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Eugene Robinson’s latest article is proof that there aren’t many great strategists left in the Democratic Party. A topnotch political strategist wouldn’t say “In the two weeks since, Trump has only piled outrage upon outrage, as far as progressives are concerned. He took the first steps toward building his ridiculous wall along the southern border, but with U.S. taxpayers’ dollars, not Mexico’s. He squelched government experts who work on climate change. He weakened the Affordable Care Act in the hope that it would begin to collapse, which would make it easier for Congress to kill it.”

That’s because they’d know that the ACA started collapsing a year ago. Its collapse is inevitable because it’s terrible legislation. A relatively healthy person is better off not buying insurance because the ACA’s out-of-pocket expenses (premiums plus deductibles) in some states are so high that families are better off paying the penalty rather than buying the insurance. As I’ve written before, the ACA is catastrophic coverage at Cadillac plan prices.

And I can’t help thinking back to 2009. Republicans made an all-out effort to stop the Affordable Care Act. Their motives were purely political; some GOP senators railed against policies they had favored in the past. Ultimately, they failed.  Obamacare became law.

But this losing battle gave tremendous energy and passion to the tea party movement — which propelled Republicans to a sweeping victory in the 2010 midterm election. It is hard not to see an analogous situation on the Democratic side right now.

Democrats haven’t learned the TEA Party lesson, which is that politicians better listen to We The People or else. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi didn’t listen to people and lost 12 seats and 63 seats respectively. Chuck Schumer isn’t listening to the people, either. The chances of Democrats picking up Senate seats is remote at best.

Democrats cannot stop Gorsuch from being confirmed. But they can hearten and animate the party’s base by fighting this nomination tooth and nail, even if it means giving up some of the backslapping comity of the Senate cloakroom. They can inspire grass-roots activists to fight just as hard to win back state legislatures and governorships. They can help make 2018 a Democratic year.

This is delusional thinking. Democrats will lose more governorships and legislative seats because they’re owned by special interests. They haven’t talked about doing what’s best for the people. President Trump constantly talks about putting people first. Democrats reflexively side with environmental activists, which has alienated blue collar union rank-and-file.

Democrats in Illinois haven’t pressured Rahm Emanuel to actually crack down on Chicago’s crime-infested streets. New York City’s City Council hasn’t blasted Bill De Blasio’s sanctuary city policies. In both cities, people don’t feel safe. Former President Obama insisted that terrorism wasn’t a threat while ISIS killed people in shopping malls and at Christmas parties. The Obama administration insisted, too, that the borders were secured. Voters knew that wasn’t true.

Voters won’t vote for the party that won’t protect them. Right now, people don’t trust Democrats to handle the basic government functions. Until that happens, people won’t trust Democrats.

It’s clear that Sen. Schumer and his leadership team can’t resist acting like spoiled brats. This article offers an unsightly insight into Sen. Schumer’s peevish mindset. According to the article, “Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democratic Senate leaders refused to meet with Judge Neil Gorsuch Thursday. The act appears to be revenge against Republicans for holding the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia open and not holding a hearing for Obama Supreme Court appointee Merrick Garland.”

Sen. Schumer doesn’t sound like the Senate Minority Leader. He sounds like a toddler going through terrible twos while constantly throwing hissy fits. Carrie Severino, chief counsel of the Judicial Crisis Network, issued a statement, saying “By refusing to meet with Judge Gorsuch, Senate Democratic leadership is taking Washington gridlock and obstruction to a new low and placing Senators McCaskill, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Tester, and other Democrats up for reelection in 2018 on the endangered politicians list.”

Apparently, Sen. Schumer thinks it’s more important to fire up his out-of-touch base than to act like an adult. Lou Dobbs put it perfectly in this video:

Sen. Schumer’s stupidity and tone-deafness will keep him as the Senate Minority Leader until 2022 and possibly longer. He has only himself to blame for that.

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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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This morning, Senate Democrats staged a protest walkout of the Finance Committee hearing. Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch had scheduled confirmation votes for Tom Price and Steve Mnuchin. Instead, Democrats proved that they’re incapable of governing. (It’s impossible to govern if you don’t show up, right?) The simple truth is that this walkout essentially ended the political careers of 4 Democrat senators. Vulnerable Democratic senators serving on the Committee are Bill Nelson of Florida, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Mark Warner of Virginia. Nelson, Brown, McCaskill and Casey are up for re-election in 2018.

Chairman Hatch is right in criticizing Democrats for this boycott. First, let’s go over what happened. According to the article, “Senate Democrats on Tuesday refused to attend a committee vote on two of President Trump’s more controversial nominees, effectively delaying their consideration. Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee boycotted votes to advance Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Trump’s pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services, and Steven Mnuchin, his selection to head the Treasury Department. The pair had been among some of the more contentious selections to join Trump’s Cabinet.”

Let’s cut this crap. Pete Schroeder’s description of Price and Mnuchin as “controversial” is parroting the Democrats’ chanting points. They aren’t controversial. They’re just highly qualified people that the Democrats vehemently disagree with. Further, Democrats are denying that they’re protesting this hearing for political reasons. This video gives the Democrats’ official explanation for why they’re protesting the hearing:

According to their ‘official’ explanation, Democrats insist that Dr. Price and Mr. Mnuchin lied to the Committee. That’s a lie. Democrats haven’t offered a single bit of proof that justifies that accusation. The key for the Democrats is that they’re throwing out these accusations without providing proof, knowing that the media won’t question the Democrats’ accusations.

The Democrats are sore losers, with a heavy emphasis on them being losers. They lost the election. Rather than accepting defeat and putting Americans first, Democrats are putting political gamesmanship first.

Democrats said they wanted to bring Price and Mnuchin in for further questions, saying some of their statements did not line up with the facts.
 
We have great concern that Chairman Hatch is asking us to vote today on two nominees who out and out lied to our committee,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). Both Price and Mnuchin had been targeted fiercely by Democrats on a range of ethical issues. Price was pressed on his investment activity in various medical companies, and whether he improperly mixed his political activity with his personal portfolio.

Where’s the proof, Sen. Brown? Accusations aren’t proof. The truth is that Sen. Brown hasn’t offered proof for his accusations because it doesn’t exist.

The only thing that’s worse than the Democrats’ wild accusations is the media’s willingness to parrot the Democrats’ accusations as Gospel truth. If the media won’t do its job, we should treat them with contempt. They aren’t speaking truth to power because they aren’t interested in the truth. The Agenda Media is interested only in advancing the progressive agenda.

The good news for Republicans is that the American people voted on this. They rejected the “dishonest media”. Finally, if Democrats continue to refuse to govern, they should expect to take a terrible beating in the 2018 midterm elections.

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The topic that didn’t get discussed often enough after the election is the viability of the so-called Obama Coalition. John Judis and Ruy Teixeira wrote a book titled “The Emerging Democratic Majority” that was based on the belief that demographics pointed to a permanent Democratic majority.

Part of the description for their book says “In five well-researched chapters and a new afterword covering the 2002 elections, Judis and Teixeira show how the most dynamic and fastest-growing areas of the country are cultivating a new wave of Democratic voters who embrace what the authors call ‘progressive centrism‘ and take umbrage at Republican demands to privatize social security, ban abortion, and cut back environmental regulations. As the GOP continues to be dominated by neoconservatives, the religious right, and corporate influence, this is an essential volume for all those discontented with their narrow agenda — and a clarion call for a new political order.”

The Obama Coalition was built, in large part, on identity politics. The book’s description isn’t accurate. In fact, it isn’t close. What we’ve learned since this book was written is that Obama’s coalition isn’t transferrable. It’s his. Since he’ll never be on the ballot again, it’s time to admit that significant parts of that coalition have switched allegiances to President Trump. Other parts of former President Obama’s coalition decided to sit this election out because neither candidate excited them.

Putting it briefly, there’s a reason why it’s called Obama’s Coalition. It’s Obama’s coalition because it doesn’t work for candidates who aren’t Barack Obama. Bernie Sanders put together his own coalition. Admittedly, it was significantly smaller than Obama’s but at least he realized he couldn’t rely on former President Obama’s coalition.

While Democrats don’t have to start from scratch, they have to rethink their identity. They’ll have to rethink their policies, too. If they don’t, they won’t win back white working class voters. Without them, they can’t win states like Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

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John Croman’s article reads like a DFL propaganda piece. That’s mostly because that’s what it is. The article starts by saying “Minnesota’s top budget official warned Monday that the Republican health insurance premium relief plan will significantly delay aid payments to those facing sharp increases in 2017. Commissioner Myron Frans, who heads the Minnesota Management and Budget department, said the rebate program envisioned in the GOP legislation would required creating an apparatus to receive and vet applications for aid, which could involve hiring an additional 100 staff in his agency. ‘Our first take is that this is going to cost a lot of money and it’s going to take a lot of time. And if we’re going to go down that road it’s going to make it very difficult to get this implemented in 2017,’ Commissioner Frans told reporters.”

My first question for Commissioner Frans would be why this wouldn’t apply to Gov. Dayton’s plan. Wouldn’t they need to verify that applicants’ income is truthful? Or would Gov. Dayton’s system run on the honor system?

The Republican plan, by contrast, calls for people to apply to the state for aid. The state would review the applications and issue State checks directly to the insurance customers. The Legislative Auditor would conduct the audits, if this plan passes and is signed into law.

I don’t know that that’s true but let’s stipulate that it is for this conversation. Couldn’t the DFL offer an amendment to change that part of the legislation?

The main question that hasn’t gotten asked is why Gov. Dayton and the DFL haven’t offered a plan to fix all the things that are wrong with Minnesota’s Obamacare health care system. Why haven’t the media asked Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk or Rep. Hortman where their comprehensive health care reform legislation is?

Does the Twin Cities media think, like Gov. Dayton and the DFL, that these skyrocketing health insurance premiums are a one-time thing? If they aren’t a one-time thing but are caused by systemic flaws, why haven’t the DFL written legislation that would fix that situation?

Commissioner Frans can complain all he wants about not getting the rebate fixed but the truth is that Minnesotans are worried about other parts of Minnesota’s health care system. Further, if Gov. Dayton vetoes premium relief, the DFL will wear that like a cement block during the 2018 campaign.

This article contains one of the most stunning political quotes I’ve ever read. When I first read it, I immediately reread it to make sure I didn’t misread it.

According to the article, Reps. Keith Ellison, (D-MN), Raul Grijalva, (D-AZ), and Mark Pocan, (D-WI), sent a letter to the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, saying “As our party deliberates on how best to move forward, the Congressional Progressive Caucus encourages our colleagues to move beyond misguided debates such as whether to aggressively court blue-collar, rural, and inland voters or instead focus on professional, urban, and coastal Democrats.”

As a Republican, I wholeheartedly agree. Aggressively courting blue collar and rural voters is a waste of time for Democrats. Everyone’s seen pictures of the red county-blue county maps. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that 98% of the Democratic Party lives either on the East or Left Coast, big cities or college campuses.

I wrote this post to highlight how much Democrats are in denial after the election. Couple that with this trio’s letter and Corey Booker’s publicity stunt today at Jeff Session’s confirmation hearing and it’s clear that they aren’t willing to stop relying on identity politics or to admit that the Democratic Party is, right now, a niche party. Here’s the video of Booker’s ‘testimony’:

The truth is that Sen. Booker didn’t add anything substantial to the confirmation hearing. This was him taking the opportunity to grab some spotlight to further his presidential ambitions. He came across as a phony. His ‘testimony’ was contrived and poorly delivered. He came across, too, as another windbag politician lacking in sincerity. Finally, his about-face on what he said about being honored to have worked with Sen. Sessions makes him look like a cheap politician.

But I digress. I hope these Democrats keep thinking that they don’t have to moderate their positions. I hope they think the Obama coalition is all they need. That’s how they dug this hole in the first place.

According to this article, Rick Nolan is considering a run to be Minnesota’s next governor. The article opens by saying “Rep. Rick Nolan is considering a 2018 run for governor, his spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday. Nolan, 73, would be a high profile addition to the DFL field. He represents the 8th Congressional District in northeastern Minnesota, winning a tough re-election fight in 2016 despite a bad year for his party, especially in greater Minnesota. This is Nolan’s second go around in Congress, now in his third term after serving three terms in the 1970s. Having endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders for president, Nolan could unite DFL progressives with rural moderates that he represents in Congress. ‘Because several people who (Nolan)& respects have urged him to run, he is giving it thought,’ said Samantha Bisogno, his spokeswoman. She added that he has not pursued the matter further and referred questions to his campaign operation.”

Rick Nolan isn’t the uniter that he’s portrayed as in this article. He’s a far left lefty who thinks Obamacare didn’t go far enough. Further, he isn’t trusted by Metrocrat environmental activists because he’s (relatively) pro-mining. I don’t know how he’d win enough votes in the DFL’s urban stronghold to win either the primary or the general election.

As a Republican, I love the thought of Nolan running for governor because it gives Republicans a stronger chance of flipping the Eighth District. The NRCC would likely think of this as a gift. Obviously, this isn’t decided. Still, it’s another possible ray of sunshine for Republicans.

After reading this Washington Times article, there’s little doubt in my mind that President Obama will appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

First, the article says “Mr. Obama’s moment will come just before noon, in the five minutes that the Senate gavels the 114th Congress out of session and the time the 115th Congress begins. In those few moments the Senate will go into what’s known as an ‘intersession recess,’ creating one golden moment when the president could test his recess-appointment powers by sending Judge Garland to the high court.” It continues by saying “The move would be a legal gamble under the high court’s last ruling in 2014 on recess appointments. That 9-0 decision overturned a handful of Mr. Obama’s early 2012 picks, saying the Senate was actually in session when the president acted, so he couldn’t use his powers. That ruling also said, however, that there’s a difference between appointments made during the annual yearlong session of Congress, dubbed ‘intrasession,’ which Mr. Obama used in 2012, and picks made at the end of the year, after Congress adjourns, which are known as ‘intersession.'”

This statement is downright foolish considering who we’re talking about:

William G. Ross, a law professor at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, said Mr. Obama would have the power to elevate Judge Garland. But he said it would be “politically unwise and damaging to the prestige of the court. It would exacerbate acute political tensions that have roiled the transition process and promise turbulence from the very start of the Trump administration, and it would contribute to the growing public perception that the court is unduly political,” Mr. Ross said.

Anyone that thinks President Obama worries about doing controversial things is kidding themselves. He thrives on those things. That’s why I’m certain he’ll appoint Garland.

The political downside for Democrats is that they’d be required to defend that indefensible decision. Republicans would use that against them in 2018, which is already shaping up to be a bloodbath for Democratic senators. That, however, isn’t a big deal to President Obama. What does he care? He’s already decimated the Democratic Party during his time in office:

Since President Obama took office, there are 12 fewer Democratic governors, 63 fewer Democrats in the US House of Representatives, 12 fewer Democrats in the US Senate and almost 1,000 fewer Democrat state legislators.

Why would President Obama care if Republicans picked up another dozen Senate seats after he’s out of office?

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It isn’t a secret that there’s a major fight looming between Gov. Dayton and Republican leadership on the issue of health care. I’ve written about the difference in the details between Gov. Dayton’s proposal and the Republicans’ proposal before. (Here’s one of the posts.) Saying that the difference between Gov. Dayton’s proposal and the Republicans’ plan is significant is understatement. Honestly, this article doesn’t outline the differences.

The third paragraph says “DFL Gov. Mark Dayton said he wants to see the Legislature immediately pass his plan, which would provide a 25 percent rebate for people who wouldn’t be able to get other help with their surging premiums. About 121,000 Minnesotans are facing steep health insurance premium hikes, but make too much to qualify for federal tax credits.”

What’s needed to do this debate justice is a side-by-side comparison of the competing plans. Actually, it isn’t fair to call Gov. Dayton’s proposal a plan when compared with the Republicans’ plan. This graphic is worth thousands of DFL words:

The first question that people should ask Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislators is this: why doesn’t your plan fix all the things that are broken with the MNsure/ACA system? The other question that I’d ask is this: If you aren’t going to make a substantive counterproposal, why aren’t you supporting the Republicans’ comprehensive proposal? Is it that you think rural Minnesotans have too much access to health care? Are rural Minnesotans’ networks too robust?

Unfortunately, it’s clear that Gov. Dayton is digging in his heals on MNsure/ACA because, in his mind, reforming it would hurt his legacy. Isn’t it time for him to, just once, do the right thing for rural Minnesotans?

Minnesotans rejected Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s agenda this past November. They want to move in a different direction. (More on that in a future post.) They aren’t happy with the direction Gov. Dayton and the DFL have taken Minnesota in.

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