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Based on this article by the AP’s Brian Bakst, it sounds like Marc Elias is tring to persuade Harry Reid into setting aside the Minnesota vote for the US Senate currently held by Norm Coleman. The Senate has the right to ignore the will of the people. I’ve said elsewhere, though, that taking that approach would be a major disaster for Senate Democrats. Here’s what Mr. Bakst is reporting:

Marc Elias, the legal chief for Franken, said the campaign won’t appeal the board’s ruling. But for the first time since the recount began a week ago, he publicly mentioned the possibility of the campaign asking the U.S. Senate to weigh in.

“Whether it is at the county level, before the Canvassing Board, before the courts or before the United States Senate, we don’t know yet. But we remain confident these votes will be counted,” Elias said.

The board’s action drew a response from the Senate’s top Democrat, Majority Leader Harry Reid. In a written statement, he called the decision a “cause for great concern.”

“As the process moves forward, Minnesota authorities must ensure that no voter is disenfranchised,” Reid said. “A citizen’s right to have his or her vote counted is fundamental in our democracy.”

Mr. Elias is grandstanding, proving that he’s more adept at PR than he is with the law. I wrote here that Minnesota election law deals with who has authority to issue rulings on rejected ballots. Justice G. Barry Anderson gave a compelling presentation on Minnesota election law. During that presentation, he said that there wasn’t a precedent for recount canvassing boards having that authority. Coleman Campaign Chairman Cullen Sheehan issued this statement:

“This is a stunning admission by the Franken campaign that they are willing to take this process away from Minnesotans if they fail to win the recount. It is even more stunning that the Democratic Senate leader would inject himself into the Minnesota election process. This says that Franken is fully prepared and armed to take this matter to the United States Senate and that the Senate will be receptive, even if Franken fails to succeed in winning the recount. This is a troubling new development. We call upon Al Franken to personally disavow his attorney’s comments, and to commit to Minnesotans that he will not allow this election to be overturned by the leadership of the Democratic Senate. Al Franken owes it to the people of this state to reject any and all efforts to stop a Minnesota Senator from being sworn in on January 6th if Norm Coleman continues to be shown to have won this election after the recount.”

There’s no justification for Franken ignoring the will of We The People of Minnesota. This is proof that this election was purely about Franken’s personal ambition, not about the will of the Minnesotans who voted for Sen. Coleman.

I’d further suggest that the Democrats’ mantra of counting every vote is pure PR. It has nothing to do with reality. It should be amended to this:

Count every vote…except if the voters pick the Republican.

I’m not surprised with Harry Reid’s or Al Franken’s behavior. It’s predictable. Didn’t Harry Reid ignore the will of the people when he refused to schedule debate for drilling on the OCS? At the time, 75+ percent of the American people wanted drilling. Harry Reid ignored them. It sounds like he’s prepared to ignore the votes of almost 1.5 million Minnesotans who voted for Norm Coleman.

Should Harry Reid’s Senate Democrats vote to seat Al Franken without him winning a more votes than Norm Coleman, there will be electoral hell to pay in 2010 and 2012.

If George Mitchell were still Majority Leader, I could picture him floating this trial balloon, then dropping it the minute the American people expressed their outrage. It’s too easy to picture Harry Reid, who is one of the most inept leaders in American history, seeing the outrage, then ignoring it just so he could thump his chest a little.

Let’s remember that he’s the guy that bragged that they’d killed the Patriot Act. Sen. Reid isn’t the brightest bullb in the Senate’s chandelier. That’s why I can’t rule out his making a boneheaded decision on this.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

I just returned from the Stearns County clerk’s office. The clerk’s office in just down the hall from where they’re doing the recount. While at the Clerk’s office, I asked if they’d heard if they’d finish the recount today as scheduled. The people there weren’t certain because they were now checking the backs of ballots.

Though the people in the Clerk’s office weren’t certain who was doing this, I’m betting that it’s Franken’s people who were asking for that. I can’t picture Sen. Coleman’s people doing that since they’re ahead. This tactic will certainly slow this process down while having little impact on the outcome.

Since a lawsuit is sure to be filed by the candidate who’s trailing, I decided to check on whether Minnesota Election law speaks to that. Here’s what I found:

209.021 NOTICE OF CONTEST.
Subdivision 1. Manner; time; contents.
Service of a notice of contest must be made in the same manner as the service of summons in civil actions. The notice of contest must specify the grounds on which the contest will be made. The contestant shall serve notice of the contest on the parties enumerated in this section. Notice must be served and filed within five days after the canvass is completed in the case of a primary or special primary or within seven days after the canvass is completed in the case of a special or general election; except that if a contest is based on a deliberate, serious, and material violation of the election laws which was discovered from the statements of receipts and disbursements required to be filed by candidates and committees, the action may be commenced and the notice served and filed within ten days after the filing of the statements in the case of a general or special election or within five days after the filing of the statements in the case of a primary or special primary. If a notice of contest questions only which party received the highest number of votes legally cast at the election, a contestee who loses may serve and file a notice of contest on any other ground during the three days following expiration of the time for appealing the decision on the vote count.
Subd. 2. Notice filed with court. If the contest relates to a nomination or election for statewide office, the contestant shall file the notice of contest with the court administrator of district court in Ramsey county. For contests relating to any other office, the contestant shall file the notice of contest with the court administrator of district court in the county where the contestee resides.
If the contest relates to a constitutional amendment or other question voted on statewide, the contestant shall file the notice of contest with the court administrator of district court in Ramsey county. If the contest relates to any other question, the contestant shall file the notice of contest with the court administrator of district court for the county or any one of the counties where the
question appeared on the ballot.

Ramsey District Court appears to be Ground Zero for statewide election disputes. From there, it would got to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, then to the Minnesota Supreme Court. The Minnesota Court of Appeals “provides the citizens of Minnesota with prompt and deliberate review of all final decisions of the trial courts, state agencies and local governments.”

Unless something totally unforeseen happens, this case will be heard by the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The other X factor in all this is the United States Senate. They can vote to seat either of these candidates. I can’t see them exercising their right to seat Franken if he’s trailing. Every Democratic senator that votes to seat Al Franken will be tarred and feathered with this. They’ll be ridiculed, especially after they’ve made an eith year mantra of count every vote.

It’d be politically difficult to justify seating Franken. The outrage over their arrogance would make Democrats toxic during the next election cycle.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Yesterday, I posted about the Strib’s Minnesota Poll. It isn’t surprising that King and Michael talked about the STrib’s poll during the Final Word this afternoon. King mentioned that the new polling company has been around a long time. If King says that they’re a reputable firm, that’s good enough for me. That means I won’t cast aspersions on the polling company.

What I will do, though, is talk about media polls in general because I think that there are different motives for media polls.

If we’re talking about the AP-Ipsos poll, my first assumption is that it’s used to ‘create news’, which is then cited in later stories that follow a desired storyline. That storyline usually is that Democrats are poised to mop the floor with the GOP.

The way that they achieve that storyline is by vastly oversampling Democrats and undersampling Repblicans. Another trademark of the AP-Ipsos poll is that they all but eliminate independents. I recall seeing an AP-Ipsos poll where 47% of the people sampled identified themselves as Democrats, 37% identified themselves as Republicans, with the remaining 16% identifying themselves as independents.

I first noticed the AP-Ipsos polling in 2005, though they’ve been around longer than that. The reason why I noticed them was that they were tanking President Bush’s JA ratings. I didn’t think President Bush was doing a great job by any stretch of the imagination but I didn’t think he’d tanked that bad at that time. That led me to check the sampling.

What I found was that things broke almost perfectly along party identification lines. the net negative JA Rating was almost identical to the party breakdowns.

Later, in 2006, I noticed how frequently dreadful poll numbers got reported. Certainly, people were upset with Republicans for immigration and their loose spending habits. There was no doubt that conservatives were upset with President Bush. Still, I got the impression that the constant drumbeat of dreadful poll after dreadful poll was intended to drive down conservative turnout.

Was it inevitable that GOP turnout would be less in 2006 than in 2002? Definitely. That isn’t the most important question though. This is: Did these polls drive turnout down more than if they hadn’t been reported with that frequency? I can answer with total certainty that the 2006 polls drove down turnout.

The point is this: The various polls show tha the race is over. That’s what they said in August, too.

GOP strategists stuck inside DC’s Beltway say that this might be a worse year for the GOP than 2006. These so-called strategists aren’t getting their information from GOP activists because we’re ready to run through walls for the House GOP caucus and for Sarah Palin.

MSM Effect

In this instance, the MSM I’m referring to isn’t the mainstream media. I’m referring to a new MSM, namely that Message Still Matters.

It’s time we stopped paying attention to the polling. It’s time our candidates started running with a Palin-like confidence. It’s time that we stood for 3 simple principles that Reagan and Goldwater stood for. Those 3 principles are liberty, prosperity and security.

  • If we tell people our vision for achieving longterm prosperity, we’ll appeal to alot of voters.
  • If we explain to voters how our policies translate into greater security, whether we’re talking about national security, retirement security or homeland security, we’ll win lots of elections.
  • If we tell people that our policies must pass the ‘liberty test’, meaning that we won’t pass legislation that limits our freedoms, then we’ll appeal to alot of voters.

These are appealing messages. This summer, I had the opportunity to tell a community leader what I believed. I told this leader that 2006 didn’t have to happen again. I told this leader this:

“It isn’t like the American people suddenly said that they got sick of stable marginal tax rates, that they didn’t suddenly say tha they got sick of seeing their taxes being spent too efficiently, that they didn’t stop saying that they felt too safe against future terrorist attacks.”

Polls matter but message matters more.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

I’m with Ron Carey, the chairman of the Minnesota Republican Party, in calling for Mark Ritchie’s resignation. Here’s Chairman Carey’s statement:

Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Ron Carey today issued the following statement calling on Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to resign following his abuse of the public trust.

“Minnesotans must have a Secretary of State whose honesty, integrity, and nonpartisanship are unassailable. Mark Ritchie, by his own admission, has failed to deliver on his promise of honesty and integrity in the office and should resign.

“By exploiting his office for partisan political purposes and then lying about it, Mark Ritchie has destroyed the public trust. Minnesotans deserve a Secretary of State who will not abuse his position and proceed to lie about having done so.”

Secretary Of State Caught In Lie:

After Claiming He Didn’t Know How Campaign Got Access To Email Addresses, Ritchie Now Admits He Personally Provided Campaign With Information

Ritchie Initially Said He “Did Not Authorize The Use Of The List For His Campaign.” “Ritchie, elected last year after campaigning on a platform of de-politicizing the Secretary of State’s office, said the list of participants in the civic engagement program is public information that can be accessed by anyone, including a political campaign. But he said he did not authorize the use of the list for his campaign.” (Mark Brunswick, “Election Official Allegedly Used List Improperly,” Star Tribune, October 30, 2007)

Ritchie Said There “Was No Crossover” Between Campaign List And Civic Engagement Lists. “Ritchie, often a target of the Minnesota Democrats Exposed blog, said he did not authorize use of the civic engagement sign-up sheet for campaign contributions but emphasized that the names of the 600 people are public information. ‘There is no crossover, but the list of civic engagement groups is public. It’s public information,’ Ritchie said.” (Mark Brunswick, “Election Official Allegedly Used List Improperly,” Star Tribune, October 30, 2007)

Ritchie Now Admits He Personally Gave His Campaign Email Addresses. “Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie now says that he personally gave his campaign a list of participants in a state-sponsored ‘civic engagement’ program so it could send them a campaign newsletter that asked for a political contribution. … Previously, Ritchie had denied knowing how the campaign got the list. He now insists that it solicited contributions only to pay for the newsletter itself. But its text invites recipients to an upcoming campaign fundraiser.” (Mark Brunswick, “Ritchie Now Says He Gave E-Mail List To Campaign,” Star Tribune, November 20, 2007)

Ritchie Said He Provided Copy Of List To Campaign And “Requested” They Get His E-Mail Newsletter. “Ritchie said Tuesday that he personally provided a copy of the directory to his campaign and requested that those on the list get a copy of his campaign’s civic engagement newsletter, which is distributed to about 12,000 individuals and groups whom he described as active in civic life in the state.” (Mark Brunswick, “Ritchie Now Says He Gave E-Mail List To Campaign,” Star Tribune, November 20, 2007)

Election Experts Weigh In

“Something Like This Crosses The Line.” “David Schultz, a professor at Hamline University and a former head of the state’s chapter of Common Cause, said recent irregularities with elections in Florida and Ohio have raised the stakes in the traditionally low-profile offices of secretaries of state. … ‘Something like this crosses that line. It looks like people who are contacting the secretary of state’s office for business are getting their names converted over to a fundraising base,’ he said.” (Mark Brunswick, “Ritchie Now Says He Gave E-Mail List To Campaign,” Star Tribune, November 20, 2007)

“There Must Be A Wall Between Constituent Information … And …Information For Use In Campaigns.” “‘There must be a wall between constituent information compiled at public expense while representing the public and the transfer of that information for use in campaigns,’ said Steven Clift, a digital democracy expert based in Minneapolis. ‘Ideally, secondary use would be prohibited. Or, if an incumbent can use it, then everyone should be able to access it, including challengers.’” (Mark Brunswick, “Ritchie Now Says He Gave E-Mail List To Campaign,” Star Tribune, November 20, 2007)

FLASHBACK: Mark Ritchie Campaigned With A Promise Of Restoring Integrity And Non-Partisanship To The Secretary Of State’s Office

Ritchie Says His Victory Came From Those Who “Wanted A Return To Non-Partisanship.” “The secretary of state race was equally contentious, featuring a frontal attack on Kiffmeyer’s basic competence and integrity as the state’s chief election judge, even though voter turnout under her has been some of the highest in the nation. … ‘What I heard everywhere was people saying they wanted a return to nonpartisanship in the office,’ Ritchie said late Tuesday.” (Mark Brunswick, “‘Lesser’ Races Shaped Up As Major Battles,” Star Tribune, November 8, 2006)

Ritchie Accused Former Secretary Kiffmeyer Of Running Office As “Arm Of Republican Party.” “Ritchie, one of the architects of a progressive get-out-the-vote effort in the 2004 elections that he said resulted in 5 million registrations nationwide and tens of thousands of poll monitors, derided Kiffmeyer, the two-term secretary of state, as ‘incompetent, lacking integrity and partisan.’ He also accused her of running her office ‘like an arm of the Republican Party.’” (Mark Brunswick, “DFLers Round Out Statewide Slate,” Star Tribune, June 12, 2006)

Ritchie Says We “Need A Secretary Of State Who Will Stop Playing Politics” And Promised A Campaign Based On “Trust, Integrity, And Respect For Constitution.” “Voter rights leader and local non-profit president Mark Ritchie began campaigning as he officially announced his candidacy for Minnesota Secretary of State today in Saint Paul and Duluth. ‘We need a Secretary of State who will stop playing politics with the office,’ said Ritchie. … ‘One of the key challenges we face in the November election is the cynicism so many citizens now feel about our election process,’ said Ritchie. ‘To overcome this, we are running a campaign based on passion and hope, passion for the democracy we’ve inherited from those who fought for our right to vote, and hope for the future based on trust, integrity, and respect for the Constitution.’” (Press Release, “Mark Ritchie Announces Challenge To Mary Kiffmeyer For Minnesota Secretary Of State,” Ritchie For Secretary of State, February 6, 2006)

I outlined Mark Ritchie’s liberal connections here. Here are some of the outside-the-mainstream organizations that Mark Ritchie was associated with during the 2004 campaign:

  • NAACP National Voter Fund
  • Southwest Voter Registration Education Project
  • People for the American Way Foundation
  • USAction Education Fund
  • ACORN

ACORN’s activists have been convicted of election law violations. People for the American Way (PFAW) argued that Chief Justice John Roberts was far outside the mainstream, which says everything about how far outside the mainstream they are. The NAACP is a wholly owned subsidiary of the DNC.

That’s before I start talking about Mark Ritchie’s getting endorsed by Ellen Malcolm, the co-founder of EMILY’s List, the superliberal fundraising/activist organization.

As noted in Chairman Carey’s statement, Mark Ritchie campaigned on the theme of depoliticizing the SecState’s office. It’s understatement to say that he’s failed in meeting that benchmark.

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That’s the standard that should apply to our employees in Washington, DC. That certainly isn’t the standard that John Murtha holds himself up to, though. After Lt. Col. Paul Ware recommended that the murder charges be dropped against SSgt. Frank Wuterich, people are noticing this glaring deficiency in Murtha:

Recall Haditha. In the spring of 2006, Rep. John Murtha said that Pentagon sources had told him Marines there had murdered 24 Iraqis “in cold blood” and that the cover-up of the November 2005 massacre “goes right up the chain of command.” It was, for a season, the “event” that told ever so many all they needed to know about what was wrong in Iraq. Murtha said it happened because our forces are stretched too thin. It was going to be this war’s My Lai, a dark incantation summing up the whole rotten mess, a one-word dirge of our immediate disgrace and inevitable defeat. Haditha, Haditha, Haditha!

All that was missing were…actual facts, completed investigations and court proceedings.

That’s the polite way of saying that John Murtha either (a) didn’t know what he was talking about, (b) knew what he said wasn’t factual and said them anyway or (c) all of the above. Right now, I’m leaning towards B. I think that John Murtha knew that the facts didn’t support his accusations. I further think that Murtha said those things to get the House Majority Leader’s position.

Further proof that Murtha manufactured this out of whole cloth is Murtha’s own conflicting stories about the coverup. When he first made these accusations, he said that that the cover-up of the November 2005 massacre “goes right up the chain of command.” That presumably meant President Bush and Vice President Cheney. In a later interview with ABCNews’ Charlie Gibson, Murtha sang a dramatically different tune:

GIBSON: Jonathan just mentioned, there’s no charges yet filed against any of the Marines that were in this outfit, but Jonathan mentioned a moment ago, defense lawyers are already saying, well, there’s drone video and there is actual radio traffic to higher-ups that will give a different picture than you have been talking about of this incident. What do you know about that?

MURTHA: I can only tell you this, Charles. This is what the Marine Corps told me at the highest level. The Commandant of the Marine Corps was in my office just last week, so you know, I know there was a cover-up someplace. They knew about this a few days afterwards and there’s no question the chain of command tried to stifle the story. I can understand why, but that doesn’t excuse it. Something like this has to be brought out to the public, and the people have to be punished.

Let’s recap. Murtha first said, without equivocation, that the cover-up “goes right up the chain of command.” That first accusation was authoritative-sounding. In this interview, Murtha backpedalled, saying that he knew “there was a cover-up someplace.” That’s a much less authoritative statement, one which he didn’t have proof of.

That isn’t the only part of the anti-war Left’s case that’s unraveling:

The U.S. military reported last week that troop deaths in Iraq went down for the fourth month in a row, and the Iraqi government reported that civilian deaths
declined by half in September.

What to do? Well, CBS and NBC gave the new casualty figures a few sentences on their evening news programs, and the major papers played the news far from their front pages. Only ABC led with the story. In fact, the Washington Post’s media critic, Howard Kurtz, wondered about the short-shrift the media gave this news after four years of “continuously depressing” news. On CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” he asked the Washington Post’s Robin Wright and CNN’s Barbara Starr whether the news should have received more attention. Perish the thought, they both said; we’re not sure there is a trend yet.

OK, four months is not a trend. But Kurtz then asked the obvious question: If those casualties figures had gone up, wouldn’t that have made front pages? “Oh, I think inevitably it would have,” replied Starr. “I mean, that…by any definition, is news.”

Isn’t it interesting that this trend started right about the time that the Surge was fully implemented? Wouldn’t you think that, considering Harry Reid’s and Nancy Pelosi’s declaration that the surge had failed, that this is big news?

People living inside the Washington bubble couldn’t bring themselves to think it’s a trend but thinking people know it’s a trend when casualties decline each month for four months. That’s because the information didn’t fit the Bubbleheads’ carefully crafted storyline. There’s no way they’ll admit to it after all their careful crafting.

My dad taught me that “Stupidity is what gets us in trouble; pride is what keeps us there.” I’d change that slightly for this application. Here’s what I’d say about Starr’s being revealed: “Crafting is what got you in trouble. Denying it is keeping you in trouble.” That’s what happens when a correspondent’s first priority is to ‘change the world’, not report the facts.

What’s needed is a new paradigm. What’s needed is for correspondents like Ms. Wright and Ms. Starr to not deny the obvious. What’s needed is for them to not let the John Murthas of the world off so easy. What’s needed is for the truth to be the highest priority.

That new paradigm would be John Murtha’s worst nightmare.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

I’ll bet that most people don’t pay much attention to the impact that illegal immigrants might have on the census that’s taken in 2010. Those that don’t know are about to find out because its potential to change the electoral landscape is getting noticed:

A University of Connecticut study concluded Arizona, Texas and Florida could all see their House delegations increase due to rising populations that include sizable numbers of illegal immigrants.

Although they can’t vote, such aliens are included in the census. The San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News predicted Tuesday the pending 2010 headcount could be the subject of a political fight as Democrats and Republicans jockey for position before House seats are reallocated.

The Connecticut study also predicted California and New Jersey would likely keep their current number of seats while states with fewer immigrants, including New York, Illinois and Ohio, will lose a seat or two.

Don’t think that demographers for both parties aren’t taking note of this. I’m certain that they’re putting together plans for redistricting.

This could have big longterm ramifications in presidential elections. Subtracting electoral votes from New York and Illinois means that Democrats would have to flip some states in 2012 that currently are red states. Couple that with adding electoral votes to ‘safe’ states like Florida and Texas compounds the problem. It isn’t insurmountable but it makes things dicier for Democrats.
It’s impossible to predict what effect this will have in House races until we see how the districts are drawn. Rest assured, though, that we’ll see lots of heated skirmishes once the census information is compiled and distributed.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

According to this WSJ article, Karl Rove is resigning his post at the end of this month. It’s a sad day for Republicans.

Karl Rove, President Bush’s longtime political adviser, is resigning as White House deputy chief of staff effective Aug. 31, and returning to Texas, he said in an interview with Paul Gigot, editor of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page.

Many are throwing pitchforks at him because of 2006 but I’d say that Rove’s election record prior to that was pretty amazing. He engineered an unimaginable electoral victory in 2002. He masterminded President Bush’s re-election campaign. So impressive was Mr. Rove that Dick Morris once said about the race between President Bush and Sen. Kerry that it was like watching a checkers player (Sen. Kerry) play against a chess grand master (Rove). Coming from someone who worked with Bill Clinton, that’s indeed high praise.

Here’s some analysis that I don’t think Democrats will like:

Mr. Rove also said he expects the president’s approval rating to rise again, and that conditions in Iraq will improve as the U.S. military surge continues. He said he expects Democrats to be divided this fall in the battle over warrantless wiretapping, while the budget battle, and a series of presidential vetoes, should help Republicans gain an edge on spending restraint and taxes.

I totally agree with Rove’s analysis. The FISA debate already has the Nutroots furious at Pelosi Inc. The surge is working, which is painting Democrats into a corner in terms of options. Finally, a series of presidential vetoes will cause commotion and confusion in Washington this fall. Democrats will want to fight but Republicans will be energized by President Bush’s vetoes.

Finally, what I’ll recall most about Mr. Rove is that he had a great mind in terms of how policies affected politics. The man is a wonk but he’s also got a great political mind. That’s a rare combination, which is why he’s so revered within the Bush administration.

Another noteworthy Rove accomplishment is his designing the current GOP GOTV model. Following the 2000 election, President Bush told Rove to put together a plan that would bring victory in 2004. Rove first tested the plan in Georgia in 2002, then unleashed it to the world in 2004. Bush’s talk about tax cuts, killing terrorists and nominating sane judges rightfully get most of the credit for Bush’s victory but only a fool would think that it was accident that Bush’s vote total jumped by almost 23 percent. That’s a pretty efficient GOTV model, one which will stand the test of time.

I hope at some time that Rove returns to politics, especially as chairman of the RNC. I’d hate to think that we’ve seen the last of Mr. Rove’s high-profile activism.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

According to this Strib article, Marty Seifert sees the pendulum swinging back in the GOP’s direction. The basis for his opinion is Steve Drazkowski’s special election victory Tuesday night.

On Tuesday night, House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, celebrated the victory, calling it evidence “of a return to normalcy,” particularly, he said, since significant attention from transportation advocates, unions and progressive groups had devoted so much attention to Pfeilsticker’s campaign.

“To win by several hundred votes in a special election when the national feeling about Republicans is the way it is, this has to be seen as a resounding victory,” he said.

Considering all the money that Education Minnesota, the DFL and the unions poured into the district, this is a solid victory. Part of the DFL’s problem was that they ran a candidate who hadn’t run for office before. Her not showing up for a Taxpayers League forum sent the message that she wasn’t interested in voters who cared about low taxes.

The major contributing factor, though, was the DFL’s first mailing. You’ll recall that that mailing accused Steve Drazkowski of turning “his back on her”, a reference to his daughter. As I said at the time, that was the DFL essentially saying that they couldn’t win the race on the battlefield of ideas. They had to do everything possible to drive GOP turnout down if their candidate had any shot at winning.

The things that factored most into the DFL’s defeat were the DFL’s negativity and Ms. Pfeilsticker’s evasiveness. Minnesotans enjoy a lively back-and-forth but they also demand politeness. When the DFL sent out a mailing that dragged Mr. Drazkowski’s daughter into the campaign, I’d bet a fistful of money that they alienated a bunch of voters. I’d also bet a fistful that they fired up GOP activists to go to 28B and knock on doors or do lit drops. They also contributed fistfuls of money so the campaign could get their message out.

The scuttlebutt that I’m hearing is that the DFL poured about $250K into the race. That isn’t including all the money and people that the unions and Education Minnesota poured into the election.

Considering the effort that these DFL-oriented organizations put into this election, this is a big morale boost to the GOP. It’s also vindication that our GOTV operation is effective when our troops are properly motivated. They definitely did their job, largely because Representative-elect Drazkowski touched base with all of the key constituencies of the GOP.

Some are saying that we should’ve expected to win this race because it’s been a Republican seat for so long. There’s some truth to that, though I’d point out that we lost Phil Krinkie’s seat 10 short months earlier.

The pall of last November’s election disaster is lifting but we need to sustain the momentum that we’ve been seeing. To sustain that momentum, I’d suggest that we look no further than this special election and this year’s legislative session as motivators for GOP activists.

This year’s legislative session was a disaster in terms of getting any part of the GOP agenda passed. The DFL ran roughshod over the GOP. That was caused by the DFL’s ‘my way or the highway’ approach more than anything else. I’d suggest that had it been on the merits of whose legislation made more sense, the DFL wouldn’t have gotten many of their bills passed.

That’s why it’s time for GOP activists to get active in recruiting independents and Lieberman liberals into the party.

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Cindy at Lady Logician has written two posts about the upside & downside of purists in the GOP. Both are must reads for anyone who wants to make the Minnesota GOP the best it can be. Here’s the most important part of Cindy’s posts:

Today if you ask certain people within the MNGOP why we lost last fall, they will say it was because of dis-satisfaction with the war. However, that is not entirely the case! Large numbers of the Republican base – mostly the purists stayed home because the party was ignoring them. The sooner that the state and national GOP parties realize that, the better off that they will be.

So what’s the solution? The pragmatists and the purists need to realize that they need each other. The purists help us define the issues of the day and the pragmatists help us to get the issues acted on. Winning an election is like sailing across a lake. Pragmatists will argue about which mode is best to get across the lake – do we walk around, fly over, take a sail boat/row boat or do we swim across? Purists help us decide which mode of transport is best – however they will want to sail in a straight line across the lake when sometimes you need to tack across.

Pragmatists and Purists compliment each other. We are two pieces of a greater whole. When the parties and politicians realize that, we can do great things. When they (and we) ignore one for the other – we lose elections. It’s that simple!

Simply put, we need the purists to return & we need the pragmatists to welcome the purists back. The best way to achieve that is reminding ourselves of one of the wisest things Ronald Reagan said:

“It’s amazing what we can accomplish if we don’t care who gets the credit.”

It’s time that we reminded each other of the wisdom in Ronald Reagan’s words.

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That’s the only way to describe this article in the New Republic. Here’s the first tip that it isn’t rooted in the truth:

In the 2000 election, of course, Florida was the ultimate swing state. But in 2004, George W. Bush won the state handily, and Republican Mel Martinez captured retired Democrat Bob Graham’s Senate seat, thanks especially to Christian conservative support in rural districts. Florida, it seemed, was becoming as dependable a red state as Georgia or Alabama. But the closing of Coral Ridges’ political arm is just the latest sign that the Christian right is no longer at the center of Florida politics. Indeed, Florida is becoming less like a Deep South state and more like Virginia or even–perish the thought! — California. It isn’t necessarily becoming Democratic, but its voters are moving steadily away from the conservatism of President Bush and Reverend Kennedy.

I have several friends who are GOP activists in Florida, including one person who chairs his county’s Republican Party. The notion that Florida is getting bluer is nonsense. In fact, my contacts say that Democrat efforts to cut off funding of troops is turning more people off towards the Dems. My contacts also point to several local chairs of the NAACP switching party affiliation to the GOP as proof that this is still a solidly red state.

One obvious indication of this trend was last November’s congressional elections. Democratic Senator Bill Nelson easily won re-election, and the Democrats stole two Republican House seats (and would have won a third around Sarasota if not for touch-screen shenanigans). Democrats also picked up seven seats in the Florida House and the statewide position of chief financial officer.

Bill Nelson ran against the most pathetic candidate in major party history. If Tom Gallagher not been so stubborn in running for governor, Bill Nelson would’ve been retired last election. One of the seats that this article talks about is Mark Foley’s seat, which will return to the GOP in 2008. That’s hardly an ‘etched-in-stone’ type of political shift. In fact, I’d say it qualifies more as a fad than a trend.

I’ve recommended that people read entire articles because they’re well-written and show a solid logic. This isn’t one of those articles.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative