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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

McFadden Loves Coal - That's The Problematic Emotion Here

Category: Al Franken
Posted: 08/06/14 19:11

by Dave Mindeman

Mike McFadden is not a very thoughtful candidate. If he were, he wouldn't be so quick to embrace coal as an energy policy. He made a curious statement in regards to energy policy....

"We need arguments that are based on science and not on emotion," he said. "I'm very concerned about the war on coal that has taken place. I support all forms of energy."

I have never really thought of coal as an emotional issue. And the science is clear - coal is bad for the environment.

Coal is a cheap form of energy and that has kept it in play despite our efforts to move beyond it. It is all economic.

And there is this effort to promote "clean coal" technology as an excuse to continue to keep it at the forefront. Clean coal is still a dream as an affordable means of utilizing coal. Although it is possible to sequester the carbon underground or in the ocean, it also creates its own set of additional problems. Especially ocean sequester which could change the pH of the water and damage sea life.

Coal is just dirty. Plain and simple. It needs to be replaced and there is bipartisan resistance to do that because coal has political clout in some important states.

But the science is clear (even if opaque to McFadden) and a future of renewables has to move away from coal.

It is not an emotional issue - it is a matter of earth friendly science.
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The Mysterious McFadden Horserace Story

Category: Al Franken
Posted: 08/04/14 22:43, Edited: 08/05/14 09:43

by Dave Mindeman

There is this constant attempt to make Mike McFadden a blockbuster competitor to Al Franken. Each tidbit of news seems to have an exaggerated response.

For instance - The US Chamber of Commerce endorsed McFadden today. A surprise? Absolutely not. In fact, if the US Chamber hadn't endorsed him, that would be the real news.

The U.S. Chamber, though, said it likes McFadden "because he is a problem solver who can bring real world common sense solutions to Washington," according to Rob Engstrom, the group's national political director. "Mike's private sector background and pro-growth agenda make him the clear choice in the Minnesota Senate race."

I still fail to understand what evidence there is that McFadden has any idea about actual "common sense" solutions. His commercials, although kind of clever, offer no evidence of such an ability. In fact, if he really cut out his own kid's stitches to save a buck, well, that doesn't sound like common sense at all.

But there seems to be this media frenzy to "create" a race here. The 2014 narrative about the Senate is that it is all about the south. That is the battleground and will be right into November. But the media narrative seems to want a northern equivalent. (Beyond the Montana and South Dakota assumptions) Why? To nationalize the politics? To extend the horserace? I don't know. But Franken and Jean Shaheen, the Democrat from New Hampshire (opponent is Scott Brown) seem to be the ones on the radar.

Cook and Rothenberg seem to be itching to put Franken in the "vulnerable" category whatever the cost.

But the evidence continues to go the other way. Recent polling on the Franken race already assumes that McFadden is the opponent. And the numbers aren't all that good for the challenger.

There have been 4 polls done since April on this Senate race and in only one of them (the KSTP Hubbard Survey USA) does McFadden get into single digits (48-42). And in the latest one (A CBS/NY Times) poll ending on July 24th, Franken is up by 14 and hits 55% (55-41).

PPP Franken +11 (June)
Suffolk Franken +15 (April)

The reality to it all seems to indicate that the SurveyUSA poll done by Hubbard is an outlier. Yet, the media continues to portray this as a close race and gives it a ton of media attention.

Why this continues is somewhat a mystery.
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McFadden Chances Improve? Maybe In The Wishful Thinking Category

Category: Al Franken
Posted: 07/24/14 22:34, Edited: 07/24/14 22:35

by Dave Mindeman

There seems to be an almost quiet desperation to make Mike McFadden a serious challenger to Al Franken for the Minnesota Senate. The investment banker has no experience - has stumbled badly on the issues , but has money to burn and has shown a willingness to spend it liberally (pardon the expression).

He is a familiar mixture of Norm Coleman and Mitt Romney, but without the political expertise. What has given him the opportunity to gain some notoriety was the inexplicable endorsement at the GOP convention. Whether it was good strategy or incredible luck, McFadden has emerged with the endorsement and has only token opposition for the GOP primary from grossly underfunded challengers.

Because of all that, it looks like the political handicappers have given him a second look and recent "experts" like Stu Rothenberg and Larry Sabato have upgraded McFadden's chances against Franken.

Even Sabato made the change almost apologetically....

One final rating shift that will leave many shaking their heads is in Minnesota, where we're changing the rating from Likely Democratic to just Leans Democratic. But hear us out: While polling doesn't really support such a move, history suggests this race won't be a cakewalk for Sen. Al Franken (D).

In other words, no data - just a hunch.

The reason that Franken's race is still on the radar is that most political followers who haven't been familiar with Franken's Senate career cannot believe that the guy who won by 312 votes could be anything other than vulnerable. And normally that would be a pretty safe bet.

But Franken has assimilated into the Senate very well. He is respected by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. He has eliminated the bawdy humor for which his entertainment career was famous....and replaced it with a dry sense of humor which he flashes only to make a political point.

Franken has been a prolific fundraiser and even with McFadden pouring his own money into the race, Franken continues to have the monetary edge. The junior MN Senator always seems to be one step ahead of McFadden on every front....organization, fundraising, commercials, and ground game.

In general, Franken's political strategy (and it is a good one) has not given McFadden a real opportunity to put the incumbent Senator on the defensive. McFadden's opportunistic endorsement gives him the ability to utilize what little the State GOP has to offer for ground help and not have to build it all himself, which I am sure he expected he would have to do. But Franken negates that opportunity with a superior organization of his own.

Another thing working in Franken's favor is that the Republican Senate Caucus has to concentrate on other races. Minnesota's seat is low on the priority list. The RSCC is having a fight in Georgia and Kentucky to hold onto incumbent seats and North Carolina and Arkansas are proving to be stubborn takeaways. Sending money to Minnesota may be a luxury they cannot afford. Meaning McFadden is probably on his own.

Al Franken's narrow win in 2008 has not been taken for granted by his campaign. They have prepared for battle and are looking for a somewhat better margin of victory this time around. The MN GOP has never quite gotten over that narrow and frustrating loss. They have been willing to give McFadden some leeway in conservative "principles" as long as he has shown a willingness to match Franken's bank account.

The GOP keeps looking for any semblance of silver linings in their quest to take back Norm Coleman's seat. But hard evidence of a McFadden upset is in short supply.

And Al Franken is taking nothing for granted.
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