Archive for September, 2011

Thus far, Chancellor Steve Rosenstone has said all the right things about what MnSCU. Not to be disrespectful to Chancellor Rosenstone, but I’m taking the Reagan approach to missile defense: trust but verify. That seems the prudent thing to do considering the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
That’s why I’m still skeptical after reading this article. Chancellor Rosenstone should be told to prove himself after making this statement:

“The solutions are not going to come from the new chancellor or shooting off lightning bolts from the Wells Fargo building in downtown St. Paul,” he said, referring to where the MnSCU offices are located. MnSCU presidents should be empowered and be held responsible for their decisions, he said, and he supports incentives to achieve that.

If Chancellor Rosenstone is serious about holding university presidents accountable, he should tell President Potter to re-open the reorganization process that kept an expensive Masters Degree program in Social Responsibility open while shutting down the Aviation program.

For the sake of this discussion, let’s set aside the fact that the Masters Degree program in Social Responsibility is multiple times more expensive than the Aviation.

Instead, let’s look at Minnesota ‘gets’ in terms of economic development from Social Responsibility vs. what Minnesota gets from Aviation graduates in terms of economic development, national security, airport and airline management and public safety.

Just on that comparison alone, this isn’t a fair fight.
There’s more to this issue, though, than just examining the comparitive worth of these programs. In shutting down the Aviation program, President Potter ignored this MnSCU policy:

Closure. Closure of an academic program must be approved by the chancellor. Approval will only be granted under the following circumstances:
The closure is requested by a system college or university, and the chancellor determines that the documentation provided supports closure,
The chancellor determines that closure is warranted, or
The academic program has not been reinstated following a suspension.

The academic program closure application must be documented by information, as applicable, regarding
1. academic program need,
2. student enrollment trends,
3. employment of graduates,
4. the financial circumstances affecting the academic program, system college or university,
5. the plan to accommodate students currently enrolled in the academic program,
6. impact on faculty and support staff,
7. consultation with appropriate constituent groups including students, faculty and community,
8. alternatives considered, and
9. other factors affecting academic program operation.

A closed academic program cannot be relocated, replicated or reinstated.

First, shouldn’t Chancellor Rosenstone insist that President Potter immediately make public the documentation that shows there isn’t a need for the Aviation program?

Second, has President Potter documented what impact his decision will have on the faculty and staff of the Aviation program? What proof is there that that was a major consideration for him? There surely wasn’t much compassion in his voice when he criticized the program in December, 2010. In fact, his speech that day was more of a scold than anything else.

Third, Chancellor Rosenstone should demand that President Potter produce documentation proving President Potter met with faculty, students and the community, as demanded by MnSCU procedure. If Chancellor Rosenstone doesn’t demand that, it’ll tell university presidents that a) they’re bigger than MnSCU and b) they can do whatever they want without his oversight.

That’s a terrible message to send at the start of an administration. The message it sends is that the chancellor is a rubberstamp. I can’t imagine that that’s the signal Chancellor Rosenstone wants to send at the start of his administration.

The proverbial ball is in Chancellor Rosenstone’s court. He can send the message that universities are accountable to their communities or he can signal that he’s a rubberstamp for university presidents.

Rest assured that I’ll be watching to see which direction he takes.

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First, let me admit that I’m a big Nolan Finley fan. When I saw that RealClearPolitics linking to a Finley column, I read it. Nolan Finley’s column in this morning’s Detroit News is sweet music to this TEA Party activist’s ears:

Democrats have effectively turned “tea party” into a pejorative, making the words conjure a rigid, uncompromising movement that is at the root of Washington’s dysfunction.

You won’t hear a Democratic mouth open today without a slur against the tea party spilling out.

What are these Republican revolutionaries doing that Dems find so divisive and dangerous?

Best I can tell, their major offense is holding Washington accountable. Listen to them, as I did on Mackinac Island last week during the Republican Leadership Conference, and the only demand you hear is that politicians stop mortgaging America’s future to reckless spending and swelling deficits.

All they want is for politicians to finally do what both Democrats and Republicans always said they’d do, make the government live within its means, but never got around to doing until the tea party forced their hand.

In other words, the tea party is the adult in a roomful of overindulged children who resent the call to accountability. How much greater would the debt be today, how much larger the deficit, if the tea party hadn’t shouted, “Enough!”

The real reason why Democrats hate the TEA Party is that TEA Party activists don’t just settle for hearing their representatives in DC say they’ll stop the spending. TEA Party activists actually monitor whether their representatives live up to their promises.

Apparently, the thought of being held accountable by the peasants displeases the lords of DC. That’s ok. If they whine about petty things like transparency and accountability, TEA Party activists will help them transition into a new role where we won’t hold them accountable…because we’ll fire their asses.

Either the nitwits of DC start acting like public servants or they can be replaced with people who flourish in the role of public servant.

This comparison is stunning in its simplicity:

Its members are mostly civil libertarians who want to restore the protections the Constitution grants individuals against an intrusive and powerful government. They want the government to do its assigned job, no more and no less. They’re telling the truth about the dangers ahead.

For that they’re accused of jeopardizing America’s viability.

Are they single-minded in their mission? Sure. They don’t compromise, and they don’t forgive politicians who break their promises.

In that sense, they are most like the environmentalists who lead the Democratic Party around by its nose, but less destructive. Nobody has lost a job, at least not in the private sector, because of tea party activism.

Compare that to the pain wrought by the unyielding environmental movement, which has put light bulb makers out of work in Kentucky, coal miners out of work in West Virginia, oil riggers out of work in Alabama, and on and on.

The private sector never tanked because oil and coal were too abundant. Neither has it tanked because they were manufacturing the wrong lightbulbs to light people’s homes.

The private sector has tanked, however, when crony-filled government told them to stop making coal and oil too plentiful for their own taste. Entrepreneurial activity is most often stopped when regulations start costing too much and when those regulations are too unpredictable.

Free markets can’t function when this or any other administration attempts to pick winners and losers. That’s what happened when they tried propping up Solyndra with ill-advised loan guarantees.

The TEA Party, at its finest, is the adult in the government’s living room telling them to do only those things that governments are told to do and let the private sector, private citizens and charities handle everything else.

For those who’ve invested the last forty years creating, then sustaining the poverty industry, the TEA Party poses an existential threat. The last thing they want is to be held accountable. The last thing they want is for people to question whether the money spent shouldn’t be spent more wisely.

The lords of DC don’t like being questioned. That’s why the TEA Party needs to keep questioning their every move.

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A faithful reader of this blog emailed me copies of Common Cause Minnesota’s redistricting maps. As you’ll see, Common Cause Minnesota’s maps expose them as political hatchetmen doing the DFL’s bidding. Here’s Common Cause Minnesota’s statewide redistricting map:

Here’s a tighter shot of Common Cause Minnesota’s map. It focuses on the southern half of the state:

It’s apparent that Common Cause MN isn’t nonpartisan or transparent. The fact that Common Cause Minnesota didn’t publish these maps and displayed prominently on their website says everything that needs be said.

Even if Common Cause MN denies ownership of these maps, the truth is that the maps didn’t create themselves. Common Cause Minnesota’s maps fits with their goals:

The campaign seeks to create a better redistricting process in Minnesota that uses the following principles:

1. The redistricting process should be independent and nonpartisan, to minimize the influence of elected officials and political parties in creating districts to their own political advantage.
2. The redistricting process should be transparent to the public.
3. The redistricting body should provide data, tools, and opportunities for the public to have direct input into the specific plans under consideration.
4. The redistricting process must be reflective of the diversity of the state, especially racial and ethnic diversity.
5. Redistricting plan should preserve communities of interest wherever possible, where communities of interest are groups of people concentrated in a geographic area that share similar interests and priorities, whether social, cultural, ethnic, racial, economic, or religious.

The maps attempt to protect DFL incumbents while pitting John Kline and Michele Bachmann against each other. That isn’t a serious map. That’s an insult to Minnesota’s voters. They left Keith Ellison’s, Betty McCollum’s, Tim Walz’s and Colin Peterson’s districts in droves. Isn’t it interesting that Keith Ellison’s, Betty McCollum’s, Tim Walz’s and Colin Peterson’s districts are the districts are the ones that Common Cause Minnesota’s map protects?

Isn’t it interesting that Common Cause Minnesota’s map pits John Kline and Michele Bachmann against each other while creating an open seat to the west of the Twin Cities metro?

What’s even more interesting is that Common Cause Minnesota’s map draws 2 of Tim Walz’s likeliest challengers into the same district as John Kline and Michele Bachmann.

Study these maps. Memorize them. They’re what political hatchet jobs look like.

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After this article, consider Mitt Romney Stoned. The article is the most devastating attack of Gov. Romney’s credibility thus far. It identifies him as being significantly to the left of even Jon Huntsman.

Here then is the real record of Willard Mitt Romney:

1994: Romney backed federal funding of abortion and the codification of Roe v. Wade. “Romney supports a federal health care plan option that includes abortion services, would vote for a law codifying the 1972 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion and backs federal funding for abortions as long as states can decide if they want the money, [a spokesman] said.” (Ed Hayward, “Anti-Abortion Group Endorses Romney Bid,” Boston Herald, 9/8/94)

1999: Romney said, “When I am asked if am I pro-choice or pro-life, I say I refuse to accept either label.” (Glen Warchol, “This Is The Place, But Politics May Lead Romneys Elsewhere,” The Salt Lake Tribune, 2/14/99)

2002: Running for Massachusetts Governor, Romney said he was “devoted” to the pro-choice position. “I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose, and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard. I will not change any provisions of Massachusetts’ pro-choice laws.” (2002 Romney-O’Brien Gubernatorial Debate, Suffolk University, Boston, MA, 10/29/02)

2005: Romney Considered Abortion-Rights Supporter By Pro-Life Groups – Aide Claimed His Position Had Not Changed. “[Massachusetts Citizens for Life] considers Romney to be an abortion-rights supporter, as do national antiabortion groups such as the Family Research Council…[Romney aide Eric] Fehrnstrom said the governor’s position has not changed on either sex education or abortion.” (Scott S. Greenberger, “Roe V. Wade Omitted From Proclamation,” The Boston Globe, 3/25/05)

2006: Romneycare provides taxpayer-funded abortions. Abortions are covered in the Commonwealth Care program that Romney created as Governor. Under the program, abortions are available for a copay of $50. (Menu of Health Care Services:

2006: Romneycare guarantees Planned Parenthood a seat at the table. Romney’s legislation created an advisory board and guarantees, by law, that Planned Parenthood has a seat at the table. Romney’s plan established a MassHealth payment policy advisory board, and one member of the Board must be from Planned Parenthood. No pro-life organization is represented. (Chapter 58 Section 3 (q) Section 16M (a),

Romney used his line-item veto authority to strike eight sections of the bill that he found objectionable, including the expansion of dental benefits to Medicaid recipients. Yet, he did not strike Planned Parenthood’s guaranteed Board representation and he did nothing to prohibit taxpayer-funded abortions as part of his plan. (“Romney’s Health Care Vetoes,” Associated Press, 4/12/06)

2007: Romney now claims he has always been pro-life. “I am firmly pro-life…I was always for life.” (Jim Davenport, “Romney Affirms Abortion Opposition During Stop In SC,” The Associated Press, 2/8/07) policy advisory board.”

Gov. Romney’s flip-flops on abortion rights are horrifying. Thanks to this article, Gov. Romney’s defense that Romneycare isn’t like Obamacare disappeared with this information:

Romney’s plan established a MassHealth payment policy advisory board…

That sounds like the precursor to President Obama’s Independent Payment Advisory Board, aka IPAB. IPAB is the price control provision within Obamacare. I can’t wait to hear Gov. Romney explain how Romneycare is substantially different than Obamacare with that information in the public view.

Roger Stone’s skewering of Mitt Romney is a detailed outline proving that Gov. Romney is a political opportunist who’ll say anything to get elected. That won’t play well in Iowa or South Carolina.

Nominating Romney is the fastest way to demoralize the base and hand the election to President Obama. That said, it’d be the surest way to get activists to get lots of conservative senators and representatives elected to thwart President Obama’s misguided economic policies.

Here’s information that fills in Romney’s portrait of being a political opportunist:

2002: Romney praised Massachusetts’ tough gun laws, vowed not to “chip away at them” as Governor. “[A]s the GOP gubernatorial candidate in 2002, Romney lauded the state’s strong laws during a debate against Democrat Shannon O’Brien. ‘We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts; I support them,’ he said. ‘I won’t chip away at them; I believe they protect us and provide for our safety.'” (Scott Helman, “Romney Retreats On Gun Control,” The Boston Globe, 1/14/07)

2006: Romney explains he signed up for lifetime NRA membership in August 2006 because “I’m after the NRA’s endorsement…If I’m going to ask for their endorsement, they’re going to ask for mine.” “Expressing familiarity with and support for gun rights is key among Republican presidential contenders…It helps explain why Romney joined the NRA last August, signing up not just as a supporter but a designated ‘Lifetime’ member … Romney told a Derry, N.H., audience, ‘I’m after the NRA’s endorsement. I’m not sure they’ll give it to me. I hope they will. I also joined because if I’m going to ask for their endorsement, they’re going to ask for mine.'” (Glen Johnson, “Romney Calls Himself A Longtime Hunter,” The Associated Press, 4/5/07)

Gov. Romney apparently thinks that he can say anything and be believed. Conservative activists, especially TEA Party activists, aren’t that easily fooled. Candidates who don’t have the TEA Party’s enthusiastic support can’t win in November, 2012.

Thanks to Roger Stone, Mitt Romney’s conservative mask was just ripped off. His masquerade is over. Consider this the start of open season on political opportunists from Massachusetts. I’d be surprised if Mitt didn’t get alot of the Perry treatment from other candidates now that Mitt’s exposed as a phony.

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Saying that there was a difference of opinion between President Obama and the Germans is understatement. This article says there was a full-fledged fight between them:

German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble said it would be a folly to boost the EU’s bail-out machinery (EFSF) beyond its €440bn lending limit by deploying leverage to up to €2 trillion, perhaps by raising funds from the European Central Bank.

“I don’t understand how anyone in the European Commission can have such a stupid idea. The result would be to endanger the AAA sovereign debt ratings of other member states. It makes no sense,” he said.

Mr Schauble told Washington to mind its own business after President Barack Obama rebuked EU leaders for failing to recapitalise banks and allowing the debt crisis to escalate to the point where it is “scaring the world”.

“It’s always much easier to give advice to others than to decide for yourself. I am well prepared to give advice to the US government,” he said.

The comments risk irritating the White House. US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has been a key driver of plans to give the EFSF enough firepower to shore up Italy and Spain, fearing a drift into “cascading default, bank runs and catastrophic risk” without dramatic action.

This administration’s reputation around the world is shrinking daily. The U.S. bond rating isn’t the only thing that’s gotten downgraded. Timothy Geithner is getting scolded for attempting to scold Europe.

What Mr. Schauble is essentially telling Geithner and this administration is that their credibility on issues of debt and fiscal management doesn’t exist. This surely wouldn’t have happened had Bob Rubin or the late Lloyd Bentsen proposed a plan. Then again, neither of those gentlemen would’ve proposed such a plan. More importantly, neither gentleman would’ve let U.S. debt get this far out of control.

Then-Candidate Obama campaigned on being liked around the world. His foolish and often destructive economic policies are earning ridicule in Europe and around the world. These nations don’t take him seriously. What’s worse is that they shouldn’t take him seriously.

In the world’s eyes, they’ve essentially written President Obama off as not being serious. He’s a disgrace who needs to be replaced before he damages the United States any further.

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Anyone thinking that DTLM is anything other than a tentacle off a major astroturf organization isn’t informed. Draw the Line Minnesota is part of a dishonest astroturfed organization called Draw the Line Midwest. Here’s what DTL-Midwest says about what’s at stake in this redistricting process:

What is at stake when it comes to how political district lines are drawn? The answer is simple: your voice our democracy.

The process that occurs in our states every 10 years following the national census is the foundation for how our government operates. At the most basic level, redistricting ensures that the constitutional principle of “one person, one vote.”

Ultimately, the redistricting process determines:
•How your community is defined
•Who you have the opportunity to vote for
•What kinds of policies and issues get debated
•What happens to your tax dollars
•How the complex set of challenges we face are handled (or not)

With so much at stake, you might think that we have a say in how this powerful process is carried out. But we don’t. The redistricting process is marked by secrecy, self-dealing and backroom logrolling among elected officials. Legislators who stand to benefit from the status quo have every incentive to leave the issue in the dark.

DTL-Midwest can’t even go half a page without being deceitful. Saying that people don’t have a say in the matter might be true in Chicago but that isn’t how it’s done in Ohio, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Here in Minnesota, the House Redistricting Committee, chaired by Rep. Sarah Anderson, held 15 public meetings at the Capitol. The committee held public hearings in Hermantown, Marshall and Rochester, too.

DTL-Midwest is intentionally painting a dishonest picture to tell people that a process that’s open really is about corruption and secrecy. Shame on them for painting that type of dishonest picture.

In March, Professor Larry Jacobs asked the question at a League of Women Voters forum of whether voters picked their politicians or if politicians picked their voters. It’s a time-tested perennial question that doesn’t have anything to do with this year’s redistricting in Minnesota.

During the past decade, people ‘voted with their mortgages’ on who they wanted representing them in Washington, DC and in St. Paul. They fled urban sections of the state like DFL politicians were selling toxic waste. These same people flocked to MN-6 and MN-2 like they were offering low property taxes and sane local representation.

Interestingly, DTL-Ohio sprang into existence when Republicans crushed Democrats in state legislative races. Democrats entered election night with a 53-46 lead in the Ohio House of Representatives and control of the governor’s mansion. When the dust settled, Republicans held a 58-41 seat majority and control of the governor’s mansion.

With Republicans controlling the redistricting process, DTL-Ohio sprang into existence, talking about the need for “Preserving county boundaries, compactness, competitiveness and representational fairness.

One of DTL-Ohio’s strongest allies is Jim Slagle, of the Ohio Campaign for Accountable Redistricting. Mr. Slagle let DTL-Ohio’s real motivation slip in this article:

Using an index created from the results of the 2008 presidential election and the 2010 races for governor, state auditor and secretary of state, Slagle said it would take a “major shift” in Ohio voting patterns for Democrats to overcome the new lines.

“They made it as close to a lock as they could,” he said of Republicans.

The key isn’t to draw the district lines to be fair. The key is for Democrats to become less extreme. If they can’t win everywhere in the state, then they’re really dealing with being out of step with Ohio voters.

Another part of the DTL-Midwest family is the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. Check out their mission statement:

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan political watchdog group dedicated to clean government. We advocate for a real democracy that allows the common good to prevail over narrow interests by reinforcing and protecting the values of honesty, fairness, transparency, accountability, citizen participation, competition, and respect for constitutional rights and the rule of law.

In pursuit of its mission, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign tracks the money in state politics, fights government corruption and works for campaign finance reform, fair elections, judicial integrity, media democracy, open and transparent government, and democracy reform in areas such as state legislative and congressional redistricting, ethics, and lobbying. We pursue these objectives through research, citizen education, community outreach, coalition building and direct advocacy.

If an organization is pushing campaign finance reform, that indicates that they’re a progressive organization. Other indicators of their bias are euphemisms like judicial integrity and media democracy.

These are just a few of DTL-Midwest’s tentacles. While I’ve compiled an exstensive list of DTL-Midwest’s tentacles, they aren’t a comprehensive list of their tentacles.

Check back later this week for more information on the national aspects of this progressive movement. Rest assured that we’re just scratching the surface on this corrupt movement.

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Minnesotans should thank Congressman Chip Cravaack for stating the obvious: crumbling roads should get fixed before building another toy rail project:

Republican Congressman Chip Cravaack says he wants the federal government to fix its roadways before spending money on a proposed high speed passenger rail project between Minneapolis and Duluth.

In May the Northern Lights Railway project was awarded a five-million-dollar federal grant to put together a preliminary engineering and service development plan.

The project has solid support from Senators Franken and Klobuchar and was a priority for former Congressman Jim Oberstar, but Congressman Cravaack says there are more important priorities for federal spending.

“The project has to pay for itself. I don’t want to take money and put it into a Northern Lights Project when we can’t drive on our roads. We have a finite amount of money, we have to make sure that the right money goes to the right projects for the right reasons,” Cravaack said.

Representative Cravaack says with limited federal dollars transportation spending has to be prioritized and safe roads are more important than rail transportation at this point.

This project is a four-letter word. That word is P-O-R-K. That the “project has solid support from” Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken and Jim Oberstar screams pork.

Congressman Cravaack is right in saying we have a finite amount of money and a long list of roads that need fixing. In that situation, projects have to be prioritized. In terms of public safety, safe roads beat pork projects 100% of the time.

That this trio of pinheads think that this pork project, which would serve riders by the dozens, should rate a higher priority than fixing roads and bridges speaks volumes. Klobuchar, Franken and Oberstar, not to mention President Obama, think that money grows on trees.

Here in the real world, where household after household have their budgets stretched to the max, choices must be made daily on what to trim out of the budget and what money needs to be spent on. This Democratic Senate and this administration, those priorities never get set.

That’s why this administration has the biggest deficits in U.S. history. They’re the anti-Nancy Reagan. They just won’t say no to pork.

President Obama criticizes the Bridge to Nowhere as a pork boondoggle. Apparently, rail projects to nowhere don’t register as pork boondoggles in his mind. That’s proof that he isn’t in touch with the American people.

Congressman Cravaack’s common sense proposal of improving public safety first before thinking about spending money on something that isn’t needed is a breath of fresh air in Washington.

This proposed pork project is proof that Ronald Reagan was right in saying this:

“Government is like a baby: an alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.”

Perhaps he was thinking about Jim Oberstar when he said that. If he wasn’t, the shoe certainly fits.

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Andy Birkey’s all in a tizzy because a GOP-leaning redistricting group had the audacity to exercise their statutory right. This GOP-leaning redistricting organization has the audacity to share office space and staff with the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota:

The courts have taken on Minnesota’s redistricting process after the State Legislature’s failure to get a plan past Gov. Mark Dayton. But groups from right and left are raising money from undisclosed donors, hoping to influence redistricting by bringing court challenges and giving other support.

Shared address with a GOP Minnesota think tank

Minnesotans for a Fair Redistricting shares the same address and some staffers as the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, a conservative think tank, according to a ProPublica report. Fair Redistricting’s address is listed as that of Annette and Jack Meeks, a husband and wife duo active in Republican politics who work for Freedom Foundation. Annette Meeks was on Tom Emmer’s Republican ticket for lieutenant governor in 2010.

Freedom Foundation has worked with the Cato Institute on research and events, which was founded by Charles Koch. It is also part of the State Policy Network, a network of 59 state-based conservative think tanks. Freedom Foundation is listed as a “regular member,” while other Koch-backed groups such as Americans for Prosperity are listed as “associate members.”

First, Mr. Birkey’s assinine assertion that the legislature couldn’t “get a plan past Gov. Mark Dayton” is correct. Were he a real journalist, Mr. Birkey would’ve admitted that the legislature’s redistricting plan was doomed from the outset. The only way that their map wouldn’t have gotten vetoed was if the legislature caved and gave the DFL everything they wanted in terms of redistricting.

That wasn’t going to happen because that would’ve been possible only by ignoring the principles the Minnesota Supreme Court established in explaining their drawing of the 2001 legislative and congressional maps.

That both sides are invested in the redistricting fight isn’t newsworthy. What’s newsworthy is that the DFL’s shadow organization is a) corrupt and racist and b) responsible for the biggest, most dishonest smear campaign in Minnesota gubernatorial history.

Playing the moral equivalency card really isn’t flattering. Furthermore, it isn’t particularly apt. Saying that a conservative-leaning organization is the same as a corrupt shadow organization that’ll lie to get its way isn’t foolish. It’s spin and then some.

Saying that the “redistricting has been done out of the public eye, without meaningful public input, and used to dilute the voting power of communities of color” is reprehensible. Saying it without a scintilla of proof is outright racism.

Contrary to the lefties’ beliefs, invoking the name of the Koch Brothers isn’t proof of corruption. It isn’t surprising that this stunt is being used, however, because lefties think that character assassination is what they do best. It isn’t surprising that it’s utterly ineffective.

DTLM is a corrupt organization advocating for the destabilization of Minnesota’s judiciary? What else could it be called when DTLM and the DFL are advocating that this court ignore the principles that guided that Supreme Court panel through the 2001 redistricting?

If the Surpreme Court makes up new guiding principles each time it redistricts, how can the legislature have guidance on what is and isn’t acceptable when redistricting?

It’s inevitable that the maps will change from decade to decade. There should be stability, though, in the principles guiding legislators who’ve been tasked with drawing the redistricting maps.

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Thus far, Gov. Mitt Romney has gotten kid glove treatment, mostly because the media hasn’t focused on Gov. Romney’s health care dilemma. Because the media won’t do their jobs, Gov. Perry is launching ads to force Gov. Romney to respond:

Reeling from dismal showings in back-to-back straw polls over the weekend, Texas Gov. Rick Perry came out with guns blazing on Monday, accusing rival Mitt Romney of “an integrity problem” in a statement and video.

“Mitt Romney has an integrity problem, as evidenced in the video, Words Have Meaning,” the Perry campaign said in a statement, providing a link to a web video attacking Romney.

Perry’s campaign charged that Romney changed the wording of his book, “No Apology,” between the hardcover and paperback editions in order to hide the fact that the former Massachusetts governor’s health care plan served as the model for President Obama’s national health care law.

“Mitt Romney is trying to run from the fact that President Obama used Romneycare as the model for Obamacare,” the Perry campaign said.

Perry first unveiled his line of attack in Thursday’s Orlando debate, pointing out that the hardback version of the book included the line, “We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country, and it can be done without letting government take over health care.” The first part of the sentence, referring to a nationwide health care plan, was later deleted from the paperback edition.

Politifact rates the ad as “mostly false”:

An article by PolitiFact, a fact-checking service run by a newspaper consortium, rated Perry’s attacks “mostly false” because the full context of Romney’s words in the hardcover edition of his book talked about the importance of states developing a health care plan. PolitiFact’s analysis: “My own preference would be to let each state fashion its own program to meet the distinct needs of its citizens,” Romney wrote on page 177. “States could follow the Massachusetts model of they choose, or they could develop plans of their own.”

Politifact’s argument is feeble. Just because Gov. Romney said that he’d prefer “to let each state fashion its own program” on one page, then said that the Massachusetts model could be done nationwide.

Most importantly, his argument that state governments have the authority to tell people that they have to buy something they might or might not want as a condition of their existence is a joke. Dictatorships might get away with that but that won’t fly in the US of A.

Predictably, Romney’s campaign fired back:

“It has been widely proven that Rick Perry’s weak claim on Mitt Romney’s book is just a tall tale,” said Andrea Saul, spokeswoman for Romney, in response to Perry’s Monday statement and video.

I’d love hearing Ms. Saul explain how something that’s contained in Gov. Romney’s book “is just a tall tale.” Is she saying that Gov. Romney’s book is filled with tall tales or is she giving a pro forma defense of Romneycare?

Either way, Mitt’s got a credibility problem. The bad news for Gov. Romney is that it starts just outside DC’s Beltway. Erick Erickson’s article highlights it perfectly:

But look outside the Beltway, and Romney has a serious problem, and has had that problem for some time.

In Florida, Romney, who is polling in second place in the state, came in third in the straw poll (a poll in which people pay to cast a vote), beaten by Herman Cain and Rick Perry. Romney chose not to participate, instead focusing on Michigan.

In Michigan; he’s a native of Michigan, where his father was governor; Romney came in first in a straw poll, followed by Perry and Cain. Romney captured 50% of the vote, his strongest showing. But the Michigan primary comes after the caucuses and primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire (where he is ahead), South Carolina, Florida, and Nevada, whose popular governor just endorsed Perry.

In Iowa, Romney came in behind Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Cain, and Perry, who’d only become a candidate a few hours before the poll closed. As in Florida, Romney chose not to actively participate, but did participate in the Iowa debate prior to the straw poll.

Romney won’t do well in Iowa or South Carolina, states with alot of conservatives. It’s still too early to tell what his chances are in Florida but he’s vulnerable on Social Security with younger voters.

The Beltway pundits aren’t taking into account voter intensity, something that isn’t working in Gov. Romney’s favor:

As long as the field remains crowded and Perry, as the guy most likely to consolidate the anti-Romney field right now, remains uninspiring and unredeemed from his last debate performance, Romney benefits. But he benefits not as the candidate who excites the base, nor the one whom the base wants to fight for, but as the candidate whose attributes no one in the grass roots wants, while the rest of the pack divides up over all the attributes the base does want.

Voter intensity matters, as does connectivity. Gov. Romney’s likeability factor is akin to a dead fish. It’s easy to detect how crowds connect with Gov. Perry, Speaker Gingrich or Rep. Bachmann. There’s something more than just a resume with all the appropriate boxes checked off. That’s Romney: Mr. All the Appropriate Boxes Checked Off.

His flip-flopping is a major difficulty, too, something that hasn’t been the topic of discussion yet. When that comes up, expect Gov. Romney’s numbers to plummet.

Credibility matters, which is why Gov. Romney’s book is so damning.

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Dave Durenberger has a dilemma. He needs to deal with it ASAP. The solution might be difficult to find, considering his dilemma stems from making conflicting statements about Obamacare. The reality is that there’s no way out for him without him admitting he was talking gibberish:

Take it from politician-cum-professor Dave Durenberger: “All health care is local.”

Don’t get him wrong. The former Republican U.S. senator, founder of the National Institute of Health Policy and University of St. Thomas prof is a strong supporter of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which politicians in his erstwhile party call “Obamacare.”

But the real work of improving America’s health and controlling costs won’t be done in Washington, no matter who wins the next election, Durenberger told a Minneapolis church audience last week. It will happen in those places where local political and civic leaders put better, more affordable health high on their own agendas. They’re best positioned to see what’s driving local health care costs and how to change course.

It’s difficult to see how a top-down, bureaucrat-driven plan like Obamacare fits with a local plan whose mission is to detect health care cost drivers, then shift course to make adjustments to keep health care costs low. In fact, Obamacare is the opposite of a localized, flexible sytem.

Still, both systems are fatally flawed because they aren’t patientcentric or market-driven. Without those components, it’s difficult to imagine a system whose costs are stabilized.

Durenberger’s difficulties in squaring his statements is child’s play compared with Linda Berglin’s daunting task:

Then there’s the big-picture kicker that befits Berglin’s credentials: This project aims to be a model that “is sustainable and can be replicated throughout the state and in other parts of the country.”

In other words, Hennepin County is setting out to revamp Medicaid, not just in Minnesota, but for the nation. And if Hennepin can do that right, it will also be showing how Medicare might more affordably serve seniors. And that in turn might change the practice of medicine for everyone, for the better.

That’s why a little Hennepin County health care project for 12,000 people is worth watching, even as presidential candidates debate the merits of the 2010 federal law.

“The idea is to pay to do what’s needed to keep people healthy,” Berglin said, not more and not less.

For example, it could involve making sure that someone who is prescribed expensive medicine that must be kept in a refrigerator actually has a refrigerator, so the medicine isn’t wasted. Or paying more to shelter and clothe the homeless, so taxpayers can spend less on emergency-room services. Or beefing up mental-health services, so taxpayers can spend less on hospitalization and jails.

Micromanaging health care down to the point of making certain that people who use “expensive medicine that must be kept in a refrigerator” has a refrigerator. Is Ms. Berglin proposing that her Hennepin County office hire a refrigerator inspector? What salary would this refrigerator inspector make? Would property taxes need to be increased? Or would police officer or firefighters get cut to pay for the refrigerator inspector?

Saying that Ms. Berglin’s plan faces some implementation challenges is understatement. Saying that Ms. Berglin’s plan, refrigerator inspector and all, will need a massive bureaucracy is understatement, too.

Apparently, Ms. Berglin thinks money grows on trees watered by R.T. Rybak’s artistic drinking fountains. The chance that this ambitious program will save Hennepin County taxpayers money is slim, especially when you factor in the cost of the bureaucracy needed to sustain the program.

It’s time for Dave Durenberger to stop talking out of both sides of his mouth. More importantly, it’s time to shut Linda Berglin’s bureaucrat-centric plan down before it bankrupts Hennepin County.

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