Monday, October 31, 2005
Minneapolis Mayoral Debate
Rybak came off as a much more fluid, responsive human being on the podium. Having not watched their past public skirmishes, I don't know if this was a unique event, but McLaughlin did not appear comfortable physically or verbally. For all his fire-and-brimstone about the safety of Minneapolis's streets, Mr. McLaughlin did not offer a concrete alternative to Mr. Rybak's policies or performance, instead relying on the "this administration hasn't done enough" argument. Although I've heard quite a bit of support for Mr. McLaughlin among some DFL activists in the city, I don't think he's done a good enough job outlining not just how Rybak has failed, but how he would do better. There's an important distinction between those two.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Captain's Quarters on CNN
Note both to conservative talking-point parroters and to Democrats - When it comes to judicial nominations, "Originalist" does not mean "true to the intent of the Constitution." The Founding Fathers didn't know about abortion, they didn't know about stem cells, they didn't know about evolution, they didn't know about Social Security, they didn't know about terrorism.
To lift a line from With Honors, spoken by Joe Pesci, the genius of the Constitution was that it can change to fit the times. The Founding Fathers were smart enough to realize that their children, and their children, and their children, would face challenges those in the 1780s hadn't even thought of, and would need a national order flexible enough to meet them head-on, without having to refer to "the originalist view" of the Constitution.
No, in modern terms, "Originalist" means "because the Constitution says nothing which specifically allows abortion, it should be illegal, whatever the majority of the country believes about the act of abortion as a necessary evil, and its performance by a doctor under sterile conditions being vastly superior to unscrupulous criminals in back alleys with coat hangers." "Originalist" means "the Founding Fathers didn't foresee Social Security, so it should be dismantled." And that is absolute crap, from start to finish. Times change, and so must our laws. If we refuse to do so - because of fear of change, because of personal bias, for any reason - we risk fading into the mists of history like the great powers upon whose shoulders we have built our global influence and cultural power.
So, while it was cool to see a local blogger on national TV, it was noticeable that he spouted the same GOP talking points that are in use in the federal government. These points are wrong, and they are misleading. By the GOP's definition of "activist judges" who "legislate from the bench," the fact is that the most activist judges on the Supreme Court are named Scalia and Thomas, not Breyer and Ginsburg.
Amazing what a little national coverage can do
So where do we go from here? Minnesota should be getting more play in the national lefty blogosphere. It's been said in this space before - we live in a traditionally blue state, a weak Republican incumbent in the Governor's office, an open Senate race, several constitutional offices currently held by Republicans, and a split legislature. This state needs national coverage.
And the blogosphere is a good place to get it. Much like Paul Hackett's close miss in the 70%-GOP-baseline Ohio 2nd, attracting attention from around the country is key to activating the grassroots in the state.
Keep up with Daily Kos (recent article covering Tim Pawlenty's "I'll be lucky to get re-elected" comment, over 100 comments). Swing State Project picked it up. MyDD covers the state from time to time. We have to make sure that the national guys know they have contacts on the ground here to pick up information, and let them know how important 2006 will be here, for Minnesota and the entire country.
Friday, October 28, 2005
St Paul Mayoral poll
I don't know that there's a proper word for that in political parlance. "Rout" just doesn't do it justice. "Blowout"? "Scorched-Earth"? I just don't know.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
I wonder what she's going to post on her blog about today :)
MN-AG - Entenza v. Johnson
[Update]: Good point by NorthStar Politics on the race. 40 years is a long time. As Reb Tevya said, "Tradition!"
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Lourey Gubernatorial Announcement Date?
I still find myself fascinated by Mike Hatch's alleged commitment to abide by the endorsement (on the condition that enough people show up to caucus). Though it might be a win-win proposition going into the state convention for Mr. Hatch given his out-clause, it's interesting given what we've seen and heard in local blogs - that a lot of his close supporters have shown up to events, but a lot of influential party regulars are conspicuous for their absence.
As always, more news as events warrant.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Idusogie on Hatch....
•Says calling a Special Session is not a yes or no proposition
•Will abide by endorsement process depending upon caucus turnout.
--Inside Minnesota Politics
Hmm. For one thing, I'm not sure how that copy+paste from Inside Minnesota Politics' email blast is going to affect the look of the page once I post, so be warned. For another.....has anyone noticed that the acronym is IMP?
Way too early to be in the office. Anyway.
Depending on caucus turnout? So this means that if every Democrat in the state goes to their caucus, Mr. Hatch will abide by the endorsement? Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle. With only a grain of intra-party partisan sentiment, there's already a candidate in the race who will abide by the endorsement no matter what because he believes a united DFL can bring business interests onboard to beat Tim Pawlenty.
In a related issue, to be fair to Bud Philbrook, he did what he wanted to do, and it simply didn't raise enough money. Staying away from large-dollar donations is a laudable goal, but with this many solid candidates in the race it was not going to get him anywhere. He had been getting his name and message out for a while before his announcement 20-some-odd days ago, it just didn't take hold for whatever reason. I believe Mr. Philbrook will continue to have a positive impact on the world through his non-profit organization.
Or he might pull a Kelly Doran and run for Senate. You never know in this game.
Monday, October 24, 2005
MN-Sen - A moment of levity
But Bud Philbrook has dropped out of the gubernatorial race. Surprised?
Call me MNGOPWatch's assistant...
One-line entries that are really just quick news updates do not a blog make. Really, really sad. Informal studies have been done on this issue, but the reality is that lefty bloggers, campaigns, and candidates are learning faster how to communicate effectively in cyberspace, and it's never been more evident.
In other news, I wonder when MDE will decide to refute his identification as Michael Brodkorb, former GOP staffer and head of Campaign for St. Paul's Future. Riddle me this - if the GOP claims to be "conservative" and "protective of long-held values," why is that organization so concerned with the future? Or is it just a catchy name for a regressive, backward-looking GOP front group?
Sunday, October 23, 2005
McCallum Article from MPR.org
However, from what I can read, it sounds like a piece of Mr. Hatch's well-worn stump speech - keep government open no matter what, put people above special interests. Laudable goals, but there are issues that have to be fleshed out here other than "Pawlenty Stinks". As I've said before, campaigning against an incumbent's past conduct in office is not going to move enough voters in the end game to win. As Sarah Janacek, a Republican analyst, correctly mentioned this morning on Almanac (couldn't get her name out correctly in the last post), Mike Hatch's greatest effect on this race will be to unite Republicans against him because of his lengthy history of going after business interests. The simple fact is that some businesses do good things and some do bad things, but as a political force they tend to stick together. Small business owners also tend to be more socially liberal but economically conservative than most Republicans.
What does this mean? We need a gubernatorial candidate who's not going to unite every small business owner in Minnesota against him. We need someone who can talk directly to SBOs and say "You deserve to do business, and I want to help you be successful for yourselves and your community, and Tim Pawlenty is your enemy in this regard." If Mike Hatch says that to the small business community, it's going to ring a little hollow when the GOP brings out the big guns on his record as Attorney General.
In short, I just can't bring myself to believe he can beat Tim Pawlenty, with or without the Minnesota Nurses' Association endorsement tomorrow.
Very good point made about Harriet Miers as well - the Republican woman on the panel tried to say that the Court has gotten too elite, but a response got through on that - it's NOT an argument. It's framing the opposition so that people will stop listening to them. There is no argument in favor of her serving on the Supreme Court.
Only problem I hear with Mike Erlandson's bit - it's Iraq. Pronounced "Ee-rahk". Not "Eye-rack". If Democrats are to put up a solid attack on Bush's policies in the Middle East, the least we can do is pronounce Arabic names correctly.
Other than that, a most enjoyable Sunday talk show session on TPT.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Another Hatch letter
You have to be a lover and a fighter in this game.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
As though we needed more proof
There is a question to ask here, however - why wait so long? If Mike Hatch announces back in August, then several other candidates disappear. Kelly Doran might have considered getting in, but Hatch's staff have ackowledged that an early announcement probably would have cleared the field a bit.
Mike Hatch may be one of the top candidates in the race. Not my favorite, but he certainly has name recognition and a state-wide organization. Why wait? The only thing this did was complicate the field for those already in the race.
It's wishful thinking, I know...But I would love to see a Kelley/Lourey ticket right now.
In other news, OBEY DORAN is in 2nd place in Kelly Doran's t-shirt slogan poll.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Google Fun Times
I guess we'll have an answer at the end of the week on whether or not Hatch is running for Governor. I wouldn't be surprised to see this "will he, won't he" moment brought to us by his supporters seeking to raise the profile of the worst-kept secret in MN politics. Still....a face-to-face with a very close Hatch advisor last week led me to believe that he is indeed going to run.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Weekend update: Special Session is dead
Now, let me get this straight. Pawlenty singles the DFL caucus out for not agreeing to a special session that Pawlenty passive-aggressively pushed, when in reality no one in the Legislature wanted a special session, not Steve Sviggum, not Erik Paulsen, no one. Perhaps one of Pawlenty's right-wing wonks had an idea that a special session would be a great wedge issue, and now that it's fizzling, they have to back off quick to make sure the Governor doesn't get caught holding the bag.
Pawlenty said he is still "willing to bring the Legislature back to St. Paul if legislators can reach agreement on a limited agenda and a number of days." Otherwise, he said, "they'll have to wait four and a half months until the next regular session."
Although Republican legislative leaders were the most decisive over the last week in opposing a special session, Republican Pawlenty in a written statement singled out the DFL Senate caucus for being "unwilling to commit to a special session to deal with a few timely and worthwhile issues."
Whatever the case, this is yet another data point in a long trend of Tim Pawlenty involving himself in partisan hackery that, frankly, the Governor of Minnesota should not be involved in. When push comes to shove, it's the Governor's job to find a middle ground so that the legislature doesn't get forced into a special session. It is NOT the Governor's job to throw budget proposals into the air four days before the end of session, necessitating the partial shutdown earlier this summer. Tim Pawlenty badly needs to be replaced with a DFLer who won't let House and Senate infighting get in the way of getting the job done.
While I believe Mike Hatch would be better than Tim Pawlenty at this, I strongly believe that Steve Kelley A.) Has no skeletons in his closet (see mikeunhatched.com for a small sample of what the GOP has in store for Mr. Hatch), and B.) is generally more palatable to moderates, especially in the business community, and thus would be the best choice for all involved - DFLers, moderate Republicans, and independents alike.
Since I'm no longer on Senator Kelley's campaign payroll, I get to say things like that :) Although my official capacity with the campaign has ended, I'll still be consulting on e-campaign operations, blogs, and various other things, so by all means, if you're interested in the campaign, you can still contact me and I can get you in touch with the right people. But money's money, and politics don't pay very well. Unless you work for Kelly Doran.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Daily Show Fans, eat your hearts out.....
I don't know who else was watching Lou Dobbs this afternoon, but it was perhaps the most savage, excoriating, brutally critical piece of (non-humorous) political news media I have ever seen.
It was fun to watch.
Lou Dobbs doesn't exactly strike me as a staunch liberal. I can remember many times he had somewhat scathing critiques of Clinton's White House. However, the fluidity with which he, in the space of 25 minutes today, criticized George W. Bush's administration on job creation and outsourcing, on Harriet Miers, on the snafu with Bush's scripted video-conference with troops in Iraq, on absolutely everything (!), was most impressive.
It's not that I'm looking for entertainment, but it really is entertaining to see a widely-respected, moderate news figure seeing the light and leveling a media-howitzer at Mr. Bush.
MN-Gov: Northern Debater gets in on the action
Is anyone else giddy at what they're seeing on CNN's political reports? Bill Frist under subpoena? Tom DeLay indicted? Karl Rove testifying? Just warms my heart. Now if only we can get Mark Kennedy to stop recycling three-year-old White House talking points and raising money for himself instead of depending on his sugar daddies to do it for him.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
MN-Gov - Hatch announcement
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
MN-Gov - GOP vs. Hatch
For those of you out there who aren't tech-savvy, this kind of sleuthing work isn't incredibly difficult, but usually yields interesting results. On the other side, it's not incredibly difficult to shield against this kind of sleuthing work, but most people, like the Minnesota GOP in this example, just don't bother.
It is interesting to note, however, that if this early copy of the site format is correct, one can only conclude that the GOP is ready and raring to go with attacks against Mike Hatch. Personal feelings about Mike Hatch's candidacy aside, things like this are indicative of the state of the Republican Party - why bother supporting your candidate when you can just attack an opponent?
Saturday, October 08, 2005
MN-Gov: Down with Doran
Mr. Doran sent out a letter recently, I'll try to get it scanned and posted within the next couple days if someone doesn't beat me to it (DFL Gov., I'm looking at you). It is by far the worst piece of political communication I have ever seen:
1. It includes a remittance envelope, in case the recipient would like to contribute money to a very wealthy candidate who decided very early in the process that he would spend as much money as he liked on the campaign. See also: Doran billboards. There is also no "ask" in the letter for money--just the envelope. Assuming your recipients want to give you money is no way to raise it.
2. In the body of the letter, Mr. Doran outlines a few of the things he sees as having gone wrong under the Pawlenty Administration:
"Property taxes are on the rise; every government fee imaginable has been increased; poverty is increasing......."Do you see what I see? Did he really just allow Tim Pawlenty to continue calling them fees? Let's get something straight, when the government charges you for services or goods rendered - IT'S CALLED A TAX.
"What I now realize is that I am best suited to achieve these goals as Governor of Minnesota. As the state's top executive, I would be in a better position to provide the leadership it takes to change the direction of our state......"
Say it with me - IT'S CALLED A TAX. The only reason we have a fee is because Tim Pawlenty made a deal with the Devil (in the person of Grover Norquist) that he wouldn't raise taxes for any reason, not even to pay for better schools, not even to pay for roads or public transportation or to make sure that 30,000 people didn't get kicked off their health care this past session. And you agree with that assessment, Mr. Doran?
Now, let me get one thing straight - by no means am I casting aspersions on Mr. Doran's claims to be a Democrat and to genuinely want to help those less fortunate than himself, but agreeing with a right-wing Republican's economic policies and language is tantamount to approving them. Running away from a knockout, grand-slam issue like taxation nomenclature is already a problem for many Democrats across the country, and it is the reason we are in the minority at the federal level everywhere we look.
At the local level, this speaks of a man who is not only politically inexperienced, but is putting his ambition ahead of the good of the people he wants to help. Business acumen does not equate with its political counterpart, and this letter indicates that Mr. Doran is seriously lacking in the latter. You want to get involved, fine. Run for mayor. Or State Rep. Or any of the other important governmental offices that require both community involvement and a solid financial base. But Governor is an office that is out of Mr. Doran's league. Be it Steve Kelley (hopefully), or Becky Lourey, or Mike Hatch, each and every one would be a better Democrat to face Pawlenty next year than Mr. Doran would. Obviously I'm biased within that group, but each of them knows better than to let Tim get away with calling taxes "fees."
Friday, October 07, 2005
Oh well, I'm over it. Just means I can't get http://www.mncr.org.....sigh.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
MN-Senate - Kennedy's numbers
The fact that the difference is insignificant in the long run of a tremendously important Senate campaign can be ignored, I suppose. But once a clear frontrunner on the DFL side is established and the major fundraising dollars start flowing their way, the fact that Kennedy couldn't equal DFL fundraising numbers even WITH the help of Dick Cheney, Tom DeLay, Bill Frist, and Laura Bush coming into town to help......things will not look good for Mr. Kennedy.
SD 43 Special
Actual Political Talk - MN-Gov
Now that he's running for Governor instead of U.S. Senate, we went back to Kelly Doran to talk about Minnesota issues. Just like Governor Tim Pawlenty, Doran is not in favor of the income tax hike Democrats proposed in the last legislative session. But to say Doran is against raising income taxes is wrong. Doran tells Inside Minnesota Politics what was wrong with the tax proposal and what he would support.Tough talk, but this excerpt speaks to me of inexperience. Puff up your chest, tell people the Governor will have to explain things to you, and you're inviting him to do exactly that - on his terms. You lose. I'm all for a strong candidate to face and defeat Pawlenty next year, but opposing tax increases that would make Minnesota's education funding system more solvent and more fair across the entire state and would affect only those who most certainly can afford to contribute to the general welfare.....not smart.
Opposing that particular income tax hike is one of the few things Doran has in common with Governor Pawlenty. Doran says there are some sharp differences. He believes in investing in infrastructure...and that includes education.
"The Governor is going to have to explain to me where we're 'throwing money away' at education."
Doran takes aim at Pawlenty's JobZ program, which Doran says is "JobZero" comparing it to subsidizing low-wage jobs at Walmart. He also faults Pawlenty for making a "massive transfer" in the tax burden toproperty taxes, which isn't fair to seniors on a fixed income.
If anyone has ideas on why the lighter background doesn't stretch all the way to the bottom of the content, by all means, let me know. In the meantime, I've been giving thought to joining Google AdSense, so there's a very slight chance we'll be seeing some sidebar or text ads here soon. Hope no one minds a whole ton, and that at least one or two folks will throw me a few pennies every now and then by actually clicking on them. A guy's gotta eat.
Ain't this the truth
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
MN-Gov - Kelly Doran's CM jumping ship?
This just in: Bush annoying...Conservatives?
The idea that Mr Bush's conservatism was a campaign feint, designed to motivate the "base" and avoid the electoral consequences that felled his father's re-election, is gaining some currency among some religious conservatives, who wonder whether they were hood-winked by his evangelical rhetoric.
"I have increasingly over time become dubious about Mr Bush's desire to materially alter the impact of Roe v Wade", said one leading religious conservative. "He has offered good rhetoric about every child to be welcomed as an abstract principle, but he has never come out and said it should be reversed.
"He has played the social conservatives like a violin. It is a faux pas by social conservatives that they have aligned themselves with the party and a personality in a way that was unhelpful. They have accepted rhetoric in lieu of results. The movement has a measure of accountability."
As I said above....tasty (for DFLers). This is an issue shared by Minnesota Republicans at the top levels of government on down - Tim Pawlenty made a blood pact with the Taxpayers' League, Mark Kennedy has pandered to social conservative groups for years - and for what? They have gone about their business holding the reins of power, giving tax handouts to corporate clients, supporting failed national economic policies, dropping the tax hammer on middle class property owners, and ignoring the wishes and goals of those who supported them and got them into office.
This, as I see it, is the main difference between DFL and GOP candidates as distinct groups in 2006. DFLers on state-wide and congressional ballots shouldn't have to pander to groups they will later ignore in order to get a few thousand more votes. DFL campaigns are right in line with the goals our candidates will pursue once in office. With a strong message and effective work in the field, DFL candidates from Tim Walz in the 1st CD to the many running for Governor and US Senate, can show voters that we are progressive and that progressive policies work for all Minnesotans.
Plus, at least we have the chutzpah to call a statewide fee charged on goods or services a tax.
What was he thinking, anyway?
Monday, October 03, 2005
Advice and Consent
Up or Down Vote
Their talking points make sense. Attack Democrats who will oppose Miers because she has a shorter track record than John Roberts and an even closer relationship with the inside of Bush's back pocket. Give her a fair up or down vote - of COURSE she's qualified! Some Democrats will do ANYTHING to stop Bush's agenda, they'll ATTACK ANYONE!
Well, frankly, if George W. Bush keeps trotting out campaign staffers with a law degree and ABSOLUTELY ZERO judicial experience, I not only hope, but expect that Democrats in the Senate will oppose them to their dying breath. John Roberts, frankly, was a reasonable nominee to the Supreme Court. He's conservative, yes, but if Democrats want a progressive on the court, we should win some elections.
Miers is absolutely and completely different. This woman isn't even a judge. She's an established partisan, necessarily just outside the mainstream of American politics. The only similarity with Sandra Day O'Connor is their shared gender.
So I put the question to everyone. Which is better: that Senate Democrats universally oppose unqualified shills serving in our federal court system, or that the GOP and their spokespersons in cyberspace universally support such partisan hacks as Harriet Miers? Ms. Miers deserves a filibuster.
So ends the periodic national-politics rant.
Maybe it won't be such a slow news day
[Update]: Woo Hoo! Looks like I scooped MDE :-P
Short Monday post
http://www.startribune.com/stories/587/5645421.html - good article about Democrats and veterans, and (basically) establishing that they're not distinct groups. The thing that really interests me is the spokesman for the NRCC who says that Democrats have neither ideas, nor good fundraising, nor good campaigns. I agree with the lack of one or two in some cases, but never are all three true. Besides, a GOP spokesman talking about "ideas" is an amusing thought as it is.
Hope everyone stays dry today.