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If any speech epitomizes President Reagan, it’s the stunning speech he delivered at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. The ninnies at the State Department were aghast that he didn’t listen to their advice. Reagan fanatics know this passage by heart but it’s worth repeating so here goes:

In the 1950′s, Khrushchev predicted: “We will bury you.” But in the West today, we see a free world that has achieved a level of prosperity and well-being unprecedented in all human history. In the Communist world, we see failure, technological backwardness, declining standards of health, even want of the most basic kind-too little food. Even today, the Soviet Union still cannot feed itself. After these four decades, then, there stands before the entire world one great and inescapable conclusion: Freedom leads to prosperity. Freedom replaces the ancient hatreds among the nations with comity and peace. Freedom is the victor.

And now the Soviets themselves may, in a limited way, be coming to understand the importance of freedom. We hear much from Moscow about a new policy of reform and openness. Some political prisoners have been released. Certain foreign news broadcasts are no longer being jammed. Some economic enterprises have been permitted to operate with greater freedom from state control. Are these the beginnings of profound changes in the Soviet state? Or are they token gestures, intended to raise false hopes in the West, or to strengthen the Soviet system without changing it? We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace.

There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

This speech was about so much more than tearing down the wall seperating what once were East and West Berlin. It was a teaching moment for President Reagan and he siezed the opportunity and made the most of it.

President Reagan’s quoting of Kruschev was intentional and instructional. Kruschev thought Soviet-style discipline would help them rule the world. He really thought that the USSR would “bury” the U.S.

Reagan knew what Kruschev couldn’t admit: that free societies where people could do whatever they wanted will always crush societies that were directed from on high.

When Reagan took office on Jan. 20, 1981, he was likely the only person in the world who thought that he could collapse the Soviet empire. In most people’s minds, peaceful co-existence seemed like the best we could hope for. These bold words spoke to what President Reagan believed:

But in the West today, we see a free world that has achieved a level of prosperity and well-being unprecedented in all human history. In the Communist world, we see failure, technological backwardness, declining standards of health, even want of the most basic kind-too little food. Even today, the Soviet Union still cannot feed itself.

In President Reagan’s mind, the Soviet Union was vastly inferior to America’s system. In President Reagan’s thinking, it was a matter of time before the West would prove that conclusively. It wasn’t wishful thinking on his behalf. It was inevitable.

President Reagan’s critics sometimes called him the “Amiable Dunce.” In reality, Reagan was a visionary who’d thought things through to such an extent that people didn’t realize he was playing chess at a high level while his critics played tiddly winks.

Because his policies, especially those that he embraced on the world stage, kept turning up great, people trusted him more with each passing year. That’s the difference between Reagan and all other world leaders since his time. He was right because he’d thought things through.

That’s what made Reagan special.

When President Reagan insisted that Gorbachev “tear down this wall”, the State Department gasped and the rest of the world knew it was just a matter of time until his command became reality.

Reagan’s “Tear Down This Wall” speech was just the culmination of a vision Reagan had held for decades.

That’s why the American people so trusted him.

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For the last half hour, I’ve been soaking in Ronald Reagan’s final address from the Oval Office. It isn’t the first time I’ve read the speech. In fact, I recall watching it on TV as he delivered it live. At times, it feels like that was just yesterday.

It had the marks of all of Reagan’s speeches: abundant profundity, profuse optimism and the belief that We The People, Reagan’s Army, had won the victories. That’s quintessential Ronald Reagan. In his mind, he didn’t lead us to great things. He just did enough to help us do what needed to get done.

On that final point, I will profoundly disagree. It’s the only time I’ve ever profoundly disagreed with Dutch. President Reagan said that it’s essential to teach people what America is all about so let’s dive in together into how to do that, as captured in his speech:

If we forget what we did, we won’t know who we are. I’m warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let’s start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual. And let me offer lesson No. 1 about America: All great change in America begins at the dinner table. So, tomorrow night in the kitchen I hope the talking begins. And children, if your parents haven’t been teaching you what it means to be an American, let ‘em know and nail ‘em on it. That would be a very American thing to do.

If we’ve learned anything the past 2 years, it’s that we must hold true to America’s first principles, that liberty will always produce great results, that it’s right to not “be afraid to see what you see.”

There will never be another Dutch but there’s no reason to think that there aren’t countless opportunities for the next great American revival. It’s part of our DNA. Most importantly, let’s remember President Reagan’s great admonition: that “all great change in America begins at the dinner table.”

This isn’t said with any bitterness but, frankly, it doesn’t take a village. It takes a dinner table with everyone engaged in vital conversations about our history, our freedoms, our accomplishments.

This is one of my favorite Reagan profundities:

Well, back in 1980, when I was running for president, it was all so different. Some pundits said our programs would result in catastrophe. Our views on foreign affairs would cause war. Our plans for the economy would cause inflation to soar and bring about economic collapse. I even remember one highly respected economist saying, back in 1982, that “the engines of economic growth have shut down here, and they’re likely to stay that way for years to come.” Well, he and the other opinion leaders were wrong. The fact is, what they called “radical” was really “right.” What they called “dangerous” was just “desperately needed.”

And in all of that time I won a nickname, “The Great Communicator.” But I never thought it was my style or the words I used that made a difference: It was the content. I wasn’t a great communicator, but I communicated great things, and they didn’t spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation, from our experience, our wisdom, and our belief in principles that have guided us for two centuries. They called it the Reagan revolution. Well, I’ll accept that, but for me it always seemed more like the great rediscovery, a rediscovery of our values and our common sense.

Great leaders always share the accomplishments with their troops. This was certainly true of Reagan. Of all the presidents I’ve had the opportunity to vote for, Reagan stands alone in being a man who was both cheerleader and policymaker, Great Communicator and moral compass.

President Reagan understood that it didn’t take a great communicator to get America back on her feet. President Reagan understood that it just took a reminder to We The People that we didn’t need government to achieve great things. We just needed periodic inspiration from our leader that we, as individuals, could accomplish things beyond our wildest dreams.

Shortly after Reagan’s administration, George Will wrote that President Reagan was like the uncle who knew just the right time to give us a pat on the back that would inspire us to do more great things. Will’s words are as true today as they were when he wrote them.

The great thing about President Reagan is that he knew where America’s greatness came from:

Ours was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words: “We the people.” “We the people” tell the government what to do, it doesn’t tell us. “We the people” are the driver, the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world’s constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which “We the people” tell the government what it is allowed to do. “We the people” are free. This belief has been the underlying basis for everything I’ve tried to do these past eight years.

Just like his predecessors, President Reagan’s administration wasn’t perfect. Still, great things were accomplished that still are mind-boggling, even for someone who lived through them. As usual, President Reagan summed it up best:

The lesson of all this was, of course, that because we’re a great nation, our challenges seem complex. It will always be this way. But as long as we remember our first principles and believe in ourselves, the future will always be ours. And something else we learned: Once you begin a great movement, there’s no telling where it will end. We meant to change a nation, and instead, we changed a world.

I believe that we’re at the start of the latest generation of the Reagan Revolution. If we “remember our first principles and believe in ourselves, the future will always be ours.” We’re certainly getting back in touch with our first principles. We’re certainly starting to believe in ourselves.

Most importantly, we’re understanding that the things, politicians really, in our way can be swept away quite swiftly. Last November provided proof positive of that. Long before last November’s revolution, we learned that internalizing the Constitution’s principles and standing for limited government would put us on the path of restoring American exceptionalism.

Finally, let’s live worthy of living up to President Reagan’s dream of that shining city on a hill:

I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it and see it still.

What’s great about Reagan’s shining city on a hill is that it wasn’t just a vision. It’s something that, for 8 years, President Reagan’s leadership and wisdom, combined with Reagan’s Regiments, made a reality.

“Not bad, not bad at all.”

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Chip Cravaack, the GOP-endorsed candidate for the MN-08 House race, got a big boost Monday when he received the Minnesota Farm Bureau PAC’s endorsement:

The Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation PAC, the political and legislative branch of the Minnesota Farm Bureau, has announced that they endorse Chip Cravaack for Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District.

Cravaack is the only non-incumbent to receive the endorsement from the bi-partisan group that also endorsed Democrat Collin Peterson in Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District.

“I am honored to receive this endorsement from Minnesota’s farmers and rachers,” Cravaack said. “I recognize the crucial role that these producers play in not only providing food, but in providing jobs as well.”

This race has flown under the radar thus far. It’s time people started paying attention to it because this is a competitive race. While it’s true that Oberstar has a big CoH advantage, I’m certain that that won’t be the determining factor. Money rarely is in wave elections.

Put differently, no amount of money will save a politician that doesn’t have an appealing message. This year, Rep. Oberstar doesn’t have an appealing message.

This is part of the reason why Rep. Oberstar has a stiffer fight than normal:

“Cap-and-trade, which Congressman Oberstar voted for, would be a disaster for Minnesota. It will make our products non-competitive in foreign markets and increase the cost of food,” Cravaack said. “This is the last thing struggling families need.”

In southern and western Minnesota, Cap and Tax will hurt the huge cash crop farmers in the form of high gas prices for their farm equipment. In Minnesota’s Arrowhead, Cap and Tax will hurt Iron Rangers in the form of outrageous home heating bills. In other words, Oberstar’s vote would hurt his constituents.

This issue won’t help Rep. Oberstar either:

Oberstar, DFL-8th District and chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, last April authored amendments to the 1972 Clean Water Act. The bill, America’s Commitment to Clean Water Act, attempts to correct two U.S. Supreme Court cases over jurisdiction over waters.

The original bill gave federal jurisdiction over all “navigable” waters, while the Oberstar bill removes that word and defines federal jurisdiction “to all waters that are currently used, were used in the past, may be susceptible to use in interstate or foreign commerce, including all waters that are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide,” says Don Parmeter, who is leading an effort to draft alternative legislation.

“This affects northern Minnesota and Minnesota in general, probably more than any other state in the country,” Parmeter said Thursday night to about 35 people who showed up to a forum on the bill at Hungry Bear Conference Center.

“It’s a radical bill, we’ve been fighting it since 2007,” said Parmeter of the National Water and Conservation Alliance, of an earlier version of the Oberstar bill.

“What this bill does, simply, is remove the term navigable from the federal water pollution control act of 1972 and replaces it with waters of the United States,” Parmeter said. “All interstate and international waters, including interstate and international wetlands, and all other waters, including intrastate which is all waters within the boundaries of the state” are included.

This bill would greatly expand federal jurisdiction over wetlands of all sorts, whether they’re state or federal lands. This isn’t surprising in light of the Obama administration’s attempt to control everything possible.

Knowing how important the outdoors is to Iron Rangers, I can guarantee that Oberstar’s bill won’t sit well with them. In fact, the more Chip emphasizes Oberstar’s powergrab, the more Iron Rangers will turn against Rep. Oberstar.

The Arrowhead is littered with gun clubs, sportsmen organizations, fishing tournament organizations and rifle ranges. I’ll bet the proverbial ranch that they won’t take this issue lightly.

This legislation doesn’t stand a chance of becoming law. If it passed the House during a lameduck session, this bill would be killed in the Senate with a filibuster. Once Republicans retake the House, this legislation won’t get so much as a hearing because it violates private property rights.

This paragraph sums things up perfectly:

“This is a very expansive federal authority bill,” he said. “This is not only a controlled waters bill but also a controlled land bill, everything within a watershed.”

Rep. Oberstar is clearly carrying this administration’s water on this issue. (Pardon the pun.) It’s clear that he isn’t listening to his constituents. Rep. Oberstar should be thankful that these outdoorsmen are law-abiding citizens.

Rep. Oberstar should be worried about Cravaack. This Bemidji Pioneer article explains why:

“Small business owners are afraid to invest in their own business to create jobs,” he said. “Miners, when you start talking to them about this cap-and-trade bill and how it’s going to affect the mines, you’ve got their attention.”

The House last year passed a bill calling for cap-and-trade policies to control carbon emissions in which carbon producers would pay to purchase carbon credits from under-producers. Oberstar voted for the bill, which since then has languished in the Senate.

“I really try to talk to just the people, not the unions, but the members of the unions,” says Cravaack, who was a member of a commercial pilots union. “Those are the guys are going to be voting. The union will tell them to vote for jobs, well, I’m all about jobs.”

Cap-and-trade policies will devastate the mining industry, he said.

“The cap-and-trade bill is going to increase electrical costs on mines 40 t0 50 percent,” he said. The average electrical costs of a small open pit mine is $1.6 million, he said. “You add 50 percent to that, it makes our ore non-competitive and those guys are out of work.”

Chip Cravaack gets it. He’s focusing his campaign on the right demographic groups. He’s focusing on issues that get his future constituents’ attention. In doing that, he’s saying with his actions that he understands what they’re going through. He’s telling them that he’s one of them.

Rep. Oberstar hasn’t related to his constituents in years. That matters this year because Washington repeatedly refused to listen to We The People. That’s what fueling the TEA Party movement. When politicians like Rep. Oberstar listen more to the administration than to his constituents, it’s time to hold Rep. Oberstar’s retirement party on the first Tuesday this November.

In any other year, I wouldn’t be writing about this race. This isn’t an ordinary year. It’s a year that’s shaping up to be an historic year, one where Rep. Oberstar’s seat is in play.

Follow this link to contribute to Chip’s campaign. Though it’s an uphill fight, there’s no reason to think we can’t defeat Rep. Oberstar.

This is how to manufacture an upset.

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Yesterday, Scott Rasmussen’s polling showed that there really are two Americas, though not the same ones as John Edwards once talked about. Here’s what Rasmussen’s polling found:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 75% of Likely Voters prefer free markets over a government managed economy. Just 14% think a government managed economy is better while 11% are not sure. These figures have changed little since December.

Polling released earlier this week showed that Americans overwhelmingly believe that more competition and less regulation is better for the economy than more regulation and less competition.

Not surprisingly, America’s Political Class is far less enamored with the virtues of a free market. In fact, Political Class voters narrowly prefer a government managed economy over free markets by a 44% to 37% margin. However, among Mainstream voters, 90% prefer the free market.

There’s a simple reason for that: people see their decisionmaking as a personal matter. More often than not, they trust their decisionmaking over Washington’s decisionmaking.

What elitists haven’t figured out is that they aren’t liked because their arrogance is offputting. It’s easy for elitists to ‘accept’ a top-down control economy because they’re the ones that get to make the decisions. In their format, they retain their freedom to make decisions.

Likewise, in a liberty-oriented system, the people the elitists look down might make a great decision, thereby making the elitists look bad. Elitists can’t stand the thought of that.

The ‘ruling class’ is fighting a losing fight. They’re telling people who want to make their own decisions that they know better. Good luck winning that fight.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The United States of America has been called many things throughout its 234 years. The land of the free and the home of the brave is one of the names that I’ve long appreciated because it captures the United States at its best. It made me proud to be living in such a country.

Hubert Humphrey was an especially eloquent speaker when it came to delivering 4th of July speeches. Many was the 4th of July speech where Hubert reminded people that the United States was and is the only nation in the history of the world that enumerated as one of its goals the pursuit of happiness.

I started blogging when I noticed that I was living in historic times. At the time, Afghanistan had been liberated and their first democratic election was approaching. The Orange Revolution was getting started in the Ukraine. It was about 10 weeks before the “purple thumb elections” in Iraq. The Iraqi elections caused an uprising in Lebanon, which was quickly called the Cedar Revolution.

Here’s Dictionary.com’s definition for liberty:

freedom from external or foreign rule; independence.
freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.

While that’s the ‘book definition’ of liberty, I have a different definition of liberty. Liberty is the force that gives people the ability to be all that they can be. It’s the greatest motivator in the history of mankind. There’s a reason for that.

Liberty is the greatest motivator in the history of mankind because God created man with the spirit of liberty. George Bush and Ronald Reagan understood that because of their Christian background.

Reagan’s Tear Down This Wall speech was based on his understanding that the spirit of liberty couldn’t be contained. Gorbachev tried to maintain the Soviet-style control over the Eastern Bloc of nations with gimmicks like perestroika and glasnost. I knew that the USSR was finished the minute Gorbachev tried substituting glasnost and perestroika for liberty.

The thirst for liberty can be subdued but only with sufficient military force. See Tiananmen Square or Iran a year ago. Short of sufficient military force, though, liberty will win.

This year, I was reminded of the importance of liberty thanks to seeing things through an immigrant’s eyes. That immigrant’s name is Sanu Patel-Zellinger. I was reminded of the importance of liberty because of her speech at last month’s TEA Party. Here’s the transcript of Sanu’s speech:

I want to thank you for the opportunity to be here today…not just the chance to speak with you but also for the past two decades I have enjoyed living in America.

My name is Sanu. I came to the US in 1991 from India. I got a job at Seagate Technology so I could pay my way through college, which I did, by working during the day and taking night classes.

In 1998, I became a United States citizen. I was as proud as could be to be a United States citizen. In this American Republic I found individual freedom, real freedom and opportunity. Thank you.

Over the years I have met many hardworking and generous Americans. America’s strength and creativity come from the opportunities available to each individual, the freedom to pursue their dreams, and a Constitution that keeps a check and balance on government so we can preserve this. Thank you.

However, there are many things being offered to us today which are not opportunities.

Socialized medicine? No thank you!

Bailouts? No thank you!

Nationalization of private industry? No thank you!

Irresponsible spending with no accountability? No thank you!

This past year I decided to run for State Representative because I feel that we are not being properly represented in government. I am seeing the American Dream being destroyed by out-of-control spending, government debt and never-ending taxation. And I am seeing that many hard working Americans and their children are being punished with taxes to pay for it all.

I am willing to help the vulnerable in society. But I am no longer willing to be punished for being a responsible citizen.

I want to see an end to the misuse of taxpayer funds. I want to see a limited government that lives within a sensible budget just as we all do.

America was started with a great vision, the rights of the individual that cannot be destroyed by any majority.

A country where its people are free.

A country where hard work and personal responsibility are rewarded.

A country that others round the world would like to live in.

A country whose citizens dare to strive for the American Dream. What we have here is precious.

It is time we all stand up for this country of ours and it’s great vision for all generations. It is up to us to preserve this free nation.

It takes only a generation to lose it all. Let us not lose it in our watch. President Obama definitely appears to be campaigning for us conservatives). We need to set the stage so that the American Dream remains in the grasp of all who are willing to work for it.

We have plenty to be proud of here. Let us band together to preserve this land of the free!

This year we have a golden opportunity. Let us seize it!

Let us leave behind a state and country our children and grandchildren will be proud to inherit.

Thank you for coming today. That tells me you care about our country. And I am proud to call you a fellow citizen. I am proud to be an American. I am proud to be one of you.

Thank you.

On this birthday of our nation, it is my sincere hope that everyone sees the United States through the immigrant’s eyes. Those who haven’t experienced liberty appreciate it all the more when they’re blessed with it.

God bless America, each and every one of us. I sincerely hope everyone lives by the principles that our Founding Fathers gave us 234 years ago today.

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Friday afternoon’s TEA Party at St. Cloud’s Eastman Park was a great success, thanks to a roster filled with great speakers.

The event started off with Michele Bachmann stirring up the crowd of about 200-225 people with a great speech about how important it is to stop the Obama administration’s radical agenda. During her speech, Michele spoke about how the national debt had risen to $13,000,000,000,000 this week. She spoke about how the Obamacare bill is having a dampening effect on job creation. Michele then said that that morning’s jobs report was disappointing, with 411,000 of the 431,000 jobs being created attributed to hiring temp workers for the Census.

After Michele’s speech, King reprised his speech last fall about William Graham Sumner’s Forgotten Man. It was fitting then. It’s more fitting today than it was last September, especially considering how President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Harry Reid and Congressional Democrats ignored the will of the American people for over a year before passing Obamacare.

CPAC blogger of the Year Ed Morrissey delivered an outstanding speech, talking about how disappointing the jobs report was, then talking about how conservative principles like limited government were the only cure for the economy.

RF’s Andy Aplikowski’s speech connected with the audience, too. Andy’s speech was a combination of conservative principles and a call to arms to get lots of fiscal conservatives elected this cycle.

The event was something of a coming out party for Luke Yurczyk. Luke is running for the Stearns County Commission this year. What struck me the most about Luke’s speech was his arguing that LGA cuts didn’t automatically mean higher local property taxes. Luke argued, rightly, that city councils and county commissioners have the option of spending less.

Luke also highlighted the importance of city councils and county commissioners setting smart priorities and spending only on needs when times are tough. This played very well with the audience.

The showstopper of the event was Sanu Patel-Zellinger. First, a little background on Sanu is in order. Sanu moved to the United States in 1990 from India. She arrived here with a suitcase full of clothes and a little money. Twenty years later, she is employed by Best Buy International. In short, she’s experienced the American Dream.

This year, she decided to run for elected office against House Tax Committee Chairlady Ann Lenczewski. If you read the text of Sanu’s speech, I’m certain that you’ll want to contribute to her campaign. Here’s the text of Sanu’s speech:

“I want to thank you for the opportunity to be here today…not just the chance to speak with you but also for the past two decades I have enjoyed living in America.

My name is Sanu. I came to the US in 1991 from India. I got a job at Seagate Technology so I could pay my way through college, which I did, by working during the day and taking night classes.

In 1998, I became a United States citizen. I was as proud as could be to be a United States citizen. In this American Republic I found individual freedom, real freedom and opportunity. Thank you.

Over the years I have met many hardworking and generous Americans. America’s strength and creativity come from the opportunities available to each individual, the freedom to pursue their dreams, and a Constitution that keeps a check and balance on government so we can preserve this. Thank you.

However, there are many things being offered to us today which are not opportunities.

Socialized medicine? No thank you!

Bailouts? No thank you!

Nationalization of private industry? No thank you!

Irresponsible spending with no accountability? No thank you!

This past year I decided to run for State Representative because I feel that we are not being properly represented in government. I am seeing the American Dream being destroyed by out-of-control spending, government debt and never-ending taxation. And I am seeing that many hard working Americans and their children are being punished with taxes to pay for it all.

I am willing to help the vulnerable in society. But I am no longer willing to be punished for being a responsible citizen.

I want to see an end to the misuse of taxpayer funds. I want to see a limited government that lives within a sensible budget just as we all do.

America was started with a great vision, the rights of the individual that cannot be destroyed by any majority.

A country where its people are free.

A country where hard work and personal responsibility are rewarded.

A country that others round the world would like to live in.

A country whose citizens dare to strive for the American Dream. What we have here is precious.

It is time we all stand up for this country of ours and it’s great vision for all generations. It is up to us to preserve this free nation.

It takes only a generation to lose it all. Let us not lose it in our watch. President Obama definitely appears to be campaigning for us conservatives). We need to set the stage so that the American Dream remains in the grasp of all who are willing to work for it.

We have plenty to be proud of here. Let us band together to preserve this land of the free!

This year we have a golden opportunity. Let us seize it!

Let us leave behind a state and country our children and grandchildren will be proud to inherit.

Thank you for coming today. That tells me you care about our country. And I am proud to call you a fellow citizen. I am proud to be an American. I am proud to be one of you.

Thank you.”

If you’re inspired by Sanu’s speech, then I strongly recommend you visit her campaign website to find out more about her. It’s my hope that the voters in HD-40B will elect Sanu this November.

Finally, this post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include the thoughts of the crowd that the legislators and candidates were impressive, whether they were talking about U.S. Congresswoman Bachmann, state legislators like Steve Gottwalt and Mary Kiffmeyer, state legislative candidates like King Banaian, Tom Ellenbecker and Sanu Patel-Zellinger or local candidates like Jeff Johnson or Luke Yurczyk. Jeff is running for St. Cloud City Council. Luke is running to be a Stearns County Commissioner.

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Minutes ago, Tom Emmer, the candidate I’m enthusiastically supporting to be Minnesota’s next governor, picked Annette Meeks to be his running mate:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer has picked Republican activist Annette Meeks to fill out his ticket. Emmer had a short list of potential running mates that included state Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer and Linda Runbeck.

Emmer and Meeks appeared together at a Capitol press conference Tuesday morning.

Annette is a great pick for the job. I’ve been impressed with her debating abilities during her appearances on Tom Hauser’s @Issue. There’s no question that she’s got the right priorities either.

Meeks is a member of the Metropolitan Council, a public body Emmer has singled out for criticism in the past. She founded and heads the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, a non-profit organization that “develops and actively advocates the principles of individual freedom, personal responsibility, economic freedom and limited government.”

At a time when the DFL primary is littered with big spenders like Speaker Kelliher, Matt Entenza and Mark Dayton, the Emmer-Meeks team will offer a stark contrast to Minnesota’s voters.

While Soeaker Kelliher, Sen. Dayton and Matt Entenza spend the summer trying to out-liberal each other, Tom Emmer and Annette Meeks will spend their time talking with, AND LISTENING TO, small business owners and other hard-working Minnesotans about how together they’ll revive Minnesota’s economy and put it on a path to sustained prosperity.

Stay tuned to this blog for updates throughout the rest of the day.

UPDATE: Team Emmer issued this statement after this morning’s announcement:

Tom Emmer selected Annette Meeks as his choice for Lieutenant Governor today at a campaign rally at the state Capitol. Meeks brings to the ticket extensive experience in public policy development through her work leading several non-profit policy think tanks. She also represents the city of Minneapolis on the Metropolitan Council.

Meeks is currently President of the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, a non-profit educational organization that actively advocates the principles of individual freedom, personal responsibility, economic freedom, and limited government. Prior to founding the Freedom Foundation, Meeks spent nine years at the Center of the American Experiment as Director of Government Affairs and Public Programs and President/CEO.

While at the Center of the American Experiment, Meeks spearheaded the Minnesota Policy Blueprint, a comprehensive review of all aspects of the executive branch of Minnesota state government based on conservative and free-market tests.

“Annette Meeks is a dynamic leader with unparalleled knowledge of state government who is ready to lead our state on day one, my top qualification for the job,” said Emmer. “She will put her knowledge and experience to work immediately as we redefine state government and return prosperity to Minnesota by creating private sector jobs.”

Emmer added that Meeks would use the role of lieutenant governor to work with agency heads to reorganize state government and set new priorities. She will also reach out and engage the public in this discussion in order to build support for these reforms.

“Tom Emmer has laid out for the voters a clear and dynamic path for the future, one that I’m honored to be part of,” said Meeks. “His positive message of restoring prosperity to Minnesota by reforming state government will bring unity to our party and attract Republicans, Independents and Democrats to our ticket. He connects with voters because he is just like us, a guy from Delano raising a family, earning a living and now stepping forward to lead our state.”

Meeks and her husband Jack live in downtown Minneapolis.

UPDATE II: Veteran DFL Pundit Blois Olson had this to say about the pick: “She’s smart and a quality person, too.”

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Tuesday night, I attended a great event hosted by the SCSU CR’s. Featured guest speakers were Steve Gottwalt, Rhonda Sivarajah, Barb Davis-White, King Banaian, Sondra Erickson, Dale Walz and Craig Westover.

The first speaker was Steve Gottwalt. Steve started by explaining why he is a conservative before explaining to the CR’s why “younger people” should be, too. Steve emphasized the point that the college students in the Atwood Cascade Room should work on recruiting more students to adopt conservative principles. Steve also said that people of the CR’s age group would be hurt by the excessive spending currently happening in St. Paul and DC.

The next speaker was Rhonda Sivarajah, Marty Seifert’s pick for his lieutenant governor running mate. Ms. Sivarajah said that she wasn’t affiliated with a political party when she started running for an open seat on the Anoka County Commission. She said that the turning point for her came when a strong conservative from the area asked her what she believed in. After some questioning, the gentleman who was asking her the questions said that it was obvious she was a conservative and that she needed to be a Republican.

The most interesting part of Sondra Erickson’s presentation focused on how her father taught her about the importance of free markets. She said that her family ran a grainery that competed with a co-op. She said that the family business relied on selling the farmers’ grains at top prices, thereby assuring the farmers and the business of a profit. She said that that experience served her well in the legislature. She told the audience that she’d once again gotten endorsed to be the GOP candidate for HD-16A.

King followed Sondra Erickson to the podium. The lesson King taught was illustrated by a pencil. He said that the pencil was a great illustration of an important economic principle because no one person put the pencil together. If I understood the principle behind the illustration, I think what King was teaching was how command and control economies couldn’t do the things that free markets could.

Another important lesson taught by the pencil illustration is that free markets allowed people to flow to their areas of expertise, which allowed a group working on a shared goal to accomplish something that a command and control structure couldn’t manufacture.

Barb Davis-White’s presentation was electric, which is the standard for her. Saying that she’s got mad speaking skills is understatement. She talked about how freedom and conservatism can’t exist without each other. Barb talked about the importance of understanding and trusting the Founding Documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Federalist papers.

Before Craig Westover’s presentation, people in the audience spoke about why they were conservatives. I was the last person in the audience that spoke. I said that I’m a conservative because conservatives are the only people who trusted capitalism. I then said that capitalism is nothing more than betting on human nature. I said that trusting human nature is the best way to get people to make the right decisions.

Finally, Craig Westover spoke about the difference between conservative values and conservative principles. Craig illustrated his point with the Minnesota GOP party platform. He said the standing platform was a great illustration of the party’s values.

Craig then made the case that teaching conservative principles was more important than agreeing with the GOP’s values because principles will help people think things through before reaching a decision. He said that two conservatives might have different values but that they might make the same decision because they applied the right principles.

Based on comments made aftwards, I’d judge the event to have been viewed as a success. Young collegians were taught great lessons by some of the state’s most articulate conservatives. After the event’s final speaker, the collegians and guests spoke about everything from economic theory to “Natures’ God” to the importance of trusting eternal truths.

Based on what I heard, I’m optimistic that this nation will be well-served by the next generation of conservatives. I’m optimistic, too, that they’ll be more disciplined with fiscal matters.

I commend Samantha Walz of the SCSU College Republicans and Jacquie Silseth of the SCSU Young Americans for Liberty for the job they did introducing the speakers and for putting such a great roster of guest speakers.

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For those of you who are looking for a compelling story this morning, Sanu Patel-Zellinger’s bio is interesting reading. I’d recommend that everyone become familiar with it.

My name is Sanu Patel-Zellinger. I was born in India and grew up in Kathmandu (Nepal), before coming to the US in 1991. I paid my way through college and earned my degree in Business from Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota in 1997.

Shortly after, I received my US citizenship in 1998. I was as proud as could be. I married my husband Fred Zellinger at Grace Church (Eden Prairie) in 2000. Both of Fred’s parents were teachers, and his father taught for over 35 years and currently live in Wisconsin.

That alone made the reading worthwhile. Here’s more information that made it that much more compelling:

My parents are now retired and live in Lakeville, where the whole family enjoys gathering often at their house. My grandparents (now passed away) were active in fighting for India’s freedom in the 1940′s, and my grandfather was also the president of the Bhartiya Janata Party (loose translation is the “People’s Party”, one of the main political parties in India, with values similar Conservative values) during the 1970′s and early 1980′s until he passed away.

Clearly, Ms. Patel-Zellinger and her family values liberty, which is the best starting point for legislation. If legislation doesn’t make us more prosperous, more safe or more free, then it’s legislation that shouldn’t be a high priority. Someone with Ms. Patel-Zellinger’s upbringing is likely to have the right priorities.

Follow this link if you’d like to contribute to Ms. Patel-Zellinger’s victory this November.

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Based on this article, I’d say that President Obama’s election coalition has all but disappeared:

A study by the Pew Research Center, being released Wednesday, highlights the eroding support from 18- to 29-year-olds whose strong turnout in November 2008 was read by some demographers as the start of a new Democratic movement.

The findings are significant because they offer further proof that the diverse coalition of voters Obama cobbled together in 2008, including high numbers of first-timers, young minorities and youths, are not Democratic Party voters who can necessarily be counted on.

While young adults remain decidedly more liberal, the survey found the Democratic advantage among 18- to 29-year-olds has substantially narrowed, from a record 62 percent identifying as Democrat vs. 30 percent for the Republicans in 2008, down to 54 percent vs. 40 percent last December. It was the largest percentage point jump in those who identified or leaned Republican among all the voting age groups.

Young adults’ voting enthusiasm also crumbled.

The finding that the support gap has narrowed is troubling enough. That’s enough to make a Democratic strategist cringe. That said, that last sentence is the sentence I’d most be worried about:

Young adults’ voting enthusiasm also crumbled.

Young Americans for Liberty, college students who support Ron Paul’s principles on campus, haven’t experienced that enthusiasm gap like their liberal counterparts. In fact, they’re pumped and ready to get liberty-loving young people to the polls this November.

I’ve met with their group here in St. Cloud. They’re one of the most active student groups on SCSU’s campus. SCSU’s chapter of the College Republicans, while not as robust a presence as the Young Americans for Liberty group, are still plenty energized.

According to Pew’s polling, SCSU’s conservative students are pretty much typical in terms of intensity with what they’re finding nationwide.

“This is a generation of young adults who made a big splash politically in 2008,” said Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center and co-author of the report. “But a year and a half later, they show signs of disillusionment with the president and, perhaps, with politics itself.”

Democrats saw evidence of this last November, when Republicans removed Democrats from power in the New Jersey and Virginia governors’s races. Young, minority and new voters who Obama pulled into the fold in 2008 did not turn out at the same levels for the two Democratic candidates. The same thing happened in the Massachusetts U.S. Senate race last month in which a Republican won a solidly Democratic seat.

With young people supporting him less than enthusiastically, President Obama’s coalition has all but disappeared. His support amongst independents was large and enthusiastic. They’re now supporting Republicans by 2:1 margins. Seniors supported President Obama, too. Thanks to the Democrats’ proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicare Advantage, seniors have abandoned President Obama, too.

Couple that with the luster going off his speeches and I think it’s safe to say that the lightning has left President Obama’s bottle.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative