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Sen. Hatch didn’t hesitate in changing the Senate Finance Committee rules after Democrats failed to attend a confirmation vote for Steve Mnuchin to be President Trump’s Treasury Secretary and Rep. Tom Price to be President Trump’s HHS Secretary for a second day in a row.

This morning, Democrat senators didn’t attend the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, where Chairman Barrasso had scheduled a confirmation vote to recommend Scott Pruitt to be the next EPA Administrator.

Democrats are trying to prevent Republicans from putting in place President Trump’s cabinet. Republicans, growing weary of the Democrats’ tactics, have opted to not let the Democrats’ obstructionist tactics prevail. They’re sending the signal that the Democrats’ obstructionism hurts the American people. Republicans are sending the signal that Sen. Schumer’s stunts won’t be tolerated.

Thus far, leaders of The Resistance have insisted that their Democratic puppets dance. Thus far, Democrat senators haven’t resisted these special interest tyrants. It’s just more proof that Democrats don’t represent people. This video is proof aplenty that Democrats exclusively represent special interest groups:

If Democrats keep pulling these stunts, they’ll suffer massive defeats in 2018. Republicans will have a filibuster-proof majority after the 2018 election. If Democrats want to be all obstruction all the time, their participation trophy will be political irrelevance. They will have earned that ‘trophy’.

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In his campaign to become the next chair of the DNC, Rep. Keith Ellison wrote this op-ed, which Time Magazine published. It’s a publication from La-La-Land.

For instance, Rep. Ellison wrote “Take labor protection and environmentalism, two core Democratic values. Republicans claim you can’t both have clean air and grow jobs. This too is a false choice.
Unions and environmental groups recognized this ten years ago when they formed the Blue-Green Alliance to build a clean, fair economy for all. You don’t often think ‘environmentalist’ when you hear ‘steelworker.’ But David Foster, their first Executive Director, left his post with United Steelworkers District 11 in Minnesota to take on the task of bridging the divides he often saw with environmental advocates. In fact, the two current co-chairs are Leo W. Gerard, the International President of the United Steelworkers, and Michael Brune, the Executive Director of the Sierra Club. The Democratic Party needs to follow the lead of folks like David, Leo and Michael by showing where we can find common ground and standing up to attempts to drive us apart.”

While it’s true that union leadership signed off on this coalition, the rank-and-file didn’t. That’s why President Trump won the votes of tons of white working class voters. There are a handful of union leaders, compared with hundreds of thousands of union workers. It isn’t difficult to do the math.

Rep. Ellison didn’t help the Democrats’ cause when he wrote “We are the party that fights to raise the minimum wage, guarantee high-quality education, and provide affordable health care.” Blue collar workers are infinitely more worried about creating high-paying job than they’re worried about raising the minimum wage. The minimum wage simply isn’t a rallying cry.

What we need is a Democratic Party that is willing to listen to everyone and organize conversations that bring people together.

This is coming from the party that’s shouted down dissenting voices like Bill Kristol, Ann Coulter and other conservatives. This is coming from the party whose activists blocked traffic (multiple times) on major Minnesota highways. That’s rich.

It’s who we are. And it’s how we take our country back.

Here’s the truth: It isn’t the Democrats’ country anymore. Their contamination is pretty much restricted to areas of urban blight and college campuses. Finding Democrats in rural areas is as easy as finding capitalists in Vermont and Massachusetts.

Keith Ellison is hoping to turn his support of Bernie Sanders, then Hillary Clinton, into a winning message in his bid to become the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). At this point, outsiders think Rep. Ellison is the leader to succeed Debbie Wasserman-Schultz as the full-time chair of the DNC. Whether DNC insiders think that is another matter.

Outsiders think that he’s the leader because he’s been endorsed by “Harry M. Reid (NV), who announced his support on Sunday, and Reid’s expected successor, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY). On Monday, Ellison’s list of endorsers also included Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.”

The article portrays Ellison as a team player, saying “Longtime Clinton aide Neera Tanden, who runs the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, worked with Ellison to help draft the Democratic Party’s platform in meetings where she represented Clinton and he Sanders. “I saw him as a very constructive voice in the platform process. And it was very apparent he was working hard to unite the party,” said Tanden, who is staying neutral in the DNC Chair race and not endorsing any candidate.”

I don’t doubt that Ellison has the ability to unite the Democratic Party. That isn’t the Democratic Party’s problem. The Democrats’ biggest problem is that they’re far off the left end. Their other major problem is that they’ll do anything that the environmental activist wing of the Democratic Party wants. That why they’ve alienated blue collar workers like miners and pipeline builders. Until blue collar Democrats insist that the Democratic Party incorporate their agenda into the Party’s agenda, they should make clear that their votes will go to the party that listens to them. Period.

Politics should be, to a certain extent, about which party has actually listened to that constituent group. On that note, it’s impossible to picture Keith Ellison guiding the Democratic Party to be ideologically inclusive. It isn’t difficult picturing the DNC being more ideologically rigid under Ellison, though.

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Gov. Dayton is the gift that keeps giving fantastic quotes to Minnesota’s bloggers. This article provides another such gift.

The second paragraph of the article says “In an interview with The Associated Press, Dayton said he expects Twin Metals Minnesota and its supporters to try their hardest to persuade President-elect Donald Trump’s administration to reverse the Obama administration’s decision this month not to renew the federal mineral rights leases needed for the underground mine on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near Ely in northeastern Minnesota.”

The third paragraph continues by quoting Gov. Dayton as saying “I don’t think it’s ever dead. It’s stymied at present. And if the Trump administration doesn’t intervene and override what President Obama has decided, it’s not going to go forward.”

That’s pretty amazing considering what Gov. Dayton said about Twin Metals last March:

If Gov. Dayton thinks that killing the project is the same as it being stymied, then I might buy into this fantasy. Otherwise, I’d recommend that his staff buy him a dictionary. If he isn’t interested in using the dictionary, then I’d simply tell him to start telling the truth.

Thus far, he hasn’t done a good job with that.

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It isn’t a secret that Hillary Clinton made a mistake by not campaigning in Wisconsin. People of all political persuasions have criticized her. IMO, those criticisms are justified … to a point. Let’s first stipulate that Hillary campaigning there would’ve helped. The question remaining is how much it would’ve helped. After spending this past weekend in the hospital thinking about that question, I’m not certain it would’ve put her over the top.

Here’s why I think that: Hillary outspent Trump by a wide margin but still lost by a wide margin. It isn’t that Hillary’s message didn’t get out. It’s that Hillary’s message got out and voters utterly rejected it. It’s that some voters simply were tired of the Clintons so they rejected her. It’s that Hillary tried cozying up to the construction unions while pandering to the environmental activists.

My theory is that it’s impossible to satisfy both constituencies. It’s like trying to date 2 jealous one-man women and not hiding that fact. The simple truth is that construction workers and environmental activists fit together like oil and water.

I know that because I’ve watched Ken Martin, Rick Nolan and the DFL try walking that tightrope the past few years. While Nolan has survived, barely, the DFL has suffered, losing the House and Senate in the last 2 elections.

Democrats, whether we’re talking nationally or here in Minnesota, face some difficult questions. They shouldn’t assume that they can successfully court both constituencies. They’ll have to pick and choose.

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Thankfully, President Obama will soon be riding off into the history books where we can ignore him. His biggest legacy, of course, will be that he’s the first African-American elected US president. After that, though, he’s totally forgettable.

One of President Obama’s multitude of negatives is his hatred of energy independence. Even now, he’s trying to put huge oil and natural gas deposits permanently off-limits. According to this article, “President Barack Obama took new action Tuesday barring offshore drilling in areas of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans indefinitely.” Later, the article said “The US is also declaring 31 canyons off the Atlantic coast off-limits for drilling, citing ‘critical and irreplaceable ecological value.'”

Despite the Obama administration’s hostility towards fossil fuels, the United States is getting closer to achieving energy independence by the day. Another bit of proof that the Obama administration is hostile to fossil fuels is their decision to deny the final permits to finish the Dakota Access Pipeline. This op-ed, written by John Cavanagh and Domenica Ghanem, shows who President Obama wants to be friends with:

The president-elect has pledged to remove constraints on fossil fuel projects, and it’s likely he’ll try to reverse this decision once he takes office. But there’s something you can do to help stand up for life and for justice.

The controversial pipeline would be 1,170 miles long and cost $3.7 billion. A project of that scale doesn’t build itself. Behind the lead investor, Energy Transfer Partners, stand heavily armed police forces, sound-cannon trucks, water cannons, tear gas and attack dogs – and 38 banks funding it all.

That’s why the Institute for Policy Studies, where we work, is pulling its money from one of these banks, SunTrust, and switching to a more socially responsible institution. Banks that fund the planet-destroying fossil fuel economy and undermine Native American land rights aren’t the ones we should be doing business with.

President Obama has aligned himself with ranting idiots like these. What’s disappointing is that the Democratic Party used to be the party of working people. Now they’re the elitist snobs’ party. He isn’t pretending to like construction workers. These are 2 of the faces of the new Democratic Party:

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There’s been lots of celebrating on the Range after Resolution 54 got defeated Saturday. This article said that Jason Metsa thinks that the vote is “a clear indication of where the party is at.” Then Metsa admitted that “the issue will be coming up again.”

First, the Range DFL survived Saturday, partially because all parts of the state were represented at the meeting. Anyone that thinks that John Marty will give up his anti-mining crusade anytime soon is kidding themselves. New incoming House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman hasn’t announce that she’ll take a more centrist, pro-mining position now that she’s the top-ranking Democrat in the House.

That’s before talking about whether organizations like the Sierra Club, MCEA or Conservation Minnesota (which gets significant funding from Alida Messenger) will stop bringing lawsuits against PolyMet. MCEA’s mission is to file lawsuit after lawsuit against mining companies or utilities. Winning the lawsuits isn’t MCEA’s goal. Their goal is to wear down the investors until those investors quit. I wrote about that tactic in this post, which I titled Attrition, not litigation.

Third, defeating Resolution 54 isn’t a victory because it didn’t approve a single permit for PolyMet or Twin Metals. The last I looked, Gov. Dayton hasn’t relented in saying no to the initial permits for the Twin Metals mining project.

Fourth, the DFL hasn’t lifted a finger to streamline the permitting process. I won’t trust them until they support permitting reform and regulatory relief. Even then, I’ll remain skeptical because these guys won’t permit the DFL to do real reforms:

The lede in this article sounds a triumphant tone. The opening says “Labor Democrats decided to fight Saturday and won a major victory for the party’s future on the Iron Range.” While it’s a procedural victory for the Range, it isn’t a major victory if you’re judging it by whether anything changed as a result of the vote.

In defeating Resolution 54, the Range Delegation kept the language of the resolution out of the DFL state party platform. That shouldn’t be mistaken for defeating the environmental activist Metrocrats. It shouldn’t be mistaken as proof that Gov. Dayton will approve any permits for PolyMet. Defeating Resolution 54 doesn’t mean that the DFL is suddenly open to mining.

The DFL loves bogging things down with regulations, regulators and lawsuit. The thing Iron Rangers should ask themselves seems unrelated at first. This past winter, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC)decided to look into the Sandpiper Pipeline project. Specifically, they took jurisdiction over whether the pipeline path should be rerouted. The first question that should be asked is straightforward: what does the agency that regulates electricity rates have to do with infrastructure permitting? It isn’t like the PUC was the first regulatory agency to review the Sandpiper Pipeline’s potential impact on its environment. The point is that the PUC took jurisdiction to hinder the permitting process.

Here’s another important question that the DFL hasn’t answered: why didn’t Gov. Dayton scream bloody murder when the PUC hijacked jurisdiction on the Sandpiper Pipeline project? In 2013-14, when the DFL had total control of the legislature and had a friendly DFL governor to work with, why didn’t they streamline the permitting process? Might it be because they prefer a permitting process that’s complex and convoluted?

Ask PolyMet’s investors whether these DFL-supporting organizations haven’t used the same tactics to kill PolyMet. If they’re being honest, they’d say that’s the exact playbook that’s been used against them. Until the pro-mining part of the DFL becomes the dominant part of the DFL or until pro-mining voters switch to the GOP, there won’t be a change in the outcome. Saturday’s vote was all show. In the real world, it meant nothing. The anti-mining wing of the DFL still rules the DFL.

In Part I of this series, I wrote about the virtues of federalism. Now it’s time to talk about the negative things that happened when the Obama administration ignored the Constitution and the rule of law. Specifically, I’ll quote from Kim Strassel’s article about Scott Pruitt.

Picking up where I left off, let’s rejoin Strassel’s article where she wrote “Under the Clean Air Act, states are allowed to craft their own implementation plans. If the EPA disapproves of a state plan, it is empowered to impose a federal one—one of the most aggressive actions the agency can take against a state, since it is the equivalent of a seizure of authority. In the entirety of the presidencies of George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the EPA imposed five federal implementation plans on states. By last count, the Obama administration has imposed at least 56.” That’s where Pruitt comes in.

According to Strassel, much “of Mr. Pruitt’s tenure as Oklahoma’s AG was about trying to stuff federal agencies back into their legal boxes. Most of the press either never understood this, or never wanted to. When the media wrote about state lawsuits against ObamaCare or the Clean Power Plan or the Water of the United States rule, the suggestion usually was that this litigation was ideologically motivated, and a naked attempt to do what a Republican Congress could not—tank the president’s agenda.”

The next paragraph, Ms. Strassel wrote this:

The basis of nearly every one of these lawsuits was in fact violations of states’ constitutional and statutory rights— and it is why so many of the cases were successful. It was all a valiant attempt to force the federal government to follow the law. And it has been a singular Pruitt pursuit.

On issues of executive overreach, President Obama had a terrible record in the Supreme Court, at one point losing 13 straight 9-0 decisions. It will take time to tame the EPA. You can’t change the entire Agency culture with the blink of an eye. Here’s the good news:

In announcing his nomination, the president-elect took care to note that Mr. Pruitt was an “expert in constitutional law” and that his job would be to restore the “EPA’s essential mission.”

Which is exactly the reform the EPA needs. The agency doesn’t need a technically trained environmentalist at its head, since it is already bubbling over with green regulations. It doesn’t need a climate warrior, as Congress has never passed a climate law, and so the EPA has no mandate to meddle there. What it needs is a lawyer, one with the knowledge of how to cut the agency back to its proper role—restoring not just an appropriate legal partnership with the states, but also with other federal bodies. One who reminds agency staff that the EPA was not created to oppose growth and development.

Getting the EPA to live within its statutory and constitutional boundaries is a monumental responsibility. If Pruitt accomplishes a culture change before he leaves, he’ll have my vote for the greatest EPA administrator in history.

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Kim Strassel’s latest column highlights an exciting possibility for the American people. What’s exciting is a nerdy subject but a subject that might teach the average person the virtues of the system that our Founding Fathers gave us.

Ms. Strassel opened her article by writing “Donald Trump had barely finished announcing his pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency before the left started listing its million reasons why Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt was the worst nomination in the history of the planet: He’s an untrained anti-environmentalist. He’s a polluter. He’s a fossil-fuel fanatic, a lobbyist-lover, a climate crazy. Mr. Pruitt is not any of those things. Here’s what he in fact is, and the real reason the left is frustrated: He’s a constitutional scholar, a federalist (and a lawyer). And for those reasons he is a sublime choice to knock down the biggest conceit of the Obama era—arrogant, overweening (and illegal) Washington rule.”

Then she wrote something that some of us have known for the entirety of President Obama’s administration:

We’ve lived so many years under the Obama reign that many Americans forget we are a federal republic, composed of 50 states. There isn’t a major statute on the books that doesn’t recognize this reality and acknowledge that the states are partners with—and often superior to—the federal government. That is absolutely the case with major environmental statues, from the Clean Air Act to the Clean Water Act to the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Based on the Democrats’ description of Gen. Pruitt, you’d think he’d look like Lucifer himself. Instead, Pruitt looks like this:

If I earned $100 each time that the EPA has overstepped its statutory authority or constitutional boundaries, I’d be Warren Buffett-style rich. Scott Pruitt’s mission is to put the EPA back into its proper box. That’s only possible if Gen. Pruitt applies the principles of federalism to the EPA. That’s the last thing the environmental activists want. They want the EPA’s decisions moved as far away from the people and local control as possible. That’s why they support globalism. It’s the ultimate in unaccountability.

After his first two years in office, [President Obama] never could convince the Congress to pass another signature initiative. His response—and the enduring theme of his presidency—was therefore to ignore Congress and statutes, go around the partnership framework, and give his agencies authority to dictate policy from Washington. The states were demoted from partners to indentured servants. So too were any rival federal agencies that got in the EPA’s way. Example: The EPA’s pre-emptive veto of Alaska’s proposed Pebble Mine, in which it usurped Army Corps of Engineers authority.

There’s much to unravel after 8 years of this administration running roughshod against the Constitution and the rule of law. Gen. Pruitt won’t fix it in a week or month or even in a year. Still, he’s the man uniquely qualified to dismantle the Obama administration’s regulatory leviathan.

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