Listen up, California voters. As the recall heats up, you'll be hearing this message loud and often: Don't even think about electing an entertainer or a candidate without the usual political experience as governor because Jesse Ventura, the wrestler, actor, entertainer and former governor of Minnesota, is clear proof that it doesn't work.
Well, I've got something to say to California voters too: Don't believe it. Get out there and retaliate against the status quo-loving, power-hungry, pandering career politicians and do it with a vengeance. Tell them you are sick and tired of them spending your money to accomplish nothing and then blaming it on the other party.
The most significant lesson I have learned in politics is this: The Democratic and Republican parties have no credibility.
Let's face it, the priority of the Democrats and Republicans is not the people. The priority of each party is to preserve its power when it has it and gain power when it doesn't. The collective priority of the two parties is to make sure that, together, they control the electoral process and under no circumstances allow an independent or third party to infringe on their exclusive franchise.
In 1990, when I was an independent candidate for mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minn., Democratic and Republican leaders in the city got together and sent a letter to voters that described me as "the most dangerous man in the city."
About two weeks after I won the election, both parties, independently, came courting me to join them.
Believe me, Democrats and Republicans will break laws, take campaign contributions from anybody, slander, lie, cheat, conspire in defense of their power. And, more often than not, they will enjoy the compliance of the popular media in their quest to maintain their exclusivity.
Over the last few weeks I have read claims in Time magazine, syndicated columns and this newspaper that my tenure as governor of Minnesota was a disaster and failed to accomplish much legislative change. The agenda is clear: Someone who isn't a member of the two-party career politician club can't govern.
However, as an independent during my term as governor, I was able to pass the most significant property tax reform legislation in three decades. I championed and passed income and property tax reductions that have helped Minnesota attract businesses and workers from states like California.
I lowered an unfair and redundant tax on vehicle registration. I was able to obtain money to construct a new public health laboratory that will put Minnesota ahead of most states in the effort to deal with bioterrorism and infectious diseases.
People may not agree with the decisions I made as governor, but they are lying when they say I didn't or couldn't govern. I did govern, but I governed my way. I didn't spend my days lunching or meeting with lobbyists. I didn't accept a dime from a special-interest group or have a fund-raiser during the four years I was in office.
I am not a career politician. I governed with advice from a staff of professionals, not politicians. I appointed a record number of judges to Minnesota's courts and did it without litmus tests or favoritism. I entered politics on my own terms, left politics on my own terms and make no apologies.
If the people of California want a traditional career politician to govern their state, that's fine. But in the future, I hope the media will be more objective in their analysis of the alternative.