Brian Lambert took umbrage to Joe Doakes’ and my dissection of Eric Black’s anti-gun piece last week in the MinnPost, which cited a justifiably obscure theory by Dr. Carl Bogus.
Look out! It’s gun owners! At least, according to the MinnPost. I can just see the “job” interviews at the MinnPost; “do you now, or have you ever, supported an originalist interpretation of the Tenth Amendment, or ever blasphemed against the Commerce Clause?” Behold the liberal alt-media.
At the conservative consortium blog True North, Mitch Berg goes after our Eric Black on the issue of … “gun grabbin’ ”: [lengthy quote from my piece removed] The sweat stains are showing among our gun-fondling friends.
To: Eric Black, MinnPost
From: Mitch Berg, Peasant
Re: The New JournoList?
You built your reputation as a reporter. And for that, I give you all due respect.
I was a reporter, too. Not much of one; a couple of radio stations, some free-lance print work. Nothing big, and certainly nothing to build a career out of – but I did learn one thing, and practice it; a reporter is supposed to ask questions.
And while I apply only the broadest possible definition of “journalist” to myself, I do ask questions. I’m told I’m not bad at it, at least on the radio; even a reporter on your side of the aisle commented on it (I’ll direct you to paragraph 16). So it’s not a foreign concept to me.
Now, far be it from me to gainsay one of the deans of Minnesota political writing, but I’ve got a question here.
Last week, you wrote about Dr. Carl Bogus’ assertion from fifteen years agothat the Second Amendment was written to protect slavery. Now, my friend and frequent commenter Joe Doakes – who actually is a lawyer – pointed out that Bogus’ theory is given no weight by the legal academy, because it’s been pretty soundly debunked and, more signally, ignored by legal scholars; Bogus’ theory is only kept alive by anti-gunners who like, as Doakes put it, to “borrow his degree to lend them legitimacy”.
So here’s what I’m curious about.
Bogus published his theory fifteen years ago. It was roundly shredded in short order. It was substantially ignored (beyond a few trivial references to incidental research) in the SCOTUS’ debates that led to the Heller and McDonald decisions, which respectively adopted the “individual right” definition of the 2nd Amendment and incorporated that definition onto the states.
And yet somehow last week Bogus’ theory was pulled from legal history’s scrap heap and restored to glorious prominence by the gun-grabber left.
Hey! It’s Confederate soldiers, defending slavery! The MinnPost ran this image in Eric Black’s story last week about Carl Bogus’ theory. I’m never going to let the MinnPost live this one down!
So I got to checking. The first I heard about it was a comment on my blog on 1/17, which pointed to your article in MinnPostthe same day; around that time, I started seeing a lot of lefties on Twitter chanting more or less the same thing. Danny Glover and Roger Ebert had spoken or written about it, stating the “slavery” theory as settled fact, around the same time. And the story was churning around the leftyblog fever swamp, as these things do, once the likes of Kos and Crooks and Liars repeated the meme (which meant every bobbleheaded leftyblog carried it like it was the revealed truth).
Disarmed people – Jews, in this case – dealing with the SS, which is short for “Schützstaffel”, which loosely translated means “Department of Homeland Security”. Connect the dots, people. The MinnPost can run its inflammatory, searing, emotionally manipulative images, I’ll run mine. Mine happen to be good analogies based on historical fact, but whatever.
Now, a concerted Googling (and a reading of your piece) seems to show that the “writing” about the subject links back to last Tuesday, when lefty talk show host Thom Hartmann – who is sort of the Dennis Prager of the left, only without the intelligence or credentials – wrote a piece on the lefty überblogs TruthOutand Smirking Chimp , lavishly citing Bogus’ theory.
Oops, I did it again! More disarmed people! The sign above their heads says “Arbeit Macht Frei”, which is German for “Work Creates Freedom”, which was sort of the “Hope and Change” of the era. Again – you publish your inflammatory, emotionally manipulative images? I’ll publish mine.
And I thought the dynamics of the story were interesting; in two days, the “story” of Bogus’ “theory”, which had laid mostly dormant since being shredded in the court of academic and public opinion half a generation ago, suddenly was on the lips and minds and blogs of, it seemed, every lefty, from the fever swamp to Hollywood (pardon the redundancy) to, well, MinnPost and a half a million chuckleheaded leftybots on Twitter.
I’ve been writing online for a long time, Mr. Black. I’ve seen memes come and go. The “come” side usually takes a while; someone writes something, it gains traction, it holds sway, it rolls away like the tide. It usually takes a little while.
The Klan attacking black people! And therein lies the real truth – and the Berg’s Seventh Law reference; Gun Control actually has its roots in American racism. The first serious American gun control laws were aimed at – you guessed it – blacks. In fact, the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment was written in part in response to a Texas law aimed at former slaves who’d been shooting up Klansmen.
But the Bogus theory went, metaphorically, from zero to sixty in four seconds flat.
Didja notice that?
Anyway, those are the facts; Bogus’ theory came, was shredded, went away for fifteen years, and suddenly re-germinated across the broad swathe of lefty opinion over the course of two measly days. Now, leaving aside the fact that the theory is, well, bogus (as noted last week) – wouldn’t it have been a useful fact for the reader to know that Bogus’ theory has been languishing in academic obscurity for 15 years for a reason? I know, that would have been a statement against your interest and, I suspect, the MinnPost’s, but it’s kinda significant, no?
But here’s my question: aren’t you the least bit curious as to the, er, pace at which this meme swept the left? From “forgotten” to “conventional wisdom” in two days?
It almost seems as if there’s some sort of back-channel communication – one might even call it a list of journalists, absurd as that sounds – a, for lack of a better term, “Journo List” that syncs the leftymedia up on the major chanting points.
No, I know – that’s just crazy talk. I know.
Anyway – did that strike you as odd in any way? If not, why?
That is all.
PS: Well, no. It’s not. Because while the theory that the Second Amendment was “about protecting slavery” is pretty much a fringe, fever-swamp conceit, it is a matter of settled historical fact and Constitutional Law that the roots of the gun control movement are intensely racist.
I hinted at this in the past few weeks; one of the hard parts about being a Second Amendment supporter is that it feels a lot like the movie Groundhog Day. Every time the left goes through one of its spasms of gun-grabbing, they bring up the same, exact, precise points every single time. There is nothing new, ever, under the sun when it comes to anti-gun “arguments”. Never!
And yet every single liberal, especially in the media, receives the same threadbare worn-out arguments from their elders during every spasm of this debate, as if they’ve discovered some new logical Killer Anti-Gun App. And they trot them out with all the pride of a toddler that just made a good pants, repeating the moldy meme with a nod and a knowing, condescending wink, as if they think you’re lucky they suffer fools like you.
And you – me, in this case – shake your head, and re-muster facts that you’ve been deploying since before your children were born, and feel a little like the burned-out gunfighter in a Clint Eastwood movie; I’ve lived this day, or at least this argument, more times than I can remember. I know these facts backward and forward. There is not a corner of the left’s argument that I can’t make better than the lefty I’m wasting my time with.
And on you go.
Fortunately, we’re not alone.
The problem with Eric Black isn’t that he’s a lefty who’s been getting steadily more “out” about it for years, in the “pages” of the MinnPost, whose focus has been sliding away from “legitimate journalism” toward “being a DFL Public Relations organ” for this past year or so.
It’s that he believes, and reports, so much that is just not so.
I read it yesterday, and thought “even in monster movies, there’s only so many times you have to kill the critter before the movie ends”. So with the esteemed Carl Bogus.
Fortunately, Joe Doakes from Como Park – an actual lawyer – took over. I’ll add the odd bit of emphasis to Joe’s email:
God, not that old chestnut again. Carl Bogus? Really?
Okay, facts: Bogus was indeed a law professor. He wrote a law review article for UC Davis in 1998. He admitted there was plenty of evidence the Founders intended the Second Amendment so ordinary people could resist tyrants. But he argued Southern slaveholders probably wanted to keep ordinary people armed to prevent slave rebellion. Therefore, the Second Amendment might have served two purposes: resist tyrants and oppress slaves. Bogus’ explicit argument is that ordinary people couldn’t have resisted tyranny and oppressed slaves acting alone so when the Founders said “the people” they must have meant “state militias.” His implicit argument is that since slavery is bad, the Second Amendment is tainted so we can ignore it.
Bogus’ arguments were immediately rebutted by other legal scholars, see for example “The Approaching Death of the Collectivist Theory of the Second Amendment” by Douglas Roots, 39 Duq. L. Rev. 71.; and “The Supreme Court’s Thirty-Five Other Gun Cases” by David Kopel, 18 St. Louis U. L. Rev. 99. The Supreme Court cited several of Bogus’ works in District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008) but the majority opinion expressly rejected his collectivist legal theory. Bogus was mentioned in Justice Stevens’ dissent in MacDonald v. Chicago, 130 S. Ct 3020 (2010) as the source for a single statistic on handgun violence, but not even Stevens endorsed Bogus’ collectivist legal theory. Nobody endorses his secret slavery theory.
Bogus’ legal theories are not taken seriously by Constitutional scholars, only by gun-control advocates hoping to rent his diploma to give the appearance of credibility. That’s why Bogus was appointed a director of Handgun Control, Inc. and served on the advisory board of the Violence Policy Center. That’s also why Eric Black cites him. It’s as if the Flat Earth Society suddenly learned of this brilliant mathematician named Ptolemy who PROVED the Sun does indeed revolve around the Earth and thus vindicated what they’ve believed all along. Sorry, fellas, serious scholars have moved beyond that hoax.
I’m thinking; is there an issue besides guns where a journalist can get away with so much guileless incuriosity as the gun issue?
And wrap that incuriosity in so much misguided-yet-inflammatory rhetoric?
Inevitably, the MinnPost ran a photo of Confederate soldiers along with Black’s piece. I suppose we should be thankful it wasn’t a photo of white guys lynching a black guy, huh? That said, I suspect I just gave some clever MinnPost copy editor another bright idea for the next round of anti-gun articles, along with the next, inevitable citation of Carl Bogus as an expert on the Second Amendment. You’re welcome, MinnPost.
Feminist dogma patrol, maybe, and even that doesn’t generally impact the Constitution.
Mark Dayton’s mental health? That’s not so much “incuriosity” as “a gentlemans’ agreement between journalists and the DFLers who own them”.
What is it about Second Amendment issues that makes so many journalists act like journalists think mere partisan bloggers act?
Nothing against Eric Black, of course. He’s doing his job, which these days seems to be “advancing the DFL and Democrat Parties’ narratives”. It’s good to have a gig.
But the mainstream media in the Twin Cities has gotten a free pass on their habit of just slopping whatever crap fits the DFL’s narrative in front of the public for far too long.
To: Senator Amy Klobuchar
From: Mitch Berg, Peasant
I have a couple of questions for you.
Do you join President Obama in the belief that the law-abiding, legal gun owner is a public health risk and manifesting a mental illness? I’ll ask you not to equivocate; yes, or no?
Could you please make your reasons for this support as public as you can, if applicable? You’ve never been shy about using the media that serves as your praetorian guard to get the message out before; please don’t stop now.
If you support the President, could you please prevail upon Minnesota’s DFL legislators to publicly declare their support as well? Very, very publicly?
You’ve spent the past six years in a calculated effort to create a public image of studied innocuity. But given your massive victory last November, surely you feel secure enough politically to be honest about your stance and motivations.
I mean, you just know you’re bulletproof come election time, don’t you?
Example 1: The Strib’s Josephine Marcotty and Bill McAuliffe in a piece yesterday on the legislature leaping onto the anthropogenic global warming express:
Science made a comeback at the State Capitol on Tuesday.
Example 2: Bob Schieffer says defeating the NRA is a moral crusade along the lines of defeating the Nazis:
BOB SCHIEFFER: …Let’s remember: there was considerable opposition when Lyndon Johnson went to the Congress and…presented some of the most comprehensive civil rights legislation in the history of this country. Most people told him he couldn’t get it done, but he figured out a way to do it. And that’s what Barack Obama is going to have to do…what happened in Newtown was probably the worst day in this country’s history since 9/11. We found Osama bin Laden. We tracked him down. We changed the way that we dealt with that problem. Surely, finding Osama bin Laden; surely, passing civil rights legislation, as Lyndon Johnson was able to do; and before that, surely, defeating the Nazis, was a much more formidable task than taking on the gun lobby.
I’m starting to think merely ignoring the mainstream media isn’t enough.
Nonetheless, the MNDFL – in this case, Senator Scott Dibble – has taken time out from its relentless drive to put every Minnesotan to work to introduce a bill aimed at ALEC:
If the measure became law, anyone who promotes or distributes model legislation would be required to register as a lobbyist. Under the measure, lobbyists and lawmakers would have to disclose any scholarship funds they get to attend events or meetings.
“It is aimed at ALEC,” said Minneapolis DFL Sen. Scott Dibble, the bill sponsor. “ALEC is a very strong influential entity.”
So isn’t it just a little…bitchy to write a law “aimed at” – that’s what Dibble said – a group that does exactly, exactly the same thing as the “National Council of State Legislatures”, or the “Progressive States Network”, or the political arms of all the unions do; write model legislation and try to persuade legislators to pass them into law?
Oh, there’s an out of sorts:
The measure would also apply to other national groups that push model legislation, that is, bills that are proposed and written outside of Minnesota and then tailored to the state. Dibble said a coalition of lawmakers interested in environmental issues would also be forced to disclose more information in the bill became law.
Well, isn’t that special.
I’m not so much upset that the DFL is wasting the legislature’s, and the peoples’, time to count coup over the head of an organization that does exactly what a roomful of other groups do at the Legislature.
No, what we should all be upset at is the role the Twin Cities media have played in serving as the DFL’s handmaidens in this demonization. The Twin Cities media have written countless stories in this past year, entirely at the behest of left-leaning pressure groups like the Alliance for a “Better” Minnesota, about the “insidious influence” of ALEC – but you’ll scour the net in vain for even a trivial mention of the fact that the PSN, the NCSL, and an organic poo-ton of liberal activist and pressure groups do exactly. The. Same. Thing.
I’d love to ask the likes of Rachel Stassen-Berger, Mike Mulcahy and Bill Salisbury why that is.
But I’d imagine the public doesn’t have a right to know that.
Read this piece in the MinnPost, entitled “House DFL opens session with priority of paying back $550 million to schools”
It’s got the who, what, when, where, why and how (DFL, pay back the “shift”, or accounting gimmick that post-dates checks until after some future date, this session, at the Capitol, etc).
It’s got some quotes from DFL leaders:
Speaker Paul Thissen, sworn in Tuesday along with the rest of Minnesota’s legislators, said the ceremonial House File 1 would be a bill that returns roughly $550 million to the state’s schools. DFLers campaigned on the issue, but it hadn’t surfaced on many pre-legislative to-do lists.
And it’s suffused with the sense that all those DFLers are plugging away For The Children.
What does it not have?
Any reference to the fact that the GOP-dominated 2012 session passed a bill to pay back the shift last year. Governor Dayton vetoed it.
Precisely so that the media would have this headline, this year.
Heck of a job, MinnPost. You may take your place in the ranks of the Minnesota Praetorian Guard, doing your bit for the DFL.
Minnesota’s two senators sought Monday to delay a tax on medical devices that was expected to add $28 billion over the next decade to help pay for health care reform.
Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken pointed to thousands of high-paying jobs that device companies support in Minnesota, headquarters to such giant devicemakers as Medtronic and St. Jude Medical. The industry has painted the tax as a job killer that would hurt innovation.
“The delay would give us the opportunity to repeal or reduce that tax,” said Klobuchar, co-author of a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid seeking the delay.
So that means the Senators will join 3rd CD Congressman Erik Paulsen and support his bill in the House to repeal the tax, right?
Franken is among the letter’s signers who would not support Paulsen’s plan. “I felt the offset in the Paulsen bill would have undermined the architecture of the Affordable Care Act,” Franken said.
Oh, don’t bother us with details! Franken and Klobuchar – and say, doesn’t she just look stunning in the photo the Strib opted to use? – are coming out strongly in favor of delaying the tax!
So what’s missing from the Strib story, bylined to Jim Spencer?
Look it over. Carefully. Carefully…
How about any mention that both Senators voted for the tax initially?
Both Franken and Klobuchar participated eagerly in jamming Obamacare down the American people’s collective throat; both have timidly objected via friendly media in the least obtusive way possible; never bucking their caucus, never ruffling the Administration’s narrative, never standing up for the thousands of constituents that are already being harmed by the tax in any way that would bring them any risk whatsoever. Both of our Senators have invested facile lip service to delaying or repealing the tax – but neither of them have ever put a vote, or any substantive political capital, on the line.
Spencer’s loathsome Strib piece is what we call “public relations”. It’s what the Strib and most of the rest of the Twin Cities media is there for.
State Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud, led the GOP effort to cut spending in the state’s Health and Human Services budget when the Republicans controlled the Legislature. Now, both he and his Senate counterpart [Hann] have business links to the insurance industry, which has some other lawmakers asking whether the arrangement violates ethics rules.
This is a chanting point that the DFL’s been working up for a while here. The DFL’s beef is that…
…some Democratic lawmakers are raising questions about the arrangement.
“I can see why the owner of the business was pushing for the bill. It’s more business for him,” said Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville. “The fact that [Gottwalt] is now working for him, I’m disappointed in that.”
Health insurance brokers backed the legislation, championed by Gotttwalt’s counterpart in the other chamber, state Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie.
The incoming chairman of the House ethics committee, Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, said: “If these are payoffs, then the ethics committee needs to look at it.”
And if there are not payoffs – and there aren’t – then will Huntley, Marty, and the idiot leftyblogger chanting point bots apologize to Hann and Gottwalt?
Read Scheck’s piece for the details.
But I have a few questions, here:
Who else are you going to have working on healthcare finance policy? A bunch of lawyers and social workers? Who knows the financial side of the healthcare industry better than people who, y’know, work on the financial side of the healthcare industry?
Aren’t we cherrypicking the outrage we choose to feed to the media, DFL? Shouldn’t we bar teachers from committees on education appropriations? . Union activists oughtta be at least recusing themselves from votes on Right to Work and unionizing daycare and personal care workers! Do we want lawyers writing laws? And don’t be trying to hide, there, Erin Murphy; I’m told you were the executive director of a nursing lobby group, and became the ranking DFLer on the Healthcare Committee. Or Ryan Winkler, who is employed (heh) at Ted Mondale’s government-data-mining software company, sounding off about legislation that’d involve another data-mining company?
Of course, the DFL finds these kinds of non-corrupt “corruption” all the time, while practicing it themselves.
If only we had some institution – maybe with printing presses and transmitters, and people whose job it was to run down little facts like this? Perhaps those people working for that institution could think of themselves as a holy, truth-seeking monastic order? Call themselves “high priests of gatekeeping”, perhaps?
Just a thought.
By the way – lost in the contrived, DFL-agenda-driven “hubbub”: the program that Gottwalt and Hann developed has been a huge improvement for the Minnesotans it was intended to serve. ”Healthy Minnesota” gives its participants vouchers enabling them to buy a standard insurance plan on the open market; it’s cheaper than UCare, and the participants get better, more personally-focused coverage than provided by the state. There are gaps – every insurance plan has ‘em – but it was, as advertised, a huge improvement over UCare at lower cost.
In other words, it’s a government program that does what it’s supposed to do, and saves money to boot.
But “big business” is invovled, and that thought apparently gives DFLers explosive diarrhea.
Yesterday and Monday, we went over the chronology of the last-minute negotiations and back-and-forth leading up to the State Government shutdown, which started seventeen months ago last night. The abbreviated time-line:
On June 29, the GOP made an offer. It traded giving some ground on revenue for some movement on social issues.
On the morning of June 30, the DFL leadership – Dayton, Senate minority leader Bakk and House minority leader Thissen – demanded $1.4 billion in new revenues.
Much discussion ensued. It ensued under the “cone of silence”; the participants really didn’t let on much about what was going on.
At noonish on the 30th, Dayton – without Bakk and Thissen – made an offer that dropped most of the revenue demands, and was pretty close – almost dead-on – with the GOP’s letter. The letter mentioned no social issues – because they were off the table at this time.
More discussion. More cone.
Mid-afternoon, the Legislature sent its counteroffer, including revenue from the “school funding shift” and the tobacco bond money. This should have settled it – and indeed, was substantially the same as the offer that Dayton finally accepted to end the shutdown.
Late-afternoon, the DFL ratcheted back to their morning demands.
At 10PM, the Governor essentially claimed that he was shutting down the government because the GOP had rejected the offer in 7, above, and was unwilling to compromise.
And that was that.
In the hour or so after the shutdown, the GOP Caucus released the contents of the letters that had transpired on the 29th and 30th. The release included pages 2-4 of this document here:
No mention of social policy in there. it was not an issue.
So the government shut down. DFL and media narratives aside, it was a disaster for the governor. Government actually saved money; hardly anyone outside of government missed it; the people largely were apathetic, as the Governor learned on a tour of the state to attempt to rally support that drew nothing but dispirited SEIU goons. He returned to the Capitol, and returned to the GOP’s last offer.
And not long after, he gave this talk in WCCO-TV with Esme Murphy – which we’ve featured a time or two:
I was unaware on June 30, in fact I was clearly aware to the contrary, that all these social policy issues, from banning stem cell research and everything else, and just really reactionary social policy, was taken off the table.
Esme Murphy let that line pass without comment – as, in fact, she always does, as her mission seems to be to make sure DFL pols get a nice massage on the air.
But nobody else noted the contradiction; of course he was aware.
The GOP mentioned no policy issues in its June 30 proposal! As we noted above, it was nearly identical to the governor’s previous offer, differing on a few fiscal tweaks!
His rejection of that offer mentioned no social policy issues. Because they were off the table.
No, “social issues” only came up well the shutdown was settled.
Mark Dayton was shot down completely on the shutdown. And yet the media have allowed him to carry on with the “social policy” canard.
If I were a cynic, you’d think it was because the media was in the bag for Dayton, and wanted to give him cover. You’d also think the media were even more in the bag for the DFL – and chanting the governor’s version of the shutodwn is a key part of the DFL’s attempt to retake the legislature, which a good chunk of the media (at least at the management and editorial-board level) clearly wants.
And I am a cynic.
Because the alternate explanation is that the media just isn’t as smart and attentive to details as I am.
And that just beggars the imagination.
So when will the media start “fact-checking” Dayton’s story? Or their own, for that matter?
Seventeen months ago yesterday, in the midst of negotiations about the budget, the GOP-led Legislature sent Governor Dayton a proposed budget. It offered some concessions on revenue, and asked for some ground on social issues.
First thing the next morning, June 30 – 17 months ago today – the DFL came out with a counter-offer.
Labeled the “Dayton-Bakk-Thissen Compromise Budget Proposal”, it demanded $1.4 billion in new revenues. It was a further negotiation, just like the Legislature’s letter the day before.
And – this is important – it had all three DFL leaders on board. Governor Dayton, Senate minority leader Bakk and House minority leader Thissen all signed off on this proposal.
We’ll refer to this as “The Morning Letter” from now on.
And as the government coursed toward the midnight shutdown, that apparently was where things stayed.
The rest of this article uses this Scribd file, originally from Dayton’s chief of staff Bob Hume, as its source.
It’s been popping up around the Twin Cities media off and on ever since the shutdown.
The Morning Letter
Now, much of what went on over the next 6-7 hours is shrouded in mystery; it took place in off-the-record conversations and phone calls and communications that aren’t available to the general public if they’re recorded at all.
Noon: Dayton’s Offer
But the upshot of those conversations – whatever they were – was that at 3PM on the 30th of June, the Governor – alone, without Thissen or Bakk – released a proposal that dropped all tax increases.
There were three significant things about this letter, which we’ll call “Dayton’s Offer”.
One was that Dayton dropped demands for tax increases, in return, Dayton proposed a 50% shift in school funding to the following biennium – the “borrowing from the children” that the DFL and media have worked so hard to pin on the GOP this past year. It was a major concession by the Governor. According to sources on Capitol Hill familiar with the negotiations, this was seen by the GOP majority in the Legislature as a key step toward reaching a “lights-on” agreement to prevent the shutdown.
But the other two significant things were actually things missing from the proposal:
Bakk and Thissen: Their names had been on the Morning Letter – but were absent at 3PM. Sources at the Capitol indicate that that’s because – well, Bakk and Thissen didn’t support it!
Any mention of GOP policy proposals: The Dayton Offer includes no reference to GOP “Social Policy” proposals – because Dayton knew at noon on the 30th that the GOP had taken them off the table. This is an inference, both by my sources and myself. It’s also the only logical conclusion.
So as of a little after lunch on 6/30, the Legislature and the Governor – but not Bakk and Thissen – were in basic agreement; no tax hikes, no social policy concessions.
The 3PM Letter
A couple of hours later, at 3PM, the GOP sent a counter-offer. It involved two tweaks to Dayton’s proposal:
Cutting the size of the education shift (at the recommendation of Dayton’s Education Commissioner)
Making up the difference with tobacco bonding
This letter – we’ll call it “The 3PM Letter” – involved accepting the concessions in The Dayton Offer with a few on the GOP’s part. Otherwise, the two offers were just about identical.
As of 3PM, then, it looked as if the Governor and the Legislature were in agreement, and the shutdown could be averted.
The 4:06PM Letter
Dayton responded about an hour later, at 4:06PM. Dayton accepted the changes to the education shift – it was his administration’s idea, after all – but tossed the tobacco bonding proposal and renewed the demand for new taxes…
…that he himself had taken off the table earlier in the afternoon!
The GOP’s response expressed dismay at the sudden – I believe the term of art in the Age of Obama is “unexpected” – flip-flop on Dayton’s part – and proposed a “lights-on” bill.
So To Recap…
Just to make sure we’re clear, here:
The DFL – Dayton, Bakk and Thissen – demanded $1.4B.
Negotiation ensued under the “cone of silence”.
Dayton offered to drop the tax demands, and by omission showed that the GOP had dropped their social policy demands.
The GOP accepted this proposal, with a few fine tweaks, including one from Dayton’s own administration.
Dayton spun on his heels and rejected that offer – ignored it, really – and countered with a flip-flop on taxes.
The “cone of silence” remained in effect for the next five or six hours. Nobody exactly knows what transpired on the way to Dayton’s big speech at 10PM.
It’s full of prevarications, and one outright lie:
“Therefore, a $1.4 billion gap remains between our last respective offers.” But the GOP’s proposal on the 29th offered to compromise with the DFL on revenue. The conservative base – myself included – would have howled at this, but the GOP was clearly looking to keep the government open.
“Republicans have offered only to forego their $200 million tax cut and add that amount of spending. While welcomed, $200 million is only a small step toward resolving a $5 billion deficit.” The 3PM Letter shows that the GOP was willing to go along with some sort of revenue hikes.
“Today, Representative Thissen, Senator Bakk, and I made two proposals which contained revenues to be raised by increasing taxes only on people who make more than $1 million per year. The Department of Revenue reports that there are only 7,700 of them, less than 0.3% of all Minnesota tax filers.” Well, no. Dayton made two offers; Bakk and Thissen only participated in the first one.
The Administration started out demanding tax hikes; the GOP expressed a willingness to compromise. The Administration then flip-flopped and went back to their first set of demands, ignoring the GOP concessions (for purposes of presenting the media a narrative), with Dayton contradicting himself in the process.
And Here’s Where The Media Tush-Smooching Comes In
The Governor contradicted himself and rejected a proposal that was one minor tweak removed from his own, Bakk-And-Thissen-less offer (“Dayton’s Offer”), leading directly to the government shutdown.
And yet today, 17 months later, the DFL’s PACs and pressure groups refer to it as “the Republican shutdown”. It’s a Big Lie. But nobody’s countering it.
I’ve often wondered; what if our society had an institution, maybe even an industry, with printing presses and transmitters, staffed with people whose job and training involves checking up on things that government officials say – and maybe even holding them accountable for the things they say and do? Heck, even allow this institution to see itself as an aescetic elite who “comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted”, in exchange for, you know, actually comforting and afflicting.
We could use this in Minnesota.
Remember where we started yesterday – with Esme Murphy giving Mark Dayton her usual deep-tongue-kiss on her Sunday Morning Show:
Notwithstanding the contradictions in Dayton’s own proposals that are part of the public record timeline of the negotiations on June 29-30, Dayton runs with the “Social Issues” canard.
The Strib also served, then as now, as Dayton’s de facto stenographer in their “coverage” of the chain of events.
The Star-Tribune also bought Dayton’s line – that the “requested concessions” brought on the shutdown – completely uncritically, without noting the evolution, and then abrupt de-evolution, on Dayton’s position. The Strib mentioned not a word about the “flip-flop”.
Tomorrow – appropriately, Halloween – the way the shutdown went down, and conclusions about “journalism” and Governor Dayton.
Like most conservatives, there are few things in the world I like less than standing around, marching or chanting. Oh, I do like being out in the fresh air with a group of good people that have goals similar to mine in mind – but leaving aside the fact that it seems so group-think-y, hippy-ish and downright liberal, it’s pretty much inevitable that there’ll be something better to do, somewhere in the world, than that.
But I, myself, am getting a little exercised about the Star/Tribune’s ongoing propaganda exercise (AKA “the Minnesota Poll”). And I’m more than a little tempted to grab an afternoon next week and see if we can’t get some people more or less like us out in front of 425 Portland to try to let them know that not everyone out there is a querulous low-information lemming.
Who’s a better actor; Scarlett Johannson or Donald Rumsfeld?
Now, if you’re a sophisticated polling operation like the Star/Tribune “Minnesota Poll” – a Mason-Dixon joint – it’s an easy question; Ms. Johannson will likely outpoll the former Secretary of Defense.
Of course, you may respond “but measuring a Secretary of Defense in terms of acting skill is meaningless!”
And if you say that, then you’re already too smart to buy the latest Minnesota poll.
The final Star/Tribune Minnesota poll of this long, nauseating week was released this morning – and it has two conclusions:
After two years of budget battles, vetoes and the longest state shutdown in Minnesota history, DFL Gov. Mark Dayton is winning the popularity battle with the GOP-controlled Legislature, a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll has found.
A slim majority of 53 percent of likely voters say they approve of Dayton’s job performance, while 31 percent disapprove. Another 16 percent say they are undecided.
For the majority leaders of the Legislature, the poll found 51 percent disapprove of the job they are doing. Another 21 percent approve and 24 percent are undecided.
This poll really needs two responses.
Damnation With Faint Praise
The poll notes that Governor Dayton scored a 53 percent approval rating.
Now, on its face, that’s not a good number. Under 50%, says conventional wisdom, is trouble – and Dayton is a governor that’s done virtually nothing in two years but make odd, slurred pronouncements before scuttling away into his office under the cover of a fawning media.
But as always, you have to look below “the face”. Of course, the poll has the same absurd, worse-than-Watergate-level turnout model – Democrats 41, Republicans 28 – as all the other polls this week.
However, for some reason the Strib doesn’t favor us with the full range of crosstabs; while reporter Jim Ragsdale notes the Governor’s geographic strengths and weaknesses, at no point in the article is the approval of Republicans or Democrats explained.
Is this an accident? Or would showing it reveal something about the poll the Strib doesn’t want us to see?
Because if we assume Democrats are over-polled by 3%, and that they were the vast majority of the “approve” numbers, then Dayton’s approval drops down to right around 50% – and the “disapprove” numbers jump into the high thirties if we assume most Republicans disapprove of Dayton’s job.
Of course, it’s all guesswork until the Strib releases those crosstabs.
Damnation By Packing Peanuts
Of course, the numbers on the legislature are just plain nonsense
For the majority leaders of the Legislature, certain trouble spots stand out: Only 24 percent of voters in the metro suburbs outside of Hennepin and Ramsey — which include strong GOP areas — approve of their leadership, while more than half disapprove. In southwestern Minnesota, 57 percent disapprove. They had slightly stronger showings in Rochester, where 30 percent approve, and in the northwest corner of the state at 33 percent.
This is just a stupid thing to measure.
Grading a legislature, as an entire body, all together, is like asking what a football fan thinks of the NFC Central Division. You will get a dog’s breakfast of opinions, or no opinion – because the division is not the focus (except for bracketing playoffs).
Put another way? Nobody is going to vote for “The Legislature” this fall. They will vote for or against candidates. I will be voting for Rick Karschnia for State Senate and Dan Lipp for House; not “for the legislature” or even “for the House GOP caucus”. And I”m a wonk!
Indeed, this next paragraph sums up the absurdity of the whole question:
One startling figure is that the GOP-controlled Legislature only broke even among Republican voters: 31 percent approve, 32 percent disapprove and 37 percent are undecided. Undecided numbers are higher throughout the Legislature’s poll, suggesting many voters do not have a clear opinion on the topic.
I disapproved of the Legislature’s job! The GOP caucuses gave away too much money in 2011 and caved on the stadium last year without getting anything useful in return! I give them a “D”.
Does that mean I’m going to support Mark Dayton? Not if you held a gun to my head (not to give the SEIU any ideas).
It’s a meaningless number.
So Why Run A Poll With A Meaningless Number?
That one’s easy; it gives the Strib a nice tidy number – 53-21 approval ratings! – to toss in front of people who don’t pay much attention to what the numbers actually mean. These voters – the “Low-Information Voters”, people who retain headlines from the Mainstream Media and believe things that appear in the Strib – are the target for this sort of polling, or as it’s known in the world of logic, a “non-sequitur”. The Strib is comparing apples and axles, just like comparing Donald Rumsfeld with Scarlett Johannsen.
While the individual numbers might be valid (they’re not – remember, the turnout model is absurd), at least in terms of math used to generate the numbers we see – but even if both numbers were in fact dead-nut accurate, what the Strib has done is created a phony horserace.
And why would the Strib splash a phony, non-sequitur comparison on its front page when it only serves to show Mark Dayton with a decisive (if phony) lead…
About 46 percent of the state’s likely voters say they support keeping the Affordable Care Act, whose main tenets were largely upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court this summer, while 47 percent believe the law should go.
As always when dealing with any polls – especially polls with records of dishonesty as long as the Strib’s -http://www.startribune.com/local/171271561.html. The Strib’s, in case you’ve forgotten, is 41% Democrat, 28% Republican – which, as I showed yesterday, is more Democrat-leaning than the 1976 post-Watergate, post-Nixon-pardon election, the post-war nadir of GOP fortunes.
As a bipartisan sampling – liberal Hamline poli-sci professor Dave Schultz and I – both agree, the sample is more like 38% DFL, 34% GOP. Since 80% of DFLers (according to the Minnesota Poll) support the amendment, that means you deduct 80% of 3 points – 2.4 – from the “support” column. Likewise, 90% of the six additional points of Republicans – 5.4% – support repeal.
With those assumptions – a more realistic turnout model and those levels of support – the “repeal” case is really more like 52-44.
It looks like the MInnesota Poll is building up to the Senate Race.
As I wait for the latest “Minnesota Poll” to release its results for the Senate race, I’ve been turning the poll’s D+13 (their sample of respondents was 41% Democrat and 28% Republican) number around in my head.
After all, as the Strib tells us, “Brad Coker, managing director of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which conducted the poll for the Star Tribune, said those numbers are consistent with what he has seen over the years”.
But as we noted yesterday, the 2008 election – an epic Democrat win – was D+6 or so. The 2010 election had turnout of D+2, roughly, and turned out to be a GOP rout nationwide and in the MN Legislature.
So what about the worst election in the past 50 years for the GOP – the post-Watergate presidential election of 1976? Where the GOP got shredded in DC and in Saint Paul, sending the MNGOP running to their “Independent Republican” label?
I can’t find the partisan split – but does it seem unreasonable that in a year when Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Fold by 12 points in Minnesota that the partisan split was, maybe in the neighborhood of D+12?
In other words, maybe somewhere around the D+13 number the Strib would have you believe today?
As we look at the abusive travesty that is the Minnesota Poll – in this case, the ludicrously skewed, 3:2 pro-DFL partisan breakdown in this weekend’s polling on the two Constitutional Amendments – let’s take a trip back through history.
Let’s make sure we’re clear on this. Pollsters attacking pollsters in public is a little like magicians publicly heckling other magicians.
Is there any evidence the Strib has polished up their methodology?
No. Indeed, the two polls released over the weekend on the Marriage and Voter ID amendments show quite the opposite – or that some copy editor took a poll of Ramsey County voters and mislabeled it a poll of Minnesotans.
The Strib “Minnesota Poll” is doing what it’s paid to do: create a pro-DFL bandwagon effect, and suppress GOP voter turnout. It’s calling Minnesota at Obama with 48% and Romney with 40%.
But the poll uses the same absurd D41/R28 breakdown that the Marriage and Voter ID polls. This polling would have you believe that while in 2008, with a messianic media darling running against an unpopular two-term candidate (McCain was irrevant) and the war the DFL had a six point advantage in partisan turnout (D39 R33), this year, mirabile dictu, we have a 13 point Democrat advantage in this state?
If you use turnout numbers from somewhere in between 2008 and 2010 – say, D36 R34 – and multiply the changes by the percent of each party that the poll itself says plan on voting for their candidate (93% of Democrats plan to vote for Obama, vs 96% of Republicans), then you wind up lopping off roughly .3% of Obama’s numbers, and adding a whopping 5.8% to Romney’s.
That makes the real split 47.7% Obama, 45.8% Romney.
Question – especially for you libs in the audience: In what way is a widely (one might say “lavishly”) publicized poll using a partisan split that this state hasn’t seen since Watergate to be interepreted as anything other than an elaborate voter-suppression scam?
And coming barely a week after the generally-accurate Survey USA poll showing Voter ID passing by a 2:1 margin, the Strib would have you believe…:
Slightly more than half of likely voters polled — 52 percent — want the changes built around a photo ID requirement, while 44 percent oppose them and 4 percent are undecided.
That is a far cry from the 80 percent support for photo ID in a May 2011 Minnesota Poll, when the issue was debated as a change in state law. Support among Democrats has cratered during a year marked by court battles, all-night legislative debates and charges that the GOP is attempting to suppress Democratic votes.
Republicans and independents continue to strongly back the proposal, which passed the Legislature this year without a single DFL vote.
Wow. Sounds close!
Sort of; if you accept the validity of the numbers (and unless the DFL is headed for a blowout win, you must never accept the validity of the “Minnesota Poll’s” numbers), and every single undecided voter today voted “no”, the measure would pass in a squeaker.
But are the numbers valid? And by “valid”, I don’t mean “did they do the math right”, I mean “did they poll a representative sample of Minnesotans?”
To find that out, you have to do something that almost nobody in the Strib’s reading audience does; look at the partisan breakdown of the survey’s respondents. Which is in a link buried in the middle of a sidebar, between the main article and the cloud of ads and clutter to the right of the page, far-removed from the headline and the lede graf. Which takes you to a page that notes (with emphasis added):
• The self-identified party affiliation of the random sample is: 41 percent Democrat, 28 percent Republican and 31 percent independent or other.
That’s right – as with the Marriage Amendment numbers we looked at this morning (it’s the same survey), the Strib wants you to believe…
…well, no. I’m not sure they “want” anyone to believe anything. I’m sure they want people to read the headling and the “almost tied!” lede, and not dig too far into the numbers.
It’s part of the Democrat’s “Low-Information Voters” campaign; focus on voters who don’t dig for facts, who accept what the media tells them, who vote based on the last chanting point they heard.
Fearless prediction: On November 4, the Strib will release a “Minnesota Poll” that shows the Voter ID Amendment slightly behind, using a partisan breakdown with an absurdly high number of DFLers. It’ll be done as a sort of positive bandwagon effect – to make DFLers feel there’s a point to come out and vote against the Voter ID Amendment (and for Obama, Klobuchar, and the rest of the DFL slate, natch).
And it will be a complete lie. Voter ID will pass by 20 points, and this cycle of polling will disappear down the media memory hole like all the rest of them.
Question: Given that its entire purpose seems to be to build DFL bandwagons and discourage conservative voters, when do we start calling the “Minnesota Poll” what it seems to be – a form of vote suppression?
Gov. Dayton’s first two years have been abysmal. What was it he wanted to do as governor anyway? Wouldn’t a house and senate controlled by republicans offer him the perfect opportunity to lead? To show compromise? To get things done as these political types like to pretend they can? If one was a real leader instead of a lost soul looking for external housing to shore up the inner, yes. But a leader is not who Gov. Dayton is and it is not who he will be in the coming two years, either.
John’s a good friend of this blog. But I’m not sure whether he’s overestimating Dayton, or underestimating him.
On the one hand, the entire body of evidence that Mark Dayton has ever been that kind of politician is…the body of Mark Dayton’s spoken record claiming it.
On the other hand? Mark Dayton, his beliefs, his “ideas” and “ideals” and “policy initiatives” – are about as relevant as mine are to the job – because Mark Dayton isn’t really the governor. Indeed, when they paint Mark Dayton’s official gubernatorial portrait – hopefully in two years – it should look a little like this:
It’s an intercom speaker. Dayton occupies a seat with the sole mission of repeating, like that intercom speaker, what Alita Messinger and Elliot Seid and Javier Morillo and Tom Dooher to say.
And when he doesn’t have electric cables tied to him, figuratively, to carry their messages, he may as well be that intercom speaker; he’s about as fluent a public speaker as a disconnected intercom.
Back to Gilmore:
Last week the Governor, sounding like a vaguely fascist mandarin, simply insisted without any intellectual depth or sustained engagement that taxes must increase because of his perceived need of all that government must do. His idea of the size & scope of government is not open to discussion. There is no opting out from it because he knows best. What’s that called again?
He made his statement at what, until just yesterday, I had been led to believe was simply a speech reported on by the press. Instead, as MinnPost reported the day before (as did the Pioneer Press), it was a University Lecture. MinnPost polished the knob by saying that the title “university lecturer” could be added to Mark Dayton’s resume. No, really.
Yet what shocked is that this was a lecture grandly titled: “Minnesota’s Future: Challenges and Opportunities” given to the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs Policy Fellows (there’s more intellectual diversity among supporters of Ron Paul by orders of magnitude; the Fellows are the stuff of David Mamet’s nightmares). This was a liberal/progressive/left confab with Little Lord Fauntleroy in attendance.
Now, listening to Mark Dayton speak is, to this speech teacher’s kid, a singularly masochistic thought. The guy has the diction of Michael Stipe circa 1984. He’s not a monotone – he’s got two or three tones, really.
And that’s just style points:
I listened to the audio of the Governor’s 25 minute speech. It is appallingly bad. To learn only after the fact that it was a university lecture proper for a set of fellows was mind boggling. He spoke from notes as best from what I could tell. Meandering, at times pointless, at others a non-sequitur minefield, his speech revealed that there is serious trouble with our Chief Executive.
Here’s the problem:
But wait there’s more! The event was closed to the public.
Pardon? Is this possible? Is Common Cause Minnesota on it? From whence shall our help come? Surely the event was taped and surely I will get my hands on it. Try making it private. The entire speech and question and answer session should be posted on the Humphrey School’s website without delay. This event was not a private function.
Huh. Odd, that.
Where are Common Cause? The ACLU? All the usual watchdogs? MPR’s “Poligraph?”
But here’s the real question:
Why would the press acquiesce in this? Access? Or just the usual hot dish politics? Both?
That’s easy. For some of the media, it’s access.
For others, it’s that they see themselves as the DFL’s Praetorian Guard.
Remember – after over a decade of hearing about the Governor’s history of alcohol abuse and treatment, of mental illness and concomitant prescriptions for various psychotropic medication, the sum total of the Twin Cities mainstream media’s coverage of Candidate Dayton’s chemical and psychological history was one, single, solitary piece in the Strib by Rachel Stassen-Berger, in January 2010 – roughly nine months before anyone outside the wonk class gave a crap about the election.
Our Governor’s visual performance at this public event is what is being deliberately withheld from the public. What an odd thing to say about Minnesota politics.
If it had been a Republican vice presidential candidate who had made those gaffes, one after another, so comically, and all on tape, the subject today of the panel would be how stupid is this person, can this person possibly govern?
They know what matters, though. Romney’s income taxes and holding impromptu on-air conference committees to reconcile the Romney and Ryan budgets, three months before the election and five months before they take (God willing) office.
No huge surprises in the primaries yesterday – at least not at the polls.
But the big news in my book? The Strib’s poison-pen endorsements went 1 out of 3, with an asterisk on that “1″.
In the northeast subs, Karin Housley beat Eric Langness despite getting a snide, snotty, insincere little pseudo-endorsement from the Strib that served mostly as a free ad for the DFL candidate, wannabe professional politician Julie Bunn. Hopefully Housley will go on to earn much tut-tutting from the Strib’s editorial board (or, let’s be honest, Lori Sturdevant, who seems to set the board’s political barometer).
But it was in the western subs that the Strib truly came a’cropper.
In HD33B, Tea Party activists (“community organizer”? Hmmm) Cindy Pugh pummeled career Representative Steve Smith by more than 2:1 – notwithstanding that the Strib gave Smith a glowing endorsement. Glowing – but hardly surprising; while Smith had a few conservative issues (he was a solid Second Amendment supporter and had a Taxpayers League scorecard not too out of line with many GOP leaders), the DFL could count on him to vex the conservative caucus on some key issues. That, of course, is why the Strib endorsed him.
That race was never really in doubt; Pugh had a huge lead from time the first returns came in.
The nail-biter came in Senate District 33. Connie Doepke – the former Representative who decided to buck the SD33 Republicans’ endorsement of Dave Osmek – jumped out to an early lead, which became the only real cliff-hanger of the evening. With every wave of precincts that came in, Osmek whittled away at Doepke’s lead, until close to 11PM, when with three precincts to go Osmek took the lead. The final margin was 107 votes in favor of Osmek.
As Buckley once said, you should vote for the most conservative candidate who can win. Both Pugh and Osmek are running in a district that is solidly Republican – something like plus 22, if I recall correctly. I suspect they’ll both win comfortably.
Housley faces a tougher race; the northeast subs of Saint Paul are just about neutral, and the media will be out to try to re-install Bunn. Housley will need some help.
As we’ve discussed earlier, the Star Tribune has two goals in its “Endorsement” process:
Promote the DFL. At the least, an endorsement is free advertising. Beyond that? It gulls the gullible.
Ensure that whatever GOP does get elected causes the DFL as little trouble as possible. It’s why all and sundry among their columnists, except Katherine Kersten, constantly harken back to the bad old days, when the GOP was basically the DFL with better suits.
Rep. Steve Smith of the southwest ‘burbs is at best a “moderate” Republican, conservative only only law-and-order issues, and would give “RINOs” a bad name on most other topics – or, as the Strib puts it, “thoughtful and pragmatic”.
And that’s the least of his problems. Talk with any mainstream conservative Republican in the legislature about Smith and you get a lot of head-shaking, eye-rolling and “Oof-da”-ing. From the partisan to the political to the personal, Representative Smith is reportedly a poster child for the downside of life as a professional politician.
But he’s not even a speed bump for the DFL on most issues. and that means “Strib Heart Smith“:
Or as the Strib – and I have it on fair authority that Lori Sturdevant wrote this one too – puts it:
To function well, the perennially divided Legislature needs mavericks — independent-minded centrists willing to occupy the battle-scarred ground between the two parties and to stretch in both directions to strike deals.
But only so long as they stretch to the left.
Seriously – you’ll look long and in vain for similar praise for DFLers who inch to the right. Partly because the DFL excises them from the party like they’re tumors (See Norm Coleman, Randy Kelly, Jerry Blakey, John Harrington). Partly because to the Strib Editorial Board, sticking to one’s guns goes by two names; “populist pugnacity!” on the left, “partisan extremism” on the right.
Smith, naturally, “stretches” obligingly and solely to the left:
For 22 years, state Rep. Steve Smith, 62, a family law attorney [we'll come back to that] from Mound, has played that difficult and increasingly lonely role. He gets our nod on that basis over Southwest Metro Tea Party founder Cindy Pugh of Chanhassen, who has party endorsement.
Not just party endorsement – like Dave Osmek, she had overwhelming party endorsement.
Which is yet another reason the Strib is endorsing Smith – to do its bit to undercut the GOP – a goal at which Smith is a reliable ally:
Unlike most Republicans, Smith is allied with organized labor — eight unions had endorsed him as of late last week. He opposes the same-sex-marriage ban that most Republican legislators voted to put before the voters this year. He voted for the stadium bill; Pugh says she would have voted no.
On vote after vote after vote, Smith tossed the caucus, and a Republican mainstream that has moved to the right over his decades of incumbency, under the bus – to the point where the caucus finally had to do something:
Speaker Kurt Zellers broke with customary practice two weeks ago by endorsing Pugh over his caucusmate Smith. After the 2011 session, amid rumors about Smith’s relationship with a female staffer (he is divorced), Zellers stripped Smith of the chairmanship of the House Judiciary Policy and Finance Committee. (The woman in question no longer works for the House.)
Want double standards? The Strib’s got ‘em!:
By comparison, Pugh, 55, a former general manager of Dayton’s in St. Paul, is an energetic, personable apostle of free-market conservatism….By her own admission, if District 33B voters send Pugh to the Capitol next January, she’ll have a lot to learn.
Pugh is a successful businesswoman, and a key organizer of a political movement, the Southwest Metro Tea Party, that has been turning the formerly “purple” Third CD redder and redder by the year for for the past three years. She is a dynamo. Like many of the recent conservative “Tea Party” class of current legislators, she’s got a lifetime of real accomplishments outside of politics. While the Strib may well prefer someone who’s spent an adult lifetime growing roots in the Capitol, one suspects the voters are getting smarter.
And I did mention double standards, right? You’ll scour the Strib in vain for any patronizing references to the inexperience of, say, Carly Melin, a 25 year old DFL drone-ette whom the DFL trucked straight from Hamline Law School in Saint Paul to the Iron Range just in time to meet the residency requirements, for an insta-endorsement and perfunctory election to the House, notwithstanding the fact that she had no useful experience at anything, much less politics.
If they send Smith, he’ll have a different set of challenges.
He’ll have the kind of challenges that, were he a conservative like Tom Hackbarth, would have gotten obsessive coverage in the Strib.
We hope voters give him a chance to overcome them. Legislative mavericks are in grievously short supply.
No, we’ve got mavericks; a majority of them in both chambers. They broke from the Strib’s orthodoxy.
As to Smith? He’s a RINO. That is forgiveable, personally if not politically. He’s a throwback to an earlier, more useless era in the Minnesota GOP; the Carlson/Durenberger years, when the “Indendent Republican” party went along to get along. May those days be soon forgotten.
What is unforgiveable is that Smith has been one of the leading forces against custody reform in Minnesota. It’s a system that intentionally exacerbates divorces, by enshrining a “winner takes all” custody and support system that inflames divorces (and racks up billable hours for Smith’s fellow “Family Court” lawyers) and, make no mistake, operates in the precise worst interest of children in the vast majority of cases. Minnesota’s current child custody system is a barbaric monstrosity that should be rooted out and killed.
For his decades of supporting this inexcusable barbarism, there is no circle in hell hot or dark enough for Smith (rhetorically and morally speaking, at any rate). He deserves to be pelted with rocks and garbage, mocked and exiled from polite civilization.
But I, and nearly 90% of his district’s Republicans, would be happy to settle for simply retiring from politics, starting Wednesday morning.
That’s what a conservative female friend of mine described the Strib’s “endorsement” of Karin Housley (over Eric Langness) in the SD39 race.
It was an apt description:
Housley, 48, outclasses Langness, 34, and gets our nod, but it’s not an enthusiastic one. The Realtor and radio talk-show host, married to 21-year NHL star and Stillwater hockey coach Phil Housley, is making her second bid for the state Senate. She lost narrowly in 2010 to DFL Sen. Katie Sieben in pre-redistricting District 57.
Years of interest in legislative service should have led Housley to bone up on state issues. Her confession that she hasn’t analyzed the state budget, and her claim that “there’s waste across the board,” might be acceptable from a first-time candidate. They’re troubling the second time around.
Although not “troubling” enough for the Strib to similarly snif about many, many DFLers they endorse notwithstanding much genuine “ignorance” (or, as real people call it, “focusing on priorities”).
Still, we see more potential in Housley than in Langness, director of career services for Anthem College. He’s a former Forest Lake School Board member whose efforts to cut school spending led to his defeat for reelection in 2009.
The message: “at least we don’t know that Housley is one of those big bad conservatives”.
We did say “bitchy”, right?
District 39 isn’t in the habit of sending DFLers to the Legislature. But voters who share our concerns about the GOP contenders should know that former state Rep. Julie Bunn — a Stanford University Ph.D. economist and former Macalester College professor — is the DFL candidate on the November ballot. She warrants their consideration.
“We interrupt this primary endorsement to provide a free, fawning, foot-sniffing ad for a DFLer wannabe-career-politician who’s not running in the primary”.
I’m always amazed that Strib writers and editors are so nonplussed that anyone could accuse them of systematic bias.