Tuesday, January 31, 2006

 

Stonewall Endorsements

Well, the cat's out of the bag. The Stonewall DFL has made their endorsements for the 2006 elections. Northern Debater (linked above) has some good points, especially on the State Auditor race. If memory serves, Rebecca Otto's district is relatively conservative, and she made some decisions as a state rep which, at the time, I would have considered entirely political (as opposed to ideological).

However, I'll bet you didn't anticipate me taking issue with ND's surprise at Stonewall's gubernatorial endorsement. How is this surprising? Not only is Senator Kelley very familiar with Stonewall issues (his brother is gay, and the Senator speaks passionately about their family's experiences), and not only has he consistently voted to protect and expand civil rights for gay and lesbian citizens (earning a 100% rating from Outfront Minnesota), but his campaign is going out of its way to get organizational endorsements from groups like the Stonewall Dems.

Plus, 62% isn't exactly squeaking by. Strategy by Lourey supporters (pushing for no endorsement when it was clear they weren't going to win) aside, Senator Kelley entered the process with strong support, and exited with an endorsement. Nothing surprising about that.

Monday, January 30, 2006

 

Back in town

Busy weekend, huh? Mike Ceresi will finally be entering the Senate race, the Stonewall Dems have had their endorsement meeting, Minvolved has continued getting off the ground, MDE has made more ridiculous claims about DFL organizations when actual news beyond mindless critiques has been short, and everyone seems to have forgotten that no one has dropped in the most recent polls - they've been conducted by a different polling firm. Each firm has different formulae for what they call a "likely voter", and Zogby (a Democrat) most certainly uses different critieria than Scott Rasmussen (a Republican). The real numbers most likely lie somewhere between the two results.

For a moment of partisan hackery, think for a moment about Tim Pawlenty getting 46% against Steve Kelley's 37% with 18% undecided - name recognition...name recognition...name recognition.....a few endorsements from DFL activist groups should help with that, and I predict the next head-to-head will be much closer.

You heard it here first.

[Update: Yes, I did have the numbers incorrect the first time around. However, if that 18% breaks 2:1 for the challenger as it historically does, you're looking at a very close race. Especially considering, as I mentioned above, Rasmussen's slight-right lean.]

In other news, Mark Ritchie is announcing his official entrance into the Secretary of State race. The details can be found over at LloydLetta, I don't want to clog up too much bandwidth here. I got an update from the campaign regarding the event, which should be a good one. While I appreciate being on a blogger mailing list maintained by a statewide campaign, I'm not sure which way I want to lean in the Secretary of State race. Either Ritchie or Christian Sande would be vastly superior to Mary Kiffmeyer, but officially their campaigns have been saying many of the same things. The only difference has been having a couple chances to actually meet Mr. Sande on a couple of occasions. I might have to toe the party line on this one and wait for the endorsement.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

 

A serious matter

I'm going out of town for a long weekend, folks. So I thought I would leave you with a heartwarming political story. Right.

Let's get one thing straight. I am not so partisan that I think less of most Republicans for their political beliefs. I count among my friends several dyed-in-the-wool Republicans, and while we often have spirited debates on the issue, what is most important between us is that we are good people and like each other enough to put aside politics in favor of friendship. As it should be.

But let me relate to you a quick story. My fiancee, who is both more liberal and less involved in politics than I am, works in a bank branch in the West Metro. Not really important which one. She just got a promotion (yay!) but for the time being, her job requires her to be on her feet all day, and does not provide an outlet to avoid verbal harrassment.

Perhaps you see where I'm going with this. Yesterday, she had a customer come in, a man, average appearance, but apparently a Republican. While processing his transaction, she had the privilege of him ripping on Democrats everywhere - to the tune of "I really hate those Democrats, all they do is stick to their little agendas while President Bush is out there fighting terror, and he's a great man and all they do is get in his way" etc, etc, etc. This continues for several minutes, and after getting no response from my fiancee, he comes up with the zinger "You're probably just thinking - well, it probably doesn't matter what you're thinking, since you have to take it anyway, right?" with a sneer which was, according to my fiancee, worthy of a comic book villain.

He then continued ranting, spittle-mouthed, about how much he hated Democrats because surprisingly, he had correctly inferred that indeed, she was stuck.

The actual politics of the situation here are not important. His little sheep drone act with the Fox News talking points are not important. What is important is that this man went out of his way to verbally abuse a bank teller because he knew that she was a Democrat and couldn't do a damned thing about it. Believe me, if it were any other circumstance, she would have ripped him a new one on the issues and he would have stalked away fuming at his own insufferable verbal impotence, not knowing that the real reason he was angry was that this girl had just politically bitch-slapped him with the light of reason. But alas, she was a bank employee, and had to smile and not respond in any way.

If this story sounds at all familiar, as though you'd been involved - know that you're worse than the scum I scraped off my shoe last week. For the right-ish or rightie bloggers or readers I may or may not have, don't fret - I'm not generalizing. I know most of you are fine human beings, and I want to work with you to forge a better political future for us all.

But you, with the sneer and the superiority complex and the completely brainwashed attitude? You can go straight to hell.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

 

For one thing...

...well, all right. There are several things. From RM's latest (linked below):
Steve Kelley is wrong when he says Minnesota needs to return to"being the national leader in education, health care, transportation and renewable energy."

Why is he wrong?

Minnesota, thanks to Gov. Pawlenty and Minnesota's industries, Minnesota is already a national leader in these areas.
I beg to differ with Republican Minnesota's position on health care in Minnesota, with specific focus on gubernatorial candidates Steve Kelley and (ostensibly) Tim Pawlenty. Minnesota has traditionally been a leader in these areas, this much is true. But the values that led to the state's leading position in those areas - heavy emphasis on education, willingness to care for one's neighbors and fellow citizens, and willingness to pay for these values to be enacted into law - require continuing vigilance and ever-constant effort on the part of voters and their elected officials.

This is important to remember when trying to define Tim Pawlenty's effect on Minnesota's health care system. Is it pretty good? Of course it is. Is it so because of Pawlenty? Hardly. Our health care system today is relatively strong because of investments made, through smart taxation and revenue management, by legislators and governors ten, twenty, thirty years ago. The U. The Mayo Clinic. The list is long.

What has Tim Pawlenty done for health care? Tried to keep his promise to Grover Norquist and the Taxpayers' League not to institute any new taxes, and tried to close a budget hole by kicking thirty thousand desperate Minnesotans off of MinnesotaCare. This is one of the many reasons I've supported Steve Kelley's bid for the Governor's office - he fully recognizes that the state's government has not yet done enough to push the envelope, and come up with new ideas instead of bluntly kicking people off of state-funded health care to save a few bucks.

So we're ahead of Mississippi in the quality of our health care - so what? Pretty good is not good enough for Kelley. Today is not enough - how will we lead tomorrow? Tim Pawlenty has demonstrated that he is more concerned with keeping taxes low than with the future quality of our education and health care systems. Why not get both parties together, acknowledge that taxes are not evil, that some are necessary, that supply-side economics do not work in a rapidly globalizing economy, and that we as taxpayers are paying for common goods like health care and roads and education and that these are necessary for our future and that of our families, and we are happy to do so..

Strong, fully-funded public education is a strong economy, and it's a moral imperative for Senator Kelley. Making sure those thirty-thousand people didn't lose their health coverage was a moral imperative. It's not just the good of a voting majority the Governor of Minnesota must be concerned with - it's the good of every last person living in this state, whether they voted for you or not. I know that's the approach Senator Kelley will bring, and it's a major reason why I've supported him since the beginning of his campaign.

My apologies to RM - that turned into a much longer rant than your post necessitated. Perhaps now I won't have to actually write a post later on down the road actually issuing an official endorsement in the race :-)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

 

DailyKos piece on Tim Walz

Check it out. Both the piece and Tim's website are worth a read. As I've noted in previous posts, several post-9/11 veterans are running for Congress across the country, and every single notable one is running as a Democrat. This is not a coincidence.

 

An absolute and total aside

I am thankful tonight that I have never watched American Idol. Some of these people are downright baaaaaaaad. This is a bipartisan issue that I think Democrats, Republicans, and everyone in between can and should get behind. Immediately.

Yikes.

 

So I'm biased

Am I the only one?

Press release from the Kelley Campaign - and in my admittedly biased opinion, it's a good one. Have a read, see what you think. Or if you write for Republican Minnesota, pan it, because, well....that's what you do. But if you're interested in a candidate who knows what he believes and will fight for those beliefs when push comes to shove - read on.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DFL candidate for governor Steve Kelley ready for the
challenge, calls for “decisive victory”

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. (Jan. 24, 2006)—Senator and candidate
for governor Steve Kelley today responded strongly to
Attorney General Mike Hatch’s comments in the Star
Tribune. “Attorney General Hatch today challenged the
rest of the DFL candidates to beat him ‘decisively’ for
the DFL endorsement. I accept that challenge,” Senator
Kelley said. “My campaign has been organizing throughout
the state and we are poised to win in June.

“DFLers understand that we have to win in November and
that’s why my campaign has been receiving so much
support,” he said. Kelley pointed to fundraising success
in 2005. “We were able to raise over $250K in 2005
because people throughout the state understand what it
takes to win. Frankly, they’re starting to realize that my
campaign is working the hardest in this race. We will pull
off a win by doing the hard work it takes to organize
throughout the state and raise the money necessary to
compete with the Republican machine.”

Senator Kelley is focused on winning in November. He
declared: “It’s time to stop dividing the party—I am
abiding by the DFL endorsement because Democrats need to
be united to win. I know that DFL delegates want to win in
November. Those delegates are smart—they will choose the
candidate who can win. I disagree with Mike Hatch that
the winner at the DFL convention will win because of some
political purity test. The DFL has changed since Hatch
last ran for governor. Thousands of new people have gotten
involved in recent years: moms and dads who care about
health care; business owners who are concerned about early
childhood education; workers who care about renewable
energy. These diverse people can’t be boxed in by Hatch’s
old-hat way of thinking.”

Kelley continued, “We can win the DFL endorsement and the
general election in November. We are running a campaign
that brings people from all walks of life together—exactly
what being a successful governor is all about.

“If I win the DFL endorsement, it will be because we have
the strongest campaign. It will be because I have drawn
the clearest contrast with Tim Pawlenty. It will be
because I am the only candidate with a clear, positive
vision to return Minnesota to being the national leader in
education, health care, transportation and renewable
energy. That is what DFLers, like many Minnesotans, want
to see in a candidate. And that is what they want in a
governor.”

Monday, January 23, 2006

 

Republican Minnesota kissing up to Pawlenty?

"In very broad terms the message is going to be that we inherited a crisis that we had to resolve and did," he said, referring to the state's budget deficit of recent years. "And now we need to focus on positioning Minnesota to compete and thrive in the economy of the future. We don't want to go backwards."
RM seems to think this Strib profile piece demonstrates Tim Pawlenty's street cred as an average Minnesotan. I've never met the man personally, so I can't technically dispute that he's a very intelligent, affable gentleman. What I can dispute is the above quote - we "inherited a crisis that we had to resolve and did"........ we did? The Governor made a campaign promise in 2002 to one of the most regressive, backward-looking organizations to get the endorsement of a man who would like to reduce our government to where he could "drown it in a bathtub". He was then faced with a huge budget shortfall because he refused to raise revenue by asking those most capable of contributing to the common good to do so. He then plugged that budget hole with a health maintenance fee (read: TAX) that the State of Minnesota most likely will not be able to collect on once the courts determine once and for all that it is unconstitutional.

I also challenge RM to prove that incrementally higher taxes lead to a net drop in government revenue. Also, which taxes are we discussing? Income taxes? Sales taxes? Property taxes? Business taxes? Please elucidate if you can, RM. But this is an aside, instead of the focus of this post. Onward.

Look, don't get me wrong. I am a strong proponent of smart fiscal policy. Not every social program can be solved at the state or federal level with a new spending program, and overhead costs tend to increase the cost to these high-level initiatives. But the conservative pillar of lower-taxes-because-taxes-are-evil needs to be updated. And fast. I acknowledge that there are government programs at the state level that need to provide accountability and results for the money they receive. But if you really want to lower taxes that strongly, you have to make sure you realize that you're starving our schools, you're starving the U of M and MNSCU system, you're starving our state of its ability to pay to keep our roads flat and our police and fire departments paid and supplied with the equipment they need to keep our communities safe. Government spending can be (and already is), with proper oversight and smart fiscal policy, a net benefit for the people and economy of Minnesota.

In a larger sociological sense, we cannot, must not say "you keep your family fed and safe and happy, and I'll do the same." That kind of Hobbesian, proto-Realist worldview simply does not work. We are all in this game together, as neighbors, as Minnesotans, and as Americans. When history books are written about our era, we will not be judged by how low we kept taxes so that the Richest of the Rich (a demographic which, contrary to common belief and several polls, most of us will never join) can buy another vacation home.

Rather, we will be judged by what we do to raise standards of living for the least among us - those who are willing to work hard for the promise America still has, but need to be able to speak the language, or learn new skills. We will be judged by the quality of our public education system, a hallmark of the American experience. We will be judged by the quality of our health care system, and whether we decide to declare that access to quality health care is a right and not a privilege reserved for those who can afford it.

And yet these are the things that the Lower-Taxes-At-All-Costs brand of fiscal conservativism in today's Republican Party would stand against. It can certainly be said that many Democrats have issues with clearly elucidating their policy on these points, but this is an area where many, if not most, Democrats are improving with zeal - because we Democrats know in our hearts that we're on the right side of history.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

 

Minvolved, by CP and MN Publius

A link can be found here. This is a fantastic idea - get readers beyond reading and posting verbal rants and all the way to actually causing change at the grassroots level. I look forward to supporting this initiative. If you guys happen to read this, email me - If I can offer any technological assistance, I'll be happy to help.

I'll be looking forward to posts on the DFL SCC meeting today in Lakeville. Hopefully I'll get some juicy reports back and will have more material for you ravenous wolf-readers.

Friday, January 20, 2006

 

Debate? And a little rant too.

By Republican Minnesota:

Just for johnnie78 and MNCR'’s pleasure, I will define "“Abramoff-related/Abramoff tainted" contributions. They would be contributions given to campaigns, party units and campaign organizations by individuals and groups who have ties with Jack Abramoff. There individuals and groups would include his clients and his employees.

The contributions in question fall under this definition.

I have answered your questions and we are left with nothing but the facts:

The DFL and Rep. Oberstar have taken contribution which are Abramoff-related and they refuse to do the honorable thing by giving them away to charity. Also, Brian Melendez is showing his hypocrisy by not giving the money to charity after he sends out press releases blasting the "Republican culture of corruption."
...
Sorry guys, you cannot change the facts. And at the end of the day, that's all we have.

Clients, RM. Clients. Indian tribes. They gave money to politicians and political parties. Those tribes also signed contracts with a lobbyist and paid that lobbyist hundreds of thousands of dollars to advocate for them with his contacts in Congress. Those two acts are independent and separate from one another, and the difference is worth expounding upon. These people are not co-workers or peers of Jack Abramoff. They are not lobbyists, they are not high-powered Beltway insiders. Not associates, but clients. Clients who were just as screwed by Jack Abramoff as America has been by the very real culture of corruption at the highest levels of the Republican Party. Tom DeLay and ARMPAC. Bill Frist and his little HCA stock snafu, currently under investigation by the SEC. Rick Santorum and the K Street Project, designed to build a revolving door of power between GOP officials in Washington, their legislation, and the lobbyists. Dick Cheney and his blue-ribbon energy policy panel, including Enron and Halliburton officials.

How many of the above-mentioned officials have raised money for Mark Kennedy? An aside. Onward.

So with that delineation in mind, now let us continue down this path of argument - How many dollars were given to the DFL and its elected officials by clients of Jack Abramoff, and how many dollars were given to the DFL by employees and lobbyist peers of Jack Abramoff? I sincerely hope this line of argument is not taken as an attack on Republican Minnesota, or even on the GOP at large. This is a realistic description of the corruption that Jack Abramoff represents - a case of corruption that, sadly, is bound impermeably to only one political party, the Republican Party.

There's a way out of this quandary - for Republican officials to admit that there are problems with the privileges accorded lobbyists in Washington D.C, and work with their Democratic colleagues to craft effective lobbying reform legislation. Just such a bill has recently been proposed by Congressional Democrats - what do you think are the chances it will draw support from Republican leaders?


 

Now this I respect

Always Right, Usually Correct has done something which is worth a read by us all with their Candidate Scoreboard. Although I disagree with a lot of the negatives they list for each candidate, especially in the gubernatorial section as well as their positions themselves, this is a postive thing - real, substantive, issue-based candidate analysis is vastly superior than the "Liberals are hippy idiots" and "Conservatives are all xenophobic wack-jobs" generalizations that truly get us nowhere as a political nation.

I would love to see the revival of substantive debate in the local blogosphere, along the lines of what MN Left and Right used to be way back when. It would be the sort of thing I would love to participate in, if there's anyone out there who would like to join. Any takers? MDE? RM? ARUC? Let me know.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

 

Patty Wetterling out? Also, apparently I'm a straw man

WCCO is reporting that Patty Wetterling's campaign won't deny the assertion that she's dropping out of the U.S. Senate race. There are several possibilities -

She accepts the rumored offer by Mike Hatch to be his running mate for Governor. Northern Debater and Publius are onboard with this one

She drops to the 6th CD race. Northstar Politics is looking toward this one, and it appears Checks and Balances are here as well.

She drops out of campaigning all together. I doubt this will happen, but who knows?
---
In other news, Republican Minnesota sometimes reads my blog. I agree wholeheartedly with RM that not all Democrats are without sin, and that not all Republicans are corrupt. And of course RM didn't say exactly the words I capitalized in my earlier post. None of these facts constitute a satisfactory response to my challenge - RM has not defined "Abramoff-tainted". The Republican Culture of Corruption is about the leadership of the Republican Party creating an environment in which their constituents and the vast majority of Americans are ignored in favor of allowing K Street lobbyists to influence, guide, even write the laws Congress enacts, and Republican Minnesota can no more change the reality of this corruption than answer my challenge to define "Abramoff-tainted money" without completely abandoning his original position.

 

New WSJ/Zogby poll numbers...

...can be found here. Notes on Minnesota, considered competitive in both gubernatorial and senate races:

Governor:
        DFLer  Pawlenty
Hatch   44.9   41.4
Kelley  38.7   42.2
Lourey  39.4   42.0

A couple of notes - All three challengers listed in this poll are within the margin of error, and Pawlenty never gets more than 42%. As I've noted before, he will not get above this number in a general election - he already has state-wide name-rec and the advantage of running as an incumbent. Sadly, these numbers include 5-8% for Peter Hutchinson, although Zogby lists him as Tim. Don't know who Tim Hutchinson is. As always, the DFL endorsement will be a key for both Steve Kelley and Becky Lourey in terms of organization and increasing name recognition in Greater Minnesota.

Senate:
           DFLer  Kennedy
Wetterling 50.8   39.9
Klobuchar  48.6   42.8
Bell       42.8   43.3

Kennedy is in big trouble against either one of the women running for Mark Dayton's seat. As long as Wetterling and Klobuchar both stay outside the MoE ahead of Kennedy, the battle will really be between them in the DFL primary, and here's to hoping neither goes negative in desperation to win that vote.

 

An open challenge in verbiage

Once again the Republican attack machine demonstrates its chief strength - when Republican officials get caught with their pants down, yell and scream that DEMOCRATS DO IT TOO SO IT'S NOT SO BAD IT'S JUST THE EVIL IN THE SYSTEM.

Except this time, they're blatantly wrong. I challenge MDE and Republican Minnesota to explicitly define what their GOP talking points refer to as "Abramoff-related" monies. Shame on Pat Kessler for parroting these talking points, but the fact that they make it into the mainstream media makes them no less false.

So it's out there, guys. Define "Abramoff-related". RM is very careful in their wording to mention that Senator Coleman and Congressman Kennedy gave their donations directly from Abramoff to charity, but is also very careful to refer to donations received by the DFL as "Abramoff-related". Multiple times.

My best guess as of right now is that in RM's and MDE's parlance, "Abramoff-related" really means "from tribes who, at the time their political action committees made direct contributions to DFL politicians, also had contracts with Abramoff's lobbying firm. These tribes were also screwed out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by said lobbying firm." Which, when you say it out loud, doesn't sound so bad - because it's not. It's perfectly legal, and not at all dirty, and instead of owning up to the fact that their party leadership is Owned-With-A-Capital-O by K Street lobbyists and advocating for change, the Republican attack machine chooses to reduce even further the populace's confidence in their government. Par for the course in today's political arena.

The challenge is still out there, guys. Prove me wrong.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

 

Fighting Dems

Paul Hackett. Tim Walz. Now, Andrew Borene in SD 41. Why is it that a vast majority of new political candidates coming from the ranks of the military are running as Democrats? Congressional races, local legislative seats in blue-trending districts, everywhere former soldiers are running against the Republican leaders who, at least in the case of Congressional leaders, helped President Bush put them in harm's way without all the equipment they needed to be as safe as possible.

And yet, for some reason, the Republican attacks are always the same - this guy didn't really deserve his honorable discharge. He didn't really see combat. He's not really a hero.

Apparently, soldiers going into politics are fine as long as they're not running as Democrats. They're heroes until they disagree with Republican leadership on the Iraq War or anything else.

And I told myself I was going to try to cut down on the snarky, generalizing assaults on Republicans. Let me expand upon this point, and then I'll quit for the night.

I am a Democrat. I think everyone who wears a uniform, puts down their job, leaves their family behind, and goes to war for their country is a hero. Period. A vast (and I mean vast) majority of my fellow Democrats agree. I know that a vast majority of Republicans and independents agree as well. But when was the last time you heard a Democratic elected or party official, donor, or activist call into question the patriotism or military conduct of a veteran? John McCain? Attacked by Karl Rove in 2000. John Kerry? The Swift Boat Liars, led by a Republican fundraiser. Paul Hackett? The most corrupt state party organization in the country and their crony candidate, Jean Schmidt. Say what you want about their politics, but attacking their conduct in uniform without any shred of evidence to suggest they did anything but fight for their country with honor? Disgusting. It's the kind of conduct that thinking, feeling Americans, Democrats and Republicans, should all be comdemning, so that perhaps the Republican Party communications apparatus will get the hint.

As others have noted, I'm not sure that the Iraq war will or should have much effect on local legislative elections. It is nonetheless interesting to see the Fighting Dems trend extending to the local level, and especially exciting to see in Edina, where there's both money and a blue trend going on. Go Borene!

Monday, January 16, 2006

 

Candidate forum pseudo-post

I would post analysis of last night's Gubernatorial candidate forum, but the Pi Press and Eva at LloydLetta have done a better job than I could, having not been there myself. Interesting and valid questions being raised on Mike Hatch's position on the right to privacy. It's also good to see Kelly Doran acknowledging that Peter Hutchinson poses a greater threat to the DFL slate than to Tim Pawlenty.

 

A case for letting Roe v Wade go

There's an interesting case being made on Daily Kos for why the Senate Dems may not be considering filibustering Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court, and it's an interesting one. I have something to add, however, to assertions that Alito might not represent a net change on the Court:

It might be time for Democrats to let Roe vs. Wade go and fight this battle on our terms.

Since Barry Goldwater's time, Roe vs. Wade has been THE issue for the Republican Party. Overturn it! Run the goddamned babykillers out of the country on a rail! Grab the pitchforks and torches! The business/corporatist wing, which has in recent years become the silent partner in the GOP, doesn't care a whit about Roe vs. Wade, but they enjoy being in power, so they go along with this radical agenda espoused by nutjobs like Sam Brownback, Tom Coburn, and Pat Robertson.

And it is a radical agenda, because the reality of the situation is this: a solid, and I mean solid, majority of Americans do not want Roe vs. Wade overturned. Oh, you can formulate polls to make it look like chipping away at RvW would be good politickin', but depending on who you hear from, between 60% and 70% of those polled thought that Samuel Alito should not be put on the Court if it was clear he was going to overturn RvW.

Perhaps this was the "Silent Majority" the Republican Party used to be so fond of citing.

And perhaps a third of those "don't-overturn" poll participants are a bit apathetic toward the act of abortion, if not the right to privacy? My point is this - the overturn of Roe vs. Wade, which I have full confidence will happen in two to three years when Mr. Alito is confirmed, will

A.) Cause immediate changes in state laws across the south and middle of this country
B.) Cause the rest of us to hang our heads in shame at our own backwardness
C.) Bring about the end of the modern conservative movement

As I noted above, RvW is THE issue for modern conservatives. Overturn it, then what comes next? There's no more agenda. Nothing. Quite simply, abortion is the reason why conservative evangelical Christian church-goers got involved in politics.

On the other side of the aisle, if RvW is overturned, the issue becomes Democrats' Alamo. Our rallying cry at the state level in the West, the east, and the Midwest, and certainly takes away a criticism of Democrats in the South. Those apathetic opponents of overturn will become more active when they see the culmination of a vast Right-Wing march against the right to privacy and self-control, and it most certainly will not be activism for the Republican Party. We live in a time when libertarian interests - namely, privacy and personal liberty - are closely aligned with those of the Left, and we should be exploiting this alignment, even before the Fall of Roe vs. Wade.

</rant>

As I mentioned a while back, revealing one's true identity in the blogosphere can lend itself to interesting changes in credibility - MDE seems to have found this out in a very interesting way, live-blogging (okay, one-line entries, but still) from the recent DFL Feminist Caucus's Gubernatorial Candidate forum, even getting a shout-out from the moderator. I'll be talking to my sources and finding out what I can about the event, and will try to have a post up on it later today. Until then, however, work awaits.


Thursday, January 12, 2006

 

Star Tribune Letters to the Editor

Current edition here: http://www.startribune.com/563/story/177963.html This is a great page, and deserves your frequent attention.

Some excerpts:

People are sick of wedge-issue electioneering strategies. This is not to say that immigration isn't an important issue. Even the governor recognizes immigrants are an important part of our Minnesota economy and our community life, and they built our state over the decades.

However, he just doesn't want that fact to compete with his more sensational message. Unfortunately, the governor has failed to approach this issue with sound research and a full accounting of the situation. He is casting immigrants as prone to criminal activity, and so far has refused to account for their economic contributions.

Most frustratingly, the governor is treating immigration as another distraction from the most substantial, challenging issues of the day.
--Becky Lourey

Regarding smoking bans in the Metro area:

Sue Jeffers thinks "smoking bans have little to do with public health" (Opinion Exchange, Jan. 8).

While her bar is located next to the university, sadly, Jeffers hasn't learned much. If she bothered to do any research, she'd know that tobacco smoke contains arsenic, ammonia, lead and cadmium. If she thinks those poisons and heavy metals are OK to ingest, I'm happy I don't eat at her bar.
--Tom Lehman

I've had the chance to meet Tom Lehman on a couple occasions; he's a great person and an active DFLer. As someone whose parents both smoked for most of my young life, I'm glad to see that business interests aren't the only ones who get their opinion heard in this particular debate.

As for Becky Lourey's piece, I'm glad to see her going after Tim Pawlenty on what is a heavy-handed attempt at wedge-issue electioneering. I'm not glad to see her giving any kind of credibility to Katherine Kersten as a journalist, but I suppose I'll take what I can get :)


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

 

A Marko vs. Rowley primary in CD2?

Recent news - Sharon Marko is not running for reelection in SD57. Rumors are rampant that she will challenge Coleen Rowley for the DFL nomination to face John Kline in November in the 2nd Congressional District race.

Is this a good thing?

Coleen Rowley has a modicum of nation-wide name recognition. This means that Democrats around the country know who she is, that she was an FBI whistleblower, and that she was ostracized by FBI leadership and the Bush Administration for her principled actions with the Bureau

Sharon Marko may not be able to compete with Ms. Rowley in terms of name recognition. However, in this particular case, I think Ms. Rowley's name recognition works against her. Rumor has it that her fundraising efforts have not been going well, even among out-of-state donors. More than rumor has it that Ms. Rowley's unseasoned approach to campaigning and politics as a whole has driven several influential DFL activists away from her campaign. Being a maverick is all well and good, but not knowing what you're doing can be deadly, especially in an election in a down year for the incumbent's party and in a district that, not too long ago, was held by a DFLer.

I'm not going to go out on a limb and support a candidate that isn't yet in the race. But this is one case where a contested primary might be in order. If Coleen Rowley gets her act together, learns how to run for office, and survives a primary, perhaps she is the right woman for the job. Chances of that happening between now and September? Still unclear at this time.

 

Norwegianity post rips Kersten

Indeed. I'll see you cats at Drinking Liberally tonight

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

 

Childish Games by Kennedy

You've got to be kidding me.

Let me get this straight. Jack Abramoff has close ties to dozens of Republican lawmakers. He raises hundreds (yes, hundreds) of thousands of dollars for Republican politicians, makes it his business to take Republican Congressmen on golf junkets, and screws Native American tribes out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees - and the best Mark Kennedy's campaign can come up with is a weak replay of RNC talking points?

If your eight-year-old said "But mom! He did it too!" would you A) immediately believe him and punish his brother too, or B) ask the eight-year-old if that changed the fact that he broke the rules?

Which is to say nothing of the reality that NO Democratic or DFL lawmaker took money from Abramoff or his firm. Period. End of story.


So the story is this - the rampant corruption in the Republican Party - think Bill Frist's HCA insider stock sale, Tom DeLay's ARMPAC scandal, the entire Ohio Republican Party's ethics scandals re: Taft + Ney - don't think about it! The Democrats do it too! Not only is it a lie, but it's a terrible excuse for wrongdoing, even for an eight-year-old.

But then again, Mark Kennedy never has been one to strain against his RNC master's leash.

 

The Twins

I haven't gotten into the sports realm too much in this space, but the ongoing soap opera between the Minnesota Twins, Major League Baseball, Hennepin County, and the State of Minnesota does have political undertones. I'm also a huge baseball fan, so you bear the brunt of my rant on the subject :)

From the Twins vantage point, a lot of other clubs have gotten beautiful new parks and public subsidies for building them, and many of those clubs have not had as much success over the past four seasons as the Twins have, to the tune of three Division Championships and a string of exciting young players and award-winners like Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, and local boy Joe Mauer.

From MLB's standpoint, the state should cough up hundreds of millions of dollars to build a new stadium because, frankly, everyone else did.

Local politicians are put in a terrible, and I mean terrible, position by this situation. Frankly, a 0.15% tax increase in Hennepin County wouldn't kill anyone - we're talking about three cents on a twenty-dollar purchase. And I can understand some citizens' concerns about putting a tax increase through without voter approval - a referendum on things like this is a reasonable idea, but I just don't agree with it. Elected officials were elected to make decisions like budget issues and taxation - would we have a referendum on a tax increase on, say, cigarette sales? For school funding? If a baseball stadium (and by extension, a baseball franchise) is part of the public infrastructure (and I believe it is) then it's the Legislature's job to fund or not fund it, and clamor for a referendum really is not much more than a stalling tactic to save some people a few pennies.

However, as a studied fan of the Game, I don't trust Bud Selig and his braintrust as far as I could throw their collective hides. Baseball Prospectus has done some wonderful research and economic analysis of current ballpark funding and construction plans, and have found out not only that public subsidies end up costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars more than the project plans call for, but that due to the inextricably complicated nature of these deals in other cities, the Metrodome has contributed the largest number of tax dollars to its community of any park constructed in the past thirty years. Is it a great place to go see a baseball game? Well, my answer is no - cheap refreshment prices compared to other parks I've been to, but baseball simply wasn't meant to be played indoors on turf. But it would be great if baseball officials, club officials, and state officials could get together and acknowledge all that the Twins and the Metrodome have given to the Twin Cities and to Minnesota, and figure out a fair way to get the Twins a new ballpark.

As for the Vikings.....I honestly can't say I care.

 

A four-way gubernatorial primary?

Consider this possibility for a moment - Mike Hatch decides that turnout at precinct caucuses isn't up to snuff for him to abide by the DFL endorsement, and moves on to the primary in September. Kelly Doran plans from the beginning to run in the primary because, well, he has the cash, so why not? Now I get a comment from Eva Young (scroll down a couple posts for it) telling us that Becky Lourey is committed to the primary despite Checks and Balances showing her with a "ball-park" fundraising total that leaves her squarely in fourth place (we're still waiting on those official numbers, CF Board....) in the money race.

Then come the caucuses, and SD conventions, and CD conventions, and finally the state conventions. Delegates decide as a large group that their endorsement should go to a candidate who cares to abide by it, and has spent the better part of a year (by June) working for it...they give the endorsement to Steve Kelley.

Again, we're speaking hypothetically here.

A four-way primary? It's a foregone conclusion that Doran will run, but the DFL has to have some value to Hatch and Lourey's campaigns. I hope.

Monday, January 09, 2006

 

Confirmation of Kelly/Kiscaden team

From Sheila Kiscaden's recent letter to DFL activists:
As an adult I became a Republican, but that was in the days that the Republican Party had an active moderate wing that believed strongly in the role of government in creating opportunity so all can prosper and in assuring social justice. The Republican Party has changed. My views and values have not and, like the prodigal, I am returning to the Democratic Party where I have been warmly welcomed and made to feel at home. But, as I have been welcomed back to the Democratic Party, a more difficult decision faced me.
...
I intended to run for re-election to the State Senate and notified my supporters of that intent in a letter mailed at the end of October. But I continued to keep an eye on other options and to ask myself, where can I make the biggest difference? Ultimately, I decided I could have greater influence to create these changes in Minnesota by following a different pathway. After urging by many different individuals and conversations with several candidates for Governor, I have decided to seek higher office.

It is fitting that you be among the first to know that I will be running for Lieutenant Governor with Kelly Doran, a successful businessman who, as you know, is running as a Democratic candidate for Governor.
Ms. Kiscaden is not the only disaffected Republican out there. She's absolutely correct - the Republican party used to have a vibrant moderate wing, members of whom are now few and far between at the national level. DFLers and Democrats across the country must do more to reach out to these disaffected moderates and work hard to emphasize the common values between the Moderate Right all the way to the Left.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

 

Star Tribune vs. MDE

Call me insane......but I'm not sure this Strib article about MDE has the right idea....

He has an agenda. So do the operators of Minnesota Republican Watch, Kennedy vs. the Machine, Dump Bachmann, etc. And that's their right. It's just one of the ways that the blogosphere is changing -- for better or for worse -- the political landscape. And while some of these sites are interesting and worth a bookmark, remember their purpose as you read their posts.

It's too bad. Blogs should strive to be something more. The mainstream media get rapped on the knuckles a lot, and rightly so. This new forum for investigative journalism and political discourse should be utilized for those purposes, rather than partisan hatchet jobs.

We should....what? Blogs aren't just news. They're not just entertainment. They're not just political hackery, and they're not just a forum - they're whatever their author or authors want them to be. While Mr. O'Brien is correct that we should always remember a blog's purpose as we read it, it makes me squirm when anyone says "this is what blogs should do" without really understanding that the choice to provide analysis or news or attack slime or humor is really up to the author.


Friday, January 06, 2006

 

Doran/Kiscaden?

I agree with Northstar - the piece revealing that Kelly Doran will choose Sheila Kiscaden as his running mate represents a pretty shoddy piece of reporting for a dedicated political journalist. Not only is Becky Lourey quite obviously not a metro-area male, it's not really an earthquake of political insight to reveal that each candidate will choose a running mate who complements their policies and geographic placement - in this case, the metro-area candidates will probably all choose running mates either from outside the Metro or who have strong state-wide name recognition. This isn't that difficult to figure out.

The most interesting part of this development is that Ms. Kiscaden is not actually a DFLer - she is an Independent who left the Republican Party a couple years back, and now caucuses with the DFL. Kelly Doran's made a big show of being a moderate, but in his position, I would be trying to woo
at least some from the moderate left and left wing of the DFL primary voter base. Being a moderate is all well and good, but you have to have a ticket to run on before you stand before the entire state for election.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

 

Political Anagrams are fun!

And now for something completely different......go here - http://www.wordsmith.org/anagram/.

I love this thing. It's fast, it's easy, and a hell of a lot of fun when one doesn't feel like getting other things done at work. On to the anagrams!

Minnesota Democrats Exposed = Pox or Decontaminated Messes
Minnesota Campaign Report = Paramagnetic Snooper Mint

Kelly Doran = Dark Lonely
Mike Hatch = Thick Ahem
Steve Kelley = Levelest Key
Becky Lourey = Rebuke Coyly
Tim Pawlenty = Want Emptily
Amy Klobuchar = Barclay Hokum.....I don't know. Nothing else was even close to funny. Anyone have anything better?
Mark Kennedy = Marked Kenny. Another weak one.

But the laugh title goes to Sue Ek -
Susan Ek = Sue Sank
Susan Ek = Ass Nuke

Indeed. In other news, I have no idea what a paramagnetic snooper mint is, but it sounds mysterious, awesome, and tasty all at once.

 

Comment from a former military recruiter

I'm not a big proponent of attacking the participants in any given political squabble or their values or beliefs, and certainly not their families. But in response to last night's CNN piece on the Duluth window sign controversy, I just had to re-post this comment from a former military recruiter regarding Sgt. Capan, the Army recruiter who works next door to the Kelley Campaign office there [posted on my dKos diary]:

He needs a briefing on why he is wearing the uniform. Being seen dumping mail from people in the garbage was dumb. Seems like a nice guy but he has a lot to learn. I would rip him a new a--hole.First rule of PR--refer the tough ones up the chain-"I'm sorry sir, I'm not qualified to comment on that,but I know someone who is." Never forget who you work for...And why. [reformatted for re-publication]

Don't kill the messenger, but at least be aware of who they are, what their job is, and how they go about doing it.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

 

Senator Kelley on CNN tonight

In keeping with the national attention being paid to Minnesota statewide races, I've gotten word today that Steve Kelley will be on CNN tonight during the 7PM hour, along with Scott Cameron, the Vietnam veteran who placed a sign entitled "REMEMBER OUR FALLEN HEROES" with a count of Iraq war casualties in the window of Sen. Kelley's campaign office in Duluth. I'll do my best to watch and post a review, but you should watch it anyway. Can't depend on me for ALL of your political news and commentary :)

[UPDATE]: With the coverage of the mine tragedy in Sago, the piece on the Duluth controversy turned out shorter than I had hoped, but I can't blame CNN for this one. Important things to remember -

The war is not the issue. It's about free speech, and supporting our troops however we feel about the war and those who gave the order to start it, and doing exactly what that sign that Scott Cameron put up in the window - REMEMBER OUR FALLEN HEROES. Is that as political as, say, a governor coming up with proposals on illegal immigration without noting how he will pay for them, because his party sees it as an effective wedge issue at the national level? It's just the right thing to do. Which is to say nothing of the integrity required to stand up for a volunteer who was immediately attacked from all corners conservative for seeking to provide factual information and public debate to the city of Duluth.

Was this a calculated political move by the campaign? I can say with a great deal of confidence the answer is "no." Let's employ Occam's Razor for a moment - which of the following is more likely?

1.) ...that the campaign sought office space next door to an Army recruiting station for the sole purpose of getting national news coverage of the candidate's anti-war message (which, while Senator Kelley is to the best of my knowledge personally against the war, hasn't been especially loud), or...

2.) ...that there was open office space on Superior St, the campaign snapped it up, and a Vietnam veteran and supporter wanted to foster free speech about the war and the heroic efforts of our troops by putting up a sign in the campaign's window to remind us all that war is hell and our fallen soldiers deserve to be remembered?

 

Lourey Staff and MDE

Two unrelated items in the post title, really. MDE is out of the closet, so to speak - he has revealed his identity, confirming what Eva over at LloydLetta has been saying for months - it's Michael Brodkorb. I'll continue to read and refute where necessary, but this development does throw a wrench into sales of those I AM MDE t-shirts.

As for that post about Becky Lourey's staff hirings - I couldn't find as much information as I wished. Mr Barisonzi has been working for several years with a group called CommunityLeader, working in the Lyndale neighborhood of Minneapolis. His resume (available on CL's website) speaks to me of "synergy" and lots of other catch-phrases and keyword rah-rahs. Blackshaw worked for Paul Wellstone's 1990 campaign, and from what I've been told had a significant role in R.T. Rybak's campaign in Minneapolis, whether for better or worse.

I'm still skeptical of the timing. If Senator Lourey expects to fight for the endorsement in June, she doesn't have a lot of time to recruit delegates. We're rapidly closing in on two months to go before precinct caucuses, and while I'll wait for the numbers to come out, this time is important both for organization and recruitment, but also for fundraising. It's a lot of material to get organized in a very short period of time.

In national news, Jack Abramoff is going down, but not without dragging a few corrupt Republican Congressmen along with him. Please, please, please, someone from a conservative blog explain to me what they think of this guy and his "contacts" in Congress.

Seriously.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

 

NYT Op-Ed piece

Very good Op-Ed piece from the NYT here on religion and American Politics both left and right. I consider myself to be somewhere in the middle of the religious spectrum - by no means am I completely secular, but by the same token, the use of religion by both parties as a partisan tool has gone a little far in my opinion. Religious groups need to really educate themselves as to how their values interact with the words and politics of lawmakers, both local and national...and frankly, that's where it should end. Show me a religious organization that cares about the common good, and I'd bet it could be argued that that same group wouldn't care so much about their lobbying efforts or their standing with politicians. But this is another post altogether. Perhaps I'll save it for keeping up to my new year's resolution. Flossing hurts, by the way, if you haven't done it in a while.

Woke up early this morning to see some blog headlines on Becky Lourey's staff hirings, and just had to do some research on the folks she's hired. More on them later today, and how I think it stands up in the sixty-six days left before precinct caucuses.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

 

Happy New Year!

For all those who are on this silly, solar, Julian calendar thingie.

Resolutions:

1. I resolve to post more reglarly in 2006. No longer than 36 hours between posts. It
is an election year, after all. Does it ever feel good to say that.

2. I resolve to do my best to stay out of the Gotcha Derby this year. Too often I think we bloggers get caught up in trying to raise our own reputation and profile instead of providing real commentary and debate on the issues and candidates. When we look back at this time years from now, these meaningless little pokes and jabs are the part I humbly predict we will remember least fondly.

3. I resolve to help elect the best DFL candidates we have to offices at the top of the ticket across the state of Minnesota. I hold no silly illusions that the DFL is made up wholly of knights in shining armor riding with nobility and honor. But I do believe that there are DFLers running this year who have the right ideas for the offices they seek, and to a far greater degree than their Republican opponents, deserve those offices and can provide the leadership they require. In some cases I've made it clear whom I support, in other cases I'm waiting to be convinced. But that's what the next ten months and eight days are for.

4. I resolve to click on more ads on local blogs. A lot of people around here work very hard to produce solid writing, and deserve to make a few bucks on Google's tab. Plus, you never quite know where those ads will take you; sometimes they're interesting. Especially the ones in my right sidebar :)

5. I resolve to floss every day and train to run a 10k. A guy can dream, right?

A safe and happy new year to all. Let us make the world better this year than it was last year for ourselves, friends, families, and everyone. Oh, and slightly smaller font sizes for your reading enjoyment. Let me know which you prefer.

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