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It’s a great day in America, albeit a rare one, when an Obama-appointed judge limits the power of President Obama’s EPA, then mocks the EPA for its institutional arrogance. According to Don Surber’s post, that’s precisely what happened:

First and foremost, EPA’s interpretation fails because it is illogical and impractical. EPA claims that it is not revoking a permit, something it does not have the authority to do, because it is only withdrawing a specification. Yet EPA simultaneously insists that its withdrawal of the specification effectively nullifies the permit. To explain how this would be accomplished in the absence of any statutory provision or even any regulation that details the effect that EPA’s belated action would have on an existing permit, EPA resorts to magical thinking. It posits a scenario involving the automatic self-destruction of a written permit issued by an entirely separate federal agency after years of study and consideration. Poof! Not only is this nonrevocation revocation logistically complicated, but the possibility that it could happen would leave permittees in the untenable position of being unable to rely upon the sole statutory touchstone for measuring their Clean Water Act compliance: the permit.

It is further unreasonable to sow a lack of certainty into a system that was expressly intended to provide finality. Indeed, this concern prompted a number of amici to take up their pens and submit briefs to the Court. They argued that eliminating finality from the permitting process would have a significant economic impact on the construction industry, the mining industry, and other “aggregate operators,” because lenders and investors would be less willing to extend credit and capital if every construction project involving waterways could be subject to an open-ended risk of cancellation.

The EPA’s ruling is dripping with disdain for parts of the private sector. It’s apparent that the EPA hates coal and the companies that mine for it. It’s apparent, too, that Lisa Jackson’s EPA thinks it’s empowered to run roughshod over industries it doesn’t like.

This lawsuit is finished. The EPA can appeal the ruling to higher courts but this lawsuit is finished. When a judge rules that there’s no authority in any of the statutes that supports the EPA’s actions, that isn’t likely to get overturned.

What’s even better is that this coal-mining company might be eligible for compensation from the Equal Access to Justice Act since they proved their case. If they qualify for EAJA compensation, it means they’d get their legal bills paid by the federal government.

It’s a great day for justice in America.

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Tom Daschle’s op-ed on the fate of O’Care is carefully crafted spin. Not that that’s surprising from a man with tax avoidance issues. In a sense, that should be expected. Here’s how Sen. Daschle frames the O’Care-SCOTUS debate:

With hearings starting Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to deliver a pivotal decision that will profoundly affect the future of our country. At stake is whether millions of Americans can have greater access to affordable health care coverage or whether the nation’s health care system will be plagued by uncertainty, imbalance and spiraling costs.

The justices are to rule on a critical element of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the now two-year old, groundbreaking health care reform law. They will determine whether Congress has the authority, under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, to mandate that every U.S. citizen must buy health insurance.

This is what happens when politicians stay in DC way too long. They start thinking that the American people can’t think for themselve, that they’re incapable of telling markets what they want.

The real debate isn’t over whether O’Care is the solution to our imagined health insurance crisis. It’s whether the U.S. Constitution gives the federal government the authority to dictate its priorities onto the people it purports to serve.

Let’s cut to the chase. The U.S. Constitution doesn’t give the federal government that authority. Whatever the Supreme Court’s ruling, that’s the reality.

If the Supreme Court rules that O’Care is constitutional, it will have ruled that there’s nothing the federal government can’t force people to do. In the end, I suspect that’s why they’ll rule the individual and employer mandates unconstitutional.

Sen. Daschle couldn’t resist making this phony argument:

The only real question, in fact, is whether we have an individual mandate, one that requires individual responsibility, which I always thought was claimed as a conservative value, or we have a community mandate.

This isn’t a real question. It’s Sen. Daschle’s way of exposing his disdain for the Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers would’ve cringed at the thought of the federal government getting involved in the most intimate parts of people’s lives.

When the federal government imposes its priorities on the people it’s supposed to represent, it loses legitimacy. The Tenth Amendment says that those things not outlined in the Ninth Amendment belong to “the states or the people.” President Obama and Sen. Daschle apparently don’t like that part of the Bill of Rights. Apparently, they’re willing to willfully ignore parts of the Constitution and its amendments.

That’s known as tyranny, which must be stopped ASAP.

Sen. Dashle implies that O’Care will fix all that ails the U.S. health insurance industry. It does nothing of the sort. It makes things worse by telling insurance companies what types of coverage must be included in insurance policies.

Here’s a glimpse at a total fabrication:

Congress was well aware of the experience of these states and knew that the insurance market reforms at the heart of improving coverage under this new act are inextricably linked to a mandate that requires all of us to take responsibility for our health.

If “Congress was well aware” that required a mandate to fix the health insurance industry, why did then-candidate Obama oppose individual and employer mandates?

The truth is that Sen. Daschle is spinning like a top. There isn’t a morsel of truth in his op-ed.

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Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Franken are doing their best to hide their disdain for fossil fuels. Meanwhile, the Strib’s Kevin Diaz is doing his best to hide their disdain for fossil fuels:

The price of oil is spiking, and Minnesota motorists are buying gas now at nearly $4 a gallon.

With the summer driving season close at hand, and a presidential election right behind, lawmakers in Washington are scrambling for answers. Republicans in Congress have renewed their calls for more domestic oil drilling and the speedy approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada to refineries across the United States.

But Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, both Democrats, say they have an additional solution: Clamp down on oil speculators.

I don’t doubt that speculators have something to do with driving up oil prices. I’m certain that President Obama’s trillion dollar deficits are driving oil prices higher by driving gold prices higher.

Ultimately, though, President Obama’s failed energy policies are what’s driving gas prices soaring. President Obama’s insistence on funding failures like Solyndra, coupled with his hostility towards fossil fuels, are driving prices higher.

Klobuchar and Franken have just introduced a long-shot bill to limit “excessive speculation.” The term, which has so far eluded a precise definition, re-opens a volatile election-year debate about the true causes of rising gas prices.

This is the type of non-solution BS that Minnesota voters should expect from Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Franken. Not only does their legislation not fix the underlying problem. It’s wording is so vague that it defies definition.

If Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Franken aren’t willing to think this through long enough to even give “excessive speculation” a definition, then it isn’t legislation that should be taken seriously. It should be viewed as a PR stunt, something that Sen. Klobuchar is an expert at.

Neither Sen. Klobuchar or Sen. Franken will admit this but increasing oil production will lower gas prices:

NEWT GINGRICH: It’s a funny thing. They’ve asked the Saudi Arabians to pump alot more oil. Dr. Chu, the Secretary of Energy, said that he was grateful that they were going to do it. He said he hoped it would drive down prices. So apparently, drilling in Saudi Arabia is fine. Paying the Saudis billions of dollars is fine. Having the royalties go to the Saudis is fine. It’s the Americans that Obama doesn’t want to help.

If Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Franken won’t be honest with Minnesotans about gas prices, why should Minnesotans trust them about anything?

Sen. Klobuchar hasn’t done a thing to show she’s for fossil fuels. Neither has Sen. Franken. Until they do, Minnesotans should expect them to do nothing substantive to lower gas prices.

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When it comes to energy policy, President Obama can’t talk about coal-fired power plants. According to Salena Zito’s latest article, that’s leading to re-election difficulties, especially in Ohio and Pennsylvania:

Today, coal still generates more than half of Pennsylvania’s electrical power, according to Edward Yankovich, United Mine Workers District II vice president. “In Ohio, 80 percent,” he added.

Yet it is the one energy resource about which President Obama dares not speak. In fact, Obama has not mentioned it since last year — and then, only in passing at a news conference.

Last Thursday, in what the White House touted as his “big American-made energy” speech, the president never mentioned coal.

“That’s — that is just disappointing,” said T.J. Rooney, former chairman of Pennsylvania Democrats, who oversaw several very successful election cycles for his party.

Yankovich refused to criticize Obama but suggested driving to one of Somerset County’s electricity-generating windmills to see how many cars are in its parking lot. “None. None,” he said. “But drive over to Homer City in Indiana County, and you will see 200 to 300 at any time of the day.”

The coal-fired Homer City power plant is pretty imposing, home to the nation’s second-tallest smokestack. Its owner is in the midst of proposing a $725 million pollution-abatement project, to avoid it being one of more than 100 coal-fired plants that power generators recently decided to shut down, including six in Pennsylvania, ahead of new federal clean-air rules that take effect in 2015.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said we need to find a balance of wind, sun and clean coal.

“It’s not just jobs, it is costs, too,” he said, referring to monthly electric bills. “That last thing we need in this slow-moving economy is rising energy bills, not just at the pump but in the home as well.”

In 2008, President Obama claimed an impressive victory in Pennsylvania while winning Ohio. This year, alot of polls show President Obama trailing in both states. If President Obama loses both states, he’ll lose by 50-75 electoral votes. Minimum.

If I were the GOP nominee’s consultant, I’d tell him to relentlessly run ads featuring President Obama’s San Francisco speech in which he said his cap and trade bill would cause electricity prices to “necessarily skyrocket” the last 2 weeks of the campaign in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Sen. Casey is in trouble because of coal, too. He’s been a wimp on standing up to President Obama on coal. By comparison, Joe Manchin, D-WVA, stood up to President Obama on Cap and Trade and coal mining.

Wimps like Bob Casey shouldn’t get rewarded for standing up for the people that he’s supposed to represent. If you aren’t a forceful leader, then you aren’t representing your state.

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One of the DFL’s chanting points on Photo ID is that Minnesota has a great election system because voter participation is traditionally among the highest in the nation. They then, incorrectly, attribute that to Minnesota’s voting laws.

I’d argue Minnesota’s voter participation rates are high because Minnesotans are that interested in politics, not because of the laws.

That’s a fight that won’t get settled today. There is something that should be settled ASAP. Should election laws make it easy as defined by the DFL’s rules?

I’d argue that they shouldn’t be. For example, the DFL insists on same day registration and vouching be part of Minnesota’s election laws. There’s proof that both practices make it easy for people to commit voter fraud.

I’ve written repeatedly about the voter fraud plan that ACT put together for the 2004 presidential election. I’ve written about the 10 to 13 mysterious laundromat-dwellers in Smalltown, MN who voted in 2008.

These incidents are proof that voter fraud exists as a direct result of laws that the DFL insist must be part of Minnesota’s election laws. I’d argue that Minnesota’s election laws be straightforward but that they should prevent the voter fraud that’s currently happening.

Minnesota’s election laws should make it relatively easy for legal voters to vote but that prevent voter fraud from cancelling out legally cast votes. Minnesota’s election laws don’t prevent voter fraud. Minnesota’s election laws make it easy to commit voter fraud.

When election judge Rick Smithson testified in front of the House Local Government and Elections Committee, he said that “between 10 and 13 people” a) insisted on using same day registration and b) insisted that they lived at the local laundromat.

That’s what voter fraud looks like. You don’t need a Photo ID to know that these people are committing voter fraud. Unfortunately, Minnesota’s laws don’t allow competent election judges from preventing voter fraud. That’s because Minnesota is an after-the-fact state.

Photo ID, however, would prevent those laundromat-dwellers from casting a regular ballot, then being prosecuted later after their illegal votes decided a close local election.

The election laws that the DFL insists on are safeguard-free. They’re all about making voting as easy as possible. The DFL insists that voter fraud isn’t happening even though there’s tons of evidence that it’s happening. (If you don’t believe it’s happening, ask Janet Beihoffer about “vapor voters” sometime. After listening to Janet’s lengthy list of facts, honest people will agree voter fraud is happening in Minnesota.)

It’s my opinion that there needs to be a balance between straightforward voting laws and safeguarding against voting fraud. The DFL’s laws tilt only towards making it easy to vote, even if it means making voter fraud easy to commit.

That’s bad policy, which is why Photo ID will pass overwhelmingly when it’s put to the voters.

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NFL draftniks like me can’t wait for the full-day coverage of the NFL Entry Draft. That’s especially true for Vikings fans this year. Following a dismal season, the Vikings need a great draft, filling alot of holes at alot of different positions.

After releasing Bryant McKinnie last year, the hole at left tackle is as big a hole as they’ve got. When the Vikings defeated Washington in the next-to-last week of the season, I thought they totally blew it. Had they lost, they would’ve started with the 2nd pick, which would’ve turned into Washington’s first rounders this year, next year and the year after that. Plus Washington’s second rounder this year.

For those keeping score at home, that means the Vikings would’ve had the 6th overall pick, the 35th overall pick and the 38th overall pick this year. That isn’t great news from the standpoint that the Vikings certainly wouldn’t have gotten USC OT Matt Kalil with the 6th overall pick.

This is what Todd McShay recently said about Kalil:

The Vikings just missed out on being able to cash in with the second overall pick, but with Baylor QB Robert Griffin III likely to be the pick there, Minnesota is in a position to finally begin shoring up its offensive line with an elite prospect. Kalil is one of the top left tackles I have evaluated coming out of college, with a skill set equal to Joe Thomas and a mean streak to go with it.

Joe Thomas is an elite LT. Being compared favorably with Thomas speaks volumes. The part about Kalil having “a mean streak to go with it” must make Adrian Peterson, Christian Ponder and Toby Gerhart smile from ear-to-ear.

Scott Wright at Draftcountdown.com has equally complimentary things to say about Kalil:

USC OT Matt Kalil is the reason that his former teammate Tyron Smith, who was the #10 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys, was relegated to playing the right side in college. Kalil, whose brother Ryan plays for the Carolina Panthers and is one of the leagues premier centers, isn’t a finished product but he possesses the physical tools and intangibles to develop into an elite blindside protector.

Having an elite blindside left tackle to protect the QB and open holes for Adrian Peterson would be a positive step forward for the Vikings. In the second round, Wright predicts that the Vikings will pick Zack Brown, an athletic outside linebacker from North Carolina.

If the Vikings get an elite LT with the third overall pick and an athletic outside linebacker in the second round, they will have started filling alot of the holes they’ve got.

As the countdown clock edges toward zeros, check back with DraftCountdown. Scott Wright is one of the most diligent mock draft people in the business. That’s proved by his record and his willingness to be one of the few people who’ll mock the first three rounds.

Other than the guy with Jimmy Johnson hair, Mike Mayock and Pat Kirwan, I can’t think of another guy whose mock drafts I’d trust more than Scott’s.

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During last night’s Senate debate on Photo ID, DFL Sen. Patricia Torres Ray highlighted the DFL’s most often-used argument, that there isn’t a problem with voter fraud. Here’s how Sen. Torres-Ray highlighted it:

DFLers contended there’s no need for photo IDs. Before the debate, Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, DFL-Minneapolis, said the proponents produced no evidence of voter impersonation in Minnesota.

Only 113 of the 2.9 million Minnesotans who voted in 2008 were convicted of voter fraud, Torres Ray said, and the vast majority of them were felons with valid driver’s licenses who mistakenly assumed their voting rights had been restored when they were released on parole or probation.

First, voter impersonation isn’t the only type of voter fraud that Photo ID will stop. The DFL’s myth that Photo ID will only stop voter impersonation voter fraud must be shot down ASAP because it’s a bald-faced lie.

At a March 8 House hearing, election judge Rick Smithson testified to how voter fraud was committed in the small town where he’s a veteran election judge:

RICK SMITHSON: We had an incident. I live in a small town of about 900 people and we had — I’m not sure. I called one of the city council members to ask him. It was between 10 and 13 people came into the same day registration table. And by the way, I election judge all the time so I’ve seen situations like this, not necessarily exactly like this but very similar ones.

On this particular night, between 10 and 13 people showed up for same day registration. They all claimed the local laundromat address as their residence. When we challenged it, we called the State Auditors Office and we were told that there was nothing we could do about it. We were told that we couldn’t interfere with their right to vote but we could make note of it.

Is Sen. Torres-Ray going to argue that these 13 people weren’t committing voter fraud? Is Sen. Torres-Ray willing to argue that 13 people listing a small town laundromat as their address isn’t highly suspicious? Is the DFL willing to fight with Sen. Torres-Ray in saying that this wasn’t voter fraud?

If they’re willing to do that, what does that say about Sen. Torres-Ray’s and the DFL’s willingness to either lie or willfully ignore the truth? If they’re willing to do those things, doesn’t that demolish their credibility on this issue? Doesn’t their dishonesty discredit their arguments?

Let’s dip into what impersonation is.

It isn’t just when Frank Wilson of Lake Wobegon goes into the town of Garage Logic and asks for a ballot as Joe Soucheray. Voter impersonation happens when a group of people from Wisconsin comes into Minnesota and asks to do same day registration, especially if the people insist that the town’s laundromat is their home address.

A great way to detect voter impersonation is when the PVCs for same day registrants are sent to the laundromat, then are returned as undeliverable or the peeople don’t live at that address.

When the Cuyahoga River caught fire, people didn’t need a detector to know that the river was polluted. It was self-evident. When the MnDNR says that a river, lake, stream or pond is polluted, it doesn’t wait until the lake, river, stream or pond catches fire.

The MnDNR usually finds out that the water is polluted because they’ve taken water samples, then had the samples analyzed. These tests test for any number of elements, from mercury to phosphorous.

The point is that it’s impossible to detect subtle types of pollution without testing it.

As straightforward as that is, the DFL is insisting that it knows that voter fraud isn’t happening without testing for voter fraud. That’s like me arguing my favorite fishing lake isn’t polluted because it doesn’t look polluted.

When Sen. Patricia Torres-Ray says that voter fraud isn’t happening because there’s few convictions of voter fraud, it’s the same as me arguing that my favorite fishing lake is pollution-free because nobody’s fished it besides me in years.

Finally, We The People don’t work for the Patricia Torres-Rays and her special interest allies. The Patricia Torres-Rays of the world work for We The People.

It’s time that We The People told PTR and her special interest allies that we insist on election integrity that’s verified through Photo ID, not the honor system.

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Recently, the DFL and their special interest allies have insisted that “the only voter fraud Photo ID would prevent is voter impersonation.” It’s part of the DFL’s chanting points. (I can’t prove it but I think they might mumble it in their sleep.) This video proves that the DFL’s chanting points aren’t accurate:

This is the transcript of Rick Smithson’s testimony:

RICK SMITHSON: We had an incident. I live in a small town of about 900 people and we had — I’m not sure. I called one of the city council members to ask him. It was between 10 and 13 people came into the same day registration table. And by the way, I election judge all the time so I’ve seen situations like this, not necessarily exactly like this but very similar ones.

On this particular night, between 10 and 13 people showed up for same day registration. They all claimed that the local laundromat address as their residence. When we challenged it, we called the State Auditors Office and we were told that there was nothing we could do about it. We were told that we couldn’t interfere with their right to vote but we could make note of it.

That’s how strong our election laws are. When I went through election judge training, I was told that if somebody wanted to vote, there was really nothing I could do. There’s nothing you can do to stop people from voting 3 or 4 times. You can only report it after the fact.

Whichever definition you use of voter fraud, Mr. Smithson’s testimony is about voter fraud. Knowing, willful voting fraud.

When the Photo ID debate started heating up, all of the corrupt DFL special interest organizations started singing from the same hymnal. Photo ID would only prevent voter impersonation voter fraud, they insisted.

Like dutiful DFL foot soldiers, the Twin Cities accepted that information like it was etched in stone tablets by God’s finger on Mount Sinai.

The DFL’s insistence that voter impersonation is the only thing that Photo ID would prevent is verifiably false.

First, Photo ID would stop vouching voter fraud because Photo ID eliminates vouching. There’s proof that at least one national organization put together a voter fraud scheme based specifically on Minnesota’s vouching system:

Election Day is upon us. You are confirmed to volunteer with ACT (America Coming Together – http://www.actforvictory.org/) on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov 2.

We will be creating name badges that include your Ward and Precinct information for each of the thousands of volunteers that day to make it easier to find a volunteer to vouch for a voter at the polls.

I am emailing you to request your street address, city and zipcode. We’ve already got your other contact information, but your record in our database does not include this information.

You can save us time on election day by replying today to this email with this information, or give us a call at [phone number with St. Paul area code].

In order to get your badge correct, please reply by Thursday.

Thank you for your help and cooperation. See you on Election Day!

We have verifiable proof that people that claim a small-town laundromat were allowed to vote illegally. We have verifiable proof that a progressive national voter registration/GOTV organization put together a voter fraud system based specifically on Minnesota’s vouching laws.

That’s before talking about the mysterious W1P1 bus that showed up on St. Cloud State’s campus to vote.

For those not familiar with St. Cloud’s political geography, W1P1 is the entire SCSU campus plus a pair of apartment buildings a block to the north of the campus. W1P1 is 3 blocks from east to west. At most, it’s 7 blocks from north to south.

This was brought up by a pollwatcher stationed at the voting booth. This pollwatcher won’t testify out of fear of being the victim of employer retribution.

Here’s the first question that needs to be asked: Why would university students need a bus to take them from one end of campus to the other to vote? Here’s the next question: Why would these students rent a bus from Minnetonka to take them across campus?

Contrary to the DFL and organizations like TakeAction Minnesota, Photo ID would prevent each of these types of voter fraud.

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I’m watching the Senate debate HF2738, the Photo ID bill from the House of Representatives. Sen. Goodwin just talked about same day registration. She said (I’m paraphrasing here but it’s close) “When people do same day registration, then tries to register somewhere else with another name, they will be caught and prosecuted.”

Either Sen. Goodwin is lying through her teeth or she’s intellectually challenged. Sen. Goodwin can’t say that with any intellectual integrity. It’s impossible for an election judge in St. Cloud to know whether a person is registered elsewhere under another name.

The only way that it’s possible to catch that person is if a citizen follows that person from one polling station to another. Since it isn’t likely that a citizen will follow voters from one polling station to another, the chances of catching a person who’s registered in 2 different precincts or 2 different cities under 2 distinctly different names is essentially nonexistent.

During an earlier part of the debate, Sen. Bakk did his best to deceitfully play on people’s heartstrings. He talked about his 92-year-old uncle. Sen. Bakk said that his uncle is living in a veterans home in Silver Bay, MN. He implied that his uncle doesn’t have a state-issued identification card or a current drivers license.

Sen. Bakk then made an amendment to exempt people in veterans homes in Silver Bay and several other cities from the Photo ID amendment.

The truth is that they’re already exempted because they need identification to enter such a facility. Whether it’s a veterans nursing home or a nursing home for people who didn’t serve in the military, the people are exempted because their identities have been established when they entered the nursing home.

The DFL’s arguments have all failed. That’s why they’re reduced to emotional arguments based on false premises. They know that Photo ID will become part of the Constitution if they can’t deceitfully tug on people’s heartstrings.

Missing from the DFL’s argument, though, is the proof that Photo ID will prevent people from voting.

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Anyone that thinks that this will be a strong cycle for Democrats better rethink things. In his latest article, Dick Morris highlights why Harry Reid won’t be majority leader this time next year. Morris starts with the lowest of the low-hanging fruit:

Florida
Congressman Connie Mack, the likely challenger to Democratic Senator Bill Nelson currently leads by 43-36 according to Rasmussen’s poll of March 13, 2012. With Nelson so far under 50%, he is meat.

Nebraska
With Ben Nelson out of the way, this seat is a foregone conclusion for the Republicans. Jon Bruning, the front-runner among Republican candidates, leads former Senator Bob Kerry by 55-33 in Rasmussen’s March 15, 2012 survey.

Missouri
Sarah Steelman, my personal favorite among Republican contenders, is ahead of Claire McKaskill by an unbelievable 51-41 according to Rasmussen’s March 15th poll.

Right after O’Care was passed, pundits like Karl Rove and others said that the next 2-3 election cycles would be difficult for Democrats. That was certainly true in the 2010 landslide. It appears to be repeating itself, though not to the extraordinary length of 2010.

For me, the stunner of these races is Jon Bruning’s lead over Bob Kerrey. Leading a retired U.S. senator by 22 points isn’t a tiny accomplishment.

Claire McCaskill tried sounding more moderate the last 18 months than her first years in office. Apparently, it hasn’t helped. She’s still getting her backside kicked.

Of these races, Connie Mack’s lead over Bill Nelson is the smallest. That doesn’t mean Bill Nelson isn’t in a ton of trouble. It just means he’s performing at a less terrible level of trouble than McCaskill and Kerrey.

The bad news for Democrats is that the beatings extend to other races:

Montana
A tough race because both incumbent Democratic Senator Jon Tester and his challenger, Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg represent the entire state, the Republican has moved out to a 47-44 lead in Rasmussen’s February 22, 2012 poll.

North Dakota
An obvious Republican pickup now that Democratic Senator Kent Conrad has retired. I hope that Republican Duane Sand, a genuine conservative, wins his primary against Republican Congressman Rick Berg.

Wisconsin
While former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson faces a tough primary challenge from Mark Neumann, he still sports a 50-36 lead over Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin in Rasmussen’s Feb 27, 2012 poll.

Ohio
Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, the most liberal member of that body, is trailing conservative Republican Josh Mandel by 44-40 in Rasmussen’s February 8, 2012 poll. Any incumbent Senator who can only amass 40% of the vote needs to look for a new job.

These are stunning figures. While it’s true they aren’t dominating numbers like the first three races I mentioned, they’re still impressive numbers. Wisconsin hadn’t had a GOP senator in decades prior to Ron Johnson’s victory.

Prior to John Hoeven’s victory in North Dakota, that state had been represented by Democrat in the House and Senate for decades, too. Now that state’s representation in DC will be Republicans. That’s a dramatic shift from the decades of Dorgan, Conrad and Pomeroy representation.

Josh Mandel is this year’s Marco Rubio. Mandel is conservative, young and charismatic. Sherrod Brown won’t know what hit him once this race develops a bit more.

If that was the extent of the trouble Democrats find themselves in, they’d probably be relieved. Unfortunately, it isn’t their only problem:

Virginia
Former Governors George Allen and Tim Kaine were tied at 46-46 in Rasmussen’s February 21 poll. The open seat, now held by the Democrats, is a very possible GOP takeaway.

New Mexico
After Democrat Jeff Bingaman’s retirement, the race between Republican Lt Governor Heather Wilson and Democratic Congressman Mark Heinrich is very tight. Heinrich nursed a 45-43 lead in Rasmussen’s February 14th survey.

Michigan
In my own poll of February 15, 2012, Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow was clinging to a narrow 46-43 lead over former Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra.

Of these races, the bellweather race to watch is the Michigan race. Michigan’s unions will be out in force this year. They’ll want to prove that they’re still politically relevant.

If Hoekstra defeats Stabenow, coupled with a Tommy Thompson victory in Wisconsin and a Josh Mandel victory in Ohio, would flatten the union movement for a decade.

One race that isn’t on Morris’ list is the race in Massachusetts. If Scott Brown wins re-election, which I think is likely, he will have won re-election to Ted Kennedy’s seat. The symbolic nature of that victory can’t be overestimated.

This won’t be a good year for Democrats. Though it won’t be the wipeout that 2010 was, that doesn’t mean it won’t be a stinging defeat for them.

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