Friday, March 31, 2006

 

Greg Wersal

Oh, THAT Greg Wersal is filing a complaint against MN Supreme Court Justices? What about this?

THE CONFIDENTIALITY OF LAWYER ETHICS INVESTIGATIONS

by
Charles E. Lundberg
Chair, Minnesota Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board

Reprinted from Minnesota Lawyer (January 22, 2001)

With very few exceptions, whenever the Lawyers Board, the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility or one of the District Ethics Committees conducts an ethics investigation of a Minnesota lawyer, all of the information concerning the investigation is absolutely confidential by Supreme Court rule. Anyone who has ever been involved in the Minnesota legal ethics system learns this from the very beginning: The confidentiality of ethics proceedings under Rule 20 is one of the pre-eminent values of the entire attorney discipline system in Minnesota. (For the full text of Rule 20, see accompanying side bar.)

Having served for almost 18 years in various capacities in the legal ethics arena, I am well aware of this emphasis on confidentiality. I was therefore startled when I saw the banner headline and the first few sentences of the following article in the Dec. 22, 2000, issue of the Star Tribune:

EX-COURT CANDIDATE WERSAL FACES LAWYERS OFFICE PROBE

Former Minnesota Supreme Court candidate Greg Wersal is being investigated by the state Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility for allegedly making misleading statements about justices on the high court.

The probe could result in sanctions as severe as the loss of his license. [Emphasis mine - MNCR]

I was stunned. How in the world did this confidential information about a pending ethics investigation get to the Star Tribune? Could there have been a leak from within the Lawyers Board office? It hardly seemed possible. Few things are considered more sacred at the Lawyers Board than confidentiality.

I then remembered that the attorney in question was himself no stranger to the tactical use of headlines and press releases. (Indeed, Mr. Wersal had generated a tremendous amount of publicity during the campaign when he filed for office using a new middle name of Scandinavian heritage.) It occurred to me that perhaps he had orchestrated the press coverage of the ethics investigation himself.

After checking with the Star Tribune reporter, I learned that Mr. Wersal had in fact been the source of the information - a critical fact that regrettably was not made clear in the article. (I have heard from several people who assumed that the information may have been leaked to the press by someone inside the system, an assumption that might have seemed plausible to some, in light of Mr. Wersal’s recent spate of well-publicized federal lawsuits against the Board as part of his campaign strategy.)

Interesting. As regards Mr. Wersal's appearance before the US Supreme Court:

The U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling was a victory for the Republican Party of Minnesota and Golden Valley lawyer Greg Wersal, who believed Minnesota was thwarting free speech when it barred judicial candidates from expressing views on "disputed legal or political issues."
--Google Cached page, MN Constitution Party website
Caveat Emptor, my friends. I appreciate the linkiness for the gubernatorial delegate dust-up, MDE, but don't think that means I'm going to stop making sure all the facts are out on Republican campaign-year tactics.


 

MPR on Gay Marriage in MA

I'm certain this article will inspire a few venom-laden screeds about how MPR's unconscionable liberal bias.

I say in response "Pffffffft."

Well? How has gay marriage changed Massachusetts? It sounds like a few thousand people have the same rights as their neighbors in case of medical emergency, untimely death, family issues, things like that. No pigs have flown, hell is still hot, Brownie's still doin' a heckuva job. Even if you don't acknowledge the importance of allowing these fellow citizens to publicly declare their mutual love, why would groups opposed to gay marriage disallow the purely civil rights that come along with marriage?
[Kris] Mineau opposes gay marriage because he believes heterosexual marriage is the glue that holds society together. He says the sole purpose of marriage is for the creation of children. He also insists that gay marriage and civil unions will erode the standard of marriage and says the children of gay and lesbian parents will be "unhealthy."

"Same-sex marriage simply says that the role of a father and a husband is irrelevant," Mineau said. "The role of a wife and mother is irrelevant. That they're interchangeable parts and we believe that they really aren't.

News flash: for all the harping about "traditional marriage," and "thousands of years of society," remember that until a couple hundred years ago, women were bought and sold as property. "Wife" was one tiny step above "slave." A man could have as many wives as he wanted, even if he wasn't Mormon. Until well after the United States declared independence, marriages were by and large economic agreements between families instead of statements of love.

Unhealthy children? Read the article. The kid in that first picture looks pretty healthy to me. Same-sex marriage doesn't say the mother and father are interchangeable - it merely says, and I think the Massachusetts experience proves it, that our community, our lives, our society, our culture will endure. Change, for sure, but these things will not come crashing down if we let the lesbians down the street sign off on each other's medical forms and raise children together. These reasons are bogus, and I think people like this Mineau character know it. They just don't want to come out and say they oppose gay marriage because they're uncomfortable around fags and dykes.

Change can't be prevented. Bigotry can. How about it, Minnesota? You don't have to overturn the current law - just don't let your votes this fall be driven by fear, conceit, and bigotry.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

 

I admit I'm a geek (or, a bit of semi-not-political levity)

So I'm watching The Matrix on TBS. The guy doing the color bits on commercial breaks is horrendously unfunny. But that's not the point.

Fantasy violence is okay for cable TV. Calling someone a bitch - that's okay. "Screw you"? Not so bad.

But I'm a geek. I've seen The Matrix a few times. I understand that some words are off-limits. I just wasn't aware that list included "God" (as in, Trinity: "God damn it") or "Jesus Christ" (as in, Neo: Jesus Christ, those things are real?) Am I over-sensitive, or has someone else noticed this?


"I know kung fu."
"Show me."

 

CD5: Almost Into Single Digits...

...in terms of candidates, that is. Mark Andrew has dropped out, leaving (at last count) eleven candidates in the race, including Mike Erlandson, Keith Ellison, Gail Dorfman, Ember Reichott Junge, Jorge Saavedra.....and six others? Should be an interesting CD convention. I sincerely hope this one gets decided by July at the latest, so that statewide races don't have to worry about intra-city turf wars between City Councilcreatures, state legislators, and other candidates with political bases.

 

In other news...

If you're looking for something on the latest gubernatorial-race squabble, just scroll down. Politics waits for no man. Or woman. Or other.

...You may have heard that Sharon Marko is out of the CD2 race, and Wendy Wilde, formerly of Air America Radio and currently the voice of Inside Minnesota Politics, is considering running against Jim Ramstad in the Third. Marko's withdrawal cannot be totally surprising - she did enter the race late, and her reasons are solid. Here's to hoping that the Rowley campaign can pick up their game and make it a competitive race.

As for Wilde running in CD3, I'm not yet sure. Dan Weinand has some thoughts on it, and he's actually heard her speak on the matter, so he's a better source than I am. However, I will say that if Marko's late entry was a problem in CD2, it's just as big a problem here. Jim Ramstad has built an impressive war chest, and it will take a long effort, flush with money, to be able to knock him off.

It is interesting to note that both anchors of Inside Minnesota Politics could be candidates in the upcoming. Perhaps we've found a new "diving board" into politics?

 

Shenanigans Post-Mortem

Nothing like codeine-laden cough syrup to completely wonkify a guy's sleep pattern....yes it's 3:00 AM. Yes I'm already awake...Sigh.

As for the business that's been going on here over the past 24 hours - PatMN is right. As a partisan within this matter, I have my own thoughts on where blame lies, but the truth of the matter is that blame doesn't matter. I can say all I want that I think the Kelley campaign's parrying response was mandated by the Lourey camp's thrust and Kelley's promise to abide by the DFL endorsement, but at the end of the day, that doesn't matter either.

At this point, as far as the blogosphere is concerned, is that we all recognize that these volleys back and forth are rhetoric. If all three campaigns published their aggregate delegate counts, then readers and observers would sigh and say "well, of course 's campaign shows with a lead," supporters would believe what they want to believe, and the proof will still be in the pudding in June. But it's all still just campaign rhetoric. My time might have been better spent fisking Shawn Towles's "analysis" on the dust-up, which was a whole lot worse than the Lourey campaign's rhetoric, since it comes from a self-proclaimed "observer" but contains more than a little unsubstantiated editorialism. Unfortunately I can't get into that one just yet. Maybe later today.

My one disagreement with PatMN is on the issue of a united progressive ticket of Kelley/Lourey. If there's one thing politicians have to be able to do, it's to put past campaign transgressions behind them, especially in campaign season. A LOT could happen between now and, say, late June. We're all just going to have to keep working at it and see what happens, rhetoric be damned.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

 

Oh I see

And I thought we were back on speaking terms, Eric Mitchell. From the comments:
Our hard count of OUR delegates are accurate and we stand by them. If your count of your delegates are correct, then it appears we are exactly where we were Caucus night.

Someone asked how do we know what Hatch think. Well, seeing that we are not at war and I've been doing this for a few years and come out of the same school that Hatch's folks do, I called and asked if what your campaign was putting out lined up with what they had. He said no.

We both could be wrong in the numbers assigned to Kelley, as only Team Kelley will know is they are doing their homework and follow-up. Just like we know what exactly we have at this point without speculating on 'Uncommitteds' that we have not contacted.

Without getting into percentages or specially worded spin, the count as of yesterday was 132. If Kelley has 130, and Hatch has about that plus his command on the super delegates, its right where it was Caucus night.

Calling my campaign liars is out of order. Its actually kind of fucked up. I do know from Capitol Press Corps what was being pushed as fact yesterday and that was fucked up.
If I gave you the impression I was calling you liars, forgive me. I didn't mean to say that. What I meant to say (and indeed, DID say in an email response to your Mr. Pomroy) is that your numbers contain numerous errors that should be correctable either by getting accurate data from SD/CU Convention chairs, or by doing your homework and contacting each and every delegate. I really hope that in the future, we'll all make sure we get all the data before we issue press releases containing egregious omissions of data and facts. Seriously, how difficult is it to check for typos like "1/3 of state delegates" instead of the correct "more than 1/2..."?

As for the rest of the comment, specifically the bit about us being right back where we were on Caucus night....is that the Lourey campaign's goal? To make people think that the convention will look just like the straw poll so the one candidate who wants to bring strength back to the DFL by abiding by its endorsement will do the honorable thing, stick to his word, and drop out?

Eric, you know as well as I do that the straw poll, while great for spin, means .... not a whole lot in the real delegate chase. It doesn't take into account who actually goes to their convention, it doesn't take into account who runs to become a delegate, and it doesn't take into account organization on the part of campaigns and their supporters at the conventions.

The simple fact remains, we in the campaign-season inner sanctum can believe anything we want. We can believe our favorite candidate's numbers, we can believe Shawn Towles's "analysis," we can believe or disbelieve the rumors that Mike Hatch has told people point-blank that he can't or won't win the endorsement. Perhaps all the campaigns should ever report is THEIR delegate total - Kelley reports his, Hatch reports his, Lourey hers, etc - so that all anyone outside the bubble will ever know is whether or not SOMEONE's wrong or blowing smoke up our collective rear ends But I'm not calling your staff liars. I'm simply saying your estimates, given the data they are missing, are way off the mark, and should not be worthy of a press release designed to give supporters something to bring with them to the next series of Conventions.

In any case, I would really appreciate it if we kept the comment language family-friendly. Swearing in my comments doesn't hurt me, and it sure doesn't help you.

 

Lourey Campaign Returns Fire

From Andy Pomroy, Assistant Field Director, Lourey Campaign:
The press release we sent out should have read 1/2
elected. Sorry about the confusion. The gap between
the numbers we released today, which go further than
any other campaign by breaking it down to the CU
level, and the total elected are the uncommitted or
otherwise unknown to us.

We are not playing with numbers, but rather trying
to get the truth out about support for the various
candidates among the elected delegates. I respect
Steve Kelley, his campaign, and everyone working
for him, but to say their numbers are the only right
numbers is misleading.

I full well acknowledge that Kelley will show more
Kelley supporters than I do and Hatch will likely
show more Hatch supporters than I do. That doesn't
change what is true which is that both Hatch and
Lourey's numbers are similar and Kelley's are quite
different.

Checks and Balances has posted on this today.

Post on this if you wish, or just use it for your
information. I look forward to reading more from
your blog.


I have to admit, at least the Lourey campaign takes the time to respond to the blogs.
And I do appreciate the last sentiment, and can let the 1/3 vs. 1/2 thing go - after all,
2 and 3 are right next to each other on the keyboard.

But this really furthers my point, Mr. Pomroy. For one thing, if you think that all three
campaigns will show their supporters leading the way, I find it difficult to then accept
your assertion that Hatch's and Lourey's numbers "are similar." How do you know
what Hatch's numbers show? You also have a close-to-zero probability of knowing
how in-depth other campaigns' numbers are - if you think the count other campaigns
are publishing is the only count they have, you're fooling yourself.

Also, the point is not to say that Kelley's numbers are the only right numbers - as I
think we can agree, there are a lot of undecideds. The point is that Kelley's numbers
are a lot more credible than yours right now. I'm not saying that just because I
support him, I'm saying that because I've seen first-hand the effort that's going into
1) Organizing SD/CU delegates pre-convention,
2) Organizing at conventions, and
3) Getting Kelley or a close surrogate in personal contact with each and every delegate,
regardless of where the campaign *thinks* they stand.

It's not a simple matter of whose numbers are right. Rather, it's a matter of whose
numbers are credible, and the Lourey's campaign's published numbers fail that test.
There are glaring holes in them, some noticed immediately by MN Liberal and
noted in a comment in my previous post. If you don't know, don't post things like
this on the campaign's website. I am not accusing the Lourey campaign of doctoring
the numbers, but it is disingenuous at best to publish these numbers in support of
Becky Lourey when they are so clearly inaccurate.

[UPDATE]: Obviously something's wrong with the formatting - Andy Pomroy, I think
your email screwed up my SPAN tags. Argh. No more copying and pasting directly
out of Yahoo! Mail....

 

Press Release Shenanigans

...Or, How to Lie With Numbers! Which is a great book, I recommend it to you all. However, on with the post.

I'm sure I'll start getting flamed by the Lourey campaign in no time, but this is crap. So is this. In case you don't want to click away from my riveting narrative, which I can understand:
Becky Lourey, DFL candidate for Governor, announced today that with approximately one-third of the delegates selected to the DFL state convention, she is leading all other candidates in the delegate race for Governor.
...
"The most important thing to notice in the delegate count so far," said Lourey campaign spokesperson John Blackshaw, "is Senator Lourey's support is statewide. Not all of the other candidates can claim that fact. And anybody who counts delegates will tell you, candidates without statewide support cannot win a statewide election let alone a convention endorsement."
Yes, the most important thing to note is the delegate count. What Mr. Blackshaw (and indeed, this entire press release) fails to mention is that over six hundred (600) delegates have been elected to the state convention already. Where are the other two hundred delegates, if (as this release claims) only 400 have been elected?

Perhaps they came out of gubernatorial-uncommitted subcaucuses? Let's just sweep that one under the rug, since we either know those "uncommitted" delegates aren't supporting us, or we're not bothering to contact them, so that also means we can leave them out of our press release.

For example, in SD43, the Lourey campaign indicates that Ms. Lourey got 1 delegate, Mike Hatch got 3, and Steve Kelley got 6. That only includes delegates coming out of gubernatorial-race named sub-caucuses. It leaves out the 1 delegate each from the Uncommitted Peach caucus, the Uncommitted caucus, the 1 for Ford Bell, and 3 for Amy Klobuchar. To be totally honest, I don't remember where ALL of those non-gubernatorial-caucus delegates went, but I know for a fact that two of the Klobuchar caucus's three delegates were also solid Kelley supporters. So really, Kelley got at least 8, and possibly 9 or 10 out of 18 delegates from my SD.

Does this mean this "creative number management" has been going on all over the state? No, of course not. But what would you do in their position - admit you're in third place in the delegate chase, or try to massage the numbers into a more favorable outlook? I've also seen COMPLETE numbers incorporating all those non-gubernatorial sub-caucuses, and they don't look nearly as rosy for Ms. Lourey. I think you may soon see a response from the Kelley camp with a slightly different take on the current status of the chase. [UPDATE]: Here it is. I didn't expect it so quickly, but there ya have it.

Come on folks. We're all Democrats here - we're better than this. We shouldn't have to take information passed to us by fellow DFLers with a grain of salt.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

 

And Then There Were ...... Twelve. Sort of.

Rebecca Yanisch has stepped aside in the crowded race to replace Martin Sabo in CD5. From her letter to CD5 DFL officers:
Just a quick note to let you know that I've decided not to continue to pursue the race for Congress. Watching the conventions and candidates last weekend, it is very obvious that we are spending too much in staff, volunteer and financial resources to run against fellow Democrats instead focusing on winning against Republicans. I also strongly believe that having 12 people in the race makes it very difficult for delegates to come to a consensus. We need to endorse a candidate on May 6th and hopefully, my stepping aside now will help that happen.
I'd expect at least one or two more of these announcements over the next couple of weeks as candidates gauge just how much support they'll be able to gather in a very short cycle.

One more time - read that interview!

 

Something I've Been Thinking About...

I was going to put a link at the bottom of this post, but it started getting lengthy, so here's the link to my recent interview with Shelley Madore, DFL candidate for House district 37A. It's the next post down, so you could scroll if you wanted to...Anyway. On with the post.

...in relation to recent analysis done here and over at The Analyst on the 2004 CD6 race. It hearkens back to November 3rd, 2004, when most major newspapers contained headlines declaring President Bush's win, accompanied by a US map. This map contained little blue islands awash in a sea of red, and Mr. Bush declared a "mandate" for his policies.

Those of us who were working on the Kerry Campaign knew better than to trust a map. After all, grasslands and mountains and prairies and forests don't vote. We knew that 59,000,000 votes were cast for John Kerry, and that he lost by a much slimmer margin than that geographic map portrayed.

How to demonstrate the difference between the geographic map and the bitter division in the electorate? Cartograms. Essentially, maps in which different areas are scaled not by their geographic areas, but rather by their population. Unfortunately, though I have searched with some degree of exhaustiveness, I have been unable to find Minnesota-specific cartograms for 2004 or any other election year. But if someone knows of a source, I would be pleased as punch to see them. Such a map would shed light not just on where Patty Wetterling got her support in 2004, but also how those relatively urban areas stack up against the rest of CD6, some of which is quite rural, in terms of real voting strength. Such a resource would be invaluable at the statewide level as well, to demonstrate that while the "red doughnut" around the Twin Cities certainly provides a strong base for the GOP, its large red appearance on a map can be countered by superior DFL voting strength (depending on turnout) in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, Duluth, and Rochester.

Thoughts? Resources? IM Handles?

Monday, March 27, 2006

 

Interview with Shelley Madore

A first for MNCR, but certainly (well....hopefully) not a last. Having a linked IM for blog-specific communication is a great thing - I recommend it to everyone. We'll get together, chat, do our thing.

Shelley Madore is running for the Minnesota House of Representatives from district 37A, centered in Apple Valley. This exurban area is growing fast, and has traditionally voted Republican. That trend largely reversed in 2004 - although Ms. Madore lost her election by a little over three points, several precincts voted strongly for her and for John Kerry over George W. Bush. It is an area in political flux, and presents a strong pickup opportunity for the DFL and Shelley herself. From her website bio:
Shelley has been an active member of the community since she moved to Apple Valley, Minnesota with her husband and two children in 1991 from Boston. In the 2004 election, Shelley ran as the DFL candidate for the open seat for Minnesota House of Representatives in Legislative District 37A, which covers western Apple Valley and the southeastern corner of Burnsville. She lost by less than 500 votes with 48.85 percent of the vote.
So - here's our conversation!

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

MNCampaignReport: First things first - You moved to Minnesota in 1991 - how did you first get involved in politics and/or your new community?

S. Madore: I was active in Massachusetts with a few women's groups and once I came here I needed an outlet. I started out my "political" outreach by asking if I could help out with a huge city council project since I knew a lot about computers. From there, I was asked to fill an opening on the Urban Affairs committee and that was in June, 1993.

MNCampaignReport: This was in Apple Valley's local government?

S. Madore: Yes

MNCampaignReport: 2004 was your first campaign for state government?

S. Madore: Yes, for my first elected positon. I have been an advocate for families working with various state agencies since 1998.

MNCampaignReport: So once the campaign started, what was the driving force ir central strategy you pushed - any particular issue on the local, state, or national level?

S. Madore: I actually had been toying with the idea for a few years. The central strategy was the Fran Bradley comment in April 2003. As a parent of two children with disabilities, I had seen the stress that these families faced with managing to care for critically ill children at home. The way that he managed those budget cuts that year and his cavalier way of talking about these people just made my blood boil. So, I went to caucuses in the spring 2004 and then made my decision to run. There really wasn't one thing that moved me, it was the final straw that moved me into the race I guess. I knew I could do better and these families needed me to do that.

MNCampaignReport: So, going into the 2004 caucuses, the DFL didn't have a candidate for 37A?

S. Madore: Not on that night, at the a meeting we had two people who were nominated by the floor. I knew I should have allowed myself to be nominated but I had not even discussed it with my family. So, I came home and had lunch with a dear friend who told me that 37A was going to be an open seat because Knutson was taking a judgeship. It was then or never, so I just dove in. I assembled a team of people I knew I could work with and off I went. I did have a challenge but I was ultimately endorsed two weeks later.

MNCampaignReport: So at the official start of political season, you weren't officially a candidate, and you went on to get more than 48% of the vote. Did you know immediately that you would run again in 2006?

S. Madore: I wanted to but I was heartbroken for a few weeks. My staff actually said that I was a whiner LOL. We had done something not done in this area for more than 20 years and it was time to get going again by January 2005. So, I picked myself up and began campaigning.

MNCampaignReport: So what's different this time around? What factors do you see as of March 2006 that are going to give you the extra 3% you'll need to win?

S. Madore: The energy of my campaign. I have had business people tell me that my ideas were pro-business and that is not a norm for a DFLer. I have had many people stay engaged with me, I raised money in 2005 - an off-year - something never done down here by the DFLer and lastly, most importantly, I have my opponent already scared. He is trying to keep up with me and he is not doing too well. I think I will see a surge of support this year, not because I am a Democrat but because I have proven that my message is clear, truthful and financially sound.

MNCampaignReport: Other than raising more money, what do you see as the strongest contract between you and Mr. Cybart?

S. Madore: I believe that when you provide government that helps everyone succeed you build a community that succeeds and from there, a future that is successful. Lloyd, in my opinion, believes that dollars are what separates all of us.

MNCampaignReport: As the next state rep from 37A, what will be your number one legislative priority?

S. Madore: Number 1, I guess it will be to focus a lot of energy on bringing transportation dollars to my community. Healthcare reform and property tax relief will be the close seconds. Property tax relief will come from the state picking up its fair share of funding for our communities and our schools.

MNCampaignReport: fantastic

MNCampaignReport: The SD37 convention is coming up this weekend, right?

S. Madore: Yes, I am hoping for a good turnout. It should be well attended, we have had a lot of new precinct chairs get involved.

MNCampaignReport: If the conventions I've been to so far are any indication, it should be pretty darned strong

S. Madore: Good because I need to have each and every one of these folks get involved this year. We are going to change the course of the MN House with my one seat.

MNCampaignReport: It's very exciting! It seems like there are several DFL candidates coming back for a second shot to really build on the 2004 campaign in traditionally republican areas......very exciting to see the blue spreading out from the Twin Cities

S. Madore: It will be. I do hope that our paths cross at some point.

S. Madore: I have to go, it was terrific to do this. Thank you for asking and I would be delighted to do this again in the future.

MNCampaignReport: Absolutely, thank you so much

MNCampaignReport: Take care, good luck, and keep in touch!

S. Madore: I will.

S. Madore: Good Night!

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

So if you happen to be in the Apple Valley area, and have some time to contribute to Shelley's campaign, check it out. Her campaign site's frontpage incorporates a blog, and appears to be updated pretty regularly. It's going to be an exciting race in the southern 'burbs.

That's all from me - if you have any further questions for the next State Rep from 37A, I've heard rumors that Ms. Madore makes the rounds in the leftysphere - leave some comments.


 

CD5 Endorsement

Not that there's actually going to be one. Considering the numbers, it's entirely possible that out of 200-plus delegates, not one candidate attracts the support of more than fifty, and a bunch of candidates move on to the primary.

But I have to say, Jorge Saavedra makes a strong case for valuing the CD5 DFL's endorsement. Instead of getting out to the suburbs to campaign for other DFLers in contested seats, how many of these urban stars will be busy on their own campaigns for Sabo's seat in Congress? The Greens do have a better chance than the Republicans of picking this seat off, but it's not a strong one at all. It's really a simple matter of team management. That second ring of western suburbs is trending blue, but that doesn't mean its DFL candidates don't need their DFL teammates' assistance to close the deal.

Watch out later tonight for the transcript of my upcoming (if all goes well, around 7:30 tonight) interview with Shelley Madore, DFL candidate for the state legislature in district 37A. :-) The
post will be up as soon as I can edit it down a bit, probably by 8:30-9 PM.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

 

A Funny Story

I dropped by the SD44 Convention today. Being one of the few going on today instead of yesterday, it was crawling with campaign staffs. So I moseyed over to some of the Kelley folks, said hi, yakked for a few minutes while sub-caucuses were being called, and from my left I hear my name being called from the Hatch section. It's Ken Martin, well-known in DFL circles for years of political work. He says hi, extends his hand, and asks,

"Do I get the Where's Waldo award?"

One would have to ask Ken where between sheepish and surprised my expression fell. But yes, Ken, you do get kudos and this weekend's Where's Waldo award from MNCR :) Apparently Eva Young showed up and scoped things out at SD44, but we missed each other. I also met Dan Weinand yesterday at the SD42 Convention, which I must say was supremely well-organized - and fast for a gathering that large. We bloggers are everywhere.

So - in a low-bandwidth day, who's got good stories from the various conventions? Leave some comments, and watch this space tomorrow (Monday) night or early Tuesday morning for the transcript of an MNCR first - an interview with a candidate for the state legislature! Hopefully it will be the first of many.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

 

Good.....Morning?

Wow. I bow to The Analyst's superior mapping skillz, and more in-depth analysis. Truth be told, I do have these precinct-level numbers, I just didn't have them (or the chutzpah to pull them up) on hand when I wrote the post. Great stuff nonetheless. Perhaps next time I'll drag myself, kicking and screaming, up to that level. Minus the maps though.

Today will be a very, very long day. Not because of anything political, although that will probably take a while, but because someone intimately involved in this post got to spend the week hours of the morning in the veterinary emergency on-call office. Very sick kittie, and two very tired humans. But at least the cat is feeling a bit better, I think.

Lots of thoughts swirling right now on recent events, however. Perhaps a roundup later will be in order, if I can avoid the narcoleptic urges.

Friday, March 24, 2006

 

Silent Sponge

Do I blame Sponge for going off the air in response to threats against his family? Not one bit.

But what I wouldn't give for ten minutes alone in a windowless room with the slime(s) that made those threats.

I think I've made it pretty clear in my blog that I like to argue politics - with anyone. Lefties, moderates, radical conservatives, whoever. That's the essence of the game. If one positive thing comes out of the catfights between the Left and Right hemispheres of Minnesota's blog-brain every three or four months, I'd say all the time spent at keyboards early in the morning and late into the night has been a resounding success.

It's not just slimy to make thinly veiled threats against a writer's family. It's cowardly. Cheap, to be sure, and the mark of a human so bereft of common decency as to make that waste of flesh and air worthy of ridicule. But most of all, it's the mark of a coward, who dares to make threats without identifying themselves. A coward who needs that rush of false self-esteem they must have felt upon hitting that SEND button.

Sponge said more than once in his last post that it was not, to the best of his knowledge, directly politically motivated. I can accept that. Whatever the source, however, the tactic smacks of the intimidation of independent media once found under Nazi and Soviet regimes. Frankly, I don't give a damn who thinks I'm comparing them to Nazis. Whoever would sink so low as to threaten a blogger's family because of something that blogger wrote demonstrates both lack of capacity for and active opposition to the principles at the core of American democracy.

If you were involved in this travesty, and you're reading this - Congratulations. I hope you appreciate how unworthy you are of the freedom you are privileged to have.

Scum.

 

Another quick note...

Before the weekend starts: You may notice that there's a new link over on the left: IM Me! I can be reached via AOL Instant Messenger at screen name MNCampaignReport, pretty much whenever you see me online. Give me a holler, we'll yack. Other than that, to the many DFLers attending SD and CU Conventions this weekend, have fun, try to endure the convention business, and good luck becoming delegates. If you're lucky you may see me, but no free passes on where I'll be. It's a Waldo thing.

 

And Then There Were Three

I tried to find the original post where I wondered out loud if Ford Bell would be interested in running for Congress against Jim Ramstad, but to no avail. Maybe I'll utilize my nifty new Google Search bar once I publish this one. ([UPDATE]: Here it is. Looking back, I find myself wondering just who Mike S is in real life. Onward) Anyway, I thought of it last night in reference to Kelly Doran dropping out of the gubernatorial race. Mr. Doran also lives in CD3 (Eden Prairie), and it's worth noting that, as far back as last summer, several DFL activists asked him point blank to stay out of the Senate race, and to run against Ramstad. If he had put his considerable financial resources to work there instead of in a crowded field to face Pawlenty (some estimate he's spent close to $2 million), then at very least we would have a credible challenger to face one of Minnesota's safer Republican incumbents.

But there's always 2008, I suppose. A second race switch is out of the question, in my opinion. Although he technically hasn't held his press conference yet (it's coming up at 1 PM), it's safe to say this simplifies the field a little bit, especially heading toward the September primary.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

 

MN-Gov - Doran is Out

MDE and NSP are already reporting on the Checks and Balances scoop, but sources confirm it's true - Kelly Doran is dropping out of the gubernatorial race. No word yet on Sheila Kiscaden's plans regarding a different Lieutenant Governor candidacy, but to be totally honest, I can't see her signing on to another campaign in the race. I'll defer to MDE's source if it's revealed to be true, but doing so might be an interesting PR situation.

 

Real Analysis: Can Patty Wetterling Win CD6?

Powered by the recent success of The Analyst and my recent lack of substantive analysis on the various races this year, here's my answer: All things being equal, probably not.

[UPDATE]: DK from The Analyst has commented, and does have better numbers. Turns out pre-reg turnout was 77.3%. Replace anything you see from here down with that number, and the logic in the analysis still stands. I thought 90% sounded a bit ridiculous. Anyway....on with the post

It was no secret heading into 2004 that Ms. Wetterling was and is a bit more progressive than her district, solely on the basis of issues and positions. Her candidacy rested heavily on positive name recognition, strong out-of-district financial support, and Teflon-coated armor protecting her from family issue-related attacks. Turnout in 2004 was extraordinarily high - if the Secretary of State's numbers are to be believed, over 92% of CD6's pre-registered voters made it to the polls on 11/2/2004 See comment above. It's closer to 77%.

Below are the county-by-county breakdowns of where votes came from, followed by corresponding base percentages (a commonly used campaign tool used to determine where a candidate's support comes from, the formula is {candidate's votes in this sub-unit} / {candidate's total votes} )


Raw Votes
...........Kennedy...Wetterling
Sherburne.. 23242.... 17754
Stearns.... 36937.... 30589
Wright..... 34451.... 24475
Anoka...... 58851.... 52563
Washington. 39993.... 39455
Benton...... 9907..... 8251

Base Percentage (%)
...........Kennedy...Wetterling
Sherburne.. 11.4..... 10.2
Stearns.... 18.1..... 17.6
Wright..... 16.9..... 14.1
Anoka...... 28.9..... 30.3
Washington. 19.6..... 22.8
Benton...... 4.9...... 4.8


Neither candidate could claim a solid base in any part of the Sixth. Instead, each candidate's support was spread very evenly over the entire district.

Of course, there are mitigating factors to be seen here. President Bush's approval rating since November '04 has gone from the toilet into the septic tank and further downward, and Rep. Kennedy has voted with the President on more than 95% of his votes. In addition, higher support for generic Democrats running for Congress could move some votes into Wetterling's column. Add to this Kennedy's absence in this race, and Wetterling might have a chance.

But remember that turnout number. 92%. Yow. Depending on increased DFL turnout will not be a successful tactic. Turnout will not be that high in a non-presidential year, but in order to win this race, Patty Wetterling will have to do ALL of the following:
  • Beat El Tinklenberg in an endorsement fight/primary, by no means a done deal.
  • Get past criticism of having dropped from the US Senate race into what might be perceived as her "second choice."
  • Face a Republican opponent who will almost certainly run strongly on an anti-choice, anti-privacy, anti-gay-civil-rights platform, inspiring the base that turned out for Kennedy in '04 to do the same for him/her in '06.
  • Suppress Republican votes who know that their Congressman will be on the ballot in the Senate Race, and will turn out solely to support him.
  • Keep her '04 voting base at least as intact as her opposition's, AND turn approximately 17,000 '04 Kennedy votes into '06 Wetterling votes.
Not an easy path to tread. If there are factors I'm missing, and someone (perhaps from the Wetterling camp?) would care to rectify them, by all means. I've met Ms. Wetterling on a couple occasions, and I have great respect for all she has accomplished and wishes to continue accomplishing in Congress. But the numbers don't lie. I'm sure there is a strategy afoot to accomplish each of these bullet points, it's just difficult to realistically see it happening.

But if we've seen nothing else in Minnesota's political history, it's that nothing is impossible.

 

Wege on the Hate-Gays Rally

I could repeat The Wege's take on the recent gay-hating rally at the State Capitol, but really, copying and pasting will do the trick.
Fag bashers are the worst of the worst, the Phelpsian haters who suck the humanity out of any room they enter.

No younger person alive today will be proud to admit to fag bashing in their old age. Things will change that much, it's an unavoidable by-product of urbanization. Crowd people together and you have to learn to live with your differences.

It's not a coincidence so many of the anti-gay marriage people live outstate. The smaller the community, the less chance there is you'll be challenged on your ignorance and intolerance. But rustification doesn't make hatred any more charming, and, contrary to what Coleman says further down in his column, slickness doesn't really help sell the sickness these people carry inside themselves.

The Charlie Makidons may get their way, but it won't be because of the narrow-minded so-called men of God who are "praying" for an anti-gay marriage referendum in Minnesota this fall. Theirs is an Old Testament God, a God that strikes people down for eating shrimp or having sex with their spouse during "that time of the month." They may be serious people, but no one's taking them seriously except the whackos and haters.
I would only add that no one will take them seriously as long as those of us with true compassion and understanding of the Constitution and its conditions make sure we stand up to show these misguided fools why they're wrong.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

 

GOP vs. ..... Tim Pawlenty?

Trillin brings up some good points about the MN GOP's continuing attacks against Dean Johnson and Tim Pawlenty's recent pronouncement that the Senate Majority Leader should be forgiven and left alone. There are a few possibilities:
  1. It's a strategic move, designed to make Pawlenty look compassionate and moderate. I doubt this is the case, given how vocal and frothy-mouthed MDE and Ron Carey have been throughout this story.
  2. There's a rift in the MN GOP, and Carey and his people are unwilling to obey the directives of their highest-ranking elected official.
This isn't spin, folks. The Johnson story is over and done with. He apologized, admitted he screwed up, and when push came to shove, no one cared. But I doubt very much that the RNC would disobey such a pronouncement from President Bush in reference to Harry Reid. Regardless of who's saying what, it's clear that elements within the local Republican Party are at loggerheads with one another. Not what I would call an ideal situation in an election year, when their major piece of bigotry-on-paper has recently been slapped down on a vote which wasn't especially close.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

 

Note to all nascent DFL campaigns...

Want to get some free airtime for your new campaign website? Leak the URL to MDE.

I don't pretend to know a whole lot about city-level politics in Minneapolis, so I'll have to defer to any number of readers who might be from the city and thus more knowledgeable than myself on Mr. Schiff's background and chances at Sabo's seat in Congress. But it is encouraging to see DFL candidates using out-of-the-box technology solutions to get campaigns on the ground and running in extremely short order.

Monday, March 20, 2006

 

MN GOP Internet Strategy

1. Create simple-to-the-point-of-silly site format
2. Dig up dirt on target of attack
3. Buy up OMGcanyoubelievewhattheDFLdidnowthisisareallylongurl.com domain
4. Pour mud into formatted mold
5. Publish
6. Repeat, using same template. Same. Exact. Template.

Surely, Mark Drake, you could at least get one of your web designers to change the site template? Or were you just busting at the seams to get this drivel up on the internet?

 

Convention Reports

Anyone who's already been to a Senate District or County convention, I would love to get reports on how they all went - who got delegates, anything interesting or out of the ordinary that went on. This could go for Republicans as well as Democrats. Hit up the comments, all the information we can get is great! As for me, I'm staying home from work today...woke up this morning and my face felt like it had been stuffed full of styrofoam. No good. I'll check back in periodically to see if anyone actually comments :-)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

 

SD43 Convention

The entire day was a lot of fun. Long, but fun. Plenty of candidates showed up, sign wars were interesting, the actual convention business actually went surprisingly smoothly, minus a few episodes where folks noticed precinct-approved resolutions that didn't make it on to the resolution ballot for one reason or another. The actual caucusing process went mostly as expected, though I have to imagine that Ford Bell's folks were disappointed that the time he spent in showing up to speak only garnered him one guaranteed delegate.

We also had an appearance from Dustin Triced, the DNC's field staffer assigned to the 3rd CD. Love Howard Dean or hate Howard Dean, you can't say he's not following through on getting Democratic party operatives in as many congressional districts as possible, whether it's a rural Oklahoma CD or a moderate suburban one in Minnesota. It'll be great to have him onboard in DFL operations in the next two election cycles, although I'm still not sure I have the spelling of his name correct.

As far as the brou-ha-ha in CD5 goes, there's a name that's largely been left out of speculation over the race - Steve Simon from St. Louis Park. Let's think long-term here. He doesn't have a whole ton of political capital invested in the state legislature, being one of 2004's "New DFLers". If he could survive what figures to be a bruising primary battle, he'll be sitting in one of the country's safest Democratic congressional seats, and is young enough that, say...ten years down the road, he would be in a position to wield a tremendous amount of national influence on the part of the Twin Cities for literally decades to come.

Just my two cents. For what it's worth, I think the guy deserves a shot.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

 

Bright and Early

Does this happen to anyone else? You get to the end of a long work week, and spontaneously wake up.....BEFORE the birds on Saturday?

I'll be at my Senate District Convention today, rocking out with my fellow West Metro Dems. Perhaps some of you I'll see there. Good luck to all.

Oh, and MDE, if you're reading? DFL Kingmaking? Seriously? Tim Pawlenty for Senate 2002, Norm Coleman for Senate 2002, Mark Kennedy for Senate 2006....do these ring a bell? I seem to remember "rumors" of Rod Grams being very upset with the MN-GOP that he was being pushed out of the running for this year's GOP nomination. He would certainly have been a viable candidate. Harold Shudlick may not be a viable candidate, but he legally is a candidate. At least the DFL saw fit to hold a straw poll on the US Senate race.

In any case, happy weekend to all, and I hope St. Patrick's Day and the morning after were kind to you and yours :)

Friday, March 17, 2006

 

MN-5 (?): Sabo Retiring

Don't get too excited here. This CD is Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Golden Valley, Crystal, New Hope......a non-DFLer has a snowball's chance in hell of winning this seat.

That doesn't mean it will be an easy road through a primary. After finding out about Congressman Sabo's retirement, I asked several engaged folks in the room who they thought might give it a shot - within sixty seconds, a dozen names were mentioned, and not one got a "puh-leeze" look. Rybak, McLaughlin, City Councilors, State Reps, Senators, every major elected official in Minneapolis has licked their chops at least once today. Endorsements? Yikes. Primary? Yikes.

Luckily, it means this race is probably decided in September - a good warmup for the main events in November. Watching this race can also reveal interesting trends within the party, as those of us keeping closer track of statewide races will be able to draw some strong conclusions about the DFL base and their issue/voting patterns, useful for their applicability in a short election cycle.

 

Wellstone!

I can and will offer this caveat before continuing: Paul Wellstone's death preceded my involvement in politics. One need not look too far, however, to see the influence his way of thinking, campaigning, and serving still has on the Minnesota DFL.

Too much, if you ask me. Before the steam starts coming out of your ears, let me explain.

Grassroots politics are excellent. Bringing a progressive vision together with clear language and a rabid army of volunteers is fantastic. Standing up to campaign-season attacks, and even raising the bet instead of just calling isn't just good, it's necessary. But a candidate need not be the second coming of Paul Wellstone to win. Or be successful. Or be a great DFL leader for the state and the entire country.

Since my time in the political game came after the Senator's death, perhaps it's my lack of personal connection to the man causing this feeling. But why do we feel this uncontrollable need to compare each and every new DFL candidate, for statewide or local office, to Wellstone? Reality, my friends, is a bitter mistress, but if we do not come to terms with her, she will leave us all behind. Note to my conservative readers: this applies to you too. Is a nine-trillion-dollar debt a good thing? Sound fiscal policy? At some point, our leaders have to realize that tax cuts are not paying for themselves, and the solution is to restore President Bush's first-term and second-term revenue cuts while also cutting out the pork-barrel bridges to nowhere. But I digress. Back to the point.

We in the DFL cannot survive as a political force if we insist that each and every nominee must not just support the ideals Wellstone served, but must also sound and act just like him too. The always-expert pronouncement "He's/She's no Wellstone," really bugs me - so what? You're right, he/she is not Paul Wellstone, he/she is , and will make a great because . I empathize with those who knew Paul Wellstone and fought alongside him, but I doubt very much that he would agree with a stance that involved rigid comparison to him. If what I've been told is accurate, he was the kind of leader who would tell us to stay involved, keep learning, and make sure we judge candidates based on their own merit, the values they fight for in their own lives and careers, and fight alongside them for a better future just as we did with him.

I hope what I've been told is accurate.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

 

My Take on Katherine Kersten

I want to walk right up to the woman, grab her firmly by the shoulders, shake her vigorously, and ask loudly and in an agitated voice "Are you serious? Or are you just absolutely out of your gourd?!"

There's a huge hole in her.....argument? I'm not sure it can be called that. There's a huge hole in her latest screed - no one's trying to change Minnesota's Defense of Marriage Act. No lawsuits pending. None. Zero. Perhaps proponents of a constitutional ban on gay marriage are so vehement because they know the current DOMA IS unconstitutional since it proscribes certain freedoms, equal protection clauses, things like that. But that's another, perhaps longer post.

So for Kersten's fire-and-brimstone proclamation of gay marriage being miraculously allowed leading to polygamy (seriously. She wrote this, and the Star Tribune published it.), somehow the law would have to disappear.....without a lawsuit! It's those damned uppity gays and their friends at Out Front and NARAL! Don't forget those fags are baby-killers too! Let's light up a crucifix on the lawn while we're at it! Defend states' ri........er.....traditional marriage!

See my previous post for links to information on the way our court system works. Until then, Ms. Kersten, I'm hope your columns make their deadlines, satisfy your editors, give you a warm, fuzzy feeling of righteous vindication, and help you support your family.

You're still an idiot.

 

Silent No More

It's flattering that MDE considers me a major lefty blogger - I try to live up to that standard whenever possible. Backbone MN - apparently we're awesome. You want a response to the "Johnson story"? Here goes.

The question here should not be whether or not Dean Johnson tampered with the credibility of the state Supreme Court. The question is this -
why are Supreme Court justices elected in the state of Minnesota? 'Scuse me while I whip this out.

The case for popularly elected judges sounds solid enough on its face- essentially, the public deserves responsiveness in all branches of government, and should have a say in the makeup of all three branches. An excerpt from the MN Judicial Branch website:
Minnesota’s judges and court personnel strive to provide for the just and timely resolution of nearly 2 million case filings each year, from traffic violations to family court issues to civil and criminal trials. Despite caseloads that have increased significantly over the past decade, we continue to recognize that the public deserves a judicial branch that is accessible, fair, consistent, responsive, free of discrimination, independent, and well-managed.
There's a problem here, however. The state Supreme Court is not only where criminal and civil appeals are heard on a discretionary basis - it is the arbiter of Constitutional law, a subject that is rightfully larger than the passions and biases of the voters. Their primary responsibility is not to the voters, but to the law - namely the state and national Constitutions, and the rights those documents reserve to the government and to the people.
As one of the three branches of government, the judiciary maintains checks and balances with the legislative (House of Representatives, Senate) and executive (Governor) branches of government.The Minnesota Supreme Court also serves as the final guardian of the state constitution and interprets and applies the U.S. Constitution.

But, beyond that, the Supreme Court serves people. Each year hundreds of persons -- individuals, companies, even state and local governments -- bring their appeals of legal cases to this court. Sometimes the decisions the court makes interpreting a law may only affect the people in that case, but often the decisions have an impact on every citizen in the state.
-- "About the Supreme Court", MNSC website
Men and women whose job it is to interpret the laws of Minnesota and, indeed, the United States, should not be subject to election. Putting judges up for election is what causes situations like this - where judges, as fellow elected officials, are in a position where hearing a case, whether the case merits their attention, could put their career in jeopardy. That's not a true check and balance against the power of the Legislature and Executive, that's a rubber stamp for whatever party happens to be able to exert its voting power at the right times. The whole point of an independent judiciary was to ensure that there were forces in the government that could withstand the passions of the electorate, and check the other branches regardless. It's not an un-democratic idea - on the contrary, it goes all the way back to the Federalist Papers, the framers of the Constitution, and the philosophies they sought to imbue in the infant United States of America.

You want true checks and balances? Make the Minnesota Supreme Court's seats appointed positions. That way, you might actually have a case that Dean Johnson's comments constituted tampering. But right now, the justices are elected officials just like Mr. Johnson, and must face the same voters at the ballot box. They have as much right to political self-preservation as Johnson does.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

 

Site Updates

In an ongoing effort to bring the site design up to par with local lefties who get noticed by the big dogs, I've made a few updates to the site design:
  • Google Search bar: you don't have to use it, but you can. Can is good. Try it out, see what happens.
  • Links: Several new links on the left, including one to Dan Weinand, who doesn't always write about politics, but his recent analysis of straw poll/delegate numbers leading up to the DFL convention in June is most educational. Plus, he's a web-dev junkie. Dan! Help me with the template here!
  • Font: Serifs are no good. Verdana for life!
BB MN has a thread up for comments on legislative campaigns around the state - if you have any thoughts, hit it up. 'Tis indeed a slow Wednesday, though.

 

V for Vendetta

Starring Agent Smith as Code Name V!

The Wachowski brothers' latest production comes out this Friday - and it's worth seeing, both for enjoyment and as a semi-educational piece on the state of government in a rapidly-moving world. The movie's tagline is "an uncompromising view of the future," but in truth, I found it to be more a tastefully hyperbole-laden view of the present. I'll explain.

It's based on a graphic novel by the same name, and borrows heavily in story and cinematography from well-known sources - story elements from 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and other "future-imperfect films" are all over the place. Taking place in Great Britain, a radical religious regime has taken over the government, the broadcasting system, and regularly engages in suburban surveillance in conjunction with guerrilla marketing techniques to inspire fear (and thus support) in its populace. Deviation from government-defined norms of social, religious, and sexual behavior is strictly prohibited, and severely punished.

Like I said, hyperbole-laden view of the present.

V for Vendetta is not an action movie, no matter what the previews make it look like. There are bits when it drags slightly, and the symbolism is not subtle. But its message is important, and is summed up well by the line that appears in the trailer: "people should not be afraid of their governments - governments should be afraid of their people."

It's important for those of us who are strongly engaged in the political process - campaigning, staffing, governing, fundraising, lathering, repeating - not to forget the larger picture. Governments should be afraid of their people - but they only need to be afraid of their people when those people educate themselves about their rights and how their government treats those rights. They only need to be afraid of their people when a groundswell beneath the populace makes it realize that religious freedom is not the equivalent of prayer in public schools and ten commandments being displayed in public buildings and inserting the trappings of religion into science lessons. They only need to be afraid of their people when those people realize that a constitutional amendment (and perhaps even the existing law) proscribing gay marriage is nothing more than bigotry codified in legalese mumbo-jumbo, to be used as nothing more and nothing less than a campaign wedge issue.

Luckily for me, however, I'm optimistic that those conditions are on their way. Maybe they're already here, and we don't have to look forward to a future where government is synonymous with fear and a paucity of true freedom. That doesn't mean we don't have to keep working to preserve the freedom we have and make sure that equality is more than just a mathematical term.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

 

Update: Shenanigans Averted

You can scroll down to read the entire post regarding a report I published yesterday about some potential DFL cannibalism in the gubernatorial race. I got some constructive comments from both Joseph Barisonzi, the Lourey campaign manager, and Eric Mitchell, their Political Director.

An excerpt of Eric's comment:
Am I critical of Democrats when I think they are acting weak, cautious, illogical or pandering? There is evidence of that. Hell, I'm an activist too. I want strong representation.

As a campaign offical/employee however, my opinion is self-silenced through November. It's the professional thing to do. Whomever we nominate, I will be in support of strongly and work for tirelessly.

I can assure you that the campaign staff is not involved in a tactical effort to smear Kelley. I wouldn't be a part of it. I've done this long enough to know that the opposition is the Republican candidate(whomever it may be).

In this game, you have to know that one year you're working against someone who may be working above/beneath/or with you in the next election. It does no good to eat your own and burn bridges for a short term gain. You make your case for your campaign, then if it works out, you reach out to the others, if it doesn't, you call them up to ask how you can be helpful in taking down the Republicans. That is the end game- a DFLer in office.
I like Eric's attitude toward the end goal. As I noted in my response comment, if this is a campaign-sanctioned response, given as a representative of the campaign, then I think we've all found some constructive common ground, especially if it means there won't be any attack-style negative campaign tactics before the general election.

I'm still working on that post regarding V for Vendetta - still thinking about the movie too. Good stuff. Go see it this weekend.

 

Down-Ballot Race Heating Up

According to the International Falls Daily Journal, Christian Sande has received the endorsement of the entire Iron Range DFL legislative delegation (update: Thanks to Zack to pointing out the typo. I meant to type "Iron Range", but somehow pooched it. Sighhhh....). This comes just days after Mark Ritchie made statements to the effect of "lawyers are great, but they're not leaders." With 40% of potential delegates still undecided on endorsement in this race, it's anyone's game - but this is another race where a primary certainly isn't out of the question. In speaking to both briefly and hearing each speak several times, I've found that both have pretty good control of the issues, both speak well, and both understand the role they're running for. I'll hold off on an endorsement (as though it would matter either way), but I simply like Christian Sande better. As a constitutional law expert, he doesn't bring the rock-star approach that Mark Ritchie brings from his 2004 national GOTV effort, but Sande has the je ne se quois to separate himself from his opponent IMHO. In short, when you talk to him, you feel as though he belongs in the office he's running for. I can't (yet) say the same for Mark Ritchie.

I caught an advance screening of V for Vendetta last night with the fiancee, I'll try to get a post up later on today about that. I'd definitely go see it again, but I must say now it wasn't what I expected. More to come later.

Monday, March 13, 2006

 

Edwards St. Auditor campaign suspended

Northern Debater originally called Reggie Edwards' campaign "over" but responses indicate that Mr. Edwards is merely suspending his campaign until after the convention in order to avoid perception of wrongdoing with respect to his current employment.

I don't see this as much of a problem, to be honest. It's good that Mr. Edwards has the law (and trying in good faith not to violate it) at the forefront of his mind. But there's no reason for either candidate for State Auditor not to go to the September primary, if they can raise the money to be competitive. In my mind, a clean and fair-minded government should almost want the Auditor to belong to a different party than the other Constitutional office-holders, to ensure proper checks and balances in addition to those exercised by the legislature.

But it's a down-ballot race. I'm not sure of how many general-election voters know that much about the Auditor's job. From the numbers I've seen, candidates for Auditor tend to make it in on the coattails of candidates higher up the ballot, unless there are severe mitigating factors working against them. Rebecca Otto and Reggie Edwards both appear qualified, but I can't imagine a televised debate between either or both of them and Pam Awada getting really great ratings.

 

A "Progressive Voice"......Right.

As I've mentioned several times here, I make my loyalties in the gubernatorial race pretty clear. Since I met him, I've found Senator Steve Kelley to be an honest, principled, progressive, grounded human being, and a pretty good legislator to boot. He's going to make a great governor.

Once we do away with the foolishness upon which I shall now expound. Through a colleague of a friend of a relative....okay, through channels, I've confirmed what I've long suspected - that Becky Lourey's campaign is now engaged in an all-out tear-down campaign against her opponents.

This isn't a rumor, this isn't speculation. This is a confirmation from a Lourey campaign staffer that her staff and her stump speeches are going negative in order to do anything they can to get nominated.

In the common parlance, it's known as a hatchet job. My colleagues at Backbone Minnesota and Broken Nails can examine their comment threads for examples of comments designed not to support Lourey, but rather to tear down her primary competition for the progressive-activist state delegate segment, Steve Kelley. Vicious stuff. Examples:
  1. Jay Says:
    March 10th, 2006 at 9:34 am

    So, the DLC gave an award to a state senator who’s politics is different from their organization? Really? That doesn’t seem like to overly-pragmatic (over principle) DLC style. I’m thinking that Kelley’s record is the reason for their endorsement. Maybe its his creative proposal to fund a baseball stadium with public dollars WITHOUT the public weighing in on it. That’s sounds very DLC to me.

    Three years ago is AFTER his last election. It’s AFTER his failed attempt for Senate and AFTER his failed attempt for leadership within his own caucus.

    They know him, his colleagues at the Senate know him, they question is, do you know him?

    Oh yeah- he’s so viable that his endorsement from Betty McCullom got him a solid third place finish in her Fourth Congressional District. They know him too.

  1. Michael says: Says:
    March 10th, 2006 at 7:46 pm

    Problem with Kelley and his folks seem to be focused on everyone else except himself and his campaign. They failed on Tuesday and lost the most, afterall they are the ones that put all of their eggs in the endorsement process. Well, not all. Steve Kelley will still have the opportunity to stay in his Senate seat after he looses the endorsement in June.

And from my blog:
I'm just wondering, seriously, why it is that blogs that claim to be "progressive" would consider backing a candidate that is a "new democrat" - DLC member - DINO - Republican.

Shouldn't the DFL be looking for a good DEMOCRAT instead of a Republican is sheeps clothing (yes, I meant sheep. Democrats have been cowards for far to long now).

Sunday, March 12, 2006

 

News Flash: Tax Cuts Don't Pay for Themselves

Article from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, found on BoPNews. Can't say I'm surprised, but it's good ammunition nonetheless for arguments in favor of increasing investment in education, transportation, and health care. Note to all: This report is valid at the state level as well as the federal. A major, major, major goal this election has to be making the moderate, tax-wary middle understand that taxes are not evil...or if they are, they are a necessary one in order to keep our economy and society from looking like that of, say, Mississippi. That idea isn't conservative or liberal, progressive or reactionary, it's just common sense.

Since I'm up this early anyway, I think I'll make some french toast and watch At Issue....who's awake?

Friday, March 10, 2006

 

Say what you want...

About Steve Kelley - but his campaign manager, Matt Filner, is a smart guy. His response to a negative comment about the campaign's strategy is long-ish for the blog format, but it's worth a read to us all.

This business between Mark Kennedy's campaign and DailyKos leaves an extremely bad taste in my mouth. It's not for political partisans to decide what constitutes "the mainstream," since their attitudes and political values will, by their very definition, cause them to think of the opposition of "out of the mainstream." One thing is for certain, however - the entire episode demonstrates a severe lack of blogosphere acumen on the part of the Kennedy campaign. The reason DailyKos is popular is not what Kennedy would have us believe - that is, "all liberals are out-of-touch, tree-hugging hippie wackos". That's completely untrue, and makes one wonder how a conservative claims to know how a progressive blog community works.

The reason DailyKos is popular is that Markos and his front-pagers take all political figures to task - Democrat, Republican, whoever - if their actions don't live up to their rhetoric, and don't live up to that hallowed document our Congressmen, Senators, and President are sworn to uphold. People are tired of political talk coming only from people whose loyalties are to Party First, and What's Right Second. That the DailyKos community is progressive and stands up on principle against the horrific things coming out of the mouths of the radical Right is immaterial. That the Kennedy campaign thinks that Amy Klobuchar's efforts to engage that community in the US Senate race in Minnesota is symptomatic of....desperation? Flailing about for anything to stick on the Hennepin County Attorney who, thus far in the campaign, has been made of Teflon?
Both?

 

Open Thread Experiment

My traffic has been at its highest levels to date over the last two weeks, so perhaps an open thread wouldn't be a bad idea. So: without resorting to campaigning for your favorite guy/gal running for office (of which I know, I'm occasionally guilty), which local and/or state races are drawing your attention right now? Recent events? Anything campaign-related - left, right, or other. What's on your mind?

On my mind - how does Northstar Politics get the MINNESOTA link on MyDD's state-by-state blogroll? Someone been passing the benjamins Bowers' way, NSP? ;-)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

 

Anti-Funeral Protest Bill Passes the House

This is a good thing. The House passed Rep. Smith (R)'s bill, which is "neutral on the content of the protests." I like the way this is worded as well - as long as it's framed as a protection of the grieving family's right to mourn in peace, it should stand up against the inevitable court challenges Mr. Phelps and his followers will bring. I dare not call him a Reverend, since I take the term literally - Reverends should revere life and love in all their various forms, and it is now obvious that Phelps and those who accept his hateful teachings do nothing of the sort.

Could it be turned into a campaign issue? Probably. A good one, too. But it's so much more important for our political leaders to do what each and every one of them, party notwithstanding, knows to be right and just. Perhaps this bipartisan response of disgust and overwhelming opposition to these deplorable protest tactics will give Phelps and his little army of bigots a mirror to gaze into for a while.

 

MDE and I don't agree often on these things

But somehow, it happened. Wendy Wilde's most recent headline is, shall we say, a bit over the top. Satire is all well and good, but come on - making jokes about politicians needing a blow job is just in poor taste.

In better news, thanks to my readers and commenters for making yesterday MNCR's best day yet in terms of site traffic. Forgetting about political disagreements (which, contrary to the occasional tone of my replies, I do enjoy arguing with all of you) for a moment, it's a great honor that you guys see fit to read my opinions and analysis. Though I'd prefer a few more clicks on the ads over there on the right, being this engaged in the discussion truly is a reward unto itself.

Until I get that first check from Google. Then I'm going all corporate.

I commented about it earlier over at BBMN, but I really think those of us who make it to the DFL convention should make an attempt to meet up with each other. I'm not sure what we would discuss, but at very least it could be interesting to take a stab at what we can do as a group to support and empower the DFL ticket, both locally and at the state level.

I strongly support the wearing of funny hats as a means of mutual identification.

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