Illinois Democrats Enforce Fugitive Slave Act

Black Chicago preacher endorses the GOP candidate for governor of Illinois over the loathsome Pat Quinn…

…and gets robbed, along with death threats:

Corey Brooks, a South Side pastor featured in an ad endorsing Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, says he’s moved his family from his home while police investigate an overnight burglary of his church, as well as threatening derogatory phone calls he received which claim he’ll be beaten for being Rauner’s “puppet.”

On Saturday, Brooks rushed to the New Beginnings Church of Chicago after a maintenance employee found the church’s back doors shattered and an estimated $8,000 stolen from a glass charity box, meant to build a community center across from the church.

Democrat apologists will no doubt say that it was just typical street crime. 

How many common thug burglars operate from a political/racial agenda?   Emphasis added below:

“The death threats seem to be related to [GOP candidate] Bruce Rauner,” Brooks said at the church Saturday. “They say his name as well as mine and most of the references were in response to me in support of him. So it’s really derogatory, real racial, a lot of homophobic words. It’s real life threatening.”

Brooks said he received the five phone calls on Friday. He recorded one of them, and provided it to police. In that call, which was played for the Sun-Times, a man’s voice is disguised via a high-pitched filter. He is heard calling Brooks a “token n—–.”

How many common burglars in Chicago would you think even know the GOP endorsed a candidate, much less take the time to pitch-shift their voice on the phone?

Their message sounds a little like Minnesota Progressive Project reads:

“We on you boy, we on you. And you ain’t got nobody that can stop us, nobody. Who you go [to] the deacons? They can’t stop us. We going to beat your fat a– in front of your mama congregation Sunday. Yeah we going to steal the sheep of the hypocrite. You’s a hypocrite we going to beat your fat a– in front of your own congregation. Who you got that…f— we going to beat their a– too. They can’t protect you. You sell out you Uncle Tom a– n—–. You token. You a puppet for Bruce Rauner you puppet n—– a–. P—- a– n—–,” the voice says on the recording.

Read the whole, disgusting thing.

And imagine if it would be different here in Minnesota if a black pastor in North Minneapolis or Frogtown broke from the DFL. 

I’d bet $20 on “no”, but I’ll forgive you for not taking the bet.

Unicorns Vote 100% Third Party!

SCENE:   Mitch BERG is biking in the southwest suburbs.  He pulls over into a coffee shop.

As he sits down, he notices Stephanie Marie ANNAN, Community Organizer for the Minnesota 5th CD Libertarian party.   She is wearing capri pants and a t-shirt with “He Gave His Only Begotten Son”, and a picture of Ron Paul walking across the water toward the camera.

ANNAN:  Hey, Mitch.

BERG:  Hey, Stephanie Marie.  Ready for the election.

ANNAN:  Yep.  I’m voting Libertarian. 

BERG:  Kinda figured.  So – why? 

ANNAN:  Because big changes need to happen.

BERG:  Yeah, that’s true.  That’s why I’m voting for Jeff Johnson as many times as Mark Richie will let me get away with it. 

ANNAN:  He won’t bring any changes.  The GOP is just as big a part of the problem as the DFL is. 

BERG:  Er…why do you say that?

ANNAN:  When people put the GOP in power, they were just as bad as the Democrats.  There is no difference between the parties. 

BERG:  Yeah, the GOP can be frustrating.  Although you’re oversimplifying.  Bobby Jindal has made a huge difference in Louisiana; under his leadership, the New Orleans Public Schools went all charter.  Other GOP governors – Pence, Haley, Walker, Martinez – have made inroads in reducing the size and power of government.  The GOP – and GOP candidates – have made a difference at limiting government and its impact over the years.   Reagan’s tax cuts were a huge help…

ANNAN:  Reagan grew the deficit!  He raised taxes!

BERG:   Bingo.  You’re making my point for me.  Reagan, being a Republican president dealing with a Democrat Congress run by a big-government ward heeler like Tip O’Neill, had to make compromises.  One of those compromises was that he had to trust O’Neill to keep up his end of the bargain on cutting spending – which, of course, he didn’t.  And for all of that, his “tax hikes” were a fraction of his tax cuts, and they happened at a time when the economy was humming along.  If you don’t think Reagan’s tax cuts in the early eighties helped immensely with the recession, you’re dreaming. 

Anyway – the GOP in 1994 made a huge difference in paring back Bill Clinton’s megalomania.  Remember “Hillary Care?”  Either does anyone else.  And the Tea Party class of the GOP, the people elected in 2010, have largely kept their promises. 

ANNAN:  But the Minnesota GOP had the governor’s office from 2002 to 2010, and the House until 2008, and both chambers in 2011 and 2011, and nothing changed. 

BERG:  Plenty changed.  “Republican” used to mean Arne Carlson.  It used to mean “go along with the DFL in turning surpluses into more permanent spending”. 

ANNAN:  The GOP raised the budget in 2011, and built the stadium. 

BERG:  Yep.  And both were wrong.  And in neither case did the Tea Party class of 2010 go along, at least without a fight. 

ANNAN:  Bla bla bla.  The GOP always compromises.

BERG:  Parts of the GOP – the older, “Moderate” wing of the party, especially, which still exerts way too much control over the party at the Capitol – certainly does.  Parties don’t change overnight.   The GOP still caves in on way too much.  It’s improving, as conservatives slowly replace moderates. 

And let’s be honest; Minnesota is a blueish purple state at best.   Minnesota is split between various shades of red and hard, deep blue.   When a conservative goes to Saint Paul, and wants to get anything done, compromise is inevitable.  There is no way anyone who gets elected to office as a conservative in Minnesota doesn’t have to defile the purity of their principles at some point or another. 

ANNAN: Yeah, well, I’m sick of voting for the lesser of two evils all the time.  I’m going to vote my absolute, pure principles and vote Libertarian. 

BERG:   And that way, you’ll promote liberty.

ANNAN:  Yep.  

BERG:  So let me get this straight; you won’t vote for Republicans because previous generations of Republicans have had to compromise the purity of their principles when they actually got into a room with the other side and had to actually try to get things done, to say nothing of having to stop the other side from getting worse things, like daycare unionization and gun control, done. 

ANNAN:   Yep. 

BERG:  And you’ll vote for someone who’s never had to test the purity of his precious principles by trying to enact any kind of policy at all, much less over the votes of a legislature that is at least 50% completely hostile to everything your candidate says. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I could see myself supporting Rand Paul for President.   

ANNAN:  Ew.  He’s abandoned his principles.  Not like Doctor Paul.

BERG:  You’re proving my point.  “Doctor” Paul never got elected to anything outside of a House district in Texas.  And for all his big talk about policy – auditing the fed, disengaging abroad, yadda yadda – he admits, albeit quietly, that he never could have done it.  He had no support in Congress. 

ANNAN:  Why do you hate liberty?

BERG:  Actually, I clearly respect liberty more than you do. 

ANNAN:  Hah!  How can you say that? 

BERG:  Because the only way you’re going to get your agenda passed is to elect a libertarian monarch who takes office, sweeps away a century of noxious policy by decree, and then steps down.  Hopefully.  And that’s fine, if “magical thinking” is good enough for you.   But that’s really all voting for a third party gets you.  A third party vote is a wasted vote.

ANNAN:  It wasn’t with Jesse Ventura!  He had principles and he stuck with them!

BERG:  No, he didn’t.  He ran on a promise of returning the entire plus to the people. And once he got elected, he had to deal with the fact that was a governor with no caucus in the legislature – two Democrats flipped over to the Independence Party over the next year, and that was it. So we had to run with his hat in hand to Roger Moe, the DFLSenate majority leader, and cut deals like a madman. Meaning that about a third of the surplus got paid back. And the rest of it got turned into permanent spending, the way the DFL wanted.

So where was the principal?

ANNAN:  He sent a message!

BERG: Yep. And that message was “voting for a third-party candidate is of nothing but symbolic value”.

ANNAN:  (Plugs ears, turns, starts running).  Bla bla blaaaaa can’t year youuuuuuu bla bla bla bla bla).

[And SCENE]

The Young Ones

Harvard poll shows that – despite all the fuzzy assurances of magical-thinkers with agendas, especially in “libertarian” circles – Millennials who are “definitely votint” are picking the GOP over the Dems this cycle:

A new and massive poll of 2,029 18-29-year-olds from Harvard’s Institute of Politics just released found that of those who say they will “definitely be voting,” 51 percent want the GOP in charge, 47 percent favoring Democratic control.

Because the numbers are close, however, Harvard said the kid vote is “up for grabs.”

Still, it is a huge shift from the last IOP midterm poll. In 2010, younger voters kept to their historic trend with 55 percent favoring Democrats, 43 percent Republicans. That is an eight-point change, very good news for the Republicans who had feared that the Obama generation would show up at the polls and in knee-jerk fashion simply pull the Democratic levers.

On the one hand, it’s young voters.  They are the most driven by self-interest; they almost always vote Democrat; polls that show Millennials tend to have more libertarian beliefs also show they tend to have more socialistic beliefs.  In other words, they’re adolescents and post-adolescents who, often as not, haven’t the foggiest idea what they really think. 

But if the Harvard trend follows through next Tuesday, it’ll be the second time in recent memory, after 1980-84, that young voters have predominantly voted Republican. 

The real challenge?  If there is a GOP wave on Tuesday, it’ll be making sure that GOP majority stays conservative.  Keeping the Karl Rove faction out of the way.  Focusing on why people actually vote conservative (as opposed to Republican). 

As all of that “Jeb Bush 2016″ talk shows us, there’s a big part of the GOP that’s stuck on stupid.

As the Tea Party shows us, there’s a big part that’s not. 

Who will win?

I’ve picked my side.

Rep. Savick: The Past Has Ears

Representative Shannon Savick is a first-term Democrat from House District 27, the Albert Lea area, south of the Metro.  She’s a member of the Democrat Farmer Labor party. She’s blessed with a fairly well-off rural community for whom the consequences of DFL control aren’t yet life-or-death, and the presence of the Albert Lea Tribune, a newspaper that gives the City Pages and Star Tribune a run for their big-city money as mouthpieces for the DFL.   The paper has, of course, endorsed Savick. 

Everything seems hunky-dory for Ms. Savick, who is running for a second term. 

Everything but one; an especially noxious vote against Minnesotans’ human rights and civil liberties during her freshman session in 2013.  It was a bill by Rep. Paymar that would have:

  • Banned “Ugly Guns”: The bill would have banned firearms with scary military-looking cosmetic features
  • Banned Large-Capacity Magazines: Paymar wanted to force law-abiding homeowners and citizens to be forced to reload 2-3 times as often if they are beset by determined, dissociative or chemically motivated attackers. 
  • Private Transfers: While even some Second Amendment people think this – requiring all purchases to go through a federally-licensed firearms dealer (FFL), to close the non-existant “gun show loophole” – doesn’t sound too noxious on the surface, its byproduct -a paper trail for all guns – makes the next step, universal registration, trivially easy.

Savick was one of four outstate DFLers – including John Ward, Erik Simonson and Paul Rosenthal – who voted for this atrocity of a bill. 

At the risk of sounding crass, I’ll tell the truth; the bill was an attempt to kick in the teeth of every law-abiding gun owner in Minnesota. 

Even worse?  During the public hearings on these bills – where pro-Human-Rights activists outnumbered Victim Disarmament activists by close to 30-1 – Savick joined her Metrocrat colleagues in walking out of the hearings when it came time for opponents to testify against the bills.

Despite this deeply misguided vote, and deeply stupid bit of theatrics, the conventional wisdom had Savick as a pretty sure bet for re-election.

The calculus must have changed.  Savick is pulling an Ann Wynia – protesting her history with firearms:

I remember when my dad gave me my first gun when I was 16. It was a Marlin .22 bolt-action rifle. I have many fond memories of carrying that gun as I went hunting with my cousins. Over the next 30 years or so, I acquired another five guns, some for shooting and some for collecting.

I share this because I have recently been asked about how I feel about guns. People are concerned that I might be a gun-hating politician who wants to take away their guns.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I own and shoot guns. I have a permit to carry. A few months ago I hosted a permit to carry class in my basement so others could get their permit. And actually, I am a pretty good shot.

Just thought I should set the record straight.

If you have questions about this, please don’t hesitate to call me.

Oh, I’ll call. 

Because owning guns is easy (thanks to us Second Amendment activists, anyway).  Mark Dayton says he owns guns.  Carl Rowan owned guns.  A rabidly anti-gun Missouri state Senator was arrested with a gun in Ferguson a few weeks back. 

But the Second Amendment isn’t about hunting. 

Representative Savick:  Can you name a single vote you took in the past two years that supported the rights of the law-abiding Minnesotan to keep and bear arms for self-defense? 

Can you find some action on your part to atone for your votes for Paymar’s agenda?

Have your people call my people.  But just in case my people are calling your people anyway.

Savick’s opponent, Peggy Bennett, is having a forum at the Hayfield American Legion tonight at 7PM.

It Could Happen To Anyone

A couple of weeks ago, I was doing a piece about Tina Flint Smith, Minnesota’s first whore. Having someone like that in the office of lieutenant governor would serve to concentrate all of the power of the executive office…

… wait – did I just call Tina Flint Smith a whore?

Dang.  That’s bizarre.

Anyway – I was talking with a Republican friend about “Take Action Minnesota”, the community organizing group run by that door-to-door, bore-on-the-floor whore Greta Bergstrom.  The group has been working overtime…

…What?  Really?  I did?  I called her a “whore?” Not only that, but concocted a cutesy rhyme to set it all off?  Oh, not again.  How could that possibly happen?

Well, I guess it just goes to show you it could happen to anyone.

Accidents!  Who knew?

Or at least that’s what the media wants you to think about – I’m sure it’s just a coincidence – a Democrat saying it about South Carolina governor Nikki Haley (emphasis added):

FLORENCE, S.C. (CBS Charlotte) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Vincet Sheheen is coming under fire for accidentally calling Gov. Nikki Haley a “whore” at a campaign event.

Sheheen was caught on video at an appearance in Florence last week stating “we are going to escort whore out the door” referring to Haley. His gaffe appeared to be a slip from the tongue and he quickly corrected himself stating “we’re going to escort her out the door.”

So Shaheen “accidentally” used a rhyming couplet, for which he corrected himself, before yukking it up with his peckerwood supporters?

But immediately after correcting himself, Sheheen has an almost gleeful interaction with the crowd and laughed at his gaffe. Video of the event has gone viral.

Who hasn’t had that happen, honestly?   

I’m imagining a world where the Democrat Party didn’t have a media “accidentally” serving as their Praetorian Guard.

Mills: Didn’t See That Coming

The Strib endorses…

Stewart Mills in CD8.

I must confess, I didn’t see it coming – and reading the Strib ‘s piece, I’m going to guess they didn’t either:

Among the district’s immediate challenges is a choice between two imperfect candidates for Congress. On balance, we conclude that this changing district would be best served by a fresh voice, and we give the endorsement edge to retail executive Stewart Mills.

One wonders how often the Star Tribune specifically notes candidates are “imperfect”. I imagine it’s less of a surprise to most readers than the Star Tribune may believe.

One charge relentlessly leveled at Mills is that he is the beneficiary of inherited wealth through his family’s Fleet Farm empire. But we doubt that many Minnesotans really consider such a background a disqualification from public office.

While it would be a bit much to expect the Star Tribune to attack the DFL for making Mills’s wealth – for which he worked – an issue while endorsing a trust fund baby for governor, one could always hope.

Still, the endorsement does go on to tell Mills’ story fairly:

Having begun his Fleet Farm career scrubbing toilets and emptying trash, Mills today is vice president in charge of the chain’s health care plan, covering 6,000 employees and their dependents. He has developed a hands-on understanding of the intricacies of the health care marketplace, coming to see wellness and prevention as keys to controlling costs.

Mills says his objections to the Affordable Care Act are central to inspiring his run for Congress. His candidacy follows what he calls the “Hunting Camp Rule”: If you complain about something, you get the job of fixing it. His condemnation of the ACA is too sweeping, given that he backs the law’s key goals. But the market-based approaches he prefers — including more price transparency and tort reform — could contribute to needed improvements in the law.

I know, I know – I shouldn’t complain too hard; the Star Tribune just endorsed a relatively free-market conservative.

But would a little honesty, or at least economic literacy, kill the “newspaper of record”? (Emphasis added):

Mills is challenging Rep. Rick Nolan, who returned to Congress in 2012 after a 32-year hiatus. Nolan lists several accomplishments, including working with Minnesota Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar in securing $10 million in federal funds for improvements for the Port of Duluth-Superior.

Nolan has been a leader in efforts to clamp down on foreign-made steel dumping in this country. He has also worked to expand invasive species protection in the Great Lakes. And he says he’s committed to campaign finance reform and efforts to improve the legislative process.

Nolan’s “accomplishments”, in other words, involve coughing up taxpayer. goodies for the special interests in his district.

Speaking of special interests:

We differ with Mills on a number of issues — not least on his unyielding stance against firearm regulation.

Running in the Eighth Congressional District? That’s a feature, not a bug.  So, by the way, is supporting the Constitution.

But here’s how we know it’s really, really a Star Tribune endorsement (emphasis added):

But we’re also persuaded that Mills has the intelligence and pragmatic instincts to learn, grow and adapt in office.

Mr. Mills – I hope you get elected. And that you then resist “growing in office” with every fiber of your being.

If elected, Mills will face a learning curve in Washington. But he has the energy, the zest for ideas and the deep commitment to northern Minnesota to make a success of it.

Yeah, it’ll take a lot of learning to get up to the level of a Nancy Pelosi or a Sheila Jackson Lee.

But those are the marginalia. It’s an endorsement. It’s only a newspaper endorsement, but it’s the last thing I ever expected.

Despicable Steve

It hasn’t been a good campaign for DFL Secretary of State candidate Steve Simon. 

For starters, he barely got over 40% in the primary - against a perennial candidate and a nobody.  Which might not have been a showstopper for the DFL machine to overcome, except that they were up against Dan Severson, who has statewide name recognition from a 2010 SOS run and a Senate bid (that came up short in the convention in 2012). 

Then, last week, the polls showed that Severson was ahead of Simon; he was the only GOP statewide candidate to lead in the polls at that time.  

At the very least – given the polling that, we are told, shows Mark Dayton supposedly cruising to victory – it’s a sign that the DFL/Big Money Democrat onslaught has a chink in the armor. 

At the most?  It shows that the DFL’s “We’re Inevitable!” vibe may not be entirely factual. 

Severson’s press conference last week - in which he showed smoking guns tying the SOS office to a policy of tossing veterans’ votes, and Rep. Simon’s signature on legislation that exempted the military from absentee voter reforms – went badly for Simon, and worse for the DFL’s Ken Martin, who tried and failed to take a chunk out of Severson in a comical morning of duelling press conferences. 

Simon is apparently desperate; he’s now telling his base that Severson proposes “forcing rape victims to pay for rape kits”. 

It’s BS, of course.  Not just the usual, comical, inept BS the DFL tosses around at this point in campaigns, all juvenile photoshopped heads and racist japes

No.  This is a sleazy, toxic, intentional, cowardly lie.  Severson responds (and I’ll add emphasis):

I moved it forward with the understanding that the bill would propose sharing the cost of all expenses associated with sexual assault between the counties of the victim and the perpetrator.

I specifically killed the bill before it EVER got a hearing because of the language specific to victims having to pay for anything.

In a just world, whatever DFL messaging genius that came up with this attack would get some sense groin-kicked into him.

As it stands?  Since a lie will make it around the world before the truth has finished checking Facebook in the morning, it’s back to the long, slow slog of telling people the one central truth of Minnesota politics.

If a DFLer says it, it’s a lie. 

If a DFLer who’s losing says it, it’s probably defamation.

Evidence In The Affirmative

Last week, we reported that a KSTP/Survey USA poll shows Stewart Mills leading Rick Nolan by eight points.

As we’ve noted for years and years, polls are deeply imperfect (sorry, Nate Silver), and there’s only one poll that matters, and it’s coming up two weeks from tomorrow.

But if there were any evidence needed that Rick Nolan is nervous about his prospects, it’s yesterday’s interview with Esme Murphy on WCCO

…which he spent sniveling like a four-year-old who didn’t get ice cream about outside money’s effect on politics.

Apparently he’s feeling cut out of the DCCC’s flood of Franken money…

(Courtesty @JohnHockey on Twitter)

Hamline Debate Highlights

I watched and live-tweeted yesterday’s gubernatorial debate from Hamline University, which was telecast on Fox9.

For starters, it wasn’t the worst debate format I’ve ever seen.  Fox 9′s crew of hairdos (I have long since stopped paying attention to Twin Cities anchor teams) largely stayed out of the way of the three reporters – Rachel Stassen-Berger, Tom Scheck and Bill Salisbury – who did most of the questioning.  And most of the questions – the ones that didn’t get into personal lifestyle issues (do we really care if either candidate ever smoked pot?), anyway – were pretty good. 

Oh, yeah – Johnson shredded Dayton.   I know, I’m partisan – but I’m pretty clinical about public speaking.  Johnson is cool, calm, collected, an on top of his facts.  Dayton – as Johnson quipped, at one point – pretty much ran through his ex-wife’s chanting points. 

The three highlights, in my book?

Number 3: The Aisle:  When asked if they were capable of working across the aisle, Dayton’s response amounted to “I could – if it weren’t for that stupid opposition!”.  It’s the GOP’s fault he can’t work across party lines!

Number 2: Pot Calling The Kettle A Pot:  At one point, in one of his few spontaneous moments of the debate, Dayton scolded Johnson about a perceived (and false) inconsistency in his record, ending it by telling Johnson to “pick a side and stick with it”.  I laughed so hard, I nearly soiled myself. 

That’s Governor Dayton; the guy who’se argued both sides of medical marijuana, the minimum wage hike and tip credits, the Vikings stadium subdidy, Gift, B2B, gas and Warehouse taxes, cigarette taxes, fixing MNSure, sex-offender releases, expanded notification of mental health issues to the NICS database (the list of people who can’t legally buy guns), and even on the availability of his daily calendar.  

Number 1: That Definition Of Insanity:  Questioned by the panel and Johnson about the MNSure debacle, Dayton let slip that he thought the real solution was single-payer healthcare.

That’s right – when the government makes a collossal botch of centralizing most of healthcare, let’s let them centralize it all!

The one thing the DFL was able to salvage from the debate was an “oops” from Johnson; asked to define “middle class” in terms of a dollar threshold, after Dayton waffled and proved he didn’t have a clue, Johnson said “I haven’t a clue”. 

Of course, there is no hard-and-fast dollar figure as to where the “middle class” begins and ends; it’s more a matter of circumstances; the middle class are those who don’t live off of investments and spare Renoirs,oroff of charity and subsidies.

Three Shockers

Three new polls indicate that the “good year for the GOP’ might not stop at the Saint Croix:

The first two are, of course, internal polls.  It’s possible they’re self-serving – although generally the parties are paying good money for the internal polls, and want them to be accurate.  They are, of course, intended to start a “bandwagon effect”, convincing voters who are inclined to be friendly that their support can be rewarded, and likely opponents to stay home and avoid the futility. 

Sort of like the DFL, ABM and mainstream media (ptr) have been doing to make DFL wins feel inevitable. 

Three weeks ’til the election?  This is huge. 

Also – with the Democrats pulling their money out of Kentucky and Colorado, look for Al Franken to get a wad of cash, as Democrats around the country start to realize Senator Smalley is a lot more vulnerable than the local media let on.

Is Anything The DFL Does Actually Real?

And I ask that question in a context that goes above and beyond the typical “The Alliance For A Better Minnesota Is Lying” sense of the term.

As we noted a few weeks back, the DFL is making TV ads with fake middle class families.  It’s nothing new for them, of course.

And now, as both Bill Glahn and the lesser talk station’s Jack and Ben have pointed out, the DFL is going hog wild with the Photoshops, as with this hamfisted whack at Stacey Stout:

Glahn:

The face of the man in the bottom photograph (captioned “Stout works for extreme Republicans) belongs to the state House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt.

The body belongs to Conor McFadden, the son of U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden, as illustrated in the Star Tribune’s side-by-side comparison.

Fake people.  Fake photography.  Fake insurance exchange that gives results with a shelf life, if you can get to that point.  Fake “economic health”.

Is anything real about these people?

The Unthinkable

It was about this time four years ago that a small group of bloggers and activists got a call from the Chip Cravaack campaign; the challenger was within the margin of error against 200-term congressman Jim Oberstar.

It was unthinkable.

And was one of the headiest days in my life as a political activist; the Tea Party wave was flipping the unflippable. 

I didn’t think I’d see another day like it. 

I’m going to lead with all the usual disclaimers; it’s an internal poll, which can make it both more and less trustworthy. 

But an internal poll shows Torrey Westrom leading 12-term DFL Rep. Colin Peterson, 44-43, as the race turns into the home stretch:

A new survey released today by the Westrom for Congress campaign reports Republican challenger Torrey Westrom pulling ahead of 12-term incumbent Democrat Congressman Collin Peterson. Westrom now enjoys a lead among likely voters in Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District (44%-43%), while thirteen percent (13%) are undecided

Of course, that’s a lot of undecideds – but then, that’s the point of releasing the polling news; to create the “bandwagon effect” that drives campaigns over the finish line in style.  Fact is, even if it’s close, Peterson has got to be sweating bricks right now;  rarely do challengers get within a three-digit margin of northwestern Minnesota’s ag pork king.

If this poll is even within 3-4 points of accurate, it’s bad news for the DFL.

My November 5 dream:  Torrey Westrom, Stewart Mills and Tom Emmer not only start measuring their drapes in Washington, but flip Minnesota’s congressional delegation not only red, but solidly right-of-center.

Doug Grow, Narrative Policeman

Surgeons do surgery.

Baseball players?  They play baseball.

And Doug Grow?

For four decades and change, generations of Minnesota voters know that Doug Grow is synonymous for flogging and fluffing the DFL narrative.

Yesterday’s MinnPost piece on the Severson press conference (which I wrote about yesterday) is one for the record books.

The DFL and media (ptr) narrative this year, by the way, is “DFL Victory is Inevitable”; keep that in mind as you read Grow’s description of the presser:

Finding the current election cycle a little boring?

The DFL sure hopes to keep it that way!

Unexpected:  Doug Grow leads off with one of those “too good to fact-check” claims:

As it turned out, the back-to-back pressers were actually back to back to back. First Severson. Then Martin. Then Severson again.

Unbeknownst to each other, Republican secretary of state candidate Dan Severson had scheduled a 10 a.m. news conference, while DFL party chair Ken Martin had scheduled his own 11 a.m. newser to talk about the secretary of state race. In the same room.

As it turned out, the back-to-back pressers were actually back to back to back. First Severson. Then Martin. Then Severson again.

It’s about as “unbeknownst” and unpredictable as, say, the MinnPost hiring a staff full of DFL shills.

Sources in the Severson campaign tell me that Severson had the conference room – where both pressers were held – booked from 10AM ’til noon.  When the DFL got wind of the presser, they swooped in and got the 11AM booking.

Initially, Severson had planned to devote his news event to the subject of voter participation among members of the military. Among other things, Severson contends that President Barack Obama’s administration, current secretary of state Mark Ritchie and DFL secretary of state candidate Rep. Steve Simon have all participated in efforts to suppress voting by members of the military.

And this, as I described yesterday, he did.  Mark Richie’s office sent county election officials a “how to” on finding ways to reject military absentee ballots; it’s there, in black and white.  The media was given a copy at the press conference – as they were given a copy of the absentee ballot reform bill co-authored by Simon that specifically exempted the military (who vote overwhelmingly conservative) from the reforms.

Amazingly enough, outside of the ofay mockery in the piece’s title (“Fraud! Suppression! Aspersions! Dueling press conferences wake up a sleepy secretary of state race”), the actual facts Severson brought up, the paper trail he presented supporting both Severson’s key allegations, never got mentioned.

“My Opponent Has Been Caught Masticating!”:  After Severson’s presser – whose actual subject you’d never know from reading Grow’s piece – Ken Martin took the stage.

I’ll say it again; “Ken Martin took the stage”.  We’ll come back to that.

But at 11 a.m., Severson moved to the back of the room in the state office building in St. Paul as the DFL’s Martin moved to the front…Martin said that at a Tea Party event in June, Severson claimed that Sen. Al Franken had won his 2008 election as a result of voter fraud. At that same meeting, Martin said, Severson claimed the DFL had re-captured control of the Legislature also because of fraudulent votes.

“The last thing we need is a conspiracy theorist as secretary of state,’’ Martin said. “I call on [GOP gubernatorial candidate] Jeff Johnson and [Republican Party Chair] Keith Downey to refute Severson’s unfounded and irresponsible allegations. I question Severson’s ability to be secretary of state when he makes dangerous allegations of crimes that don’t exist.’’

It was cheap theatrics.   And Severson answered them with the kind of burst of full metal rhetorical jacket that I wish a lot more Republicans were throwing back at the Media-Progressive Complex this year:

“I’m not casting aspersions,’’ Severson said. “I’m saying let’s solve the problem.’’

Now that’s a novel approach.

Cast This:  Of course, mentioning the problem is the problem, to the DFL and the media that works for it:  

But suggesting that DFLers win races because they cheat sounds a bit like an aspersion…But Severson said it’s not just his observations at campaign rallies that cause him to have doubts about the integrity of the system. He cited the “study” of an organization called Minnesota Majority that claimed there were more than 6,000 fraudulent voters in the 2008 Senate race in which, after a recount, Al Franken defeated incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman by just over 300 votes…Martin pointed out that in the recounts of the Coleman-Franken race and the Tom Emmer-Mark Dayton race of 2010, both parties “spent millions of dollars” as ballots across the state were recounted.

“Not a single instance of voter fraud was found,’’ Martin said.

Martin is lying, and Grow is just fine with that.

Doug Explains It All:  Anyway – charge met countercharge.  But here’s the interesting part; Grow elects to speculate:

Did Severson schedule his as a desperate bid to tie himself to the military and to inflame those in his GOP base convinced DFLers only win because they cheat?

The base is pretty inflamed already.

No – here’s the interesting part.  Here’s the part that undercuts Grow’s entire, snarky, dismissive premise:

Did Martin schedule his because the DFL is concerned that Simon needs to raise the profile of a down-ticket race?

Did who schedule it?

Steve Simon?

No.  Ken Martin, chair of the DFL.

Not Steve Simon, SOS candidate.

In fact, Steve Simon wasn’t present for the press conference.  About his own race. 

Martinized: Ken Martin did the whole thing.  Steve Simon was nowhere to be found.

Ken Martin, State DFL Chair, apparently feels the need to intervene directly in what is, in a normal election cycle, a boring, humdrum race that tracks, or sometimes lags, the top of the ticket.

Why would he do that?

I can think of a couple of reasons, by no means mutually exclusive:

  • Martin knows where Richie buried the bodies.  Corruption is as rampant in the SOS office as the GOP claims, and they need to do their best to keep a lid on the pot.
  • It’s Not A Humdrum, Sleepy Race At All:  I’ve heard two rumors from well-placed sources; first, that GOP internal polling shows Severson ahead.  Second, that Martin’s behavior in the past week shows that the DFL knows it.
  • That Air Of Inevitability?  Check It:  If Severson’s race is defying the “DFL is Inevitable” narrative, maybe other races are, too?  And if word gets out that the GOP has in fact defied the DFL’s “inevitable” victory, all electoral hell could break loose next month for the DFL.

Where was Steve Simon?

Why is Ken Martin intervening personally in this race, rather than sending some 22 year old communications minion, the way he normally would for the SOS race?

Stay tuned.

The Incredible Imploding Steve Simon

DFL Secretary of State candidate Steve Simon hasn’t had the easiest time of it.

First, he barely squeaked through his own DFL primary – getting 42% against a longtime perennial candidate and a future perennial candidate, in a primary race that should have been a coronation. 

Of course, he’s up against Dan Severson, a candidate with – alone among the MNGOP’s state office candidates – high name recognition, from a previous SecState and Senate run.  Severson is also the single prominent Republican who’s made a significant priority of reaching out to Latino, H’Mong, Somali and other immigrants. 

Rumors – and that’s all I have to go by so far, but they’re from fairly reliable sources – indicate that internal polling in both parties show that Severson is the only statewide GOP candidate to lead in the polls a month before the election.

The DFL reaction was predictable; the facts against them, they went for the sleaze.  The “progressive” alt-media’s attempt to paint Severson as a confederate sympathizer because of the color scheme on his lawn signs was not only idiotic, but transparently desperate. 

It’s only getting worse for Simon.

Vote Suppression! – This morning, Severson held a press conference in which he pointed out the known fact that 5% of Minnesota’s servicepeople and their families serving overseas get their votes counted – a travesty – and that…:

  • Mark Richie’s state department sent out a memo advising county election authorities on ways to legally reject military absentee ballots (active-duty military votes around 3/4 conservative Republican), and…
  • Simon – whose campaign lit says he wants to emulate Richie – co-authored a bill that exempted the military from an attempt to smooth out the absentee voting process.  In other words, a bill that made absentee voting easier for college students and other itinerant but reliable Democrat voters specifically left out the military. 

And unlike most press conferences for constitutional office races, the media actually showed up.

Perhaps because of one of the other attendees.

Captain Smith Leaves The Bridge:  MNDFL chair Ken Martin attended the press conference. 

Let’s let that roll around your head a little bit. 

The chair of the DFL party, who is working hard to find a way to keep the DFL from losing the House, but whose state office slate is purportedly already measuring the drapes in the Governor, State Auditor and Attorney General races, is taking time out to pimp for a candidate that should be a shoo-in. 

Why is that?  Because Simon is losing?  And because if Severson wins, we can finally get answers about the rot and corruption in the state’s election system?

We’ll find out soon enough. 

Oh, Martin’s whole line was claiming Severson is a “conspiracy theorist.  Of course, the numbers are real, as was the fact that Steve Simon is listed in black and white, as co-author of a bill that exempts the military from absentee vote reforms. 

And the media (!) actually pushed back on Martin, asking him if the DFL had erred in exempting the military from the reforms, which means the conspiracy is apparently on the DFL side of the aisle…

Anyway – more tomorrow.

Promises, Promises

Governor Dayton, reacting to rumors that have circulated among everyone in the state who’s paying attention that he’s going to resign within a year or two of re-election, to leave Tina “The Butcher” Flint Smith as an unelected governor, promises he’ll serve out his term if re-elected:

Dayton, 67, told The Associated Press in an interview this month that he’s heard the rumors he’d leave office before the end of a second term and catapult running mate Tina Smith into the top job. Not true, he said.

“I want to serve four more years as governor of Minnesota. I certainly have no plans to turn that responsibility over to Tina or anyone else. Four years won’t be enough to accomplish everything I would like to accomplish. No way,” Dayton said. “Absent something catastrophic and unforeseeable, I intend to serve out my four years as governor if I’m re-elected. I never considered anything else.”

The rejoinder writes itself.  Governor Dayton also “promised” that property taxes would drop (they didn’t), that he’d cut middle class taxes in general (he didn’t), that the general public and general fund would not be left on the hook for the Vikings Stadium (e-pulltabs aren’t doing the job, so who else are they gonna ask?), and that he wouldn’t shut down the government over taxes (he did).

What’s another lie, to a DFL voter base who care less about integrity than power?

Thanks, But No Thanks

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun grab group issued a long series of endorsements in congressional races, including over 50 Democrat incumbents.

Conspicuous by his absence? Rick Nolan, in the 8th Congressional District..

And after all he’s done for them…:

Some incumbents didn’t make the Everytown list. The group didn’t endorse Rep. Rick Nolan (D., Minn.), who co-sponsored the House bill to expand background checks. Mr. Nolan, who has an F score from the NRA, is trying to fend off a challenge from Republican Stewart Mills, whom the NRA gave an A rating.

The endorsements were extremely heavy on incumbents, and almost never involved contested races.

Why, it’s almost like gun control is political poison or something…

Nail-Biter?

According to Rasmussen, Franken leads McFadden by eight points – but only by three points (48 to 46) among people who are “certain” to vote:

Yesterday, Roll Call included Franken on their top-ten list of the most vulnerable U.S. Senators facing re-election in 2014. McFadden had a “fiery” performance in his debate with Franken yesterday in Duluth and he followed-up today with a press conference today about rate increases for MNsure consumers.

 If the poll is accurate (and since Scott Rasmussen retired, it’s been less so – but it’s also swung a bit toward favoring the left), this could be very good news for the GOP in MInnesota…

(Via PoliMN)

Chanting Points Memo: “Only 4.5%!”

A friend of mine on Facebook (who admits he based it on a statement by Senator Michelle Benson, on the Dave Thompson show) notes the wierdness of the state’s math in arriving at the “4.5% increase in MNSure Premiums” number that the media is trumpeting.

He put it this way:  If a fast food restaurant serves 500 customers and has $5,000 in the till at the end of the day, that’s an average of $10 per person. 

If a coffee shop next door has 5 customers and makes a grand total of $25, they averaged $5 per sale. 

So what was the average amount spent by customers to those two stores?

  1. $7.50 – the average of $10 and $5?  Or…
  2. $9.95 – $5,025 in total receipts divided by 505 customers?

If you’re a Democrat, you picked “1″ – which is the average price of two items, but is not the average amount spent by the customers  If you undestand economics, you picked “2″. 

What the state has done – and the media has reported more or less uncritically – is tell us the average price of the plans (that are still on the market).  Not the average amount customers will have to spend to stay in the exchange – which includes nearly 2/3 of all MNSure customers who lost their lower-priced Preferred One plans, and who will be paying at least 20% more. 

The state’s spin is dishonest.  The media uncritically running the spin is an abdication of their purported job of keeping government honest.

Waves

Watching last night’s gubernatorial debate in Rochester, it’s easy to see why Governor Messinger’s Dayton’s handlers didn’t want to have too many televised debates, and wanted to make sure they were only televised on outlets like C-Span and Farmington Cable Access.  He was awful.

At one point, I could have sworn I heard him mumble that he lowered taxes by $2 Billion.  What the flaming hootie-hoo?  Someone sic Catherine Richert on that claim!

Jeff Johnson wiped the floor with Dayton.  If the Johnson campaign doesn’t have comparison shots of Dayton and Johnson answers on TV and Youtube in the next week, they’re insane.   

And today comes news that the Duluth News Tribune (and perhaps the entire Forum chain of papers) has endorsed Johnson.

Among Johnson’s priorities are to reduce taxes and shrink government. While that sounds like Republican boilerplate, the reality is that if Minnesota is to compete in a competitive national economy, it has to improve its tax climate and streamline its ossified regulatory systems. Johnson can’t do it alone, but as governor he can force lawmakers to talk about it.

Johnson is young, educated, experienced in public service and the private sector, and focused on issues vital to his state’s future. Minnesotans would do well to make him their next governor.

And if voters in Greater Minnesota return the MNGOP to control in Saint Paul with Jeff Johnson as Governor, we can make some progress. 

(And, naturally, if the GOP keeps itself focused.  Which may be the biggest battle of all.

Continue reading

More Of That “Blowing Sunshine Up Minnesota’s Skirt” Thing…

I read yesterday’s headlines about the new, Preferred-One-Free MNSure rates, and got ready to write.

Then, I got an email from a friend who works in the Healthcare industry, which explains it much better:

The headlines on MNSure saying premiums rose only 4.5%.  This reminds me of an old story.

A friend of mine was flying a helicopter in the fog in downtown St. Paul and his radio and navigation equipment failed suddenly.  He knew he was in the midst of the downtown and going any direction could mean an immediate crash.  He stayed put hovering for a few minutes, inching lower.  When the fog lifted he was right outside the MN Dept. of Commerce.  Not recognizing the building he grabbed a piece of paper and a big sharpie.  He wrote in big block letters “Where am I?” and put it put it on the outside of his windshield.  A commerce employee saw the helicopter’s predictament and wrote a note back and placed it in the building window.  “You’re in a helicopter.”

Technically correct and absolutely meaningless.

That’s my take of this headline.  The real problem is that the low cost insurer, Preferred One, dropped out.  Maybe the remaining plans only increased by 4.5% but to the 60% who were on Preferred One, the real story is that their premiums are rising about 20%.  Minnesotans will understand that if they take time to read the full story.

Which the DFL is counting on people not doing, naturally, as they relentlessly pound away with that “4.5%” number on ads around the state.

Recent history shows it’s not hard to fool Minnesotans.