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Tim Pawlenty has started running an ad that takes a shot at Gov. Dayton’s incompetence in administering government assistance programs. Before we watch the ad, though, it’s important to note that Pawlenty has listed this issue as a high priority on his campaign’s issues page.

He wrote “Whether it is a driver’s license renewal system that doesn’t work, broken healthcare websites, or childcare providers allegedly defrauding the state of a massive amount of money and sending some of that money to terrorists overseas, state government needs to be held more accountable. Too often, state government is not held accountable and taxpayers are left to pay the price. As just one example, a recent audit from the Office of the Legislative Auditor found the state is paying hundreds of millions in benefits to people not even eligible because state government fails to verify income eligibility. We will properly verify eligibility and use the hundreds of millions currently being wasted to lower health care costs and provide better care to Minnesotans in need. It’s time to hold state government more accountable and put hardworking Minnesotans first.”

Here’s Pawlenty’s ad:

Rating this ad

I consider this ad to be effective. First, Pawlenty ‘narrates’ the ad, in essence telling people what he thinks is important while highlighting what’s wrong with government. Next, he closes by saying that he’d use those savings to lower health care costs for Minnesotans who work hard and obey the law.

Next up is Karin Housley’s first ad:

Rating this ad

I rate this ad effective, too. First, Sen. Housley speaks for herself, which is always the most effective way of getting the message across. Next, she explains her governing philosophy. Simply put, she wants to ‘drain the swamp’ and get government out of the average citizen’s way. She wants government “working for you, not against you.” Finally, she tells voters that she understands “that the best place for your hard-earned money is in your pocket.”

In both cases, the ads were short, concise and about things that Minnesotans care about.

UPDATE: I saw Jeff Johnson’s first ad tonight:

Rating this ad

Johnson’s ad definitely goes after Tim Pawlenty, which is what I’d expect since Johnson first has to win the primary. I thought it was gratuitous for Johnson to say that Gov. Pawlenty “gave us higher spending.” When Gov. Pawlenty started in office, Jim Knoblach chaired the House Ways and Means Committee. It’s foolish to think that there was a massive spending increase at that time because Gov. Pawlenty inherited a $4.2 billion projected deficit from Jesse Ventura. Pawlenty and Knoblach eliminated that deficit without raising taxes. It’s fair, however, to mention the fee increases.

The ad is a bit misleading in that Pawlenty had to battle DFL supermajorities in the 2007 and 2009 budget sessions. That’s when Republicans relied on Gov. Pawlenty to be our goalie.

Overall, the ad is somewhat effective because it’s somewhat misleading.

Karin Housley’s optimism is infectious. Reading through this article, it’s obvious that she sees her campaign as the right elixir at the right time. It’s equally obvious that she thinks that Tina Smith is Sen. Schumer’s shill. She’s right about that, BTW. Sen. Smith has opposed everything that President Trump is for. New York already has 2 senators. They don’t need another one.

In an interview with the Brainerd Dispatch Editorial Board, Sen. Housley said “I had been in the Minnesota Senate for the last six years and seen the failures of the Dayton-Smith administration and I thought, ‘There’s no way that woman represents everyone in Minnesota or what we really stand for in Minnesota.’ I decided to jump into the race and fight for Minnesotans.”

Sen. Housley is right. Sen. Smith doesn’t represent Minnesota’s priorities. Contrary to Smith’s beliefs, there’s much more to Minnesota than the Twin Cities. In her brief time in the US Senate, Tina Smith has traveled often outside the Twin Cities. Unfortunately, she’s brought her Twin Cities beliefs with her. Rather than listening to Minnesotans’ worries, Smith has tried selling the Twin Cities’ priorities. That’s disrespectful.

By comparison, Sen. Housley has met with (and listened to) lots of groups from Owatonna to Bemidji to Walker. As she says in this interview, she and her husband have had a cabin in the Walker area for several decades:

That means they understand rural Minnesota. That isn’t all. They know that Washington’s policies have made life difficult for rural residents. Then there’s this:

By replacing Smith, Housley said she hopes to help break the deadlock in the nation’s upper house—750 bills left on the debate floor, undebated and not voted upon because of rigid partisan lines. Sen. John McCain’s absence leaves the Senate in a state of limbo, a razor-thin 50-49 Republican majority.

In doing so, Housley said, she’ll look to restore a kind of representation that actually represents the interests of everyday Minnesotans—not blind dogmatism, not run-of-the-mill Capitol Hill and not an out-of-touch Democrat who favors big government and the big problems that brings.

Smith is a not-so-bright radical. Don’t forget, she’s a Berniecrat:

People can’t seriously think that Tina Smith isn’t a Twin Cities-centric socialist. Further, let’s ask this simple question: Are you better off today than the day before President Obama left office? Honest people would emphatically say they’re better off today. Business investment is improving quickly. Consumer confidence is sky-high. Unemployment for blacks and Hispanics are at all-time lows. Unemployment for women is at a 65-year low. The energy sector, which President Obama tried to intentionally kill, has turned around so dramatically that we’ve gone from importing oil to being a net exporter of energy. We’re so strong with energy that President Trump struck a deal with the EU to export Liquefied Natural Gas to them.

Tina Smith is a closet environmentalist who hates fossil fuels. She’s also (quietly) anti-mining. She has to pretend that she’s pro-mining because she needs lots of Iron Range votes but she isn’t a big fan of mining. By comparison, Karin Housley is enthusiastically pro-mining. This is the type of straight talk that Minnesotans insist on:

Since 2003, Housley has been a small business owner and is also a real estate agent by trade—though, she admitted, she almost closed up shop in 2010 because of restrictive policies by the state at that time. “It got to a point where you’re working so hard and everything you’ve earned is going to the government, but the government is spending your hard-earned money not on things you want it spent on,” Housley said. “That’s the reason I ran. We’re just starting to reverse that. People are keeping more money in their pockets, and so are our business owners, so we just have to continue that trend.”

Tina better buckle up for a tough campaign. Thanks to her mistake-riddled campaign, she’s earned a tough campaign.

Sen. Karin Housley issued this statement urging Congress to “delist the gray wolf as an endangered species.” In the statement, Sen. Housley states “I am pleased the U.S. House of Representatives included an amendment in one of its recently-passed spending bills to bypass the courts and delist the gray wolf as an endangered species. By nearly every metric, the gray wolf’s recovery goals have been exceeded and this language would return management responsibility where it belongs: with the states. Farmers and landowners are prevented from protecting their livestock against wolf attacks because of this burdensome regulation. Instead of siding with far-left environmentalists, Tina Smith should put her brand of radical, left-wing partisanship aside and support this effort in the U.S. Senate.”

By all objective measures, the timber wolf, aka the grey wolf, is no longer an endangered species. Further, it shouldn’t be listed as a threatened species, either. According to this government definition, the definitions of an endangered species and a threatened species are spelled out in simple, easy-to-understand wording. An endangered species “are at the brink of extinction now.” Meanwhile, threatened “species are likely to be at the brink in the near future.” This is important information, too:

Threatened status benefits species and people in two situations: (1) it provides Federal protection before a species reaches the brink of extinction; and (2) in the case of species that were initially listed as endangered, threatened status also allows scaling back Federal protection as they recover and no longer need the maximum protections of the Act.

State natural resource management agencies designated by the Service may “take” (kill, wound, trap, or move as defined by the Act) individuals of a threatened species in pursuit of conservation programs for the species. In contrast, those agencies are prohibited from “taking” an endangered species if the action might kill or permanently disable the specimen, move it to another state, move it beyond its historical range, or keep it in captivity for longer than 45 days.

The environmental activists to which Sen. Housley refers have argued, literally, that species that’ve been put on the endangered species list are forever at risk of extinction. In their mind, the ESA, aka Endangered Species Act, should protect endangered and threatened species alike with equal ferocity.

The thing about environmental activists is that they’re never willing to accept the fact that the ESA worked. If they did, they’d be much less rabid and much more moderate and tolerable.

The benefit of reading this article is to find out Karin Housley’s priorities if she’s elected to the US Senate.

In the article, Sen. Housley said her priorities in DC would be “the economy, health care and senior issues.” She then said “Taking care of our seniors is a really big issue,” Housley said. “I think we need to preserve and protect Social Security for them. That’s one thing that they’re worried about. I want to make sure those dollars are there for our seniors.” An opponent of the Affordable Care Act, Housley also said she doesn’t think a one-size-fits-all model works for the entire country. “It was supposed to decrease our health care costs, and it hasn’t,” Housley said. “I want to focus on a free market-based system for our health care costs and a patient-centered system.” On the economy, Housley said the U.S. Congress and President Donald Trump have made progress on the economy and would like to help keep it going. “I’d like to support continuing the way the country’s going with jobs and the economy booming,” Housley said. “I think there are so many great bills that are brought up in the U.S. Senate, but they (Republicans) have such a slim majority.”

Simply put, Sen. Housley’s main priorities are significant in the grand scheme of things and they’re important to Minnesotans.

I haven’t seen any recent polling on the Smith vs. Housley race but it’s apparent that Sen. Housley is running for everyone’s votes:


Then there’s this:


When Gov. Dayton picked her to replace Sen. Franken, Tina Smith said it wouldn’t be wise to underestimate her. That remains to be seen. There’s no doubt, however, that it’s foolish to underestimate Sen. Housley.

Minnesota has had liberal senators representing them for too long. Sen. Franken and Tina Smith have worked hard to represent only portions of Minnesota. It’s time for a real senator who will represent the entire state.

Rest assured that Minnesota will have a heated race this fall. For months, pundits like Charlie Cook and Stuart Rothenberg have predicted 4 tight US House races. I’ve been skeptical of those predictions from the start. I never thought that Erik Paulsen’s and Jason Lewis’s seats were toss-ups like Cook, FNC and RealClearPolitics were predicting. Further, I’ve thought that the MN-08 race was likely to be the most likely to break the DFL’s way while MN-01 was virtually a lost seat for the DFL.

The tight race that’s likely to happen is the Senate seat currently occupied by Tina Smith. Over the past week, she’s proven that she’s capable of making multiple unforced mistakes. Before the week actually started, Smith announced that she wouldn’t support any Supreme Court nominee. She did that before the nominee was picked. That helped her look like a partisan ideologue, which is her true identity. At the other end of the week, she campaigned with self-described socialist Bernie Sanders and cop-hating Keith Ellison.

Meanwhile, Karin Housley, Smith’s opponent, is running a nearly flawless race while touting the Republicans’ economic accomplishments. First, a comparison is required. Bernie Sanders had a strong following thanks to the pathetic Obama economy, which produced tons of income inequality. He lost that issue the minute the Trump/GOP economy took off and hasn’t looked back.

Bernie can complain all he wants but people will ignore him when they’ve got their pick of good-paying jobs. It’s hard to think that we’re in a recession when we’re at full unemployment and there are more job openings than there are people to fill them. If income inequality is going to be Bernie’s message, he’ll lose. By comparison, here’s Karin Housley’s message:

Simply put, Tina Smith’s positions on things like immigration, taxes and the Supreme Court are pretty extremist. It’s impossible to sugar coat it. According to her own campaign website, Tina Smith supports open borders ‘immigration’. As for taxes, she’s never met a tax increase she didn’t like. Finally, Tina Smith prefers outcome-based justices and judges because they won’t hesitate to change the policy portions of a piece of legislation.

The judiciary shouldn’t care what is or isn’t smart policy. If there is a statute that needs fixing, it’s the legislative and executive branches’ responsibility to fix the problem.

Karin Housley prefers judges and justices who look at the text of the legislation, then determines whether the legislation fits within the framework of the Constitution.

When Karin Housley visited St. Cloud Thursday, she brought a bold prediction with her.

During a visit to the Whitney Senior Center, Housley predicted “This is the year Minnesota’s turning red.” She then explained, saying that she “expects two U.S. House districts to flip in the state with incumbent DFLers Rep. Rick Nolan and Rep. Tim Walz retiring from Congress and running in gubernatorial races.”

I agree with both predictions. President Trump’s visit to Duluth to rally for Pete Stauber filled the arena with people. The ramp wasn’t just filled with cars. It was filled with people too. With a 4-way DFL primary set to determine who will face Stauber, expect that primary to beat each other up. I’m not sure if the DFL will be able to unite after that fight. I’d rate that race as leans GOP. As for Minnesota’s First District, the DFL doesn’t have a bench. Tim Walz was it. There’s a primary on the GOP side in MN-01 but there’s no signs of it getting bloody.

As for Sen. Housley, momentum keeps building, much of it due to the booming Trump/GOP economy. Liz Peek’s article highlights this beautifully:

President Trump wants you to quit your job! Well, not really; but the White House’s tax cuts and rollback of onerous regulations have encouraged millions of Americans to do just that. The economy is booming, opportunities are opening up all over the place, and workers are responding, by quitting in record numbers.

This may be bad news for Democrats hoping to take over Congress in November. They have no economic agenda that can compete with a buoyant jobs market that is making the American Dream come true.

Then comes the dagger:

But it is great news for American workers.

Tina Smith’s message is obstruction, resistance and socialism:

“The political revolution that Keith and I and others have talked about is not just a progressive agenda that speaks to the needs of working families, it is the need to create a national grassroots movement where ordinary people stand up to the billionaire class and take back this country,” Sanders said. “By electing Keith, and reelecting Tina and Amy [Klobuchar], you guys can help lead this country in that direction.”

Tina Smith’s socialist smile will turn upside-down when it’s revealed that she’s just another socialist who will do whatever Chuck Schumer wants her to do. Tina Smith wants to pretend to be a moderate. She isn’t:

Tina Smith rallied with Bernie Sanders and Keith Ellison this week. If that’s her definition of moderation, I’m betting most Minnesotans will reject that definition. By rallying with Sanders and Ellison, Smith proved that she’s trying to appeal to everyone. Normally, that’s ok. This isn’t normally, though. She rallied with radicals from the #Resistance.

Meanwhile, Karin Housley can claim that she’d fight for Iron Rangers, the elderly and economic growth. Housley is smart, reasonable and has an overabundance of energy. She’s exactly the type of candidate that can defeat a check off the boxes candidate like Tina Smith.

The polls don’t show it yet but what’s likely going to help Republicans like Karin Housley and Pete Stauber are the Republicans’ closing arguments. The DFL doesn’t have a closing argument. All they have is #Resist and #AbolishICE.

Pawlenty tweaks Johnson

The Republican nomination race for Minnesota governor took a contentious turn Thursday with a hard-hitting TV ad from former Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

After months of Pawlenty ignoring his primary rival, he unloaded on Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson as part of a six-figure ad campaign, the first commercials he has run during the race. Johnson responded with his own swipes but probably won’t be able to match Pawlenty’s reach, given the relative cash positions of their campaigns.

Johnson is the tiresome gnat in the race. He tried firing back but this is the best he could do:

Johnson took the sudden attention as a sign “that the race is close. It was a good day in the campaign. I said the day that he attacks is a day he knows he might lose. Obviously, we got there earlier than I thought we would,” he said.

This race isn’t close. The Outstate.US poll shows Pawlenty leading by 34 points. Even if the margin of error was high, Johnson would still be miles behind.

The Pawlenty campaign replied:

Pawlenty’s campaign said Johnson threw the first punches months ago and they’re ready to respond in kind. “The Pawlenty campaign is not going to take anything for granted, and we want to ensure that Republican primary voters know exactly where Jeff Johnson has been on these important issues,” said Pawlenty adviser Brian McClung.

It isn’t that Johnson is being competitive. It’s more likely that Pawlenty has decided it’s time to all-but-officially end the primary.

Housley’s impressive fundraising quarter

Karin Housley’s campaign just reported “In Minnesota’s special election for U.S. Senate, the campaign of Republican-endorsed candidate Karin Housley announced a fundraising total of just over $1 million during the second quarter of 2018. Of the 6,209 total campaign donors to date, nearly 73 percent gave donations of $50 or less.” While it’s likely that Tina Smith has raised more, that’s irrelevant because Tina’s message is essentially Obstruct and Resist. Meanwhile, Karin’s message is “Minnesotans want a senator who will fight for them – but Tina Smith has shown us again and again that her marching orders come from the radical left, not the people she represents. Over the next four months, we’re going to work as hard as we can traveling the state, hearing Minnesotans’ stories, and making a case for why I’ll be a new voice in the U.S. Senate for the people of our state. Minnesotans want a senator who will fight for them – but Tina Smith has shown us again and again that her marching orders come from the radical left, not the people she represents. Over the next four months, we’re going to work as hard as we can traveling the state, hearing Minnesotans’ stories, and making a case for why I’ll be a new voice in the U.S. Senate for the people of our state.”

At this press conference, Sen. Smith sounded like a past president of Planned Parenthood, which she is:

The difference between Tina Smith and Karin Housley is that Tina Smith serves the special interests. Karin Housley serves people. Sen. Housley proved that by vigorously attempting to fix the elder abuse scandal in Minnesota. Rather than just hold a press conference, Sen. Housley put together legislation that would’ve fixed many of the problems. Unfortunately, Gov. Dayton, who Tina Smith served with for 3+ years, vetoed the bill.

In her short time in office, Sen. Tina Smith, (DFL-MN), has shown herself to be nothing more than a partisan hack. This week, Sen. Smith didn’t wait to hear who President Trump’s nominee to the US Supreme Court was before she announced that she would oppose whoever President Trump nominated.

Karin Housley noticed Smith’s actions and decisions, then highlighted them in this email:

Tina Smith is showing again why she is the definition of partisan politics. Even before President Trump announced who he would nominate to replace the vacant seat on the Supreme Court, Tina Smith announced she WOULD NOT support the President’s choice. Then, MOMENTS after President Trump’s announcement, Tina Smith said she’d join the likes of Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Jeff Merkley to vote NO on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation. A no vote without as much as a hearing!

This is the kind of close-minded thinking that is dangerous for our country. Democrats are willing to ignore what’s right to support their broken agenda.

Close-mindedness is just part of the problem. First, what criteria did Smith use in reaching that decision? Did she use any substantive criteria to reach that decision? Did she just follow Sen. Schumer’s orders?

If she just follows Sen. Schumer’s orders, doesn’t that mean that Sen. Smith is nothing more than a piece of the machine? Doesn’t that mean that Sen. Schumer and Sen. Smith have abandoned the principles that once made the US Senate the most prestigious deliberative body in the world? Is Sen. Smith so hardened in her opinions that she isn’t even willing to listen to others?

That’s what I’d call a shill. Tell me the difference between Sen. Smith and Sen. Schumer. Will she always take Sen. Schumer’s orders on the most important matters? Apparently, she will. That’s disturbing. Minnesotans don’t need another political operative representing Sen. Schumer in the Senate. Minnesotans need someone who will represent us in the Senate.

Anyone that thinks that the DFL is capable of running government hasn’t read this audit report. The opening paragraph of the report is a damning indictment of the Dayton administration. The opening 2 paragraphs of the report state “Minnesota did no t comply with Federal waiver and State requirements in overseeing centers that serve vulnerable adults who receive services through the program. To protect the health and safety of vulnerable adults, Minnesota, as the licensing agency for centers, must ensure that centers follow licensing requirements in State statutes established in its application for waiver services. These licensing requirements include health and safety and administrative requirements.

“We determined that all 20 of the centers we reviewed did not comply with State licensing requirements. In total, we found 200 instances of noncompliance with health and safety and administrative requirements.”

I wrote this post right before Christmas of 2017. This part was particularly heartbreaking:

Ehlinger’s resignation comes after media reports, including a five-part series in the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune, found residents of senior care facilities statewide were neglected, abused and robbed, but the perpetrators were often never punished and in most instances complaints were never properly investigated. The state Department of Health is responsible for licensing and oversight of senior care centers.

Putting this HHS OIG together with the Star Tribune reporting, the inescapable truth is that the Dayton administration either wasn’t aware of what was happening in the state’s elder care facilities. Either that or they didn’t care what was happening in those facilities. One person who cares is State Sen. Karin Housley:

Think about what Sen. Housley said. Gov. Dayton first heard about this issue in 2012. Despite that, “they got absolutely nothing done.” Gov. Dayton played political games rather than doing the right thing. That’s unconscionable. It’s time to throw these bums out. If the DFL won’t protect these vulnerable citizens, they shouldn’t have control of any part of state government.

Think about this: the people in charge of the Office of Health Facilities Complaints are staffed by public employee union personnel. That explains why Gov. Dayton and the DFL did nothing to fix this situation. Lives were ruined because Gov. Dayton and the DFL protected their special interest allies. That’s pretty sick.

This paragraph is particularly indicting to the Dayton administration:

The State agency did not comply with Federal waiver and State requirements in overseeing centers that serve vulnerable adults who receive services through the program. We determined that all 20 of the centers we reviewed did not comply with State licensing requirements. The 20 centers we reviewed had from 3 to 25 instances of noncompliance. In total, we found 200 instances of noncompliance with health and safety and administrative requirements.

Think about that. The bureaucrats charged with overseeing “centers that serve vulnerable adults” didn’t pay attention to what was happening in these facilities. It’s frustrating to think that the party of big government, aka the DFL, didn’t give a damn about the most vulnerable people.

From this point forward, the DFL should be called ‘the party of big, broken government’. At this point, I haven’t seen proof that the DFL gives a tinker’s damn about these vulnerable citizens. Further, how many things must the DFL royally screw up before people decide that they can’t be trusted to run anything beyond a lemonade stand?

Right before Mike Pompeo’s confirmation vote to be Secretary of State, I wrote a letter to my senator, Tina Smith. This afternoon, Sen. Smith’s letter finally arrived. Let’s remember that Secretary Pompeo was confirmed on April 26. Tina Smith’s arrived on May 30.

In addition to being tardy, it was filled with a bunch of BS. For instance, Sen. Smith wrote “The State Department shapes American foreign policy through diplomacy, advocacy, and engagement with the world. This work is essential to ensuring our national security, solving tough diplomatic issues, and maintaining relationships not just with our allies but also with those with whom we disagree. The Secretary of State is a different kind of job from any other position and it is crucially important that the person who holds this job represent America’s values to the world and know how to use diplomacy to build consensus. Mike Pompeo is not this person. He is a man who has a record of anti-Muslim statements, some of which he’s read from the House floor in Congress. He’s a man who referred to people who conducted waterboarding not as torturers but as ‘patriots.’ These are not the values that represent America and these are not the values our top diplomat should be espousing. In holding these beliefs, Mr. Pompeo will aggravate the damage being done to the United States around the world. And the risks to peace and stability in the world will increase dramatically.”

Here’s the full letter for your examination:

I highlighted a pair of sentences to illustrate the nonsense in Sen. Smith’s reply. First, Sen. Smith replied that “He’s a man who referred to people who conducted waterboarding not as torturers but as ‘patriots.'” I’d call them patriots, too. At the time the waterboarding happened, it was perfectly legal. It wasn’t until years later that Congress outlawed those tactics. Next, Sen. Smith stated “Mr. Pompeo will aggravate the damage being done to the United States around the world.”

Which damage is that? Bringing North Korea to the negotiating table to discuss the potential denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula? Perhaps, Sen. Smith is referring to the moving of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem? Is Sen. Smith referring to the 3 American hostages brought home from North Korea after Secretary Pompeo’s second meeting with Kim Jung-Un? Pay particular attention to the former hostages’ reaction when they rejoin Secretary Pompeo:

It’s about 1:15 into the video.

How will U.S. foreign policy ever recover from such behavior? Seriously, this question must be asked. What the hell is Tina Smith yapping about? What she said is utter rubbish. Let’s speak plainly about this. Tina Smith is a partisan hack who isn’t qualified to be a U.S. senator. What type of competent U.S. senator thinks that doing everything legal to prevent a terrorist attack isn’t a patriot? What type of honest politician thinks that U.S. foreign policy is heading in the wrong direction?

Only a partisan hack thinks that President Trump and Mike Pompeo haven’t already done more to make the U.S. safe in 18 months and less than 2 months than President Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry did in 8 years. ISIS has been defeated. The ‘new normal’ terrorist attacks have dropped precipitously. North Korea is begging to get us to the bargaining table. Iran is experiencing unrest unlike it’s seen recently:

Again, I ask Sen. Smith this simple question: what the hell are you talking about? Rather than wait for another letter from her, I have a better idea. Let’s fire her and elect someone who’s actually qualified.