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Recently, I’ve written about a corrupt government agency that’s titled the IRRRB, aka the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board. In this post, I wrote about something that the IRRRB funded:

It was a company with direct ties and allegiance to the Democratic Party. After Republican President Richard Nixon’s resignation over the Watergate scandal the business created an “innovative small donor fundraising program called the Dollars for Democrats program,” according to the Meyer Teleservices website.

This afternoon, I wrote this post to talk about how the IRRRB resurrected that program with a little twist:

EVELETH, Minn.— Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) Commissioner Tony Sertich today announced that New Partners Consultants, Inc. will operate a call center for its customers at Progress Park in Eveleth. The company is finalizing plans to lease the space that formerly housed Meyer Associates, Inc. New Partners will utilize some equipment from the Meyer operation, which is currently under IRRRB’s ownership.

The Minnesota offices of Dollars for Democrats went bankrupt a few weeks ago, leaving Minnesota taxpayers on the hook for $650,000 in unpaid loans from the IRRRB. What’s disgusting beyond the stupidity of making $650,000 worth of loans to a company on the verge of bankruptcy is that taxpayers were paying for a political operation.

That shouldn’t happen. Ever. Still, it’s happened twice in the past couple months. Government, whether it’s state or federal government, shouldn’t make loans or give grants to political operations. Period. If a political party wants to open a call center or coordination center, they should do it with their own money. Taxpayers shouldn’t finance political operations.

Here’s the IRRRB’s mission statement:

Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) is a State of Minnesota development agency located in Eveleth, Minnesota. IRRRB’s mission is to promote and invest in business, community and workforce development for the betterment of northeastern Minnesota.

IRRRB provides vital funding, including low or no interest loans, grants and loan guarantees for businesses relocating or expanding in the region. Additionally, a variety of grants are available to local units of government, education institutions, and nonprofits that promote workforce development and sustainable communities.

How can the IRRRB or New Partners say that getting equipment from a bankrupt company is investing businesses, communities or workforce development?

Another thing that’s disgusting is New Partners is an operation for national Democrats. Here’s part of New Partners’ leadership team:

Paul Tewes
In 2007, Paul began the Obama for America campaign as State Director for the Iowa caucuses. For nearly a year, Paul and his team built the largest grassroots organization in caucus history. The year culminated with an Obama win in January 2008, a win that launched his historical campaign. Paul was also instrumental in putting together the blueprint for President Obama’s organizational efforts in the General Election.

Tom McMahon
From 2005-2009, McMahon served as Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). There he was one of the principal architects of the ground-breaking “50 state strategy” that transformed and modernized the Democratic Party resulting in historic electoral gains in both 2006 and 2008 at the state, local and federal levels and laying the groundwork for President Obama’s historic win in 2008.

Cara Morris Stern
From 2000-2004, Cara served as a spokesperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. During her tenure at the DSCC, Cara worked with national political reporters to help frame the nation’s most visible and competitive Senate campaigns as well as develop message for donor communications.

The IRRRB, led by former DFL House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, just provided seed money and equipment to a political organization whose goal is to elect Democrats. Minnesota taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for any political operation from any political party. Period.

That’s before talking about whether the business model makes sense. (It doesn’t.) This is what politically motivated crony capitalism looks like. Inevitably, crony capitalism is corrupt, which this operation certainly is.

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The Iron Range branch office of the DFL, aka the IRRRB, just announced that it’s spending taxpayers’ money on a bankrupt business venture:

EVELETH, Minn.— Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) Commissioner Tony Sertich today announced that New Partners Consultants, Inc. will operate a call center for its customers at Progress Park in Eveleth. The company is finalizing plans to lease the space that formerly housed Meyer Associates, Inc. New Partners will utilize some equipment from the Meyer operation, which is currently under IRRRB’s ownership. Staffing will begin as soon as all agreements are in place, possibly as early as next week.

“We are pleased to have played a role in facilitating the reopening of the center,” said Sertich. “This project will result in new job opportunities, particularly for those displaced by the Meyer closing.”

Sertich recognized Gilbert native Jerry Samargia of New Partners, stating, “I am thankful to Jerry for investing in the center and the people of the Iron Range.”

He also praised Virginia Eveleth Economic Development Authority representatives and Gary Owen, former owner of Meyer, for putting a deal together in such a short time.

New Partners isn’t well-known. I think it’s time it got some notoriety. Here’s what New Partners is in their own words:

New Partners is more than just a new firm with new people and new ideas. We also represent a new way of doing business. Whether the goal is to win an election, affect reputation, organize an advocacy campaign, raise money, or build a movement, our extensive expertise and groundbreaking strategies will get results.

We are all operating in a new environment based on a fundamental shift in how we organize, how we communicate and how we advocate. From the campaign that defeated President Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security, and implementing Governor Howard Dean’s landmark 50 State Strategy, to spearheading an innovative and successful development effort for the One Campaign, and the unprecedented Iowa caucus campaign that led to President Obama’s breakthrough victory, the team at New Partners has been at the epicenter of that shift.

What we have learned from our experience is that no two issues, organizations or campaigns are the same. Each requires a unique approach based on new ideas and new strategies that will lead to new results.

That means that the IRRRB is spending taxpayers’ money on a company committed to electing Democrats. The list of New Partners’ leadership reads like a who’s who from the Obama campaign.

If the Democratic Party want to put an organization together, that’s their right. It’s just that this type of operation shouldn’t be paid for by taxpayers. And there’s no question it’s being funded by taxpayers. That’s the IRRRB’s way. The IRRRB hasn’t met a project benefitting the Democratic Party that they didn’t like.

The DNC should finance this operation. Minnesota taxpayers shouldn’t finance it. Having taxpayers finance the DNC’s operations is the definition of crony capitalism meeting single party government. That’s the definition of corruption.

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The shortest summarization for this article is to say that North Dakota rejects expensive energy alternatives:

“It is no secret that Minnesota rules, laws and policies are highly influenced by various environmental groups and ideas,” Mike Diller, director of economic regulation for the N.D. Public Service Commission said during a hearing in January. “The environmental concerns of North Dakota are different than those of Minnesota and the cost of compliance with the environmental and energy policies in Minnesota is becoming a burden to North Dakota ratepayers.”

North Dakota sets a voluntary goal of generating 10 percent of its power from renewable sources, ranking third on the American Wind Energy Association list of states in percentage of wind power. Across the border, Minnesota requires 31.5 percent of Xcel Energy’s power be generated by wind and other subsidized, often less competitive, renewable energy sources by 2020.

Thanks to the Next Generation Energy Act, Minnesotans are subjected to high electricity prices. They’re substantially higher than the prices paid by North Dakotans:

A revolutionary settlement between the state of North Dakota and Xcel Energy’s Northern States Power unit will save North Dakota ratepayers nearly $6 million a year by exempting charges for higher-priced renewable energy from Minnesota.

Minnesotans have to decide whether they want to continue paying higher prices for electricity. They’ll also have to decide if they want to pay an extra $6,000,000 a year for green energy. In the end, they’ll have to decide whether they’d prefer legislators that listen to the people or legislators who listen to the environmental organizations that push that agenda.

The long-standing friction and frustration over the states’ opposing energy policies finally broke into the open during the hearings in Bismarck after Xcel Energy’s requested rate increase for North Dakota ratepayers. PSC regulators saw it as an opening to assert control over North Dakota’s energy independence and destiny. The final agreement includes a precedent-setting provision for Xcel to “re-stack” the mix of electric power allocated in North Dakota and reset rates based on least-cost conventional energy sources that match the state’s priorities.

It sounds like North Dakota will only pay Xcel for conventional energy sources, meaning Minnesotans will get hit with higher electricity prices, thanks to the NGEA. Everyone loves green energy as a concept. That support drops dramatically off when people are told that green energy is expensive.

Minnesota politicians talked about winning the future when they passed the NGEA. These days, people are upset with higher electricity prices. North Dakota finally said no to this nonsense. The DFL will never say no to this stupidity, which is why they need to be defeated this November.

This past Friday, I received an email from the McFadden campaign in which he announced an initiative to reduce spending. Here’s the heart of that email:

There’s a culture among our nation’s professional political class that accepts the fact that our government wastes over $200 billion every year – that’s nearly one-third of last year’s deficit!

Some senators like Al Franken don’t seem to think it’s a big deal. I couldn’t disagree more.

That’s why I announced yesterday that I will release an annual report on wasteful spending as your senator. I’ll go through the budget line-by-line and expose the wasteful projects that are eating up your tax dollars and adding to our deficit. Some say this report will make Washington uncomfortable, and that’s fine with me because I want to get rid of the culture of waste in our Capitol.

I’ve written articles about Sen. Tom Coborn’s Sequester This video series. Follow this link to the first article. This link will take you to the second article. It sounds like Mr. McFadden would fit into the Coborn wing of the Senate quickly. This video explains why Mr. McFadden wants to get spending under control:

While it’s imperative that we eliminate deficits for financial reasons, it’s morally imperative to get the economy growing robustly so families don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck like they’ve been doing the last 5+ years. It’s time to reject the Obama-Franken economic policies. It’s time to embrace pro-growth economic policies that return the U.S. economy to being the envy of the world.

That won’t happen if Sen. Franken is re-elected. He’s proven that he doesn’t know how to get America’s economy growing. Mike McFadden knows how to grow the economy because that’s what he’s done the last 25 years. If you want to grow the economy, hire a businessman. Hiring a comedian to grow the economy is a joke. At least it would be if it wasn’t such a serious matter. But I digress.

The McFadden campaign is highlighting the ways in which he’ll eliminate wasteful spending and how he’ll reduce the scope of the federal government through regulatory relief.

This Strib article certainly can’t help Rick Nolan:

Republicans on Friday slammed Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan for planning a fundraiser with Peter Yarrow, the singer from the 1960s band Peter, Paul and Mary, who admitted in 1970 to having improper relations with a 14-year-old girl.

Rep. Nolan must be totally stupid for planning a fundraiser with this pervert. “Having improper relations with a 14-year-old” is timid language. Mr. Yarrow should still be in prison for statutory rape.

What’s interesting is that Nolan’s campaign didn’t respond to the Strib reporter:

Nolan’s spokeswoman deferred comments to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“This is a desperate attempt from Stewart Mills to distract from the fact that he is personally offended when millionaires like himself are asked to pay their fair share,” said Brandon Lorenz, in an emailed statement.

If Rep. Nolan and the DCCC thinks that playing the class warfare card will deflect attention away from Peter Yarrow’s stench, they’re fools. If anyone’s desperate, it’s Nolan’s campaign and the DCCC.

Stewart Mills just was endorsed this weekend. According to people attending Saturday’s convention, Mills gave a great speech. Most importantly, these activists reported, the party’s support for Stewart Mills is enthusiastic. They think they’ve found a great candidate who’s got a fantastic message and who’s got a great fundraising machine.

Something else that’s interesting is what the Strib’s article didn’t include. Here’s part of Yarrow’s Wikipedia file:

In 1970, Yarrow was convicted of, and served three months in prison for, taking “improper liberties” with a 14-year-old girl who went with her 17-year-old sister to Yarrow’s hotel room seeking an autograph.

Why didn’t the Strib include this in their article? Saying that Yarrow admitted that he’d had “improper relations” with a 14-year-old isn’t the same as saying the pervert was convicted of a crime that included a prison sentence.

I’d be suprised if Nolan doesn’t disinvite Yarrow from the fundraiser. If he doesn’t, his political opponents will have a field day with him.
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Back in February of 2007, then-Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller pushed through a $30-a-day increase in per diem payments for senators:

The Senate voted 59-7 to ratify an increase in daily expense allowances from $66 to $96 per senator, a 45 percent boost. The ratification came with a hitch: Those who voted for it automatically get the expense payments, known as per diems. The seven senators who voted against it don’t get it. “You can’t vote ‘no’ and take the dough,” Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, said after the vote.

The seven dissenters, all Republicans, can still collect expense checks. But first, they must tell the Senate fiscal staff how much they will take, and that paperwork will be public. Voting “no” were Sens. Ray Vandeveer, of Forest Lake; Dick Day, of Owatonna; David Hann, of Eden Prairie; Bill Ingebrigtsen, of Alexandria; Amy Koch, of Buffalo; Geoff Michel, of Edina; and Pat Pariseau, of Farmington.

One of the senators that voted for that outrageous increase was Julianne Ortman. According to this article, Sen. Ortman was a busy person that winter:

It’s been a busy and prosperous spring for Sen. Julianne Ortman.

For the past six weeks, Ortman has been working full time in her new $91,000-a-year job as chief financial manager for the office of Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, a political ally. At the same time, she has been collecting her $31,149-a-year legislative salary and a $96 daily expense allowance while missing some committee hearings and Senate floor sessions.

The dual roles of the Republican from Chanhassen, an assistant leader of the minority caucus, were evident May 11. Ortman was paid by Hennepin County as working on county business from 8 until 10 a.m., while state records show her answering a roll call for the start of the day’s Senate session in St. Paul at 9:20 a.m. A review of county payroll records and Senate documents from April and early May show that Ortman often bounced between her two jobs, at times starting one job just minutes after officially punching out from the other.

According to this search website, the article was first published by the Star Tribune on May 19, 2007. Mark Brunswick and Mike Kaszuba were the reporters. Mssrs. Brunswick and Kaszuba should be praised for their work in piecing this information puzzle together.

It’s bad enough that Sen. Ortman voted for that expensive per diem increase. I said at the time that $66 a day is more than enough, especially when the senators that voted for the per diem increase were getting the per diem 7 days a week from the first day of the session until the last night of the session.

It’s worse knowing that Sen. Ortman was on the clock for the legislature and for Hennepin County at the same time:

In two instances, she missed Senate committee meetings while working for the county, according to the records. Meanwhile, many of her county payroll records show her working long hours, evenings and weekends on days when the Senate was in session.

Sen. Ortman owes taxpayers an explanation for how she worked long hours for Hennepin County at the same time the Senate was also in session. They’d probably like to know how it’s possible to be in two places at the same time.

Obviously, this isn’t a policy difference. However, it’s the type of thing that raises ethical and potentially legal questions about Sen. Ortman.

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According to this email from Corie Beckerman, the director of Student Health Services at St. Cloud State, MnSCU has decided to drop its “domestic student health insurance plan for the 2014-2015 academic year”:

To all SCSU Faculty and Staff:

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) has decided to no longer offer a domestic student health insurance plan for the 2014-2015 academic year. Due to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act that went into effect January 1, 2014, the cost of insurance for domestic students by our current provider would have increased substantially. There are several insurance coverage options available to students, which include being covered on their parent’s policy until age 26 or purchasing coverage through the Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange (MNsure). A detailed explanation of this MnSCU decision can be found at www.stcloudstate.edu/healthservices.

Resources:

MNsure has numerous resources available on their website for students to help navigate their system as well as address any health insurance questions – www.mnsure.org or toll-free 1-855-366-7873.

For assistance in the in the St. Cloud area, students may contact Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid at projectcare@mylegalaid.org or 1-320-253-0121.

International students will continue to be required to purchase health insurance through the MnSCU sponsored health plan, as in the past, in accordance with MnSCU Board Policy 3.4.1 part 3, subpart B.2.

Thanks

Corie

Corie Beckermann, Director
Student Health Services
St. Cloud State University
720 Fourth Avenue South
St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498

This sentence jumps off the page in importance:

Due to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act that went into effect January 1, 2014, the cost of insurance for domestic students by our current provider would have increased substantially.

This is a stunning admission that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, isn’t affordable. MnSCU is filled with people who support President Obama and Obamacare. This isn’t a decision they made lightly. It’s instructive that MnSCU didn’t make this decision out of spite.

MnSCU made this decision because the ACA, aka Obamacare, is exceptionally expensive.

Last week, President Obama had his “Mission Accomplished” moment in the Rose Garden. The thing he highlighted most was the enrollment numbers. That moment will be fleeting. Most people have forgotten about the enrollment figures. Since that event, the administration has gotten hit with stories like MnSCU cancelling its health insurance program for domestic students and other horror stories.

Kathleen Sebelius must feel like the weight of the world’s been lifted from her shoulders now that she’s resigned. She won’t have to deal with the ACA mess once her replacement is confirmed.

That’s the opposite of Gov. Dayton. This is just another reminder that the ACA is anything but affordable.

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Jeffrey Meitrodt’s article shows how anxious Gov. Dayton and the DFL is to put their mismanagement and inattentiveness behind them:

DFL Rep. Joe Atkins, co-chairman of the oversight committee, said he “prefers to look forward” and not rehash the decisions that brought MNsure to where it is today. He praised the agency for signing up 181,000 customers since Oct. 1, well above its conservative goal of 135,000.

Whether Rep. Atkins prefers looking forward or not, I won’t until I highlight the terrible decisionmaking made by Gov. Dayton and April Todd-Malmlov. I won’t look forward until it’s exposed how disinterested the DFL-dominated MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee was about the systemic mismanagement problems Republicans were highlighting.

I wrote here that Sen. Lourey admitted that the Republicans were asking legitimate questions:

State Sen. Tony Lourey, the DFL co-chair of the oversight panel, said Republicans have “legitimate questions” that deserve to be answered.

It won’t be long before Sen. Lourey gets a call from Gov. Dayton’s enforcer. They can’t afford for him not to be on the same page with Gov. Dayton and Rep. Atkins.

Republican committee members, however, were frustrated with their inability to question administration officials about MNsure’s rollout. Dayton blocked key officials, including Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson, from appearing Wednesday before the panel.

“We can’t improve things if we can’t work together,” Benson said.

Republican members of the panel said they welcomed tough media coverage of MNsure, citing the Star Tribune’s report that revealed Dayton was informed of major problems with MNsure’s website 12 days before the exchange launched. Dayton acknowledged this week that he “misspoke” when he previously said he was unaware of technical problems until November.

Sen. Benson said that she doesn’t think Gov. Dayton lied about his being unaware of MNsure’s difficulties. I disagree. Gov. Dayton didn’t misspeak. He lied about not getting briefed on MNsure’s impending disastrous rollout. Meitrodt’s article provided proof that Gov. Dayton was briefed by April Todd-Malmlov 12 days before MNsure went live.

The only way Gov. Dayton didn’t know about Todd-Malmlov’s brieifing is if he’s got Alzheimers. Since there isn’t any proof of that, it’s safe to say Gov. Dayton lied about MNsure for political/re-election campaign purposes.

Tuesday, Gov. Dayton made a major political mistake. He told legislators of both parties that the architects of MNsure couldn’t testify at an oversight hearing. Then he said that the Republicans’ strategy was a farce. Then Sen. Lourey, one of the co-chairs of the oversight committee, said that Republicans had legitimate questions that should be answered.

Thanks to his foolish tactics, Gov. Dayton’s flailing to regain his political footing. He’s acted like a monarch ruling from his throne. Until this week, Gov. Dayton had a likeability factor. Thanks to his imperious actions, he isn’t as likeable.

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It’s been a topsy turvy day in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, After reading Commissioner Sivarajah’s statement announcing her intent to run in the GOP primary, I’m left wondering if she hasn’t already admitted she can’t win the primary. Here’s what she said that makes me question her:

“We are told we need to broaden the base of the Republican Party and a primary will help accomplish that,” she observed. “I am eager to take my record of achievement to the voters of Sixth Congressional District which will allow all voters–Republicans, Independents and Conservative Democrats, to have a say in who they think will best represent them.”

There aren’t many conservative Democrats or independents that’ll vote in this August’s GOP primary. Politically speaking, Tom Emmer’s support is a mile wide and a mile deep. They’ve passionately supported him since he ran for governor. Their enthusiasm for him hasn’t dipped since 2010.

I wrote in this post that “activists will show up en masse for the primary, too, possibly in record numbers to send the message to Sivarajah and Krinkie” that they enthusiastically support Tom Emmer.

“Voters are hungry for an accomplished conservative candidate,” she said. “My record of cutting taxes and reducing the size of government is unmatched by any other candidate in the race. People want results, not rhetoric.”

That’s been Commissioner Sivarajah’s battle cry since getting into the race. It didn’t sell during the precinct caucuses and it didn’t sell during the BPOU conventions. Even Commissioner Sivarajah admitted that Tom Emmer will win a first ballot endorsement victory.

What activists know, however, is that Tom Emmer didn’t have a prayer of cutting taxes because the DFL was the majority party in the Senate. Cutting taxes with a conservative majority is considerably easier than cutting taxes with an intransigent, obstructionist DFL majority in the Senate.

“I don’t fear the voters,” Sivarajah concluded. “People are not swayed by inevitability; I want to earn their vote. I am confident I will do so.”

That last paragraph of Commissioner Sivarajah’s statement makes me question whether she’s serious. She’s an experienced candidate so she knows how to count votes. Commissioner Sivarajah knows she lost the CD-6 Straw Poll by 50 points. Even before Wednesday’s announcement, Commissioner Sivarajah knew she was heading for a first ballot defeat at the CD-6 Convention.

That’s before factoring in her pathetic fundraising totals the last 2 quarters and Emmer’s significant name ID advantage. If independents and Democrats don’t turn out to vote for Sivarajah in historic numbers, Commissioner Sivarajah will lose the primary by 30-35 points. It won’t be that close.

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According to Mark Sommerhauser’s article, Phil Krinkie and Rhonda Sivarajah are taking the gluttons-for-punishment path:

Anoka County Board chair Rhonda Sivarajah will take her campaign to a GOP primary election, she confirmed Wednesday in an interview with the Times.

The 6th District seat is being vacated by Rep. Michele Bachmann, who isn’t seeking a fifth term. Republicans are set to endorse a successor at a convention Saturday in Monticello.

The other 6th District GOP candidate, former state Rep. Phil Krinkie, said Wednesday that he won’t attend Saturday’s convention or seek the party’s endorsement. Krinkie also said for the first time that he’s mulling a third-party run for Congress, but said he still sees a Republican primary run as his most likely path forward.

Both Sivarajah and Krinkie have left open the possibility of running in a primary. Only Emmer has said he’ll abide by the GOP endorsement.

Sivarajah finished a distant second in the CD-6 Straw Poll, with Krinkie finishing far behind Sivarajah:

6th District Congress (97% Reporting):

Tom Emmer with 67.7%, Rhonda Sivarajah with 17.7%, Phil Krinkie with 10.1%

If Commissioner Sivarajah and Rep. Krinkie want to run in the primary, that’s their option. I just question their judgment. They don’t have a chance of winning. With an August primary, most of the turnout for the primary will be the dedicated activists that showed up for the precinct caucuses on a snowy Tuesday night this past February. These activists will show up en masse for the primary, too, possibly in record numbers to send the message to Sivarajah and Krinkie that their political careers are history.

That’s before factoring in Tom Emmer’s 100% name recognition, the fact that he handily carried CD-6 in 2010 when he ran for governor and the fact that he’s got an overwhelming cash-on-hand advantage.

If Krinkie runs as the Independence Party’s endorsed candidate, the backlash against him will be overwhelming. If he runs as a third party candidate, they’ll run him off the board at the TaxPayers League. I’d totally support TPL if they did that.

This statement is telling:

Sivarajah still intends to seek the Republican endorsement Saturday, but said she expects Emmer to garner delegates’ support on the first ballot.

Does Commissioner Sivarajah want to get thumped another time? She lost the straw poll by 50 points. She’s going to lose the endorsement on the first ballot. She’ll get thumped in the primary. That’s a helluva trifecta, though it isn’t one that’ll endear her to the activists.

Somewhere near Monticello, a fat lady is getting ready to sing. If I were a betting man, I’d bet she’ll sing a dirge sometime Saturday morning.

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