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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

MN Congressional District Musings

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 06/03/11 15:02

by Dave Mindeman

Medicare.

When it comes to the 2012 Congressional races, its Medicare. It is the first campaign theme, it is the essence of campaign mailings, it is your first game, your middle game, and its your end game.

In Minnesota, we have 4 Republican Congressional Districts. They are Medicare districts...they are all Medicare districts. The time to prepare, the time to get in....is NOW.

The Congressional lines are going to be drawn by the courts. We do not know the final borders, but there won't be any crazy gerrymandering going on, so the essence of the districts will probably stay pretty much the same with expansion or contraction based on population. So, it behooves the Democrats in Minnesota to move forward with things as they are and make the adjustment later. DO NOT WAIT FOR THE COURTS.

SECOND DISTRICT: (John Kline) Dan Powers has already announced a DFL run. Powers is not going to strike fear in the heart of Mr. Committee Chairman Kline, but Dan will probably have a clearer shot at keeping the Democrats together this time around. And as for Dan Powers the candidate, there is nothing wrong with him that $1.5 to $2 million in the campaign coffers, wouldn't cure. On the issues, he is fine. And with Medicare as his ally, he can make some noise.

EIGHTH DISTRICT: I doubt there will be any trouble getting a Democratic field to challenge Chip Cravaack. Tarryl Clark is willing to move to take him on. Duluth City Councilman Jeff Anderson has thrown his hat in the ring as well. And I doubt that will end the field. Democrats have a good chance at retaking this seat. They just need to raise the money and stay on message. Medicare.

THIRD DISTRICT: Erik Paulsen voted against Medicare. That is a campaign. Who's willing to do it? I am a bit chagrined that we don't have candidates clamoring all over themselves here. This is a winnable race. Sure, Paulsen has been doing a lot of the constituent service things necessary, but for gosh sakes, its Medicare! Jim Meffert should take another swing at it or one of the legislators should start things up. Somebody...anybody. This is the time.

SIXTH DISTRICT: I expect the conventional thinking is that Michele Bachmann can't be beaten here unless the district is totally changed. Well, let's go over the variables. The Sixth is the district that will probably see the most physical change in the redistricting process. Any new area that comes in will be less likely to accept the Bachmann antics as "normal".

Bigger than that is Bachmann's probable Presidential run. Her ego just can't hold her back. And if Bachmann thinks that press scrutiny has been intense before.....wow. Every single one of those gaffes is going to make the NY Times and the Washington Post. The catering of Iowa social conservatives will be doubly evaluated by independents all over the country.

The poor little 6th District of Minnesota will be neglected for the next 6 to 8 months at least. Is there a Democrat out there willing to step into the void?

And consider this. Although I have always been of the opinion that Michele Bachmann, as a Presidential candidate, will implode at just about any point, she will still command a substantial following that the other candidates can't ignore. It is entirely possible that the Tea Party, et al, will carry enough weight that the eventual nominee will have to be accountable to them. And what might that mean? A potential Bachmann Vice Presidential candidacy? After all, who will the Tea Party most coalesce around? Jim DeMint? He won't help a ticket being from South Carolina. Mike Huckabee? Sure, but he won't give up a TV gig for a VP slot. Tim Pawlenty? He doesn't yet have Tea Party bona fides. Sarah Palin? Been there, disastered that.

And if Bachmann should happen to get that VP slot, where are the Democrats in a now open seat?

Not saying it will happen....just for your consideration.
comments (3) permalink

In Iowa, Pawlenty Lacks Moral Politics Authenticity

Category: Tim Pawlenty
Posted: 06/03/11 11:36

by Dave Mindeman

When a Republican Presidential candidate wades into the weeds of Iowa social religious activists, you should be prepared to have the litmus test answers at the ready.

Tim Pawlenty gives them "pause":

...when asked by Carroll Daily Times Herald reporter Douglas Burns what the penalty should be for doctors or women engaging in abortion, Pawlenty said there isn?t ?a specific penalty that we have proposed for that? and while he believes there should be ?consequences,? he isn?t willing to call for ?criminal sanctions.?

Now that type of question is pretty standard in Iowa politics. And Pawlenty's answer, outside of Iowa, would be standard conservative fare. But this is Iowa:

When asked about the initial statement, Maggie DeWitte, executive director of Iowans for Life, an anti-abortion group, noted her perception that Pawlenty was positive on the issue, but added ?it (his answer) does give me pause.?

Which led to a scramble inside Pawlenty's campaign circle and a "clarification" (by Eric Woolson, spokesman):

? ?As you know, this was the last question in the press scrum and discussion got chopped off.? Woolson said. ?To be clear, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, the issue of abortion returns to the states for them to decide the issue and penalties, if any. As to the governor?s views on these matters, he believes that if abortion becomes illegal, abortion providers should be subject to a penalty possibly including a criminal penalty. However, he does not believe women should be penalized.?

Amidst all of that back tracking and clarifying, there is a larger issue about Pawlenty.....he's in an uncomfortable element.

Pawlenty is certainly anti-choice, but it is not a defining issue with him. He has backtracked on cap and trade, but he has trouble abandoning his environmental concerns. He doesn't support same-sex marriage, but he has, in the past, been willing to support GLBT rights in most other areas.

When Mitch Daniels and Mike Huckabee opted out of the Presidential sweepstakes, Pawlenty has been getting a second look from the Iowa social conservatives.

But incidents like the one mentioned above aren't helping him. It's not that Pawlenty isn't trying to cater to their positions...gosh, he's contorting himself into a pretzel to please them. But what's missing from Pawlenty is that zealous conviction. He still has some doubts about moving out on that precipice of morality politics.

To the Iowa activists, Pawlenty seems OK but the word that escapes his description is authenticity.

And that is why Michele Bachmann will wipe the floor with him in Iowa.
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To. Sen. Koch: One Time Money Still Has To Be Accounted For

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 06/02/11 12:31, Edited: 06/02/11 12:33

by Dave Mindeman

Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch talked to MPR and said this:

"They used one-time federal stimulus money and a one-time gimmick shift as ongoing funding. That's not our fault, that's not the governor's fault, that was decisions made by other Legislatures and other administrations. One-time money should not be used as ongoing funding. Even if you count that in as reality, we're spending about the same," Koch said.

Senator Koch is either delusional or intentionally misdirecting us.

The facts state that that one time stimulus money was used for BASIC state funding. It wasn't used for a new program. It wasn't used to add to existing programs. It was used for education, health and human services, state administration, and for transportation. Basic budgetary needs. Period. End of sentence.

And whether or not a previous legislature pulled that gimmick on school funding, it is still an obligation in law. Senator Koch was there. She knew what was happening. She knows that, gimmick or not, that funding was held back to be repaid....now.

To pretend that this is somehow, outside of the current budget negotiations is a slap in the face to all Minnesotans.

Senator Koch says that "one time money should not be used as ongoing funding." Except it was. Except it is. Except is has to be accounted for now.

I fail to understand how this argument, put forth by the legislative leadership, can be taken seriously. That money is either part of the budget or it is accounted for in cuts to the budget. The GOP Legislature has done the latter.

If Senator Koch thinks that this is responsible budgeting, then I think new leadership is in order.
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