Park. I don’t get home until VERY late and I don’t get much sleep. I have some food-related chores that have to be done and I have to be back to the festival by 10 – 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. Baboons who would like to stay at my house are welcome to but I can’t be the hostess I’d normally be. I have two spare bedrooms, a large finished rec room downstairs a tent and a few mattresses. Let me know and we can work out details. My e-mail is willi6931 at hotmail.com.

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    1. got a room at the americaninn
      checked the campsite deal tailed with the police lady she said it is first come first served but no one has every been turned away it is like a big comunal camping area with no site per say pitch a tent and you are set. i may go that way but i got the secon to the last room at the americaninn. (pricey) i think i remember there is a cam area on the river shortly before st peter on the east side of the ighway (right the river but i dont know how to look that up. that may be the 10 site one i saw.
      looking forward to it.

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      1. Not that I know of, tim. A private one west of the river in there, cannot remember the name and never seen it. Also, in, near Mankato are Minneopa State Park and Land of Memories City Park. I would offer room with us, but our family life has become very traumatic/high stress. Do not know what our life will be like over the next fee weeks.
        Also, now that I think, a few private campgrounds, one or two I think, over Krista’s way and Sakatah State Park over there.
        The Best Western in North Mankato is only about 14 miles south right on 169.

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      2. thanks for the info i will check it out. hope the stress evens out and lessens. life is not always what you want. but it should leave hoe for a better time around the bend

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  13. I was trying to write guest blog on too large a topic, which sort of touched on tim’s weekend topic. I was going to ask people to identify little treasure places they know, which as you can see is like tim’s question. But one of the things I was going to ask about was holdovers from the past, which is sort of related to our talking to day about change. Such social/cultural/economic changes I see as inevitable, but I still treasure the remnants, which are more common around here than most other places.
    I love the village and crossroads baseball fields in this area, which have been lovingly maintained and usually modernized in many ways, such as scoreboards. You can drive from Searles, south of New Ulm, west to Springfield and go by four of them, and if you catch it on the right evening, as we have, all will be in business, with the lights glowing against the sunset.
    A couple of other topics I may do a guest blog about. But today we visited one we love. We take our grand kids to story hour in Morgan. You drive down the main street, very wide, with diagonal parking on the sides and parallel parking on the center stripe. Most of the businesses are closed but there is a mom and pop run-down cafe which reminds me of the “Opening Soon” dinner in Jon Hassler’s “Simon’s Night.” Then you come to a city park, a square block, with a building on one side, the library, museum and band shell on the back facing the park. The library is open four days a week in the summer, story hour on Wednesdays at 11. You watch kids ride up, drop their bikes on the lawn and run in with their books.
    You have to climb up stairs to the library, or ride the elevator retro-fitted along side. The room you come to has high ceilings, long stacks down the narrow room with a fireplace at one end. Off to the side is the kid’s room staffed by the perfect grandmotherly type, except, if you talk to her, as my former public library children’s librarian does, you will learn she has lived and traveled all over the world.
    There are better (bigger, more modern, but not as heartland American) libraries 15 to 25 miles away in all four directions, and the expense is surely one that can not long be afforded. So it too will pass.

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    1. clyde keep the topics coming. they are good ones. no sense of urgency but we will get tho them and enjoy them as you get them to dale and he to us.good stuff

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  14. I understand why small town stores and libraries pass away, but why are integrity, as Joanne praises her father for, and honesty and compromise and compassion and community and such destroyed too?
    Just a small question, really.

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    1. Oh Clyde, you sound despondent today, I’m betting the pain is getting to you. I don’t think those values have died, there’s just so much other crap that grabs the headlines. I consider myself very fortunate, not lucky but fortunate, to have a circle of wonderful compassionate friends with high ethical standards, and we have to stick together. Don’t let the pain and the turkey’s get you down. There are lots of kindred spirits out there.

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  15. I’m always open to hearing one more opinion, so I end up changing my mind a lot. But there are a few things that are not negotiable, if I could just think what they are.

    As to the current situation, we are going to hell in a handbasket, but otherwise everything’s fine.

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    1. BiR, on that cheerful note, I’m going to bed. The top issue for me that’s NOT negotiable is abortion. Legal and safe abortions need to be available. We should be done forever with the back-room coat hanger scenarios as far as I’m concerned. No one should ever be forced to have an abortion, but a safe, legal one needs to be available to every woman who wants one.

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