Well, Crap

Walker’s out of the race.

And I couldn’t  be more bummed.

Walker was the *only* candidate in the race that has actually walked the walk when it comes to pushing back on the public employee unions, whose pensions are going to bankrupt this nation long before any war will.

But he built a stadium for the Bucks!”, some chant. Yeah, he’s not perfect. No candidate is.

“But he’s weak on foreign policy”. He could appoint his motorcycle Secretary of State and have a better foreign policy team than the current occupant.

“He’s a warmonger!” No, he isn’t. Appearing strong and resolute leads to peace; begging for peace brings war.


But he’s got no charisma!”. Good God, people – voting for charisma is as likely to get you Barack Obama as it is Ronald Reagan. I’ll take an “uncharismatic” president who not only knows how to *talk* about drawing and holding lines, but *has done it, successfully, against brutal, ruthless opposition*, over some “charismatic” candidate for whom it’s all theory, however charismatically expressed.

Given a choice between Calvin Coolidge – an uncharismatic president who shrank government, getting it out of the way of epic prosperity – and a “charismatic” hamster like our current president, is it even a choice?

This is a lousy day for America.

OK, Fiorina and Rubio people. I’m listening

Brass Tacks

Scott Walker gets serious about domestic policy as Hurricane Donald enters its eighth week, launching a salvo at the public employee unions:

At a town hall meeting in Las Vegas, Walker will propose eliminating unions for employees of the federal government, making all workplaces right-to-work unless individual states vote otherwise, scrapping the federal agency that oversees unfair labor practices and making it more difficult for unions to organize.

Many of Walker’s proposals are focused on unions for workers at all levels of government, while others would also affect private-sector unions. Labor law experts said such an effort, if successful, would substantially reduce the power of organized labor in America.

Mr. Dilettante on why it’s important:

The key for Walker, and all the other Republican candidates, is to get specific and force The Donald to start getting specific as well. Trump wins if he gets to use the force of his personality to drive the debate. As long as the debate is about personalities and borscht belt insults, Trump the Insult Comic Dog will continue to dominate. He’s turned the campaign into a Friar’s Club roast (vid is NSFW, of course):

I’ve broken my usual cover early in this campaign, and been an “out” Walker guy since roughly sixty seconds after he won his re-election bid.  It’s always important for the GOP to put forward the right person; I think Walker, with the right VP (I like Susanna Martinez or maybe Nicky Haley) is that person.

If he can just get the GOP, and then America, to get the starry-eyed obsession with novelty and celebrity that led us first to Obama and then Trump, we could start going places again.

Game Afoot

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is prowling the aisles at Fleet Farm in Lakeville, looking for .22 Long Rifle ammo.  

He rounds a corner, and runs into Bill GUNKEL, former Republican and now chairman of the Inver Grove Heights chapter of “Former Republicans for Ron Paul”,

GUNKEL:  Hey, Merg!

BERG:  Hey, Bill.

GUNKEL:  The RINO statist John Kline is retiring from office!

BERG:  Yeah, Representative Kline wasn’t the most conservative congressman we’ve had.

GUNKEL:  He may as well have been a Democrat!

BERG:  Enh.  And in an R+2 district…well, bygones is bygones.  The real question is who’s gonna replace him?   I’ve heard talk of State Senator Dave Thompson, Mary Pawlenty…

GUNKEL:  Why elect another RINO?

BERG:  Um, what? Dave Thompson is a RINO?

GUNKEL:  He never criticized Kline!

BERG:  Er, why would he do that?

GUNKEL:  Why not?

BERG:  Violating Reagan’s 11th commandment by attacking other conservatives, even imperfect ones?  Alienating Kline supporters in his own district, to no benefit to himself?  Spending political capital on something that gains him nothing?

GUNKEL:  Gains him nothing?  He’d get the respect of the Liberty voters!

BERG:  You mean the people who bum-rushed the 2012 State Convention to send a slate of delegates to Tampa to make a symbolic vote for Ron Paul, and then largely went home and never came to another GOP meeting?  Who pushed Kurt Bills to the nomination, then abandoned him when he actually acted like he was part of the party that endorsed him?  A group that seems more focused on bashing Republicans than winning elections?

GUNKEL:  Principle!

BERG:  Right.  OK, so Dave Thompson is insufficiently pure.  Gotcha.  So who do you support?

GUNKEL:  David Gerson.  The only candidate to support if you care about Liberty!

BERG:   Gerson says all sorts of things I support.  I’ve got no problem with him.  I’d love to have him on the show.   It’s just that last go-around, he raised less money than a typical Saint Paul Republican legislative candidate.

GUNKEL:  So?   Money isn’t everything.

BERG:  Right.  But it’s a leading indicator.  If someone can’t raise money from supporters to run a campaign, it’s a fair question to ask whether they can raise votes.

GUNKEL:  Well, it’ll be different this time!

BERG:  Well, that’d sure make the race more interesting!   I think a solid, credible challenge from the Libertarian wing of the party would be a very good thing.   But the candidate – and especially his campaign – have got to ramp up the game.

GUNKEL:  Oh, we will, by the time of the election on March 1.

BERG:  Um, what?

GUNKEL:   We’ll get the support out in droves by the time the battle for all the marbles, on March 1, happens.

BERG:  Um, March 1 is the caucuses.

GUNKEL (looking confused):  Riiiight?

BERG:  Not the general election.

GUNKEL:   (Shrugs extravagantly, indicating non-comprehension)

BERG:  March 1 is when he’ll try to knock off other GOP…Oh, never mind.



If you listen to, read, or talk to me, you know I’m not a Donald Trump fan. Very, very, not.

But over the weekend, I listened to NPR’s “On the Media” program.  It’s NPR’s in-house out-house of media “criticism”.  I listen because it’s a fairly reliable barometer of the narcissism of the mainstream media elite, and because it’s a bottomless font of material.

Anyway – they ran a work of (intentional) fiction yesterday; a smug, sanctimonious, self-righteous, intellectually entitled fictional look back at a Trump presidency (adapted from an article in The Atlantic, or as we in the know call it, “American Progressive Project).

It’s narrated with smug unctuousness by one of NPR’s stable of voice-over people that can affect that perfect, detached, smug “NPR accent”. And even if you don’t like Trump – and I do not – you have to think “whomever the front-runner would be, they’d be doing the same, exact bit of fiction”.

And it started me thinking.

One of the current mainstream conspiracy theories is that Trump is a Pat Buchanan or, worse, Ross Perot figure, working the field to get ready for a third-party candidacy that, at best (Buchanan) dilute the GOP nomination process, and at worst (Perot) doom a GOP candidate.

But what if it’s the other way around?  What if Trump is merely playing this for big publicity, using his big turbocharged mouth to bring lots of attention to issues that’d be trayf for a legitimate candidate to broach, if not discuss…

…and soak up all the biased media’s hatred, allowing the real candidates to duke out the endorsement battle unmolested by Nina Totenberg and CNN and the rest of the Democrats’ PR firms?

A stretch?  Sure.

Implausible?  Maybe.

Impossible?  Who cares?

Thoughts While Listening To Some Ron Paul Supporters Debating Whether To Support Rand Paul

CHUCK (a city councilman): Hey, the hardware store is on fire! Everybody grab a hose and a bucket!

BILL: Enh. All politicians are corrupt!

CHUCK: Yeah, but the hardware store! Lots of flammable paint! If it goes, all of Mainstreet burns down!

FRANK: All politicians are corrupt!

CHUCK: Right, right, you don’t like politicians, I get it. But all of your jobs are about to go up in smoke…

AL: To pretend there’s any difference between one politician and another is just stupid.

CHUCK: Right, right, got that. Look…actual fire, here. Needs to get put out. Are you hearing me…

STEVE: they’re all crony capitalists…

(Crowd natters away as a large “FOOOM” sound is heard, as the hardware store disappears in a large, multicolored gout of flame)

BILL: See! What good did politicians do?


Fit To Be Tied

So after six years of “Hillary is inevitable”, six months of the establishment positing Jeb Bush as the only option, and six weeks of the media trying to wedge the GOP with Donald Trump, we have  what might be surprising news to report (emphasis added):

If the election were held today, Clinton would be tied with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the poll—down from significant leads in a May 28 survey—but would top the current GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.

Let’s make sure we’re clear on this:  the media has been anointing Hillary as “the first woman president” for a generation, now.  They’ve been pimping Trump to monkeywrench the GOP.  The GOP “establishment” has been pushing Jeb as the next best hope – not without some reason.

And yet the stubborn peasants keep popping up for Walker.

I’ll be more relieved if Walker is atop the polls this spring, naturally.


Residual Force

Former mayor of the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers Andy Aplikowski is throwing his hat in the ring for a lateral transfer, declaring his candidacy for the Minnesota State Senate in SD 35.  He’s running to replace retiring Senator Branden Peterson.  

He’ll probably have an easier race in reliably read SD 35, in the far north suburbs of the Twin Cities, THAN he did winning the famously fickle MOB race..  He’ll definitely have an easier time representing that district than he did the MOB.  

Good luck, Andy. Have your people call my people..

All In

At long last, Scott Walker is officially in the race.

I’ve departed from my traditional neutrality in presidential endorsement battles -certainly battles that take place over a year before the convention – and have been supporting  Walker for quite some time.  There are other good options in the race; I like Bobby Jindal a lot, John Kasich would be an excellent choice (who’ll never happen), and for that matter Jeb Bush, for all his faults, would be a vastly better President than any Democrat option (and more acceptable to a conservative; let’s remember that he governed generally well to the right of his brother).   And I’ve got nothing against Marco Rubio or Rand Paul – other than both of them being first-term Senators.  Either would be better Presidents than our current former one-term Senator – but why settle?

I’ve seen some criticism of Walker as being not conservative enough in some areas.  I’ve notice that some of them are areas where conservatives criticized Ronald Reagan, too. t

Walker’s not perfect – no candidate is, and the ones that try to portray themselves as ideologically perfect (I’m looking at  you, Ron Paul) are generally at the head of ideological personality cults (I’m looking at you, Ron Paul fans).

Some say Walker hasn’t had the best month, and that he’ll need to win Iowa outright to have a shot at the nomination.

And never have I been so tempted to go hang out in Iowa for a while…

Free For All

With the announcement that Senator Branden Petersen is not going to seek re-election in SD35, a crowd of Republicans is jumping in line to run for the seat:

Those possible candidates include Republican party activists Andy Aplikowski and Don Huizenga, state Rep. Abigail Whelan and former state Rep. Kathy Tinglestad.

SD35 is a pretty reliably GOP district; pretty much any Republican up there can count on a three-digit margin of victory.  It’s sort of the anti-Saint Paul.

While I very rarely endorse anyone for office, I’ll note that Representative Whelan seems to be leaning against – which is, I think, a great plan (another term or two of incumbency can’t be a bad thing).

And I’m going to have to do my bit to put the kibosh on former Rep. Tinglestad; she was one of the “Override Six” who famously gut-shot Governor Pawlenty’s veto of a DFL spending orgy in 2008, joining with Ron “I’m Gonna Blow Your Head Off” Erhardt and making herself a darling of the DFLMedia.  I haven’t forgotten, and neither should SD35.

Andy Aplikowski would certainly be a great choice for the office.

Dear Karl Rove

To: Karl Rove

From: Mitch Berg, uppity peasant

Re:: Agenda item


Say what you will, but you did, once upon a time, teach Republicans an important lesson; if you don’t win elections, all the principles in the world are just wind in sails.

But the mercenary, “anything to get elected” dross of your philosophy has caused a lot of problems for the GOP.

And with this latest remark of yours, perhaps it’s time for you to take up gardening. Just saying.

That is all.

Stampeding The Herd

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin – who currently resides atop my short list for 2016 – paid a visit to the Minnesota state capitol yesterday.

He spent some time visiting with lawmakers.

GOP ones, anyway.  A DFL linked Twitter account noted that Democrat lawmakers stayed away from the Governor.

I can see why.  Every Democrat who crosses his path gets defeated.

We need to bring him to Minnesota in 2016.

There Is No Such Thing As “Too Conservative”

Eleven seconds after Ted Cruz announced his candidacy for President, the left and media (ptr) declared he couldn’t possibly win because he was “too conservative”.

Of course, any conservative – especially the ones that provide a legitimate threat to the Democrats, or are endorsed at any rate – will be labelled “too conservative”.

Sturdevanted:  The mainstream media, and parts of the GOP establishment, and for that matter my moderate-Democrat father – are fond of practicing “Sturdevanting”; thinking that all our nation’s problems would be solved if the GOP became “less extreme” and the Democrat Party remained squirrel!   If we just had a GOP like the good old days – the Gerald Fords and the Dave Jenningses and the Arne Carlsons – who were willing to work with the Gus Halls and Rudy Perpiches and Paul Wellstones (and indulge their most wacked-out “progressive” pipe dreams), all would be just hunky dory.

Of course, there’s method to the madness; so much, in fact, that it’s The Law.

Threat Reduction:  Berg’s Eighth Law to be exact: “The conservative liberals “respect” for their “conservative principles” will the the one that has the least chance of ever getting elected”.   (There are a number of corollaries, ending with the Reagan Corollary, which is pretty germane today: “The Media and Left (pardon the redundancy) will try to destroy the conservative they are most afraid of”).

Now, Ted Cruz isn’t my top choice; as I noted the other day, he’s behind Walker, Jindal, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio on my list, so far.

And there may be reasons he can’t win; being “too conservative” isn’t one of them.

And by “too conservative”, I mean in a modern American context; proclaiming oneself king, calling for the re-establishment of the Holy Roman Empire and the re-institution of flogging in the Navy are pretty much off the table, realistically.

But in that American context?

Mitt Romney didn’t lose because he was too conservative; he outpolled Obama among “independent” and “moderate” voters.  No, Mitt lost because 400,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and Colorado stayed home.  400,000 Republicans that had showed up for previous elections, but decided they had better things to do on a Tuesday night.

And they didn’t stay home because Mitt was too conservative.

Kevin Williamson at NRO notes that Sturdevanting, and other violations of Berg’s 11th Law, have a long, storied history:

“Reagan can’t win, Ford says.” That’s the 1976 version. The 1980 New York Times version, with the nearly identical headline: “Ford Declares Reagan Can’t Win.” Ford was really quite sure of himself: “Every place I go, and everything I hear, there is a growing, growing sentiment that Governor Reagan cannot win the election.” New York magazine: “The reason Reagan can’t win. . . . ” “Preposterous,” sociologist Robert Coles wrote about the idea of a Reagan victory. The founder of this magazine worried that Reagan simply could not win in 1980, and several National Review luminaries quietly hoped that George H. W. Bush would be the nominee. There were serious, thoughtful conservatives who thought in 1980 that their best hope was to have Daniel Patrick Moynihan run as a Democrat that year, while many others were looking to ex-Democrat John Connally to carry the conservative banner on the GOP side. Things have a funny way of working out differently than expected. (And then much, much differently.)

And of course, if you’re a conservative, there’s another angle to it:

Will he be the nominee? Good Lord, who knows or cares at this point? It’s a question mainly of interest to Ted Cruz and his rivals, and maybe to their sainted mothers. That we are so fascinated by the possibility is further evidence of the corrosive cult of the presidency — we conservatives should know better than to wait for the anointing of a savior.

Take that, Ron Paul supporters.

Anyway – is there such a thing as “too conservative?”  Maybe. Is anyone to the left of Mike Huckabee the one to tell a conservative/republican/libertarian what that means?

No.  Not at all.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Liberals exclaim that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s lack of a college degree proves he lacks knowledge.

I knew a guy who was frighteningly well educated. He could tell you why it rained, when it was going to rain, what made it rain . . . he just didn’t have enough sense to come in Out of the rain.

Knowledge is not wisdom.

Knowledge is learned in college; wisdom is won in the world.

I wish our current President had more worldly wisdom and not so much college knowledge.

I sincerely hope our next President does.

Joe Doakes

Anyone still talking about where they went to college more than five years after they graduated, unless there in an academic field, probably has nothing to be proud of in their post-college life.

Anyone who barbers about where someone went to college, unless that person is operating on the child or building their bridge, is probably an idiot.

By Degrees

I have a college degree.

And other than writing for some portion of my living for pretty much my entire adult life, I’ve never really “used it”.  My BA was in English, with minors in History and German (and two courses short of a minor in Computer Science, although it was the type of computer science that is pretty obsolete today).  Most of what I use for a living, I picked up on my own – and yes, college certainly helped me “learn how to learn”, which has been the stated justification for humanities degrees among the independently-non-wealthy for decades.

So college was good for me; I’m glad I went.  But a degree doesn’t say all that much about a person.

Least of all an “elite” degree.  The best thing an Ivy League degree says about a person is that between the ages of 14 and 17, they knew enough to play the paper chase with enough excellence to punch all the tickets that “elite” school recruiters were looking for, because they had a sense of the importance of that most important byproduct of an “elite” education; access to the alumni directory.  And that’s the best thing it says.   The other things it says – legacy admission, overentitlement, educational stage parents – are less salutary.

In the meantime, many of the greatest Americans – from Abraham Lincoln to Bill Gates – had no college education (at the least).

So after eight years of stonewalling about Barack Obama’s college transcripts, the media is suddenly obsessed with Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s college career – which was cut short when he dropped out to start his career.

Will that scupper Walker with the American people?  Charles CW Cooke says there are a couple sides to that question:

How effective the approach would be during a general election is anybody’s guess, for at present Americans exhibit a strange and inconsistent attitude toward their dropouts. In theory, this is a nation that was built by the rebels and the nonconformists — more specifically, by the recalcitrant revolutionaries of Valley Forge, the chippy entrepreneurs of the frontier and of Silicon Valley, and by the ambitious Lincolnian auto-didacts who looked at their conditions and sought to improve them on their own terms.

Indeed, many of the great advances in human history came from the self-taught autodidact.

In practice, however, America is becoming increasingly rigid and Babbit-like. When a given individual makes it without school, we lavish him with praise and with adulation and we explain his rise with saccharine appeals to the American spirit; when our own children suggest that they might wish to dropout, however, we tut-tut and roll our eyes and make sneering jokes about Burger King.

There are, of course, two Americas:

This is no accident. Rather, it is the product of an increasing tendency among college-educated Americans to regard the letters after their names as a distinguishing mark that renders them as part of a special, exclusive class. By willfully conflating their established educational achievements and their presumed intellect or societal worth — in Dean’s words, their “education” per se — these people extract every last ounce of social value from their investment, and make it appear as if the only way to compete with them is to join them…Sorry, Mr. Walker, you have the wrong colored dot on your forehead to run for higher office.

I think a person whose life has been focusing on accomplishing things would make a nice switch from a President with all sorts of credential who has accomplished nothing.


SCENE:  Mitch BERG is waiting for new tires to be put on his car.   

Bill GUNKEL, former Republican who is now chairmain of the Inver Grove Heights chapter of “Former Republicans for Ron Paul”, walks in.

GUNKEL:  Boy, is the GOP in trouble!

BERG:  Huh.  Hey, Bill.  Why do you say that?

GUNKEL:  Because a GOP legislator in Montana proposed legislation to ban yoga pants in public!

BERG:  Wait – that proposal was unanimously tabled by the GOP-dominated committee to which it was introduced, without so much as a hearing.   They killed it.  Dead.

GUNKEL:  Yeah, but this is proof that the GOP is in huge trouble!BERG:  Er, OK.  Why is that?

GUNKEL:  Because a Republican introduced legislation banning yoga pants in public! They hate liberty!

BERG:  “They” unceremoniously shot the bill down.  It’s dead. Gone.

GUNKEL:  Yeah, but this is proof that the GOP is in huge trouble!

BERG:  Right – you said that.  So given that the GOP also killed the bill, why do you say that?

GUNKEL:  Because a Republican introduced legislation banning yoga pants in public! They hate liberty!

BERG:  Look, the state of Montana is controlled by the GOP; the House of Representatives is 2:1 GOP.  Montana has very low taxes, in effect no speed limit, they’ve nullified both Obamacare and any unconstitutional federal gun laws, and they are in general a vastly freer state than most of the lower 48 – all under GOP control.  That’s as compared to Minnesota, which – believe it or not – all you Ronulans haven’t managed to turn into a Free State Project home base just yet.

GUNKEL:  Yeah, but pull your head out, sheeple; this is proof that the GOP is in huge trouble!

BERG:  Um, OK.  Why?

GUNKEL:  Because a Republican introduced legislation banning yoga pants in public! They hate liberty!

BERG:  Except the rest of the Montana Republicans took the bill OUT of contention.

GUNKEL:  Yeah, but this is proof that the GOP is in huge trouble!

BERG:  Don’t say “Because a Republican introduced legislation banning yoga pants in public! They hate liberty”.

GUNKEL:  Because a Republican introduced legislation banning yoga pants in public! They hate liberty!

Avery LIBRELLE walks into the lobby. 

BERG:  I never thought I’d say this, but Avery!  Thank goodness you’re here!


Money In Politics: Talk Dirty To The DFL

The DFL is in the midst of an extended campaign of sniveling about the amount of money in politics.

A look at this list of independent expenditures registered from the 10 Minnesota House races that flipped last election shows you why:

The DFL spent more.  Sometimes a helluvva lot more.  And it didn’t work.


Courtesy John Rouleau of the MN Jobs Coalition, via Twitter.

The candidate with the most indy spending in each race is color-flagged.

Of 10 races, DFL groups outspent GOP groups in eight of them, notching a little over 10% more independent spending.  And that doesn’t even tell the whole story.

  • Remember all the whining Zach Dorholt did the Twin Cities media did on Zach Dorhold’s behalf about big money in his district?  His independent expenditures were 20% higher than Knoblach’s.
  • The GOP spent more on Peggy Bennet than the DFL wasted on Shannon Savick – by about $4,000.  That speaks to what a terrible campaign Savick ran, and what a lousy term she had in office – and the power of the grass roots that turned out to bounce her.  Don’t screw with the Second Amendment outstate!
  • On the other hand – Erickson vs. Hancock (over 2:1 in favor of the DFLer) and Fritz vs. Daniel (almost 3:1 for the DFL?)  Holy cow.
  • Against that, the GOP indies only outspent the DFL in two of the flips; the Bennet/Savick race, as already noted, and a 15% margin in the Heintzelman/Ward race.

So no wonder the DFL is so concerned about rationing money in politics; theirs didn’t work.  They need less competition.

Saint Paul Republicans: It’s Go Time

If you live in St. Paul, and I’m a Republican, or conservative, or just someone who’s tired of St. Paul being a one party city, then I hope you can turn out tonight.

It’s the St. Paul Republican City Committee caucuses, and they’re being held tonight in the auditorium at St. Paul College.

It’s hard enough being a Republican in StPaul – and over the previous few years, the city committee fell into near complete your relevance. There’s new leadership – full disclosure, I’m part of it – and we’re hoping to change that. Starting tonight.

We’ll have a couple of guest speakers – Sen.Dave Thompson, and Andy Richter of “CommunitySolutions”, which has turned around politics in the city of Crystal. Will also be talking about the nuts and bolts of turning the cities political culture around.

St. Paul College is a block north of the Cathedral, at Summit and Marshall. If you park in the college’s parking lot, save your ticket – vouchers will be issued, so parking won’t cost you.

Come on down!


Generally, I keep my powder dry as we ramp up to big endorsement challenges.  And this year might be as good a year as any to keep mum.

But I’m not.  Among a small short-list of GOP candidates I’d like to see running for the Presidency – Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, maybe Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio – the top of my list is Scott Walker.  I’m a Walker guy, and I have been since he survived his recall.

The biggest concern people have had so far about Walker is that “he’s not charismatic enough” – yet another thing that has made me long for the days before television screwed up American politics.

But there is ground for hope that worries about Walker’s charisma may be exaggerated.