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This Mike McFadden ad hits Al Franken right between his eyes:

Here’s the transcript of the ad:

I’m Mike McFadden and we need an honest debate about our future. [Graphic: Al Franken voted with President Obama 97% of the time, the most partisan senator in America.] I won’t vote 97% with any president or party. [Graphic: Al Franken is rarely seen in Minnesota.] I’ll work for Minnesota, not Washington, not Hollywood. I’m Mike McFadden and I approve this message. Minnesota just can’t afford an invisible senator with invisible results.

That’s a great ad because it turns Sen. Franken’s strategy against him. Thus far, Sen. Franken has worked hard to look like the no nonsense senator who gets things done.

McFadden turns Franken’s carefully crafted image against Franken by rightly characterizing Sen. Franken as an “invisible senator with invisible results.” Franken can’t point to anything where he’s worked with a Republican to bring people together. That’s why he’s the most partisan senator in the US Senate, which is quite a feat considering the fact that Elizabeth Warren is in the same Senate.

Perhaps Franken has kept his head down because of embarassing things like this:

After talking with a Supreme Court nominee about Perry Mason during a confirmation hearing, you only have 2 choices. Either you keep talking about frivolous things like that, which will lead even ardent supporters to stop taking you seriously, or you put your head down and not say anything to anyone until you’ve been re-elected.

Franken chose the latter option. He’s still keeping his head down, avoiding debates with the hope that he won’t embarass himself during a primetime debate that’s televised statewide.

There’s no disputing the fact that Franken has kept his head down. There’s no dispute, either, that Sen. Franken isn’t the brightest bulb in the DFL’s chandelier. He’s kept his head down because it’s the only way he’s avoided damaging himself politically.

If the real Al Franken appeared, Franken’s charade would be over. He isn’t a serious politician. He’s a lightweight who isn’t qualified to solve the biggest problems facing Minnesota and the United States.

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To conservative political junkies, the Minnesota Poll is seen as political graffiti. The Strib’s Abby Simon wrote this article summarizing the race between Sen. Franken and GOP challenger Mike McFadden. The headline will get all the attention but there’s some startling information that Sen. Franken will like. First, here’s the headline:

Franken gets the backing of 49 percent of likely voters, while McFadden gets 36 percent. Another 11 percent say they have not yet decided.

That part certainly will put a smile on Franken’s face. This part will wipe that smile off his face:

But that lead vanishes in northern Minnesota, where 55 percent prefer McFadden to Franken, who gets a little over one third. The number of undecideds also dwindles to 5 percent. The state’s Iron Range region has become politically volatile in recent elections, with fissures deepening this year over controversial issues like the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mining project that sometimes pit labor against environmentalists.

If that polling information is accurate, then it’s difficult to see Franken winning. If 55% of Iron Rangers support McFadden and those numbers have solidified, then Franken’s in some trouble. If that’s the case, then Franken’s got to outperform DFL norms in other parts of the state.

Last week, Ms. Simons called me to ask why I was supporting Mike McFadden. Here’s the quote she used from our interview:

Gary Gross, a conservative Republican from St. Cloud, says he’s indifferent to McFadden’s business background, but will back him for other reasons.

“At this point we need progrowth policies, economic policies, and Senator Franken hasn’t shown me that he’s interested in those types of things,” said Gross, 58, a self-employed blogger and researcher. “He’s pretty much gone along with the types of policies that have just kind of stuck us in the stagnation we’re in, and that would be my biggest reason for going with Mr. McFadden.”

Honestly, Franken has been a rubberstamp for Harry Reid and President Obama. The other thing about Franken is that he’s never dealt with economic issues.

Over the last 25+ years, Franken has been a mediocre comedian, a mean-spirited talk radio host and a do-as-I’m-told rubberstamp senator. There’s nothing in Sen. Franken’s resume that indicates he knows a thing about the economy.

Sen. Franken thinks that tax-the-rich is an economic plan. So does President Obama, Sen. Reid and Gov. Dayton. Sen. Franken thinks that environmental activists should have veto authority over important economic development projects. So does President Obama, Sen. Reid and Gov. Dayton.

Mike McFadden thinks that people who’ve been mining for more than a century know how to protect the environment while mining raw minerals from the ground. McFadden trusts Rangers because they’ve protected the land they live on for over a century. Most importantly, Mike McFadden knows how important the PolyMet project is to Minnesota’s economic health.

While PolyMet is the poster child for high profile economic development projects, it’s just the best example of a totally different economic philosophy between Mike McFadden, who’s helped create jobs, and Sen. Franken, who’s voted for policies that’ve kept us in this stagnation pattern.

If this race boils down to who’s most qualified to create economic growth, that headline number will disappear quickly.

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The highest profile pipeline project in the nation is the Keystone XL Pipeline project. While Republicans have fought for the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline, that isn’t the only pipeline project being delayed by environmental activists. This article highlights the impact the anti-pipelines activists are having in outstate Minnesota:

Railroads will be the key to winter heat as propane becomes a dicier commodity to secure. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton recommended pre-paying for propane supplies to eliminate the uncertainty of rising prices later this winter.

But that’s not an option for some people in Park Rapids.

“I can’t afford to take the chance,” said Steve Olafson, who owns the Skelgas service in Park Rapids and ended his “pre-buy” program this year. Last year he found his business trying to fill pre-paid orders for $1.54 per gallon at $5 per gallon.

First, this shows how little thought went into Gov. Dayton’s recommendation. Gov. Dayton automatically thought that businesses wouldn’t react to higher prices and losing money. Mr. Olafson, the businessman who would get hurt by price increases, decided he isn’t willing to lose money on the pre-paid plan. That’s why he eliminated that as an option for customers.

Gov. Dayton’s ‘plan’ was more of a gimmick aimed at hiding a problem create by his political allies in the environmental movement. Environmental activists have waged war on building pipelines, whether it’s the Keystone XL Pipeline or the proposed pipeline from the Bakken to refineries in Superior, WI.

The solution is to build the pipelines. The minute that those pipelines are built, railcar availability will improve dramatically. Those things won’t happen, though, if Gov. Dayton is Minnesota’s governor. The environmental activist wing of the DFL won’t tolerate it.

The railroad capacity issue won’t change until Minnesota has a governor who will stand up to the environmental activists. That will trigger hardships for tons of Minnesotans, including farmers who can’t get their crops to market, homeowners who will get hit with paying way too much for propane and Iron Rangers who can’t get their ore to the steelmakers in a timely fashion.

The DFL insists that they’re fighting for the little guy. That’s BS. I’ve just highlighted how they’re shafting farmers and laborers, the F and L in DFL. The truth is that the DFL is fighting tirelessly for the environmental activist wing of their party.

The DFL is fighting tirelessly for the environmental activists because that’s the dominant wing of their party. Most of the leaders of that wing of the party are plutocrats and trust fund babies who don’t give a damn about Iron Rangers and farmers.

But I digress.

The DFL created this rail capacity crisis. Now they’re pretending to look for the solution, with pretending being the key word. If the DFL was truly interested in solving this crisis, they’d start building pipelines.

Unfortunately, the DFL won’t do that because they won’t stand up to the environmental activist wing of their party.

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Create a crisis, then criticize others when the crisis you created hurts a key constituency. That’s a trusty tactic frequently employed by the DFL. It’s the tactic of choice Amy Klobuchar used during her testimony about railroad delays hurting the Iron Range:

“Cliffs Natural Resources’ mines in Minnesota are among a number of industrial facilities that have been significantly impacted by the national logjam of rail services in the United States.

“These conditions create substantial and irreversible negative consequences for iron ore operations because there is a finite shipping season on the Great Lakes and our operations seek to time shipments as to ensure that our steelmaking customers’ blast furnaces at the lower end of the lakes have adequate iron stocks to continue operation during the closure of the locks at Sault St. Marie,” a company statement said.

Klobuchar spoke on the issue to the Senate Conference Committee.

“Rail service disruptions are forcing mines on the Iron Range to stockpile significant quantities of iron ore,” Klobuchar said. “These disruptions hurt business and threaten jobs not only at these operations, but also at the steel mills that rely on taconite pellets to feed the furnaces.”

St. Amy of Hennepin County would have more credibility on this issue if she didn’t keep voting against the building of additional pipelines, especially the Keystone XL Pipeline. Starting with President Obama’s rejection of building the Keystone XL Pipeline, which should’ve been approved years ago, oil companies were forced to find alternative ways of getting their product to market.

When Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in 2010, they voted to force President Obama to approve construction of the pipeline. Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Franken voted against it. In fact, it’s been put to a vote multiple times, with Sens. Franken and Klobuchar voting against the pipeline’s construction each time.

Now that trains are filled with oil cars, rail capacity is limited. Mining isn’t the only industry getting hurt by the railroad capacity shortage. Agriculture is getting hurt, too. Meanwhile, Democrats keep voting against building the Keystone XL Pipeline while complaining about the shortage they’ve created with their votes.

It’s time people started voting against these Democrats. They’ve done everything possible to prevent the building of the infrastructure needed to take advantage of the oil and natural gas boom. The Democrats’ unwillingness to do what’s right is based on their unwillingness to tell their environmental activist allies to take a hike.

The Democrats’ position is clear. Sen. Klobuchar’s position is clear. Sen. Franken’s position is clear. They’ve sided with the obstructionist in the environmental movement. They’ve refused to build the infrastructure that’s needed to move minerals and grains to market.

Building more pipelines would give us the infrastructure that’s required to take advantage of this great opportunity. Environmental activists and their allies in the Democratic Party are causing these problems. If the American people want to see prosperity again, they’ll have to flush this type of thinking from the political system.

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Stuart Rothenberg’s latest article predicts a GOP majority in the Senate:

While the current Rothenberg Political Report ratings don’t show it, I am now expecting a substantial Republican Senate wave in November, with a net gain of at least seven seats. But I wouldn’t be shocked by a larger gain.

Rothenberg then adds this:

But I’ve witnessed 17 general elections from my perch in D.C., including eight midterms, and I sometimes develop a sense of where the cycle is going before survey data lead me there. Since my expectations constitute little more than an informed guess, I generally keep them to myself.

This year is different. I am sharing them with you.

Then he explains why he’s expecting a big Republican wave in the Senate:

After looking at recent national, state and congressional survey data and comparing this election cycle to previous ones, I am currently expecting a sizable Republican Senate wave.

The combination of an unpopular president and a midterm election (indeed, a second midterm) can produce disastrous results for the president’s party. President Barack Obama’s numbers could rally, of course, and that would change my expectations in the blink of an eye. But as long as his approval sits in the 40-percent range (the August NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll), the signs are ominous for Democrats.

The generic congressional ballot currently is about even among registered voters. If that doesn’t change, it is likely to translate into a Republican advantage of a few points among “likely” voters. And recent elections when Republicans have even a small advantage have resulted in significant GOP years.

There’s a dozen political lifetimes between now and Election Day so things can change. Still, Stuart Rothenberg has been doing these predictions for decades. I’m willing to trust him because his explanation makes sense.

Predictably, Rothenberg says that Republicans will flip West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana. Democrats aren’t even competitive in those seats. Arkansas and Louisiana are both uphill climbs for Democrats because those states are increasingly Republican states. North Carolina is still close but that’s only because of North Carolina’s large African-American population.

If those states flip, that’s the 6 seats Republicans need for the majority. The bad news for Democrats is that those aren’t the only states that are competitive. Terry Lynn Land is virtually tied with Gary Peters in Michigan. Joni Ernst leads Bruce Braley in Iowa, though usually by less than a point. New Hampshire is suddenly competitive. In Minnesota, Al Franken is vulnerable because he’s been a do-nothing senator, with the exception of rubberstamping President Obama’s and Sen. Reid’s agenda. That’s before talking about how competitive Colorado and Alaska are.

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Al Franken and Sherrod Brown are just 2 of the Democratic senators that want to limit political speech. Truthfully, all 55 senators that caucus with the Democrats think that political speech should be regulated by the Senate. Here’s Sen. Brown’s latest attack on the First Amendment:

Dear ,

Where to start with Citizens United?

It’s brought unprecedented outside spending into our elections. It’s undercut the public’s faith in their elected officials. And it’s cowed Congress by putting a target on the back of any member who tries to stand up to special interests — like they did with me, when special interests spent $40 million against me in 2012.

Corporations are not people. The Declaration of Independence doesn’t say that “all corporations are created equal.” And there’s no good reason to pretend that corporations have the same rights as real, flesh-and-blood people.

But that’s exactly what Citizens United does, and in the process, it allows corporate cash to flood our elections and distract voters from issues that really matter.

Citizens United has done major damage to our democracy. Today, we start undoing that damage. Add your name to mine and demand an end to Citizens United.

Thank you.

Sherrod

First, I’d love hearing Sen. Brown, or Sen. Franken for that matter, explain where in the text of the First Amendment it says that corporations don’t have the right of political speech. Here’s the text of the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The Founding Fathers meant for there to be robust debate of the issues. Notice, too, that they mentioned that “people”, not individuals, should have the right to peaceably assemble or petition their government “for a redress of grievances.”

Further, I’d love hearing Sens. Franken and Brown explain how a union is a group of individuals but a corporation isn’t a group of individuals.

The truth is that the Democrats’ attempt to amend the Constitution is all about election year politicking. The Democrats should be forced to explain why pro-Democrat political organizations should have the right to participate in the political process but pro-Republican organizations shouldn’t be allowed to participate in the political process. Finally, I’d love hearing Sens. Franken and Brown explain why incumbents should have the right to regulate anti-incumbent political speech. Why should I think incumbents are honest arbiters of what is and isn’t acceptable political speech?

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Based on his article, I’d say that Josh Kraushaar got a glimpse at the real Al Franken:

ST. PAUL, Minn.—I flew to Minnesota with high hopes of talking with Sen. Al Franken, and his staff said I’d get my chance during a “media availability” following a speech on the 50th anniversary of the Job Corps. But when I arrived at the Hubert H. Humphrey Job Corps Center, I discovered I was the only reporter there, and Franken’s deputy communications director—one of three of his staffers working the event—said that the senator was in a rush. Could I walk and talk on the way out?

So as we walked through the gymnasium outside toward the campus’s small parking lot, I asked Franken a perfunctory question about his work with job-training programs, and a minute later, as we approached his car, how he rated President Obama’s handling of the economy. “I can’t do that briefly, we have to run,” Franken said.

Then he got in his car and left.

Welcome to Minnesota’s junior senator, Josh. Now multiply that by 6 and you’ll know what it’s like to be an average Minnesotan. If you aren’t at a DFL convention or a carefully picked union hall, you won’t find Sen. Franken. He’s Minnesota’s version of the Invisible Man.

When I asked about the political mood in Minnesota, Franken said, “I’m not sure if people are completely pinpoint exactly why [they're upset at Washington], and that’s going to be part of the campaign. We can do better. Even though we have a lower unemployment rate than the rest of the country, people are still feeling squeezed in the middle class, and so many of the new jobs aren’t high-paying jobs.” Franken said he had some “disagreements” with President Obama over how to best approach the economy, but he praised the president’s stimulus and proposed 2011 jobs package. And he emphasized he was focused on “middle-class jobs” and infrastructure spending, while also supporting unnamed “smart cuts.”

What’s interesting is Sen. Franken’s statement that he’s “had some ‘disagreements’ with President Obama. Let’s scrutinize that against this:

But unlike other Democratic senators in swing states, Franken hasn’t done anything, even symbolically, to distance himself from the unpopular president. A National Journal vote analysis conducted this month showed that, in the past two years, Franken has cast only two votes against party leadership out of 161—a 99 percent record that beats Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

It takes some doing to out-progressive Elizabeth Warren but Franken’s done that. He’s crazier than she is. Wow.

What’s apparent is that Franken doesn’t want to talk about his voting for the ACA, which is a disaster both in Minnesota and nationally. The Affordable Care Act wouldn’t have gotten to a final vote if Sen. Franken had the cajones to say that the ACA would make Minnesota’s health care worse and more expensive.

Sen. Franken won’t grant extensive interviews with real journalists like Josh Kraushaar. That’s because he isn’t too bright on the issues. Just watch Franken question Sonia Sotomayor at her confirmation hearing:

What’s frightening is that that’s the DFL’s definition of a serious senator. With performances like that, it isn’t surprising that DFL operatives are keeping Franken under wraps as much as possible. The last thing Franken’s consultants can afford is for the ‘real Franken’ to reappear.

Mike McFadden is right about this:

His toughest jibe against Franken? “Al Franken had a background in entertainment. I don’t think that’s a background that’s allowed him to be effective,” McFadden said. “I think he has no idea how the economy works. He’s voted part and parcel with the president, and has overseen the slowest rebound from a recession in the history of the United States.”

Al Franken’s history is simple. First, he was a mediocre comedian. Next, he was a mean-spirited talk radio host. Then he graduated to being Harry Reid’s puppet. There’s nothing in that history that says he understands that the Affordable Care Act has created 49ers and 29ers. There’s nothing in Franken’s history that says he’s got a clue how much the EPA’s regulations have crippled job creation.

In short, it’s pretty understandable that he’s being kept under wraps. If Franken were asked by a competent journalist about his economic philosophy, he’d quickly be reduced to platitudes and cliches. He’d quickly be exposed as the empty suit that he is.

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This must be ‘Bad Breath Week’ for Democrats. This week’s Onions and Orchids is filled with onions for the Democrats. Here’s another example:

Onions: To the 3 Stooges — Governor Dayton, Senator Franken and Congressman Nolan. Will the lies never stop. These 3 will do everything they can to destroy the mining industry in Minnesota. Their Sierra Club masters will see to that and pump all the money they can into their campaigns. The sad part is that your union leadership is supporting this effort under the cover of being a Democrat. Remember that a socialist is not a Democrat and a real liberal embraces all ideas and views. All you young miners should be watching the news. Your leadership has betrayed you and the future of your families. If any of these 3 are re-elected, plan on retiring from Walmart. Whether you have a job or not, your union elite will still get a check, expense account and a car thanks to you. Also, I hope you keep an eye on the Highway 53 route; there are a few surprises coming. (Submitted by a Real Democrat and Retired Miner.)

The question miners have to ask themselves is whether they can afford another term from Larry, Moe and Curly. The median household income for Eveleth is $35,500. That’s $23,626 less than the statewide average.

The union leadership hasn’t pressured the Three Stooges into going to bat for the miners. You can’t be pro-union if you don’t fight for union jobs. Supporting the right to organize is what these politicians specialize in. That isn’t what these Rangers need, though. They need high-paying union jobs.

There’s no question that Gov. Dayton, Sen. Franken and Rep. Nolan will fight for the environmental activists. That’s what they’ve consistently done throughout their political careers.

The decision facing Rangers is straightforward. A vote for Larry, Moe and Curly is a vote to end mining. Unlike the Three Stooges’ act, this isn’t a laughing matter.

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This post on the Hill’s campaign blog asks whether Al Franken is vulnerable. Here’s Larry Jacobs’ opinion:

“Al Franken’s gonna have a fight on his hands. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” said Larry Jacobs, a political scientist at the University of Minnesota and director of its Center for the Study of Politics and Governance.

The Democrats’ most frequent defense of Franken is that he’s “kept his head down and worked hard.” That’s fine if your expectations are to edge out potted plants in terms of competence and productivity but it’s pathetic if you’re hoping for a leader like Minnesota used to expect from its senators.

“I think people had a lot of doubts about whether he was going to be a serious senator or not,” said a Minnesota Democratic operative, adding there is “no doubt about that now.”

This DFL operative must not have watched Franken during his questioning of Sonia Sotomayor during her confirmation hearing:

This supposed serious senator focused on his love of a TV show. Perry Mason was a great show but it doesn’t belong in a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing. Then again, Franken isn’t a great fit on the Senate Judiciary Committee because a) he isn’t a lawyer and b) he isn’t that bright.

He’s capable of reading things from a script but anything more than that is a struggle.

“For a guy who made a living with improvisation and speaking his mind at will, it’s almost unbelievable how on message he’s been,” Jacobs said.

First, Al Franken wasn’t that funny as a comedian. Second, Franken was one of the nastiest, most mean-spirited talk show hosts in Air America’s history. He’s exceptionally mean-spirited and hyperpartisan, which explains why he’s voted in lockstep with President Obama and Sen. Reid. He’s voted against building the Keystone XL Pipeline, which is hurting farmers:

“The Keystone pipeline needs to be built, I am here to tell you, and it should have been built last year, not delayed another several months as we are seeing under this current Administration,” Westrom said. Without the pipeline, oil producers are using an increasing number of railcars to transport their supply, which is squeezing out farmers and propane suppliers.

“[Grain] elevators from the south end of the 7th District to the north tell me they are still going to have last year’s crop when this year’s crop comes in, and they can’t get enough extra cars to ship it out,” Westrom continued. “That’s unacceptable. We need to build energy and infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline. That’s something I will advocate for.”

It’s rather nasty that Franken fought for environmental activists instead of for farmers. What is Franken’s rationale for that? Is he that beholden to the anti-energy environmental activists?

That isn’t what a man of the people does, though it’s what a man of the special interests does. From all accounts, Franken has done a decent job with constituent services. Then again, I haven’t heard of an elected official in recent Minnesota history who hasn’t done a decent job with that.

Franken, then, shouldn’t be judged on constituent services. Rather, he should be judged on whether he’s voted for things that’ve made Minnesotans’ lives better. Obamacare certainly didn’t make life better for Minnesotans. It took a pretty good health care system and turned it into a one-size-fits-all program where a federal bureaucrat tells Minnesotans what they must do.

Thank Sen. Franken, too, for Minnesota spending $160,000,000 on a broken website, too.

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One of my favorite reads each week is the Mesabi Daily News’ Onions and Orchids column. Here’s the highlight of this week’s edition:

Onions: Smelly ones to the same old same old by our Minnesota union executives endorsing Al Franken and the new Democratic Party. The Steelworkers, Carpenters, AFL-CIO, AFSCME … once again bow down to the party they send our dues to. The new Democratic Party would not endorse mining in northeast Minnesota a few monthThe s ago when they attempted to construct a platform to run on. Franken has done nothing for the real working middle class at all. He votes against things like Keystone Pipeline and has not strongly supported mining. He supported the minimum wage increase but that in reality does nothing to the working middle class being more of a political move than a real help to anyone. Franken has gladly gone along with everything Obama has pushed for, including Obamacare. Unions are supposed to support its members and the work they are trained to do. Our unions once again let us down supporting a candidate like Franken who is part of the elite left against mining, logging, fossil fuels, etc. He has no real clue about what a middle class family endures watching our median income drop by almost 18 percent over the past six years. Think on your own and vote your conscious. Our way of life depends upon it.

A few days ago, Ken Martin said that Republicans would forget about the Range the day after the election. I wrote this post to highlight the fact that the DFL has forgotten the Range the day after each of the last 5 cycles. The closest Al Franken’s gotten to supporting miners is telling them he’s pro-union.

That’s BS.

You can’t be pro-egg and anti-chicken. You can’t be pro-jobs and anti-businessman. In this instance, you can’t be pro-mining and pro-environmental activist. That’s who Al Franken is.

The writer is right. The “new Democratic Party” didn’t endorse mining at this year’s state convention. That necessarily means they’re anti-mining. Saying that you’re for mining “if it can be done in an environmentally safe way” is code for saying ‘I don’t have the spine to tell Conservation Minnesota and the Sierra Club to take a hike.’

That’s Al Franken. He’s spineless. He’d rather have environmental activists send him campaign contributions than fighting for good paying mining jobs. That isn’t opinion. It’s what he’s done the last 5+ years.

As for the “new Democratic Party”, they’re owned by Alida Messinger, Conservation Minnesota and the environmental activists living comfortably in the Twin Cities. They don’t just run the DFL. They own the DFL. They’re the people who’ve antagonized the blue collar workers of the Range.

Check back later this weekend for more on the “new Democratic Party.”

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