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I wrote this post about why the Affordable Care Act, aka the ACA, is failing. Here’s part of the explanation for the ACA’s unpopularity:

The problem is that the Obamcare plans aren’t attractive to consumers. They were designed in Washington to suit political prerogatives rather than being designed in the marketplace to meet the demands of consumers.

Simply put, the ACA’s biggest problem is that politicians imposed their will on health care consumers rather than finding out what people wanted. Keep that in mind while reading this LTE:

Why are so many afraid of a single-payer program that would save them money and provide better care? Why do they cling to a for-profit system that leaves 47 million Americans with no insurance and millions more with substandard coverage that lets insurance companies choose which procedures to allow and which to deny?

There are 4 questions contained in that paragraph. Let’s take them in order:

Q: Why are so many afraid of a single-payer program that would save them money and provide better care?
A: People heard that claim before. Specifically, that’s the promise President Obama and then-Speaker Pelosi made to the American people. Another thing they promised was that the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, would cost less than $1,000,000,000,000. Still another thing they promised is that it wouldn’t “add a penny to the debt.” I could go on but the point’s been made. Something that’s too good to be true shouldn’t be trusted.

Q: Why do they cling to a for-profit system that leaves 47 million Americans with no insurance?
A: Profits make the world go round. The notion that government will treat people with care is foolishness. That isn’t to say that the system we had until the ACA’s implementation was flawless. Nothing was done to help people with pre-existing conditions, aka PECs. A solution for that was clearly needed. The dirty little secret, though, was that a solution to that problem could’ve happened without tearing the previous system apart.

Q: Why do they cling to a for-profit system that leaves 47 million Americans with no insurance and millions more with substandard coverage?
A: Who determines what’s substandard coverage? I certainly don’t want this administration determining that. They’re the idiots that insisted that 30-somethings buy policies with ambulatory coverage. They’re the idiots that insisted that 60-year-old men needed policies that included pregnancy coverage. The question that this LTE doesn’t answer is why people, after meeting with their physician, shouldn’t make those decisions. The answer is simple. Health care reform, whether it’s the ACA or a single-payer system, isn’t about health care reform. It’s about getting control of a major part of every person’s life.

Q: Why do people cling to a system that…lets insurance companies choose which procedures to allow and which to deny?
A: In a system that has insurance companies competing for people’s business, people always have the option of opting for a different company if their insurance company says no. When government is the only game in town, they can tell people which procedures they’ll pay for and which ones they won’t. In that system, there aren’t options if (when?) the government says no. At that point, the patient doesn’t have another option.

If you think that couldn’t happen, think again. The ACA empowers a panel called the Independent Payment Advisory Board, aka IPAB, to make those determinations. IPAB’s determinations are made based on QALYs, aka Quality-Adjusted Life Years. If these bureaucrats decide you’re old and the treatment costs more than the government says you’re worth, the procedure is denied.

That isn’t speculation. It’s part of the ACA.

Does that sound like the actions of a benevolent government? I’m not defending the insurance companies. I’m just highlighting the fact that government is just as dictatorial as the insurance companies.

Look at the IRS’s recent history of asking conservatives for transcripts of the speeches they’ve given at TEA Party rallies. Look at the administration’s lies that the IRS scandal only involved agents at the Cincinnati office. Think about how the Justice Department threatened a reporter with a felony indictment if he didn’t tell the DOJ who leaked the information to him.

Those aren’t the actions of a benevolent government. They’re the actions of a vindictive administration that’s willing to use the government’s tools to suppress their political opponents.

That isn’t the exhaustive list of reasons why we shouldn’t trust a single-payer plan but it’s certainly an extensive list of why we shouldn’t trust government to run America’s health care system.

Here’s the other reason we shouldn’t trust them:

This Minnesota family is a young married couple with three children. Until ObamaCare and Dayton’s MNsure came along they shared the cost of their Blue Cross-Blue Shield family health insurance policy 50/50 with the father’s employer. Thanks to ObamaCare, the cost of that policy skyrocketed and is no longer affordable to the family. After endless hours of working with MNsure, here is what resulted.

Without the parent’s consent, MNsure jammed their three children onto government insurance. The children are now covered by Medicaid at no cost to the family or employer, but 100 percent cost to the taxpayers. The father had to go with a single insurance plan from his employer and purchase a separate new policy for his wife.

There isn’t a chance that an employer would pick a plan where the insurance company offered this awful of a plan. Only the government could offer a ‘solution’ like that, then insist that the policy the family had before was substandard. What are the odds this family would agree with the government that they’re better off now than they were prior to the ACA? I’d rate the odds as nil.

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When it comes to chutzpah, Hillary Clinton’s got nothing on Tarryl Clark. This morning, Roll Call Magazine is reporting that Tarryl recently sent out an e-letter to supporters decrying Michele Bachmann’s use of heated rhetoric. I’m stunned by that news. NOT!!! Here’s what Roll Call is reporting:

Former state Sen. Tarryl Clark said she hasn’t decided what her next move will be after losing to Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann in November, but the Minnesota Democrat is keeping her e-mail list alive.

In an e-mail titled “Stopping the Hate,” Clark called for unifying rhetoric following the weekend shootings in Arizona.

“Instead of calling on us to be ‘armed and dangerous’ or to ‘reload’, and instead of name-calling and conspiracy theories, elected leaders ought to be bringing people together to solve the major challenges we face,” Clark wrote. “They ought to bring out the best in all of us by inspiring us to see the world as it can be, not as it is today.”

Tarryl’s race didn’t turn out well for the Democrats. It was one of the districts targeted by the DCCC:

Representative Don Young AK-AL
Representative Dan Lungren CA-03
Representative Elton Gallegly CA-24
Representative Ken Calvert CA-44
Representative Brian Bilbray CA-50
Representative Bill Young FL-10
Representative Tom Rooney FL-16
Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart FL-21
Representative Mario Diaz-Balart FL-25
Representative Tom Latham IA-04
Representative Donald Manzullo IL-16
Representative Brett Guthrie KY-02
Representative Joseph Cao LA-02
Representative John Fleming LA-04
Representative Bill Cassidy LA-06
Representative Roscoe Bartlett MD-06
Representative Thad McCotter MI-11
Representative Michele Bachmann MN-06
Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer MO-09
Representative Lee Terry NE-02
Representative Leonard Lance NJ-07
Representative Christopher Lee NY-26
Representative Henry Brown SC-01
Representative Pete Sessions TX-32
Representative Eric Cantor VA-07
Representative Dave Reichert WA-08
Representative James Sensenbrenner WI-05
Representative Shelley Moore-Capito WV-02

Bringing people together is something Tarryl Clark is good at. It’s that she stinks at actually bringing people together. Her type of bringing people together is presenting the DFL’s agenda, then telling Republicans to take it or leave it. There’s a reason why Gov. Pawlenty’s Taxpayer Protection Pen was so overworked.

When I talked with Tarryl at the first townhall after the 2007 election, she assured me that the DFL legislature would conduct oversight hearings on eliminating wasteful spending in the state budget. By that summer, she refused to talk with me after another townhall, this one held at the Whitney Senior Center.

In January, 2008, after Tarryl’s special meeting on health care, I approached the dais to talk with the panelists, including Sen. John Marty. I identified myself, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, that I’m an evil conservative blogger. We had a brief, light-hearted laugh and a cordial conversation that lasted 3-5 minutes.

When I finished that conversation, I went to talk with Tarryl, who was finishing a conversation with Eric Austin. When Tarryl saw me, she replied “There’s Gary. He hates me.” with a big grin on her face. As one of her constituents, I was appalled.

Let’s state for the record that I don’t think Tarryl believes I hate her. Still, I’m certain that she didn’t like the fact that I challenged her policy initiatives and her spending habits. This was likely her way of saying “Back off.”

If that’s Tarryl’s way of “bringing people together” for the common good, then she’s more bluster than reality. Tarryl can pretend to stay relevant but the reality is that she’s shown herself to be not ready for prime time.

Of the 3 DFL candidate to run against Michele, Tarryl got whipped by the biggest margin…by alot. Patty Wetterling lost by 50-41. El Tinklenberg lost 46-43. Tarryl lost by 52.5-40. Yes, it was a wave election but tendencies don’t automatically turn into results.

Simply put, people rejected Tarryl’s schtick for a politician they don’t always agree with but who they think is authentic.

Let’s face it. When given the choice, the American people will pick the authentic candidate over the phony every time.

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When Tarryl and her political allies criticize Michele Bachmann for being out of touch, what they’re really hoping is that people won’t notice this tidbit of information:

While opinions about Bachmann divide strongly along party lines, 53 percent of her constituents approve of the job she is doing, versus 41 percent who disapprove. That’s according to an independent survey done in December by Public Policy Polling, a national Democratic polling firm.

“Michele Bachmann’s constituents don’t seem to mind her penchant for controversial comments,” said Dean Debnam, Public Policy’s president. “Given how poorly national Democrats rate in the district, [her constituents] probably agree with a lot of them.”

Instead of highlighting that statistic, Tarryl’s allies will talk about her being out of touch, about how El Tinklenberg came within 3 points of beating Michele or that unemployment is high in the 6th District.

Wouldn’t you just love hearing Tarryl’s minions explain how they’d positively affect growing jobs? I know Tarryl talks about investing in education and transportation but she doesn’t talk about her voting for strangling levels of environmental regulations or higher taxation rates on small businesses.

Now more than ever, the case against Bachmann is based on the Democrats’ view of her as an ardent culture warrior, more interested in a national platform for her conservative views than her district’s high rates of unemployment and foreclosure.

TRANSLATION: The Democrats’ targeting of Michele is based on their hatred of her principled stand for limited government, not because she’s in trouble within her district.

Usually, campaign committees don’t pour resources into a race they aren’t likely to win. I wrote here why Tarryl faces an uphill fight. The biggest obstacle is Michele, who’s base is sizeable, steadfast and motivated. The next biggest obstacle facing Tarryl is a primary fight against a well-funded, motivated opponent. How motivated is Dr. Reed? Motivated enough to loan her campaign $250,000 from her personal account.

Another major obstacle facing Tarryl is that she isn’t a good fit for the Sixth District’s demographics. Tarryl is supported by militant pro-choice organizations like EMILY’S List and NARAL Pro-Choice USA. That won’t play well in a district where a majority of voters are devout Catholics or evangelical Christians.

Prof. Aubrey Immelman isn’t a Michele supporter but he doesn’t think Tarryl has much of a chance:

To some observers, the Democrats’ laser focus on Bachmann is more about passion than logic.

“It’s money wasted,” said Aubrey Immelman, a former Republican candidate and professor at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict. “But if you’re an activist Democrat, this is where the fight is.”

If the DCCC and the DFL want to sink tons of cash into this race, that’s their decision. It just isn’t a particularly wise decision.

Then again, with this shaping up to be a bad year for Democrats, perhaps the DCCC sees this race as being one of their best chances of winning in the nation.

Before I forget, there’s another thing that Tarryl will be fighting uphill against. I wrote about it here:

Rep. Bachmann brought Gov. Palin in to supercharge the already enthusiastic faithful. Each of the 10,000+ people attending yesterday’s rally got their tickets by volunteering to work at least 6 hrs. for Michele’s campaign.

Honestly, the nearly 11,000 people that attended yesterday’s midday rally is proof that Michele’s GOTV army is motivated and exceptionally large. That isn’t proof that Michele is “scared to death of Sen. Tarryl Clark.” It’s just proof that Michele is putting in place a large volunteer army to go after every vote possible this cycle.

Facing a GOTV army that large is bad news for Tarryl. Facing a GOTV army that’s that big and that motivated is the last thing Tarryl wants to hear.

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It isn’t surprising that Tarryl Clark talked fellow former lobbyist El Tinklenberg into writing a fundraising letter for her. It isn’t surprising that the DFL-endorsed candidate in 2008 would call Michele an extremist either. Still, it’s funny watching how predictable the fundraising letter is. Here’s a sample from the fundraising letter:

Divisive rhetoric and extreme right-wing views have become Michele Bachmann’s calling card, and it’s paid off for her. The far-right is rallying around it’s darling, Michele Bachmann, filling her campaign coffers, in fact, Bachmann just announced that her campaign raised more than $1 million last year.

I’d love to give Mr. Tinklenberg a shot of sodium pentathol, then ask him if it’s an extremist viewpoint to vote to uphold the rule of law. Then I’d ask if it’s extremist to vote against legislation that isn’t constitutional.

Then I’d ask him if he thinks it’s extremist for a congressional candidate to commit to voting for impeachment before articles of impeachment had been drafted:

“I [Elwyn Tinklenberg] would support a resolution for impeachment if it was brought to me. I would not introduce one. I think there are so many issues that have been waiting for resolution. So many issues that have to be addressed from the war to the economy to health care that we need to move on and move on aggressively.” Source: Star Tribune, May 10, 2006

I said it then and I’ll say it now: Voting vote to impeach a president of the United States isn’t something that happens very often. Promising that you’ll vote for impeachment before articls of impeachment have been drafted is the political equivalent of a jury issuing a trial verdict before the attorneys have delivered their opening arguments.

Mr. Tinklenberg made that statement before the DFL’s CD-6 endorsing convention. In fact, he said it because he knew that he was trailing Patty Wetterling badly and he was pathetically desperate to win.

QUESTION: What kind of spineless person would throw principles to the wind in an attempt to win a political endorsement?
ANSWER: An unprincipled politician.

Here’s another laughable quote from Tinklenberg’s fundraising letter:

In fact, she skipped the House Republican meeting last week with President Obama to travel to California, rallying TEA Party activists and hobnobbing with the Orange County conservative elite instead of doing her job.

It isn’t surprising that Mr. Tinklenberg would call TEA Party activists elitists. It’s just a stupid thing to say. The DNC has called TEA Party actisists part of “an angry mob”, sore losers who can’t get over the fact that Barack Obama won the presidential election in 2008. Speaker Pelosi called TEA Party activists astroturfed activists. (I’d say that those astroturfed activists were effective judging by Bob McDonnell’s landslide victory in Virginia and Scott Brown’s improbable victory in Massachusetts.)

Tarryl Clark knows how to win in districts that have been tough for Democrats; she’s already done it. She was elected to the State Senate in a special election to fill a previously Republican seat.

That’s true. Then again, it’s worth noting that Tarryl won Dave Kleis’s seat by pretending to be a moderate. I’d submit that Tarryl would find it infinitely more difficult to win this year with her liberal voting record of increasing taxes, both income and property taxes, on small businesses. Without the support of the business community, Tarryl would be fighting an uphill fight.

The bottom line to this is that Tarryl will probably raise alot of money but that she’ll lose because Tarryl’s voting record won’t appeal to 6th District voters.

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If Eric’s post is accurate, which I believe it is, the Minnesota governor’s race won’t be the only high profile race in 2010. Here’s what Eric is reporting:

Finally, there is the potential entry of Senator Tarryl Clark. At this point it is all hearsay but my anonymous sources tell me that at a recent Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation meeting she was asked and said that she “hadn’t announced” but this source also said it was “pretty clear”. Clark has proven that she can compete and win having been elected twice. More importantly, she won handily in the more conservative half of her district whose current representative is the ultra conservative Steve Gottwalt. With all of these electoral advantages, could Clark overcome the current money disadvantage she would have coming into the race?

Certainly, Tarryl would excite DFL activists more than Tinklenberg did. (Frankly, I think Larry Haws could excite DFL activists more than Mr. Tinklenberg. Still, Tarryl comes with substantial risks in this potential race.

While Tarryl likes portraying herself as a moderate, her voting record says she’s anything but that. In this post from June, 2007, I noted the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s criteria for the Minnesota Senate. Here’s their criteria:

MN 2007: S.F. 1024 (Business Taxes), Final Passage The Senate Omnibus Tax Bill increases the statewide property tax, paid by commercial, industrial and utility property, and increases the tax on Minnesota companies that use the foreign operating corporation structure. The Chamber opposes S.F. 1024 as a whole, even though there are two items within the bill, an up-front exemption for capital equipment and the acceleration of sales-only apportionment, that the Chamber supports.
MN 2007: S.F. 1611 (Income Tax), Final Passage The Minnesota Chamber opposes S.F. 1611, which creates a new 4th tax bracket for the individual income tax at 9.7%, the highest state income tax rate in the nation. This affects many small business owners that flow their business income through their personal income taxes.
MN 2007: S.F. 1986 (Transportation), Final Passage This is the Senate Transportation Finance bill, which the Minnesota Chamber opposes. The bill is heavy on taxes and fees for businesses. The Minnesota Chamber supports a more moderate package but this bill fails the cost-benefit analysis.

This trio of votes, especially the votes for creating a 4th income tax bracket and for increasing the statewide property tax for “commercial, industrial and utility property” certainly doesn’t indicate that Tarryl is a friend of small businesses. In fact, that sounds alot like the tax increases that Patty Wetterling proposed during her 2006 campaign. It also sounds alot like Tarryl’s votes on taxes this year.

Any attempt that Tarryl makes to talk about creating jobs will likely be met with reminders to voters that she’s voted for every tax increase that’s been proposed in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Another thing that Tarryl is vulnerable to is her role in the slow motion train wreck known as the 2009 budget showdown. She’s particularly vulnerable to why she voted for tax increases that didn’t come close to closing the deficit, especially considering the fact that Tom Bakk’s tax increase bill passed by a thin 35-31 margin in a veto-proof Senate.

Tarryl’s leadership position should’ve put her in position to positively affect policies that should’ve protected her constituents. Instead, when the DFL’s Listening Tour visited St. Cloud, all we heard, aside from Janelle Kendall’s legal system reforms, was how we couldn’t cut this or that program. Tarryl told KSTP’s Tom Hauser that finding more than $500,000,000 in savings would be difficult:

Hauser: You can talk about reform all you want but reform inevitably ends up meaning that some people that are getting state services now won’t be getting them after this reform, whether it be in HHS, whether it be in education, early childhood, any of those things.

Tarryl: Sure, and an estimate, a good estimate would be that maybe we could figure out how to save about $500 million.

Thinking that there’s only $500,000,000 worth of spending on political payoffs or low priority items is absurd. That’s before talking about money that would’ve been saved if the DFL hadn’t defeated the GOP’s sensible reforms. (BTW, that’s another thing that Tarryl and the DFL leadership didn’t do well with.)

In the final analysis, Tarryl’s weaknesses would be that she hasn’t exercised fiscal discipline. She hasn’t been a friend to small businesses, either. She certainly hasn’t been a principled reformer who’s been a protector of CD-6’s taxpayers. Those are three very large strikes against her before she even announces her candidacy against Rep. Bachmann.

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This morning’s St. Cloud Times editorial page has the first post-election editorial touting the virtues of EFCA. It’s the same tired collection of misinformation and unproven facts that the DFL used during the campaign. Here’s one of their ‘golden oldies':

Major corporations pay their CEOs millions of dollars, and pad their salaries with millions of dollars in bonuses, but actively work against workers’ basic benefits. In fact, working Americans who try to organize and bargain collectively are often coerced, harassed, intimidated or fired for their efforts.

The editorialist didn’t provide proof that “working Americans” had been “coerced, harassed, intimidated or fired” for trying to organize a union. Similarly, the editorialist didn’t provide proof that CEOs “actively work against workers’ basic benefits.”

In other words, this editorial is long on allegations and short on proof. A brief history lesson is in order. I’ll start with this YouTube video of El Tinklenberg’s saying that he supports EFCA:

I’ll finish the ‘history lesson’ with George McGovern’s op-ed in the WSJ:

As a congressman, senator and one-time Democratic nominee for the presidency, I’ve participated in my share of vigorous public debates over issues of great consequence. And the public has been free to accept or reject the decisions I made when they walked into a ballot booth, drew the curtain and cast their vote. I didn’t always win, but I always respected the process.

Voting is an immense privilege.

That is why I am concerned about a new development that could deny this freedom to many Americans. As a longtime friend of labor unions, I must raise my voice against pending legislation I see as a disturbing and undemocratic overreach not in the interest of either management or labor.

The legislation is called the Employee Free Choice Act, and I am sad to say it runs counter to ideals that were once at the core of the labor movement. Instead of providing a voice for the unheard, EFCA risks silencing those who would speak.

The key provision of EFCA is a change in the mechanism by which unions are formed and recognized. Instead of a private election with a secret ballot overseen by an impartial federal board, union organizers would simply need to gather signatures from more than 50% of the employees in a workplace or bargaining unit, a system known as “card-check.” There are many documented cases where workers have been pressured, harassed, tricked and intimidated into signing cards that have led to mandatory payment of dues.

Under EFCA, workers could lose the freedom to express their will in private, the right to make a decision without anyone peering over their shoulder, free from fear of reprisal.

Through the years, Sen. McGovern was as staunch a supporter of unions as Ted Kennedy or Hubert Humphrey. This isn’t someone who didn’t know or didn’t like the union movement. He fought for increased unionization. Sen. McGovern’s opposition of EFCA is the equivalent or the Sierra Club or the National Wildlife Foundation supporting the building of nuclear power plants.

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Hours after the I-35 Bridge collapsed, El Tinklenberg was on TV blaming Carol Molnau and the ‘No New Taxes Crowd’ for the bridge’s collapse. The NTSB’s report ends that myth:

WASHINGTON — Federal investigators probing the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis said Thursday that the structure was heavily loaded with construction equipment — equivalent to the weight of a 747 airplane — hours before a set of improperly designed joints failed catastrophically.

The added weight, combined with errors in the original design of the so-called gussett plates, appeared to produce the breaking point in the Aug. 1, 2007, disaster that killed 13 people and injured 145.

The bridge’s age, the investigators told the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), had nothing to do with the collapse. The board is expected to issue a final accident report today, at the end of a two-day hearing.

I can’t offer better proof that the DFL will use anything as justification for tax increases. Before the victims were even evacuated from the rubble, failed Transportation Commissioner El Tinklenberg was blaming the collapse on transportation policy. Mr. Tinklenberg would be well-advised to gather pertinent information before launching into a diatribe based on opinion.

Mr. Tinklenberg’s statements were purely political. The NTSB’s report was based on verifiable facts gathered during the course of a painstaking, detailed investigation that went where the information took the investigators.

It’s significant that the NTSB found that the original design, coupled with the excessive weight of equipment on the bridge, is what caused the collapse. It’s more significant that the NTSB’s investigators said that the bridge’s age wasn’t a factor in the bridge’s collapse.

Here’s something that El Tinklenberg said in announcing his candidacy against Michele Bachmann:

“All of us knew that we could no longer tolerate sitting by while so many things were happening in our country that were the result of a kind of inattention that we were facing in our infrastructure,” he said at a Capitol news conference, flanked by about three dozen supporters including red-shirted union workers.

Mr. Tinklenberg said that we couldn’t sit idly by as our infrastructure deteriorated but he was the Transportation Commissioner that advocated for shrinking revenues by dramatically cutting license tab fees. Also, I didn’t hear Mr. Tinklenberg criticize Jim Oberstar when Rep. Oberstar diverted the Highway Trust Fund into building bike trails instead of maintaining bridges and building roads.

I also didn’t hear Mr. Tinklenberg criticize Rep. Oberstsar for his abuse of the earmark system, which contributed to the depletion of the Highway Trust Fund.

There are two morals to this saga:

1) We have more than adequate funding for transportation infrastructure if the money isn’t pissed away on re-election projects.
2) The I-35 Bridge collapsed because of design flaws and overloading of the bridge that fatal day.

Neither of those inarguable facts are things that Democrats will admit. That’s really beside the point, though, since we can point the spotlight on the NTSB’s report.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

El Tinklenberg is telling everyone that he’s asking for their votes, that he’ll be a moderate voice for the district. What he isn’t saying is that he’s got a history of wasting money in the jobs he’s held before. As Gov. Ventura’s Transportation Commissioner, Mr. Tinklenberg wasted thousands of dollars on MnDOT’s annual 2 day transportation conference. Here’s part of an article published in the Star Tribune January 21, 2003 highlighting Mr. Tinklenberg’s wasteful spending habits:

The committees that plan the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s annual two-day conferences in Bloomington say they handpick keynote speakers to get “experts in topics relevant” to the agency.

During the past four conventions, MnDOT spent a total of $664,231 more than it recovered from vendors’ fees and other income, records show. Keynote speaker
contracts for the four years totaled $114,430.

Some examples from the 2001 conference:

  • $11,650 for a former ski champion’s motivational speech.
  • $12,950 for a team-building consultant who talked about ways managers can use fun to revitalize workers.
  • $5,000 for a speech on “Intelligent Risk taking.”

Does this information convince you that El Tinklenberg will be a vigilant watchdog of Minnesota’s taxpayers? This is utter nonsense. Let’s remember that this was when we were heading for a budget deficit of $4.2 billion, the biggest deficit in state history. It wasn’t just that he wasted that money on keynote speakers. He ‘spread the wealth around’ just like Sen. Obama intends to do:

MnDOT has increased its spending on the event by about 61 percent, from $136,173 in 1999 to $219,300 last year, according to records obtained by the Star Tribune under the Minnesota Data Practices Act.

During the past four conventions, MnDOT spent a total of $664,231 more than it recovered from vendors’ fees and other income, records show. Keynote speaker contracts for the four years totaled $114,430.

What justification can Mr. Tinklenberg offer for increasing spending on their annual conference by 61% over 4 short years? That’s a spending increase of 15% per year. These statistics prove that Mr. Tinklenberg spends other people’s money irresponsibly. Is that the type of man we want serving in Washington?

Here’s what the Strib reported in January, 2003:

When MnDOT was in a hurry to clean up a site that was to become a maintenance yard for the state’s first light-rail line, it put an engineering firm to work without having a binding contract or money in place admittedly violating state law.

That’s what corruption looks like. That’s the last type of politician we need to send to Washington.

Nonetheless, Kent Allin, an assistant administration commissioner who oversaw the department’s contract regulators, warned Fisher of possible trouble on the $3.2 million contract for preliminary design work on light rail. The Minneapolis engineering firm BRW Inc. (now owned by URS Corp. of San Francisco) had the contract; the New York firm Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas was a subcontractor.

MnDOT wanted Administration to approve two large amendments that would change the nature of the original contract with BRW and increase its cost ceiling by nearly 75 percent. Such dramatic changes generally require competitive proposals to ensure that taxpayers get the best deal.

But Fisher told his staff that he wanted to get the contract “on the ground ASAP.” Noting that Tinklenberg had personally asked him to approve the amendments, he ordered it done.

Mr. Tinklenberg obviously isn’t bashful about cutting corners. He didn’t think twice about ignoring the checks and balances that the legislature put in place. We don’t need someone as ethically challenged as Mr. Tinklenberg in DC.

We need someone that has fought to reform the earmark system. There’s only one person who fits that description. Her name is Michele Bachmann. Michele recognized the corruption that’s filled the earmark process. Michele wants to make earmarks to be awarded based on merit, not on who’ll vote for John Murtha’s or Don Young’s pet projects.

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Eric Zaetch has done the voters in CD-6 a great service with this post. Eric’s post outlines the gaps in Mr. Tinklenberg’s bio. If you’re interested in knowing who the real El Tinklenberg is, and you should be interested in the ‘rest of the story’, then Eric’s post is must reading. Here’s one paragraph from Eric’s post that jumped off the page at me:

As already noted, the man’s history includes registered lobbying – the Minnesota CFB had him identifying himself as top lobbyist for a real estate development at the Brockton Rd. Hwy 94 area in Hennepin County, where he wanted to pave all over the place with possibly hazardous taconite tailings, and for a Northstar related promotional effort out of Anoka County, his home grounds for most of his career politician-lobbyist lifetime, once he stepped out of the pulpit.

That’s just one example of the things that Eric’s research has brought to light. I strongly recommend that you visit Eric’s blog and read the entire post.

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If MinnPost’s Doug Grow quoted Tarryl Clark accurately in this post, always a big if, then Tarryl’s got some explaining to do. Here’s Grow’s quote of Tarryl:

Tarryl Clark, a DFL Senate leader from St. Cloud, was among those in the crowd. After the debate was over, she stopped by a table where the media were seated.

“Now you know what we heard for six years,” said Clark, referring to Bachmann’s time in the Minnesota Senate before she won the 6th District House seat two years ago.

This is what Tarryl’s Senate webpage says about her tenure in the Minnesota Senate:

Elected: special election 2005, re-elected 2006
Term: 2nd

In other words, she’s been in the Senate for 3 sessions, which is a far cry from 6 years. That quote and that post tell us alot.

First, it shows that Doug Grow’s writing isn’t factchecked. If it was, they would’ve caught this error. Though I detest Tarryl’s dishonest and while I’m unimpressed with Mr. Grow’s quest for the truth, I’m thankful that this quote was posted. If they’d cleaned this up, voters in SD-15 wouldn’t have gotten this insight into Tarryl Clark.

Secondly, and most importantly, it says that Tarryl throws words together that initially sound good but that are, to be kind, exaggerations. Coming to think of it, it might be wise to parse Tarryl’s words. She didn’t say that she’d heard Michele Bachmann for six years. She said that “we heard” Michele Bachmann for six years.

The fact that Tarryl would say something like that is troubling. Perhaps it’s because Tarryl was a registered lobbyist:

Minn Community Action Partnership, Identification Number: 1328, Registration Date: 2/8/1999, Termination Date: 12/27/2005

Let’s not forget that Tarryl’s animosity towards Michele Bachmann has been quite public:

State Sen. Tarryl Clark, who spoke on behalf of Patty Wetterling’s endorsement, called Bachmann “a devil in a blue dress.”

Let’s also remember what Tarryl said at a January, 2007 townhall meeting:

I asked Sen. Clark if adopting a zero-based budget was a possibility. Sen. Clark said that that’s something they were looking into and that it might happen for the ‘08 legislative session but that there wasn’t enough time to adopt it for the ‘07 session. Not willing to let it go at that, I asked if they would at least schedule oversight hearing that would identify the wasteful spending that’s already there. I was assured that they would be holding vigorous oversight hearings. (I phrased the question specifically to establish the fact that waste existed & that it was just a matter of determining how big the amount was.)

Pressing forward, I then asked Sen. Clark why six tax increase bills were introduced the first week. She said that “there were really only 2 tax bills, one to lower property taxes, the other to raise them.” She assured us that the other bills weren’t going anywhere and that they “were introduced by individual” legislators and “weren’t part of the leadership’s agenda.”

Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, it’s understatement to say that Sen. Clark hasn’t exactly kept all her promises.

Considering Tarryl’s willingness to say anything, why would anyone think that she’s got any credibility left? That’s why I’ll take her comments about Michele Bachmann with several pounds of salt.

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