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Archive for October, 2012

Last Thursday, the Duluth News Tribune surprised the political world when the DNT endorsed Mitt Romney. Anyone who predicted that should’ve immediately rushed out and bought a Powerball ticket. As astonishing as that was, this endorsement is just as astonishing:

Nolan, 68, would also be an able representative, though his reputation as an ultraliberal member of the 1970s Minnesota delegation raises questions about his own flexibility. Much has been made of Cravaack’s family moving to New Hampshire, but he’s stayed connected with his district. What matters most is the work he’d do in Washington. He’s earned another shot, but he should also face a stronger Democratic challenger in 2014.

It’s kinda funny hearing the Strib start by saying Nolan “would also be an able representative”, then see them finish by saying Chip should “also face a stronger Democratic candidate in 2014.”

The Strib is right, though, in highlighting Chip Cravaack’s availability to his constituents and the work he’s done in Washington, DC.

Cravaack has admirably bucked his party on labor and trade legislation, prevailing wage protections, the Buy America Steel amendment, that supported area industry and scored points with union members. The 52-year-old father of two is also praised widely around northeast Minnesota for his numerous town halls. He was quickly on the scene after Duluth’s devastating flood and has voted against Republican measures to cut disaster aid in general.

I predicted that Chip wouldn’t be an easy target, a prediction that was anything but unanimous. Chip’s relationship with the miners and other union workers would help him connect with his constituents.

I also knew that Chip’s unflinching support of Second Amendment and pro-life issues would stand him in good stead with Iron Rangers. Finally, Chip’s enthusiastic support of capitalism has played well with the many small businesses in the southern part of the Eighth.

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I hadn’t paid any attention to the Akin-McCaskill race recently but this polling suggests I should:

The News 4, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Kansas City Star poll shows Senator Claire McCaskill with a 2 percent lead over Congressman Todd Akin, at 45 and 43 percent, respectively.

What’s interesting is that Rep. Akin leads Sen. McCaskill amongst independents by a 42%-36% margin. Another thing that’s interesting is that Rep. Akin only got 82% of the GOP votes vs. Sen. McCaskill getting 97% of the Democrats’ votes. Finally, 9% of Republicans and 13% of independents are undecided. It isn’t likely that those votes will break for Sen. McCaskill, especially after they see this video:

In fact, I’m betting that Rep. Akin’s lead with independents grows after they see that ad. Here’s the transcript of that ad:

Todd Akin: “I’m Todd Akin and I approved this message.”

Announcer: “It’s been revealed, Claire McCaskill’s husband was caught cutting business deals in the Senate dining room, selling tax credits tied to Obama’s stimulus money, money Claire McCaskill voted for. McCaskill uses her position and power to cash in. It’s no surprise that McCaskill thinks she’s above the law, she didn’t pay her taxes but voted to raise ours. The arrogance and corruption of Claire McCaskill. Dealing herself in. Selling us out.”

It wasn’t that long ago that Sen. McCaskill was the most vulnerable senator up for re-election, mostly because she’s used her position to benefit her husband’s business and because she’s the most dishonest member of the U.S. Senate this side of Harry Reid.

Those facts haven’t changed. Now that Rep. Akin and Sen. McCaskill are making their closing arguments, voters are getting reminded why they don’t like her.

Six weeks ago, Rep. Akin looked like toast. Things settled down. Sen. McCaskill’s past has been dredged up. Now Sen. McCaskill’s looking like she’s heading for defeat. Good riddance.

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During this campaign, Rick Nolan has tried several scams to boost his popularity. He tried selling his boondoggle Mining Institute as proof that he’s pro-mining. Now he’s peddling lies that Chip Cravaack doesn’t live in Minnesota. We know Nolan’s lying because WDIO wouldn’t let the DFL run their ad with that specific lie.

Here’s what Nolan’s up to now:

When U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack hears ads by his 8th District opponent Rick Nolan saying “he doesn’t even live here anymore,” he describes them as an attack on his family and a broken promise not to get personal in the hotly contested race.

When Nolan hears that accusation, he responds by calling it hypocrisy and an odd leap by Cravaack to bring his family into the dispute over his residency.

In a week of back-and-forth sparring between the two, Cravaack said publicly for the first time this week that his son Nick has autism, and that an accident involving the 10-year-old at their home in Lindstrom spurred him to move his family to New Hampshire, closer to the Boston company where his wife, Traci, works.

It’s taboo in politics to go after another politician’s family. That’s what Nolan did when he lied about where Chip did. The despicable people in the DFL messaging machine haven’t hesitated in talking about Chip’s wife living in New Hampshire. The DFL thinks it’s a big deal with voters.

Instead, Chip stepped forward to explain why his wife and kids moved to New Hampshire, explaining that their oldest son has autism.

Faced with that explanation, decent people would apologize for lying, then pull the ads with these lies. Finally, a politician with any integrity would wish Chip’s family nothing but the best, then get back to campaigning about the issues. It’s apparent that Nolan isn’t a man of integrity:

But the Nolan camp said it could not confirm any such agreement, and that it was Cravaack who brought his family issues into the dispute.

“They’re trying to distract because they are behind,” Nolan spokesman Mike Misterek said. “There is no talk about his family in that ad.”

First, let’s state that Nolan was caught lying about Chip not living in Minnesota. Because of Mr. Nolan’s blatant lie, Mr. Misterek is sent out to spin away Nolan’s lie.

Next, it’s the worst of spin to say Chip’s trailing. He isn’t. Nolan’s getting his butt kicked with independents, trailing Chip by a 53%-36% margin.

Finally and most importantly, Chip’s done more in 2 years in Congress to create good-paying mining jobs than Jim Oberstar ever did and more than what Rick Nolan would ever do. Nolan isn’t interested in mining. He’s consistently sided with the militant environmentalists who’ve funded his campaign.

No honest person thinks that Nolan would fight the militant environmentalists if there was a fight between the environmentalists and the miners.

Rick Nolan isn’t a man of integrity. The last thing Washington, DC needs is another bought-and-paid-for politician who doesn’t have an ounce of integrity. Secondly, if Nolan was elected, he’d do whatever the special interests told him to. That’s because that’s what he’s always done. Third, Nolan has shown great interest in conning his would-be constituents. In fact, Nolan hasn’t shown any interest in doing what’s right for his constituents, especially with respect to mining.

That, more than anything else, is why Eighth District voters should reject the slick-sounding empty suit known as Rick Nolan. Instead, they should re-elect Chip Cravaack because Chip’s committed to making life better for the blue collar workers of the middle class throughout the Eighth District.

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Dan McLaughlin’s post summarizes in statistical form why Mitt is likely to be the next president of the United States. These paragraphs sum things up nicely:

Everything in the latest polls suggests doom for Obama with independents. This morning’s Washington Post poll has him down 20 with independents, 58-38. The Rasmussen national tracker has him down 17 today. Today’s IBD/TIPP poll has him down 10, 48-38. SurveyUSA/Monmouth has him trailing by 19, 52-33. The outlier, SEIU/DailyKos pollster PPP, had Romney up 2 yesterday with independents, 47-45, after the PPP tracker showed him up 10, 51-41, three days earlier. In this morning’s swing state poll, Rasmussen shows Romney leading Obama by 11 with independents.

In Ohio, ARG has Obama down 20 with independents, 57-37, SurveyUSA has him down 8, 47-39; TIME has him down 15, 53-38; PPP has him down 7, 49-42; CBS/Quinnipiac has him down 7, 49-42; Gravis has him down 19, 52-33.

This explains why media organizations (notice that I didn’t call them news organizations) have vastly oversampled Democrats in their attempt to make it look like President Obama is leading. If these media organizations used statistically accurate registration models, their polls wouldn’t have shown President Obama leading nationally.

Most private polling companies figure Ohio as a D+2 state at most. Many of the media organizations’ polls are D+7-8 models. That rivals the PVI of 2008. Serious people know that President Obama doesn’t enjoy that type of PVI rating this year. It isn’t even close.

To make sense of the various polls, I’ve started looking beneath the horserace numbers. Based on Mr. McLaughlin’s methodology, it looks like I was right. What I’ve done is start looking at polls via a votes per 100 voters model. That’s what I did with this post.

Chip’s district is a D+2 or D+3 district. The KSTP-SurveyUSA poll is based on a D+7 model. Chip gets 89% of Republicans, 6% of DFLers and 53% of independents.

The proper weighting of the district is 35% DFL, 34% GOP, 31% independent. That means Chip gets 30.2 votes from Republicans, 2.1 votes from DFL voters and 16.5 votes from independents for every 100 voters. That’s 48.8 votes per hundred for Chip.

Adapting that methodology to Ohio, that means Republicans and Democrats (more or less) cancel each other out. That means independents will determine the winner. With Mitt winning independents by double-digit margins, there’s no reason to think he won’t win Ohio. President Obama certainly won’t have the type of turnout that he had in 2008 so he won’t be able to offset Mitt’s advantage with independents.

Here’s Mr. McLaughlin’s analysis of the race:

The waterfront of analyzing all the factors that go into my conclusion here is too large to cover in one post, but the signs of Obama’s defeat are too clear now to ignore. Given all the available information, Romney’s lead among independents, the outlier nature of the 2008 turnout model, the elections held since 2008, the party ID surveys, the voter registration, early voting and absentee ballot data, I have to conclude that there is no remaining path at this late date for Obama to win the national popular vote. He is toast.

The same things that are artificially propping up President Obama nationwide are artificially propping President Obama up in Ohio. President Obama’s message sounds more like the rantings of a spoiled brat throwing a temper tantrum than the words of the President of the United States.

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Fox News’s Jennifer Griffin is reporting that CIA officials ordered “CIA operators” to stand down during the firefight in Benghazi:

Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that three urgent requests from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. Consulate and subsequent attack nearly seven hours later were denied by officials in the CIA chain of command — who also told the CIA operators to “stand down” rather than help the ambassador’s team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.

Former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were part of a small team who were at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. Consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When they heard the shots fired, they radioed to inform their higher-ups to tell them what they were hearing. They were told to “stand down,” according to sources familiar with the exchange. An hour later, they called again to headquarters and were again told to “stand down.”

Woods, Doherty and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the Consulate which at that point was on fire. Shots were exchanged. The quick reaction force from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the Consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.

If Jennifer Griffin’s reporting is accurate, and I’m certain it is, then it’s just further proof of the disfunction of President Obama’s national security team. It’s apparent that they put a higher priority on political considerations than they put on saving Americans’ lives.

The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Specter gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights.

This is a stunning report from a reliable reporter. Jennifer Griffin is one of the best Pentagon correspondents in the business. If she’s reporting it, then she’s sourced and cross-sourced this report.

Far too often, President Obama’s national security decisions were done through the lens of domestic politics. His semi-surge of troops to Afghanistan was tepid compared with what the generals were requesting. He cut short the mission, too, to meet an artificial, self-imposed, deadline on the mission.

There’s always a political component to national security decisions. It’s important that those considerations are ignored when lives are on the line.

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Faithful readers of LFR know that I’ve criticized the Strib mercilessly, with the St. Cloud Times getting its share of criticism, too. This endorsement makes up for all the mindlessly opinionated reporting I’ve seen:

Yes, Obama inherited a declining economy, a pair of expensive foreign wars and Republicans in Congress who shamefully vowed to obstruct rather than work with him. But his party was in the majority in both the Senate and the House his first two years. And, “Other presidents have succeeded even with the other party controlling Capitol Hill,” as the Orlando Sentinel pointed out in an editorial this month. “Democrat Bill Clinton presided over an economic boom and balanced the budget working with Republicans. Leaders find a way.”

Obama hasn’t.

In February 2009, just two months into his presidency, Obama gave a televised interview with NBC News in which he famously — or infamously for him — said: “I will be held accountable. … If I don’t have this done in three years then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”

On Nov. 6, voters from Northwestern Wisconsin, Northeastern Minnesota and elsewhere across the nation can hold the president accountable. He didn’t get it done. The results and numbers make clear Washington is ripe for new leadership and a more-promising direction.

Republican Mitt Romney has had a few stumbles of his own, including his unfortunate “47 percent” and “binders full of women” comments. But such campaign flubs are quickly forgotten and easily overshadowed by the clear message he has put forward: Reviving the economy and putting our nation back on firm financial footing demand to be top priorities.

Romney has a bit of experience and a strong record of leadership with such goals.

I wrote here that I was surprised when the St. Cloud Times endorsed all 6 GOP legislators in the greater St. Cloud area. When I read the Duluth News Tribune’s endorsement of Mitt Romney, though, I checked for seismic activity in the Duluth area.

Two years ago, the Eighth District dumped a powerful 18-term committee chair. This year, they’re endorsing the GOP nominee over the sitting president. Both decisions were the right decisions.

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The FBI has started an investigation into a voting scam in Florida:

TAMPA, Fla. – The FBI is joining an investigation into bogus letters sent to many Florida residents, including the Republican Party of Florida chairman, that raise questions about their eligibility to vote.

FBI officials said Wednesday the FBI will focus on letters received by voters in 18 counties in central and southwest Florida.

According to the Republican Party of Florida, Chairman Lenny Curry received one of the fake letters on Tuesday.

“This type of activity is not only disgusting, it is criminal, and must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Curry said in a release. “I call on Florida Democrats to join me in condemning this false letter writing campaign that appears to target likely voters in Florida, and help RPOF get the word out about this false campaign.”

Local 6 first reported the bogus letter scam on Monday, which claim to be from county supervisors of elections but are postmarked from Seattle. They raise questions about the voter’s citizenship and appear intended to intimidate people.

The FBI says voters who get a letter should contact their supervisor of elections and then keep the letter for the FBI.

Patrick Moran, the son of Virginia Congressman Jim Moran, needs a lawyer:

At the time this video was taken, Patrick Moran served as the field director for his dad’s campaign. He’s since resigned. In the video, Patrick Moran explained to a Project Veritas investigator how to commit voter fraud in Virginia.

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I’ve listened to a ton of Clinton spin in my lifetime. Most of it was weapons-grade spin from Lanny Davis, Mike McCurry and Joe Lockhart. Hillary’s spin from Wednesday morning’s press conference was utterly pathetic:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday a Facebook post in which an Islamic militant group claimed credit for a recent attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya did not constitute hard evidence of who was responsible.

“Posting something on Facebook is not in and of itself evidence. I think it just underscores how fluid the reporting was at the time and continued for some time to be,” Clinton said during an appearance with the Brazilian foreign minister at the State Department.

That’s insulting. What proof did President Obama’s administration have that a virtually unknown video had triggered the protests? The other myth they trotted out was that protests outside the Consulate were hijacked by terrorists.

This administration didn’t exercise caution when they trotted out fabrications of hijacked protests or obscure videos. Now they’re cautioning Americans to exercise restraint before trusting Ansar al-Sharia’s tweets that they attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

Let’s remember that the administration that’s telling everyone to exercise restraint is the administration whose president once said that he didn’t know all the facts about the arrest of Prof. Henry Louis Gates but was certain that the police acted stupidly.

On Wednesday, Liz Cheney said that it was her experience when she worked at the State Department that terrorist organizations that claimed credit for terrorist attacks on their website usually committed the terrorist attacks.

Hillary can tell us to exercise caution all she wants but that doesn’t mean we’ll listen.

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I didn’t see this coming. I’m totally surprised that the St. Cloud Times endorsed all 3 GOP legislators from SD-14:

Three-term Republican Rep. Steve Gottwalt is the best fit for this solid conservative district.

In his six years in the House, Gottwalt has developed a keen grasp of the state’s health and human services programs, which is why he chairs the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee. He has helped lead substantial reforms despite his penchant for divisive rhetoric. His social conservatism also fits the district well.

District 14B is likely a toss-up as evidenced by incumbent GOP Rep. King Banaian’s 10-vote victory over DFLer Carol Lewis in 2010.

Given an effective first term, Banaian deserves re-election. He authored the Sunset Commission law and helped college students with textbook prices. His expertise in economics also is a strength.

Voters have a tough choice between incumbent Republican Sen. John Pederson and DFL challenger Jerry McCarter. Both are well-intended but both are too tightly bound to partisan ideologies in an obviously moderate district.

Pederson, an ardent voice for business, developed a reputation as a good listener and advocate for regional trails in his first term so he gets a very slight edge.

It isn’t that I disagree with the Times’ endorsement of John, Steve and King. It’s that I didn’t see this coming.

It’s worth pointing out that John Pederson, Steve Gottwalt and King Banaian have lengthy lists of accomplishments. They accomplished these things without sacrificing their conservative principles.

The bigger point to these endorsements and the endorsement of the GOP candidates in SD-13, is that the GOP is well-positioned to win all 6 seats. Couple that with a likely sweep of seats in SD-15 and Central Minnesota is well-positioned to look dramatically different than it did going into the 2010 election.

Back then, Michele Fischbach, Dan Severson, Steve Gottwalt and Mary Kiffmeyer were the Republicans representing SD-14, SD-15 and SD-16. DFL legislators representing those districts were Larry Hosch, Tarryl Clark, Larry Haws, Lisa Fobbe and Gail Kulick-Jackson.

If the dust settles the way I think it will, Michelle Fischbach, Jerry O’Driscoll and Jeff Howe will represent SD-13, John Pederson, Steve Gottwalt and King Banaian will represent SD-14 and Dave Brown, Sondra Erickson and Jim Newberger will represent SD-15.

That’s quite a dramatic change from 4 years ago.

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Just a short 3 years ago, political pundits thought it was foolish to think that Jim Oberstar wouldn’t retire on his terms. Then Chip Cravaack defeated him by 4,000+ votes. Immediately, the DCCC figuratively painted a bright red bulls-eye in the middle of Chip Cravaack’s chest. This was the DFL’s seat, after all.

The unthinkable happened when the 49ers union endorsed Chip. Now the unthinkable has happened again. When the DFL tried running a dishonest negative ad against Chip, the TV station it was scheduled to run on pulled the ad:

DULUTH — A second anti-Chip Cravaack ad has been pulled off the air by a television station.

WDIO TV of Duluth reported on air Tuesday evening that the state DFL Party is not going to run an ad scheduled to run that claimed the Republican 8th District congressman “does not live in Minnesota,” which is false. Cravaack lives in North Branch, in the southern part of the vast district that stretches from the Canadian border on the north to butt up against the northern Twin Cities suburbs on the south.

Cravaack also has a home in New Hampshire, where his wife and two sons live most of the year because of her work several days each week with a pharmaceutical company in Boston. That allows her to be close to the boys every day, one of whom has special needs. She had previously been commuting on a weekly basis between Boston and Minnesota, while Rep. Cravaack served in Congress in Washington.

WCCO television of Minneapolis previously had blocked a Super PAC ad from being broadcast. The ad had claimed that Cravaack had charged constituents to meet with him at a gathering. However, the event was a business group luncheon where the congressman was asked to speak and it was the group that charged for lunch.

Yes, a Duluth TV station is pulling a DFL ad against Chip. That was unthinkable 3 years ago. Add to that the fact that the North Country’s two biggest newspapers endorsed Chip for re-election. First, the Mesabi Daily News endorsed Chip, then the Duluth News Tribune endorsed Chip for re-election.

This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. As the metrocentric DFL teams up with the environmentalists to prevent new mining projects from opening up, the miners will increasingly abandon the DFL.

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