Tuesday, February 28, 2006

 

U-DFL candidate forum wrap-up

Whew. My hands hate me right now. The event turned out to be better-attended than I originally thought it would be, and definitely provided the attendees with a solid understandings of the three candidates onstage. Once again Mike Hatch was conspicuous for his absence.

[UPDATE:] It's Wednesday morning, and I've updated the actual coverage post a bit, just a bit of reformatting, notes that came to me after the fact, and editing a little bit of useless content.

Highlights:
  • Meeting Eva Young of LloydLetta. I strongly advocate a Silly Hat rule, that all of us local bloggers must follow at these events so we can identify each other. Sneaky gestures or secret handshakes are also a possibility.
  • Steve Kelley's zinger at Kelly Doran regarding re-hiring ineffective leaders vs. bringing in an outsider to get the job done. Doran was definitely not expecting a response to a practiced piece of stump-speechery, and Kelley's response was strong, concise, and sharp.
  • Becky Lourey's story about the cow uterus, and her story about being called an F-U-C-K-I-N-G-B-I-T-C-H in a public forum on flag-burning (yes, she spelled it out verbally). Personable is one thing she definitely is.
  • The U-DFL cutting off each candidate at least once when their time had expired. It takes a lot of guts to interrupt anyone when they're speaking at an event like this, let alone two state legislators and a respected businessman.
If you haven't read about it already, get over to Polinaut (too tired to link to it right now, just click the link over on the left :-) ) and read about the GOP CD mailing and all the info Bob Collins has found about it. This thing could have legs - people go berserk when anyone mentions "Spyware" or "Identity theft", and hanging those little anvils around the collective necks of the state Republican Party could be a very bad thing for them indeed.

 

Gubernatorial Candidates' Forum Thread

Final thoughts:
I'll get back to this one later. My hands are frickin tired.

8:40 -
Closing statements (1 minute):
Lourey: Please support me. I live on a farm, and have had my arm in a cow's uterus helping it give birth. (Yikes. I'd leave that part out of the stump speech, but as a short speech goes, not bad.)


Kelley: Hi family!...Daughter is a U of M Medical student, I know a bit about med school tuition. Please support me - go to caucuses, be a delegate for me.

Doran. Hi Maria. We need a candidate who can reach out and talk to independents and moderates. We need to talk about how to get there. Please support me.
______________________________________

8:35

Effectiveness (A vision for Minnesota):

Kelley: The candidates bring different expertises - Minnesotans are looking for a broader vision that puts all the pieces together. Education is the lynchpin to making sure we're successful as a state. (Getting into his stump speech piece on education). It's time to invest now for the future. Control health care costs. Innovate. We have the organizational and intellectual capacity to put it all together. Different figures on energy costs re: import/export, but keeping money in-state for energy, even 20% would be huge boon for state.

Lourey: So many people run for office for self-interest, who would take away our freedom of religion, who run on "less government" instead of "effective government". (This is very evidently a stump speech - it's much more controlled and clear than her previous answers). My vision is to have a dialog of truth. It can only be successful if people understand our social contract - my goal will be to bring Minnesotans together. (If this was a stump-speech thing, color me confused. How many people who aren't political science majors understand a damned thing about the Social Contract?)

Doran: People are tired of partisan politics. People see government as a dysfunctional institution. Most institutions with problems like that will bring someone in from outside - they don't re-hire the same people. People want honesty in their governor. (I wonder how well this will play if the Legislature actually gets its business done in the upcoming session on time). Minnesota has the 3rd worst rural roads in the country. We need leadership we can trust.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lourey clapped for Doran, liked his ideas, Kelley jumped in to disagree..........

Kelley: Conflict in politics is okay, as long as it's constructive. I'm not running to run away from partisan politics - I'm running to make a better partisan politics. A strong, effective DFL is essential to our democracy. We can't be rolled over like the national Dems. We have to encourage people to get involved - this is about citizens coming together to solve problems. Partisan politics is one of the ways we get there. Encouraging people to participate is so important that I'm abiding by the DFL endorsement, because if people show up, we ought to listen to them. I wouldn't try to walk into a real estate development company and say "You're in trouble, I know how to fix it." Don't walk in and say "you're dysfunctional, I know how to fix it" without knowing how to fix the engine.

(That, my friends, was a zinger. Not a fan of Doran....)

Doran: I don't think there's anything too complicated about our state government that someone can't come from business and help out. (Later Note: This was an attempt at a parry, but Doran was NOT ready for Kelley's comments).

Lourey: Rambling about something related to a flag-burning amendment...getting cut off by the moderators UPDATE: Turned out to be a decent story. Wish it could be told at length.



___________________________________________


8:22
Economy (health care, immigration):

Lourey: I love running for office so I can talk about universal affordable health care. I authored MinnesotaCare. Since 1994, we've been hanging on with our health care. You can blame me and Berglund for keeping the legislature longer to make sure that Health Care Access Fund didn't get raided. I'm the only candidate who has put out a plan for health care. I have the vision, I can get there as Governor. Little more rambling here.

Kelley: The first thing we should do to improve the economy is continue to invest in education. Must control health care costs. We must have universal health care. Stop waiting around for the federal government to do it, because they're not about to - our companies are having trouble competing because of health care costs. Health care ought to be portable between jobs. We should start with the plan put forth by the MN Medical Association. MMA has studied issues, issued reports, and are looking for a political leader to lead state forward on health care - I'll be that leader.

Doran: We didn't have health care when I was growing up - it was important for me as a businessman to pay for 100% of health care costs for employees and dependents. In order to offset increases, we had to increase deductibles and co-pays. American business is going to get out of health care - it's a competitive issue for them. We need to be prepared for that. I agree with Senator Kelley - the best solution is a national solution, but that won't happen. We can't wait for it. Neither the Left or Right has the right idea (Right - no changes, Left - government should take it over). Let's look at realistic solutions, like mine - a public/private partnership. Might have to check that out later. We need cost containment - need to put the consumer back in charge.

Lourey: Go to beckylourey.org. (Isn't it .com?) The federal government is privatizing Medicare, the most popular government program - moving backwards. It is imperative that a state, any state, start responding to the citizens on this country. We have the tools, and Minnesotans want UHC.

Kelley: Immigration - illegal immigration is a problem. Minnesotans expect that people go by the rules - but illegal immigration is a federal problem, not a state problem. Instead of confronting Pres. Bush on this, Pawlenty keeps putting his arm around the President. No good. If meth is a problem, let's apply 10 officers from Pawlenty's new state police force (hadn't heard of that). We have undocumented immigrants here - but they are contributers to our economy, so that young people without documentation can attend college on in-state tuition.

Doran: Undocumented immigrants are paying taxes because they want to contribute - we are all the result of immigrants. We should have a system that allows undocumenteds to move toward citizenship.

__________________________________________



8:05
Education:


Doran: early childhood education needs more funding. All day Kindergarten across the state. State should provide pre-K edu.

Kelley: The state has been providing a lower and lower percentage of its budget to education. We have to control other costs - health care, corrections - so that we can afford to invest in education. Agreed with Pawlenty that health care costs needed to be limited, but was immoral to do so by kicking thousands of people off their health care. Corrections budgets need to concentrate on violent offenders. As Governor, I'll be standing up against wacky ideas of current admin with respect to higher ed.

Lourey: $50,000 a year to keep a person in prison - early-childhood education and care. Reduces crime later in life. We need the investment in our young kids so they can get to college (instead of crime?) College is getting expensive. Non-partisan economist told legislature: START INVESTING IN EDUCATION. Back in 1991 we raised the top tax bracket to solve a state budget deficit to keep the U funded. Lourey's getting fired up about progressive tax increases. Sick to death of people who run for office saying "taxes are ugly" and "less government". Now she's just rambling about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Still rambling. I think she lost the audience a bit.


Kelley: back to affordability in higher education. Costs are bad enough as they are - but we need to think about communicating very clearly to every family with students coming up that going to college should be an expectation. Campaign point - all our kids should graduate from high school ready to go to college, whether they go or not. We need this goal to compete with India and China. State needs to try to guarantee poor families that the first two years of college will be paid for.

Doran: Contrast between Pawlenty and me is a story about.........story telling, story telling......boiled down: task force on education said we were underfunding K-12 education by a billion dollars - I would have had the debate instead of putting study on the shelf. Doran just made a mistake by asking Kelley if he was on the task force, allowed Kelley to get a few words in to break up Doran's narrative. I'm not sure Doran has a lot of respect for the legislators he's opposing up there, but that's a campaign point from him, so not a huge deal.

INCREASING TUITION COSTS

Kelley: Students need to get active in caucuses and primaries so they can help elect a Governor won't look at Colorado's system (transferring tuition increases to the students) as a good thing.

Lourey: We've got to get back up to at least 15% of state budget spent on education - we've got to raise more revenue.

Doran: Students in room are facing what boils down to a tax increase - students need to vote.

_________________________________


7:40
Issues!

Environment, Energy, and Transportation:

Kelley: It's possible to link these three issues. I support expanding light rail network, electricity for system should come from wind power in greater Minnesota.

Doran: Most important thing we have in life is time. I agree with Kelley on light rail, but we need more revenue for transit.

Lourey: We're in a crisis re: oil. New green deal - crash course in colleges moving toward making Minnesota the "energy basket" of the nation. We import 20 billion dollars of electricity into the state. Solar, bio-fuels, we shouldn't be importing, we should be exporting energy. This is a big economic opportunity.

Kelley: I didn't wait around until I was running for governor to push for green energy - I worked for it in the legislature as well. You have to judge how long-term a committment it is - I've been talking about this for years.

Doran: Business opportunities exist in technology and green energy.

Dammit this debate format is HARD TO KEEP UP WITH

Lourey: I'm a small business owner, 70 employees, provide health coverage for all of them - we also have community development investments. Getting wonky with the technology and enviro-talk, but it's interesting stuff. We can't wait for the feds - no leadership on energy.

Kelley: Wonky talk on using waste water from paper-making as energy source, taking electricity from hydro plants to make non-fossil fuel fertilizers. Cool science-ey stuff, but I could understand how some folks' eyes could glaze over a bit.

Doran: A bit more on transportation - I know how to build things. We talk a lot about multi-modal transport, but it's taken us 20 years to get light rail built. We need to move ahead - other communities across the country are building lots of rail lines at once - we need to prioritize it, fund it, move it forward.

Lourey: Community development around rail lines is great - rural Minnesota needs rail lines too. As Governor, I will make sure Commissioner of....environment? I lost it......will listen to scientists

-----------------------------------------------

7:35
What has Governor Pawlenty's biggest mistake so far?

Kelley - Pawlenty made his pledge to the Taxpayers' League to get the party endorsement, did something he really didn't believe in. Pawlenty gave up his integrity.

Lourey - Giving away his responsibility to raise the kind of revenue that's necessary to make us competitive. Says Pawlenty's action with regards to the pledge was a lie - the lie was important.

Doran - Pawlenty forgot where he came from. I was raised by a single mom, went to public schools, Governor has similar roots - but Pawlenty forgot where he came from. If you remember where you come from, you don't do all the bad things Pawlenty has done as governor.

AGHHHHH.....IT'S HARD TO KEEP UP!!!

7:32 -
What is your position on strategic positioning?

Doran - We don't have a strategic vision for this state - business-talk. Again, I don't quite understand this question. (Later Note: Doran REALLY blew it on this question, and had to recover in extra time, but he really can't be blamed for not being intimately familiar with issues facing the U. Not really a strike against Doran, but big positive for Kelley for being familiar with the issues that the U-DFL would be bringing up)


Kelley - Strategic positioning means positioning the University of Minnesota for future success - our economy has grown BECAUSE of the U of M.

Lourey - It requires several things - vision, information, leadership. Decisions we make must look forward to the seventh generation....we need to know where we want to go. Living wages, opportunity for everyone....

Lourey and Doran blew this one. The question was specifically geared toward the University of Minnesota. The moderator just gave Doran another 30 seconds to "clarify". Kelley spoke before Lourey, basically gave her the answer, and she still talked about state government and statewide vision.
_______________________________

7:27 -
First question: Why should students support you instead of Governor Pawlenty?

Lourey: Under Pawlenty's lack of leadership, tuition has gone up 50% (stat check?) at the U. We need a governor who will invest in education - from early-child to post-secondary - that's what made our state strong. Interrupted by moderator - they're keeping the answers short

Kelley: Tim Pawlenty is not listening to young people, or anyone else, except for Taxpayers' League types. Listening to concerns of students and educators is a key. We can't continue to be successful if students are being saddled with heavy debt. Connections to health care, transportation, environment.

Doran: I've traveled the state, met with Dems, Independents, GOPers - one clear thing comes from all - people of Minnesota are tired of partisan politics. Want a vision? Vote for me. Not sure this answered the question.

_________________________

7:20 - Getting started - forgot to mention that it's a U-DFL event. Just talked to Eva Young for a few minutes. Moderator just made a mention of the upcoming "Rock the Cauc" event. Somehow I don't find that to be the *best* name for an event.....but oh well.

7:05 - Fast and furious now - Steve Kelley has brought the whole family along for this one. Kelly Doran's wife Maria is in attendance. Still no sigh of Becky Lourey, and I'm certain she'll show up eventually. Lots of college students filtering in, asking for literature from all three campaigns.

7:04 - Kelly Doran overheard speaking to a campaign staffer, and I'm paraphrasing closely to his exact words here: "it's not about how many people you get to these things...we're talking to the same people over and over again"...I'm such a gossip.


Update: Just spied Eva Young of LloydLetta - I think....yes. Might have to introduce myself. Given the ships-in-the-night we had at the Straw Poll event the other night, it would be nice to actually *meet a fellow blogger.

About five minutes to go here - looks to be a relatively sparsely attended event. College students. Plenty of campaign lit, lots of signs. Looks like the organizers have set out four tables, one for each candidate. Needless to say, I've hunkered down at Mike Hatch's table. I shouldn't have too many problems. I'll post updates as time-noted updates to this post, so keep an eye out.


 

Live-Blogging the Gubernatorial Forum

As the title implies, I'm here at the University of Minnesota, waiting for the start of the gubernatorial candidate forum with Kelly Doran, Steve Kelley, and Becky Lourey. Keep a close eye on this space over the next two and a half hours!

 

Republican Gay Marriage Ban - Campaign Issue

Well, they're at it again. The Self-Styled "Independent" Republican Party of Minnesota is pulling a well-worn page out of the RNC's playbook, and pushing for a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to protect against what they see as the constitutional weakness of Minnesota's Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Read my <font> tags: It's still just a campaign issue. My prior ruminations on the issue aside, I think Ron Carey's making a huge mistake by even mentioning the words "wedge issue". That's all people are going to hear - "WEDGE ISSUE" - regardless of the context. In this particular circumstance, they'll be absolutely correct to hear "wedge issue", because that's exactly what it is, nothing more, and nothing less. This is a campaign-year attempt by the MN-GOP to hit back with wedge issues of its own after being driven apart at the national seams on stem cell research, the Abramoff scandal, the Katrina debacle, Harriet Miers - the list goes on and on.

In a less-overtly political tone, everyone should read this. It's a Wikipedia article entitled MARRIAGE, and while it contains references to the recent controversy over gay marriage in the U.S., has a very historical and academic approach to the entire subject of marriage. Worth a read. My point is, educate thyself before saying things like "one-man, one-woman marriage is the oldest custom in our culture, and MUST be defended against a small minority who wish to have the same legal rights as their peers, per the highest law of the land, the Constitution of the United States, which our elected leaders are sworn to uphold."

Just a thought.

 

Quick Hits

Rasmussen Senate Poll: Amy Klobuchar and Ford Bell both outpolling Mark Kennedy, who's really going to be the goat of the Republican Party if his all-star fundraising list can't produce better than a 42-45% showing in the general election. To be polling this low, this early, with pretty strong name recognition around the state, and in a poll done by a well-respected right-leaning pollster - Kennedy is in big trouble, and we haven't even had caucuses yet.

Kelly Doran today on MPR's Meet the Candidates series on Midday. Give a listen. Broken Nails has a somewhat negative roundup on Mike Hatch's appearance yesterday, and apparently does not like the Attorney General as a gubernatorial candidate too much.

Martin Sabo has a challenger for the 5th congressional seat - from the left. I don't think Mr. Nelson-Pallmeyer has much of a chance, but it is interesting to note that the anti-war community is vocal, growing, and willing to put its weight behind candidates for national office.

That other post is coming, I promise. Stay tuned.

 

In General Agreement...

...with this opinion column from the Crookston Daily Times on the issue of Governor Pawlenty's radio show.

If nothing else, the Democrats' complaints have put Pawlenty's radio show in the spotlight. Because of that, the governor is going to have to be more careful than ever about what he says on the air. He can't stray into campaign mode even for a fleeting second here or there, or he'll be called on it. Of course, he's been called on it before; the show has long been criticized by those who say it's nothing but a Pawlenty propaganda tool that doesn't allow any dissenting voices.

If increasing the public scrutiny of Pawlenty's radio show is what the Democrats hoped to accomplish in the first place, their ploy was a success. But their attempt to get the plug pulled on the radio show, and Pawlenty's response, once again have shown Minnesota voters that common sense goes right out the window when Republicans and Democrats lock horns in this state.

I'd say the move has been a success in that, as the author mentions, at least public scrutiny of the show is increased. I'd disagree, however, that it's a lack of common sense on both sides that is feeding into the conflict - I'd call it tactical positioning. The public might not be able to see the battle plan, but I think both sides have pretty comprehensive maps of the way forward, and this is just one little skirmish on that map.

Watch out for another post later today on the GOP's recent home DVD release, "How to Succeed in Politics Without Really Trying (by Exploiting Public Fear of Gays)".

Monday, February 27, 2006

 

Bachmann Campaign Suspended

Polinaut has the news - Michele Bachmann is suspending her congressional campaign for medical reasons. Political disagreement is no reason not to wish her a speedy recovery and hope she'll be all right. Best wishes to the Bachmann family in what I'm sure is a difficult time.

 

'Tis the day of Early Morning Posts

For fear of sounding too partisan, I thought I'd provide links to all of MPR's Meet the Candidate interviews so far in the Senate and Gubernatorial races. So, in alphabetical order (RealAudio required):

Senate:
Ford Bell
Amy Klobuchar

Governor:
[UPDATE]: Peter Hutchinson thanks to Mike for the heads-up - interview was a few weeks ago and I missed it.
Steve Kelley
Becky Lourey


Complete schedule can be found here. Mike Hatch is up today, Kelly Doran tomorrow, both at 11 AM. Tune in!

 

dflcaucuses.org

In case you haven't seen it in the comments, check out dflcaucuses.org, a project done for the DFL by Dan Weinand. I thought it was a bit wonky when I tried it for my address, but it seems to be working properly. That's what I get for playing with my cat all weekend, my technological perceptiveness drops off the table in favor of tossing catnip-laden cloth mice around. But anyway, go find out where your precinct caucuses are!

 

Flame on!

No, I still haven't seen The Fantastic Four. On to the flamings!
StPaul_DFLer said...

Sorry, I was looking for the Minnesota Campaign Report and stumbled here upon the Kelley for Governor page.

You guys blow and have no credibility on the Gov's race.
Yet somehow, you're still here, StPaul_DFLer. There's exactly one downside to the possibilities blogs open up to political communication between all participants, and it's that tossing insults around like they're penny candy loses any and all consequences it may have had. Like StPaul_DFLer is fond of doing.

Look, politics is tough. If you can't handle your personal pet candidate taking a few potshots here and there, tough noogies. That's the nature of the game, and you whining about who I support isn't going to win you any points. I call events in every race like I see them, and the fact that I have had a longer and deeper perspective on the Governor's race and the Kelley Campaign in particular doesn't change that.

I've now seen each of the four major DFL candidates in person, and am impressed with most of them for various reasons, but still believe Steve Kelley to have the right ideas, and have put in the most time, effort, and political will into the race. I think that's what the DFL should be looking for, not tossing around their pet favorite's talking points (I like Lourey's line about never having faced an incumbent. Senate races and Gubernatorials are a bit different, guys).

But to get back to the point - how's this for credibility: I take fellow bloggers at their word that the opinions they espouse in their blogs are ... well, ... their opinions. When they try to pass it off as fact, I call them on it, as I've done with MDE and Republican Minnesota several times. Beyond that, if I don't like what's being written, I don't read it. It's a free country. StPaul_DFLer might be surprised to note that I read several right-leaning blogs, not because I'm doing opposition research, but because they write well and sometimes have good things to say. I don't find it necessary to ride around on a high horse telling this person and that person that they don't have credibility because I don't agree with them. That kind of attitude loses elections, and that's not what I'm about.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

 

DFL Straw Poll Results

Via BBMN, here are the results:

US Senate:

  1. Amy Klobuchar
  2. Ford Bell

Governor:

  1. Steve Kelley
  2. Becky Lourey
  3. Mike Hatch
  4. Kelly Doran

Sec. of State

  1. Mark Ritchie
  2. Christian Sande

Auditor

  1. Rebecca Otto
  2. Reggie Edwards

Attorney General
Matt Entenza (tough one - he was on the ballot twice.

The event as a whole was fantastic. Pretty good music, good beer, games, campaign lit, the whole shebang. Unfortunately I could not stay to find out exactly what the percentages were on these votes - in fact, I couldn't stay past about 9:15, hence my reference to BBMN above. But here are some general impressions:
  • Rebecca Otto may be getting a lot of support from party regulars outside the Stonewall community, but it is in spite of her public speaking style. Her advantage is that Mr. Edwards wasn't extraordinarily clear either.
  • I've noted this in the relevant comments over at BBMN, but Becky Lourey is not good on her own stump. She came off as downright shrill last night, and while she has good ideas, she made factual errors, and clapped for herself in front of the microphone. This was not a candidate that a majority of Minnesotan voters are going to get behind in November, no matter how much she pushes her rural credentials.
  • It is interesting for several reasons to note that Kelly Doran got less support in the ballot box than the alleged "front-runner" who did not deign to show up - again. He is certainly a solid businessman, no one can fault him for being successful, but Mr. Doran has not done himself any favors with the DFL faithful.
  • There were a LOT of Steve Kelley stickers and buttons worn last night. A LOT.
In non-directly-campaign-related news from the event, the St. Paul DFL was kind enough to set up a table for bloggers. Sadly, none of my compatriots showed up to live-blog the thing, but I did see a younger guy with a camera - I'm off right now to root around, see if I can figure out who that was. Happy Sunday, and FIND YOUR CAUCUS LOCATIONS!

[IMMEDIATE UPDATE]: Broken Nails has the actual vote totals. Some interesting numbers, especially in the Secretary of State race - lots of undecideds were there.

Friday, February 24, 2006

 

MN Senate candidates

I'll admit that winning more seats in the State Senate isn't crucial for the DFL - but given that redistricting issues come up in 2010, and Minnesota's legislature takes care of that little issue, I wouldn't mind having a rock-solid two-thirds super-majority. So, in the spirit of my earlier post on the House, here are DFL candidates running in open seats or against Republican incumbent Senators:

04 - Mary Olson, Bemidji
25 - Jessica Peterson - Not sure about this one. No dates on the website
38 - Jim Carlson - Also not sure about this one - but pretty sure.
41 - Andrew Borene - We've heard about this guy before. This race should be a gimme given the positive press he's gotten. Solid website, and he's got a blog too...mmmm, blog.
42 - Carol Bomben, Eden Prairie. I've met her briefly and she's great.
48 - Mike Starr
53 - Sandy Rummel. Not sure, but it looks like she's running this year. Anyone from SD53?
62 - Alex Eaton. Another blog-based website. This is Wes Skoglund's district, and should be a keeper for the DFL, but if memory serves, there are more candidates in this race already than just Eaton.

So there you have it, folks. Eden Prairie is a somewhat tough spot, and Edina has a historic reputation as being a bit red at the polls, but both of those areas trended toward the DFL in the last election - I like Borene's and Bomben's chances. As with the House post, anyone who knows more about these candidates or has links to other candidates' websites, by all means, comment away.

 

Call for links

In another shameless attempt to garner comments on my posts, I'm putting out a call for links - that is, additions that my loyal readers think should be made to my jerry-rigged blogroll over here on the left sidebar. Lefty, rightie, moderate, news, opinion, statewide issues or single-race coverage, doesn't matter. Hit me up with those links! (And whatever you do, please don't let this post look stupid by letting it go without comments).

 

DFL candidates for MN House

I'm not too worried about the DFL maintaining a solid majority in the Senate. However, we're currently down by exactly one net seat in the House, after an extremely successful 2004 campaign that saw thirteen seats change hands. So how does the DFL regain control of the House of Representatives in St. Paul? By supporting these following candidates, whom I'm fairly certain are running in 2006, according to the DFL's website. Each of these folks is putting themselves on the line for either an open seat or a fight against a Republican incumbent. If I'm wrong or missing anyone, please let me know in the comments, otherwise, on to the list:

16A: Gail Kulick Jackson
17B: Jeremy Kalin
21A: Pat Mellenthin
25B, David Bly Campaign site is also a blog. Big plus.
29B, Kim Norton
36A, Mark Solomon
37A, Shelly Madore - Got almost 49% in 2004. Running again.
40A, Will Morgan - Also lost by an extremely slim margin in 2004, and is running again.
48B, Jess Langerud
53A, Wendy Benson

As I said above, if I'm missing someone, please let me know and I'll include them in a later post. However, let this serve as a public service announcement - if you live in one of the noted House districts, check out their websites, get in touch with the campaigns, and get active :-) Remember - even if only two of these DFLers are elected and we hold our gains from 2004, House leadership changes to the DFL. My money is on Madore and Morgan, but everyone on this list deserves some air time.

[UPDATE]: Or I might just include them here:
38B, Mike Obermueller

That's eleven DFLers, running in what, given recent and current indications, should be a down year for the local Republican Party after DFL gains in 2004. Music to my ears.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

 

Iraq as a Senate campaign issue

I have to lay one thing out here - I like both Amy Klobuchar and Ford Bell. I've met them both, and they're each impeccable human beings. They're both solid on the issues, they both speak well, and they both have rabid support within the party. Looking at the race from a somewhat ivory-tower view, it looks like they've both run solid, fair, and clear campaigns in the run-up to the caucuses and convention.

I had to get that disclaimer out of the way, because I'm about to diss Bell's campaign, and unfortunately, it's for something I wish I could get behind. Doctor Bell has called for an end to American military involvement in Iraq by the end of the year (or something along these lines), and has been generating a lot of support in DFL Peace First discussion groups. I applaud desire and effort to bring our troops home, having done all they could for Iraq.

This position will get absolutely shredded in a statewide, one-on-one matchup with a Republican. Any Republican. Doesn't matter how bad a candidate it is. Doesn't matter if it's Mark Kennedy or Harold Shudlick or this Uldrich guy who's recently jumped in on the Republican side. Anyone who can claim ideological solidarity with President Bush's war policies will systematically disassemble an opponent who is calling for a quick timeline for ending our involvement in Iraq. They will call such an opponent weak, and soft on terror, and perhaps even come up with some cockamamie connection between their DFL opponent and Osama Bin Laden to underscore their criticism. And it doesn't matter how false the rhetoric will be - it will work.

The reason for this is simple. Like it or not, there is a wide range of political opinion in this state. We have frothing conservative nutbars, regular conservatives, true moderates, progressives, liberals, and even a few socialists. (Note to my conservative readers - there are differences between those last three, no matter what you may have read, or even written). It is my heartfelt belief that most moderates, those voters upon whose votes any statewide race is going to hinge, are turning against the war itself. They are turning against President Bush and his cronies and his allies in Congress for all their failures and lies and obfuscations and downright badness as leaders - but those moderates, by and large, believe we need to finish the job we (perhaps for the wrong reasons) started in Iraq. They will vote for a DFL candidate, but only if that candidate does not allow themselves to be hung as a scarecrow on a promise to push to bring the troops home soon. The hearts of the DFL Peace First folks are in the right place, but we have to win the election first.

So I think the next three months are going to be very, very interesting for this race. I have to be honest though - I'd still love to see Ford Bell jump into the 3rd CD race against Jim Ramstad. Perhaps it's wishful thinking. But perhaps not.

 

Polinaut piece on the 'Burbs

Bob Collins is right - the suburbs are trending blue, at least to the north and west of the Twin Cities. We'll see about the southern exurban area beyond Burnsville and Apple Valley. I would agree with Mr. Collins about the 3rd CD as well - if only the DFL had a credible candidate to face Jim Ramstad. Any takers?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

 

I hope you won't call it nepotism

From Politics in Minnesota's newsletter:
Steve Kelley Has The Momentum
Buzz from the field of Democratic activists is that the most impressive candidate recently is State Senator Steve Kelley (D-Hopkins). Kelley, who has always been better known for his solid policy credentials than his political flamboyance, is lined up for strong support from the DFL
delegates with less than two weeks to go until caucuses.

Kelley has the unofficial support of one of the biggest blocks of DFL delegates: teachers. And while he doesn’t have an official endorsement from Education Minnesota, he does have the clear support of the majority of the rank and file who are likely to show up to their respective caucuses. For the last four years, there has been no bigger advocate for teachers than Kelley, who has been Chair of the Education Committee at the Capitol.

Kelley was always thought of as a solid candidate but his strong fundraising last year, and at the beginning of this year, has many delegates buzzing that he could be the perfect anti-Pawlenty in 2006.
From Backbone Minnesota's endorsement:

Kelley has left-of-center politics that will appeal to greater Minnesota. His campaign is doing the legwork, and people are following. People-power is pushing the Steve Kelley for Governor campaign. He is NOT the candidate of the failed DFL “good ol’ boys” club, the aged establishment that has kept Democrats out of the Governor’s mansion for the past two decades.
...
Steve Kelley is a candidate who will not dodge important issues or compromise his values to cater to the “swing voters”. Instead, by standing by principle Kelley will offer a clear alternative, and in turn “grow liberalism.” Kelley is an inspiring candidate with a strong track record of excellence in the Minnesota Senate. As a tireless crusader for education, Kelley has secured sustainable funding for K-12 and higher education. He will fight for these principles now as well - principles that will help keep Minnesota as one of the nation’s leaders in education.

Steve Kelley’s politics represent Minnesota’s spirit - politics that focus on the bread-and-butter issues: education, jobs, health-care, and transportation.

The Netroots must unite around one candidate going into the convention if we are to break the grip of the old guard of the DFL. Steve Kelley is that candidate.

I happened to be at a great event with the Senator last night in St. Paul, and if you didn't hear his interview today with Gary Eichten on MPR, I encourage you to go listen. Check out the new campaign blog while you're at it too. This isn't an exercise in carrying water. This is someone who only claims to have a bit of knowledge, a smattering of professional experience in the game, a desire to codify my thoughts on campaigns and politics, and the ability to type 90 words per minute. It's a plus, trust me.

Politics in Minnesota is absolutely correct - the Big Mo' is on the side of Steve Kelley.
I have worked for and supported Senator Kelley's campaign since the beginning for the same reasons I now support and endorse him for Governor of Minnesota. Politics is a dramatic game, and we in the Democratic netroots have a unique opportunity to make a dramatic difference in the future of our state.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

 

The post that had no title

No joke. Sitting here on my lunch break, and trying to think of some witty title for a post about stuff, and nothing came to mind. Anyway, onward.

I try so hard to keep the political hemisphere of my mind off of national issues, but this article cropped up on a major national blog, and I just had to link to it. From the American Prospect, it discusses the interesting financial arrangements between Rick Santorum, third-ranking US Senate Republican, and his leadership PAC. Hundreds of trips to Starbucks on the PAC's dime. Interesting, and a good read. As I've said before, not every Republican official is dirty, corrupt, and slimy, but Santorum and his buddies in the leadership positions within their caucus certainly are.

Also, take a close look at the links in the sidebar, as there's been an update in the Governor section. I'm well aware that the Doran campaign's blog has been up for a while, but hey - I think I make it pretty clear who my horse is in that race, and the Kelley campaign is really committed to building the grassroots through hard foot work, hours on the phone, and through the blogosphere. Check it out when you have a moment. Or now.

Monday, February 20, 2006

 

Links updated

In case you don't use my blog as your own personal reading list (and I wouldn't blame you if you did), I've updated the categories to your left in a way that makes sense to me. Whenever possible, I've linked to an official campaign blog or blogs specifically focused on the race listed. If I've missed anyone, please please please let me know and I'll get a link up there ASAP. In the interest of fairness, I've listed right-leaning blogs when appropriate as well as my compatriots on the left and in the middle. Read away!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

 

At Issue 2/19/06

As part of Minvolved's ongoing expansion, I've volunteered to cover KSTP's At Issue with Tom Hauser - so if you're being linked here from Minvolved, thanks for reading! If you're a regular reader, thanks for reading! You get the point. Anyway, it's a great excuse for me to have a regular Sunday post, and the show itself is a great reason for you to wake up early on Sundays :-)

This week's At Issue was a smorgasbord of statewide news and opinion. I'll eschew the quick hits in favor of the major political stories:

Anoka County/Vikings Stadium issues
Jay Esmay, GOP congressional candidate
Light Rail between Minneapolis and St. Paul

Vikings stadium issues: Say what you will about the team, their season, and the adventures they had on Lake Minnetonka - Zygi Wilf has been a pretty active owner when it comes to trying to build a new stadium for the team. The current proposal - a billion-plus in private investment along with several hundred millions of dollars in state and local tax revenue being spent - sounds like it has the support of local legislators in Blaine and Anoka County as a whole. The complex, which will include a great deal of retail development, hotel accomodations, etc, will provide a big boost to the local tax base, according to team and local officials.

Although there's been some opposition to raising Anoka County-only sales taxes to cover the local investment in the project, it seems like elected officials in Anoka are going to be much more willing than their counterparts in Hennepin County to push the plan through without a referendum. Perhaps losing one professional team and the local revenue it produces will put pressure on Hennepin County and Minneapolis officials to get something done with the Twins.

Two of this week's guests, former Governor Wendell Anderson and Sarah Janacek of Politics in Minnesota, had opinions on the issue. Anderson was pessimistic about any state legislation being passed regarding the stadium by a legislature that didn't get anything done on the isse in the past session and hasn't changed much in terms of makeup, and Janacek proposed simply throwing bills on the floor of each house and letting legislators vote on them. Simplistic, but it might be a good tool for gauging support.

Anderson and Janacek were also asked about the current controversy over Progress for America's misleading ads involving veterans claiming the media only reports the bad news from Iraq. Janacek supports the ads being aired, but also supports KSTP's decision not to air them considering the ad's digs against the media as a whole. A bit of a fence-sitter, I think. Anderson took issue with the fact that the war is so unpopular that President Bush's political allies have to create ads like this at all. Interesting look at the situation.

The other major political segment of the show was an interview with Jay Esmay, Republican candidate for Mark Kennedy's 6th CD seat. I'll be honest, this was the first I've heard from any of the four GOP candidates, so I can't say too much about comparisons among them. Mr Esmay is a veteran and not a career politician. He claims he knew Patty Wetterling would be back in the 6th CD race. He also claims to be a proponent of radical tax reform - he wants to change from an income tax to what he called a "consumption tax" where the entire tax base basically comes from (what I think are) sales and service taxes, where we each pay for what we use and nothing more. While this is an interesting proposal, I wonder how he thinks the IRS as we know it would disappear. He also claimed that the military is run like a business - provide the same services this year as last, but do it cheaper. Considering the size of the annual increases in our government's military expenditures, I find this position to be absolutely ridiculous, but I'll give Mr. Esmay a mulligan based on his military experience.

Quick Hits:

  • Home building in January was up 14.5% over the year-ago period. Warm weather helped. First-ring suburbs are out of space, driving purchase costs and property taxes through the roof. Not good for those of us looking to buy in the next couple of years. Sigh.

  • Child Care costs are ridiculous - $12,000/year for infants, up to $9,000/year for toddlers. Licensing and certifications are being blamed.

  • the Central Corridor LRT initiative (along University Ave from Minneapolis to St. Paul) is slated to open in 2012 - IF it gets the money it needs from the Legislature right now. Opponents of this service need to swallow their backward-looking pride and understand that every major city has one of two options - a strong public transit system, or tremendous urban sprawl a la Phoenix and Houston. A quick look at the pollution problems being faced by those cities and their phalanxes of commuters makes me foam at the mouth at these legislators who oppose a strong commuter-and-light-rail system in the Twin Cities.

  • David Strom, head of Minnesota's Taxpayer's League, was featured in not one, but two pieces in which he made a point of taking politically-motivated potshots at some mythical, monolithic "political left" for the ills of the world - is this guy for real?
That's all for this week. There were several smaller stories I've left out, but I won't bore you will all of them. Until next week.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

 

Brr

I apologize for the recent cold spell. Seriously. Not two days ago, I turned to my fiancee in the car, and said "jeez, if it stays this warm, I might have to start riding (my bike) again soon."

Thus does Mother Nature demonstrate her sense of irony.

MN GOP Watch has a good read on Tim Pawlenty and Mark Kennedy running from the cold for a fundraisers in Florida. Could be a good angle. I wish I could agree with recent rumblings that Tim Pawlenty should give up his weekly radio address because he's obviously a candidate for re-election - unfortunately, the law is the law. Perhaps if there were new rules in place governing what types of fundraisers incumbents could attend before declaring for the upcoming race, or how much money they could raise, then there would be an issue - but oh well.

In other news, check out that hit counter on the left! At some point this weekend (not knowing when my next post will be) that dusty old zero in the fifth place over will creak over to 1. 10,000 hits in a few months, and Google Analytics tells me my traffic is accelerating linearly. This is a good thing, and I'm excited for the campaign season to kick into high gear. Many thanks to my readers - especially all you folks from the senate.gov, house.gov, and state.mn.us domains. You rock. Whoever you are.

Friday, February 17, 2006

 

MDE and RF waving the flag again

And I quote:
-Bush-Cheney '04 Minnesota Veterans Coalition Co-Chairs: Lieutenant Colonel Joe Repya (U.S. Army, Ret.) - Repya volunteered for Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm in August 1990 and joined the 1st Infantry Division in December 1990 as a member of the Aviation Brigade. He spent seven months on active duty in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq, flying combat helicopter missions. Active in the Minneapolis Iraqi community. General Dennis Schulstad (U.S. Air Force, Ret.) - Schulstad served as Minnesota Chair of Employers Support for Guard and Reserve. He served on numerous boards and commissions, and also served as a Minneapolis City Council member for 22 years. From Edina, Minnesota.
--http://www.vetsforbush.com/veterans.html

I don't know this Joe Repya character. I'm quite sure he served his country with distinction (a statement I'm not sure my Republican counterparts are willing to make regarding Democrat and DFL candidates for Congress who are also honorably-discharged veterans). But he's free to say what he wants in support of whatever policy or leader he wants to support, with the caveat that details of his involvement with those leaders' campaigns will be found. Google has the power. I must admit, it takes away from the inspiration factor of an ad like this to know that heavy hitters behind it are intimate with the Republican campaign machine. But this is all really just an aside.

Here's what I don't like about this whole situation. Defending the PFA ad is no more or less patriotic than calling it on its falsehoods and misleading statements. PFA wants us to believe that they're a patriotic organization, which I don't doubt, but what I do doubt is whether this ad is patriotic. It's not. It's politics, plain and simple. Perhaps MDE would be willing to explain to me how disagreeing vehemently with the ruling party and the tactics they employ constitutes a lack of patriotism? Perhaps they would be willing to demonstrate concrete examples of members of one major party or the other not supporting the troops in Iraq?

Until you can answer these questions, nothing you do or say regarding the PFA ad will impress me or make me think you're anything but partisan hacks who care more about winning elections than serving the best interests of Minnesota and the U.S. Mostly MDE, but this applies to anyone who dares to question the patriotism of anyone else solely based upon their agreement or disagreement with the country's leaders and their policies.

What would impress me? How about reaching across the aisle and together finding solutions, in lieu of blindly supporting a President over whose leadership ability there is considerable difference of opinion, that are, if not perfect, at least palatable for moderate members of both parties? In fact, I'll extend the first olive branch - we're reasonable people, right? Let's talk about how we can all support the troops, regardless of how we feel about their commander-in-chief?

I realize I might have to learn to live with disappointment on this one. But if you guys are willing, I am too.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

 

W....T....F....

Um...So. Wow? Peter Idusogie, nee of the 2nd CD DFL primary (and got spanked), now running from Inside Minnesota Politics to....the Senate?

Not the State Senate. The U.S. SENATE.

I listened to the latest IMP via their nifty little homepage audio widget. I honestly don't know how to feel about Mr. Idusogie jumping into the Senate race. I can't tell from where he plans to draw support, from whom he will raise the insane amounts of money it will take to win (not just run, win) this race, and I can't tell what makes him think, quite frankly, he has something to offer that one of the three major candidates does not.

On the solely blog-related side of this move, it will be interesting to see how IMP does with Wendy Wilde in front of the microphone. If a bit, shall we say, caffeinated, she was always relatively entertaining on Air America, and should at least be worth listening to.

But the title of this post still stands. This most definitely takes the cheese for Most Random Political Move of the Cycle.

[UPDATE]: In the comments you can see Mike McIntee's notes, but he is correct - the endorsing convention did take multiple (3) ballots, and Mr. Idusogie did not run in the primary. My apologies for a hastily-written and not-closely-researched-enough post. However, my concerns regarding Mr. Idusogie's candidacy still stand - having run once as a DFLer, I fear that if he has any influence over the final outcome, it will be as a spoiler, and it won't spoil a thing for Mark Kennedy.

 

This = link-fest

I was unaware until today that this Progress for America ad was only being aired in Minnesota. My (perhaps mal-) educated opinion is that PFA views Minnesota as a swing state, and thus a test bed of sorts for this kind of opinion campaign before rolling out similar efforts in other states.

Good info on the growing story:

MN GOP Watch
Truth Surfer
MDE (seriously? Did I just type that?)
WCCO Reality Check

I'm glad to see I don't have to actually be on Ms. Cassutt's mailing list to be able to read press releases from the DFL. Thanks again, MDE. Anyway, special note on the press conference. Everyone who has the opportunity should watch it, from what I've heard it'll be a hoot.

 

Update: Local Candidate, National Props

Memo to MDE:

I didn't try to say he did. What Borene DID say was that the entire ad was misleading. And I quote:
"The mismanaged war in Iraq has already done enough damage to our
progress in the war on terrorism and the insurgency in Iraq is a civil conflict that is far more complicated than Al Qaida alone. Over the past three years, the President and his appointed civilian leadership have consistently refused to listen to objective intelligence and combat leadership, spending more time on this kind of stateside spin than on winning in Iraq or supporting our young heroes on the ground."
But MDE, I sincerely appreciate the chance to bring Borene's quality and potential leadership into sharper relief. Thank you.

 

Local Candidate, National props

I don't claim to know what level of interest Joe Trippi and his people have in Minnesota, but they've made several posts about local and state candidates in these parts. Their latest concerns Andrew Borene, an Iraq part Deux veteran who's running for State Senate District 41 (Edina and west Bloomington) and a recent release from his campaign blasting a recent ad campaign. Perhaps you've seen it - the one with vets telling us how awesome the American presence in Iraq is and how the mainstream media only reports bad news and Iraq is the front line in the war on terror.... their claims would be all well and good if not for their direct descendence from Republican Party and Bush Administration talking points.

I've previously said that I don't know how much influence the war and opposition to it will have in local politics, but I like the position Borene is taking on this one. It's infuriating to see 9/11 imagery used in association with the Iraq war, since exactly zero Iraqis were involved with the 9/11 attacks, and Atta and his people were religious zealots whereas Hussein sought from day one to suppress religious interests in Iraq...the list of reasons goes on and on. HOWEVER, it is interesting to note some information about the publishers of that ad campaign: Progress for America Voter Fund, a conservative 527 group that seems to think Liberals are in charge in Washington and are pushing their policies on an unwilling populace. Not only are they wrong, but they are in cahoots with the worst of the worst our country's conservative movement has to offer.

So perhaps my earlier assumption was wrong. If Borene is as savvy as it now appears, and has a solid team working for him, perhaps national issues like the Iraq war can be leveraged at the local level. It will certainly be nice to expand the DFL hold on the Twin Cities into the suburbs, especially with recent gains in special elections in Minnetonka/Plymouth and St. Cloud. Pressure on Republican candidates = good. Chance at taking back the State House = better.

I know when my sentence structure breaks down to the point where I'm using math and English concurrently, it's time to end the post.

[UPDATE]: GO KSTP! For MDE's reference, the ad is not as much "supportive of the war" as it is "an attack against those who are against the war". Just a thought.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

 

Jonathan Swift, eat your heart out

NSP has a not-so-modest proposal, and it's not just a blogger lovefest, exchanging links because we're the cool kids. We're not. But the idea of a "No-bin-Laden-advertising pledge" is a good one, and it's one that only Democrats can push on Republicans. Such a pledge would make no sense coming from a Republican candidate - after all, I think most folks watching their nightly TV shows know that the Republican party has repeatedly utilized the Scraggly-Bearded One and his Band of Merry Bombers in their political advertising and fear-mongering across the country. Why would a Republican candidate voluntarily cut one of their legs out from under themselves?

But a challenge from a Democrat - ahh, now that would be political theater. Put the screws to the opposition, forcing them to take one of two positions: Weak in the face of political opposition, or weak in the face of pressure from within the GOP to use fear as a political weapon. In this scenario, the DFLer making the move comes out looking pretty good as well. Either way, make the Republican candidate look weak. In light of DFL Senate's recent coverage of Scott Howell's upcoming work for Mark Kennedy's campaign, such a challenge might be just what the doctor ordered for several statewide races.

In other news, I've noticed that Minnesota Democrats Exposed hasn't been doing much, well, exposing of late. Posting items from local media and news releases from his former bosses at the state Republican Party and leaving a comment or three is not what I would call "exposing" local Democrats - it's just your average, every-day political punditry. Can anyone find out when MDE's last real "scoop" was? Doran's move into the gubernatorial race? Just an ounce of snark to add levity to all our days :)

 

Senate DFL proposal: Strategery

I like this. I like it a lot, and not just because of the wide range of public services the proposal seeks to fund. Excerpt, in case your left-mouse-button-finger is tired:
That translates to about a 25-cent sales tax increase for every $100 dollars spent.

The sales tax increase would generate about $191 million a year, according to Senate DFLers.

DFLers propose dedicating about a third of the sales tax revenue toward fish and wildlife — about $65 million — with the remainder evenly divvied up between parks and trails, clean water initiatives, the arts — museums, public broadcasting, others.
...
“We believe simply that the people of Minnesota are willing to take a serious look at the proposal,” said Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar.
...

But Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, House Environment and Natural Resources Committee chairman, slammed the Senate DFL proposal. He accused “Senator Johnson and his band of puppeteers” of playing politics with their proposal. “Frankly, I’m rather disgusted,” said Hackbarth, explaining that Senate Democrats know the House Republican caucus would never support a tax increase.

Questions of tax increases, argued Hackbarth, should not be left to the public — that’s for the Legislature to deal with, he explained.

As I said above, I like this proposal for several reasons, both ideological and political.

1) Any proposal that seeks to add funding to outdoor resources, conservation, and public broadcasting (read: MPR. Doesn't Rep. Hackbarth like MPR?) through what is, let's face it, a very small tax increase, should be taken seriously. This proposal pushes items that are on the DFL platform, and will excite the liberal and activist bases of the party.

2) I don't think the timing of the proposal was specifically designed to embarrass Governor Pawlenty, but it does put the state Republican Party and its elected officials in a bit of a pinch - which is more important, keeping taxes below necessary revenue levels, or funding programs like fishing and wildlife management and restoration, which, given the rural constituencies most Republicans in the Legislature represent, could be used against incumbents running for reelection by savvy DFL opponents.

3) Rep. Hackbarth's final comment in the article highlights another issue - the Stadium deal. His comment seems to indicate a hard position against allowing referenda on tax increases - this may indicate that a deal is possible whereby aspects of the DFL caucus's proposal may be flexible in exchange for concessions elsewhere. However, the Republican caucuses have too many goals for the upcoming legislative session (property tax relief, gay-hate amendments) and risk losing their unified message if they move in too many directions.

4) The pressure here is on Republican officials to stick a few proposals in their desk drawers for the year so the Legislature can get some business done. This is, in and of itself is a risk for the GOP - their base has been clamoring for their representatives to add discrimination against gays and lesbians to the state Constitution, and might start getting restless if the GOP is forced to table the Bachman Amendment.

Anything that puts the Republican caucus in this kind of pickle is music to my ears. Kudos to Sen. Johnson and the rest of the caucus leadership for coming up with a great multi-faceted move for the upcoming session.


Monday, February 13, 2006

 

Cue Sturdevant

Right on cue. Check it out. I think Lori and I would have a lot to agree on.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

 

Gay Marriage as a campaign issue

We've all heard the argument for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Usually it goes something like "We have to protect our way of life, and our traditions, and our family values from this unhealthy lifestyle". Sounds inoccuous enough. Except that it's a symptom of a political culture, mostly on (but not exclusive to) the right wing of our political culture. What follows is a letter to the editor, re-published over at LloydLetta:
Dan H.
2/10 1:45 PM It is time for citizens to stand up for our family values. By accepting this unhealthy lifestyle, our communities will be changed. I want a constitutional amendment so judges can’t override our elected officials. I do not want my children to learn that being gay is a positive alternative lifestyle and that they should explore it. Remember, true love is willing to say no to those who may think they are right but are really hurting themselves in the process. The average age of death for homosexuals is 43 years old. Tolerance should be for that which is positive and healthy for all. My feeling is that any legislator who does not encourage or promote healthy and positive lifestyles should be removed form office. Some of the metro legislators and those of liberal world views are trying to change our world, and I will show my support for my country’s true values at the polls this fall. I hope others will join me!
This argument sums up everything that is wrong with the argument against gay marriage, and indeed, with the modern conservative movement within the Republican Party. Let's go point by point:

--"stand up for our family values" - By "family values", this person can only mean "our right not to think about men having sex with other men or women having sex with other women because we don't want our children to become gay." Stop me when I go off course.

--"unhealthy lifestyle"...."average age of death for homosexuals is 43" - who says? Rush Limbaugh? For one thing, for someone so opposed to equal rights for homosexuals this person seems to know a lot about their lifecycle. More likely than that, they've been given propaganda to parrot back at the media by their friends in the statehouse and MCCL, propaganda which has no basis in fact.

-- "Tolerance should be for that which is positive and healthy for all..." - Forget about asking Dan to define "positive for all", this simply isn't true. The Constitution was written to protect not the rights and customs of the majority, but rather to protect the minority against the tyranny of the majority - exactly the situation we are in today. Go ahead, read the Federalist Papers and get back to me in a few weeks. The Founding Fathers were deathly afraid that in an elective form of government, the rights of smaller factions, whether political, cultural, or religious, would be quashed by the fears and conceits of a ruling majority.

--"liberal lawmakers are trying to change the world...[para]" - Not true. The world (and by that, I mean our culture, economy, and society) changes on its own, and the course of American history has been a steady path of expanding rights, not shrinking (see: non-landowner's suffrage, women's suffrage, Emancipation, Brown vs. Board of Education, the Civil Rights movement, the right to vote at 18 instead of 21, Roe vs. Wade, Miranda v. Arizona for a more eclectic example). Liberal lawmakers are, by definition, those who embrace cultural change and are confident enough in their own values not to fear change, which is inevitable. The only activism on the part of lawmakers in this fight is coming from radical conservatives who are scared of gays living next door. See: Michele Bachmann.

--"I want a constitutional amendment so judges can't overrule legislators..." - Woah now. When was the last time Dan H. took a Civics course? I am personally opposed to the very idea of electing judges, which is sadly legal now in Minnesota. However, the very purpose of an independent judiciary is to check the power of the executive AND the legislature. The Constitution of Minnesota (and indeed, that of the United States) is a document which defines the way the government operates in relation to the populace. It does NOT define who can and cannot marry. The primary and only reason why right-wing gay marriage activists want a constitutional amendment is because they know that a law proscribing gay marriage will be struck down by any judge worth her salt when she gets to the Tenth Amendment.

--"true love is saying no to those who may think they are right..." - Ahh, the balance point of this particular fulcrum. Dan H. thinks of homosexuals as children who need to be told what's right and wrong for their own good - this mindset is both unconstitutional and ethically wrong. Dan H. may tell his own children what's right and wrong, but quite frankly, has absolutely no right as a straight person, a family man, a community member, a Minnesotan, or an American to tell another person that they can or cannot live a certain way when that way of living does not affect Dan's family.

And God's honest truth is that whether you consider homosexuality a lifestyle or a choice or a genetic predisposition, whatever. It is not for me or anyone else to tell my neighbor that what they do in their bedroom is wrong. It is not or me or the government or anyone else to say that two people cannot declare their love for one another and receive the same legal and civil rights in partnerhood that the rest of us receive.

What is required at this juncture is a way for those of us with political conscience to demonstrate to people like Dan H. what it would be like if he were in the minority of rights - that is, if a large group in his community were trying to keep him from attaining what is truly a civil right...perhaps, hypothetically, a large constituency in his community wanted to ban all letters to the editor, suppressing his right to free speech and access to the media. Until conservatives like Dan H. learn to accept homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgendered individuals as Americans and human beings, equal in their right to live as they see fit to Dan himself, no progress can be made.

Until then, the work unfortunately needs to be done on the Democratic/DFL side. We Democrats are no different from Republicans when we are uneasy with our homosexual friends; the difference is that we have the ability to, and must, get past our uneasiness and truly be the party of the People - ALL the people, gay, straight, or other. We cannot allow the Republican Party to get away with using denial of civil rights as a political wedge issue to drive thinking, breathing Americans apart.

There are candidates running for office here in Minnesota and across the country who are confident in their faith, their values, and their ethics, and thus know in their hearts that to defend the rights of gays and lesbians is to defend the rights of all. I hope you'll support these candidates. Sadly, few are Republicans. The days of Dwight Eisenhower's enlightened conservatism are gone forever.

I must now admit that in researching some material for this post, I came across some interesting facts. The quote "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" was misattributed to Voltaire. Voltaire's true quote in his Essay on Tolerance was "Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too." The sentiment is the same - I don't agree with Dan H's views or words, but I will never once deny him the chance to say it, and I hope he's comfortable enough in his views and in the United States Constitution to hear my opposing views, and consider them critically as I have his. In a larger-than-Dan sense, however, I now paraphrase Voltaire for situational use: I am not gay, but I will defend to the death the right of others to be what they choose to be and remain equal in their rights as community members, as Minnesotans, and as Americans. And I hope you will too.

So ends your weekend sermonette. Thoughts, anyone?

 

Links actually fixed

My sincere apologies on that update-fixed-not-really thing in that last post. End-of-the-week-blues must have gotten to me.

Friday, February 10, 2006

 

This is what I've been saying

Good to see more and more folks in the blogosphere picking up on what I've been saying for months :) Broken Nails has the right idea about a certain candidate for Governor. We are now inside a month until the precinct caucuses, and here's the situation:

--One candidate has ignored the party activist base and various
opportunities to meet opponents in respectful debate
--One has a decent idea - run as a centrist from the start - but has ignored
the opportunity to raise money for a true grassroots effort in favor of
loaning his campaign almost two million dollars. The DFL is the party
of the people - this won't gonna work.
--Another fires up the base, but has not demonstrated a strong ability to
raise money, a necessity when running against an incumbent whose
fundraising totals are very good.
--The last has engaged DFL activists for almost nine months, raising a
very considerable sum of money given the uphill name recognition
battle, enlisted the hard work of a great campaign team, has a solid
grasp of the issues facing Minnesota, and knows how to talk about the
values that inform his policies and decisions.

What's not to like? By all means, it's not a rhetorical question, either. I've put my money and my professional time where my mouth are; I'm not just a fan boy on this one. Get yourself to a candidate event or fundraiser before the caucuses next month. I'm confident you'll join Broken Nails and yours truly in our thoughts on the gubernatorial race.

Unless you're Republican Minnesota. In which case...there's nothing I can do, you're too far gone.

[UPDATE]: Link fixed. Sorry about that (to the one, possibly two people who actually saw it before T+J did.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

 

Agh! More links!

Just caught up with my reading list - cripes! MinnesotaBlue's Trinhmaster's a smart and involved kid, and has a wrapup of the recent MYDFL convention this past Saturday.

 

Business Dems Gubernatorial Candidate Forum

Broken Nails has a good wrap-up of the Business Dems candidate forum - link here

 

Will someone explain something to me?

Perhaps I'm missing something in the Minnesota Republican Party's line on Amy Klobuchar regarding rising crime rates in Minneapolis. How exactly does her role as County Attorney allow her to affect actual crime rates? Shouldn't the GOP be talking about the ability of the County Attorney's Office, under her leadership, to put those offenders behind bars?

Perhaps those statistics don't play well with the standard GOP strategy of trying to inspire fear in voters for the sake of winning elections.

In somewhat related news, has anyone else noticed how frequently Ron Carey and Steve Sviggum call any DFL leader an "out-of-touch liberal" or variance thereon? If confronted with such a question, their response would no doubt go something along the lines of "well, yes. Every elected DFLer in this state is an out-of-touch liberal, we're just being honest."

This explanation is preposterous. If DFLers are so out of touch, how do they keep getting elected? And in numbers such that they dominate the State Senate and essentially stand at equilibrium in the House? Do they (-gasp-) represent their constituents? Do those constituents (-gasp-) comprise a large percentage of Minnesota's population? Do Republican officials love to (-gasp-) conveniently forget about how much of Minnesota's population, tax base, and economic activity is contained in the Twin Cities when they wax poetic about "the mainstream" and what they call "values"?

Perhaps. Perhaps the proof will be in the pudding this November, when we see the results of state-wide races.

Monday, February 06, 2006

 

I WAS going to make it a light post

But thanks to Truth and Justice for leaving me a great segue for a Monday morning post. And to think I was just going to rip on Google Analytics for not getting their act together with my weekend data. In case you don't want to scroll down to the comment itself:
Ah yes...'bumbling' Coleen with national recognition, can be counted on to address issues and isn't Democratic lite or a Kelly support...you're correct we do have a choice... thanks for pointing out the obvious.
1. National name recognition does not matter unless the candidate can effectively utilize national
fundraising and activist networks. Coleen Rowley has not demonstrated this ability.
2. Which issues has Coleen Rowley addressed, other than national security and ethical
decision-making?
3. Who cares if a candidate "will address issues" if they can't get themselves elected?

Let's get one thing straight - I would much rather have a Democrat in the 2nd CD seat rather than John Kline. But Ms. Rowley is not a good candidate. She does not demonstrate effective control in public speech, she does not exert control over her message (or perhaps too much, either way, it's bad) or over her campaign staff. "I was a post-9/11 whistleblower" is simply not enough to get elected to Congress. This is one case where an insurgent, activist-based campaign is a very bad thing - when the candidate is running on name recognition alone, and once the campaign gets off the ground, the cracks start to show. Not good.

Speaking of those Google things - let's see some ad clicks, huh? A guy's gotta eat.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

 

Improvised post

I was reading Residual Forces and left a comment - but it quickly turned into a post for myself. Sigh...blogging.

Now you tell me if I’m still supposed to believe that Democrats outnumber Republicans. Source: DLC

The purpose of this memorandum is to begin to lay out what Democrats need to do to forge the kind of broad based center-left coalition of core and swing voters that we need to win in 2006 and 2008. The bottom line is this: because there are more self-identified conservatives than liberals in the electorate, if Republicans win all conservatives, Democrats need to win all of the self-identified liberals and more than seven of every 10 self-identified moderates just to break even. That is not an ideological statement, it’s simple arithmetic. Simply put, Democrats cannot win unless they build a coalition of all liberals and most moderates.

Emphasis mine

I, however, have to disagree with your analysis. The DLC is correct in a literal sense- there are more self-identified “Conservatives” than “Liberals” out there. However, the Republican Party has done a great job over the last 20 years making “Liberal” in and of itself a dirty word. This analysis is akin to Peter Hutchinson saying he has a chance to win the governorship because more Minnesotans are independent than belong to either major political party.

The truth of the matter is, forget about self-described “Conservatives” and “Liberals” - in Minnesota, DFL membership does outnumber GOP membership - and in this climate, I don't think we can expect many DFLers to cross the line and vote for Republicans in 2006. The DLC is looking at the national picture and forgets about local and state-level elections as a key to national strategy. I.e., they suck, but that’s another argument. They also forget about leaners - independents who generally vote one way or the other.

All this is to say nothing about how to impress those moderate "center-left" voters - try to moderate to where they are, or pull them toward a strong progressive vision? One might argue that moderating toward their views will leave a sour taste in their mouths and drive them away. But I digress.

So it’s an argument worth having, whether Dems outnumber Reps or vice versa. But saying “Conservatives outnumber Liberals” has little to no logical connection to that argument.

In other news, it's really a shame that this MDE post got buried by Wetterling and Rowley/Marko news - it's really quite a positive look at the state of the Kelley campaign. Lots of high-profile Dems across the state are supporting the campaign, both in word and in checkbook. Hatch nothing - Kelley's people are doing a great job in the traditional caucus process, aggressive fundraising, and they're learning very quickly about engaging the netroots too.

I fully expect a smear campaign by the state Republican Party and their minions any time soon.

In other news, it now appears Patty Wetterling will run in the 6th - good. She's our best chance at winning, regardless of Tinklenberg's claim of a promise she wouldn't. This whole line rings hollow to me.

Also, Coleen Rowley has a DFL challenger for the primary. I've said it before, she's a bumbling candidate with a bumbling campaign. If DFLers in the 2nd want bumbling to face John Kline, at least now they have a choice. Regardless of her politics (supporting Randy Kelly might not have been the smartest thing to do, but at least it's over) at least Sharon Marko knows what she's doing.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

 

Pharyngula's take on the SOTU address

Have a read. If you don't already read Pharyngula...are you nuts?

 

State of the Union thoughts

Has Bush been thinking fondly of his days debating "the issues" with John Kerry?

Compare:
1.) http://www.ontheissues.org/John_Kerry.htm#Energy_+_Oil
with
2.) ""Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world," the former oil executive said. (from CNN article)

Hmm. I wonder how Mr. Bush plans to pay for these "Advanced Energy" initiatives, given the billions of dollars in spending and revenue cuts his Administration has pushed. Does this mean less funding for the war in Iraq? Or less recovery money for the Gulf Coast? Where's the money going to come from? And why are we now stealing planks from our opposition's platform?

In local news, Steve Sviggum called a DFL legislative leader "very liberal." I wonder if people notice that every time a DFLer's name comes up, the Republican leadership's response is "he/she/it is very liberal and out of the mainstream." *Snore*. That may have worked six years ago, but no longer. Ordinary people don't care what you think about your opponents anymore. But by all means, keep it up.

That turned much more snarky than I wanted it to be. Perhaps waking up at 5:30 for an early day had some effect. No matter.

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