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One thing that’s undeniable is that Ben Rodgers, a St. Cloud Times reporter, parroted the DFL’s chanting points in his article. In Rodgers’ article, he said that a “group of St. Cloud-area residents” met at the Stearns County Courthouse to “protest an anti-immigration speaker who visited St. Cloud earlier this week.” Jane Conrad, the event organizer, said that Bob Enos spoke “out against refugees and Sharia, the Islamic law.” Ben Rodgers accepted that as Gospel fact without checking with Mr. Enos to verify if Ms. Conrad’s statement was accurate.

What’s startling is that, at no point in the article did Rodgers quote Mr. Enos. I know that I’m a lowly blogger but I’m pretty certain that Reporting 101 requires that, if you’re going to quote a person making an accusation against another person, you should quote the accused, too. That way, it’s a she said, he said thing, not a she said thing.

Further, the Times reporter didn’t report about one of the worst-kept stories in St. Cloud. Mr. Rodgers didn’t write about Prof. Mark Jaede’s use of St. Cloud State’s email system to announce this political event. There was little written about who attended the event in terms of protesting Mr. Enos. Did a substantial number of SCSU professors attend the AFL-CIO protest? What labor unions attended the protest? What did they say? Did they criticize Mr. Enos?

I won’t mince words. This was a pathetic attempt at reporting.

This morning, I got a copy of an email that Mark Jaede, a faculty member at St. Cloud State, published on SCSU’s Announce listserv. Here’s what Prof. Jaede published:

According to Jane Conrad’s email, Ron Branstner’s presentation was cancelled. According to Prof. Jaede’s second email, Bob Enos stepped in and made a speech. Here’s Prof. Jaede’s email about the Enos speech:

In both of Prof. Jaede’s emails, he referred to Jane Conrad. For those who aren’t familiar with her, here’s more information about Ms. Conrad:

This isn’t insignificant because Prof. Jaede is using a taxpayer-funded resource (SCSU’s email system) to highlight a political rally organized by Jane Conrad, a self-described AFL-CIO staffer, at the St. Cloud VFW.

Greg Jarrett is a private citizen who is interested in the State Department’s refugee resettlement program. Mssrs. Branstner and Enos have dealt with and researched this program. Here’s part of what Jarrett wrote when contacted by LFR:

The time has come for the Mayor and associated City Staff, President of SCSU, MNSCU Chancellor, St Cloud City Council and State Representatives to STOP an escalating and explosive situation that is in itself going to embarrass SCSU and the City of St Cloud again.

Here we have an AFL-CIO union-affiliated representative, Ms. Jane Conrad working in concert with a SCSU professor who was on the University time clock and is on SCSU’s payroll using internal taxpayer-funded email communications for purposes not associated with SCSU, not on SCSU property, NON SCSU Business for the purpose of agitation and SELF labeling of a public event for the second time. They have turned this into a “racial event”.

There is nothing “racial” about the economic impact of out of control Refugee Resettlement. Allowing these 2 radical militants to spin the topic and manipulate the Constitutional rights of others for personal beliefs and reasons is beyond insulting, irrational and borderline criminal in its direct purpose and intent.

Ms Jane Conrad and Professor Mark Jaede have taken upon themselves to self label and describe speaker Mr. Ron Branstner as “racist” and target the event for the sole purpose of starting an uprising of outrage. The St Cloud Police Department has also been made a pawn in this matter by Ms Conrad and Mr. Jaede by the now known threats prior to Mr. Branstner’s scheduled engagement. Ms Conrad was successful in her misguided mission to strong arm the Police Department and the VFW management to cancel the event.

Using taxpayer-funded resources to advance a political agenda is wrong, to say the least. Another thing that’s at stake here is SCSU’s reputation. If President Potter doesn’t immediately act to prevent Prof. Jaede’s improper use of SCSU’s email system, then he’s sending the signal that he’s ok with SCSU’s employees using SCSU’s taxpayer-funded email system for political use.

I’m not a lawyer but I’m still 100% certain that’s improper, if not illegal.

The Bible says that a house divided cannot stand. I’ve never known that to be wrong, which means the DFL is heading for a collapse. The DFL, or more specifically Tina Smith, has declared war on Tom Bakk and the state of Minnesota. Whenever there’s a press conference, Tina’s right there, acting as Dayton’s keeper. Here’s proof of the Metro DFL’s turning on Sen. Bakk:

Tina Smith clearly controls the Metro DFL. It isn’t surprising, then, that the Metro DFL has put its stake in the ground over half-day universal pre-K even though studies show it isn’t great policy. Customized pre-K plans are cheaper and they produce better results. Look at all of the requirements the Smith-Dayton-DFL plan imposes on program operators:

  1. the elimination of the school readiness program;
  2. requiring that 4-year-olds be in school longer than other students;
  3. limited facility resources;
  4. mandatory class size and staff-to-student ratios;
  5. parent participation requirements;
  6. requiring that early childhood teachers be paid comparable to K-12 teachers;
  7. coordinated professional development with community-based early learning providers;
  8. requiring school districts to recruit, contract and monitor early childhood programs for fiscal and program quality.

That reads like a union contract, not education legislation. How much money would be saved if “early childhood teachers” weren’t “paid comparable to K-12 teachers”? Why does the Smith-Dayton-Metro DFL legislation mandate “class size and staff-to-student ratios”?

What’s happening here is that Education Minnesota is pushing for a mandatory program that a) all parents have to use, b) requires teachers to be paid union scale wages and c) requires new schools to be built. That isn’t a program built for “the kids.” It’s a program that’s “for Education Minnesota.”

If I had $10 for each tweet I’ve seen this weekend that talks about this program being for the children, I’d be wealthy. Tina Smith, Paul Thissen and most Metro DFLers are machine politicians. Their agenda is focused on satisfying their special interest allies. They aren’t focused on solutions. They’re about doing whatever they need to do to gain and maintain power.

When Sen. Bakk pulled his stunt about Gov. Dayton’s pay raise for department commissioners, he started a civil war within the DFL. Tina Smith and the Metro DFL haven’t forgiven him for that. Gov. Dayton certainly hasn’t. He’d rather bury the hatchet and leave the handle sticking out than forgive Bakk.

During his first term, speculation spread throughout the Capitol that Dayton’s chief of staff ran things, not Gov. Dayton. Tina Smith was Gov. Dayton’s chief of staff.

Smith worked in marketing for General Mills, ran her own marketing firm, and served as a Vice President of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.[3] She served as Chief of Staff for Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, and as senior advisor and Transition co-chair for Dayton’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Dayton appointed Smith as chief of staff when he took office in 2011.

When Dayton’s running mate from 2010, Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, announced she would not seek re-election, Dayton passed over better-known political officeholders, citing Smith’s work on shepherding the new Minnesota Vikings Stadium through the legislature, as well as her work on supporting the Destination Medical Center Project with the Mayo Clinic and the City of Rochester, MN.

Smith and Thissen were the people who talked Gov. Dayton out of accepting a deal that would’ve prevented the state government shutdown. Sixteen days later, Gov. Dayton signed the budget that Tina Smith and Rep. Thissen told him not to sign in June.

If there’s another shutdown, it’ll be because Smith and Thissen will have gotten to Gov. Dayton and given him terrible advice…again. In 2011, the Republican negotiators were different (Amy Koch and Kurt Zellers) but the DFL negotiators were the same (Gov. Dayton, Tina Smith, Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen). This time, Sen. Bakk negotiated a bipartisan deal with Speaker Kurt Daudt. Gov. Dayton, Lt. Gov. Smith and Rep. Thissen are still pushing policies that appear to be driving us into another shutdown.

That isn’t surprising. It’s just disappointing.

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It isn’t surprising that AFSCME is singing Gov. Dayton’s praises. It’s as surprising as finding out that the Clinton Foundation isn’t a charity.

Facing a deep natural recession and a $6 billion budget deficit, Minnesotans voted in progressive Gov. Mark Dayton, who ran on a tax-the-rich platform that included investment in people and infrastructure.

Dayton pushed a sharp increase on taxes for the top 2 percent to pay for his plan. And soon he and legislators passed laws that expanded unionization, froze college tuition, increased the minimum wage, required equal pay for women, legalized same-sex marriage, eased voter restrictions, boosted primary education spending and established all-day kindergarten.

AFSCME is right. Minnesota’s economy took right off after they legalized same-sex marriage and required equal pay for women. It’s established fact that entrepreneurs insisted that they wouldn’t hire another worker until government implemented those policies.

Legalizing same-sex marriage and requiring equal pay for women had as much to do with Minnesota’s economic growth as raising taxes on small businesses.

In Minnesota, Dayton turned that $6 billion budget deficit into a more than $2 billion surplus in just one term. Minnesota added 172,000 jobs and its 3.6 percent unemployment rate is among the lowest in the country.

Let’s compare that with this information:

Since February 2011, Wisconsin’s employable population has grown by about 100,000 people, but the number of people employed increased by about 135,000. That means employment outpaced population growth significantly.

But how does it compare with national employment growth? One important measure is the percentage of the employable population that is actually employed, what the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls the employment-population ratio. The U.S. employment-population ratio has grown 1.5% since Mr. Walker took charge. Yet Wisconsin’s employment-population ratio has jumped 2.5%—significantly more than the national improvement rate. Wisconsin is also gaining ground against other states. In February 2011 Wisconsin ranked 12th in employment-population ratio. It now ranks ninth.

First, creating 172,000 jobs vs. creating 135,000 jobs is good news for the additional 37,000 people. Still, that isn’t a huge difference. Furthermore, Wisconsin’s LFPR is impressive:

Wisconsin’s current 68.4% labor-force participation rate is particularly noteworthy because it represents an uptick over the past year from a low of 68.1%. Nationally, the average labor-force participation rate has declined to lows last seen during the Carter administration.

The national LFPR is currently 62.7%. If that was the same as it was when President Obama was inaugurated, the national unemployment rate would be over 9%.

Wisconsin’s economy is creating jobs while cutting deeply into Wisconsin’s long-term unemployment rate. Minnesota should be that lucky.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers called off a union organizing vote in their attempt to unionize Boeing’s South Carolina plant:

The union looking to organize workers at Boeing’s South Carolina plant has put its plans in a holding pattern, claiming workers are so opposed to signing up that they chased labor leaders off their porches at gunpoint.

The union issued this official statement:

“After speaking with Boeing workers who we were previously unable to reach, we’ve determined now is not the right time for an election,” union organizer Mike Evans said in a statement. “An atmosphere of threats, harassment and unprecedented political interference has intimidated workers to the point we don’t believe a free and fair election is possible.”

The union filed an unfair labor practice with the National Labor Relations Board in which it alleged that “two organizers were threatened at gunpoint and others reported hostile and near-violent confrontations,” according to a union press release.

The union’s claims were disputed:

“I can only speak to the union’s claims as a whole,” Doug Alder, a spokesman for Boeing said in a statement to FoxNews.com. “The IAM’s allegations are frivolous and our team is continuing to focus on building the highest-quality airplanes in the world.”

A Charleston police spokesman said there have been no reports of organizers having guns pulled on them in the city. “We haven’t heard of any such reports,” the spokesman. “If it happened, they didn’t call the police.”

A spokesman for the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office also said there had been no reports of gunpoint threats directed at union workers. “I am unaware of this type of incident occurring in the unincorporated area of Charleston County,” he said.

In other words, it’s likely that the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union knew that they were heading for a demoralizing defeat so they called off the vote, then decided that they’d blame it on corporate thugs threatening physical violence. That BS has been exposed as fraudulent. It’s one thing to have the corporate spokesman deny the allegations.

It’s quite another when the sheriff’s office contradicts the union’s allegations. If I’m left to pick between trusting the union or the sheriff’s office, I’ll trust the sheriff’s office every time.

The past 4 years have provided Minnesotans plenty of proof that the DFL is the party of corruption. Simply put, the DFL will do anything to increase or regain political power. During the 2012 campaign, 13 DFL state senate candidates coordinated their advertising campaigns with the DFL Senate Campaign Committee, which is illegal. Republicans filed a complaint about the DFL’s campaign committee hijinks. The end result was the DFL Senate Campaign Committee getting fined $100,000, the biggest fine in Minnesota campaign history.

Unfortunately, 11 of those 13 DFL state senate candidates won their election. In essence, these politicians bought their senate seats. Rather than apologize for their unethical actions, DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin characterized the incident as a nuisance before declaring the need to get back to governing. That makes sense in Chairman Martin’s world because this was just a financial transaction to him.

DFL State Sen. Jeff Hayden is tangled up in multiple messes, starting with the corruption that shut down Community Action of Minneapolis. He’s also had ethics charges filed against him for pushing the Minneapolis school board into funding a program run by his friends and associates.

I’m not surprised. The DFL is as interested in providing oversight of their political allies’ nonprofits as Hillary is interested in turning over Bill’s email server.

During the final days of the 2013 session, hundreds of in-home child care providers of all political persuasions descended on the Capitol to tell the DFL not to pass the forced unionization bill. Mike Nelson and the DFL waged war on these women, essentially telling them that they knew what was best. On June 30, 2014, the US Supreme Court told Mike Nelson and the DFL that their legislation was unconstitutional.

Mike Nelson, the DFL and AFSCME didn’t care about the Constitution. They didn’t care that private employers weren’t public employees. Mike Nelson, the DFL and AFSCME just deemed private small business owners public employees. That’s because their first concern was accumulating political power. That’s why the DFL sided with the special interests. That’s why the DFL didn’t pay attention to women they simply disagreed with. They only cared about their big money benefactors.

The DFL’s cronyism knows no limits. Senate Minority Leader Hann’s op-ed shows how invested the DFL is in special interests:

Dayton recently awarded his commissioners salary increases as large as $30,000 each. He gave the chair of the Met Council an $86,000 increase, and the beneficiary just happens to be married to the governor’s chief of staff. One of Dayton’s deputy chiefs is married to a top official at Education Minnesota, the teachers union. Another Dayton staffer is married to the chair of the DFL Party.

Why should I believe that the DFL is the party of the little guy? The DFL sold out Iron Range families in exchange for hefty campaign contributions from environmental activists. The DFL sold out in-home child care providers in exchange for hefty campaign contributions from public employee unions.

Worst of all, Gov. Dayton’s administration is filled with the DFL’s biggest special interest allies.

Elizabeth Warren loves telling her audiences that the game is rigged. She’s right and she’s wrong. She insists that it’s rigged by Wall Street fat cats. The truth is that it’s rigged by the Democrats’ special interest allies. The truth is that Big Government is just as corrupt as Wall Street.

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This week’s Orchids and Onions contains this complaint:

Onions: Of, “I told you so,” to all the Democrat supporters of Obama and his veto of the Keystone Pipeline. Now we have more than 400 union Steelworkers losing their jobs at Keetac because of the lack of demand for steel products. Democrat Sens. Klobuchar and Franken, along with the biggest Democrat of all, President Barack Obama, have once again thrown union workers to the wolves in order to keep their radical environmental buddies happy. Why, please tell us why, aren’t our steelworker union heads not yelling their guts out about this lack of support for union jobs by Obama, Klobuchar, and Franken?

It’s frustrating to see valuable blue collar workers thrown under the Obama/Klobuchar/Franken/environmentalist bus. These people don’t like fossil fuels. They don’t care about the infrastructure that’s needed to safely transport that oil to refineries.

Worst of all, they don’t really support these industrial unions. Admittedly, they’re great at paying lip service to them come election time. Unfortunately for these unions, that stops the day after the election.

Until industrial unions stop supporting Democrats financially, they’ll get shafted by Democrats.

Whether it’s mining unions in northern Minnesota or construction unions across the nation, their financial support of Democrats keeps putting their jobs at risk. Those contributions help Democrats elect more environmental activists to the legislature, Congress and the White House. It won’t change anytime soon if these unions keep supporting these hardline environmentalists.

It isn’t surprising that President Obama hasn’t done a thing to help build the Keystone XL Pipeline. He never will. That’s because he’s a hardline environmentalist.

When St. Amy of Hennepin County, aka Sen. Amy Klobuchar, runs for re-election in 2018, it’s imperative that these industrial unions question why she hasn’t supported them. The union rank-and-file can’t hesitate in telling her that she has a choice. She can either support their agenda or support the environmentalists’ agenda. They need to tell Sen. Klobuchar that their support hinges solely on whose agenda she votes for.

It’s time the industrial unions held the Democrats’ feet to the fire. In fact, it’s time for them to abandon the Democratic Party until the Democratic Party starts supporting their agenda.

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God bless John McCormack for highlighting the lie in Gail Collins’ column. Check this out from Collins’ column:

Mainly, though, The Speech was about waging war on public employee unions, particularly the ones for teachers. “In 2010, there was a young woman named Megan Sampson who was honored as the outstanding teacher of the year in my state. And not long after she got that distinction, she was laid off by her school district,” said Walker, lacing into teacher contracts that require layoffs be done by seniority.

All of that came as a distinct surprise to Claudia Felske, a member of the faculty at East Troy High School who actually was named a Wisconsin Teacher of the Year in 2010. In a phone interview, Felske said she still remembers when she got the news at a “surprise pep assembly at my school.” As well as the fact that those layoffs happened because Walker cut state aid to education.

The title of Collins’ article is “Scott Walker Needs an Eraser”. I’d argue that it’s Ms. Collins that needs either an eraser or an editor. Ms. Sampson didn’t lose her job in 2010 because Gov. Walker “cut state aid to education.”

The reason McCormack highlighted that part of the paragraph is because Scott Walker didn’t take the oath of office as Wisconsin’s 45th governor until January, 2011, which means that Ms. Sampson lost her job because of Democrat Gov. Jim Doyle’s budget cuts to education.

McCormack’s article actually highlights this:

Emily Koczela had been anxiously waiting for months for Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s controversial budget repair bill to take effect. Koczela, the finance director for the Brown Deer school district, had been negotiating with the local union, trying to get it to accept concessions in order to make up for a $1 million budget shortfall. But the union wouldn’t budge.

“We laid off 27 [teachers] as a precautionary measure,” Koczela told me. “They were crying. Some of these people are my friends.”

On June 29 at 12:01 a.m., Koczela could finally breathe a sigh of relief. The budget repair bill?—?delayed for months by protests, runaway state senators, and a legal challenge that made its way to the state’s supreme court?—?was law. The 27 teachers on the chopping block were spared.

With “collective bargaining rights” limited to wages, Koczela was able to change the teachers’ benefits package to fill the budget gap. Requiring teachers to contribute 5.8 percent of their salary toward pensions saved $600,000. Changes to their health care plan?—?such as a $10 office visit co-pay (up from nothing)?—?saved $200,000. Upping the workload from five classes, a study hall, and two prep periods to six classes and two prep periods saved another $200,000. The budget was balanced.

Here’s the difference between Jim Doyle, who supposedly supports teachers, and Scott Walker, who supposedly hates union workers: Scott Walker’s reforms saved jobs, Jim Doyle’s status quo policies would’ve led to teacher layoffs or major property tax increases.

Gail Collins’ editors either don’t give a shit about the truth or Gail Collins doesn’t give a shit about the truth. Either that or liberal ‘journalists’ are only interested in pushing the progressives’ agenda. Either that or it’s all of the above.

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Charlie Cook’s latest article on the state of the GOP presidential race has more than a few flaws in it. He got this part right:

First there is the establishment bracket, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and possibly former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney competing for that semifinal slot.

Despite the MSM’s ‘reporting’, this isn’t where the action is. It’s mostly a sideshow that’ll keep the DC pundits entertained. Think of this as the ‘vastly overrated’ part of the race.

Cook didn’t get this part right:

Then there is the conservative governor/former governor slot—with, potentially, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker competing, all seeking to be non-Washington and non-Congress candidates, but each with more conservative, or at least better conservative, credentials than Bush, Christie, or Romney.

John Kasich lost his conservative credentials over the weekend when he fought for Common Core. That’s a deal-buster with conservatives. It isn’t likely that Rick Snyder and Mike Pence will run so they can be ignored. That leaves us with Rick Perry and Scott Walker. That’s the real bracket. Let’s call this the conservatives with credentials bracket.

The MSM is writing off Rick Perry. That’s a major mistake. He’s a much more serious candidate this time than in 2012. He’s got a lengthy list of conservative reforms under his belt. He’s definitely anti-Washington. He’s definitely pro-border enforcement, which plays well with conservative activists. He’s signed tort reform, which has led to a major influx of doctors into Texas. While most of the nation worries about doctor shortages, that isn’t a worry in Texas.

That leaves Scott Walker in this bracket. Activists see him as the giant-killer who took on the public employee unions and beat them. Then the PEUs got upset with him and tried defeating him in a recall election. The PEUs took another thumping in 2012. They didn’t have their fill so they returned for another shot in 2014. Gov. Walker’s Act 10 reforms were so popular that Mary Burke, the Democrats’ candidate, didn’t even mention the subject.

That’s one of the brackets where the excitement will be.

Then there’s the youthful senators bracket. This bracket features Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. I don’t know that any of these candidates will advance to the finals but they’ll generate lots of excitement.

At the end of the day, I suspect that the finalists will be Walker and someone else. I’d be surprised if that someone else is Jeb Bush. Bush is definitely more formidable with the media than with activists.

When I first skimmed this NY Times article, I thought it was a decent article, in part because of this analysis:

Nonetheless, there will be demand for an alternative to Mr. Bush, even from within the so-called Republican establishment. Since Friday, attention has focused on Mitt Romney, who said in a meeting of top advisers and donors that he was considering a third run.

But the more compelling challenger may be Scott Walker, the battle-hardened governor of Wisconsin. He has made moves toward running, and on paper, he’s the type of candidate who should deeply concern Mr. Bush.

A study of the 2012 election suggests that Jeb Bush has nothing to fear from moving to the right during the primary season.

Unlike the flawed but better-known conservatives, Mr. Walker has the potential to have broad appeal throughout the Republican Party. Mr. Walker, born in Colorado Springs, is an evangelical Christian who defeated public employee unions in a high-profile battle over collective bargaining rights and who made big budget cuts in a state that has voted for Democrats in seven consecutive presidential elections.

First, I disagree that Gov. Bush “has nothing to fear from moving to the right” during the primaries. He isn’t a conservative anymore. Admittedly, he had a reasonably conservative record as governor but he’s wandered quite a bit since leaving office almost a decade ago.

The analysis is right in that Gov. Walker’s appeal is substantial for quite a few reasons, starting with the fact that he’s taken on some rather large challenges and won. It’s also because Gov. Walker’s supporters across the nation feel passionately about him and would run through brick walls for him. That’s something that other GOP presidential candidates can’t tout, including Rand Paul.

Ron Paul’s supporters were willing to run through walls for him but Rand Paul isn’t like his father. He’s a polished politician, not the conscience of the Libertarian Party.

Yet unlike most conservative heroes, Mr. Walker has the record, résumé and temperament of a candidate who could attract significant support from the establishment.

In short, Gov. Walker has a substantial list of conservative accomplishments. Many of those accomplishments are reforms that Wisconsin’s needed for years. People think that Gov. Walker’s only accomplishment is union reform. Few people talk about his expansion of charter schools and school choice options.

Those are accomplishments that translate well to the national stage.

This is where they went wrong:

Some question whether he has the charisma to distinguish himself in a crowded field. He could end up like the former governor Tim Pawlenty, another Midwesterner, who was thought to be a strong challenger to Mr. Romney in 2012 but who ultimately failed to gain traction in Iowa.

Gov. Walker is nothing like Gov. Pawlenty. Gov. Pawlenty’s biggest accomplishment wasn’t really an accomplishment. Gov. Pawlenty prevented the DFL from raising taxes through the roof. It’s the right thing to do but it isn’t an accomplishment.

The other difference between Gov. Pawlenty and Gov. Walker is that people supported Gov. Pawlenty but Gov. Walker’s supporters would run through walls for him. Simply put, the charisma argument isn’t credible.