The Campaign That Couldn’t Shoot Straight, Part IV: Howling With Mild Approval

As we’ve been noting this week, the DFL candidate in the 3rd CD, Brian Barnes, may be a heck of a guy – but his campaign has been making some odd choices.

Their campaign signs – one of which I finally saw on the street the other day – still  violate FEC law. which is all nit-picky and anal-retentive, but I sure didn’t make up the law.  They still apparently are either conjuring up polls from the ether, or have found a pollster that’ll do polling for free or, more likely, are using internal push polls to try to convince potential donors to pony up for what will likely be a quixotic bid for office.  And one of Barnes’ “political organizers” has been disparaging small town and suburban people, who make up approximately all of Paulsen’s district.

The Barnes campaign (push-polls notwithstanding) are generally considered a long shot by the Democrat establishment.  And like all long-shot campaigns, Barnes’ has to try to find something to try to get some traction.

Some long-shot campaigns overcome that obstacle via ruthless budgeting, solid  organizing and above all, relentless hard work; see Chip Cravaack in 2010.

Others – the ones who can’t manage the budgeting, work and organizing – have to find some Hail Mary or another, something that’ll give ‘em a hook to get them some mindshare, some little slice of the public consciousness.  See the Tim Penny and Tim Barkley gubernatorial race in 1998, which used a former pro wrestler as an elaborate marionette to serve as the face for their campaign.

Barnes’ campaign seems to have chosen the old standby, “have your people relentlessly repeat a set of chanting points” (along with the DFL’s usual “bank on fawning media coverage“).

Wait – that’s no old standby.  That’s because it doesn’t actually work.

But no matter.  The Barnes campaign seems to be focusing on having its people relentlessly repeat a couple of chanting points in hopes that one of them catches on.

  • “He’s Not Really A Moderate”:  The theory, of course, is that the “Moderate” voters in “purple” districts like Edina, and “blue” districts like Bloomington, will repel from talk that Paulsen “votes like Michele Bachmann”.  On the other hand in an election cycle where the smart people know that we’re headed for a fiscal cliff, I – an obstreporous conservative – see that as a feature, not a bug.   The real point is, people – outside the wonk class – vote for a person and a record and a number of issues.  Not a wonk’s label.  Paulsen’s conservative enough for me – I wish he represented CD4 (note to self – vote for Tony Hernandez as many times as Mark Ritchie allows you to).  Chanting “you’re like teh Bachmann” is not a policy.
  • “Where’s the public debate?”:  This is the latest one.  For months, Barnes’ people chanted “where’s the debate?”  Then, two debates – one at KSTP-TV and one with the League of Women Voters – were scheduled.  The chanting point changed to “where’s the public debate – as if a debate that Barnes’ people and the DFL could flood with DFL lemmings and SEIU droogs with photocopied questions would actually get people to the bottom of the issues.  Quick – where’s Betty McCollum’s public debate?  Keith Ellison’s?

In re this last – the Barnes campaign is reportedly mailing around a video of Paulsen “dodging” a question at a town hall back in 2009.  Unstated; it’s a question from former Minnesota leftyblogger and one-man tracking firm Dusty Trice, and it’s a pointed trap question intended to look bad on Trice’s video.

It didn’t work; in fact, Paulsen’s performance at that particular town hall (not a debate, mind you) drew this compliment from conservative talk show host Jack Tomczak:

Ok, I was kidding. I’m a kidder, I kid. It wasn’t Tomczak. It was leftyblogger “Two Putt” Tommy Johnson, the Twin Cities’ foremost leftyblog journalist, who is generally conceded to be the  DFL’s  intellectual standard-bearer.

And if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me.

———-

Someone asked me the other day – “why are you burning up so much time on the Barnes campaign.

As usual, two reasons.

  • If you’re a Republican toiling away in SD67, or CD5, just know that there are DFLers that are having just as much fun – and spending a lot more money than your candidate in doing it.
  • And if you’re a Republican in the 3rd CD?  Don’t believe the hype.  Oh, turn out to the polls; there are so many things that we need to crush with an epic turnout this November; Obama, Obamacare, the DFL’s drive for majorities in the Legislature, the Strib poll and so very very very much more.   But this is not the speed bump they’re looking for.

And a note to the Barnes campaign; instead of badgering Paulsen about debates, try running a coherent campaign that gives the voter an actual reason to vote for you.

Hope I’m not giving too much away, there…

The Campaign That Couldn’t Shoot Straight, Part III: “How Ya Doing, Rockford?”

On paper, the Minnesota Third Congressional District is “purple”.  And by “on paper”, I mean “In the Strib“.

Yes, for decades the district was represented by moderate, IR-era Republicans like Jim Ramstad, Bill Frenzel and Clark McGregor.

And Erik Paulsen has had to work with a lot of different constituencies to win in the Third; he’s done it by showing ample respect to the parts of his district that aren’t, perhaps, solidly GOP – places like Brooklyn Park, Edina and Bloomington…

The MN 3rd Congressional District

…even as he’s worked hard in conservative strongholds like Maple Grove.

And it’s worked.  Paulsen beat Ashwin Madia by something like eight points to succeed Ramstad in 2008 – a lousy year for Republicans – and destroyed Jim Meffert in 2010 by over twenty.

This year’s DFL candidate is  Brian Barnes.  We’ve talked about Barnes before; he claimed the Minnesota police unions were “extreme right-wing” (they’ve endorsed Amy Klobuchar) and his campaign misrepresented Representative Paulsen’s position on a controversial bill.

So far, Barnes’ campaign has “opportunities for improvement” – even compared with the non-entity Meffert, to say nothing of fhe relatively savvy Madia bid.

More bizarre, perhaps, have been some of his back-office choices.

We’ll come back to that.

——————

If you come to the big city from rural America, you get used to the cool city kids sniffing down their noses at you.

And so seeing a tweet like this (which has since apparently been deleted from Twitter)?

@JenE4rmTheBlock
Small town ppl seem to not understand how the real world works
8/31/12 7:54 PM

Pretty run of the mill provincialism – right?

Sure, why not?

Now, how about this one?

This I’d be more prone to call “bigotry” – pretending to know the hearts and souls of people she’s apparently decided to disparage, or just filling in her own stereotypes, based on perhaps the least dispositive trait a person can have; where they live.

Of course, it’s Twitter.  And if there’s a medium with a lower barrier of entry than blogs, it’s Twitter.  The format lends itself to breezy generalization and letting out one’s inner douchebag.  I’ll cop to it; it sometimes brings out the worst in me, too.

But if you’re a candidate running for office in a district that includes towns like St. Michael,  Loretto, Albertville, Rockford and other exurban holdouts as well as burbs like Edina, Bloomington, Minnetonka and the like, you might think it’d be bad form to  employ someone who practices active bigotry toward a big, poitically-active chunk of your constituency.

But Barnes does.  This is “JenE4rmTheBlock”‘s business card:

(I’m not going to post the Instagram link to the photo under the same name as the Twitter feed. It includes an email and what appears to be a personal phone number. If someone wants to claim “it’s not teh same person” by way of trying to impugn the story, I’ve got it. It’s her).

But I’m not doing this to kick dirt on Ms. “4rmTheBlock”.  This is aimed squarely at Brian Barnes. campaign

Candidate Barnes:  is it your position that the people of Saint Bonifacius or Luverne “don’t get how the world works”, or that the folks in Minnetonka, Maple Grove and Bloomington are “Racists” and ‘Homophobes?”   Your “political organizer” has just insulted two groups of people who, together, make up roughly 100% of the district you’re running for.

Does this seem like a good campaign plan?

———-

So we’ve got editing problems, some magical invisible freebie polling, and a “Free-spirited” staff.  What else could go wrong with Barnes’ campaign?

More tomorrow.

The Campaign That Couldn’t Shoot Straight, Part II: From The Ether

This week, we’ve been looking at the DFL-endorsee Brian Barnes and his campaign for the MN Third Congressional District seat held by Erik Paulsen.  Yesterday we noted they bobbled a niggling but, er, Federal regulation on their new batch of lawn signs.

Today?  We’ll get serious.

Earlier this week, the Barnes campaign sent a fundraising email to their mailing list; they just spent a ton of money getting a Minneapolis creative agency to produce a TV ad, and those don’t come cheap.

That’s fine.  Everybody does it.

But here’s where it gets interesting.  The third paragraph in the email says (I’ve added the emphasis):

Every dollar at this point goes toward getting our message to persuadable voters. We have been steadily closing the gap on Congressman Paulsen. We started with voters supporting Barnes 24% and Paulsen 39% in May, and we’ve gained 20 points to his 8! In fact, he is beginning to lose voters since we’ve been successfully showing voters he only talks like Jim Ramstad, but he votes more extreme than Michele Bachmann.

Let’s back that up for a moment; amid the awkward phrasing (are they claiming the race is 47-44 or not?), there are some questions.

What polling?

According to sources familiar with the history of the race, Barnes’ former campaign manager, Tom Beckfield, last month said that there had been no polling in this race.  That’s as of August.  And we know that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Dems’ national campaign organization and warchest, had done no polling in the 3rd CD – or at least they’d not released any into the public domain.  So if Barnes has national polls, they’re illegal.

Beyond that?  The campaign included no polling expenditures in their FEC reports through July.

But the fundraising email claims to have tracked results from May through the present.  Via what polling?

The source notes that the Barnes campaign is doing intermal push-polling.  Are these the results that the email is trumpeting?

Since the campaign reports no polling expenses, and the DCCC hasn’t done it, what else could it be?

If you see Brian Barnes, ask him if you could.

(There are times I wonder – what if we had a group – perhaps a whole industry, with printing presses and transmitters and stuff, whose job it could be to check this sort of crap out?)

Tomorrow:  If you live in Waconia or Minnetonka, one of Barnes’ staffers has something to say to you.

The Campaign That Couldn’t Shoot Straight, Part I: Signs, Signs, Everywhere Are Signs

The other day, I took a rare drive thorough the western suburbs.  I don’t get out there much, so it’s always fun to drive through a place that’s been good Republican territory – or at the very least, a place with a vigorous two-party government (which most of the “safe Republican” districts in this state are, in stark contrast to the one-party DFL gulags of Minneapolis, Saint Paul and Duluth). 

And I gotta say – I love the smell of a Republican-dominated district in the morning.  It smells like…prosperity.  And competence.  And hope.

It’s campaign season, so I noticed a lot of campaign signs.  There were lots of DFL signs sprinkled with healthy clusters of GOP signs in Bloomington.  The balance shifted decisively the farther north and west I got – Minnetonka, Maple Grove and the like.  Lots of signs for city council, Henco Commission and of course Erik Paulsen.

One that I completely missed?  Third District DFLer Brian Barnes.  40-odd days before the campaign, I saw not a single Barnes sign.

Now, we’re told that’s about to change.  Candidate Barnes tweeted this, last Wednesday:

(Say what you will about Barnes’ politics – whatever they are – but that is one adorable baby).

But let’s not focus on babies.   Look at the sign.

We’ll come back to that.

———-

Now, I don’t know much about Federal Elections Commission law – other than that it’s incredibly intrusive, and that Sheldon from “Big Bang Theory” isn’t anal-retentive enough to follow it.  I’ve seen campaigns for federal-level office – Senate, Congress – have to completely redesign entire literature pieces, signs and other products to fit some picayune codecil or another in FEC law.

But here’s the book – literally – for Congressional Candidates and their committees.  All 180-odd pages of it.  It’s the sort of stuff campaign managers and communications people make the big bucks to know.

And tucked away on page 66 is this little bon mot:

A disclaimer notice must be clearly and conspicuously displayed. A notice is not clearly and conspicuously displayed if the print is difficult to read or if

the placement is easily overlooked. 110.11(c)(1)…In printed communications, the disclaimer must be contained within a printed box set apart from the contents of the communication. The print of the disclaimer must be of sufficient size to be “clearly readable” by the recipient of the communication…

So where’s the “Paid for by…” whomever disclaimer?

In this photo, it’s that little squiggle of white tucked into the lowest of the stripes on the “flag”.

Aesthetically, it works for me – I mean, I didn’t write that FEC crap – but that’s no box,, and “inside the stripe” is the very definition of not “set apart from the contents of the communication”.

The FEC goes on:

…and the print must have a reasonable degree of color contrast between the background and the printed statement. 110.11(c)(2)(ii) and (iii). Black text in 12-point font on a white background is one way to satisfy this requirement for printed material measuring no more than 24 inches by 36 inches

While FEC regulations make me look for fiber supplements, we’re on my turf now.

Thin white type on a red background is a fairly low-contrast combination, especially on a sign that ‘s supposed to be viewed from a distance.  Indeed, for the 10% of men who have some degree of red-green color-blindness and depend on contrast to see reds and greens, it is to some degree or another nearly unreadable at all.

If these are the signs they handed out last Saturday, then they’re going to have a problem.

(And I’ll solicit feedback from my readers in the Third.  Are you seeing these signs out there?)

———-

Now,  this is pretty niggling stuff.  True, it’s the stuff campaigns pay “consultants” the big bucks to know – and Barnes’ campaign has certainly ponied up for consultants.  Like, thousands and thousands of dollars worth.   And it does have the salutary effect of infringing federal campaign regs – so even if I think it’s no big deal, there’s a building full of intensely anal-retentive people in DC who likely do.

It’s just the first – and, let’s be honest, the most understandable and least not-ready-for-prime-time – of a series of flubs the Barnes campaign has put out in recent weeks.

———-

As a complete side issue, I’m going to make the first of my fearless  predictions;  Barnes may do better than Jim Meffert in 2010 – but not much.  I say Paulsen wins in November by 16.

Brian Barnes: “Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been Teh ExTrE3M?”

Brian Barnes is running for Congress in the 3rd CD.

You might not have heard of him, even if you live there.  He’s run a fairly hapless, lackluster campaign, with none of the cachet or pizzazz of Ashwin Madia.   I think the only serious question about his campaign so far has been “is Erik Paulsen going to win by two digits, or three?”

But there’s another question worth asking, too:  where the hell does he get his information?

At a “Drinking Liberally” event on Monday night, Barnes gave his opinion on Erik Paulsen’s police union endorsements.  A tracker got some tape:


(Note: Not a celebrity impersonator)

Here’s the transcript, with emphasis added:

“He’s got some signs that say police endorsed and the interesting thing is that is a group that is very, uh, the group that endorsed him is a group of extreme right wing, uh, law enforcement support group that puts up a façade if you will…” Brian Barnes 8/20/2012

The police unions are “Extreme Right Wing?”

The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association endorsed Amy Klobuchar.  They also endorsed Mark Dayton and Tarryl Clark in 2010.

The Fraternal Order of Police have also endorsed Amy Klobuchar, not to mention “extreme conservatives” like Ann Rest, Joe Atkins, Jim Carlson and plenty of others (as well as John Kline and a few other Republicans).

Both organizations also opposed the bipartisan Minnesota Personal Protection Act (the 2003-2005 carry reform bill) and Tony Cornish’s “Stand Your Ground” bill, which passed the legislature with bipartisan support but was vetoed by Governor Bored Dilettante, who used the Police unions’ statements to “justify” the veto in much the same way as Germany used the “Battle of Gleiwitz”.

So why would Barnes call the seemingly left-of-center police unions “extreme right wing?”

Given the left’s nationwide reliance on “low-information voters” and the fact that Twin Cities leftybloggers are the lowest-information voters of all, is he just saying it because he knows nobody will check him on it?

Had he had too many drinks already?

Or was he so depressed at being in that throng of misanthropic mopes that he just didn’t give a crap anymore?

 

Chanting Points Memo: Barnes Bobbles Facts

Legal language is a funny thing.  And by “funny”, we mean “funny weird”, not “funny haha”.

One of the left’s latest chanting points – abetted by Todd Akin’s groaner last week – is that a group of GOP legislators co-sponsored a bill, HR3, better known as the “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion” bill.  The title more or less explains the bill.

In the original version of the bill’s language, the term “forcible rape” was used.

Of course, in the post-Akin political news cycle du jour, there is only one type of rape; it’s eminently PC to say “all rape is rape”.

And certainly non-consensual sex is, always, rape.  No argument about it.

Of course, not all “rape” is “forcible”, by definition.  If a 56 old guy has consensual sex with, say hypothetically, a 16 year old guy, it’s statutory rape – meaning “no force was used, but it’s still considered rape since the 16 year old is not of the age of consent”.

We’re splitting linguistic and legal hairs, of course.

Splitting hairs is something Third District DFL candidate Brian Barnes wasn’t doing when he accused his opponent, incumbent Republican representative Erik Paulsen, of drawing a distinction between “Rape” and “Forcible Rape”.   Here’s a statement from Barnes’ announcement for a press conference today:

According to Brian Barnes, “The voters of our district deserve the facts on Representative Paulsen’s positions on important issues, such as his vote to support H.R. 3.

Yep, they do.  And here they are; whatever the reason for the language, it is for Paulsen’s purposes irrelevant – because Paulsen was neither an author nor co-sponsor of the bill.

The word “forcible” was removed from the bill long before Paulsen got his first chance to vote on the bill – which he did, along with a strong bipartisan majority of the House.

This is a further example of how the Barnes’ campaign,. like most Democrat campaigns this year, are trying to rope in “low-information voters” – people driven by slogans and chanting points, who don’t really think that hard about the issues.

It’s not the most egregious example from the Barnes campaign, though.  More later today.

Sartre Had A Point

When it comes to D-list political punditry, hell is other peoples’ predictions.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m someone else’s “other people”.  And my predictions have been…well, generally good.  I called the 2004 Prez and 2006 Governor’s races pretty much to the point.  I nailed the 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 8th CDs almost to the vote.  Yeah, I blew the 2006 Senate race by about ten, and there’ve been a few clinkers.  I also predicted Norm Coleman and Tom Emmer in squeakers over Senator Smalley and Governor Fauntelroy – and if you left out fraudulent  and multiple votes, I think I may still have been right.

Still, as much as I love doing predictions, there’s an intense Schadenfreud when other peoples’ predictions – especially journalistic A-listers – come a cropper.

And a cropper they came.

Funny stuff.

The Yapping

Poor “Progressives”.

They can’t win elections.  Their politicians can’t do budgets (or, if they do, can never, ever make them work.  Even with years of unfettered control (from 2008 through 2010),  they can’t do anything useful with the economy.

And now even their protests suck:.

“We’re trying to find a caddy,” said a protester posing as Boehner. The Boehner impersonator stood beside impersonators of Minnesota Reps. Michele Bachmann, Erik Paulsen, Chip Cravaack and John Kline.

The “impersonators” were actually people wearing large cardboard cutouts of unflattering photos of the various politicians’ heads, looking like they were cut out from “Dump Bachmann” and blown up.  After eight years of constant caterwauling, they can’t even muster the energy to do those annoying papier-mache puppets anymore.

Cravaack wryly noted…:

“The people that we were speaking with were the job creators. They’re the people who employ Minnesotans,” Cravaack said of the attendees. “So we’re asking the question to them, ‘What is it going to take for you to invest in yourselves and create jobs?’”

He added that businesses are skittish about making that investment with the threat of new taxes and regulations from the Obama administration.

“Taxing companies right now in a recession is not going to create jobs,” Cravaack said. “It’s going to take jobs away.”

But to the progressive worldview, it’s government’s job to create jobs.

How?

By hiring lots of people who’ve never used shovels for a living for “shovel-ready” jobs? (What the hell is a “shovel-ready” job?  Outside of patching streets, what job in the world today actually uses shovels?)

By waving the magic government wand, perhaps?

They can’t even think of original chanting points:

Protesters accused the Minnesota congressmen of meeting with wealthy donors while proposing cuts to the middle class and not creating jobs. One sign read “People before profits,” and the crowd chanted “Hey-hey-ho-ho, corporate greed has got to go.”

Criminy – even Saul Alinsky is rolling in his grave.

Dayton Sends In The Temps

After spending millions of dollars upsetting the DFL machine, and then more on the campaign of toxic sleaze that put him in office by a whisker, it seems Mark Dayton really doesn’t want to do his job all that badly.

After rejecting a balanced Republican budget that not only lives within state revenue but also gave him most of his purported policy goals, Dayton first called for a “mediator”.

In other words, he called for a single lawyer to dictate what the state budget would be.

And now, he’s brought in a junta – a group of “experts” – to dictate what the budget should be.

Former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson and former Vice President Walter Mondale have assembled a six-member panel of experts to help resolve the state’s budget standoff, the two announced Tuesday.

The group “features” Arne “High Times” Carlson – whose only budgetary experience came during the prosperous, cha-cha nineties – and Walter Mondale, who was Jimmy Carter’s vice-president.

These two – the RINO and the hard-line DFLer – are joined by a dog’s breakfast of “experts”.

Any guess on what the “experts” have in common?

Two former legislators are on the panel — Republican Steve Dille and DFLer Wayne Simoneau.

Dille got a 55 from the Taxpayers League.  Simoneau was a DFLer – need I say more? -

It has two representatives of the business community — former Norwest Bank president Jim Campbell and Medtronic vice president Kris Johnson.

That’s Jim Campbell, whose recent political donations have been to DFLers, potemkin Republican Chuck Hagel, and a few Republicans back in the day when the parties were basically different shades of spendthrift, and Kristen Johnson, whose record seems to be Republican, which donations to McCain-Palin, Erik Paulsen and other Republicans.

The other two members are former state finance commissioners — John Gunyou, who served in the Carlson administration, and Jay Kiedrowski, who worked for DFLer Rudy Perpich.

That’s John Gunyou, who ran as Margaret Anderson Kelliher’s running mate in the primaries against Dayton last year – for the DFL nomination – “managed” budgets at a time when budgeting was a piece of cake since the good times were rolling, and has been beating the drums against conservative governance ever since he left office.

Speaking in Minneapolis’ City Hall, Carlson said he thought legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton needed the help.

“When the process loses the ability to be flexible to effect compromise, then you have to have an outside party,” said Carlson. “In business it might be some sort of mediation or arbitration, whatever it may be, but you need that kind of process to take place.”

Carlson said he’d like the panel to offer a settlement of some kind by the end of this week.

Let’s see – with six high-profile liberals (Mondale, Carlson, Gunyou, Kiedrowski, Schowalter and Campbell) and one apparently conservative (Johnson), what do you suppose that “settlement” is going to look like?

Like a “back to the Nineties” – a perfect accompaniment for Dayton’s “back to the Seventies” administration.

Mondale said he also worried that the fiscal debate in Washington could add fuel Minnesota’s budget crisis.

“I’m afraid that if we don’t reassert Minnesota’s ability to think and create in this crisis, that we’ll be overwhelmed by national pressures,” said Mondale.

Dear Carlson, Mondale et al:  we elected people to do our “creating” and “thinking”; a bare plurality got behind Dayton, while a clear majority put the GOP legislature in office.

You want to play governor again?  Get yourselves elected.

Go away.

Money Changes Everything

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

  • Ed is off on assignment; he’ll be calling in from CPAC.  I’ll be issuing my own State of the State address.   We’ll also have Congressman Erik Paulsen on to talk about his efforts against Obamacare and other tax reform issues on which he’s taking the lead.  Then, in the second hour, Speaker of the  House Kurt Zellers and (hopefully) Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch will discuss the real state of the State!  I’ll be on from 1-3PM Central.
  • The King Banaian Show! - King is onAM1570, Business Radio for the Twin Cities!  Join him from 9-11!
  • 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 HotAir.com or at UStream).
  • Podcast at Townhall, usually by Monday
  • Good ol’ telephone – 651-289-4488!
  • And make sure you fan us on our new Facebook page!

Join us!

Stewardess? I Speak Jive…

We’ve established this for quite some time – DFL Minnesotans speak a very, very different language from Real Minnesotans.

Case in point – Dave Mindeman at mnpACT, doing his fifth annual “Ten Worst Political Persons In Minnesota of 2010” award (an awarad that lacks the cool, polished cachet of the Shooties, and which Mindeman admits is a riff on Olberman, which is sort of like admitting you’re copying diarrhea).  As a public service, I will use my patience, knowledge, and access to the DFL Dictionary to translate Mindeman’s piece from DFL into regular English.

You’re welcome:

There are some who don’t like the negative connotation…that’s why for the past couple of years I have also done a 10 Best list as well. But it does give me a chance to reflect on what I see in Minnesota politics…and believe me, a lot of it reflects the dark side.

Translation: “Dissent from my world view is evil.  But don’t call me McCarthyist!”.

Looking over the past lists, the range goes from that Lizard people guy to Katherine Kersten to the Star Tribune. Some people are consistently on the list so you will see some familiar names. Some are one shot wonders, but each year a crop of people always appear that affect political discourse in Minnesota.

Translation: “Unlike calling people I disagree with “the worst person”, which is just lovely for “discourse in Minnesota”.

Here is the “Worst” List for 2010:

10. Brad Brandon of the Berean Bible Baptist Church. (Note: he also wins the alliteration award). Brandon is a Hastings pastor who decided to defy the IRS and endorse an entire slate of candidates (mostly Republican with a sprinkling of Constitution) directly from his pulpit. He challenge anyone to file a complaint (and one has been), and proceeded to preach his sermon on the need to elect those God-fearing Republicans. You have to wonder what Erik Paulsen did to get on God’s bad side — he wasn’t endorsed.

Translation: “Dissent and civil disobedience were the supreme civic virtues – until January 20, 2009″.

9. Randy Brown (SD 56 GOP Webmaster). To the tune of “Who Let the Dogs Out”, Mr. Brown thought it would be funny to profile a video on his BPOU’s website that portrayed Democratic women in a less than flattering light…..while putting Republican women on display as the sex objects Mr. Brown seemed to be fantasizing about.

Translation: “Because goodness knows liberals would never, ever, ever act like a bunch of giggly schoolboys and catty cheerleaders. Darn obscure Republican webmasters , acting out that purely-GOP trait!”.

8. Zygi Wilf (Vikings Owner). Zygi was #6 on last year’s list and he is back again…for the same reason. The State of Minnesota is dealing with a monster deficit,

Translation: “If you damn teabaggers don’t cover every damn nickel of the Autopilot Budget, I will call you names!”

7. Minnesota Majority. This GOP sympathizer group seems to have made a mission out of discrediting a very good state election system.

Translation: “Do not question the Mighty Ritchie. Do not question the Mighty Ritchie. Do not question the Mighty Ritchie. Do not question the Mighty Ritchie. Do not question the Mighty Ritchie…”

6. Target Corp. In the “what were they thinking” department, Target Corp’s donations to the Tom Emmer campaign became a very public affair. And what’s worse, a carefully honed public image of a gay friendly corporation was nearly destroyed.

Translation: “And Target’s market cap went…er, wait, it kept pace and/or slightlty exceeded the retail sector since July, when the whole astroturf flap got started.  Never mind.”

Are corporate tax breaks really that important?

Translation: “And where did all those manufacturing and warehouse jobs with Target, 3M, Best Buy, Ecolab, Medtronic, Boston Sci, Minnesota Public Radio and every single other signficant manufacturere in Minnesota go, anyway?  Maybe we need a law to keep them from leaving!  Damn that Tim Pawlenty!”

Frankly, the idea that corporations could come close to making a “political” list like this is a little disturbing, but the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has changed all of that forever.

Translation: “Because Goddess forbid that the Teachers Union and the SEIU have any competition in the marketplace of paid-for-ideas!”

5. John Kline. Congressman Kline will soon take over the chairmanship of the Education and Labor Committee in the House. And along with that will be his total disregard for union rights and his big buck contributions from the for-profit education corporations. Along with the energy companies and the banking industry, etc, etc. He has nothing but disdain for health care reform as well as disdain for his own district.

Translation: “HEY!  ALL YOU TEABAGGING MORONS IN THE SECOND DISTRICT!  Don’t you know what’s GOOD for you?”

Roads and bridges in the 2nd get nothing from John Kline because he’s against earmarks. He’s saving us money… oh, wait, no he isn’t. Our money gets spent in other districts.

Translation: “The system is more important than its consequences.  Long live the system!”

4. Tony Sutton (Chair of the MN GOP). The provocative chairman of the MN GOP managed to open his mouth at every inopportune moment.

Translation: “My life would be so much nicer if Teabaggers just shut up and let me run everything”.

If his cohorts had worked as hard at real facts and figures as they did at distortions, they might have pulled out at least one of those statewide races.

Translation: “As opposed to the fact-chocked campaign that Alliance For A Better Minnesota ran!  I just get tingly thinking about it!”.

3. MN Chamber of Commerce. Outside of a few token Democratic endorsements, the MN Chamber was hell bent on reversing legislative power in Minnesota.

Translation: “Don’t those idiot wingnut teabaggers know what’s good for them?  Taxing business more makes it easier to do busienss!  Er – doesn’t it?”

2. Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty is on this list because he has flat out ruined Minnesota.

Translation: “Never mind the near-lowest in the nation unemployment – he RUINED us!  RUINED, I say!”

He has left us with an incredible deficit.

Translation: “And that fiscally-responsible DFL tried SO hard to control spending!  Really!

He presided over the biggest transfer of tax burden (state to local governement) in history.

Translation: “And then he forced all those cities to spend, spend, spend!  He’s a WITCH, I tell you!”

He watched a bridge fall down and then he vetoed transportation funding at every opportunity.

Translation: “Why, if we had finished the Central Corridor and built a network of ethanol stations, that bridge would still be standing!”

1. Michele Bachmann. Michele has topped this list for 3 years in a row

Translation: “I ran out of ideas”.

Glad to help.

Happy New Year, Dave!

…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.

At The Victory Party

I’m at the Sheraton for the GOP’s victory party.  Early word – unconfirmed – is that turnout in Duluth and the Twin Cities is a little low. I haven’t gotten any but anecdotal confirmation that turnout in “red” Minnesota is high, but the anecdotal feedback is good.

We shall see.

Liveblogging will be a tad light, but I”ll do what I can here…

7:35: TV guys are firing up.  Early results are looking good so far.

7:47 – Bandwidth is tight; hard to update Twitter.

UPDATE 11/3:  And then our bandwidth situation went from bad to ridiculous, and a bunch of stuff happened, and we took control of the US House and flipped both chambers of the MN Legislature and Bachmann and Kline won by one point more than my optimistic predictions and Erik Paulsen shredded Jim Meffert by 21 and proved that the “conventional wisdom” about the Third District is bullpucks and then Chip Cravaack pulled ahead and stayed there and Tom Emmer ended up so freaking close it hurts, and then we went home.

100 Reasons I’m Voting For Tom Emmer

As I do before every important election, I’m listing the top 100 reasons I’m voting for the top of the ticket.

Of course, I became an Emmer supporter long ago.  The GOP started the campaign early – right around State Fair time in 2009 – with a crop of great candidates and rumored candidates.  Paul Kohls was a sharp guy; I could have easily supported Pat Anderson; Dave Hann is right about everything that matters; most of all, Marty Seifert would have been an excellent standard-bearer.  I would happily have written these 100 reasons about any of them.

But Emmer became my personal front-runner as Ed and I interviewed him at the Fair on September 4, 2009.  Someone asked him a question about some kind of wedge-y social issue or another.  And without skipping a beat, Tom responded “I dont’ care; this election is about jobs and the economy”.  Emmer is the single best stump speaker in Minnesota politics today.  And for all the left and media’s efforts to paint him as some sort of extremist, Tom has not only stuck to that message, but has shown himself superb at explaining that message to people who don’t start out as believers.  Which is the main reason the DFL has had to run such a superlatively slimy, negative campaign against him.

And to be honest, those were the only reasons I really need to support Tom Emmer.  But I came up with 99 more.  Because that’s what I do.

To wit – the 100 main reasons I’m voting for Tom Emmer today.

  1. Because the DFL’s plan is a return to the past, in ways that just don’t make sense anymore.
  2. Because the DFL’s big-money, big-union, big-service model was based on economy that exploded at a time when America was the only serious economy on earth.
  3. And times have changed.
  4. And Tom Emmer knows that we have to change our government with those times.
  5. And Mark Dayton thinks that if you throw enough obstinacy and rhetoric and taxpayers money at life, the clock will turn itself back to the DFL’s glory days.
  6. Not to mention his own glory days.
  7. And as that great political commentator said, Glory Days will pass you by in the wink of a young girl’s eye.
  8. Because Emmer’s about providing three things; Jobs
  9. Jobs, and
  10. Jobs.
  11. And Dayton is not.
  12. Unless you’re an AFSCME, SEIU, MAPE other state employee.
  13. Indeed, we know of many companies that are going to leave Minnesota, sooner or later, if taxes don’t moderate.
  14. And we know many, many more that are waiting on the fence to see where their investments are going to go.
  15. Because it’s not just about creating jobs.  It’s about creating a climate where companies will create jobs, and new companies will form, and hire people to work for them, and more new companies will form to provide goods and services and wholesaling and distribution and support and markets and suppliers for the companies above.
  16. And Mark Dayton’s policies will curb that as effectively as any policy designed to curb business growth on purpose ever could.
  17. Because our state government needs to be re-engineered…
  18. …and Emmer has the plan to do it…
  19. …while Mark Dayton’s entire plan is to just pour more of our money down the rathole.
  20. Because of Emmer’s enemies; the SEIU, AFSCME, the Teamsters, and the bureaucracy are the only people who benefit from the current government.
  21. Because Tom Emmer is one of us.
  22. And I just know that some idiot leftyblogger will go “yeah, he’s a middle class white guy”, which shows you yet another reason Emmer needs to win; the phony “diversity” pimps must not be rewarded.
  23. No, Tom Emmer is a Minnesota guy who grew up the child of business people, worked for the business, worked his way through college and law school, worked his way up the hierarchy of his business – just the way most Minnesotans have to, whether they’re white middle class guys…
  24. …or Latino working-class gals…
  25. …or black single mothers who are fighting to keep their kids’ charter schools afloat…
  26. …or Asian immigrants who are working in their uncle’s restaurant while they earn their engineering degree.  It’s all part of a story…
  27. …that Mark Dayton never participated in, can not understand…
  28. …and has to have interpreted for him  by his advisers from the AFSCME, MFT, MAPE, SEIU, ACORN, CommonCause and MoveOn.
  29. Tom Emmer doesn’t have to have anyone explain “the Minnesota Dream” to him.  He’s lived it, and his whole plan is about opening up that dream to everyone.
  30. Because Mark Dayton is the wrong guy for the job.
  31. He was an unmitigated disaster as a Senator…
  32. …and an undistinguished State Auditor….
  33. …and a failure as Economic Development commissioner – so bad that his boss’ son wrote an Op-Ed claiming that he bailed on the job before a recession, to salvage his political future.
  34. And his only “plan” is to start jacking up taxes.
  35. And as much as he caterwauls about “taxing the rich”, the fact is that his proposed “taxes on the rich” won’t even begin to cover the deficit, will slow the state’s economy and sent it into a vicious, revenue-killing spiral…
  36. …that will result in the definition of “the rich” being pushed ever downward until pretty much everyone in Minnesota is “rich”…
  37. …while, paradoxically, poor.
  38. Because his plan will gut charter schools – a racist plan that will destroy the only meaninful “school choice” most inner-city parents of color, and from poor families, and immigrants and Native Americans, have to try to get their children a decent education.
  39. (But Dayton needn’t care, because he went to Yale).
  40. Dayton’s plan, indeed, is voodoo economics of the most trite, vapid order.
  41. And Minnesotans are smarter than that.
  42. (Or, after Ventura, McCollum, Ellison and Franken, I guess I should say they can be smarter than that.  Here’s your chance, Minnesota!)
  43. Because “Alliance For A Better Minnesota” is, paradoxically, an alliance for a much, much worse Minnesota.
  44. Because while I don’t really want big corporations buying my elections, I don’t want Alita Messenger buying them, either.
  45. Or Big Unions.  What’s the SEIU done for us lately, besides demand more money and more subsidies?
  46. Ditto the Minnesota Federation of Teachers?
  47. Or, more tellingly, the entire Dayton family?
  48. Because anyone the Twin Cities Media has been working so hard to gundeck this last six months has to be good.
  49. Because Pat Doyle smeared Emmer in the Strib
  50. …and I busted Doyle.
  51. Because if Tom Emmer wins, maybe the Twin Cities media will examine some of their prejudices, and focus less on electing DFLers and more on…reporting the news?
  52. Because if Emmer wins, perhaps people will, once and for all, start treating the Minnesota Poll like “news”, and more like an “in-kind campaign contribution”, which is all it is.
  53. Ditto the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute Poll
  54. And “Mid-Morning with Keri Miller”.
  55. Because while I have no doubt that the Twin Cities media will eventually ask questions about Mark Dayton’s alcoholic relapses and mental health record, it’d be good to settle that before he takes on the most powerful job in Minnesota.
  56. Or preferably rather than taking it on.
  57. Because it will pound a stake through the heart of the old, RINO Republican party
  58. Because Lori Sturdevant seems to have staked out a market at tut-tutting Republicans for not being like the Republicans of the 1970′s – and far be it from me to want to constrict somebody’s market.
  59. Because Tom Emmer survived the most epic smear campaign in Minnesota history.
  60. And that sort of behavior must not be rewarded.
  61. Think about it; if Mark Dayton wins, all of ABM’s lies will be considered justified.
  62. Because to the left, the end justifies the means – and since power is their end, this campaign will codify the means; lying, smearing, slandering.
  63. And “power”, in this case, means not only the power to tax you back to the stone age, but to scupper the economy of this state for a generation.
  64. Which, let us not forget, is yet another end that’d justify their means, if it succeeds. Because a state with lots of DFL dependants is a state with a happy DFL.
  65. Because if Tom Emmer beats out this epic smear campaign, perhaps the Minnesota DFL and its lefty allies will learn some f****ng manners.
  66. Because I don’t want the definition of “Marriage” decided by a bunch of moron legislators or bobbleheaded, agenda-driven judges.
  67. Because if Emmer wins, free speech wins.
  68. It was the “Citizens United” Supreme Court case that allowed corporations to contribute to political campaigns.
  69. And so a raft of Minnesota companies contributed to “MNForward”, a pro-business PAC.
  70. And a legion of howling lefty nutcases lined up to crucify these businesses…
  71. …well, no.  They didn’t line up to slander and badger Polaris or Davisco or Securian.  They lined up to attack Target Corporation as “anti-gay”…
  72. …even though Target is one of the most pro-equal-rights-for-gays companies in a state full of companies that bend over backwards to prove their “diversity”.   The attack wasnt’ because of anything Target did, but to try to bully and browbeat all Minnesota companies who dared to dissent from the DFL and their various hangers-on.
  73. BTW, Tom Emmer is no more “anti-gay” than Barack Obama or, for that matter, Mark Dayton.
  74. Because while the “Minnesota Miracle” of Minnesota Media Myth is indeed largely mythical, and would have happened anyway
  75. But today, Minnesota needs a real miracle, and we need it now.
  76. And real miracles come from the private sector…
  77. …and the best thing government can do is stand out of the way – lending the odd helping hand (by, say, providing an educated and competent work force – ooops, sorry about that, Minnesota Federation of Teachers) and letting private enterprise and the market do the hard stuff.
  78. Because while Governor Pawlenty has done a helluvva job keeping the wheels on this state, it’s only going to get more difficult as the Obama Depression grinds on.
  79. And we have two more years of The One to survive; and electing a responsible, grownup, conservative government is a great first step in telling the rapacious federal regime “not so fast, bitches”.
  80. Because it’s a big wave.
  81. And if Emmer wins, then so will Michele Bachmann.
  82. And Erik Paulsen.
  83. And John Kline.
  84. And since the Constitutional Officer races usually follow the governor’s race, an Emmer win will bring back Pat Anderson to State Auditor, replacing the fairly useless but boundlessly venal Rebecca Otto.
  85. And Dan Severson could win, replacing Mark Ritchie, who was basically put into office to further George Soros’ grand scheme of having fifty in-the-bag secretaries of state.
  86. And Chris Barden could become the Attorney General, giving us an AG that will work for Minnesota, rather than for Mike Hatch.
  87. And if Emmer wins big, there’s a decent shot that Chip Cravaack will win as well – and Congress desperately needs Jim Oberstar to leave and go into the lobbyling business, where his heart really belongs.
  88. And if Emmer wins, the coattails will help Randy Demmer, too; every little bit helps.
  89. And of Tom and Chip take it downtown, then Lee Byberg will stand a decent chance of toppling Colin Peterson.
  90. And if Tom, Chip, Randy and Lee pull it off, then the heretofore unthinkable – Teresa Collett knocking off Betty “Mission Accomplished” McCollum – is suddenly thinkable.
  91. And Joel Demos might just be able to pack his wife and kids up and head off to DC as well.  Because we’re Minnesotans, and we do believe in Miracles.
  92. And if that happens, somewhere on the campus of the Blake School, some mirthless harpy’s head is going to explode.
  93. And some hard-scrabble Latina will make a few bucks cleaning up the mess, giving her the money to feed her kids and drive them to a good charter school,  where they become good educated citizens, who vote Republican…
  94. …and help repeat the cycle…
  95. …so that before too terribly long the DFL – the great destroyer of jobs, the albatross on the back of the Minnesota economy, the racist ravager of school choice, the thuggish apparatchik that wants to make sure you do no better than they do, will become a third party.  Like it so richly deserves.
  96. Because I want Minnesota to be a good place for my children.
  97. I don’t want Minnesota to become a Cold California, a windy Greece, a passive-aggressive Michigan, a “nice” Massachusetts.
  98. And DFL rule merely ensures that that is exactly what will happen.
  99. And conservative government is not just sane, stable government, it’s the key to a prosperous, sustainable state.  Even the parts that aren’t government.
  100. Because it’s something you can do for A Better Minnesota.  All of us. Together.

So let’s make this happen.

Previous “100 Reasons” posts:

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.

A Not So Modest, Utterly Pragmatic Proposal

It’s go time for Republicans in Minnesota. And by “Republicans”, I mean conservatives, and people who can be convinced that Minnesota’s liberal traditions and Barack Obama/Mark Dayton’s takeover of society will leave us all the worse for wear.

If you live in the Third Congressional District, you are in a semi-competitive race – but Jim Meffert clearly doesn’t pack the gear.  Still, if you live and work in the Three and support the GOP and conservative ideals, you will need to hunker down, help out Paulsen and your local state House/Senate candidates, and maybe dig deep and see if you can free up a buck or two to help those races out.

If you live in the Fourth or the Fifth – you know you’re the underdogs. I’m one of you.  And yet you have great candidates with great messages, facing weak candidates (especially the Fourth CD’s Betty McCollum, one of the most inconsequential people ever to serve in Congress).  And you’ve been working; somehow, the GOP found a reserve of people whose spirits had not been trounced by decades of living in one-party cities, and have been campaigning in precincts that haven’t seen a GOP voter in a generation. We’ll come back to you.

If you live in the First District, you are seeing signs of hope; Walz is weak, Demmer is raising good money, Walz backed a lot of deeply stupid legislation – Demmer could pull this off.  Hang in there, and above all, keep working.

Of course, if you live in the Seventh and Eighth, you might be feeling like you just climbed into a car with the accelerator stuck to the floor.  Lee Byberg has raised more money than  Colin Peterson’s last generation’s worth of challengers combined, most of it local.  And Chip Cravaack has not only blown the lid off of the usual polling in the Eighth District, but uncovered what looks like a wave of populist conservative enthusiasm in that long-benighted part of the state.

I don’t want to get too excited, but Byberg, Demmer and Cravaack could all catch fire here.

I’ve never felt that about the Seventh or Eighth in all the years I’ve lived here.

Now – if you live in the Sixth District, Michele Bachmann is going to win by 10 points.  Maybe 12.   So while the leadership of the Sixth District will scream at me for suggesting it, I’m going to say “howzabout you take a moment to peel  off a few bucks to help out one of the swing districts?  Maybe help conquer one of the districts that hasn’t seen sane representation (or in the case of the Eighth, seen their representative at all) in a generation or two?

And if you live in the Second District, you know in your gut that if Shelly Madore gets within twenty points of John Kline, it’ll be with the aid of a lot of corpses in cemeteries in Apple Valley.  Kline is going to demolish Madore.  Now, in 2008 I suggested peeling off some money and some volunteer time to help out in some of the swingier districts, and Janet Beihoffer – the 2nd CD chair at the time – nearly took out a hit on me.  But I’m going to do it again.  John Kline is going to win, and win huge.  So will Bachmann.

So if you live in those districts and see fit, and want to help back up some of the confidence that’s buzzing around the state, please consider peeling off some volunteer time to drive from the Second to the First, or from the Sixth up to the 7th or 8th, to help Randy, Lee or Chip.  Or send a few bucks to Randy, Lee and especially Chip and, if you really want to pray for an upset that’ll shock the world, for Joel Demos and Teresa Collett.

Here’s where to start:

  1. Randy Demmer
  2. John Kline
  3. Erik Paulsen
  4. Teresa Collett
  5. Joel Demos
  6. Michele Bachmann
  7. Lee Byberg
  8. Chip Cravaack

More – much more – later.

Underdogs

John Hinderaker and Scott Johnson responded to my story last week about the internal polling in District 32B.

Scott adds a note of cautious sobriety:

Over the weekend John noted Mitch Berg’s assertion regarding a possible Republican surge in a part of Minnesota’s Third Congressional District (House District 32B). The poll in 32B that Mitch cited should actually raise a cautionary warning for the campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer.

Let’s be absolutely clear, here; caution is definitely in order.

We’ll come back to that.

Comparing the poll numbers to the 2008 electoral results in the same state House district, Emmer is running 7 points behind Rep. Erik Paulsen, 9 points behind John McCain and 12 points behind Republican State Rep. and House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers.

Right.

The point of the story isn’t that all is rosy for Emmer, even in this district.

The point was that things are better than some of the media’s been portraying them.

Emmer, however, is in a serious three-way race. Perhaps the best comparison is to the 2006 gubernatorial election, in which Tim Pawlenty also faced a strong Democratic challenger (Mike Hatch) and an Independence Party candidate (Peter Hutchinson). Pawlenty drew 55 percent of the vote in 32B; Zellers drew 48.5 percent. Pawlenty did nearly 8 points better in 32B than he did statewide…This is an area in which a Republican gubernatorial candidate has to rack up the vote if he is going to win the election.

Comparisons with 2006 are useful, but not airtight.  Tom Horner is a much stronger candidate than Hutchinson was – although in the end he’ll sap  more from Dayton than Emmer.

It is time for a gut check in the Emmer campaign. The campaign is not going well, and the campaign leadership needs to wake up. The situation is not dissimilar to the situation in the 2008 Senate recount. The Coleman campaign buried its head in the sand about the need to play hardball. I am told Emmer’s campaign thinks it is on track, but the numbers in 32B don’t support their belief. The Emmer campaign needs to run as if it is 10 points behind Mark Dayton.

And there, Scott is right.  And my point wasn’t to make the Emmer campaign feel complacent.  Indeed, my point isnt’ aimed at the campaign at all.  I’m not Power Line or Hot Air; nobody in any position of power reads me.   I’m just Shot In The Dark. My audience is a whole lot of workadaddy, hugamommy Minnesota conservative voters.

Voters who have been the target of “Alliance for a Better Minnesota’s” fraudulent attacks on Emmer’s ethics and character in their “DUI” ads.

Voters who are the targets of the Twin Cities’ in-the-bag-for-the-DFL media when they bend over backwards to give the voters all the news that fits (the media and DFL’s narrative) about Emmer.

Voters who are the targets of the perennially ludicrous Minnesota Poll.

They are targeted because the DFL knows Dayton is a pair of threes – a terrible Senator, a man with an exceptionally dodgy personal history – and they know that their only hope is to keep Republicans home, or inveigle them to vote for Tom Horner.

They need to convince Minnesota conservatives that there is no hope.

To the extent that the current polling is accurate, it reflects that this effort has been successful.

So far.

And yet there is hope.  And yes, while Emmer’s had an exceptionally rough campaign, this is winnable.

I’m saying Emmer by three.  I’m going to do my damnedest to make sure every conservative – of every party – and everyone who might not be a conservative, but can read the numbers and can see the disaster Dayton would be, comes out on November 2.

And I’m not going to let the media and Mark Dayton’s hacks – paid and otherwise – have any of those voters jumping off the ledge.

Buyer’s Remorse

The DFL – and their national benefactors – went all-in on Tarryl Clark against their bete noir, Michele Bachmann.

Clark is getting clobbered. Hammered. Beaten like a cheap steak. She’s going to lose by 10 points, and I actually starting to think I’m being conservative.

And the regional left is starting to have second thoughts about their monomania.

A few weeks back Dave Schultz – former head of überliberal “Common Cause Minnesota” and reliably lefty professor at Hamline University – bemoaned the imbalance of the spending:

There is virtually no chance the Democrats will defeat Bachmann. I have argued this for months. Bachmann’s sixth district seat is apportioned approximately six points ahead for Republicans. She is a conservative candidate in a conservative district. She is the Tea Party leader in a Tea Party GOP year. She fits her district well and has already survived several attempts to knock her off in previous years (most recently ’08) more favorable to Democrats. Democrats would be better served to wait until 2012, after reapportionment, when new lines may change the Sixth and make it more competitive, or when Bachmann makes the foolish move to run for the senate againt Klobuchar and gets waxed by her.

Yet Democrats cannot resist themselves. Democrats from around the country are pouring millions into this race and yet there is no evidence that Clark is catching up or gaining ground. Yes, Democrats have to challenge her and force her to campaign at home so that she does not travel and fundraise and campaign for others. But from a cost-benefit perspective, pouring millions here makes no sense. Sure there might be a symbolic victory in knocking her off, but with Democrats having to defend so many seats and having to decide where to best spend, resources need to be placed where it makes the most sense. That is why Minnesota’s Third District makes more sense.

Nick Coleman – still writing for the Strib (who knew?)  notes the dearth of attention paid to Shelly Madore, whom John Kline is going to beat by eleventy billion points  in the Second District next month:

The media either go gaga or go to sleep. In the northern suburbs, it’s gaga all the way: Republican Michele Bachmann and her opponent, Democrat Tarryl Clark, have drawn donations and attention from near and far. Still, just 40 percent of likely voters supported Clark in a recent poll, and the New York Times’ influential “FiveThirtyEight” website gives Clark tiny 1.2 percent odds of beating Bachmann.

It’s hard not to conclude that most of the attention to Minnesota’s Sixth District race is due to the flamboyant incumbent, not her worthy challenger. But at least Bachmann has agreed to debate Clark three times. That will allow voters to consider their choices and balance their view of the candidates, evaluating their message and their performance. However the race turns out, that’s good for the voters.

John Kline isn’t about to let that kind of thing happen in the Second District

But then, either is Keith Ellison in the Fifth.  Or Betty McCollum in the Fourth – yet.  Or, as far as I know, Oberstar in the Eighth, or Peterson in the Seventh.   Because candidates who perceive themselves – rightly or wrongly – to have insurmountable leads realize – rightly or wrongly – they have nothing to gain and plenty to lose by debating dark-horse challengers.  It’s a testimony to Bachmann’s love of the scrap and the fact that she just plan destroys Clark on facts (and the fact that both parties perceive the race as at least hypothetically competitive) that she’s debating at all.

At any rate – by November 3, the DFL will have wasted millions trying to unseat the, effectively, un-unseatable Bachmann.

Would the solid, long-term incumbent John Kline have been vulnerable to the skittery Madore?

Would the fringey, netroots-y Meffert have had a shot against an Erik Paulsen that seems to be growing more conservative as his district seems to follow suit?

We won’t know this year.

Cha ching.

Everything You Believe About Minnesota Is Wrong

This post was largely written for the national audience at Hot Air’s Greenroom, where it is posted.

My radio colleagues Ed Morrissey (with the A-squad Hot Air) and King Banaian (of SCSU Scholars, also found in the Green Room) will post on occasion about politics in Minnesota, where the three of us live, work, blog and do a bit of talk radio.

And when we do write about Minnesota – especially its freaks of electoral fate, like Al Franken and Jesse Ventura – we get a long string of similar comments; “What do you expect from Minnesota?”,  “That’s those crazy Minnesotans” and, when the Emmer/Dayton gubernatorial race comes up, “I don’t have a whole lot of hope for Minnesota”.  We were the only state that never voted for Reagan – although to be fair, the state voted for Walter Mondale, a native son, in 1984 (a year before I moved here).

If that’s what you feel, you’re wrong, and you need to re-think things.  And I’m going to try to start that rethinking right now.

Don’t get me wrong.  Minnesota is a strange place, in a lot of ways.  It’s an adopted home for all three of us; Ed’s from LA, King was born in New Hampshire and arrived in Minnesota via California among a few other places, and I grew up in North Dakota (and moved here 25 years ago as of this coming Wednesday).  And I think we’ve all scratched our heads, agog, at some of the political weirdness this state has spawned.

Everyone recalls the bizarre 2008 election, where former comedian and failed talk show host Al Franken beat incumbent Norm Coleman in a race that Coleman led by 200 votes on election night – and Franken won by 300 after eight months of recounts and legal maneuvering, exposing many flaws in Minnesota’s electoral system (like the law allowing people to vote without showing ID, but being vouched for by another registered voter).

More infamously, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, running for Minnesota’s “Independence” party, which was essentially a vanity offshoot of Ross Perot’s “Reform” Party, won the 1998 gubernatorial election, beating Hubert Humphrey’s son Skip and…Norm Coleman.

Minnesota has had plenty of electoral weirdness in the past; the Democratic/Farmer/Labor Party (the “DFL”, as we call Democrats here) had long ties to the far, far left; Stalinists were a powerful force in the party until Hubert H. Humphrey managed to purge them in the mid-forties; former Eighth District congressman John Bernard, of the antecedent, radical-left “Farmer/Labor” Party, cast the sole vote in 1938 against embargoing arms to the Stalinist side in the Spanish Civil War. Gus Hall, long-time head of the Communist Party USA and one-time perennial presidential candidate, was a Minnesota native, who cut his teeth as a radical organizing the mines of Northern Minnesota.

There are reasons Minnesota is an odd place:

Culture: Minnesota’s dominant culture in its formative years was immigrants from rural Scandinavia, especially Norway and Sweden.  Both nations have long histories of being poor, and developed communitarian traditions to cope with the grinding poverty of life in the Norwegian mountains, the endless woods of Sweden, and the motti of Finland. These communitarian traditions were easy to co-opt for political ends.

Institutions: Minnesota’s prosperity over the past 100 years has been built around several key institutions:

  • Agriculture – Farmers in Minnesota and elsewhere tend to be conservatives, although like farmers in neighboring Iowa, Wisconsin and the Dakotas, they’ve had a willingness to vote for Democrats who bring home the pork.
  • Mining – Iron mining was huge business on the “Iron Range”, the taconite-rich area of northern Minnesota, throughout the 20th century.  Miners – largely immigrants from Finland, Germany and eastern Europe – were easy pickings for labor organizers, and formed the hotbed for the radical, Communist-affiliated “Farmer Labor” party that eventually joined with the Democrats.
  • The University System – Minnesota has two parallel university systems.  These systems run parallel lobbying efforts in the Legislature.  Lest you wondered, Minnesota faculties are no less far-left than academics in any other states.
  • The Media – Minnesota’s newspaper of record, the Star/Tribune, is second to none nationwide in the flagrancy of its editorial board’s pro-DFL bias.  It’s other mainstream media – the Big Three network affiliates, and the programming (albeit not necessarily the News) divisions of Minnesota Public Radio, the nation’s largest public-media network and a pseudo-national network in its own right, aren’t far behind.
  • Business – Minnesota’s key businesses – those that survive today (Target, 3M, Honeywell, Best Buy) and those that have gone by the wayside (Control Data, Cray, Daytons, Northwest Airlines) had a long tradition of communitarian philanthropy.  The DFL and their allied network of non-profits was happy to harness this to their ends.

Legend: Minnesota was a sleeping economic giant for decades before the late sixties – when the confluence of resources, an educated populace, infrastructure (the Mississippi, the Great Lakes and the rail system) and booming markets launched Minnesota into prosperity.  The media, Minnesota’s academy and the big-government interests assigned the success to a series of government programs that essentially redistributed tax wealth from the Twin Cities to the poorer outstate regions, christened it the “Minnesota Miracle”, and launched a myth that survives to this day.

Events: Minnesota was 20-odd years late to the Reagan Revolution.  The Minnesota GOP closely mirrored the national Republican Party throughout the fifties and sixties, the years of the Rockefeler/Eisenhower axis of very, very moderate, big-government Republicanism.  The aftermath of Watergate and the rise of the social conservatives in the national party in the mid-seventies caused then-ascendant “progressive” wing of the MNGOP to essentially secede from the national party, rebranding itself the “Independent Republican Party“, which lasted for twenty years and the governorships of very liberal Republicans Wendell Anderson and Arne Carlson (and Al Quie’s single term, during which his mid-stagflation budget-cutting enraged the DFL establishment enough to get him tossed from office).  The Republican grassroots didn’t actually get on board with the rebirth of conservatism until the mid-nineties.

So Minnesota’s got some dodgy history when it comes to politics.

But there are also grounds for hope – maybe immense hope.  Like most “purple” states, Minnesota is really very sharply divided between conservative and “progressive” voting.

Link courtesy Minn-Donkey, a leftyblog that doesn't completely insult ones' intelligence.

The inner cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul – the 5th and 4th Districts, respectively – and the “Arrowhead”, the northeast part of the state, DFL-dominated Duluth and the Iron Range – are traditional DFL strongholds.

And it’s there that we see the encouragement.  Here’s why:

Demographics: The deepest-red districts – the southern and western suburbs of the Twin Cities – are where most of the growth is happening.  Most business and population growth is in these districts, which include the Second CD (John Kline, a staunch conservative who will win his race by at least 30 points this November), the Third (Erik Paulsen, who is growing more conservative in office as his district, once considered “purple”, drifts rightward) and the Sixth (Michele Bachmann, of whom more in a bit).

The Wave: It’s hard to tell, but it seems big things are happening in the hinterland.  First, the First District – the traditionally-Republican, ag-dominated southern tier of counties, represented by second-term DFLer Tim Walz – is considered in play; Walz supported Obamacare, which will gut one of the region’s major employers, the world-famous Mayo Clinic, which is already diversifying its operations outside the state and US to hedge against the worst.

Better yet?  The Seventh District – the tier of counties along the western border, represented for a generation by blue-dog Colin Peterson – are restless.  Lee Byberg, a Norwegian immigrant and bio-tech entrepreneur, has raised more money in this campaign than all of Peterson’s opponents together in recent memory.  The ag-dependent district is not thrilled about Obamacare, and there is speculation that those red counties could be one major tipping point away from sending a Republican to Washington.

Best of all?  That tipping point may be brewing up in mining country.  Last week, news broke that Chip Cravaack, an Annapolis grad and retired Navy chopper pilot, was within three points of 18-term Representative Jim Oberstar in an internal poll in the Eighth District, the “Arrowhead”, which has sent DFLers to Washington since 1947.  Oberstar hasn’t had less than a 29 point margin of victory in a generation. If it’s even close in the Eighth, anything can happen.  The voters in the Eighth are union voters, largely, and have been voting DFL for several generations – but they are largely pro-life, as was Oberstar, until he threw his lot in with the Administration on flipping the Stupak coalition toward Obamacare last year.  Worse?  Cap and Trade will shred the mining industry, which uses immense amounts of energy whose price spike after passage will put many mines out of business.

The Loyal Opposition: Conservatives in Minnesota are a close-knit political Band of Brothers; we’ve had to fight two wars in the past fifteen years.  We had to win over our party before we could even take on the DFL. And the veterans of those struggles are tough as nails, immune to abuse, and so clear on  principle that debates against DFL opponents usually resemble turkey shoots.  The rest of the nation knows Michele Bachmann as the vice-queen of the Tea Party, at Sarah Palin’s side.

But Bachmann didn’t start in Congress. She started out fighting the Stillwater (MN) school board, a Twin Cities exurb clogged with liberals tired of the DFL’s failed cities, but unable to leave the failed policies behind.  She had to battle her own district’s IR legacy to get endorsed, first for State Senate (where she was a conservative lightning rod for six years) and then against a moderate-leaning establishment in the Sixth District in 2006, even before facing the DFL.

Many Minnesota conservatives have similar stories; years spent fighting the “Independent Republican” establishment before even being able to take on the Democrats.

This has created a grass-roots conservatism in Minnesota that has slowly insinuated conservative ideals and, eventually, policies into parts of Minnesota that would have been inconceivable a few decades ago.

How do we know?  The latest Rasmussen poll shows that while voter ID in Minnesota is very close between the GOP and DFL, that Tea Party sympathy is actually higher in Minnesota than the national average.

Conservative Unity: Minnesota’s “craziness” was as much a symptom of the Minnesota GOP’s schizophrenia over the past forty years as it was to any liberal tradition.  For several elections, Minnesota’s “moderates” duked it out with, and defeated, conservatives; in 1990, while the grass roots endorsed social conservative Alan Quist, Arne Carlson – a man more liberal on many issues than the DFL incumbent Rudy Perpich, including gun control and abortion – ran and won a primary challenge, and spent two terms as a free-spending, surplus-gobbling governor.

Even Tim Pawlenty, who had a reputation as a pragmatist if not an outright moderate during his time as House Minority leader, had to tack hard to the right to fend off a challenge to get endorsed in 2002, against fiscalcon challenger Brian Sullivan, winning the nomination after promising “No New Taxes”.

This years MNGOP convention was distinguished by the fact that the front-runners – House minority leader Marty Seifert and eventual nominee Tom Emmer – while impeccably conservative, had three challengers to their right.  There was no “moderate” in the race (after Norm Coleman declared he wasn’t running).

For the first time in recorded history, the Minnesota GOP is a unified conservative bloc (to the consternation of the regional media, which audibly slavers for a return of the old, “moderate”/liberal “IR”, basically liberals with better suits.

So this is not your father’s Minnesota.  This is not the same Minnesota that voted for Walter Mondale.  This is a hungrier, less-prosperous Minnesota than the one that voted for Jesse Ventura in the cha-cha nineties, when the state was running multi-billion-dollar surpluses.  This is not the Obama-crazy state that delivered Al Franken to Washington – and the conservative movement is not the naive bunch of trusting schlemiels that let the DFL bully its way through a recount process that was designed to manufacture votes for Franken and toss votes for Coleman.  The wave of conservative, anti-Obama sentiment is washing up in Minnesota as well; there is evidence that the regional media has no idea how much so.

But as Ed and my radio colleague King Banaian – who is running for the Minnesota House of Representatives, in the exurban northwestern part of the metro – wrote this morning, there are no guarantees, and even in the best of times conservatives in Minnesota have to work harder than most:

For whatever reason (as discussed on the NARN shows on AM 1280 Saturday) and with Michael Barone at the Center of the American Experiment talk this past Tuesday, “Minnesota is different.” Whether it’s genetics, an isolated view of ‘liberalism’ or something else, in order for our great, conservative candidates to win, we simply have to work harder, dig deeper and make those voter ID phone calls. Yes, they can be a pain but we need to do them. Why? In 48 states, voters declare party affiliation at time of voter registration. They don’t have to spend $$$$ trying to find out who votes how. Any candidate can apply for the list of R or D or all voters and get it. We don’t have outside $$ funding id for us, we have to do it ourselves.

And so we do.

Don’t write Minnesota off.  This race is just getting interesting.

Who Do Minnesota Liberals Hate: The Pack

GREETINGS MERCURY RISING “Reader”/”s”:  ”Phoenix Woman”  (has anyone ever noticed that her and Ken “Avidor” Weiner have never been seen in the same place?) apparently thinks that any reference to Bradlee Dean is not only a) a wholehearted endorsement of every minute facet of his worldview, and b) since I am a Republican, proof that Bradlee Dean really really double-dog is is is is is an honest-to-Pete “GOP insider”.

And “her” “point” is that Dean and the “You Can Run…” crew aren’t really “obliquely involved in politics”.  Which I wrote because, in 2010, they were pretty, well, obliquely involved in politics.  Sure, they did a political talk show; but unless “Phoenix” can show us some evidence that Brad and Jake actually particpate and are involved in some sort of party activity on a regular basis, “she” is really talking out her ass – or as we conservative bloggers put it, “Phoenixing”.

Further proof that

a) if logic were gasoline, “Phoenix Woman” couldn’t drive around the inside of a cheerio, and

b) if you read Mercury Rising, you’ve either had  a stroke, or are trying to give yourself one.

On to the actual article

——–

With the backmarkers out of the way, it’s time to recognize the middle of the pack – the Minnesota conservatives that are the eleventh through twentieth most-hated by Minnesota liberals.

Just as explanation, I weighted all votes by their position on the voters’ lists.  Thus a first-place vote got ten points, second-place nine points, and so on down to tenth place, for a point.   I also calculated a “passion index”, which is just a fancy way of saying the average points the subject got per vote; the higher the “passion index”, the more high-point votes the subject got.  Rankings are in descending order of point totals.

So without further ado, here we go!

20. King Banaian: My long-time NARN cohost, conservative economist and candidate for the Minnesota House in district 15B, Banaian squeaked onto the Top 20 with three votes and the second-lowest passion index in the group, barely ahead of Erik Paulsen.  I suspect he’ll do much better in the election this fall.

19. AM1280 The Patriot: The station that broadcasts such controversial fare as Bill Bennett, Hugh Hewitt and Michael Medved – also the NARN – is hated by many for being a dissenter at all.

18. Taxpayers League of Minnesota: The group behind the “No New Taxes” pledge, the TPLoMN has been blamed for everything from the 35W bridge collapse to full wastebaskets in state offices. Tied for the highest passion index in the 11-20 group.

17. Bradlee Dean: Host of “Sons of Liberty”, minister at the controversial “You Can Run ButYou Can Not Hide” street ministry, and Andy Birkey’s constant stalkee, the regional leftymedia has turned Dean into a strawman representing all that is evil about Minnesota conservatism, notwithstanding the fact that he’s only tangentially involved in politics.

16. Scott Johnson: The Powerline blogger pummels lefty figures from Dan Rather all the way down to Nick Coleman without breaking a sweat.  Liberals hate that.

15. Rep. John Kline: He wins the Second District with the same kinds of margins Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison get in the Fourth and Fifth.  Unlike the dim McCollum and the always-frothing Ellison, Kline is a competent congressman.

14. Rep. Laura Brod: One voter commented “the left hates conservative women more than anything”, and Laura Brod has become one of the strongest figures in Minnesota conservatism – a “prairie Sarah Palin”, said one voter.  And that adds up to votes!  Youtube videos of her running verbal rings around DFLers in the house are a favorite among Minnesota conservatives.  Lefties hate fun.

13. John Hinderaker: My NARN cohost and Powerline contributor is widely, but mildly, detested; he got the most votes of anyone in the 11-20 group, but also drew the lowest passion index – lower than his blog partners Johnson and Mirengoff, lower even than Banaian or his NARN 1 co-host Brian Ward.  This is, however, a great base from which to improve for next year.

12. Phil Krinkie: Former “Doctor No” of the legislature and then head of the Taxpayers’ League, Krinkie has stood in the way of DFL spending, which is like getting in a Christian’s path to heaven, or a Packer fan’s access to beer - it’ll get people exercised.

11. Carol Molnau: Pawlenty’s lieutenant governor and former Transportation Commisioner, Molnau has been conservative and female – two words that act on liberals like holy water on vampires.

Tomorrow at noon – the Top Ten Minnesota Conservatives that Minnesota liberals hate!

Who Do Minnesota Liberal Hate: The Best Of The Rest

Earlier this week, I took a poll – what Minnesota conservatives do Minnesota liberals hate the most? 

I collected responses via the comment section, my facebook page, and email – and got a pretty fair bunch of responses.  There were some surprises and at least a couple of foregone conclusions.

I’m going to publish 11-20 over the noon hour today, and 1 through 10 over noon tomorrow. 

But first, I’m going to give some recognitionto that mass of Minnesota conservatives that give Minnesota’s liberal establishment just a little to hate.  These are the people and institutions that got one vote each:

  • The DFL – One wag apparently believes the left believes Minnesota’s dominant party is liberalism’s worst enemy.
  • The Cans – No idea.
  • All Minnesota Conservatives
  • Mitch Pearlstein – Longtime head of the Center of the American Experiment
  • Bill Cooper – Former MNGOP chair, CEO of TCF Bank, and pwner of Nick Coleman.
  • Cosmo Insolocco – No idea.
  • Mary Kiffmeyer – the former MN Secretary of State was a lightning rod for…ACORN.
  • Freedom
  • Pat Anderson – The former and future State Auditor
  • Mac Hammond – The megaminister from Maple Grove
  • Brian Sullivan – Tim Pawlenty’s convention opponent in 2002, and arguably the person we can thank for the conservatism of Pawlenty’s administration.
  • Denny Hecker
  • Conservative Bloggers – should be self-explanatory.
  • Tony Sutton – The current chair of the Minnesota GOP
  • Randy Kelly – Former Saint Paul DFL mayor who doomed his shot at a second term by endorsing George W. Bush in 2004.
  • Regular Coffee
  • Alan Quist – the first hardcore social conservative I can remember in Minnesota politics; endorsed for governor in 1990, he lost to Arne Carlson in the primary.
  • Learned Foot – former Kool Aid Report blogger.
  • Marty Seifert – Tom Emmer’s convention opponent and, now that he’s suddenly not running for office, a “reasonable, common-sense Republican” to all the DFLers that were calling him an extremist two months ago.
  • Henry Ford
  • Tom Pritchard – longtime chair of the Minnesota Family Council
  • Kermit – blogger from Anti-Strib
  • Rod Grams – former one-term Senator
  • The Suburbs
  • Captain America

Congratulations to everyone on the list that’s, er, human.

Now, the people with more than one vote, with their standings in the final poll:

30.  Katie Kieffer: The blogger, former college-press gadfly and up-and-coming pundit got two votes, including from one voter who added every conservative woman she could think of; “that’s who they really hate…”

29. Swiftee:  The of Bruce Springsteen of button-pushing, the Charlie Parker of chain-yanking, perhaps the most banned person among Twin Cities leftyblogs, the only surprise is that he didn’t come in in the top twenty.

28. Twila Brase:  Tireless healthcare crusader and my neighbor.

27. Entrepreneurs: Except when they can serve as ATMs for social spending, of course.

26. Joe Soucheray: Souch’s social curmudgeonism is often called “conservative”, and it was certainly something Minnesota liberals detested.

25. Tracy Eberly: Three years past the “Dirt-Worshipping Heathens” flap, Tracy still gets ‘em frothing.

24. The Tea Partier: The “boogeyman” of the Minnesota left.

23. Paul Mirengoff: Not a Minnesotan, but when groupblogs got votes, I spread the votes among their contributors, and Powerline got two group votes.  Which is also why…

22.  Brian “Saint Paul” Ward got on the list as well.  My long-time NARN co-host scored two votes as  a member of the NARN.

21.  Rep. Erik Paulsen: With three votes, Paulsen is the only Republican in Minnestoa’s congressional delegation not to make the top twenty with a bullet.  As it were.

Top Twenty coming up at noon!

I Am The Champion, My Friends. And I’ll Keep On Being Right…To The End!

Back during the 2008 race, a local leftyblogger called the NARN in a state of high-dudgeon over my statemenat Erik Paulsen was running a conservative campaign for the Third Congressional District.

The caller bellowed “You’re a Liar!!!”, which is leftyblogger-speak for “I disagree with you, but I can’t coherently articulate why”.

My point at the time:  the “Conventional Wisdom” (a fancy term for “the current of thought among the DFL and their friends in academia and the media”) was saying that the Third was “purple”, and that any Republican hoping to win would have to “run to the center” and be a “moderate Republican” (which is again DFL/media/academic code for “willing stooge of the DFL”) a la the departing moderate Jim Ramstad to have any hope of riding out the rising Obama tide – and yet Paulsen was solidly center-right on all the issues that mattered.

So it’s kinda fun to look at the American Conservative Union ratings of our current House delegation.   Betty McCollum, Al Franken, Keith Ellison all get “0″ on a 1-100 scale; Oberstar and Walz tie at a nearly-Trotskyite “4″.

On the other hand, Michele Bachmann has a lifetime “100″;  “Extremist” John Kline also dialed up a 100 this past year, better than his lifetime rating of a thoroughly respectible 88…

…which happens to be exactly the same as Paulsen’s rating this past year.

Which is twenty points better than Jim Ramstad’s rating of 67.

Further proof that the only real information comes from the right.

Chanting Points Digest: Emmer’s First Six Weeks

We’ve been covering the DFL’s chanting points for the past month or so.

As the DFL still has two months to go until they get to the primary, they still have eight weeks of internecine bloodletting before they actually have to try to unite behind Mark Dayton.

And so the regional media and the left-leaning “alternative” media are focusing their coverage of the Emmer campaign on a number of chanting points whose relation to factuality doesn’t stand up to the most cursory examination….

…but then, chanting points aren’t supposed to.   They are responses to Josef Göbbels’ classic Public Relations dictum “if you want people to believe a big lie, repeat it often enough”. 

They’ve got the repitition part down, of course; you can practically trace the Minnesota leftyblog chain of command [1], watching the various memes – Chanting Points – making their rounds, starting with the big DFL-affiliated blogs, and filtering their way down to the little footsoldier blogs.

The purpose of the “Chanting Points Memo” is to give you, the conservative in the street who may not spend your time living and breathing  politics, the material you need to respond to some of the tripe the DFL is spreading about when you hear it from your DFL friends, relatives and co-workers – not so much to convince them, as to make sure any undecided or non-aligned voters that are in on the conversation can get the actual facts.  From you!

So let’s run down the big Chanting Points offenders so far in the Gubernatorial race:

“The GOP is in disarray because Tom Horner and Arne Carlson oppose Tom Emmer”: This is often followed with “Tom Horner is a Republican.  End of Story”, from the kind of people who believe that saying “end of story” actually ends the story.   See below.

Right.  And the DFL is in disarray because Randy Kelly and Norm Coleman aren’t part of it.  Right?

It’s balderdash, of course.  While Horner, Carlson and Dave Durenberger were part of the GOP mainstream twenty-odd years ago, before conservatism made any serious inroads in the party, today they are relics of an era when the old “Indpendent Republican” party was no less a big-government, big-tax party than the DFL.  Just like Kelly and Coleman are, by DFL standards, fossils from an era when Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey combined their “progressive” ideals with a staunch patriotism and the sense that the the taxpayer wasn’t a ripe suck that deserved what they got and should just shut up already.

[1] Oh, I know – it’s not a literal chain of command, except as re the Minnesoros “Independent”, which takes its orders from the supremely-ironically-named “Center for Independent Media”.   But watching memes circulate through regional leftyblogs is a bit like watching word spread through a bee hive  that there’s a pollenating flower nearby.

“Tom Horner is a Republican!  End of Story!  Hahahahaha!” – Right.  He’s part of the big-government, big-tax, big-spending wing of the GOP;  the part that has been so completely marginalized within the party that they have to go to places like the “Independence” Jesse Ventura Party to get a shot at running for office.

Since the twilight of Governor Ventura, the “IP” has been mostly a haven for “moderate” Democrats like Tim Penny, cast-off wonks like Dean Barkley, and “Independent Republican” fossils like Horner, who may have been a typical Minnesota Republican establishment figure in the early eighties, but is not today.

Is it possible it’ll backfire on the GOP?  Has the GOP moved “too far to the right?”  Well, we’ll find out in November, in the only poll that matters.  It’s entirely possible the party could lose its shirt this fall – but I”m just not seeing it.

Because what’s interesting is that Republicans who’ve run to the right of the conventional wisdom in the past two cycles – historically awful cycles for the GOP – have done better than the ones that scampered to the center.  Michele Bachmann beat back two challenges in a row,  and rode out being abandoned by the weak-kneed leadership of the national GOP.  Tim Pawlenty took a hard line on taxes and spending – very “red” behavior – and held on in 2006.  Erik Paulsen ran well to the right of the conventional wisdom in the Third District, back when that “wisdom” said the Third was “deep purple”; Paulsen may be no Newt Gingrich, but he’s well to the right of his predecessor, Jim Ramstad – exactly the opposite of what the conventional wisdom was saying about the district two years ago. 

If bright red carried the day in both of those horrible cycles, what do you think it’s going to do with the Tea Party at its back, in a year that is shaping up to be less “anti-incumbent” than “anti-big goverment?”

“Tim Pawlenty has destroyed Minnesota!” – We’re in mid-recession, and our unemployment rate, while high, is the 13th best in the nation, almost three points below the national average.  Check out the states with the best unemployment; most of them conservative-run states outside the deep south.  Liberal cesspools California and Michigan, at 48 and 50 on the list, with 12.6 and 14% respectively, are what the DFL would have; high-tax, high-”service” states that, when times get tough, fail with a huge “foomf”.

I’d love to see what would have happened in this past four years had the MNGOP been able to hold even one of the houses of the Legislature; while Pawlenty essentially held the line on spending, he couldn’t stop everything that the DFL’s two-house press threw at him.  Spending rose – at a time when it needed to be cut, and cut sharply.

But no – when the DFL says Pawlenty “destroyed Minnesota”, what they mean is “Pawlenty made government a tad less comfortable; he slowed the rate of increase in a way that forced government to have to actually adapt, like all the greasy hoi-polloi have to do when times get tough”. 

Goverment hates that.  DFL is the party of government.  Connect the dots.

“Emmer is running scared!” – Of what?

Polls?

Leaving aside the fact that the only poll that shows dodgy results for Emmer – the “PiPress” poll earlier this week that was commissioned from a company run by a pal of Tom Horner’s - is the most transparently risible exercise in DFL morale-building since…well, the last “Minnesota Poll” – so what?   If credible polls taken months before elections mattered, Emmer would have dropped out of the race after Marty Seifert won the Central Committee poll, and won it soundly, last winter.

Emmer spent the winter getting name recognition among Republicans, and bit by bit snuck up on and, finally, defeated Seifert for the nomination.  And he did it the old-fashioned way – one voter at a time.

Emmer has always been the underdog.  If he’s the underdog now, that’s fine – Mark Dayton has huge name recognition outstate (Entenza doesn’t matter, and I’m verging on saying Kelliher doesn’t either), but after the primaries, when Minnesota voters look at the DFL slate and say “Oh, that Mark Dayton?”  It’s fair to say that someone meeting Tom Emmer stands a great chance of coming away a supporter; someone meeting Mark Dayton may need a cup of coffee, stat.

“Emmer is an extremist!” – Over what?  His push to fundamentally rebuild government into a more responsible, less costly, less-entitled institution?  Most Americans and Minnesotans agree these days. 

Over Arizona’s immigration law?   Emmer supports the same law – which does not allow profiling – that nearly two in three Americans do.

Emmer is the mainstream candidate.  Which is the only reason the DFL and their blog friends need to keep repeating the lie that he’s not; it’s the only response they have.

We’ll do another digest after the DFL and their pals in the media and their kept blogs send some of these memes to the showers and wheel out some new ones.

Shifting Priorities

There’s an old Soviet-era joke that I remember from when I was a kid.  A Soviet radio station in Minsk was broadcasting a talk show.  The host said “Minsk is the most beautiful city in all of the Soviet Union”.  

A caller rang in, and asked “what do you think of the story that the Americans will be targeting nuclear weapons at all of our biggest, most important cities?”

The host immediately chimed in saying “Smolensk is the most beautiful city on all of the Soviet Union!”.

Two years ago, when the DFL ran former sergeant Steve Sarvi against (retired Marine colonel) John Kline in CD2, and former Marine lawyer Ashwin Madia against Erik Paulsen in CD3, military service was high on the DFL’s list of qualifications.  Very, very high, in fact.

This past year – especially with former Navy fighter pilot Dan Severson running on the GOP slate for Secretary of State, and former Navy helicopter pilot Chip Cravaack running against Jim Oberstar in CD8, that particular meme has disappeared from all DFL chanting.

But I have a hunch it’s going to disappear a lot more:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Connecticut finds Blumenthal with just a three-point advantage over Linda McMahon, 48% to 45%. Two weeks ago, he led the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment by 13 percentage points. The New York Times story broke late Monday; the survey was taken Tuesday evening.

Blumenthal is the anointed replacement for Christopher Dodd in Connecticut.  The NYTimes ran a story busting him saying he’d been in Vietnam when he had not.

To be fair, he spent the last years of the Vietnam War in a Marine Reserve unit in DC.

To be even more fair, isn’t that the kind of thing that the left raked George W. Bush and Dan Quayle over for?

“Welcome To WalMart – I’m Taryll!”

The latest Rothenberg Report should put a damper on the regional left’s most-treasured shibboleth.  Along with Erik Paulsen in the Third District, Michele Bachmann’s race has been promoted from “Republican Favored” to  not even competitive.

U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann and Erik Paulsen have been dropped from the Rothenberg Political Report’s list of competitive House races. Previously the the two contests had been rated as “Republican favored.”

Rothernberg is bullish on the party as a whole…:

Stuart Rothenberg is predicting wide gains for the GOP in November. So far in this election cycle, he has moved 44 contests towards the Republicans, while just four races have become more favorable for Democrats.

“Substantial Republican gains are inevitable, with net Democratic losses now looking to be at least two dozen,” Rothenberg writes. “At this point, GOP gains of 25-30 seats seem likely, though considerably larger gains in excess of 40 seats certainly seem possible.”

That doesn’t mean Republicans, and Tea Partiers, should let off the pressure.  We really need to do two things; deliver the Dems a defeat even more crushing than Clinton took in 1994, something that’ll send a generational message; “don’t socialize the US” (and, preferably, also make the Dems a third party, sooner or later).

And above all, we all need to make sure a big victory doesn’t make the GOP complacent.  This vote, as it stands now, will be a referendum on Obama, not an approval of any coherent vision in the alternative from the GOP.  Other than a few obstreporous conservatives like Bachmann, there really is no competing vision from the GOP yet.

And as we found in 1994, and Obama found in 2008, referenda against a sitting or departing adminsitration have short legs.