Chanting Points Memo: Democrat Fakery Labor Party

 Bill Glahn notes that the Dayton campaign’s latest TV ad – featuring a “beleaguered middle class family” – continues a long DFL tradition:

The Ports are in no sense “middle class.” Steve Port owns his own businessin Burnsville, employing several staff. In true, “What’s the Matter with Kansas” fashion, I’m not sure the Ports—by supporting Democrats—are operating in their own self-interest as small-business owners in Minnesota.

But they do support the Democrats. Besides the sizable campaign donations, Lindsey Port recently wrote a letter to the editor supportive of the Democratic cause.

And we do mean large contributions; the Ports gave $1,000 to Roz Peterson’s undistinguished lump of a DFL opponent. 

This is, of course, a DFL pattern.  Four years ago, the DFL and the “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” and its media allies at “The Uptake”, produced a piece featuring a mother who was “boycotting Target” because of their pro-business campaign donation to the putatively “anti-gay” Tom Emmer.  Of course, the woman was an upper-middle-class DFL donor from the southwest suburbs

The DFL.  Fake outrage.  Fake numbers.  Fake people.

The Money Pit

George Will notes what many upper-Midwest conservatives have been saying since February; the left went all-in on Wisconsin because if they can lose there, they can lose any and everywhere.

I’ll start with Will’s conclusion:

As the moonless night of fa$ci$m descends on America’s dairyland, sidewalk graffiti next to the statehouse-square drinking fountain darkly warns: “Free water . . . for now.” There, succinctly, is liberalism’s credo: If everything isn’t “free,” meaning paid for by someone else, nothing will be safe.

That’s the crux of it all, really – but it wasn’t what the Wisconsin flap was about.

In fact, you could be forgiven for watching the American left this past seven months and having no idea what it was all about:

During the recall tumult, unions barely mentioned either their supposed grievance about collective bargaining, or their real fears, which concern money, particularly political money. Teachers unions can no longer bargain to require school districts to purchase teachers’ health insurance from the union’s preferred provider, which is especially expensive. This is saving millions of dollars and reducing teacher layoffs. Also, unions must hold annual recertification votes.

And teachers unions may no longer automatically deduct dues from members’ paychecks. After Colorado in 2001 required public employees unions to have annual votes reauthorizing collection of dues, membership in the Colorado Association of Public Employees declined 70 percent. In 2005, Indiana stopped collecting dues from unionized public employees; in 2011, there are 90 percent fewer dues-paying members. In Utah, the end of automatic dues deductions for political activities in 2001 caused teachers’ payments to fall 90 percent. After a similar law passed in 1992 in Washington state, the percentage of teachers making such contributions declined from 82 to 11.

Democrats furiously oppose Walker because public employees unions are transmission belts, conveying money to the Democratic Party. Last year, $11.2 million in union dues was withheld from paychecks of Wisconsin’s executive branch employees and $2.6 million from paychecks at the university across the lake. Having spent improvidently on the recall elections, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the teachers union, is firing 40 percent of its staff.

Progressives want to recall Walker next year. Republicans hope they try. Wisconsin seems weary of attempts to overturn elections, and surely Obama does not want his allies squandering political money and the public’s patience. Since 1960, no Democrat has been elected president without carrying Wisconsin.

Will – or the copy editor that wrote his headline, anyway – uses the “Waterloo” metaphor; a defeat that makes further victories impossible (until some sort of radical game-changer):

Walker has refuted the left’s sustaining conviction that a leftward-clicking ratchet guarantees that liberalism’s advances are irreversible. Progressives, eager to discern a victory hidden in their recent failures, suggest that a chastened Walker will not risk further conservatism. Actually, however, his agenda includes another clash with teachers unions over accountability and school choice, and combat over tort reform with another cohort parasitic off bad public policies — trial lawyers.

I can hardly wait for the next session – on both sides of the Saint Croix.

Note To Target…

this is how it’s done!

3M had its shareholders meeting yesterday.  Now, you may recall during last year’s Gubernatorial race when Target Corporation donated $150K to “MN Forward”, a pro-business advocacy group.  Notwithstanding the fact that Target is historically among the most gay-friendly companies in one of the most gay-friendly cities in the country, “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” – an astroturf group funded by unions and members, ex-members and friends of the Dayton family – ran an epic toxic sleaze campaign calling Target “anti-gay”, because MN Forward supported Tom Emmer, who had supported a version of the same Marriage Amendment that will likely be on the ballot in 2012.  It was a classic disinformation campaign – a corporate version of “when did you stop beating your wife”.

It didn’t really succeed commercially (Target’s stock tracked pretty closely with other mid-market retailers) or politically.  But it did cow Target into a pusillanimous reaction; the company instituted new controls on their political donations, despite the fact that outside the social media and the lefty echo chamber, the protest was much ado about nothing.

By the opposite token, 3M CEO George Buckley shows how it should be done:

Stockholders sided with 3M’s board and defeated a proposal seeking more accountability on political contributions and another asking the company to reevaluate its position on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s board. The company did not provide vote totals. Both proposals were aimed at 3M’s support of conservative causes, including its $100,000 contribution last year to MN Forward, a group that supported Republican Tom Emmer in the governor’s race.

Buckley knows how to call “astroturf” when he sees it:

“I do compliment Macalester College on having 427 students come and ask questions today,” said Buckley, responding to a question on the first shareholder proposal, co-sponsored by Trillium Asset Management and Walden Asset Management, two Boston-based investment firms.

It was a good-natured exaggeration, although it betrayed a certain weariness on Buckley’s part. About 10 people in the crowd of 400 at St. Paul’s River Centre, including students and faculty members from Macalester and Carleton College, spoke as Walden proxies. In slightly differing ways, they asked Buckley to explain why 3M chose to support Emmer, whose stand against gay rights became a campaign issue. A $150,000 contribution to MN Forward by Target Corp. sparked a store boycott, and the retailer changed its policies on political contributions in February.

As a side issue – how long will the Twin Cities media keep pretending that “Trillium Asset Managment” and “Walden Asset Management” are real companies?   Because they are not.  They are to “investment” what the Minnesota Independent is to “news”; a potemkin front designed more for propaganda than any of its purported stated purposes.

Buckley answered all the questions basically the same way: That 3M doesn’t take social issues into account when deciding which candidates to support and that it had backed Emmer because of his pro-business stance. Buckley also defended 3M’s continued presence on the U.S. Chamber board, something one speaker at the meeting criticized because of the group’s opposition to some environmental protection laws and the health care reform bill. Buckley said staying involved with the Chamber is one way to make 3M’s voice heard in the organization.

So kudos to George Buckley. It’s nice to know we still have some CEOs who can be executives out there…

Forgive Me Father For I Have Sinned

I have broken the Tenth Commandment.

Quotes from “the Governor”:

“Under our administration, state government will do only what is necessary – no more, no less,”

[in] his first day in office [the governor authorized his Attorney General] to join a lawsuit challenging federal health care reform. Democrats, who controlled state government until Monday, had prevented the…attorney general from doing that last year.

[the Governor] was interrupted 14 times by applause, the loudest and most sustained coming when he declared: “What is failing us is not our people or our places. What is failing us is the expanse of government. But we can do something about it right here, right now, today.”

[the Governor proposed legislators, in special session, move to] give tax breaks to business owners and income tax credits for contributions to health savings accounts; reduce business regulations; provide protections from lawsuits; give the governor more say in state rule making; turn the state Department of Commerce into a partly private entity to focus on job creation; and require a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of the Legislature to approve any increases to the state sales, income and franchise taxes.

[the Governor] also promised to improve education, protect natural resources, honor the role of family and “right-size state government by ensuring government is providing only the essential services our citizens need and our taxpayers can afford.”

“Let me be clear on one thing: Increasing taxes is off the table – as it will counter our efforts to provide economic growth”

“[This State] is open for business.”

Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Governor.

Meanwhile, back at the Batcave, Governor Dayton was heard to say

“Meow.”

Congratulations, Governor Dayton

As this post appears at 8:30AM, Mark Dayton will be sworn in as Minnesota’s 40th Governor (UPDATE:  Oops.  I got that off of a state website.  It was apparently wrong; the swearing in will apparently be held at noon.  Thanks, State of Minnesota!).

Time to give the guy his due.

He won the election, by whatever means.  He is now the governor.  Mine, as well as all of the people who voted for him.

So congratulations, Governor Dayton.  Enjoy the inauguration!  And while I oppose you, your agenda, and everything about you, I sincerely hope you do a good job.

“Never has a Congress done so much and been so despised for it. “

It was 2008…

The liberal wing of the Democratic Party had been waiting since the 1960s for its next great political opening

Democrats achieved 60 Senate votes by an historical accident of prosecutorial abuse (Ted Stevens), a stolen election (Al Franken) and a betrayal (Arlen Specter). They then attempted to do nearly everything we expected, regardless of public opinion, and they only stopped because the clock ran out.

The real story of 2010 is that the voters were finally able to see and judge this liberal agenda in its unvarnished form. For once, there was no Republican President to muddle the message or divide the accountability. The public was able to compare the promise of 8% unemployment if the government spent $812 billion on “stimulus” with the 9.8% jobless result. They stood athwart liberal history in the making and said, “Stop.”

…and that was November of 2010.

Read the rest here.

Sour Grapes of Wrath

Snarlin’ Arlen leaves the Senate.

If Pennsylvania’s forcibly retired senior Senator was in the holiday spirit, he was cleverly hiding it under a guise worthy of Ebenezer Scrooge.  Biding adieu to a 30-year career in the Senate, Specter produced enough whine for a vineyard as he lashed out at the political opponents who toppled him:

In his final speech on the Senate floor, the outgoing Republican-turned-Democrat sounded off on the tea party, the rise of partisanship in Congress and the “judicial activism” of the Supreme Court.

“Defeating your own is a form of sophisticated cannibalism,” the Pennsylvania senator said of the tea party activists who worked to defeat GOP centrists.

Specter bemoaned the loss of a Senate where both parties seemed to be interested in finding compromise, and he was especially critical of lawmakers who campaigned against their fellow members.

“That conduct was beyond contemplation in the Senate I joined 30 years ago,” Specter said. “Collegiality can obviously not be maintained when negotiating with someone simultaneously out to defeat you, especially within your own party.”

In other words – bah humbug!

Specter’s comparison of the GOP to a Uruguayan rugby team has earned him the standard media designation of ex officio Republican division expert due to his status as, well, an ex officio.  Lost in the shuffle seems to be Specter’s actual defeat at the hands of the party that he left 45 years ago when he began his career as Philadelphia’s District Attorney.   By Specter’s own experience, if Republicans are cannibals, then Democrats are toasting Arlen’s farewell speech with Soylent Green.

But in his final mixing of geritol with vitriol, Specter showed precisely why the electorate’s of both major parties found little use for him.  As a man famous for tying his ideological moorings to helium balloons, Specter’s complaint that senior Republican senators have recently abandoned long-held positions out of fear of losing their seats” rang as hollow as his partisan affiliation.

Some of Specter’s greatest criticism came towards his colleagues who vigorously campaigned against him, apparently violating sacrosanct Senate rules of civility.  Or Scottish law.  Regardless that the leadership in two parties attempted to squeeze him through two different primaries, Specter cast a pale over the lack of Senate comity, stating that such an atmosphere made crafting legislation impossible.

Undoubtbly dying in politics is easy; comity is hard.  But what veterans of the Senate like Specter fail to understand is that most of the comity coming from Washington in recent years is decidedly unamusing to most voters.  From the Patriot Act, to Immigration Reform, TARP and everything in between, almost all the bipartisan solutions have produced bipartisan disgust.  Even the most recent tax compromise has left no one happy and the federal deficit a trillion dollars fatter.  When even Lindsey Graham finds such legislation a  “capitulation”, you know the fetish of compromise has reached its nadir. 

Specter dubbed his final address a “closing argument.”  But in truth, his parting shots were more a case for the prosecution as what Specter really issued was a petty defense of Senate priviledge – and himself.

Common Cause: “Transparent” As Mud, But Not As Truthful

Common Cause Minnesota  (CCM) is a “non-partisan” PAC that exists, in its entirety, to advance liberal causes and, when they can’t manage that, to retard conservative ones.

Oh, they tart the message up like a twenty-dollar hooker:  ”Common Cause Minnesota is a nonprofit, nonpartisan citizen’s lobby dedicated to improving the way state government operates. We have helped pass Minnesota’s most important ethics and campaign finance reforms“, is what they say on their website.  And everywhere, in all their communication – transparency.  Transparency, transparancy, transparency.  They want “Transparency” in government.  Or so they say.

We’ll come back to that.

As I pointed out last September, in the wake of  finding out that “Alliance For A Better Minnesota” was spending an avalanche of funding from not-so-transparent sources like Mark Dayton, his ex-wife and a slew of unions, through via a fiscal shell game that Derek Brigham mapped out as well as anyone – certainly better than anyone in the mainstream media…

…Common Cause had demanded an investigation of…

…Campaign for Minnesota’s future, and a donation it got from the Republican Governors Assocation.

And for this campaign, Common Cause went big, going to the state Campaign Finance Board.

CCM’s announcement certainly set the stakes high (emphasis added by me):

WHAT:           Common Cause has uncovered an elaborate scheme by three entities to hide political contributions.

WHEN:           Thursday, September 30, 2010
11:00 a.m.

WHERE:         Room 125, State Capitol

Common Cause Minnesota will outline a major complaint that it has filed with the Campaign Finance Disclosure Board alleging that three different entities circumvented Minnesota disclosure law and failed to properly disclose large contributions.  The parties involved could face civil penalties totaling $5.1 million and criminal prosecution.

###

Whew!  Scary!

And when the CFB released its results, CCM spun it like it was huge news; Mike Dean, CCM’s president, tweeted:

Campaign Finance Board finds that Minnesota’s Future, LLC Violated State Law:

Of course, like everything Mike Dean and CCM say and do, it was a bunch of twaddle.   The Minnesota Campaign Finance Board released its conclusions.

Among CCM’s many charges was that the Republican Governors Association didn’t disclose its donors according to Minnesota law.

It was true; they did it better than Minnesota law!

The Board notes that the RGA disclosed all of its sources of income to the IRS under the requirements applicable to organizations registered under IRC section 527. The timing of that disclosure is different than what is required in Minnesota but the level of itemization is greater than Minnesota requires. This observation is noted because it suggests that avoidance of disclosure was not a motive for the RGA when it made its contribution to Minnesota Future, LLC.

Conclusions from CFB investigation – again, with emphasis added:

Based on the above analysis, and the submissions of the Complainant and the other parties, the Board makes the following:

Findings Concerning Probable Cause

1. There is probable cause to believe that Minnesota Future, LLC, and State Fund for Economic Growth, both Minnesota corporations, operated as political committees as defined by statute and were required to register with the Board within ten days of accepting contributions or making expenditures in excess of $100.

2. There is no probable cause to believe that the failure of Minnesota Future, LLC, or State Fund For Economic Growth to register was done with the knowledge and understanding the corporation was, in fact, required to register.

3. Minnesota Future, LLC, and State Fund for Economic Growth have registered with and reported to the Board retroactive to the date they first accepted contributions in excess of $100. They have completed their registration and reporting obligations. Consequently, there is no probable cause to believe that an ongoing violation exists.

So there was no substantial violation of any kind.  It was a technical violation of a provision in state election finance law that’s not all that clear; no harm was done, no fines were levied (they very frequently are in these cases); Minnesota Forward didn’t get so much as a stern “you watch what you’re doing, now!”  No “criminal charges”, no “multimillion dollar fines”.

Nothing.

CCM’s selective complaining was incongruous enough to make even liberal-in-good-standing Paul Demko ask:

But Common Cause did not file a similar complaint against WIN Minnesota, a DFL-aligned organization that has been helping pay for attack ads against GOP nominee Tom Emmer. The group received a similar $250,000 contribution from the Democratic Governors Association (DGA).

Dean said WIN Minnesota is in compliance with the law because it’s organized under a different section of the tax code and has a broader mandate then simply influencing electoral politics. But he conceded that WIN Minnesota is no more transparent in revealing the source of the DGA money then its conservative counterpart. “The issue is one organization followed the law and the other organization did not,” Dean said.

Except that MNForward did, according to the Campaign Finance Board – and if WIN Minnesota (one of the maze of shell groups underwrting “Alliance for a Better Minnesota”) did, it was only by the stretchiest definition of “the letter of the law”, and I doubt even that.

So you might be reading this, and thinking – “Wow – Common Cause sounds like  a bunch of weasels”.

Now, now.  Not yet, they don’t.

Read this bit first (again with emphasis added):

At issue is a $429,000 contribution that the Republican Governors Association funneled to the group, which has been running television commercials bashing DFL gubernatorial nominee Mark Dayton. Common Cause argues in the complaint that Minnesota’s Future was required to disclose the names of donors who contributed to the Republican Governors Association.

Leaving aside the fact that the Campaign Finance Board rejected the premise that Minnesota’s future did anything wrong, I’d like you to check this out.  It’s an excerpt from Page 4 of Common Cause’s 2008 IRS Form 990 – disclosures.

Can’t read the names?

Get used to it.  There are eight pages of donations, a total of 44 of them, totalling over $600,000.

For one year.

And not one name.

For a group that alleges itself to be all about “transparency in politics”.

The lesson from this?  Whenever “Common Cause” pops up in this state’s political discourse, they need to be pelted with rhetorical rocks and garbage.  They exist only as a front group for the DFL; they are fundamentally dishonest.

I’ve invited CCM “president” Mike Dean to appear on the Northern Alliance Radio Network to discuss his various charges, and defend CCM against the charge that they are lying to the people.  Repeatedly.  For almost three months.

I expect better from responsible adults with non-risible points of view.

Place your bets.

All You Had To Do Was Ask

Last summer, I noticed a local leftyblog run by a couple of anonymous bloggers was trying to play lawyer

They were gabbling about my friend, colleague and now Minnesota State Representative, King Banaian’s radio show on KYCR – also known as “AM1570 The Businessman”, sister station to AM1280 The Patriot.  

King was a co-host of the Northern Alliance Radio Network on AM1280 – an overtly political show on an overtly political station – from March of 2004 until September, 2009.  At that time – long before he announced any intention to run for office – he switched to the 1570, where he ran an expressly non-political show about economics. 

The anonymous bloggers in question wrote a screed claiming that the 1570 needed to either pull Banaian off the air, or give his opponent equal time, notwithstanding the fact that AM1570 can not be heard in District 15B, a demand that caused me to wonder if Banaian’s opponent might want to just tell the anonymous bloggers to shut up and quit trying to “help” her; using the “equal time” would involve driving to Eagan from Saint Cloud every Saturday morning, or at the very least taking off a couple of hours of prime campaigning time per week to talk on the air on a station that has zero listenership – zero – in Saint Cloud. 

Little did I know as I wrote my response that somebody had already filed a complaint [Warning! PDF File!] with the Campaign Finance Board!   The CFB summarizes the complaint, saying the complainer believed there had been:

(1) a prohibited corporate contribution from the radio station owner to the King Banaian for House committee in the form of free radio air time;

(2) the failure to report contributions from the radio station owner to the King Banaian for House committee

(3) violations of the limits on contributions that may be accepted by a candidate’s principal campaign committee.

As I pointed out in my original response, the complaint was absurd: the show was expressly nonpolitical, and the station isn’t heard in the district in question anyway. 

The complaint also gabbled on for quite a while about Banaian’s history – ending half a year before he announced his candidacy – on AM1280.  Follow that logic there?  Being on the air in the past is a form of campaign contribution?  Did anyone file a complaint against Al Franken?  Can any talk show host ever run for office?

It matters not – because the Campaign Finance Board reached exactly the same conclusions I did, and for exactly the same reasons.

As re the complaint’s, er, complaint that Salem “contributed” to Banaian via the “free” air time?:

For the purposes of analysis, the Board will adopt Complainant’s position and assume that Salem Communications provided services of value to King Banaian. In fact, the opposite may be true since King Banaian was a volunteer host with significant credentials and the radio station’ owners profited from commercials run during breaks in his program.

Heh. Don’t we all know it.

As re the notion that Salem was contributing to the Banaian Campaign, the CFB notes that the ”contribution” would have required phenomenal ESP on the part of Salem’s execs: 

Services provided by Salem Communications would be a recognizable and reportable transaction if those services constitute an “approved expenditure” under Minnesota Statutes Chapter 10A. An “approved expenditure” is an expenditure made by a third party for the benefit of a candidate with the approval of the candidate. Minn. Stat. §10A.01, Subd. 4. An approved expenditure constitutes both an in-kind contribution to the candidate’s principal campaign committee and an in-kind expenditure by the committee.

An approved expenditure is a specific type of “expenditure”. Thus, before a transaction will be considered to be an approved expenditure, it must fall within the definition of an expenditure.

Minnesota Statutes, Section 10A.01, Subd. 9, defines “Campaign expenditure” or “expenditure” as a payment or purchase “made or incurred for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of a candidate . . .”. This statute clearly requires the existence of a specific purpose before a transaction is an expenditure for campaign finance purposes.

The program under consideration was ongoing prior to Mr. Banaian’s announcement that he would run for office. The program is aimed at discussion of economic issues. Although it discusses policy related to economics, it has not discussed Mr. Banaian’s candidacy for the House of Representatives.

In other words, the “campaign” to which the “contribution” was “made” didn’t “exist” when Salem put the expressly non-political show on the air – “air” which, need we remind you, ends at about the west end of Maple Grove:

The program’s broadcast signal does not reach the geographic area in which Mr. Banaian is running for office. While the online on-demand archive is available to anyone, there is no evidence that Salem Communications or anyone else has promoted the archive to voters in Mr. Banaian’s district.

(Or any other district.  Don’t get me wrong – Salem rocks, and I thank them profusely for having me on the air for this past almost-seven years.  But any “promotion” that any of us local hosts have gotten has been via word of mouth.  Such is the nature of weekend radio).

The fact that Mr. Banaian may have appeared as a guest on broadcasts on WWTC, a political talk radio station, does not provide support for the proposition that Salem Communications made a political contribution to the King Banaian Committee. Minnesota Statutes Section Subd. 11(c) provides that a contribution does not include “the publishing or broadcasting of news items or editorial comments by the news media”. This exception is broadly interpreted in favor of allowing public discourse related to political campaigns. The fact that a candidate interview may have an effect on the candidate’s election is not sufficient to remove the interview from the news media exception.

The Board recognizes that any positive public exposure may have some effect on an individual’s chance of being elected. However, this possible collateral effect under the facts presented is not sufficient bring the broadcasts described by Complainant within the scope of expenditures that are considered to be for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of Mr. Banaian.

Now, that’s an interesting proposition; considering “positive” interviews to be a “campaign contribution?”  Can someone file a complaint against Keri Miller or Esme Murphy?  Because if I have to listen to either of them painting Mark Dayton’s toenails on the air again, I’m going to herk.

The conclusions?:

Based on the information provided in the Complaint and the Response, and through the Board’s investigation, the Board makes the following:

Findings Concerning Probable Cause

1. There is no probable cause to believe that Salem Communications or KYCR Radio made a contribution to the King Banaian for House principal campaign committee by producing or broadcasting the King Banaian Show or other shows during which Mr. Banaian was interviewed.

Based on the above Findings, the Board issues the following:

Order

1. The Complaint of [the complainer] regarding King Banaian, KYCR Radio and Salem Communications is dismissed.

2. The Board investigation of this matter is concluded and hereby made a part of the public records of the Board pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, section 1OA.02, Subdivision 11.

Where have we heard that before?

Now, since the bloggers who originally wrote about this are anonymous, I obviously have no idea who they are, or if the CFB “complaint” was in any way related to the blog post I, er, addressed last August.

Still, I have a hard time thinking what the anonymous bloggers, or the complainer, thought they were going to accomplish with this complaint.  Given that the station is not heard in Stearns County, and given that the show was expressly non-political anyway, the only remaining motivation would be to stifle conservative punditry on the air.

It’s not hard to imagine that it backfired, though.  Indeed, it’s not at all difficult to believe any part of King Banaian’s margin of victory in this past election that didn’t come from people disgusted by the DFL’s clumsy, racist jape at Banaian’s consulting career might have come from St. Cloudians revolted by the bald-faced appeal to censorship from a couple of carpet-bagging (apparent) Twin Citians.

Why Did Emmer Lose?

The dust is finally settling.  The campaign is over.  We have a “governor”-elect.

So what went wrong with the Emmer campaign?

We’ll come back to that.  First, let’s talk about what went right.  Emmer ran a campaign he can be proud of, to the extent that he, personally, never stooped to the Dayton campaign’s level of untruth and sleaze.   He took the high road, and stayed there, without excepttion – even chiding Ed and I when we interviewed him at the State Fair for calling Dayton “the opposition”. 

And the statewide GOP landslide in legislative elections showed that he was the right candidate for the times; the new conservative majority will, near as I can tell, be pushing an agenda not much unlike Emmer’s.  I’m by no means ready to write off widespread fraud, personally – but that’s a battle for investigators and lawyers to gnosh out or, ideally, for the Legislature to interdict with sweeping electoral reform.

So what happened?

Drip Drip Drip: “Alliance For A Better Minnesota” was on the ground the afternoon Emmer won the nomination, first with a website and then a TV ad campaign that I spent the better part of six months debunking, one point after the next.  It was the most toxic, sleazy third “third party” campaign in Minnesota history (paid for by the Dayton family and ex-family, it wasn’t “third party” at all) – and it hit paydirt with an ad campaign featuring a teary-eyed mother recounting her son’s death in an accident with a drunk driver.  The woman then mentioned Emmer’s two 30-year-old alcohol-related driving convictions, and mouthed outrage that Emmer proposed legislation to “reduce punishments for drunk drivers”.

Mark Twain once said that a lie will go around the world while the truth is waiting in line for its morning latté.  The corollary to that is that it takes seven seconds to tell an effective lie, and a couple of minutes to refute the lie – but the average political consumer’s attention span is about seven seconds.   ABM lied – I busted them over and over , as did Channel 5 – but they were never held accountable for it. 

Anecdotally?  I heard from GOP activists all over the state that they heard from people whose only real impression of Emmer was that he was “a drunk driver”, throughout the summer.

 Erin Haust at the Minnesota Examiner addressed the ad in her own post-mortem of the campaign in the MN Examiner:

The ad, and subsequent silence from the Emmer campaign to refute the claims, clearly negatively effected the election results. Keeping in mind local races resulted in the Minnesota House and Senate changing to Republican control for the first time in decades, the blame for losing at the top of the ticket must be placed squarely on the state party and the Emmer campaign for reasons other than just one ad.

True.  But the response to the ad was a symptom of the next reason.

Can You Spare Me A Dime:  One of the reasons Emmer didn’t respond to the ad, other than taking the high road, was that the campaign spent virtually nothing on advertising until after the primaries, and really nothing much until Labor Day.  During the primaries, oddly enough, all three DFL candidates spent most of their ad money attacking Emmer – indeed, it’s kind of curious how in sync all three of them were before Dayton’s primary win.  Very, very curious.

But I digress. Emmer didn’t respond.  It was a matter of fiscal prudence; it also allowed ABM to frame the entire discussion.  By the time Greater, Non-Republican  Minnesota heard anything about Emmer, he was “the angry guy”, “the drunk driver” or, if the good guys were lucky, “Tom Who?” to a big chunk of Minnesota.

It made fiscal sense, but it meant the Emmer campaign was framed from the very beginning. 

Emmer gambled, to a great extent, by not spending the rest of the campaign un-framing himself, but rather pushing his own, positive message and agenda.   Had the election been held a month later, I bet it’d have worked. 

But on November 2, there were 8,000 more Minnesotans (or maybe 2,000, with 6,000 stuffed ballots; we just don’t know) who were still drooling “G’huck, isn’t he the angry drunk guy” before walloping their kids while standing in line at the liquor store.

So close.  So very, very close.

Antisocial:  I’ve copped to it many times; I’m not primarily a social conservative.  Oh, I’m anti-infanticide, and think that while there’s a case to be made for civil unions as a legal contract I believe marriage is religious and ergo none of the state’s business.   I’ve said it not a few times; Emmer got my attention at the 2009 State Fair, when he said the election was about jobs and the economy, not gay marriage.   And Emmer strenuously avoided social-conservative talk throughout the campaign – to the point where during the final debate at the Fitzgerald Theatre, when Gary Eichten pressed him to discuss whether he’d use the bully pulpit to curtail the “right” to infanticide.

In short, Emmer left social conservative issues on the table.  Perhaps he’d assume that socialcons would read the fact that’s a Catholic guy with seven kids and draw all the conclusions they’d need to come to the polls and vote for him.   When was the last time a pol overestimated the intelligence of the voting public?

There’s evidence that it was a mistake.  A Laurence survey showed that gay marriage – or, rather, the idea that Dayton and Horner would use the courts or a DFL legislature to jam down gay marriage, like in Iowa – was a huge swing issue for voters.   A bit of stupid anti-Catholic bigotry from the State DFL may have swung the SD40 race for Dan Hall.  And I wouldn’t doubt that there are 10 Swarthy-Americans in Saint Cloud that were offended by this toxic DFL gaffe, just enough to put King Banaian into office.

And don’t forget Chip Cravaack, who ran a good jobs ‘n economics campaign, but did not allow the voters to forget that “pro-life” Jim Oberstar had betrayed his pro-life constituents by caving in to The One on providing infanticide via Obamacare.

Didn’t seem to harm him much.

From Out Of The Bag: The above might have been unforced “errors” – or maybe not errors at all.  It’s hard to say, but it’s easy to be a Monday-Morning Quarterback.   The fact is, other than the spending deficit and the early flub in handling the “Waiter Tips” teapot-tempest, Emmer ran a decent campaign.  Indeed, watching the candidate debates – all 3,174 of them – it was hard to miss the fact that Dayton was a bumbling chanting-point-bot, and Horner was a slick, highly-polished talking-point-bot.  Emmer cleaned the floor with both of them in every debate I saw (although I only saw like 400 of them).

But the media was in the bag for Dayton.  Oh, the Strib endorsed Horner, but out in the streets, the media’s real agenda – anyone but Emmer, and please, please, we want a DFL governor after all these years, was loud and clear.

Haust catches part of it:

Dayton’s history of ties to socialist, progressive groups is far from secret. Dayton spokeswoman and Executive Director of Alliance for a Better Minnesota, Denise Cardinal, was a featured speaker alongside self-avowed communist and community organizer Van Jones at the America’s Future Now! conference last summer. They and other speakers demanded redistribution of wealth in the United States and discussed radical, revolutionary tactics to accomplish that end. Neither the state party nor the Emmer campaign made the connection between radicals like Cardinal and Van Jones and the Dayton campaign…Dayton’s campaign received millions of dollars from groups and individuals linked to socialists, progressives and communists. George Soros funded organizations like Democracy Alliance contributed heavily to his campaign. Soros himself is scheduled to co-host a fundraiser for Dayton in the coming week.

The Republican Party of Minnesota and the Emmer campaign failed to take advantage of the national media attention Dayton’s friends and allies were receiving during the campaign and throughout the recount.

True, perhaps – but it’s for sure that the state’s media didn’t go near any of it, either.  Indeed, the media failed to report – or report meaningfully at any time between the endorsing process and the election – about Dayton’s…:

  • mental health state. 
  • alcoholism
  • relapses – when, how recently, how severe, and why?
  • quitting his job as economic development commissioner under Rudy Perpich
  • closure of his DC Senate offices in 2005 
  • record as a New York “Teacher” – it was up to Sheila Kihne to find out that “the toughest job of his life” lasted sixteen months of working about 1/3 of the time until his draft status let up.
  • Educational record – the University of Massachussetts at Amherst won’t say if he got his teaching certificate (or, indeed, whether he completed any course work at all) – which’d be an odd bit of history for someone who opposes alternative teacher licensing.

Oh, the bloggers investigated it all.  And the mainstream political media – Rachel Stassen-Berger, Tom Scheck, Tim Pugmire, Bill Salisbury, Pat Doyle, Pat Kessler – studiously avoided touching any of the topics.  (or, to be fair to Rachel Stassen-Berger, they avoided addressing them after January of 2010, long before anyone outside the wonk class was paying ahny attention to the election).

And after remembering the feeding frenzy the media went into over, say, Morgan Grams (the son of Rod Grams, Senator until 2000, whose estranged son got into legal trouble that drew slavering coverage from the Twin Cities media, even though Grams had had almost nothign to do with raising him after his divorce from Morgan’s mother…

…details of which we got the kind of detail that made everyone an expert in Rod Grams’ personal life.

So why didn’t Mark Dayton, the man who would be governor, the guy who has to try to un-flock a “6.2 billion dollar deficit”, warrant the same level of scrutiny?

Why do you think?

There are some lessons to learn here – and, hopefully, institutionalize.  Because I have a hunch we’ll be running for an open seat again in four years.

Congratulations, Mark Dayton. Welcome To Hell.

So with Emmer’s apparently-upcoming concession, you’re the Governor-elect, now, Mark Dayton.

Congratulations.

After pouring millions of dollars of your family’ s money into the most toxic, slimy, sleazy campaign in Minnesota gubernaturial history, a campaign noted for its serial, cynical inaccuracy by anyone with the brains to spell the words – a “campaign” based on the two sole concepts of “taxing the rich” and tearing down Tom Emmer – and outspending the Emmer campaign 2:1, you eked out a half-point “victory”.

It’s a proud day.

You’ve gone to show that with millions of dollars of inherited money and the slavering servitude of a lot of union donors, any little boy can grow up to back into office with 42% of the vote.

Now, when you’re crowned, you will face two chambers of red-hot, motivated, unified conservative Republican majorities.  They will not be the inside-the-beltway post-Gingrich-era RINO hamsters that you got used to “reaching across the aisle” with in DC.  They are not the RINOs you remember from your time in the State House.  These are Tea Party Republicans; conservatives who’ve been sent to Saint Paul by a majority that said “come back with your shields, or on them”.  On a mission to cut the spending, cut the taxes, cut the regulations…to oppose everything you stand for.

And beyind them, there are a whole lot of people like me.  Who are going to damn well hold them to those promises.

Mark Dayton:  Your agenda is dead on arrival.  Your “budget plan”, as big a fraud as it was, is now legislative toilet paper.

There’s a feeling out there that you’ll be a one term governor – maybe.  Maybe less.  We’ll see.

I’m “the loyal opposition” – but after the campaign you ran paid others to run, the emphasis is on opposition.  I’m going to spend the next four years working to retire you for good.

So welcome to office, Governor Dayton.

Congratulations.

The Better Man “Loses”

The Strib notes what we’d sensed for most of the past month; the margin, fair or foul, is just too much.

Tom Emmer seems likely to concede today.

The better man “lost”.

A slimy, toxic campaign with only two focuses – “taxing the rich” and tearing down Tom Emmer – “won”, by half a point, after outspending Emmer 2 to 1.  And by “won”, we mean…well, more on that later today.

Thanks, Tom Emmer.  I had the time of my life writing about your campaign, and doing my little bit to expose the slime that lined up against you, and what an empty, vapid suit you faced.  You are the best stump speaker in Minnesota politics today, and you do something few do better – you explain conservatism to people who aren’t conservatives, brilliantly.

Which is something the Minnesota Media did their damnedest to avoid allowing to get out there.

So I hope we haven’t seen the last of you.

The only loser is Minnesota.

More later today.

Miss LaFontaine Goes To Lansing

I love this story; a 23 year old waitress is  on her way to the Michigan state legislature:

Diane Okay and Betty Turk were enjoying coffee after a lunch of fish and spinach pie at Ken’s Country Kitchen when they found out their 23-year-old waitress is a state representative-elect.

After a moment of stunned silence, Okay expressed her approval: “Good for her.”

Still, she was a bit skeptical, saying she thought Andrea LaFontaine is a bit young to understand some of the problems Michiganians face.

“I have a son that age, and looking at it from the standpoint of a mother, she doesn’t have a lot of life experience at 23,” Okay said.

Still, if you watch the video (follow the link), Miss LaFontaine has a better understanding of economics than, say, Minnesota’s probable governor-elect and his entire party.

LaFontaine, a Central Michigan University student, beat three other Republicans in the August primary before winning the 32nd District seat over Democratic incumbent Jennifer Haase in the November election.

LaFontaine will be one of the youngest legislators to be sworn into office Jan. 1. Also taking the oath will be 24-year-old Republican Frank Foster of Pellston, who won the 107th District seat vacated by term-limited Democrat Rep. Gary McDowell of Rudyard.

Better yet, when Miss LaFontaine goes to Lansing, she will be a gratifyingly conservative voice of sanity in a state that needs it even more desperately than Minnesota.  Not just because she’s a conservative – although that is the building block of all worthwhile legislators – but because she’s not part of the professional political class.  She’s one of The People.

More of this, please.

Miten Se Hopey-Changey Juttu Menossa Sinulle?

A sign of the times – Finnish-Americans voted heavily Republican for the first time:

Around 100 years ago Finnish immigrants flocked to the mines and woods of the country around Lake Superior, where the topography and weather must have seemed familiar. They’ve been a mostly Democratic, sometimes even radical voting bloc ever since. No more, it seems. Going into the election, the three most Finnish districts, Michigan 1, Wisconsin 7 and Minnesota 8, all fronting on Lake Superior, were represented by two Democratic committee chairmen and the chairman of an Energy and Commerce subcommittee, with a total of 95 years of seniority.

Wisconsin’s David Obey and Michigan’s Bart Stupak both chose to retire, and were replaced by Republicans who had started running before their announcements. Minnesota’s James Oberstar was upset by retired Northwest pilot and stay-at-home dad Chip Cravaack.

So here’s a new rule for the political scientists: As go the Finns, so goes America.

Obama must feel like he’s in a sauna right about now…

A Big Win For Bureaucrats

Yesterday’s ruling at the SCOM sums up about like this:  Bureaucrats trump legislators.

Gary at LFR puts it well:

When bureacrats’ ruling has more bearing on election law than legislators and governors, then it’s clear that bureaucrats have overstepped their authority. The minute that happens, the legislature needs to step in and limit the bureaucrats’ authority.

Hopefully, the new GOP legislators are writing that legislation as I’m writing this post. We pay legislators to write laws. We don’t pay administrative law judges to tell us that existing law isn’t relevant. Also, we don’t pay Supreme Court justices to write new law. Theoretically, we pay appellate court justices to tell us what the law says. PERIOD.

It disturbs me, personally, how frequently “administrative law” – law as interpreted by bureaucrats – overrides the law as passed by elected representatives of the people.

The worst example I’ve seen remains the City of Saint Paul’s administrative lynching of “Saint Paul Firearms”, a gun shop that briefly opened on Snelling Avenue.  The store obeyed all applicable laws – exceeded them, at least in terms of security, in every particular – but some of the religiously DFL-voting neighbors got the victorian vapors over the thought of sharing the neighborhood with a gun store.

So they didn’t bother with real courts; they went to the “Administrative Law” court.  And they got the ruling they wanted; the ruling that said “forget Minnesota law, to say nothing of the United States Constitution; bureaucrats see it the way you want to see it!”  And so the store was forced to close, destroying an honest entrepreneur’s investment of his life’s savings in the process.

I’m n0 lawyer – I have some standards – so I frankly don’t know what to think about the SCOM’s ruling yet.  It wouldn’t be the first time they’ve sided unconscionably with the bureaucrats against, y’know, the law.

We’ll see.

Chanting Points Memo: Potemkin Outrage

The smaller story (from my admittedly and temporarily parochial perspective): lefty protests in Europe have much moo, little political cow:

Throw your Euro stereotypes out the window: Last weekend, a Greek government that has cut public-sector pay and lowered pensions won a clear victory in local elections. Despite strikes and violence, despite the fact that Greece’s debt is still growing and more cuts are coming, there will be a Socialist mayor of Athens for the first time in 24 years. (And, yes, in Greece, the Socialists favor budget cuts, and the conservatives oppose them.)

Nor are the Greeks alone. Last month, voters re-elected a Latvian government that cut public-sector workers’ pay by 50 percent. The British government coalition, which is also trying to eliminate benefits and cut spending, remains strangely popular, too. Although—contrary to my previous observation—London witnessed its first Continental-style, anti-austerity riot last week, there wasn’t much general enthusiasm for the protesters. Some of their leaders wound up denouncing the riots, and they haven’t hurt the government’s poll numbers yet, either.

It’s saying too much to call it a pattern, and it may well not be a permanent change: I’m sure there are plenty of European politicians who won’t survive their next encounter with the voters. But there is something in the air. It almost seems as if at least a few Europeans have actually drawn some lessons from the recent recession and accompanying turbulence in the bond markets. They have realized, or are about to realize, that their state sectors are too big.

So the takeaway: despite the left’s sturm und drang and immense fury, the people support conservative (by Eurozone standards) reforms.

I say that to set up what is (by my, again, parochial and situational standards) the big story; Target Corporation – the, er, “target” of an astroturf smear campaign over the summer after donating money to MNForward, a pro-business PAC – has seen same-store sales rise.

The left’s astroturf campaign – the boycotts,  the ofay little videos of planted DFL harpies cutting up their Target cards, the “flash mobs” of smug  jagoffs – all of it was a flop.

Them’s fightin’ words

Reading the Sunday Strib online (I buy a paper copy every once in a while for kindling)  I find it amusing how the Strib words the following passages…emphasis mine…

Minneapolis and St. Paul will face major budget deficits if the state reneges on its local government aid (LGA), a program that helps pay for services in hundreds of Minnesota cities.

Cities have to lock next year’s budgets into place in less than a month. Yet the governor’s race remains undecided, while Republicans have wrestled control of the Legislature from DFLers, and an estimated $6 billion state budget shortfall clouds the picture.

I might offer a revision for the former: if state legislators are forced to cut subsidies to cities not able to live within their means as the state itself now must?

…and for the latter: as voters wrestled control of a state legislature dominated by the DFL for decades and handed it to Republicans, ostensibly sending a message of confidence lost in the former and gained in the latter.

Meanwhile, Nick Coleman (I am still surprised to see him gainfully employed) suffers from the same malady as President Obama: if only we had communicated our plans better, the American people would have voted differently.

DFL legislators who never put up an effective fight against the No New Tax mantra of Gov. Tim Pawlenty and never had a comprehensive strategy for communicating the goals of all their legislative maneuverings should share the credit for the GOP takeover.

Or, they were actually, absurdly proposing resolving our employment and economic maladies by raising taxes and increasing spending and for the first time in decades, Minnesota said “Nyet!”

It will be months before we know the full scope of the corporate politics behind the legislative takeover. We may never know the sources of much of the money, since anonymous contributions are permitted in the anything-goes political climate.

Careful there Nick, remember if you point one there’s four pointing back at you.

But one Democrat who felt the sting of the corporate lash was David Bly, a state representative from the cow-and-college precincts of Northfield who was seeking a third term. Bly, a high school English teacher, has been a leader in the fight for a universal health care plan for Minnesotans and other progressive causes. He was told by DFL Party leaders that his seat was safe, then stood by helplessly as business interests paid for an endless blizzard of attack ads — a dozen or more — that were mailed to voters in District 25B. Bly abided by spending limits for lawmakers — spending about $31,000 on his campaign — while the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Leadership Fund, the Minnesota Coalition of Businesses, and something called NFIB, the National Federation of Independent Business, may, when final reports are in, turn out to have spent far larger amounts on behalf of his opponent.

Nick, don’t confuse the DFL’s inability to hear the train coming down the tracks with treachery on the part of their opponents.

For the record, Bly has supported a balanced approach to state budgeting, including cuts and tax increases where necessary.

…and to a liberal legislator they’re always necessary. Minnesotans seem to have rejected the notion that yet another tax hike is a “balanced” approach.

So relax, everyone. Business is picking up. And business just picked up a new Legislature coming into office in January.

That’s right Nick, business – you know, the sector that actually creates jobs and pays taxes.

Many of the new lawmakers probably don’t even know where the Capitol is.

…only Nick Coleman and his ilk would think that’s a bad thing.

News Conference

Mitch Berg is arriving for his press conference.  He takes his place behind the podium.  The press bustle forward to get the best spots in front of the podium.

Berg waves his hands, and the press gradually quiet down.

BERG: OK, for starters; everyone knows Tom Emmer has won the election, and that his inauguration is inevitable.  And so, while the election did fall within the statutory limit requiring a recount of the vote, as required by Minnesota State Law, I urge the DFL and the Dayton campaign not to interfere with the obvious inevitability of Emmer’s victory by pursuing the process that is legally mandated and out of their control anyway.

Furthermore, when the inevitable happens at the end of this mandatory process that the DFL should not pursue anyway, I urge Mark Dayton and the DFL from restraining their lawyers from filing stupid lawsuits, regardless of whatever grounds they say they may have, for a Better Minnesota. 

We especially urge the Dayton campaign to refrain from filing lawsuits over so-called “irregularities” or “fraud” in the process.  Everybody knows we have the best electoral system in the world, so it’s a moot point.

And when all those lawsuits are dismissed, I implore the DFL not to sic throngs of SEIU goons on Republican recount watchers, offices and the homes of GOP activists in revenge for their inevitable loss. 

I will now take questions.

ERIK BLACK: Er, Mitch?  Why are you calling Emmer’s victory “inevitable”? 

BERG: Because it is, and has always been.  Next?

RACHEL STASSEN-BERGER: Er, has there been any indication whatsoever from the Dayton campaign that they plan on filing frivolous lawsuits simply to pointlessly extend the recount process and delay the transfer of power?

BERG: You just report what I say, OK?  Next question.

TOM SCHECK: Er, this bit about “not raising objections over irregularities” – that is their legal right as part of this process…

BERG: Right, but it will only detract from the inevitability of Emmer’s victory.   It’s stupid, and just between the two of us, it’s a sign that they hate children.  Next?

TIM PUGMIRE: This reference to SEIU goons – where does that come from?

BERG: Look, I’m not saying that they will sic goons or lawyers on anyone.  Not at all.  You have the context all wrong.  I’m just saying that when they inevitably lose the recount and Governor Emmer is inevitably inaugurated – as every sensible person who doesn’t secretly yearn for child porn can say will happen, once this pointless yet legally-mandated recount is over – it’d be very bad for a party to sic hordes of union goons on those they disagree with.

MARTY OWINGS: But Mitch – nobody’s talking about siccing goons on anyone.

BERG: I’m just asking questions.

PAT KESSLER: That wasn’t a question.  That was  a statement.  You told the DFL to refrain from siccing goons on people if they lose the recount.

BERG: Well, that’s just common sense.  You want a good state, and  you believe in democracy?  Ixnay on the goons!

Final question?

BILL SALISBURY:   So to sum it up, you’re asking the DFL and Dayton to refrain from doing things they never said they were going to do in the first place, and decline to do things that are obligations that are out of their hands according to Minnesota law. 

BERG: Yep.  That, and not kill people for revenge when Tom Emmer’s inevitable inauguration takes place.  Thanks!

Berg leaves the stage, as Brian Melendez silently takes notes in the back of the room.

The Great Poll Scam: Introduction

The weekend before the election, I was talking with a friend – a woman who has become a newly-minted conservative in the past two years.  She’d sat out the 2008 election, and had voted for Kerry in ’04, but finally became alarmed about the state of this nation’s future – she’s got kids – and got involved with the Tea Party and started paying attention to politics.  And she was going to vote conservative.  Not Republican, mind you, but conservative.

And the Saturday before the election, she sounded discouraged.  “Have you seen the polls?” she asked.  “Emmer’s gonna get clobbered”.

I set her straight, of course – referred her to my blog posts debunking the election-eve Humphrey and Minnesota polls.and showing her the Emmer campaign internal poll that showed the race a statistical dead heat (which, obviously, was the most correct poll before election day).

She left the room feeling better.  She voted for Emmer.  And she voted for her Republican candidates in her State House and Senate districts, duly helping flip her formerly blue district to the good guys and helping gut Dayton’s agenda, should he (heaven forefend) win the recount.

But I walked away from that meeting asking myself – what about all the thousands of newly-minted conservatives who don’t have the savvy or inclination to check the cross-tabs?  The thousands who saw those polls, and didn’t have access to a fire-breathing conservative talk show host with a keen BS detector who’s learned to read the fine print?

How many votes did Tom Emmer lose because of the Hubert H. Humphrey and Minnesota polls that showed him trailing by insurmountable margins?

How many votes to conservatives and Republicans lose in every election due to these polls’ misreporting?

Why do these two polls seem so terribly error-prone?  And why do those errors always seem to favor the Democrats, with the end result of discouraging Republican voters?

Coincidence?

———-

Public opinion polling is the alchemy of the post-renaissance age.  Especially “likely voter” polling; every organization that runs a poll has a different way of taking the hundreds or thousands of responses they get, and classifying the respondents as “likely” or not to vote, and tabulating those results into a snapshot of how people are thinking about an election at a given moment.

But the Star Tribune’s Minnesota Poll has, to the casual observer, a long history of coming out with polls that seem to short Republicans – especially conservative ones – every single election.  And the relative newcomer to the regional polling game, the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute’s poll done in conjunction with Minnesota Public Radio, seems – again, anecdotally (so far) to take that same approach and supercharge it.

I’ve had this discussion in the past – David Brauer of the MinnPost and I had a bit of a back and forth on the subject, on-line and on the Northern Alliance one Saturday about a month ago.

And so it occurred to me – it’s easy to come up with anecdotes, one way or another.  But how do the numbers really stack up?   If you dig into the actual numbers for the Humphrey Institute and the Minnesota Poll, what do they say?

I’ll be working on that for the next couple of weeks.  Here’s the plan:

http://www.shotinthedark.info/wp/?p=15172

Big Boys Don’t Cry

I watched some of the Obama press conference in my office today and was not surprised in the least that the President, his ass in hand, could not bring himself to answer some pretty pointed questions on whether “what happened last night” was less an endorsement of the GOP and more a damning of he and his policies.

He gave pause, then looked like he was going to cry. For a second I thought he was going to go all “Moss” and say something like “I will axe the questions.”

Instead he decided not to answer the question and chose to ramble on about the economy and the American people rightfully expecting more progress from their government…blah blah blah.

He just doesn’t get it.

Some election nights are more fun than others. Some are exhilarating. Some are humbling,” Obama said. “Yesterday’s vote confirmed what I’ve heard from folks all across America. People are frustrated, they’re deeply frustrated with the pace of our economic recovery.”

Some nights are more fun than others? Saywhat? For a man whose sole accomplishment is political in nature, that may be the understatement of a lifetime. Furthermore, I was not aware of the President stooping down to listen to “folks across America.”

Maybe the President, will all due respect (or is that now all done respect), needs a few more days to come to grips with the fact that America has rejected not only his policies on spending, stimulus, health care and his golf handicap, but he himself as a President and a leader – certainly as a folks-listener.

Exhibit A: the outright desertion (the in-bag press read that as “distancing”) of late, if not mutiny, of liberal colleagues that just months before held hands and sang Cumbaya at the signing of a national wealth transfer apparatus called the health care bill. A fatal career move for many a tenured Democrat it turns out.

Exhibit B: what happened last night.

The next two years will be excruciatingly difficult.

…and lonely.

…for him.

I’ll drink to that.

…And The Sky Is Softly Humming

It wasn’t the outcome I expected.

In some ways, it was better.

Top stories from last night:

No Tails: Lord Fauntelroy will spend his term – one, singular – holed up in the Governor’s office, facing a legislature that is not only GOP, but is focused way beyond Mark Dayton.   Holed up in the office, quivering in fear and supported only by the media, will be his cronies; Mark Ritchie, whose few remaining shreds of legitimacy got double-counted in Hennepin County last night, once they finally got the ballot-counting machines to work; Lori Swanson, who is going to have a day of reckoning with Darrell Issa shortly; and Rebecca Otto, a “there” where there is truly no “there”. And he’ll have to try to enact his vapid, untested agenda against a Legislature controlled by a MNGOP…

This Is Not Your Grampa’s Minnesota GOP: …that really doesn’t give a rat’s ass how the Independent Republicans “reached across the aisle” forty years ago.  The GOP caucus that stood on the stage with Tony Sutton last night was young, smart, and the product of two successive waves of rebirth in the MNGOP – the Ron Paul surge in ’08, and the Tea Party, neither of which “took control” of the party, per se, but both of which energized it, culled it of some deadwood, and gave it a focus that it has lacked at a party level for quite some time.

The West Is Red: Remember all that talk about the Third District being too blue for Erik Paulsen, and that the Third would punish the freshman Rep for being “too conservative”?

That’s all getting filed under “yesterday’s news” along with “Representative Oberstar”.  Paulsen won by – adjectives fail me – 21 freaking points.  I predicted 10 or 12, and “knew” I was being a point or two hyperbolic.

Twenty one points!  Twenty one freaking points! Twenty one howling flag waving red-white-and-blue-waving moon-landing carpet-bombing .44-magnum-shooting tax-slashing points!

Suck it, Lori Sturdevant.  The Third District is Red.

An Analyst Would Say You Have Twice As Much Glass As You Need For The Water: King Banaian won by 28 votes last night.  Some call it “a razor thin margin”.  I call it “impeccable economy of effort”.  Put him on the budget committe, stat.

Michele, Our Belle: Point this at your whackdoodle ultralefty friends: Michele Bachmann has power power power power power today.  Watch them jump with fright, and maybe wet their pants.

She’s in the majority.  Better yet, she is to the new GOP majority what Mike Singletary was to the ’86 Bears defense; the face, the soul, the wit and the teeth.  There it is, DFL; after four million your PAC dollars and Soros Bucks, you have helped make Michele Bachmann the Top Mama Grizzly.  And she’s coming for you!  BOO!

Take that, Michele Bachmann’s many whackdoodle lefty detractors.  The more deranged you get, the bigger she becomes.  The more clogged with hate you become, the more powerful she gets. The GOP has created the perfect conservative swing-state politician; someone who feeds and grows and becomes stronger on her opponents’ hatred!

Ritchie Stock – Strong Sell: Worst. Election. In. History.

So far.

Yes We Can: Organize from the grassroots better than the DFL?  Two words: Representative Cravaack.

Note to the MNGOP: Before Cap’n Cravaack departs for DC, braindump his system.  Find some former Chief Petty Officer to go through the First, Fourth, Fifth and Seventh districts to put it into place.  Be ready for 2012.

MNGOP: Come Back With Your Shield, Or On It

Joe Doakes from the Como Park neighborhood for Saint Paul write to the new MNGOP majority in the Legislature:

Looks as if you’ll control the state House and Senate, but Dayton will be governor. Obviously, his tax-the-rich plan isn’t going anywhere in the Legislature. But how will you get your austerity budget signed?

Remember when the Democrats sent Pawlenty a tax-increasing budget on the last day of the session and he vetoed it, thinking he could use the unallotment process to balance the budget? Democrats rushed to Court to get Pawlenty’s actions declared unconstitutional. Their argument was he should have vetoed the budget and shut down the government.

It was the great political food fight of the past biennium.

Back to Joe:

Learning from your mistakes is a sign of wisdom. Now that you control the Legislature, pass a slash-and-burn budget on the last day of the session and force Dayton to either (1) sign it, thereby pleasing your constituency while infuriating his; or (2) veto it and shut down the government, thereby mildly annoying your constituency while infuriating his.

Sure, he can call you back for a special session. Doesn’t mean you have to pass anything different the second time around. Keep sending him the same deal until he takes it. Remember, he can’t unallot – they made sure of that – so you’re in the driver’s seat.

This last bit is what’s important:

One more thing : buy some earplugs. The weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth by the unions, welfare recipients and drive-by media will be deafening if you don’t. Ignore them and do the right thing. Your kids and your grandkids will be glad you did.

And if you don’t, you’ll have a great time telling those kids and grandkids about your one term in Saint Paul.

Because you have a mandate. You rode to Saint Paul on a wave of energy, passion, enthusiasm, anger and determination like this nation has not seen – ever! Last night’s victories, in Minnesota and nationwide, were not part of a centrally-orchestrated campaign; this was the sound twenty million newly-minted conservative activists make when they realize that our government is out of control

You are where you are because of us.

You must not seek accomodation with the DFL, or with Governor Dayton.  Politics is about compromise, of course – but unlike GOP caucuses of the past, you must obtain those compromises by squeezing the DFL for their fair share and then some.

We won.  The MNGOP over history has found a million ways to make that phrase ring hollow.  That history must end today.

We didn’t send you to Saint Paul to play kissyface with Lori Sturdevant and Rachel Stassen-Berger.  We didn’t send you there to become popular with Larry “The Stats Masseuse” Jacobs or the Strib Editorial Board.

We sent you there to kick the DFL’s ass.  We sent you there to tell this state’s preening, self-appointed elite that no, we are not “happy to pay and pay and pay for a better Minnesota for the AFSCME and the SEIU.  We sent you there to change Minnesota

Get to work.  We’re watching.  We put you there, and we’ll be more than happy to bring you home.

It’s In The Name

Earl Pomeroy – who was as untouchable as Jim Oberstar two years ago – is out in North Dakota.

He lost 55-45 to Chris Berg – no relation that I know of, although I hope to run that down soon.   And with that, North Dakota – which has been represented entirely by Democrats in DC since the eighties – is suddenly 2/3 Republican, and Kent Conrad has got to be sizing up lobbying as a career change.

We shocked the world.

Congratulations, DFL

If last night’s results showed us anything, it’s that any little boy can grow up to outspend his opponent almost 3:1 with family and union money, and run an epochally sleazy campaign based on dodgy context and virtually no fact, with the aid of an in-the-bag media that won’t start asking the tough questions until January, and back into office by a fraction of a point (maybe) while insulting the intelligence of a little over half the electorate, and become governor just in time to sign on to an agenda that just got overwhelmingly repudiated nationwide.

For a term.

That’s one Renoir for every 3,000 votes’ worth of margin.

Congratulations, Governor Hatch.  Er, “Governor Dayton”.  Seriously.  Don’t change a thing.