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One of the worst-kept political secrets is that the DFL is fighting with itself. That isn’t secret anymore because Gov. Dayton announced that he’s cutting the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s budget:

Dayton was nothing if not transparent about the move. The budget materials given to reporters before the late-morning briefing stated that the total of $3.77 million in reductions to the Park Board over the two-year budget period was due to “the Board’s continuing efforts to obstruct progress on the Southwest Light Rail Transit project.”

Of the total, $1.26 million would have come out of the state general fund and $2.51 million out of the natural resources fund, money intended to help the Met Council and 10 local park agencies develop and maintain parks that are regional destinations (think Minnehaha Falls). The money that would be lost by the Minneapolis board goes toward annual operating costs.

When asked about it, Dayton said it was possible he would support restoring the money, if the Park Board ended it opposition. “In my view, if they have all this money to hire consultants, they don’t need all the state money that’s been allocated to them.” Dayton said. He described the board’s actions so far as “very irresponsible.”

First, I’m totally fine with cutting the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s appropriation through the state budget. If Minneapolis wants a Park and Recreation Board, let them pay for it. In fact, eliminating the state government appropriation is justifiable, in my opinion.

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s advocates will argue that they add value to the state. That’s disputable at best. It might help Minnesota tangentially. In fact, I don’t know that a compelling case can be made that the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board makes Minneapolis substantially better.

Most importantly, this is a perfect example of why Speaker Daudt shouldn’t consider funding the Southwest Light Rail Transit project, aka the SWLRT project. The DFL is still fighting with itself on the SWLRT project. Next, regardless of whether the DFL is fighting amongst itself, the SWLRT project is a major waste of money. It’s spending tons of Minnesota taxpayers’ money on something that isn’t a priority with Minnesota’s taxpayers.

The DFL a) is proposing a massive middle class tax increase, b) is still fighting with itself on how to spend your money on their friends and c) is telling Minnesota that paying off their political allies is more important than spending your money wisely.

To use Scott Walker’s words, going big and being bold is the way to differentiate between the DFL’s payoffs and the conservatives’ priorities. Going bold is the way for Republicans to win the legislative fight in 2015, then win the 2016 election.

A political party divided against itself will soon be defeated.

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Charlie Cook’s latest article on the state of the GOP presidential race has more than a few flaws in it. He got this part right:

First there is the establishment bracket, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and possibly former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney competing for that semifinal slot.

Despite the MSM’s ‘reporting’, this isn’t where the action is. It’s mostly a sideshow that’ll keep the DC pundits entertained. Think of this as the ‘vastly overrated’ part of the race.

Cook didn’t get this part right:

Then there is the conservative governor/former governor slot—with, potentially, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker competing, all seeking to be non-Washington and non-Congress candidates, but each with more conservative, or at least better conservative, credentials than Bush, Christie, or Romney.

John Kasich lost his conservative credentials over the weekend when he fought for Common Core. That’s a deal-buster with conservatives. It isn’t likely that Rick Snyder and Mike Pence will run so they can be ignored. That leaves us with Rick Perry and Scott Walker. That’s the real bracket. Let’s call this the conservatives with credentials bracket.

The MSM is writing off Rick Perry. That’s a major mistake. He’s a much more serious candidate this time than in 2012. He’s got a lengthy list of conservative reforms under his belt. He’s definitely anti-Washington. He’s definitely pro-border enforcement, which plays well with conservative activists. He’s signed tort reform, which has led to a major influx of doctors into Texas. While most of the nation worries about doctor shortages, that isn’t a worry in Texas.

That leaves Scott Walker in this bracket. Activists see him as the giant-killer who took on the public employee unions and beat them. Then the PEUs got upset with him and tried defeating him in a recall election. The PEUs took another thumping in 2012. They didn’t have their fill so they returned for another shot in 2014. Gov. Walker’s Act 10 reforms were so popular that Mary Burke, the Democrats’ candidate, didn’t even mention the subject.

That’s one of the brackets where the excitement will be.

Then there’s the youthful senators bracket. This bracket features Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. I don’t know that any of these candidates will advance to the finals but they’ll generate lots of excitement.

At the end of the day, I suspect that the finalists will be Walker and someone else. I’d be surprised if that someone else is Jeb Bush. Bush is definitely more formidable with the media than with activists.

There’s only one conclusion that can be drawn after reading this article. Milwaukee will soon experience a substantial outmigration in population because the tyrants running the Milwaukee Public Schools are a) running failing schools and b) doing everything possible to prevent the opening or expansion of charter schools. First, here’s some foundational information:

In 2013, St. Marcus, a highly regarded school that accepts voucher students through the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, needed to add a second campus.

Its classrooms, from the K3 program serving 3 year olds through those for its oldest students in eighth grade, were full. The school had a waiting list of more than 300 students whose parents were eager for them to attend. There were plenty of vacant MPS school buildings available. There still are, as a new report from the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty documents.

The Democrats’ attempts to stifle school choice are breathtaking:

Tyson set his sights on the building that previously housed the Malcolm X Academy. The 170,000-square-foot property would provide St. Marcus with plenty of room to grow. Tyson contacted then MPS Superintendent Greg Thornton about the building. “He expressed an interest in selling and told me to write to the school board,” Tyson said. “I did.”

Then he waited.

After three months of waiting, Tyson finally received a response. “I got a single line response that said they weren’t willing to sell us the building,” Tyson said.

Get yourself a cup of hot chocolate or a cup of coffee because we’re just getting started with the Democrats’ chicanery:

“Milwaukee officials have chosen to block the expansion of choice and charter schools into unused and underutilized buildings. This hostility comes in many forms: local administrative policies that ban sales of facilities to certain non-MPS schools, the failure of MPS to keep a public list of what buildings are empty and underutilized, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s insistence of charging a ‘school choice tax’ as a condition on selling or leasing empty buildings, and the creation of last-minute ‘deals’ done solely to thwart the sale of facilities to schools in the choice program in high demand by Milwaukee families,” the report asserts.

First, Tom Barrett was the Democrats’ candidate against Scott Walker in the recall election in 2012. There’s more to the Democrats’ chicanery:

School board president Michael Barnes unveiled an ambitious and convoluted plan for the building. Malcolm X would be sold to a real estate developer who would convert part of it into apartments and the rest into a community resource center. MPS would then lease and eventually buy the community resource center.

The WILL report describes this deal as “a sham transaction done solely to prevent St. Marcus from obtaining the building.” This was an opinion held by many at the time, particularly after it was revealed the developer had not secured the financing needed for the project.

Calling this a “sham transaction” is an insult to scam artists. Still, we aren’t done with the Democrats’ corruption:

Tyson continued his talks with city officials. A price of $880,000 for the building was agreed to and St. Marcus was also set to pay a PILOT — payment in lieu of taxes — for the property, since as a private school it would be exempt from property taxes. “We agreed to that because we understand that any property in the city, even one owned by a nonprofit, uses city services,” Tyson explained.

The PILOT was expected to be $204,151.

The next obstacle appeared at what Tyson thought was going to be the final meeting with the city officials to set the terms of the sale. “This second obstacle was hilariously tragic,” Tyson recalled with a rueful laugh. “The mayor’s assistant gave me a piece of paper with a second PILOT on it. They wanted us to pay an additional $1.3 million to cover what they said the city would lose by students using vouchers to go to our school,” he said.

That the unions and other Democrats are doing everything possible to undermine charter schools isn’t surprising. Likewise, it won’t be surprising when people start voting with their mortgages and start leaving Milwaukee. In fact, it’s inevitable.

Frankly, I’d love to hear that the Republican majority do something to entice Milwaukee charter school parents to leave Milwaukee for cities with lots of charter schools.

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When I first skimmed this NY Times article, I thought it was a decent article, in part because of this analysis:

Nonetheless, there will be demand for an alternative to Mr. Bush, even from within the so-called Republican establishment. Since Friday, attention has focused on Mitt Romney, who said in a meeting of top advisers and donors that he was considering a third run.

But the more compelling challenger may be Scott Walker, the battle-hardened governor of Wisconsin. He has made moves toward running, and on paper, he’s the type of candidate who should deeply concern Mr. Bush.

A study of the 2012 election suggests that Jeb Bush has nothing to fear from moving to the right during the primary season.

Unlike the flawed but better-known conservatives, Mr. Walker has the potential to have broad appeal throughout the Republican Party. Mr. Walker, born in Colorado Springs, is an evangelical Christian who defeated public employee unions in a high-profile battle over collective bargaining rights and who made big budget cuts in a state that has voted for Democrats in seven consecutive presidential elections.

First, I disagree that Gov. Bush “has nothing to fear from moving to the right” during the primaries. He isn’t a conservative anymore. Admittedly, he had a reasonably conservative record as governor but he’s wandered quite a bit since leaving office almost a decade ago.

The analysis is right in that Gov. Walker’s appeal is substantial for quite a few reasons, starting with the fact that he’s taken on some rather large challenges and won. It’s also because Gov. Walker’s supporters across the nation feel passionately about him and would run through brick walls for him. That’s something that other GOP presidential candidates can’t tout, including Rand Paul.

Ron Paul’s supporters were willing to run through walls for him but Rand Paul isn’t like his father. He’s a polished politician, not the conscience of the Libertarian Party.

Yet unlike most conservative heroes, Mr. Walker has the record, résumé and temperament of a candidate who could attract significant support from the establishment.

In short, Gov. Walker has a substantial list of conservative accomplishments. Many of those accomplishments are reforms that Wisconsin’s needed for years. People think that Gov. Walker’s only accomplishment is union reform. Few people talk about his expansion of charter schools and school choice options.

Those are accomplishments that translate well to the national stage.

This is where they went wrong:

Some question whether he has the charisma to distinguish himself in a crowded field. He could end up like the former governor Tim Pawlenty, another Midwesterner, who was thought to be a strong challenger to Mr. Romney in 2012 but who ultimately failed to gain traction in Iowa.

Gov. Walker is nothing like Gov. Pawlenty. Gov. Pawlenty’s biggest accomplishment wasn’t really an accomplishment. Gov. Pawlenty prevented the DFL from raising taxes through the roof. It’s the right thing to do but it isn’t an accomplishment.

The other difference between Gov. Pawlenty and Gov. Walker is that people supported Gov. Pawlenty but Gov. Walker’s supporters would run through walls for him. Simply put, the charisma argument isn’t credible.

Thanks to Darrell Downs’ article, we finally have a platform from which we should talk about Chancellor Rosenstone’s Charting the Future initiative. I hope that the first part of this series furthers that conversation. This paragraph from Downs’ article is worthy of examination:

Students, faculty, staff and taxpayers deserve an honest and open conversation about change. This conversation could start by recognizing that even good ideas can come at an untenable price. No public funds have been appropriated for systemwide planning, so isn’t it reasonable to know what is being sacrificed by pursuing new directions? When sacrifice gets down to the campus level, it could mean fewer programs, fewer majors and minor degree options and fewer options for students; ultimately it means less freedom to serve our students.

If that first sentence is the most important consideration in implementing a major change, and it should be, then Chancellor Rosenstone failed miserably. If we agree that everyone that’s potentially affected by these changes should have meaningful input into the changes, which should be imperative, then Chancellor Rosenstone failed when he kept CtF’s blueprint a secret and when he hid McKinsey’s contract.

If CtF truly is innovative, what expertise could McKinsey bring to the equation? If CtF is groundbreaking in nature, then we’re writing chapters in a totally new book. Personally, I’m skeptical that CtF is a groundbreaking reform initiative. That’s because Chancellor Rosenstone isn’t an outside-the-box thinker. He’s worked too long in the public sector to have fresh insights into systemic problems that he’s presided over.

Further, he’s still trying to win the debate that his presidents are highly qualified. That ship sailed a year or more ago. The presidents at Moorhead and Metro were fired. The presidents at St. Cloud State and Mankato should’ve gotten fired. President Davenport should’ve gotten fired for his foolish decision to fire Coach Hoffner. President Potter should’ve gotten fired for signing a terrible lease with the J.A. Wedum Foundation that SCSU is losing an average of $1,300,000 per year on, for losing tens of millions of dollars on tuition revenues due to dramatically declining enrollments and for intimidating students.

Further, MnSCU is notorious for not seeking public input. They certainly didn’t require public input into dropping SCSU’s aviation program. That was shoved down the faculty’s and the students’ throats without meaningful public input. (Detecting a pattern here?)

Meaningful change also happens on campus. Campus faculty and staff are continually redirecting their scarce resources to meet the needs of students. Academic programs are changed and new courses are created and modified through careful and frequent deliberation. New partnerships are built with businesses, governments, and non-profits, and new directions for the universities are developed on a regular basis. Rosenstone is correct in saying that change is hard, but he is wrong to imply that it’s not already happening.

MnSCU itself is an impediment to good governance. CtF will only make matters worse. During Chancellor Rosenstone’s administration, MnSCU has fought for more centralized control of the system. The best reforms come when lots of experiments are being tried. Some inevitably fail but others succeed beautifully.

The 1990s are the perfect example of that. Half a dozen governors worked on welfare reform. The welfare reform bill that Bill Clinton signed was the byproduct of experimentation by Tommy Thompson, Bill Weld and Bill Clinton while he was governor of Arkansas.

If Rosenstone were truly wise, he’d start by listening to the faculty, students and businesses. Then he’d work with faculty and students in putting together a list of key principles that reform must accomplish. Finally, he’d bring in the best and the brightest reformers to implement the reforms.

Instead, Rosenstone put a blueprint together, then hired a consulting firm to implement his top-down plan. It isn’t surprising faculty and students aren’t buying into his initiative.

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When he served in the legislature, Mike Beard was my go-to guy on energy and environmental issues. Two things impressed me about Mike. First, his understanding of energy and environmental issues is outstanding. The only thing more impressive than Mike’s understanding of energy and environmental issues was the fact that Mike Beard’s integrity was unassailable. This morning, Mike teamed with Roger Moe to write this op-ed on energy issues for the St. Cloud Times. Here’s the chief point Beard and Moe drove home:

To help ensure we continue to have a reliable source of electricity in Minnesota and throughout our region, we recently signed on as the honorary co-chairs of the Coalition for a Secure Energy Future, an organization that advocates for preserving a balanced, all-of-the-above approach to electricity that includes traditional sources like coal-based power plants in both Minnesota and North Dakota.

Lignite is a grade of coal that might not sound familiar, but the electricity North Dakota lignite generates is regularly transmitted to us in Minnesota.

Lignite is different from the coal found in the Appalachian regions of the eastern United States, or other coals that must be shipped long distances by train. Because it is mined at the surface, rather than underground, lignite coal mining is safer than other heavy industries such as construction and manufacturing. It is also consumed at power plants adjacent to the mines, which virtually eliminates costly transportation charges and the need to burn diesel to transport coal.

The regional coal industry takes great pride in its ability to generate this low-cost source of electricity while simultaneously reducing emissions. In fact, North Dakota, with its eight coal plants and Minnesota, with its 11 coal plants, enjoy great marks from the American Lung Association. This prime ALA rating should serve as a reminder that electricity from coal can be economically beneficial and environmentally sound.

Mike’s goal, whenever I spoke with him, was to educate people about Minnesota’s energy needs within the context of keeping Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, streams and air as clean as possible. That’s what this paragraph is about:

But when looking to the future, we can’t forget about the present. The diverse set of energy resources we use includes intermittent resources like wind and solar, as well as sources of always on, reliable power such as coal, nuclear, biomass and hydropower.

While it’s important to keep Minnesota’s air and water as clean as possible, it’s imperative that we don’t reach past the tipping point of clean air and affordable electric bills for families. This op-ed highlights how lignite coal gets good grades from the American Lung Association while providing reliable energy at a cheap price.

The first dirty little secret is that solar and wind power can’t replace coal because you can’t run factories on wind or solar power. The other dirty little secret is that the federal government wants to expand its regulatory reach beyond where the CWA is authorized to reach:

The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers recently released a draft rule to significantly broaden the scope of their authority under the Clean Water Act by expanding the definition of “waters of the United States.” The guidance would reverse U.S. Supreme Court decisions setting limits on the federal government’s authority to regulate waters without Congressional action.

The CWA is one of the most abused laws in the federal government. The Obama administration hopes to use it to increase its regulatory authority into areas currently governed by state and local jurisdictions. It’s imperative that this overreach is stopped before it hurts the U.S. economy.

Darrell Downs’ article is must reading for the House and Senate Higher Ed committees, the MnSCU Board of Trustees, Gov. Dayton, Commissioner Pogemiller and every taxpayer whose son or daughter is attending to thinking about attending a MnSCU university. Here’s the opening of the article:

The icy standoff between campus faculty and the leadership of the Minnesota State College and Universities (MnSCU) needs to end — but let’s first get to the root of the problem.

MnSCU has been leading an experiment to change campuses into quasi-private franchises for years. Producing more degrees more quickly and more cheaply has been its hallmark. Never mind that the quality of the education may suffer when change is put in the hands of political appointees and corporate advisers.

To gild the lily of misguided privatization, MnSCU also pays for multimillion-dollar consultants, such as McKinsey and Co., to manage system planning, regardless of faculty and student objections. And it’s only a matter of time before we learn how much is being spent on consultants to “rebrand” the system.

It’s long past time for MnSCU leadership to step outside of its ivory towers. I’ve followed the higher ed reform beat for the better part of 4 years. I’ve seen documentation that verifies as fact that none of the MnSCU Trustees has ever held a townhall meeting in their congressional district. They certainly haven’t met with faculty members.

It’s foolish to think that an outside consultant is better equipped to suggest improvements and implement changes than are the people within the system. If the people that make up the system aren’t qualified for that initiative, then that’s a management failure to hire high quality administrators.

For the record, I’m positive that some of the universities’ administrators are more than qualified for putting a plan together while working with faculty and listening to students’ concerns. It’s just that Chancellor Rosenstone picked the wrong people for putting the reform package together and implementing that package.

Instead, Chancellor Rosenstone brought an adversarial attitude to the project. That attitude led to him secretly hiring McKinsey’s consultants, which spent $2,000,000 that shouldn’t have been spent. Chancellor Rosenstone decided that Charting the Future was the right initiative without meaningful input. Then he hired expensive consultants to implement his initiative.

Isn’t it a bit ironic that a reform initiative is implemented by doing what past administrators have done for decades? When the CEO of MnSCU puts the ‘reform’ package together, why should I think that he’s on the right path?

Downs is exactly right in highlighting expensive consultant-driven ‘reforms’. Nothing about that process sounds like a process that produces thoughtful, forward-looking reforms. Check back to LFR on Sunday for Part II of this series.

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After John McCain lost in 2008, I spoke with a friend about senators becoming presidents. I half-kiddingly said that Republicans should pass a motion that senators should never be allowed to be the GOP’s presidential nominee. I know that such a resolution is impossible, which is why I said it in jest. That being said, senators don’t run things. They aren’t the decider. They’re the pontificators. Soon-to-be former Gov. Rick Perry, (R-TX), weighed in on the subject:

Perry, considering a repeat presidential bid in 2016, had just spoken at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of Reagan’s famous “A Time For Choosing” speech. Among his scalding criticisms of Obama, Perry explained the president’s failings as due to his background as a U.S. senator, something that happens to apply to several of his would-be challengers for the GOP presidential nomination.

“If you’re in the Senate or if you’re in the House, you can give a speech and then go home. Governors can’t. We have to govern,” Perry said, adding, “And the president of the United States, historically, has had to operate that way, too; the ones that were successful. And one of the reasons why this President is not successful is because he’s never had that experience.”

Asked if the next president will be a senator, Perry said, “No.”

It’s worth noting that the top-tier candidates on the Democratic side are both senators, too. But I digress.

Gov. Perry is right, though intentionally a bit oversimplistic. Legislators work hard if they’re doing their jobs right. That being said, their job is mostly debating legislation. Their work is done during scheduled sessions. Presidents and governors work during sessions, too, to get their legislative agendas passed. During sessions, though, they’re also called on to deal with crises, whether it’s a president responding to international hot spots or governors responding to public safety crises within their state or on their state’s borders.

Then, after the sessions are over, presidents and governors are essentially on call 24/7 the rest of the year. They’re never on recess, though President Obama certainly makes it look like he doesn’t take the White House with him.

It isn’t a stretch to think that Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz think they see the next president of the United States when they look in the mirror each morning. They don’t. What accomplishments do these men have? They haven’t implemented major reforms like Scott Walker, John Kasich, Perry and Bobby Jindal have. They haven’t revived their states’ economies like Kasich, Perry and Walker have. The best that Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz can say is that they prevented Sen. Reid and President Obama from doing awful things.

They shouldn’t be discredited for that. What they’ve done isn’t insignificant. It just isn’t nearly as significant as what Govs. Walker, Jindal, Perry and Kasich have accomplished.

Lest this be just about Republicans, let’s ask what Hillary or Elizabeth Warren has accomplished. Hillary’s staff noted that she traveled more flight miles than any other Secretary of State in US history. That’s nice. She can redeem those miles so she and Bill can take a nice vacation together.

In terms of actual policies implemented, she got 4 American patriots killed in Benghazi by being asleep at the switch. She ignored multiple pleas from Christopher Stevens for enhanced security for the compound in Benghazi. Then she the nerve to say she hadn’t heard of those urgent requests.

Nobody will buy that BS in 2016. They didn’t buy it in 2012 and they aren’t buying it now.

Her first ‘accomplishment’ was presenting Russia with a reset switch that Russia interpreted as meaning that they could do whatever they wanted in Ukraine and anywhere else in eastern Europe and the middle east. Coddling our enemies (Russia, Iran) and mistreating our allies (Israel, the British and Iraq) isn’t what presidential resumes are built on.

As pathetic as Hillary’s list of accomplishments is, Elizabeth Warren’s list of accomplishments is more pathetic. In fact, it’s nonexistent.

It’s still early but I’d argue that 2016 is shaping up to be GOP year for taking back the White House. Rick Perry has presided over the strongest economy in the nation. Scott Walker passed collective bargaining reform, then staved off the unions’ attempts to kill the reforms. He also passed a $2.2 billion tax cut while creating 110,000 jobs. Bobby Jindal passed school choice laws that are improving educational outcomes in Louisiana. John Kasich’s economic policies have revived Ohio. He cut taxes while eliminating an $8 billion deficit upon entering office.

By comparison, the Democrats have a pair of wannabes as their top tier.

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Jeff Johnson’s latest ad is causing quite a stir:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson released a new television ad today that questions the competence of DFL Gov. Mark Dayton.

Johnson’s ad is titled “Unaware.” The narrator contends that Dayton was unaware of bonuses paid to “failed Obamacare bureaucrats,” the contents of bills he signed and the legal issues facing the owners of the Minnesota Vikings.

Johnson then appears, saying Minnesotans deserve a “governor who knows what’s going on,” and promising that he will to be a 24/7 leader.


WCCO’s Reality Check on the ad provides the text from the ad:

Johnson Ad Text:
“Unaware of bonuses for his failed Obamacare bureaucrats
Not even knowing what’s in the bills he signed
Half-a billion taxpayer dollars to the Wilfs after they committed civil fraud and racketeering.
‘I was not aware at all’
What is Mark Dayton aware of?
Minnesotans deserve an engaged governor who knows what’s going on and what’s in the bills he signs. I’ll be a 24-7 leader who owns his decisions. The buck stops with me.
Jeff Johnson for Governor”

The Dayton campaign quickly reacted to Commissioner Johnson’s ad:

A spokesman for the Dayton campaign, Linden Zakula, described the ad as a “desperate attack” from a candidate who is far behind in the polls. “Commissioner Johnson offers no real ideas to improve education, create jobs, or help Minnesota families,” Zakula said in a statement.

What Zakula means is that Commissioner Johnson doesn’t have the special interest-approved pseudo-solutions that Gov. Dayton has. HINT to Zakula: That’s the point. Jeff Johnson won’t be beholden to list of special interests that Gov. Dayton has been his entire public life. The DFL doesn’t do anything that their special interest allies don’t sanction.

As for “real ideas that improves education, creates jobs or helps Minnesota families”, Zakula is lying. Jeff Johnson’s ideas will help miners on the Iron Range (PolyMet), farmers everywhere in the state (Sandpiper Pipeline) and will strengthen families by creating high-paying jobs. Gov. Dayton is a pathetic advocate for raising marginal tax rates. Jeff Johnson is unapologetic in his desire to grow Minnesota’s private sector.

Jeff Johnson will fight for a new K-12 funding formula that reduces the gap between metro schools and outstate schools. I suspect Jeff Johnson will fight to restore the Basic Skills Test for high school math and science teachers that the Republican legislature passed and that Gov. Dayton signed and that the DFL legislature repealed and Gov. Dayton signed. That’s accountability I can believe in.

Zakula’s response is predictable. Gov. Dayton’s litany of things he supposedly didn’t know about is lengthy. Gov. Dayton shut down the government because he supposedly didn’t know that the GOP had removed some provisions that he objected to right before the shutdown. When told in July that they’d been removed, Gov. Dayton acted surprised. Right before FarmFest 2013, Gov. Dayton ‘discovered’ that the Tax Bill expanded sales taxes to include farm equipment repairs, warehousing services and telecommunications. In 2013, Gov. Dayton was outraged that the Vikings stadium bill included a provision for PSL’s, which are standard in every stadium bill that’s been passed in the last 15 years.

Being ignorant might work within the DFL but hard-working families expect their governor to pay attention to the details of major bills. Gov. Dayton said that he thinks MNsure is working “phenomenally well”:

That’s stunningly out of touch. Tell that to families everywhere in Minnesota that are seeing huge increases in their insurance premiums. Tell that to the 140,000 families that had the policies they liked cancelled and replaced by “better” policies they didn’t want.

Gov. Dayton’s policies aren’t growing Minnesota’s private sector. They aren’t making K-12 education the best it can be, either. Gov. Dayton’s policies reflect Education Minnesota’s wish list.

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If this video gets the exposure it should, Mary Burke’s stumbles will continue:

The Republican Party of Wisconsin put together a website highlighting Ms. Burke’s plagiarism difficulties. It’s called Copycat Mary. This article does an effective job highlighting Ms. Burke’s copycatted jobs plan:

Madison – In an appearance on WISC-TV’s “??For the Record” today, Mary Burke was asked by journalist Jessica Arp to name one unique Mary Burke idea in her plan. After a moment of thought, Burke named three things?,? but none of them were unique: anaerobic digesters, academic career planning, and upping the number of people in Wisconsin with degrees. These examples were uncovered by Buzzfeed News as cases of plagiarism?? ?and also include some of Governor Walker’s accomplishments.?

This just adds to Burke’s problems. Though this isn’t plagiarism, it’s worse from the standpoint that she’s taking credit for her jobs plan even though it’s mostly been taken from other candidates. It’s important to remember that this was the centerpiece of her candidacy. Now it’s been effectively discredited to the point that people are rightly questioning whether she’s got any original thoughts on creating jobs.

This won’t help her, either:

Mary Burke Also Said Academic Career Plans In High School – It Might Sound Familiar Because It Has Been A Priority Of Governor Scott Walker. Under Governor Walker, every student, beginning in the 6th grade, will have the opportunity to create an academic and career plan based on their interests. Nearly $1.1 million will be provided to school districts for students in 6th-12th grade. (2013 Wisconsin Act 20)

Governor Walker Also Provided Funding For Testing To Measure Work Readiness To Ensure Students Are Ready For College Or Career While In High School. (2013 Wisconsin Act 20)

It’s one thing to lift ideas from failed candidates’ plans. It’s totally different when you attempt to tell people that you’re going to champion a policy that your opponent has already implemented. There’s no way that doesn’t get highlighted.

It’s inexplicable that she’d attempt this. Is she that desperate? Or is she betting that nobody will care what she’s doing? Does she think that nobody’s paying attention? Whichever it is, it isn’t a smart bet.

On a different note, the Republican Party of Wisconsin deserves praise for their innovative messaging and fundraising tactics. This Copycat Store is brilliant. It’s a way to contribute to the Republican Party of Wisconsin while getting Mary Burke: Plagiarized t-shirts.

Finally, the important point of this is that this video is playing off Burke’s plagiarism difficulties. That’s what tipped this race in Gov. Walker’s direction. Gov. Walker went from trailing by 3 to leading by 5 in 3 short weeks. Thanks to this website and video, the Republican Party of Wisconsin is exploiting the situation to its maximum advantage. I’d be surprised if Gov. Walker’s lead doesn’t grow in the next Marquette Law School Poll.

I think that the next poll will push this race from toss-up to Leans Republican to Solid Republican. That’s quite the jump in a month.

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