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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Kline & Bachmann Need Their Own Iraq Plan

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 07/29/07 14:11

by Dave Mindeman

As the Congressional Republicans scramble to solve their Iraq "political" problem, there seems to be an idea that is growing among the panicky 2008 election cycle candidates.

This approach is summarized by the Associate Press:

Republicans increasingly are backing a new approach in the Iraq war that could become the party's mantra come September. It would mean narrowly limited missions for U.S. troops in Iraq but let President Bush decide when troops should leave.

Heather Wilson, R-NM (a narrow winner in 2006) offers some furthur clarification:

"Settling Sunni-Shiite rivalries over who occupies what street in Baghdad is not in the vital interest of the United States. And we should only have Americans in harms' way where there are U.S. interests at stake."

I'm happy to see some movement in the Republican ranks but I am sure John Kline and Michele Bachmann will be quick to chastise their Republican colleagues. After all, this is the very thing for which Kline and Bachmann have railed about, against the Democrats, that is: .... micromanaging the war.

Even Democrats have not ventured into the realm of telling the President and the generals what they can and can't do on the ground. This would most assuredly put every mission in Iraq subject to the definitions of Congressional mandate.

So as Iraq War support continues to peel off in new and different ways, Kline and Bachmann stand to become increasingly isolated. They are becoming the final stalwarts among the dwindling number that will stand with the President.

September is fast approaching... is their a Kline/Bachmann plan?

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Pawlenty's Future Vision: Lots of Talk -- No Action

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 07/29/07 12:28

by Dave Mindeman

"Among all our governors, no one looks to the future more than Tim Pawlenty." -- Gov. Ed Rendell, D-PA

That little line was paraphrased by Ron Carey on Almanac last Friday.... and I am sure you will be hearing a lot of it in Pawlenty circles for the near future.

But Ed is the consummate politician. He often uses hyperbole like that whenever it can get him some attention....and what he wants. Here is another quote from Gov. Rendell:

"I've had remarkable success in getting seven major initiatives enacted into law. ... So you have to kiss a little butt."

The art of butt kissing knows no partisan divide.

But the facts are that Ed Rendell knows Pennsylvania but he doesn't know Minnesota. He heard Governor Pawlenty give a speech about a future vision of renewable energy. Its a good speech and Governor Pawlenty gives a lot of good speeches on this subject. But rhetoric is cheap... a lot cheaper than finding ways to pay for a serious vision of the future.

If Governor Rendell would physically venture into Minnesota, he would see more of the truth. We have a large metropolitan area with woeful public transit. We have roads, highways, and bridges in negligent disrepair. We have transmission lines that cannot accept the increasing production of renewable energy. And we have a governor who thinks we can wish our problems away instead of paying to fix them.

Maybe Governor Pawlenty "looks to the future" a lot, but thats the funny thing about the future.... it's always a place we never quite get to.
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IRV -- Minnesota's GOP Must Oppose It

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 07/28/07 12:12

by Dave Mindeman

Last night on Almanac, the State Party Chairs of all 4 major parties in Minnesota were on. Only a few things were discussed but surprisingly, at least to me, the main topic ended up being IRV (Instant Runoff Voting). This has been a Green Party initiative for years but the conversation last night, started with the Independence Party chair noting that their candidate selection was done via IRV.

The Greens, Independents, and even the Democratic chair all concurred on their support for the IRV system. The city of Minneapolis has a plan in place and St. Paul is in the process of working towards that goal. However their was one dissenter -- Ron Carey, GOP:

"Brian, if the choice in the last election were Peter Hutchinson, Governor Pawlenty, and Marty Seifert...and you had to vote for two, who would you vote for? That's the problem with IRV; whether you are liberal or conservative, you're being forced, often times, to vote for somebody that does not share your values. And that's not representative democracy..to force people to vote against their values."

What the he** is he talking about? I'm not at all sure how he thinks Marty Seifert would be hijacking the DFL nomination in his scenario, but the first point is, his hypothetical could not happen. But is he trying to say that Republicans can only accept purity in their candidates? That they can't possibly think in terms of "the next alternative"? That he is afraid within the major party structures that no one else could come close to the GOP "values"?

Frankly, if IRV was the norm, I truly believe you would see a split in the GOP... the conservative wing would branch off. That is essentially what the Green Party has done....they are a liberal branch of the Democratic party in Minnesota. And if everyone was honest about it, it has led to some healthier debates about many issues, including IRV. But the GOP keeps patching itself together with this plurality coalition that can squeak out some elections with 46-47% of the vote, and then, only if it all holds together. If this state used IRV, the GOP would be hardpressed to put together a 50% majority. And that is the reason they oppose it... not on principal; on survival.

Just to make sure we weren't scratching our heads enough though, Ron Carey went on to say:

"There's a lot of research being done about the constitutionality of IRV because you are really disenfranchising people from being able to vote their values and I think that's dangerous."

Now he is making things up. Anyone know of a constituional right to vote "your values" ? Carey has no real argument against IRV, he simply has to oppose it. The electorate is shifting and it is not toward the Republicans. Splinter group parties are fine with Ron Carey as long as they are represented on the margins. Don't let their votes really count. His job is to keep the status quo -- make sure that a minority vote can win in Minnesota. It's his only hope.

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