Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Snubbed by MDE!
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Thoughts on LT-Gov
Kelley Campaign's response to MDE's "ethics issue"
The press advisory issued by the Kelley campaign this morning was sent on a personal computer by a volunteer who has never worked at the Senate. He did, however, create the document based on a sample press advisory from the Senate as a template, a document that was in no way produced by or for the campaign using taxpayer resources.Essentially, here's what happened: A Senate office press release was used as a template. The work performed on the campaign release was performed on a non-Senate-owned computer, and the document was written using a copy of Word not owned by the Senate either. Rather, the file itself was originally created using that copy of Word, and was completely erased and later filled in with totally new information. If you don't believe that explanation, you can reproduce it: Take any Word document, highlight any or all text therein, then hit DEL. The fact remains, however, that this is an extremely minor issue compared to the immensity of the issues that actually matter in the campaign.
I don't claim to be an expert on intellectual property law, but I'm fairly certain that this doesn't quite qualify as an "ethics violation" as MDE would like it. The full release on the issue will be sent out to my list of contacts in short order. Luckily for us all, the Kelley campaign will very shortly have its own blog up and running, so MDE will have a place to air these things out directly with the campaign. As for my blog, however, I respectfully ask that comments be left only by registered users rather than anonymous. See my recent post on MDE vs. IMP for more on that.
Monday, November 28, 2005
MDE vs. IMP and Welcome Back Cotter...
I suppose I should chime in on the recent legal trouble between Minnesota Democrat Exposer and Inside Minnesota Politics. Unfortunately for anyone looking for a tirade on the value of anonymous blogging, it won't be coming from me.
Don't get me wrong, I think that the gentlemen running Inside Minnesota Politics may have gone a little bit overboard and perhaps a bit partisan in their legal action against MDE.
But I think there's at least a half-reasonable explanation and defense of their actions, at least as far as the blogosphere goes.
Yes, Madison and his cohorts published under the now-famous pseudonym of "Publius." However, I think it's important for us to ask the following question: Did their contemporaries, especially in a free-speech system, really not know who they were? Publius's words were afforded credibility not because no one knew who Publius really was, but rather because the people who mattered knew exactly who Publius was.
The corrollary is this: Most MN-based bloggers provide commentary on articles and events and make it clear that their writing is opinion-only. MDE takes on a unique role in this community. However many of the rumors posted at MDE have turned out to be true or false, MDE themselves claims at the outset that they are facts. This requires credibility, something that does not automatically come with a personal-but-anonymous claim thereof.
Publius was writing with an educated opinion on pre-Constitutional law. MDE wears a reporter's hat but hides behind a veil. The two are not equivalent cases. I won't go so far as to jump on IMP's bandwagon, but I do think that MDE's credibility might improve if they offered their readers on both sides of the political spectrum an inkling of either their identity or their role in Minnesota politics, past or present. At least give readers the option of caveat emptor. and considering the source of their "exposures".
But I agree, a lawsuit might be overkill. Just not the Assault on Free Speech as We Know It that it's been made out to be recently.
MN-Gov - Hatch website oddities
How about this?
Was it the table of contents that caused you to click away, or was it the sheer length of these documents? The fact is that these documents are not campaign material. They're not even position papers - if you read them carefully, there is not one iota of what could reasonably be called "position" present in any of Mr. Hatch's purported position papers. Rather, these missives have the appearance of legal briefs, designed for use in the courtroom, but absolutely not equipped for use on the campaign trail. Simply put, the vast majority of engaged observers and voters will neither read nor understand what Mr. Hatch is talking about in these papers, since he's really not saying anything at all, but rather citing fact after bookish fact.
This is to say nothing of parts of http://www.hatch2006.org's issues with revealing VBscript in the page headers.
My work and support for one of Hatch's DFL opponents aside, he's going to have to let campaign decisions fall to his staff if he wants to have more success in online communications, and sharpen up the message more than a little bit. As his opponents improve upon their name recognition around the state, it's going to be increasingly difficult for Mike Hatch to depend on delegates' and voters' prior recognition of his record as his main appeal in the gubernatorial race.
I hope everyone had a safe, happy, and turkey-filled Thanksgiving weekend, and is looking forward to the holiday shopping season with gusto!
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Although the DCCC's information may be a bit out of date regarding Scotty Mortenson's recent withdrawal from the 6th CD race, the resource is a good one, and demonstrates something I've been saying for months:
We must have a strong challenger to Jim Ramstad in the 3rd.
Low turnout aside, Terri Bonoff's victory yesterday in SD43 shows that the 3rd Congressional District is trending DFL. A strong field and GOTV operation in conjunction with an aggressive fundraising plan (in contrast with Deborah Watts' 2004 operation) can unseat Ramstad and make Minnesota's congressional delegation as blue as the state itself is.
MN-Sen - Where has Patty gone?
SD43 Special Results: Bonoff wins
With 54.5% of the vote, Terri Bonoff will be the next State Senator from District 43. I had a chance to drop by the Bonoff campaign's phonebank operation last night, and Terri and her volunteers were going whole hog until the very last minute. Congratulations to Ms. Bonoff and best wishes for the next legislative session - it should be an interesting one.
In terms of analysis on the race, there are some interesting items to note and some that aren't so interesting. According to the Secretary of State's results, turnout was a hair under 21%, so a lot could change before next year's regular election when turnout triples or quadruples.
Now, I'm sure my colleagues on the Right in the blogosphere and local mainstream media will wave this result off, calling Bonoff's victory a result of low turnout...wait. I thought low turnout benefitted Republicans? What's going on here?
With the caveat of low turnout (and thus less statistical significance) it is of interest that Terri Bonoff did extremely well in Judy Johnson's hometown of Plymouth, beating the Mayor in five precincts, and holding her own in the other twelve. It helps that not a single precinct in Minnetonka went for Johnson. Very difficult to win elections when you can't get traction outside your hardcore base.
The conclusion I draw from this is that Plymouth seems (again, in a small sample) to be trending bluer and bluer along with the entire 3rd Congressional District. As population increases, social and community services become more and more important, and electorates will trend toward DFLers, who make their support for these services very public. Good signs all around for the DFL.
Now if only we can take that election two days after Christmas. Mr. Pawlenty's comments about the Republican Party being on the ropes will be the first raindrops in the barrel going into 2006.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
An aside on national issues
A slip of the tongue in conversation is a mistake. Twice, maybe it's a bad case of Tourette's. But when four reporters claim to have been told by high-ranking Bush Administration officials of Valerie Plame's identity, I have to wonder (here's that question I mentioned earlier): How many reporters did the White House try to tip off about Ms. Plame? Did they simply flip through their rolodex and call every journalist they knew, throwing classified data to the wind and hoping it landed in someone's column? How desperate was the Bush Administration to smear Joe Wilson and end his wife's career at the CIA? All for the sake of an evidentiary document that turned out to be a blatant forgery?
Just some thoughts on the matter.
Ford Bell on Universal Health Care
A good challenge to make: it puts his DFL opponents on the spot, and has the appearance of forcing them to either A) take Bell's stand, turning him into the leader, or B) look like they don't care about health care. In the current national climate, it also places him firmly against the entrenched Republican majority in Washington, most especially Senator I-just-had-a-hunch-my-stock-in-HCA-was-about-to-drop-so-I-sold-it Frist. Although I'm not a huge fan of trying to push politicians into making pledges of any sort, this looks like a shrewd political move on the part of Bell's campaign.
MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 21 / Newswire/ -- Ford Bell today again challenged candidates in the U.S. Senate race to "take the pledge" to introduce universal single-payer health insurance if elected. The DFL candidate promised at a candidate forum on November 19 to make it his first official act, and asked his rivals in the race to do the same. So far, none of them have. U.S.
"Health care costs should be the first priority for our next Senator, as they are for so many middle-class
Minnesotafamilies," said. "Too many are being forced to choose between medicine, food or heat, or are faced with losing all they have worked a lifetime for because a family member becomes ill. The time is now for Mark Kennedy, Amy Klobuchar and Patty Wetterling to join me in taking a stand, or to explain to Minnesotans why they won't." Bell
Bell, the former head of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation said that while the U.S. health care system works well at the top, millions of Americans have inadequate or no health insurance. "We spend more on health care per person than any other country, twice as much as
Canada, but we trail most of the developed world in life expectancy and infant mortality," said . Bell
He added "the problem is not that we don't spend enough, it is that too much of what we spend is either wasted or goes into the pockets of people like Bill Frist." Bill Frist, the Republican Senate majority leader, is a major shareholder in HCA, a for- profit hospital chain. "The for-profit health care system is broken, and it is hurting American business and the American people,"
Monday, November 21, 2005
Steve Kelley on Mass Transit
Good piece :-)
As noted on several local blogs recently, Senator Kelley will be starting a blog diary on MyDD tomorrow (Tuesday) evening. As an advisor, I'll be alongside for the ride, but it will most certainly be Steve shooting from the hip and responding to as many questions and threads as possible in the time we have. The initial diary post should kick off around 5:30 PM central. This is a great opportunity to meet a great candidate in html.
In other news, LloydLetta and NorthStar Politics have some differing but equally good thoughts on the Hatch campaign and the support Kelly Doran seems to be receiving from Iron Range legislators. Earlier in the campaign, I was under the impression that the Range would constitute a natural base for Mr. Hatch to draw from, but Doran's business connections seem to be helping his case in that area, at least among legislators.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Wow. Only in California, South Carolina, and New Jersey has there been as marked a decrease in Bush support among those who are supposed to be his faithful flock.
Perhaps this is what the national Republican Party has meant when they call Minnesota a "purple" state - that our Republicans tend to be moderate and don't put up with the level of manure-shoveling coming out of the national Republican establishment.
This is the kind of information our candidates need. As it should always be, 2006 will be decided not by who does a better job turning out their base (as in 2004), but rather by who can unite the interests of the entire electorate. Up and down the ballot, state-wide DFL candidates in Minnesota should be looking to unite the party (as our leaders in Congress have done recently) and really reaching out to disaffected moderate Republicans. Maps like those posted in that dKos diary prove that they're out there, waiting for DFL leaders to lead them.
More SD43 Goodness
Thursday, November 17, 2005
More on SD43 Special from MNPublius
In a not-at-all-related sidebar, note to the MN Department of Transportation - LAY OFF THE ROAD SALT!!! It does no one any good if it dries out the road, then cakes an inch thick on to our windshields. Similar traction can be obtained by using sand, without the visibility problems. This, of course, says nothing about that much salt leaching into the groundwater.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Becky Lourey's hat in the ring
Becky Lourey's official announcement brings a new aspect to the gubernatorial race. She is well-respected by many in DFL activist circles, and certainly provides a very different voice in the field.
This release from the Republican Party of Minnesota, however, rankles me.
"Becky Lourey's candidacy is a major setback for Mike Hatch and Kelly Doran. Unlike Mike Hatch and Kelly Doran, Becky Lourey is trusted and well liked by DFL activists who know she will not shift her positions when the political winds change.
"Mike Hatch and Kelly Doran will now have an enormously difficult time winning the DFL primary. To keep up with a steadfast liberal who follows in the tradition of Paul Wellstone, I fully expect Mike Hatch and Kelly Doran to run way to the left on issues like gay marriage, taxes and immigration in an attempt to woo liberal activists and DFL primary voters.
I'm quite sure Ron Carey knows, and has written talking points attacking each of the DFL candidates for governor. Why, then, does he use the phrase "Mike Hatch and Kelly Doran" THREE TIMES in place of "The other DFLers in the race"?
Color me partisan, but I see a long-term Republican Party strategy here.
1. Lean as much as you can on DFLers to push them toward the most liberal voice in the field, thus making it easier for your boss, Mr. Pawlenty, to get moderate votes in November 2006.
2. At all costs, ignore and keep out of the news any candidate you deem a threat.
You get my meaning. Mention everyone but Steve Kelley once, it's just a verbal mannerism. Twice, just repetition. But specifically leave his name out three times, and I'm suspicious that the Republican Party really sees the Senator as a significant threat next year. The DFL has to see through the Republican smoke and mirrors and nominate (and elect) the candidate who really can go out and get the moderate and small-business-owner votes in November.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Mark Kennedy? Independent? Upcoming Rant?
For him to be trailing not one, not two, but three Democrats this early in the race, only two of whom have strong name recognition, runs directly contrary to New Republic's claims of Mark Dayton's Senate seat "leaning Republican takeover". What will happen when Dick Cheney's approval rating stays low, as do the President's, and the heavy hitters from Washington aren't as welcome in Minnesota for those high-dollar fundraising dinners?
Minnesotans of all stripes are tired of hearing the same worn-out talking points from the Republican party, and they're tired of hearing every last political leader who doesn't agree with their bait-and-switch policies branded a liberal. Liberals believe in providing opportunities to the underprivileged, making sure our roads are kept intact, and making sure that families don't have to choose between keeping their home and keeping their health coverage (don't believe it happens? Think again). When did those things become evil?
And thus we come to the primary delusion of the Right. These wonks with the New Republic and the Taxpayers' League think that starving government is a good thing, that the bureaucracy is a waste of money. Worse, they've gotten a lot of working-class and poor voters to believe that screwing themselves over at the ballot box is the way to a bright future.
The problem is, these "fiscal conservatives" don't think through the consequences of their ideals, and don't stop to think how "starving government" might have negative consequences for the rest of the community. The only possible question I can think of in response to this is "Why should I care about anyone else" and it sounds a bit hollow and more than a bit callous. I care about others, and so do most liberals. Democrats and DFLers don't raise taxes for the sake of raising taxes. They make sure that essential services don't go underfunded. They make sure our roads don't fall into disrepair. They make sure our schools get (most of) the funding they need to make sure Minnesota's kids get a world-class public education. So I suggest everyone stops and thinks about someone besides themselves for a moment, and we all might see a shade of a liberal in ourselves.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Sturdevant weighs in
Thoughtful arguments mounted for Coleman's election -- including the one made by this newspaper -- turned not on presidential politics, but leadership style. Coleman's capacity for open, inclusive, consensus-style governance made him an appealing alternative to Kelly, whose feuds with others in City Hall had become impossible to ignore.
Kelly supporters who said that the measure of a good mayor should be substance, not style, misunderstood this reality: In politics, as in many other human endeavors, style and substance are indivisible. The more visible the office, the more important positive personal qualities become to effective performance.
Ye who would be governor, take note.
I'm open to theories as to whom Ms. Sturdevant is supporting in next year's gubernatorial battle, but I get the distinct feeling she and I would agree on quite a few aspects of the race.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
MN-06 - Mortensen out
I began this campaign as an ordinary citizen to run for US Congress to speak up for the interests of everyday people. Unfortunately, we have not generated enough contributions and support to continue. I now formally withdraw from the 6th District Congressional race. These 2006 elections are critical for Democrats to take every possible seat in order to regain control of one, or both houses of Congress to force Republicans to begin to deal honestly with the American people. I feel I can best help the Democratic Party by stepping aside now. In the coming weeks and months, I will be contemplating how I can best help effect political change in our state and nation. I wish to thank all those who have helped and contributed to my campaign. One of the best things that has come out of this is all the wonderful friends I have gained throughout the campaign, and that alone has made it worth it.I only met Mr. Mortensen once, and he seemed like a nice guy, with the right ideas. But as ND has correctly posited, it's difficult to push back against the local party establishment, the DCCC AND a rather conservative district. Best wishes to him in his future endeavors - perhaps a more local race?
Meanwhile, I'm still not sold on El Tinklenberg. There's always a fine balance to maintain between sticking to the Democratic Party's ideological guns and providing a big tent for various opinions on any given issue, but admittedly having not studied his positions in too much depth, I'm struck by his solidly conservative line on a wide range of topics. Patti Wetterling proved that a strong progressive candidate can succeed in the 6th, and while I respect Mr. Tinklenberg's convictions, I'm not sure it's time yet to call the 6th quits for a strong-willed, clear-speaking progressive candidate.
Local and National Hangover Day
Chris Coleman wins! (duh)
Jon Corzine wins!
Tim Kaine wins! (phew)
Ahnuld loses! Four times!
Let's talk about gerrymandering for a moment. In states like Massachusetts and Texas, there's some nasty gerrymandering of Congressional districts. In those states, it doesn't really make a difference - Massachusetts would still be all blue, and Texas would still be mostly red Congresspeople if their districting paid attention to lawful requirements of geographic density. As an aside, Minnesota's Congressional map is pretty darned good about this. However, in a state like Ohio, a state which most certainly falls into the "swing" category, it is outrageous that the Congressional map is twisted the way it is to give the GOP a big majority in the Congressional delegation. I'm really surprised to see the difference between the final polls on Ohio's reform initiatives and the vote tallies - seems a bit extreme. Watch the blogs over the next few days very carefully for news on this.
In other news, tropical storm force wind in the Metro area!
All in all, a successful election day for Dems and DFLers. 2006 is a long way off, but I think we have solid party leadership and candidates locally and nationally. We're in a good place, now the DFL just has to turn it up a notch for another 12 months.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
McLaughlin has gotten strong support from a wide array of DFLers and Metro activists. He's a fighter, and obviously cares deeply about Hennepin County, Minneapolis, and Minnesota as a whole. But he has, at long last, revealed his lack of political acumen. This excerpt was an easy verbal trap for Rybak to lay, and McLaughlin walked right into it. McLaughlin looks like a jerk and Rybak comes off looking like the humble leader - all without actually having to name a single thing McLaughlin has done well. Smart.
McLaughlin noted that he has union support. "Public employees have taken some hard hits," he said, adding that the contracts would be "negotiated" but he declined to cap raises.
Eichten asked Rybak to pose a question of McLaughlin. The mayor then asked McLaughlin to name three things that he (Rybak) had done well in his four-year term.
McLaughlin responded: "You've done a good job living off the fumes of other people's projects."
Rybak responded: "I could say hundreds of things you've done. I've enjoyed working with you. ... This city needs both of us. I think we should both keep our jobs." [emphasis added]
Polls show the race isn't really close, but Rybak has shown, if nothing else, that he has the political skills to fit his job. Meanwhile, over in St. Paul.....well, let's leave that one alone till tomorrow.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Latest Zogby poll on MN races
Pawlenty is stuck between 45 and 46%. This is both his ceiling and his floor. Republicans in Minnesota aren't about to vote for anyone else, and the lack of movement from his election numbers in 2002 shows that four years of his leadership have done nothing to entice independents into supporting him.
The poll also shows Mike Hatch at 49.6%, Steve Kelley at 42.2% and Becky Lourey at 44% against Pawlenty frozen around 45.5%. I like the fact that the poll is actually asking about the candidates in the race this time, and am thoroughly satisfied to see all three candidates within the MoE this early, most especially Kelley - Mike Hatch obviously has the statewide name-recognition advantage, and I think a lot of Democrats remember Sen. Lourey's 2002 bid fondly. Positive name recognition for Steve Kelley as the campaign moves toward the caucuses will only drive his numbers northward. Make sure you listen to his most recent interview on Inside Minnesota Politics.
On the Senate side, Zogby shows Amy Klobuchar over Mark Kennedy, 49-43.2, Ciresi over Kennedy 46.6-43.3, and even Ford Bell over Kennedy by a hair, 43.9-43.5. It's interesting to see Patty Wetterling falling out of the top three contenders, but a crowded field will do that. I would love to see how close she is to Kennedy as well. John Zogby's Democratic leanings aside, it's fantastic to see THREE DFLers ahead of the only Republican the Washington Cabal will allow to run. Note that both Pawlenty and Kennedy are stuck at their numbers - a solid Republican base, and no support from Independents. All in all, a positive picture.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Quick hits from the rest of the show:
--Steve Kelley =/= Randy Kelly. NOT THE SAME PERSON.
--Which animal from the class mammalia does Tim Pawlenty most resemble? Possum? Weasel? Capybara? I can't tell. Thoughts?
[Update] Wow. I misspelled Randy's name even as I tried to define the spelling difference between him and Steve. Sigh. As I said, it was an early morning.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Good Night, and Good Luck
Steve Kelley will be on KSTP's At Issue tomorrow at 9 AM, I encourage everyone to watch :-) - I will be. Probably posting about it too.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
However, the rant-iness of this poll goes beyond races I've had a hand in myself. I have it on very good authority that the major union endorsements that have been coming out recently (Steelworkers, SEIU, MN Nurses) have been executed while bypassing or only giving the thinnest of lip service to those very organizations' screening processes.
If you didn't understand a word of that: Labor unions and large non-profits and political action groups (like Emily's List) give out political endorsements. Before these endorsements are given, most undertake a screening process - an interview, a questionnaire, which focuses on the issues facing the union's membership. This process is applied to each major candidate in the race, and the organization makes a decision on who to endorse based on the results. For whatever reason, that process has been circumvented here in Minnesota for the sake of...well, you would have to ask the union bosses.
Far be it for me to go along with tactics like what we've seen from the Governator in California in his attempts to screw with the unions and their endorsements. But what we're seeing here in Minnesota is preposterous. The whole idea of union endorsements goes back to due diligence - making sure that a candidate agrees with the ideals upheld by the endorsing organization. I have nothing against Amy Klobuchar, but for SEIU to not even call Patty Wetterling smacks of favoritism when due diligence is called for. If they were to actually undertake their own screening processes in good faith, there's at least a decent chance they would come out with the same answer they were looking for - but perhaps not. I know that if I were a candidate, I would feel better knowing that I really am fighting for the interests of unionized laborers, instead of fighting for a news headline and a few fundraising dollars.
"Culture of Life" meets Cervical Cancer
Ever read this? Interesting related material.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
How to answer questions
"The problem, mayor," says Coleman, "is that you've spent 30-plus years raising taxes. And so you view things from only two perspectives: either you raise taxes or you do nothing. I think there's a third way, and it's called leadership; bringing people together to make a significant difference in the lives of our community."THIS is how to answer questions from Republicans (or in this case, Democrats-in-Name-Only). Forget about answering their self-serving questions, don't let them put you in a box. Send your message directly to the voters. Chris Coleman is a soft-spoken guy, but he's a careful and clear speaker, with strong ideals and values, and if the latest polls are any indication, will make a great Mayor of St. Paul.