Dog Licks Dog

Late pot party candidate left recording saying he was recruited by GOP to pull votes away from Angie Craig:

Y’know – sorta like the DFL did with Tom Horner in 2010.

OK, Strib – now do Ilhan Omar.

This Time Without Daddy Warbucks’ Money

Let’s not be coy about it – Jason Lewis lost the 2nd District congressional election because Angie Craig floated to a close win on a tsunami of out-of-district money during a first-term midterm that was bound to bring out the knee-jerks and the soccer moms. The Bloomberg fortune alone pumped seven figures of filthy anti-gun lucre into the district – testimony to how much Big Left hated the most articulate conservative in the House.

But it’s a whole ‘nother election, and Angie Craig has exactly as much to show for her time in office as you’d expect an “HR Executive” to have accomplished – the same as they accomplish in the real business world. Bupkes.

Or – rematch? Nah. Maybe a swing at the Butcher of Vandalia, Tina Smith.

I’d go for that.

If You Live In CD2…

….don’t just take my word for it:  Michael Bloomberg is trying to buy the election, straight up, for the gun grabbers.

I talked with Dr. John Lott, who’s been tracking the millions – plural – that Bloomberg and other “progressive” plutocrats have been pouring into trying to unseat Jason Lewis, one of the best conservatives in or out of Congress.

Listen here:

Don’t let your conservative friends in CD2 stay home in November.

Two Cents

A brief-ish article about Jason Lewis’s “upset” win in the 2nd CD by the always astute Matt Pagano.

You should read the whole thing, but here’s the good-news takeaway:

One more (extremely local) angle is that Lewis’ win will likely help revitalize the CD2 Republican Party. In the past few years, the local Party had come to be defined by infighting between opponents, and loyalists, to incumbent Rep. John Kline. Lewis’ election offers the opportunity to move past the Republican-on-Republican violence within the local Republican parties that has raged the past few cycles. If you’re a conservative activist who isn’t happy with Jason Lewis as your Congressman, you ain’t never gonna be happy.

You Have Two Seconds

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:


Democrats are running a television ad against Jason Lewis, candidate for John Kline’s congressional seat, featuring this quote: “People have no idea what a great deal the American foreclosure system is.”

 Lewis is entirely correct, of course, but explaining it takes longer than a 2-second sound bite so Liberals can’t be bothered to understand.  They hear “foreclosure” which in their minds is “bad” and that’s enough to cement the mental link “Lewis = bad.”

 Look, if you want to buy a house that costs $180,000 – go buy it.  Oh, you don’t have that much saved up in the bank?  So take a loan to buy it.  Of course, the lender will want collateral for the loan, that’s only prudent.  Do you have gold, jewels, furs, bonds you can pledge?  No?  For most of history, and in many countries around the world today, that’s the end of the story.  No collateral, no loan, no house.

 America’s system of mortgage-backed lending lets you pledge the house itself as collateral for the loan you are taking to buy the house.  If you can’t repay the loan, the bank sells the house at auction and applies the sale proceeds toward your loan balance, leaving you with a much smaller loan balance to repay.  Minnesota’s optional foreclosure by advertisement process is even better – the lender takes the house and writes off the rest of the loan balance: you owe nothing.  No debt, no judgment, no garnishment, no debtor’s prison; you walk away and in a few years, when your credit is rebuilt, you buy a different house.

 The mortgage foreclosure system is what gives America one of the highest home-ownership rates in the world.  Jason Lewis is entirely correct and Democrats attacking him are entirely wrong. 

 But I’m over my 2-second limit. 

 Joe Doakes

We’ve known for years; Democrats are going for the voters that only need two seconds of chanting points to be convinced.

And don’t laugh; their votes count just as much as yours do.

Game-Changer In CD2

It was once said that the only thing that could hurt the career of a Chicago Democrat was being caught in bed with a live boy or a dead girl.

But in this blog’s comment section earlier this week, Mark “Mr. Dilettante” Heuring may have tripped onto something potentially more damning in re Angie Craig, the DFL-endorsed candidate taking on Jason Lewis in the Second Congressional District.

And she barely bothers to hide it. See if you can find it between the lines:

For the last 10 years of my career, I was a member of the leadership team at Minnesota start-up St. Jude Medical. At St. Jude, I was focused on supporting those employees who supported our business – so patients ultimately could benefit from their work.

Beneath all the executive verbal camouflage, it’s pretty clear.

Angie Craig works in HR.

Citizens of CD2 – think about life in your office.  Think; do you want to be represented, have your taxes set, have policies governing your life and livelihood…

…set by an HR person?

In a sane world, that would shut out the lights right there.

CD2, you can have better.


Angie Craig apparently believes that the most important thing facing voters in the 2nd CD is Jason Lewis’s radio shows from 2001.

Other Democratic-elected women say Lewis should be held accountable for the things he said, including what they said were offensive comments about women, the LGBTQ community and slavery.

I’ve sent an email to Murphy about whether the same standard is being applied to Bill Clinton, Al Franken, and Nick Coleman.

Berg’s 11th Law Is Also Inerrant And Immutable

The Strib endorses John Howe for the CD2 congressional seat currently held by John Kline.

Nothing against Howe, who was a capable legislator and an estimable mayor of Red Wing – but this endorsement is a classic example of Berg’s 11th Law:

Berg’s Eleventh Law of Inverse Viability: The conservative liberals “respect” for their “conservative principles” will the the one that has the least chance of ever getting elected.

Jason Lewis is the endorsed candidate, with immense name recognition and a record as the father of modern Minnesota conservatism.  Darlene Miller is John Kline’s preferred candidate.  The fourth, the putative Trump-supporting candidate Hey Look At Meeeee, along with Howe, rounds out the field.

I’ll be interviewing Jason Lewis this coming Saturday on the NARN, by the way.

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.

Opportunity Wipes

A New Hampshire man allegedly faked a brain injury to get women to change his diapers:

Hooksett police said Thursday that Eric Carrier is facing

charges of indecent exposure and lewdness.


The 23-year-old is accused of pretending to have a brain injury to lure the woman to his home, claiming he needed help changing his adult diaper… Police say Carrier placed an ad on Craigslist seeking home health care. Investigators say nurses would change his diaper, not knowing he was scamming them.

No word on whether the Minnesota Second District DFL has approached the man to see if he’ll run against John Kline.

Begging The Answer

“Begging the Question” means “using your conclusion as evidence of your conclusion”.

I’m sure classical logic doesn’t recognize the concept of “begging the answer” – using the status quo as a defense of the status quo.

But this Dana Goldstein piece in Salon against Michele Bachmann and her fellow education reformers might just change all that.

Michele Bachmann’s…growing popularity among the Republican base also signals…a sea change in the party’s education agenda. It’s safe to say that the political era of George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind is now officially over, even as the law’s testing mandates continue to reverberate in classrooms across the country.

The sooner, the better.

As recently as a decade ago, Republicans like George W. Bush, John McCain, and John Boehner embraced bipartisan, standards-and-accountability education reform as a pro-business venture, a way to make American workers and firms more competitive in the global marketplace. Now we are seeing the GOP acquiesce to the anti-government, Christian-right view of education epitomized by Bachmann, in which public schools are regarded not as engines for economic growth or academic achievement, but as potential moral corrupters of the nation’s youth.

As we’ll see below, I think Goldstein is lumping too many eggs into the “Christian Conservative!” basket.

As our public schools continue to flounder, more and more of us have had experiences that have exposed to them that public schools just aren’t like they were when we parents were kids.   Maybe it was a series of teachers like this one; maybe it was a long trail of eye-opening episodes with the celebration of hide-bound bureaucracy, or relentless kow-towing to political correctness that our school systems have become at the expense of actual education.

It’s why over an eighth of Saint Paul parents, and even more than that in Minneapolis, have deserted the public schools, for suburban schools (via Minnesota’s open enrollment law), charter schools and parochial and private schools.  The vast majority of these people are black, hispanic and Asian.

I don’t suspect they were all motivated by Michele Bachmann.

(Aside:  Goldstein refers to MNCD2 Congressman John Kline as “the moderate [! – Ed.]  chairman of the House education and workforce committee“.  Factor that into your analysis accordingly)   

Goldstein recounts Bachmann’s political origin story – homeschooling her kids, helping found a charter school, running for the Stillwater School Board and thence to the State Senate…:

As her political career advanced, the overarching theme of Bachmann’s education activism was that government attempts to improve schools threatened the prerogatives of the Christian family and represented a dangerous move toward a socialized, planned economy. In 2001, she charged that the 1994 federal School to Work Opportunities Act, which provided funding for low-income teenagers to do on-the-job apprenticeships with local companies, would turn students into “human resources for a centrally planned economy.” As a state senator in 2002, Bachmann produced a bizarre film called Guinea Pigs II, which compared Minnesota’s Profile of Learning curriculum standards—instituted in 1998 by Republican Gov. Arne Carlson—to Nazism and communism. As Tim Murphy of Mother Jones wrote of Bachmann last week, “She was Tea Party before the Tea party was cool. In 2002, with a Republican president in the White House and the Tea Party a full seven years away, she cited the 9th and 10th amendments while railing against No Child Left Behind as an unconstitutional abuse of power.”

Leave aside the bizarre fact that Goldstein thinks John Kline is a moderate, but that Bachmann should have cozied up to Arne Carlson because he was a “Republican”; she was right.  Oh, the rhetoric was a little lot overheated – but there is no rational case to be made that the US Department of Education does, or has ever, contributed positively to education.

Bachmann wasn’t the only Christian conservative local politician making these anti-education reform arguments in the 1990s. Rather, from the beginning of her activist career, she was part of a national “parental rights” movement organized by groups such as Focus on the Family and the Homeschool Legal Defense Fund. Like Bachmann, Sarah Palin was a foot soldier in this movement. According to an account local political activist Phillip Munger gave Salon, as mayor of Wasilla, Palin promoted a group of Christian right school board candidates.

So Goldstein’s goal seems to be clear; tie the “education reform” movement to “crazy”, “scary” conservative women.

But look at the people who are leaving the school systems.  In the inner cities, the refugees are largely Black, Hispanic and Asian – not, the last I checked, Bachmann or Palin’s key constituents.

Goldstein is trying to make her premise fit the facts she’s chosen to focus on – that there is a big, scary, crazy Christianist movement out there, working to derail public education – while white conservatives are just the tip of the iceberg of dissatisfaction, even revulsion, with the current school system.

And when the two finally connect?

Well, I suspect that’s what Goldstein is trying to prevent.

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.


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.

The Line In The Sod

The Legislature – really the GOP majority – has released its take on Congressional redistricting.

Two points:

Elections Have Consequences: If adopted – more later – this map will have some pretty hefty consequences.  While it leaves the three “safest” districts in the state – the solid DFL 4th and 5th, and the very red 6th – pretty much as is (if anything, more solid), it makes some changes that could have impact on the 2012 House races.

  • It cuts Tim Walz’ mushy-left stronghold Mankato out of the 1st CD, putting it into John Kline’s solidly-conservative 2nd District.  This means the 1st CD’s fundamentally conservative, rural nature can be maintained.  It’ll be interesting to see how the DFL rationalizes pushing back against this, while fighting to keep the 5th and 6th districts uncorruptedly institutional-blue.
  • Other than adding Mankato, the 2nd CD stays pretty solid.
  • The 3rd CD’s “purple” days would seem to be over, with the addition of a stretch of solid red to its southwest.
  • The 4th and 5th CDs become brighter-blue than before, from the looks of it.
  • The 6th appears to jettison most of St. Cloud – the one place where Michele Bachmann faces serious opposition – and consolidate solid-red Wright County
  • The 7th morphs immensely, losing the Red River Valley (and, it’d seem, Colin Peterson) and picking up Saint Cloud (blueish) and the far-northern Twin Cities exurbs currently in the 8th CD.
  • The 8th swoops west, covering the entire northern part of the state, diluting the solid-blue Duluth and Arrowhead areas with good conservative northwestern counties.

Gerrymandering? That’s the claim you’re seeing from some lefties.  I think it’s worthwhile to note that most of the changes – the First, Seventh and Eighth – actually undo some of the gerrymandering that took place on the DFL’s watch (the Ventura-era court-drawn settlement in 2000 favored the DFL; Arne Carlson completely caved to the DFL in 1990, court settlement notwithstanding.   The DFL isn’t going to like it – but redistricting isn’t supposed to be predicated on the happiness of the party that loses the election.

Dayton has said he won’t pass any redistricting plan that doesn’t have “bipartisan support” – and when DFLers say “bipartisan support”, what they mean is they want to nag the GOP into giving them a victory they didn’t earn at the polls.  There was no talk of “bipartisanship” when the DFL controlled the process with an iron fist; it’s disingenuous, and playing to the ignorant (but typical politics) that they demand it now.

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!

Speak When Spoken To, Peasants!

I joined the Minnesota Libertarian Party back in 1994.  I’d been a conservative – ergo a Republican – for something like ten years at that point.  But I was disgusted with what I saw as the pusillanimity of the GOP Congress in the face of Bill Clinton’s power grab.  Not just Hillarycare; it was the widespread caving-in on the 1994 Crime Bill, with its noxious gun control provisions, that disgusted me with the GOP.

So I joined the Libertarian Party of Minnesota (LPM).  Not as a super-active member, of course – my kids were one and three years old, at the time, so there was little enough chance of me being a full-time firebrand. 

But I was hardly alone.  The mid-nineties may have been the high-water mark for the Libertarian Party – the LPM and nationally.  I don’t have the figures in front of me (and I don’t really care to look it up at the moment), but the Libertarian Party reached something of a high-water mark in the mid-nineties.  The party was endorsing candidates for offices, from city councils all the way up to President, like it hadn’t at any time before or since. 

The thing that appealed to many newly-minted Libertarians, myself included, was the absolute purity of Libetarian Party dogma.  There was no compromise on personal liberty!  Freedom ruled!  Liberty was the Law!

Our enthusiasm had the advantage of being utterly unfettered by any sense of having to make any of the compromises that come from actually having to govern anything.  The number of big-L Libertarians that had been elected to significant office, ever, was vanishingly tiny.  Outside of ornery, contrarian environs like the rural West, New Hampshire and Alaska, it was rarer still.

The LPM – and the LPUSA – were a haven for a lot of people, like me, who were very, very clear on what they wanted.  They – and I – were very very unclear on how the sausage was made.   Politics is a two-stage process;  Stage 1 is pulling like hell to get your beliefs – wrapped up in the form of a candidate – into the election.  It’s the part that takes place within a “party”, usually – and includes all the various roots of the term “Party”; one is “particular” about which candidate ones’ “party” endorses,  one exhibits “partisanship”. 

 Stage 2 is when that candidate is (hopefully) elected, and has to actually try to govern, either by sitting on a deliberative body like a city council, a county commission, a Legislature or a Congress, with people with whom you may disagree, to actually make the sausage.   It’s when the various forms of the word “politics” start to apply; one must “politely” (by the standards of the governing body) work with other “politicians” to achieve enough “polity” to enact your beliefs as “policy”.

My fellow Libertarians and I had the Phase 1 bit down cold.  We knew how to agitate!

We – I – were a little less clear on Phase 2, at least at the time.

It took me about four years to realize the LPM was never going to get to Phase 2, and that the GOP was my best bet for working for a party that would, someday, reflect enough of my beliefs to let me get behind it. 

And today – 12 years later, on the eve of swearing in a new, conservative-with-tinges-of-small-“l”-libertarian legislature – I feel pretty well vindicated. 

But some of the same dynamic I saw in the big-L Libertarian Party – the enthusiasm for the “Phase 1” process, the agitation and enthusiasm and the pulling like hell for ones core beliefs – is very much at play among the hordes of newly-minted conservative activists.  We saw it in spades a couple of years ago, when GOP caucuses were inundated with Ron Paul supporters.  They stormed the caucuses, full of piddle and vinegar, all fired up to enact “Dr. Paul’s” policies.  Many got discouraged when the GOP – those who’d in the party for years, doing all that boring “Phase 2” stuff – didn’t embrace them with open arms.  Some stuck around, long enough to see the Tea Party – a tidal wave of new activists that dwarved even the Ron Paul tide – sweep the GOP into power in a wave of “Phase 1” fervor. 

Now we’re into Phase 2. 

And some of the people who’ve had to do all that tiresome Phase 2 stuff – all the words that share their roots with “politics”, the ones that require persuasion rather than ardor, and even occasionally compromise rather than absolutism – are nervous.  

And much as the Phase 1 firebrand in me hates to say it, some of them have a point.

Lori Sturdevant isn’t one of them – but she at least troubles herself to talk with some people who do:

U.S. Rep. John Kline, soon to be Minnesota’s most potent gavel-wielder in Congress, shared his take on the Minnesota mood when he paid the Star Tribune Editorial Board a visit last week.

“I don’t know the last time when we saw a mood like this. It’s amazing,” said the Second District Republican, who’s soon to chair the House Education and Labor Committee. People are frustrated, scared, angry, impatient, confused — “all, I would argue, with justification,” he said.

That’s the sound of lots and lots of people who are doing the “Phase 1” stuff, many of them for the first time in their lives.

About that last sentiment: Kline said he regularly hears mixed messages from his south-suburban constituents.

“On the one hand, people want Congress to get things done, to make things better, to get the economy going again, to do something about jobs,” he said.

But let him profess support for something favored by a Democrat — say, the Obama-Republican tax deal that took a bipartisan pounding on its way to enactment last week — and Kline is deluged with a different message: “I didn’t elect you to compromise.”

The wave that swept all those newly-minted Republicans into office is heavily made up of people who are new to caring about politics at all, much less about all the inside-baseball “Phase 2” stuff. 

Maybe “you” individually didn’t. But “you” collectively did. Collectively, U.S. and Minnesota voters have elected divided governments.

So far.

 It’s the will of the collective “you” that’s supposed to count in running a democracy. When voters put the levers of power into the hands of more than one party, governing isn’t Burger King. You can’t have it your way — not if you expect to get anything done.

Sturdevant displays a certain amount of wonky provincialism here; shutting down a tax-and-spend orgy, whether in St. Paul or in Washington, is “getting stuff done”.

From my perch in the Capitol basement, I’ll be watching to see whether the new crowd in charge of state government will be similarly devoted to accomplishment, rather than intent on keeping their respective bases satisfied.

Well, no.  I mean, it sounds nice and all, but  if you’ve been following Lori Sturdevant any length of time, you the only “accomplishment” she cares about is “enacting the DFL’s agenda”. 

But what the heck, it’s the holidays.

They have ample reason to be. The statehouse gang lacks Congress’s opportunity to do relatively little immediate harm if they do relatively little. In state government, the constitutional requirement that the budget be balanced every two years presents an unyielding choice to DFL Gov.-elect Mark Dayton and the Republican majorities-elect in the Legislature: Make a deal, or shut down government operations come July.

Sturdevant makes that sound like a bad thing.

Kline correctly pointed out that in both parties, activists are “exceptionally vocal right now, and more engaged than they have been over time.” The Internet has given them all spyglasses and megaphones, which they train as eagerly on their allies as their opponents. Those tools leave a false impression with some elected officials about the activists’ political strength.

I”m going to suspect that this past November’s elections may have left a very, very accurate impression of that strength.

Dayton and the new GOP legislative leaders put on a fine show of bipartisan comity last week after their first private meeting. They said all the right words about searching earnestly for common ground on job creation and government streamlining.

But, on other occasions, they’ve also said they plan to stick to the policy guns they fired during the fall campaign. Dayton will assemble a budget proposal that emphasizes an income tax increase for the wealthy. Republicans will counter with budget bills built on “no new taxes.”

Quick side note here; watch that “no new taxes” talk.  Sturdevant is going to be doing her usual job – the DFL’s bidding – in trying to make the GOP’s stance seem like an extension of the Pawlenty years.  In fact, the GOP was sent to Saint Paul with an even clearer mandate; cut the spending.

If those base-pleasing, no-new-compromise exercises consume every legislative day from January until early May, my sense is that the mood of the Minnesota electorate is going to be quite sour.

Stuck as she is in her wretched ink-stained ivory tower at 425 Portland, perhaps it’s understandable that Sturdevant missed the news between Christmas Eve of 2009 and November of 2010; the mood is already sour.  That’s how Barack Obama and the DFL both squandered overwhelming advantages in Congress and the Legislature in two short years.  The  peasants are pissed!

Last week, the Civic Caucus, a bipartisan group of seasoned policy wonks, began preparing a formal call for a change in the Legislature’s usual calendar.

And as a general rule, anything coming from “bipartisan” groups of “seasoned wonks” should go in the kill file immediately.

By law, Dayton must offer his budget proposal on or before Feb. 15. The Civic Caucus wants the Legislature to follow suit a few weeks later with at least its revenue and spending targets, said the group’s coordinator, Paul Gilje.

“Every session, everybody is so frustrated with the way everything comes out at the last minute,” Gilje said. “This time, the divide is so well-understood early on. Why not get the options on the table early? Why not open the way for an intelligent statewide discussion for how to reconcile the differences, rather than waiting till the end?”

Oh, I have a sneaking hunch you won’t have to wait all that long for the GOP’s proposal.

As it stands, the draft statement the Civic Caucus is circulating doesn’t specify a deadline for the Legislature to produce its budget. I have what may be a fitting suggestion: How does April Fools’ Day sound?

It sounds like someone had to dig into the cliche bag to find an ending for their column.

Look – the political establishment in this state – and Sturdevant is nothing if not their dutiful scribe – has been barbering for years about how badly they want more people to get involved, to be stakeholders, in their government.

Now they got it. 

We just must all be the wrong kind of people.

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:

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.

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.

Betty McCollum Punches Her Ticket

If you blinked last Monday, you missed Betty McCollum’s “town hall” meeting.  Indeed, if you sneezed at the wrong time, you may have missed the part where she or any of her staff called it a “town hall”, themselves.

I had a prior engagement – but Doug Bass attended.

Not that it was easy:

I actually didn’t know it was advertised as a “DFL Town Hall Rally” until I got to the event.  But doesn’t the phrase “DFL Town Hall Rally” sound contradictory, oxymoronic?  If they said “DFL Rally,” it would be clearly understood as a partisan event.  If they said “Town Hall Meeting,” I believe it would be generally understood as a non-partisan event.  So the very phrase “DFL Town Hall Rally” sounded odd to me.

As I headed to Macalester, I was thinking to myself “Whose idea was it to have a town hall meeting at 5:30 pm?  There are a lot of people who aren’t going to be able to make it.”  I then realized that this wasn’t a bug, it was a feature, a mechanism of keeping inconvenient people away from the event.

Doug noticed something I did not; I’ll add emphasis:

When I got to Macalester College, one of Teresa Collett’s volunteers saw me, and we started chatting.  He showed me the press release for the event, which was issued on Friday, the traditional day where news goes to be buried. And not just any Friday, mind you, the Friday three days before the event, and the Friday the day before September 11, where the nation’s attention is elsewhere.  The only media outlet that covered the event was Minnesota Public Radio, which let the abovementioned “Town Hall Rally” oddity pass without comment.

And this may be the quote of the day:

I thought to myself “This isn’t a Town Hall Meeting, this is a flash mob!  A secret, moonless midnight flash mob!”

And the conclusion?

This event was a Potemkin Town Hall meeting, an event created for the purpose of being able to claim that a Town Hall meeting took place.  The scheduling, the publicity, the audience made it nothing of the sort.  It was a treachery within further treacheries.

Read the whole thing.

So we had the “flash mob”, and we’ll have two more coming up with friendly audiences – a union hall and another.

That’s a lot of “appearances” for Betty McCollum.

Maybe being in a “D+13” district doesn’t feel as secure as it used to…

(And yes, now would be a perfect time to pitch in a few bucks for to Teresa Collett’s campaign.  The CD2 leadership hates me when I write this, but you live in the Second, where John Kline is going to win by thirty on a bad day, it’d be cool if you could peel off a buck or two for Teresa, who actually seems to have a shot.  And/or for Joel Demos, who’s running the funnest underdog campaign I’ve seen since Harley McClain.  And for that matter for Randy Demmer and Chip Cravaack, both of whom have quietly moved into positions to have decent shots against Walz and Oberstar).

Dog Bites Food

As we Republicans look at yet another year of selective reporting and overt bias in action (who needs Journolist in a media hive like the Twin Cities?), it’s important to remember that that are those who believe the media is conservative.

It’s Eric Pusey from MN “Progressive” Project:

I found it interesting that the editors of the Star Tribune thought that the employment statuses of the MN-02 DFL candidates running against Rep. John Kline were newsworthy while a national story about Rep. Michele Bachmann wasn’t.

Let’s look at the allegations:

The essence of the story is that Dan Powers (DFL-endorsed) was a contractor and collected unemployment while Shelley Madore’s contract wasn’t renewed.  Eric Roper and the editors of the Strib think something is fishy.  They consider this more newsworthy than Bachmann stating “I think that all we should do is issue subpoenas and have one hearing after another” if Republicans regain the House and “we don’t have to fund any of these programs and that’s exactly what we need to do – defund all of this nonsense and then unwind it.”

So let’s look at this from the perspective of an editor:

News: Two congressional candidates have financial irregularities (provided that they’re not Obama cabinet nominees).

Not News: Michele Bachmann says something that gets liberals exercised, but is really no different from a zillion other such incidents.

What is also interesting about the Strib’s political coverage is that they very rarely (verging on never) cover Kline.  The latest news (1 week old) is that Kline opposed funding child nutritional programs with the following hypocritical excuse:

“The debt crisis is the greatest national security threat we face,” ranking Republican John Kline of Minnesota said. “The cost of this legislation cannot be ignored.”

If the Strib did cover this story about Kline’s vote, what do you think the chances are the someone like Roper would note that Kline supported the Bush agenda of tax cuts and borrowing to pay for two wars?

News: Er, Kline voted against a bill?   No, the only news here is that the word “hypocritical” has been devalued to the point of meaninglessness; hypocrisy is holding someone to a moral standard to which you yourself are not willing to adhere.   Think John Kline is inconsistent on deficit spending?

Not News: Kline voted with the Bush Administration – while the Bush administration was in office.  Two to eight years ago.

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)

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!

The Powers That Be

Eric Pusey at Minnesota “Progressive” Project complains about John Kline:

Kline is notorious for rarely if ever appearing in public.  Kline only appears at events where the contact is either with pre-screened, conservative-only audiences or the questions are screened in advance.  Kline doesn’t debate.

Either do Keith Ellison – a prickly little man who can’t tolerate dissent – or Betty McCollum, who would be overmatched  debating Anna Nicole Smith.

Pusey is writing on behalf of “Powers“, the DFL’s endorsed victim in the 2nd CD.  Powers, a construction worker who beat Shelly Madore in the “unified” DFL in the 2nd CD, is on his way to getting maybe 30% this November.

“Plus, we’re getting lots of hits on our website after every parade or event,” he continued.  “People are checking me out further after they first meet me.”

To be honest, I’d like to see debates in every district for every race – but I can see why Kline doesn’t take the chance in a district where he has a crushing advantage, in a city where the media will wrench everything he says out of context.

Not sure that Ellison and McCollum have the same excuse…

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.