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.

For Those Tired Of That “Smoke Up Their Skirt” Feeling.

Daytonomics - a noun, referring to economic conditions that look rosy on the surface, but worse and worse the more one examines them.  See also: “Potemkin”.  

The DFL is running the bulk of their state campaigns – the Legislature, the Constitutional Officers and Governor – on the notion that two years of Daytonomics have left Minnesota an economic powerhouse.

Like squatters who move into an “Architectural Digest” house, there’s still some zing in the state’s economic elevator pitch – leftovers from ten years of at least partial GOP stewardship.

But under the surface?

There are three signs that the various editorial boards are doing their level best to avoid, or at the most downplay:

  • State revenue keeps falling short of projections.  It’s lagging because personal income tax withholding is slowing down.  They’re slowing down because personal income in Minnesota is not keeping pace with expectations as of the last budget session.  The fact that it means we’re heading for another deficit is the least of the issues; the economy isn’t that damn good.
  • Along those same lines?  The Minnesota Zoo is laying people off. Costs are up – thanks, Barack Obama! – but attendance is also down.  4.5%.  The Zoo – especially the Minnesota Zoo, which is a pretty spendy day out for a family – is something people do when they’re feeling flush, and feel like showing the kids a good time.  You’ll note that attendance at the Como Zoo – which is free, unless you’re a Saint Paul taxpayer – isn’t hurting.
  • Oh, yeah – after a year or so of bragging about Minnesota in comparison to Scott Walker’s Wisconsin that Minnesota is dead last in new job creation in the Midwest.

Wanna see the interesting part of this last story?  Look in the graph comparing the states in the Midwest.  Check out the historical job numbers:

  • 10 years ago, when Tim Pawlenty and a GOP House ran the show?   Booming economic growth.
  • Five years ago, when Tim Pawlenty at least held the line on DFL spending?   At the depths of the Great Recession, no less?  We were among the region’s leaders!
  • Two years ago, at the end of the GOP’s control of the Legislature?   Still good.

Today?

Dead last.

Dead.  Last.

Last.  Dead.

This is Mark Dayton’s economy.

The DFL’s Edina Brahmins

Why does the DFL hate the First Amendment?

Trackers – interns for various campaigns and groups filming footage of politicians giving speeches and doing other public appearances – have been a fixture of Minnesota political life for at least a decade now. Most politicians – and by “most” I mean “everyone I’ve encountered, from every party, so far” – accepts that with good grace, and tries not to say something stupid.

Apparently “good grace” is beyond DFL Rep. Paul Rosethal, from District 49B in Edina:

“You’re in the Edina City Hall. You’re not allowed to be here without their permission to film. So I’d appreciate your leaving,” Rosenthal said in an exchange posted on YouTube.

“It doesn’t matter. It’s a public building” replied [photographer Ethan] Hellier.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” said Rosenthal, moving in front of the camera.

Clever, Mr. Rosenthal.

At least, compared to representative Ron Erhardt, from District 498, who seems to be going more and more Tony Soprano as he gets older (With emphasis gleefully added):

Rep. Ron Erhardt, a Democrat, took a different approach.
Do you know what would happen to that thing if we dropped it? Probably wouldn’t work very well. Now would you back off please?” Erhardt said.

At least he isn’t threatening to blow Mr. Helier’s head off.

Dear Edina – these are the thugs you sent to StPaul in 2012. Let’s shoot for better this time, okay?

Keith Ellison And That Famous DFL Civility

Here’s a blast from the past:  Keith Ellison, in an interview on KFAI (a little community station that serves as the drum-pounding id of the loony liberal West Bank, and for which I was a news guy for a while in the early ’90s) exhibits that reach-across-the-aisle comity that Lori Sturdevant is always demanding (from Republicans), repeatedly calls MNGOP Deputy Chair (at the time, Secretary) Chris Fields a…

…well, let’s take a look (with some emphasis added):

Ellison: “You’re real stupid for bringing up your domestic violence allegations. I wasn’t gonna say a thing about it. I wasn’t gonna mention it.”

Fields: “You know, if you want to talk about divorce —”

Ellison: “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Fields: “—talk about your own. Talk about the fact—”

Ellison: “You are a scumbag.”

Fields: “—that you only pay $500 for child support. Talk about that. You used that money to hurt my ex-wife, who I still love.”

Ellison: “You are a low-life scumbag. You are a low-life scumbag.”

Fields: “I did not spend money to look into my divorce. You did.”

Ellison: “You are a gutter-dweller, and you’re an idiot for bringing up your domestic violence charges.”

Fields: “There was never any.”

This is the DFL in action.

Hear the whole thing here.  And if you live in CD5, bring a friend to vote for Doug Daggett.

CORRECTION:  I thought it seemed familiar.  The story is two years old.  Blah.  I think I may have even written about it back then – to try to get people to vote for Chris Fields, who was running against the peevish Ellison back then.

The story is old.  The sentiment – get rid of Ellison – is timeless.

Lowballed

SCENE:  At the Mississippi Market co-op in Saint Paul.  Mitch BERG is shopping for steel-cut oatmeal.  He notices Avery LIBRELLE turning into his aisle, looking for free-range humane tofu.  He tries to turn and leave, but it’s already too late. 

LIBRELLE:  Hey, Merg!  The Free Market is collapsing!

BERG:  Er, OK – how do you figure?

LIBRELLE:  Preferred One left the MNSure network!

BERG: Um, that’s not a failure of the free market.

LIBRELLE: Sure it is!  They came into the plan with a low-ball proposal.  It didn’t work, so it’s a failure of the free market! 

BERG: Well, no.  It’s not.  The plans they’re pulling from MNSure are basically the same thing they’ve been selling to employers for decades, although more expensive, to cover all the extra Obamacare requirements, and a little extra to cover the fact that they’d only get paid after the money filtered through the MNSure system, which just isn’t working.  It’s the kind of plan they can sell by themselves just fine, and keep themselves in business. 

LIBRELLE:  Well, businesses shouldn’t profit from healthcare!

BERG:  Preferred One is a non-profit under Minnesota law.   And even so, they couldn’t financially justify the overhead that the MNSure system brought into the equation. 

LIBRELLE:  They should have come to the market with a plan that asked for more money!  Government subsidies would cover it anyway!

BERG:  And you have just explained why government subsidies promote inflation. 

LIBRELLE:  No I didn’t.

BERG:  Yes you did.  Businesses should raise their prices to smooth out dealing with the government’s incompetent bureaucracy, because another part of government is going to subsidize the transaction – which prices the business’s service out of reach of the unsubsidized.  It’s done for health insurance exactly what it’s done for higher education. 

LIBRELLE:  That just means we need single payer healthcare.

BERG:  Right.  So the same government that can’t produce a health care exchange on time and on budget, and get payments to providers efficiently enough to make the service worth providing, will now be directly in charge of every facet of your healthcare. 

LIBRELLE:  Well, at least it’ll promote transparency. 

BERG:  How so? 

LIBRELLE:  See the social justice that the IRS brought to political campaigning by denying teabagger groups their tax-exempt status?  Imagine the transparency we’ll get when The People can start denying them healthcare!

(LIBRELLE turns, starts walking away, but walks into shelf full of jars of organic peanut butter.  LIBRELLE falls as shelves of jars fall to the floor)

(And SCENE)

ABM: Wrong About Minnesota

I haven’t had the time to do as much in the way of digging into the DFL ad machine this cycle as in some past cycles.  It’s been a crazy summer.

Fortunately, Bill Glahn is on patrol

Glahn takes apart one of the latest flight of anti-Johnson ads from the Alliance for a Better Minnesota – the attack PR firm funded by liberal plutocrats that has run toxic sleaze campaigns against every Republican to run for office in Minnesota in the past eight years or so. 

ABM’s ads have been punctilious about punching up the phrase “Tea Party” in their ads, especially about Johnson, this cycle – even though Johnson is not especially identified with the Tea Party.  Glahn reaches one of the same observations I do:

Apparently the pejorative “Tea Party Republican” must test particularly well with low information voters. Or, perhaps its use in the ad is a sign the Democrats are concerned about turning out their base in an off-year election.

The Democrats have spent millions this past five years, trying to turn “Tea Party” into a pejorative.  If you go by what you hear in the media, it’s worked. If you go by election and polling results in red and reddish-purple states, it hasn’t.   Minnesota?  Well, the 2010 gubernatorial election showed Minnesota has 8,000 more low-information voters (along with Duplicate-Americans, Fictional-Americans and Deceased-Americans) than smart ones.  It might be a winning strategy. 

It might also show that that’s the best they can do; sputtering “Tea Partier” may be the “lowest blow” they think they can come up with. 

Anyway – the ad.  Like everything ABM puts out, it’s got an assortment of outright lies, and factoids stretched so far out of context as to be devoid of truth: 

Ms. Livermore [a "classroom teacher"] makes the dubious claim that Johnson “cut education by over $500 million” back in 2003, and then gave that money to corporations in 2005. Keep in mind that a similar ABM ad was judged “Misleading” by Minnesota Public Radio (of all places) for making those exact same claims. [The bill Johnson voted for in 2003 actually increased (rather than cut) public school spending.]

As always with ABM, though, there’s a level of stuff they don’t tell the voter (emphasis added):

No, the real lie in the ad comes from the “appeal to authority” of having an ordinary “classroom teacher” attack Johnson’s education policy. According to her LinkedIn profile, Ms. Livermore served on the governing board of the teachers’ union Education Minnesota from 2004 to 2007. [By the way, she spells the word “education” incorrectly on her profile.]

Although her service to the state teachers’ union may have given her some familiarity with decade-ago state legislation, it doesn’t exactly qualify her as a garden-variety “classroom teacher.” “Former union official attacks Republican,” just doesn’t have the same ring. Funny thing, the viewer is never informed of Livermore’s connection to the union, who happens to be the largest donor to Democrat campaigns in the state.  

And to be fair to ABM, why should the viewer be informed of this?  The campaign isn’t about informing voters.  It’s about framing the opposition, just like Saul Alinksky taught them to.

MPR: Everything Is Juuuuust Fine

Mark Twain once observed that there are three types of media “fact-check” efforts:  Democrat PR puff-pieces, Bald-Faced Democrat PR puff-pieces, and legit ones.

A good fact-checker will note that Twain said no such thing.  My first paragraph was really a bit of hyperbole.

As such, it wasn’t intended to be a “factual” statement, per se, as one intended to express a subjective opinion and win people over to my side of an argument (or at least mock those who oppose me).  It’s a form of rhetoric; using language to try to persuade and convince. 

So while it’s not strictly “factual”, it is two things:

  1. It makes what I believe to be a legitimate point; from the smugly left-centric “Politifact” all the way down to most local efforts, the “Fact-Check” industry is for the most part intended to aid Democrats.  My statement isn’t intended to be a “fact” so much as a rhetorical device to open my case to the reader. 
  2. It sets off my personal opinion (based on years of reading and studying media fact-check organizations) that they are in the bag for Big Left. 

Hyperbole is but one tool the rhetorician uses to state his case.

OK.  I have a question:  Of the three choices I gave in the first graf, what is the latest edition of MPR’s “Poligraph” – a DFL PR Effort, a Bald-Faced PR effort, or legit? 

Read reporter Catherine Richert’s latest effort, and you be the judge.

Continue reading

Their Master’s Voice

The latest poll numbers must be scaring the DFL; the Strib has officially switched into full-time shill mode.

In a paper full of “reporters” whose prime directive seems to be “fawn on the DFL”, Ricardo Lopez seems to be aiming for Columnist’s Row with yesterday’s paeon to the wonders of the Minnesota economy:

With business on the upswing and a state unemployment rate that’s among the lowest in the nation, Republicans lack a key issue voters often gravitate to during election season.

Four years ago, when the unemployment rate topped 7 percent and the state faced a projected $6.2 billion deficit, then-gubernatorial candidates Republican Tom Emmer and DFLer Mark Dayton presented voters with starkly different plans to stem the hemorrhaging of jobs and balance the state budget.

Since Dayton took office, the economic picture has brightened considerably. Minnesota employers have added more than 150,000 jobs, helping the state recover all the jobs lost during the recession. The real estate market has rebounded, and state finances are also strong. The most recent report available showed a projected state budget surplus of more than $1.2 billion, generated in part by the higher tax rates Dayton pushed through in 2013.

“There’s no question it would be easier for me as a challenger if everything appeared to be in shambles, that’s clear. But it’s not.” said Jeff Johnson, the Republican nominee hoping to unseat Dayton this fall. “I actually rise to that challenge of sharing a message that aspires to something much better than we have right now.”

Except that as we’ve pointed out, the economy is only “good” when you cherrypick the numbers pretty carefully

  • State Revenues are falling shorter and shorter of forecasts every month.  The deficit – which the GOP Legislature, not Governor Dayton, erased – is going to be back by the end of the current budget cycle. 
  • Underworked:  While the state unemployment rate looks good at 4.5%, the share of working Minnesotans that are underemployed is shockingly high - well behind not only both Dakotas, but Iowa as well – and wage growth has stalled (while government spending has not). 

But it’s the cherrypicking, not checking and balancing, that the people of Minnesota are going to get from the media. 

Expect a “Minnesota Poll” showing Dayton 80 points ahead sometime soon, here.