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Archive for the ‘Judicial Nominees’ Category

When KSTP’s Tom Hauser interviewed Sen. Klobuchar, (DFL-MN), Sunday morning, they discussed President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Like an actress reading from a script, Sen. Klobuchar said that Judge Garland is a moderate. That term is interesting because it’s empty. Being the inquisitive type, I sent Sen. Klobuchar a message for clarification. It read “Sen. Klobuchar, you told Tom Hauser that Judge Garland is a moderate. I understand what a political moderate is but I don’t know what a judicial moderate is. I’d appreciate it if you’d explain what your definition of a judicial moderate is. Further, if Judge Garland is a moderate, does that mean Justice Sotomayor and Justice Kagan are radicals or ideologues? I’d appreciate a quick, substantive reply.”

Sen. Klobuchar’s auto-response said “Thank you for taking the time to e-mail me. This is a confirmation that we have received your message. One of the most important parts of my job is listening to what the people of Minnesota have to say to me. I am here in our nation’s capital to do the public’s business on behalf of the people of our state. Please continue to visit my website at to follow what I am working on, both in Washington and Minnesota. It is frequently updated with current news and events regarding my work in the U.S. Senate. Additionally, many constituents ask about tracking the progress of legislation. One useful tool is to regularly check my website. Another resource I recommend is the Library of Congress legislative information website, I hope you find this information helpful. – Amy”

Since Sen. Klobuchar hasn’t explained what a judicial moderate is yet, I’ll rely on something that Dennis Prager wrote about Judge Garland:

In a column in The Wall Street Journal, Juanita Duggan, President and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business, wrote that Garland is so anti-small business and so pro-big labor, that “This is the first time in the NFIB’s 73-year-history that we will weigh in on a Supreme Court nominee.”

What worries the NFIB, she explains, is that “in 16 major labor decisions of Judge Garland’s that we examined, he ruled 16-0 in favor of the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board).”

Apparently, a judicial moderate sides with Big Labor 100% of the time. Forgive me if I don’t agree that that’s the definition of a moderate. Forgive me if I think that sounds more like a hardline leftist ideologue. Then there’s this:

Tom Goldstein wrote in the SCOTUSblog that Garland favors deferring to the decision-makers in agencies. “In a dozen close cases in which the court divided, he sided with the agency every time.”

Again, that sounds more like the definition of a leftist ideologue. It doesn’t sound like a centrist/moderate. This is worth checking out, too:

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After the Judiciary Committee’s confirmation on Goodwin Liu, Sen. Leahy made some assinine comments that are worth highlighting:

Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy. D-Vt., on Friday accused Republicans of applying a double standard in Liu’s case. He said that in the past he had supported GOP-selected conservative, activist court nominees after they pledged they would be impartial on the bench.

“I hope they will give the same credence to professor Liu’s assurances that he understands the proper role of a judge,” Leahy said. “I hope they will keep the same open mind kept by Democratic senators…I hope they will not apply a double-standard to this extraordinary nominee,” he added.

I’d love hearing Sen. Leahy’s definition of what a conservative activist justice is. I’m betting he’s refering to Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito. In his warped mind, I suspect that he thinks undoing the damage done by true activist judges is activism in its own right. He’s wrong if that’s what he thinks.

The reason he’s wrong if that’s what he’s thinking is because Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito literally apply the Constitution in making their rulings. That isn’t judicial activism. It’s what justices routinely did before progressives packed the courts with justices who thought of the Constitution as an impediment to their progressive agenda.

During Chief Justice Roberts’ confirmation hearing, Sen. Durbin asked him what assurances he could have that Chief Justice would “side with the little guy.” Chief Justice Roberts replied that “Every time the law is on the little guy’s side, I’ll rule in his favor.” I wish I would’ve seen a picture of the Democrats’ faces after hearing that answer.

What’s made the United States great was adhering to the belief that we’re “a nation of laws, not men.” Anytime that we don’t adhere to that principle, everyone suffers longterm. Either our rights protect everyone or they don’t protect anyone.

As for Sen. Leahy’s saying he hopes Republicans “will keep the same open mind kept by Democratic senators”,I hope for something just a little different. I hope that Republicans will remember the brass-knuckled tactics that the Democrats used in filibustering President Bush’s district court nominees.

Let’s remember that the Democrats argued that Chief Justice Roberts wasn’t qualified for the role of Chief Justice because he wasn’t experienced enough. Let’s remember that the reason his experience was shortened was because Democrats filibustered the confirmation of John Roberts. Isn’t that like kids that kill their parents, then beg the mercy of the court because they’re orphans?

To be fair, I understand how Sen. Leahy thinks that strict constructionist judges like Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas are activist jurists. Sen. Leahy thinks it’s a revolutionary thing to actually adhere to the Constitution. In a way, he’s right. Found in that document are the principles that our Founding Fathers fought a revolutionary war over.

Think of it this way: Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas all point to the genius of the Founding Fathers. That’s a good thing in the eyes of most people. To corrupt politicians like Sens. Leahy, Durbin, Specter and Schumer, that’s something to abolish.

The good news is that We The People have the final vote on Sens. Leahy, Durbin, Specter and Schumer this November. We won’t vote them all out of office but we will take away their authority by winning, winning and more winning.

We can’t afford senators that confirm make-the-rules-as-we-go-along judges. We can’t afford more of that type of activism.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Just when you thought Lindsey Graham couldn’t say something more clueless, he says something utterly clueless in an interview with Politico:

In an interview with POLITICO Thursday, the South Carolina Republican defended his decision to back Sotomayor by laying out a broad critique of conservative activists who push “ideological purity” and refuse to cooperate with a Democratic Congress and White House.

“If we chase this attitude…that you have to say ‘no’ to every Democratic proposal, you can’t help the president ever, you can’t ever reach across the aisle, then I don’t want to be part of the movement because it’s a dead-end movement,” Graham said.

“I have no desire to be up here in an irrelevant status. I’m smart enough to know that this country doesn’t have a problem with conservatives. It has a problem with blind ideology. And those who are ideological-driven to a fault are never going to be able to take this party back into relevancy.”

That’s the type of blather why I consider Sen. Graham the most intellectually lazy Republican in the Senate. The strawman argument that there are significant numbers of conservatives who insist that Republicans reflexively say no to “every Democratic proposal” shows how little Sen. Graham understands about the underpinnings of conservatism.

Conservative activists aren’t telling Graham to say no on the Sotomayor nomination just because it’s a Democratic proposal. Conservative activists are telling Graham to vote aginst Sotomayor because she hasn’t shown the proper respect for the Constitution, which means she’ll vote her ideology more than she’ll vote for liberty.

Why wouldn’t Graham vote against a judge whose votes will have more to do with her ideological underpinnings than with the Constitution? Let’s remember that Sen. Graham took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. Shouldn’t that oath be a code of honor, not just words that Sen. Graham mumbles so he can keep his membership in the elitist club of senators? Shouldn’t they be words that you passionately fight for?

Sen. Graham bemoans the fact that “you can’t ever reach across the aisle.” I’d love hearing Sen. Graham explain what the halfway point between protecting and defending the Constitution vs. ignoring the Constitution.

That’s we’re better off without unprincipled politicians like Sen. Graham, Charlie Crist and Arlen Specter. I can deal with principled men that I disagree with because there’s a rational starting point for a conversation. How do you build trust with someone that you don’t know what they believe in from minute to minute? Why would you even try to build a trust with someone who’s priorities are like shifting sand?

I disagreed with a number of things former Sen. Norm Coleman voted for. I enthusiastically supported him, though, because I knew he was a principled man who thought things through.

Sen. Graham said that “This country doesn’t have a problem with conservatives. It has a problem with blind ideology.” What he fails to understand is that unprincipled moderation is an ideology, too. In September, 2007, I wrote something called “Without a Vision, the People Perish.” Here’s what I wrote then:

Part of why we got whipped in 2006 is because every other GOP commercial only talked about how America wouldn’t like Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco values agenda. The GOP’s message didn’t inspire people to vote for GOP candidates. That’s also why funds trickled into the RNC, the NRSC and the NRCC in 2006. People were fed up with Republicans who didn’t act like Republicans. This year, the funds are trickling in again. The cure is in Republicans acting like Republicans. It’s also about them not worrying about tailoring their message to appeal to moderates.

That last premise was proved right in 2008 when squishy John McCain picked Sarah Palin. People understood that she wouldn’t tolerate corruption regardless of who the corrupt person was. They thrilled to the fact that she defeated corrupt members of her own party, then dealt with corrupt politicians on the opposite side of the aisle.

Most importantly, she had a vision for getting America going again.

Sen. Graham has been on my radar screen since the impeachment of President Clinton. In all that time, I’ve never detected a hint of a vision that Sen. Graham espouses.

Chris Chocola has it right:

Club for Growth president Chris Chocola says Graham “has it backwards.”

“It’s not about purity,” he said. “It’s about sticking to the fundamentals in order to build a sustainable majority. If you play a sport and you’re not performing well, you don’t say, “I have to try 10 new things.” You ask, “What are the fundamentals I’ve forgotten about?” The same thing is true in politics. If you’ve had a few bad cycles, what are the fundamentals you’re ignoring?”

That makes perfect sense. Joe Mauer had a rough patch prior to the All Star Game and the first couple games after. Thursday, Mauer was back to his old self, getting a couple hits, including his patented line sincle up the middle. Friday night, he hit home runs in his first two at-bats. His batting average is climbing because he’s stopped trying to pull the ball too often. He’s returned to Joe Mauer’s fundamentals.

When Reagan won in 1984, he didn’t get derailed from his principles. When Newt rode the revolution to the Speaker’s chair in 1994, Republicans promised that they’d pass an appealing agenda. In both those elections, we didn’t have a strategy for reaching out to moderates. We stood for time-tested principles, which moderates found appealing. It’s time we returned to that.
It’s time someone taught Sen. Graham a little bit about time-tested principles.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The Supreme Court just overturned Judge Sotomayor’s ruling regarding a set of New Haven, CT firefighters:

The Supreme Court has ruled that white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were unfairly denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision that high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals court judge.

New Haven was wrong to scrap a promotion exam because no African-Americans and only two Hispanic firefighters were likely to be made lieutenants or captains based on the results, the court said Monday in a 5-4 decision. The city said that it had acted to avoid a lawsuit from minorities.

The ruling could alter employment practices nationwide, potentially limiting the circumstances in which employers can be held liable for decisions when there is no evidence of intentional discrimination against minorities.

This ruling isn’t likely to keep Judge Sotomayor from becoming the next associate justice but it’s bound to open up a great line of questioning for Republicans serving on the Judiciary Committee. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask her what her reasoning was in reaching that ruling.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

This afternoon, Priscilla Lord-Faris was interviewed by King and Michael. Al Franken should be thankful that she didn’t get in earlier because he would’ve been toast. (More on that later.)

The first thing that came through loud and clear was that she wasn’t intimidated by the settings. Another thing that was obvious was that she’s a confident lady with a positive, albeit liberal, agenda. It’s obvious why Mr. Franken doesn’t want her at the FarmFest debate: She’d clean his clock. In fact, it’s clear that she’s Franken opposite. Whereas he’s a hardline ideologue, she’s a negotiator. Whereas Franken listens only to his far left brethren, she responded directly to King’s and Michael’s questions.

It’s also obvious that she’s still a liberal, though she’s more in the traditional Humphrey mold than today’s brash progressives. In that respect, she’s a proponent of Madeleine Albright, of talking with Iran “rather than rattling the sabres.” She’s also big into wind farms and other alternatives rather than drilling.

On the personal side, she talked about her brother’s heart illness and how that was her sole focus until he passed away. Though that was painful, she talked about that part of her life in a dignified way.

Had she not been focused on family issues, I think she would’ve been the DFL endorsed candidate.

While I admire her for granting this interview with King and Michael and while I thought she acquitted herself well, that doesn’t mean I’d ever vote for her. She sounded too much like she’s into the Democratic talk-for-the-sake-of-talking thing for my liking.

The other reason why I wouldn’t vote for her is Sen. Coleman. He’s an impressive legislator whose views are much closer to mine than are Lord-Faris’. Sen. Coleman is right on judges, Iraq, the GWOT, energy and taxes.

To those who didn’t listen to the interview, I’d strongly encourage you to listen to the podcast when it’s posted.

I’d recommend that to everyone except Al Franken. If he listened, he’d be nervous. VERY NERVOUS.

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Recently, Michael invited me to start blogging at Blogs For Norm. I’m proud to announce that I’ve accepted Michael’s invitation because I support Sen. Coleman’s re-elected.

Over the past year, I’ve come to appreciate Norm’s governing approach. One thing that I’ve appreciated have been the blogger conference calls. Sen. Coleman hasn’t provided evasive answers when we’ve asked him tough questions.

The reason why I’m supporting Sen. Coleman is because he’s voted for victory in Iraq. He’s proposed legislation to increase oil production and to start new nuclear power plants. He’s voted to confirm Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, men that I consider to be among the most impressive judicial nominees in a century.

It’s time that we rallied around Sen. Coleman because his decisionmaking, though not perfect, is solid on the important issues of the day. Sen. Coleman is worth supporting because of the solutions he’s provided and/or voted for.

Janet is right in calling Norm’s acceptance speech a stemwinder. Here’s the text of that speech:

Thank you, dear friends for the tremendous honor of your nomination. I accept it with a challenge to each one of you; let’s be a party and a people willing to take bold, adventurous risks, so we can pass a better world to our kids than we received from our parents.

81 years ago last week a 25 year old Minnesotan did something the world had never seen: he flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Listen to the words of that adventurous, young Minnesota hero, Charles Lindbergh: “It is the greatest shot of adrenaline to be doing what you’ve wanted to do so badly. You almost feel like you could fly without the plane.”

I want you to know, friends I am flying today.

And my wings are this great Republican Party and the bold vision we can bring to America’s future.

We love America. We believe in America. We thank God for America.

And we know the deepest threat to our nation is not terrorism or globalization or disease but the cynical voices of defeatism, anger and doubt. Times are tough. The issue of the day is: are we tougher?

Now the presumptive nominee of the other party, in a candid moment, told a cocktail party crowd in San Francisco that folks like us cling to our faith and our guns out of bitterness over our lives.

Well the heartland has a message for Senator Obama:

We don’t cling to our faith like a security blanket, we cherish it. For those who believe, it’s a proper response to a just and loving Creator.

And we cherish our Constitutional rights to bear arms, to worship as we please and to seek redress of our grievances not as a reaction to anything but because that’s what free people do.

Their script may be all sweetness and light, but their vision is of a bitter, declining America.

With one voice we say: never has the opposite of the truth been so precisely stated.

My friends, let me say something about my friend and colleague John McCain.

He’s a genuine American hero. In tough times, you look for people of courage and strength to lead.

The two greatest issues of our time are 1) winning the war on terror, so we can be secure and 2) cutting wasteful Washington spending, so we don’t burden our children with debt.

On these two fundamental issues, he has been a leader without equal. He needs and deserves our heartfelt and enthusiastic support. America needs John McCain to lead us all.

We are going to win in November because we have to: because we still dream, we still hope and we have been proud of America all our lives.

The founder of our Party Abraham Lincoln said what we all believe: that America is the “last best hope of earth.” And that’s what we’re fighting for.

With the help of a lot of good Minnesotan friends here I have been preparing for this job in the Senate, personally and professionally, for three decades.

Thirty two years ago the enthusiasm and idealism of Hubert Humphrey drew me to this place. I married a beautiful Minneapolis girl as Minnesotan as butter sculptures at the State Fair. It’s the best decision I ever made.

We brought four children into the world. Two are with us, Jake and Sarah, two, Adam and Grace are with God in Heaven, leaving us soon after their births. That experience gave us passion for protecting all life.

We’ve lived in the same St. Paul house for twenty years. We’re empty nesters come September when Sarah heads off for college. So to process my impending sadness I spent 2 days cleaning out our garage, a full dumpster’s worth of proof I didn’t just arrive on the latest plane to run for office.

My family faces the same challenges we all face. We’re spending down our 401K to finance higher education for our kids. When we go to the gas station we wonder: which will top off first: the tank or the credit card?

Laurie and I are caught in the common squeeze between the financial responsibility for aging parents and ambitious children.

If you’ve been coming to these events for years you’ll notice someone is missing by my side, my Dad Norm, Sr. We laid him to rest in Arlington Cemetery this year, but his inspiring spirit is right here.

I’d like to ask all the veterans, all the active duty military and guard and reserve members who are with us to stand so we can show our appreciation. Please remain standing.

This is the week of Memorial Day, when we honor those who have died for our country. Let’s all stand and have a moment of silence as we remember in our own hearts those who made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. Thank you.

Everything we enjoy, the freedom to meet here, to enjoy this beautiful land and the chance to dream for the future, we owe to generation after generation of young Americans who laid down their futures so we could have ours. God has blessed America that we are the land of the free because we have been the home of the brave.

I never wore my nation’s uniform, but I’ve had a life-calling to public service of a different kind. For seventeen years, I worked in the Minnesota Attorney General’s office, traveling the state prosecuting criminals and working on legislation like the DARE program.

For eight years I was mayor of our capital city. Bringing its citizens together, never raising taxes, we reduced crime, we added 18,000 new jobs and we brought the NHL back home to the state of hockey where it always belonged. And we built the Xcel Center where in September we will welcome the world to Minnesota for the first time in 116 years to our great Republican National Convention.

I love this job of being Senator. Like Lindbergh, I get a shot of adrenaline every day because I am doing what I’ve wanted to do my whole life: help people achieve the better life they hope for and experience a fresh fulfillment of the American Dream.

After 32 years of public service, I’ve learned a lot from thousands and thousands of Minnesota teachers. I seek your help and support to keep doing what I do best: bring people together to get things done.

I have traveled to every corner of this state for more than three decades, listening and learning and finding ways to help. The people of this state have given me an immeasurable gift: the chance to be involved in helping them fulfill their own dreams.

I remember the farmers I met in Lake Bronson, Minnesota up in Kittson County. They were hurting deeply from serious flooding. Not only did we get them help that year, but the new Farm Bill that just became law contains permanent disaster assistance for farmers, instead of the ad hoc approaches of the past. They changed federal policy that day because the ideas that really help people don’t come from the U.S. Capitol; they come from regular folks like the farmers of Lake Bronson.

I remember talking to a mom on Main Street in Walker, Minnesota. She has a son with severe asthma and expressed great anxiety that the nearest emergency room was an hour away. We got them federal approval for a critical access hospital for Walker and they look forward to breaking ground on that new facility.

I remember the worry of the folks of New Auburn whose town was faced with an unfunded federal mandate to upgrade their water system. As a former Mayor, I bristle at unfunded federal mandates. I was able to help the folks of New Auburn meet those requirements and improve their quality of life.

I remember the concerns of small businesses, hockey families and anglers all along our Canadian border over the potential cost of new travel restrictions. We were able to make key changes in those rules, but also won a new U.S. Passport office for Minnesota, which will help Minnesota travelers for decades to come.

I could go on and on.

And when it come to International Relations, I want you to know that no problem is too big or too small when it comes to defending Minnesotans’ interests… right now we are stepping up for folks up at Lake of the Woods in their struggle for that fundamental right: their ability to bring minnows into the Northwest Angle. No resolution yet but I am taking this to the highest levels of the Canadian government, warning them not to come between Minnesota fishermen and their minnows.

I always thought being Saint Paul’s mayor would be the best job of my life, but I have cherished the opportunity to be Minnesota’s Mayor in Washington.

When I hear the rhetoric of other candidates, I wonder: what job are they running for? Being a U. S. Senator is not about being a celebrity or slaying ideological dragons. As a Senator I’m in the customer service business: 95% of what I do is helping people.

When the 35 W bridge fell down or flood waters poured into Roseau or Browns Valley or Rushford, people don’t need an ideologue or a divider: they need someone who can make government work for them.

There is a special group of guests over here on the risers. Many of them have come to my office for help with a specific problem and we were able to deliver. You know I got into public service in the 1970s because I wanted to change the world. Now I’m getting the chance to do that: one person at a time.

Bill Gilger is trying to get a meat packing plant back in business in Hutchinson. We worked with the USDA on his behalf to help keep 190 people at work, adding $100 million to the local economy.

Tom Shilling is a member of the famous Minnesota Red Bulls National Guard unit that served with such great distinction in Iraq. He wanted to come home to walk his daughter down the aisle. His commander said no. We intervened and he was there. He told me “dresses never looked so pretty and flowers never smelled so sweet.”

Michael and Tracy McGarry wanted to adopt two kids from Guatemala. With our help the process that usually took months was completed in one day. Now their kids get the enormous privilege to grow up Minnesotans.

And now I want to introduce you to a special young man, my friend: Wyatt Rech of Montgomery, Minnesota. Come on up here Wyatt. He may be the most powerful person in the room, today. In my mind he is young Lindberg, and he inspires me with his belief in a better future.

When he was two it was discovered that Wyatt has a rare cancer of the liver called a Wilms tumor.

Wyatt and his family didn’t just sit back, commiserate and take care of themselves.

What they’ve done instead is become crusaders to the millions of kids who have cancer all over the country. We spend billions on medical research each year but what they realized is: we have no special effort to help kids like Wyatt.

I’m helping Wyatt and his family change that. With their help I introduced the Conquering Childhood Cancer Act to help kids like Wyatt.

He had a big day when he turned six: a Senate subcommittee passed out the bill he inspired to have the National Institute of Health specifically expand childhood cancer research. So on his birthday, he gave families of the whole country a present. We’ve still got a ways to go before it’s the law of the land, Wyatt here isn’t taking no for an answer, are you buddy?

Let’s say thanks to Wyatt and his family for their incredible example of compassion and public service.

What’s so outstanding about being around young people like Wyatt is: they believe in miracles.

I love David Ben Gurion’s statement at the birth of the modern state of Israel: “Around here, if you don’t believe in miracles, you’re not being realistic.”

I am that kind of realist.

We didn’t turn Saint Paul around and bring back the NHL and build “the Ex’ by listening to the naysayers; we did it by believing in the miracle of free people working together.

Minnesota is only 150 years old. As a young state we need to listen to the fresh, enthusiastic voices all around us.

In the book of Joel, the Scripture talks about a Golden Age when:
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.

The young of Minnesota and America are speaking. Are we listening? They want us to care for the planet they grow old on. They want us to get over our partisan bickering and our stubbornness against change. And they want problem-solvers, not angry sloganeers.

Let us show them—the young people of America—that we have the political courage to be fiscally responsible today so they won’t be buried under a mountain of debt tomorrow.

For the sake of Wyatt and his generation and the generations after, that’s the kind of leaders we must be.

We have to be ready to fly without the plane.

I want to say to my fellow Republicans here in this room, we have a lot of work to do. We have to restore our credibility and our relationship with the American people.

People are really hurting all around us. Gas prices break our family budgets. Foreclosures are at an all time high. The cost of health care and higher education are getting beyond reach. And debt loads for student loans and real estate with depressed values are putting so many families on the brink. But we have to tell them what Churchill told his people, “When you are going through hell, keep going.”

We have to be straight with the American people.

Let me illustrate a point. When I graduated from High School I was 5′5″ and 135 pounds. This dates me, but I had dreams of being the Jewish Dr. Julius Erving. My coach pulled me aside and said, “Coleman, you may be short… but you can’t jump.” A Republican party that can’t do fiscal discipline and national security is in trouble.

As Republicans in Washington we cut taxes but we increased spending and violated the fiscal discipline that is supposed to be our identity. Some thought we could buy a permanent majority and that was a mistake.

But getting on the right track means putting up a fight against those who want to raise your taxes so we can have an even bigger, more intrusive and more wasteful government. And things have changed. I was part of an almost united Republican Senate that opposed the recent Democrat budget with the largest tax increase in history, over a trillion dollars.

In foreign policy we stuck with a flawed strategy in Iraq for far too long: not seeing a growing insurgency and trying so hard to avoid the “war for oil” label that we failed to push Iraqis to use their oil production to pay for their defense and redevelopment.

And the security situation has also changed dramatically.

Two years ago Al Qaeda owned Anbar Province in Iraq and had plans to establish a new Islamic Caliphate there. But thanks to our outstanding young men and women in uniform, we took it back. I know because late last year I walked through the streets of Ramadi in Anbar without body armor. With improved security, the Iraqis are producing over 2.3 million barrels of oil a day and they can now pay for their own reconstruction.

Minnesotans want to see our troops brought home safely, without surrendering the gains we’ve made at a tremendous cost. Violence is down. Al Qaeda is on the run. One by one the provinces of Iraq are being turned over to Iraqis and Americans are moving into a strategic support role.

General David Petraeus should have been Time Magazine’s Man of the Year.

Here is our challenge today. If I asked for a show of hands, most of us would say we are better off than our parents. But most of the people inside and outside this room are afraid that their children will be less well off than they are.

The other side plays to that fear. We need to offer a hopeful alternative and a pathway to a better future for our kids. To do that, we have to return to and better communicate our core conservative Republican principles:

We believe that the future of our society depends on individual rights, free enterprise, small business and job creation, not federal programs, mandates, regulations or tax increases to pay for them. We believe in a dynamic economy which thrives on entrepreneurship, on free and fair trade and on letting people keep the reward of the risks they take.

We believe every child, every child is a gift from God and that all life must be protected from conception to natural death.

We support traditional marriage because we know that every study shows that kids with moms and dads have a better shot at achieving a successful life. It’s about the kids.

We believe in a strong national defense. We have learned the lessons of history: we believe in peace through strength. And yes, Senator John Edwards, there is a daily, ongoing War on Terror and we must fight it and win it.

And most of all, we believe our best days are not behind us, that the American dream has no expiration date.

Now when you listen to our opponents, they are for change, change, change. But when you listen to their policies, it sure isn’t change for the better. For Viking fans in the room, sometimes change means going from Bud Grant to Les Steckel.

Their talk of change may be set in flowery language but the bottom line is always the same: they want to raise your taxes. This is what makes people mad. Regular folks work extremely hard for their money and spend it very, very carefully, budgeting it down to the penny. And then government comes along, takes more and more and wastes it.

What the spendthrifts in Saint Paul and Washington need to realize is that Minnesotans still clip grocery coupons, they still shop garage sales and they still keep a change jar.

Our message to the DFL is: keep your hands out of our pockets and keep your hands off our change!

The DFL activists are for a government take-over of health care. We don’t want the folks who did Katrina relief and run the IRS to manage our health care. To those who want a Canadian style, single-payer, national health program please show us the Mayo Clinic or the Medtronic of Canada. They don’t exist.

The DFL Activists want a new isolationism, restricting trade and pulling back our security presence around the world. And our opponents say the world will be better if we sit down with everybody. Our question for Jimmy Carter and those who embrace his amateur diplomacy with Hamas: what part of ‘We are committed to the destruction of Israel’ don’t you understand? The terrorists understand only one thing: strength. They are strengthened when we legitimize them. You don’t control a bully by inviting him to lunch.

That’s where they are coming from. “Change you can believe in?” How about: “Change that will cost you an arm and leg…and that cost us economic growth, opportunity, freedom and security.” No. America shouldn’t believe in it.

Let’s show Minnesota what we’re for, not what we’re against.

And we also need to be ready to say our problems are bigger than one party and be ready to work with everyone to find solutions.

Here is my eight point action plan that will help our children inherit a better world than we received.

1. We must grow jobs by cutting taxes, getting capital into the marketplace and unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit of America. The 2003 tax cuts must be made permanent.

Jobs are our best health care access provider, retirement provider, community builder and human dignity creator. Jobs grow when we get government off people’s backs and allow job creators to keep the rewards of the risks they take.

2. We must cut wasteful Washington spending. On the Permanent Investigations Subcommittee I have uncovered more than $14 billion in waste and fraud. Government credit cards will no longer be used to pay for custom made suits and online dating services. And government contractors will not be able to take the taxpayers money with one hand and skip out on their tax obligations with the other.

3. We must end our addiction to foreign oil. We need to overcome environmental extremists who force us to leave a generation of coal in the ground and stonewall new nuclear facilities left and right. They are using fear, not sound science.
There are some problems, in this country, that are too big for one party to solve. Energy independence is one of them. The Democrats pass an energy bill with renewables and conservation, but not a drop of increased production. That’s simply wrong when gas is close to $4 a gallon.

It’s absurd that China can now drill closer to our shores than Americans can. We need to do deep water offshore drilling. America needs more nuclear power and we should begin right here: Minnesota should lift its nuclear power expansion moratorium now. And we need to press full speed ahead on renewable fuels like cellulosic ethanol, hydrogen fuel cells, new battery and hybrid technology, coal sequestration, and farmer-owned wind production.

4. We must make progress toward providing Health care for all Americans. But we must do it without bureaucrats coming between our doctors and our families. We don’t want to lose our coverage when we change jobs. We want choice, portability and control of our health care decisions. And we can only do that by restoring a genuine health care marketplace that empowers consumers, focuses on prevention and rewards wellness rather than sickness.

5. We must win the global economic competition. I will not surrender the new century to India and China: we must compete and we must prevail. Protectionism won’t work. Free and fair trade makes Minnesota a winner, and, in a fair fight, I believe we will win every time. Americans just need a level playing field. That means we must hold the Chinese to their WTO obligations.

We must open markets for our products. And, we must not become an island to ourselves. We will win the global economic competition because we are smarter, more creative, more innovative and economically and politically more free and robust than anywhere else in the world.

I am for laying out an American welcome mat to the best and brightest in the world. If any international student who earns a graduate degree in science, math, engineering and technology wants to stay here and help us grow jobs, I’d staple a green card to their diploma.

6. We must protect our environment; it’s our heritage as Minnesotans and Republicans. My greatest enjoyment is the hours I spend fishing on pristine Lake Ada in North Central Minnesota. It’s where my five year old- who is now my 22 year old- and I learned to enjoy and appreciate the great outdoors of Minnesota. I want my grandkids to enjoy it as much as Jake and I do.

Republicans began our system of national parks and created the EPA. In our environmental stewardship we must, as Reagan said, “plant shade trees we ourselves will never sit under.” And we can do it without sacrificing job growth and understanding that farmers are good stewards of the land they want to pass on to their kids.

7. We will secure our borders. National sovereignty begins and ends with border security. Period.

And finally 8. I am for peace through strength. First, we will never ask the UN for a permission slip to defend our national interests. And toward that end, we must be strong for our cherished ally Israel. And we must make sure that Iran never obtains nuclear weapons.

In closing, I’d like to ask you to think, once again about young Wyatt down here, or your own kids and grandkids.

What kind of country will they grow up in?

One of more liberty, or more government regulation?

A country that stands up for freedom, or backs down when the going gets tough?

A country that respects public service, or turns it over to the most negative among us?

A country that comes together, or divides further and further apart?

What we do over the next 157 days here in Minnesota will push us in one of those directions or the other.

And what we do here matters a lot. John Roberts sat in my office in advance of his confirmation to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He said to me, “If it weren’t for you I wouldn’t be sitting here.” He went on to say his nomination to the DC Circuit Court had been stalled for months. But when you, the people of Minnesota made me Republican Senator Number 51, the nomination came off the shelf and Roberts was on his way to his spot on the highest court in the land.

The Spanish Rabbi Maimomedes once wrote: “Each of us should view ourselves as if the world were held in a balance, and a single act of goodness on our part could tip the balance.”

As you choose to knock on one more door, make one more phone call to a neighbor or friend to seek one more vote—those single acts of goodness could tip the scales of this election…and make America stronger.

A 77 year old Benjamin Franklin described the day when our Constitution was completed and signed in Philadelphia. He said that during debates, he often looked at the Chair where the presiding George Washington sat. The high back of the chair was painted with a sun low to the horizon. He said he could never tell if it was a rising sun or a setting sun. As he saw each member, one by one go up and sign the document on which our nation is built, he became certain that: yes the sun on the seat was rising.

When the faithful people of the Mayflower came ashore, our sun was rising.

At Ticonderoga and Yorktown, our sun was rising.

Our sun was rising when Harriet Bishop, our first Minnesota school teacher, opened a school in the frontier village of St. Paul.

At Gettysburg – where Minnesotans fought so bravely, our sun was rising.

And so it was when Teddy Roosevelt came to Minnesota and said, “Walk softy and carry a big stick.”

And when Lucky Lindy stepped out of his plane on the Paris airfield and said, “Well… I made it.” The sun was rising.

And at Iwo Jima where our recently-departed hero Chuck Lindberg helped raise the flag.

And our sun was rising when Hubert Humphrey called us to “walk forth-rightfully into the bright sunshine of human rights.”

Some may wonder if the American sun is rising or setting today. Not me. And not you.

We believe that hope, confidence and optimism are America’s DNA.

Lincoln looked frankly at his times. He saw a nation violently divided and at war – a war that was going badly. He saw terrible destruction and millions held in slavery.

And yet he chose that moment to call this place, “the last best hope of earth.”

As an article of faith we say: America is still rising. We’re getting stronger every day.

With our prayers, our ideas, our dreams, our hard work and our public service we can pass that hope along.

With the adrenaline of freedom, we too can fly without the plane.

For Wyatt and millions of kids like him, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work to make their world better than ours… by bringing people together to get things done.

Thank you and God bless you all.

I’m told that Senator Coleman’s speech got enthusiastic applause. I hope he continues campaigning on his accomplishments, not on his opponent’s deficiencies. That’s how you get people to run through walls for your re-election.

I thought the section where he talked about Wyatt Rech and the legislation his health condition inspired. That’s more than taking lemons and turning them into lemonade. That’s what Minnesotans, and Americans, have historically done. Cando might be a town in North Dakota but it’s also Minnesota’s attitude.

More than anything else, that’s why re-electing Norm Coleman is important.

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People have been talking about Sen. Obama’s wrapping up the Democratic nomination all day. That’s fair enough. That’s news. With his virtual clinching of the nomination, talk about his ties to Jeremiah Wright have temporarily subsided. The good news for Republicans is that Sen. Obama hasn’t left us with a shortage of things to ridicule him about. Let’s consider what he said in his victory speech Tuesday night:

The other side can label and name-call all they want, but I trust the American people to recognize that it is not surrender to end the war in Iraq so that we can rebuild our military and go after Al Qaida’s leaders.

I trust the American people to understand that it is not weakness, but wisdom to talk not just to our friends, but to our enemies, like Roosevelt did, and Kennedy did, and Truman did.

What on God’s green earth is Sen. Obama yapping about? When did Truman and FDR meet with Hitler or Tojo? I’ve heard about revisionist history before but this is ridiculous.

Only a blithering idiot would try justifying meeting with Ahmedinejad by saying that FDR met with that era’s equivalent of Ahmedinejad. Someone that’s either that intellectually dishonest or that intellectually vacant isn’t qualified to be the leader of the free world.

I’d further say that anyone who thinks that reneging on our commitments to our Iraqi allies is smart policy, especially after they’ve met 12 of the 18 benchmarks, isn’t qualified to be the next commander-in-chief. In fact, I’d say he sounds like the next Jimmy Carter. Thanks to recorded history, we can state with total confidence that Carter’s administration was a disaster on foreign policy.

Frankly, I hope that John McCain picks fights with Sen. Obama on foreign policy. It’s the onl area where the starkest contrast exists. If I was John McCain’s advisor, I’d tell him to draw comparisons between Sen. Obama’s policy of talking with Ahmedinejad and Carter’s calling Ayatollah Khomeini a fellow man of faith. I’d point out that Obama’s policy of talking to genocidal monsters like Ahmedinejad is proof of Obama’s pacifism. I’d further point out that Obama’s pacifism is just as dangerous now as Jimmy Carter’s pacifism was dangerous in 1979-80.

I’d also tell McCain to pound the issue of judicial nominations, especially after Obama’s statement yesterday:

In response, Obama’s campaign said McCain would pick judges who would threaten abortion rights as well as McCain’s own campaign finance reform bill.

“What’s truly elitist is to appoint judges who will protect the powerful and leave ordinary Americans to fend for themselves,” Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

Someone should tell Vietor’s boss that appellate court judges are supposed to rule on the constitutionality of cases, not act as an unaccountable superlegislature. If a group of people need protecting, then it’s Congress’ job to craft legislation that protects people.

Finally, I’d make sure that people knew how radical Barack Obama’s views are. I’d start by asking him if appellate court judges have a greater responsibility to the Constitution than to any person. I’d ask if our commander-in-chief had a greater responsibility to keeping America safe or in making America popular in the eyes of the world.

The truth is that Barack Obama isn’t qualified to be president. His foreign policy is dangerous, which we can’t afford in these troubled times.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Tuesday afternoon, John McCain took Barack Obama to task on the subject of judges. Libby Quaid’s AP article showed how biased they are. Here’s where her bias really showed:

McCain, the eventual GOP nominee, promised to appoint judges in the mold of Roberts and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, saying they would interpret the law strictly to curb the scope of their rulings. While McCain didn’t mention abortion, the far right understands that such nominees would be likely to limit or perhaps overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

It’s interesting that Ms. Quaid immediately assumed that conservatives, aka “the far right”, only want strict constructionist justices like Alito and Roberts so we can finally get rid of Roe v. Wade. I’d love hearing Ms. Quaid explain why someone with a pro choice record like Rudy Giuliani wants strict constructionist judges, too.

McCain’s speech certainly gained him support amongst social conservatives, especially considering how he tied into Obama:

“Senator Obama in particular likes to talk up his background as a lecturer on law, and also as someone who can work across the aisle to get things done,” McCain said. “But…he went right along with the partisan crowd, and was among the 22 senators to vote against this highly qualified nominee.”

This is smart politics for Sen. McCain because he’s higlighting the fact that Sen. Obama has talked the talk but that he hasn’t walked the walk of being a postpartisan.

Obama’s response won’t win him many votes with independants:

In response, Obama’s campaign said McCain would pick judges who would threaten abortion rights as well as McCain’s own campaign finance reform bill.

“What’s truly elitist is to appoint judges who will protect the powerful and leave ordinary Americans to fend for themselves,” Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

Obama’s spokesman sounds like every other liberal. Sen. Obama isn’t a new of Democrat. He’s just another liberal who thinks that judges should be the second legislative branch, specializing in social policy. Here’s another glimpse into Ms. Quaid’s extreme bias:

The Arizona senator said his role models interpret the law strictly, paying attention to what lawmakers intended, as opposed to “activist” judges who, by striking down statutes or court decisions, make laws rather than interpret them. “Activist” is a term conservatives use pejoratively to criticize liberal justices.

What’s galling is that liberals like Ms. Quaid make apparent is their utter lack of respect for the Constitution. The principles outlined in the Constitution are the greatest set of governing principles ever written. That’s of little consequence to extremists like Ms. Quaid. Here’s how Ms. Quaid attempts to spin Kelo v. New London:

In the private property case McCain mentioned, the Supreme Court chose to defer to local officials rather than impose their own will from afar. Justice John Paul Stevens, in his majority opinion, wrote of the court’s “long-standing policy of deference to legislative judgments in this field.”

That isn’t what the liberals on the court did. What they did was rewrite settled law. They chose to expand a state’s or a city’s powers well beyond the Founding Fathers’ intent. They essentially said that property rights don’t exist anymore.

In a post-Kelo world, all that’s required is for a developer to tell a unit of government that they have plans for a new development that’ll bring in lots of new tax revenue to that government’s coffers. That’s hardly what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

I recall seeing a segment on Hannity and Colmes right after the Kelo ruling in which a developer bought land in northern California and was going to develop it. The city used Kelo to take the property away from that developer. The city then sold it to another developer. I don’t think it’s coincidence that that developer was one of the mayor’s cronies.

All things considered, I’d bet that more people prefer strict constructionist judges than activist justices. That’s because they’d rather have legislators legislating instead of having unaccountable justices writing laws.

Let’s hope that Sen. McCain keeps pushing this issue. It’s one of the best arguments for electing John McCain.

As for the AP, they’re making themselves irrelevant because their bias is an affront to thoughtful people.

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George Will has written another masterpiece, this time asking Sen. Obama a set of rather difficult questions, questions that actually require intellectual heft. Here’s the easiest question in the bunch:

You say, “The insurance companies, the drug companies, they’re not going to give up their profits easily when it comes to health care.” Why should they? Who will profit from making those industries unprofitable? When pharmaceutical companies have given up their profits, who will fund pharmaceutical innovations, without which there will be much preventable suffering and death? What other industries should “give up their profits”?

Sen. Obama can’t answer that question because it requires a capitalist answer, something that’d infuriate Sen. Obama’s ardent socialist supporters. This is the only time it’s difficult being a liberal. It’s easy being a liberal if you’re never asked thoughtful questions. It’s immensely difficult when they’re asked why questions. Liberals are used to giving answers to ‘what’ type questions. It’s difficult for liberals to answer ‘why’ questions because that requires logic.

If I’ve learned anything about politicking, it’s that most liberals can’t handle answering why questions because they’re so used to not having to defend their principles and policies. Altogether too often, liberals are asked a what question, which often gets accepted without further questioning.

Here’s a most difficult question for Sen. Obama to answer:

Voting against the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts, you said: Deciding “truly difficult cases” should involve “one’s deepest values, one’s core concerns, one’s broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s empathy.” Is that not essentially how Chief Justice Roger Taney decided the Dred Scott case? Should other factors—say, the language of the constitutional or statutory provision at issue—matter?

Sen. Obama can’t answer that question. If he gave a response, it’d be all nice sounding soundbites which meant nothing.

The more intense the glare of the spotlights shine on Sen. Obama, the more likely it is that he’ll get exposed as a lightweight who isn’t qualified to be president.

I strongly recommend that you read the entire column because it’s one of Mr. Will’s finest works.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative