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Archive for April, 2010

The MNGOP has just completed its responsibilities of endorsing a great slate of candidates. Just before starting the third round of ballots, Candidate Marty Seifert conceded victory to Tom Emmer by requesting that Tom be endorsed with a unanimous ballot.

In so doing, Marty Seifert left this state convention on a most gracious note. While I’ve disagreed with Marty on some things and was upset with him for awhile, I can honestly say that I’m proud of Marty for finishing his run in such a gracious manner.

It wasn’t a secret that I’ve supported Tom Emmer almost since he announced his candidacy. To be fair, though, I did my due dilligence. I listened to David Hann, Marty Seifert, Paul Kohls, Pat Anderson and Bill Haas before picking Tom. Each of these candidates would’ve made a better candidate than anyone the DFL picked.

Now starts the dual tasks of keeping the governor’s mansion in MNGOP control but also giving Tom Emmer and Annette Meeks conservative majorities to help them move Minnesota toward a long-lasting prospering economy.

MNGOP Chairman Tony Sutton released this statement following Tom Emmer’s endorsement:

“Tom Emmer will be an outstanding governor for the great state of Minnesota. Republicans stand united behind Tom Emmer and his agenda of lower taxes, limited sensible government, and job creation. Tom will appeal to Republicans, independents, and disaffected Democrats who deserve better than the big spending and big taxes offered by all of the DFL gubernatorial candidates. 2010 is going to be a great year for Minnesota Republicans, and voters couldn’t have a clearer choice this fall. As Republicans unite today, we could not be more optimistic about an Emmer-Meeks victory against a divided DFL Party.”

I’m confident that Tom’s message will appeal to people of all political stripes because it’s a message rooted firmly in common sense, opportunity and prosperity.

Tom’s speach from earlier today set the tone when he talked about the Republican Party being the “Party of Yes.” (Follow this link if you’d like to listen to Tom’s presentation.) In an interview with reporters after the first ballot, a reporter asked Tom about the impact Sarah Palin’s endorsement had. Tom said that he thinks Gov. Palin’s endorsement will help more in the general election because she connects with main street folks so well.

The main goal of this convention was to endorse an impressive group of candidates and to leave united and energized. Thanks to Marty’s gracious concession and thanks to Tom’s impressive victory, Republicans will leave their convention inifinitely more united and energized than the DFL left Duluth less than a week ago.

Tom’s message of reforming government and shrinking its size will play well with Minnesotans because they’ve seen how DC’s Democrats have increased the size of government. People across this state and across this nation want government to stop out-of-control spending ASAP.

Pat Anderson and Dan Severson are proven votegetters who will cause more than a little heartburn for Rebecca Otto and the corruption machine known as Mark Ritchie. Though I don’t know that much about Chris Barden, I’ve heard impressive reports about him. Lori Swanson’s corruption and her unionbusting will make her a vulnerable candidate this November.

Congratulations Tom and Annette. You’ve won a hardfought victory. Congratulations to Marty, too. Marty’s motion to have Tom approved on a unanimous ballot is a classy gesture. Now it’s onto victory this November.

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When Rep. Dan Severson won the MNGOP’s endorsement to be their Secretary of State candidate, the Ritchie vs. Severson matchup became reality. Shortly thereafter, DFL Chairman Brian Melendez issued a statement criticizing Rep. Severson. It’s worth noting that Chairman Melendez’s statement doesn’t resemble reality. Here’s Chairman Melendez’s statement:

“The Secretary of State’s most important duty is protecting the citizens’ right to vote, that crown jewel of liberty that safeguards all other rights. But Dan Severson would toss up barriers to citizens voting. His rhetoric is disrespectful to the hard-working election officials who, county by county, community by community, shepherd our democratic processes. Severson is a radical partisan who is unsuited to the office of Secretary of State.

“Minnesotans deserve a Secretary of State who cares about maintaining our fair and secure election system and who will work to make sure that all eligible voters can cast their ballots. Dan Severson is not that person. Severson evidently cares a great deal about flinging baseless accusations in a vain quest to rewrite the history of the 2008 recount, but cares very little about maintaining the fair and transparent processes that made that recount a success.”

Chairman Melendez is both right and wrong. He’s right in saying that protecting the citizens’ right to vote is of paramount importance. He couldn’t be more wrong, though, in saying that Rep. Severson wants to toss up barriers for citizens to vote. What Chairman Melendez calls barriers, most people call SAFEGUARDS.

In Minnesota, we pride ourselves in high voter turnout. Unfortunately, the DFL seems to think that every absentee ballot, whether it’s filled out correctly or not, should be counted.

During the Coleman-Franken Recount, I repeatedly said that Minnesota’s election laws were exceptionally clearly written. I still think that. What I don’t think, though, is that Mark Ritchie paid enough attention to enforcing absentee ballot statutes. This year, KSTP did an investigation into the absentee ballots, examining both accepted and rejected absentee ballots.

I wrote here about the criteria used in accepting or rejecting absentee ballots. Here’s what I found in Minnesota’s election laws:

The election judges shall mark the return envelope “Accepted” and initial or sign the return envelope below the word “Accepted” if the election judges or a majority of them are satisfied that:
(1) the voter’s name and address on the return envelope are the same as the information provided on the absentee ballot application;
(2) the voter’s signature on the return envelope is the genuine signature of the individual who made the application for ballots and the certificate has been completed as prescribed in the directions for casting an absentee ballot, except that if a person other than the voter applied for the absentee ballot under applicable Minnesota Rules, the signature is not required to match;
(3) the voter is registered and eligible to vote in the precinct or has included a properly completed voter registration application in the return envelope; and
(4) the voter has not already voted at that election, either in person or by absentee ballot.
There is no other reason for rejecting an absentee ballot. In particular, failure to place the envelope within the security envelope before placing it in the outer white envelope is not a reason to reject an absentee ballot.

KSTP’s Mark Alvarez’s investigation into the absentee ballots gave us a scary insight into what priority Mark Ritchie puts into election integrity. When Mr. Alvarez interviewed SecState Ritchie, Alvarez showed him some ballots that didn’t have the voters’ signatures on the outside envelope. So were rejected, others were accepted.

In South Minneapolis, Margaret Dolan told Alvarez that they didn’t reject any absentee ballots because they weren’t told what the criteria was for accepting or rejecting absentee ballots. The election judges interviewed said that they weren’t told that they had to check for all the legal signatures or whether a ballot had been properly witnessed.

With 300,000 absentee ballots cast in 2008, getting it right is a big deal. Coincidentally, the places where rules were loosely interpreted coincided with precincts that Franken did well in.

While Mark Ritchie isn’t responsible for training election judges directly, it’s verifiable fact that the SecState’s office is responsible for training the trainers. Mark Ritchie failed miserably in that responsibility. Had Mr. Ritchie put a higher priority on conforming with Minnesota’s election law regarding absentee ballots and had he put a higher priority on following up with county election official to ensure that absentee ballots were handled correctly, hundreds of absentee ballots that were accepted would’ve been rejected.

The reality is that Mr. Ritchie didn’t care about following the law. During his interview with Mr. Alvarez, Mark Ritchie was shown several absentee ballots, Mr. Ritchie’s response was “You would’ve had to tell me to bring my glasses if you wanted to spring something on me.” The ONLY THING Mr. Alvarez wanted to get Ritchie’s opinion on was whether each absentee ballot had been properly filled out. You don’t need reading glasses to see if the required signatures had been filled in.

Chairman Melendez’s statement is riddled with subjective terms. Here’s an example:

“Minnesotans deserve a Secretary of State who cares about maintaining our fair and secure election system and who will work to make sure that all eligible voters can cast their ballots.”

I’m betting that honest voters don’t care about election fairness, that they care more about whether the votes cast complied with Minnesota’s election laws.

When Dan takes his message of election integrity, I’m betting Minnesotans will warm to his message. I’m betting that because of Mark Ritchie’s corruption locally and their disgust with ACORN nationally, most people are fed up with the corruption. Most voters put a high priority on following the rules. In that sense, Mark Ritchie’s message of anything goes stands at odds with Minnesota voters’ priorities.

Follow this link to read Rep. Severson’s reform agenda that he’ll work tirelessly to enact. Rep. Severson’s positions are filled with common sense beccause they’re exceptionally well thought out.

Another thing that Rep. Severson is famous for is his leadership skills. Rep. Severson will guarantee that people have the right training prior to elections. Rep. Severson will follow up with people to guarantee that they actually understand their responsibilities. He won’t take that for granted just because they’ve checked the training box.

In the end, this race will be won because of Rep. Severson’s leadership abilities, his appealing reform agenda and his insistence on election integrity. When voters compare that with Mr. Ritchie’s recklessness and his lax attitude toward election integrity, he’ll be rejected.

In the end, people want to know that election laws are followed. They don’t want to worry whether election officials make the rules up on the fly. They don’t want to worry about whether the top election official is corrupt.

They won’t have that worry if they elect Dan Severson.

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There’s no doubt but that Charlie Crist’s political future will end the minute he makes official that he’s running for the Florida Senate seat as an independent. He’s already hit his high water mark in terms of competitiveness. The minute Gov. Crist switches, GOP senators will demand their PAC contributions back:

But Mr. Crist would face a tough task, compounded by the possibilities that much of his campaign staff could leave and many donors could demand their contributions be returned.

“That letter went out today after we got the word,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson, Georgia Republican, whose political action committee contributed $1,000 to Mr. Crist’s campaign in June. “I do my PAC to help support Republicans.”

Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican and chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, whose recruitment helped bring Mr. Crist into the race in the first place, said he hasn’t heard any decision from the governor. If a switch is in the offing, he said, he will ask for a refund of the $10,000 his political action committee has given.

“I suspect you’ll see a number of Republican senators ask for their money back,” Mr. Cornyn said.

Mr. Crist’s campaign was not commenting Wednesday, but Florida Republicans said he’ll suffer if he jumps.

“Charlie seems to have burned a lot of bridges, and I don’t see him hurting our party if he drops out of our Senate primary and runs on his own,” a former state party official said. The official said Mr. Rubio will not lose Republican voters to Mr. Crist, and questioned where Mr. Crist’s base of support will be.

I’m 100 percent with these senators asking for their money back. Still, it bothers me that they’d contribute to Gov. Crist’s campaign in the first place. Yes, he was popular, had the high name recognition, etc. He’d also embraced President Obama’s failed stimulus bill.

NOTE TO NRSC: PRINCIPLES MATTER!!!

HINT TO GOV. CRIST: This poll is the best he’ll get:

A Rasmussen Reports poll taken April 21 found Mr. Rubio leading with 37 percent, followed by Mr. Crist at 30 percent and Mr. Meek at 24 percent. A poll earlier in April had shown Mr. Crist with a slight lead over Mr. Rubio.

I’m certain that this is the closest Gov. Crist will get the rest of this race. Gov. Crist is said to be a man in a hurry. His election to office has always been just a stepping stone to the next office on his chart. In the end, his political career has been based more on political expediency than on principled policymaking.

With this decision, Gov. Crist will burn the few bridges he hasn’t already destroyed. The words on his political tombstone should read “Rose Quickly, Crashed Faster.”

It’s worth noting that DNC Chairman Tim Kaine is still as arrogant as ever:

But the head of the Democratic National Committee, speaking to reporters earlier in the day, said his party will retain majorities in both houses of Congress because Republican infighting will wound the GOP too deeply. “We don’t have a civil war going on in the Democratic Party,” said DNC Chairman Tim Kaine. “We know who our leader is.”

“In places like Florida and Texas, our chances are being improved by the corrosiveness on the other side,” he said.

Gov. Kaine is right that Democrats “know who their leader is.” The bad news for Democrats is that their leadership is pushing a radical agenda that the American people have resoundingly rejected. Until that changes, Democrats will suffer election losses by the dozens.

Independents still reject the Democrats’ health care legislation. They still reject the Democrats’ failed stimulus bill. They’ve resoundingly rejected both bills because they spend too much and heap too much debt on future generations.

When Charlie Crist campaigned with President Obama for the Democrats’ failed stimulus bill, he tied a political noose around his neck. After that, the only step left for Gov. Crist is political oblivion. That starts today.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

According to Andy Birkey’s post, Sen. Franken is asking Minnesotans to take his word that the financial regulations bill isn’t a bailout. Here’s what Franken is quoted as saying on the matter:

Republicans, and especially Rep. Michele Bachmann, have repeatedly called financial reform “another bailout” for the financial industry.

“This is not a taxpayer-funded bailout. And let me tell you why. First, it’s not a bailout. The bank would get liquidated,” said Franken. “Secondly, it’s not taxpayer-funded. Because taxpayers don’t fund it. The banks do.” He added, “I really don’t know how to make this ANY clearer to my colleagues across the aisle.”

He said that Republicans blocking reform could result in another financial crisis and that Republicans were misusing the filibuster.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This is a perversion of the filibuster. And a perversion of the Senate,” he said. “Let’s us turn our attention back to legislating, which is the reason voters put us here in this august body in the first place.”

The man that refused to pay his taxes is asking us to trust him? The man who negotiated a sweetheart deal with Air America but then watched his staff not get paid wants us to trust him? I don’t think so.

Second, Sen. Franken says that banks would get liquidated. PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE. I can’t argue that some banks might get liquidated. I just know, thanks to the great research done by the Heritage Foundation’s James Gattuso, liquidation isn’t the only authority vested in the Treasury Secretary.

Sen. Franken says that “This is a perversion of the filibuster.” What is Sen. Franken’s definition of the right use of the filibuster? Since Sen. Franken knows what he thinks is a perverse use of the filibuster is, then logic dictates that he knows what a legitimate use of the filibuster looks like.

It’s noteworthy that Sen. Franken didn’t speak about the fact that this bill didn’t even attempt to proactively solve the “too big to fail” problem, that this legislation only thinks in terms of cleaning up future messes. Why isn’t the goal of this legislation to prevent problems?

I’d argue that, until we establish the right priorities, the legislating should be delayed. The Democrats’ insistence on following a ‘surely we must do something’ premise is the type of thing that will only cause more problems. NO THANKS!!! I’d rather think things through and get it right the first time.

Speaking of priorities, I’d love knowing what Sen. Franken’s priorities are with regard to financial regulations reform. Has he even thought through what the right priorities might be? Or is he just shooting his mouth off?

Until Sen. Franken proves that he’s read the legislation and that he’s thought things through, I’ll ignore Sen. Franken’s babbling.

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Rep. Mary Bono-Mack is a politician that gets it. Based on Rep. Mack’s op-ed in this morning’s Politico, I’d say she sees things far more clearly than President Obama or his liberal minions. This is the part of Rep. Mack’s op-ed that indicates she gets it:

The Obama administration’s flawed health care bill, passed despite public outcry, did more than increase taxes, mandate people’s health care decisions and sever the doctor-patient relationship.

It damaged the trust that Americans have in their government.

The health care reform legislation was amended outside of normal channels. What President Barack Obama signed did not have the fingerprints of the American people or their representatives.

I’ve been preaching this for months. It isn’t just the policies that people are rejecting, though that’s certainly part of why they’re rejecting the Obama agenda. The American people have argued with presidents before over policy but it isn’t often that they’ve utterly distrusted him to this extent.

When people attended the townhall meetings last August, they went because they’d done their due dilligence on the health care bill and because they’d learned enough about the bill to know it was a disaster waiting to happen. This week’s news that the Democrats’ health care bill will increase costs 1 percent per year won’t help Democrats rebuild trust with the American people, either.

Rep. Mack understands that, once a politician loses the American people’s trust, the road forward is bumpy at best.

This isn’t just President Obama’s problem, either. Day after day, month after month, Speaker Pelosi, Sen. Reid and their Democratic minions told us that the Democrats’ health care legislation would “bend the cost curve down” and that it wouldn’t add a penny to the deficits. Those statements have been exposed as bald-faced lies.

This statement shouldn’t be overlooked:

I am afraid these leaders will continue to do so, again and again. From finance reform to environmental policy, it is clear that the current leadership cannot be trusted.

For the past 2 years, we’ve seen the Democrats’ real identity. We’ve heard what they say when they think they’re DC’s unstoppable force. They’ve passed bill after bill without Repulbican input and without reading the bills they’ve written in Harry Reid’s or Speaker Pelosi’s offices.

This week, just like other weeks, polls showed that there’s a huge enthusiasm gap that favors Republicans. The enthusiasm gap won’t disappear anytime soon. The American people understand that they can’t trust Democrats controlling the agenda.

Democrats told the American people that they had to pass the stimulus bill or else risk having unemployment go above 8 percent. They passed the bill without reading it on a Friday night. Unemployment immediately shot up from 7.6 percent at the time to as much as 10.2 percent to its current rate of 9.7 percent.

Democrats told the American people that man-made global warming was indisputable fact. Then came Climategate, the CRU scandal, which led to people finding out that the data had been fudged, rendering the studies useless. It wasn’t just that Democrats used this issue to advance their radical agenda. It’s that they used this misinformation in their attempt to pass the biggest tax increase in US history.

When we weren’t lied to, we were ignored. This year’s battle cry is simple: IGNORED NO MORE!!!

We’re finished with the lies and the radical agenda. It’s time to return to honoring this nation’s Founding Documents and the principles that made this country prosperous, strong and great. We can’t afford to have radicals imposing their will on us.

They’ve shown they can’t be trusted. It’s time for an agenda that doesn’t need to be spun. Rep. Mack is on the right track.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

This week, two issues have garnered the lion’s share of the headlines: Arizona’s new immigration state law and the Goldman Sachs/Financial Regulations bill. The left is saying that these situations prove that we need comprehensive immigration reform and a permanent bailout bill. We need neither.

In the case of Arizona’s new state immigration law, they were forced to act because the federal government refuses to deal with the kidnappings and murders committed by renegade drug cartels. The last time I looked, laws existed that allowed for the prosecution of these crimes. I also know that laws exist that permit the federal government to stop people from illegally entering our country.

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano testified Tuesday that “the borders are as secure today as they’ve ever been.” Tell that to Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu. Here’s the key part of his interview with Greta van Susteren:

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, that’s just a sample of the federal promises. And apparently, Arizona got tired of waiting for federal action. And now the state’s new immigration law is causing a firestorm. Sheriff Paul Babeu (INAUDIBLE) Pinal County, Arizona, and supports the new law. Why? Sheriff Babeu joins us live. Good evening, sir. And why do you support this new state law?

PAUL BABEU, SHERIFF OF PINAL COUNTY: Good evening, Greta. Well, crime literally is off the charts here in Arizona, that we have some of the highest crime statistics in America, and where officers being assaulted, officer-involved shootings, carjackings, home invasions. Literally in the absence of federal action, our state now taking action. And it’s a welcomed action and step by us who serve in law enforcement.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we could go back well beyond former president Clinton, when he was in office, and find federal leaders who said we’ve got to secure our borders. I take it you…do you not think our federal government is going to secure the borders? Have you given up or not?

BABEU: Not at all. Not at all. What we’ve had is a lack of uniformity here even locally. We’ve had an evolution, if you will, in local leaders and even in law enforcement, where we have always bought into this idea that, Hey, this is a federal problem. And we can no longer afford to ignore that. Crime in my county, where we have a third of our population is Hispanic, Latino, I have 200 of my staff that are, and we’re going to apply this new law without profiling anyone. Just last month, Greta, we had…

VAN SUSTEREN: All right…

BABEU: Yes?

VAN SUSTEREN: Go ahead. I’m sorry, sir. I interrupted you.

BABEU: Last month, we had 64 pursuits just in one of our patrol regions, and that’s where a vehicle fails to yield for our lights going on and sirens blaring and they take off and speed up in high-speed pursuits, running red lights, intentionally causing traffic wrecks. And this is to not just avoid the police, but their tactics have changed. They’re always armed. And this has resulted in numerous people being killed in traffic wrecks in my county.

And who are these people that are fleeing from law enforcement? These are smugglers, not only of drugs but of humans. And they’re trying to get to metro Phoenix. And so right now, it’s reached an epidemic proportion here in Arizona, and this is where you have sheriffs like myself, police chiefs that are calling for what Senator McCain and Kyl have asked is 3,000 soldiers to the border.

And until we literally stop the unseemingly flow of illegals coming in, it’s like a hamster wheel. We’re just going to keep chasing our tail here. And we can’t, we would never ask for actual troops to the border if we could handle this on our own, and we can’t.

Listen to the litany of violent crimes listed by Sheriff Babeu. Does it verify Secretary Napolitano’s testimony or refute it entirely? I’d submit that it refutes it but that’s I’ll do when a law enforcement officer presents crime statistics vs. the testimony of a discredited career politician hoping to spin her way out of a delicate situation. Call me fickle that way.

Here’s a real life story that Sheriff Babeu related during his interview that’ll get your attention:

BABEU: Well, I’ll give you an example. Just last night, we had Deputies Taber (ph) and Miller (ph) go on a traffic stop. They stopped somebody not because of the color of their skin but because they were breaking a traffic law. They were speeding. So the deputy turned around, pulled the traffic stop. The driver pulled into a residential driveway.

The operator of the vehicle immediately got out, which is an alert to an officer. The deputy approached him and said, Hey, what’s going on? The suspect said, Hey, there’s nobody in the car, but then took off on foot. The deputy stayed with the vehicle, had seen the trunk actually pop open. And two deputies approached the vehicle, and surprise, in a Ford Taurus, there were nine other people, including two in the trunk. Now, that’s what we call reasonable suspicion or a clue in law enforcement.

So we would take any lawful action we normally do. Here in America, we trust our police officers with the authority that, say you committed a crime, Greta, or any citizen, that we have this awesome authority to suspend somebody’s constitutional rights and freedoms. We also have the lawful authority to literally use lethal force and take somebody’s life, and yet here we’re questioning the fact that we can’t build the components that are necessary to get to reasonable suspicion and probable cause.

What law enforcement officer wouldn’t react with skepticism if confronted with this situation? I’d hope that they’d approach with both eyes open and senses tuned.

Democrats, singing from the same hymnal, say that this is proof that we need comprehensive immigration reform. I couldn’t disagree more vehemently.

Meanwhile, back in DC, the fashionable thing to do is bash Goldman Sachs, something that I think it warranted. Each of the first two days of this week, congressional Democrats have held a test vote to pass a permanent bailout bill that empowers the Treasury Secretary to unilaterally determine which financial institutions pose a systemic risk to the banking system and whether they’re failing.

Hypothetically speaking, if President Obama signed this bill into law, Timothy Geithner would have the authority to rule that a bank was too big and failing. He’d also have the authority to liquidate that bank without judicial review.

According to James Gattuso of the Heritage Foundation, that isn’t the only shortcoming of the Senate bill. See if you like this provision:

Creates permanent bailout authority. Section 204 of the bill authorizes the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to “make available…funds for the orderly liquidation of [a] covered financial institution.” Although no funds could be provided to compensate a firm’s shareholders, the firm’s other creditors would be eligible for a cash bailout. The situation is much like the scheme implemented for AIG in 2008, in which the largest beneficiaries were not stockholders but rather other creditors, such as Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs[2]—hardly a model to be emulated.

If you like that provision, you’ll LOVE this provision:

Opens a “line of credit” to the Treasury for additional government funding. Under Section 210(n)(9), the FDIC is effectively granted a line of credit to the Treasury Department that is secured by the value of failing firms in its control, providing another taxpayer financial support.

In other words, the Treasury Department wouldn’t have to appear before Congress to have them appropriate the money for bailing a bank out. Isn’t it convenient that Democrats are writing legislation that omits checks and balances and frowns on accountability?

I’ll defer to the experts whether new tools are needed to regulate financial institutions, though I’m betting there isn’t a need to this massive expansion of regulatory control.

I’m betting that because I think the SEC and the Federal Reserve already have the authority to hold financial institutions accountable for their risky behavior.

Whether we’re talking about immigration-related issues or regulating Wall Street, I’d submit that we don’t need new laws as much as we need the enforcement of existing laws. I’d further submit that we need abundant proof, repeated day after day, month after month, that there’s a true resolve to uphold the law. Anything less than that should be considered proof that we need a new administration with the resolve to enforce existing laws.

If our lawmakers aren’t serious about holding invisible bureaucrats accountable, then we need to hold those lawmakers accountable this November. The United States was founded as a nation of laws, not men. God help us if we reject that premise. The only way we can avoid the insanity, violence and corruption is if we stop violence and corruption each time it’s spotted.

By stopping the violence and the corruption, we’ll stop the insanity dead in its tracks.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Minutes ago, Tom Emmer, the candidate I’m enthusiastically supporting to be Minnesota’s next governor, picked Annette Meeks to be his running mate:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer has picked Republican activist Annette Meeks to fill out his ticket. Emmer had a short list of potential running mates that included state Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer and Linda Runbeck.

Emmer and Meeks appeared together at a Capitol press conference Tuesday morning.

Annette is a great pick for the job. I’ve been impressed with her debating abilities during her appearances on Tom Hauser’s @Issue. There’s no question that she’s got the right priorities either.

Meeks is a member of the Metropolitan Council, a public body Emmer has singled out for criticism in the past. She founded and heads the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, a non-profit organization that “develops and actively advocates the principles of individual freedom, personal responsibility, economic freedom and limited government.”

At a time when the DFL primary is littered with big spenders like Speaker Kelliher, Matt Entenza and Mark Dayton, the Emmer-Meeks team will offer a stark contrast to Minnesota’s voters.

While Soeaker Kelliher, Sen. Dayton and Matt Entenza spend the summer trying to out-liberal each other, Tom Emmer and Annette Meeks will spend their time talking with, AND LISTENING TO, small business owners and other hard-working Minnesotans about how together they’ll revive Minnesota’s economy and put it on a path to sustained prosperity.

Stay tuned to this blog for updates throughout the rest of the day.

UPDATE: Team Emmer issued this statement after this morning’s announcement:

Tom Emmer selected Annette Meeks as his choice for Lieutenant Governor today at a campaign rally at the state Capitol. Meeks brings to the ticket extensive experience in public policy development through her work leading several non-profit policy think tanks. She also represents the city of Minneapolis on the Metropolitan Council.

Meeks is currently President of the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, a non-profit educational organization that actively advocates the principles of individual freedom, personal responsibility, economic freedom, and limited government. Prior to founding the Freedom Foundation, Meeks spent nine years at the Center of the American Experiment as Director of Government Affairs and Public Programs and President/CEO.

While at the Center of the American Experiment, Meeks spearheaded the Minnesota Policy Blueprint, a comprehensive review of all aspects of the executive branch of Minnesota state government based on conservative and free-market tests.

“Annette Meeks is a dynamic leader with unparalleled knowledge of state government who is ready to lead our state on day one, my top qualification for the job,” said Emmer. “She will put her knowledge and experience to work immediately as we redefine state government and return prosperity to Minnesota by creating private sector jobs.”

Emmer added that Meeks would use the role of lieutenant governor to work with agency heads to reorganize state government and set new priorities. She will also reach out and engage the public in this discussion in order to build support for these reforms.

“Tom Emmer has laid out for the voters a clear and dynamic path for the future, one that I’m honored to be part of,” said Meeks. “His positive message of restoring prosperity to Minnesota by reforming state government will bring unity to our party and attract Republicans, Independents and Democrats to our ticket. He connects with voters because he is just like us, a guy from Delano raising a family, earning a living and now stepping forward to lead our state.”

Meeks and her husband Jack live in downtown Minneapolis.

UPDATE II: Veteran DFL Pundit Blois Olson had this to say about the pick: “She’s smart and a quality person, too.”

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Susan Gaertner dropped out of the DFL primary for governor Monday, saying she didn’t want to stand in Speaker Kelliher’s way of becoming Minnesota’s first female governor:

Prosecutor Susan Gaertner left the Minnesota governor’s race Monday, saying she didn’t want to be “a spoiler” in Democrat Margaret Anderson Kelliher’s quest to become the first woman to win the job.

The coast isn’t clear, though. Former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton and former state Rep. Matt Entenza continue to seek the Democratic nomination in the August primary.

Gaertner, the Ramsey County attorney, declined to endorse any of the candidates, but she said Minnesota has never come closer to electing a female governor. Kelliher became the first woman to win major-party endorsement for the state’s highest office when the Democratic Party backed her campaign in Duluth on Saturday. “This is the closest Minnesota has yet to come to electing a female governor,” Gaertner said at a Capitol news conference. “That would be history-making.”

I’ve never understood what her reason was in running. The only thing I’ve ever thought is that she might’ve been running to be someone’s Lt. Gov. Other than that, she was simply a cookie cutter liberal.

I remember watching her in a debate in St. Cloud with John Marty, Steve Kelley, Leslie Davis, Tom Emmer and Pat Anderson. I kept thinking that she didn’t stand out. The only thing memorable about her was that she was clearly for single-payer universal health care. Then again, MAK got Sen. Marty’s endorsement Saturday night by promising she’ll sign single-payer into law if elected.

Even so, political scientist Dan Hofrenning of St. Olaf College said Gaertner’s exit doesn’t transform the race because she had been fairly low profile. With three big names left and traditionally low voter turnout in primaries, any one could claim victory with a relatively small share of the vote. “There’s a lot of wild cards in the air,” Hofrenning said.

Kelliher said she was surprised by Gaertner’s decision to bow out of the race, calling her a “strong competitor.”

That last sentence is puzzling except for the possibility of MAK being gracious in gaining the support of Gaertner’s supporters. Even so, Gaertner’s supporters won’t significantly change the political landscape for the DFL primary.

Since Saturday night, I’ve been predicting MAK, Sen. Dayton and Matt Entenza would spend the summer trying to out-liberal each other. Entenza’s platform is essentially about spending like crazy. Sen. Dayton’s trademark is bragging about his total zeal to “tax the rich”. Meanwhile, MAK will be known for her support of single-payer health care.

HINT TO MAK: Running on an agenda that includes a health care plan significantly to the left of the bill President Obama just signed probably is good politics for the primary but it won’t play well in November, if she makes it that far.

That’s hardly a given for Speaker Kelliher, considering the fact that she spent most of her money winning the endorsement. With Sen. Dayton and Entenza able to self-finance, Speaker Kelliher faces an uphill fight in the primary.

One final question I have is why Ms. Gaertner didn’t run for the endorsement. Clearly, she didn’t have a shot at winning the primary against self-funding candidates like Sen. Dayton and Rep. Entenza.

Meanwhile, the GOP endorsed candidate will spend the entire summer talking with Minnesota’s small businesses about how he’ll revive Minnesota’s struggling economy. With that dynamic, Republicans should be smiling…and prepared to outwork the DFL.

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Singing from President Obama’s hymnal must be a requirement to be part of President Obama’s administration. That’s what DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano is doing in calling Arizona’s emergency immigration law misguided:

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in an exclusive interview she agreed with President Obama’s assessment that Arizona’s recent rigid immigration law is “misguided” and said that the time for immigration reform, including fines and a form of biometric registration for illegal aliens as well as mandatory English, has come.

“This affects everybody, and I actually view it now as a security issue,” Napolitano told ABC News Friday during an exclusive look into a day in the life of the Homeland Security secretary. “We need to know who’s in the country. And we need to know, for those who are in the country illegally, there needs to be a period under which they are given the opportunity to register so we get their biometrics, we get their criminal history and we know who they are. They pay a fine. They learn English. They get right with the law.”

Let’s cut through the BS in Napolitano’s statements. What’s needed is for her to take her job seriously. She said that she NOW considers it to be a national security issue. Why only now, Ms. Napolitano? The border situation was bad during the Bush administration. It’s gotten worse during President Obama’s administration. Murders and kidnappings in Arizona have skyrocketed during President Obama’s administration.

Since there are laws on the books that allow the federal government to arrest and remove illegal immigrants, the first thing that needs to be done is stop the violence ASAP. Talking about comprehensive immigration reform is a political ploy, not a security strategy. It’s time DHS and this administation started reacting to the murders and kidnappings in Arizona.

Let’s ask the Obama administration and Secretary Napolitano one simple question: What’s preventing you from stopping the violence now? I’d submit that there isn’t anything except willpower stopping it. Whether immigration legislation is signed into law or not, DHS has the authority and the responsibility it needs to stop violence immediately.

What’s especially interesting is that Napolitano is calling Arizona’s immigration bill “misguided” at the same time that the WH said that DOJ lawyers were getting their first view of the bill. How did Ms. Napolitano know that Arizona’s immigration bill is misguided without reading it? The same way Democrats ‘knew’ that passing the failed stimulus bill was the right thing to do without reading it?

If President Obama wants to hide behind Secretary Napolitano and another attempted immigration bill, that’s his choice. I’ll just remind people that President Obama and his national security team that they didn’t use the capabilities already in place, that they chose instead to not stop the violence.

Like they’ve done with other issues, specifically health care, the stimulus and cap and trade, President Obama’s administration is ignoring We The People. After the Obama administration is history, the epitaph on their tombstone will read “They ignored the American people too often.”

This talk about needing comprehensive immigration reform isn’t about enforcement. It’s about election-year politicking, aka appeasing the Democrats’ special interest allies.

It’s a sad thing to see an administration play partisan politics while people are dying in Arizona because that administration won’t do what’s right. That’s why this administration needs to be limited to a single term, then replaced with an administration that actually stops the violence and closes the border.

One thing that the TEA Party movement has done is it’s refocused We The People on the basics. Border security is the federal government’s responsibility. If We The People see that they aren’t fulfilling their responsibilities, We The People won’t hesitate to replace them with an administration that will.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

I’m not that surprised but it’s gratifying to hear a seasoned political pundit like Larry Jacobs agreeing with me:

“For the Democrats to be kind of bludgeoning themselves in a district that is hard for them to win is doing Michele Bachmann a big favor,” said Lawrence Jacobs, the chairman of University of Minnesota’s Political Studies Department.

The 6th district race is on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s list of top challenges to watch. Reed says she has not received any pressure to drop out of the primary, and the DCCC has stayed out of the contest. But it wouldn’t be unheard of for the national party to change its mind if the primary starts to get nasty or if it determines it’s the only way to have a shot against Bachmann.

Compare that with what I said in this post:

If Tarryl wins the primary, which I’m predicting, that’s just the first step in winning the November election. While Tarryl and Dr. Reed are fighting it out, Michele Bachmann will be attending TEA Party events, marching in parades and attending fundraisers while saving her money for a massive ad blitz starting the day after the DFL primary.

While I’m predicting Tarryl to win, that doesn’t mean I’m pulling for her to win. Frankly, I don’t care which candidate wins. I’m just thrilled that Tarryl and Maureen are getting started on what might be a heated fight.

Anyone that thinks Dr. Reed isn’t interested in winning obviously is overlooking the fact that she’s loaned her campaign committee $250,000 of her own money. If a candidate is willing to do that, it’s a sign that they aren’t getting ready to quietly disappear. It generally means that they’re getting ready for a fight.

Rest assured of one thing: whoever wins the primary will have spent alot of money that they won’t have to spend on Michele Bachmann:

Clark significantly outraised Reed in the first quarter of 2010, $507,000 to $204,000, leaving Clark with a cash-on-hand edge of $601,000 to $435,000 at the end of March. But Reed’s campaign announced last week that she had loaned her campaign an additional $250,000 in early April.

Both women were trounced by Bachmann, who raised a mammoth $820,000 over the first three months of the year and ended the quarter with $1.5 million in cash on hand.

Either Democrat faces an uphill climb against the sophomore Republican in the suburban district north and east of the Twin Cities, which tends to favor the GOP. Despite her polarizing national persona, a poll by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling in December found that a majority of 6th district voters approved of Bachmann’s job performance. She led Reed by 16 points and Clark by 18 points; the margin of error was 3.7 points.

I genuinely feel for Tarryl about the fundraising totals. Tarryl’s team did a fantastic job raising money. When they released their totals on April 6, they had to have been feeling great and rightfully so. I can’t imagine that they weren’t stunned when Team Bachmann announced on Tax Filing Day that they’d raise $820,000 in Q1, 2010 and that they’d started off Q2 with a huge haul from Michele’s fundraiser with Sarah Palin.

If Dr. Reed runs a competitive race, Tarryl will expend alot of money to win the primary. I wouldn’t count on alot of money from the DCCC, either, because they’re gonna need their cash to save their incumbents. That isn’t a guarantee this year by any stretch.

The bottom line is this: Michele, like the GOP’s endorsed gubernatorial candidate, will spend this summer talking with Minnesota’s small businesses about reviving Minnesota’s private sector economy. By the time the DFL primary is held, Michele will have laid out an appealing pro growth agenda for Minnesota’s economy, starting with fiscal discipline.

There’s alot of time between now and Election Day, 2010 but the outlines of this election are already taking shape. Regardless of how the primary plays out, Tarryl is still facing an uphill fight.

On that, Professor Jacobs agrees with me.

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