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I’ve believed that John Chisholm, the Milwaukee County District Attorney, was a vindictive partisan prosecutor long before George Will wrote this column. Will’s column chief contribution is that it focuses attention on several key points that should receive additional highlighting. Here’s one such point:

The early-morning paramilitary-style raids on citizens’ homes were conducted by law enforcement officers, sometimes wearing bulletproof vests and lugging battering rams, pounding on doors and issuing threats. Spouses were separated as the police seized computers, including those of children still in pajamas. Clothes drawers, including the children’s, were ransacked, cellphones were confiscated and the citizens were told that it would be a crime to tell anyone of the raids.

Some raids were precursors of, others were parts of, the nastiest episode of this unlovely political season, an episode that has occurred in an unlikely place. This attempted criminalization of politics to silence people occupying just one portion of the political spectrum has happened in Wisconsin, which often has conducted robust political arguments with Midwestern civility.

That’s what the threats and intimidation wing of the Democratic Party looks like. John Chisholm is a thug with institutionalized authority to ruin innocent people’s lives. He’s the ‘leader’ of the Wisconsin chapter of the Democratic Party’s threats and intimidation wing.

In collaboration with Wisconsin’s misbegotten Government Accountability Board, which exists to regulate political speech, Chisholm has misinterpreted Wisconsin campaign law in a way that looks willful. He has done so to justify a “John Doe” process that has searched for evidence of “coordination” between Walker’s campaign and conservative issue advocacy groups.

On Oct. 14, much too late in the campaign season to rescue the political-participation rights of conservative groups, a federal judge affirmed what Chisholm surely has known all along: Since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling 38 years ago, the only coordination that is forbidden is between candidates and independent groups that go beyond issue advocacy to “express advocacy”, explicitly advocating the election or defeat of a particular candidate.

Why Wisconsin ever passed these John Doe laws is inexplicable. It’s authority to start a fishing expedition, something that’s contrary to the principles of probable cause and the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. Chisholm’s goal might’ve already been achieved:

But Chisholm’s aim, to have a chilling effect on conservative speech, has been achieved by bombarding Walker supporters with raids and subpoenas: Instead of raising money to disseminate their political speech, conservative individuals and groups, harassed and intimidated, have gone into a defensive crouch, raising little money and spending much money on defensive litigation. Liberal groups have not been targeted for their activities that are indistinguishable from those of their conservative counterparts.

I’ve written before about weaponized government. Chisholm’s investigation (I hate using that term in this context) fits that description perfectly. It’s the personification of weaponized government.

It’s worth noting this sentence:

Liberal groups have not been targeted for their activities that are indistinguishable from those of their conservative counterparts.

I’ve seen nasty forms of weaponized government but this is the nastiest form of it. Law enforcement officials participating in this should be investigated, too. Their actions furthered this unconstitutional exercise of abusive government. Hans Spakovsky’s op-ed nails it:

Oral arguments were heard Tuesday before the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in O’Keefe vs. Chisholm, the so-called John Doe investigation in which local prosecutors in Wisconsin tried to criminalize political speech and activity on public issues. The 7th Circuit should uphold the lower court decision halting this Star Chamber investigation that violated basic First Amendment rights.

The fact that such a secret persecution of citizen advocacy organizations even occurred ought to be an embarrassment to a state that prides itself on being a progressive bastion of individual freedom. It is more reminiscent of a banana republic than the world’s foremost democracy.

Chisholm should be disbarred for intentionally violating private citizens’ civil rights. Then he should be tried and, hopefully, be convicted, then incarcerated for many years. He’s a nasty person helping the Democratic Party chill political speech. Saying that his actions are intimidating and that his tactics are the type that would be approved of by Joe McCarthy is understatement.

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Friday night, Collin Peterson collided with Torrey Westrom in a debate. Here’s the video for the entire debate:

Saying that it was contentious is understatement. It was also inspirational and infuriating. This clip fits into the infuriating category:

Here’s what Collin Peterson said in defending his decision not to vote for Obamacare:

PETERSON: I didn’t vote for this bill. The reason I didn’t vote for it — the reason I didn’t vote for it is because I actually read the bill, which a lot of people didn’t.

That’s the first time Peterson said he’d read the bill prior to passing it. That runs contrary to what then-Speaker Pelosi said:

Here are her infamous words:

But we have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it.

The key point in all this is that, if it’s true, Collin Peterson knew what was in the bill but didn’t criticize the ACA. It’s one thing to stay silent on a bill you mildly disagree with. It’s almost justifiable if you think it might work. There was nothing in the ACA that suggested it would work.

For instance, if Peterson actually read the bill, he would’ve known that people couldn’t keep the plans they liked. Sitting silent while that abomination hits the American people is despicable. Edmund Burke got it right with this famous quote:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Collin Peterson did nothing. As a result, people in the Seventh District are getting bad news. Torrey Westrom is definitely speaking up about it:

“All you need to do is travel the district and talk to the small business owners that are getting renewal notices from their employees,” Westrom responded. “They’re seeing 40, 50, 60, 80% increases. I just talked to a person in my home county two weeks ago at the coffee shop, and they said they’re seeing a 100 percent increase because of Obamacare. That is a critical, a big concern, and why I am pushing that we need to repeal Obamacare, different from the congressman.”

Torrey Westrom’s closing statement was inspirational. Here’s that closing statement:

Saying that he returned to bailing hay on the family farm just a year after permanently losing his sight is inspirational. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that I appreciated Westrom’s statement that “even I can see that Washington is broken.”

Torrey’s sense of humor, combined with Torrey’s can-do attitude speak to one thing: that Torrey will be a positive, powerful force in Washington, DC.

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Campaigning with Rick Nolan in the Eighth District, the gaffemeister made another appearance:

It was appropriate that Vice President Joe Biden spoke at an Iron Range community college during a campaign rally for 8th District U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan Thursday afternoon. The vice president’s speech was professorial at times, citing data from several studies that he said proved the rich are getting richer at the expense of the country’s middle class, which he said “is getting crushed.”

Vice President Biden’s speech is an unintentional indictment of the President Obama’s administration. The policies in place affect job creation, wage growth and other important economic realities. By saying that the nation’s middle class “is getting crushed”, Biden was indicting President Obama’s policies, starting with Obamacare.

President Obama can’t claim to be the man that saved the economy one minute, then say that someone else’s policies are crushing the middle class the next minute. Either his policies work or they don’t. Though he and Vice President Biden won’t admit it, they’ve gotten the policies they’ve pushed for. Their policies are the ones in place that are hurting middle class families. The Obama-Biden policies haven’t worked. Their policies have prevented the Keystone XL Pipeline from getting built.

Thanks to that Obama-Biden policy, Minnesota farmers can’t get their crops to market and Minnesota miners can’t get their ore to port before Lake Superior freezes over.

Vice President Biden is the gift that keeps giving. It’s one thing when Biden does something like this:

Everyone chuckled when they saw that video. It’s a boneheaded mistake made by a bonehead. It’s another Bidenism.

Saying that the middle class is “getting crushed”, however, is different. That isn’t a boneheaded mistake. It’s a truth that Iron Rangers know altogether too well. The percentage of Minnesotans living below the poverty line is 11.2%. In St. Louis County, though, that percentage shoots up to 16.1%. By comparison, 8% of people living in Sherburne County live below the poverty line. St. Louis County, which has the biggest number of votes in Nolan’s district, has 50% more people living under the poverty line than the statewide average. The percentage of people living below the poverty line in Sherburne County is half that of St. Louis County.

The truth be told, there isn’t much of a middle class in Hibbing, where Thursday’s rally was held. Income disparity is the rule, not the exception. Thanks to Vice President Biden, Rick Nolan is faced with the challenge of running against a top tier opponent while defending the Obama administration’s economic policies.

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When Scott Brown defeated Martha Coakley to fill Ted Kennedy’s term, people thought that Brown had pulled the upset to end all upsets. This article suggests that it might be that Martha isn’t that good of a candidate:

A new Boston Globe poll released Friday suggests Baker is pulling 45 percent support to Coakley’s 36 percent among likely voters, the widest margin any poll has shown for either candidate since September. A poll released last week had the two neck-to-neck, with 41 percent support each.

“There is just positive movement in every single metric we can ask around Baker,” SocialSphere executive John Della Volpe, who conducted the poll, told the Globe. “The more voters have gotten to know him, the stronger he performs.”

At some point, Massachusetts Democrats will need to tell Ms. Coakley to hit the road. If she loses again, I can’t see how she’d remain politically viable. Either you’ve got it or you don’t. Apparently, Ms. Coakley, a liberal Democrat, can’t win in deep blue Massachusetts.

The Democratic establishment in Massachusetts largely threw its support behind Coakley’s gubernatorial bid. Both Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are slated to appear with Coakley this morning in Boston.

I’ll be paying attention to the polling after this event. If Coakley doesn’t rebound after holding rallies with the 2 women most likely to run for the Democratic nomination, then she’s hopeless.

In the governor’s race, Baker has picked up momentum with an across-the-board improvement on questions where voters were asked which candidate would do a better job handling certain broad policy areas. For instance, in mid-September, the poll gave him a 15-point lead over Coakley on creating jobs. In this week’s poll, he is ahead by 24 points.

Voters still think Coakley would do better ensuring high-quality, affordable health care, but the 15-point edge she had in mid-September is now down to 6 points.

“What we’ve seen from mid-September through today is that Baker has either extended his lead or closed a gap in which he was deficient,” Della Volpe said, adding, “Based on that, I’m not surprised that he was able to…create a lead, and some distance for the first time.”

The poll’s volatility can’t be ignored. Then, too, Baker’s lead can’t just be explained away, either.

Among independents, Baker has nearly triple the support that Coakley has, 57 percent to 20 percent. In mid-September, when Coakley had an overall lead of 39 percent to 36 percent, Baker had secured 43 percent of the independent vote, to Coakley’s 24 percent.

Republicans can’t win in Massachusetts if they don’t decisively with independents. Baker is apparently winning independents quite handily.

If she loses, history will record this as Ms. Coakley’s exit from the political stage.

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To the surprise of nobody, the St. Cloud Times in endorsing Joe Perske and Al Franken. What’s surprising is that the Times admits they’re biased:

Central Minnesotans should back Sartell Mayor Joe Perske in the 6th District House race and incumbent Al Franken in the race for U.S. Senate.

Republicans will immediately call “liberal bias” with the endorsement of two Democrats. The truth, though, in both these races is no matter which major-party candidate wins, the victor is going to seldom cross party lines and compromise on major issues.

Before anyone gets their undies in a bunch, it’s clear that the St. Cloud Times thinks they’re fairly impartial. The truth is that they aren’t impartial. Here’s proof:

Voters need to elect the person who can begin to restore district credibility while improving the return district residents get on the tax dollars they send to Washington.

The soft-spoken, blue-collar-leaning Perske is a better choice than Republican Tom Emmer. While Emmer is the likely favorite because of the district’s conservative demographics, voters need to seriously consider whether his political persona will help the district. He’s similarly conservative to Bachmann and he is known as a political bully, which makes his House strategy is “building relationships” a tough sell.

The Times’ logic behind endorsing Joe Perske is that he’s a “blue-collar-leaning” kind of guy and that Tom Emmer’s a “political bully.” That’s stunning in its lack of seriousness. There’s this though:

Voters need to elect the person who can begin to restore district credibility while improving the return district residents get on the tax dollars they send to Washington.

I won’t insist that the Sixth District’s credibility is untattered. That said, the Times Editorial Board’s animosity towards Michele Bachmann is extensive and well documented. Another thing I’ll say is that it isn’t just about “improving the return district residents get on the tax dollars they send to Washington.” It’s about whose policies will strengthen central Minnesota’s economy and Minnesota’s economy.

One of the things Tom Emmer will jump right into is cutting the federal government’s wasteful spending. He’s spoken frequently about his admiration of Sen. Tom Coborn, the man who put together a series of videos on sequestration.

Franken

In not endorsing Al Franken in 2008, this board cited Independence candidate Dean Barkley as being most in touch with local, middle-class voters. Franken objected immediately and vowed to show it. In six years, and in a highly polarized Capitol, he has, and he deserves re-election.

Again, noting neither he nor Republican challenger Mike McFadden will stray far from their respective party’s line, Franken still stood up for Main Street over Wall Street, for a reasonable farm bill, and for better matching people with employers through education.

That’s insulting. The Times didn’t mention the fact that Sen. Franken signed onto letters that oppressed his president’s political opponents while ignoring the Bill of Rights protections of citizens. The Times ignored the fact that Sen. Franken signed onto a letter to the IRS directing the IRS to apply additional scrutiny to TEA Party organizations.

As for Sen. Franken staying in touch with Main Street, he’d pass with flying colors if Main Street was defined as a union hall. If staying in touch with Main Street is defined by holding town halls in profitable businesses, Franken would get a D-.

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Elizabeth Warren’s populism just took a hit:

Given her populist image, it would be more in character for Warren to fight such a narrow industry interest. In this case, she did not. When Fidelity’s top executive, Abigail P. Johnson, personally lobbied the SEC in 2012, Warren stayed out of the fight. At the time, Warren was running for Senate against incumbent Republican Scott Brown, whose biggest source of funding came from Fidelity employees, according to a news report by the Globe’s Beth Healy.

Given Sen. Warren’s constant rants that “the game is rigged” and that Republicans rigged it, it’s astonishing that Warren is getting hit with this news. Perhaps that’s why Warren has declined running for president thus far.

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When it comes to national security, Sen. Franken is a lightweight. This article provides additional proof of that:

Franken said Obama doesn’t have authority to bypass Congress, but he has long backed closing the military prison and handling suspects through the American judicial system. Franken said he worries Guantanamo’s continued existence has only boosted terrorist recruitment efforts, and said there are plenty of high-security prisons in the United States to house the dozens of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo.

Sen. Franken isn’t serious about fighting terrorists. Check out this statement about taking on ISIL:

There are no good options on Syria. But as I’ve said, the use of chemical weapons to kill over a thousand people and injure many more is a horrendous act, and there have to be consequences for that. Whatever action the United States takes, it has to be limited action. This can’t be an open-ended commitment, and it definitely should not lead to American boots on the ground. Congress now has an important role to play, and I look forward to participating in a vigorous debate about the use of force and the best interests of our country.

Destroying ISIL isn’t possible without putting American boots on the ground. If you’re opposed to putting American troops into harms way, Sen. Franken, then just say that you aren’t really interested in doing what it takes to destroy ISIL.

There’s no doubt that Sen. Franken thinks that that’s the best poll-tested statement he could issue. Similarly, there’s no question that half-hearted airstrikes without boots on the ground is a political action. It isn’t a serious attempt to destroy ISIL. The Democratic Party, led by pacifists like President Obama and Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar, is going soft on national security again. Closing Gitmo, not taking the airstrikes on ISIL seriously and ruling out putting boots on the ground in Anbar Province and in Syria says one thing unmistakably clear.

It says that Obama, Franken and Klobuchar aren’t serious about national security.

Why wouldn’t you keep Gitmo open? Why give these terrorists the opportunity to radicalize American prisoners? Back in 2006, Amy Klobuchar said that it was important to get out of the war responsibly. In 2008, Franken campaigned on the same message. Then-Sen. Obama campaigned on getting us out of Iraq. Franken, Klobuchar and Obama didn’t talk about winning wars. I wrote about that multiple times in 2006-2008.

As George Will and Charles Krauthammer highlight, the fastest way to end a war is to lose that war. That’s what Franken, Klobuchar and Obama are about. If they aren’t about losing winnable wars, then they’re doing the same things that people who want to lose wars would do.

Politicians that aren’t interested in killing terrorists and winning wars are anti-American. Sen. Franken and President Obama, it’s sad to see that that shoe fits.

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If people had said that Iowa was leaning Republican at the start of 2014, people would’ve said that that means Republicans were heading for a very good year. Based on the last 4 polls in Iowa, I’d say that Republicans were closing in on a strong year in the Senate:

Braley’s campaign is doing everything it can to frighten voters into voting for Braley:

With just weeks left in a tight Senate race that he started with an advantage, Democrat Bruce Braley is pressing to raise concerns among women voters about his Republican opponent, Joni Ernst, and take some of the sheen off the farm-raised, military veteran who rose from relative obscurity to GOP stardom during the campaign.

The all-abortion-all-the-time campaign worked so well for Mark Udall that they’re apparently shipping it to Iowa. A campaign is running on empty when their best hope is frightening people into staying home. That’s the Braley campaign’s only hope.

Frankly, it’s a high-risk attempt. Joni Ernst just isn’t frightening. She’s a military vet. She’s a state legislator. She’s got personality. It’s difficult to make someone with those attributes sound scary. One woman that is scary campaigned for Braley this weekend:

“What the Republicans are really fighting for is a world which there is less and less investment in your future, less and less opportunity for you and more and more protection for those at the top,” Warren told a crowd of about 500 people Sunday in the Iowa Memorial Union ballroom on the University of Iowa campus.

That Massachusetts windbag is all BS and no substance. There’s no question, though, that she’s the brightest star in the Democratic Party. The thing is that she’s talking generically. She isn’t directly talking about Joni Ernst. While her speech probably whipped the activists into a frenzy, it isn’t likely that she convinced independents that support Joni Ernst into supporting Braley.

If this race represented a Christmas stocking, Braley would be a lump of coal. He’s a check-the-box politician. He’s good enough to be a back-bencher but he isn’t good enough to be a star.

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Collin Peterson’s calling card throughout the years has been that he’s an influential member on the Agriculture Committee. He’s still running on that calling card, though it’s fair to question how potent it is this time. Torrey Westrom is reminding people Peterson isn’t the only candidate in the race who knows agriculture issues:

Agriculture is another major issue for Westrom, who currently serves on the state legislative agriculture committee. He said that serving on the agriculture committee in Washington, like his opponent currently does, “sure would be” a priority for him.

“I grew up on a dairy farm, I have an agricultural background,” Westrom said. “I have been a strong proponent for agriculture and farmers in the state Legislature, and I will continue to be a strong ardent voice for agriculture in Washington.”

Torrey Westrom knows agriculture issues. Here’s an important difference between Westrom and Peterson:

Peterson has said that he supports the pipeline, but Westrom urged that his support of the project is not enough.

“We have rail car shortages because of this Obama administration’s policy supported by the Democratic leadership,” Westrom said. “You support the pipeline and then you go support leadership that’s gonna oppose it? That doesn’t make sense.”

“That’s a decision I have to make as a new congressman,” Westrom said. “Will I support Nancy Pelosi as the leader of the U.S. Congress or not? I am here to tell you I will not unlike my opponent who has.”

In prior elections, Peterson neutralized the ‘Nancy Pelosi card.’ Apparently, that streak has met its match. Westrom isn’t just mentioning Pelosi’s name. He’s tying Pelosi to Peterson on the biggest issue in the district. Westrom has done a nice job of highlighting the House Democratic leadership’s environmental fanaticism.

That won’t sit well in the 7th District.

Finally, people apparently are responding to Torrey’s positive message:

“We have been running a positive campaign, a positive message, and voters have been responding very favorably to what they see and hear coming out of our campaign,” Westrom said. “We are going to continue pushing a positive message of change.”

The thing that I’ve heard is that people appreciate Torrey Westrom’s demeanor and discipline. He isn’t afraid to highlight differences like he did in this interview. Still, he’s been respectful while highlighting policy differences he has with his opponent. That’s an admirable trait, one which says he’ll fight for his policies and principles without vilifying people he’ll need to work with.

Minnesota’s 7th District needs that type of leadership and character. A vote for Westrom is a vote for principled leadership.

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I applaud Stewart Mills for putting this ad together:

Here’s the ad’s transcript:

It seems that Rick Nolan has based his campaign on attacking me for having long hair and a family that started a successful business. Well, I don’t apologize for either one. But politicians like Rick should apologize for using our tax dollars to make themselves, and their friends, even richer, raising their pay, sending our tax dollars to Wall Street bankers and trade deals that reward outsourcers while killing Minnesota jobs. I’m Stewart Mills and I approve this message because I’m on your side, not their’s.

Rick Nolan, Nancy Pelosi and Democrats insist that Nolan’s on the side of the people of Minnesota’s Eighth District because he isn’t rich. Rick Nolan, Nancy Pelosi and Democrats insist that Stewart Mills can’t be on the side of the people of Minnesota’s Eighth District because he’s rich. What utter dishonesty.

  1. When Rick Nolan sided with Twin Cities environmentalists to oppose final passage of a bill that would streamline the federal permitting process, that wasn’t proof that Nolan was on the miners’ side.
  2. When Rick Nolan proposed building a mining institute, that wasn’t proof that Nolan was on the miners’ side. It was proof he wanted to spend money on something that wouldn’t help create mining jobs.
  3. When Rick Nolan and Nancy Pelosi fire off a steady stream of ads about Stewart Mills’ wealth, isn’t that proof that they don’t want others to be wealthy?

The American Dream is to help the next generation have it better than your generation. Stewart Mills’ family built a business that’s created jobs with great benefits while saving people tons of money through cheap prices in great locations.

Mills Fleet Farm is successful because the Mills family identified a need for rural Minnesota, then built a region-wide chain of stores that caters to rural and exurban shoppers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and North Dakota. I’ve always thought that Mills catered to people who work with their hands on their farms, their vehicles and their back yards.

If Stewart Mills is as out of touch with Minnesota’s Eighth District, why is Mills Fleet Farm the biggest retail chain in the district? If Mills were as out of touch as Nolan, Pelosi and the Democrats insist, Mills Fleet Farm wouldn’t be the expanding retail chain it is.

There’s another question Eighth District voters should ask. What do Rick Nolan and Nancy Pelosi have in common? ‘San Fran Nan’ wouldn’t know a thing about Minnesota’s Eighth District. She couldn’t identify with the Eighth District’s culture. She certainly hasn’t approved of the Eighth District’s pro-life and pro-Second Amendment views. She’s as pro-gun control as any member of Congress. She’s as pro-environmental regulation as any member of Congress, too.

Rick Nolan voted with Nancy Pelosi to allow the Secretary of the Army and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from unilaterally rewriting the Clean Water Act without an act of Congress. That doesn’t sound like something the mining industry would approve of.

Rick Nolan voted with Nancy Pelosi in opposing making America energy independent. That’s foolish considering how cheaper energy prices would make the Eighth District industries more profitable and more likely to keep people employed.

Nolan and Pelosi voted to let money appropriated to the Defense Department to be used to implement “climate change assessments and development plans.” Jim Oberstar was defeated because he voted for Cap and Trade. Nolan’s voting record is more green than Oberstar’s.

There isn’t any doubt which candidate is more in touch with the Eighth District’s people. Stewart Mills, the man whose family owns the biggest retail chain serving rural Minnesota, is more in touch with Eighth District voters than Rick Nolan, the guy who voted a) against energy independence and b) for greater government interference with Eighth District businesses.

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