North Star Rising

Barry Casselman is a Minneapolis-based political columnist who is an astute observer of the national political scene. He writes regularly for the Washington Times and for RealClearPolitics. Barry has now written North Star Rising: Minnesota Politicians on the National Stage. I invited Barry to note the book for Power Line readers. Barry writes:

This book should be of interest not only to Minnesotans, but to all readers who have an interest in the upcoming Republican National Convention in St. Paul in September. The purpose of the book is to examine the political careers of eight Minnesota elected officials of all political parties, beginning with the first territorial governor, Alexander Ramsey, through the outrageous and brilliant character Ignatius Donnelly, the “boy” governor Harold Stassen, and concluding with Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale. Each played a notable role not only in the state, but in the nation and, in some case, the world. Some are familiar names, and others have been largely forgotten. All are characters who are described with accompanying anecdotes that are often hilarious or surprising.
Other political figures, past and present, are also discussed, with a final chapter on current elected officials who have some potential themselves to reach the national stage. As the story of these figures is told, the panorama of the remarkable history of the obscure, early 19th century prairie settlement as it grows into a dynamic state with growing influence on American agriculture, transportation, mining, industry and politics is revealed. I hope it is a useful primer for all who want to understand the special political culture which has grown in this midwestern state, and which will host one of the two major party nomination conventions in 2008.

Barry’s most recent column is “Fred in hunt for red November?” Barry has also written for the Weekly Standard, where in 1998 he introduced then-Mayor Norm Coleman to a national audience in “A hybrid grows in St. Paul.” One of my favorite of Barry’s columns is “Humanity’s dark side” from March 2007.


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