Our Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes To You

What do we really need for President?

Jack Kemp.

The former Bills quarterback and congressman from Buffalo was perhaps the most influential American politician who never became President; he was behind much of the “get out of the way” legislation that led us to the prosperity of the ’80s and ’90s.

And he rose to prominence during an era with great similarities to today.

Morton Kondracke and Fred Barnes write in the WSJ:

The present era resembles the miserable 1970s. Growth is glacial. Incomes are stagnant. The country’s mood is sour. Divisions are widening. In 1979 only 12% of Americans thought the nation was headed in the right direction. Now it’s around 30%. And politicians are pitting class against class: the “1%” against the “47%”; white workers against Mexican immigrants. The public is furious with Washington, and no wonder. Polarized Republicans and Democrats do nothing for them.

Jack Kemp shook things up—but with dramatic ideas about policy, not by pitting outsiders against insiders. The Republican establishment resented the gall of a backbencher’s butting into tax policy. Democrats hated tax-cutting, even though Kemp kept reminding them that President John F. Kennedy first proposed lowering the top rate to 70% from 90%. Special interests were furious when Kemp proposed reducing their tax breaks. He once wrote Reagan’s deficit-hawk budget director, David Stockman,demanding to know why Mr. Stockman wanted to raise taxes on working people and cut food stamps, Medicaid and Head Start, but keep subsidies and tax breaks in place forBoeing,Exxon and Gulf Oil.

Go on and read the whole thing.

And then ask yourself – which candidate would Kemp support?

Kemp was, of course, one of the people who converted me to conservatism.  We could do much, much worse, and we usually do.

Second Time’s The Charm?

Stuart Mills makes it ooh, so close to official that he’s going for a rematch in the 8th CD.

A rematch with Mills – whose 2014 bid lost by about a point – will give the DFL a chance to exercise those keen logical and reasoning skills in their never-ending pursuit of the stupid vote:

House Majority PAC and the DCCC aired ads thrashing Mills for his personal wealth, and at the time, his long hair.

“If you take a look at the attacks that they leveled against me, the one thing they never wanted to engage in was the issues,” Mills said on Wednesday. “They wanted to talk about my hair. They wanted to talk about my family’s success and the people we employed. They did not want to talk about the issues.”

Mills cut his iconic long hair this summer after a barbecue accident.

How many ancient keg-stand photos do you think the DFL can recycle before people figure out they’ve got nothing?

Fields Of Ire

To:  The Democrat Party
From:  Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  Campaign 2016


We’re heading toward a presidential election.

You’re facing a field with a highly-accomplished woman, two Latinos, a black man, two very accomplished surgeons, two CEOs, a couple of Horatio Alger stories, a former Solicitor-General of the United States (that means “a really, really smart lawyer”), a former federal prosecutor who beat the Mob like a bongo drum, and a couple of governors who’ve actually accomplished great things (albeit one fewer than I’d have liked, all things considered).

You’ve got a governor who enthusiastically led a failed state, a career senator who’s famous for his malaprops, a retreaded hippie who would run the economy on unicorn farts, and a “feminist icon” who is where she is precisely because she married an up-and-comer, no different than any other Mad Men-era Scarsdale housewife, and has spent the past 40-odd years enabling him no less than the most abjectly-subjugated burqua-clad Pakistani second wife.

This is the paragraph where I normally throw in the punch line.  But I really don’t need one, do I?

That is all.


Minnesota’s gun-rights movement has carried out probably the best single grassroots political reformation in recent state history; over the course of 20 years, Minnesota has gone from being an anti-gun state that flirted seriously with Chicago-style gun bans in the eighties, to being a state with a decent shall-issue law and a reasonable chance of debating “Stand your Ground” and even “Constitutional Carry” in coming years, provided some elections break the right way.

More than that?  The pro-Second Amendment human rights movement in Minnesota is a bipartisan front; Republicans throughout the state have joined with DFLers through most of greater Minnesota – who’ve learned, in some cases the hard way, that most of Minnesota outside the 494-694 ring hold their Second Amendment human rights in high regard.

To the point where the DFL apparently has to keep their lobbying to Metrocrats and DFL machine-players who have nothing to lose.

Like Rochester DFL rep Kim Norton, who’s leaving the House after this next session, and wants to go out in a blaze of big-government, criminal-coddling glory, apparently.

Gun rights supporters are none too pleased with Norton’s announcement that she’ll push for stricter gun laws during her final legislative session next year…

Norton, who is not running for re-election in 2016, said she has received about 50 emails so far. The vast majority of those emails are from people who do not live in her legislative district. She said she has no intention of giving up on her plan to introduce a bill tightening gun rights. Among the ideas she plans to push is one prohibiting guns in the Capitol complex saying, “I don’t feel safe at work.”

She added, “Many of my constituents have asked for change.”

Rep. Norton; it’s entirely possible you’re not safe at work.  Same as everyone else in the Rice/University neighborhood, which has become one of Saint Paul’s sketchiest.

But it’s not because of the people who were covered by the Capitol carry restriction (carry permittees had to notify the Capitol Police if they planned to carry in the Capitol complex) – who are absolutely no danger to anyone, legislator or not.  It’s because of the same, common criminals who threaten all the rest of us, and who don’t bother getting permits or notifying Capitol police, any more here than they do in Chicago.

In other words, your proposal is as useless as any other gun control measure – and utterly pointless as well.

Speaking of which:

Norton said she is fed up with gun violence and wants to sponsor a bill with “common sense” changes to the state’s gun laws. Among the changes she’d like to see is a system making it easier to track gun ownerships. She compared it to how if she sells her kayak, she has to register who she sold it to.

I agree.  It’s high time we deregulated kayaks.

The good guys have responded:

The Minnesota Gun Owners Political Action Committee sent out an email urging its supporters to email the Rochester DFLer and tell her they oppose her efforts. In an interview with the Post-Bulletin earlier this month, The gun rights group’s email begins, “Just when you think anti-gun politicians in Minnesota have gotten a clue, one pops up and proposes what they call ‘common sense gun law changes.'”

In an interview, the group’s political director Rob Doar said his organization has serious concerns with the idea of establishing any sort of gun registration system…He said the idea also raises privacy rights concerns, with there being a potential for the data to be hacked. He noted that Canada decided to scrap its firearms registry because it proved to be expensive and ineffective.

With emphasis on expensive.

And ineffective.

So, DFLers; are any of you outside the 494-694 loop who are planning to run for re-election planning on signing on to this?

Sound off!

Well, Crap

Walker’s out of the race.

And I couldn’t  be more bummed.

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

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

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

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


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

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

This is a lousy day for America.

OK, Fiorina and Rubio people. I’m listening

Rent-Seekers Seeking Rent

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is sitting on his porch, working on his next book project.  


Avery LIBRELLE walks through the gate from his back yard and toward the sidewalk.

BERG:  Um, hello, Avery?  Hanging out in my back yard, were we?

LIBRELLE:  Oh, I was sorting your trash.

BERG:  Looking for recyclables?

LIBRELLE:  No.  Evidence of thoughtcrime.

BERG:  Huh. I burn all of that.

LIBRELLE:  Hah!  There’s some evidence of thoughtcrime!

BERG:  Of course.

LIBRELLE:  Hey – speaking of thoughtcrime – Ben Carson is a hypocrite.  He speaks out against welfare – but he and his mother used it!

BERG:  Yeah, I just saw the photomeme your side has been passing around:


LIBRELLE:  Yeah!  Hypocrite!  His entire success was rooted in the welfare system!  Hypocrite!

BERG:  Well, if his entire success was rooted in the system, then every child growing up on welfare would be a doctor or a lawyer, wouldn’t they?

LIBRELLE:  He’s still a hypocrite!

BERG:  OK, let’s just for get for a moment that the whole “argument” is a logical fallacy…

LIBRELLE:  That’s a stereotype!  Trigger warning!  Trigger warning!

BERG:  No, fallacy.  It’s a Tu Quoque Ad Hominem – saying that because someone has ever said, or done, or believed something that’s at odds with their argument, their argument is invalid.  It’s like saying because someone was once in the Klan, they could never speak out against the Klan.

LIBRELLE:  But he’s not a former Klan member!  His mom was on welfare!  He grew up in the system!  It made him what he is today!

BERG:  So you’re claiming credit for Ben Carson’s success on behalf of the welfare system?  Fair enough.  Will you claim “credit” for all the people of all races who’ve become multi-generational dependents of the system?

LIBRELLE:  There is no such thing!  The science is settled!

BERG:  Of course it is.  Look – what you are saying is this; if someone’s ancestors went on welfare, to which they are entitled – because welfare is, for better or worse, an entitlement in this country – and that person not only uses the system exactly the way it was intended to be used, but goes on to succeed far above and beyond any rational expectations, that person isn’t allowed to point out what an exception to the rule he is, and how the welfare system as it is today *harms* the upward mobility that he experienced?

In other words, if you’re born into the system, don’t care speak out against the system, because the system owns you and everything you are, think and believe, forever?

Doesn’t that pretty much prove Carson correct?  That you, the system’s supporter, are using it as a form of intellectual indentured servitude?

LIBRELLE:  Steven Colbert!  John Oliver!  Rachel Maddow!  Neil DeGrasse Tyson!

BERG:  Of course.


Brass Tacks

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

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

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

Mr. Dilettante on why it’s important:

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

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

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

Game Afoot

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

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

GUNKEL:  Hey, Merg!

BERG:  Hey, Bill.

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

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

GUNKEL:  He may as well have been a Democrat!

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

GUNKEL:  Why elect another RINO?

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

GUNKEL:  He never criticized Kline!

BERG:  Er, why would he do that?

GUNKEL:  Why not?

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

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

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

GUNKEL:  Principle!

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

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

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

GUNKEL:  So?   Money isn’t everything.

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

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

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

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

BERG:  Um, what?

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

BERG:  Um, March 1 is the caucuses.

GUNKEL (looking confused):  Riiiight?

BERG:  Not the general election.

GUNKEL:   (Shrugs extravagantly, indicating non-comprehension)

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



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

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

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

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

And it started me thinking.

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

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

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

A stretch?  Sure.

Implausible?  Maybe.

Impossible?  Who cares?

Location, Location, Location

Hillary’s celebrated email server was apparently kept in a bathroom closet.

Big deal.  I think the radio station I started at – KQDJ AM1400 in Jamestown ND – is now a computerized station in a bathroom closet, too.

And that computer would be a better SecState or POTUS, too.

I’m Not Saying

Conservative talk radio takes a huge chunk out of liberal/Democrat politicians.

Democratic Party:  “We need to shut up and/or discredit talk radio”.

The Libertarian frat party, three months later:  “Talk radio is teh short bus radio for dummies!”

Republican candidate for President promise, in an election where foreign policy figures to have a significant impact, a policy of confronting and attacking terror.

Democratic Party:  “They are going to eat our feckless party’s lunch on foreign policy, and there’s nothing our Sanders-loving base will let us do about it”

The Libertarian frat party, three months later:  “Warvangelicals!  They just want to kill brown people!”

Benghazi threatens the reputation of the Secretary of State and heir-apparent to the Presidency.

Democratic Party:  “We need to defuse this Benghzi thing”.

The Libertarian frat party, three months later:  “Hey!  Faux News wants a new war, and they’ll chant Benghazi ’til they get one!  You’re paranoid!”

Obama signs a feckless, stupid deal with the Iranians – one that is not only provoking Neville Chamberlain to scream “No!” from the grave, but is making George McGovern angry.

Democratic Party:  “We need to marginalize the opposition to this deal”.

The Libertarian frat party:  “Republicans just want waaaaaaar!”

Hillary Clinton’s email servers may violate the law in the same way David Petraeus’ emails did, only possibly much, much worse.

Democratic Party:  “We need to defuse the email server situation”

The Libertarian frat party, a month later:  “Email server is the new Benghazi!”

No, correlation doesn’t equal causation.

Of course not.

Fit To Be Tied

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

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

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

And yet the stubborn peasants keep popping up for Walker.

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


The Mitch

To: the Gullible

From: Mitch Berg

Re:  Trump

I will close the borders, and make sure every American company that is illegally employing illegal aliens pays for it.

I will also get the economy humming so good, the minimum wage will be irrelevant. And I will do it all on my way to my third date with Jennifer Lawrence.

There. I’ve just done everything Donald Trump is doing; talked a bunch of big promises I’ll never have to deliver on, but that will get people to talk about me.

The only difference? I don’t have a mainstream media simultaneously obsessed with my celebrity and using me to wedge the party that they want to see out of power again.

I hope we’re clear on this, now.

That is all.


SCENE:  Bill GUNKEL, former Republican and now chairman of the Inver Grove Heights chapter of “Former Republicans for Ron Paul”, is driving down a Saint Paul street when he notices Mitch BERG walking his dog.  GUNKEL pulls over and rolls down his window.  

GUNKEL: Hey, Berg!

BERG: (Choking back mild annoyance, ordering the dog to sit) Hey, Bill.

GUNKEL:  Boy, Donald Trump sure showed those squishy RINOs in the GOP presidential field how it’s done!

BERG:  Huh.  How so?

GUNKEL:  He told it like it was!  He said the things that no Republican would dare to say!  He said what needed to be said on immigration!

BERG:  OK.  And that means what?

GUNKEL:  That means he really pissed off the Establishment!

BERG:  Huh.  And that, then, means what?

GUNKEL:  He might be a Republican I could vote for again!

BERG:  Because he “tells it like it is”, and “pisses off the Establishment”?

GUNKEL:  Yep! (grins like a toddler who just made a big pants)

BERG:  Yeah, let me show you something.  (Clears throat, takes deep breath)   “We need to complete the border fence, enforce existing laws on immigration, and crack down on hiring illegal workers.  And Karl Rove is wrong, and the Tea Party is right.  And I think Scarlett Johannson would dig me”.

There.  I just told it like it was on immigration, and pissed off the establishment.

GUNKEL:  (blinks, puzzled)

BERG:  I just did everything Donald Trump did.  I said a couple of things that pander to a voter bloc, but that I’ll never have to try to convince a single legislator to pass, or a single taxpayer to fund.  In other words, I just said stuff.

GUNKEL:  (blinks, puzzled)

BERG:  Talk is cheap.

GUNKEL:  (blinks, puzzled)

BERG:  The only thing I lack is a media to lavishly publicize what I’m saying, by way of trying to discredit the GOP, and especially to draw the conversation away from the likes of people like Scott Walker and Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, who are actually saying things the American people need to hear.

GUNKEL:  (Shakes it off)  You’re a RINO.

BERG:  Clearly.

(And SCENE).


All In

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Fuzzy As Rand Paul Is…

…on foreign policy and defense, the more I see of this kind of talk, of a 14.5% flat income tax for individuals and businesses…:

So on Thursday I am announcing an over $2 trillion tax cut that would repeal the entire IRS tax code—more than 70,000 pages—and replace it with a low, broad-based tax of 14.5% on individuals and businesses. I would eliminate nearly every special-interest loophole. The plan also eliminates the payroll tax on workers and several federal taxes outright, including gift and estate taxes, telephone taxes, and all duties and tariffs. I call this “The Fair and Flat Tax.” . . .Even Mr. Obama’s economic advisers tell him that the U.S. corporate tax code, which has the highest rates in the world (35%), is an economic drag. When an iconic American company like Burger King wants to renounce its citizenship for Canada because that country’s tax rates are so much lower, there’s a fundamental problem.


…the more I want him to remain a contender.