Empty Suit still fulfilling electorate
When Amy Klobuchar was Hennepin County Attorney, she specialized in getting out in front of the camera to bring attention to the county's higher profile cases. In essence, she was an elected ambulance chaser, often looking to use as props the family members of victims who had suffered critical or fatal injuries as a result of a perpetrator's negligence (i.e. alcohol-related vehicular homicide, a driver without proper insurance killing someone with their car, etc.).
After being elected to the US Senate in 2006, Klobuchar continued this trait of exploiting tragedies in an effort to push forth softball legislation. One of her first high-profile pieces was banning lead in toys in an effort to prevent lead poisoning in children. She also seized the moment when, in the Summer of 2007, six-year old Abigail Taylor of St. Louis Park suffered an ultimately fatal injury in a public swimming pool. As a result, new pool safety laws were enacted.
Sen. Klobuchar made sure her voice was heard in August 2007 during the tragic I-35 bridge collapse, essentially blaming the funding of the unpopular Iraq war as reason there were no money for bridge repairs (never mind that the cause of the collapse had not even been determined at that time). And if airline pilots ever are distracted from properly doing their jobs, leave it to Klobee to provide the stern finger-wagging.
So I guess it came as no surprise to me that Senator Klobuchar would look to exploit the rash of fatalities occurring as a result of using hand-held devices while driving.
The statistics are startling.
Teenagers are three times more likely than their parents to die in traffic accidents. In Minnesota, 118 teens died in traffic accidents between 2006 and 2008.
Statistics are only part of the story. Kelly Phillips, a Minnetonka High School senior, died in an auto rollover in 2007. She was a passenger in a car that went out of control when the driver was using an iPod, according to the State Patrol. With another passenger, they were headed for a bonfire that was to be strictly supervised by adults, and where no alcohol would be allowed. The driver was also killed in the accident and the other passenger seriously injured.
"Kelly was just like you," her mother, Jane Phillips, told several dozen students at Eden Prairie High School on Thursday. "She was really smart. She was a three-sport athlete. She had a big future. ... But her college applications never got sent in because she died before she could send them."
Phillips and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., were key speakers at the Thursday safe-driving event, designed to target high school kids before summer break, when most teen crashes occur. The event was hosted by the Minnesota Teen Safe Driving Coalition, one of 10 coalitions formed nationwide by the National Safety Council to cut down on teen auto crashes.
To make the moment even more poignant, Klobuchar sat in front of a large photograph of the beautiful young woman who was tragically killed.
Klobuchar cited federal legislation she is sponsoring that would require states to ban texting while driving (of course she did - ed.) and adopt graduated driver's licenses, which would involve some restrictions on driving until teenagers reach 18 (lucky for Klobee, young people can't vote until they're 18 - ed.).
Now don't get me wrong here. I'm absolutely 100% behind any measures to ensure the safety of children. As such, I have zero problem with the child safety advocacy of Senator Klobuchar. But as my pal Mr. D so eloquently pointed out a few months ago, all this qualifies her as a solid consumer reporter for local news. However, we should expect more from our representative government.
The issue I have is all of these legislative softballs are used as a facade, given some of the more left-wing positions she espouses. Included amongst those are support for any kind of corporate bailouts, TARP, Cap & Trade and Obamacare. She also consistently votes against any kind of legislation which would prevent Federal funds designated for abortion.
Because 2006 was such a disastrous election year nationally for the GOP, Klobuchar coasted to an easy 20-point victory over Republican Mark Kennedy. And because it had been a forgone conclusion that '06 would be such a bloodbath for any politician with the same party affiliation as President George W. Bush, Klobee ran a very soft campaign where she did little more than put out TV ads with her mingling amongst the elderly.
Unfortunately, given some of the latest poll numbers, any Republican looking to take on Senator Klobuchar in 2012 will be little more than the proverbial sacrificial lamb.