Thursday, May 19, 2005

Only one marked the anniversary 

My readers will know my interest in Cheri Yecke. If you have the same interest, please go read Craig Westover's interview with Yecke on the occasion of the anniversary of her early-morning sacking, and his summary thereof. Craig comes away very impressed:
There is an edge to Cheri Pierson-Yecke, which is what her opponents react to. It is also what makes her an effective leader.


I have areas were I disagree with Yecke -- when I think about the structure of the No Child Left Behind act in the clutches of a President Clinton the Fairer, I get very nervous. Nonetheless, Yecke makes a strong case for the merits of the program when administration is in capable hands. Not completely convinced, I came away with a new perspective.

And that�s the personal power of Yecke. She�s Regeanesque in the sense that years of reflection and struggle with her values has provided her with sincere conviction (contrary to City Pages, she did not go gently into the Washington bureaucracy) that even a mauling by political thugs could not scar.
Word has it that Yecke made a good show at the CD6 convention, and yesterday I heard informed speculation that if any of the flak Michele Bachmann takes causes a loss of support that it may shift to Yecke. (We disagree on whether Bachmann has taken any hits; I say it's too early to tell.) And, Gary Miller notes, some pretty big guns can offer endorsements for her.

Let me add a couple of things. First, her charm is very different from Bachmann's or the other candidates. She's "edgy" because she has a non-flashy smile, and she's seldom speaking on education or running for office without bringing the discussion back to her own family and her desire to give her children the best education possible. She is a very quick study. As Craig says, she's data-driven, and with that she is also willing to confront data that runs against her beliefs.

Second, if ambition is a necessary ingredient for political office, Yecke will take a backseat to no one at the next convention. She definitely had a set of educational standards that she wanted to pass, and she risked and ultimately lost her position trying to get them passed. (Next time I talk to her, I want to ask whether losing the social science battle was harder for her than being sacked. It mattered to her that much.) She isn't timid and she isn't intimidated. And she will play her martyr role to the hilt, as she did at the convention. If the DFL overplays its hand here in MN in the Legislature, she can tap Republican anger, and anger can rally support in a convention.

It would be fitting for the DFL to lose that open seat to a hostage they shot but didn't kill.