Archive for October, 2011

Common Cause MN has more than their fair share of chutzpah. They’ve preached the Gospel of transparency and nonpartisanship with the best of them. They’ve done that despite the fact that they’re a bitterly partisan organization committed to hiding facts from the public. They embargoed the redistricting map drawn by an Obama organizer rather than let the public offer improvements to their map:

Based on my experiences with Draw the Line over the past several months, I urge the Panel to reject the map submitted to the Panel by Draw the Line because the map drawing process was secretive and flawed and ultimately resulted in a partisan map that fails to reflect the objective demographic shifts that have occurred in Minnesota over the past decade.

I think that because of its high number of incumbent legislator pairings and because it pairs only Republican members of Congress, the map is too likely to benefit the Democratic Party. I am especially concerned that we commission members were not allowed sufficient time or access to the map to critique it objectively or to determine its implications before we were led to approve it.

In addition, the mapping specialist who was hired at the last minute (Linden Weiswerda) and whom we originally thought was independent and nonpartisan turns out to have worked for President Obama’s campaign in 2008.

Wieswerda was hired after a last minute grant came in. After that, the testimony and collaboration pretty much went out the window.

That’s why it’s highly ironic that Common Cause MN is complaining about the redistricting process in Arizona:

At just about every meeting of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, at least one of several attorneys representing a group called FAIR Trust sits among the audience.

They take notes, make public recommendations to the commission and occasionally talk privately with commissioners.

FAIR Trust’s attorneys say they want to help the commission adhere to the legal requirements that govern the high-stakes, once-in-a-decade political remapping process, and the group’s name suggests it is interested in fairness.

But what FAIR Trust’s attorneys refuse to say is that they’re actually representing a group of incumbent Republicans from Arizona’s congressional delegation and the state Legislature.

I’m shocked to find partisanship going on in redistricting. Who would’ve thunk it?

This is infuriating and nauseating. Mike Dean and Common Cause MN didn’t like it when Republicans were included in the Citizens Commission. During the roundtable debate on Late Debate with Jack and Ben, Dean certainly tried hiding the fact that the most corrupt organizations were the driving forces behind DTL-Minnesota.

That night, Dean insisted that DTL-Minnesota was only interested in “increasing public participation” and “increase transparency” into the redistricting process.

Mitch Berg nailed Dean on that, saying that it was interesting what wasn’t getting talked about. Mitch specifically cited the fact that the organizations that ran the biggest smear campaign in Minnesota gubernatorial history were the behind-the-scenes forces for DTL-Minnesota. (If Mitch hadn’t said it, I would’ve.)

It’s shameful that Common Cause MN would hook up with the most corrupt political organization in the state. It’s even more shameful when that corrupt political organization is largely funded by our governor’s first ex-wife.

Any attempt by Mike Dean to portray himself as anything other than as a political hack, any attempt by Common Cause MN to act like a nonpartisan organization should be met with ridicule.

They’re hyperpartisan and they’re committed to secrecy when that’s what’s needed.

The author of the Arizona article isn’t too bright:

And if the incumbent politicians behind FAIR Trust decide the final maps don’t meet their desires, the group’s role will likely shift from lobbying to litigating. Led by a team of high-powered attorneys, a lawsuit by the group would take months or years, costing tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Redistricting for congressional seats must be done by a date-certain. That’s federal law. The reporter either isn’t too bright or he’s lying through his teeth.

TakeAction Minnesota is the umbrella organization for the DFL’s staunchest political allies: the poverty industry, unions, gay rights activists and militant environmentalists.

It isn’t overstatement to say that Common Cause MN and their corrupt allies at TakeAction Minnesota are consumed with drawing the most DFL-friendly map possible. For them to complain that Republicans are behaving like Common Cause MN and TakeAction Minnesota are behaving here isn’t just disgusting. It’s laughable.

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When I watched this video of CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo’s interview of Nancy Pelosi, I was stunned by Ms. Pelosi’s strident liberalism:

Here’s the question from Ms. Bartiromo, followed by Ms. Pelosi’s reply:

CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo: “How important are concessions about the regulatory environment? This is the final question here on this murky environment that we’re seeing. CEOs tell me all the time that they don’t know the details of Dodd Frank. It’s the law of the land and we’re still writing the rules. We’ve got the EPA making decisions and legislations. Supposed to come from Congress and it seems like we’re going around things and the EPA is coming out with its own rules. You’ve got the labor relations board, the situation with Boeing. I mean, for starters, do you think it’s right that Boeing has to close down that plant in South Carolina because it’s non-union?”

Pelosi: “Yes. I don’t think they close it down. I would hope they would make it union.”

Bartiromo: “But this is a corporate decision. Should government be getting involved in corporate decisions like that?”

Pelosi: “You asked me what I thought.”

That’s right. Ms. Bartiromo asked what Ms. Pelosi thought. It’s interesting that Ms. Pelosi thinks the plant should be unionized, though it isn’t surprising. Ms. Pelosi’s reply is informative, too.

Democrats frequently talk about creating jobs as their top priority. Nonetheless, right-to-work states have significantly better job creation statistics than forced-dues states:

Between 1995 and 2005, private-sector jobs in Right to Work states increased by a net 20.2%. That’s a 79% greater increase than the relatively small increase in private-sector jobs experienced by non-Right to Work states over this period. (See the tables on pages three and four for details. Oklahoma, which adopted its Right to Work law in 2001, is excluded from this calculation.)

The Right to Work job-growth advantage becomes even more critical in times when the national economy is in a recession or struggling to recover from one. Over the 1995-2000 period, the crest of the “roaring nineties,” private-sector jobs in Right to Work states increased by 16.3%, 34% more than the concurrent increase in non-Right to Work states.

It’s inevitable that people question whether right-to-work laws were the reason behind the rapid job creation in right-to-work states. Compared with their neighboring states, there appears to be a significant difference.

What’s most bothersome about Pelosi’s answer is that she’s advocating for the government to have final say in where corporations build manufacturing plants. That decision isn’t in the federal government’s jurisdiction nor should it ever be in the federal government’s jurisdiction.

They’ve screwed up enough things, especially in this administration. We can’t afford to have them screw up the manufacturing economy more than they already have.

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Yesterday, the SC Times editorial board wrote this Our View editorial on the upcoming school levy elections. To say that it’s biased is understatement. Here’s the title of the editorial:

Our View: Local levies cover state’s epic failure

I’m thankful that the Times editorial board didn’t take a partisan approach to the issue. Here’s the editorial’s opening paragraphs:

Residents in nine area school districts have about a week left to decide how they will vote on requests to raise local property taxes to help their districts, Sauk Rapids-Rice, Sartell-St. Stephen, Rocori, Foley, Royalton, Melrose, Milaca, Upsala and Princeton.

All essentially need the funds to maintain operating budgets. One, Sartell-St. Stephen, also needs help for repairs. This board urges approval of all questions, largely because of the state’s epic failure to meet its constitutional obligation to adequately fund education.

Yes, epic. Look no further than how legislators and the governor the past four years have chosen to withhold about 40 percent of the education funds the state promised. Add in that these elected officials continue to use a baseline funding formula developed 35 years ago while routinely letting partisan politics trump serious reform efforts and “epic” is a deserved descriptor.

What’s worse is this section of the editorial:

These districts’ residents should recognize levy requests are made because districts have little choice. Without more local help, most districts’ consequences will include some or all of these: reducing student services and programming, increasing class sizes, and not updating technology and curriculum.

Admittedly, some extra funds will compensate staff. However, it’s naïve, even misleading, to claim staff will get rich off it when an average raise is about 2 percent.

That’s a strawman argument if ever I saw one. Whether “staff will get rich” isn’t the question. The real question is whether the “staff”, a euphemism for high paid administrators, are adding anything to the quality of the students’ education.

Over the weekend, a loyal reader of this blog told me that staff at his old high school had jumped sevenfold over the past 25 years. That despite the fact that graduating classes had dropped by 20%.

Apparently the Times editorial board hasn’t asked the superintendents how many administrators are needed to run a school district. considering the fact that House Majority Leader Matt Dean is investigating what’s happening in Minneapolis:

House Majority Leader Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) is doing his own inquiry into how the Minneapolis Public Schools spends it money after reading this Star Tribune report. The story revealed Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson’s decision to award $270,000 in retroactive raises to central office administrators at the same time the district cut more than 100 jobs including 52 teaching positions.

The Times’ editorial assumes that there isn’t mismanagement of the taxpayers’ money within the school districts. Clearly, Majority Leader Dean thinks there’s, at minimum, the possibility of mismanagement within the Minneapolis public schools.

Reflexively thinking that everything’s the legislature’s fault might make for snappy headlines but it might not be an accurate depiction of what’s wrong with the school district.

The Times is right about this:

Rocori: The district basically seeks to combine two existing operating levies into one that will last for 10 years. Passage means district taxes will remain the same. Similarly, district programming will be continued. Worth noting: Even with existing levies, the district has cut its budget for 12 straight years.

Rocori has been underfunded for years. Voting to combine operating levies while putting them in place for a decade is what’s needed. Stability is essential anywhere. Stability is especially essential at Rocori.

Full disclosure: I have a friend who teaches at Rocori. My opinion, however, is based on the fact that the school has been underfunded for years. That’s the worst kept secret in central Minnesota.

I’m not reflexively saying that all levies should be voted down. I’m saying that the school districts should detail how the taxpayers’ money is spent. This information should be shared at an open meeting where the public is able to ask questions or make comments with the full board and the superintendent there taking questions.

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This morning, there’s a side-by-side comparison on Newt’s website comparing his tax plan with Mitt’s plan. Predictably, the “verdict” in each of the categories is that Newt’s plan is better than Mitt’s. I don’t care about the “verdict.” I care about the information.

Personal Income Tax Rates

Newt’s plan offers people a “choice of current system or 15% flat tax with personal, homeowner, and charitable deductions.”

Mitt’s plan keeps tax rates the same as they are now.

Newt would eliminate the personal and corporate capital gains taxes. Mitt’s plan is complicated:

Depends how much money the taxpayer makes. Romney’s plan eliminates capital gains taxes for those making less than $200,000/year, but maintains the current system, with rates of up to 35%, for the rest.

Mitt’s defense of his policy is pure class warfare. He said that “the rich are doing just fine” before saying that he’s looking out for the middle class. Small businesses making $250,000 a year aren’t rolling in the dough. Many are struggling, often staying afloat by cutting employees.

That means Newt’s plan keeps more money in the entrepreneur’s hands, which means he can afford to keep the workers he’s currently got. Mitt’s class warfare tax code won’t give job creators the capital to invest in workers.

Mitt’s corporate capital gains “maintains the current system.” That’s better than President Obama’s preference but it’s hardly dynamic.

The corporate tax rates offers the starkest contrast. Newt’s proposed corporate tax rate is 12.5%; Mitt’s is 25%.

Newt would “eventually replace payroll tax with personal accounts.” On Medicare reform, Newt would “offer a choice between the traditional system or opportunity to purchase private insurance with premium support.”

Mitt’s 59-point, 160-page plan doesn’t provide information on the payroll tax or Medicare reform. Is that because Mitt’s plan is essentially a status quo plan that assumes the US tax system is functioning properly?

Now isn’t the time for the status quo. If we don’t change things dramatically, the US will lose a decade’s worth of prosperity. That isn’t what I want from the GOP nominee.

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Mitt Romney might be reading too many of the ‘Romney is inevitable’ articles popping up everywhere. It’s entirely possible that Mitt think he’s just got to stay away from making mistakes and he’s the nominee. Certainly, he’s stayed away from reporters:

At 10:15 a.m., the Detroit-born Romney arrives, appropriately enough, in a silver Chevrolet Suburban. He’s in blue slacks and a white shirt, sleeves rolled up, with a light blue tie. His hair is somewhere between casually ruffled and exquisitely coiffed. He shakes hands with supporters as he walks the makeshift rope line.

“How are you?” Romney says. “Good to see you. Thank you for being here this morning.”

I’ve blended into the crowd a bit, and when he reaches me, I try to ask him a question.

“Governor, do you support the?—?”

He notices the pen and pad, pivoting away before I can finish. Back to the handshakes.

Mitt’s actions are quite understandable considering the Ohio/SB5 disaster last week. Mitt is nothing if not ultracautious. The people writing maximum checks like cautious. The activists that get things done don’t want calculating, finger-in-the-wind politicians.

They want politicians who speak from the heart, politicians that aren’t afraid to make a mistake, politicians who don’t change tactics and policies when the situation warrants.

Last week, alot of stories were written about the possibility of Gov. Perry not participating in all of the debates. That’s a legitimate topic worthy of coverage. People want to know that our nominee will be able to stand opposite President Obama and deliver the performances that make President Obama a one-term president.

Will the media start asking why Gov. Romney won’t appear on the Sunday talk shows? The LATimes published such an article this morning. My question is this: would they have published it if Chris Wallace hadn’t singled Gov. Romney out for not coming on for an interview.

Four GOP hopefuls hit the Sunday talk shows this week, a roster that did not include ostensible front-runner Mitt Romney.

The absence was pointedly noted by “Fox News Sunday’s” Chris Wallace, who concluded his one-on-one interview with Texas Gov. Rick Perry with a not particularly subtle shot at the former Massachusetts governor.

“With Gov. Perry’s appearance, we have now interviewed all the major Republican candidates in our 2012 one-on-one series except Mitt Romney. He has not appeared on any Sunday talk show since March of 2010,” Wallace said.

“We invited Gov. Romney, but his campaign says he’s still not ready to sit down for an interview,” he added.

Blogger Moe Lane of the conservative site RedState said Wallce’s dig should be taken seriously by the Romney camp, lest he appear as lacking the confidence to submit to an in-depth interview.

After getting called out like that, first by a prominent Sunday morning talk show host, then by a conservative blogger, I’m betting that Mitt will soon appear on Fox News Sunday.

That said, his running from the media isn’t helping. People now have reason to question whether he’s got the spine needed to be POTUS. People are curious if Mitt’s spooked by his Ohio gaffe. Most importantly, people have the right to question whether he’s avoiding tough interviews because of the tough questions he’ll be asked.

People are questioning if he’s dodging questions about his flip-flops, his job creation record while he was the governor of Massachusetts and his positions on global warming. (Yes, I meant plural.)

Moe asks some great questions in his post:

I imagine that the temptation is strong for Romney, or his supporters, to shrug this one off, but I’d recommend against that, for a couple of reasons. First off, it’s a bad idea for a candidate to start acting as if he or she is above the petty considerations and/or obligations of campaigning; even if the media lets you get away with it in the primary they’re unlikely to let you get away with it in the general*. Second, specifically: Mitt Romney already has no reputation for bravery. Being perceived as hiding from the Sunday shows won’t help him erase that problem. Third, finally, and to draw off from the first reason: who the heck told Mitt Romney that he was entitled to act like the nomination was merely a formality, anyway? He’s a former governor and a mortal being, not some sort of mythological figure.

Mitt’s the weakest former frontrunner in recent GOP history. If he starts playing things cautious, it’ll cement people’s belief that he’s spineless. That’s the perfect way to cement in the activists’ minds that you don’t have the mental toughness to be POTUS.

If Mitt doesn’t have the spine to face tough questions from Chris Wallace, why should voters think he’s tough enough when the Obama campaign throws the kitchen sink at him?

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Photo Op Amy is offering pork-filled legislation in the form of a mini-transportation bill. That’s what this Strib article is reporting:

Klobuchar says the infrastructure bill is not about partisan politics, but addresses an important need, fixing the country’s aging infrastructure.

“These truly have had bipartisan support in the past,” said Klobuchar, who said her interest in infrastructure dates back to the Interstate 35W bridge collapse. “I believe there’s some merit within the chamber for this, whether passes on the first try or not.”

In Minnesota, Republican Party Chairman Tony Sutton said that “it’s not surprising that Sen. Klobuchar is the ‘sweet’ being trotted out to complement Harry Reid’s ‘sour’ proposal for yet another massive federal stimulus bill.”

Among the bill’s $50 billion in infrastructure spending is $27 billion for road, bridge and rail infrastructure, $9 billion for transit and $4 billion for high-speed rail.

There are undoubtedly some worthy projects included in the bill. I’d be surprised if most of the projects weren’t pork-filled ‘re-election specials’. I’d be surprised if they didn’t help a Democrat brag how he brought home the bacon for his state.

The fact that $4,000,000,000 is targeted for high-speed rail tells people that Sen. Klobuchar isn’t listening to the will of the people. Governors and average people on Main Street are rejecting spending money on projects like the Northern Lights Express, aka the NLX. The NLX is a pet project for both Tarryl Clark and Sen. Klobuchar. They want that project badly. (Rumor has it that they both need another photo op to attend to embellish their image.)

Spending money we don’t have on things we don’t need while not fixing damaged roads and bridges is foolish. Doesn’t Sen. Klobuchar understand the need to set intelligent priorities? Apparently not.

It’s a sad state of affairs that a sitting US senator doesn’t have a clue about setting wise policy priorities.

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California’s finances have been a terrible mess seemingly forever. The legislature, combined with Gray Davis and Ahnold, have driven the state into the ground. People are leaving the state with increasing frequency.

If sanity doesn’t ensue immediately, California’s economy will totally crater. During its best days, California wasn’t known for its sanity. Today, the sanity quotient is at an alltime low. Few people have high expectations for California’s economy.

That’s why this article, despite being filled with bad news, offers a glimmer of hope:

Sacramento is Government Central, a land of overly pensioned bureaucrats and restaurant discounts for state workers. But way up in the North State, one finds a small but hard-edged rural populace that views state and federal officials as the main obstacles to their quality of life.

Their latest battle is to stop destruction of four hydroelectric dams along the Klamath River, an action driven by environmentalists and the Obama administration. Most locals say the dam-busting will undermine their property rights and ruin the local farming and ranch economy, which is all that’s left since environmental regulators destroyed the logging and mining industries.

These used to be wealthy resource-based economies, but now many of the towns are drying up, with revenue to local governments evaporating. Unemployment rates are in the 20-percent-and-higher range. Nearly 79 percent of the county’s voters in a recent advisory initiative opposed the dam removal, but that isn’t stopping the authorities from blasting the dams anyway.

These rural folks, living in the shadow of the majestic Mount Shasta, believe that they are being driven away so that their communities can essentially go back to the wild, to conform to a modern environmentalist ethos that puts wildlands above humanity. As the locals told it during the Defend Rural America conference Oct. 22 at the Siskiyou Golden Fairgrounds, environmental officials are treading on their liberties, traipsing unannounced on their properties, confronting ranchers with guns drawn to enforce arcane regulatory rules and destroying their livelihoods in the process.

These counties are standing up to the federal government in an epic worthy of David vs. Goliath. This administration, coupled with militant environmentalists, apparently wants this part of California returned to its natural state.

This would be a Ghengis Khan vs. little villages fight if not for this:

The evening’s main event: a panel featuring eight county sheriffs (seven from California, one from Oregon) who billed themselves as “Constitution sheriffs.” They vowed to stand up for the residents of their communities against what they say is an unconstitutional onslaught from regulators in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. In particular, they took issue with the federal government’s misnamed Travel Management Plan, which actually is designed to shut down public travel in the forests.

Plumas County Sheriff Greg Hagwood related the stir he caused when he said he “will not criminalize citizens for just accessing public lands.” Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey reminded the crowd that county sheriffs are sworn to uphold the Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” These are fighting words.

Sheriff Dean Wilson of Del Norte County said he was “ignorant and naïve about the terrible condition our state was in.” He came to believe that people were being assaulted by their own government. “I spent a good part of my life enforcing the penal code but not understanding my oath.” Wilson and other sheriffs said it is their role to defend the liberties of the people against any encroachments, even if those encroachments come from other branches of government.

That’s the right attitude on the Constitution. It’s refreshing to hear these sheriffs state that they’re willing to fight the federal government and the militant environmentalists. The environmentalists’ encroachments on people’s liberties is stunning.

I’ve written that militant environmentalists have done 100 times more damage to this nation’s economy than Wall Street fat cats. I’ve written about Houston County’s attempt to prevent land owners from using their land as they see fit.

As you can see, California isn’t the only place where militant environmentalists are attempting to strip landowners of their livelihood and their private property rights.

These particular types of environmentalists don’t hesitate in crippling a person’s lands rights usage. They’ll use any tactic at their avail. That’s why I call them militant environmentalists. I don’t use the term evil very often. The militant environmentalists, whether they’re waging war with land owners in California, Colorado or Minnesota, are evil.

That’s why it’s important for people to get off their duffs and fight these groups in whatever arena they choose to compete in. It’s time we noticed that militant environmentalists are committed to waging war against private property rights. It’s time we noticed that militant environmentalists are waging a war against prosperity.

I know that sounds melodramatic but it’s easily proven. In fact, I proved that fact in this post:

Along with our allies at the Izaak Walton League of America, the Union of Concerned Scientists and Wind on the Wires, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and Fresh Energy argued, first in South Dakota, then before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), that the new plant was a bad idea. Our message was simple: The utilities had not proven the need for the energy, and what energy they did need could be acquired less expensively through energy efficiency and wind.

We kept losing, but a funny thing happened. With each passing year, it became clearer that we were right. In 2007, two of the Minnesota utilities dropped out, citing some of the same points we had been making. The remaining utilities had to go through the process again with a scaled-down 580-megawatt plant.

This time around, the administrative law judge ruled in our favor, saying the utilities had proven the need for, at most, 160 megawatts and had failed to prove that coal would be the least expensive way of providing the electricity. The Minnesota PUC approved the transmission lines into Minnesota, and we filed an appeal that is pending with the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

That’s what Paul Aasen, currently our MPCA commissioner, wrote in a Strib op-ed about his attrition litigation tactics in killing the Big Stone II power plant in Minnesota. It wasn’t about litigation. Aasen freely admits that MCEA and other militant environmentalist organizations that they kept suing until they killed the project.

If people didn’t understand how destructive the militant environmentalists, the EPA, this administration and the US Dept. of Interior are to the US economy before this, they should see it after reading this:

The people in Siskiyou were echoing points I’ve heard throughout rural California. As they see it, government regulators are pursuing controversial policies, i.e., diverting water from farms to save a bait fish, the Delta smelt, clamping down on carbon dioxide emissions to address global warming even if it means driving food processors out of the Central Valley, demolishing dams to increase a population of fish that isn’t endangered, without caring about the costs to rural residents.

Where the federal government shut down the flow of water to protect the Delta Smelt, unemployment shot up to 20-30%. It’s stayed there, too.

This economic terrorism must stop ASAP. Hopefully, these sheriffs and the determination of the people of northern California can defeat the federal government and the militant environmentalists. Hopefully, they can restore a measure of sanity to an insane, foolish state.

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A major contributor to Republican campaigns in Ohio has called for Kevin DeWine’s resignation. DeWine is the chairman of the Ohio Republican Party.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A generous Republican donor from Northeast Ohio has called for Ohio GOP Chairman Kevin DeWine’s resignation, stoking speculation of a rift between the party’s leadership and Republican Gov. John Kasich’s administration.

Jon Lindseth, a businessman from Hunting Valley who has contributed about $200,000 to Republican candidates since 2001, sent DeWine a brief e-mail on Thursday expressing his displeasure.

“Enough is enough,” said the e-mail, obtained by The Plain Dealer. “You crossed the line. Time for you to resign.”

The root of the problem appears to stem from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s now-infamous stop in the Cincinnati area this week.

Kevin DeWine’s stunt backfired on both DeWine and Gov. Romney. Ohio Republican insiders say that DeWine’s biggest problem is that he’s listening to Brett Buerck too much. Buerck is one of the Republicans that helped Ohio Republicans earn the reputation of being corrupt. This article explains how corrupt Buerck is:

Brett Buerck, Householder’s former chief of staff, closed his lucrative political consulting firm, First Tuesday, and is now a first-year law student at Ohio State University.

His sidekick, fund-raiser Kyle Sisk, lost his major Republican accounts, sold his home after claiming that records subpoenaed by a grand jury had been stolen from his billiards table and is involved in an undisclosed business venture.

Both declined to discuss the investigation.

At the Statehouse, Householder’s hand-picked successor, Jon Husted, has earned plaudits for a more inclusive and collegial leadership style as he works to shed the nickname “Little Larry.”

Husted, a Dayton-area Republican, fired Buerck and Sisk as consultants to the House GOP in 2004. Since then, he has publicly distanced himself from the pair while quietly helping behind the scenes. He wrote Buerck a letter of recommendation for law school, and his wife, Realtor Tina Husted, was the listing agent for the sale of Sisk’s $300,000 home.

‘The best and worst of everything’

Householder’s meteoric rise from insurance agent in hardscrabble New Lexington to House speaker is due in large part to the political prowess of Buerck, his brilliant, ruthless and hyper-vigilant top aide.

But it was Buerck who ultimately also brought Householder down by alienating colleagues who turned to law enforcement authorities and the news media.

Just 30 years old when he resigned from the House in August 2003, Buerck launched First Tuesday and within two months was pulling in more than $80,000 a month. His clients included two obscure Dayton firms whose goal was Householder’s goal, to install Husted as House speaker and Sen. Jeff Jacobson as Senate president.

Their plan nearly worked, but it collapsed the following summer after Husted and Jacobson, a suburban Dayton Republican, admitted they had routed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Buerck and Sisk through a tiny nonprofit called Citizens for Conservative Values and JSN Associates, a consulting firm run by James Nathanson, one of Jacobson’s closest friends.

In the following months, Buerck lost most of his consulting clients as friends and colleagues deserted him.

My Ohio contact said that there wasn’t a line Buerck wouldn’t cross. Based on this article, that’s pretty believable.

In 2006, alot of Republicans lost their House seats thanks to the plethora of GOP scandals that year. There was the Bob Ney-Jack Abramoff scandal, the Taft scandal and, apparently, the Buerck ripoff.

This is the picture of the ‘guy behind the guy’:

Buerck and Sisk raised millions of dollars for Householder and House Republicans by threatening to withhold financial support from wayward members who didn’t vote in lockstep with Householder on key pieces of legislation.

They also strong-armed members to embrace no-new-taxes pledges, using political nonprofits such as the Ohio Taxpayers Association to wage scorched-earth campaigns against Democrats and uncooperative Republican primary opponents.

“When I was trying to put together my first campaign brochure, they kept giving me paragraphs and I kept sending them back and saying, ‘I do my own writing,’ ” said Rep. Jim McGregor, a suburban Columbus Republican. “It’s the coin of the realm, it’s the only thing I have to give my voters, so I told them, ‘I can’t have you writing my words.’ “It was pretty confrontational.”

It’s painfully obvious that Mssrs. Buerck and Sisk are total control freaks. People with that type of personality frequently believe tha the ends justifies the means.

I don’t have proof but it wouldn’t be difficult for me to think that Mr. Buerck talked DeWine into embarrassing Gov. Kasich. Gov. Kasich has a lengthy history of being a man of integrity. He’s consistent to a fault. He started submitting balanced budget blueprints in 1989. He didn’t stop submitting balanced budget blueprints until he retired from Congress in 2001.

With Gov. Kasich, what you see is what you get. It’s really that simple.

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If ever an indictment against was to be written about Washington insiders, you could certainly do alot worse than starting with this article in the National Journal.

The large Republican presidential field, along with the dramatic surges and collapses of several of its candidates, may ultimately be much ado about nothing. That, at least, is the conclusion of the Republican strategists surveyed in this week’s National Journal Political Insiders Poll, who almost unanimously identified Mitt Romney as the most likely candidate to win the nomination. In the five times the GOP Insiders have been asked that question in 2011, Romney has never surrendered the top spot.

It’s apparent these Washington insiders don’t count trustworthiness, leadership and consistency as important characteristics in presidential candidates. If they did, they would’ve disqualified Mitt months ago. It’s apparent that the insiders consider having a spine optional, too.

This part is quite frightening:

Democratic Insiders, meanwhile, largely believe Republicans are on the right track, with more than two-thirds of them naming Romney as the strongest candidate the GOP could nominate for the 2012 election.

It’s proof that Democratic insiders are as out of touch with America’s heartland as GOP insiders. Seventy-one percent of Democrat insiders said that Mitt Romney would be the toughest candidate to run against, followed by 19% saying Gov. Huntsman would be the toughest, with Gov. Perry and “Other” each collecting 5% of Democrat insiders’ votes.

This isn’t insanity. It’s outright stupidity. The 2010 GOP landslide wasn’t won because Republicans recruited a great crop of squishy moderates. The GOP landslide was possible because they recruited great conservative candidates.

By picking Huntsman and Romney, the 2 most liberal GOP presidential candidates this year, Democratic insiders are either saying that 2010 didn’t happen or that it was just an aberration.

Without a fired up base, the GOP candidate can’t win. Without a solid conservative at the top of the ticket, the GOP loses alot of independents. With Romney as the GOP nominee, the TEA Party won’t enthusiastically support the GOP candidate. It’s that simple.

If these GOP insiders don’t care about winning, they should just admit it so we can ignore their opinions. If the GOP insiders like a flip-flopping, spineless, leadership-challenged candidate, that’s their right.

Here’s a little advice for the insiders from both parties: spend the next 2-3 months away from DC, away from the campaigns. Get into your cars and drive to Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Missouri, Iowa, West Virginia and Wisconsin. That’s what Salena Zito is doing, which is why she’s staying so connected with political reality.

While you’re away from DC, actually listen to real people. Find out what’s important to them. Don’t reflexively accept the Beltway’s conventional wisdom as Gospel fact.

If the DC insiders from both parties did that, most of the crap that’s happening in DC would be ridiculed until Beltway CW became a laughingstock.

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This morning, the Duluth News Tribune published this editorial written by Prof. Kent Kaiser on the subject of mining.

Here’s what Prof. Kaiser said in his editorial:

This month, Minnesota’s State Executive Council, which includes the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general and state auditor, voted to delay 77 leases to explore for copper and nickel on private lands in northern Minnesota.

This short-sighted action was initiated by Gov. Mark Dayton and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. It was unfortunate for the job situation in the Northland, and I know many Minnesotans are terribly disappointed.

After all, the people of Minnesota own the rights to minerals in the state, including those under private land. Anyone from Northeastern Minnesota knows this; I remember learning this fact in elementary school.

Dayton and Ritchie said they were responding to the complaints of a handful of Isabella-area landowners who supposedly didn’t know about the state’s century-old mineral laws. Yet most of the people testifying against the leases actually live in the Twin Cities area or are only transplants to the Northland. I think most Northlanders would agree: It’s inconceivable that someone from the Twin Cities or elsewhere would buy property in Northeastern Minnesota without being astute enough to learn the laws relevant to that land. If they didn’t: well, tough.

Gov. Dayton’s decision isn’t difficult to figure out. Gov. Dayton is doing whatever he can to support the militant environmentalists rather than supporting miners. That’s why Gov. Dayton hired Paul Aasen, a militant environmentalist, to be his MPCA Commissioner.

Prof. Kaiser notes in this paragraph that delaying mining projects is a habit of Gov. Dayton’s:

Indeed, Dayton’s actions this month were more consistent with his actions two decades ago. At that time, when he was on the State Executive Council as state auditor, he called for the postponement of mining lease votes so he could consult first with the Sierra Club.

Someone should create a sign for Gov. Dayton’s office door, perhaps something that conveys the message that job-killing special interest organizations are welcome. It’s clear that Gov. Dayton isn’t the jobs governor he campaigned as. He’s the unemployment governor, especially considering he needlessly laid off 23,000 workers this past July.

Gov. Dayton sided with Mark Ritchie when making this decision. That doesn’t mean everyone was on board with Gov. Dayton’s decision:

It should be noted that Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, a Duluthian, advocated for approving the leases, saying it was about jobs. Like most Northland residents, she understands. It is noteworthy, too, that State Auditor Rebecca Otto, from rural Marine on St. Croix, outside the metro beltway, also advocated aggressively for the leases.

It’s apparent that Gov. Dayton and the DFL don’t care about miners or the Iron Range. They care about tree huggers and the Arrowhead. (Yes, there’s a huge difference between the Range and the Arrowhead. Tree huggers inhabit the Arrowhead. Miners live on the Range.)

The difference between the two subregions is substantial. It’s like the difference between the tonier parts of St. Paul and the meat-packing areas of South St. Paul.

When Gov. Dayton sided with the tree huggers and Paul Aasen, he essentially told the miners ‘Go to hell.’ Prof. Kaiser highlights Gov. Dayton’s hypocrisy in this paragraph:

In an act of utter inconsistency (some might say hypocrisy) Gov. Dayton attended a “jobs summit” in Duluth just two days after quashing well-paying jobs in the Arrowhead region. (The average annual salary of a Minnesota miner is about $70,000, with benefits fully loaded on, far more than could be made in tourism or other industries in the region.)

Gov. Dayton’s decision to deny these hard-working miners the opportunity to make god wages for a number of years would change their lives just like mining would positively alter Minnesota’s revenue stream.

What’s noteworthy is that DFL legislators from the Range haven’t spoken out against Gov. Dayton’s giving the Range the finger. What did Gov. Dayton promise to buy their silence? Do Range DFL legislators put the DFL and their special interest allies first, their constituents second?

Based on the Executive Council’s decision, it’s apparent that the DFL is the Metro Party. They used to care about the Range and Central Minnesota. That can’t be said anymore.

They should scrap the DFL name, too. They can’t be pro labor, then push union miners under the bus. Catering to the PEU employees working in cushy offices isn’t being pro labor. That’s being pro special interest. There’s a huge difference.

Prof. Kaiser is spot on in highlighting the Dayton administration’s anti-mining policies. Likewise, he’s spot on with his noting Gov. Dayton’s hypocrisy on jobs issues.

Gov. Dayton is the best governor the militant environmentalist’s money could buy. It’s unfortunate that he’ll sell out the miners for a paltry few trinkets.

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