Archive for May, 2012

The ACLU of Minnesota, the League of Women Voters-Minnesota, Common Cause MN and Jewish Community Action filed suit yesterday to keep the Photo ID constitutional amendment off of November’s ballot:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, the League of Women Voters Minnesota, Jewish Community Action and Common Cause Minnesota are petitioning the state Supreme Court to strike down the voter ID ballot question, because they claim it would create one of the most restrictive election laws in the country.

Chuck Samuelson, executive director of the ACLU Minnesota, said during a news conference at a downtown Minneapolis law office that the proposed constitutional amendment would do far more than what the question describes. Samuelson said there’s no mention of a new provisional ballot system or the potential end of same-day registration.

“We believe that the voters of Minnesota have a right to know what they’re voting on,” Samuelson said. “This petition is about ensuring that all Minnesota voters know the full extent of what this amendment could do and the impact it could have on hundreds of thousands of Minnesota voters.”

This isn’t unexpected. In fact, DFL legislators started laying the groundwork for it during floor debates this session.

Rep. Ryan Winkler and other DFL legislators insisted that the real intent of the constitutional amendment was to eliminate same day registration. That’s nothing more than the DFL’s typical fearmongering.

Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer frequently informed DFL legislators that eliminating same day registration wasn’t part of the constitutional amendment.

Eliminating same day registration isn’t planned. If it were, why would there be a need for provisional ballots? Secretary of State Mark Ritchie admitted as much during a visit to St. Cloud recently.

Pentelovitch also believes that the proposed voter ID requirement would essentially end Minnesota’s tradition of same-day registration. He said that’s because election officials will face too many complications at polling places trying to verify the identification of voters. But voter ID supporters firmly disagree.

“That is not true. That is absolutely not true,” said Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, a chief sponsor of the voter ID constitutional amendment bill.

Newman said the practice of vouching for the identity of other voters will end. But he insists eligible Minnesotans will still be able to show up at their polling place on Election Day and register to vote, even without an identification.

“If they show up on Election Day without the requisite identification, they will be allowed register,” he said. “They will be allowed to vote. But their vote will be provisional, and it will not count unless and until they come back with the necessary identification.”

It’s time to get rid of the voter fraud in Minnesota. Yes, there’s voter fraud here. It’s just that people like Mark Ritchie and Joe Mansky haven’t been looking for it.

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The latest polling from Marquette University shows Gov. Walker’s lead holding steady:

Milwaukee, Wis. – A new Marquette Law School poll finds Governor Scott Walker with 52 percent to Mayor Tom Barrett with 45 percent among 600 likely voters in next week’s recall election. That lead falls slightly short of statistical significance. The poll was taken May 23-26, with most interviews completed before last Friday’s first gubernatorial debate, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percentage points. Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch had 46 percent and Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin president Mahlon Mitchell had 41 percent, with 11 percent not expressing a preference. The margin in the Lt. Governor’s race is not statistically significant.

The seven-point advantage for Walker was statistically unchanged from the six-point margin two weeks ago in the Marquette Law School poll taken May 9-12, when Walker had 50 percent to Barrett’s 44 percent.

That polling doesn’t mean it’s time for complacency for the campaign. Quite the opposite.

There’s an old football saying that goes something like this:

Tackling isn’t finished when you wrap your arms around the ball carrier. The tackle is finished when you piledrive the guy into the ground.

Now’s the time for the Walker campaign, the Wisconsin GOP and anyone with free time to help to finish the job and to pull Rebecca Kleefisch and the senators with them.

President Reagan proclaimed the strategy eloquently when he said this:

Reagan, unlike most of his Cold War predecessors, stated the objective clearly and simply: “Here’s my strategy on the Cold War: We win; they lose.”

That’s the strategy for Gov. Walker’s campaign this weekend.

It’s time to win one for Scott Walker. It’s time to win one for Wisconsin taxpayers.

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This letter from Artur Davis is another major indictment against President Obama:

While I’ve gone to great lengths to keep this website a forum for ideas, and not a personal forum, I should say something about the various stories regarding my political future in Virginia, the state that has been my primary home since late December 2010. The short of it is this: I don’t know and am nowhere near deciding. If I were to run, it would be as a Republican. And I am in the process of changing my voter registration from Alabama to Virginia, a development which likely does represent a closing of one chapter and perhaps the opening of another.

As to the horse-race question that animated parts of the blogosphere, it is true that people whose judgment I value have asked me to weigh the prospect of running in one of the Northern Virginia congressional districts in 2014 or 2016, or alternatively, for a seat in the Virginia legislature in 2015. If that sounds imprecise, it’s a function of how uncertain political opportunities can be—and if that sounds expedient, never lose sight of the fact that politics is not wishfulness, it’s the execution of a long, draining process to win votes and help and relationships while your adversaries are working just as hard to tear down the ground you build.

I by no means underestimate the difficulty of putting together a campaign again, especially in a community to which I have no long-standing ties. I have a mountain of details to learn about this northern slice of Virginia and its aspirations, and given the many times I have advised would-be candidates to have a platform and a reason for serving, as opposed to a desire to hold an office, that learning curve is one I would take seriously.

And the question of party label in what remains a two team enterprise? That, too, is no light decision on my part: cutting ties with an Alabama Democratic Party that has weakened and lost faith with more and more Alabamians every year is one thing; leaving a national party that has been the home for my political values for two decades is quite another. My personal library is still full of books on John and Robert Kennedy, and I have rarely talked about politics without trying to capture the noble things they stood for. I have also not forgotten that in my early thirties, the Democratic Party managed to engineer the last run of robust growth and expanded social mobility that we have enjoyed; and when the party was doing that work, it felt inclusive, vibrant, and open-minded.

But parties change. As I told a reporter last week, this is not Bill Clinton’s Democratic Party (and he knows that even if he can’t say it). If you have read this blog, and taken the time to look for a theme in the thousands of words (or free opposition research) contained in it, you see the imperfect musings of a voter who describes growth as a deeper problem than exaggerated inequality; who wants to radically reform the way we educate our children; who despises identity politics and the practice of speaking for groups and not one national interest; who knows that our current course on entitlements will eventually break our solvency and cause us to break promises to our most vulnerable—that is, if we don’t start the hard work of fixing it.

On the specifics, I have regularly criticized an agenda that would punish businesses and job creators with more taxes just as they are trying to thrive again. I have taken issue with an administration that has lapsed into a bloc by bloc appeal to group grievances when the country is already too fractured: frankly, the symbolism of Barack Obama winning has not given us the substance of a united country. You have also seen me write that faith institutions should not be compelled to violate their teachings because faith is a freedom, too. You’ve read that in my view, the law can’t continue to favor one race over another in offering hard-earned slots in colleges: America has changed, and we are now diverse enough that we don’t need to accommodate a racial spoils system. And you know from these pages that I still think the way we have gone about mending the flaws in our healthcare system is the wrong way—it goes further than we need and costs more than we can bear.

Taken together, these are hardly the enthusiasms of a Democrat circa 2012, and they wouldn’t be defensible in a Democratic primary. But they are the thoughts and values of ten years of learning, and seeing things I once thought were true fall into disarray. So, if I were to leave the sidelines, it would be as a member of the Republican Party that is fighting the drift in this country in a way that comes closest to my way of thinking: wearing a Democratic label no longer matches what I know about my country and its possibilities.

Full confession: you won’t find in my columns a poll tested candidate who could satisfy a litmus test. Immigration is a classic example: I wince at the Obama Administration’s efforts to tell states they can’t say the word immigration in their state laws, and find it foolish when I hear their lawyers say that a local cop can’t determine the legal status of a suspect validly in their custody. At the same time, I wince when I see Latinos who have a lawful right to be here have to dodge the glare of so-called “self-deportation laws” that look too uncomfortably like profiling. (It’s a good thing Virginia hasn’t gone that path). And while I haven’t written about the subject as much as I should have, I can’t defend every break in our tax code, or every special interest set-aside, as a necessary tool of a free market. And I can’t say every dollar spent on our weak and our marginal is a give-away: a just government is mindful of the places where prosperity never shines (and I give a lot of credit to an undisputed conservative, Mitch Daniels in Indiana, for saying so, and doing it at the nation’s leading conservative political caucus at that.)

A voter and a columnist have all the freedom in the world to say these things; perhaps a candidate does, too. Should I ever cross that bridge again, I will be trusting voters more than ever (despite having seen how wrong they can get it!) to test ability more than rigid ideology, and to accept that experience changes minds (if it is so in our lives, why shouldn’t it be so in our politics?) I might well decide that all of that is asking too much, and that party demands too much for a guy who doesn’t fit a partisan caricature. Or I might someday not so far off say, “Let the people decide.” Stay tuned.

Another Democrat leaves the Obama Democratic Party. I can’t say I’m surprised.

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President Obama best hope that Salena Zito’s article isn’t a trend. If it is, he’s in trouble that he can’t get out of:

Jo Ann Nardelli says she feels like she lost part of her family.

The longtime Democrat from Blair County quit the party and registered as a Republican, and then boldly walked in a Memorial Day parade in support of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

“A couple of people who I thought were friends turned their backs on me, literally, as I was walking in the parade,” she said on Tuesday. “I have to admit it made me sad, but that is the way it is.”

Nardelli, 59, a former borough council member in Newry, outside Altoona, registered as a Democrat after high school and rose to the party’s executive board. She was vice president of the women’s caucus and first vice president of the Pennsylvania Federation of Democratic Women when she quit last week.

“This was not an easy decision,” Nardelli said. “I prayed over it.”

This isn’t what President Obama needs in the Rust Belt. If he doesn’t carry Pennsylvania, he’s history. If he’s forced to fight tooth and nail for Pennsylvania, he’s in trouble.

This quote has to scare President Obama:

Rendell, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, last week expressed his displeasure with the campaign’s attack on Bain Capital, the Boston private equity firm that Romney once led. The campaign has portrayed Romney as a heartless profiteer who enriched himself with corporate buyouts that led to bankruptcies and layoffs.

“I think they’re very disappointing,” Rendell said of the ads in an MSNBC interview. Asked whether he is for or against the Obama campaign, Rendell answered, “Neither.”

When a Democrat president gets a lukewarm reception from Gov. Rendell, he’s in trouble.

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Months ago, Tarryl Clark announced that she was joining the Blue Green Alliance, undoubtedly thinking it would be an asset in her campaign:

Tarryl Clark joined the BlueGreen Alliance as National Co-Chair of Jobs21! Prior to her work on Jobs21!, Tarryl was elected to the Assistant Majority Leader of the Minnesota State Senate after an unprecedented 11 months as a state senator representing conservative-leaning central Minnesota.

Before her election, Tarryl led the Minnesota Community Action Partnership, coordinated the Northwest Area Foundation Devolution Project, and focused on policy and systems change work at the Children’s Defense Fund-MN and the Legal Services Advocacy Project. Tarryl uses the skills she gained as attorney, counselor, organizer, project developer, commissioner, youth minister, researcher, coalition builder, and mom to bring people together and find common ground in developing and implementing high-impact strategies to ensure the opportunity for everyone to achieve their potential and to increase the quality of lives.

Powerline’s post has me thinking that Tarryl’s decision will backfire if she wins the DFL primary:

In addition to the environmental groups like the NRDC and the Sierra Club, unions like SEIU have also joined an umbrella organization (the BlueGreen Alliance) to lobby for federal funding for “green” projects. Collectively, these groups have been involved in hundreds of lawsuits with the federal government over stopping fossil energy projects. Key political appointees at the DOI are former employees of the NRDC and other environmental groups.

Like the Department of Energy, DOI did not adequately vet the financial health of several of these favored companies. The failures of Solyndra and Beacon Power are well known, and reports indicate that at least two other companies (Nevada Geothermal and First Solar) may go bankrupt in the near future. But as ABC News reported, a pattern has emerged whereby green energy firms receive taxpayer dollars and then file for bankruptcy—“but not before the firms doled out six-figure bonuses and payouts to top executives.”

I can’t imagine Tarryl benefitting from “being involved in hundreds of lawsuits with the federal government over stopping fossil energy projects” in the general election. I can see it helping her with Arrowhead voters but the MNGOP, NRCC and Crossroads GPS would crucify her with this information in the general election.

Similarly, I can’t imagine Tarryl having an easy time explaining how she supported loans for green energy companies that went bankrupt…right after they “doled out six-figure bonuses and payouts to top executives.”

CD-8 doesn’t need a legislator well-skilled in the art of crony corruption. It doesn’t need Tarryl Clark.

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After Mitt hit the Obama administration hard on his use of taxpayers’ money to pay off President Obama’s political allies, it was just a matter of time before the Obama campaign hit back. Unfortunately for the Obama campaign, the issues they’re fighting on are losers. This article highlights the feeble arguments that this administration is making:

“As Governor, Romney called for a moratorium on offshore wind energy in Massachusetts, which would have severely hampered the development of that clean energy and impacted job growth across the state,” Smith said in a statement, referring to the planned Cape Wind project off the Massachusetts coast.

Smith also defended the embattled Energy Department loan program, noting its bipartisan roots, and other White House investments in alternative energy. The 2009 stimulus law steered tens of billions of dollars into various alternative energy and efficiency programs.

“President Obama’s investments in clean energy, along with the loan guarantee program established under the Bush administration that Romney now attacks, have supported 200,000 jobs in the clean energy sector and have helped bring our dependence on foreign oil to a 16-year low,” she said.

While it’s true the clean energy loan program didn’t start with this administration, it’s equally true that the Bush administration rejected the Solyndra loan because the company was in difficult financial shape.

This opens the Obama administration up to another persistent problem of their’s. The problem isn’t the program. The problem is this administration’s incompetence and corruption. The hallmark of this administration is that they’re famous for giving sweetheart deals to their cronies based on their fundraising capabilities rather than on the viability of the companies.

I wouldn’t tout this country’s reliance on foreign oil statistics too much. The biggest reason why we aren’t buying as much Saudi oil is because our economy is pathetic. If we had a real economy, we’d be using significantly more foreign oil.

President Obama’s green energy plans are a total failure. President Obama might believe with all his heart that solar panels are the energy source of the future. That doesn’t mean a thing at this point because the American people have rejected alternatives. He’s leading where people don’t want to follow.

To steal a phrase from VP Biden, “A leader without followers is just a guy out for a walk.” Right now, President Obama is just a guy out for a walk.

Come January 20, 2013, he’ll just be a guy out of work.

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People in Mitt Romney’s camp started asking voters if they were better off than they were 4 years ago. Isn’t it time to ask voters whether they’re better off than prior to President Obama’s stimulus:

A senior campaign aide said Romney will argue that Obama has actually subtracted jobs: “Were these investments the best return on tax dollars, or given for ideological reasons, to donors, for political reasons? He spent $800 billion of everybody’s money. How’d it work out?”

“It was the mother of all earmarks, not a jobs plan,” the aide said. “By wasting all of this money, you had the worst of all worlds: It destroyed confidence in the economy and makes people less likely to borrow money. Dodd-Frank has been a disaster for the economy. Where are the steady hands? Who’s in charge of energy? Where’s the strong, confident voice on the economy?”

Naturally, the Obama campaign tried spinning their dismal record:

An Obama for American spokesman said: “While the President brought the nation back from the brink of another Depression, bet on American workers to revive manufacturing and the auto industry, and put in place protections to prevent another financial crisis, we know what Mitt Romney would have done in the face of a severe economic crisis. He would have let Detroit go bankrupt…ceded the clean energy market…and…let the finances of middle class families be held hostage by continuing to allow Wall Street to write its own rules.“

What a pile of BS. There isn’t a “clean energy market.” If it exists, then it’s microscopic in size because President Obama’s best bundlers didn’t find it even with government assistance.

The only thing the UAW bailout, aka the stimulus, did was put American families on the hook for tens of billions of dollars of debt that the UAW will never repay. President Obama pushed that through as a payoff to his political cronies. He had the same motivation for the Solyndra loans.

The reality is that President Obama didn’t care about reviving the economy as much as he cared about paying off his political allies with our money. The economy is rudderless. It’s adrift in a sea of red ink and lost jobs.

This video is devastating in its depiction of President Obama’s crony capitalism:

These green energy loans didn’t create jobs. They created debt. They created a soft landing for some of President Obama’s biggest bundlers of 2008. It isn’t shocking. It’s just the Chicago Way.

We don’t need an administration that directs public money at their biggest contributors. We need an administration that lets people that earn the money spend their money.

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Sartell City Administrator Patty Gartland started the press conference by saying “We were aided by 14 additional fire departments that go beyond the boundaries of Central Minnesota. The outreach has been massive. Area law enforcement agencies have also been helpful in response.” She then introduced Matt Archambeau, the plant manager of Verso.

Archambeau started by saying “Sadly, you all know from yesterday’s conference that we had a fatality at the mill. I can confirm the name of the employee is Jon Maus. He is from Albany. Both John’s family and Verso are grateful for the outpouring of support and concern. We ask for your support and please keep Jon and his family in your prayers.”

Archambeau then said that they “had 4 employees who were treated and released” and that “another of these employees chose not to seek medical help.”

After thanking the first responders and the area businesses “that have been supporting us through this ordeal”, Archambeau addressed the structural problems. “At this point in time, we don’t know the cause of the incident.”

Follow this link for more information, including amateur video of the scene, on this heartbreaking tragedy.

I don’t know what type of drugs aides used before making this report but they must’ve been expensive. Here’s the laughable statement:

North Carolina’s high African American and young voter population, keys to Obama’s 2008 wins there, give him the edge, aides say. And the president so far has spent heavily there, $2.7 million on television, according to reports provided to the AP.

These aides should be commended for their loyalty to their boss but they should be ridiculed for making a foolish statement. Pundits from both parties have written North Carolina off for President Obama and rightfully so.

Ed’s post highlights how silly it is to think President Obama has a chance in North Carolina:

Obama only won by 14,000 votes in that race, and so even a small level of dropoff in voter turnout in this demographic would be deadly to Team Obama’s hopes to retain North Carolina.

However, that’s really a minor problem for Obama. No one thinks that black voters are going to shift support to Romney over gay marriage, or at all for any reason. Turnout and enthusiasm could be issues, but gay marriage is the least of the drivers on that score. On Tuesday, 199,000 Democrats chose no option in the presidential preference poll rather than vote for Obama’s nomination, slightly more than one in every five Democrats who voted. That’s 14 times the margin by which Obama won in 2008, and that’s not because of same-sex marriage, which is dead last on voter priorities.

The other things that Ed didn’t mention in his post is that a) Sen. McCain ran a wretched campaign in North Carolina and b) GOP enthusiasm for him was virtually nonexistent. In short, tons of GOP votes were left on the table.

With enthusiasm high to run President Obama out of office, enthusiasm won’t be a problem for the GOP this time.

This paragraph is laughable, too:

Obama also has seized on new economic data that could give him a lift across the contested map. April unemployment ticked downward in all of the up-for-grabs states except Colorado as Obama and Romney have fought over who is best equipped to lead an economic recovery.

People who’ve quit looking for work don’t care what the official unemployment rate is. Likewise, people working part time hours when they want fulltime employment don’t care what the U-3 report from the BLS says. People know that, at best, the economy is drifting aimlessly.

People are giving Mitt higher marks on the economy than they’re giving President Obama by a significant margin:

Brancaccio: So my fellow Americans, who will do a better job on the economy, Mr. Obama or Mr. Romney? What’d you find?

Newport: That’s a fascinating question, and Romney has the edge, and this is important. Fifty-five percent say if Romney’s elected, the economy will better in four years, and only 46 percent said the economy will be better in four years if Obama’s elected.

People have formed their opinions on President Obama’s stewardship of the economy. The stimulus failed miserably. The EPA’s hatred of fossil fuels is hampering construction job creation. They’ve decided that this administration’s NLRB isn’t an impartial arbiter of labor laws.

Most important, they know that President Obama’s reckless spending is contributing to the lethargic economy.

President Obama is facing an uphill fight for re-election.

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When Newt Gingrich squared off against Gov. Martin O’Malley on MTP, it wasn’t a fair fight. This clash is telling:

DAVID GREGORY: Unemployment rate in Massachusetts came down under his stewardship.

GOV. MARTIN O’MALLEY: Well, the unemployment rate came down in a lot of states. They were different times. Right now our unemployment rate nationally has been driven down to the lowest level in three years. And it could be driven down further, more quickly with more job creation, if we would get beyond the sort of Tea Party Republican obstructionism that tries to prevent any modern investments to make this modern economy

Gov. O’Malley’s spin is sickening. TEA Party obstructionism isn’t what’s killing jobs. What’s killing jobs are the things that Democrats did the first 2 years of this administration.

The stimulus failed. Obamacare is a jobkilling machine that doesn’t help people get affordable health care. The EPA and NLRB have done their utmost to destroy jobs, too.

Thankfully, these things will get rectified when this administration is fired.

While Gov. O’Malley spun this administration’s economic record the best he could, Newt waited patiently for the right opportunity to pounce, which he did with this volley:

NEWT GINGRICH: So– so let’s start down that road. Why has unemployment come down? Unemployment’s come down because participation in the workforce is at the lowest point it’s been in three decades. People are retiring early because they can’t find a job. People have given up looking. If you look at the Gallup surveys, the real number of those who are unemployed, underemployed, and quit looking are around 19%.

This is a disastrous administration. And, candidly, if you wanna get into a fight over debt in an administration which raised the national debt from 47% of the economy to 74% in three and a half years, I– this is why Obama’s gonna have a hard time this fall. He can’t fight over jobs ’cause he isn’t creating them. He can’t fight over debt ’cause he’s increasing it.

He has policies that at least half of the American people find very unacceptable. And I think Romney has a pretty straightforward case. Can you afford four more years of Barack Obama? Can you really afford four more years of this kind of economy? Can you afford four more years of this kind of debt?

As good as that Gingrich volley was, it was surpassed by this devastating shot:

NEWT GINGRICH: I just wanna make one point. At this stage in 1984, no one on the Reagan team was talking about the Carter recession because they were talking about the Reagan recovery. They were talking about the rate of job creation under Reagan. They were talking about the success of Reagan. This is an administration which went from “yes, we can” to “why we couldn’t.”

In September, 1983, job creation exploded, with the economy creating 1,100,000 jobs. That’s the biggest single month since the BLS started collecting that data in 1939.

Some context is important in understanding these statistics. First, the Carter recession was worse than the Bush recession. Unemployment was high. Inflation was in the double digits. Interest rates for home mortgages peaked in the 16% range in Central Minnesota and nationwide.

Next, Reagan’s tax cuts, especially his capital gains tax cuts, changed the trajectory of the economy. He trusted the American people to invest in themselves and their futures. The Big Three automakers modernized their plants. Hundreds of thousands of people were hired. Michigan boomed so much that it became the home of an historical phenomenon known as the Reagan Democrat.

By contrast, this administration invested in their political allies. Their biggest campaign bundlers got taxpayer-subsidized loans. See Solyndra and LightSquared. This administration’s union allies got bailouts. See the UAW bailouts. See the PEU’s bailouts in the form of money to the sates via the stimulus.

Whereas President Reagan was creating Reagan Democrats, President Obama is having difficulty getting Democrats to support him. See West Virginia, where a convicted felon serving in a Texas prison got 41% of the vote. See Arkansas where a flake got 42% of the vote. See Kentucky, where someone who doesn’t exist (Uncommitted) got 41% of the vote.

Reagan attracted voters because his policies worked spectacularly. Obama is driving voters away because his policies have failed miserably.

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