Friday, March 30, 2018

Mindi Messmer: Going all Erin Brockovitch

We all want safe drinking water. Just ask the folks in Flint, Michigan.
We are all appalled whenever we learn some factory has dumped toxic stuff into a Love Canal or its equivalent in New Hampshire.
But we are also suspicious of people who develop a "passion" for causes which somehow works for them, personally.
Mindi Messmer

Anyone who lived through the 1960's remembers the folks who organized rallies and marches against the war, against poverty, against racism, who clearly felt they had found their calling. We looked at those people, who were doing good work, but who were "cashing in" on some cause.

In "The Wire," (yes, I'm guilty, alluding to "The Wire" again) an ambitious journalist at the Baltimore Sun finds himself in the middle of the investigation of a serial killer and, at one point, one of the cynical Baltimore homicide cops listens to the journalist say how dreadful this ongoing succession of murders must be for the homeless out there on the streets, and the cop says, "Oh, I don't know it's all that bad. It's worked for you, hasn't it?"
Erin Gone Hollywood

By which he means, you've made your career on the back of this story. Gus Haynes, the journalist's editor, who has been following the progress of the story looks at the cop and betrays just a wisp of a knowing smile.

So it is for me, with Mindi Messmer, who has been campaigning about ground water contamination on the Seacoast, which we all abhor.
Contamination was Good for Me

But she has tried to tie it to a "cluster" of pediatric (and now adult) malignancies. The problem with these "cancer clusters" which may or may not actually be related to environmental contamination is they have been devilishly difficult, nay impossible, to scientifically verify and only two or three cases--one being the Erin Brockovitch story--have ever been convincing to a jury.
I've heard Mindi raise the issue of an adult with pancreatic cancer who lives near what may well be a contaminated site, and she said something to the effect that Tom Sherman, MD, who we all love and respect, has said the cancer might be a product of the contamination.
That is called "anecdote" in medicine. It is anything but science. It is where science may begin.  And Mindi is trying to sell herself as a "scientist" and not just a scientist, but a woman scientist and we all know we need more of those. Fact is, Mindi's behind the times. We have, happily, lots of women scientists now, if you count physicians and surgeons and even PhD's and engineers. Times have changed. You can't run on being a role model for girls who might want to be scientists. That's so 20th century.
Hate That

Mindi's campaign material now says "send a woman scientist to Congress." She also has posted stuff about how women present differently than men with respect to a variety of diseases, the point being that women are being short changed by uncaring male doctors. Of course, this neglects the fact that the American medical profession is just about half and half female and male now. Women are not being neglected, or victimized and do not need a woman in Congress to champion their rights.
I do note that when a woman is passionate about a topic she's often criticized as being "emotional" where a man is "passionate." And that is unfair and unwarranted. But you don't get a free pass if you are a woman when you try to stoke up support for your ambitions by pointing to a cause like water pollution as if only you are pushing that.
Let's Get All Dramatic

As I hear it, Ms. Messmer has done a great job in the state legislature, but I think we've got better people (both of whom HAPPEN to be male, but that should not count against them.)

And, she is a Democrat and if she is the ultimate Democratic candidate, I'll be all in for her and work for her.

Some say we ought not be criticizing Democrats, giving Republicans ammunition for November. That is, of course, ridiculous. There is nothing we can think of saying about any Democrat they will not have thought of and more. During the primaries is where we shake out the problems, identify weaknesses, find the strongest candidate. That's what the Republicans did in 2016--and they got a guy nobody would have predicted would be a formidable politician, difficult to beat.

I think we need to send a warrior to Congress who nobody will look at and say, "Oh, she's trying to cash in and sound all passionate. Works for her."

We've got better folks, and their lack of "experience" is no longer an issue, not in these times when having political experience may simply make you appear to be a candidate from the Deep State.

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