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It either takes a friend or a biased partisan to defend Al Franken’s behavior. Wy Spano, a longtime DFL operative and liberal crank, might be both. His op-ed offers an insight into the DFL mindset about Franken. It isn’t pretty.

First, Spano said that “Franken got hosed.” Then he admitted that “the women of the Senate were complicit in the hosing.” Wy, they weren’t complicit in the hosing. They threw Franken under the bus because they put their presidential ambitions ahead of everything else. These were Democrats throwing Franken out. Further, they admitted that they planned the attack. If Spano is upset, he should tar and feather Democrats. Criticizing Democrats without calling them Democrats is the coward’s option.

Earlier in the op-ed, Spano said “Because I think Al Franken got a bum rap and was driven from office by members of his own party. We had the most effective Democratic senator on women’s issues and on helping to elect Democrats, and then we didn’t.” Later, he said that Franken “led on women’s issues.”

My only question about that last statement would be whether Franken led on women’s issues like Ted Kennedy, Harvey Weinstein and Bill Clinton led on women’s issues. What Spano doesn’t seem to understand is that Franken was a pervert through and through.

This statement jumps out:

Franken’s military escort on the tour said he was with Franken every minute and didn’t see what she described.

I question whether this statement is accurate. First, I wonder if Spano knows the name of Franken’s military escort. If he doesn’t, I’d question whether Spano is accepting Franken’s word or whether Spano confirmed it independently. I’m betting it’s the former. That isn’t true verification. That’s accepting gossip.

Then there’s this:

What about the other seven accusers? We’ll never know if their experience with Franken rose to the level of harassment. Individual women became victim, prosecutor, judge and jury.

It’s true these cases never got tried in court. That isn’t the accusers’ fault. That’s the fault of female Democrat senators with political ambitions. Spano is a slick operator in that he skillfully directs the accusations at Franken’s accusers even though they’ve done nothing wrong.

In Lindsay Menz’s case, was she supposed to let Franken put his hand on her ass? Finally, does this look like a guy telling the truth?

Thanks to a little research help from some loyal readers of LFR and thanks to some clever thinking of my own, I’ve figured out a way to turn the tables on Gov. Dayton and Sen. Bakk. First, Sen. Fischbach needs to get sworn in as lieutenant governor the minute Tina Smith is sworn in as Minnesota’s U.S. senator. Next, Fischbach needs to resign as lieutenant governor by the end of this week.

Thanks to some research from a loyal reader of LFR, I’m able to publish as fact that state statute 204D.19 subd. 2 says “The special election shall be held as soon as possible, consistent with the notice requirements of section 204D.22, subdivision 3(The county auditor of a county in which a special election is to be held shall direct the clerk of each municipality in which the election is to be held to post a notice of the special primary and special election at least seven days before the special primary and at least 14 days before the special election in the manner provided in sections 204B.33 and 204B.34.), but in no event more than 35 days after the issuance of the writ. A special election must not be held during the four days before or the four days after a holiday as defined in section 645.44, subdivision 5 (Washington’s and Lincoln’s Birthday(2/19/18), the third Monday in February).”

Notice that the statute says the special election shall be held as soon as possible. It doesn’t say that it should be held as soon as possible. The instant that Fischbach resigns as senator, Gov. Dayton is obligated to call a special election “as soon as possible.”

At that point, the Senate will have 33 Republicans and 32 Democrats. It will stay that way until the special election is held to replace Sen. Schoen in the Senate. If Karla Bigham wins, the Senate is tied with 33 Republicans and 33 Democrats. It’s worth noting that this is the best the DFL can hope for. Things would get much worse for the DFL if Denny McNamara wins. That would give Republicans a 34-32 majority. When the special election is held to replace Sen. Fischbach, Republicans will win that seat handily. At that point, Republicans would either have a 35-32 majority or a 34-33 majority.

Either way, Republicans would have a majority going into the start of the 2018 session. At that point, Republicans could elect any DFL senator to be the President of the Senate. Presumably, Republicans could elect the most vulnerable DFL senator as the President of the Senate. At that point, the DFL wouldn’t have a say in the matter. There’s nothing to prevent Republicans from naming someone like Matt Little to be the President of the Senate. That means Little would assume the responsibility of being Gov. Dayton’s lieutenant governor. Remember that this used to be Dave Thompson’s seat. I’d think that’d give Republicans a fantastic opportunity of flipping that seat.

The DFL is intent on flipping the Senate from a Republican majority to a DFL majority. They’ve made that perfectly clear. Why shouldn’t Republicans use this opportunity to their political advantage? That was the DFL’s intent. If Republicans beat the DFL at their own game, that’s the DFL’s fault.

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This afternoon, Sen. Orrin Hatch announced that he’ll retire from the Senate rather than seek re-election. This opens the door for former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to run for Sen. Hatch’s seat.

I can’t help but contrast the difference between Sen. Hatch and Sen. Franken, who resigned in disgrace earlier this afternoon. Sen. Franken was a hot-headed malcontent who didn’t get along with others. Sen. Hatch, though, was well-liked by all of his colleagues, including Democrats. Sen. Hatch figured out a way to work with liberals like Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Ted Kennedy. By comparison, there isn’t a Minnesotan who could picture Sen. Franken working with Ted Cruz or Mike Lee.

In typical Hatch fashion, Sen. Hatch graciously exited the stage, saying “every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves. I may be leaving the Senate, but the next chapter in my public service is just beginning.” By comparison, Sen. Franken was as defiant as he was disgusting, even suggesting that he’d been unfairly accused. With all due respect, Sen. Franken, if you were innocent, why didn’t you fight to clear your name? Perhaps, it’s because you weren’t that innocent?

Here’s Sen. Hatch’s gracious retirement speech:

As I said earlier, that opens the door for Mitt Romney to run for Sen. Hatch’s seat:

Mr. Hatch’s decision clears the way for the political resurrection of Mr. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee who is now a Utah resident and is popular in the Mormon-heavy state. Mr. Romney has told associates he would likely run if Mr. Hatch retires. “It would be difficult to defeat Mitt Romney if he were running here,” said David Hansen, a longtime Utah Republican strategist and chairman of Mr. Hatch’s political organization.

After the 2018 elections and Congress is wrapping up business, politicians from both sides of the aisle will praise Orrin Hatch. At the end of business today and Al Franken leaves the Senate, few people will remember him a month from now.

The DFL has made it clear that they hope to retake the majority in the Minnesota Senate by ‘capitalizing’ on Sen. Franken’s impending resignation. The bad news for them is that their too-clever-by-half strategy is destined for failure.

The Minnesota Constitution states quite clearly that the president of the Senate will replace the lieutenant governor if there’s a vacancy. In this instance, Sen. Fischbach would replace Tina Smith as lieutenant governor. Here’s where things start getting complicated. The minute Sen. Fischbach becomes Lt. Gov. Fischbach, Gov. Dayton has to call a special election to fill Fischbach’s seat. The minute that special election is announced, Fischbach has announced that she’ll resign as Lt. Gov., then file to run for the seat she still holds.

Thanks to Sen. Franken’s disgusting behavior, the next step potentially gets messy. With a 33-33 tie in the Senate, the DFL has made clear that they wouldn’t vote for a DFL politician to become the Senate President. Their goal is to become the majority party. Period. They won’t achieve that goal. Period. That’s my prediction and I’d bet the proverbial ranch on it. The DFL doesn’t stand a snowball’s prayer in hell of flipping Sen. Fischbach’s seat:

But their hopes for a majority would then depend on winning a special election for Fischbach’s seat — something Republicans scoff at. She won the conservative district by more than 37 percentage points in 2016. And Fischbach told KSTP-TV she’ll run for her seat in another special election if she’s forced out of office.

This would become moot, however, if Republicans flip Sen. Schoen’s seat in a Feb. 12 special election:

The Feb. 12 special election in Cottage Grove is to replace Democratic Sen. Dan Schoen, who resigned last month after sexual harassment allegations. The district has been in Democratic hands for more than a decade, but Republicans have made inroads in the area and recruited a longtime former House member to run.

That longtime House member is Denny McNamara and he’s a great fit for the district. Republicans should get behind McNamara for a couple reasons. First, flipping that seat guarantees that Republicans maintain their majority in the Senate at least until 2020. Further, while McNamara isn’t a hardline conservative, he’s a reliable vote on the important issues. I’ll take a reliable majority over a purist minority 100% of the time. In fact, that isn’t a difficult decision. But I digress.

If Republicans suddenly gain a 34-32 majority, Gov. Dayton’s and Sen. Bakk’s plans immediately get thwarted. There’s nothing I’d enjoy better than seeing their too-clever-by-half strategy fail miserably. Any Republican that doesn’t appreciate that needs to rethink their priorities and motivations.

In November, let’s topple the DFL’s sick plans by defeating Tina Smith, flipping Tim Walz’s seat, replacing Gov. Dayton with a Republican, re-electing Jason Lewis and maintaining a Republican majority in the Minnesota House.

If Bill Hanna’s op-ed makes anything clear, it’s that Tina Smith likely will replace Al Franken as a shill for anti-mining environmentalists. Hanna wrote “Prettner-Solon was a strong advocate for issues so vital to the Range. Smith was a great big question mark. And Smith did little to allay my concerns during that initial meeting. She admitted to not knowing much about the proposed PolyMet and Twin Metals copper/nickel mining projects and had yet to even talk or meet with officials of those two companies. But she would be doing so, she assured. Not exactly a vote of confidence for a new era of mining on the Range. Smith has since been the dutiful lieutenant governor in line with Dayton on issues, while doing what she does best, raising political funds. So on mining, Smith was in step with Dayton, eventually supporting PolyMet in the footprint of the former LTV Mining plant near Aurora and Hoyt Lakes while giving a thumbs-down to the desired Twin Metals underground copper/nickel/strategic metals venture near Ely and Babbitt.”

It’s clear that Gov. Dayton’s intention in picking Smith was to stay away from picking a Range DFLer like Tony Sertich. Sertich would’ve been qualified (from a DFL policy standpoint) with the exception that he might’ve been too pro-mining for the Metrocrats’ liking.

But the Range needs a modern-day mining/logging/land use promoter in the Senate, not a reluctant follower or, worse yet, a reliable “no” vote. Smith connects well with Twin Cities Progressives who show off their penmanship when writing checks for liberal causes. She will definitely do the same on a national level.

But Progressives don’t like mining, even though they relish their computers, vehicles, medical devices and cell phones that are only made possible by minerals extracted from below the ground. It’s all so odd; don’t you dare mine, but do make sure we’ve got plenty of tools to connect with the Internet. And you better not mess with my Facebook Page abilities. It’s like believing milk just magically appears in stores in cartons, without the aid of cows.

Come Election Day, 2018, the Iron Range, as well as the rest of the Eighth District, Sixth District and Second District, better turn out in huge numbers. Further, they’d better vote for Karin Housley. Unlike Smith, Housley will represent the entire state.

She won’t pay lip service to the Range. She’s already speaking out in favor of the Range:

Compare that with this blather from Tina Smith:

It’s clear that Smith isn’t interested in the Iron Range or the construction industries. Smith is for these unions except when they want to mine ore, precious metals or want to build pipelines. When they want that, Smith is a less-than-enthusiastic supporter of those unions.

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Minnesota’s story of the year isn’t difficult to find. It’s Al Franken’s resignation from the Senate. Pervy Al, as Harold Hamilton likes to call him, finally showed that he’s a total jerk. Thanks to Leeann Tweeden’s bravery, Franken’s career crashed as part of this year’s #MeToo movement.

The initial reaction was typified by Amy Klobuchar and Chuck Schumer. They both said that Sen. Franken should subject himself to a toothless investigation from the Senate Ethics Committee. The rules of the Ethics Committee are toothless because they’re written by the politicians they’re meant to protect. They do just enough to whitewash the situation without actually holding the corrupt politician accountable for his/her actions. Those rules also make sure that politicians can’t be punished for things they did before they were elected.

How convenient. Pervy Al groped Ms. Tweeden before getting elected:

What type of pervert does that to a woman? Better yet, what woman not named Hillary Clinton, lets her husband do something like that without divorcing him? The next stage of the Franken saga happened when other women stepped forward and spoke about Franken’s disgusting behavior. One of them, Lindsay Menz, accused him of grabbing her buttocks at the Minnesota State Fair.

Yet another stage in the Franken saga came when Democrats criticized Ms. Tweeden, essentially deploying the ‘she asked for it’ defense:

In response to the compromising photo of U.S. Sen. Al Franken, internet-aware readers can become a bit more informed about Franken’s ‘victim’ by Googling her and clicking on ‘images.’

At times, Democrats tried telling Americans that they were virtuous because they maintained a zero-tolerance policy towards perverts. Somewhere far outside the spotlight, Bill Clinton was heard laughing. Of course, Democrats called for Franken’s resignation after the eighth woman stepped forward. (Nothing says zero tolerance like waiting until the eighth victim steps forward.) People understood what was happening. Franken was forced to resign.

Good riddance.

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In his farewell speech to the US Senate, Sen. Franken said that as “I leave the Senate, I have to admit that it feels like we’re losing the war for truth. Maybe it’s already lost. If that’s what happens, then we have lost the ability to have the kinds of arguments that help build consensus.”

Later in that speech, Sen. Franken said “Often, the ‘debate’ here in Washington can sometimes seem arcane and tough to understand. Other times—especially in recent years—it can be so bitter that it doesn’t even feel like we’re trying to resolve anything, just venting our spleens at each other. I get that. I get why people want us to stop arguing and start, well, doing stuff. But since I am leaving the Senate, I thought I would take a big risk and say a few words in favor of arguments.”

What BS. Literally the day after all Democrats in the House and Senate voted against the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, Sen. Franken is attempting to justify the Democrats’ refusal to cooperate with Republicans in cutting people’s taxes. This is a Democrat difficulty. It isn’t just Sen. Franken who has difficulty working with Republicans. So-called moderate Democrats like Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp and Jon Tester made initial ‘friendly noises’ before voting like Elizabeth Warren.

It used to be said that the US Senate was the “greatest deliberative body in the world.” It isn’t that anymore. The definition of argument is “an oral disagreement; verbal opposition; contention; altercation.” Meanwhile, the definition of deliberation is “careful consideration before decision.”

With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Democrats immediately opposed the legislation before the first page was written. That’s the opposite of deliberation. There’s nothing deliberative about that. That fits the definition of argument more than it fits the definition of deliberation.

Here’s Sen. Franken’s final speech on the Senate floor:

There isn’t any proof that Sen. Franken tried identifying the truth. That’s why it’s one of the first casualties upon entering Washington, DC. Rather than lamenting the death of the truth, Democrats should try employing it more consistently.

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This morning, I received an email from Karin Housley announcing that she’s running for the seat that Sen. Franken currently occupies. Ms. Housley’s email says “Today I am writing to you to announce I am running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Al Franken, and I am looking for your endorsement. Growing up in a working class neighborhood in South St. Paul, I met my husband Phil, and we got married after high school. We’ve been so lucky to have four fun kids, a son-in-law and two grandsons. It has been an honor to serve in the Minnesota State Senate since 2012. I’ve fought hard for our senior citizens, our kids’ education and the unborn. I worked tirelessly writing, supporting and passing bills to help our small businesses. I fought to keep your hard-earned dollars in your own pocket. And, I’ve called on government to be transparent and accountable. Please visit my website housleyforsenate.com to learn more, join the team or contribute. I would love to represent you and be a New Voice for Minnesota in the United States Senate. I’ll bring this same Minnesota work ethic to DC and I’ll work hard, play fair, and do the right thing.”

Mrs. Housley’s opening campaign ad is impressive because it’s positive:

When elder care facilities whistleblowers reported that complaints of abuse were getting thrown in the trash, Karin Housley called attention to the problem:

Last week Sen. Karin Housley, chairwoman of the Senate Aging and Long-Term Care Policy Committee, and two other lawmakers called for an investigation into management practices at the Health Department after receiving reports of bullying at the agency.

Tina Smith was part of the administration that turned a blind eye towards the abuse happening at elder care facilities. Now she’s pretending to care about this issue? Give me a break. Here’s what Smith ignored:

In interviews with the Star Tribune, employees described an office so overwhelmed by backlogged cases that workers dumped dozens of maltreatment complaints into recycling bins without reading them. Others said unread complaint forms piled up into stacks 2 feet high and went unexamined for months.

At one point, employees said, they were ordered to stop making phone calls to elderly victims and other individuals who reported nursing home abuse because it was too time-consuming. But that only angered families, hindered investigations and subverted office morale, they said.

It’s safe to say that Gov. Dayton wouldn’t pay attention to this sort of thing. He’s had a history of not knowing what’s happening within his government. He didn’t know the tax bill he and Tina negotiated had a sales tax on repairing farm equipment. Gov. Dayton and Tina didn’t know that the Vikings Stadium bill had a provision in it for personal seat licenses.

Why would we now think that Tina Smith paid attention to utter dysfunction at elder care facilities? We don’t need a career politician in DC. We’ve already got too many of those parasites there now. That’s why DC is so dysfunctional. We need someone who has a history of accomplishment in the private sector. That’s Karin Housley, not Tina Smith.

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Lately, Sen. Schumer has made a habit of saying that Republicans will rue the day the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passes. It isn’t that he actually believes this. It’s that he’s trying to spin a major loss for Senate Democrats into a smaller loss. Seriously, only Bernie Sanders is stupid enough to think that the bill won’t create jobs and get the economy running better.

Sen. Schumer issued a statement that said “Under this bill, the working class, middle class and upper middle class get skewered, while the rich and wealthy corporations make out like bandits. It is just the opposite of what America needs — and Republicans will rue the day they pass this.”

It’s important to remember that that’s coming from a man who tried protecting Sen. Franken by recommending a do-nothing ethics committee investigation. Anyone that’s willing to protect a pervert like Franken isn’t a person whose opinion I’d value. Marco Rubio, a person whose political instincts I value, though not always his policies, has changed his vote from no to yes on the bill.

Implicit in Schumer’s statement is Sen. Schumer’s admission that the bill will pass. That’s a victory for Republicans and the American people. Since President Trump was elected, the economy has surged. GDP is higher. Consumer confidence is soaring. Unemployment is at a 17-year low. Regulations that’ve been cut by this Congress and this administration have taken government’s boot off the economy’s throat. People’s 401(k)s are getting richer.

For all of Sen. Schumer’s whining, people are better off now than they were a year ago. Despite President Obama’s BS, the economy isn’t stronger because the Trump built off the blueprint that President Obama put in place. It’s flourishing because President Trump tore President Obama’s blueprint down, then rebuilt it from scratch. GDP for Q1 2017 was 1.7%. Q3 of 2017 is dramatically different, with GDP up at 3.3% with an asterisk. (That asterisk is that it would’ve been higher if not for 5 major hurricanes hitting the Gulf Coast in a single month.)

This is fantastic news:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said Friday that the chamber would vote on the plan Tuesday, with the Senate vote to follow shortly thereafter.

Expect there to be a lavish bill signing ceremony at the White House either Wednesday or Thursday. Sen. Schumer’s spin won’t change the fact that the middle class will see more in their paychecks after the start of the new year.

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Now that Gov. Dayton has officially picked Lt. Gov. Tina Flint-Smith to replace Sen. Franken in the U.S. Senate, it’s time to introduce Ms. Flint-Smith to Minnesotans. That’s the purpose behind Briana Bierschbach’s article attempts to do. Ms. Bierschbach’s article describes Ms. Flint-Smith as “a behind-the-scenes operator in DFL political circles who rose to the lieutenant governor job”, adding that “Smith said she’d decided against running for governor. But now, she plans to serve out Franken’s abbreviated term and run next fall to take his place in the United State’s Senate.”

TRANSLATION: Sen. Schumer essentially ordered Gov. Dayton to pick someone who was willing to do more than serve as a placeholder until this November’s special election. Simply put, Sen. Schumer gave Lt. Gov. Smith a set of marching orders and she complied.

The article continues, saying she “quickly rose within DFL circles and moved on to work on several statewide races, including Walter Mondale’s last-minute bid for the U.S. Senate in 2002 after the death of Paul Wellstone. Shortly after that race, she was recruited to be the vice president of external affairs at Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, leaving that job in 2006 to serve as Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak’s chief of staff and eventually run his campaign for governor in 2010.”

The truth is that she’s just as hard left as Al Franken. She’s anti-mining and anti-blue collar worker. She hasn’t shown any interest in completing the Enbridge Pipeline. Smith hasn’t lifted a finger to get PolyMet operational. Further, she’s done pretty much what Alida Messenger has told the Dayton administration to do. This video essentially tells Minnesotans that DFL policies have failed Minnesotans:

Listen to this litany of paradoxes:

“I’ve heard stories from families who are working 2 full-time jobs and are still struggling to find a good place to live. Minnesota has some of the best schools but I have talked to moms who are faced with driving 60 miles every day to get their children to a good pre-school. Minnesota has more people with health insurance than almost any other state, yet I have talked with farmers who have lost access to their long-time doctors and can’t afford the health insurance premiums. Minnesota iron ore built this country yet I have talked with Rangers who are worried about the future of their small towns. Minnesota is often named as one of the best states for women yet even here, women still earn less than men and women of color and Native American women have even fewer opportunities. (sigh) We have so much opportunity in this state and in this country but we have so much work to do to make sure that that opportunity is broadly shared.

Let’s go through that list. First, DFL taxes and regulations have killed capital investments, thereby killing jobs. The DFL doesn’t trust in capitalism, which is why there’s an outmigration of people from Minnesota to Iowa, North Dakota, Texas, Utah and Georgia. According to the state demographer, this trend isn’t all retirees. It’s prevalent through all age groups.

Next, the DFL’s metro-centric policies have hurt people living in rural Minnesota. Don’t blame this on Republicans. Republicans have fought with Gov. Dayton and Lt. Gov. Smith for rural Minnesota’s priorities. Next, Lt. Gov. Smith hasn’t lifted a finger to make PolyMet operational. If she gave a damn about the Iron Range, she would’ve fought for the Iron Range. Smith hasn’t fought for the Range because she’s a close friend of Alida Messenger, the most anti-mining DFL activist imaginable. I hope Rangers aren’t fooled by Smith’s faux empathy. Smith doesn’t empathize with Rangers. She’s visited the Range but that was a strictly a photo-op.

Another thing that Smith shouldn’t get away with is her criticism of the ACA/MNsure. She was an integral part of getting that enacted into law as Gov. Dayton’s Chief-of-Staff. It’s indisputable that Smith’s policies have hurt Minnesotans. Finally, Smith was Gov. Dayton’s trusted ally long before he was elected. She isn’t just a trusted ally. She’s the architect of Gov. Dayton’s campaign.

I don’t doubt that Lt. Gov. Smith will try to project an image similar to Sen. Klobuchar’s. That’s smart politics. It’s also exceptionally dishonest. Smith is more of a centrist than them pervert she’s replacing.

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