PRICE OF POLITICS, ETC: Don’t Run, Walk

Price Of Politics

Ed Fallon isn’t campaigning to run for office again. He is walking for a campaign instead. Fallon sent out this email earlier in the week:

Dear Friends,

Yes, you read the subject line correctly. This Friday, March 1st, at Raccoon River Brew Pub at 6:30 p.m., I will announce a campaign. I realize this probably comes as a surprise, and two weeks ago I would not have predicted it. But upon deep reflection and deliberation, I am certain this is the right thing to do.

That’s all I’m saying for now, as I work to learn a new element of political discipline: timing. In the 2006 Democratic Primary for Governor, Mike Blouin proved to be a wizard at timing. First he announced an exploratory committee announcement. Then he announced the actual exploratory committee. Then he explored. That was followed by an announcement that there would be an announcement on a decision as to whether he would actually run for Governor. Finally, Blouin announced he was running. It didn’t matter that there were less than 20 people at each essentially redundant event. The media were dutifully interested and in attendance each and every time.

While I will never become that “good” at timing, I can at least keep my mouth shut until 6:30 p.m. this coming Friday, right?

Friday is also my 55th birthday, so we’re turning this puppy into a real party. (It’s also Sequester Day and the 203rd anniversary of Frederic Chopin’s birth. But let’s stay focused.) Here’s the lowdown, also available on my Website and Facebook Page, where updates will be posted as they arise:

March 1 – Birthday Party and Campaign Announcement (Des Moines)
Help Ed celebrate his 55th birthday from 5:00-10:00 pm at Raccoon River Brew Pub, (10th &  Mulberry). Please, no gifts or cards. Just come, patronize one of Ed’s favorite local businesses, play some pool, enjoy the conversation and have a fantastic time. At 6:30, Ed will announce his upcoming campaign, explaining why it’s important and why you will want to be involved. Contact Ed for more (but not too much more) information.

Fallon stuck to his pledge not to spill the beans about his announcement before his actual announcement came Friday night. Some mistook the content of his original email. They assumed when he talked about a campaign that he was running for office again, maybe congress. But Bill Clinton taught us better than assuming things. Remember when he told us:

“I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky,” Clinton famously declared.

He added this for good measure: “There is not a sexual relationship, an improper sexual relationship or any other kind of improper relationship.”

So, we later learned the president was trying to play semantics with his dealings with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He tried to claim that he was telling the truth about “did not have sexual relations”, because she did things to him, not the other way around. I won’t insert the cigar story claims here.

We also learned he tried to pull a fast one, as well, when he said “there IS not a sexual relationship.” Sure, maybe that was true that, at that moment, there is no relationship. But we figured out he said IS for a reason. Had he said “there WAS no relationship”, that would have been a lie.

Sorry for the long tangent, which might seem a bit extreme. But, I’m trying to make the point that that whole episode changed me as a reporter. I listen far more carefully now to how a person explains things. So when Fallon’s talked about a campaign, which had followed previous comments he made about not wanting to run for office…well, just call me skeptical that Fallon was about to announce a run again.

Fallon served 14 years in the state legislature. He ran for governor once and lost. He ran for congress once and lost, failing to get his party’s nomination either time.

Fallon now makes his living doing an internet-based talk show, which, in theory, he would have to give up if he ran for office (unless he would give equal time to his opponents). None of that matters, though, because we now know what Fallon is planning.

Here’s his email update:

I’ve been involved with a lot of campaigns over the years. It’s time for another. This campaign will be the most difficult. It will be the most expensive. And it will be one of the two longest campaigns I’ve ever run.

But it will not be a campaign for public office.

This is a campaign to mobilize 1000 people to march coast-to-coast, demanding action on climate change – action from both the American people and from our public officials. The Great March for Climate Action will set-out from the west coast one year from today and arrive in Washington, DC the weekend before the mid-term election. It will be the largest coast-to-coast march in our nation’s history.


For a long time, I’ve recognized that climate change is not simply an issue. Climate change is a crisis, possibly the deadliest crisis humanity has ever faced. And it’s not a crisis that might happen somewhere in the future. It is a crisis that is happening now!

For the past six years, I’ve asked myself what I should do? What’s my duty, my responsibility in this crisis? What do I have to offer that can help avert the calamity barreling our way like a coal-fired freight train?

I discuss climate change on my talk show regularly, and I continue to live more and more sustainably in my personal life. But honestly, I don’t feel I’ve come close to doing enough, to doing my part. There are certainly people and organizations who have, like Bill McKibben, James Hansen, the Sierra Club, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Iowa’s own State Senator Rob Hogg.

But it is past time for me to step up to the plate in a focused and significant way. Again, this is a CRISIS!

Two weeks ago, the idea of this March came to me, and as I thought about it and talked about it with a few close friends, I realized it was the campaign I needed to commit myself to.

Why a March? Throughout history, marches have been powerful tools to mobilize people – physically, spiritually, and politically. In 1930, Mahatma Gandhi led the 240-mile Salt March to defy Britain’s imperial power. In 1965, Martin Luther King, Jr led the five-day march for voting rights from Selma to Montgomery. And in 1986, the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament left Los Angeles on March 1st, traveling 3700 miles to finish in Washington, DC on November 15th.



I was very involved in the Great Peace March, coordinating logistics for the Iowa segment. It was an incredible experience, changing the hearts and lives of those of us who participated. It also influenced tens of thousands of people who interacted with marchers throughout the nine-month journey. One cannot, of course, say that the Great Peace March single-handedly achieved nuclear disarmament. But it was one campaign in a much bigger campaign involving thousands of committed activists who accomplished so much, including a ban on nuclear testing. The bottom line is, the Great Peace March absolutely helped make our world a safer place.


Building on my experience with that, learning from all the other campaigns I’ve run, mobilizing the connections and relationships I’ve developed and nurtured over the years, this Great March for Climate Action is how I can do my part in the collective effort to avert the worst consequences of climate change.

I’m serious when I say this is the most difficult campaign I’ve ever launched. I also believe it is the most important. And I know there is no way I can pull this off on my own. I will need your support, your encouragement, your contacts and connections from across the country. This is a national campaign, appealing to an international audience, addressing a global crisis. It’s an undertaking of massive proportions.

I realize what I am asking 1000 people to do is pretty unreasonable. Put your lives on hold for nine months, maybe even quit your job or drop out of school. March over 3,000 miles across America. Suffer blisters, sore muscles, aching knees. Get drenched by cold spring rains. Feel the sweat stinging your eyes as 95° summer  heat bakes the pavement under your feet. Sleep in a tent on the hard ground, with only a thin layer of plastic between you and the howling elements. 



You know, that sounds like a hard sell. But I’m willing to march, and, I believe there are 1000 more who are willing to go the extra mile, so to speak, to avert the worst outcomes of climate change for ourselves, for the rest of the world, for future generations, and for our planet.

Ed 



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