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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

September Report: A White House Bait and Switch

Category: Iraq War
Posted: 08/16/07 18:55, Edited: 08/20/07 13:37

by Dave Mindeman

When the Bushnik first proposed his "surge" plan early in the year, he seemed very confident to put the success or failure of the surge in the hands of General David Petraeus. Expectations were high. General Petraeus would put this plan in place, weigh the results, and report on his ideas going forward in an honest and forthright manner.

With so much emphasis placed on this "September" report, everyone seems to have agreed to make this the focal point of policy going forward. After all, the General would give us a first hand account of results on the ground.

Or so we thought.

Bush and his White House toadies (what's left of them anyway), can't seem to let the chips fall where they may. They have spent so much time, spinning, manipulating, and, sometimes, even falsifying the data, that they simply can't leave a report in the hands of an honest man -- even a biased one.

Therefore, the actual writing of this report will not come from the General himself -- no, that will come from somewhere deep in the bowels of the White House Madison Avenue corps. Nothing can be left to chance when it comes to Iraq policy.

We are not even sure if the good General will even make a personal appearance on the Hill..... it looks like official policy statements will be in the hands of Condi Rice and Robert Gates. Veterans of the Capitol Hill "thrust and parry" exchanges.

It looks like we have been hoodwinked, yet again. Oh, the Democrats will howl and squeal for awhile.... and then fold their tent. We will hear about nominal troops withdrawals going into next year.... and of the many political "overtures" coming out of the Iraqi puppet government...... and then we will continue the carnage.

It looks like the "September" Report is yet another White House rendition of bait and switch.
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Al Franken Tries To Be Funny. Stop the Presses!

Category: Al Franken
Posted: 08/16/07 13:04, Edited: 08/20/07 13:38

by Dave Mindeman

City Pages can go from hard hitting investigative journalism all the way down to ridiculous tripe. This piece about Al Franken ranks with the latter.

A letter to the writer, Ben Westoff:

To Mr. Westhoff:

Wow. Somebody acting nutty working out on a treadmill.
Boy, there is a story.

I don't suppose your self-described Republican volunteered her version of it for you, did she now? Especially that corroborating evidence about a politician putting his own bumper sticker
on his car. The nerve!

And just imagine, a "crowd" of 4 people think it "strange" with only 2 going on the record.

Great investigative journalism when you can catch a comedian trying to be funny. Stop the presses!
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Pawlenty and the Buck Stopping Principle

Category: Tim Pawlenty
Posted: 08/14/07 21:16, Edited: 08/20/07 13:39

by Dave Mindeman

City Pages has essential reading for understanding the failure of our current transportation policy, regarding the I-35 bridge. This well researched and comprehensive explanation should give all of us pause as we approach the future of Minnesota transportation.

In the article, several areas, and persons, of responsibility are listed:

1. Governor Pawlenty
2. Commissioner Molnau
4. Taxpayer's League of Minnesota
5. Minority Leader Seifert
6. The Bridge Designer: Sverdrup & Parcel
7. Bridge Repair Firm: Progressive Contractor's Inc
8. Previous Administrations: Ventura and Carlson
9. The Bureaucracy
10. The Bush Administration

Although the cases for each have a place and are compelling in their own right, the "buck stopping" lies at Pawlenty's feet.

Pawlenty was in the legislature as Majority Leader in the House and helped formulate GOP policy along with Speaker Sviggum, prior to becoming the state's chief executive.

When Pawlenty became Governor, he did it on the back of a no-tax pledge to the Taxpayer's League. Nobody stuck a gun to his head, he knew what he was doing.

Pawlenty appointed Carol Molnau to the MNDOT post -- saving salary and sending a message that his commissioner would have his blessing for her anti-tax, anti-transit rhetoric.

Marty Seifert was merely a water carrier... he was certainly an enthusiastic water carrier, but not the policy leader when it came to legislative strategy. The Governor wielded the veto pen and Seifert merely kept his minority caucus in line.

The bridge designer could have a design flaw involved here, but there was more than ample evidence that problems were mounting over the years, and Pawlenty had 5 1/2 years to confront those issues.

It's hard to put much of any blame on the bridge repair firm. They certainly had a large amount of equipment on the bridge....but several lanes were closed and the normal amount of traffic was heavily reduced. They had no way to know.

Previous administrations certainly contributed to the problem but this was on Pawlenty's watch and our governor had plenty of opportunity to reverse any negative course.

Bureaucracy is always a good scapegoat but Governors are elected to cut through all the problems and set the policy tone that can make things happen.

And finally, Bush can be blamed for a lot of things... and the Iraq War has certainly depleted resources, but if Pawlenty had asked for extra Federal help, it is hard to imagine that some accomodation wouldn't have come for the GOP's "golden boy".

Maybe Pawlenty doesn't believe in the "buck stopping" principle... after all Diane Mandernach and Carol Molnau are still in the positions he appointed them to. But a bi-partisan coalition in the legislature was prepared to increase resources for transportation and the veto pen of the governor was the only obstacle.

Governor Pawlenty is not..repeat, not...responsible for the I-35W bridge failure event. But if you examine all the various contributing factors that have led to a failed transportation policy....

Well....there is only one place for that buck to stop.
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