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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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I know it isn’t the highest hurdle ever constructed but it’s apparent that some citizens are smarter than Sen. Franken when it comes to the Bill of Rights. Here’s proof:

“Congress and the states may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.” This is a proposed constitutional amendment Sen. Al Franken supports along with 47 other Democratic senators. Hopefully in one of his remaining debates he will explain his reasoning for supporting this amendment and why incumbent congressmen like himself should be entrusted to set “reasonable limits.” Perhaps Democrats think we shouldn’t be exposed to too many ideas. It’s ironic his party supports such an amendment since the Democratic Party is far outspending the GOP in this year’s mid-term election.

This LTE hits the nail on the head in highlighting the silliness of thinking anyone in Washington, DC is capable of setting “reasonable limits” on fundraising spending during campaigns. To quote the great economist and philosopher Milton Friedman during his interview with Phil Donahue, “Just where do you suppose we’re going to find these angels who are going to organize society for us? I don’t even trust you to do that.”

The notion that government bureaucrats always care about families or individuals rights is myth. The sooner that myth is demolished, the better. The thought that an incumbent will set up election rules that don’t favor the incumbent is foolhardy. Thinking that Al Franken, Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer are interested in playing fair is intellectually insulting.

Yes, raising and spending money can be used to influence opinions and elections. That is what free speech is supposed to do.

It’s a beautiful thing. Shouldn’t “the rich” have the right to express their political opinions? If not, why not?

Actually, that’s just a trap. Who made any of us the impartial arbiter of what’s acceptable political speech? Is any of us so virtuous that we’d trust ourselves with never showing partiality? If you think that of yourself, then you’re either lying through your teeth or you’ve got a higher opinion of yourself than you should have.

Al that aside, the fact is that Sen. Franken has shown he isn’t the impartial arbiter of what’s acceptable political speech and what isn’t. He’s signed his name to a letter telling the IRS to crank up their investigation against conservative organizations by saying that they were involved in something suspicious. What that suspicious thing was wasn’t identified in Sen. Schumer’s letter.

What’s interesting is that Sen. Franken wants to give politicians the right to tell people that think differently than him that the First Amendment doesn’t protect them like it protects people that think like him. After that, he’s essentially saying that we should trust him with the authority to unlevel the political playing field.

No thanks.

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This article suggests that Democrats’ worst nightmares are right around the corner:

Polling in recent weeks suggests turnout on Election Day could be very low, even by the standards of recent midterms. That’s bad news for Democrats because core groups in the liberal base are more likely to stay home than are people in the demographic segments that lean Republican.

A Gallup poll last week found that voters are less engaged in this year’s midterms than they were in 2010 and 2006. Only 33 percent of respondents said they were giving at least “some” thought to the upcoming midterms, compared to 46 percent in 2010 and 42 percent in 2006. Even more troubling for Democrats, Republicans held a 12-point advantage when those paying “some” attention were broken down by party.

The news isn’t all bad for the Democrats:

Turnout should be higher in states with high-profile competitive races. Michael McDonald, an associate professor at the University of Florida who specializes in elections, said that turnout may be low nationally simply because most of the county’s largest states, such as California and Texas, don’t have major competitive races.

This isn’t that great of news for Democrats. Most of the late-breaking races are breaking in the Republicans’ direction. It appears as though Harry Reid has given up on Sen. Udall:

This is potentially huge. Senate Majority PAC, the SuperPAC aiming to help Democrats keep their Senate majority, is cancelling $289,000 worth of broadcast-television advertising next week.

There’s such a thing as a domino effect late in elections. If people are noticing that the alphabets (DSCC, DNC, DCCC) are cancelling ad buys, it isn’t a stretch to think that they’re giving up on those races. It’s thought that pulling ad buys says that they’ve got better places to spend limited resources.

Similarly, races that aren’t attracting big names hint that they aren’t part of the top tier races.

This isn’t good news, either:

This election’s worst kept secret is that things aren’t breaking the Democrats’ direction. Cancelling ad buys in North Carolina and Colorado doesn’t indicate strength on the Democrats’ behalf.
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When I watch this video of Greg Orman dodging the question on whether he’d repeal Obamacare, it’s difficult to not think ‘that’s what a career politician sounds like’.

He’s right that we have an affordability crisis. Throughout his response, though, he outlined what’s wrong. At no point did he outline a solution. It was as close to a filibuster as you’ll hear in a debate.

People know what problems they’re facing. What they don’t know, however, is what solution can pass that’ll fix the problems they’re facing. After hearing Orman’s reply, which I won’t call an answer, people will still be wondering what the solution is.

Orman spent almost 90 seconds saying nothing. That isn’t the way to win over Republican-leaning voters. In Kansas, there are 3 political beliefs: Republicans, Democrats and leaning Republican. At this point, Orman looks like a flavor-of-the-month type of candidate. With the polls showing significant and rapid movement in Pat Roberts’ direction, Orman can’t rely on smooth-sounding rhetoric.

That’s why I’ve thought from the start that Orman can’t pull off this charade that he’s an independent. He’s a Democrat. No amount of smooth-sounding rhetoric will wipe away his well-documented liberal tendencies.

The American people are cynical. They understand that Independent is the party that Democrats pick to avoid being called a liberal. It’s also what they say when they don’t want to admit that they’ll vote to keep Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader.

Orman’s tap-dancing notwithstanding, the truth is that he’s a Democrat who will vote to keep Harry Reid as the Senate Majority Leader. In the end, that’s what will sink him in Kansas.

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Jim Angle’s article highlights this administration’s extreme shortsightedness:

In coming weeks, 13 states and the District of Columbia plan to cancel such policies, which generally fall out of compliance with the Affordable Care Act because they don’t offer the level of coverage the law requires. Virginia will be hardest hit, with 250,000 policies expected to be canceled.

And because federal law requires a 60-day notice of any plan changes, voters will be notified no later than November 1, right before the Nov. 4 midterms.

The Democrats’ next logical step will be to tell these states that they won’t enforce the notification law. If that happens, those cancellations wouldn’t be sent until after the election. That isn’t a stretch considering the fact that this administration has essentially rewritten major provisions of the Affordable Care Act since it was signed into law in March, 2010.

Many of those forced out of their current plans and into Obamacare may not be able to keep their doctors. They also could face higher deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses, making Obamacare an election issue on the eve of voting.

It’s possible that this turns into an election issue but it’s likely that families wouldn’t find out the grisly details until after the election. While the cancellation notices have to be sent out before Nov. 1, the details won’t be revealed until open enrollment starts. That’s Nov. 15.

Still, there will be lots of people who will find out that they can’t keep the doctor they’ve had for 15 years or the plan that they’ve liked for 20 years. The other thing worth considering is that it reminds people just how much they don’t like Obamacare.

While that likely won’t change people’s votes, it’s certainly possible that it’ll invigorate them to vote against the candidate that supports the ACA. Democrats will tell the people that they won’t repeal the ACA but will ‘admit’ that the rollout was a disaster and that they’ll work to fix the ACA.

Attempting to peddle that warmed-over mush won’t work. People know when a politician is being a politician. Any Democrat that says that the ACA rollout was a disaster but that they’d mend it, not end it will lose credibility.

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These polls don’t inspire optimism for Democrats hoping to keep their Senate majority:

Mark Begich, the Democratic incumbent senator, hasn’t led in a poll since he ran an attack ad accusing Dan Sullivan of “signing off on the early release of a sex offender who now stands charged with murder and the sexual assault of a 2-year-old.”

The most recent polls show Sullivan with leads from 3 points to 6 points. Alaska is one of the most reliably red states in the country. Holding Alaska for the Democrats was always going to be an uphill fight. Throw in a major mistake by the Begich campaign and that uphill fight got more difficult. Then there’s Arkansas, where Tom Cotton is running a solid, mistake-free race:

Democrats hoped to flip either Kentucky (unlikely IMHO) or Georgia. Those states are still tight but the Democrat hasn’t led since mid-summer. Then they hoped Kansas would flip. That’s now slipping quickly away.

Democrats hoped Colorado and Iowa would be their firewall. They’re trending away from Democrats. The trend isn’t the Democrats’ friend in at least half a dozen states. That’s how you lose a senate majority.

From a macro level, Republicans did a great job recruiting candidates. Cory Gardner, Tom Cotton and Joni Ernst will be impressive senators if/when they’re elected. At this point, Republicans should win the Senate as long as they keep working hard and they avoid gaffes.

This isn’t a comprehensive list of races where Republicans stand to flip seats. Still, it gives people insight into how things are trending.

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After watching this CNN video on the Pat Roberts-Greg Orman Kansas Senate race, it’s starting to look like Sen. Roberts will hold the seat:

This poll isn’t good news for Orman:

1. As you may know, there will be no Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate on the ballot in Kansas this November. If the election for U.S. Senate were held today and the candidates were Greg Orman, the Independent, and Pat Roberts, the Republican, who would you be more likely to vote for? (IF UNSURE:) As of today, who do you lean more toward? (RANDOM ORDER)
Roberts Orman (vol.) (vol.) opinion
Likely Voters:
Roberts 49%, Orman 48%
Registered Voters:
Orman 49%, Roberts 46%

This isn’t good news for Democrats:

Two Republican incumbents are fighting to keep their jobs in Kansas. The new Fox News poll finds both of them, Sen. Pat Roberts and Gov. Sam Brownback, have jumped ahead of their challengers.

When the first batch of polling came out for Kansas, Democrats were practically giddy. They thought that Kansas would be a firewall in saving the Senate. Each week, several GOP senators campaign with Roberts. That appears to have changed the trajectory of the race. With more GOP senators on their way down the stretch and with significantly more registered Republicans than Democrats in Kansas, this race appears to be returning to normal order.

The Fox Poll didn’t bring good news for Democrats in other states either. Here’s an example:

Likely voters in Alaska are unhappy with President Obama and don’t think much of his health care plan. That helps give Republican Dan Sullivan a 44-40 percent advantage over Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Begich.

Then there’s Arkansas:

Republican challenger Tom Cotton is up seven points over Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor among Arkansas likely voters (46 percent vs. 39 percent).

After that, it’s Colorado:

Republicans in Colorado are much more enthusiastic than Democrats about the upcoming election, and that explains, at least in part, why the new poll shows Rep. Cory Gardner topping Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall by 43-37 percent.

Mitch McConnell didn’t increase his lead against Alison Lundergan-Grimes but she didn’t close it, either, which is good news for Sen. McConnell:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is narrowly ahead of Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, 45-41 percent, among Kentucky likely voters.

Iowa is still a tight race but it looks like momentum is on Joni Ernst’s side:

The Marist poll shows Ernst up by three, 46 to 43 percent, which is an improvement on the 43 to 43 percent tie Marist posted when they last polled the race in July.

The Loras poll shows Ernst and Brady tied at 43 percent, which is a huge improvement on the 41 to 45 percent deficit Loras found when they last polled the race in September.

And the YouGov poll, which shows Ernst trailing 43 to 44 percent, is a small improvement for Ernst over YouGov’s August poll which had Braley up 44 to 42 percent.

If Republicans hold Kansas and Kentucky, which looks likely, Democrats will have a difficult time keeping their majority. If Ernst and Gardner win their races, which looks increasingly possible, Harry Reid should start packing because he’ll be in a smaller office next January.

In other news, Mary Landrieu fired her campaign manager. That isn’t the ideal way to inspire supporters. At this point, it’s possible that Republicans will pick up a net 8 seats in the Senate. If that happens, Republicans will celebrate momentarily. Then they’ll sit down and figure out how to push a positive, pro-growth economic agenda. That’s a gigantic change. It means Harry Reid won’t have a pocket veto over GOP legislation, which means Democrats will have to cast some difficult votes.

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