Saturday, April 22, 2006 

"My Favorite Minnesota Democrat"

I was doing some Googling, and I came across this post in August 2003 by Power Line's Scott Johnson. My jaw dropped. Is Amy Klobuchar (or her husband) Johnson's favorite Minnesota Democrat?

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Extremist "Tough Talker" Tom Emmer

"Straight talk" in politics only goes so far and can cut either way. On one hand, it's something we pray for from our elected officials and love on the relatively rare occasions that we get it. On the other, a lot of politicians are so out there that it makes us cringe to hear what they actually think. As an example of the first situation, John McCain, despite being quite conservative, got a lot of praise from both sides for being honest, at least before he became a tool of the Bush Administration. As an example of the second, Alan Keyes, who as you may remember was Barack Obama's opponent in Illinois in 2004, said that abortion was a "genocide" of African-Americans, that Obama had taken the "slaveholder's position" in regard to the issue, that voting for Obama would be a "mortal sin", and that he opposed the 17th Amendment to the Constitution (direct election of U.S. Senators). Needless to say, he lost to Obama in a landslide.

Today, there's an article on MPR about freshman State Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Delano) which heaps praise on him for his "hard-charging style" and "getting straight to the point". I don't know how his constituents in Delano feel about him these days, (they elected him in 2004 with 60% of the vote) but to me being hard-charging and direct is a bit of a mixed blessing when you believe in forced castration, allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill any prescription without conditions, a total ban on gambling, and no assistance with prenatal care for some pregnant women.

It deeply worries me that people who believe in this kind of stuff feel able to speak out directly about those beliefs. It worries me even more that someone so extreme, rather than being criticized for his positions, is held up as an honest example for other politicians to follow. How do people like this get elected?

Doing wrong-headed things in a direct fashion isn't any better than doing wrong-headed things indirectly; in fact, it's worse. If Tom Emmer were doing great things, he would certainly be a model for other politicians, but being open about wanting to castrate people and take away benefits for pregnant women isn't good, it's just scary. I don't know if Emmer is a racist or hate-filled, as it says in the article, and I'm pretty sure that he's not a fascist. He is, however, an extreme right-winger who got checked too hard too many times during his hockey days. I can't believe that he represents the mainstream of district 19B, and we can only hope that the DFL can find someone who does to challenge him this year.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006 

DREAM...About Honest Leadership

Even (most of) the Republicans in our state made me proud today: the House Ways and Means committee voted 26-8 to pass out the Higher Education Omnibus Bill, which includes the DREAM (development, relief and education for alien minors) act. The provision will allow undocumented immigrants' kids to go to the U and other state schools at the same tuition rates that other Minnesotans pay. The bill passed despite Gov. Pawlenty rather strongly opposing DREAM, which MNCR took issue with. I really don't know how you can oppose this bill in good conscience: what are you supposed to do if you're the undocumented child of undocumented parents? They didn't come here by choice - they are here because their parents brought them. Once they graduate from high school, they're not going to go back to the country they were born in, a country they may not even remember. They're going to stay and live and work here, and it makes sense for everyone for them to have the opportunity to get a college education. What it comes down to is people who have lived in this state for years and years being unable to go to state schools, and that's just not right. It's not fair. With any luck, the bill will pass the full House with the provision intact and the Senate will pass it as well, and then Pawlenty will be put in an awkward position. One hopes he has the sense to sign the bill.

Also, the Senate is looking at taking another swing at the feetax, this time calling the thing what it is: a cigarette tax increase. This ought to be a no-brainer; if it made sense as a fee, it should make more, not less, sense as a tax, which wouldn't be in jeopardy of being ruled illegal. Unfortunately, Gov. Pawlenty wouldn't go for it.
"The governor does not support repassing the health impact fee as a tax," said Brian McClung, a spokesman for the governor. (emphasis mine)
Repassing? Does that mean that it was really a tax that we passed the first time?

The "health impact fee" was such a scam on the public. Gov. Pawlenty apparently is willing to raise what anyone else would call taxes, but he's not willing to take the heat for it. Where's the leadership, where's the honesty, where's the courage? Someone who actually, you know, governed would have called it a tax, and we would all have been better off for it. Instead, we're left with a legal battle for the integrity of the state's budget and a governor whose word we can no longer trust. The really sad part is that Gov. Pawlenty could have benefitted politically from doing the right thing. Dishonesty and a failure of leadership and nerve have come to define his administration.

UPDATE: Oops, link about the feetax added.

UPDATE 2: Obviously, the way I feel about the feetax thing is shared by others.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006 

Minnesota Goes 9/9

Like many members of the progressive blogosphere, NSP is a wholehearted supporter of the Howard Dean 50-state strategy in 2006 and 2008. The basic idea is that Democrats must contest every seat in every state. You can find information about it from the DNC or this Boston Globe article.

Minnesota, as a Midwestern Democratic-leaning state, has to be reliable if we're ever going to seriously contest anything in states like Wyoming, Mississippi, or South Carolina. This is especially true since there's only one CD in the state, the 3rd, that Democrats really don't have a reasonable chance at winning in the near future. That's why it's so exciting today that Minnesota Democrats will be fielding a candidate in every federal race this year. As Backbone Minnesota says, it's a full-court press.

Ladies and gentlemen, your Minnesota candidates:

Senate: Open - Amy Klobuchar
1st: Tim Walz
2nd: Colleen Rowley
3rd: Wendy Wilde
4th: Betty McCollum (Incumbent)
5th: Open - Too Many to List
6th: Open - Patty Wetterling/El Tinklenberg
7th: Collin Peterson (Incumbent)
8th: Jim Oberstar (Incumbent)

We can be proud of ourselves, proud of our candidates, and proud of Howard Dean's DNC today. It's time for change, and that starts at home by telling Republicans that, in Minnesota, there's no free ride.

Notes: Even the 4th CD GOP doesn't spell Michele Bachmann's name correctly. Sloppy, huh? Also, Centrisity and Moderate Left are now blogrolled; the only reason they haven't been previously is that, last time I checked, I couldn't find RSS feeds, which is a real no-no if you want your blog to be read.

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Still Slow

Politically, things have been about as exciting as a mortuary lately, it being the Easter break for Congress and the Legislature. The Legislature is back in session today, though Congress is out until Monday. Hopefully things will pick up.

Sunday, April 16, 2006 

Happy Easter!

A happy Easter to you and yours from NSP. Unless something big happens, there won't be any posting until tomorrow, so take the day off from reading blogs, too.

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