John and Mary
No, I'm not referring to the 1969 Romantic Drama featuring Dustin Hoffman and Mia Farrow. Actually I'm alluding to a dramatic back and forth amongst Minnesota politicians named "John and Mary" which had none of the romantic overtones of its cinematic namesake
A very public war of words is brewing between two popular and controversial Minnesota House Republicans.
Over the weekend, Rep. John Kriesel logged onto Twitter to share parts of a bitter letter sent to him by Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer. In it, she wrote that the war veteran has “no courage.”
The frustration appears to have stemmed from the Vikings Stadium passage.
Kriesel sat in the front row when the Vikings bill was signed, which is a major accomplishment of his short legislative career. And he says for anyone to say he’s running away from it, or anything else, is absurd.
“I think to say that that’s not the reason I am not running is crazy,” said Kriesel.
But that’s exactly what fellow Kiffmeyer said. She’s telling voters the stadium bill was “forced” through the legislature — and Kriesel says that’s a “lie.”
While I have always disagreed with Kriesel's support of a Vikings stadium, I believe it's Kiffmeyer who's in the wrong in this war of words. Kriesel had been a proponent of the stadium from day one but never hinted of not seeking reelection until the past couple of months. As Rep. Branden Petersen told me via Twitter, Kriesel has never been concerned with political expediency as indicated by his support for the stadium as well his objections to the MN Marriage Amendment (he was one of only four House Republicans to vote "No" on putting the amendment on November's ballot).
Also, I was rather put off by Kiffmeyer's assertion that Kriesel lacked courage in not being willing to seek reelection, thus he wouldn't face the music for his stadium support. Any person who has lost both legs (as Kriesel did in Iraq in 2006) while fighting on behalf of our country can hardly be accused of backing down from a fight. Given that his military obligations, subsequent injuries and time in the Legislature over the past 5-6 years has put a heavy burden on his wife and two young sons, Kriesel decided that he owed it to his family to take a step back. I don't doubt for one second that was the catalyst for his decision.
Still seething from Kiffmeyer's criticism Sunday, Kriesel said via Twitter (tongue-in cheek, I'm assuming) that he would consider taking out a second mortgage on his house to donate to Kiffmeyer's opponent. Upon reading that, my pal Sheila Kihne zinged with "Well, that type of funding-mechanism would certainly fit nicely with your Vikings stadium financing logic."
I only wish Kiffmeyer had stuck to the issue at hand in that same fashion.