Saturday – Gubernatorial Debate

This Saturday, AM1280 will be joining with the North Ramsey County Republicans in putting on the first really good gubernatorial candidates’ debate of the season!

Brad Carlson and I will host the event, at the Concordia Academy in Roseville (just north of Highway 36 on Dale Street).  The debate will start promptly at 1PM, and will be heavily audience-participation focused. 

As this is written candidates (in alpabetical order) Rob Farnsworth, Scott Honour, Jeff Johnson, Marty Seifert and  Dave Thompson are all on the line-up.  This may be the best debate you’ll hear before the caucuses. 

It’s a fund-raiser for the North Ramsey County Republicans (House districts 42A, 42B and 66A).  Admission is $10 if you register in advance.  Refreshments will be provided, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume some of us are going to adjourn to a local watering hole afteward for a post-debate wrapup. 

So sign up and come on out!  It’s going to be a fun event!

The Unions Buy Minnesota

So how much money did Big Labor spend along with Big Lefty Plutocrat to buy the Governor’s Office and the Legislature?

If you believe the Strib, it’s “around $3 million.

If you believe the Strib is going to tell the truth about DFL perfidy – and especially the big money behind the DFL, I’ve got a 50% stake in the next Lindsay Lohan movie to sell you.

Bill Walsh, long-time Minnesota political operative, did a little digging into the story – and he’s got something the Twin Cities’ mainstream media doesn’t want to give you; the facts:

I’m publishing his piece as a guest writer at Shot In The Dark today.


Unions Spent $11.1 Million in 2012 to Buy Friendly Legislature for Gov. Mark Dayton

Bill Walsh, Shot In The Dark Guest Writer

A few weeks ago the Star Tribune published an article about campaign spending in the 2012 election focusing on two big individual donors – Alida Messinger and Bob Cummins. The conclusion? Each party has a big donor that gave lots of money, it’s all a wash. I’m afraid this story is all we’re going to get from the Strib on campaign spending analysis. Today, in an otherwise well written article on union influence at the capitol this year, Rachel Stassen-Berger writes that unions “put at least $3 million into elections.” I guess $11.1 million is “at least” $3 million. She’s only off by $8.1 million.

I took the time to go through the campaign finance reports of 111 different union organizations in Minnesota and nationally for the 2012 election. Spending ranged from Education Minnesota at $1.8 million to the Bemidji Central Labor Body AFL-CIO Political Fund at $250. State and local unions accounted for $9.1 million in campaign spending with national unions kicking in the other $2 million.

Union Contributions 2012 by

It took some time to come to the right numbers because many unions give money to each other for joint spending initiatives. These numbers reflect the net spending after backing out contributions between unions. It goes without saying that over 99% of the money went to DFL candidates and causes.

I blame myself for not getting this research to the StarTribune before they published today’s article. It really would have added some punch to their story.

For example, when talking about the nurses union asking the legislature for new staffing ratios that will drive up health care costs, it would have been useful to point out to readers the nurses union spent over $500,000 helping DFL candidates win back the legislature last year. As a matter of fact, that probably should be mentioned every time the media covers the progress of this legislation.

Likewise, when discussing AFSCME’s attempt to force unionization on small private childcare businesses, it would inform the reader to mention that seven different AFSCME organizations gave a total of $1.6 million to DFL candidates and causes in 2012.

The list goes on – Education Minnesota is trying to resurrect their statewide insurance pool legislation, MAPE and AFSCME are getting new generous employment contracts, the minimum wage is being increased and Dayton is following through on his promise to raise taxes on the rich.

But business spends a lot too, right? Wrong. It’s hard to get anywhere near $11.1 million if you add up the business money spent in the 2012 election. A business friendly PAC called Minnesota’s Future spent $1.2 million while the Chamber of Commerce-supported Coalition for Minnesota Businesses spent just $283,000 on the 2012 election. We all know the MNGOP received little support from the business community and the two legislative caucuses combined to spend only $4.1 million, and not all of that can be attributed to business.

According to today’s Pioneer Press, however, business interests do spend a lot on lobbying. The Campaign Finance Board reported that business interests spent $17.4 million lobbying the legislature during the 2011 session.

This may be the key to understanding today’s political environment. Unions spend heavily getting sympathetic Democrats elected to office. Once they are in place, it doesn’t take much money to lobby –the jury is already selected.

Business on the other hand, spends relatively little on the nuts and bolts of campaigns and prefers to hire lobbyists to try to influence the debate after the legislature has been selected.

What’s next?

First, Republican legislators need to hammer away on the $11.1 million unions spent to buy this legislature for Gov. Mark Dayton. They need to remind the public and the press at every opportunity to follow the money. Pay to play has never been more obvious in Minnesota.

Second, the business community needs to shift some of its resources to where it matters: the 2014 general election. Business will never match the collective self interest and desperation of the unions, so we need to reach a higher level of cooperation if we hope to recapture the House and win back the governor’s office in 2014.


MITCH ADDS:  More on this in coming weeks.

Buying Minnesota With Daddy’s Money, Part II

Yesterday, the Campaign Finance reports for the last Gubernatorial election came out.

And the media finally noticed – sort of – what you learned on this blog last July; Mark Dayton outspent Tom Emmer 2:1, and that most of the money came from “outside groups”.

MPR had the best report, at least compared to the rest of the Twin Cities media:

Democrat Mark Dayton and his allies spent significantly more than Republican Tom Emmer and his allies to win the race for Minnesota governor.

Alliance for a Better Minnesota, a group working to elect Dayton, spent $5.7 million in the race, helped by big contributions from labor unions and Dayton’s family. Most of Alliance’s money was spent on ads criticizing Emmer.

“Most of” it.  Heh.

I’m going to add some emphasis here:

Labor unions spent more than $2.2 million to help elect Dayton, with money coming in both before the election and afterward to help the recount effort. The Democratic Governor’s Association spent $1 million, and Dayton’s family and his ex-wife gave more than $900,000.

Tom Scheck’s piece yesterday included a sound bite from Ken Martin, the head of “Win Minnesota”, a PAC that funneled money to “Alliance For A Better Minnesota” (ABM):

Ken Martin, who ran the umbrella group that financed The Alliance for a Better Minnesota, says donors were energized to elect the first Democrat to the governor’s office since 1986.

“People invest in politics on all sides, and it’s not for any other purpose than to support the candidates that they feel are going to best represent what they believe in,” said Martin. “Frankly, the payoff is a better Minnesota, and they believe Mark Dayton was the candidate to make that happen.”

Martin’s statement implies that there was some huge groundswell of grassroots financial support in $20 and $50 donations from Ma and Pa Minnesota.  There was not; the money to run Dayton’s sleazy smear campaign came from big institutional donors, national Democrat sources, and Dayton and his family.

More emphasis added below:

Alliance for a Better Minnesota outspent the two groups backing Emmer — MN Forward and Minnesota’s Future. Minnesota’s Future, funded mostly by the Republican Governor’s Association, spent $1.4 million on the race. MN Forward, who received contributions from businesses like Target and Best Buy, spent nearly $1.8 million.

Catch that?  That, of course, is why the DFL spent six months caterwauling (with the help of their kissin’ cousins in the media) about the “corrosive effects of corporate money in politics”  Minnesota business managed to contribute all of 2/3 what unions did.

Can’t have that, can we?

By the way, it’s interesting that business donated $1.8 million to the conservative, pro-business Emmer, while…:

On the DFL side, companies including Kwik Trip, Anheuser-Busch, Pfizer and SuperValu gave a total of $88,000 to groups helping to elect Dayton and support him during the recount.

Unfortunately, I already patronize none of these companies.

Dayton’s campaign also outspent Emmer’s. Dayton spent $5.3 million in 2009 and 2010, helped by a $3.9 million in loans to himself. Emmer spent $2.8 million.

That’s a lot of Renoirs.

Naturally, the chattering classes’ objections about “the toxicity of money in politics” referred to corporate money.  Not labor unions, and not trust funds from South Dakota.

Congratulations, Governor Dayton

As this post appears at 8:30AM, Mark Dayton will be sworn in as Minnesota’s 40th Governor (UPDATE:  Oops.  I got that off of a state website.  It was apparently wrong; the swearing in will apparently be held at noon.  Thanks, State of Minnesota!).

Time to give the guy his due.

He won the election, by whatever means.  He is now the governor.  Mine, as well as all of the people who voted for him.

So congratulations, Governor Dayton.  Enjoy the inauguration!  And while I oppose you, your agenda, and everything about you, I sincerely hope you do a good job.

From Planet Dinkytown

Jeff at MNPublius aims big.  After taking his de rigeur shot at departing Governor Pawlenty (trying to portray one of Minnesota’s most significant governors of the past 100 years as “nothing special)”, Rosenberg reviews a list the Governor released of his major accomplishments, and asks:

In eight years, what would we like a similar document from the Dayton administration to include?

If I were a DFLer, I’d be hoping for “at least four years of actual credible service before retiring to Vail rather than losing the 2014 election”, as opposed to a 2014 “Look back at Governor Prettner Solon’s Year In Office”.   The Vegas Over/Under on Dayton’s actual time in office is hanging around two years; bookies are betting on “alien invasion” as the trigger.

Rosenberg has a wish list:

Here are a few accomplishments I hope Mark Dayton will be able to spotlight:

* A fairer tax system in which the rich pay the same percentage of their income as the poor and middle class. [Notwithstanding the fact that “the rich” are both undefined and already overtaxed]

* A sustainable budget that’s in the black, with a significant budget reserve to cushion the blow in the next recession. [That’s one of the left’s most irritating memes; the idea that government should skim just a leeeeeeetle bit more out of the parts of our society that actuall produce wealth, to make sure that the part that doesnt’ – government – needn’t want for a thing when all of the useful people are suffering.  Kinda shows where their loyalties lie, if one needed any clarification]

* A thriving economy, with new business being created and established businesses making Minnesota a destination [Ah.  How would Jeff propose that “Governor Dayton” do that?  Perhaps by passing a law requiring business list Minnesota as a destination?  What sort of miracle does Mr. Rosenberg propose that “Governor Dayton” do to mandate this?  Will it be the “fair tax system”, or the “surplus”, that’ll make Minnesota a “destination?”  ]

* A fully-funded social safety net and educational system. [Both have all the funding they need, and always have.  Holding the “social safety net” – aka “subsidy of poverty” – above the rest of the economy merely creates a permanent class of government service consumers, removing any motivation to get off poverty.  And our education system needs reform, not more money to feed Tom Dooher’s addictions]

* Innovations in education that reverse Minnesota’s decline nationally and internationally during the Pawlenty years. [“Insert Miracle Here”.  Minnesota’s “declines” are almost universally expressed in terms of “how lavishly we fund government”.  To the extent that there have been declines, they’re the same ones shared by all statist societies in trying to compete with more  nimble, more  market-driven societies.  Minnesota’s “Golden Age” happened at a time when the world was still recovering from World War II; a fat, happy, unionized workforce and a big, dumb government were survivable errors in 1970, since there was no competition; today, if we don’t change the path that the DFL and Rosenberg would put us on, they’ll merely make us a Cold California]

* Equal marriage for all Minnesotans. [Ah.  So that’s what’s holding the economy back.]

What accomplishments do you hope the Dayton administration will produce? Leave your own additions in the comments.

I hope he accomplishes a graceful exit in 2014, turning office over to a good conservative governor.  The media would caterwaul that the new governor is an “extremist”, but they’re too busy wondering if the DFL will become a third party by 2020.

Why Did Emmer Lose?

The dust is finally settling.  The campaign is over.  We have a “governor”-elect.

So what went wrong with the Emmer campaign?

We’ll come back to that.  First, let’s talk about what went right.  Emmer ran a campaign he can be proud of, to the extent that he, personally, never stooped to the Dayton campaign’s level of untruth and sleaze.   He took the high road, and stayed there, without excepttion – even chiding Ed and I when we interviewed him at the State Fair for calling Dayton “the opposition”. 

And the statewide GOP landslide in legislative elections showed that he was the right candidate for the times; the new conservative majority will, near as I can tell, be pushing an agenda not much unlike Emmer’s.  I’m by no means ready to write off widespread fraud, personally – but that’s a battle for investigators and lawyers to gnosh out or, ideally, for the Legislature to interdict with sweeping electoral reform.

So what happened?

Drip Drip Drip: “Alliance For A Better Minnesota” was on the ground the afternoon Emmer won the nomination, first with a website and then a TV ad campaign that I spent the better part of six months debunking, one point after the next.  It was the most toxic, sleazy third “third party” campaign in Minnesota history (paid for by the Dayton family and ex-family, it wasn’t “third party” at all) – and it hit paydirt with an ad campaign featuring a teary-eyed mother recounting her son’s death in an accident with a drunk driver.  The woman then mentioned Emmer’s two 30-year-old alcohol-related driving convictions, and mouthed outrage that Emmer proposed legislation to “reduce punishments for drunk drivers”.

Mark Twain once said that a lie will go around the world while the truth is waiting in line for its morning latté.  The corollary to that is that it takes seven seconds to tell an effective lie, and a couple of minutes to refute the lie – but the average political consumer’s attention span is about seven seconds.   ABM lied – I busted them over and over , as did Channel 5 – but they were never held accountable for it. 

Anecdotally?  I heard from GOP activists all over the state that they heard from people whose only real impression of Emmer was that he was “a drunk driver”, throughout the summer.

 Erin Haust at the Minnesota Examiner addressed the ad in her own post-mortem of the campaign in the MN Examiner:

The ad, and subsequent silence from the Emmer campaign to refute the claims, clearly negatively effected the election results. Keeping in mind local races resulted in the Minnesota House and Senate changing to Republican control for the first time in decades, the blame for losing at the top of the ticket must be placed squarely on the state party and the Emmer campaign for reasons other than just one ad.

True.  But the response to the ad was a symptom of the next reason.

Can You Spare Me A Dime:  One of the reasons Emmer didn’t respond to the ad, other than taking the high road, was that the campaign spent virtually nothing on advertising until after the primaries, and really nothing much until Labor Day.  During the primaries, oddly enough, all three DFL candidates spent most of their ad money attacking Emmer – indeed, it’s kind of curious how in sync all three of them were before Dayton’s primary win.  Very, very curious.

But I digress. Emmer didn’t respond.  It was a matter of fiscal prudence; it also allowed ABM to frame the entire discussion.  By the time Greater, Non-Republican  Minnesota heard anything about Emmer, he was “the angry guy”, “the drunk driver” or, if the good guys were lucky, “Tom Who?” to a big chunk of Minnesota.

It made fiscal sense, but it meant the Emmer campaign was framed from the very beginning. 

Emmer gambled, to a great extent, by not spending the rest of the campaign un-framing himself, but rather pushing his own, positive message and agenda.   Had the election been held a month later, I bet it’d have worked. 

But on November 2, there were 8,000 more Minnesotans (or maybe 2,000, with 6,000 stuffed ballots; we just don’t know) who were still drooling “G’huck, isn’t he the angry drunk guy” before walloping their kids while standing in line at the liquor store.

So close.  So very, very close.

Antisocial:  I’ve copped to it many times; I’m not primarily a social conservative.  Oh, I’m anti-infanticide, and think that while there’s a case to be made for civil unions as a legal contract I believe marriage is religious and ergo none of the state’s business.   I’ve said it not a few times; Emmer got my attention at the 2009 State Fair, when he said the election was about jobs and the economy, not gay marriage.   And Emmer strenuously avoided social-conservative talk throughout the campaign – to the point where during the final debate at the Fitzgerald Theatre, when Gary Eichten pressed him to discuss whether he’d use the bully pulpit to curtail the “right” to infanticide.

In short, Emmer left social conservative issues on the table.  Perhaps he’d assume that socialcons would read the fact that’s a Catholic guy with seven kids and draw all the conclusions they’d need to come to the polls and vote for him.   When was the last time a pol overestimated the intelligence of the voting public?

There’s evidence that it was a mistake.  A Laurence survey showed that gay marriage – or, rather, the idea that Dayton and Horner would use the courts or a DFL legislature to jam down gay marriage, like in Iowa – was a huge swing issue for voters.   A bit of stupid anti-Catholic bigotry from the State DFL may have swung the SD40 race for Dan Hall.  And I wouldn’t doubt that there are 10 Swarthy-Americans in Saint Cloud that were offended by this toxic DFL gaffe, just enough to put King Banaian into office.

And don’t forget Chip Cravaack, who ran a good jobs ‘n economics campaign, but did not allow the voters to forget that “pro-life” Jim Oberstar had betrayed his pro-life constituents by caving in to The One on providing infanticide via Obamacare.

Didn’t seem to harm him much.

From Out Of The Bag: The above might have been unforced “errors” – or maybe not errors at all.  It’s hard to say, but it’s easy to be a Monday-Morning Quarterback.   The fact is, other than the spending deficit and the early flub in handling the “Waiter Tips” teapot-tempest, Emmer ran a decent campaign.  Indeed, watching the candidate debates – all 3,174 of them – it was hard to miss the fact that Dayton was a bumbling chanting-point-bot, and Horner was a slick, highly-polished talking-point-bot.  Emmer cleaned the floor with both of them in every debate I saw (although I only saw like 400 of them).

But the media was in the bag for Dayton.  Oh, the Strib endorsed Horner, but out in the streets, the media’s real agenda – anyone but Emmer, and please, please, we want a DFL governor after all these years, was loud and clear.

Haust catches part of it:

Dayton’s history of ties to socialist, progressive groups is far from secret. Dayton spokeswoman and Executive Director of Alliance for a Better Minnesota, Denise Cardinal, was a featured speaker alongside self-avowed communist and community organizer Van Jones at the America’s Future Now! conference last summer. They and other speakers demanded redistribution of wealth in the United States and discussed radical, revolutionary tactics to accomplish that end. Neither the state party nor the Emmer campaign made the connection between radicals like Cardinal and Van Jones and the Dayton campaign…Dayton’s campaign received millions of dollars from groups and individuals linked to socialists, progressives and communists. George Soros funded organizations like Democracy Alliance contributed heavily to his campaign. Soros himself is scheduled to co-host a fundraiser for Dayton in the coming week.

The Republican Party of Minnesota and the Emmer campaign failed to take advantage of the national media attention Dayton’s friends and allies were receiving during the campaign and throughout the recount.

True, perhaps – but it’s for sure that the state’s media didn’t go near any of it, either.  Indeed, the media failed to report – or report meaningfully at any time between the endorsing process and the election – about Dayton’s…:

  • mental health state. 
  • alcoholism
  • relapses – when, how recently, how severe, and why?
  • quitting his job as economic development commissioner under Rudy Perpich
  • closure of his DC Senate offices in 2005 
  • record as a New York “Teacher” – it was up to Sheila Kihne to find out that “the toughest job of his life” lasted sixteen months of working about 1/3 of the time until his draft status let up.
  • Educational record – the University of Massachussetts at Amherst won’t say if he got his teaching certificate (or, indeed, whether he completed any course work at all) – which’d be an odd bit of history for someone who opposes alternative teacher licensing.

Oh, the bloggers investigated it all.  And the mainstream political media – Rachel Stassen-Berger, Tom Scheck, Tim Pugmire, Bill Salisbury, Pat Doyle, Pat Kessler – studiously avoided touching any of the topics.  (or, to be fair to Rachel Stassen-Berger, they avoided addressing them after January of 2010, long before anyone outside the wonk class was paying ahny attention to the election).

And after remembering the feeding frenzy the media went into over, say, Morgan Grams (the son of Rod Grams, Senator until 2000, whose estranged son got into legal trouble that drew slavering coverage from the Twin Cities media, even though Grams had had almost nothign to do with raising him after his divorce from Morgan’s mother…

…details of which we got the kind of detail that made everyone an expert in Rod Grams’ personal life.

So why didn’t Mark Dayton, the man who would be governor, the guy who has to try to un-flock a “6.2 billion dollar deficit”, warrant the same level of scrutiny?

Why do you think?

There are some lessons to learn here – and, hopefully, institutionalize.  Because I have a hunch we’ll be running for an open seat again in four years.

Winners And Losers

Now that Tom Emmer has conceded in the governor’s race, it’s time to figure out who the other winners and losers were during this race.


Conservatism:  Lori Sturdevant may not have gotten the message yet, but the “Independent Republican”  of “progressive Republican” politics in Minnesota is dead, dead, dead.  And nobody’s going to visit the grave.  This election put a railroad spike through the forehead of the party of Durenberger, Carlson and the post-Watergate “DFLers-with-nicer-suits” version of the Minnesota GOP.  The biggest victory in this past election – next to two chambers in the Legislature – was the one for the soul of the MNGOP.

The House And Senate GOP Caucuses: They can run 100 campaigns with an amazing degree of success!  Who knew?!

SocialCons: I’ll confess; I became a Tom Emmer supporter the day he said he didn’t care about gay marriage in this election (though he opposed it personally and in the legislature).  Emmer steered well clear of social issues in the campaign – even refusing to discuss abortion in the final debate at the Fitzgerald Theatre, two days before the election.   The Tea Party was aggressively ecumenical on social issues. 

Would Emmer have gotten 8,000 more votes had he hit on gay marriage and abortion?  There’s some evidence that it might have helped, even in “purple” Minnesota. 


The “Star/Tribune” Poll and the Humphrey Institute Poll:  Is there a case to be made, anywhere at all, that either of these polls shouldn’t be immediately scrapped?  Someone show me.

The Media:  It was almost as if the media had a “hands off” order from some “mythical” central media control center; “don’t touch Dayton”.  There were so many questions that needed to be asked; none of them got asked, at least not during the calendar year 2010.   Granting the media any credibility at all at covering partisan elections should be considered grounds for stripping peoples’ rights for incompetence.

The DFL: The DFL’s endorsed candidate – Margaret Anderson-Kelliher, for those who’ve forgotten – continued the “Kiss Of Death” streak for the DFL endorsement, losing a squeaker to Dayton.  The DFL lost both chambers of the Legislature.  Their chanting-points bots noted that the DFL got plenty of votes – but those were concentrated in a small number of blowout urban races.  And they lost the great DFL fortress, the Eighth District, as well as watching the Third and Sixth districts turn ever redder. 

Brian Melendez better hope he’s got a union job…

The “Independence” Party: It’s official; the IP is nothing but a tactical prop for both of the major parties. 

Mark Ritchie: Without a DFL legislature to hide behind, the Secretary of State stands to have the lid ripped off his little DFL vote-manufacturing machine.

Governor Dayton: “Where’s the $#&@#@% Remote Control?”

A Dayton Governorship is a distant second to an Emmer Governorship as a Minnesotan but for a conservative blogger, a hell of a lot more fun. Four years of job security!

(right Mitch? …Mitch?)

Dayton is (along with his buck-toothed sister the Star Tribune) going to be awesome blogfodder!

Consider this for example:

said his first priority now will be to improve the economy and add jobs.

Improve the economy? That’s like improving the weather? How does a governor improve the economy? The “economy” is a symptom, a result. Okay, so it’s a nit, but nonetheless an apropos observation of a nit wit. Let the befuddlement begin.

…and here comes his buck-toothed sister:

Those actions complete a stunning resurrection for Dayton, a one-term U.S. senator, who now will become the first Democratic governor in Minnesota in two decades.

A stunning…less than half percent…resurrection? …certainly not the high praise it was intended to be considering the status one must occupy from which to be resurrected, yes?

Methinks had the election been held one or two days later we’d be celebrating Governor Emmer, which is to say Mark Dayton is a beneficiary of chance.

…back to the Strib:

He said he would work with the business sector, which largely opposed his candidacy, to improve the state’s economy and job opportunities.

Nice gesture but that’s okay, Mark. We didn’t need you then and we don’t need you now. I’m sure we can wait four years – in the mean time, if you could just sort of stay out of the way, that’d be best.

Make sure you have a comfy couch and a big screen TV in the mansion (sorry if it’s smaller than the one you grew up in) so you can be comfortable in your sweats while the legislature conducts the business of the state.

But be prepared!

They might need you to sign something, cut a ribbon, or make an appearance from time to time (no talking please – just smile) – so keep one shirt and one suit coat pressed at all times!

Night-night now little Marky. Take your meds and go to sleep. We’ll wake you when we need you.

Congratulations, Mark Dayton. Welcome To Hell.

So with Emmer’s apparently-upcoming concession, you’re the Governor-elect, now, Mark Dayton.


After pouring millions of dollars of your family’ s money into the most toxic, slimy, sleazy campaign in Minnesota gubernaturial history, a campaign noted for its serial, cynical inaccuracy by anyone with the brains to spell the words – a “campaign” based on the two sole concepts of “taxing the rich” and tearing down Tom Emmer – and outspending the Emmer campaign 2:1, you eked out a half-point “victory”.

It’s a proud day.

You’ve gone to show that with millions of dollars of inherited money and the slavering servitude of a lot of union donors, any little boy can grow up to back into office with 42% of the vote.

Now, when you’re crowned, you will face two chambers of red-hot, motivated, unified conservative Republican majorities.  They will not be the inside-the-beltway post-Gingrich-era RINO hamsters that you got used to “reaching across the aisle” with in DC.  They are not the RINOs you remember from your time in the State House.  These are Tea Party Republicans; conservatives who’ve been sent to Saint Paul by a majority that said “come back with your shields, or on them”.  On a mission to cut the spending, cut the taxes, cut the regulations…to oppose everything you stand for.

And beyind them, there are a whole lot of people like me.  Who are going to damn well hold them to those promises.

Mark Dayton:  Your agenda is dead on arrival.  Your “budget plan”, as big a fraud as it was, is now legislative toilet paper.

There’s a feeling out there that you’ll be a one term governor – maybe.  Maybe less.  We’ll see.

I’m “the loyal opposition” – but after the campaign you ran paid others to run, the emphasis is on opposition.  I’m going to spend the next four years working to retire you for good.

So welcome to office, Governor Dayton.


The Better Man “Loses”

The Strib notes what we’d sensed for most of the past month; the margin, fair or foul, is just too much.

Tom Emmer seems likely to concede today.

The better man “lost”.

A slimy, toxic campaign with only two focuses – “taxing the rich” and tearing down Tom Emmer – “won”, by half a point, after outspending Emmer 2 to 1.  And by “won”, we mean…well, more on that later today.

Thanks, Tom Emmer.  I had the time of my life writing about your campaign, and doing my little bit to expose the slime that lined up against you, and what an empty, vapid suit you faced.  You are the best stump speaker in Minnesota politics today, and you do something few do better – you explain conservatism to people who aren’t conservatives, brilliantly.

Which is something the Minnesota Media did their damnedest to avoid allowing to get out there.

So I hope we haven’t seen the last of you.

The only loser is Minnesota.

More later today.

You Don’t Take Sides Against The Family

The Minnesota State GOP Central Committee had its big annual meeting over the weekend.

The act that’s gotten the most publicity has been its vote to boot over a dozen former MNGOP elected officials from the party for supporting Tom Horner during the gubernatorial campaign just past.  By a 58-55 vote, the committee banned…:

Arne Carlson
Al Quie
George Pillsbury
Peggy Leppik
Neil Peterson
Dennis Ozment
Roger Scherer
David Jennings
Ed Oliver
Lynne Osterman
Dave Bishop
Bill Schreiber
Art Seaberg
Rod Searle
Dave Durenberger
Doug Kelley
Joanell Drystad
Al Olson

They’re not allowed to be delegates at conventions for the next two years, among other things – not that that was likely anyway, as Party Chair Tony Sutton noted:

“I get frustrated because a lot of people on that list only come out and say they’re Republicans when the want to stick it to Republicans,” Sutton said. “The rest of the time they say they’re an independent or a Democrat and support nothing but Democrats.

Sutton’s right there; none of these people have been active in any way as “Republicans” in years, maybe decades – except to come out and use their old affiliation against  the party.

Some of the usual suspects – almost all of them DFLers – are caterwauling about the move, calling it a “purge” or a “witch hunt”.

Here’s two suggestions for any DFLers shedding crocodile tears over the expulsions of people who, let’s remember, campaigned against the party’s endorsed candidate this past election:

  1. Remember Randy Kelly.  You do remember Randy Kelly, don’t you?  Saint Paul’s last successful mayor?  Held the line on property taxes?  After  along career as a loyal DFL soldier, he endorsed George W. Bush in 2004 – rightly, in hindsight.  And the party’s long knives came out.
  2. Why not start a party of your own?:  And when you do, you can write rules about how your party’s members are supposed to behave as re campaigning against the party!  So next election when, say, “DFLers for Laura Brod!” starts getting some publicity, you can climb up on the tall horse of principle and say “These people are members in good standing of our big, big, big tent party!”

But until they do, just hush.   Our party – our party – did just fine this cycle without a bunch of people who once called themselves “republicans” but governed like Democrats.

Look – there’s a case to be made that the party shouldn’t be in the retribution business – and a better one, I think, that the party has every right to protect its own brand from being undercut by its former elected officials.  The GOP owns its own brand – not the DFL, and not Lori Sturdevant.

In an excellent piece over the weekend, Craig Westover also hits the “Brand Defense” angle:

Those rebuked by the Minnesota GOP were of value to the Horner campaign primarily because of their one-time endorsement by the Republican Party of Minnesota. They were sought out and welcomed by the Horner campaign because of the Republican brand. Their coming out for Horner was headlined by the Republican brand. What made the story significant was the Republican brand. What the Minnesota GOP has the obligation to protect is the Republican brand…

…A “Progressive Republican” is nothing more than a Progressive who used to be a Republican. The action by the GOP State Central Committee banning Horner supporters from participating in Republican Party activities simply makes them honest souls by wedding them to their actions.

There’s a case to be made that the party should “reach out” to “moderates”, and find a place for them in the party.  There’s a better case to be made that that outreach needs to be met halfway; not by supporting a DFL-lite hamster like Horner for governor against the endorsed candidate, and that the party doesn’t need to tolerate former members dusting off their old titles and waving them against the party.

How Emmer Wins The Recount

I’m going to depart from my usual impeccably high standards to indulge in a little pure speculation.

How could Emmer win the recount?

It’s worth asking – largely because the Dayton Campaign and the media keep repeating so long, loud and stridently that it’s not.  Dayton ran a purely vaporous campaign of absolutely no substance – but he spent three times as much as Tom Emmer did to do it.   The main underlying message of the entire campaign was “Dayton Is Inevitable, Resistance Is Futile”.   We saw how that turned out; an 8,000 vote margin, around four tens of a percent.  The campaign is continuing, of course, with the DFL calling in its markers with the media to take up the chant that “Dayton Is Inevitable!”.

And his odds look prettty good, naturally. 

But it’s by no means airtight.

Here’s one way it ends with an Emmer win.

There were about 2.1 million votes cast for Governor this year, with Dayton getting about 919,000 and Emmer getting 910,000 along with about 250,000 throwaway votes (I’m looking at you, “Independence” Party).

In 2008,  the Minnesota Majority claimed that there were over 40,000 “overvotes” in Minnesota.  Secretary of State Ritchie responded in his department’s defense that the figure was closer to 30.000, although he really wasn’t very sure.

That’s means there were a little over one percent more ballots than signatures at polling stations.

Let’s say that we had about the same number this year; let’s take  Ritchie at his word, and call it 30,000 votes.

Let’s say the overvotes were concentrated in Hennepin, Ramsey and Saint Louis counties.  For purposes of rough, hypothetical numbers, let’s say virtually all of them did. 

If the reconcilation process goes as it’s supposed to, then precincts with overvotes will be required to remove random ballots from the stack until the number of ballots gets down to the number of signatures.

For purposes of roughing out some numbers, let’s say that 10% of the randomly-selected votes are for throwaway candidates.  That leaves about 27,000 votes. 

Dayton won Hennepin, Ramsey and Saint Louis counties by nearly a 2:1 margin.   Let’s say that ratio holds among the votes discarded during reconciliation.  That means Dayton loses 18,000 votes, and Emmer loses about 9,000. 

Which gives Emmer a margin of victory of just under 1,000 votes, before we get into dealing with undercounted military absentee ballots.

Within the realm of possibility?  We shall see.

Chanting Points Memo: Balancing The Books

As we speak, the MNGOP is announcing that it plans to seek “reconciliation” of the state’s vote totals before the recount begins.

The DFL is going to spread a lot of, frankly, BS about this process.  Here are the facts.  For starters…:

It’s The Law: The DFL is going to portray this to the uniformed (which the media will do their best to ensure the entire state is) as a wholesale disenfranchisement of voters.

The simple fact is, it is the law.

Under Minnesota law, the vote totals and the total number of actual, identified voters – the registered voters that signed in at the polling station – are supposed to be “reconciled”, or  shown to be equal, by about six weeks after the election.  The deadline this year is December 15.

Naturally, Mark Ritchie has bobbled that job as badly as he has every other facet of his job as Secretary of State and chief executive of our election system.  In 2008, it took close to eight months for the reconciliation process to happen.

Which has potentially dire consequences, if you want a clean, accurate recount of an election.

We’ll come back to that.

How Reconciliation Works:  If  your precinct had 100 voters sign in, and there are 110 ballots, then ten ballots are picked out at random and discarded.

Really.  That’s the state law.

Now, you might say “but that disenfranchises the ten voters that got picked out of the pile”.  And there’s something to that.  But by another token the ten extra votes disenfranchise ten voters in and of themselves; if it happened through fraud, then ten legitimate voters were negated; if through administrative incompetence (because precinct election staff don’t know how to do simple things like tally numbers or test ballot-counters before the election), then those ten ballots are equally disenfranchised, not by decree of Tony Sutton or Tom Emmer, but under state law.

Stupid?  Maybe.  We’ll come back to that later.

So why bother?  Because there very well may be…

More Votes Than People: In 2008, the Minnesota Majority claimed that there were about 40,000 more votes cast than there were identified, signed-in voters in Minnesota.   Mark Ritchie – Minnesota’s Secretary of State – said in effect “No, no no!” – it was only somewhere under 30,000 votes.

That’s right.  Even Mark Ritchie, the chief executive of our electoral system, admitted that that out of a little over 2.75 million voters, there were nearly 30,000 more votes cast than there were identified, signed-in voters.  That’s a little over a percent of the entire voting pool.  Over one in a hundred.

That’s over double the margin between the candidates in this year’s governor race.

That’s an awful lot of votes that, at first glance – via incompetence or fraud, and it really doesn’t matter which at this point – seem to have no connection with real, signed-in humans that showed up at the polls.

By Minnesota law, this needs to be taken care of.  And it needs to be done before any recount takes place, to make sure that we’re dealing with real numbers, not inflated/mistake-driven/fraudulent ones.

Let’s make sure we re-iterate two things here:

  1. Discrepancies may or may not be fraud, and it really doesn’t matter what the cause is, because…
  2. Reconciliation is a legal requirement, regardless.

Are there more votes than identified, actual voters?  We don’t know yet.  And before we recount the votes for the office of this state’s chief executive, we need to find out.

If there is a surplus of voters, is it fraud? We don’t know – and in a sense, it’s irrelevant to the question.  Reconciliation is not a legal tactic; it is the law.

But the recount effort – led by former Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnusson – has noticed that there seems to be an…

Odd Pattern: There appear to be quite a number of precincts – concentrated in Hennepin, Ramsey and St. Louis Counties – where Tom Emmer grossly underperformed the rest of the GOP ticket, and Mark Dayton significantly overperformed the rest of the DFL’s floundering line-up.

There also are reportedly a very large number of ballots listing nobody but Mark Dayton.  As in someone went in to the polls, registered, stood in line…and filled in only Mark Dayton.  Nobody else.

So the law calls for reconciliation.  Let’s reconcile!

“What a stupid system!”: Perhaps, but you don’t get to pick and choose the laws you want to follow (unless you have really good lawyers and your opposition doesn’t; see OJ Simpson.  Or if you fight a legal battle with furious intensity and your opponent does not; see Al Franken vs. Norm Coleman).

Don’t like the law?  Change it.  Better yet, replace it – with a photo ID system by which poll staff can match real voters with real registrations.  And get rid of vouching, and maybe same-day registration.  Why shouldn’t voting, the  most important of our civil rights, be reserved for those who pay enough attention to voting to actually register in advance?

But that’s a discussion for another day.

News Conference

Mitch Berg is arriving for his press conference.  He takes his place behind the podium.  The press bustle forward to get the best spots in front of the podium.

Berg waves his hands, and the press gradually quiet down.

BERG: OK, for starters; everyone knows Tom Emmer has won the election, and that his inauguration is inevitable.  And so, while the election did fall within the statutory limit requiring a recount of the vote, as required by Minnesota State Law, I urge the DFL and the Dayton campaign not to interfere with the obvious inevitability of Emmer’s victory by pursuing the process that is legally mandated and out of their control anyway.

Furthermore, when the inevitable happens at the end of this mandatory process that the DFL should not pursue anyway, I urge Mark Dayton and the DFL from restraining their lawyers from filing stupid lawsuits, regardless of whatever grounds they say they may have, for a Better Minnesota. 

We especially urge the Dayton campaign to refrain from filing lawsuits over so-called “irregularities” or “fraud” in the process.  Everybody knows we have the best electoral system in the world, so it’s a moot point.

And when all those lawsuits are dismissed, I implore the DFL not to sic throngs of SEIU goons on Republican recount watchers, offices and the homes of GOP activists in revenge for their inevitable loss. 

I will now take questions.

ERIK BLACK: Er, Mitch?  Why are you calling Emmer’s victory “inevitable”? 

BERG: Because it is, and has always been.  Next?

RACHEL STASSEN-BERGER: Er, has there been any indication whatsoever from the Dayton campaign that they plan on filing frivolous lawsuits simply to pointlessly extend the recount process and delay the transfer of power?

BERG: You just report what I say, OK?  Next question.

TOM SCHECK: Er, this bit about “not raising objections over irregularities” – that is their legal right as part of this process…

BERG: Right, but it will only detract from the inevitability of Emmer’s victory.   It’s stupid, and just between the two of us, it’s a sign that they hate children.  Next?

TIM PUGMIRE: This reference to SEIU goons – where does that come from?

BERG: Look, I’m not saying that they will sic goons or lawyers on anyone.  Not at all.  You have the context all wrong.  I’m just saying that when they inevitably lose the recount and Governor Emmer is inevitably inaugurated – as every sensible person who doesn’t secretly yearn for child porn can say will happen, once this pointless yet legally-mandated recount is over – it’d be very bad for a party to sic hordes of union goons on those they disagree with.

MARTY OWINGS: But Mitch – nobody’s talking about siccing goons on anyone.

BERG: I’m just asking questions.

PAT KESSLER: That wasn’t a question.  That was  a statement.  You told the DFL to refrain from siccing goons on people if they lose the recount.

BERG: Well, that’s just common sense.  You want a good state, and  you believe in democracy?  Ixnay on the goons!

Final question?

BILL SALISBURY:   So to sum it up, you’re asking the DFL and Dayton to refrain from doing things they never said they were going to do in the first place, and decline to do things that are obligations that are out of their hands according to Minnesota law. 

BERG: Yep.  That, and not kill people for revenge when Tom Emmer’s inevitable inauguration takes place.  Thanks!

Berg leaves the stage, as Brian Melendez silently takes notes in the back of the room.

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:

Top Five Reasons Emmer Should Be Governor – #1: It’s The Hope

I moved to Minnesota 25 years ago.

I moved here because my home state, North Dakota, was mired in an epic farm depression – and even in the best of times, the job market for a guy with a BA in English and a drive to be a writer was dodgy.

I moved to find opportunity.  I worked my ass off, and eventually found it.

But I look at the Minnesota that a forty-year near-monopoly stranglehold of DFL control has had left behind – but for a few hopeful years in the past decade – and wonder “would I move here if I were getting out of college today?”

And “will my kids have any reason to stay here?”

Eight years ago, I might have said “absolutely’!” without reservation.  Sane adults were taking over.  Even Saint Paul had been run for quite some time by guys – Norm Coleman and Randy Kelly – who could focus on what mattered, at least by Saint Paul DFL standards.

But Minnesota’s sliding backwards.  Businesses are leaving.  And Mark Dayton’s entire goal is to make sure goverment wants for absolutely nothing.

It’s a recipe for decay, decline, and failure.  Ask the Greeks.  Ask California and New York.

It reminds me of the years not long before I moved to Minnesota.  The Carter years – the years of malaise and hopelessness.

What would America have given, in retrospect, to have avoided the years of malaise? Of hopelessness?  Of that feeling that we were rolling downhill like the proverbial snowball headed for hell?

We found our redemption, of course – in Reagan, in a way, but in a larger sense in rediscovering part of our nation’s soul.

So what will Minnesota choose?  Lining up like dutiful oxen to drag the wagon of government forward, groaning and creaking as the driver cracks the whip ever louder as the going gets tougher?

Or will it choose to again become the place that drew my great-grandparents from the old country, over 100 years ago – a place of opportunity, of untapped potential?  The place that spawned my paternal grandparents, where gumption and will and hard, hard work could lead one to a better place (even if that place was North Dakota, for a few generations?)  The place that has the potential to be for our kids what it was for me?

Mark Dayton is the candidate of stagnation.  Of decay and decline.  He is the driver on that oxcart.  He wants you to be good, compliant, oxen – happy to drag your days away for a Better Minnesota.

Tomorrow is your chance to choose better.

To choose growth over decay.

To choose the American, and Minnesotan, spirit over the soulless miasma of the bureaucracy.

To choose the spark of personal initiative, creativity and soul over the deadening hand of Big Mother Government.

To choose freedom, prosperity and happiness over lumpen gray satiation.

Vote Emmer.

Previous Reasons Emmer Should Be Governor

#2: Moving Minnesota Forward

#3: You And I

#4: Playing To Our Strengths

#5: The Overhaul

Top Five Reasons Emmer Should Be Governor – #3: The Overhaul

Who does government work for?

If you said “us”, either you aren’t from Minnesota, or you are hopelessly naive.

For the past forty years in Minnesota, the state budget has grown, consistently, vastly faster than inflation.  Not just a little faster, but much, much, much, much faster.

No matter who was in charge – DFLers or, until recently, the equally-liberal “Republicans” like Arne Carlson – the budget grew, year in and year out, usually by double digits.

Worse, during the good times our productivity was taxed to excess, giving even more of the results of our labor and creativity to the government than it thought it was going to get.  And the government, rather than giving it back from whence it came, decided to find still more things to spend that money on, “obligating” us to keep that spending going full-steam when times got tighter.

Minnesota has been on a treadmill designed to ensure that government gets what it needs – and wants – first and foremost, for the past forty years.

And there is no way we can keep it going.  If Minnesota adopts the budget that the DFL and the state’s machinery demands – a 20% increase over the previous biennium – it will be followed in the next biennium by another 10-20% increase, and then another, and then another, until by the time our children have to try to run things our entire state economy will exist, one way or another, to feed government.


Of course.  Because no economy can sustain that kind of growth.  The market will collapse, as it did in Greece, and as it is in California.  The private sector will go Galt, as indeed Minnesota corporations are starting to do now – keeping their corporate headquarters here, for now, but moving service and manufacturing and even engineering jobs to Wisconsin, the Dakotas, Mississippi, and India because Minnesota is too damn expensive.

There is one candidate who will get in front of this trend, stand astride it, and yell “Stop” – whose vision involves stopping the train not only before it drives off the cliff, but turning it around and changing the way this state operations – with zero-based budgeting, with a rational appraisal of what government should be doing, with a focus on what really makes Minnesota great – Minnesotans, with their infinite motivation and creativity, working in their enlightened self-interest, backstopped with their voluntary, communitarian spirit.

Once upon a time, Ronald Reagan said America faced A Time for Choosing.

Minnesota is in the same place today as we were 46, and 30, years ago. It is a time for choosing.  Freedom and prosperity?  Or mediocrity and serfdom to the soulless bureaucracy?

Choose freedom.  Vote Emmer.

Previous Reasons Emmer Should Be Governor

#4: Buck The Narrative

#5:  Our Better Nature

Top Five Reasons Dayton Should Not Be Governor – #3: Unexamined

There are so many unanswered questions about Mark Dayton.

Now, if we had an institution in our state whose job it was to ask tough questions of those who would tax our earnings and spend our money and run the free association of equals that We The People call our government – say, a big organization with a long tradition of asking questions, with Codes of Ethics and printing presses and TV and radio transmitters, for example – perhaps some of these questions might have been asked or, at the very least, asked consistently and clearly after, say Labor Day, when the vast majority of non-political junkies tune in to the subject of politics.

But we apparently have no such institutions in Minnesota.  So nobody was able to ask…

  • Why did Mark Dayton quit his teaching job in mid-year, after working about 1/3 of the time a real teacher would have? And let’s be clear -0 when I say “nobody” was able to ask, I mean Sheila Kihne, housewife and mom and blogger, asked.  She asked questions about Dayton’s resume, his education, and his many breaks from his rigorous teaching schedule in NYC to participate in protest rallies in the Twin Cities.  The rest of the media?  Not quite so much.
  • Who Is Financing All Those Attack Ads: It was all right there in plain sight; “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” the group behind most of Mark Dayton’s attack ads, was financed largely by friends of Mark Dayton, and Mark Dayton himself.  Curious?  It was, briefly, to Tom Scheck of MPR, who was nearly alone among the Twin Cities media in covering ABM’s background at all, and even that long before the vast majority of Minnesotans cared.
  • How About All That Erratic Behavior?:  Emmer’s two “DUIs” – actually “Careless Driving” convictions in 1980 and 1990 – received slavering coverage.  But Dayton’s apparently meltdown in office, culminating in his departure from the 2006 Senate campaign, apparently weren’t something the public had a “right to know”.  Not even given reports that he’d had alcoholic relapses in office and at least once since leaving office.  And rumors of his battle with mental illness continue to go unexamined, except via the most collegial sort of questions from the media – and again, this started and ended long before the voting public really started caring about this campaign, so even the tiny wedges of perfunctory coverage – a Rachel Stassen-Berger/Baird Helgeson piece that ran on the Sunday after Christmas of last year – if not the least-read news weekend of the year, certainly a contender.  Given that this is the extent of any recent coverage in Minnesota’s “newspaper of record”, it’d be charitable to say the Strib “buried” the story by giving it the most ludicrous possible minimum exposure possible while actually writing anything at all.
  • Dayton’s serial budget shortfalls: The Twin Cities’ media questioned Dayton about the serial shortcomings in his various budget plans in only the most cursory, perfunctory way possible.  There were certainly questions – I’ve had a couple dozen myself, and I’m just a lowly blogger.  And yet the questions about Dayton’s plans – the racist gutting of charter schools, the illlusory reliance on halving state contractors for $425 million of savings that can not be realized, the simple fact that the entire plan is dead on arrival at the new, likely much-more-conservative legislature none of these questions got any serious examination from a Twin Cities media that seems more intent on breaking the DFL’s generation long losing streak than in the public’s “right to know” any but the most cursory, trivial and meaningless factoids about Dayton’s plan.

If you were a banker, and Dayton sat before you peddling his record as collateral for a loan, you’d tell him to come back in a year when he’d built up some decent credit.

He shouldn’t get to build that credit on our time and with our money.

Previous Reasons Dayton Should Not Be Governor

Top Five Reasons Emmer Should Be Governor – #4: Buck The Narrative

There are two duelling narratives at work in the Minnesota gubernatorial election this year.

One of them is a huge, national narrative; the immense, perhaps unprecedented in 65-100 years, backlash against the currently-absolutely-ruling party.  Conservatism is, by most rational accounts, about to deal a thrashing to liberalism that’ll make the 1994 election look like a flip of the Scott County Soil and Water district‘s power structure.  Whatever it is.  The point being, the “Narrative” is that the GOP wave rolls and breaks, sweeping away liberal politicians from coast to coast.  The left fears the wave; when you have liberal Democrats backing and filling and trying to portray themselves as conservatives and telling a sitting president two years off the biggest electoral mandate in decades to “shove it“, and even the likes of Lori Sturdevant are filling their sandbags (didja know Larry Pogemiller has grown more conservative?  Lori says so!), there’s a narrative out there.  And of course, the counter-narrative, from the DFL and the media (pardon, as always, the redundancy, and it’ll be a joy to be done with this campaign if only so I can retire that particular phrase for the next 18 months or so), is that Minnesota is the state that always bucks that trend; we voted against Reagan in ’84! (for a native son, at a time when our GOP was indistinguishable from the DFL).  The narrative says that conservatives, usually Republican, are going to win and win big.

The counternarrative, being pushed by the DFL and their BFFs in the regional media?  The hope that they can manufacture some change in one of the DFL’s greatest frustrations; the Chicago-Cubs-like inability to win the big prize, the governor’s office.  The DFL hasn’t had an elected governor in a generation, since 1986, when Rudy Perpich slouched into his last, ludicrous term (Jesse Ventura doesn’t count, even though he fronted the DFL-lite “Independence Party”, and his policy strings were pulled by “moderate” DFLers Tim Penny and Dean Barkley, and since he had no party representation in the Legislature he had to spend his entire term spooning with Roger Moe to get anything done, and essentially governed as an insane man who, paradoxically, was sane for a DFLer).  The press’ desire for change in the governor’s office – for a DFLer, any DFLer, even an ersatz one like Tom Horner – is almost physically palpable.  And it reminds one of the old parable of the frogs who wished for a king, and were sent a stork.  Storks eat frogs, lest the irony escape you.

The media, for all their caterwauling about reporting what actually happens, loves narratives.  It satisfies the human desire to bring order and pattern to chaos (not to mention putting their party in control, with an aim toward redistricting Michele Bachmann out of Congress, since those stupid voters keep refusing to do it for them).

Screw the narratives.

Minnesota needs not only a leader, but a leader whose goal and mission is to break with the bigger, longer, more debilitating narrative that’s driven this state for far, far too long – that Minnesota is a big-government, big-“service”, big expense state.  It was a model that arguably worked a few decades ago, when our economy and our world were very, very different places that were a lot more forgiving of wholesale patronage and gross inefficiency.  More on that in tomorrow’s installment of this series.

Minnesota needs a new narrative – one that we, The People, write as we go, through our own merits and drive and energy and determination.  Not one written at 4225 Portland, or on Plato Boulevard, or on Times Square.

We can elect Mark Dayton, and keep on acting in someone else’s story – the same story we’ve lived through before.  The same story that’s reaching its miserable denouement in California, and Massachusetts, and Illinois – leaving They, The People, broke and out of work and picked clean by the taxman.

Or you can write a new narrative – our narrative – starting on November 3, if Tom Emmer is elected.

I’m making my choice, of course.

Previous Reasons Emmer Should Be Governor

#5:  Our Better Nature

Top Five Reasons Dayton Should Not Be Governor – #4: Fool Us Three Times…

F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that Americans hate second acts.

It’s baloney, of course, Americans love a good comeback story.  Our history is crowded with ’em; Grover Cleveland’s second term; William Howard Taft’s service on the Supreme court; Richard Nixon (who perhaps should not have had his second act); Ronald Reagan himself, whose career spanned several different iterations.

But as George Patton said, Americans hate a loser.

And while God no doubt loves Mark Dayton, it’s quite clear that if we, the people of Minnesota, were a bank, and Mark Dayton were coming to us for a loan, and his collateral were his record in office, we would turn him down.

Dayton’s record doesn’t even qualify as “checkered”; it’s just plain bad.

Leave aside his questionable record as a New York City high school teacher – during which he taught about 1/3 of the working days during his tenure, and left in mid-year.  Let’s look at his political record:

  • State Auditor: Dayton was, at best, an undistinguished State Auditor.
  • Economic Development Director: Dayton shuffled through two years as the state’s Economic Development Director.  And then, with another recession on the way, he quit – as related by his boss Rudy Perpich’s son in a brutal Strib Op-Ed, to safeguard his own political future.
  • The Bumbler: His term as Senator was the stuff of comedy legend, almost like an out-take from the old TV series Benson.  When even the ultra-liberal Time calls a Democrat “America’s Worst Senator”, it’s time to sit up and take notice.  And – her’e’s the important part – learn from experience.

Dayton is a dissipate playboy who regards politics as a hobby.  If you had a kid who messed up this much, would you give him not only another toy, but a bigger, more expensive one?

Of course not.

Minnesota deserves better.

Previous Reasons Dayton Should Not Be Governor

#5: We Are Better Than This

Top Five Reasons Emmer Should Be Governor – #5: Our Better Natures

What are Minnesotans’ great strengths?

We have so many; we’re resourceful (who else could live in such a cold place)?  We’re smart – our test scores show it (although North Dakotans would seem to be smarter, by that measure); we’re communitarian, even without the heavy hand of government to drag it out of us.

We’re self-starters; we’ve created things as varied as sandpaper and the artificial heart; the homing torpedo and instant cake mix; the supercomputer and solid dish soap…

…and while government has had its role in many of those achievements, Minnesotans should stand up and take credit where it’s due; government at the very best merely got out of the way.

But look at Mark Dayton’s entire campaign.  Everything about it reads like a return to the 1970’s, from the goals – resurrecting and perpetuating programs like Local Government Aid – through the “eat the rich” language.

Just as our companies, and our families, have had to change to meet the challenges that happen as times change, so must our government.

There is one candidate that will make government adapt to the same changing times we all face.

Tom Emmer has run a campaign that has not only focused on the positive – he even chided Ed Morrissey and I for calling Dayton “the opposition”, a stark contrast to the deeply, cravenly slimy campaign that Dayton has run – but looks to the best of Minnesota’s character.  His budget doesn’t scapegoat classes; it calls for some shared sacrifice on the way to a much, much better goal.  Mark Dayton’s campaign appoints others to be “Happy To Pay For A Better Minnesota”; Emmer puts the onus on all of us – and presents us all with the opportunity, not only to escape California/Greek/New York style stagnation and bankruptcy, but to share in honestly-earned rewards.

Tom Emmer has run a principled campaign; he presents the state with a tenable plan to balance its budget while taking care of the people who need taking care of, and asking a little more out of those who don’t – like city governments.

He appeals to Minnesotans’ better natures – our strength, our communitarian spirit, our intelligence, our vision.  Not our passive-aggressive venality.

It’s just one of the reasons I’m voting for Emmer.  But it’s an important one.

Four more to go before Monday.  Stay tuned.

The HHH And The DFL Get Out The Vote Effort

Another MPR/HHH Poll. Another lopsided sample.  Another improbably huge Dayton lead.

Another day in a city where the media and academy actively work with the dominant political party to maintain control.

According the poll, which has a margin or sampling error between 3.6 percent and 5.5 percent and surveyed 751 likely voters, Dayton had support from 41 percent of those voters, Republican Tom Emmer had support from 29 percent and Independence Party’s Tom Horner had 11 percent.

Blah blah blah.

Rachel Stassen-Berger did manage to put this rather key fact in paragraph three, rather than buried under the fold as in most coverage of these DFL morale-builders (emphasis added):

The poll’s sample includes 45 percent Democrats, 38 percent Republicans and 16 percent independents. The percentages for both the Democrats and the Republicans are higher than recent Star Tribune Minnesota Polls, which had a sample that included roughly a third of voters in each category.

I’m not saying there’s collusion between the HHH (although Emmer would cut higher ed funding), MPR (whose state subsidy Emmer favors cutting) and the Star/Tribune (which has been audibly slavering for a DFL governor) to try to get out DFL votes.

But if they were colluding, I’m not sure how these polls would be any differnet, or differently-timed.

Lists Everywhere

Over the next five days I’m going to run three lists.

  • The Top Five Reasons Mark Dayton Should Not Be Governor – I’ll be running them one per day between now and Monday.
  • The Top Five Reasons Tom Emme Should Be Governor – One a day til Monday, except I may take Sunday off and double ’em up on Monday.
  • And finally, my traditional Top 100 Reasons I’m Voting For Tom Emmer on Tuesday morning, as we all get up and head to the polls.

They’ll pretty much sum up the past six months on this blog.

Stay tuned.

Hatch And Swanson: Peas In An Authoritarian Pod

If you haven’t watched Chris Barden – GOP candidate for Attorney General – and his indictment of Attorney General Swanson and the man who pretty much pulls her strings, Mike Hatch, watch this:

The stuff about using staff to file grandstanding lawsuits that publicized his office but played fast and loose with the law?  We’ve run into this on this blog before; back in 2003, I wrote a five part series on one of these suits, on Hatch’s watch, against “American Bankers”, a Florida company that ran afoul of state regulators.  It was one of Hatch’s sleazier moments – and that of the media, too.

Part 1 – During the closing days of the Ventura Administration, the state Commerce Department, under Jim Bernstein, a former DFLer and radical anti-business commissioner, reaches a settlement as part of a multi-state action.  And then American Bankers backs out.

Part 2 – American Bankers sends a check to the Minnesota GOP – coordinated by a DFL rainmaker with a long, cordial relationship with Hatch – which was illegal at the time.  An automatic “thank you” letter goes out…

Part 3 – …which Hatch uses to ambush Pawlenty’s commerce commissioner, to push for an illegal diversion of settlement money to a Hatch-controlled charity.

Part 4 – Hatch springs one of his pet reporters on the MNGOP, creates a canned controversy.

Part 5 – The lack of media attention to the unravelling of Hatch’s story, back in 2003.

Watch the video.  Read the five part report.

Tell a neighbor; Lori Swanson’s gotta go.


Chanting Points Memo: Numbers

The DFL’s been trying to make a lot out of the last few polls released on the Minnesota Gubernatorial race.  Most of them show Dayton leading Emmer by one margin or another – from the tight to the ludicrous.

Ed and I were discussing the polls on our show over the weekend, and we noticed something.

Look at the likely voter percentages in the last few “major” polls”

  • Strib/”Minnesota” Poll – D+4 (meaning they figure that Democrats will make up four percent more of the electorate than Republicans on election day.
  • Rasmussen Poll: D+5

Now, this is a function of how these polls determine “likely voters”.  This formula varies among polling services, but – since it’s a form of science, however imprecise – is hypothetically based on some kind of math, derived from experience.

And what has “experience” been in Minnesota, especially recently?

In the 2008 election, Minnesotans’ spread was D+4.

In other words, Democrats made up 4% more of the electorate than Republicans did.

The pollsters are honestly suggesting that Democrats are going to turn out in the same number as in the Democrat landslide of 2008?

Or that Independents are going to break the same way they did two and four years ago?