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BEST GADFLY Minneapolis 2003 - Dan Cole

At first blush, Dan Cole might seem an odd choice for such an honor. Past gadflies have included Barbara Carlson, Leslie Davis, and Dick Franson--political dreamers all. Cole, a.k.a. "The Common Man," harbors no discernible ambitions to elective office, and besides, he's a mere talk-show host on a sports radio station. Yet Cole spends his best moments exploding the cant and hypocrisy of public figures, and he's not afraid to mix it up with callers. Recent rants have targeted Governor Pawlenty for his proposed cuts to social services, as well as the high-revving propaganda machine at the Pentagon: Cole dubbed the war in Iraq "Operation Re-elect George Bush." Judging by calls taken on the air, Cole's audience is overwhelmingly white and male, and far more keen on sports than the Common Man himself. Yet Cole remains a rare voice of liberal conscience in the wilderness of AM radio, and thus a persistent champion of a hopeless cause. And that, folks, makes him a gadfly.

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