Archive for October, 2008
Yesterday, I heard a DFL ad touting Lisa Fobbe as being the right person to succeed Betsy Wergin in the Minnesota State Senate, saying that she was the ‘just right candidate’ between the two extremes. I’ve questioned Lisa Fobbe’s decisionmaking ability. I’ve also questioned whether she’s a true moderate. I hope I never find out.
What I do know is that Alison Krueger isn’t an extremist. Today, I got proof of that in the form of Ms. Krueger’s getting endorsed by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Leadership Fund Political Action Committee. This is a pretty centrist organization. Here’s the text of their endorsement letter:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mike Franklin
October 31, 2008
Minnesota Chamber Leadership Fund Endorses Alison Krueger for Minnesota Senate
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Leadership Fund Political Action Committee announces the endorsement of Alison Krueger for the special election in Minnesota Senate District 16.
â€œAn endorsement by our organization is an indication to businesses and their employees that Alison Krueger is committed to going to St. Paul to improve our stateâ€™s economic securityâ€ said Chairman Scott Thiss.
The Leadership Fund PAC Board uses specific criteria to determine its endorsements. They include: local business community support, the candidateâ€™s positions on key issues likely to be addressed in the 2009 legislative session, the candidateâ€™s elect-ability, their leadership on key issues and their voting record.
The Minnesota Chamber Leadership Fund is a state-registered political action committee. The Fund represents supporters from across Minnesota organized to promote the election of pro-jobs candidates to offices of Minnesota state government.
This endorsement gives Alison Krueger instant credibility amonngst conservatives who want to elect pro-growth candidates nationwide. After interviewing Ms. Krueger (pronounced Kreeger), I was impressed with her grasp of the most important issues facing the legislature, especially taxes and health care. If SD-16 voters want to maintain the standard set by Betsy Wergin, then electing Ms. Krueger is their only option.
This is the biggest step forward for Alison Krueger in a series of big steps. When Gov. Pawlenty appointed Betsy Wergin to the Public Utilities Committee, Sen. Wergin endorsed her, including introducing Alison to our BPOU.
That was Ms. Krueger’s first big step in this process.
After the SD-16 endorsing convention picked Mark Olson, the people of SD-16 disagreed with the endorsing convention’s recommendation and made Ms. Krueger the official GOP nominee for the special election.
That was her second big step in this process.
Getting the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Leadership Fund Political Action Committee’s endorsement is the third big step in this process. This process isn’t over, though, until Tuesday night. The most important step in this process is electing Alison Krueger to the Minnesota Senate.
That’s the best conclusion to this process. It’s also the best thing that could happen for Minnesota citizens and the people of SD-16.
A loyal reader of LFR just notified me that a Franken supporter tried disrupting Sen. Coleman’s event in Moorhead this morning.
Longtime DFL activist Lori Peterson tried interrupting Sen. Coleman’s press conference this morning. This loyal reader said Ms. Peterson tried passing herself off as a simple concerned citizen. She’s nothing of the sort. Here’s what the Pioneer Press published in 1998:
STATE SUPREME COURT SANCTIONS ATTORNEY; 2 CASES, INCLUDING VIKINGS COACH’S, CITED IN DECISION
The Minnesota Supreme Court has reprimanded Minneapolis lawyer Lori Peterson and placed her on probation for a year. The punishment came for her actions in two cases, one involving Minnesota Vikings Coach Dennis Green and another in which she called attorneys in a law firm “slimy” and “dishonest.”
Peterson has handled numerous high-profile cases in Minnesota, including sexual harassment lawsuits against Stroh Brewery and Hooters bar at the Mall of America in Bloomington.
The high court imposed the discipline Monday after the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility in March filed a petition for disciplinary action against Peterson.
In the latter instance, Peterson was representing an individual in an employment matter against Kentucky Fried Chicken. In May 1996, after KFC hired the Bloomington law firm of Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren to represent the company, she told a KFC representative that she thought lawyers at the Larkin Hoffman firm were “dishonest” and “slimy.”
An attorney with Larkin Hoffman could not be reached late Thursday for comment.
The other complaint against Peterson stems from a decision in January 1997 by Hennepin County District Judge Andrew Danielson to sanction Peterson. Danielson ordered Peterson to pay Green (identified in that case as John Smith) $10,000 for violating several rules of professional conduct while representing Peterson’s client, Jane Doe.
The case had been confidential, but John Smith was publicly identified by Minnesota Vikings officials as Green. The coach and Jane Doe settled a case between them in 1993, reportedly involving a payment Green made to the woman for an abortion. The settlement included a confidentiality agreement. Jane Doe has never been publicly identified.
In the summer of 1996, Peterson brought a case against Green, claiming he had talked to other people about the original case. Danielson dismissed the case against Green in August 1996.
In his order in January 1997, Danielson said Peterson brought the case in bad faith and “it is apparent that this lawsuit was started for the purpose of obtaining monetary reward from the defendant utilizing his position as a public figure and attempting to use the media as an aid in getting the money.”
On Thursday, Peterson said she wanted to accept responsibility for actions that others perceived as inappropriate and overly aggressive.
Is this another example of the Franken campaign’s attempt to heckle and harass Sen. Coleman? That’s my opinion based on a St. Cloud Coleman campaign event.
I said yesterday that Franken’s desperation was growing because of his slippage in the polls. Mr. Franken’s first instinct when things don’t go his way is that of lashing out. This is just more of the same.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend Thursday night’s debate finale. Based on Larry’s reporting, it sounds like each of the candidates stuck with the themes they’ve used since the first candidate forum. One unstartling thing is that it doesn’t seem like Rob Jacobs has deviated a bit from the first forum to the finale:
He allowed that higher income taxes for top earners could be on the table next year and called for universal health care.
â€œI donâ€™t know why anyone would be against universal health care. It means everyone has health insurance,â€ he said. â€œGovernment has to be involved. Not running it, but involved.â€
Mr. Jacobs is even farther left than Larry Haws. He started off that way. He’s finishing that way. Here’s what he said at the GMHCC debate:
Rob Jacobs: We need to tell health insurance companies that they canâ€™t deny people with PECâ€™s. One thing I donâ€™t agree with Dan on is letting the free market dictate. Government must be involved.
I’ve got some questions for Mr. Jacobs. (I won’t be surprised if he avoids them.)
- Why shouldn’t free markets dictate?
- Hasn’t the government, in the form of the legislature, imposed too many mandates on insurance companies?
- Shouldn’t the legislature end the monopolies currently enjoyed by Health Partners, United Health and Blue Cross?
- Shouldn’t other health insurance companies be allowed to compete for Minnesota’s health insurance dollars? If not, why not?
Here’s a lovely soundbite from Joanne Dorsher:
But from health care to education to infrastructure, Minnesota has been â€œfollowing Bushâ€™s policies and Bushâ€™s priorities for too long,â€ argued Dorsher, a St. Cloud school board member.
â€œOur goal shouldnâ€™t be to see how low our taxes can go,â€ she said. â€œOur goal should be how good of a state we can make Minnesota.â€
I’d love hearing Ms. Dorsher specifically identify which Bush policies and which Bush priorities Minnesota has followed. It’s my guess that this was said for effect, not for its accuracy.
More importantly, I want to know why “our goal shouldnâ€™t be to see how low our taxes can go.â€ States like Georgia, Colorado and Utah have strong economies. In fact, the Lady Logician told me shortly after the Logician family was re-united in Utah that Utah is the most recession-proof state in the nation. Georgia, Colorado and Utah have very good school systems and lower marginal tax rates than does Minnesota.
I’d further add that businesses notice our tax increases. They either leave the state or they decide to expand in neighboring states rather than stay here. Rep. Gottwalt is exactly right in saying that we don’t have a 10 foot high fence around the state. Businesses and people are leaving Minnesota.
Isn’t it time we noticed and charted a new, more conservative, more pro-prosperity direction?
As Sen. Coleman’s lead grows, Al Franken’s advertising gets nastier. Mr. Franken’s hostility isn’t just limited to people. His hostility extends to the truth, too. A post on Mr. Franken’s blog states that Sen. Coleman is the “4th most corrupt senator in Washington.”
This past Monday, a TV ad was launched repeating the claim that Sen. Coleman was the “4th most corrupt senator in Washington.” Coincidentally, a lawsuit was filed alleging $75,000 was “funneled” to Senator Colemanâ€™s wife through her job as an insurance agent. Just as coincidentally, Al Franken started running an ad with those same accusations almost simultaneously.
Now CREW is speaking out through the Blotter:
Franken’s TV ad says that Coleman is the “fourth most corrupt senator”. Sloan said that statement isn’t exactly accurate.
“I can see how they came to that conclusion,” she said, “but that’s certainly not what we said.” Sloan said their list of corrupt Congressional members is simply a list and not a ranking in any way, but it did contain just four Senators. Coleman received a dishonorable mention, while three of the 20 most corrupt were also senators.
She said it would be correct to say Coleman is one of four most corrupt senators according to their report because 96 other senators did not make the list at all.
To call this a stretch on Franken’s behalf is understatement. It’s more accurate to say that Franken’s accusation is an act of desperation. He sees the polls heading in Sen. Coleman’s direction, something that must be bothering him immensely.
What’s most suspicious to me is that the lawsuit mentioned earlier was withdrawn mere hours later. This raises lots of questions for me. The first question I have is simple: Was this lawsuit filed for creating a splashy headline? Here are some related questions:
- Did the Franken campaign, or Franken himself, encourage Paul McKim to file this civil suit?
- Did the DFL encourage this civil suit be filed?
- Did Paul McKim have any verifiable proof of wrongdoing? McKim is the man who filed, then quickly withdrew, the civil suit.
Today, the Coleman for Senate campaign filed an “unfair campaign practices lawsuit against Al Franken.”
UPDATE: What a coincidence. The dropped lawsuit was refiled:
There is reason to be suspicious of the lawsuit, which was filed on Monday, withdrawn on Tuesday, and refiled Thursday.
I totally agree with that statement. Most Minnesotans will see this as another Franken act of desperation. Despite the string of ‘coincidences’, the DFL is acting like this should be taken seriously:
The DFL issued a statement Thursday night, saying, “The allegations of criminal behavior are serious and deeply troubling… Senator Coleman has a duty to explain why those allegations aren’t true.”
At this point, it’s difficult to take that statement, or the lawsuit for that matter, seriously. If anything, the DFL needs to answer whether they played a part in getting this lawsuit refiled.
As I said earlier, I’m skeptical of Mr. McKim. Liberals have a recent history of acting like accusations are proof.
Al Franken: the further he sinks in the polls, the further he sinks in integrity.
Yesterday, I attended the Norm Coleman rally. The crowd numbered approximately 75. Joining Sen. Coleman on stage were US Rep. Michele Bachmann, State Reps. Steve Gottwalt and Dan Severson. After the event, I talked with Michele, which was caught on film by WCCO-TV. Michele said it was good to see gas prices coming down, saying that they saw gas selling for $2.06 a gallon at a gas station in Cambridge.
I reminded her that people ridiculed her for predicting a return to $2 a gallon gas. Michele was well aware of that. She seemed unfazed by the criticism, which is why people admire her.
After the event, Esme Murphy interviewed me. Though the interview didn’t get included in the segment, it was a good thing. The first thing that Ms. Murphy asked me about was whether I thought Michele’s support with the base was waning. I said that I didn’t think it was, which led Ms. Murphy to ask me why I thought they were holding fast.
I said that we haven’t forgotten about Michele’s commitment to keeping taxes low on small businesses, which would give people an incentive to expanding their businesses. I then mentioned that Michele’s base knows that she wants to clean up the earmark system, which is a huge source of corruption in Washington.
I was surprised, then, to find this article:
At a St. Cloud rally on Wednesday, Bachmann greeted supporters. She was appearing at the rally in support of Sen. Norm Coleman whose been campaigning with Gov. Tim Pawlenty. But afterwards she was surrounded by supporters, taking credit for falling gas prices.
“Gas was $2.04 a gallon today and that was my goal when I started out earlier this year. My goal was to have us get to $2…today in the district it’s $2.04 so we’re almost there,” she told one voter.
I simply said that her prediction of $2 a gallon gas was almost fulfilled. Michele didn’t say that her policies had caused the drop in oil prices. She simply pointed out that what people thought impossible a few months ago was now coming true.
More importantly, there’s two lesson to be learned from the falling oil prices. The first lesson is that commodity prices drop when supply outstrips demands. This June, I participated in a blogger conference call on energy. One thing that sticks out from that call was John Peterson saying that at that time, we had record high prices. Rep. Peterson said that the high pricese were caused by supply outstripping demand by a meager 1 million barrels per day worldwide.
To contrast that, he said there was a 9 million barrel cushion when gas prices were $1,20-something a gallon.
The second lesson to be learned is that we need more refining capacity. During fall and winter, boutique fuels are dramatically reduced, dramatically increasing refinery capacity. The lesson from this is that we need to dramatically increase refinery capacity. If we increased refinery capacity, we wouldn’t experience the peak driving season refinery bottlenecks. A side benefit would be price stabilization instead of peak season price fluctuations.
I must commend Ms. Murphy for her professionalism in conducting the interview.
I didn’t think it until tonight but there are some brave souls working for the AP. Who would’ve thunk it that they’d factcheck Obama’s infomercial? Here’s the first factcheck:
THE SPIN: “That’s why my health care plan includes improving information technology, requires coverage for preventive care and pre-existing conditions and lowers health care costs for the typical family by $2,500 a year.”
THE FACTS: His plan does not lower premiums by $2,500, or any set amount. Obama hopes that by spending $50 billion over five years on electronic medical records and by improving access to proven disease management programs, among other steps, consumers will end up saving money. He uses an optimistic analysis to suggest cost reductions in national health care spending could amount to the equivalent of $2,500 for a family of four. Many economists are skeptical those savings can be achieved, but even if they are, it’s not a certainty that every dollar would be passed on to consumers in the form of lower premiums.
I’m not surprised. The entire Obama agenda is smoke and mirrors. Why shouldn’t we expect him to tell some whoppers?
THE SPIN: “Here’s what I’ll do. Cut taxes for every working family making less than $200,000 a year. Give businesses a tax credit for every new employee that they hire right here in the U.S. over the next two years and eliminate tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. Help homeowners who are making a good faith effort to pay their mortgages, by freezing foreclosures for 90 days. And just like after 9-11, we’ll provide low-cost loans to help small businesses pay their workers and keep their doors open. ”
THE FACTS: His proposalsâ€”the tax cuts, the low-cost loans, the $15 billion a year he promises for alternative energy, and moreâ€”cost money, and the country could be facing a record $1 trillion deficit next year. Indeed, Obama recently acknowledgedâ€”although not in his commercialâ€”that: “The next president will have to scale back his agenda and some of his proposals.”
Instead of saying “Here’s what I’ll do”, he should’ve modified that statement. He should said something like this: “Here’s what I’d do if I wasn’t facing a huge deficit that both parties created.” The additional truth is that has three options: raise taxes on people making alot less than $150,000, explode the deficit to an unprecedented level or cut back spending in ways that’ll have his extremist base upset with him. My prediction is that he’ll raise taxes on people making $75,000-$100,000.
The Economist liveblogged the event. Some of its obvservations are pretty sharp. Here’s my favorite observation:
8:21: Wow, they are really exaggerating his legislative accomplishments. Did Mr Obama really change the way Washington works in his four years in the Senate?
Sen. Obama: Legend in his own mind? I’ll say this for Sen. Obama: His image of himself is off the charts popular, which is a fancy way of saying that he’s delusional. Here’s another enjoyable observation:
8:06: “Cut taxes for those making less than $200,000”. Didn’t that used to be $250,000?
Answer to the Economist’s question: Yes, the figure used to be $250,000. It also used to be $300,000. It also used to be $150,000. It doesn’t mean a thing. I’m betting that they haven’t finalized their tax policy yet.
I remember an old episode of Hogans Heroes that fits here. Two Nazis are talking about how long the news on the Russian Front will take. The one officer says “It can be as long or as short as we want it to be. We make it all up anyway.” I think Sen. Obama’s numbers keep shifting because he’s making it up. The notion that he’s a tested tax cutter is absurd. He had 94 opportunities to vote for tax cuts. Ninety-four times, he opted not to vote for tax cuts.
I give the AP credit for highlighting some of the whoppers Sen. Obama told. It’s a shame they didn’t do that throughout the campaign.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
Vets for Freedom sent Rep. John Murtha this letter telling him to stop smearing heroic Marines:
Dear Representative John Murtha,
In May 2006, you accused a group of United States Marines of killing â€œinnocent civilians in cold bloodâ€. You made these allegations during an ongoing investigation. In fact, a Marine Corps spokesman said that you made your statement a week before you had even been briefed.
You continued to accuse these eight Marines of “cold-blooded murder and war crimesâ€, even after the Marine Corps itself said your comments on the matter â€œwould be inappropriate and could undermine the investigatory and possible legal process.â€
As a result of the investigation, the charges were dropped against 7 of the 8 Marines and the other Marine is awaiting his day in court.
However, you have not withdrawn your statements or apologized for your defamatory remarks.
Marines implicated in the incident believe that you have committed slander and libel against them. These United States Marines, whose honor you have attacked, deserve to hear an apology from you.
We, the undersigned, implore you, Representative Murtha, as a man who serves the public in Congress, as a man who once served in the Marine Corps, to do the honorable thing.
You must apologize.
Pete Hegseth, Vets for Freedom
Erick Erickson, Red State
Paul Mirengoff, Powerline
Marc Danziger, Winds of Change
Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit
Roger L. Simon, Pajamas Media
Ed Morrissey, Hot Air
Alex Charyna, PA Watercooler
Eric Odom, Conservablogs
Michael Illions, Conservatives with Attitude
Scott W. Graves, Red County
Reading through VFF’s letter felt like reading through my timeline post. This race is teetering on the brink. I know that because Murtha ran to MoveOn.org to fundraise. Here’s the letter he sent out:
After decades of fighting for this country and our troops, I am up against the right-wing attack machine again.
Because of my work to end the Iraq war, they have thrown hundreds of thousands of dollars behind my opponent, who lives in Virginia with his family, not in my district in Pennsylvania. Now, I am suddenly being outspent 3 to 1.
They are up to the same old tricks, “swiftboating” me again as they did two years ago. So I am asking people who have stood with me on Iraq to stand with me again to stop them in their tracks.
This is a real emergencyâ€”with just 6 days left.
People like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity are calling me a traitor and worse.
Initially, I brushed it off, because calling for a responsible end to the war was the right thing to do. Now, finally the Bush administration has started negotiating a timeline to bring our troops home, something I supported for almost three years.
This year I’ve spent most of my time campaigning and raising money for other Democrats, including Barack Obama, instead of myself. It worked in 2006 and we threw the Bush Republicans out. But now my own race is tight so I am asking supporters for help. Can you chip in?
When I ask for help, it is because I really need it. It is urgent. I will not back down from this fight, but I need you with me to repel the right-wing smear machine once again.
Thank you, God protect our troops and bless America.
â€“John P. Murtha
October 29, 2008
In reading through this fundraising letter, I spot 4 distinct lies:
1) I am up against the right-wing attack machine again.
2) They are up to the same old tricks, “swiftboating” me again as they did two years ago.
3) Because of my work to end the Iraq war, they have thrown hundreds of thousands of dollars behind my opponent.
4) People like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity are calling me a traitor and worse.
Let’s examine these one-by-one:
1) Rep. Murtha isn’t “up against the right-wing attack machine.” He’s up against his own big mouth. He first called his constituents racists, then ‘explained’ it away by saying that he didn’t mean that they were racists. Rather, he explained, his constituents were merely rednecks. Rep. Murtha should’ve obeyed the first rule of holes. He didn’t. Instead, he went off on a hate-filled diatribe.
Rep. Murtha isn’t up against the “right wing attack machine.” He’s up against himself.
2) How is VFF swiftboating him? If anything, Rep. Murtha swiftboated the Haditha Marines. As Pete Hegseth points out in their letter, Rep. Murtha accused the Haditha Marines of “killing innocent civilians in cold blood” before the investigation had finished.
Isn’t that the definition of swiftboating?
3) People haven’t “thrown hundreds of thousands of dollars behind” his opponent solely for his opposition to victory, though that’s certainly part of it. People have also “thrown hundreds of thousands of dollars” at Lt. Col. Russell becausse people don’t want an ethically-challenged person like Rep. Murtha wandering the halls of Congress any more. Finally, they’re also contributing to Russell’s campaign because they’re incensed that a guy who touts himself as pro-military swiftboated the Haditha Marines based, at least in part, by a despicable Time Magazine article.
4) To the best of my recollection, Rush Limbaugh didn’t call Rep. Murtha a traitor. Neither has Bill O’Reilly. I don’t think that Sean Hannity has either but it’s possible. Mentioning talk radio and FNC is a standard response for liberals, especially in fundraising letters. Just say those magic words and the rest of the sentence is irrelevant. The cash just pours in. FNC, Bill O’Reilly and talk radio is the 2008 equivalent of Halliburton.
I’d also add that what little was left of Rep. Murtha’s credibility disappeared when he hinted that “calling for a responsible end to the war was the right thing to do.” John Murtha didn’t propose a “responsible end to the war.” He called for losing the war, saying that we’d done all we could militarily. Later, he called for a plan to redeploy a rapid response force…in Okinawa.
That isn’t responsible. That’s plain stupid.
Finally, this must be a real emergency because Democratic leaders are donating money from their campaign and political action committees:
Rep. John P. Murtha is cashing in on his extensive network of House connections to help fend off a surging Republican challenge for his 12th District seat in Pennsylvania. The 17-term incumbent has raised more than $170,000 since Monday, a large slice of it from his Democratic colleagues.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California kicked in $7,000 from her campaign and political action committees, as did Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel of Illinois and Rep. James P. Moran of Virginia, a fellow member of the House Appropriations Committee.
Murtha’s seat was considered safe until he made comments earlier this month referring to his home region as “racist.” The widely publicized statement drew attention and support to his well-funded GOP challenger, William Russell, and led the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee to jump into the race, pledging $84,000 in coordinated spending. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee responded yesterday with $2,400 to help pay for phone banks.
I don’t have trouble believing that Murtha didn’t have a phonebanking operation. Like he said, he didn’t take Lt. Col. Russell seriously. I don’t think anyone thought he’d be in a tight race, much less in a race he could easily lose.
The thing for conservatives to do now that Pelosi, et al, have donated to Mr. Corruption, is to donate to Lt. Col. Russell’s campaign. It isn’t likely Rep. Murtha will ever be this vulnerable again so let’s make the most of this opportunity.
Cross-posted at California Conservative