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Ask Dr. Heartlander

Posted at 6:03 AM on February 3, 2010 by Dale Connelly (21 Comments)
Filed under: Ask Dr. Heartlander

Dear Dr. Heartlander,

I'm feeling a little bit down today.

I entered the precinct caucuses last night thinking I had a pretty good chance to demonstrate some substantial support for my life long dream - to be elected Governor! I was organized and my people turned out in all areas of the state, but when the numbers came back on the straw poll I was a disappointing not-very-close-to-the-top. Not only did I finish behind "Undecided", I was also beaten by "Contemplating a Move To North Dakota".

I sense that people are hungry for government that can accomplish things, but in retrospect, my slogan "He Knows When to Compromise" may not have been the best strategy for getting votes at this point in the process.

Still, a talent for bargaining hard and splitting the difference at the last minute in order to get things done has always been my greatest strength. So this feels like a personal rejection - like I have been stood up on a blind date. I'm a really good person, but it doesn't even seem like they want to get to know me!

Am I over reacting?

Moderation Is My Middle Name


Dear M.I.M.M.N.,

You HAVE been stood up on a blind date. But just because the party faithful don't want to take you to the big dance, that doesn't mean you're repulsive.

You might just be uninteresting.

The good news is, there's still time. Take a hard look at yourself in the mirror. Identify your most exciting features and find a way to work them to your advantage. Note that the "most exciting" aspects of your personality may not be the same ones that give you the most pride.

Though moderation is smart when it comes to drinking and gambling and your willingness to compromise may be a good quality to have when it's time to finish a deal, it's not the sort of thing that will make people walk across the room to meet you. After all, they already know you'll meet them halfway. So focus on something else right now.

If you can do animal impressions, dance or tell jokes, or do all of those at the same time, now is a good time to put that on display. Governors have been elected with less.

But this is just one way to look at M.I.M.M.N.'s problem.

What do YOU think, Dr. Heartlander?

Comments (21)

dear MIMMN, please don't feel like an "Idol" reject. this is just a minor setback. if you really, really want to be governor, find a state that wants your type. Minnesota seems to be into extremes lately - (see the last two governors) - so maybe look for a state that wants someone like you. have you posed for any racy magazines lately? have you had an extramarital affair? have you cheated anyone, are you a racist or a criminal, are you a hasbeen body builder or do you have an extremely funky mouth? there are states for you!!!

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | February 3, 2010 6:30 AM

Good Morning All,


Do you have skill as a professional wrestler? If you could make as name for yourself in wrestling, you might get a shot at being govenor. Of course, comedian is another possibility that worked for a senator but he barely won.

Posted by Jim | February 3, 2010 6:32 AM

Are you good looking? If not, learn how to be. Do you have a fabulous pair of shades? A tasteful smattering of facial hair? Do you and your spouse fist bump? Do you tweet? Get going, man! Pungent pundits everywhere will tell you the same.

Posted by Donna | February 3, 2010 6:48 AM

I've always thought that the desire to be president automatically disqualified a person for that job. Never thought about applying that to governor or mayor (sorry Jim) - but maybe some therapy for MIMMN to get to the underlying cause of his dream to be governor????

Posted by sherrilee | February 3, 2010 6:51 AM


It's time for you to consider an appointment in the governor's office. After all, you're a guy who operates best behind the scenes. When the elected have to get real work accomplished, they turn to people such as yourself.

A Dr Heartlander

Good morning, Heartlanders!

Posted by elinor | February 3, 2010 6:56 AM

Dear Moderation: Unfortunately, now is not the time for moderation -- we need strength and passion to get stuff done. Plus, at this point, you need a publicist to get your name out, perform focus groups to determine what people want from you, do fundraisers, and get lots of money and supporters behind you.

Remember, poor ordinary folks don't get elected. Find a way to stand out and be remembered. Even negative attention is useful! Go for it ...

Posted by Joanne in Big Lake | February 3, 2010 7:06 AM

Dale: this is a stretch request for Johnnny Cash's The One On The Right Is On The Left, which is on his Essentail Johnny Cash Album from way way back in my youth.

Posted by Clyde in Mankato | February 3, 2010 7:12 AM

In real life, the skills it takes to get through a job interview and the skills it tkes to actually do the job can be very different things.

Now running for an office, particularly an executive office like president, governor, or mayor, is like being subjected to a six month (or longer) job interview. In other words, your interview skills need to be really, really good. And then you get the job. But those interview skills don't help you at all with dealing with a recalictrant legislature or city council(every member of which believes they would be better at your job than you), a public with conflicting demands, creating a budget that works, appointing people to key positions, and all the messy things that come with actually managing a city, state, or, a country. And that includes the necessity to, God forbid, compromise, something that's not part of the extended job interview vocabulary. People with both sets of skills are really, really, rare, and you see lots of elected officials who treat the job as an extension of the campaign. It's what they know, and are comfortable with, and good at. And so, MIMMN, you are likely eminently qualified to actually do the job, but eminently unqualified to ever get it. Which is why we should stand up and give it to you be acclamation.

I used to think I'd like to hold elective office, but I've realized that I don't have the skills to run for office and that I'd hate every minute of the campaign. Maybe, MIMMN, you should consider yourself lucky.

Posted by Don in West St. Paul | February 3, 2010 7:14 AM

MIMMN--the answer is like all things--location, location, location.
Location 1: next to those with deep pockets with your hands in their pockets.
Location 2: not next to those in whose pockets you have your hands so it will not show that you are on their knee with their hand up the back of your shirt. Hard to do 1 and 2 you say? It would seem to me that an awful lot are able to do that.
Location 3: at one extreme or another.

(Nice, Dale; well written and sweetly cynical.)

Posted by Clyde in Mankato | February 3, 2010 7:20 AM

Clyde - It sounds like you are proposing a game of political Twister, which is a frighteningly true image.

MIMMN - Perhaps a better position for you is Lieutenant Governor. You could find someone to be the "front" for you - someone who appears more extreme one way or the other - and you could be the behind-the-scenes person actually getting work done. Not much time in the limelight, but you have great potential to get things accomplished. I'd offer up our current governor as an example of someone who lost the straw poll but still found his way to the big game - but I'm afraid of another like him. I'm not sure our state would survive another term with the likes of T-Paw and his ilk. Find a vacuous ideologue who is easily manipulated and become a running mate. The public gets the outrageous sound bites they seem to crave and you can quietly turn things around while no one is watching.

Posted by Anna | February 3, 2010 7:39 AM

Dale and Mike: I did not think you were likely to find the John Clement-written Johnny Cash-sung song. It would be good RH fare. So do sit on your hands, relax, have a cup of tea/coffee or whatever legal stimulant you prefer.

Posted by Clyde | February 3, 2010 8:03 AM

Clyde -

Too late. I found it! The song is coming up as soon as I can locate something from a '60's era dress-alike group to follow it. Mike Pengra is assisting.

Posted by Dale Connelly | February 3, 2010 8:13 AM

Dear MIMMN If you want to soar triumphantly in politics without doing the hard work of building a reputation based on good work, being a beauty queen is the way to go. If you are pretty enough, the press will record your every silly statement and put you on the cover of People magazine.

This is probably more effective if you are female, although the new senator from Massachusetts made it work for a man.

Posted by Steve in Saint Paul | February 3, 2010 9:05 AM

Thanks Mike and Dale. Well, I could have named a thousand 60's era songs with which to team it, It would have taken me awhile to do a thousand but I could, and somewhere in there would have been the Rev Br. Black.
So thanks indeed for both. Kingston Trio is one of the few nationally famous people or groups I have ever heard in concert, 1964, Chicago--what live performers they were. I had a good friend in a folk trio, a PK (preacher's kid), who could do Mr. Black better than KT.
This topic today is perfect fodder for a poem but yesterday's wore me out, and unhappy events in my life. Good day all.

Posted by clyde in Mankato | February 3, 2010 9:19 AM

Clyde - don't want you worn out, but your poems are so apropos (and there is a song by that name also, right?)
i hope your unhappy events resolve soon; we need you here.
Donna - is there a place one can go to learn to be good looking? (is it in Sioux Falls?)
good day, All

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | February 3, 2010 9:55 AM

MiMMNPerhapps you shoul have an intense and public religious conversion-Look what it did for the Apostle Paul. He really went places after that trip on the road to Damascus.

Posted by Renee | February 3, 2010 11:28 AM

By the way- the current ND Gov is a real middle of the roader, and he is probably going to the senate. Perhaps you should consider a move to ND.

Posted by Renee | February 3, 2010 11:30 AM

Barb--if I were to write a poem today, this is what it would cover, so someone else can do it:
Many years ago I read an article by a man who had studied the power people in America, corporate CEO's, university presidents, outstanding doctors, major politicians, religious leaders, presidents, etc. This is what he found. Almost all (this was about 1985-88) 1) male 2) white 3) tall but not too tall 4) parted their full head of hair on their left 5) good-looking but no facial hair 6) had power names (Anglo-Saxon, used an initial, formal version of common names or an Anglo-Saxon last name as a first or more commonly middle name with a first initial) 7) about 35% left-handed (males run %15 in general) 8) showed the left side of their face in the formal picture and other tings I do not remember.
Think about what would happen to Abraham Lincoln today. But look at president's names. Take out Obama and Eisenhower and see what you get. As near as anyone can tell, all except for about 2-3 times the taller candidate has won.
I wonder how women emerging as leaders have impacted this. Upstairs from me is psychology clinic of which the founder and leader doctor is named Dr. Peggy Sue ___________. The Peggy Sue always jumps out at me as so counter to what we expect. I think of it as the Buddy Holly school of psychology.
Whew. Now I am tired.

Posted by Clyde nonpoetic in NonMankato | February 3, 2010 11:47 AM

Clyde, one of ND's former governors
was named George Sinner, and his brother was priest called Father Sinner.

Posted by Renee | February 3, 2010 1:19 PM

oh, Renee - that's so funny. but i get Clyde's point - on the average (those outliers will always be there) i'm sure that's the case. as a short person i find folks deciding that i am incapable of doing many things for which height is not required. (in fact, a lower center of gravity is quite an advantage, e.g. when wrangling goats - i was just out giving annual booster immunizations to the Girls and if i were taller i would have tipped over several times!) but i suppose "lower center of gravity" would not make a strong campaign statement, huh?
i don't write poetry, Clyde. you'll have to do it another day.

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | February 3, 2010 1:47 PM

"Sheep get like shepherds, and shepherds get like sheep."

Two men in Dental practice together in Mpls years ago--Dr. Hurt and Dr. Payne. Surgeon at HCMC--Dr. Bucher.

There are many studies of various kinds that show how much we judge by appearance. Many. In ways we do not even think about. Here's one I have been contemplating for awhile. I look much like Santa Claus now--white hair, white fullish beard, white soft skin with red blotches (from FM) but a la Santa's red cheeks. Out in public small children, I mean from age 6 months to 4, stare at me, come to me, smile at me. I am not all that small-child-friendly a person by and large. So is there something iconic about the look of Santa (a pretty universal figure now), something children are encoded to respond to? We know we are hard-wired to respond to some things, such as the characteristics of infants. So What is it?

Posted by clyde in Mankato | February 3, 2010 2:00 PM

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