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.

I Went To Rochester, And All I Got Was A Hotel Bill

People have asked me what I thought about last week’s GOP convention.

First things first:  I’m happy that Jeff Johnson won the endorsement.  I never, ever “endorse” candidates myself – it’s really arrogant, it’s hell on bookings, and who cares what I think? – but I was honestly torn between Jeff and Dave Thompson, and will be happy to support either of them, or Seifert, Honour, Farnsworth or Zellers for that matter, if they wind up on the ballot after the primary.   Dayton

“But what about the Seifert flap?”   My friend Ben Kruse, broadcasting at the lesser talk station, made waves by lighting up Seifert earlier this week.  I’m less certain; I think it was a tactical play that didn’t work, but may not necessarily have backfired.  It’s a long way to the primary. 

“How about McFadden?” I get the impression that the Norm Colemans and Vin Webers and other K Street eminimentoes who are behind the McFadden campaign are presuming that keeping a candidate enigmatic until the last final push to the election is a good tactic, starving the media beast of opposition research opportunities.  Part of me wonders if the tactic isn’t to keep him quiet now (when 1% of the electorate cares) until Labor Day (when maybe 10% cares), but sometime before the week or two before the election (when the vast majority start to pay attention).  It’s an interesting experiment, if that’s the case. 

I would urge McFadden to get straight with Minnesota’s gun owners.  They’re a big, organized, conservative bloc – and you do not want them staying home, or squandering their votes on some bobbleheaded Libertarian, come election day. 

More on the show tomorrow.

For It Before He Was Against It

Al Franken supported a program that uses taxpayer money to give foreign companies a leg up in the market over US companies…

…until someone whispered “Hey, Al – this directly harms Minnesota business, and uses Minnesotans’ tax dollars to do it…”.

But in politics, policy must become parochial for a politician before they see the error of their ways. In July of 2013, the Bank’s activities became a threat to Minnesotans and for Franken, who voted to reauthorize the Bank just months earlier.

Half a billion worth of business (provided you’re a crony of Franken and his clique).  Good, right?

Apparently Franken needed reminding that Minnesotans are his constituents; he reversed his vote when someone apparently reminded him of this factoid:

But when the citizens of Minnesota were in danger of being directly and substantially harmed, Mr. Franken suddenly became “concerned.”…

U.S. iron ore production is concentrated in Michigan and Minnesota…

Australia is in the midst of an economic boom right now, due in significant part to the expansion of its mining industry.

And how’s the Iron Range doing these days?

Now – let’s place some odds on whether MPR, the Strib or the MinnPost ever cover this story.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Must be getting closer to an election, or something. Being pelted with emails from Senator Franken telling me how busy he has been. Yeah? Doing what, senator?

Fourth Annual Minnesota Hot Dish Cookoff. I won’t even comment on a silly PR stunt.

Banning Stalking Apps. Al’s concerned that smart phone apps track your location and that info can be shared with God knows who. He wants Congress to ban those apps. Honestly, Al, I’m a lot less concerned about Google tracking my movements than I am about NSA tracking me, reading my texts, listening to my conversations, and sharing that info with God knows who. Focus on your government oversight duties, please.

Still fighting the Comcast-Time Warner deal because it might result in consumers having fewer choices, higher prices and lousy service. Sorry, Al, you’ve been pre-empted by the City Council, who granted Comcast a monopoly franchise for all of St. Paul so consumers already have no choice, high prices and lousy service. Your services are not required.

Ensuring No Minnesota Child Is Denied School Lunch Because They Can’t Afford It. I’m sorry, did something change in the 40 years since I was a kid? Because we had free lunch for poor families back in my day. Seriously, Al, if you and your DFL buddies have been waging a war on poverty for two generations and still can’t get a handle on something as simple as school lunch, I have grave doubt about the usefulness of the entire program. Again, not seeing an Article I problem here. Not seeing where the Founding Fathers gave the enumerated power to Congress to oversee middle school Char-Burger On Bun With Lukewarm Milk.

Frankly, Senator Franken, it looks as if you’re keeping yourself artificially busy with make-work to avoid doing any real work. What with the Fast and Furious, IRS, NSA and Benghazi scandals, don’t you guys in Congress have enough legitimate work to do? Or are you avoiding that work because you’re terrified of what might happen to the DFL if you actually did your jobs?

Joe Doakes

I think “terror” fits the bill, yes.

Wheat From Chaff

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Senator Al Franken sends me an electronic newsletter periodically, letting me know what he’s up to. It’s the digital equivalent of the Franking Privilege. Let’s see how he’s been doing, shall we?

“What Will Comcast-Time Warner Deal Mean For Your Cable Bill?” The Senator is worried that Comcast is getting too big, that consumers will have fewer choices, higher costs and poorer service. He wants a Senate hearing to jaw-jaw about it, the implication being maybe government should block the deal so consumers would have more choice and the free market competition would force competitors to provide better service at lower cost. Great theory, Senator, except the City Council has already pre-empted you by granting Comcast a monopoly on cable television service in this city. Not seeing a federal problem here nor a federal power to regulate it. You’re wasting your time holding hearings.

“Helping Alleviate the Propane Shortage.” It’s cold, more people are using propane for home heat, increased demand is forcing prices up which people complained about to Senator Franken and he passed along those complaints. In response, the administration ordered pipeline operators to divert propane shipments and also relaxed trucking regulations so propane delivery truck drivers could drive longer hours. In other words, there are no more cubic feet of propane than before you butted into the free market, but you helped relocate the shortage while making the highways less safe. Looks as if the government intervened to make things worse.

“Protecting Minnesotans Right to Privacy.” Senator Franken wrote: “I believe Americans have a fundamental right to privacy, and that right includes the ability to control who is getting your personal information and who it’s being shared with.” I was excited to read that – finally, a Democrat who thinks the NSA is overstepping its bounds and Obama-care is a data privacy disaster. But no, he’s worried that somebody wearing Google Glass can run a facial recognition app that will identify strangers on the street and search the web for information about that person such as phone number, address and possibly dating preferences. Geez, Al, my brain runs a facial recognition app 24/7 and when it sees somebody it recognizes, my memory searches for their phone number and address while my GayDar detects dating preferences. The difference is the Google system is far more reliable than my aging brain. Not really seeing an Article I power here, I suggest you concentrate on oversight duties by protecting Minnesotans’ fundamental right to privacy . . . from the government.

“Farm Bill is Finally Law.” Yes, Comrade, we have a new Trillion Dollar Five Year Plan to Increase Agricultural Production. And I’m certain it will work as well as any of its predecessors to funnel money into winners’ pockets while shucking money from losers. It’s too early to tell who will be the winners. What we know for sure is the American taxpayer will be $1,000,000,000,000.00 poorer at the end of it. On the other hand, being just 83 miles from Eau Claire won’t affect my milk price anymore, so that’s a step in the right direction. I’m reserving judgment on the new plan until we see just how good or bad it turns out to be.

Joe Doakes

Since I started blogging, I can’t read through politicians’ communications without tearing ‘em apart, either.


MNGOPAC Endorses Mills

The MN Gun Owners Political Action Committee (MNGOPAC) has endorsed Stewart Mills in the Eighth Congressional District:

“Since he first entered the public arena, Stewart Mills has been an unflinching supporter of gun rights,“ said Mark Okern, Chairman, Minnesota Gun Owners PAC.  “Minnesota gun owners can count on Stewart Mills to stand firm for our Second Amendment rights 100% of the time.”

Mills entered the public policy arena in early 2013 when his video criticizing newly proposed federal gun control measures went viral.

“As a member of Congress, Stewart Mills will be a huge improvement over Rick Nolan for gun owners.  Nolan has repeatedly endorsed measures which would curtail our liberties and our gun rights, earning him an F from the NRA,“ said Okern.

I think this endorsement will help to highlight to Iron Rangers the yawning gap between what the DFL delivers – urban environmentalist embargoes on their livehilood, gun-grabbers and PETAzoids poking around in their gun cabinets, and ongoing taxpayer-paid infanticide that most of them oppose - with what they promise.

So I’m Gonna Guess…

…that the rump Ron Paul crowd in the GOP is done stumping for Harold Shudlick right about…now?

So let’s see – for the second major state race in a row, the “Independence” Party fields a candidate who is calibrated to suck away a volatile constituency in the GOP.

And I’m going to guess that if anyone dug long enough (perish the thought) they’d find a few Alida Messinger bucks socked away in the kitty.

Not to sound cynical or anything.

One Day At “Independence” Party Headquarters

SCENE:  A Ramada Inn in Inver Grove Heights.  Outside the hotel, the letter-board sign says “Independence Party now accepting Applications to run for US Senate”.  The sign is subtitled “No Experience Necessary”.

Cut to inside a small meeting room inside the hotel.  Posters of Jesse Ventura and Dean Barkley prominently adorn the wall behind three people sitting at a long table.   

Mince MIETZ, a short scholarly-looking man in his thirties clad in an ill-fitting tweed jacket bearing a button identifying him as the “Independence” Party deputy director for protocol, is holding candidate screenings in a small conference room.  Along with MIETZ sits Verdana FONT, a serious-looking short-haired fifty-something woman in short hair and a peasant skirt.  She is the Indy Party’s secretary.  Lionel BULK, a sixtyish, professorial looking fellow with a meerchaum pipe and a bow tie, sits to their left.

MIETZ:  I call this meeting of the Independence Party US Senate Nominations Committee to order!

FONT: Excellent!

BULK:  Remember.  We’re going to stick to the Independence Party’s core principles!

FONT:  Right.  Speaking of which, Mince, would you read those to me so I can…

MIETZ:  (Yells out the door) Next!

(In the door walks Thorn THOMAS, a tidy, trim man of about sixty with horn-rimmed glasses in a houndstooth suit).

FONT: Have a seat, Mr. Thomas!

THOMAS:  (Softly). Thank you.

BULK:  So, Mr. Thomas – what’s your background, that would qualify you to run for the United States Senate?

THOMAS:  I was undersecretary of Commerce for Differential Tax Application Theory under the Carlson Administration.  In that capacity, I was in charge of calculating tax differentials based on abstruse accounting theories intended to find relationships between dissimilar cultural phenomenae and tax receipts.  Then, I formed a Public Relations agency, where I’ve mostly represented Minnesota social service non-profits.  I ran for Hennepin County Soil and Water Commission in 2004 as a non-partisan candidate endorsed by the Minnesota Federation of Teachers, the SEIU, ISAIAH and the Teamsters.  And I am a permanent, tenured adjunct at the Humphrey Center.

MIETZ:  Excellent.  So – what would be your platform if you were to get the Independence Party nomination to run against the GOP nominee?

BULK: Umm…

MIETZ: …and Al Franken.

THOMAS:  I believe in not just good government, but the best government.  I believe if we give government the people, money and respect it needs, everyone benefits.

(MIETZ, BULK and FONT confer briefly).

MIETZ:  Excellent, Mr. Thomas.  Thank you!  Please leave a resume and a head shot.

(THOMAS leaves a manila folder and leaves the room)

FONT:  Well, he certainly seems to be an homage to the Independence Party’s roots, a la Tim Penny and Dean Barkley!

MIETZ:  Yep.  I believe we could get behind him!  (Yells out door) Next!

(In the door walks Garth MULLER, former Vice Chair for Ideological Purity at the Minnesota 5th CD Libertarian Party.  We walks in at the head of a bearded, bow-tied entourage of twenty-and-thirty-ish white males, many of whom are chuckling and giggling softly as they line up along the wall as MULLER takes his seat).

MIETZ:  And you are…?

MULLER:  I’m Garth Muller.  I’m an anarcho-libertarian.  I was a conservative Republican, but then I decided to support Ron Paul.  I now believe all parties are exactly identical, although I think the Independence Party is different (members of bearded, bow-tied retinue chuckle impulsively).

BULK:  Excellent.  So – your platform?

MULLER:  Abolish all government.  Make all human interactions voluntary.

FONT:  So…legalize everything.

MULLER:  No.  To “legalize” something implies we recognize the legitimacy of law in the first place.  Abolish law and all means to enforce it.  It’s all just a form of force inflicted on the people. 

FONT:  So you used to be a Republican…

MULLER:  Most of us used to be (a few scattered hisses break out among the entourage) but after what happened at the convention in 2012, I’ll never vote Republican again. 

MIETZ:  Thank you very much, Mr. Muller!  Please leave a resume and a head shot.  (MULLER’s entourage breaks out laughing at term “head shot” as they leave the room).

BULK:  In the 30 years I spent in the DFL, I never heard of such a thing.

MIETZ:  (sotto voce with a conspiratorial grin) Oh, I bet you have not, Lionel.  (To BULK):  Oh, I have.  Like a lot of disaffected Republicans.

FONT:  A lot?

MIETZ:  Enough!  No, he matches the Independence Party’s principles perfectly fine, too! OK – who’s next?

FONT:  Wait – Muller and Thomas were absolute opposites!  One was a Carlson Republican, and the other was so far out on the Libertarian wing that Ron Paul would probably tell him to take it easy…

MIETZ:  Yeah!   I know!

(Avery LIBRELLE walks into the room, leaves a resume and a head shot).

MIETZ:  And you are Avery Librelle?  Have a seat!

LIBRELLE:  I prefer to stand!

For the injustices we face are too great, the enemies that support them too entrenched, and the damange they are causing too horrible, for a thinking person to sit!  It is time to RISE!

(FONT dabs a tear from her eye.  So does BULK).

MIETZ:  So what prompts you to run on the Independence Party ticket?

LIBRELLE:  The needs – a strong social safety net, teachers that want for nothing, single payer healthcare, and equality for all – are needs that my mentor Paul Wellstone instilled in me from an impressionable age!

But then the DFL betrayed us, and I believe its time for a different party to…

MIETZ:  Oh, look at the time.  We’ll be in touch!

(LIBRELLE leaves the room).

FONT:  (wiping tears from her eyes).  What?  Librelle was perfect!

BULK:  Yes – that was a perfect encapsulation of what the Independence Party stood for back when it was founded!

MIETZ:  Well, yes.  But then the first two were even better!

FONT:  How so?

MIETZ:  You’re new at this, aren’t you?

BULK:  Well, I’m new to the Independence Party.

MIETZ:  Everyone is new to the Independence Party!   It’s like this…

(Gretel STROMBERG walks into the room.  The Executive Director of “Minnesotans United for All Progressive Causes”, she is dressed in a low-cut black cocktail dress and a pair of strappy black high-heeled “talk politics to me” pumps)

(Without a word, STROMBERG slinks around behind BULK, who sits, speechlessly, as STROMBERG drags her black boa around his neck, breathing seductively in his ear.  She then leaves a box of chocolates in front of FONT, nibbles on MIETZ’ earlobe, and leaves a paper bag full of $20 bills labelled “Best Regards, “Minnesotans United for All Progressive Causes; Don’t Show This Bag To The Campaign Finance Board!  XOXOXO, MUFAPC!” on the chair where the candidates had been)

(Then STROMBERG leaves, as quietly as she came, leaving only the scent of her perfume)

MIETZ:  So yeah.  I think MULLER matches our principles this year.

(And SCENE).

Don’t Stop, And NARN Will Soon Be Here

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talk radio show – brings you the best in Minnesota conservatism, as the Twin Cities media’s sole source of honesty!

  • I’m in the studio today from 1-3.  We’ll start with Brian Strawser and Mark Okern from Minnsota Gun Owners PAC, talking about the look ahead to the session and their endorsement of Julianne Ortman for US Senate.  Then – Stewart Mills, candidate for the US House seat in the 8th Congressional District!
  • Don’t forget the King Banaian Radio Show, on AM1570 “The Businessman” from 9-11AM this morning!
  • Tomorrow,  Brad Carlson is on “The Closer” from 1-3PM!

(All times Central)

So tune in to all six hours of the Northern Alliance Radio Network, the Twin Cities’ media’s sole guardians of honest news. You have so many options:

Join us!

Saturday On The NARN

Big week coming up Saturday on the Northern Alliance Radio Network, so I thought I’d start talking about it now.

First, I’ll have Brian Strawser and Mark Okern of the Minnesota Gun Owners PAC, talking about their endorsement of Julianne Ortman and the year ahead in the legislature (hint: it’s going to be another doozy).

Then – Stewart Mills, CEO of Mills Fleet Farm and candidate for the US Congress in CD8, will join me to talk about his race.

Hope you can tune in.  Or join the show at 651 289 4488!

Keith Ellison And Barack Rex

There are two ways to look at Rep. Keith Ellison’s statement to a group of minimum wage protesters last week; emphasis added by me:

“We in Congress will try to raise the minimum wage. We got opponents on the other side of the aisle who say that there shouldn’t be no minimum wage. So, we are in difficulty fighting these guys.

“But, we know, at the executive level, an executive order can change the situation. We demand it, right now. Mr. President, sign the executive order. We demand this federal worker work reform, federal contractors. Give the pay raise, the livable, fair wage. Let’s do it now. I gave him a letter to this effect, yesterday.”

As Ellison walked off stage, the crowd chanted: “Sign the executive order!”

Either Ellison thinks Obama is a King, with absolute control over this country, or he has very little respect for his audience and thinks he can trick them into believing so. 

I’m going to lean toward “has very little respect, and thinks he can trick them”; that a graduate of a Jesuit high school, Wayne State University and a Tier 1 law school thinks saying things like “shouldn’t be no minimum wage” is authentic reeks of distilled cynicism.

In Our Names

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Keith Ellison managed to get himself arrested, rallying for social justice and anti-racisss enlightened immigration open borders.

Where was my congressional representative, Betty McCollum? Why wasn’t she arrested?

Did she skip the rally?

Why does Betty McCollum hate brown people?

Joe Doakes

Not sure she does much of anything.

The Company You Keep

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Everybody who works for President Obama must echo the party line, from the Vice-President down to the UN Ambassador.  They have no choice.

But here are some of the people outside the Administration, who think it’s a good idea for America to go-it-alone and start a war against Syria:

John McCain

Betty McCollum

Hillary Clinton

This list of names alone convinces me it’s a stupid idea.

Joe Doakes

Note to Joe; you left out Ellison.

Doakes Sunday: It’s A Start – Or An End

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Rep. Keith Ellison is trying to learn about business because he has no idea how it works or why.

That’s a common problem with Democrats. At least he’s making an effort. But he picked the most liberal “Republican” possible to advise him. And he is still pushing the same tired crap: more unions, no Social Security “cuts” and taxes galore. Socialism, with an MBA, is still socialism.

Joe Doakes

Como Park

That could be a new corollary to Berg’s Eleventh Law (“The conservative liberals “respect” for their “conservative principles” will the the one that has the least chance of ever getting elected.”)  Perhaps “The Ellison Corollary to Berg’s Eleventh Law:  The “Republican” that liberals turn to for their information on “conservative” issues will be the least conservative Republican available”.

Could also be called the Arne Carlson corollary.


Rumors from some reliable-enough sources indicate 400-term DFL 7th District Representive Collin Peterson may retire by the end of this term.

This would give the GOP an opportunity for a big flip in a part of the state that, like the Dakotas, has sent farm-pork-mongering DFLers to Washington for decades, but otherwise is solidly red.  The 7th – which is, politically, a suburb of North Dakota anyway – would very likely elect a Republican, if a good one shows up and has a functional party behind ‘em.

So, 7th CD readers (and, let’s be honest, everyone else); who do you see running for the House in CD7 in 2014?

Open Letter To Jim Graves

To: Jim Graves, ex-candidate
From: Mitch Berg, uppity peasant
Re: Personal!

Mr. G,

I want to start a hotel chain.

It’s main goal is to knock off Marriott.

What’s its concept? Who cares! I don’t care if people are sleeping on rows of cots under oil light, as long as I kill off Marriott.

Seems dicey? Well, duh. When one says “I wanna knock off Marriott, one can fairly ask “with what?” It’s an important question.

It’d be a stupid business plan!

So when you withdrew from the CD6 race – daunted by the district’s Romney +15 showing (14 points better Han Rep. Bachmann) and what’ll no doubt be a national funding drought – you said you’d accomplished your mission – removing Bachmann. By implication, you seem to mean “whether by a Republican or a DFLer”.


So the day after the election, your mission would have been accomplished? The rest of your two years in DC would have been a tabula rasa?

(Well, duh, no. You’d have danced with the ones that brung you;youd have been little more than Betty McCollum with supernatural hair).

Did “my considered agenda ends on Day 2 in office” ever pop up in your campaign material?

That is all.

An Announcement

Tom Emmer is making the least mysterious mystery announcement of the political season later this morning in Delano.

Republican Tom Emmer is expected to make an announcement about his political future on Wednesday in his hometown of Delano, Minn.

Emmer is likely to announce he will run for the 6th District Congressional seat now held by Republican Michele Bachmann.

His expected announcement comes one week after Bachmann announced she will not seek re-election.

Remember – while Bachmanns squeaked by in 2012, Mitt won the district by 15 points. Alida Messinger is going to have to spend a lot to try to slander him as badly as in 2010.

The 6th is an embarrassment of riches in the GOP candidate department – but Emmer has got to be considered the 900 pound gorilla.

That said, some of the states conservative punditry has come out against an Emmer bid. I think it’s myopic to attack him too hard for losing in 2010; he was outspent 3:1 (money which supported a campaign that was utterly silent on substantive policy but was ling on corrosive personal attacks) and faced an “Independence” party candidate funded by lefties to siphon off GOP votes, at the head of a campaign that got off to a terribly shaky start, and atop a GOP slate that tanked across the board as an initial sign that the MNGOP was in big trouble.

And he lost by a whisker. Had any single one of those factors been different – the money, they campaign rollout, the effect of the slander campaign, the collapse of the MNGOP – he’d have won.

Absent tens of millions of dollars of DFL plutocrat support? At the head of what may be the states most functional GOP organization? In a R+Lots district? This isn’t 2010.

There are other candidates, to be sure. Former House Majority leader Matt Dean is a solid contender. And I think Anoka County commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah, with her campaign win in one of the bluer parts left in CD6, would be an attractive candidate as well…

…among many others.

I don’t live there, of course; I’m stuck battling against Betty McCollum.

Bit lets start the straw poll. Who do you want to see run in CD6?

Of course,

The Game-Changer

After eight years in office, Michele Bachmann is retiring from Congress:

A few questions for the audience:

Who Is Emanuelle Goldstein?: Extremists like the MNDFL has become need enemies.  The Minnesota Left will need to invent a new bete noir, someone on which to focus all their  insecurity and hatred, to keep them motivated.  Bachmann has served this role for over a decade and a half, between her Congressional, State Senate and educational organizing careers.  Bachmann bedeviled the local left by seeming to thrive on their hatred, turning it back on them with a wink and a smile and a dismissive quip.  So who does the MNDFL’s depraved, insane fringe pick as their new Demon?

Next?:  The Sixth is one of the few districts in the state with a deep bench of solid, polished GOP contenders.  Who should run to replace Michele?

Dead Air?:  With Michele Bachmann out of public life, what will Jack Tomczak talk about?

(I’m a kidder.  I kid.  I love Jack and Ben’s show.  But still…)

Tarry Not:   Does Tarryl Clark already have her U-Haul loaded up, or what?

One Day At The Bowling Alley

(SCENE:  MITCH Berg is bowling at the Minnehaha Lanes.  Avery LIBRELLE steps up to the next lane, laces up shoes as MITCH rolls a “6″).

LIBRELLE:  Hah hah, Merg.  You have nobody to run against Al Franken.  He’ll coast to another term.

MITCH:  Well, we’ll see.  The campaign is still very young.

LIBRELLE:  And the Governor’s race!   What, Jeff Johnson?  He ran for attorney General, and lost!  He’s over!

MITCH:  Er, Governor Messinger ran a couple of races and lost before he latched on as Senator and then Governor.  He ran what was at one point the most expensive failed race in state history again, back in the eighties.

LIBRELLE:  (Angrily) It’s Governor Dayton.

MITCH:  Oops.  Not sure how that happened.

LIBRELLE:  Pft.  Anyway, he’s  different!

MITCH:  You’re right.  He had an adoring media painting his toenails and covering up his issues.

LIBRELLE:  (Puts scoresheet on desk, steps up to the lane).  Waaah.

MITCH:  Well, you’ve got a point.  It’s a whole new race.

LIBRELLE:  (Elaborately prepares to roll ball; all sorts of shimmying and twitching) And what else?  You’v got Scott Honour.  He’s Minnesota’s Mitt Romney.

MITCH: (Rolls the second ball – misses the spare by one)  You say that like it’s a bad thing.  Two guys who actually earned their fortunes.

LIBRELLE:  Did you hear me?  He’s Minnesota’s Mitt Romney!  

MITCH:  Right.  I guess that makes Mark Messinger…er, Dayton – our George Soros.

LIBRELLE:  Hah hah hah!  There is no such thing as George Soros.

MITCH:  Hm.  (Mitch steps back to mark last ball)

LIBRELLE:  (Steps down the lane.  Backswings.  Forgets to release.  Hits self in face with ball.  Falls over)

MITCH: (Runs over to render assistance)  Avery?  You OK?  Can you hear me?

LIBRELLE:  (Dazed, incoherent)  I’m happy to pay for a better Minnesota.

MITCH:  I knew it.



Republicans In The City: The Good News, Part 1

There may be few more frustrating jobs in American politics than being a Republican in the Twin Cities.

Minneapolis is sort of like Berkeley on the Lakes, while Saint Paul is a mini-Chicago on the Mississippi.  Both are one-party liberal gulags.  And Republicans in both cities continuously batter themselves against the unthinking masses of DFL droogs, year after year, with seemingly no result.  Good candidates?  Bad candidates?  It seems to make no difference whatsoever.

Years like 2012 are especially frustrating.  The GOP fielded some excellent candidates, and some hard-working campaigns in CD5 (Minneapolis) and CD4 (Saint Paul).  And all of that hard work and effort and occasional inspiration held up like a stream of pee in a hurricane on November 6, as the GOP efforts ran smack-dab into the anti-marriage-amendment tsunami.

On the face of it – expressed in terms of percentages – it looked as dismal as ever – like the cities in the Twin Cities were the same 70-30, or 75-25, cesspools they’d always been.

But if you dig into the numbers a little, things brighten up nicely.

I’m going to look at a couple of races in traditional DFL country, just to see what I come up with.


Tony Hernandez ran a solid, spirited race against Betty McCollum in CD4 in 2012.  There were flaws in the campaign; fundraising was slow, among other things – but Hernandez worked hard, and he had a group of very hard-working volunteers.

So what happened?

Well, Betty McCollum won.  She won big.  Part of it was the votes siphoned off by a Ventura Party candidate that ran to Hernandez’ right.  Part of it was the fact that it’s CD4.  And a big part was the epic DFL turnout against the Marriage Amendment.

The first illustration shows that it’s nothing new:

The top two rows show the head-to-head vote totals between the GOP and DFL candidates in CD4 for the past seven cycles, back to 2000.  The bottom two present the results as percentages.  Note that some of the results will not match the Secretary of State’s numbers; I presented the numbers as DFL/GOP totals, leaving out third-party candidates.

And the news?  Well, it’s not news.  The 4th CD is a 70-30 district.


Sure.  But look at that top row – the number of GOP votes.  109,000 people voted for Tony Hernandez in 2012, which was a fair-to-middling Republican year (against a great base-burnout campaign for the Dems nationwide, and a huge “new-voter registration” campaign in Minnesota).

This chart shows two more sets of data:

The top two rows show how many more voters there were for each party in 2012 from the selected year.  In other words, in 2012 there were 10,723 more Republican votes than in 2008 (and 418 more Democrat votes).

Compare presidential years (which always have better turnout for both parties than non-presidential years).  Hernandez drew 10,000 more votes than in 2008 (even without the thousands of conservatives who voted for the uncharacteristically-conservative Independence Party candidate), which was not a great year for Republicans; he was up 4,000 from 2004 (a decent GOP year) and 25,000 from 2000 (a very good GOP year).

The interesting part?  The bottom two rows.  They show a “rematch” of the selected years’ races using Tony Hernandez’ 2012 GOP vote totals.  The 2012 match shows they actually exist (in part due to redistricting, although that wasn’t nearly as favorable to Hernandez as one might have hoped); this time, they  happened to exist against the backdrop of an epic DFL turnout.

But what if those Republicans could be inveigled to turn out against a more prosaic DFL turnout?

Hernandez’ numbers against BettyMac in 2008 (which was also a great DFL year – notice the fact that the epic 2012 turnout only added 400-odd votes to McCollum’s 2008 totals?) makes it a 66-33 race.  Against her 2004 numbers (blah year for Democrats, base-turnout year for Republicans) it was 60-40, which is a whole world apart from 70-30.

And against 2000 – a good GOP year with a functional state party and average DFL turnout – Hernandez’ numbers make it a nine point race.

And against off-year DFL turnout?   If the GOP were to pull off a miracle and generate presidential-year turnout against off-year DFL turnout, it’d be a ten point race.

Which still isn’t victory.

But Hernandez – running an underfunded all-volunteer campaign with no outside funding to speak of, endorsed by an intensely-dysfunctional party Congressional District unit of a state party that sat out the 2012 election completely, against a cash-sodden union juggernaut and a media praetorian guard that seems sworn never to mention the great unspoken secret (that McCollum is one of the dumbest people in Congress), “aided” by a redistricting that seemed designed to be as benign as possible to the incumbent, and attenuated by a conservative third-party candidate – turned out more Republicans than the 4th has seen in decades.  He had the bad fortune to do it into the teeth of a DFL GOTV wildfire.

So if he’d had $500,000 instead of less than a tenth of that?  If he’d had a state party that could help, and a CD committee that could help marshal support?  If he’d had experienced management, and maybe a full-time field staffer?

Just saying – not only are there grounds for optimism, but they may be stronger than we thought.

So that’s Hernandez against history.   How about in the Fifth CD?

We’ll look across the river tomorrow.

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With Apologies To Jesse Ventura

Former Governor Ventura, if you’re reading this – and I am sure you are – I have to tell you that an apology is in order.

I am sorry.

For four years – including the first year of this blog’s life – I claimed that you were the biggest embarassment in the history of the state of Minnesota.

That crown – or belt, as the case may be – has been passed.  Mark Dayton, when he was a Senator, gave you a run for your money, but it was a transient thing.

But today, there’s no doubt. Keith Ellison is a morbid humiliation to everyone in this state that has the faintest interest in not looking stupid:

Representative Ellison is further proof that Minnesota Liberals never have to learn the art and craft of civil debate; they, like Ellison, come up through school systems where liberalism is taught as the social baseline, and universities where conservatism is treated as an aberration.

Listen to as much as you can. It’s cringeworthy.

I got to talk with the guy one time, on an online talk show. The guy really is more brittle and facile than I thought he was.

So I’m sorry, Jesse. I mean, I was right and all – you were a train wreck. But that was back when train wrecks were just fun rides, back in the cha-cha nineties, when consequences were dim and far-off – not like today, when the future of the Republic seemed as dire as it has in my lifetime.