In many ways, the classic Minnesota corporations have always been the very model of “good corporate citizens”.  These corporations – 3M, Daytons (now Target), Medtronic, Mayo, Best Buy and many more – gave profusely to Minnesota charities, schools, universities, arts, research…the whole works.

But they’ve also gotten squeezed, hard; has bad as taxes are for individuals in Minnesota, they are much worse for businesses; Minnesota has among the worst corporate tax rates in the country.   And the entire DFL slate – Dayton, Kelliher, Entenza and stealth-DFLer Horner – are running on platforms that involve “creating jobs” by taxing the living daylights out of corporations and their investors.

As we run up toward the primaries, groups working with the DFL – especially the Dayton-funded “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” – has poured a sea of money into advertising against Tom Emmer, and it’s just started.  This past week, another group – MNForward – finally put an ad on the air pointing out Emmer’s positive approach to creating more jobs; getting government out of the way of the businesses, small and large, that’ll lead any recovery that happens.

And the DFL is shocked, shocked that some businesses are willing to help keep the Democrats from plundering the state.

The DFL has been hooting and hollering that Target, among a few other businesses [disclosures here – PDF alert] has given money – about $100K – to MNForward.

Among them was DFL representative Ryan “Don’t Call Me Henry” Winkler, who tweeted around eightish last night:

Target funds Emmer ad Emmer anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-min. wage. Target guests agree?

Anti-gay?  Huh?

A bit later, Darin Broton – a PR flak – tweeted back:

@repryanwinkler – Has Target given the House DFL Caucus money this cycle? Past cycles? DFL incumbents?

Winkler responded to Broton:

Nope. Never…

Later yesterday evening, WCCO-TV’s Esme Murphy ran a report on how Democrats were supposedly staying away from Target because of this advertising donation – which prompted me to wonder how many Democrat wonks Murphy hangs out with; the lines at Target in the Midway, deep in the most Tic-infested district in Minnesota, were as long as ever.  Perhaps they were all Republicans? I doubt it.

The Strib also reported that, despite the economic downturn that’s prompted them to lay off people at the corporate office and close a distribution center, than Target is not easing off its charitable giving:

Last year the Minneapolis-based retailer gave $169 million nationally in cash and in-kind contributions, making it, by some reckonings, Minnesota’s most generous grant maker. For the past five years its largess has significantly outpaced that of the McKnight Foundation, Minnesota’s No. 2 donor, according to the Minnesota Council on Foundations. Between 2004 and 2008, Target’s annual giving rose steadily, from $96.3 million to $169 million, while the McKnight Foundation’s went from $75.4 million to $93.6 million…

…Arts organizations around the country are particularly dependent on Target for providing free or reduced admission to museums, theatrical performances and events. Its beneficiaries in the Twin Cities include Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Children’s Theatre Company, Guthrie Theater, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Minnesota Children’s Museum, Circus Juventas, Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre and the Latin American Folklore Dance Company

No matter to Rep. Ryan Winkler, who responded to Murphy via Twitter:

@esmemurphy Target has been good corp. citizen, but MN political spending is new. Your show just showed risk of giving to candidates.

No.  It showed that it’s dangerous being a for-profit business in Minnesota, under the watchful eye of the DFL.  That it’s dangerous to cross the all-beneficent, all-knowing Mother Party.

It shows the risk of crossing party hacks like Steve Winkler, who think that corporate political giving is “new”, and that corporations should just shut up and take it – for giving $100,000 (which is, by the way, $761,000 less than various members of the Dayton family and Dayton’s ex-wife Alida Messinger have given in this cycle to “Win Minnesota” alone).

And it shows the risk of actually having to run a political campaign on donations from people and companies that actually have to earn their money, as opposed to merely inheriting it; the DFL will try to keep you from earning that money.

It’s the Chicago Minnesota DFL way.

Me?  I’m off to Target.   I’m going to buy something I may not even need all that badly.  And I’m going to write “thanks for donating to MNForward” on the charge slip.

This Is My “Representative”

Do I envy people in places like the Second District, where John Kline will win by forty points over whatever hapless stooge the DFL puts forth this November?

Or even the Sixth, where Michele Bachmann will endure a full court press from the national (also local) Democraticicicic party to win by (I predict) eight this fall?

Heck – I envy people who live in districts with functioning two-party systems.

I do not live in a place with a functioning two-party system, of course.  I live in Saint Paul; Ramsey County; the Fourth Congressional District.  The place is controlled with Cominternish efficiency by the DFL; so much of city and county is either employed by or dependent on the government, its unions, its contractors and its social welfare that it really is a company town.

And so we are “represented” by Betty McCollum.

I have in the past said things about Rep. McCollum that have been less than flattering; “the dumbest person in Congress” and that sort of thing. And as I’ve attacked that sort of ad-hominem when directed against conservative women (although, to be fair to me, ad-hominem is the first and largely only tactic most liberals have against conservative women), it’d be disingenuous of me to do it myself.  So I won’t.

I’ll just let you listen to the person who “represents” me yourself :

She’s right in the thick of the BP disaster, doncha know:

“We need to be doing due diligence so that the taxpayer isn’t cleaning up British Petroleum’s mess, and we don’t have more job loss, more environmental loss in the Gulf that goes un-cleaned up…”

Ah.  So BettyMac opposes the Administration’s various demands for moritoriums on drilling, then?

On the economy, Esme Murphy – who isn’t a DFL hack in the sense that Lori Sturdevant is, but whose sympathies seem generally pretty clear – asks about the economy.  I’m not going to “fisk” McCollum – address each point in line – but rather let the full trascribed glory of her oratory stand on its own and answer each point afterward:

Murphy:  There’s been some criticism from Republicans that the recovery isn’t enough, and what the president has done with the stimulus package, while it did make some improvements in thers of the economy, it’s pust us in the position of a trillion dollar deficit.   Your thoughts about whether or not there needs to be second wave of stimulus spending.”

McCollum:  “Well first, the defiict was caused by the un-paid-for Bush Tax Cuts, by two wars, both Afghanistan and Iraq, being put on a credit card with no shared responsibility for the American public to pay for the wars, as our servicemen and women have given their all and maxde huge sacrifices . So that’s the big bulk we inherited that mess. and then you add the Wall Street crisis, being unregulated for all those years, andt the failure of our financial institutions to protect consumers investments and peoples retirements and the rest.  So if you look at that, that is the big part of our debt.

Now what do we do in the meantime?  Well, stimulus, finunding to keep Americans working and keep the economy moving forward and create confidence is what the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was about, that’s what I voted for, and we’re going to see some big things happening for instance in Saint Paulfor example with Central Corridor being the largest work project in the state of Minnesota , with state and local and government funding, investing in our community um so I’m very pleased that people’re going to see more of those projects moving forward  there’s a lot of the traffic inconvenience we’re all suffering, our investments make putting Minnesotans to work through the recovery act and um I’m not gonna be apologetic for making sure that americans have a chance get up annd go to work in the morning peole in Minnesota do, there’s still too many people without jobs.

Rep. McCollum:

  1. I wasn’t aware that FDR fought World War II on a cash and carry basis!  Oh, wait – he didn’t.  In the interest of national security, he ran a deficit, like Wilson and Lincoln before him, during wartime.  Of course, FDR institutionalized deficit spending for peacetime “emergencies”, although it was LBJ that made it a regular feature of peacetime life.  But you didn’t know that, Rep. McCollum.  Did you?  Be honest.
  2. Well, thanks for noting the troops’ sacrifice (although never, ever their achievements).  Now – how many more would have died had the US followed your spectacularly uninformed advice in Iraq?
  3. No, Rep. McCollum; leaving the financial sector “unregulated” (by, for instance, compelling them to make sub-prime loans and then subsidizing the lending) did not cause the debt or the deficit; believing that any financial institution is “too big to fail”, and then subsidizing the non-failure, and finally pretending that “stimulus” subsidies and rampant socialization and higher spending can revive an economy (even ignoring the higher taxes to pay for it all) is doing it.  Thanks for nothing.
  4. The Central Corridor is “putting people to work”, all right – your union constituents, anyway.  Not so much all the little businesspeople up and down the street.  But they’re non-union, so they don’t count, do they?

Murphy on the potential Dem losses this fall, asking how many Bettymac thinks Dems will lose:

Well, I don’t have a crystal ball in front of me, I don’t know what’s going to happen, I’m working really hard for my seat, I take nothing for granted, I’m out doorknocking, visiting with condsitutients and heaging the direction they wan tot see the country go in, and what I’m hearing is that they don’t want to go backwards, they don’t want to  to the failed policies uh that got us in this economic jam we’re in, that got us in the  war we’re in in Iraq unjustifiably, they want to see our country moving forward. So what Democrats have to do here and nationally is talk about how we’re still on a road to recovery, we have a plan to put America first, to make America competitive, to educate our children to be the best and brightest in the world, and the voters will judge us on those  messages.  I’ve heard nothing from our colleagues about going forward, it’s all about going back,  repealing health care, going back and putting the Bush tax cuts in place and we need to be moving forward, not backward.

Rep. McCollum:

  1. Since you’re working so hard for that seat of yours, perhaps you can take me up on my two-year-old invitation to come on the Northern Alliance Radio Network to defend all your claims?
  2. You have a “plan” to “put America first?”  Really?  Excellent!  Let’s see it!
  3. You have a plan to educate our children to be the best and the brightest?  Wow!  So since the Minnesota Federation of Teachers and Education Minnesota are two of your biggest supporters, by all means tell us – why they haven’t been doing that all along?

Listen.  And compare her to the smart, articulate Teresa Collett (whom Ed and I interviewed last Saturday – after the halfway point of this hour), running her underdog battle against McCollum in the Fourth.

It’s what “moving forward” really sounds like.

(Gary at LFR pointed the appearance out out to me, and hammers it too)

Mondale: “Peasants! Don’t Make Me Turn This Country Around!”

About twenty years ago, I read a fascinating profile of and interview with Gus Hall, longtime head of the Communist Party of the USA and perennial CPUSA presidential candidate. 

The thing that struck me about the profile – which appeared in the Strib but was syndicated, if memory serves, from the NYTimes – was that it was set in the CPUSA’s New York headquarters, described as a shabby, run-down office in a crappy part of immediately-post-Dinkins-era Manhattan.  The interviewer described Hall – then in his eighties – and the other commies at the interview as seeming like ancient veterans who gathered to pine for the good ol’ days – with the added hilarity reading the ancient Stalin-cuddler Hall testifying to his belief in and zeal for the CPUSA’s political relevance.

I thought about that, reading a WCCO piece on a smoochfest with Walter Mondale the other day.  Mondale, the former Attorney General, Senator, Jimmy Carter’s veep and Ronald Reagan’s second speed bump, spoke to the “fellows” at the Humphrey Institute, a branch of the U of M that is an academic arm of the DFL in all but name; he basically told all of us political kids to get off his lawn.  Esme Murphy is the reporter.

And he is not amused:

 The 81-year-old Mondale talked of his displeasure at the lack of civility in Washington. Back in the ‘70s, Mondale says, the divide wasn’t as great, and animosity was left for the Senate and House floors. Mondale said, “As Tip O’Neil used to say, ‘politics ends at six o’clock,’ and it did; we would all go to parties together.”

Sorry your social scene petered out, Fritz.  But if you recall, the state of this nation was really really awful back when O’Neill and his little club of drunks were picking at Nixon’s remains, and walking over Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.

But Mondale didn’t just chalk up the level of discord to the lack of a decent cocktail hour. He reserved some sharp barbs for the cable talk shows. He blasted “the cable shows’ unremitting diet of poor manners and gross simplification” of key issues.

Right.  Far better to have things as they were in 1974, when Walter Cronkite and Dave Moore told people what to think, and all of the peasants knew their place – on their knees, thankful for a Better Minnesota – and that was that.

And he decried the death of moderate voices on both sides of the aisle. On a recent visit back to Washington, he said, he chatted with Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Mondale said, “Specter told me there are no moderates anymore.”

The funny part?  Mondale would consider himself a “moderate”.

It wouldn’t be a mainstream Minnesota media politics story without a reference to Larry Jacobs, the Keyser Söze of Twin Cities politics:

At the end of the luncheon, the Humphrey Institute’s Professor Larry Jacobs said the spacious room would soon be remodeled to include a tribute to Mondale.  A perfect idea to bring together two icons of such similar views and who shared the same position on our national stage.

There was a  huge difference, of course.  While both presided over a post-Depression Minnesota where Democrats and Republicans differed hardly at all, Humphrey rose to prominence at a time when Democrats were still Americans first.  Mondale was no screeching yippie – but his political peak came when the DFL, and the larger Democratic Party, believed that America certainly could be a great country – but certainly not until the whole country mirrored their every belief.

CORRECTION:  Wow – coulda sworn Mondale was Governor for a while.  My bad.