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About 2 hours ago, Sen. John McCain announced that he’ll vote for the GOP tax bill. That pretty much guarantees the bill’s passage. In a statement, Sen. McCain said “After careful thought and consideration, I have decided to support the Senate tax reform bill. I believe this legislation, though far from perfect, would enhance American competitiveness, boost the economy, and provide long-overdue tax relief for middle-class families.”

It appears as though the only question left is whether any Democrats will vote for the bill. All day yesterday and thus far this morning, House Democrats have waged a furious Twitter war using #GOPTaxScam as their hashtag. This Pelosi tweet is typical. It says “Republicans will do anything to obscure the devastating impact their #GOPTaxScam will have on middle class families nationwide.”

It’s impossible to take Ms. Pelosi seriously. That tweet (and others like it) have a whiff of desperation to them. Sane people don’t think that the GOP tax cuts will hurt the middle class. Unfortunately, Democrats have deployed their fear-mongering tactics so long that that’s all they know. Check out Jeff Merkley’s tweet:

Headed to the floor to vote on whether or not to move forward with the most egregious bank heist in American history. My vote? No way. We don’t need a political system or an economy that is even more rigged for the privileged and powerful than it already is. Stop the #GOPTaxScam.

Remember that Merkley voted for all of the Obama budgets that produced the weakest recovery since the Great Depression. Today’s Democratic Party doesn’t have any credibility when it comes to the economy. That’s because most of them have gulped too much of the socialist Kool-Aid.

UPDATE: The Dow roared past 24,000 today, at one point gaining 315 points. This is mostly attributed to the Tax Bill passing the Senate this week:

“This tax-reform bill is not just about” potentially lowering taxes said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. “It’s also a psychological factor that Congress can get something done. That would be a positive.”

Sen. John McCain said Thursday he would support the bill, making it more likely that the GOP-led Senate will pass its bill. The Senate is expected to vote later on Thursday. If the upper chamber’s bill passes, the House and Senate would have to work on a new bill they can send to President Donald Trump.

This makes it official:

Another woman has come forward to accuse Sen. Franken of sexually harassing her. According to the article, “Another woman has come forward to accuse Sen. Al Franken of groping her during a USO tour — this time, an Army veteran who reportedly claims the Minnesota Democrat cupped her breast while taking a photo in Kuwait in 2003.”

The article identifies the woman as “Stephanie Kemplin, 41, of Maineville,” OH. Kemplin is “the fifth woman to accuse the senator of inappropriate behavior, CNN reported. She was also the second person to allege an incident during a USO tour. Three women have come forward publicly and the other two have remained anonymous. Kemplin told CNN that Franken, who was a writer and comedian at the time, was visiting the soldiers when she waited in line to take a photo with the “Saturday Night Live” alum. During the encounter, Franken allegedly ‘groped’ her breast.”

At this point, I don’t care whether Sen. Franken apologizes to her. I don’t even care if he admits that he’s a pervert. (We know that already.) I just want him out of the Senate. Preferably, I’d like him behind bars where he can experience some of what he’s allegedly dished out.

“When he put his arm around me, he groped my right breast. He kept his hand all the way over on my breast,” Kemplin told CNN. “I’ve never had a man put their arm around me and then cup my breast. So he was holding my breast on the side.”

“I remember clenching up and how you just feel yourself flushed,” she said. “And I remember thinking — is he going to move his hand? Was it an accident? Was he going to move his hand? He never moved his hand. It was long enough that he should have known if it was an accident. I’m very confident saying that,” the veteran added.

Al the Groper should exit stage left immediately:

After reading John Hinderaker’s post about Melania Trump’s Christmas decorations, I started thinking about how the Democrats’ stupidity will hurt them in 2018. Hinderaker quoted from a Vogue article about this year’s White House decorations, saying “Melania Trump unveiled the White House holiday decorations on Monday, which are, as some people on the internet have noticed, very, very white.” Hinderaker then noted that the picture used was actually of the Obama Christmas decorations from 2015.

Later, Hinderaker quotes another paragraph that says “Indeed, some of the decorations brought to life an apocalyptic, barren landscape similar to what some of us imagine lies in America’s future, or the calming white walls of a mental institution.”

By now, you’re probably wondering how this ties into the 2018 mid-term elections. In years past, the choice voters had was between competing policies. During the Obama administration, it’s my opinion that the Left got so nuts that people aren’t left with a choice between competing policies. They’re left with the choice between ranting lunatics vs. relatively sane, though imperfect people.

When Chuck and Nancy didn’t attend the budget negotiation meeting with President Trump, they looked little, thereby adding to the image that Democrats aren’t serious about governing. That’s a win for Republicans. The American people see Republicans as succeeding sometimes and failing sometimes. They see Democrats as no-show obstructionists all the time.

Everyone’s heard the saying that you can’t beat something with nothing. I’m coining a new phrase that dovetails with that. You’ll never lose to nothing with something, even if it isn’t perfect. It isn’t difficult to paint Democrats as the do-nothing/obstructionist party because that’s who they are.

It’s mind-boggling to watch Democrats attack the First Lady over Christmas decorations like this:

John summarizes things perfectly by saying “Imagine how far gone in hate a liberal must be to attack Mrs. Trump for her efforts to decorate the White House. There is simply no bottom to left-wing depravity, as manifested in the Democratic Party press.” Amen to that, John.

When Sen. Schumer and Nancy Pelosi skipped their meeting with President Trump, they handed President Trump the easiest PR victory of his presidency. This picture is worth half a dozen Senate seats and a dozen House seats:

Ainsley Earhardt asked Newt Gingrich if it was genius on Trump’s part, to which Gingrich replied “It’s not genius walks up to you and hands you a big, easy win”:

Newt laid it out perfectly at the start of the interview, saying “Trump’s sitting there, saying ‘I’m trying to solve it; I wonder where they are.'” ‘Chuck and Nancy’ were literally nowhere to be found. That picture will be used against Democrat incumbents and challengers alike next fall. The message that picture will send is ‘we’re working for the American people. The Democrats are no-shows.’ Being a no-show is infinitely worse than being a do-nothing politician.

Later, Chuck and Nancy issued a joint statement, saying “Given that the president doesn’t see a deal between Democrats and the White House, we believe the best path forward is to continue negotiating with our Republican counterparts in Congress instead. Rather than going to the White House for a show meeting that won’t result in an agreement, we’ve asked Leader McConnell and Speaker Ryan to meet this afternoon.” Speaker Ryan and Sen. McConnell sent their own message by showing up for the meeting with President Trump but rejected meeting with Chuck and Nancy.

Still later, Pelosi posted this tweet:

.@realDonaldTrump now knows that his verbal abuse will no longer be tolerated. His empty chair photo opp showed he’s more interested in stunts than in addressing the needs of the American people. Poor Ryan and McConnell relegated to props. Sad!

Pelosi and Schumer haven’t figured it out that their nonparticipation in negotiations is proof of their unseriousness. Acting like a pair of spoiled brats won’t win the fight with President Trump. He’s defeated them without them showing up. That’s too easy.

Once the tax bill is passed (yes, it’s happening) and the government is funded and the debt ceiling is raised, Republicans will return to tormenting Democrats, especially on the campaign trail.

I’ve long thought that Chuck was a fairly bright guy. This week, I’m reconsidering that opinion. Yesterday, Sen. Schumer told Republicans that passing tax reform will haunt them in 2018 and in elections to come.

Specifically, Sen. Schumer said “There will be unintended consequences. The rush to get something, anything done will haunt my Republican colleagues in years to come, and — I dare say — in 2018.” That’s such total BS that it shouldn’t be taken seriously. When was the last time Republicans lost seats after passing tax cuts?

Later, Sen. Schumer said “We hear from the other side professing they want to work in a bipartisan way, but every step they take takes away bipartisanship. Unfortunately, the majority leader has taken steps this year to remove any hint of bipartisanship. This has been a very partisan bill. That’s why it’s not a great product. That’s why the other side is rushing it through. This is not a proud day for this chamber, and history will show that.”

That isn’t likely. If Democrats are all-obstruction-all-the-time, they’ll be the ones hurt in 2018. Yesterday, Senate Democrats voted with Sen. Schumer against starting debate on the Senate’s tax bill. Further, Democrats haven’t offered an alternative to President Trump’s tax plan.

Earlier in the week, Sen. Schumer and Rep. Pelosi didn’t show up for a budget negotiating meeting at the White House:

That gave President Trump the opportunity to criticize them:

With that being said, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi did not show up for our meeting today. I’m not really that surprised. We have a lot of differences. They’re weak on crime, they’re weak on illegal immigration. They want the illegal folks to come pouring into our border and a lot of problems are being caused, although we’ve stopped it to a large extent as much as you can without the wall, which we’re going to get.

That picture will haunt Democrats in 2018. The ads virtually write themselves.

Democrats think that they can retake the majority with increased turnout in East Coast states. A year from now, they’ll be back wondering what they have to do to win. I’ll give them that answer right now. They’ll have to actually start doing things. Obstructing alone won’t work because you can’t beat something with nothing.

The flaw in their strategy is signing onto the Resistance Movement. Doing nothing is bad enough. Doing everything possible to prevent judges and cabinet officers from getting confirmed is the definition of obstructionist. That’s worse.

Consumer confidence is high:

Unemployment is dropping. GDP is surging. That’s a positive agenda that Republicans can proudly run on. Democrats can’t tout anything as an accomplishment.

If Sen. Schumer keeps making decisions like this week’s, he soon won’t even be able to filibuster. That isn’t too bright.

After reading this op-ed, one movie scene applies perfectly. First, Judith Koll-Healey’s defense of Sen. Franken is frighteningly illogical. For instance, she said “I have had many experiences as a professional that involved pressure from men in various situations and I know what that feels like. But, as an older woman, I now want to speak out about bringing some rationality to the discussion around our senator. An intelligent man’s career and the work he has been willing to undertake on behalf of women is on the line. I beg for a moment of sanity while we pause. There are three issues that should cause us to reflect on the current situation.”

TRANSLATION: If a chauvinist pig co-sponsors enough legislation that protects women, he can grope tons of women and still be considered a champion for women by progressives. It’s like Democrats have found religion. Specifically, it’s as if they’ve become Catholics. In the old days, Catholics could buy indulgences by donating to the church. The bigger the donation, the more sins that were forgiven. With Democrats, it’s a little different. If you sponsored a bill that progressive feminists liked, you could act like Al Franken. If you sponsored a bunch of pro-female legislation, the politician could act like Bill Clinton. If a person sponsored a ton of pro-female legislation, you could act like Matt Lauer. (To date, no amount of pro-female legislation will get you out of acting like Anthony Weiner. You’re just screwed then.) But I digress.

After reading Ms. Koll-Healey’s mindless rant, I think of this famous line:

Back to Ms. Koll-Healey’s statement. When she said that an “intelligent man’s career” is at stake, I’m left wondering who she’s talking about. It can’t be Sen. Franken because he isn’t intelligent. I’ve seen piles of hair clippings at the barber shop that had a higher IQ than Sen. Franken. When Esme Murphy interrupted Sen. Franken’s script, he froze. He didn’t know what to say. Here’s the exchange:

MURPHY: Are they mistaken that their butt was grabbed is that what you are saying?
FRANKEN: I am not saying that. As I said, I take thousands of photos. I don’t remember these particular photos.
MURPHY: With all due respect, people are going to find it hard to believe that someone such as yourself wouldn’t know that they were grabbing someone’s butt.
FRANKEN: I can understand how some people would see it that way.
MURPHY: But have you ever placed a hand on some woman’s butt?
FRANKEN: I can’t say that it hasn’t happened. In crowded chaotic situations, I can’t say that I have not done that. I am very sorry if these women experienced that.

Watch Sen. Franken’s reaction for yourself:

A loyal reader of LFR sent me the minutes to various meetings happening on campus. One section is titled the “Faculty Athletics Advisory Committee Meeting”. One of the items discussed at the meeting was titled “Activism in athletics – a teachable moment.” According to the minutes, “President Vaidya would like the recent protesting events in the NFL and locally be teachable moments.” It continued, saying “Hudson met with Mark Jaede (History) and Jaede will meet with others on campus for programming to make this a teachable moment in the history of activism in athletics. Hudson will meet with coaches regarding the program. The committee discussed if this would be a mandatory program. Hudson advised that it was an initiative from the president so a good turnout would be ideal.”

At a time when football fans are staying away from NFL stadiums in droves, Mark Jaede is intent on driving people away from St. Cloud State sporting events. Further, this won’t be popular with prospective students. In effect, Jaede’s activism would hurt rebuild the University by alienating prospective students and their parents. This is proof that Jaede puts a higher priority on political activism than he puts on building the University.

Later in the meeting’s minutes, it says “the program for the history of activism in athletics will hopefully be in early spring. Member of this committee are encouraged to attend.”

Why would Jaede think that this program would be useful? Didn’t he think that this might drive away more people than it would attract? Does he care whether it drives potential students away? Is political activism that important to him?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about something else, too. This is President Vaidya’s initiative. Since that’s the case, he deserves criticism, too. Good riddance, for that matter. Any president that’s foolish enough to sign off on such an initiative couldn’t rebuild the University if his life depended on it.

Finally, this is why I spoke about social justice hiring by search committees. St. Cloud State and MnSCU should run from these ‘professional’ search committees as fast as their feet can fly. They’re expensive and they’re worthless. The primary goal of finding a university president is to find someone that’s qualified. Playing political correctness politics isn’t the way to recruit people to a Midwestern university. I suspect that he’ll learn that the hard way in Kentucky.

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Now that St. Cloud State’s interim president has announced that he’s accepted the job as president of Northern Kentucky University, it’s time to get serious in finding a highly qualified presidential candidate from the local ranks.

In this post, I wrote St. Cloud State needs “a president that will instantly connect with area principals. What’s needed, too, is someone who will sell the University’s programs. It’s imperative to immediately create a positive buzz about the University. … What’s needed is someone who’s already familiar with SCSU and someone who’s a no-nonsense person.”

I stand by that statement. In fact, I’d add to that statement. There are undoubtedly people on campus who would love that job. It’s my opinion that few of these potential candidates are qualified to turn St. Cloud State around. Ultimately, that’s the biggest requirement. It isn’t a character trait, per se, but it’s essential.

Campus activists like Tracey Ore, Mark Jaede and Steve Hornstein need not apply. They’ve spent too much time sucking up to the administration in exchange for cushy jobs. Further, I’d bet the proverbial ranch that none of them have a plan that would turn the University around. (That alone disqualifies them.) I’d consider each of these people a ‘social justice hire’ in that they’re so ultra-liberal that pushing that agenda would likely be their primary mission. We don’t need to pay activists $300,000+ a year to ignore the campus while being full-time political activists. (Yes, I’m questioning their commitment to turning the University around.)

What’s needed is a president with leadership skills and a commitment to rebuilding, not rebranding, St. Cloud State. St. Cloud State spent $430,000+ on rebranding in 2012-13. St. Cloud was told that everything was fine, that the University was just “right-sizing.” It’s 5 years later and the enrollment decline is still happening. (Are we still right-sizing the University?)

To be fair, it isn’t all the University’s fault. Part of the problem is that Minnesota has been experiencing a net outmigration of people of all age groups for the past 15+ years. According to the Minnesota Demographer’s Office, “While 21,000 young adults move to Minnesota each year to attend college or graduate school, even greater numbers of students (29,000) leave the state each year. In fact, two-thirds of Minnesota’s total annual domestic net loss is due to Minnesota students leaving for higher education, and far fewer return in the post-college years. Thus, retaining more of our college-bound young adults at in-state institutions may be a key strategy to long-term population retention and labor force development.”

In other words, what’s needed is an economic plan that incentivizes young people to stay, graduate from college, then start and build businesses. Minnesota’s economic blueprint isn’t doing that. If that doesn’t change, Minnesota’s universities will be facing a competitive deficit. There’s no other way to say this. Minnesota’s economic policies affect whether young people leave the state or whether they stay. For the past 20 years, DFL politicians didn’t listen while young people and people from all age groups left.

If a young person’s goal is to be an entrepreneur, why would that person pick a state with high taxes and unreasonable regulations? While some will criticize me for making that political statement, I don’t care because those things are intertwined.

Finally, I wrote this post to highlight the state of disarray St. Cloud State is in:

This afternoon, a loyal reader of LFR sent me a forwarded email from Ashish Vaidya, soon to be the former interim president at St. Cloud State. According to the forwarded email, “In early October, I informed campus that Tammy McGee, Vice President for Finance and Administration, was resigning from her position at St. Cloud State University at the end of the academic year. Vice President McGee recently informed me that other professional opportunities will require an earlier departure. I have accepted her resignation effective Jan. 5, 2018. This week, she will finalize various projects to support the transition and beginning Nov. 17, she will be on vacation until her resignation date. Effective today, the division of Finance and Administration will report directly to the Office of the President to make sure the university maintains consistent leadership as we continue our efforts to enhance our financial stability. The search for a permanent replacement will begin shortly and Vice President Wanda Overland will serve as chair. AGB Search, the same firm conducting the national search for the next president, will conduct the search. I will update the campus community on the search process as more details are available.”

The interim president is leaving. The interim provost is sitting in limbo. The CFO left unexpectedly. The CIO left, too. Now the interim chancellor (who used to be the interim president at Metropolitan State University) wants to conduct a nationwide search for a wet-behind-the-ears candidate that will be unprepared for the daunting job of rebuilding St. Cloud State. What could possibly go wrong?

Seriously, St. Cloud State needs someone who a) has already proven their loyalty to the University, b) has unquestioned leadership skills and c)has a plan to rebuild the University. That’s why campus activists needn’t apply for this job.

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Judge Timothy Kelly sided with President Trump in the lawsuit brought by Leandra English in her quest to be the Acting Director of the CFPB.

According to the article, “A U.S. District Court judge in Washington on Tuesday handed a big victory to President Donald Trump, ruling in favor of the administration in its bid to install White House budget director Mick Mulvaney as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Judge Timothy Kelly denied a request by Leandra English, who was named last week as acting director by outgoing CFPB chief Richard Cordray, for a temporary restraining order to block Mulvaney from taking the post. Kelly said there was not a substantial likelihood that the case would succeed on its merits. ‘The administration applauds the Court’s decision,’ White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said in a statement. ‘It’s time for the Democrats to stop enabling this brazen political stunt by a rogue employee and allow Acting Director Mulvaney to continue the Bureau’s smooth transition into an agency that truly serves to help consumers.'”

Later in the article, Deepak Gupta, English’s lawyer, said that he’d “have to consult with his client about the next steps. These could either involve seeking a preliminary injunction or requesting a ruling on a permanent injunction, either of which could be appealed to a higher court.”

Based on Judge Kelly’s ruling, Gupta can appeal to his heart’s content but it likely won’t matter. Kelly said “there was not a substantial likelihood that the case would succeed on its merits.” The sky-is-falling-alarmists are already out in force:

It’s BS that the fines levied against the banks went to the people who suffered. That money went into the US Treasury. Sen. Mike Lee didn’t mince words in talking about his opinion of the CFPB:

Don’t be surprised if the CFPB is abolished by the US Supreme Court in the next 3-5 years. It’s just waiting for a lawsuit to be filed questioning its constitutionality.

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After reading this KSTP article, in which Sen. Franken regurgitates the same scripted lines about regaining people’s trust, about how he let people down “who expect me to be a champion and who have looked at me to be a champion of women.” Sen. Franken repeated some other oldies but goodies about how he hugs people but can’t remember grabbing women’s butts because he takes “thousands of pictures with constituents, with people around Minnesota”, too.

The lines are scripted. It’s obvious that they’re scripted because he didn’t know what to say when Esme Murphy challenged him. Murphy had just cornered Sen. Franken when she said “With all due respect, people are going to find it hard to believe that someone such as yourself wouldn’t know that they were grabbing someone’s butt.” After pausing to think of an answer, Sen. Franken replied “I can understand how some people would see it that way.”

That was the only time in his multiple interviews that Sen. Franken didn’t follow his script. Here’s the video of Murphy’s interview of Sen. Franken:

Sen. Franken said that he wants to regain Minnesotans’ trust. Personally, I can’t trust him. Part of the process to regaining the people’s trust is to get people to forgive the offender. At this point, I can’t forgive him because he isn’t repentant.

Hypothetically speaking, let’s suppose that you caught a friend lying to you. Further, the friend insists that he isn’t lying even though you have proof that he’s lying. Why forgive a person who insists he hasn’t done anything wrong?

Let’s transfer that object lesson back to Sen. Franken’s situation even though they aren’t identical. Sen. Franken insists that he’s sorry for something he doesn’t remember doing but that he can’t rule out doing because taking pictures at the State Fair or at fundraisers or other outings is chaotic. What is Sen. Franken apologizing for? Do people apologize for doing things they don’t remember doing? Further, why would Sen. Franken accept the words of total strangers as fact?

I think Sen. Franken remembers his deeds. I think Franken’s apology tour is his attempt to smooth-talk himself out of a difficult political predicament. Just like this isn’t about becoming a man of integrity, this isn’t about anything other than keeping his office. As I noted in this post, Sen. Franken “apologized for the umpteenth time, saying that he’d ‘let a lot of people down, people of Minnesota, my colleagues, my staff, my supporters and everyone who has counted on me to be a champion for women. To all of you, I just want to again say I am sorry.'”

Notice that he never said a word about the victims of his attacks. Nothing says fake contrition louder than not apologizing to the victims. I refuse to forgive a person who isn’t repentant. That’s what I demand and that isn’t changing. Ever.

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