R. T. ‘s Wonderfully Intemperate Words

You go boy. R. T. Rybak deserves kudos for telling it like it is on gun control. We seldom hear politicians saying something that sounds like a real human, but R. T. is laying it out on the political dancing going on over whether we can curb military weapons in our streets and communities.

With President Obama in Minneapolis Monday calling for tougher background checks and limits on automatic weapons and ammunition magazines, R. T. got his two cents’ worth in, at a premium. He was quoted in The New York Times, the Star Tribune and many other news outlets. (It’s not clear from the stories, and I can’t find anything on YouTube, whether R. T. said this stuff from a podium or to reporters. Anybody know?)

RT gunFrom The Strib: Meanwhile, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak expressed outrage at politicians who already were talking down the proposal’s chances. “Well, guess what?” Rybak said. “People are dying out there. I am not satisfied with the main sort of front from the people in Washington, that this is sort of a game. Where are the other people on this issue? Get a spine, get a backbone. People are losing their lives.”

From The Times: R. T. Rybak, the mayor of Minneapolis, mocked politicians in Washington who are unwilling to support an assault ban. “Oh, it’s not going to pass,” Mr. Rybak said. “Well guess what? People are dying out here, and I’m not satisfied with the lame kind of response we’ve gotten from some of the people in Washington who look at this like some kind of game… I don’t think any of us should accept anything other than complete effort and knocking off the political wimpsmanship that I think too often takes place around these issues. Get a spine. Get a backbone because people are losing their lives.”

“Lame.” “Political wimpsmanship.” “Get a spine.” These are not measured words, not the stuff of gentlemanly debate. They’re pissed-off words. They’re intemperate. They’re real. They are the words of a leader, strong enough to move us. They are a call.

Outstanding. More.

— Bruce Benidt

(Image from Newsobserver.com)

16 thoughts on “R. T. ‘s Wonderfully Intemperate Words

  1. PM says:

    So what is next for RT? Unless he is willing to challenge a fellow DFLer, he has to wait until Dayton loses? Or does he go to work for Bloomberg and run the National Gun Control campaign? Any other possibilities?

  2. Newt says:

    Waiting for RT to boycott his PD’s suppliers. He’ll soon find himself with a disarmed police department. Ammo and weapons are in short supply. What a tool.

  3. Minnesotan says:

    I know I’m living in a dream world here, but wouldn’t it be great if all politicians were free to speak their mind and do what they think is right, instead of what gives them the best chance to be re-elected?

    But back to reality – R.T. may not be running for mayor again, but make no mistake, he’s campaigning for something. Doubt he’s headed back to the private sector to work in journalism anytime soon.

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      They are free to do both. The fact that they so often don’t says more about us than it does about them.

      1. Minnesotan says:

        Perhaps as much about our process than “us” as individuals. I’ll never forget the lesson my 9th grade social studies taught us…”The most important job for a recently elected politician is to make sure you get re-elected.”

      2. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Well, MN, the current state of grotesque gerrymandering of districts assures ongoing batshittery and self-parody in the House, because the only way to achieve a politician’s “most important job” is to pander the nuts in their monochromatic districts.

      3. PM says:


        Yeah, i used to think that too, until i read this study (just the other day!), which asserts that gerrymandering is not to blame for polarization:


        While it doesn’t say exactly what is responsible, it suggests that politicians of both parties are clearly more extreme than the voters, and intimates that one of the places to look would be the local party machinery, which handles candidate selection.

      4. Minnesotan says:

        Well, the other lesson I’ve learned is if you can’t win the game, change the rules. My 7 year old nephew taught me that over many different board games.

      5. Jim Leinfelder says:

        I fear for your nephew. It’s not a game. That so many people in the business of politics and the coverage of it bloodlessly regard it that way is part of the problem. If your losing the game, you’re doing something wrong. Get better, change your approach, or, find something else to do.

      6. PM says:

        I suppose that changing the rules is a better approach than turning over the board and throwing the pieces around…..

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