Categories

Archive for November, 2007

Brian Melendez has this defending the indefensible thing down cold. The only problem is that he’s defending the indefensible. Take his Strib op-ed as a perfect example of that. Here’s how he opens the op-ed:

I’ll give the Republicans one thing: They’ve done a good job of making a mountain out of a molehill, with partisan and increasingly strident attacks against Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. Republican operatives have even called for his resignation, resorting to such overheated rhetoric as accusing him of a “betrayal of trust.” The press has taken the bait. But let’s examine the facts.

What Ritchie did was extremely common: His campaign accessed public data from the secretary of state’s office, which is both legal and appropriate. Not even the Republicans have suggested that any law or rule was broken. The Republican Party and its candidates, from the governor on down, obtain voter data from the secretary of state’s office. It would be against the law for the secretary of state to withhold public data from a campaign that requests it, even his own.

Let’s review the facts, facts which Michael has posted about & that I’ve posted about. Here’s something that Michael posted:

Below is the list I have complied with the supporting documentation. This is a very long post, but I encourage the dedicated readers of Minnesota Democrats Exposed to comment and send this post to their contacts.

#1. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie lied when he told the Star Tribune that he didn’t authorize the use of a list of attendees at the civic-education meeting by his campaign:

“But [Ritchie] said he did not authorize the use of the list for his campaign.” Source: Star Tribune, October 29, 2007 I believe this is a lie. Ritchie has now admitted that he “personally provided” this list to his campaign:

“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. Source: Star Tribune, November 20, 2007

#2. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie lied when he told the Star Tribune that he didn’t know how Giga and Tomczak’s names were included in the e-mail sent on October 22, 2007 by Ritchie’s campaign:

“Asked how Giga and Tomczak’s names were included in the campaign newsletter if they did not sign up for it, other than through the civic engagement list, Ritchie said: ‘Well, I don’t know about that.'” Source: Star Tribune, October 29, 2007 I believe this is a lie. Ritchie has now admitted that he “personally provided” this list to his campaign:

“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. Source: Star Tribune, November 20, 2007

On October 31, 2007, Representative Laura Brod and Representative Tom Emmer sent a letter to Secretary of State Ritchie’s office requesting information regarding allegations that Ritchie may have used his official office to fund his political machine.

Brod and Emmer asked Ritchie eleven questions. On November 9, 2007, a representative of Ritchie’s official office responded to Representative Brod and Emmer’s letter.

The next two lies I believe were told come directly from Secretary of State Ritchie’s official response to Representative Brod and Emmer’s letter. Ritchie’s letter was signed by Bert Black, legal advisor to Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.

#3. Ritchie’s official office claimed the answer to the question asked by Representative Brod and Emmer of “[w]ho entered the data into the Mark Ritchie campaign database?” was “not known to the Office of the Secretary of State.”

I believe this is a lie. Ritchie has now admitted that he “personally provided” this list to his campaign:

“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. Source: Star Tribune, November 20, 2007

Since Ritchie’s provided this list to his campaign, Ritchie in fact knew who “entered the data into the Mark Ritchie campaign database.”

#4. Ritchie’s official office claimed the answer to the question of “who developed the campaign email distributed to Jack Tomczak and Mark Giga on October 22, 2007″ was “not known to the Office of the Secretary of State.”

I believe this is a lie. Ritchie has now admitted that he “personally provided” this list to his campaign:

“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. Source: Star Tribune, November 20, 2007

Since Ritchie provided the list to his campaign, Ritchie in fact knew the answer to who “developed the campaign email distributed to Jack Tomczak and Mark Giga…”

Ritchie also told John Croman from KARE-11 in an interview that “[o]ne of our volunteers typed in the names of the groups who said they were interested in civic education and civic engagement…” Once again, Ritchie statement to Croman proves that he knew who “developed the campaign email distributed to Jack Tomczak and Mark Giga…” contrary to information provided by his official office.

As I wrote on Wednesday evening, Ritchie’s interview with KARE-11 has created numerous problems for himself. In this interview, Ritchie provides specific details missing from his official office’s response to questions from Representative Brod and Emmer.

I also want to echo what former Secretary of State employee Kent Kaiser said about Bert Black, legal advisor to Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. Kaiser told me in an interview for Minnesota Democrats Exposed that Black is man of integrity and that he wouldn’t knowingly provide misleading or false statements to anyone, including legislators.

I completely agree, as I have spoken with Black on more than one occasion and he has been a total professional. Others that I have spoke with today agree with Kaiser that Black’s answer to the questions asked by Representative Brod and Emmer mentioned above are not consistent with Ritchie’s public statements to reporters.

My discussions with people about Black’s answers continually end with the agreement that his answer to Representative Brod and Emmer’s question must have been based on faulty information provided by Ritchie or a designated representative. The fault for the lie lies with Ritchie and not with Black.

#5. Secretary of State Ritchie lied when he told the Star Tribune his e-mail of October 22, 2007 was “not a vehicle for solicitation”:

“‘It [the newsletter] is distributed as an information source on civic engagement in Minnesota, not a vehicle for solicitation,’ Ritchie said. The Oct. 22 newsletter, however, invites recipients to an upcoming fundraiser and links to Ritchie’s campaign website for anyone wishing to donate to ‘help me cover my campaign related expenses for this year.'” Source: Star Tribune, November 20, 2007
As noted in the Star Tribune story of November 20, Ritchie’s campaign e-mail of October 22, 2007 ended with a solicitation for contributions:

“Also, please join me for a NOVEMBER 2 Anniversary Party and Fundraiser, featuring author and radio commentator Jim Hightower, Friday, November 2, 5-7 p.m. at the home of Jeff and Emily Blodgett, 1437 Chelmsford in St. Paul. Check here for more details. If you can’t make it to this event but would like to help me cover my campaign related expenses for this year, you can donate online here. You can still qualify for the State of Minnesota refund of up to $100 per couple if you make your contribution in this year.” Source: Ritchie for Secretary of State email, October 22, 2007
It defies logic that Ritchie didn’t know that his own campaign’s e-mail of October 22, 2007 contain a solicitation for contribution. I believe Ritchie has lied.

Here’s another lie that I caught:

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.

Here’s the key portion of the e-letter:

Here are two upcoming events, I invite you to join me:

On Oct. 25th I will be speaking at a remembrance service to mark the fifth anniversary of the deaths of Paul and Sheila Wellstone, Marcia Markuson Wellstone, Mary McEvoy, Tom Lapic and Will McLaughlin. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the service begins at 7:30 at the Coeur de St. Catherine Student Center, 2004 Randolph Ave. in St. Paul.

Also, please join me for a NOVEMBER 2 Anniversary Party and Fundraiser, featuring author and radio commentator Jim Hightower, Friday, November 2, 5-7 p.m. at the home of Jeff and Emily Blodgett, 1437 Chelmsford in St. Paul. Check here for more details. If you can’t make it to this event but would like to help me cover my campaign related expenses for this year, you can donate online here . You can still qualify for the State of Minnesota refund of up to $100 per couple if you make your contribution in this year.

NOVEMBER 2 is a voter registration organization that Mark Ritchie ran in 2004. Here are a few other organizations that NOVEMBER 2 worked with:

The November 2 Campaign, operating for the most part below the media radar, grew out of a decision by the NAACP National Voter Fund, the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, the People for the American Way Foundation, the USAction Education Fund, ACORN and 1,000 other nonpartisan groups to create a new kind of voter registration and mobilization effort. The point, explains Mark Ritchie, national coordinator for National Voice, the temporary coalition set up by the nonpartisan groups, is to reach people who aren’t touched by traditional campaigns. “There’s a huge group of Americans, many of them young people, women, African-Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans and other communities of color, who have become disengaged from the voting process, some by choice, some by neglect and some by forces beyond their control,” says Ritchie.

Mr. Ritchie can’t deny the fact that he lied again by saying that this solicitation was it soliciting “contributions only to pay for the newsletter itself.” The other point that Ritchie can’t defend is why it’d cost $100 per couple to defray the costs of an e-letter.

Let’s examine this Melendez statement:

What Ritchie did was extremely common: His campaign accessed public data from the secretary of state’s office, which is both legal and appropriate.

Let’s start by asking Mr. Melendez these questions:

1. If it’s such a common thing, why did Mr. Ritchie lie 6 times about what happened?
2. How would Mr. Melendez respond to the fact that Minnesota’s Data Practices Act says that (a) the names on a signup list can only be used for the purpose that the people were told they would be used & (b) the names could only be used by “a government entity”?
3. Is Mr. Melendez saying that other constitutional offices & politicians have done this before? If he is, can he cite anyone specifically?

I’m not holding my breath waiting for those answers. Let’s continue with this Menendez spin:

And when Ritchie misspoke about how his campaign accessed the data, he promptly and voluntarily corrected the record, and accepted responsibility for his mistake. The matter should have ended there.

Again, I’ll simply ask this question: How does someone misspeak 6 times? Not only did Mr. Ritchie lie 6 times, Mr. Ritchie lied to the (1) Legislative Auditor, (2) Reps. Emmer & Brod in their questionnaire and (3) to Strib reporter Mark Brunswick. That’s too much misspeaking for me to think that it’s just coincidence.

As evidenced by his repeated lies, it’s apparent that Mr. Ritchie didn’t “promptly and voluntarily” correct the record. He lied to a reporter, the Legislative Auditor and two elected representatives. That’s hardly the definition of promptly and voluntarily correcting the record.

Here’s another Melendez unsubstantiated allegation that needs refuting:

First, if a vacancy occurred, the Republican governor would appoint a new secretary of state, and would certainly appoint a loyal partisan, perhaps even Mary Kiffmeyer herself. But Minnesota voters ran Mary Kiffmeyer out of office because they rejected her agenda of voter suppression. Minnesotans want a secretary of state who will help people vote, not keep them from doing so. And on Ritchie’s watch, the Republican agenda of keeping voters they don’t like away from the polls just won’t fly. Republicans didn’t like the election results, so they’re creating a phony crisis as their way of undermining those results.

Accusing someone of voter suppression is a serious matter. If voter suppression happened, where’s Mr. Melendez’s proof supporting that allegation? Or is this just the DFL trotting out their line from last fall’s campaign? As I recall, those allegations weren’t substantiated either.

What’s amazing is that Mr. Melendez would attempt to say that lying to the Legislative Auditor & elected officials is “a phony crisis.” If it’s such a phony crisis, why did Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles order Mark Ritchie & his office staff to testify under oath to clarify his answers?

Let’s not forget what Jim Nobles said about Ritchie’s answers:

Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles said today his office will continue working on several other investigations but will proceed quickly into the Ritchie probe.

“If (Ritchie) was not forthcoming, that is a serious matter in and of itself,” Nobles said. “If we cannot confirm the veracity of the statements from him and others in his office we’ll have to take other measures to determine what went on.”

Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles himself said that if Ritchie hadn’t told the truth in answering Mr. Nobles’ questions, then that would be a “serious matter in and of itself.” How, then, does Mr. Melendez claim that this is a phony crisis?

Then there’s this Melendez statement:

Second, and much more troubling, the Republicans are seizing upon a gaffe by Ritchie to divert attention from gross incompetence and mismanagement in the Pawlenty administration.

Here’s the definition of gaffe:

a social blunder; faux pas.

Is Mr. Melendez saying that repeatedly lying to various investigators is a “social blunder”? I don’t think many Minnesotans think that way. I’d bet big money that most would quickly reject Mr. Melendez’s characterization as indefensible spin.

Here’s another part of Melendez’s op-ed:

Ritchie is cooperating fully with the legislative auditor. His office has already pledged to implement the auditor’s recommendations, no matter what. Meanwhile, the Pawlenty administration is stalling and stonewalling legislative inquiries about the Department of Transportation’s operations.

This is hardly inspiring news. Ritchie shouldn’t have did what he did. If he hadn’t used his constitutional office for private political gain, there wouildn’t have been a need for “implementing the auditor’s recommendations” because the auditor’s office wouldn’t have gotten involved.

What Mr. Melendez wants us to forget about is Mark Ritchie betraying our trust. Why should we believe that Ritchie’s capable of setting his activist past & his current ethical lapses aside to impartially oversee an election? Mr. Ritchie destroyed his credibility by lying to various investigators. Once it’s lost, it isn’t quickly regained.

As always, Mr. Melendez & Mr. Ritchie are welcome to contact me through the comments to this post to defend their positions. They will be accepted as is. They won’t be edited.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , ,

Believe it or not, Brian Melendez is making outlandish statements again. According to this article, Melendez said that Senate Republicans are “making mountains out of molehills.” Here’s more of his statement:

Minnesota DFL Chair Brian Melendez rejected the Republicans’ words about Ritchie, arguing their concerns were strategic and political.

“This maneuver stinks of political desperation,” he said in the hallway outside the press conference room.

Republicans are simply angling to get stories about embattled Lt. Gov./MnDOT Commissioner Carol Molnau off the front page of the newspapers, he argued. “They’re making a mountain out of a molehill,” he said of Senate Republicans.

If the DFL thought that Carol Molnau was incompetent, they didn’t show it by holding hearings to reject her as the Transportation commissioner. I’d simply ask Mr. Melendez if the DFL Senate was lazy in not holding those hearings or if they’re just that incompetent or if they just aren’t that upset with Carol Molnau.

Let’s review the facts: Mark Ritchie lied repeatedly to James Nobles, the state Legislative Auditor, as well to Rep. Laura Brod, (R-New Prague) & Rep. Tom Emmer, (R-Delano).

Considering that information, I’m wondering why Brian Melendez thinks that lying to investigators is “making mountains out of molehills.” I’m wondering why Mr. Melendez thinks that possibly breaking the Data Practices Act is “making mountains out of molehills.”

Is it because he thinks that lying to investigators is an insignificant incident? Is it because he thinks people can lie & not lose any credibility? Or is it because he’s tapdancing as fast as he can because he’s being forced to defend the indefensible?

UPDATE: I contacted Rep. Laura Brod & Rep. Tom Emmer for a statement on Brian Melendez’s “mountains out of molehills” quote. Rep. Brod has sent this response:

No amount of political dodgeball by DFL chair, Brian Melendez, can erase the facts surrounding the investigation of Secretary of State Ritchie. The fact that Mr. Melendez is trying to obfuscate is that the Secretary admitted he himself improperly shared public data from the secretary of state’s office with his campaign and the information was used for campaign fundraising purposes.

Secretary Ritchie also was less than truthful about the information with legislators, with the media, and most importantly with Minnesotans. It is most unfortunate that neither secretary Ritchie or his front man Mr. Melendez seem to understand the damage that the secretary of state’s actions have on the integrity and public trust of the Office.

If Rep. Emmer sends a response, I will post it immediately. I will post any statements that Brian Melendez issues, too.

Technorati: , , , , , ,

This Politico article is more proof that it isn’t 2006 anymore. No section illustrates that better than this section:

Rep. Jim Cooper, a moderate Democrat from Tennessee, said not a single constituent has asked about the war during his nearly two-week long Thanksgiving recess. Rep. Michael E. Capuano, an anti-war Democrat from Massachusetts, said only three of 64 callers on a town hall teleconference asked about Iraq, a reflection that the war may be losing power as a hot-button issue in his strongly Democratic district.

First-term Rep. Nancy Boyda (D-Kan.), echoing a view shared by many of her colleagues, said illegal immigration and economic unease have trumped the Iraq war as the top-ranking concerns of her constituents.

In an interview with Politico, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) attributed the change to a recent reduction of violence and media coverage of the conflict, saying there is scant evidence that more fundamental problems with the Bush administration’s policy are improving. Even so, he agreed voters are certainly talking less about the war. “People are not as engaged daily with the reality of Iraq,” Hoyer said.

The change in mood perceived by Democratic lawmakers comes as one of Congress’ most vocal war critics, Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), returned from a trip to Iraq and told reporters hursday that “the surge is working” to improve security, even though the central government in Baghdad remains “dysfunctional.”

The apparent shift in voter intensity about Iraq, also captured in some polls, shows how dramatically the political context of the war debate has changed from last summer.

Democrats believed then that mounting public pressure would soon force Republicans to take flight from President Bush, allowing Congress to impose a more rapid end to the war on an unwilling administration. It has not happened yet, and if anything it shows Democrats are facing a stiffer challenge at year’s end than they had at the beginning to frame the public debate on their terms.

Think about that last sentence:

Democrats are facing a stiffer challenge at year’s end than they had at the beginning to frame the public debate on their terms.

That’s because information matters. The information that’s coming out of Iraq has been overwhelmingly positive. The other major reasons why “Democrats are facing a stiffer challenge” is because (a) Harry Reid and John Murtha were burning their credibility and (b) people are getting their information from the internet, not John Murtha and Harry Reid.

One thing that should be noted is that Democrats shouldn’t think that they won’t be held accountable for their policies and votes. If they think that people will simply forget their Iraq policy, they’re mistaken. I won’t be the only blogger who’ll remind people what Democrats represent.

Wednesday night’s debate is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. Had Democrats planted 7 questioners for the debate in 1992, there wouldn’t have been a story on it. Wednesday night, Bill Bennett was getting flooded with emails telling him about Gen. Kerr being on Hillary’s LGBT Steering Committee within minutes of the debate’s end.

With more and more people getting their information from Michael Yon, Blackfive, John Burns and Ralph Peters, Democrats aren’t getting away with their doom and gloom rhetoric. People know better.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at California Conservative

By now, everyone’s heard about or read CNN’s statement that attempts to justify the Democratic plants at the CNN/YouTube debate Wednesday night. Here’s the part I find utterly phoney:

“The whole point of these ground-breaking CNN/YouTube debates is to focus on substantive questions of concern to real people and to throw open the process to a wider range of Americans all around the country. CNN cared about what you asked, not who you were. This was the case for both the Democratic and the Republican CNN/YouTube debates.”

If that was the goal, CNN failed miserably. The word is that the 34 questions were picked from over 5,000 videos submitted. That puts the odds of getting your video picked at less than 1 percent, with it being closer to .7 percent. It strains the imagination that 7 of those 34 questions were from Democratic plants.

Let’s forget about that for a moment. CNN’s statement says that they wanted to “focus on substantive questions of concern to real people.” Why is it then that taxes weren’t talked about? Why is it that immigration received so little time? Why is it that foreign policy other than Iraq didn’t receive much attention? Why didn’t the issue of judicial nominees get any attention? Aren’t those “substantive questions that real people” care about, too?

Here’s some more questions that We The People demand answers on: Why did CNN think that a question about whether Rudy Giuliani believed every word in the Bible was to be taken literally? Why did CNN think that the idiot with the guns asked a substantive question?

That statement is a shameful attempt to rationalize/justify their shoddy journalism. CNN deserves to be excoriated for its shoddy journalism. Worded differently, how did the “most trusted name in news” miss what pajama-wearing computer geeks hacking away at their keyboard found in little over an hour?

Based on simple common sense, isn’t it obvious who’s earned the title of the “most trusted name in news” and which organization has just used it as a slogan?

Technorati: , , , ,

Cross-posted at California Conservative

The DFL is talking pure fiction when they argue that their tax increases would’ve created a stronger economy. First, here’s Gov. Pawlenty’s opinion:

Pawlenty said he’s scaled back his spending priorities in light of economic trends. He believes there is enough money in the state’s budget reserves and in the state’s cash flow account to allow for some increased spending. But he said the state could have faced a bigger problem if legislators had passed a bigger budget earlier this year.

“I’m really glad that we didn’t spend more money as my friends on the other side of the aisle wanted,” he said, “otherwise the situation would be worse. I’m glad we didn’t raise taxes further because the situation, at least as to Minnesota families and taxpayers, would be worse. We will wait the Friday forecast as to further decisions.”

That makes sense. Had Gov. Pawlenty not vetoed the DFL’s spending increases, we’d be in much worse shape. At the time, conservatives said that the spending increases were unsustainable. In fact, I pointed out numerous times that the DFL’s property tax relief was really a tax increase (quite poorly) disguised as property tax releief. As King rightly pointed out, the tax cut was guaranteed, the property tax a maybe. Here’s what Rep. Lenczewski said back then:

House Tax Committee Chair Ann Lenczewski says that everyone would benefit from the House DFL plan. The property tax relief isn’t guaranteed, though:

However, that relief will not come if money is not available to fund it.

According to their own words, the tax increase wouldn’t have created property tax relief because the money “isn’t available.”

Here’s what the DFL is attempting to sell:

And they say the bonding bill and transportation funding package he vetoed would have created jobs for construction workers. House Speaker Margaret Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, said lawmakers can repass that legislation next year to try to improve the state’s economy.

“The government is certainly not the main creator of jobs, businesses in the state are,” she said. “But there are some things we can do with our public dollars, investing around the state, that do put people to work on construction jobs and making sure that we do what we can do to help the economy out here.”

Kelliher said the DFL-controlled Legislature will also push to close a tax loophole on foreign operating corporations to generate more money for schools and health care. But that may not be enough to satisfy demand for more spending.

Sen. Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, said Senate Democrats will encourage Gov. Pawlenty to increase spending in some areas. But she said a gloomy forecast means bad news for those who want to spend more.

“I think many people are disappointed about that, and we’re going to have to just come together and try to figure out what we’re going to do and quite frankly what he is willing to do,” she said. “Because the Legislature passed increases in education. The Legislature passed property tax relief. The Legislature passed comprehensive transportation and the Legislature passed jobs.”

It’s typical DFL doctrine to say that we need to let government spend more so our economy can create jobs. It’s typical DFL doctrine to say that we need to increase taxes so some can get a tiny sliver of tax relief. When did increasing taxes spur job creation? Don’t say during the Clinton administration because states were cutting taxes while Clinton was raising them.

It’s times like these that we need to be the taxpayers’ watchdog, spend judiciously & let the taxpayer keep more of their money. Raising taxes as the economy is slowing down simply guarantees a longer, deeper recession. That’s irresponsible policy, almost as irresponsible as the DFL’s spending spree budget of last session.

Thank God “our goalie” won’t let the DFL’s irresponsible spending plans become law.

Technnorati: , , , , , , , ,

Despite losing his credibility, Mark Ritchie is refusing to step aside for the January 3 special election to replace Sen. Tom Neuville:

A Republican effort to push Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie aside during an upcoming special election went nowhere Thursday.

Ritchie rejected the suggestion through his spokesman, John Aiken.

GOP Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem and Senator Chris Gerlach (GER’-lahk) said they were uncomfortable with Ritchie overseeing a Jan. 3 special Senate election while the secretary is being investigated by the legislative auditor for alleged use of a state mailing list for political purposes. They urged Ritchie to hand over control of his office to a deputy until the investigation is resolved.

DFL Party Chairman Brian Melendez said there’s no reason for Ritchie to take a break from his job.

According to this Mark Brunswick article in the STrib, Brian Melendez has returned to saying foolish things:

Sen. Chris Gerlach, R-Apple Valley, the ranking member of the Senate committee that oversees state government, said the Republican caucus was concerned about “getting a fair shake” in the upcoming Jan. 3 election to replace Sen. Tom Neuville, who was recently appointed a judge.

“This is not meant to be punitive, this is not meant to be another round of gotcha politics. This is meant to be a balanced measure, a fair and reasonable response to real concerns about a serious issue,” Gerlach said. At a Capitol news conference, the Republicans urged Ritchie to step aside and allow his elections deputy to oversee the election.

DFL Party chair Brian Melendez was quick to characterize the request as a “maneuver that stinks of political desperation,” saying Republicans were trying to deflect attention from the troubles of Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s Department of Transportation and its commissioner, Carol Molnau.

“Mark Ritchie is an elected constitutional officer of this state. He has a job to do and he’s going to do it,” Melendez said.

I can’t believe that Melendez is foolish enough to say that the MNGOP was acting out of “political desperation”, especially when it’s the DFL & Mark Ritchie, that’s taken the biggest political hit in recent Minnesota history. It’s time someone on his staff told Melendez that credibility matters & that he doesn’t have much credibility left.

It’s easy to believe that most Minnesotans who’ve heard Sen. Gerlach’s plan would think that it’s a rather measured, reasonable solution to the situation.

UPDATE: I just got an official statement from Rep. Laura Brod, (R-New Prague), on Mark Ritchie’s refusal to not step aside for the January 3 special election. Here’s Rep. Brod’s statement:

“It is unfortunate that Secretary Ritchie does not seem to want to recognize either the seriousness of his actions or that those same actions have put the integrity of both he and the Office of the Secretary at risk. The facts are that the Secretary himself offered misleading answers that lacked honesty and has violated the trust of Minnesotans by doing so. The Office of Secretary of State and the duties executed by the office related to elections are too important to allow the Secretary to play partisan politics with. The fact that he used his public office for political fundraising and partisan gain in and of itself was a mistake.

The fact that he was less than truthful about his actions is a serious issue that calls his judgement related to all matters, including his ability to fairly administer elections in a non-partisan way, into question.

For the sake of the integrity of the office which safeguards our fundamental right to vote, I hope Secretary Ritchie will step back and allow someone who is not under significant scrutiny by the legislative auditor to manage the special election in senate district 25.”

Technorati: , , , , , ,

According to this Pitsburgh Post-Gazette article, that’s Rep. John Murtha’s opinion. While his opinion of whether the surge is working has changed, his position of bringing the troops home hasn’t:

U.S. Rep. John Murtha today said he saw signs of military progress during a brief trip to Iraq last week, but he warned that Iraqis need to play a larger role in providing their own security and the Bush administration still must develop an exit strategy.

“I think the ‘surge’ is working,” the Democrat said in a videoconference from his Johnstown office, describing the president’s decision to commit more than 20,000 additional combat troops this year. But the Iraqis “have got to take care of themselves.”

Violence has dropped significantly in recent months, but Mr. Murtha said he was most encouraged by changes in the once-volatile Anbar province, where locals have started working closely with U.S. forces to isolate insurgents linked to Al Qaeda.

I suspect that this will be the new Democratic approach to Iraq. They’ll grudgingly admit that President Bush Gen. Petraeus was right and that the surge is working. Then they’ll quickly pivot from that and say that that’s why we need to establish a timeline to start bringing more of the troops home faster. President Bush should then restate his position that conditions and generals, not politicians, will establish any troop withdrawals.

I suspect that this has more to do with election year politics than it has to do with conviction. Lord knows that this won’t sit well with MoveOn.org, Kos and other anti-war activists.

UPDATE: I just visited DU. Damn, I’m good. Here’s a sampling of the comments to the Murtha article:

Wienerdoggie: Murtha–now’s the time to say, “time to go”.
Much easier to leave Iraq when things are calm.
Wienerdoggie again: Actually, that’s the only test of how well our military tactics worked…when we go home, what happens? Let’s see if the GOP wants to resist an exit strategy still. If they do, then they don’t have confidence in the results, do they?
calimary: Hey, weinerdoggie, that’s actually a VERY shrewd comeback line:
“Let’s see if the GOP wants to resist an exit strategy still. If they do, then THEY DON’T HAVE THE CONFIDENCE IN THE RESULTS, DO THEY?” If it’s working, then can’t we start bringing our people home? What? You doubt your own progress? You don’t think it’s enough? Hey, if it’s working so well, why can’t we just say we’ve won and go home? It’s worked! Mission REALLY accomplished! We REALLY mean it this time! Fer sure! Honest! We did it! We’re Done! Time to declare victory AND GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE!!! And there’d be enough worshipping bushbots out there who would swallow this whole, the way they’ve swallowed everything they’ve been force-fed by these bastards. They’ve already proven that they believe what they’re told to believe. So let’s tell them THIS. The war started on a lie. Why
not let it finish that way? If it means we get our troops out of there, and save their lives, their limbs, and their sanity, and a few bucks besides, why the hell not?

The first flaw in Calimary’s ‘logic’ is that we’re already bringing troops home. The next flaw is exposed in her saying “And there’d be enough worshipping bushbots out there who would swallow this whole, the way they’ve swallowed everything they’ve been force-fed by these bastards.”

What Calimary doesn’t understand is that conservatives demand that decisions be based on verifiable facts and irrefutable trends. The other thing that isn’t factored into this is the Iraqi government asking us to establish permanent bases in Iraq, which would be a strategic victory for the US and a defeat for Iran and the various terrorist organizations.

Here’s the section in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s article that I liked most:

Violence has dropped significantly in recent months, but Mr. Murtha said he was most encouraged by changes in the once-volatile Anbar province, where locals have started working closely with U.S. forces to isolate insurgents linked to Al Qaeda.

I was writing about that back in July and August. My question for Rep. Murtha is simple: Why didn’t a well-conected military expert admit this months ago? I suspect that the reason why Democrats are changing their tune is because they know they’re getting clobbered in the credibility department on Iraq. They can’t keep trotting Harry Reid and John Murtha out to tell us that things are hopeless when the NY Times and Chicago Tribune are running articles on how well things are going.

As I predicted earlier, the next step for Democrats in pivoting away from their disastrous policy is to declare victory as justificiation to bring the troops home. The key to bringing the troops home, however, will be in having verifiable proof that we’ve won, not just that we’re winning or things are heading in the right direction. Until we meet that benchmark, the policy shouldn’t change from the policy that’s currently in place.

In other words, lasting victory should be our only measuring stick.

Technorati: , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at California Conservative

That’s what this report seems to indicate. In my opinion, that’d make Boston the odds-on-favorite to repeat as World Series Champions. That’s why I think the Yankees are rethinking their offer of Philip Hughes, Melky Cabrera & some minor league outfielders. Here are the particulars of the latest rumor:

ESPN.com reported on Thursday that the Red Sox and Twins have discussed a potential deal in which center fielder Coco Crisp, left-hander Jon Lester and promising Minor League shortstop Jed Lowrie would head to Minnesota along with one other prospect in exchange for Santana.

Later in their article, that “one other prospect” is identified as right-handed pitching prospect Justin Masterson. This isn’t the Twins’ dream trade. That’d include Jacoby Ellsbury instead of Coco Crisp. Still, getting a major league ready shortstop prospect, the winning pitcher in this year’s World Series game, along with Torii Hunter’s replace & a solid pitching prospect will help the Twins restock for their next title run.

Combine that with their trade for Delmon Young, a legitimate 5-tool player who’s only 22 years old & I’d say that Bill Smith will have accomplished alot in his first 2+ months as Twins’ GM.

All that said, the Twins shouldn’t rush into this trade. Perhaps it’ll frighten the Yankees into sweetening their offer, which presumably included Philip Hughes, Melky Cabrera & a couple talented minor league outfielders. The Yankees have to know that the Red Sox getting Santana while keeping their starting lineup essentially intact will make the Red Sox the dominant team in baseball for the next 5+ years.

It’s my opinion that this forces them to part with both Hughes & Joba Chamberlain in addition to Melky Cabrera. Failing to do that relegates the Yankees to playing second fiddle to the Red Sox. That isn’t something that the Yankees will like.

Based on this report, I don’t see how the Yankees won’t sweeten their offer. They can add other players, including Dan Haren, but wouldn’t they really be coming out of this offseason losing ground to the Red Sox?

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , ,

Hugh Hewitt’s post, titled Romney Rising, is proof that he’s lost touch with the Republican base. One thing Hewitt has done is avoided talking about the real Romney record. I won’t make that mistake. Here’s some typical Hugh fluffery:

Patrick’s enthusiasms for Governor Huckabee aside (what debate was he at?) the next 45 days are about whether Rudy or Mitt runs against Hillary.

Hugh’s smart enough not to mention that Romney is a liberal. His answer on whether he’d sign federal legislation banning abortion is a clear sign that we couldn’t trust Romney on picking judges. Reagan conservatives are federalists. Conservatives have said for years that abortion would return to the states if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

In saying that he’d sign legislation banning abortion, Romney essentially said that he didn’t care about states rights or the Tenth Amendment. Why should conservatives trust Romney to nominate strict constructionist judges if he’s elected?

It’s my opinion that Romney has an authenticity problem. He said last night that he’d made a mistake in being “clearly pro-choice” early in his political career but that he’s changed since getting elected. This YouTube video tells you all you need to know about Romney, abortion and trustworthiness.

As I’ve said before, exactly when did his conversion happen?

It’s also worth noting that, although he talks about the three legged stool that Reagan created, Romney hasn’t talked about another main tenet of Reagan’s: a strong libertarian streak.

The bottom line is that Romney is a liberal portraying himself, with massive amounts of help from Mr. Hewitt, as a conservative. I’m confident that I’m right, especially after Rush said that he only saw one conservative on stage and his name is Fred Thompson.

I couldn’t agree more. Before anyone gets my vote, they’ll have to convince me that they care about the Tenth Amendment, that they’re authentic and that they aren’t trying to sell us a bill of goods. Right now, I think Romney is willing to change himself whenever the situation calls for that.

The other thing that we need to consider is that Romney would be attacked for being a flip-flopper by Team Hillary from Day One of the general election campaign. He’d be on the defensive from the outset. Worse, he wouldn’t have a united base to appeal to.

That sounds like a recipe for electoral disaster. Republicans should say no thanks to Mitt Romney because it’ll prevent an electoral disaster caused by a shifty liberal.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at California Conservative

Just when you thought that Hillary Clinton couldn’t be more manipulative, we find more proof that she’s the most manipulative presidential candidate in recent history. Here’s what happened to cement that belief:

It turns out that Keith Kerr, retired Colonel., U.S. Army; retired Brigadier General, California National Reserve, who submitted a YouTube question about gays in the military, is actually a member of Hillary Clinton’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual Americans For Hillary Steering Committee. He’s also part of a film production crew trying overturn the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

Please explain why Hillary pulls stunts like this. That’s such a punk move. It proves once again that the Clintons are shameless, disgusting human beings. The good news is that Hillary’s getting taken to task on it:

Keith Kerr a retired Colonel., U.S. Army; retired Brigadier General, California National Reserve pushed forward his issue of allowing gay Americans to serve openly in the US Military. While that is certainly a fair issue and open for debate, once again CNN looks to be in the hip pocket of the Clinton campaign.

It would have slipped by except CNN commentator Bill Bennett actually let the cat out of the bag and told CNN host Anderson Cooper that the former soldier apparently works for Clinton in the post debate analysis. Cooper played dumb at the time, but it did not last long as moments after the debate a bit of investigation showed that he is indeed a member of Hillary Clinton’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual Americans For Hillary Steering Committee.

I don’t know how this will play with Democrats, though it’s possible it’ll help there. What I’m certain of is that (a) independents will be turned off by it and (b) it’ll get conservatives fired up about beating her and (c) she’ll get pounded in the press for it.

Here’s how the Washington Times is reporting this stunt:

Gen. Kerr was in the live audience, and moderator Anderson Cooper invited him to give what turned out to be a two-minute speech on the issue that drew audience boos. The general identified himself in his question as “an openly gay man” but remained in the closet about his ties to the Clinton campaign.

Here’s how FNC is reporting the incident:

Keith Kerr of Santa Rosa, Calif., who revealed himself as gay, challenged the eight candidates via video message and on stage at the CNN/YouTube debate in Florida on the right of gays and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. military.

The broadcast, however, failed to mention that Kerr, who served as a brigadier general in the reserves, is a member of a gay and lesbian steering committee for Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Here are the key paragraphs from Politico’s article on Kerr:

The retired general who asked about gays and lesbians serving in the military at the CNN/YouTube Republican debate on Wednesday is a co-chair of Hillary Clinton’s National Military Veterans group.

Retired Brig. Gen. Keith H. Kerr was named a co-chair of the group this month, according to a campaign press release.

David Bohrman, a CNN senior vice president and executive producer of the debate, later said: “We regret this, and apologize to the Republican candidates. We never would have used the general’s question had we known that he was connected to any presidential candidate.”

Politico’s article also points out the fact that Kerr isn’t exactly truthful, which makes him a perfect plant for Hillary:

Kerr told CNN that he had not done work for the Clinton campaign, and CNN verified before the debate that he had not contributed money to any candidate, the broadcaster said in a blog post after the debate.

Captain Ed’s got it right: CNN takes two steps back. I’d add that Hillary should take 5 steps back.

Instapundit says CNN should discover Google, saying “It’s not that hard.”

Glenn, obviously it is for lazy MSM types.

Technorati: , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at California Conservative