Minnesota’s Potemkin Party

Minnesota’s Independence Party has been, since its founding in 1998 from the remains of the Minnesota Reform Party, the traditional refuge of people who like their government big, but “good”. Moderate Democrats like Tim Penny, “moderate” Democrats like Peter Hutchinson, liberal Republicans like Tom Horner, and lots of well-meaning moderates who like thinking big thoughts and playing responsibly with the gears and levers of government have flocked to the IP, if only briefly.

Of course, there’ve been surprises – and according to MPR, there are more still

And the point of the story is not that the Independence Party got surprised.  The real point is…

…well, we’ll come back to that.

First, according to Tom Scheck, news that some of the Indy Party’s traditional base – wonky center-lefties – are shocked, shocked that the party’s Senate candidate Steve Carlson believes some things that most conservatives either reject or present with a lot more nuance than Carlson does:

Carlson, who could not be reached for comment, has posted several rambling video monologues on his website. One tells voters that he is “a serious politician who writes, performs and raps.” Others cover everything from the federal health care law to his opposition to light rail transit and a call for stronger prohibitions against usury. But Carlson’s victory on Tuesday means that on the November ballot he will appear on the top of the ticket for the Independence Party.

Of course, the Indy Party “activists” could have figured this out had they dug into the fact that Carlson ran on the same precise platform in the Fourth CD.  Twice – in 2010 against Teresa Collett, and in 2012 against Tony Hernandez.  In both cases, he ran well to the right of the Republican in the race.

Which goes to tell us one of two things:  Eithier:

  • The IndyParty actually has no activists, or
  • The ones they have aren’t that bright

But Carlson is well-placed to siphon some conservatives’ votes away Mike McFadden. 

Now, I’m not saying the DFL is going to get “behind” Carlson.  But why precisely would they not? 

In a similar vein, I’ve noted the IP’s candidate for Governor, Hannah Nicollet, is a former (oh, heck, current) Ron Paul activist.  And as I noted three months ago, any actual IndyParty activist would gag up their skull over the Paul clicque’s beliefs, and vice versa. 

If either the party or the campaign were about either of their actual principles. 

Oh, yeah – and Nicollet’s campaign is floundering, so far, even by the IndyParty’s modest standards:

Hannah Nicollet, the endorsed candidate for governor, failed to qualify for a public subsidy that would have helped fund her campaign. She needed to raise $35,000 from other sources to qualify for the subsidy, which would have totaled about $178,000.

See also “The Gerson Effect”.

So let’s get this straight:  four years after endorsing Tom Horner, a moderate Republican who seemed designed to wedge the GOP’s dwindling moderate faction away from Tom Emmer, the “Indy Party” endorses two candidates who violate most of the “principles” in the IndyParty’s putative platform, with whom tradidional Indies agree on virtually nothing, but who seem to the casual glance to be ideally selected to siphon off a conservative vote here and a libertarian vote there (Carlson from conservatives; Nicollet from the GOP’s “Ron Paul” faction) in an election cycle that is gonna be a tough one for the DFL.  

So the point of the story isn’t that the Indy Party got surprised.

The point is that the Indy Party is a sham.  And while I have no evidence – yet - I’ll bet dimes to dollars at some point that the IP gets whatever money it has from Democrats with deep pockets, to try to wedge whatever GOP constituency might be vulnerable to being wedged  Not necessarily in the form of direct contributions to the IP, Carlson or Nicollet; but as we saw in 2010, the DFL’s soft-money machine did spend plenty of time and effort setting Horner up as “a Republican” in fora where moderate Republicans could get the message.

The Alliance for a Better Minnesota or some other astroturf DFL propaganda mouthpiece is going to spend some time and effort telling Minnesotans what an awful, icky conservative Carlson is (compared to McFadden), and how crazy libertarian Nicollet is (compared to Johnson) at some point here.

Going Out In A Blaze Of NARN

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

  • I’m in the studio today from 1-3.  I’ll be talking with Secretary of State candidate Dan Severson, and with 5th CD Congressional candidate Doug Daggett.
  • Don’t forget the King Banaian Radio Show, on AM1570 “The Businessman” from 9-11AM this morning!
  • Tomorrow, Brad Carlson is on “The Closer”!

(All times Central)

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

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All That DFL Happy Talk About The Economy…

is baked wind.

 Minnesota lost 4,200 jobs in July, and is adding them at an anemic pace year-to-date:

State officials said Thursday that Minnesota employers shed a seasonally adjusted 4,200 jobs in July. Meanwhile, they also revised June’s numbers downward by 3,600 jobs.

That means that, year-to-date, Minnesota has added a meager 2,900 jobs, or about 400 per month, on an adjusted basis.

During July, the education and health services sector lost 5,300 jobs. Information shed 1,000; construction, 700; financial activities, 200; and government, 100.

The sectors that added jobs: trade, transportation, and utilities (up 1,600); manufacturing (700); leisure and hospitality (600); and other services (200). Logging and mining, and professional and business services held steady.

Look for the Alliance for a Better Minnesota’s lie machine to fabricate a lot of phony economic happytalk in the next ten weeks; as we discussed earlier, they’re off to a running start.

No – a lot.

Trulbert! Part V: Atlas Hocked

 -7AM, September 7, 2015:  The Arnie Quist residence, Corcoran, MN

The dew still hadn’t evaporated off the grass, as the squirrel warily scampered out from behind the tree.  He stood up on his hind legs…

…and bolted in fright a second later, as a crossbow bolt hissed through the air mere inchest from him.  He ran up a tree and hid among the branches; breakfast would wait. 

Arnie Quist shook his head in disgust.   He didn’t want to have to fall back on stored food this fast.  And sick as he was getting of rabbit and squirrel, this was in fact the moment he’d been waiting for all these years.   The Collapse!

He looked at the families next door and across the road from the 5 acre hobby farm he’d inherited from his grandfather.  They were busy trading goods and services and produce and other voluntary transactions.  The ones who had practical jobs – carpenters and mechanics and dentists – were busy trading their skills for compensation.  His other neighbors – well, it varied.

But none of it was gonna matter.  Because eventually it was all really gonna come crashing down on them. 

Soon, he thought.  Soon

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Six Of One…

Turnout was low at Tuesday’s primaries.  Was a bad omen for the GOP, or just another data point with some interesting context?

Bad Omen:  Michael Brodkorb at Politics.mn throws up a warning sign:

Back in February, in my pre-precinct caucus primer, I encouraged people to compare the number of total attendees at precinct caucuses for the DFL and GOP. If the numbers were close, I wrote this could be a sign of malaise amongst Republican activists. Even with multiple candidates not abiding by the Republican Party of Minnesota’s endorsement for statewide offices, Republicans should have more attendees at their precinct caucuses. But they didn’t.

At the time of precinct caucuses, the Minnesota DFL has only one contested statewide race, as Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is not seeking re-election. Governor Mark Dayton and U.S. Senator Al Franken faced no opposition within the DFL Party. There were also 12 Republican statewide campaigns – six for governor and six for the U.S. Senate. Republicans also had contested endorsement races in the 6th, 2nd, and 1st Congressional Districts of Minnesota. The battles between the Republicans candidates for congress and statewide office should have encouraged more participation by Republicans on the night of precinct caucuses than Democrats. But the Minnesota DFL won the night. This should be a warning sign for Republicans.

Michael’s knows his politics.  I’d be hard-pressed to argue, much.  But to play devil’s advocate – what percentage of the state’s total population is “the GOP base” that turns out for primaries? 

And among those who are the “soft-core” base – the ones that’ll do primaries, but not usually caucuses?  Does a fractious, contentious primary make them more or less likely to come to the polls for a primary?

Finally – there were some crowded races (and at the legislative level, some interesting ones).  But one might be forgiven for thinking…:

  • the Senate race was a foregone conclusion, and didn’t need any given person’s vote
  • in August as in January (at the AM1280/Northeast Metro GOP debate), we had a four-way race among governor candidates who just weren’t all that different.  Wonks like Michael and (to some extent) me could tell the difference between Scott Honour and Kurt Zellers.   Outside the GOP wonk class?

Again, I’m just devils’ advocatin’.

Interesting Context:  On the other hand, Andy Aplikowski at ResFor – a person from whom I’ve learned more about political number-crunching than any single person in the MNGOP – writes:

All the focus on failure is on Republican turnout.

2010 GOP

Candidate Totals

OLE’ SAVIOR AND TODD “ELVIS” ANDERSON 4396

LESLIE DAVIS AND GREGORY K. SODERBERG 8598

BOB CARNEY JR AND WILLIAM MCGAUGHEY 9856

TOM EMMER AND ANNETTE T. MEEKS 107558

Total 130408

2014 GOP

Candidate Totals

MARTY SEIFERT AND PAM MYHRA 38798

KURT ZELLERS AND DEAN SIMPSON 43991

MERRILL ANDERSON AND MARK ANDERSON 7008

JEFF JOHNSON AND BILL KUISLE 55813

SCOTT HONOUR AND KARIN HOUSLEY 38331

Total 183941

Wait, the GOP turned out 53,000 more voters than in 2010.

I think why you see some people trying to paint the narrative of GOP voter apathy is because DFL apathy has reached toxic levels.

 

2010 DFL

Candidate Totals

MARGARET ANDERSON KELLIHER AND JOHN GUNYOU 175767

PETER IDUSOGIE AND LADY JAYNE FONTAINE 3123

MATT ENTENZA AND ROBYNE ROBINSON 80509

MARK DAYTON AND YVONNE PRETTNER SOLON 182738

Total 442137

2014 DFL Totals

BILL DAHN AND JAMES VIGLIOTTI 4896

LESLIE DAVIS AND GREGORY K. SODERBERG 8529

MARK DAYTON AND TINA SMITH 177737

Total 191162

The DFL saw a 251,000 drop off in voter turnout and barely drew more voters than the GOP in 2014.

To go back to devil’s advocate mode:  you can expect a drop-off; in 2010 there was a highly contentious governor’s race on the DFL side.  The only real competitive races on the DFL side this time were the State Auditor and the Secretary of State (which we discussed yesterday, and don’t look like good news to the DFL candidate to me). 

A drop-off of over half?   

My Admittedly Wishful Take:  I’m going to hope – and I am admittedly basing this on hope – that the numbers are sign of diminished enthusiasm on the Democrats’ part, and hope that the GOP candidates can appeal to the non-primary-going public this fall. 

Which is the big challenge.

On Your Own

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This legal analysis is interesting because it starts from the basic assumption that the police have NO obligation to protect citizens from crime. The police create an obligation to protect you only if they go out of their way to make the situation worse than it was before they intervened.
The obvious implication of this “no obligation” ruling – coupled with the Supreme Court’s holding that individuals have a Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms for self-defense – is that the fundamental legal principle of public security in American law is . . . you’re on your own.
Which Conservatives have known all along, but it’s nice to see the Courts spell it out so clearly for us. Now, Liberals, do you have any questions?
Joe Doakes

I’m gonna guess “no”.

Priorities

MNSure is a disaster that’s going to cost us hundreds of millions of dollars – much more, in fact, that most of the state’s natural disasters.  .

Behind the happy talk, the state’s economy is showing signs of slowing

Our major cities’ minority achievement gaps are worse than those in Philadelphia, New Orleans and Detroit.  Indeed, we are worse than the proverbial “cold Omaha”. 

So what’s been the top news of the week among the left and media (pardon the redundancy)?

Some ill-advised tweets about Robin Williams by the MNGOP’s deputy.

Follow-up question:  What is it that bothered the left/media about Mr. Fields’ tweets?  Was it the politicization of a tragedy?  Or was it that someone would tweet something grossly inappropriate? 

Because I’m sure nobody on the left would politicize a tragedy or tweet something stupid.

I’m sure we’ll hear back on that.

Firing Blind

A much-better-than-you’d expect piece from the BBC on shooters who happen to be blind.

Upside:  some great interviews with blind shooters, some of whom are startlingly accomplished with firearms.

No, I’m not making that up.

Downside:  while journos do usually try to find a counterpoint on any story, the best the Beeb could come up with was Stevie Wonder, who  apparently thinks the idea of blind people with guns is crazy.   And if you can afford as many bodyguards as Wonder can (assuming he needs them), he could be forgiven the assumption.

I used to produce a show for Don Vogel, a blind guy who hosted a talk show at KSTP in the eighties.  After beating him in “Horse” by “HOR” to “HORSE”, I suggested a trip to the range.  He was interested, but we could never quite pull it together. 

Anyway – the article is worth a read!

Swirling About The Drain

I hate to indulge in schadenfreud. 

But I’m only human.

Arbitron numbers are in for the Fargo-Moorhead area – and the two big lib-talk hosts at KFGO (which is sort of the WCCO of the Fargo metro area) are sucking fumes.

Joel Heitkamp is off sharply, according to Rob Port

But even more sweet?  Mike McFeely – the sportscaster turned incompetent liberal talking head – is sucking pond water. 

Conservative talk thrives in liberal bastions like the Twin Cities, Chicago and LA – as a contrarian Jeremiah, and a rallying point for the areas beleaguered conservatives.  You’d think, orthagonally, that liberal talk would work for the same reasons in relatively conservative places like Fargo (although Fargo is the most liberal major city in North Dakota). 

I guess not.

Battle of the Silver Helmets

As a site, it was hard to miss the marching of the 4th German Cavalry Division on August 12, 1914.  Wearing the spiked Pickelhaube helmet, with steel lances and breastplates, and freshly-polished swords, the 4th Cavalry could have easily looked as if on parade.  Only instead of parade grounds, the men and horses of the unit marched through enemy Belgian territory.

Ordered to charge against the southern flank of the small town of Haelen, the 4th Cavalry squared off against a fellow cavalry unit, equally resplendent in their dress uniforms.  The 4th Cavalry led, quite literally, with the tips of lances.  The Belgians, dismounted from their horses, led with their guns.  The gentlemanly charm of the 19th Century military was about to collide with the vicious precision of the 20th.

—-

Speed had been the essence of German military planning for a war in Europe.

The somewhat romanticized view of the Battle of Haelen – dashing German cavalry units charging headlong into the Belgian line

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Slump

Amid all the DFL’s bragging about the economy – which Bill Glahn dispensed with earlier this week – let’s note that for the fifth straight month, tax receipts are off.

And not by just a little bit (emphasis added):

Minnesota’s tax collections for July have come in $69 million below expectations.

The Department of Minnesota Management and Budget released its monthly revenue Monday. It shows the state took in 6.6 percent less than was forecast.

And in the wake of the DFL’s bragging about the state’s ostensible unemployment rate?

The shortage was most acute in the area of individual income taxes, which were off by $36 million. Officials say some could be attributed to timing of tax payments or refunds.

Sure.  Some of it could.

But most of it is attributed to the fact that under DFL rule, the state’s economy is slumping.  Slowly – it’s a gradual thing, as economic trends always are – but definite.

And all the DFL’s happy talk is fermented BS.

Chanting Points Memo: Our Slammin’ Economy!*

The left is jumping up and down proclaming that Minnesota’s economy is lighting up the charts. 

And it is – in the same sense that I’ve got the best chance of being the best pitcher in my division (if the other teams started Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Andrea Bocelli). 

But as Bill Glahn points out, it’s less about “economic strength”, and more about the comparisons that the Democrats are highlighting:

Most of the recent bragging around Minnesota’s economy centers on a single fact: that Minnesota’s unemployment rate (4.5%) is below that of Wisconsin’s (5.7%). But Minnesota’s unemployment rate has been lower than Wisconsin’s since February 1997.

Wisconsin’s economy has always been focused more heavily on manufacturing – and manufacturing has been on a slow decline for decades.  Minnesota’s economy focuses on financial services and healthcare (insurance and devices), both of which are hot tickets these days, and parts of which have been getting lavish government subsidies.  Of course they’re doing well

The two states’ relative positions not only predate Walker, they’re the same as when Wisconsin was dominated by idiot liberals. 

As to the purported “job growth” (with emphasis added):

It’s worth noting that Minnesota’s job growth during the past year has merely kept pace with the job growth in the rest of the country…Iowa (4.4%), South Dakota (3.8%), Nebraska (3.5%), and North Dakota (2.7%, the nation’s lowest) all enjoy lower unemployment rates than Minnesota. We may be beating Wisconsin, but we are losing badly to those states with which we compete for new residents and businesses.

And I’d be very interested in seeing how the states compare if you leave out manufacturing in Wisconsin. 

And the claim that the Twin Cities have the lowest unemployment rate of any major metro area in the country?”   Perhaps – but the smaller metropoli around us, Fargo and Des Moines and the like, are smoking the Twin Cities:

The “nation’s lowest” claim only comes by comparing MSP to the biggest American cities. If you are a sprinter, you’ll be happy to edge ahead of the fattest guy in the race, but you need to notice that all the other runners have already crossed the finish line.

Rather than comparing Minnesota’s economic performance to the relevant benchmarks, it seems we are determined to find someone, somewhere we can brag over. Yes, we are doing better than Detroit, but does that really mean we are doing well?

And don’t look now, but downtown Detroit is a lot more vibrant than downtown Saint Paul on a non-hockey night.

Read the whole thing.

Breaking Some Eggs

I had a great pleasure of meeting seven or eight of my closest friends at the River Oasis Café in Stillwater Saturday morning.

We talked about the cafe last week; they aroused the ire of the entire Minnesota Left – few of whom would ever seem to have been at the River Oasis – by putting their “minimum wage fee” on their receipts:

20140811-065434-24874747.jpg

First things first: It’s a classic American diner – like Mickey’s on West Seventh, or Keys, and not a whole lot of others out there anymore. The food was excellent.

I had the pleasure of talking with Craig Beemer, the owner, on my show on Saturday afternoon (and his wife on Saturday morning). And we learned a couple of things about the place, and the “controversy”.

Money:  One of the left’s main whining points about the public “minimum wage fee” is that it’s “disrespectful to the employees”.  

Of course, it’s a stupid point.  Unlike most restaurants, the Beemers already pay the back of the house staff – the line cooks, dishwashers and the like – better than minimum wage, and (according to Beemer) very competitively with the similar places in Stillwater.  That’s the kind of “respect” I actually cared about when I was a low-wage employee.

The only people making minimum wage are the waitstaff – and when you add on tips, they’re making closer to $25 an hour, often more, and the minimum wage is not an issue. 

Except for the Beemers, for whom the wage hike was a $10,000/year hit on the bottom line.   Remember – restaurants across the river in Wisconsin have a minimum wage of $3-and-change per hour.

Because they have a tip credit.

Power:  Which is what Governor Dayton’s sons asked for earlier this summer.  Andrew and Eric Dayton, owners of “The Bachelor Farmer”, a chi-chi restaurant in Minneapolis, complained to Dadders because the new, higher minimum wage hike was harshing their fiscal mellow.  They asked for…

…a tip credit.

Bonus Explanation For Leftybloggers, none of whom apparently have ever worked for tips:  you don’t work for minimum wage.  Even when there’s a “tip credit” in effect and your “wage” is $3-and-change/hour, like in most surrounding states, you’re still making more.  How much more?  If you work at a crummy place with lousy food, maybe not enough more.  If you work at Manny’s Steakhouse and tend to tables  that rack up $400-$1000 for a meal, you can make well into six digits.  In between?  It’s a complex set of dependencies; waiting skill, clientele, season, even the weather. 

But for all the crap that Tom Emmer took for his “waitstaff making over $100,000″ “gaffe” four years ago, you might be amazed at the number of waitstaff that take home solid middle-class “living wages”; $50,000, $75,000 and more. 

Which isn’t bad for a trade that requires no education, licensing or anything but talent and hard work.

Which may be what bothers liberals about all of this.

“If Ifs, Ands And Buts Were Candy And Nuts, We’d All Have A Wonderful Unbedankfest”:  Here’s another note for ignorant leftybloggers; a “tip credit” acknowledges the fact that for a good waiter at a good establishment with a good clientele, the minimum wage is the fringe of their income; the owner can apply some of the waitstaff’s tips to the wage, in effect. 

“I think tipping is just wrong”, whined a massive clot of liberals last week, “and I think we should do away with it; it’s unfair.  They should all just be paid”, they say, reflecting the “progressive” desire to oversimplify the free market (and working for tips is the ultimate meritocracy). 

Of course, it’s been tried.  Not a few restaurants have tried to abolish tipping – paying their waitstaff more, and jacking up the prices accordingly, to a brief flurry of adoring media attention. 

Then they quietly vanish.  And a few years later, the cycle repeats. 

“It’s So Tacky!”:  Tackier than jamming down a minimum wage increase with the barest possible minimum of debate, and then reconsidering when the governor’s kids get into a jam? 

“Why don’t they publicize all the costs that hit their bottom line?”:   Because if they use too much electricity, they can unscrew the lightbulbs in the bathrooms.  If the price of tomatoes goes up, they can use fewer of them in their recipes.  If Ecolab cleaning products are too expensive, they can switch to Servicemaster.   In other words – as with everything in the free market (including restaurant choices), they, the consumer, can say “no” and pick a better option. 

But they can’t switch states.  Tempting as it is for many businesspeople.  Government is the one thing you can’t say “no” to, without having men in uniforms with guns busting down your door eventually. 

And the hypocrisy of a “progressive” movement that twisted itself into knots to try to legitimize the “Occupy” movement turning around and attacking an actual working business for using its right to free speech is enough to put me off my breakfast, were it less delicious.  

“What are you going to do, Berg?  Hang out there all the time?”:  It’s not really about me.  But when in Stillwater – a place I may get to annually – sure why not? 

The “point” they’re shooting for is that conservatives won’t be going there forever, and the liberals among the Oasis’ clientele will stay gone. 

I’m going to guess that most of the people doing the “protesting” have never been there, and would never have gone - and if they did, they were, like most liberals, lousy tippers anyway. 

Anyway - kudos to the Beemers.  And thanks for a fantastic breakfast, a great discussion, and for fighting a battle that a lot more people need to fight.

NARN Is Playing Some Forgotten Song…

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

Today’s Show:  I’m in the studio today from 1-3.  I’ll be talking with…:

  • Roz Peterson, GOP candidate for MN State House in HD 56B, in Burnsville. 
  • Charles E. Cobb, author of That Non-Violent Stuff Will Get You Killed, detailing the importance of armed self-defense to the civil rights movement. 
  • Jim Knoblach, GOP candidate for District 14B, about incumbent DFLer Zach Dorhold’s sudden aversion to money in politics. 

Don’t forget the King Banaian Radio Show, on AM1570 “The Businessman” from 9-11AM this morning!

 And tune in tomorrow for  Brad Carlson is on “The Closer” from 1-3PM on AM1280!

(All times Central)

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

Join us!

 
 
 
 
 
 

Our President Misses The Concept Of “Democratic” Government

The Lightworker, on his penchant for trampling the separation of powers:

“The American people don’t want me just standing around twiddling my thumbs and waiting for Congress to get something done,” Obama said.

Well, yes, Mr. President; if Congress doesn’t pass legislation, those of us who understand the Constitution, especially the bit about “separation of powers”, most certainly do want you to go golfing, rather than usurp the role of Congress.

Head for the golf course, Mr. Lightworker.