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Rest assured that Minnesota will have a heated race this fall. For months, pundits like Charlie Cook and Stuart Rothenberg have predicted 4 tight US House races. I’ve been skeptical of those predictions from the start. I never thought that Erik Paulsen’s and Jason Lewis’s seats were toss-ups like Cook, FNC and RealClearPolitics were predicting. Further, I’ve thought that the MN-08 race was likely to be the most likely to break the DFL’s way while MN-01 was virtually a lost seat for the DFL.

The tight race that’s likely to happen is the Senate seat currently occupied by Tina Smith. Over the past week, she’s proven that she’s capable of making multiple unforced mistakes. Before the week actually started, Smith announced that she wouldn’t support any Supreme Court nominee. She did that before the nominee was picked. That helped her look like a partisan ideologue, which is her true identity. At the other end of the week, she campaigned with self-described socialist Bernie Sanders and cop-hating Keith Ellison.

Meanwhile, Karin Housley, Smith’s opponent, is running a nearly flawless race while touting the Republicans’ economic accomplishments. First, a comparison is required. Bernie Sanders had a strong following thanks to the pathetic Obama economy, which produced tons of income inequality. He lost that issue the minute the Trump/GOP economy took off and hasn’t looked back.

Bernie can complain all he wants but people will ignore him when they’ve got their pick of good-paying jobs. It’s hard to think that we’re in a recession when we’re at full unemployment and there are more job openings than there are people to fill them. If income inequality is going to be Bernie’s message, he’ll lose. By comparison, here’s Karin Housley’s message:

Simply put, Tina Smith’s positions on things like immigration, taxes and the Supreme Court are pretty extremist. It’s impossible to sugar coat it. According to her own campaign website, Tina Smith supports open borders ‘immigration’. As for taxes, she’s never met a tax increase she didn’t like. Finally, Tina Smith prefers outcome-based justices and judges because they won’t hesitate to change the policy portions of a piece of legislation.

The judiciary shouldn’t care what is or isn’t smart policy. If there is a statute that needs fixing, it’s the legislative and executive branches’ responsibility to fix the problem.

Karin Housley prefers judges and justices who look at the text of the legislation, then determines whether the legislation fits within the framework of the Constitution.

When Karin Housley visited St. Cloud Thursday, she brought a bold prediction with her.

During a visit to the Whitney Senior Center, Housley predicted “This is the year Minnesota’s turning red.” She then explained, saying that she “expects two U.S. House districts to flip in the state with incumbent DFLers Rep. Rick Nolan and Rep. Tim Walz retiring from Congress and running in gubernatorial races.”

I agree with both predictions. President Trump’s visit to Duluth to rally for Pete Stauber filled the arena with people. The ramp wasn’t just filled with cars. It was filled with people too. With a 4-way DFL primary set to determine who will face Stauber, expect that primary to beat each other up. I’m not sure if the DFL will be able to unite after that fight. I’d rate that race as leans GOP. As for Minnesota’s First District, the DFL doesn’t have a bench. Tim Walz was it. There’s a primary on the GOP side in MN-01 but there’s no signs of it getting bloody.

As for Sen. Housley, momentum keeps building, much of it due to the booming Trump/GOP economy. Liz Peek’s article highlights this beautifully:

President Trump wants you to quit your job! Well, not really; but the White House’s tax cuts and rollback of onerous regulations have encouraged millions of Americans to do just that. The economy is booming, opportunities are opening up all over the place, and workers are responding, by quitting in record numbers.

This may be bad news for Democrats hoping to take over Congress in November. They have no economic agenda that can compete with a buoyant jobs market that is making the American Dream come true.

Then comes the dagger:

But it is great news for American workers.

Tina Smith’s message is obstruction, resistance and socialism:

“The political revolution that Keith and I and others have talked about is not just a progressive agenda that speaks to the needs of working families, it is the need to create a national grassroots movement where ordinary people stand up to the billionaire class and take back this country,” Sanders said. “By electing Keith, and reelecting Tina and Amy [Klobuchar], you guys can help lead this country in that direction.”

Tina Smith’s socialist smile will turn upside-down when it’s revealed that she’s just another socialist who will do whatever Chuck Schumer wants her to do. Tina Smith wants to pretend to be a moderate. She isn’t:

Tina Smith rallied with Bernie Sanders and Keith Ellison this week. If that’s her definition of moderation, I’m betting most Minnesotans will reject that definition. By rallying with Sanders and Ellison, Smith proved that she’s trying to appeal to everyone. Normally, that’s ok. This isn’t normally, though. She rallied with radicals from the #Resistance.

Meanwhile, Karin Housley can claim that she’d fight for Iron Rangers, the elderly and economic growth. Housley is smart, reasonable and has an overabundance of energy. She’s exactly the type of candidate that can defeat a check off the boxes candidate like Tina Smith.

The polls don’t show it yet but what’s likely going to help Republicans like Karin Housley and Pete Stauber are the Republicans’ closing arguments. The DFL doesn’t have a closing argument. All they have is #Resist and #AbolishICE.

Pawlenty tweaks Johnson

The Republican nomination race for Minnesota governor took a contentious turn Thursday with a hard-hitting TV ad from former Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

After months of Pawlenty ignoring his primary rival, he unloaded on Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson as part of a six-figure ad campaign, the first commercials he has run during the race. Johnson responded with his own swipes but probably won’t be able to match Pawlenty’s reach, given the relative cash positions of their campaigns.

Johnson is the tiresome gnat in the race. He tried firing back but this is the best he could do:

Johnson took the sudden attention as a sign “that the race is close. It was a good day in the campaign. I said the day that he attacks is a day he knows he might lose. Obviously, we got there earlier than I thought we would,” he said.

This race isn’t close. The Outstate.US poll shows Pawlenty leading by 34 points. Even if the margin of error was high, Johnson would still be miles behind.

The Pawlenty campaign replied:

Pawlenty’s campaign said Johnson threw the first punches months ago and they’re ready to respond in kind. “The Pawlenty campaign is not going to take anything for granted, and we want to ensure that Republican primary voters know exactly where Jeff Johnson has been on these important issues,” said Pawlenty adviser Brian McClung.

It isn’t that Johnson is being competitive. It’s more likely that Pawlenty has decided it’s time to all-but-officially end the primary.

Housley’s impressive fundraising quarter

Karin Housley’s campaign just reported “In Minnesota’s special election for U.S. Senate, the campaign of Republican-endorsed candidate Karin Housley announced a fundraising total of just over $1 million during the second quarter of 2018. Of the 6,209 total campaign donors to date, nearly 73 percent gave donations of $50 or less.” While it’s likely that Tina Smith has raised more, that’s irrelevant because Tina’s message is essentially Obstruct and Resist. Meanwhile, Karin’s message is “Minnesotans want a senator who will fight for them – but Tina Smith has shown us again and again that her marching orders come from the radical left, not the people she represents. Over the next four months, we’re going to work as hard as we can traveling the state, hearing Minnesotans’ stories, and making a case for why I’ll be a new voice in the U.S. Senate for the people of our state. Minnesotans want a senator who will fight for them – but Tina Smith has shown us again and again that her marching orders come from the radical left, not the people she represents. Over the next four months, we’re going to work as hard as we can traveling the state, hearing Minnesotans’ stories, and making a case for why I’ll be a new voice in the U.S. Senate for the people of our state.”

At this press conference, Sen. Smith sounded like a past president of Planned Parenthood, which she is:

The difference between Tina Smith and Karin Housley is that Tina Smith serves the special interests. Karin Housley serves people. Sen. Housley proved that by vigorously attempting to fix the elder abuse scandal in Minnesota. Rather than just hold a press conference, Sen. Housley put together legislation that would’ve fixed many of the problems. Unfortunately, Gov. Dayton, who Tina Smith served with for 3+ years, vetoed the bill.

Most headlines about today’s joint hearing will focus on the firefights between Peter Strzok and Republicans. The goal thus far is to portray Republicans as either pawns of Russian President Putin or as bitter partisans who are just upset that Hillary isn’t wearing prison uniform. Either that or they’ll be portrayed as hyper-partisan hatemongers who just don’t understand the context surrounding his texts with Lisa Page.

That’s how the MSM is portraying today’s hearing. The truth, however, is that buried within the intramural catfights are major helpings of important substance that demolish Agent Strzok’s credibility. One such interlude is John Ratcliffe’s interrogation of Agent Strzok:

Ratcliffe sets Strzok up, saying “On page 400 of the Inspector General’s report, someone tells the Inspector General quote — there is a line — a bright and inviolable line between what you think personally and believe and the conduct of your official business. Who said that?”

Agent Strzok replied “I believe I said that.” Here’s the rest of that exchange:

Rep. Ratcliffe: You did say that. I heard you say similar things last week and I heard you say similar things today. You said it very clearly today. You said it very clearly, very unequivocally in your opening remarks. You said that you never crossed that inviolable line in 26 years. Earlier today in response to a question, you said “I took my personal belief out of every official act.” So you’re asking us to believe that when you say things like “f— Trump” and “Stop Trump” and “Impeach Trump”, that those are just personal beliefs and that when you say those things, you never crossed that line and that bright, inviolable line and allowed that to impact your official judgment. That’s what this really comes down to. You said that “I took my personal belief out of every official action.” So you’re asking us to believe that when you say things like ‘F— Trump’ and ‘Stop Trump’ and ‘Impeach Trump’, that those are just personal beliefs and that when you said those things, you never crossed that line, that bright, inviolable line and allow it to impact your official conduct. That’s really what this comes down to that you’re asking to believe, isn’t it?
AGENT STRZOK: Sir, what I’m asking you believe is that I’m offering you evidence…
REP. RATCLIFFE: Listen, you’ve been absolutely clear under oath, as clear as a bell on it. You’ve said it over and over again and because of this, I’m almost embarrassed to ask you this question. Of the approximately 50,000 text messages that I’ve seen with your personal beliefs with things like ‘F— Trump’ and ‘Stop Trump’ and ‘Impeach Trump’, go ahead and confirm on the record that none of those were done on an official FBI device or on official FBI time. Go ahead and do that.
AGENT STRZOK: Sir. No sir, some of them did…
REP. RATCLIFFE: Oh they did? So what you really meant to say when you said that you’d never crossed that bright, inviolable line, what you meant to say is ‘Except for the hundreds of times a day when I went back and forth expressing my personal opinions about ‘F—ing Trump’ and ‘stopping Trump’ and ‘impeaching Trump’ on official FBI phones and official FBI time, other than that, you never crossed that line.

This is how you interrogate a rogue FBI agent. For all his hours or moral preening and saying all the right words, Agent Strzok couldn’t avoid the truth that he’d crossed “that bright, inviolable line” hundreds of times.

In her short time in office, Sen. Tina Smith, (DFL-MN), has shown herself to be nothing more than a partisan hack. This week, Sen. Smith didn’t wait to hear who President Trump’s nominee to the US Supreme Court was before she announced that she would oppose whoever President Trump nominated.

Karin Housley noticed Smith’s actions and decisions, then highlighted them in this email:

Tina Smith is showing again why she is the definition of partisan politics. Even before President Trump announced who he would nominate to replace the vacant seat on the Supreme Court, Tina Smith announced she WOULD NOT support the President’s choice. Then, MOMENTS after President Trump’s announcement, Tina Smith said she’d join the likes of Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Jeff Merkley to vote NO on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation. A no vote without as much as a hearing!

This is the kind of close-minded thinking that is dangerous for our country. Democrats are willing to ignore what’s right to support their broken agenda.

Close-mindedness is just part of the problem. First, what criteria did Smith use in reaching that decision? Did she use any substantive criteria to reach that decision? Did she just follow Sen. Schumer’s orders?

If she just follows Sen. Schumer’s orders, doesn’t that mean that Sen. Smith is nothing more than a piece of the machine? Doesn’t that mean that Sen. Schumer and Sen. Smith have abandoned the principles that once made the US Senate the most prestigious deliberative body in the world? Is Sen. Smith so hardened in her opinions that she isn’t even willing to listen to others?

That’s what I’d call a shill. Tell me the difference between Sen. Smith and Sen. Schumer. Will she always take Sen. Schumer’s orders on the most important matters? Apparently, she will. That’s disturbing. Minnesotans don’t need another political operative representing Sen. Schumer in the Senate. Minnesotans need someone who will represent us in the Senate.

Ed Morrissey highlights “precisely the kind of conversation Republicans want Democrats to have in the run-up to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Please, please, please, please let this be the topic of conversation. Ed mentioned a forum that Keith Ellison put together in the Twin Cities. In the video, a constituent is heard saying “Assuming the Democrats take the House and Senate in November … is there any possibility that the legislative branch will remove a Supreme Court Justice?”

As lunatic as that sounds, that’s modest-sounding compared to what Gov. Cuomo said. Gov. Cuomo said “We now need to codify Roe v. Wade, which will actually increase the protections in New York. God forbid they do what they intend to do. I want to get it done before the Supreme Court does that because I don’t want any gaps in a woman’s right to protection.” He continues by saying, “we have a better legal case when the Supreme Court acts because I will sue when the Supreme Court acts and I want the New York State law in place.”

For all the bluster happening, the simple truth is that Judge Kavanaugh will get confirmed and he’ll likely get modest Democrat support:

“I think that we can’t count on any Democrats until we get the 50 votes we need, and then we’ll get five or six of them,” Grassley said on Fox News. “Otherwise, I don’t think we can count on them.”

Sorry for not writing about this earlier but it’s still important to highlight the fact that the Minnesota College Republicans endorsed Gov. Tim Pawlenty. In his announcement, Pawlenty noted that “The Minnesota College Republicans today endorsed Tim Pawlenty and Michelle Fischbach for Governor and Lt. Governor in the August 14 Republican primary.” Later, Gov. Pawlenty said “As a former member of the Minnesota College Republicans, I’m honored to have their endorsement,” said Pawlenty. “This is a critical moment for our state and I appreciate the grassroots support of college students across our state adding even more momentum to our campaign. I have the strength and experience to solve problems and bring Minnesotans together and look forward to working with the College Republicans to win on August 14 and November 6.”

In the MNCR’s statement, written by Minnesota College Republicans Chair Kathryn Hinderaker, they said “Minnesota needs a governor who will actively increase and improve our educational opportunities and Tim Pawlenty is the only candidate ready to do that. Tim has made it clear he will work with us from day one to identify and attack the unique challenges college students face today. Tim is also fearless in his defense of our national security and the rule of law. He is the common-sense conservative leader we need to move Minnesota forward.”

Yes, Miss Hinderaker has a famous dad who happens to be a pretty good blogger. But I digress.

Let’s be blunt about this. Couple the MNCRs’ endorsement with the Outstate.us poll and it’s pretty apparent that the chances of Tim Pawlenty being the Republican candidate in November’s general election are pretty high. Here’s Q9 of the Outstate poll:

This isn’t that tight of a race. Further, I’ve gotten word that Johnson isn’t connecting with voters in the Seventh and Eighth districts because he isn’t working with the grass roots up there. If the Johnson campaign isn’t reaching out to the grass roots activists, then he deserves to lose.

Compare that with TPaw’s interactions with the grass roots after the State Convention. To quote Yogi Berra, “It gets late here pretty early.”

Saying that open-mindedness isn’t Tina Smith’s strong suit is understatement. In this article, Tina Smith sounds more like the former executive vice president of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota than an open-minded US senator. When she arrived in the US Senate, Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota issued a statement congratulating her.

It started by saying “United States Senator Tina Smith will be a powerful, moving force for justice and continue her life’s work to improve people’s lives. In every position Senator Smith has held, she has brought her strategic leadership, her finely honed negotiating skills, her business acumen and her passion for women’s health and rights, and we are all better for it. Smith has been a strong voice for women’s health and rights in Minnesota. As our United States Senator, Tina Smith will be a calm, sensible leader who understands that women can’t earn a living or support their children if they don’t have access to the reproductive health care they need.”

Here’s what Sen. Tina Smith did after Judge Kavanaugh was announced:

Standing on the Supreme Court steps at a Monday night rally, Smith accused Trump of picking the D.C. federal appeals judge from a list drawn up by “far right ideologues” who believe he’ll cast the deciding vote on overturning legalized abortion under Roe v. Wade.

“It’s clear that President Trump, the Heritage Foundation, and the Federalist Society believe they can count on Judge Kavanaugh to cast that decisive fifth vote to overturn Roe, dismantle basic consumer protections in our health care laws, and gut regulations that protect workers and the environment,” Smith said at the rally, according to remarks provided by her office.

Later, she said, “I am here tonight because I’m a United States senator. But I’m also the only senator who has ever worked at Planned Parenthood. And I know that when women do not have the freedom to make their own choices about their reproductive health care, they have lost the freedom to direct their own lives.”

Spoken like a true far left ideologue. I’m betting that more people think of Planned Parenthood as ideological extremists than think that the Heritage Foundation is an extremist organization. Here’s Sen. Smith at the anti-Kavanaugh protest:

The Uterus Caucus, aka NOW, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights organizations were totally determined to prevent anyone on President Trump’s list that they prepared in advance:

By comparison, Karin Housley’s response sounded rational:

State Sen. Karin Housley, the Republican frontrunner to run for Smith’s Senate seat this November, called Kavanaugh an “excellent choice” on Trump’s part. “At a time when our nation’s founding principles are increasingly called into question, Judge Kavanaugh will make a tremendous addition to the high court,” Housley said in a statement, in which she said Smith “has shown she is in lockstep with the radical, left-wing brand of Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren.”

Sen. Housley should’ve also included Kamala Harris in her list of “radical, left-wing” nutjobs. Here’s why:

Tina Smith is just as nutty as Harris, Schumer or Warren.

This HuffPost article provides more proof that the nutty left hasn’t stopped getting nuttier. The article is titled “Trump Is Giving Democrats Everything They Need For The Midterms”. It starts by saying that “the one silver lining” from the confirmation battle over soon-to-be-Justice Kavanaugh “is that the confirmation of yet another hard-right justice, coming just weeks before the November midterm elections, will spike Democratic turnout.”

What this idiot doesn’t mention is that the Democrats’ attempts to stall the confirmation won’t play well. “Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa has the discretion to schedule a series of hearings on Trump’s nominee. Democrats can press Grassley to delay hearings so members of the panel can review all documents related to the confirmation. One quirk of the Senate’s rules that might come into play is that it requires permission of all senators in order for committees to meet for longer than two hours after the Senate convenes. Hearings for Supreme Court nominees run much longer than that, so any one Democrat could object for committees to meet beyond the customary two-hour start. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky would then need to start manipulating the chamber schedule to accommodate the long hearings.”

Democrats have already used delaying tactics in the Senate. They’re already on pace to lose a bunch of seats in the Senate. They can’t afford alienating more red state voters over a fight they can’t win. If Democrats think that they’re going to prevent Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation, they’re kidding themselves:

What’s interesting is the outright lies Mr. Kuttner tells in his article. Check this out:

Trump’s policy of separating young children from their parents and creating concentration camps for toddlers was grotesque. His government still has no coherent plan for reuniting children with their families. His claim that he fixed a bad policy that he blames on Democrats is fooling nobody outside of his hardcore base. In swing suburban districts, this is an issue that should damage incumbent Republicans and help Democrats.

Concentration camps for toddlers? Seriously? It isn’t surprising that large swaths of people don’t even consider voting for Democrats. Get anywhere in blue collar country, whether in Pennsylvania, Ohio or Minnesota and Democrats are viewed pretty much like aliens from a different solar system.

It isn’t surprising to find out that Democrats think like this. After all, they think that the #WalkAway movement is a Republican propaganda ploy run by Russian bots. Nutty Democrats wouldn’t recognize a genuine grassroots movement if it bit them in the backside.

Make no mistake about this. Bernie Sanders’ socialism isn’t mainstream like he claims. It’s more widely accepted amongst Democrats but it’s hardly mainstream. That’s why it’s difficult to imagine why Keith Ellison invited Bernie Sanders to campaign with him. Does Ellison still think that he’s running for election only in Minnesota’s Fifth District?

According to news reports, “U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is coming to Minnesota this week, bringing his firebrand progressive style, and some level of grassroots star power, to bear on the statewide race for attorney general. In events in Duluth and Minneapolis Friday, Sanders will stump for fellow liberal U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, who’s running in the Democratic primary for attorney general instead of re-election to his Minneapolis-based seat in the U.S. House.”

In ‘honor’ of the event, Doug Wardlow has put together a video that’s sure to get people’s attention. Check it out:

As nutty as that is, that isn’t the nuttiest thing Ellison has said recently. Check this out:

In other words, Democrats will consider impeaching Supreme Court justices if they retake control of the House. It doesn’t get much ‘fringier’ than that.