In Case There Is Any Doubt

I was, to the best of my knowledge, the first blogger in Minnesota to publish predictions to which he has stuck through the campaign (other than the traditional “I’m gonna vote for the party with which I’m identified!” that, let’s be honest, is pretty much de rigeur among partisan bloggers).

So while I reserve the right to do another round of ’em before the election (because, yo, it’s my blog, at least until the Democrats sic the FEC on us all), there’s how the race looks to me, so far:

CD 1:  Demmer is going to trip Walz in the home stretch.  It’ll be close – maybe within a point – but Demmer’s going to win.

CD 2: Kline by a conservative 25.

CD 3: Paulsen by 12.  Meffert has run a fairly inept campaign.

CD 4: See below.

CD 5: See below.

CD 6: Bachmann by ten over Clark, who has run an utterly inept campaign.  Indeed, it could be said that when it comes to running a district-wide race, Clark doesn’t know $#!+.

CD 7:  See below.

CD 8:  I believe Chip Cravaack is going to win this thing.  Oberstar’s performance in the Duluth debate was so arrogant, so self-absorbed and scolding and condescending and tone-deaf, that I believe this is the year.  Cravaack has run a flawless campaign, and if there is a story where the backstory is shaping up to spell “Cinderella”, it’s Cravaack’s.

Which is not to say Cravaack don’t need help.   Volunteer. Knock doors.  Drive people to the polls.  Every legal, legitimate vote counts.

Attorney General: I think incumbency gives Lori Swanson a huge advantage over Chris Barden.  I also believe that if even half of the allegations Barden and the WCCO I-Team have surfaced are true, Swanson (and her puppetmaster, Mike Hatch) will be so damaged that the office is assailable in four years.  Will Barden pull it off this year?  I think it depends on tsunami-like GOP turnout and diminished DFL response.  If there was a year that this could happen, this would be it.

But I think a late surge of people who feel betrayed by the Obama/Reid/Pelosi axis of failure could help put Barden over the top.

Secretary of State: Dan Severson has run a campaign almost as intense and energetic as Cravaack’s.  Overcoming incumbency in these constitutional office races – which are usually painfully low-profile – is usually very difficult.  If anyone can do it, it’s Severson.   I’m calling it a tossup, dependent on turnout.  Huge GOP turnout?  Severson wins.  Your mission is clear, people.

State Auditor: I think Pat Anderson has stated her case pretty impeccably.  I think she wins by 2-3.

Governor: :I’ve been predicting Emmer by three points all along.  I am going to stay right there.  I think it’ll be dead-on for a number of reasons; over the past two weeks, there’ve been indications that independents are breaking powerfully to the right, just as Emmer needs.  The Dayton campaign, its putative lead in the last few polls notwithstanding, is campaigning  like it’s behind, leading me to think that the DFL has internal polls that show a different story than the public numbers.   I suspect that the polling will be driven by the “leaner” questions – the economy, gay marriage – that the polls downplay at this state in the election (Rasmussen doesn’t release ’em at all).  I suspect DFL turnout – especially for the off-putting stiff Dayton, who’d be a loser of a candidate even in a good DFL year – is going to be disappointing, and there is evidence that GOP turnout, especially in the Third, Sixth, Eighth and perhaps First and Seventh districts, is going to be really, really intense, in a sense that none of the current polls have the mechanism to model properly.

So I say Emmer by three.

Below: The 4th, 5th and 7th CDs are tricky.  Which, in and of itself, is a very good thing; they used to be the simplest districts to predict; they’d always be DFL blowouts by 30-50 points.  And they still could be.  In a normal year, I’d shake my head and predict that Teresa Collett, Joel Demos and Lee Byberg would be doing well to get over forty points.

And yet.

If Chip Cravaack is genuinely threatening in the 8th CD, then truly anything can happen.  And Collett, Demos and Byberg have all run tough, hard-working campaigns, and all of them have raised vastly more money than their predecessors.   If there is an avalanche of independents ready to vote conservative (not necessarily Republican), then Cravaack’s tide could help carry them all, plus Emmer, over the top.

Betty McCollum and Collin Peterson are having to actually campaign in their districts for the first time in years, and while neither of them have humiliated themselves as badly as Oberstar did in last Tuesday’s debate, they’ve both committed gaffes (Peterson’s “my voters are crazy” quip, McCollum’s “Mission Accomplished, now let’s get the Marines working on global warming!” remark) that show they are now residents of Planet Beltway.

In this case, truly, hedging is the honest answer.  Collett, Demos and Byberg are all in admittedly extremely tough races against well-entrenched incumbents; under normal circumstances, getting within twenty points would be a moral victory for any them.  And I believe they will all score that moral victory.

And I’m not going to rule out bigger and better things.  Not yet.


Of course, all of these depend on turnout.  Which means if you’re a conservative and/or Republican, this is go time.  Volunteer for a campaign.  Get out there and knock doors, man the phone banks, update databases, replace vandalized signs, go to rallies – help out.

The good guys can win this one.  Let’s make it happen.

“Oceania Has Always Been At War With Eastasia”

I was bopping around Twitter last night, and I read this tweet from Nick Coleman, who has somehow managed to blend his leaden, lumpen, thudding oeuvre with Twitter’s 140 character format and end up with the worst of both worlds:

@NickColeman: Juan Williams a liberal? No stinking way, according to this

Read the linked piece.  It’s a Newmax article from Ron Kessler, that describes Williams as – this has to hurt people like Coleman – someone who’s willing to consider all points of view on an issue, and maybe even admit to the cognitively-dissonant concept that other peoples’ points of view aren’t always stupid!

It’s about here that I’d snark “so of course he’s not a liberal”.  But I am  better than that…well, no.  I’m not.  What I am is a former liberal, who grew up with parents who are still liberals.  For that matter, I’m someone who tries to uphold the traditional meaning of “liberalism” – all people are created equal, our rights come from our Creator and not man, we must be a society ruled by laws and not the passions of men, our nation is a free association of equals, etc, etc.

So it seems that Juan Willilams is the real liberal.  And so am I.

Because in this age, it’s we limited government conservatives who are the real, small-l liberals.

Hatch And Swanson: Peas In An Authoritarian Pod

If you haven’t watched Chris Barden – GOP candidate for Attorney General – and his indictment of Attorney General Swanson and the man who pretty much pulls her strings, Mike Hatch, watch this:

The stuff about using staff to file grandstanding lawsuits that publicized his office but played fast and loose with the law?  We’ve run into this on this blog before; back in 2003, I wrote a five part series on one of these suits, on Hatch’s watch, against “American Bankers”, a Florida company that ran afoul of state regulators.  It was one of Hatch’s sleazier moments – and that of the media, too.

Part 1 – During the closing days of the Ventura Administration, the state Commerce Department, under Jim Bernstein, a former DFLer and radical anti-business commissioner, reaches a settlement as part of a multi-state action.  And then American Bankers backs out.

Part 2 – American Bankers sends a check to the Minnesota GOP – coordinated by a DFL rainmaker with a long, cordial relationship with Hatch – which was illegal at the time.  An automatic “thank you” letter goes out…

Part 3 – …which Hatch uses to ambush Pawlenty’s commerce commissioner, to push for an illegal diversion of settlement money to a Hatch-controlled charity.

Part 4 – Hatch springs one of his pet reporters on the MNGOP, creates a canned controversy.

Part 5 – The lack of media attention to the unravelling of Hatch’s story, back in 2003.

Watch the video.  Read the five part report.

Tell a neighbor; Lori Swanson’s gotta go.


It Was Not…

…one of the pivotal albums released thirty years ago this month that I’ve been showcasing in my “The Year That Was” series…

…but I’ve loved this song since it came out, on October 14, 1980.  I missed the thirtieth anniversary…

…but who cares.  It’s Switchin’ To Glide, baby.

You Better Run, You Little Wild Heart

It was sometime in early November, 1980. It was my senior year of high school.  I was visiting friends in Watson Hall at Jamestown College – which, in a few years, would be my own home for three years.

I was keenly aware of a bunch of things; that I was on the brink of having to go out and take on the big world, on the one hand. On the other, I had no idea what I was going to do.  Ideas swirled through my head – college, the Army, moving somewhere else and joining a band and playing guitar for a few years, the usual stuff…

…that’s faded with the years, of course; “what am I going to do with my life?” has pretty much answered itself over the past few decades.

What happened next hasn’t faded a bit over thirty years, though.

I was walking down a hall on the second floor, heading toward the bathroom.  The place smelled like a guys’ dorm – dirty laundry and disinfectant.  There was a low din of voices and TVs and boomboxes.

And echoing down the hall on someone’s stereo through an open dorm door came a sound that stopped me in my tracks; a howling, mournful harmonica over a foreboding, minor-key acoustic guitar part.  I turned toward the sound as the vocal started:

I come from down in the valley, where mister when you’re young,
they bring you up to do like your daddy done.
Me ‘n Mary, we met in high school, when she was just seventeen.
We drove on out of the valley, out to where the fields grow green…

We’d go down to the River, and into the river we’d dive,
oh, down to the River we’d ride…

“Valley?  Doing “what your daddy done?”

In that way that adolescents find to link everything to their own situation, I found resonance.  Jamestown was a valley!  Everyone expected I was going to be a high school English teacher, like Dad!

I leaned up against the wall and listened some more:

Then I got Mary pregnant, and man, that was all she wrote
and for my nineteenth birthday I got a union card and a wedding coat.
We drove down to the courthouse, and the judge put it all to rest,
no wedding day smiles, no walk down the aisles, no flowers, no wedding dress.

That night we went down to the river,
and into the river we’d dive.
Oh down to the River we did drive.

This was…well, friends of mine, anyway.

I choked back my (believe it or not) crippling shyness and walked to the open door as the harmonica solo kicked in. “Er – ‘scuze me – sorry, but what’s this playing?”

“The new Springsteen!” said the guy (who in two years, it turned out, would be my next-door neighbor), hunched over a nursing textbook.  “Great, ain’t it?”

He had no idea.

It was thirty years ago today that The River came out.

The last of what Springsteen fanatics call “The Holy Trinity” (along with Born to Run and Darkness On The Edge Of Town)

Fade Away

The lasting impression of The River for me, though?  In some ways, it’s Bruce’s most satisfying album.

Greetings from Asbury Park and E Street Shuffle were both fun, funky, disjointed romps that swerved from Bleecker Street to the Jersey Shore, from Greasy Lake to Puerto Rico, all full of shadowy characters and inside jokes.  Born to Run was a classic, of course – but in much the same way that the Beach Boys were classics, drenched in the culture of young lower-middle America; it raced at full throttle, but covered a small piece of turf.  Darkness On The Edge Of Town, still and always my favorite Bruce record notwithstanding, is an album about finally growing up.

The River? It’s about being a grownup.  It’s about ups and downs, joy and depression, faith and abandonment.  It’s about pulling up your pants and moving on with your real life.

It’s a double-album – which, it occurs to me, means nothing today.  Back in the seventies and eighties, when vinyl records were still king and were complex enough that their manufacture required the clout of a huge record company, complete with pressing factories and huge distribution operations, a single vinyl disc held about 30-40 minutes worth of music. The double album was the sign of huge commitment on the one hand, and huge motivation  on the part of the artist.

And so it was with The River.  Springsteen had grown over in the previous five years into an amazingly prolific songwriter.  Steven Van Zandt told the story; when they recorded Born to Run, Springsteen had maybe one extra song written.   By the time the legal wrangling with his previous management ended and he released Darkness on the Edge of Town three years later, he had dozens, including a couple of albums’ worth that were candidates for inclusion.  He started giving music away; he gave Patty Smith his live staple “Because The Night”, recorded for Darkness but not included; it became her only Top Forty hit.  Likewise “Fire” (Robert Gordon and the Pointer Sisters), “Hearts Of Stone” (Southside Johnny), “This Little Girl” (Gary “US” Bonds), and a slew of others.

And by 1980, when Springsteen had his legal, fiscal, artistic and personal houses in order for the next big step?  He had hundreds of songs.  It’d be more accurate to say he had hundreds and hundreds of pieces and clips and riffs and lines, which he’d combine and break apart and recombine with other riffs and lines and passages in various combinations, into songs where different lines would pop up over time in different songs.   Listening to his four-CD box set “Tracks”, released in the late nineties, you can hear lines and passages in songs you’ve never heard, that popped up much later on other songs…

…and the sessions for The River (and for the next two albums, Nebraska and Born in the USA) were like tsunamis of music.

At any rate, torn between making an upbeat rocker about growing up and getting on with one’s life and a darker, harder “Son Of Darkness”, Bruce released both.

Disc one starts with the glorious, redemptive “The Ties That Bind”…:

…which is, truth be told, among my favorite Springsteen songs ever. Thirty years later, I’m not sure if I can even pin down why; “you walk cool, but darlin’ can you walk the line/to face the ties that bind/ you can’t break the ties that bind”; it’s a little bit of emotional tough love combined with the single most infectious chorus hook I had heard in my life to that point, and still one of the best.

There was also the joyous romp, “Two Hearts”…

…which has been a live, top-of-the-lineup staple at Bruce’s shows for most of the past thirty years,

Following closely, “Out In The Street” – the album’s homage to “Born To Run”…

…only for people who have to cut back on the “Suicide Machines” and keep their hands off other peoples’ engines because they’ve got to be at work in the morning.

And perhaps my favorite – at least at the moment – “Jackson Cage”, a dark-but-irresistably-danceable thrill ride about…well, growing up and watching doors starting to swing shut…

…albeit from a little bit of distance, yet.

Disc One was all about the hope and the joy – from the beach-bar singalong “Sherry Darling” to the gloriously cheery “I Wanna Marry You”, awash in faith in the whole boy meets girl thing.

It was on disk two that things start to unravel.  “Fade Away” (my favorite back then, and the followup to “Hungry Heart”, which became Bruce’s first Top Forty hit single), a song that actually sparked my push to learn how to play the organ – was the flip side of “I Wanna Marry You”.  The “boy meets girl” thing has by this point gone terribly awry:

Dave Marsh once described The River as an album full of upbeat songs about death, and down-beat, “downer” songs about hope and redemption. The bookends, of course, are “Cadillac Ranch” – a four on the floor barroom singalong raveup about mortality..:

And of course, the title cut…

…about shelving your dreams but holding on anyway. It resonates with me, thirty years later, like few pieces of music ever.

And for me, it all leads up to “The Price You Pay” – the song that ties all those themes together, and sends them off with a hopeful nudge (this version has an out-take verse that’s not on the album)…:

…that, truth be told, has stuck with me during the hard times as much as anything else Bruce has written:

Little girl down on the strand
With that pretty little baby in your hands
Do you remember the story of the promised land
How he crossed the desert sands
And could not enter the chosen land
On the banks of the river he stayed
To face the price you pay

Pretty dismal, really; everything Moses hoped for got yanked away at the last moment.  Just like the guy in The River.  Just like the lady in Jackson Cage.

And yet we soldier on:

So let the game start, you better run you little wild heart
You can run through all the nights and all the days
But just across the county line, a stranger passing through put up a sign
That counts the men fallen away to the price you pay,
and girl before the end of the day,
I’m gonna tear it down and throw it away

And that may be the great life lesson, here – or as close to one as a pop album ever gets.  Life’ll kill ya.  Wear a helmet and get out there.

Berg’s Seventh Law Never Lets You Down

A few years ago, I codified “Berg’s Seventh Law“, an iron-clad law of political behavior:

When a Liberal issues a group defamation or assault on conservatives’ ethics, character or respect for liberty, they are at best projecting, and at worst drawing attention away from their own misdeeds.

Now, when I started seeing the usual flock of DFL spokesbloggers warning that the GOP was sending “an army of thugs” (that’d be the Minnesota Majority’s $500 reward for info leading to the arrest and conviction of people intimidating voters), I figured it was something of an argument after the fact; Mark Dayton’s entire campaign so far has been an exercise in rhetorical voter intimidation.

Think about it; how do you get someone like Mark Dayton elected?  He’s a terrible candidates; stiff, brittle, a trust fund baby with an awful record and amessage that is diametrically out of tune with  a huge swathe of the post-Obama electorate.

The only way to get him elected is to make Republicans stay home.

And that’s really been the crux of the entire Dayton campaign; there has been precious little talk of “why Dayton would be a great governor”, because nobody, even a large part of the DFL (remember, Dayton only won the primary by a cat’s whisker) believes it.  The entire DFL campaign has been negative.

Still, trying to convince people to stay home is one thing.  Actively attacking your opponent’s campaign is another.

In Saint Paul, Republicans have long believed that the DFL was sending people out into the streets to vandalize, steal and destroy Republican campaign material, especially lawn signs.  I think I’ve had one lawn sign survive a campaign – and while I’ve been perfectly willing to chalk it up to bored kids vandalizing things (and even just to bored , DFL-voting Hamline University kids, since often my GOP signs would be stolen or destroyed, while my neighbors’ DFL signs would remain untouched), somtimes it did seem a little too systematic to be completely random.

And while I don’t believe this is necessarily evidence that the DFL is systematically trying to destroy Emmer signs, it certainly does show that some DFL activists are not above mere vandalism, but serious overkill.

A DFL activist, Frank Dolinar, was arrested yesterday for burning Emmer signs:

The man in question is Mr. Frank Dolinar. Mr. Dolinar is a former Professor at Saint Cloud State University. His LinkedIn page says his one interest is “electing DFL candidates.”



Just remember – whenever the DFL starts babbling about Republican “thugs” and “voter intimdation”, start looking for DFL thugs trying to intimidate you.

Because it never, ever, ever fails.

Chanting Points Memo: Numbers

The DFL’s been trying to make a lot out of the last few polls released on the Minnesota Gubernatorial race.  Most of them show Dayton leading Emmer by one margin or another – from the tight to the ludicrous.

Ed and I were discussing the polls on our show over the weekend, and we noticed something.

Look at the likely voter percentages in the last few “major” polls”

  • Strib/”Minnesota” Poll – D+4 (meaning they figure that Democrats will make up four percent more of the electorate than Republicans on election day.
  • Rasmussen Poll: D+5

Now, this is a function of how these polls determine “likely voters”.  This formula varies among polling services, but – since it’s a form of science, however imprecise – is hypothetically based on some kind of math, derived from experience.

And what has “experience” been in Minnesota, especially recently?

In the 2008 election, Minnesotans’ spread was D+4.

In other words, Democrats made up 4% more of the electorate than Republicans did.

The pollsters are honestly suggesting that Democrats are going to turn out in the same number as in the Democrat landslide of 2008?

Or that Independents are going to break the same way they did two and four years ago?

Behold The DFL Jobs Plan

After decades of control by the ultraliberal DFL and a GOP that was merely center-left until probably fifteen years ago, Minnesota has had business and corporate tax rates that rivalled some of the nation’s worst tax hellholes – New York, California, New Jersey.

Liberals inevitably respond “well, look at all the companies that have their headquarters here!”.  And it’s true – Minnesota has more Fortune 500 companies per capita than any other state in the union.   And if you were the CEO of, say, Best Buy or Ecolab or 3M, I’d bet you’d rather live in Minneapolis than, say, Mississippi.

But a company is more than just CEOs.

The good news; 3M, based in Saint Paul, is creating new jobs!

3M today announced the expansion of its manufacturing facility for its 3M Ultra Barrier Solar Film. As a key component supplier to the solar industry, this expansion will support the growing demand for high efficiency flexible PV modules.

And where are those jobs?

The majority of the facility expansion, located in Columbia, Missouri, is scheduled to be completed in 2011.

Minnesota’s corporations are not creating manufacturing or distribution jobs in Minnesota.  Even their research and engineering work is being farmed out to out-of-state or offshore companies at an accelerating rate.

You can thank the DFL (and the old, pre-Pawlenty-era GOP that the DFL’s sock puppets are always babbling about) for this.

It’s time to lower business tax rates in Minnesota, and for the government programs that depend on them to suck it up and count on the revenues rising when Minnesotans actually start going back to work.

And that pretty much inevitably means voting for Emmer, and your local GOP candidate for the Legislature, next Tuesday.

The DFL Morale Builder, Part II

The Star Tribune‘s “Minnesota Poll” continues to serve its primary function – manipulating voter turnout.

As always with the MNPoll, the marquee numbers are nearly meaningless;

Dayton has strengthened his lead to 41 percent, according to the poll, followed by Emmer at 34 percent. Horner, who has struggled to get out of the teens in all public polls, is at 13 percent. That’s down from a peak of 18 percent last month.

The poll was conducted between Oct. 18 and 21 among 999 likely Minnesotans voters on both land-line and cell phones. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

No, it’s the crosstab numbers that matter  It’s buried on the second page of the online report, naturally:

In this poll, the sample of likely voters consisted of 34 percent Democrats, 31 percent independents and 30 percent Republicans.

Four percent overpoll of Democrats?  This year?

The poll is of 999 “likely voters” – and it’s there that the methodology goes from “reporting” to , as David Brauer puts it, the “secret sauce”.

[the poll is] based on 804 land-line and 402 cell phone interviews conducted Oct. 18-21 with a representative sample of Minnesota adults. Of that sample, 999 were deemed to be likely voters, and the poll results are based on those respondents.

And there’s the detail in which the Devil is.  How does Princeton Research (the company that actually does the Strib’s polling) take those 1,200 likely voters and “deem” 1,000 or so of them to be “likely”?

We don’t know.  None of the major pollsters will say.

The article, by Rachel Stassen-Berger, goes on to squeeze in a puff piece for Dayton.

We really know two things:

The Minnesota Poll has, for a generation, always shown Republicans behind the week before the election, sometimes by ludicrious amounts, when they went on to win.

And the Minnesota Poll’s errors immediately before elections inevitably appear designed to drive down Republican turnout in elections that every other pollster in the business shows to be incredibly tightly contested.

It is time for someone to investigate the Strib’s polling operations, both under Princeton Research and, before 2007, under Rob Daves.  If Emmer wins – and I predict he will, by a three point margin – it’ll be further proof that the Minnesota poll is nothing a get out the DFL vote/suppress the GOP vote effort.

The deniablity is plausible – but only just.

The Unthinkable: Duluth Paper Endorses Cravaack

The Duluth News-Tribune – a traditionally left-leaning paper in a traditionally left-leaning district – Ou endorses Republican challenger Chip Cravaack over 18-term incumbent DFLer Jim Oberstar.

While giving a nod to Oberstar’s “achievements”, and acknowledging his vote for Clinton’s  “debt reduction” bill in 1993 (that relied on tax hikes more than spending cuts), the DNT notes that these are different times:

But there’s also no escaping the chilling reality of our nation’s economic state. Unemployment hovers around 10 percent, despite stimulus and other efforts to turn the tide. Health-care reform has companies warning employees of the likelihood of increased health-insurance costs. A pair of wars rages. And the national debt stands at a staggering $13.6 trillion and is increasing at an alarming rate of $3.8 billion a day.

The brake pedal of fiscal responsibility is needed in Washington now as much as ever. Although Oberstar voted in 1993 for the biggest debt reduction in post-World War II history, the 17-term incumbent is hardly the embodiment of financial restraint and new direction.

And they figure – as I do – that Chip’s the guy for the times, and the job:

His opponent, on the other hand, Republican Chip Cravaack, represents what Congress, including Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District, needs at this critical crossroads in American history. A pro-business, fiscally conservative, former Navy captain, with a master’s degree in education, Cravaack has smarts. He is articulate, reasoned and composed. More critically, he has specific and promising strategies to pull the nation out of its financial funk.

“This is clearly unsustainable,” Cravaack said last week of our nation’s mounting debt and free-spending ways. “The best thing to correct the situation is to create a business-friendly environment where the private sector creates jobs.”

This is huge – justifying a rare Sunday posting from me.

I’m going to be releasing my election predictions tomorrow.  And while I’ve believed for a week that Cravaack was could pull off the upset of the year – nationally! – this is another log on the fire.

Obama At Northrup

President Barack Obama spoke at Northrup Auditorium to a crowd of about 11,000 people today.

This is Lenin, speaking to the Communist Party Congress.  It has nothing to do whatsoever with todays pep rally for Lord Fauntelroy.  Pure coincidence, honestly.

This is Lenin, speaking to the Communist Party Congress. It has nothing to do whatsoever with today's pep rally for Lord Fauntelroy. Pure coincidence, honestly.

That’s 9,000 fewer than Bill Clinton drew.

Clinton Packed The 19,000-Seat Target Center. “President Clinton used to refer politely to Bob Dole as ‘my opponent.’ But over the last two days, Clinton has stopped doing even that, and in what appears to be an act of supreme confidence, he barely acknowledges that he is facing any opposition at all in this reelection campaign. At a boisterous rally that packed the 19,000-seat Target Center arena here yesterday, Clinton tried to ride above partisan politics just a week before the election.” (Brian McGrory, “Buoyed By Polls, Clinton Tunes Out Dole; Campaign ’96 / The Incumbent,” The Boston Globe, 10/29/96)

Mark Dayton, seen in public for the first time in a week, apparently stood by attentively…

Not Mark Dayton

Not Mark Dayton

…while the President “helped him” by cheerleading for…the Obama Administration.

A Japanese plane, shot down by antiaircraft fire, plunges to the sea in flames.  What, you think Im using this as a metaphor?  Get a life!

A Japanese plane, shot down by antiaircraft fire, plunges to the sea in flames. What, you think I'm using this as a metaphor? Don't be all paranoid!

Dayton’s campaign has apparently figured out that their best bet is to keep Dayton out of the public eye, and away from things like microphones and cameras.

Rumors that he’s been in hiding with Betty McCollum are strictly unconfirmed.

Being from North Dakota, the sea fascinates me.  What, you think Im writing about the Alita Messinger, Mark Dayton campaign?  No, no no no.  No relation.

Being from North Dakota, the sea fascinates me. What, you think I'm writing about the Alita Messinger, Mark Dayton campaign? No, no no no. No relation.

Wish I coulda been there.

Out In The Street

The U of M College Republicans are going to be protesting the President’s pep rally for Lord Fauntelroy at the U of M today.

Via Luke Hellier at MDE, the details:

The College Republicans at the University of Minnesota, along with Students for a Conservative Voice, and other grassroots activists from the metro area will protest President Obama’s visit to the University of Minnesota October 23rd in support of Mark Dayton and the rest of the DFL ticket.

“While we recognize the historic nature of President Obama’s visit to campus as the fourth U.S. President to visit campus, we cannot sit idly by as he promotes an agenda of higher taxes and unrestrained spending that will drive jobs out of our state, and make it more difficult for college graduates to get jobs after graduation,” said Phil Troy, chair of the University of Minnesota College Republicans.

The protest is planned to take place across from the entrance to the University Field House from 12:00 PM until 1:30 PM. After the protest, Troy said participants will make GOTV calls at the 5th Congressional District Victory Office located above Chipotle at 800 Washington Ave SE, and attend a rally and cookout in Minnetonka with gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer and Representative Erik Paulsen.

“College students have a clear choice,” Troy went on to say, “The choice is between lower taxes that encourage job creation, and increasing debt and higher unemployment. College Republicans have been working fervently to elect candidates that will make sure college graduates have a job after graduation, and tomorrow will be no different. Tomorrow is about showing college students that there is an alternative to the lofty rhetoric and broken promises that we heard two years ago.”

It’s when I’m on the air today, so I can’t attend.  It’s a shame…

…but I urge people to call in during the show (651 289 4488 from 1-3PM), or email me photos from the protest at the yahoo email address “feedbackinthedark”.

I’ll post ’em.

There’s A Hot Sun Beating On The Blacktop

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network brings you the best in Minnesota conservatism from 9AM-3PM.

  • Volume I “The First Team” –  Brian and John or some combination thereof kick off from 11-1.  They’ll be talking with gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, among other guests.
  • Volume II “The Headliner”Ed and I follow from 1-3PM Central.  We’ll be talking with Attorney General candidate Chris Barden about his accusations against Lori Swanson/Mike Hatch (pardon the redundancy).  Plus we’ll talk with Chip Cravaack’s campaign about his get out the vote effort and how Twin Citians can help, and with Sanu Patel-Zellinger about her race for the MN House in east Bloomington against Ann “The Moneyholic” Lenczewski.
  • The King Banaian Show! – King is on hiatus from 9-11 on AM1570, Business Radio for the Twin Cities!  We’re broadening the franchise; two stations, now – so when King hopefully wins his House race, he’ll be Representative Banaian!
  • And for those of you who like your constitutionalism straight up with no chaser, don’t forget the Sons of Liberty, from 3-5!

(All times Central)

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

  • AM1280 in the Metro
  • streaming at AM1280’s Website,
  • On Twitter (the Volume 2 show will use hashtag #narn2)
  • UStream video and chat (at or at UStream).
  • Podcast at Townhall, usually by Monday
  • Good ol’ telephone – 651-289-4488!
  • And make sure you fan us on Facebook!

Join us!

News Flash?

From Blois Olson’s “Morning Take“: word has it that the Duluth News Tribune is doing to do the unthinkable:

Sources close to the CD8 campaign of Republican Chip Cravaack are telling people that on Sunday the Duluth News Tribune will endorse his candidacy to replace Democrat Rep. Jim Oberstar.

I’m not going to write “Developing…” at the end of this post – good lord, what kind of hapless dork do you think I am? – but I’ll be following this very, very closely.

I’m starting to feel really optimistic about Cravaack’s shot, here.

Chanting Points Memo: They Hate You. They Really Really Hate You

It’s about jobs and the economy, stupid.

Let me repeat that: Jobs and the economy, jobs and the economy, jobs and the economy, jobs and the economy, jobs and the economy, jobs and the economy.  That sorta sums it up.

Well, not to the DFL and their various paid, unpaid and indirectly-paid hangers-on on the left.   Over there, it’s about “dirt”.  Because it’s all Mark Dayton – bumbling underachieving trust-fund baby and former Worst Senator in America – has.  He was a failure as an Economic Development director. He was non-entitity as Auditor.  He was a spectacular failure as a Senator.

“Dirt” is all these hamsters have.

Now, Sally Jo Sorenson isn’t one of the dumber, more venal leftybloggers in Minnesota.  Indeed, in and among the various bits of moral and intellectual cat-box effluvia one meets at “Drinking Liberally”, she may well be one of the better ones.

But the DFL machine needs dirt:

Last month, Sally Jo Sorensen posted on her Bluestem Prairie site that Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer had taken out seven mortgages on his Delano home since 2002.

[Yesterday], the Minnesota DFL gave that tidbit a much bigger megaphone, blasting Emmer in a press conference for unconventional borrowing that most Minnesotans wouldn’t recognize.

So what exactly is the problem, here?

It appears that Emmer bought his Delano home in 2002 for $425,000 with the help of a $300,000 mortgage. He then took out a series of (very) short-term mortgages,each to pay off the previous one.

Ah.  So in other words, he used the financing the market made available to handle financing his house.  Just like a huge preponderance of other American home owners did, via one means or another.

At one point, he was threatened with foreclosure.

So he’s unique, then?

And this is…what?  Illegal?

Nothing illegal is alleged. But the DFL, and Sorenson, have pointed out that the creative financing runs counter to Emmer’s sloganeering about state government having to live within its means.

And the DFL and Sorenson are wrong.

Emmer’s finances are between him and his family.  We the people are not paying Tom Emmer’s mortgage.  If Tom Emmer comes up short on his payments, it’s up to him; give the house back, or solicit more business at his law firm, or get the kids out there working.  It’s his business.

The state budget is not a personal matter.  It’s all of our money.  And if Emmer has had to do some juggling to make the mortgage work…

…well, he can join the damn club.  Many of us are doing the same these days; working harder, scrimping, doing what we have to to keep the roof over our kids’ heads.  Wealthy Minnesotans, poor ones, and whole lot of us in the middle…

…who are not a bunch of trust-fund babies who inherited real estate from grampa, anyway.

Emmer spokesman Cullen Sheehan in a teleconference insisted that his boss’s refinancing deals were nothing unusual for a Minnesotan and that he’s paid his bills.

Unmentioned in any of Sorenson’s or the City Pages’ intrepid reporting:  is Emmer paid up now?  Has he shafted anyone?

And how is that different that what tens of thousands of Minnesotans are doing to make things work out?

And how is Brian Melendez’ little scorched-earth attack anything but a finger in the eye of all of us who weren’t born to the manor, like the hamster his party is stuck trying to prop up?

Has Emmer, indeed, done anything in his personal finances quite as dim and incompetent as release two consecutive budgets that on their face fail to resolve the budget issue, and have absolutely zero chance of ever passing the Legislature?

Because as near as I can tell, while his family may have had to do some mad fiscal juggling over the past eight years, just like the rest of us, Emmer’s got his family’s budget balanced today.

Has Dayton managed the same, even on paper?

If you think so, you may be qualified to be a City Pages reporter.

McCollum: Mission Accomplished!

Teresa Collett debated Fourth District Rep Betty McCollum last night.

Collett, a constitutional saw professor at Saint Thomas’ law school and a blazingly charismatic woman, by all accounts clobbered McCollum, a monotonic logorrheac whose sole purpose in Congress is to yell “Off What?” when Nancy Pelosi yells “Jump”.

But the money line of the evening?  “Constituent of CD4”, from the fairly aptly-named MNCD4 Needs Change blog, transcribes:

The stupidest comment of the night came on the defense question, when Betty McCollum said: “Al Qaeda no longer poses a threat to the United States..” Wow, I’ve been so involved in following the campaign, I must have missed that news! …  McCollum did say, however that the military was drawing up contingency plans for global warming. That’s a relief! I guess in Betty McCollum’s world Global Warming is a bigger threat to the US than Al Qaeda.

Someone tell Juan Williams, OK?

This line needs to go in the great Minnesota DFL wall of shameful quotes, along with Cy Thao’s “When you win, you keep your money; when we win, we take your money!” and Larry Pogemiller’s “I think it’s silly to assume people can spend their own money better than government can”.

The hardest part about being a Republican in Saint Paul is that so many of us are so depressed and beaten down from generations of futility, it’s hard to get any of us to actually spend any time and energy on doing the footwork it’ll take to contest city and district, to say nothing of taking it back.  It makes it easy for the DFL to put a hamster like McCollum into office; she’d be getting 20% in the Sixth or Second districts this cycle.

Jim Geraghty called MNCD4 one of the potential upsets to watch for back in August. As someone who’s spent 25 years in Saint Paul, I almost don’t want to dream about it.  But I do; people – candidates and volunteers I know around CD4 – say that they’re seeing a lot of interest – mostly from people who are not traditi0nal Republicans.  There may be a lot of them; Obama’s that big a disaster, and McCollum is that bad a representative.

Hey, at least Al Quaeda isn’t a threat, right?


Chris Barden, GOP candidate for Attorney General, states his case against Lori Swanson – the latest in a two-generation uninterrupted chain of one-party domination of the AG’s office.

I urge you to watch the whole thing. A few “highlights”:

1:07 – Channel 4 tries to interview Swanson about the irregularities Barden found – and gets turned away.

1:45 – Part of the meat of the story – WCCO reports AG lawyers reporting being pressured to work cases primarily for Swanson’s political gain as well as that of her predecessor, Mike Hatch, especially by filing high-profile cases designed to pressure defendants into cheap fast settlements.  This isn’t completely news, if you’ve been reading Shot In The Dark;

2:30 – WCCO’s ITeam gives vital background on the allegations against the AGO.’

Watch the whole thing.

Tell a neighbor.

Remember it on November 2.

National PC Radio

Humans profile.  Every last one of us.

Don’t believe me?

If you’re a middle-class black American, and you see a bunch of people who scream “Latino gang-banger” up ahead, do you modify your behavior?

If you’re an openly gay American, and you see a group of guys in mullets mulling about showing signs of obvious angry intoxication up ahead, do you find an alternate route?

If you’re a couple of NPR listeners, in your alpaca and tweed and too-perfectly-gray hair, and a bunch of Hells Angels walk into the gas station as you’re looking for an air freshener for your Prius, do you get out of the way?

You all do, of course.  Because while none of you may like to discriminate against other human beings, our self-preservation reflex recognizes threats.  It’s human nature.

And when you get on a plane?  Yep – young men who look middle eastern rate a second glance.  Maybe more.  It’s because humans are hardwired to try not to get killed.

I do it.  You do it, no matter what kind of mewling liberal PCBot you think you are. And Juan Williams did it – and made the mistake of offending his holier-than-thou masters at NPR.

Yesterday NPR fired me for telling the truth. The truth is that I worry when I am getting on an airplane and see people dressed in garb that identifies them first and foremost as Muslims.

This is not a bigoted statement. It is a statement of my feelings, my fears after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 by radical Muslims. In a debate with Bill O’Reilly I revealed my fears to set up the case for not making rash judgments about people of any faith. I pointed out that the Atlanta Olympic bomber —  as well as Timothy McVeigh and the people who protest against gay rights at military funerals — are Christians but we journalists don’t identify them by their religion.

To be fair, both belong/ed to sects of Christianity just a little relatively far out on the fringe than Wahabbism.

But here’s the important part:

And I made it clear that all Americans have to be careful not to let fears lead to the violation of anyone’s constitutional rights, be it to build a mosque, carry the Koran or drive a New York cab without the fear of having your throat slashed. Bill and I argued after I said he has to take care in the way he talks about the 9/11 attacks so as not to provoke bigotry.

Which is something most Americans of all creeds believe.  The US is still the best place on earth to be a Muslim.

National Public Radio seems to see itself as a benign national thought police.

Maybe it should fund itself…