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RYAN BAKKEN: Calling all Tea Party members!

Ryan Bakken

Calling all Tea Party members. Calling all Tea Party members. Please report to the Empire Theater in downtown Grand Forks on the evening of April 5.

When you get there, please do for me what you did for Bristol Palin.

You know what you did for the daughter of Sarah Palin. Despite Bristol having consistently lower scores from the judges, you voted her through week after week on Dancing with the Stars. Your loyalty and blind eye to her two left feet allowed her to finish third in the competition.

I need that same level of blind loyalty when I and my two port-side feet compete in the second annual Dancing for Special Stars, a benefit for the Special Olympics at the Empire. Audience members do the voting. So, as a tradeoff for your vote, I'll write columns on the twin needs of lowering taxes and re-electing Terry Bjerke to the Grand Forks City Council.

I was asked to compete in "Dancing" because my dance repertoire ranges from the twist to the, er, twist. Another reason is my compulsion to embarrass myself.

The first thing choreographer/dance partner/patient-with-geezer goddess Sami Larson and I had to decide upon was the dance. I suggested the belly dance because I could win by sheer volume alone. Then I suggested the YMCA because, as an award-winning journalist, I'm a very good speller.

The chicken dance, the Macarena, the hokey-pokey and the bunny hop also were quickly dismissed because Sami is seeking a degree in dance at UND. Her doing the Macarena would be the equivalent of a UND law student arguing with Judge Judy.

Our dance choice remains top secret. What isn't secret is that Sami is handicapped by having a partner triple her age.

If we win, it will be the biggest upset since, well, last year. Last year's celebrity winner was Grand Forks sprint car driver Mark Dobmeier. When stereotyping a race car driver, your first thought wouldn't be ballroom dancing.

But I saw a tape of Dobmeier's winning performance. He was terrific. Comparing my dancing skills with his, I'm lapped traffic.

So, our best chance at winning is bribery. Thus the appeal to you Tea Party folks. To make a statement about the political future of America and Mr. Bjerke, come to the Empire on April 5.

Vote early and vote often.

Reach Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 125; or send e-mail to