Category Archives: Amy Klobuchar

The “Red Shirts” send an intern to crash the DFL58 Picnic In the Park Fundraiser

In my last post I wrote about a young man creeping around the DFL58 Picnic in the Park Fundraiser.  I assumed he was a tracker for Klobuchar or Obermueller, but I was upset when he walked around videotaping each person in attendance at the event.

I became even more disturbed when I wondered if he videotaped the kids at the event. I think that could actually be illegal, but either way, whether kids or adults, people should be free to enjoy a picnic without their privacy being intruded on by Republicans who express a desire for more freedom.

I guess freedom is limited to Republican events, opinions and ideals, because the mystery is solved.  Drew Christensen was an intern for John Kline.  He wasn’t wearing his red shirt at our picnic, but that’s him on the far right in the picture. No, that “far right” comment was not intended to be a pun.  The Drew identified in the picture popped up on my screen when I opened Facebook a few minutes ago.

Drew must have been sent by the other red shirts to videotape Mike Obermueller. Maybe John Kline should show a little courage and show up himself for an impromptu debate with Mike at events like this, instead of hoping for a racist comment to post on Youtube – oh wait! It is always Republicans that say that stuff isn’t it?

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A beautiful night at the DFL58 picnic, or was it a GOP event to ID those who are un-American?

Friday evening, the DFL58 group held its 2nd annual Picnic in the Park.  It was a beautiful cool and comfortable sunny evening.  57 people attended the picnic, and the organization raised $834 dollars in donations dropped in buckets and in silent auction bids.  Plus, we collected, on very short notice, two full bags of groceries for our local food shelves.

While most of the guests enjoyed some good conversation, great food, and exceptional homemade cookies and brownies, there was one odd guest. Right at the beginning of the event, a young man named Drew Christensen signed in. I was happy to see a young face, and not just a young face, but a young face who came alone, not with his parents.  I greeted him, but as we were still getting set up, I didn’t have time to talk to him and find out more about him.

Once I had a chance to talk to him, he was gone.  Then I noticed him sitting on a bench pretty far away.  I walked toward him, told him the hot dogs were ready and he should come and eat.  He said OK, but he just moved to a different bench.  That’s when I began to wonder what was up with him.

Drew kept creeping around the edges of the picnic.  Not close enough to be part of, or even listen to conversations.  I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt that he was incredibly shy and just observing from a safe distance, but I was begging to think maybe he was spy.

Spy is the wrong word, because our group is incredibly open. In fact, if Sen. Dave Thompson had made an appearance, I would have let him talk.  Heck, the TEA Party judicial candidate Dan Griffith came, and we let him talk twice as long as anybody else.  We are no secret society or exclusive group, everybody is welcome.

My guess is that Drew was a tracker sent there to video tape Amy Klobuchar or Mike Obermueller if they came. By the way, I am extremely disappointed neither of them came. Another blog will be forthcoming about that.  But since neither major candidate showed, he was stuck creeping around the perimeter.

As the picnic was winding down though, Drew moved in and went from creeper to just plain creepy.  He walked around the outside of the picnic shelter, videotaping each person in attendance.  I was in the front talking as he was slowly walking the edge, getting each person on tape.

He is either into some weird video fetish of middle-age old people eating potato salad, or he was some sort of a tracker.  But how creepy is it, and I know I’m using the word creepy a lot, but the word fits, how creepy is it that he was videotaping the faces of people he didn’t know, some that weren’t even DFLers who came with their DFL active spouses.  Was he doing it so some GOP version of the brown shirts could review the tape and try to identify moles in their own party, by the way, none of them were there tonight, or are they going to identify the people to crack some heads later when they get the chance to show DFLers who is boss?

Maybe they have one of those elaborate TV crime show computers that runs a picture against another picture that’s running like a slot machine until it finds a match, then when it does, they can enter that person into their data base as being “against America” as Michelle Bachmann would say.

I guess this is just my opinion, but if somebody told him to videotape the people in attendance, what other use is there than some sort of intimidation, they don’t have names.  The people at out meeting are good people, good families, who as a group believes in a lot of things that we think are good for our community.  Just because many of us believe the richest Americans are not better than you or me, or just because we think some people who can afford to contribute a little more than others to make our schools, towns and society better, stronger and safer, does not mean we are enemies that have to be identified so when the time comes we can be sent to the gulag.

So you think you have no reason to vote in the August 14 Primary because you’re a DFLer?

Are you going to skip the August 14 Primary elections? In my district, there are no legitimate DFL challenges.  Yes, Amy Klobuchar has a couple challengers, but nobody who is a serious challenger.  Mike Obermueller has no primary fight, nor do Andrew Brobston, Colin Lee or Jim Arlt.  But there are a couple of important races.

There are six names on the ballot for Minnesota Supreme Court, three for Chief Justice and three for Associate Justice.  In each race, the top two finishers will move onto the general election, and in each race there is an openly partisan candidate that in my opinion shouldn’t be allowed to compete in the general election.

The Minnesota Supreme Court is at stake here.  The first contest features Pawlenty-appointed Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea, who is being challenged by Jill Clark and Dan Griffith.  It might seem logical to a DFLer to get rid of Chief Justice Gildea, a Pawlenty appointee, but Dan Griffith is the person I worry about.  In 2010, Dan Griffen was endorsed by both the MN Republican Party and the Constitution Party, who advocates in its party platform to make homosexuality illegal.  Griffith has appeared at fundraisers for Minnesota Tea Party events, including a chartered bus to attend Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally in Washington (Griffith refutes this.)  He is an evangelical Christian who told the Minnesota Family Council that he opposes court decisions that allow for public funding of abortion, prohibit school prayer and ban the posting of the Ten Commandments on public property, and he agrees with court cases that ban adoption by same-sex couples.

In the second race, for Associate Justice, another Pawlenty-appointed incumbent, Justice David Stras, is being challenged by Tim Tingelstad and Alan Nelson.  Tingelstad advocates for inserting the “Word of God” into judicial decisions, never mind the Constitution.   He is quoted as saying “It is particularly vital that a worldview, based upon the Truth of God and His Word, is returned to our highest courts” and “It is not unconstitutional to bring the Word of God back into public education.”  In fact Alan Nelson is quoted as saying one reason he is running is “because Tim Tingelstad’s views on the separation of Church and State scare me.”

Both Dan Griffith and Tim Tinglestad can be stopped at the primary level, so we don’t have to worry about them in November.  The concern on my part is that with all of the Republican primary contests, a lot of far-right activist who believe the separation of Church and State only applies to non-Christian religions, will be out in force, and these candidates may get a boost.

I for one will be voting for the other candidates, I hope you do the same.

I’d also like to add a plug for the Dakota County Commissioner Race in District 1.  Maybe it is an anti-plug.  Christy Jo Fogarty, who is a strong partisan Republican, is running for that Commissioner seat.  Christy Jo is probably not the best candidate to represent the majority in District 1.  I don’t know any of them very well, including Christy Jo, despite the fact that our kids have played sports together, but I met Mike Slavik, he seems pretty likeable and middle of the road.  People on the right call him a “stealth Democrat,” that must mean he is pretty independent, so I will be voting for him, at least in the primary.

Every voter should be considering the impact that these heavily partisan candidates might have on our community, like Griffith and Tinglestad on the Supreme Court, and Fogerty on the Dakota County Board.  The problem in politics is not partisanship, that has always been there, it is the extreme partisans with no ability to be open-minded that we unfortunately have been electing.

Notes: Thank you to MinnesotaCentral for information.  A version of this is also posted at MN Progressive Project and a version was submitted to the Patch news network community blog.

2012 Senate strategy Amy Klobuchar vs. ??? and early 2014 Minnesota Senate odds Al Franken vs. ???

So where do we stand when it comes to future elections?  For statewide elections in 2012, we only have Senator Klobuchar, President Obama and the Anti-Marriage Amendment.  In congress we are not sure about Michelle Bachmann yet.  Chip Cravaack has already moved his family to New Hampshire, and everybody else is safe with the remote exception of Rep. Collin Peterson who might be challenged by Lee Byberg.  But I’m not even sure about that being close.  At the height of the 2010 Republican wave Byberg still lost by 18% to Congressman Peterson. 

In one sense, the future is predictable.  Just like I can look at the Twins minor league teams and shudder at the future possibilities of Minnesota Twins success in coming years, political parties can look at their “minor leagues” and begin planning for the future.  Obviously you cannot account for a Tim Walz or a Chip Cravaack accomplishing the unexpected, but statistically, and realistically, we can look at the current crop and make some decent predictions.
2012 Election Amy Klobuchar vs. ???

Amy Klobuchar may be the safest bet in 2012.  Dan “Doc” Severson has stepped up to challenge her.  “What’s up Doc” is best known for losing to Mark Ritchie in the 2010 Secretary of State race and making the unfounded accusation that there was widespread fraud during the Franken-Coleman race and recount the main theme of his campaign.  I guess he should also be credited for an undistinguished career in the state legislature during the 2000s where he authored five bills, two of which were constitutional “redefinition of marriage” bills.  It also sounds like some guy named Joe Arwood is going to throw his hat in the ring and Phil Krinkie, always willing to get his name in the news is dangling ideas out there that he might get in. 

Few current or future statewide political heavyweights are willing to risk what will likely be a horrible loss on this race. Actually, those three no-names may be a blessing in disguise for Republicans in 2012.  I would contend that the worst thing the Republicans can do, at least in terms of maintaining their shaky hold in the state legislature in 2012, is to have a contested race for senate.  A contested race might draw out Klobuchar supporters who might otherwise be a little apathetic about the president or other races in their district, and maybe be willing to consider staying home if Amy is safe, especially if there is a little snow or cold weather.

It is a well known that Republicans do better when turnout is low, and a low turnout strategy has been a piece of Republican election planning for over 30 years now.  (Voter ID is one step.) If Tim Pawlenty for instance were to enter the race to lose to Senator Klobuchar, you can bet that DFL faithful would turn out in droves to make sure he has no shot at doing what he did to Minnesota to the rest of the nation, and other local races would be affected by that.
2014 Senate Odds

2014 is another story.  In 2014 Senator Franken’s seat, the Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State and State Auditor are all up for election.  My hope is that everything stays status quo there.  I think Senator Franken is doing a great job, Governor Mark Dayton has done the right things and Attorney General Swanson and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie are phenomenal.

But things may not remain status quo.  Governor Dayton will be 67 in 2014 and looking at the possibility of 4 more years like we just had.  Secretary of State Ritchie and Attorney General Swanson need to consider if a third term is something they want to do.

Senator Al Franken is a lock to run again, and is raising money right now.  Franken is more vulnerable than Klobuchar from a political standpoint, but many DFLers are much more passionate about Senator Franken than Senator Klobuchar.  Al Franken is somebody who will really fight for the little guy, sure he isn’t as moderate as Amy Klobuchar, but he is more passionate when it comes to issues he believes in.  I really believe Senator Franken is a Minnesota senator in the mold of Hubert Humphrey (pre-presidential aspirations) and Paul Wellstone, a passionate liberal fighter who people like because he cares, is honest and he is straightforward.

In my mind, the biggest question mark is Governor Dayton.  This year had to be really tough and stressful, and he still has another year with this current crop of legislators.  I do believe he will get a reprieve in 2013, because I think it is very possible that the House and Senate might revert back to control on the liberal side of the aisle after the 2012 elections.

On the DFL side, should Governor Dayton choose not to run, 2010 gubernatorial candidates Mayor R.T. Rybak and House Minority Leader Paul Thissen would jump to the top of the list, but so do Congressman Tim Walz and Attorney General Lori Swanson.  Either of those two could bump Rybak and Thissen, who finished second and third at the 2010 endorsement convention, out of the running.

But the GOP side for Franken’s seat and Dayton’s seat is more interesting.  On the Senate side, the big names are Tim Pawlenty and Michelle Bachmann.  While they have the name power, there a couple of Republicans with real political skills and followings: Senators Dave Thompson and Geoff Michel, and former Representative Laura Brod.  They might be the future big names.  Some others based on a speaking ability and overall presentation ability, however knowing very little about them personally, or about the skeletons in the closet, might include Representatives Keith Downey and Andrea Kieffer and Senators John Howe and Julie Rosen.  Those are prospects at least.  I know there are people like Zellers, Dean and Koch that might have aspirations, but to be a major candidate today people have to see you as a politician, looks, height, hair style, speaking ability, camera presentation and confidence all factor into the equation as much as political stance and political actions.  I don’t think everybody who has aspirations has thosedown.

This is how I see it playing out:

Early 2014 Republican Senate Candidate Endorsement Rankings vs. Senator Al Franken:

  1. Michelle Bachmann – She will be the odds on favorite in my book.  Her presidential aspirations, although serious, are not really serious.  She hasn’t stopped campaigning for Congress yet, but  should she, leaving the House opens up the door for her to campaign full time for Senate.  That said, I don’t think she can beat very many people in a statewide race.
  2. Tim Pawlenty – Tim Pawlenty has to decide if he wants to risk another losing battle with Michelle Bachman.  Then he has to decide if he wants to risk what would be another embarrassing loss, but this time to Senator Al Franken.
  3. John Kline – Not mentioned before this, John Kline is in my opinion the top Republican candidate in the state.  I think he could win anything he runs for.  He won’t run for governor, because he doesn’t really live in Minnesota, and he is very, Very, VERY safe in Congress, so he may never risk taking the chance on Senate.  Additionally, in 2014 he will be 67 and he would likely keep his House seat with very little work.  And who knows, maybe he is interested in House leadership.  Odds are not likely he runs, but he could win.

Early 2014 Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Endorsement Rankings:

Without ranking them, I think the favorites are Geoff Michel, Laura Brod and Dave Thompson.  I’ve never met Geoff Michel.  Laura Brod seemed a little rude to me when I had the chance to meet her once.  I was wearing a DFLer’s t-shirt, so she knew I was a Democrat, and she along with so many Republicans seem to have an automatic dislike for Democrats without knowing them.  I was going to say hi and introduce myself, but she never made eye contact and kind of walked by with her nose in the air.  Dave Thompson is the one person here that I have had a personal conversation with, and although I really disagree with his political policies, I kind of like him.  The couple problems for him that I see are that he is a little short, and sometimes I’m not sure if he is talking to me because he is interested in a conversation, or if he feels like he needs to be polite.  He did it on the radio for years, so he may be genuinely bored by conversations with people.  I feel like he may not care, he’s just waiting to be done,
which could be a negative in campaigning. I’m not sure though, maybe it is just me or maybe he doesn’t like me and is counting the minutes until he can be done. 

If all three happened to run, I think Laura Brod would be the prohibitive favorite, I think women have an advantage with independents and moderates these days.  But since she is younger and probably has a younger family than the other two, she may decide to wait a little longer.  Plus, there is that mysterious health problem that caused her to drop out in 2010.

Between Dave Thompson and Geoff Michel, I personally think Dave Thompson has a better chance, but what do I know.  I guess it depends on who the higher ups in the Republican Party want.  Either way, there are other important seats, Attorney General and Secretary of State are both very important, and stepping stones to higher office that any of them may be interested in.

Amy Klobuchar is vulnerable? Maybe a new prescription for those rose colored glasses.

I do not get why Politics In Minnesota regularly promotes blog posts from the Let Freedom Ring blog. 

Despite the statement on the “About” page that says:

“This blog is committed to being an advocate for making decisions using logic & intelligence & verifiable facts.”

It is anything but.  In a recent post regarding Tim Pawlenty possibly challenging Senator Amy Klobuchar, the following statement was made:

“Sen. Klobuchar is exceptionally vulnerable.”

WHAT?!?

Let’s use a little “logic & intelligence” here, not partisan rose colored glasses.

Amy Klobuchar handily beat Republican Mark Kennedy by more than 20 points and almost 450,000 votes in her last election.  She had the highest favorability polling numbers of any senator in the United States during 2010.  And personally, walking in a couple parades with an Amy Klobuchar t-shirt on, Amy received cheers while other elected representatives received jeers. 

Let Freedom Ring might not like her votes, but a partisan dislike does not make her vulnerable.

On the other side, Tim Pawlenty was lucky Tim Penny ran in 2002, and really lucky in 2006 that the Mike Hatch/Judy Dutcher late innings screw-up allowed him to barely beat Hatch by 1% of the vote.  He can run around the country saying he balanced the budget in Minnesota and worked bipartisanly, but we know the truth here in Minnesota.

Amy Klobuchar is practically at superhero status from a strength standpoint.  She is a moderate Democrat, evidenced by the dislike of her on the far left and she is liked by moderate female Republicans.  Tim Pawlenty’s record in Minnesota has no chance against Amy Klobuchar, and I’m not even sure he is a top challenger for Al Franken.  But I welcome him entering the race.  Then Amy can put the nail in his political coffin so I can finally stop having to listen to him or anything about Tim Pawlenty, and just concentrate on fixing the problems his administration will be causing in Minnesota for the next two decades.