The Young Ones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who will win?

I’ve picked my side.

Whose Time Has Come

It was fifty years ago today that Ronald Reagan gave one of the most important speeches in American history, and perhaps the most important speech in the history of American conservatism:  A Time For Choosing.

And it’s more vital now than it was, even then.

You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well, I’d like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There’s only an up or down: man’s old, old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism

Here it is, in its entirety.

It’s impossible to overstate this speech’s importance.  It was the opening salvo in the rebirth of conservatism.  It took a decade for its aftereffects to be  known; George Will wrote in 1984 that it won the Presidency for Goldwater – it just took 16 years to count the votes.

And it’s a hot, blazing rebuke for the mental midgets to claim the GOP has “become more extreme” lately.  Listen to the whole thing.  There is nothing the Tea Party stands behind that wasn’t stated in this speech.

It also destroys the even dimmer claim that “Reagan was too moderate for today’s GOP”.  If only today’s GOP – outside the Tea Party, anyway – had the balls to live up to the standards in this speech.   

In retrospect, Reagan’s presidency – and it may be fairly said that this speech was the beginning of Reagan’s political career – bought this nation a few decades before the extended populist spending orgy that took off in the sixties finally brings this nation to its heels. 

Is there still time to change things?

Perhaps.  But this is the real time for choosing. 

HG

Impure!

One of the more galling facets of the 2012 Presidential campaign was watching Mitt Romney taking flak from the social right, the Rick Santorum crowd, on having been marginally impure on social issues, while at the same time getting beaten up from the fiscal purists (egged on by the left) for Romneycare, and the Libertarians for having been insufficiently pro-Liberty, whatever that meant. 

Of course, the key difference was that Mitt Romney had been in office, governor of not only a large state, but a toxically left-leaning one, in which he had few legislative allies.  To get anything useful done as governor of Massachusetts - and he did – he had to compromise.  “Romneycare”, bad as it may be, was a better compromise than what the Massachusetts Democrats would have spawned. 

The lesson, of course, is that rock-solid principle is easy, when your job never involves having to engage on a daily basis with your opponents to get anything done.  US Congresspeople do that only on the most symbolic and ritual level. 

Governors?  It’s part of their daily job.

And so while the likes of Govenors Romney, Pawlenty, Walker and others may have great black marks against them in the great book of princples in the sky, those marks are given by people who’ve never had to negotiate with a recalcitrant state employee union, or horse-trade with a hostile legislative majority. 

Fact is – as I say all the time – politics is a marathon, not a sprint.  Things get done over time, not overnight.  It’s work for the obsessively patient. 

Society get changed not by the people who have the coolest slogan – “Repeal Now!” or “War on Womyn!” or “TRU LBRT!” or whatever it is that sends a tingle up one’s true believers’ legs – but by the people who not only show up, but keep showing up.

Which is Kevin Williamson’s point in this NRO piece, which you should read in its entirety, and which concludes:

The Democrats did not build the welfare state all at once in 1965, and Republicans didn’t have an honest shot at repealing it all at once in 1995. Everybody has a big plan, and Washington is full of magic bullets: leash the Fed, enact the Fair Tax, seal the borders. But what’s needed — what might actually result in a stronger American order — is a thirty years’ war of attrition against the welfare state and entrenched incompetency. Federal crimes and misdemeanors ranging from the IRS scandal to the fumbling response to Ebola suggest very strongly that we have management and oversight problems as well as ideological ones, but holding oversight hearings long after (one hopes) Ebola is out of domestic headlines provides very little juice for a presidential candidate facing a restive base all hopped up on Hannity. Being the guy who gets up and demands the repeal of Obamacare might get you elected president; being the guy who fixes the damned thing simply makes you a target for talk-radio guys who have never run for nor held an elected office but who will nonetheless micturate upon your efforts from a great height.

Everybody wants to run for president. But somebody has to save the country.

Read the whole thing.

And hold the sloganeering.

Women’s Issues

For almost a century, and especially in the past seventy years, the most dangerous thing to be in the Arab world has been a moderate.  Throughout the Middle East,  throughout the past generation or two, the first priority for Arab extremists – before even killing Jews – has been to eliminate or drive off all moderates. 

I bring it up not out of animus toward Arabs – don’t be an idiot – but to point out an area where American liberals act just like the PLO, Hezb’allah and Hamas. 

To the American liberal, the greatest enemy are the apostates; the women, blacks, Latinos, gays and other minorities that break with liberal dogma and vote conservative.

The left – as the National Review notes in an editorial earlier this week - is even baking it into the language:

The idea that there exists a meaningful subset of “women’s issues” has always failed to account for the fact that “women” is a category that in the American context contains both Condoleezza Rice and Rachel Maddow, both Republican governor Susana Martinez and Democratic gadfly Eva Longoria. Jeane Kirkpatrick was arguably the most powerful American woman of her time, and her issue was fighting totalitarianism at a time when Democrats were not much inclined to do so. Was that a women’s issue? It certainly was in Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Germany . . .

One has to squint with some dishonest intent to conclude that the political tendency that represents women’s interests obviously is the one associated with Bill Clinton and Teddy Kennedy rather than the one associated with Margaret Thatcher and Nikki Haley.

That’s certainly charitable.

The Democrats’ attitude toward women — from the pity-party celebrity of Sandra Fluke to multi-millionaire Lena Dunham’s demands for subsidized birth-control pills — has always been based on a handful of strategies linguistically related to the word “patriarchy”: patronizing, patronage, paternalism, etc., something you would think that their feminist supporters might have noticed. But women, like African Americans and other minority groups, are for the Left a means to power, and the Democrats’ treatment of them is every bit as instrumentalist as was Bill Clinton’s treatment of the White House intern pool.

And some conservative feminist group needs to print this next graf - admittedly, in small type – on a t-shirt:

Meanwhile, the Democrats’ war on women — women who own or desire to own their own businesses, who are looking for decent jobs, who wish there were a way to get their children out of failing schools, who are concerned about the flood of illegal immigrants across our borders, who pay more in taxes than they do for housing or health care or for housing and health care combined, who own guns, who pay utility bills, who wish for credible responses to Ebola and the Islamic State, who resent being reduced to their genitals as a matter of political calculation — that war continues, as pitilessly and remorselessly as any Levantine jihad.

The whole thing is worth a read.

It’s A Mad World

Not only some rock stars, but indeed the Communist Peoples’ Republica of Vietnam gets free enteprise in a way that Mark Dayton, scion of a business family, to say nothing of “community organizer” Barack Obama, never can. 

Maybe the parts of the United States that value economic freedom need to launch a torpedo at a US destroyer…

What Conservatism Needs In Minnesota

In the middle of a year that promises to be a good, if not great, year for Republicans nationwide, Minnesota Republicans are hoping to flip the House, so as to at least contest control for the state, and praying for an upset in the Senate and a come-from-behind miracle for Governor.

It was ten years ago that the conventional wisdom was that Minnesota was purple, flirting with red.

Today, it’s a bluish-purple state – some bright-red points, some dingy blue swamps. 

In 2002, after the death of Paul Wellstone, the DFL was in disarray;  they lost the state House, the Governor’s office and Wellstone’s Senate seat.   The grownups controlled all of the state offices except the Attorney General; the DFL held the State Senate by a hair, and was well behind in the House. 

Inside six years, they turned that into nearly-complete domination of Minnesota.  They held Mark Dayton’s old and barely-used Senate seat, they took Coleman’s they took both chambers of the Legislature in 2008, lost them in 2010, and took them back in 2012, and have controlled all of the state Constitutional offices – Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Auditor – for eight years now. 

How did they do this?

The 24 Month Campaign:  Ben Kruse got it mostly right Monday morning on the morning show on the lesser talk station; Republicans need to learn something from the Democrats.  For them, their 2016 campaign will start in earnest on November 5.  The Republicans, in the meantime, will meander about until State Fair time, 2016. 

I know – to be fair, Jeff Johnson and Dave Thompson started their governor’s races back in 2012 in all but name; Mike McFadden was aggressively moving his Senate candidacy at the State Fair in 2013. 

In contrast, the DFL’s attack PR firm “Alliance for a “Better” Minnesota” never stopped campaigning.  The group – financed by unions and liberal plutocrats with deep pockets, including Mark Dayton’s ex-wife Alita Messinger – does something that goes beyond campaigning. 

It bombards Minnesotans with Democrat propaganda, 24 months every campaign cycle.

The Communications Gap:  The Minnesota GOP has plenty of strikes against it; while it’s made up a lot of financial ground since its nadir two years ago, it’s still in debt, and still scrambling to get back to even.

But even when it’s in the black, it only does so much communicating – and then, it only does it in the run-ups to elections and, maybe occasionally, during legislative sessions (and that’s mostly the jobs of the GOP legislative caucuses). 

In the meantime, the Democrats (with the connivance of regional media whose reporters may not overtly carry the water for the DFL, but whose management largely most definitely does) shower the Minnesota voter with a constant drizzle of the Democrat version of “the truth”. 

Which means the low-information voter – the one that might start thinking about next month’s election any day now – is kept on a constant drip, drip, drip of the DFL’s point of view.  It means the baseline of thought for those who don’t have any strong political affiliation of their own leans left of center; they assume that raising taxes helps schools, that Republicans are rich tax evaders who hide their wealth out of state, that there is a “war on women”, and on and on.

There’s No-one To Fly The Flag – Nobody Seems to Know It Ever Went Down: So how was the situation different when the GOP was contending to take MInnesota away from the left? 

Other than the DFL having an endless parade of checks from plutocrats to cash? 

For starters, back then Minnesota had a number of overt conservative voices on the media, statewide, day in, day out.  It was when Jason Lewis was at his rabble-rousing peak; I call him the Father of Modern Minnesota Conservatism, and I’ll stand by it.  With Lewis on the air, a lot of people who didn’t know they were conservatives, figured it out – and a lot of conservatives who figured they were alone in the big blue swamp realized there were others out there. 

And Joe Soucheray was on the air three hours a day talking, not so much directly about politics, but about the absurdities that the left was inflicting on the culture.  It may have been a decade before Andrew Breitbart noted that Politics springs from Culture, but Soucheray knew it, and made it a constant topic for a long, long time. 

Lewis and Soucheray had record audiences – not just in the Metro, but outstate, where both had syndication in Greater Minnesota. 

And between the two, the media’s left-leaning chinese water torture had competition.

And for a few years, MInnesota had a couple of voices that did for conservatism in the state what Rush Limbaugh helped do nationwide; dragged it out of the basement, aired it out, made it relevant to the challenges Minnesotans faced then and today, and made being conservative, unapologetic and smart a thing to be proud of. 

And this happened at a time when Minnesota conservatism…came out of the basement, aired out, and started grabbing Minnesota mindshare. 

Coincidence?

Feed The Cat:  Of course, this doesn’t happen on its own.  While conservative talk radio is still, along with sports, the only radio format that’s paying its bills, the format has atrophied – largely because it’s become, for money reasons, a national rather than regional format.  Syndicated network programming – Limbaugh, Hannity, Prager, Hewitt, Michael Savage, what-have-you – delivers ratings on the relative cheap.  And they deliver political engagement, nationwide.  

But they don’t have a local political effect like a solid, firebrand local lineup does. 

But radio stations pay for very little in the way of “local lineup” anymore; KSTP has turned Soucheray into just another sports talking head; AM1280 has the NARN; AM1130 has Jack and Ben and, temporarily, Dave Thompson. 

Minnesota business – at least, the part of it that realizes that a conservative outcome benefits everyone, themselves included – needs to pony up and sponsor the next generation of rabble-rousing Conservative media with a cause; the fact that it’s actually a good ad investment is a collateral benefit, compared to flushing money down ABM’s drain. 

And yes, I’m focusing on radio – but this rabble-rousing presence would need to cover all of the social and alternative media, not just the traditional AM band.  Still – there is no (affordable) medium that reaches, or can reach, more Minnesotans.

And through that, maybe, we start turning the intellectual tide in this state. 

It’s happened once.  It can happen again.

Needs to happen again, really.

More Jobs!

…Inver Grove Heights-based CHS corporation is building a new fertilizer plant:

CHS, a farmer-owned cooperative based in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, said its board of directors gave final approval of the project on Thursday.

“With this decision, CHS is taking an important, strategic step on behalf of its membership owners by ensuring them reliable domestic supply of nitrogen fertilizers essential to help farmers raise healthy, profitable crops,” Casale said in a statement.

Casale said plant construction could begin this fall, and operating in 2018. It would employ between 160 and 180 workers, the company said.

And oh, yeah – it’s going to be in the Berg ancestral home of Jamestown, ND. 

Another Minnesota company, sending jobs to a neighboring state.

The Power Of Suggestion

To:  Progressives (again)
From: Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  Scotland’s Independence Vote

As someone who is of partly-Scottish descent (and it’s the part I have the most fun with), I’m looking at the potential Scottish independence vote (which is, according to some current polls, neck and neck, with the “leave the union” vote nosing ahead according to some polls) with great interest. 

Only partly because of the whole “personal ethnicity” thing. 

No, there are two aspects that are much more important

Dilution:  Scotland is as big a Labour Party stronghold as California and Massachussets are Democrat ones.  Having the Scots out of the Union would have a dramatic effect on English governance (according to John Fund writing in the National Review):

Scottish voters are currently much more hostile than the U.K. electorate overall to free markets — Scots view capitalism as the basis for the Thatcher government’s decision to close unprofitable Scottish industries in the 1980s. Currently, Scotland sends only one Conservative member of parliament to Westminister. The departure of Scottish MPs from Westminster would be dramatic: If 59 Labour-party and Scottish National MPs from Scotland leave Westminster, Tories in the current House of Commons would go from being 21 seats short of a majority to having an outright 20-seat majority. “It is unlikely that without Scotland the rest of the United Kingdom would elect a majority Labour government anytime soon,” says Eamonn Butler of the Adam Smith Institute.

And that could only be a good thing.

Perhaps better? 

No More Government By Unicorn Fart!:  John Fund compares the potential breakup with that of Czechoslovakia – a nation that similarly jammed two ethnicities together in a union that was more a matter of post World War 1 convenience than actual organic need. 

Fund notes that, once the Slovaks gained their independence, and got cut off from all of that Czech free-market money, they got a sudden reality check; the subsidy gravy train was over, and they had to become responsible adults. 

Fund notes that the Scots could have that same sort of ephiphany:

Even with its oil revenue, the same phenomenon could occur in Scotland, where the ruling Scottish National party has often pursued foolish economic policies. With independence, a new government might be more realistic…The stringent policies of the Bank of England and the loss of subsidies could push Scotland to become more fiscally responsible. “Scotland would eventually be forced into a more severe form of fiscal austerity than currently applied, giving the lie to Alex Salmond’s promise of a sort of welfare nirvana for all Scots once free of the Westminster yoke,” ["Salmond" is apparently Scottish for "Krugman"] wrote Jeremy Warner, assistant editor of Britain’s Daily Telegraph. “For the rest of the U.K., losing relatively pro-EU Scotland would further raise the chances of eventually leaving the EU from odds on to that of a virtual certainty,” he added.

Just saying, “Progressives” – you might want to get some ideas, here. 

That is all.

Slouching Towards St. Paul

The Invisible Primary heads for it’s exciting dramatic interesting necessary conclusion.

There have been no polling updates.  No shocking endorsements.  No conflicts.  A candidate ended up in the hospital…due to an ulcer.

The slouch towards the Minnesota GOP choosing a candidate to go up against Gov. Mark Dayton will end in the next two weeks, and perhaps finally usher in some interest in what has proven to be a deadly dull campaign cycle thus far.  So how can the four major contenders to be the GOP nominee win on August 12th?

Businessman Scott Honour

Why He’ll Win: In the words of Jimmy Buffett, Honour has spending money – money to burn.  Having raised more money than any other candidate running for governor, including Mark Dayton, Honour has the highest cash on hand of the GOP field in the primary’s closing weeks.  While those figures are highly inflated by his self-contributions totaling over $900,000, Honour has demonstrated the ability and willingness to spend freely – a desirable quality when third party interest groups have raised $11 million (most of it for Democrats) for the cycle…

Why He’ll Lose: …but have you seen how he’s spending it?

 

Zzz…huh?  Oh, it’s over?

Honour may be playing on his “outsider” credentials, but he’s running the most “insider” looking campaign of the four major Republicans in the race.  His advertising hasn’t been unique, either in terms of style or substance, nor particularly plentiful for a man whose raised $1.7 million.  Even a sympathetic profile of his candidacy suggest he “hasn’t run a highly visible campaign.”  That’s not surprising given Honour’s massive payments to consultants.  Long-time GOP consultants Pat Shortridge and Shanna Woodbury have combined to cost Honour’s campaign almost $270,000.  Considering the last polls on the race showed him in 4th place, Honour may wonder what exactly he paid them for.

Former Speaker Kurt Zellers

Why He’ll Win: Give the former Minnesota House Speaker credit – he’s taken what should be a huge vulnerability (his uneven performance as Speaker) and leveraged it about as well as he could into a narrative of his opposition to Mark Dayton.  Granted, Zellers’ narrative ends in 2011, when the legislature forced Dayton to end the government shutdown on their terms, and leaves out the messy details such as the controversial constitutional amendments or the Vikings’ stadium debate debacle.

 

Much like his TV ad, Zellers is doing nothing wrong, even if he’s not excelling at doing anything right.  His branding isn’t unique, but it’s on message.  His no new tax pledge may be an albatross in the general election, but he’s running to win the primary.  He doesn’t have the greatest amount of cash on hand or legislative endorsements, but he’s second in both those categories.  Plus, he’s been either in the lead or tied for it in most polling (what little has been done).

Why He’ll Lose: A low turnout election, which this race is shaping up to be, isn’t great news for a man whose reasonably high name ID comes from a poor performance as Speaker.  Zellers has never been adored by the GOP rank and file, and his advertising isn’t abundant enough to necessarily undo memories of 2012 and a lost House majority.  The real question may be if Zellers has invested his limited resources into a get-out-the-vote (GOTV) organization or not – a likely better use of money than TV or radio advertising.  Zellers may win in a divided field where just enough Republicans vaguely remember his name without his political baggage, but that’s not a great winning strategy.

Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson

Why He’ll Win: The nearly 20 Minnesota GOP Victory Centers.  Neither Johnson nor the State GOP may have bountiful resources to contribute to the primary, but the endorsement process still has some value in the form of thousands of dutiful volunteers making GOTV phone calls.  And while that sort of internal support hasn’t been as consistent as it once would have been for an endorsed candidate (see the 8th Congressional District’s pushback, for example), it’s been more the exception than the rule thus far.

 

Despite being the endorsed candidate, Johnson’s advertising (what little there is of it) has leaned more on quirk than his endorsement (Scott Honour could have learned something here).  Given the state’s penchant for electing candidates with memorable advertising (Paul Wellstone/Jesse Ventura), the tactic is likely a wise one.  And with an independent expenditure group also running TV ads on his behalf, Johnson looks less likely to get buried in a last minute blizzard of ad revenue.

Why He’ll Lose: Johnson’s week off the campaign trail to deal with surgery for an ulcer is the least of his concerns; especially as his campaign took kudos for their handling of the situation.  The problem is that Johnson’s health was the most campaign coverage he’s received since the endorsement battle.

Nor has Johnson exactly leveraged his endorsement well.  Only 44 current and former legislators have endorsed his candidacy.  Rep. Erik Paulsen throw his support behind Johnson, but there’s little sense that the GOP powers-that-be are overly willing to spend political capital to ensure Johnson wins in August.  Even Johnson himself acknowledged a “wait and see” approach from at least the donor class.  If that attitude exists with the average activist, Johnson could certainly lose.

Former Rep. Marty Seifert

Why He’ll Win: He’s a “maverick.”  He’s courting voters in the rural regions of the State.  He’s completely unapologetic about his parliamentary maneuver at the State GOP Convention…wait, I’m writing about why he’ll win.

The former House Minority Leader certainly has some name ID with GOP activists, having won both the 2010 and 2014 caucus straw polls.  And despite all the attention being paid to the endorsement tiff, relatively few primary voters will have really heard about it, and even fewer will understand what the angst is about.  What voters in outstate Minnesota will hear is a consistent message targeted to rural issues, as Seifert has furiously toured the non-metro sections of the state.  The result should likely be Seifert dominating in districts like the 1st, 7th and 8th Congressional…

Why He’ll Lose: …but those districts don’t comprise nearly enough voters to win, especially if Seifert under-performs in the Metro.  Despite being the first GOP candidate to air a TV ad, the buy was small and not really focused on the Metro.

 

Nor does he have the resources to likely compete.  Seifert has raised the least amount of money of the four major candidates and has the smallest amount of cash still on hand – $71,000.  His totals aren’t massively different than Jeff Johnson’s, but Johnson has the party apparatus and an independent expenditure group to provide support.  Seifert’s ground game is totally up to him to fund.

While the resentment from Seifert’s endorsement exit may be hard for non-politicos to fully understand (or care about), it doesn’t help that in a race that’s been defined by the lack of conflict, Seifert’s candidacy is the only one having any significant anger directed towards it.  Under the old, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” rule, some primary voters – even those who may not understand the anger – may simply steer clear of Seifert based on the reaction his candidacy causes among others.  If Seifert had a well-funded ad campaign, it’s highly doubtful such anger among a small, but vocal, minority would impact the race.  In the absence of a strong counter-message (in particular in the media-heavy metro), Seifert’s candidacy looks like an outlier with segments of the base.

Revelation

Danusha Goska – a former card-carrying leftist, with the Berkeley degree to prove it – voted GOP in 2012, after a lifetime of being a “progressive”.

Here are her top ten reasons she made the switch.  Many of them track with my own reasons, 30-odd years ago.  Many others were things I’d never have dreamed of.  They boil down to “the left is motivated by hate; the right is not”.

Read the whole thing.  It’s worth it.  .

.

Paul Krugman Hates The Poor

Beating up Paul Krugman – a Nobel Prize-winner who is a poster-child for “narrow expertise” – is a little like fact-checking Heather Martens; it’s easy, and there will never be a shortage of material.

Rich Karlgaard at Forbes spells out yet another reason Krugman is jumping from Princeton in disgrace:

Krugman says the rich sock their money in low-yield bonds. But he fails to consider the obvious. Stocks have almost tripled since March 2009. Urban real estate is in a boom. Art is in a boom. If you believe Krugman, it must be the poor folks who are feeding these asset bubbles. Because the rich, Krugman says, are stuck in low-yield bonds.

This is utter nonsense. The excess liquidity created by U.S. monetary policy does not wind up in the hands of the poor. It winds up in the hands of the rich. The rich then put it into stocks, real estate, hedge funds, and art.

It’s actually the poor and lower middle classes whose wealth — such as it is –lies fallow in no-interest bank accounts (or wealth-eroding cash if they have no bank account at all). It’s not the rich, but middle-class retirees that try to eke out a living on low-yield interest rates.

Krugman has it exactly, 180-degrees wrong. Cheap money is a transfer payment to the rich. It is a tax on the poor. The rich-poor divide grew vast under the cheap money policies of Ben Bernanke. This trend will surely accelerate under Janet Yellen.

Wonder what it’ll be like, someday – maybe decades from now, maybe in the afterlife – when “progressives” realize they’ve been squeeeeeing like a bunch of teenager grrrls at a One Direction concert over the permanent destruction of the middle class.

When Out And About The East Metro Tonight

Longtime friend of the NARN and this blog, Katie Kieffer, send this:

I’m holding a book signing TONIGHT (my only signing for the month of July) from 5-7 pm at the Starbuck’s Coffee located at 3450 Pilot Knob Road in Eagan, MN. Thank you and hope to see you if you can make it! :)

Anyone who doesn’t have a copy of “Let Me Be Clear” yet can pick up the book up at a local Barnes&Noble and brink it to Starbuck’s and I’ll gladly sign it. Here is the address.

Thank you!

Katie

The book is a good read – especially if you have some under-30s in your life who are struggling with the way things are in Obama’s America.

The Invisible Primary

The electorate hits the snooze button on the Minnesota Republican gubernatorial primary.

It’s been 20 years since the Minnesota GOP had a competitive primary for, well, anything.  And with just over a month to go before voters chose Gov. Mark Dayton’s general election opponent, that rust is showing.

Whether it’s the airwaves, newspapers, or even political blogs, interest/coverage in the GOP primary has been as invigorating as an Ambien with a warm milk chaser.  What little polling on the race has been done bares out that fact, with 22% having no opinion of the four main candidates running, and 33% either undecided or choosing none of the above.

The result isn’t surprising.  Of the four major candidates, only businessman Scott Honour is running any sort of campaign advertising – a modest radio ad buy hitting Dayton on his handling of MnSure.  But having blown through the better part of $1 million on infrastructure and staff, Honour has been reduced to recycling his material.  The nearly exact same ad ran in May.

The rest of the field isn’t exactly making news, either.  Kurt Zellers’ campaign seems to exist solely by press release, with few direct campaign actions.  Marty Seifert’s endorsement by former Governor Al Quie is the campaign’s biggest story to date, as Seifert seems intent on winning the primary by eschewing the state’s major media markets to focus on outstate voters.  Jeff Johnson’s endorsement by Rep. Erik Paulsen carries some weight, but largely seems to reinforce that most of the state’s Republican endorsers are staying out of the fight.

If you can call this primary a ‘fight.’  Despite the ill-will following the Republican Convention in May, the interactions between the campaigns have been downright Marquess of Queensbury:

Last Friday, TPT’s Almanac hosted the first debate between the Republican candidates for governor since the Republican Party of Minnesota’s state convention in Rochester…I watched it three times this week, looking for some spark of energy, some sign of life in the Republican race for governor. I found none, as it was a non-event.

I reviewed Twitter, expecting to see a flury of public jockeying by the campaigns or their supporters. Nothing.

No press releases were sent out by the campaigns after the debate, boasting about the performance of their candidate. Nobody claimed victory, nobody really said anything. There were no debate parties, where supporters of a candidate gather to watch the event.It is almost like the debate didn’t happen.

Avoiding the traditional circular firing squad may be the prudent choice, but against the backdrop of such a vanilla campaign, one has to wonder how any of the four candidates expect to even reach November.

Most assuredly, August 2014 will not resemble the August of 2010 as Mark Dayton and Matt Entenza spent wildly, with Margaret Anderson Kelliher doing her best to keep up via her organization.  Indeed, the question of 2014 may be what candidate (if any) can create the organization necessary to match the GOP’s GOTV efforts on behalf of Jeff Johnson.  The endorsement may no longer carry the same monetary value, but the organizational value of numerous BPOUs making phone calls definitely has a price-tag for those seeking to replicate the effort.  In a low-intensity, likely low-turnout field, the GOP’s GOTV efforts will likely prevail.

The GOP’s greater challenge may be to have a nominee that’s prepared to contend after August.  A GOP candidate having won by a minimal amount, and armed with a poor campaign account – as would likely be the case for three out of the four candidates – isn’t in the best position to challenge Mark Dayton.

ADDENDUM:  Marty Seifert may slightly regret getting former Gov. Al Quie’s backing, given Quie’s decision to now also support US Senate long-shot Jim Abeler.  Nor does it likely help that the Star Tribune is reminding readers that Quie also backed Tom Horner four years ago.

Open Letter To Representatives Paulsen, Bachmann And Kline

To:  Representatives Paulsen, Bachmann and Kline
From:  Mitch Berg, “Extremist”
Re: 

Representatives,

Who do you plan on voting for to replace Eric Cantor for Majority Leader? 

It’s a fairly simple question – but one that’ll tell us, the voters, a lot about where you stand on the future of the GOP majority. 

My sentiments should be obvious; I say vote for Raoul Labrador.  Put a serious conservative in the office.  While there is a place and time to play nice with the Dems, and make political compromises that need to be made, the time to do that playing and making is not right out of the gate.

The GOP needs to be an alternative to the Democrat party – not an extension of it. 

I’d appreciate, personally, a vote for Labrador – but I’m not in any of your districts, so you needn’t concern yourself with my opinion.

But you should tell your constituents, and Minnesota republicans, where you stand on the future leadership of the House conference. 

That is all.

Fortune Favors The Bold

Rand Paul, speaking in Iowa, nailed a few key points the GOP needs to remember, nationally and here in Minnesota:

“There are people who say we need to be more moderate,” he said. “I couldn’t disagree more.”

“I think the core of our message: we can be even more bold,” he added. “When Ronald Reagan won a landslide, he ran unabashedly … that’s what we need … It isn’t about being tepid.”

It’s “moderation” – and its idiot cousin, compromise with Big Left – that have left the nation in the mess it’s in.

The American people – the ones that can be reached, anyway – know this, whether they can state it in as many words or not.

Go conservative/libertarian, or go home.

“The Clinton Years”

To:  The American Electorate
From: Mitch Berg, Guy Who Was Of Cognitive Age In 1992
Re:  The “Clinton Years”

All,

Michael Barone, writing about the putative Hillary Clinton juggernaut:

It seems that Clinton’s standing reflects less on current judgments of Obama and more on rosy retrospective ratings of the presidency of Bill Clinton. Voters may not be eager for a third Obama term, but might like a third Clinton term.

Now, many of you weren’t adults – or at least not paying attention to politics – between 1992 and 2000 (especially in Minnesota, considering who we elected goverrnor in 1998).  You may have been fed a lot of gauzy beatifics about “the Clinton Years”; they were prosperous and peaceful.

Let’s be clear on why that was.

Twang:  Bill Clinton was a Democrat – but he was no Barack Obama.  He was part of the “Democrat Leadership Conference”, a moderate, business-friendly caucus of Democrat pols and advocates.  The DLC has, by the way, been completely extinguished; there’s no  room in the modern Democrat party for such moderation.

Shriek:  But Hillary was not.  Nobody mistook her for a moderate; she was the fire-breathing liberal of the couple.  And for the first two years of Clinton’s first term, many of her pet initiatives – including “Hillarycare”, which in those innocent days before Obamacare seemed like a grotesque power grab, nationalizing 1/7 of the national economy.  The first two years of Clinton’s reign were not much further to the right than Obama’s.

Pow:  The 1994 elections put a stop to that; the GOP took control of Congress for the first time since the ’30s, in a reaction to the Clintons’ “progressive” overreach.  In response, Clinton swung to the right, triangulating to the GOP’s right on issue after issue – essentially neutering all of Hillary’s “progressive” ambitions – to save his presidency in 1996.

During his last six years in office, Clinton was more fiscally conservative than George W Bush.

Poof:  As a result, between the 1994 landslide and his self-inflicted sex scandals, the best thing about the “Clinton Years” was that government was deadlocked between a Congress that was conservative, and a President that was frantically trying to act conservative.

Jing!:  Of course, deadlocked government works best against a background of overwhelming prosperity.  And the US was prosperous during the mid-late nineties – mostly because by 1994, the economy had shifted from Cold War priorities to full-scale civilian production, the so-called “Peace Dividend”.  All those Cold War-period innovations in technology  started filtering into the civilian market, driving frenetic booms in technology, equities, and consumer spending.  We enjoyed the first genuine peacetime boom since the Roaring Twenties – nation’s economic blender switched to “puree”.

The end of the Cold War was, of course, predicated on the end of the USSR – and that was largely the work of Ronald Reagan.

Bill Clinton didn’t govern anything like Ronald Reagan.  Hillary would be much less so.

The Good Old Days Are Gone For Good:  It’s not the nineties.  The GOP doesn’t control Congress – and any circumstances that lead to a Hillary! win would likely also lead to a blunting of any GOP effort to retake the Senate or extend control of the House – as Barone points out in the piece I link above, people are much more likely to vote straight tickets than they were 22 years ago.

So while the Democrats and media (ptr) will flog the idea that Hillary would be a return of Bill which would lead to a return of their gauzy, soft-focus version of “The Nineties” – it’s just not true.  Hillary is not Bill; without a conservative Congress, it’ll be like having Maxine Waters running things.  And Obama has seen to it there will be no surge of productivity when he leaves office.

We will get an expansion of government power; Obamacare will become un-repealable (even as its most onerous provisions finally kick in – and you really ain’t seen nothing yet).  And government debt will zoom under paleo-”progressive” Hillary!, pushing the nation further and faster down the road to the inevitable financial cataclysm.

That is all.

Kill National Popular Vote With Greasy Fire

Word is starting to leak out; a number of GOP politicians are flirting with supporting the idea of the National Popular Vote.

Let me be blunt:  This idea must be stomped, and stomped some more, until the convulsions stop. 

This is an utterly wretched idea, favored by liberal plutocrats with deep pockets to give the nation’s population centers a stranglehold on presidential (and eventually, all)  politics.

The National Popular Vote means that presidential candidates will not, ever, need to campaign in flyover land.  They need only to play to the coasts.

It completely guts the “protection of minority states” that the Electoral College has given this nation, to its immense benefit.

Need a reason to oppose it?  Here are seven to start with, all of them worthy of a rhetorical death sentence. 

The campaign to institute it has been sneaky, under the radar, and not a little bit sleazy.  The supporters are clearly trying to gull a mass of low-information voters (swaying them with talk of “majority rule”) without fully airing out the consequences. 

It’s even sucked in a number of Republicans who should know better.  I’m not naming names.  But it’s going to happen, sooner or later.

Republicans:  I, for one, will support an NPV supporter about the same time I support a gun controller.   You support NPV?  We’re going to have a pointed conversation. 

This shall not pass.

The Left’s War On The Western Intellect

One never needs to look far for a Berg’s Seventh Law violation.  But this one may be the big daddy of them all.

For all the left’s bargling about how smart they are and how stupid the teabagging wingnuts are, it’s the left that’s waging a war against the intellectual traditions that made the West a great, and – by world historical standards – free, prosperous and enlightened place.

The Late, Great Debate:  I did debate team for one year, and speech team for two in high school.  And with all due respect to the debaters in my social circle – including John Hinderaker, a national college debate champ – there was no question about it; debate team was the lesser set of skills.  The best “debaters” merely honed their ability to rattle off, auctioneer-style, factoids in a coherent-sounding case; oratorical style and even audible legibility didn’t make the cut as priorities.  Debaters tended to make lousy “forensics” speakers.

But debate teaches a vital skill – indeed, perhaps one of Western Civilization’s most vital skills; classical logic.  A good debater knows how to contruct a logical argument, quickly, steering clear of glaring logical fallacies which will, of course, cost them points with literate judges.

Or rather, they knew it.

John Hinderaker relates the story of the decline and fall of collegiate debate, where teams are now winning “debate” tournaments while ignoring the stated topic and swerving into their own personal polemics, often in “slam poetry” and hip-hop styles and, dumber still, declaring the idea of “logic” and “structure” to be racist:

The assertion that “the framework of collegiate debate has historically privileged straight, white, middle-class students” is puzzling. By “privileged,” the writer apparently means that these are the people who have been good at it. Historically, most college students have of course been white and middle-class, but so what?

“Collegiate debate” has turned into the MinnPost comment section!

I’m tempted to declare that the structure, rules and equipment of the NFL are ageist, classist and ableist, and play using only a shotgun and a hockey stick; why should those privileged with athletic talent and lack of years have all the fun and money?

Well, no – I won’t.  Because I’m not an idiot.

The underlying message from the academy (and hip hop forms notwithstanding, the end of collegiate debate is a battle between academic points of view, not tastes in music) is that logic and structure – the building blocks of western philosophy, “liberal” government, modern science, and indeed every Western intellectual tradition worth preserving – are matters of racist “privilege”.

Would we have had a small-”l” liberal government, ann Enlightenment, a Renaissance, math and science as we know it, a legal system remotely worth having, and any common intellectual tradition without classical logic?

Happy To Be An Intellectual Midget For A Better Minnesota!:  Of course, it’s more than just a national thing; the Minnesota Left has been doing its best to make politics and public life in Minnesota  dumber, coarser, nastier thing.

Bill Glahn dials this tendency in as remorselessly as a sniper:

As the 2014 election campaign heats up, a drearily familiar pattern is repeating itself. Flush with big dollars from out-of-state donors, Democrat-front group Alliance for a Better Minnesota (ABM) is attacking Republican candidates under the theme Wrong for Minnesota…Back in the dim mists of time—when dinosaurs still trod upon the earth—I was taught that arguing against the person (ad hominem) rather than what the person was saying, defied the laws of logic.

When I was in debate in high school, and moreso when arguing points in college, leading with the ad hominem was a good way to have your thesis sent to the showers.

I was taught in classical Greek rhetoric that a message that relied exclusively on raw emotion (pathos)—rather than reason (logos) or an appeal to values (ethos)—was considered the lowest form of communication.
Ad hominem and pathos are the only form of expressions ABM is capable of. The reason why ABM relies on these tactics is because they work. The object is not to engage in debate, but to end debate by surpressing voter turnout. ABM is not trying to convince you that you should vote for Democrats, they are trying to convince you that no Republican possesses the personal character worthy of your vote.

And it works.  A potential candidate for higher office talked with me about ABM’s efforts last year; this person wanted very much to run for an office that would be up for election this year, but couldn’t; while they have the political savvy, experience and record to do the job, ABM would make their personal life – things unrelated to politics, of course – a living hell.  And so a good candidate opted out of the race – leaving that bit more room for an inferior Democrat.

To add insult to injury?  The same media full of Lori Sturdevants and Keri Millers that snivel about the “vitriol” and “anger” in politics, are utterly silent about the Alliance’s crimes against logic:

Should a Republican whisper about the health of our current governor or the temperament of our junior senator, they are immediately shouted down by local media.

Either because of personal relationships or broad sympathy with the aims of ABM, these tactics are never questioned by local media. ABM’s increasingly fantastic and desperate claims against Republicans are never subjected to the “fact-check” apparatus.

And why is that?

Why has MPR, especially their “Fact-Check” operation, “Poligraph”, never systematically looked into ABM’s propaganda?  Catherine Richert?  Mike Mulcahy?  Tom Scheck? Anyone?

The Barricades Fall – A Little

The Twin Cities’ left is declaring a Code Red; Glen Taylor is buying the Strib

The Minnesota sports and business tycoon and former GOP state senator has picked up the shrivelling Gray Nag of Minnesota media properties - and has vowed to make some changes.

Some. 

Bear in mind, Taylor came from the old-school Minnesota GOP; relatively moderate, accustomed to working with the then-slightly-less-extreme DFL in a way that’s as obsolete as the personal computers from the 1980s, when that arrangement still held sway. 

But he’s talking changes; the MinnPost‘s Britt Robson (from the first installment of a two-part interview) talked with Taylor about his planned changes:

MP: The Star Tribune is regarded as a liberal newspaper, rightly or wrongly, and probably less so now than ten years ago. Will that change under you in any way shape or form?

GT: I think the answer is yes. But I think the answer is yes whether I buy it or don’t buy it. Everything changes, and some people are going to say, “Well it is, because you bought it, that it changed.”

I would say back to them, “No. You are going to have new hires. You are going to have new people. There are going to be changes in seniority. You have got to be responsible to your readership.” And I think it has already been changing, and I have been a longtime reader of the paper.

Will it change because of the ownership of Glen Taylor? Yeah. To say it won’t wouldn’t be accurate. But it isn’t like Glen Taylor is going to come in there on day one and say, “I’m going to fire people” and do all sorts of things. I am going to say — and I have already told them this — that first of all it has got to be fair and it has got to be accurate.

On the one hand, that – especially if manifested in the form of “reporting news that impacts the DFL with the same zeal as they do it to the GOP” – would be a huge start. 

On the other, I think Taylor is too sanguine about the evolutionary process in journalism.  The old, DFL-upsucking liberals like Nick Coleman are slowly fading away (and Lori Sturdevant has got to be eyeing that condo in Tampa, right?), but even they got their start at a time when American journalism paid more than feeble lip service to the ideals of impartiality and balance.

The Journalism academy today is far less idealistic than it was forty years ago.  New J-School grads are far more likely to start out as advocates from the word “go” than their elders, who oozed into the role over decades in a “progressive”-dominated state. 

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes:  So what does the Strib  really need?

  1. An Editorial Staff that actually puts accuracy and completeness ahead of politics.  Today – when they’ll sit on video of Mark Dayton giving an embarassing speech, but race to press with even the most foetid allegations about Republicans – they do not.  This editorial staff needs to crack the whip on, if not “objectivity” (which I believe has always been a myth in the major media) at least detachment, balance and development of sources outside the current crop’s clubby Rolodex full of left-leaning contacts. 
  2. Accountability:  For the better part of a decade, the person filling the role of the ombudsman (“reader representative”) at the Strib has served entirely as the editorial board’s spinmeister/spinmistress.  Ombuds like Sue Perry were the journalistic equivalents of Baghdad Bob, asking who you trusted – your lying eyes, or the Strib’s spin on the mountain of evidence of the paper’s bias.   The Strib needs an ombud that revels in mixing it up with the paper’s status quo. 
  3. A Columnist’s Row With Real Diversity:  Liberals have spent the past half-decade or so whining about the hiring of Katherine Kersten.  The complaints took two forms; “why hire a conservative, the paper is already balanced/conservative”, and “she doesn’t know the journo’s secret handshake!”.  The first line of complaints was straight from Alice in Wonderland.  The second wasn’t so much delusional as, I think, a tacit admission that conservatives were right; the journos wanted someone filling the “house conservative” role who knew the secret journo handshake and would work for “the team” when in doubt.  Which is not to impugn Doug Tice, Kersten’s designated replacement, in any way – he’s a solid reporter, right of center by Strib standards, and a journo of great integrity, but hardly an iconoclast.   The Strib needs an iconoclast, someone who will hold the ancient, biased institution of the paper’s feet in the fire. 

What else will it take?