Sunday, July 31, 2005

Klobuchar's first ever visit to a farm?

One of the funniest things I've seen all year is Amy Klobuchar pretend she actually knows anything about life outside of the 494-694 beltway. Below you will find what very well might be Amy Klobuchar's first ever visit to a farm (photo from Klobuchar's website).




Trust me, Amy, Minnesota farmers aren't as stupid as you think. They can sense a phony a mile away. Can anyone guess what's wrong with this picture?

Novak on Pawlenty

Conservative pundit Robert Novak discuses Gov. Pawlenty’s prospects for 2006 and beyond:

Conservative Republican interest in Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty as a dark horse 2008 presidential candidate, rising since his election in 2002, has dropped sharply because he accepted a tax increase as part of the state’s budget.

Pawlenty, who had signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge against new taxes, signed into law a 75-cent cigarette tax. Trying to sell this to conservatives, Pawlenty attached the tax increase to a bill containing an anti-abortion provision.

A footnote: Although Pawlenty faces a 2006 reelection challenge in a state that is difficult for Republicans, his potential presidential candidacy has been quietly discussed among some key New Hampshire Republicans.
(Source: “Bush lobbies CAFTA; Black GOP Senate Candidate,” New Hampshire
Union Leader, July 30, 2005)



Novak did call the cigarette fee a “tax,” but I’ll let him by with it since he is getting up in his years and not as sharp as he used to be. I’ll be the first to say that Pawlenty is, and has always been, more concerned with 2006 than 2008, but it’s great to know that there are some Republicans out there that aren’t as narrow minded as Phil Krinkie and David Strom.

Another interesting point brought up by Novak is that Minnesota is a difficult place for Republicans to get elected. So, instead of all the conservative and Republican bloggers attacking Pawlenty, how about we focus our effort on reelecting Pawlenty and electing Mark Kennedy to the Senate. I would hate to think what life would be like with Amy Klobuchar and Mike “F-ing” Hatch elected to higher office.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

MN Lefty Liberal poll

My favorite liberal blogger, Trillin, has a poll on who you think the DFL should nominate for Governor. I urge all RM readers to head over to mnleftyliberal.blogspot.com and vote for Ole Savior.

RM EXCLUSIVE: More on Hatch site

Earlier today, MDE posted another exclusive on the developing Mike “F-ing” Hatch campaign. It appears as if the campaign will soon launch a website. Below you will find the Whois information for the domain.

Much to my surprise, it wasn’t the Minnesota Democrat Exposer who purchased the site. It was Elliot Konschak (ekonschak@hotmail.com), an Andover resident who pruchased the domain.

Finally an answer

Last night, while the rest of the world was enjoying a lovely Friday night, MDE obtained a copy of Mike “F-ing” Hatch’s latest fundraising letter, which all but says Hatch is running against Gov. Pawlenty. Finally, an answer to my question, just where is Mike “F-ing” Hatch?

In the letter, Mike “F-ing” Hatch brings up the shutdown as a reason to run against Pawlenty. If Hatch wasn’t so busy suing every business in Minnesota, maybe he would’ve realized that his potential opponent, Sen. Dean Johnson was ultimately responsible for the shutdown because Johnson sent the Senate packing with two full hours left to solve a budget.

In other news, I hear that the descendents of the grasshoppers from the 1874 plague, angry with the “F-ing” Attorney General, will endorse Sen. Steve Kelley for governor later next month.

Did Hatch visit RM?

Did Mike “F-ing” Hatch visit Republican Minnesota? You be the judge.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Hatch drops F-bomb

MDE has Hatch dropping the F-bomb. Could this be one of the words he used to describe Marianne Short?

The AG needs to learn to watch his mouth, this is a family friendly state.

Melendez hates life in Minnesota

Newly minted DFL chair Brian Melendez thinks that life in Minnesota isn’t that great. My policy is not to post DFL propaganda on my site, so you can view it here.

I don’t know which alternate universe Melendez is from, but I’d say life here is pretty good. We’re leading the nation in alternative fuels production and use, leading the nation in education reforms, and have more individuals employed in Minnesota than ever before.

If he hates life in Minnesota so much, why doesn't he move to France like Alec Baldwin.

Welcome DSCC

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee seems to visit my site a few times a day. I think it’s because I hit pretty close to the "mark" on the Mark Dayton wannabes. The field of DFL candidates represents, to the letter, the liberal elites that control the DFL: a few millionaires and an ultra liberal attorney from Minneapolis, all out of touch with 90% of Minnesotans. Mark Kennedy on the other hand is someone that Minnesotans can connect with because he could easily be your neighbor.

Just a note to the DSCC, don’t put Ted Kennedy’s picture on you’re website. I imagine that most Minnesotans would be put off by any group using Sen. Teddy ‘Glug-Glug-Glug” Kennedy after his conduct at Chappaquiddick.

Hatch uses expletive to describe woman

From today’s Star Tribune article on Hatch and his Medica foul-up:

Animosity surfaced near the end of Hatch's testimony when [Marianne] Short recounted a conversation Hatch had with one of her partners at the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney. Short asked Hatch if he described her with two expletives to her partner and threatened to take state business away from the firm.

Hatch denied using the phrase or making the threat. He said he was only upset that his pretrial deposition could not be conducted at the Capitol where he could be close to his office at a time when state government was shutting down in June.
(Source: “Sparks fly as Hatch takes stand in HMO trial,” Star Tribune, July 29, 2005)




This just goes to show you the caliber of Hatch’s personality. There is no room in the Governor’s Mansion for someone like Hatch, who can’t treat women with respect. I hope that the DFL activists punish him for his comments.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Welcome Amy

Periodically I will highlight unusual visitors to my website in an effort to introduce my visitors to one another.

Today’s special guest someone in the Hennepin County offices. This visitor usually comes from the Technorati search engine after having search “Klobuchar.” I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess it’s Ms. Klobuchar herself.

I just have one question for you, Amy: why do you think that your extreme positions, so out of touch with the average Minnesotan, can compete with millionaire Kelly Doran in the DFL primary?

It's not to late to reconsider

MDE is reporting that Patty Wetterling may be jumping into the race for the 6th. El Tinklenburg is rumored to have promised to drop out if that occurs. Let me use this opportunity to once again propose my pledge idea.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Moonbat alert


This is the first legitimatley crazy individual I've ever had the plessure of intereacting with on my website. If you would like to view the entire exchange, please click here.
Why is our budget deficit zooming and our President keeps proposing tax cuts without corresponding spending cuts likePresident Reagan did?

My retort:

Do you really think that by listening to a washed up Republican begging for attention will entirely change my perspective?

His repsonse:

Resorting to name calling is just one of the many reasons debate over important issues has become so partisan and spiteful. Are you part of the solution or part of the problem on that?

So again... answer the questions in the post.

To get him to shutup, I answered his stupid questions:

...Question 2: I didn't know budget deficits could "zoom." Is it a high pitched zoom, or a low pitched rumbling zoom?

Here's my question to for you: Here's a question for you: if a budget deficit zooms in the woods and there's no one there to hear it, did it make a sound?

...One more thing...oh yeah, don't tell me what to do on my blog. I'll let you by this time, but don't do it again, and I'll call AG Gonzalez and make sure he taps your phone!

Can you believe it, he thinks budget deficits can zoom like a car. With geniuses like him in the DFL, we should see another GOP sweep in 2006.

This is why Michael_M earns RepublicanMinnesota's "Moonbat of the Week" award. His prize is a gold star for stupidity.

More proof Pawlenty is conservative

Last week’s Politics In Minnesota weekly news wrap proudly proclaimed that Gov. Pawlenty is really a "moderate." Unbeknownst to this lowly blogger, Sarah Janecek, Republican lobbyist and wannabe publishing magnate, has known this all along.


At his core, your publishers have always thought Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty is a moderate. And his most recent moves appear to make the statement that he is going back to his moderate roots. The over-played card of his term has been the "No New Taxes" Pledge, something that has cost him the staunch support of the always effective Taxpayers League.

In hindsight, his first move to moderate came by triangulating the prescription drug importation issue, against the wishes of Washington and the Bush Administration and trying to take the issue away from the Democrats. Meanwhile, this past session Democrats stuck the pledge to Pawlenty, and many conservative social groups wanted a constitutional amendment / referendum question on gay marriage. The put-gay-marriage-on-the-ballot tactic was a key factor in conservatives turning out in swing states this past presidential year.

Well, this week Pawlenty decided to take away two major issues that conservatives want the most, and that Pawlenty could do something about: another tax pledge and gay marriage as a referendum issue.

(Source: Politics in Minnesota, July 22, 2005)


If you fancy yourself a political insider but still have a favorable image of Janecek, you’re probably very new to the game or a Demoocrat. For the most part, the powers that be humor Janecek, allowing her to think she’s a power broker in the Republican Party here in the Gopher State. In reality, she’s nothing more than a gadfly activist that somehow managed to gain a sliver of legitimacy with her newsletter and political directory. Long story short, she’s extremely out of touch with Minnesota GOP politics, but doesn’t know it.

Her endorsement is about as valuable as Al Gore’s (remember that his endorsement of Dean had the effect of throwing a wrench in the Dean Machine). Her assessment of Pawlenty’s conservative convictions are way off base because Janecek herself is not a conservative, ahe’s a Republican through and through (for the record, I consider myself a conservative Republican).

For proof of how accurate her opinions are, just look at what happened to her original newsletter last year as blogs gained influence. The newsletter went down faster than [offensive reference deleted]. It turned out the opinion of the average blogger was worth more than what she had to say. Eventually, the newsletter was resurrected, but Janecek should’ve just let her dream die.

So, yes, Pawlenty is conservative because Janecek says he isn't. Any questions?

Prelude to announcement

Part-time Attorney General, and perpetual gubernatorial candidate, Mike Hatch is kicking off the prelude to his campaign announcement by investigating the only business he has yet to sue: Ameriquest.


Ameriquest's sales tactics are the target of a wide-ranging probe by Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch and another dozen or so state attorneys general, according to people familiar with the investigation. Huston and homeowners interviewed by investigators say Hatch is looking at allegations that Ameriquest falsified the income of loan applicants, used inflated appraisals to overstate the value of homes and changed loan terms before closing.
(Source: “Hatch investigating Ameriquest,” Star Tribune, July 27, 2005)

Being one of the more cynical bloggers out there, I see this as Mike Hatch attempting to gain as much media attention running up to his official announcement for his third attempt at governor because we all know Hatch is a camera hog.

Here’s my favorite snippet from the article: “A spokeswoman for Hatch declined to comment on the investigation.”

Ladies and gentlemen, this has to be the first time Hatch or his office has not given a comment when prompted by a reporter. I am shocked. Even the guys in the sports department at the Star Tribune know that Hatch tries to get more attention than a middle child at Christmas.

And for Doug, here’s the link.

Is Ford Bell the new Mark Dayton?

Ford Bell got ripped by MDE for saying that, although he is a millionaire, he can’t afford to put money into his campaign. Now it appears as if millionaire Sen. Mark Dayton can’t afford to continue providing his hard working staff with Diet Coke. From Roll Call:

Let Moderation Be Your Guide
Is a certain soft drink making Sen. Mark
Dayton (D-Minn.) and his staff jittery?

Someone, or many people, in Daytons office are guzzling Diet Coke by the caseload, and HOH is worried. So is Daytons office manager, Kristen Gentile, who sent an e-mail on Tuesday to everyone in the office, including the Senator himself, with the eerie two-word subject line: Diet Coke.

"On Thursday, I bought 18 cases of Diet Coke,” Gentile wrote in an e-mail that an anonymous tipster forwarded to HOH. “We are now down to four which, Im sure you will agree, is ridiculous. After speaking with the front desk staff, its my understanding that it is not constituents drinking the Diet Coke like its going out of style, but staff & interns. I think we can all agree that 168 cans of Diet Coke should have lasted us far longer than two business days!”

The understandable lecture continued, “I realize that its been oppressively hot recently and I certainly understand the impulse to consume fluids, however, there has to be a reasonable limit.”

”For one thing, no one should be drinking so much soda pop. And two, guess whos footing the bill for this expensive little caffeine habit?" Yep, you guessed it.

”Unlike the water supply, which is paid for out of the offices official budget, the Coke is paid for by Mark personally, Gentile wrote. Please, please, please be respectful of his money (and my time & energy) and limit the amount of Coke you consume to a reasonable one or two cans.”

Dayton, the man who drew snickers for his decision to shutter his Senate office last fall and, together with this staff, nervously fled Capitol Hill for fear of a terrorist attack, had no comment on who the Diet Cokehead or Cokeheads may be.

His spokeswoman, Chris Lisi, did not find the e-mail as amusing as HOH did. Usually reporters call me about stories that make sense, she said rather testily when we contacted her. Why are you calling me about Diet Coke?

OK just lay off the Diet Cokes, give us a call back, and well be happy to explain!
(Source: Roll Call¸ July 27, 2005)


Now, if only we knew if Ford Bell was as big of a coward as Sen. Dayton.

UPDATE: MDE has two great posts on this story (they are linked here and....not here...but here). I scooped you MDE, I rule you!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Right issue, wrong debate

Too much energy is being wasted on whether or not Gov. Pawlenty broke his pledge to the taxpayers with his cigarette fee. As long as conservatives, Republicans, and the general public focus on this issue, the left wins by not having to defend their flawed argument.

It’s not that we’re damaging the chances of reelecting Pawlenty (which we are), it’s that the pledge has became the issue, not the debate over limiting the size of government. Whether or not you agree with the fee, chances are you don’t like the idea of government getting bigger.

Liberals have done an excellent job in the past at painting conservatives as greedy, that’s we’re only anti-tax because we want more money. Sure, that may be part of it, but there’s more to it than that. We believe that a government that best serves its people is small, has limited powers, and keeps to itself.

Then there’s the issue of higher taxes stunting economic growth. As Pawlenty was sworn into office, he faced a tremendous challenge in overcoming a $4.2 billion budget deficit. Much to the dismay of big government advocates, Pawlenty cut spending rather than raise taxes during a time of economic instability. The outcome? Minnesota has more people employed than ever before at 2,718,400 people. Our unemployment is at 3.7%, which isn’t too bad. Like the fee or not, you have to admit that Pawlenty holding the line on taxes was certainly a deciding factor in our economic boost.

We have the better argument, but are too busy fighting clawing at each other’s throats. I’d bet that most of the swing voters out there don’t give a damn whether or not Pawlenty broke his pledge. These are the people we need to reach out to. We have the better argument, so let’s get off this fee crap and move forward.

Fight MoveOn.Org

Tired of baseless arguments and tired rants from the liberal interest group MoveOn.Org? I know I am. Fight back by logging on the Minnesota Republican Party website and sign up to support Judge John Roberts, Bush’s nominee for the Supreme Court.

Here’s the link.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Get this lady a map

As Coleen Rowley embarks on a vain attempt to defeat Rep. John Kline, I thought it’d be nice to take a quick look at her campaign before it disappears into obscurity.


Rowley
seems to have gotten lost during her quixotic quest. Her website prominently displays Rowley jockeying for votes at the Rochester Public Library. It’s too bad that Rochester is located in the 1st District, not the 2nd District in which Rowley lives. Now, why on Earth should anyone vote for a candidate that doesn't even know who their potential constituents are.


Not only does Rowley get lost, but her campaign slogan smacks of concession: “Always Try.” Now, anyone familiar with 1980’s pop culture knows that “there is no try.” As Master Yoda would say, "do, or do not." Looks like this campaign falls under the "not" category.

Ron Carey on the DFL and Pawlenty

New Minnesota GOP Chair Ron Carey wrote a letter to the Star Tribune discussing the past legislative session.

Ron Carey: DFL forced shutdown to harm Pawlenty

It was brutal. It was frustrating. It went far longer than it should have.

Say what you will about the 2005 legislative session, when you look at the final results, it's clear that the only reason the DFL Senate forced a government shutdown was to embarrass Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

The Democrats, emboldened by their electoral gains in 2004, felt that by holding Minnesota state government hostage they could enhance their chances for further gains in 2006.

Democrat legislative leaders are deeply mistaken if they walked away from this legislative session thinking they have accomplished that goal. Not only did Pawlenty and Republican legislators manage to overcome the Democrats' desperate and deceitful shutdown tactics, they also achieved many of the goals they laid out at the beginning of the session.

Republicans stopped the Democrats from passing a huge income-tax increase that would have given Minnesota the distinction of having the highest tax rate in the country -- higher than even Massachusetts. This session the DFL showed its true colors by proposing job-killing tax increases on individuals and businesses, ignoring the negative impact these increases have on our economy.

Over the last three years and two state budgets, the governor has successfully eliminated more than $5 billion of budget deficits -- and the Minnesota economy is on the rise. Despite the doom-and-gloom predictions of the DFL, tax collections are up and this year's revenue is 8 percent larger than last year's.

Republicans worked to control the unsustainable cost increases in health care and welfare spending that threaten to completely take over the state budget. Republicans made sure our state health care and welfare spending was more focused on those with the greatest needs. Even after slowing down the rate of human services spending from 19 percent to 15 percent over the last budget period, Minnesota continues to have the most generous programs in the Midwest.

Perhaps the single most important reform to come out of the 2005 session was the QComp proposal that gives school districts financial incentives to pay teachers based on student achievement, not just seniority.

The QComp merit pay initiative is the latest in an impressive string of vital education reforms proposed and supported by Republicans including open enrollment, charter schools and education tax credits.

Republicans also led the way with tough new penalties for sex offenders, including life in prison without parole and a new indeterminate life sentence that will keep offenders locked up as long as they remain dangerous.

It was Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, who spearheaded the push to restrict the sale of pseudophedrine and call for tougher penalties for those who sell or manufacture meth.

All of these accomplishments, and frankly much more, could have been finished during the regular session if the Democrats didn't shut down state government in an attempt to make Pawlenty look bad.

Fortunately Democrats overplayed their hand and showed Minnesotans the true nature of their extreme agenda and their lack of new ideas.

They want to raise taxes and force Minnesotans to live on less so that government can continue to grow even bigger. They want to kill education reforms that will help guarantee that every Minnesota child can receive a quality education. They are soft on crime. And they are willing to sacrifice the rights of individuals in order to expand the size and scope of government.

Ron Carey is state chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota.

(Source: Star Tribune, June 25, 2005)

I think Carey has just framed the issues that we will be focusing on in the 2006 elections.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

"Pledgemaster" on At Issue

Taxpayer’s League generalissimo David Strom made his obligatory appearance on “At Issue” with Tom Hauser today. I just have one question: was Strom standing on a box/podium to increase his height? The guy appeared taller than Hauser!

Strom made a good point, saying the pledge became a bigger deal than the debate on whether or not we should raise taxes. I lost all respect for Strom, well, whatever respectI had left, when he compared Gov. Pawlenty, a known family man, to Bill Clinton. Strom came close redeeming himself by saying that because Pawlenty signed the pledge, we have more people working in Minnesota than ever before, which I reported here on Friday.

Then there was this letter in the Star Tribune:

Tasty anti-tax talk

After reading Michael Wigley's and David Strom's column ("If Pawlenty wants to keep his base, he'd better change his ways," July 17), I've come to the conclusion that the Taxpayers League of Minnesota is to public policy what Captain Crunch is to nutrition.

What both are selling to the general public might be rather tasty, but isn't particularly good for our long-term health.

This legislative session, scores of public leaders both past and present (including our current governor) have argued for new state revenue sources in the form of taxes, "fees" or casino dollars.

Does Strom really expect the average Minnesotan to continue to swallow his tasty-treat talk of lower taxes and high-quality state services?

After this session, I think the only person that Strom is still fooling with his rhetoric is himself.

Kelly Marchwick, Minneapolis.

I like the shot at the Taxpayer’s League; so does that mean that The DFL caucus is like Franekenberry?

UPDATE: The MDEer informed me that it is "Cap'n Crunch," not "Captain."

Eibensteiner and Hinderaker on Pawlenty

Former Minnesota Republican Chairman Ron Eibensteiner and Powerline blogger John Hinderaker take on the Taxpayers League in defense of Gov. Pawlenty.

The best governor in memory

Mike Wigley and David Strom of the Taxpayers League wrote in last Sunday's Op Ex section about the "bubble of unreality that is the governor's office." On the contrary, they need to be reminded of reality. We believe that the narrow view they expressed is not good for conservatives, the Republican Party, or Minnesota.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty is the best thing that has happened to Minnesota and our party in a long time. He is as smart as anyone in politics, and is a likable guy who has connected with Minnesota's voters. In challenging times, he is doing a superb job.

We were there when Pawlenty stepped to the podium on election night. While he thanked all of his supporters and those who voted for him, he declared that he was going to be the governor of all the people of Minnesota. And he has done what he promised, moving the state forward with pro-growth policies. Minnesota's economy is advancing strongly and steadily, with excellent job growth and just 3.7 percent unemployment.

With government intervention kept to a minimum, our basic industries of agriculture, mining, timber and manufacturing are making good progress. Pawlenty has laid a foundation for Minnesota's future economy by bringing Mayo and the University of Minnesota together in a historic Bioscience Initiative. Entrepreneurs and small businesses are gaining ground against national and global competition.

In public policy, it can be tempting to focus too much on tools and not enough on goals. Wigley and Strom seem fixated on a tool -- the Taxpayers League's Pledge -- to the point that they're missing the results Pawlenty's administration has achieved.

The governor is focused on pursuing a growth agenda for all Minnesotans, not on satisfying an interest group, however much we may sympathize with that group and agree with it the vast majority of the time.

He faces a fundamental problem that Wigley and Strom fail to acknowledge: Two political parties are active in this state. The Democrats hold about half the seats in the Legislature, and control the Senate.

Pawlenty was elected governor, not emperor. He has to deal with the Democrats. No budget can become law without passing the Democrat-controlled Senate, and Democrats were determined to raise taxes by $1.4 billion. Tim didn't give in to their budget-busting demands; he went toe to toe with them, to the point where Democrats walked out and shut down state government. If Pawlenty hadn't agreed to some kind of compromise, the government would be shut down still.

Wigley and Strom seem to think that the governor gave away the store in order to get Minnesota's government back to work. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Pawlenty has been spectacularly successful in containing state spending. In his first year in office, he closed a $4.5 billion deficit -- without raising taxes by a nickel. Between 1994 and 2002, spending in Minnesota ballooned out of control, rising an average of 13.4 percent per biennium. Under Pawlenty's leadership, the rate of growth has been cut nearly in half, to 7.3 percent per biennium, bringing it in line with population growth and inflation.

What about the tax increase on cigarettes that prompted Wigley and Strom's attack? It constitutes a mere 1.3 percent of the state's budget. Perfection is great, but it is hard to achieve when the tax-and-spend party controls one house of the Legislature. Pawlenty faced down the Democrats and made a great deal for the citizens of Minnesota, which will help to assure continued economic growth during the remainder of his term.

We have fought in the trenches for a long time for conservative values and Republican candidates. So has the Taxpayers League, which performed a great service for Minnesotans. But it is no service to divide the Republican Party, in search of an unattainable purity, at a time when Minnesota has the best governor within memory, Tim Pawlenty.

Ronald Eibensteiner is president of Wyncrest Capital and former Republican Party chair. John Hinderaker is a partner at the Faegre and Benson law firm and one of the authors of the Powerline blog.

It’s refreshing to finally see intelligent commentary on Pawlenty and the Taxpayers League.

Support the Pledge campaign

I invite all Minnesota bloggers who want care about keeping the 6th District a conservative stronghold to post this image on their sites.

Below you will find a draft version of the pledgeI would like to have someone present to the 6th District board of directors:

We, the Republican candidates for the 6th Congressional seat, hereby promise not to challenge, in a primary, the candidate amongst us who is endorsed at the 2006 6th Congressional District Convention.

X______________________________________

Rep. Jim Knoblach

X______________________________________

Sen. Michele Bachmann

X______________________________________

Rep. Phil Krinkie

X______________________________________

Dr. Cheri Yecke

X______________________________________

Maj. Jay Esmay (Ret.)

If anyone more talented with graphics or experience in "legalese," please let me know.

In the meantime, feel free to contact the following individuals in charge of the 6th Congressional District Republicans:

Sen. Brian LeClair, State Vice Chair for CD 6

Dan Nygaard, CD6 Co-Chair

Jeff Johnson, CD6 Co-Chair

Saturday, July 23, 2005

McCollum snubs Hatch

Rep. Betty McCollum has joined Sen. Steve Kelley’s campaign team to fight Mike Hatch for the DFL endorsement for governor (see link). The Congresswoman was a popular choice for anti-Klobuchar progressives to replace Sen. Mark Dayton. It would appear that DFL golden boy Mike Hatch is not as popular with the DFL elites as some might assume. Hatch can pretty much write off support from the 4th Congressional District. With news like that, you can bet Hatch is already preparing for a primary battle.


First Patrick Reusse, now Betty McCollum, I'm on the edge of my seat to see who's next.

Shame

Yesterday, I called on Trillin, Chairperson Melendez, and the Mark Dayton-wannabes to repudiate Sen. Robert “KKK” Byrd’s comments he made about inner cities. Rather than admonish one of their own, these DFLers chose to silently support Byrd’s comments by not challenging him.

Now, as far as Melendez goes, I’m not surpised, as they are both mouth pieces for all Democrats in and around Minnesota. I am appalled by the lack of leadership on the part of Amy Klobuchar, newcomer Ford Bell, Kelly Doran and Patty Wetterling. Surely, if these individuals want to belong to the world’s second most exclusive club (the first being MN Left and Right), they need to stand up for what is right and fight against what is wrong. Your average, hard working Minnesotans won’t stand for this insensitivity from their US Senate candidates.

UPDATE: For those keeping score, only Trillin expressed any sort of outrage.

Strib hits Hatch

The Attorney General everyone loves to hate got hit by Star Tribune sports columnist Patrick Reusse.

The Wild attempts to summon the press to St. Paul more often than Mike Hatch. The hockey team decided the NHL's official return was such monumental news that two media sessions were required.

(Source: “Wild might have what Wolves need,” Star Tribune, July 23, 2005)

Poor Mike Hatch, even the liberal elites at the Star Tribune take cheap shots at him. I can’t wait to read what moonbat Nick Coleman has to say about the AG.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Yea for jobs

Today on his radio show, Gov. Pawlenty announced Minnesota's unemployment rate was at 3.7% and there are more people employed here than ever before. The kid is already on the rebound. One can assume that this would not be the case if the DFL had their job killing tax cuts in place.

Thanks Pawlenty, keep up the good work.

Does Klobuchar support Byrd's comment?

I’ve been tracking some of my visitors and have noticed that someone from the Hennepin County offices visits the site a few times a day. My gut is telling me it’s Amy Klobuchar. She’s the Hennepin County Attorney running to serve along side of Sen. Robert “KKK” Byrd in Washington.

I now call on Amy Klobuchar to denounce Byrd’s comment, as I await Trillin and Chair Melendez’s statements. While we’re at it, I’ll call on the rest of the pathetic field of Mark Dayton-wannabes to demand Byrd apologize for what he said.

Byrd at it again

When discussing Bush’s nominee for the high court, Sen. Robert Byrd went off on one of his tirades.

"One's life is probably in no greater danger in the jungles of deepest Africa than in the jungles of America's large cities," he writes. "In my judgment, much of the problem has been brought about by the mollycoddling of criminals by some of the liberal judges who have been placed on the nation's courts in recent years."

(Source: “Sen. Byrd parises Bush on nominee,” Washington Times, July 22, 2005)

I call on Trillin and DFL Chair Brian Melendez to denounce Byrd’s remarks.

Cheney in town today

Vice President Richard B. Cheney will be in town today raising cash for US Senate frontrunner Rep. Mark Kennedy. The race has been Kennedy’s to lose since former Sen. Rod Grams declined to challenge Kennedy for the GOP endorsement.

At the same time, the DFL has a diverse field of millionaires and “progressive” lawyers battling it out for who is the most liberal candidate.

MDE is reporting that there will DFLers protesting Cheney and Kennedy. I’ve heard from a very unreliable source that Grams may also be planning on protesting the Cheney endorsement.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Refreshing kind of bias

I am amazed at all the bias in the news lately. Look no further than the Boston Herald’s headline on the death of Star Trek actor James Doohnan:

“Scotty beams up one last time”

Finally, a bias in which the media admits there’s life after death. The only down side, it’s full of overused clichés and actors from bad science fiction TV shows.

Hatch violates the law

I'm beginning to think there's no justice in the world. First the Hatch daughters get off scott free, now this.


After a five-month review of state Attorney General Mike Hatch's campaign finances, state regulators found probable cause of an inadvertent law violation but nothing serious enough to warrant a fine.

(Source: "Campaign board: no fine for Hatch," Star Tribune, July 21, 2005)

I want to know just what kind of Mickey Mouse operation this Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board is! The man was found guilty, but no punishment. Hatch should be held to a higher standard for two reason: he should set an example as the State’s attorney, but also because he’s a seasoned veteran, and by that I mean he’s been running for office since the Perpich administration.

Blame Mike Hatch

With a strike looming over at NWA, it's important to know where to point the finger, Attorney General Mike Hatch.

You see, Hatch has sued every health care company he can get his dirty little lawyer hands on, causing health care costs to skyrocket. As health care gets more expensive, employers either cut pension payments or health care to pay for the increases.

So it is Mike Hatch's fault.

DISCLAIMER: This is purely an angry rant, Mr. Attorney General sir, please don't sue me.


How a bill becomes law

A primer for naysayers.

I take it that the cigarette fee debate is far from dead. I’ve also noticed a severe lack of knowledge on the legislative process from many conservative and Republican bloggers. If you believed certain persons, you’d think that Gov. Pawlenty has powers of a dictator, decreeing how legislators will vote. Call it civic duty, call it righteous indignation, but I have put this together to help those misguided souls understand how we Republicans arrived at this point.

How a bill becomes law (from the Minnesota Legislature's website):

Idea

A bill is an idea for a new law or an idea to change an old law. Anyone can suggest an idea for a bill -- an individual, consumer group, professional association, government agency, or the governor. Most often, however, ideas come from legislators, the only ones who can begin to move an idea through the process. There are 134 House members and 67 senators.

Legal form

The Office of the Revisor of Statutes and staff from other legislative offices work with legislators in putting the idea for a new law into proper legal form. The revisor's office is responsible for assuring that the proposal's form complies with the rules of both bodies before the bill can be introduced into the Minnesota House of Representatives and the Minnesota Senate.

Authors

Each bill must have a legislator to sponsor and introduce it in the Legislature. That legislator is the chief author whose name appears on the bill along with the bill's file number to identify it as it moves through the legislative process. There may be up to 34 co-authors from the House and four from the Senate. Their names also appear on the bill.

Introduction

The chief House author of the bill introduces it in the House; the chief Senate author introduces it in the Senate. Identical bills introduced in each body are called companion bills. The bill introduction is called the first reading. The presiding officer of the House then refers it to an appropriate House committee for discussion; the same thing happens in the Senate.

Committee

The bill is discussed in one or more committees depending upon the subject matter. After discussion, committee members recommend action -- approval or disapproval -- to the full House and full Senate. The House committee then sends a report to the House about its action on the bill; the Senate committee does likewise in the Senate.

Floor

After the full House or Senate accepts the committee report, the bill has its second reading and is placed on the House agenda called the General Register or the Senate agenda called General Orders. (A committee can recommend that non-controversial bills bypass the General Register or General Orders and go onto the Consent Calendar, where bills usually pass without debate.) After this point, House and Senate procedures differ slightly.

General Register

In the House, the General Register serves as a parking lot where bills await action by the full body. Bills chosen to appear on the Calendar for the Day or the Fiscal Calendar are drawn from the General Register.

In the Senate, a different procedure is used. Bills are listed on the General Orders agenda. Senate members, acting as the "committee of the whole," have a chance to debate the issue and offer amendments on the bill. Afterwards, they vote to recommend: passage of the bill, progress (delay action), or further committee action. And sometimes they recommend that a bill not pass. From here, the bill is placed on the Calendar.

Calendar for the Day

In the House, the Calendar for the Day is a list of bills the House Rules and Legislative Administration Committee has designated for the full House to vote on. Members can vote to amend the bill, and after amendments are dispensed with, the bill is given its third reading before the vote of the full body is taken. The House also has a Fiscal Calendar, on which the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee or House Taxes Committee can call up for consideration any tax or finance bill that has had a second reading. The bills are debated, amended, and passed in one day.

In the Senate, bills approved by the "committee of the whole" are placed on the Calendar. At this point, the bill has its third reading, after which time the bill cannot be amended unless the entire body agrees to it. Toward the end of the session, the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration designates bills from the General Orders calendar to receive priority consideration. These Special Orders bills are debated, amended, and passed in one day. A bill needs 68 votes to pass the House and 34 votes to pass the Senate. If the House and Senate each pass the same version of the bill, it goes to the governor for a signature.

Special Orders

Toward the end of the session, the rules committee of the House and the Majority Leader of the Senate may designate bills from the General Orders to receive priority consideration in their respective bodies. These Special Orders bills are debated, amended, and passed in one day. The House also has a Rule 1.10 calendar which allows the chairs of the Taxes and Appropriations committees to call up for consideration any tax or appropriations bill that has had a second reading. These Rule 1.10 bills are debated, amended, and passed in one day.

Conference

If the House and Senate versions of the bill are different, they go to a conference committee. In the House, the speaker appoints three or five representatives, and in the Senate, the Subcommittee on Committees of the Committee on Rules and Administration selects the same number of senators to form the committee. The committee meets to work out differences in the two bills and to reach a compromise.

Floor

The conference committee's compromise bill then goes back to the House and the Senate for another vote. If both bodies pass the bill in this form, it is sent to the governor for his or her approval or disapproval. (If one or both bodies reject the report, it goes back to the conference committee for further consideration.)

Governor

Once the governor has the bill, he or she may: sign it, and the bill becomes law; veto it within three days; or allow it to become law by not signing it. During session, the House and Senate can override a governor's veto. This requires a two-thirds vote in the House (90 votes) and Senate (45 votes). The governor also may "line-item veto" parts of a money bill, or "pocket veto" a bill passed during the last three days of the session by not signing it within 14 days after final adjournment.


I’ve italicized the parts that may confuse some of you. I hope this has cleared things up.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Plethora of conservative convictions, part two

A two part look at the conservative record of our state's CEO. And now, part two.

2nd Amendment Rights

Remember a couple years ago when liberal activist judges in Minnesota overturned the conceal-carry law? Well, through what was likely the only bipartisan move this session, Gov. Pawlenty signed the bill into law for a second time in his career.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Tuesday signed a bill that allows easier statewide access to handgun permits. The law, which restores an identical 2003 measure that was struck down by the courts, takes effect immediately.

The so-called conceal-carry law allows law-abiding people over the age of 21, to get a gun permit as long as they have a clean record, no mental illness and proper safety training.

Several state courts struck down the 2003 law, citing the unusual procedure by which it was passed in the Legislature. Lawmakers moved quickly this year to re-pass it in a way that would pass muster in the courts.

"We signed it before, we signed it again," said Pawlenty's spokesman, Brian McClung. It was done with little fanfare; McClung said Pawlenty had too many other bills to sign to make a big deal out of it.

Before the 2003 law, sheriffs and police chiefs around the state had discretion to grant or deny handgun permits to individual applicants. Now, anyone who meets the criteria can get one.

Critics say that makes it too easy to get a gun in the state, especially in urban areas where law enforcement is trying to hold the line against violence.

Groups that fought the law in 2003 and filed the lawsuit that brought it down have promised to keep fighting in court. They say the bill still contains a number of provisions that are vulnerable to legal challenge, including not doing enough to ensure rights for churches that want to bar guns from their property.

But backers say the law actually makes the state a safer place by raising the minimum age of gun owners from 18 to 21, and by making all applicants go through the safety training.

Despite vocal opposition from urban and suburban Democrats, the revived gun bill won easy favor in both the Senate, where it passed 44-21, and in the House, which passed it 86-47. It was supported in both chambers by most Republicans and Democrats from rural parts of the state.

(Source: “Pawlenty signs gun permit bill with little fanfare,” Associated Press, May 24, 2005)

Death Penalty Advocate

Pawlenty has openly advocated the death penalty for sex offenders, taking flak in the opinion pages of the Star Tribune.


"Sex offenders are the worst of the worst," said Governor Pawlenty. "My preference is to allow the voters of Minnesota a chance to re-establish the death penalty to deal with sex offenders who kill their victims. The legislature has prevented that, but we are taking steps to deal with sex offenders with strong measures that include longer prison terms and intensive supervision. My plan will lock-up sex offenders for significantly longer than current law and will provide for indefinite incarceration for the most violent. It will also greatly strengthen tracking, monitoring and supervision of sex offenders who complete their sentences."

(Source: Press Release, Gov. Pawlenty’s Office, January 31, 2005)

Pro-Family

Gov. Pawlenty has been the strongest advocate for the DOMA amendment ever to serve in the state’s executive branch.


Several thousand supporters of a constitutional ban on gay marriage rallied Wednesday at the Capitol, saying all they want is a chance to vote on the issue.

"Marriage between a man and a woman is the foundation of our society," Gov. Tim Pawlenty told the cheering crowd.

Supporters of the constitutional ban directed much of their ire at the DFL-controlled Senate, which for the last two years has denied floor votes on the issue even as it's passed twice in the Republican-controlled House. Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar, said Wednesday that there won't be a Senate vote this year.

The ban, which would prohibit any legal recognition of gay relationships, including civil unions, would put the question to voters in 2006.

State law already defines marriage as between a man and a woman; the measure would enshrine that definition in the state constitution, with supporters saying too many bans in other states have been struck down by judges.

"We need to make sure that doesn't happen in Minnesota," Pawlenty said.

(Source: “At Capitol, opponents of gay marriage take their rally turn,” Associated Press, April 20, 2005)

Now for the coup de grace

No New Taxes

For the third straight session, Gov. Pawlenty has not raised taxes, as he promised on the campaign trail way back in 2002.

Pawlenty also proclaimed the budget package that was completed Wednesday a balanced, bipartisan compromise, saying that "the process was ugly, but the product is good."

He claimed victory in a dozen areas, handing out a checklist of achievements led by "Don't raise taxes" and a status box that listed it as "Done."

(Source: “Budget passes; special session done,” Star Tribune, July 14, 2005)

There you have it: Governor Timothy Pawlenty, proven conservative. Let the angry comments begin.

Send Dayton the DNC talking points

Someone must have forgot to send Sen. Mark "I'm a coward" Dayton the DNC talking points on Roberts. KARE 11 is reporting that Sen. Dayton is "disappointed" because Bush didn't nominate another woman.

Sorry, Dayton, you're supposed to say he is an extreme right wing activist judge. Better luck next time.

(Source: KARE 11 Morning Show, July 20, 2005)

Better late than never

Hell has frozen. No, the Vikings didn’t win the Super Bowl, but it’s almost equally as impressive. Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson apologized for the shutdown he and his DFL colleagues caused.

“It wasn’t pretty and I apologize to anyone who may have been harmed by the shutdown but the product we ended with will be good for all Minnesotans,” said Johnson on a tour of his district Friday morning after a difficult special budgeting session in St. Paul.

(Source: “Sen. Johnson apologizes for shutdown,” Sauk Centre Herald, July 19, 2005)

There appears to be ulterior motives here, as Johnson is listed as a potential DFL candidate for governor.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Has Strom seen the light?

While making a visit to the St. Paul Chamber Tuesday, Gov. Pawlenty told his audience that he does not intend to sign any piece of paper promising not to raise taxes. His word, Pawlenty said, should speak for itself. Surprisingly, David Strom from the Taxpayer’s league agrees.

David Strom, president of the Taxpayers League, said the group considers the pledge in effect "until a politician repudiates it and then gets re-elected.''

But like Pawlenty, Strom said the pledge is more than a signed document.

"If the governor goes out and campaigns and says `I'm not going to raise taxes' we expect him to govern on that whether he signs it or not,'' Strom said. "The signature on a piece of paper is purely symbolic. The most important thing is to not raise taxes.''

(Source: “Pawlenty doubts fall special session will come together,” Associated Press, July 20, 2005)

From the sound of things, the League is going to take it easy on Pawlenty from now on, he made a complete sentence that did not criticize our governor. Just like a child with temper tantrum, sometimes you just need to let them whine until they tire of it.

Here's an interesting letter from today's Star Tribune:

A July 17 commentary by David Strom and Michael Wigley complained that Gov. Tim Pawlenty failed to do the job they wanted him to do.

Personally, I share their goals for state government. But when they sent the governor out to do battle with the big spenders, they did not send enough legislators along with him to provide the needed support.

Pawlenty did not have the votes necessary to overcome the "tax-and-spend" enemy in 2005. Strom and Wigley are not helping their cause by publicly bashing him.

Instead, they need to be ensuring that voters in 2006 elect legislators who will support reductions in state spending.

Pawlenty's heart is in the right place. This year he did the best he could with the support that the voters provided for him.

Dick Lueben, Bemidji, Minn.
(Source: "Letters from readers," Star Tribune, July 20, 2005)

Couldn't have said it better myself Stay tuned for part two of Pawlenty's conservative record.

Where's Mike Hatch?

Is he in? Is he out? What are the activists saying?

It has been more than seven months since Attorney General Mike Hatch sent a letter to DFL activists asking their advice on his political future. Here are some highlights from an article on the letter.

Attorney General Mike Hatch, the top Democrat in state office, is subtly asking party activists whether he should run for governor in 2006 in a letter sharply criticizing Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty's leadership.

The letter, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, began arriving in mailboxes of the DFL faithful in late December. Hatch said in an interview he hasn't made up his mind about whether to challenge Pawlenty, who is widely expected to seek a second four-year term.

But Hatch's letter does more than his public comments to stoke the possibility.

"This will be the most important letter I will write in the 2006 campaign," Hatch begins. "Your response to it will tell me what course I should take."

A Duluth native, he ran for governor in 1990, waging a losing primary battle to sitting DFL Gov. Rudy Perpich. He tried again four years later, that time losing in a primary to state Sen. John Marty.

(Source: “Hatch asks democrats advice on political future,” Associated Press, January 5, 2005)

Seeing that we haven’t seen a campaign announcement from Hatch yet, the DFL rank and file must not have given him the answer he wanted. That’s not all too surprising either, seeing that Hatch challenged both sitting governor Rudy Perpich and State Sen. John Mary in separate gubernatorial primaries. If the DFL activists are anything like the Republican activists when it comes down to loyalty, there very well could be a very pissed off base telling Hatch “no.”

Look no further than MN Lefty Liberal, where my favorite liberal blogger, Trillin, has no love for the Attorney General.

Mike on the other hand can’t decide if he is running for Governor, or not. Maybe he is, but then again, he said he wasn’t. But who ever pays attention to one’s public comments these days anyway.

And besides, it is not like he ever flipped flopped before…right?

I mean…come on, not Mike Hatch.

And then a friend told me a story. It was full of laughs, and tears, and betrayal. It was full of lies, and jelly backbones.

It was a story about Mike Hatch.

Now, I wasn’t in Minnesota when this happened, so please, please PLEASE tell me if this is wrong. Cause honestly, I am hoping it is. (Then again, this is a friend who doesn’t usually lie about the big stuff, and this is BIG)

We all know that Mike Hatch has run for Governor before. Twice.

Apparently, and I know this might not be “news” to any of you, the 1st time he ran, he ran as a pro-choice candidate.
The second time he ran however, he ran as a pro-life candidate and was endorsed by MCCL.

Wow, Mike Hatch a tool? Hmm…I can almost see ads airing for the DFL primary now. More to the point, Hatch has taken both sides of the abortion debate. Say what you want about John Kerry, at least he never flip flopped on such a controversial issue so important to the Minnesota electorate.


No wonder Mike Hatch hasn’t announced yet, after pissing off the delegate base of the DFL, one can’t help but question Hatch’s viability as a candidate. Seriously, how many times can you run for governor before the Star Tribune labels you as a “perennial candidate.”

The bottom line is that Hatch hasn’t announced his candidacy yet because he lacks the support of the DFL faithful, making it pretty hard to go anywhere but down.

Breaking Supreme Court news

ABC News is reporting that Bush's choice is not Edith Clement. This is all speculation of course, remember the Rehnquist rumors?

Here's the link.

UPDATE: Well placed DC source tells me they're hearing that Bush will nominate Edith Jones.

UPDATE 2: Here's an interview with Judge Edith Jones.

UPDATE 3: My source appears to have been wrong.

Kleis to run for mayor

It’s official, Sen. Dave Kleis will enter the race for Mayor of St. Cloud this afternoon. He will be challenging John Ellenbecker, a Democrat rumored to have his eyes on Rep. Mark Kennedy’s seat.

Sen. Dave Kleis said this afternoon he is running for mayor, setting a challenge to incumbent John Ellenbecker.

Kleis, 41, said he made his decision today after getting lots of phone calls from people urging him to get in the race. Kleis said he plans to file at 4 p.m. today.

Kleis, a Republican, has been in the Senate since 1994 and he defeated Ellenbecker, a Democrat, in 1996 for re-election.

Ellenbecker, 49, announced June 30 and filed Monday. He was elected in 2001 after serving 12 years in the City Council.

Filings close at 5 p.m. today. He has a law practice in St. Cloud.

Kleis runs a driving school and is a St. Cloud State University graduate who grew up in Litchfield.

The Legislature adjourned Wednesday after a seven-week special session. Kleis said he has been thinking about running since then. “I’m convinced I can serve the city of St. Cloud as its mayor,” Kleis said.

A third candidate, Graham Jones, filed Tuesday afternoon. City Clerk Gregg Engdahl said Jones indicated he would drop out if Kleis entered the race.

Efforts to reach Jones Tuesday afternoon were unsuccessful.

Fred Schmidt, a plumber who ran for mayor in 2001, said he entered the City Council race when he heard Kleis was running instead of giving mayor another try.

(Source: “Kleis enters St. Cloud mayoral race,” St. Cloud Times, July 19, 2005)

I wish Sen. Kleis the best of luck.

Plethora of conservative convictions, part one

A two part look at the conservative record of our state's CEO.

Believe it or not, some people think that Gov. Pawlenty does not have a conservative bone in his body. So, for your blogging pleasure, is a brief look at Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s conservative credentials from this session.

Gas Tax Veto

Before the fee, there was the veto. The veto of a 10-cent gas tax hike has been largely forgetten since the fee was introduced, but Pawlenty did veto a $7.8 billion tax increase that was authored by House Republicans and passed by House Republicans.

He warned them.

Over and over, Gov. Tim Pawlenty told legislators he would veto any tax increase that reached his desk.

They decided to test him anyway. The Senate on Wednesday voted to send him a bill increasing the tax on gasoline.

When it landed on his desk Thursday, Pawlenty kept his word. He promptly vetoed it.

But the veto means Minnesota won't have the $ 7.8 billion over 10 years that the bill would have generated for roads, buses and passenger trains.

(Source: “Governor vetoes 10-cent tax hike,” Pioneer Press, May 20, 2005)

Pro Life Accomplishments

The main point of this bill is to add further restrictions on abortion. There I said it. As long as abortions are legal, we need bills like this one that heap on restrictions and requirements as a way of lowering the number of abortions that do occur.

Some abortion-rights advocates charge that the new law is just another tool to discourage women from having an abortion.

Fischbach [MCCL executive director] doesn't deny that.

(Source: “Doctors ask questions about fetal pain bill,” Star Tribune, July 16, 2005)

And who can forget this?


The number of abortions performed in Minnesota dropped to a 30-year low last year, state health officials reported Tuesday. The annual total dropped below 14,000 for the first time since 1975.

Why did abortions in Minnesota hit a 30-year low?

No one is sure. It follows the national trend, but the report, by the Minnesota Department of Health, did not speculate.

Is the abortion rate dropping, too, or are there just fewer women of childbearing age?

The abortion rate also dropped to a 30-year low for Minnesota women. It's 11.6 per 1,000 women ages 15-44, down from the peak of 17.2 in 1980.

The "Woman's Right to Know Act" took effect last year, mandating that patients be told
It's too early to say, said Deputy Health Commissioner Doug Stang. "We can't make that outright assumption," he said, though he called the trend encouraging. The report says the information was offered by phone or in person to 15,859 patients inquiring about abortions last year.

(Source: “Minnesota hit 30-year low in abortions in ’04,” Star Tribune, July 13, 2005)


Education Reform

After fighting teacher unions and supporters of our failing schools, Pawlenty finally saw some much needed education reforms take hold. Most notable is Q-Comp, a merit based pay bonus for teachers.

The Q-Comp initiative, championed by Pawlenty, requires participating districts to come up with criteria for assessing teacher performance, using student achievement as one measurement. At least 60 percent of their raises would be tied to merit, a departure from the current practice of awarding pay increases on seniority and college credits earned.

(Source: “For schools, qualified relief over money increase,” Star Tribune, July 13, 2005)

Stay tuned for part two sometime tomorrow.


Mayor Dave Kleis?

Poker playin’ State Sen. Dave Kleis is considering running for Mayor of St. Cloud. Besides authoring a bill allowing Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments in Minnesota, Kleis also introduced strong legislative reforms. It would be a shame for this man to go into retirement.

State Sen. Dave Kleis has been considering it, and he has until 5 p.m. to decide if he wants to challenge Ellenbecker in what would be a rematch of the 1996 Senate race between the 11-year Republican senator and the first-term DFL mayor.

"At this point, I have not decided," Kleis said. He just returned from a few days in Canada after completing a legislative session that went into overtime and ended Wednesday. Kleis' Senate terms expires in 2006. In his 2002 re-election campaign, Kleis said his current term would be his last because of a self-imposed 12-year term limit he promised when elected in 1994.

Ellenbecker filed Monday. He announced he planned to run again June 30. If Kleis decides not to run, Ellenbecker could go unchallenged. It would be the first time in more than three decades that a St. Cloud mayor would run unopposed.

(Source: “Ellenbecker may not have opponent in mayor race,” St. Cloud Times, July 19, 2005)

A pledge we can all get behind

As the race for Rep. Mark Kennedy’s seat heats up, a primary battle seems more and more imminent.

We’re lucky to have such a qualified and diverse group of candidates seeking the Republican endorsement. This seat is very important to us, as it will prove that the 6th isn’t a swing district, but solid GOP territory. Nonetheless, it’s imperative that all Republicans get behind a candidate as soon as humanly possible, otherwise known as the 2006 6th Congressional District Convention.

We’re sure to have plenty of close races in 2006, certainly for Governor and US Senate, and we can’t afford to have the 6th District race become a battle-royale in the September primary. It will hurt take resources away from the other races and weaken the GOP-endorsed candidate. That’s why I’m asking all my fellow bloggers to get behind me and urge the 6th District executive board to ask all the candidates to sign a pledge promising to adhere by the delegates' decision.

I’d say this is a pledge we can all get behind, or so I hope…

Monday, July 18, 2005

Lastest 6th District finances

Here are the latest numbers in the 6th District race:

Republicans:

Rep. Jim Knoblach: $192,597
Rep. Phil Krinkie: $135,426
Sen. Michele Bachmann: $122,792
Cheri Yecke: $84,745
Jay Esmay: $26,339

Democrats:
Elwyn Tinklenberg: $110,019

Congratulations to the Republican field of candidates for Rep. Mark Kennedy’s open congressional seat. Collectively they raised $561,899 while the lone DFL candidate raised a paltry $110,019.

With Patty Wetterling battling it out with ultra-liberal attorney Amy Klobuchar, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve got this one in the bag. Now all we need is an endorsed candidate.

Check out the First Ring's take on the race, its a must read.

Why can't we be friends?

Conservative groups near and far once lauded Gov. Pawlenty as a hero that stopped the DFL tax and spend machine. My, how things have changed. Now, these groups, like the Taxpayers League of Minnesota (see yesterday’s op-ed) and Americans for Tax Reform attack Pawlenty with a passion that one would think should be saved for the Democrats.

It all started when Pawlenty announced his plans to get a fair share of casinos in Minnesota as a means to solve the budget deficit. Pawlenty got flack from the Center for the American Experiment, a conservative think tank that likens itself to the Heritage Foundation, the Minnesota Family Council, and the Taxpayer’s League of Minnesota. David Storm, the head of the Taxpayer’s League has been battling Pawlenty ever since. At a staged town hall meeting between conservative and liberal opponents to gambling, Strom went as far as to say he’d rather see a tax increase than an expansion of gambling (Source: “Big Dealer plays divide and Conquer,” Star Tribune, March 22, 2005). Once Pawlenty’s cigarette fee was introduced, Strom had the audacity to run anti-Pawlenty ads on the guv's radio show on ‘CCO. Surprisingly, on his blog, Strom conceded to me that I made a good point about Pawlenty not having the votes. Maybe the times are a changin'.

The response from the Americans for Tax Reform was not as venomous. Ran by Republican power broker Grover Norquist, ATR was one of the first groups that started floating that GOP ’08 shortlist that included Pawlenty. Unlike Strom, Norquist started attacking Pawlenty after the cigarette fee came about. ATR one-upped Strom by purchasing television ads (Source: “Ad attacks Pawlenty cigarette revenue increase,” Star Tribune, June 15, 2005). But like Strom’s ads, they had little effect on the outcome.

With friends like this, who needs enemies?

What these groups seemed to have forgotten is that the DFL proposed an income tax increase on the top wage earners in Minnesota that would have been around a billion dollars. They also seemed to have forgotten about the gas tax that was passed by Republicans in the House and vetoed by Pawlenty.

I too will cede a point to Strom: Pawlenty needs to make nice with the base if he wants to get reelected by a wide margin. However, groups like the Taxpayers League need to meet Pawlenty half way on this and tout his conservative record, such as the veto of the gas tax and resigning of the conceal and carry law.

If conservative advocacy groups want Mike Hatch to be the next governor of Minnesota, all they need to do is keep attacking Pawlenty. Let’s save the scathing attacks for the smoke filled back rooms, and just be friends.