Friday, March 24, 2006 

Friday Round-Up

I don't usually do these, but there was enough that went on today that it's necessary.

Sen. Johnson to Apologize - gosh, folks, get over it already. I'm disappointed in Sen. Johnson for causing the whole mess in the first place, but I am quite proud of him for having dealt with it in the refreshingly upfront way that he has. Honesty about lying/exaggerating/sanding seems oxymoronic, but I say that truth is better late than never. Sen. Johnson presents a contrast to the Bush Administration, for example, which lies and then doesn't correct itself. Sadly, many of those who are so vocally calling for Johnson's head would not be nearly as forthright were the roles reversed. UPDATE: At least he's not like Ben Domenech.

Pawlenty in Iraq - take from this what you will. Quite a surprise when I read about it.

Senate Passes Bonding Bill - it's not much in the scheme of things (we'll be seeing a very different bill by the time the House passes one and the conference committee gets through with it) but it's a start. I'm proud that the DFL-controlled Senate got this moving. Doesn't look like a bad bill, either.

Medical Marijuana Considered - interesting, especially in that Sen. Kelley is carrying it. It seems so ridiculous for people in such great pain to not be able to use a drug because the government arbitrarily decides it should be illegal. It seems doubly ridiculous to try to shoot down the bill because of "enforcement concerns". It doesn't take a genius to figure out that enforcement of drug laws regarding marijuana is poor, to say the least. In this case, one would hope that the interests of people in unbearable pain are placed first.

Gopher Stadium Plan Retooled - I'm getting pretty sick of this. At this point, I (and many others, I'm sure) am ready to say forget it and move on. The Gophers' hockey loss to Holy Cross, a 1-4 upset in the NCAA tournament, doesn't make me any more enthusiastic about UMN athletics, either.

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Mr. Sponge Dries Up

(Bumped -NSP)

While the internets have spawned a lot of good things, they've also given a new voice to the lowest common denominators among us. As if they needed another outlet.

One of those has cost us Mr. Sponge's blogging today
. He will be missed.

FURTHER: Many from around the blogosphere and internets have had things to say. Truth Surfer, Across the Great Divide, Jack Pine Savage, City Pages, Moderate Left, MRW, even MDE and Kool-Aid Report have weighed in, and I'm sure there are others that I'm not noticing.

This, folks, is why I blog pseudonymously. I don't like having to do so, missing out on events like Drinking Liberally, not having blogbuddies and real-life friends and family know who North Star Politics is, not being able to wear funny hats. I simply don't feel I can justify doing it otherwise.


Doran Campaign Post-Mortem

It should be known by one and all at this point: Kelly Doran has ended his bid for governor, mentioning as his only reason his obligations to his family. His release can be found here.

I liked Doran. MDE did too, as well as BBMN, and even the Kelley campaign had nice things to say. I don't think anybody out there had anything really bad to say about Doran, either personally or in terms of his campaign. As the Kelley blog post says, wrong candidate, wrong race, wrong time. I don't doubt that Doran's a good, honest guy who cares about the future of his state and his country. Unfortunately for him, Doran couldn't get away from being just "the candidate with all the money". Besides his centrist approach (not a strategy that woos primary voters) Doran had little to distinguish himself from the others. He was okay, but in a tremendously strong field of gubernatorial candidates like the DFL has this year, he never stood a chance without some kind of hook, a way to get voters tuned in. His "I'm not a politician" talk was okay, but not good enough. Being a novice works both ways; it might get you some attention, but it's going to be very difficult to overcome the inexperience that being a novice entails.

One big question Doran's exit has created is that about Sen. Sheila Kiscaden's (IP/DFL-30) future plans. Kiscaden is a hugely appealing lieutenant candidate for each of the three remaining candidates, especially with Rochester as the new top batteground in outstate politics, if not for the entire state. Kiscaden could rustle up support in Rochester for whichever candidate she runs with, which could mean a lot. I'd regard the speculation that she might run for re-election as quite unlikely; Ann Lynch, apparently a Kiscaden ally, has been endorsed as her successor. I do hope Kiscaden chooses to run with another candidate; she's too valuable an asset to the DFL to sit on the sidelines in this race.

Doran's run disappoints me only in the fact that he spent so much money on his two races, reportedly as much as $1.6 million which has all come to naught. I have no idea if Doran continues to hold political ambitions; the man may never again run for so much as dogcatcher. If he does harbor such ideas, however, he could better spend the money that he spent over the course of the last year investing in the party. $1.6 million, probably not a huge amount of money for a guy like Kelly Doran, could go a very long ways in investing in local DFLers' campaigns, local party infrastructure, and larger units such as the DFL House and Senate caucuses and the DFL Party itself. Such a move would build enormous goodwill among the kinds of people whose support he would need in any future run for statewide office. If Doran spends the next two years building his party, he could be an extremely attractive candidate for Sen. Coleman's seat or any other office that he wants to win.

Better luck next time, Mr. Doran. I mean that. Good luck in whatever you choose in the future.

UPDATE: The Rochester Post-Bulletin is reporting that Sen. Sheila Kiscaden will not be seeking re-election.
Kiscaden ruled out running again for her Senate seat. She said Ann Lynch, the DFL's endorsed candidate for the seat, had offered to step aside so she could run, but Kiscaden said she declined the offer.
The possibility of her entering as another candidate's lieutenant remains open judging from the article, however.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006 

BREAKING: Doran May Drop Out

Checks and Balances is running a post saying that Kelly Doran will be dropping out of the Minnesota gubernatorial race within the next couple of days.

No information other than this, but here's the post, in its entirety.

Rumored word has just reached us of Kelly's Doran's (D) intent to withdraw from the DFL race for Governor. We understand he intends to do so via press release. The specualtion is he finally is believing the low numbers he continually sees in his polling data and no matter how much John Wodele tries to soothe his candidate the reality check has finally happened.

We wonder what Sen. Sheila Kiscaden (D-30, Rochester) will do now since she staked her wagon to Doran's train. We know that none of the other candidates have chosen their runningmates. If she is willing we believe Attorney General Mike Hatch (D), Sen. Becky Lourey (DFL-08, Kerrick) and Sen. Steve Kelley (DFL-44, Hopkins) would all be interested in her support. We know all of the campaigns had approached her to be their Lt. Governor candidate previously and it now appears she mistakenly chose Doran.

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There's no straw they won't grasp at to try to whip up a scandal, no reach they won't make to attack courageous DFLers.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006 

Carlson Calls Out Republicans

Former Gov. Arne Carlson has called out Senate Republicans on jeopardizing the current legislative session by ragging on the Dean Johnson/judiciary affair and filing an ethics complaint.

Look, what Sen. Johnson did was really stupid. REALLY stupid. He has, however, apologized repeatedly. Other than resignation - a route which, while tempting to call for, has been spoken against by none other than Gov. Pawlenty and Speaker Sviggum, what do all you wingers want?

Believe me, I'm pretty pissed at Sen. Johnson. I despise when Democrats do things like this, because, at this particular moment in history, it's usually Republicans who get caught on the wrong end of the argument (see Lott, Trent). I thought about calling for calling for Johnson to resign, but then I realized that would be putting politics first. Johnson is a good man, a good senate majority leader, and a great public servant. Republicans are trying to take him down because they're afraid of him, a man who left the Republican Party when he saw what it had become. We can't let them.

This ethics complaint is the perfect example of how desperate Minnesota Republicans are getting. They're scared, they're desperate, and they're lashing out at Dean Johnson because he's the only thing they can find to attack. The voters are too smart for their fake indignation; I'm confident that Minnesotans can see through the chrarade. Come Inauguration Day, we're going to have a Democratic Legislature and a Democrat in the Governor's Mansion, and the Republicans are just trying to staunch the bleeding. Can you really blame them?

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006 

Only a Republican

Why isn't it surprising? Time and time we have seen the Bush Administration bend or break all of the rules, and we have begun to see their allies in Congress follow suit. We should be used to it now, but no matter how I try, I can't.

In the latest press release on his Congressional web site, Mark Kennedy whines about how horrible it is that he can't get an amendment passed because he didn't properly follow procedure. In fact, he's "appalled at placing procedure before policy." I'm so sorry, Mark, buddy; this is really a damn shame.

If this is what we can expect from a Sen. Mark Kennedy, count me out. Guess what? Policy must follow procedure, or we'd never get a damn thing done. If we didn't have a way to conduct business in Congress in an orderly manner, can you imagine the chaos? Mr. Kennedy, do you think that all the rules of the United States House of Representatives are there as a joke?

I haven't read the amendment that the release references, but I'd imagine it's something similar to the bill that the Minnesota Legislature just passed, and that was a bill I endorse. Thus, Kennedy's amendment was probably substantively a pretty good one, one I wouldn't mind seeing passed. I look at the issue this way: Mark Kennedy's ineptness cost the nation a law that would have improved people's lives. And instead of owning up and fixing the problem, he issued a press release whining about how it is the rules' fault.

Only Mark Kennedy and his Republican friends would be "appalled" at having to follow the rules of the office they've been elected to.

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Sunday, March 19, 2006 

MN-05 Candidates

BBMN is keeping a running list of who's in, who's out, and who's undecided in the race to replace Rep. Martin Sabo. I myself would love to see Rep. Keith Ellison win this one, but that's just a first-glance thing. I'll almost certainly make an endorsement in this race after it's clear who's running, so stay tuned.

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