The Unthinkable

It was about this time four years ago that a small group of bloggers and activists got a call from the Chip Cravaack campaign; the challenger was within the margin of error against 200-term congressman Jim Oberstar.

It was unthinkable.

And was one of the headiest days in my life as a political activist; the Tea Party wave was flipping the unflippable. 

I didn’t think I’d see another day like it. 

I’m going to lead with all the usual disclaimers; it’s an internal poll, which can make it both more and less trustworthy. 

But an internal poll shows Torrey Westrom leading 12-term DFL Rep. Colin Peterson, 44-43, as the race turns into the home stretch:

A new survey released today by the Westrom for Congress campaign reports Republican challenger Torrey Westrom pulling ahead of 12-term incumbent Democrat Congressman Collin Peterson. Westrom now enjoys a lead among likely voters in Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District (44%-43%), while thirteen percent (13%) are undecided

Of course, that’s a lot of undecideds – but then, that’s the point of releasing the polling news; to create the “bandwagon effect” that drives campaigns over the finish line in style.  Fact is, even if it’s close, Peterson has got to be sweating bricks right now;  rarely do challengers get within a three-digit margin of northwestern Minnesota’s ag pork king.

If this poll is even within 3-4 points of accurate, it’s bad news for the DFL.

My November 5 dream:  Torrey Westrom, Stewart Mills and Tom Emmer not only start measuring their drapes in Washington, but flip Minnesota’s congressional delegation not only red, but solidly right-of-center.

Collin-oscopy

Rumors from some reliable-enough sources indicate 400-term DFL 7th District Representive Collin Peterson may retire by the end of this term.

This would give the GOP an opportunity for a big flip in a part of the state that, like the Dakotas, has sent farm-pork-mongering DFLers to Washington for decades, but otherwise is solidly red.  The 7th – which is, politically, a suburb of North Dakota anyway – would very likely elect a Republican, if a good one shows up and has a functional party behind ‘em.

So, 7th CD readers (and, let’s be honest, everyone else); who do you see running for the House in CD7 in 2014?

Extremists Like Us

MN 7th District representative Collin Peterson – generally regarded as a bit of a blue dog, representing a socially-conservative but farm-bill-money-hungry district – lost his long-time endorsement from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for LIfe, the state’s main pro-life group over his flip on Obamacare.

And he’s done something that’s suicide for most politicians; he’s actually said what he believes, in a video recorded at Concordia College in Moorhead of a conversation between him and a pro-life student:

In the video, Peterson, speaking to Concordia junior Kate Engstrom after posing for what he believed was a photo with her, says the MCCL is “being a bunch of extremists” and the group’s stance on the Affordable Care Act is “the end of them as an organization.”

“They’re now a completely partisan organization,” he said in the video, in response to Engstrom’s questions about the MCCL’s endorsement decision. “When you get into that position, you’re done.”

Oh, yeah – remember when Jim Oberstar referred to his detractors as a “flat earth society?”

Peterson had a similar moment; he apparently believes his pro-life constituents are teh loosers and dummeys: :

 He also said: “The only place it (the dropped endorsement) got reported is on MPR, and those people don’t listen to MPR.”

Further evidence of the same exact phenemonon that got Jim Oberstar tossed two years ago; he acts one way when he’s out and about in  his districit – but when he thinks he’s among friends, or back in DC (or when he just loses control, as Oberstar did), he turns into Mr. Hyde.

Ms. Engstrom – who I believe I have actually met – would have a bright future as a reporter, if news organizations actually hired reporters rather than DFL stenographers (I’ll add a bit of emphasis):

 Engstrom, 20, made the video with a friend. She said she approached Peterson after the event on campus featuring a handful of Democrats because she wanted to speak to him about the lack of the MCCL endorsement… ”I knew that Collin would probably not respond or tell me his actual thoughts on it if he knew it was on camera,” said Engstrom, a political science student who describes herself as a Republican. “I just thought it was really important that people would know the truth of what Collin Peterson thinks.”

And Engstrom gets the “Mr Hyde” bit too:

 She said she believes Peterson assumed she was a Democrat, “so he felt like he could say whatever he wanted.”

She said she found the remarks insulting.

“It made it sound like we were some sort of weird extremists,” said Engstrom, who opposes abortion. “He always claims that he’s a moderate, and in my eyes he’s not really a moderate.”

If you live in the 7th CD, you know that Collin Peterson has been the unassailable blue-dog giant for a generation, now.

But if there were ever a time to dig deep and give of your time and money to support  Lee Byberg, this is it.

Because you’re not “extremists”, and you deserve to be represented by someone who knows it.

In Case There Is Any Doubt

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

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

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

CD 2: Kline by a conservative 25.

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

CD 4: See below.

CD 5: See below.

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

CD 7:  See below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I say Emmer by three.

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

And yet.

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

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

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

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

———-

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

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

Liveblogging The GOP Convention

11:55 – I voted.  And now I have to head home.  Back tomorrow!

11:21 – First ballot in for Auditor.

  • Conlon (who dropped out during his speech) – 5
  • Wiita – 327
  • Gilbert – 548
  • Anderson – 860

1078 are required to get the endorsement.  Rumor has it that Wiita is a friend of Gilbert’s.  You do the math.  This could be a long night.

11:08 – We’re informed the Auditor results are coming.  Soon.  Still debating picayune resolutions – the bane of these proceedings.  “a resolution in favor of a constitutional form of money”.  That’s what we’re talking about.

10:59 – Waiting on the auditor vote to come in.  And waiting.  They’re debating resolutions right now.

10:30 – Finally back.  I appeared with Marty Owings on KFAI.  Then I had to dash back to my district to vote for State Auditor.  We’re waiting for the results…and there’s Kohls with the gavel.

9:21 – Pat is on now.  I’ve been called to do a standup with KFAI.  Switch to Eckernet for updates for the next few minutes.

9:16 – We’ll start the speeches for Auditor now.  Watching the Anderson video now.

8:57 – Motion on the floor to unanimously endorse Chris Barden.  He’ll make a great replacement for Lori Swanson.

8:54 – The convention has unanimously endorsed Severson to run for Secretary of State.

8:49 – Sorry – I’ve been talking with Tim Burke.  Dan Severson is on stage.  I believe he’s running unopposed for Secretary of State.  Huge crowd of red-clad sign waving supporters onstage.

8:12 – Lee Byberg on the stage.  Endorsed candidate for CD7 – Collin Peterson’s district.  He’s got a thick Norwegian accent; I did not know this.  Him, I gotta book on the show.

“This is the American dream!  Have you ever heard of the German dream?  The French dream?  even the Norwegian dream?  Let me tell you, they  have those dreams.  They’re in America!”

“We are born American; it’s time to recommitt ourselves to the American spirit – to be come twice as committed to the American dream!  This is my story!  Our goal is not just to beat Colin Peterson – but to win the next generation!”

Byberg is tearing it up; Norwegians and “inspirational speaking” aren’t necessarily synonymous, but he’s got the mojo.  Saying all the right things to whip up the crowd.  After that rules debate, it’s nice to have the crowd whipped up.

8:06 – “Here’s a Constitution; it’s what I expect you to hold me and all of Congress to!  And once we do that, we will get the budget under control!”

8:04 – Jeff Johnson introduces Teresa Collette, St. Thomas law professor, endorsed to take on the “somewhat less brilliant” Betty McCollum.

7:59 – Pat Anderson is a row ahead, talking with (I think ) Bill Salisbury.  I’m going to try to scrag an interview with her.

7:55 -By the way – yeah, it’s white in here.  Just like a good chunk of Minnesota.  But I’m seeing all kinds of people here; black, Asian, Latino – my Senate District has an Iranian.  Or, as we refer to everyone, “Americans”.  Just so we’re clear on that.

7:54 – More rules debates.  Chatted with Charlie Shaw, my old pal from St. Paul Legal Ledger and Politics in Minnesota.  Looking like  a fun night in the press pit!

7:46 – “This is bulls**t”, says a leader from SD54.  “They’re letting everyone talk about…roll calls?”  They’ve spent a good 20 minutes debating the idea of the roll call…”

7:38 – I’ve just figured out why more people don’t get involved in politics; Rules Committee debate.

7:35 – Mark Drake from the MNGOP tells us that the nominating committee has placed Emmer, Seifert, Haas, Herwig and Davis in nomination.  Bob Carney apparently didn’t meet the threshold of signatures to make the cut.  I had no idea he was trying.  And I am astounded that Davis made it…

7:25 – I’m sitting with Kevin Ecker from Eckernet.  Michael Brodkorb is giving the Rules Committee report.

Kevin and I are looking at the huge lime-green Phil Herwig banner above the arena, and thinking he might have chosen a better motto; “Change We Can Believe In“.  Thinking this may not be Phil’s year.

7:20 – I’m actually a delegate in 66B this year – but I’ll be spending as much in the evening in the press pit as I can.  There’s elbow room, and easy access to the bathroom.  Hopefully nobody squawks; given that the only seat left was about 20 easts in from the aisle and people are jammed together pretty tightly.

Call Your Congresspeople

Jim Oberstar:
2365 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-6211
FAX: (202) 225-0699

Collin Peterson
(202) 225-2165

Tim Walz
Washington Office
1722 Longworth House
Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
202-225-2472

Michele Bachmann
107 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2331
Fax: (202) 225-6475

John Kline
1210 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2271
Fax: (202) 225-2595

Keith Ellison
202-225-4755

Betty McCollum
1714 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
phone: (202) 225-6631
fax: (202) 225-1968<
Erik Paulsen
126 Cannon HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2871
Fax: (202) 225-6351
View Map

Too Hot To Handle?

Via Joe Bodell at MN “Progressive” Project, it seems that Rep Tim Walz’s  (DFL, MN 1st District) feet are cooling down in re the notion of passing the Senate Obamacare bill.

Bodell:

One of the remaining options for the health insurance reform effort is for the House of Representatives to pass the Senate version of the bill verbatim, thus avoiding having to send a modified bill back to the Senate for debate, where it would likely die thanks to 41 votes being stronger than 59.

Which, of course, the Dems could “fix” by invoking the “Nuclear Option” – changing the Senate rules to allow cloture, or the shutting down of filibusters, on a majority vote rather than needing the traditional 60 votes.  Which they are loathe to do, since it’ll come back to haunt them when the Senate changes hands again, and that change looks to be closer at hand than they’d figured a year ago.

So it’s back to parliamentary tactics 101:

Thus, [the Tics] need to figure out where House members stand — several have said various things about whether they would vote for the Senate bill, and TPM is making a list — and Minnesota’s Tim Walz looks like he falls into the “maybe” category.

I got the following statement from Walz’s spokesperson:

Congressman Walz has not taken an official stand on whether he would vote for the Senate health care reform bill verbatim if it were put before the House. However, the pay-for-value Medicare reimbursement provisions that currently exist in both bills are an extremely important consideration.

So the absence of a public option in the Senate bill doesn’t sound like a deal-breaker for Walz — but unless it looks like there could be 218 votes for the Senate bill, members are likely to be very skittish about making public pronouncements one way or the other.

“Skittish” is a good word for it.  Walz squeaked into office in 2006 by beating “Moderate” Republican Gil Gutknecht in one of the worst elections for Republicans in recent memory (until 2008).  He represents a largely red district in the rural southwest part of Minnesota, hundreds of thousands of acres of conservative farmers surrounding a tiny blue outpost in Mankato.  He’s right to be skittish; he must looking at Byron Dorgan and Earl Pomeroy’s contortions, and Collin Peterson’s deep ambivalence about throwing himself on a sword for Barack Obama in his very similar Seventh District, and calculating his odds.

CORRECTION:  Yeah, I know – Walz is the First, not Third, District.  I’m a Saint Paul guy.  Anything west of Lyndale is a purely academic concept to me.  As is the concept of “a responsive Congressperson…”

Around The MOB: America’s Small City Mayor

Nathan McLaughlin is the mayor of Clarissa, Minnesota.  And that job keeps him busy enough that America’s Small City Mayor is updated on a relatively leisurely basis.

But it’s good stuff.  McLaughlin brings a fairly keen analytical eye to covering his turf – Clarissa is between Eagle Bend and Browerville [1], up in Minnesota’s reddish-purple hinterland, where Michele Bachmann country starts to dissolve into Collin Peterson country. 

I liked this piece: “Small City Economic Overview and the Policy Bubble“.  Excerpt:

SCSU Scholars economist, King Banaian, shows in a recent study (Slowing Layoffs & Fewer Hires) that while there are fewer layoffs than in previous quarters.  The acceleration in hiring for new jobs just isn’t registering. 

In my conversation with local employers and employees this seems to be the case.  An abundance of caution is being taken to figure out a true direction in our economy.  

Accordingly, one executive, representing our areas largest employer referred to the numerous changes that might be occurring at our state and federal levels. (i.e. banking, health, taxes)  He told me their company just cannot make investments or decisions on a large scale until the legislative actions are brought to a definitive conclusion.

Many of you might remember a post on The Policy Bubble (March 2008).  I had warned about this exact circumstance.  What our free market needs is political certainty on the levels of taxation, regulation, and reform.  Right now business cannot resume until elected representatives in Washington & St. Paul get out of the way.

In a sense, this is how more politicians should blog; give the people coherent analysis, and show why it is you should be in office.

In your wanderings around and about the MOB, make sure you check out America’s Small City Mayor.

[1] Or, to give you a helpful description, it’s about 75 miles northwest of Saint Cloud.

The Number You Need

As I write this, Ed and I are interviewing Rep. Tom Price on what you and I can do to push back against the healthcare bill, which should be coming up to a vote this week, quite likely on Christmas Eve.

You need to call the House at 202.224.3121.  Call Collin Peterson to thank him for being on the right side so far, and ask him to stay on the right side.  Also Represenatives Stupak, Tanner, Baird, Gordon and Moore, all of whom are vulnerable. 

We’re getting close to the “for all the marbles” phase.

Step Away From The Ledge

I joined Facebook a while ago, largely to reconnect with friends from high school (for which it’s been great).

But for whatever reason, I’ve been “Friended” by a lot of people with some outspoken political beliefs.  Most of them are regular, workadaddy hugamommy conservatives like me.  A few – very few – are left of center.

And there are a couple from, let’s be polite, a paranoid fringe that spans and ignores party boundaries.

And in the immediate aftermath of the Stealthcare vote on Friday, they were out in force.

Some were just…out there?  “It’s time to talk secession!  Democracy’s dead!”

Well, no.  This bill has to get through the Senate yet – and when you consider that the Dems had a 75 vote majority in the House, and it only passed by five votes, you can see where the Senate, with a two vote lead, is going to be a problem.

The majority were just…depressed?  I can’t say as I blame them; it is depressing to think that Congress is controlled by such profligate wastrels, and even worse to know that so many of our fellow subjects citizens voted for these hamsters.

But I had to respond; “don’t you guys read the blogs?  Or listen to the NARN?  Or member ninth-grade civics? This is not the end of the debate.  This is the end of the beginning of the debate. ”

And Saturday, while not exactly “good news” in the classic sense, wasn’t bad; 39 Dems flipped – most of them because they feared MoveOn and Nancy Pelosi less than they fear…

…you.  The workadaddy, hugamommy conservative who turned out at the Tea Party rallies, and who showed up at their Town Hall meetings, and weathered the ignorance and mockery and occasional seat-stacking and even more-occasional violence to get your points of view across to these idiots.  And so Nancy Pelosi had to rush the vote into a weekend in November, so her minions can’t get home to hear more from you, and in order to try to ram this thing through before the 2010 campaign gets into swing – because the Tea Parties, the Town Halls, and last Tuesday’s elections show that she’s not gonna get an infinite series of chances.

The Senate?  Well, they worry about re-election too.  And while Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins may well join the Dems, there are a lot more blue-dog Senators, especially a few that would not have otherwise won in 2006 and 2008, who are going to be watching their phone logs and mailboxes closely.

So relax…er, no.  Don’t relax.  Call your Senators; let ‘em know where you’re at.

And call your Representatives.  If they voted against the bill, thank them (and by the way, thank you John Kline, Erik Paulsen, Collin Peterson and Michele Bachmann).  If they voted for it, politely let them know you’re not amused (presuming the likes of McCollum and Ellison have bothered to clean out their voice mail).

To quote the sage – this isn’t over until we say it’s over.

CORRECTION:  Added Collin Peterson, who is the unusual combination of utterly safe (he won his last race by 45 points), Democrat, Blue Dog and sane on healthcare.  He voted against as well.  I’ve updated the post.

39 Lone Voices Of Sanity

The NYTimes runs a handy graphic on the 39 Democrats who overcame their party’s collective insanity and voted for a free future, good healthcare, and a viable economy.

It’s illuminating – all but five of them came from districts that either McCain won, or that had voted Republican up until 2008.,  Tellingly, six of the last were from former Republican districts and won their seats by less than five points – in several cases, by less than a point.  Tuesday’s election results had to have had an extra impact there.

Many, like Collin Peterson, represent solidly Republican areas, and are as safe as can be (Peterson won his last race by 45 points).  Others, like Dennis Kucinich, apparently were angered by the fact the bill doesn’t give full benefits to plants.

All but 14 are classed as “Blue Dogs”.

Remember – this is a 39 vote swing in a chamber with a 75 vote Democrat majority.  Passing Pelosicare should have been as simple as counting the votes.

Why the swing?  Why did Nancy Pelosi come five votes from failing?

Because of you.  You turned out at town halls and tea parties. You endured the insults and the mockery of the misbegotten “elites”.  You flipped a big group bird at the “conventional wisdom”.  And you almost pulled off the impossible – turning a near-supermajority against itself.

Don’t think the Senate – where we need two votes – is paying attention?

Cross-posted in The Greenroom.

The Way The Wind Blows

MN 7th District representative Collin Peterson will vote “No” on the House “Healthcare” bill this weekend:

Peterson says the bill doesn’t do enough to control health care costs, and that it continues unfair Medicare reimbursements that penalize Minnesota doctors and hospitals. Peterson says his biggest concern is the federal budget…

This is good news.  There was some doubt on this one; while Peterson is one of the bluest of the blue dogs, and represents a fundamentally conservative part of Minnesota, his vote seemed to some observers (including Rep. Bachmann, whom Ed and I interviewed last weekend) to be a bit of a tossup.

Earlier today, CD1 Rep. Tim Walz indicated he’d vote for the bill.

Walz, in his second term representing a slightly less conservative district than Peterson, is no doubt paying back chits to the DNC.  Someone check for strings above his arms. 

And get on the phone – to thank Peterson, to tell Walz you’re not amused, and to tell Oberstar you are a pro-lifer who is not amused by the “healthcare bill”‘s affordances for abortion:

Jim Oberstar:
2365 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-6211
FAX: (202) 225-0699

Collin Peterson
(202) 225-2165

Tim Walz
Washington Office
1722 Longworth House
Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
202-225-2472

This is for all the marbles, folks.  Your healthcare, and your great-grandchildrens’ solvency.

Call Congress

Ed and I are talking with Rep. Bachmann on the air as I write this – and she stresses the importance of calling the representatives whose votes might be up for grabs on next week’s healthcare vote in the US House.  She notes that while she, Rep. Kline and Rep. Paulsen are going to vote against the bill, and there’s no real suspense about Ellison or McCollum either, that we could well put some pressure on Tim Walz (a liberal Democrat in a district that, in a rational climate, would have sent Gil Gutknecht back to office in ’06), Collin Peterson (a blue dog from the conservative northwest corner of the state) and…

…Jim Oberstar?  That’s right – the 224-term congressman from the Arrowhead represents a district that loves its pork, but is also very pro-life – and would not be impressed by the pro-infanticide aspects of Pelosi’s novel.

So call!

Jim Oberstar:
2365 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-6211
FAX: (202) 225-0699

Collin Peterson
(202) 225-2165

Tim Walz
Washington Office
1722 Longworth House
Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
202-225-2472

Remember – be polite (because if you say so much as “gosh darnit”, the media will accuse you of assault), and that Congressional staffs (and Reps) know that every caller represents 100 other people.

Your Assignment For Today

While we Republicans fight to make sure our own party doesn’t cross over to the dark side on the biggest act of intergenerational larceny in history, it’s important to remember that since Obama is basically getting the “Stimulus” terms dictated to him from his party’s left wing, there is a fair number responsible, centrist Democrats who aren’t thrilled with the idea of saddling our next generation with trillions in debt, either.Mike Brodigan has a good list to start with – 47 of ‘em to be exact.  I’ll reproduce the whole list below the jump.

Of regional interest (to my largely regional readers) – All my Minnesota readers should call Collin Peterson – he’s in a fairly conservative district, and by Democrat standards is one of the good guys.

If in the Dakotas, naturally, Representative Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota is on the bubble, as is South Dakota’s Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.

But wherever you are, check the list.
Continue reading

Fearless Predictions – Take 2

It was about three months ago that I took my Smy first whack at my biennial “Fearless Predictions” for this election. 

In the original, I note my bona fides as a prognosticator:  I got closer to nailing the 2004 presidential election than anyone I know; I was two days off on Saddam Hussein’s execution; while I had a number of flubs in 2006, I got the ones that mattered – Pawlenty by a hair, Bachmann by eight – in style. 

This year?  It’s gonna be a tough one – but maybe not that bad.  Although the conventional wisdom says this is gonna be a rough year for Republicans – I previously predicted the Dems would suffer a moral defeat if they came out with any less than 350 seats in the House – there is evidence that Congressional Dems’ fecklessness on the war, the economy and, well, everything might be costing them

Here in Minnesota, the DFL candidates have run ugly, nasty, amoral races that deserve to be turned out into the street; in a year like this, that’s unlikely. 

So without further ado, let’s get down to it.:

US Senate:  Norm Coleman endured a lefty/media (pardon the redundancy) smear campaign of biblical proportions.  In a less-fraught year, I think it would have been an 8-10 point race; Franken doesn’t even have the DFL base behind him.  I think Coleman will win by two or three.

First District: Tim Walz will win going away – but if Obama wins, and governs the way he’s promised, Walz is either going to have to manufacture a genuine centrist facade, or face a serious problem in 2010.  The First District just isn’t that crazy.

Second District:  I’ll hold to my July prediction almost verbatim:  John Kline will beat Steve Sarvi by at least ten points.  Maybe more.

Third District: I think Paulsen’s going to pull this one off, but it’ll be tight.  Maybe two points.  The DFL has run a snarlingly adolescent campaign in this district; I suspect they realize that talk that the Third Distict is “turning blue” was overstated.  Again, if Obama wins and Paulson carries it off, Paulsen will take 2010 by at least 12 points against anyone the DFL throws against him – presuming he resists the urge to RINO out on us.

Fourth District:  Ed Matthews is as solid a candidate as the GOP has thrown into this DFL near-sinecure, ever.   He’s sharp.  He’s articulate.  He shredded Betty McCollum, perhaps the emptiest suit in our delegation, at their debate.  Seriously – if it’d been a boxing match, the referee would have stopped it in two rounds.  But it’s the Fourth, where the DFL could nominate a set of wind-up chattering teeth and count on 50% of the votes.  So far.  I think McCollum is going to carry this one off – but I think there are chinks forming in the DFL’s sense of invincibility in this district.  We’ll be talking about that in the future on this blog.  I hope Ed Matthews stays in politics; he can be a contender.

Fifth District:  Like Matthews, Barb Davis-White is as credible a candidate as the GOP has fielded in this district in recent memory.  A black conservative Christian, Davis-White should make some decent headway – and probably could have done better, had the GOP managed to get her funding within two orders of magnitude of that of the incompetent Keith Ellison.  I suspect Ellison will win - but Barb Davis-White and people like her need to stay at this.  If Obama wins the White House, 2010 is going to be another 1994 – and people like Davis-White and Matthews will benefit.

Sixth District: Michele Bachmann, the biggest lightning rod for the left’s mania and delusion anywhere in the Congress, has endured the nastiest assaults of any candidate I can think of.  Everything Sarah Palin has faced in the past two months – the sclerotic selective sexism of the feminist movement, the misogyny of the left – Michele Bachmann has been dealing with for over a decade.  The left just doesn’t like uppity women!  I think Michele will tip Elwin “E-Tink” Tinklenburg - former useless head of MNDoT and shameless ghoul - by four.

Seventh District: Collin Peterson will win.  Fifteen, twenty, thirty points?  Let’s not kid ourselves.

Eighth District:  Jim Oberstar will slouch onward, the Robert Byrd Strom Thurmond (or maybe just the Quentin Burdick) of the Northland, borne forth on a wave of entitlement swag and an avalanche of yummy pork.  He will be America’s first undead congressman.

And finally…

…well, no.  I never thought I’d say this a week ago, but the presidential race is, again, too fluid.  The momentum in this race has changed more than in a pee-wee hockey game.  Maybe this weekend the picture will be clearer.

And maybe not…

Now That’s Confidence!

Demko at the Minnesoros “Independentcovers Franken at FarmFest.

Typical stuff.  But I caught this bit here, about a pheasant-hunting trip with 7th District congressional representative Collin Peterson:

Franken noted that it was his first time toting a rifle into the woods and that his staff needed to give him a tutorial in order to make sure he didn‘t accidentally shoot the powerful chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.

Going after pheasant with a rifle?

If it worked, I suppose it’d be one way of impressing Republican voters.

Of course, Peterson wouldn’ve been in less danger than all the people half a mile downrange…

Fearless Predictions – Take 1

My record at predictions - as long as we’re not talking sports – is mixed.

Between “Good” and “Friggin’ Great”. 

I got the 2004 election within eight electoral votes – in a prediction made at the NARN’s first meeting, with Hugh Hewitt, at Billy’s Lighthouse in January of 2004.

Nailing the date of Hussein’s execution, while admittedly ghoulish and not something I especially enjoy, was further proof of my absolute dominance at games of blind luck (that, further, can’t profit me in any way).

And while I had a couple of glaring flubs in 2006 (the Senate race wasn’t close, Gutknecht lost in CD1, and Pat Anderson got toppled in the Auditor race), I had some amazing picks elsewhere; while I got the wrong margins with Betty McCollum’s wins in CD4, and I didn’t really “predict” the SOS race so much as voice a fear (correctly) that it could all go wrong and we could get Mark “Not Married to Madonna” Ritchie as Secretary of State, I also got the CD2 (Kline v. Rowley), CD3 (actually underestimated Jim Ramstad’s margin over Wendy Wilde), attorney and the Ramco and Henco sheriff’s races very close, nailed the CD5 (Ellison versus Alan Fine and some Ventura party chick) race almost on the nose, and – most importantly – predicted the Sixth District Race right on the nose (Michele Bachmann with an eight-point win over Patty Wetterling). 

I present the above for background for the below; I’m going to give my initial predictions for the US House and Senate races this fall.  Take ‘em for what they are worth; highly preliminary, based on entirely subjective data.

Just like very single one I listed above.

This is subject to revision at least once.

US Senate:  Norm Coleman will endure a lefty/media (pardon the redundancy) smear campaign of biblical proportions to gut out a six point win – eight if Ventura gets into the race.

First District: Tim Walz will win – but it’ll be closer than you think, setting up what will be a serious threat in 2010 to end Walz’s career at two terms, especially if Barack Obama wins the presidency.

Second District:  John Kline will beat Steve Sarvi by at least ten points.

Third District: Erik Paulsen will confound “conventional wisdom” (which is Strib editorial-board talk for “an opinion pulled from the collective butts of Lori Sturdevant and Larry Jacobs) and beat Ashwin Madia by six.  Talk that the Third Distict is “turning blue” will abate – especially if Obama wins, in which cast Paulsen goes on to win in 2010 by at least 12 points against anyone the DFL throws against him.

Fourth District:  I’m going to withold predictions on this race…

Fifth District:  …and this one.  Partly because I’m too close to both, and partly because they’ll be a lot more fun to write about if I don’t try to predict them just yet.  I think Ed Matthews (CD4) and Barb Davis-White (CD5) are, at worst, initial steps on a path toward re-establishming the GOP in the cities.  This is going to be the subject of another article, soon.

Sixth District: Michele Bachmann will recap her 2006 margin of victory over E-Tink, by at least eight points – maybe better if the regional center-right can get E-Tink’s record of uselessness at MNDoT out in front of the public (juxtaposed, for the fun of it, with his craven, ghoulish performance the night of the 35W Bridge collapse.

Seventh District: Collin Peterson will win.  Fifteen, twenty, thirty points?  I feel bad for whomever the GOP has endorsed, and I wish it could be different, but there you have it.

Eighth District:  Jim Oberstar will slouch onward, the Robert Byrd of the Northland, borne forth on a wave of entitlement swag and an avalanche of yummy pork.  He will be America’s first undead congressman.

Expect at least one round of revisions – hopefully nothing drastic.

100 Reasons I’m Voting Republican Tomorrow

I did this two years ago (and on the air two weeks ago); people seemed to like it. Time for a reprise.

This bit isn’t aimed so much at the undecideds, or at those of you who are planning to vote DFL/Democrat. No, this is aimed at those of you who are Republicans who are thinking about staying home because of one imagined slight or another. I’ve talked with all of you over the past year. I’ve heard your complaints, in person, in this blog, and on the NARN show. Most of them are valid; Bush did spend too much; If John McCain and his urge to drag the party back to the seventies is gaining traction, then this party does have problems; I think Coleman and Kennedy were wrong to oppose ANWAR drilling and support ethanol subsidies; Harriet Miers was an incomprehensible choice for the SCOTUS; there should be no compromise on securing the border, if nothing else (the complaint that Michele Bachmann played excessively hardball in winning the CD6 GOP nomination is not valid, but that’s OK – I’ll work with you anyway).

But whatever you’re angry about, it doesn’t rise to the level of the consequences of your action (whether it’s staying home on election night, or voting for some inconsequential third party, or just hoping the GOP “learns a lesson” by getting ushered from power.

The consequences to Minnesota, the nation, the world, and yes, even the GOP are too great to risk this. Since 48% of this nation’s population doesn’t have the common sense to run Bemidji much less the world’s only remaining superpower and the world’s great rampart of democracy, it’s up to each of us to think bigger than Miers, Anwar, Ethanol or whatever.

The party, state, nation and world depend on you doing better than that

So I present 100 reasons to change your mind, starting locally, moving globally.

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