By Hannah Jones
Lindsay Carlson, who currently works as an attorney in Los Angeles, has known Minnesota Attorney General candidate Doug Wardlow for 25 years.
She happened to be clerking for the Supreme Court at the same time Wardlow was, back in 2004 and 2005. They were classmates at Eagan High School, and before that, in middle school -- when, she says, he used to carry around a Rush Limbaugh book and call her a “feminazi.”
She says it was in 2004 when Wardlow was working on a conservative blog. That blog -- The Rostra: Conservative Commentary and Political Philosophy -- is still online (therostra.blogspot.com).
Clerks are warned the moment they start the job they are not to engage in partisan or political discourse. Wardlow's blog was anonymous; the writer called himself “Marius."
Archived versions of the “About Me” section reveal that “Marius” “holds a degree in government and political theory from Georgetown University and J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center,” as Wardlow did, and that he “resides in St. Paul.”
The banner, which sports an American flag, some ruins, and some pointy font, was hosted at lynnwardlow.com/rostrabanner.jpg. Lynn Wardlow is the name of Doug Wardlow’s father, who served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2003 to 2009. Lynn earned his degree at Augustana College, and his master’s in mathematics at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Then there’s the contact email. Readers are encouraged to “Send feedback” to “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Doug Wardlow didn’t respond to multiple interview requests, and so couldn’t confirm or deny whether the blog was his. Various blogs circulated in 2010 have speculated "Marius" was Wardlow, but he’s never admitted as much.
Whoever "Marius" is, the content on his site reveals a window into a very conservative political philosophy.
There was the post in June of 2004, in which he dismissed pro-choice arguments that women shouldn’t be “saddled unequally vis-a-vis men with the risks involved with sexual intercourse" and forced to bring an unwanted pregnancy to term.
“Such a response, besides being derogatory of one of the highest human functions and of the Creator’s design, contradicts itself,” he says. The post goes on to discuss at length the notions of “naturalness” and “fairness” and that “[the woman’s body] is designed to bear offspring.”
And in August of that same year, when he said “limit[ing] the amount of money an individual may spend” on a political campaign would be like “limit[ing] the speeches of those born eloquent.”
And in November, when he said “activist courts” are cudgels with which “liberal social values” are forced on society. He cited cases on same-sex marriage, gay sex, and Roe v. Wade as examples.
And in December, when he said that, in spite of centuries of tradition dictating otherwise, religion was inextricable from government, and “attempting to [separate them] debases that government, loosens it from its moorings, and causes it to drift in a very dangerous manner.”
And he rounded out the year by discounting the benefit in having more people turn out to vote: “If people are too lazy to show up at the polls over the course of 12 hours, it says something about the intensity of their support for their chosen candidate.”
As of this week, Wardlow surged ahead of his beleagured opponent, Keith Ellison, by 7 percentage points. Wardlow has been running his campaign for the Attorney General’s seat with the recurring promise to keep politics out of the office. His job, he says, will be to protect the rights of “all Minnesotans,” whether they are straight or gay, pro-choice or pro-life, rich or poor, Christian or non-believer.
Maybe he would.
But "Marius" wouldn’t.