Tag Archives: Michelle Bachmann

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.

Advertisements

A Democrat’s take on the 2012 GOP Presidential Field

 

Last week, the FOX network continued its push to replace President Obama with its first official piece of business, the first FOX Republican Presidential candidate debate.  While many of the top contenders decided not to attend, five middle and lower tier candidates showed up and excited national Republican political junkies.

Despite the low candidate turnout, and the absence of the most controversial candidates, this particular debate was a bit controversial.  Not just controversial in that 4 of the 5 candidates in attendance said they would support torture as a President… (pause for shake of head)… but it was controversial in that the Associated Press and Reuters chose not to attend because of restrictions placed by the FOX Network on other news gathering organizations.  I guess it just proves that Sirius/XM was correct in their recent reclassification moving FOX “News” from the News station category to the Political station category.

Anyway, it was the first event of the 2012 presidential race.  We will have a better picture of what to expect as we approach the summer and fall. There should be candidates beating down the door to take on President Obama the way Republicans talk about how bad a President he is. I think the reality is that potential candidates realize it would have been really hard to beat Barack Obama even before the recent political events.

Here is my uneducated take on the field of Obama’s potential challengers.

The Serious Presidential Challengers:
Mitt Romney
Former Governor of Massachusetts, dogged within the party for RomneyCare and past “liberal” stances. Most recent polls have him closely behind poll leader Mike Huckabee, second, just like he was to John McCain.  Romney lost to Ted Kennedy in a Senate race not long ago.  In that race Senator Kennedy joked that Romeny flipped and flopped so much that if the election lasted long enough, Mitt would vote for Kennedy instead of himself. Ted Kennedy also joked saying “I am pro choice, Mitt is multiple choice.” I think that flip-flop aspect of his history will keep him in second, regardless of who wins the nomination.  But, if he gets the nomination, he might have a better chance of winning than a lot of these candidates.

Jeb Bush
I included Jeb Bush in the serious challenger list, but not Mike Huckabee, go figure.  Huckabee is obviously a serious contender, I’m just unsure he will run.  I think Jeb will run.  He is obviously hurt by Bush 43 as well as Bush 41, by 43’s policies and result, and 41 along with 43 by the monarchal aspect of a third Bush as a President.  Those are the only reasons he wouldn’t run, but if he jumps in, especially at the last minute into a crowd of dull, lifeless contenders, he immediately becomes a star.  I don’t think he can win the presidency because of 41 and 43, but he could easily get the nomination. 

The Dark Horses:
Paul Ryan
Like Bush, he isn’t necessarily an expected candidate, but neither was Barack Obama.  He is a Midwesterner liked by Tea Party and Republicans, and he has already established a fiscal campaign against Obama. He is technically a dark horse because he isn’t a candidate yet. If he jumped in, I think he would move to the serious challenger level and be labeled by some the second coming of Ronald Reagan (which would be completely inaccurate, don’t get me started.)

Tim Pawlenty
He seemed to be the winner in the recent FOX Network debate according to other’s accounts.  He could win by default because he is non-controversial nationally, yes, he did raise his hand in support of torture.  Of course, how he left the State of Minnesota could really hurt him in a national debate.  But if Mike Huckabee stays out of the race, and he wins Iowa.  He could run away with the nomination a la Bill Clinton. 

Mitch Daniels
Ditto on Tim Pawlenty, but he actually did the things Pawlenty didn’t, like solving a state budget deficit. He also is seen as a little more independent that would appeal to moderates with his decision to avoid controversial social wedge issues, which is a negative to hard core Republicans.  Maybe a good national pick, but might have a hard time getting the Republican nomination.

Michelle Bachmann
I know she got a zero in a recent Iowa poll, but ths is a very shrewd and hard working politician. I consider her a dark horse, not because I think she can win, but because she can get some serious attention and raise a lot of money.  The problem is she has a really good thing going where she is right now, so I question whether she would want to leave the House, especially if her district borders remain unchanged as they appear to be in the first redistricting attempt. On the other hand, if she does enter the race and doesn’t win the nomination, she is poised to fully concentrate on taking on Sen. Al Franken in 2014.  That makes me think she might not mind getting in.

The Not So Likely:
Newt Gingrich
He announced he is in today.  He is a fundraising powerhouse and he WAS a political powerhouse. I think the “was” aspect is weighing on his ego.  He can make a run, and if he loses, but does well, he gets the extra attention to sell books and continues to get calls from the FOX network to be an analyst.  If he happens to win, even better for Newt.

Herman Cain
Herman Cain was the fan favorite at the FOX Network debate, and to his credit, he was the only candidate who said he would not support torture.  He doesn’t have much of a chance.

Sarah Palin
Fierce loyalty among fans, but doesn’t seem to the have the skills or desire to seriously compete for the GOP nomination, let alone the Presidency. Plus, a bad loss would seriously diminish her ability to be taken seriously on the FOX network…

Ron Paul
Might have a better chance to win the presidency than some of these guys, but he can’t win the GOP nomination.  Plus, there is his son…

The Jokes:
Donald Trump
He was a registered Democrat, vied to run as the Reform Party candidate for president, toyed with running for New York Governor, and now is threatening to toss his hair in the ring this year for President. It is all a publicity stunt to increase his wealth. After all, is the country really going to elect a man who started life with $400 million that his father left him and has been bankrupt 3 times since, divorced twice, had an affair, and thinks he has the right to judge other’s moral and financial decisions?  Recent polls have put him in his place, close to last.

Rick Santorum
Just Google Rick Santorum quotes. No change. Nothing more to say.

Sarah Palin
Could be included here too.

The could haves, but have better things to do:
Mike Huckabee
He has a good gig going. If he gets in he is a “challenger” but I’ve read that he isn’t necessarily interested.  He leads in the current polls, and he might be the only current potential candidate (not including Bush or Ryan) at the top of the list who could unite the Republican base and challenge Obama. 

Haley Barbour
Already out. He is old and wants to spend the rest of his life enjoying it.  The funny thing is that I read he might be Mike Huckabee’s running mate if he runs.  His exit from the race adds to my feeling that Huckabee is out too.

Overall, at this point in the race it seems like a pretty weak pack. If I were betting, and Huckabee stays out, I would put my money on Pawlenty.  But if Bush or Ryan get in, Pawlenty is toast.  They are probably all toast if Huckabee gets in.

The Richest Americans vs. The American Dream for the Rest of Us

It was about a year ago that Michelle Bachmann said we’re running out of Rich people in America.  I remember the quote, but I don’t remember the context.  It had something to do with President Obama, but I refuse to spend my time looking up why Michelle Bachmann said anything. 

Is it true?  Are we really running out of “rich” people, or is there just less opportunity in this country to get rich.  For the past 30 years, we have been told that the rich make the country successful, “they create jobs!”  So we’ve cut taxes, we’ve allowed tax loopholes to stay, eliminated tariffs, bent over backwards to make concessions to the rich and corporations, and what have we gotten in return? A poverty rate that has only increased since the 1970s.  Shouldn’t there be more rich people by now?  Bill Maher and Michael Moore have thrown out the statistic that the Forbes 400 richest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 50% of the United States population.  In pure numbers, that means 400 people have more than 155 MILLION Americans. 

Do you think that is sustainable?  I would not be shocked at the possibility of a revolution during my lifetime if we continue to move toward a society of financial extremes in wealth and poverty.  It might not be called a socialist or communist revolution, but it would fit into that category.  It would be a class war.  Historically, revolutions occur when the basic needs of people are not being met, or when basic rights are being trampled by the government.  I’m not sure we don’t have both of those right now in some cases.  

But when a statement like that is made, you can hear right-wing talking heads bring up that the left is trying to foment class-war.  Maybe a little class awareness at least would be a good thing.  The median income in America is $48,000.  Of those 155 million Americans who make less than $48,000, I have a feeling that they have felt the biggest brunt of the negative economic and political decisions that have been made to benefit the richest Americans.  A vast majority of people making under $48,000 didn’t gain because of the mortgage bubble, the energy bubble, the hi-tech bubble or whatever bubble.  No, more often they were hurt by the outcomes of the decisions and policies made to benefit the richest Americans.  How many Minnesotans have lost their jobs or are at risk of losing their house because of the greed of the richest Americans. 

These richest Americans are responsible for many of our problems.  I’m not discounting the fact that many people work because of these Americans, but without them, the services, items or whatever would still be needed and provided by many others making a great living.  Anyway, who thinks most of the richest of the rich didn’t gain their wealth without taking advantage of somebody else?  Even with all the good things Bill Gates has done or intends to do with his fortune, his fortune was built to its prestigious level with collusion and ruthless anticompetitive practices.  And while the richest may not always break laws to get rich like Madoff, Hecker, Lay, Skilling, Petters, or whoever, it is hard to justify paying less than a living wage, either in America or overseas, when the owner, CEO or shareholders earn billions.  In my mind it is criminal that companies like 3M, Exxon, Apple, Massey, Cargill and even the company that supported my family, Ford, take shortcuts to save money risking the health and future of workers, consumers and communities. 

So what do we do?  Give up hope?  Retreat to our television or following Charlie Sheen instead of turning this around before it is too late?  There are those of us that still want the American Dream, an ideal that we are all richer when everyone has the opportunity to be successful.  Thomas Jefferson wrote:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Great words, and isn’t that the American Dream?  Everybody should have the same opportunity to be successful.  But I’m not sure that is the case.  I’m not sure that a government that continues to stress that the freedoms of those 400 richest Americans are more important than the interests of 155 million Americans or more is truly moving us toward the American dream.  I’m not sure a government that eliminates rights and freedoms is even American, in the true sense of what it means to be American. 

Political outcomes during the rest of this decade could be the watershed for our future.  Franklin Roosevelt prevented revolution during a crisis eight decades ago by compromising despite his personally held economic beliefs.  Based on what is going on across the country in Republican politics, I’m concerned that the only way today’s Republicans  would compromise is by giving in to the desires of the richest Americans even if that means deception and violence.  What’s next after that, but full blown revolution? 

“We have this fantasy that our interest and the interest of the super rich are the same. Like somehow the rich will eventually get so full that they’ll explode and the candy will rain down on the rest of us like they are some kind of piñata of benevolence. But here is the thing about a piñata, it doesn’t open on its own, you have to beat it with a stick.”  — Bill Maher

Eisenhower and Reagan Quotes Are Still Pertinent Today

I posted the following two posts on Facebook recently:

“President Eisenhower supported trade unions, Social Security, and progressive taxation. Ike said that opponents of trade unions were “fools.” He called opponents of Social Security “stupid.” And he said that the way to balance the budget was to “tax the rich.””

 

“Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost.” ~Ronald Reagan”

I received a comment that basically implied that a past quote does not make it pertinent in today’s context. I think there is a lot of relevancy in those quotes today.  I think you would have a hard time finding a quote from FDR, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter or Clinton that so contradicts the current Democratic agenda of national healthcare, the rights of worker, the importance of a strong public education system, the need to eliminate poverty or a fair taxation system.  Those are all major tenets today of Democratic policy, as they have been for decades.  And while the Democratic Party has moved to the right during that time, the Republican Party has moved rapidly and unsustainably far to the right recently.  The quotes from the above Republican standard bearers reflect that that move to the right. 

The Party is becoming so dogmatic that icons of the party would probably be excluded today.  Recent attitudes have seen moderate Republican after moderate Republican drummed out of the party.  Arlen Specter, Lincoln Chafee, Lisa Murkowski, the Override Six… Jim Ramstad, a good Congressman, probably would have had GOP opposition in the last couple elections if he had stayed, and Arne Carlson is a pariah. 

I think there will be a return to moderation at some point.  I think Republicans who are more willing to follow Reagan’s ideals rather than using his name as some sort of conservative badge to prove their worthiness, will begin taking back the party. There are Independents today who are true Republicans, but have left the party officially because of Tom Delay, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, John Boehner and even celebrities like Glenn Beck.  These people are not mainstream Republicans like Reagan was who appealed to so many independents.  They are not the future of the Party.  They are temporary attention seeking zealots in the mode of Joe McCarthy. 

They place Reagan on a pedestal, but only seem to remember the things that pertain to today’s agenda.  They ignore the deficit growth, tax increases, his hatred of nuclear weapons and his desire to avoid conflict.  One of the stupidest things I heard around the recent election was a series of interviews with Republican candidates who were asked living or dead who they would like to have dinner with.  A few conservatives said a family member or Jesus, but the majority said Ronald Reagan.  It seemed very contrived to me.  These no compromise, no middle ground Republicans don’t belong in Reagan’s company.  Reagan said if 80% of what he wanted passed, it was a success.  80% is a loss in the mind of so many Republicans in power, Walker, the Fitzgerald brothers, Boehner, Pawlenty…  The only correlation between Reagan and some of these extremists is the little “(R)” after their name.  It certainly isn’t intelligence or an understanding of political success.

Three Minnesota Congress Members Among the Republicans Trying to Redefine Rape

I’m an advocate for ignoring House Speaker John Boehner, but it is hard to when he recently called an anti-abortion bill that redefines what rape is “one of our highest legislative priorities.”

In the bill, H.R. 3, some abortions would be denied except in cases of “forcible rape.”  That means many statutory rapes, incest, unconscious rapes involving alcohol or date-rape drugs, rapes of coercion and impaired mental ability might not be deemed “forcible.”  One pro-choice advocate said something to the effect that this bill would take us back to a time when saying no isn’t enough. 

So the big question is, who would define what forcible is?  And how would whether it was “forcible rape” or “just rape” be determined in each case?  Would there be rape panels determining the severity of the force?  Would the rape victim be judged based on resistance?  It seems very wrong, but I guess in the end it really doesn’t matter because the bill will not pass.  Regardless, Republican supporters should be ashamed of this.

They should be held accountable because it is a “top priority.”  Never mind that if Republicans really wanted to make it a top priority and pass an anti-abortion bill they could have done it a few years ago when they controlled the Presidency, the House and the Senate, rather than now when they know it won’t pass the Senate or the President.  Of course, maybe that is the point.  It looks good to their supporters who support them on that single issue, and this way they can continue to count on their support in the future.

And never mind the Republican battle cry of less government control, which is really laughable because the only people they want “unburdened” from government control are themselves and wealthy businessmen.  They still want to control you and me, with a special control emphasis on minority communities.  Why else would the Republicans want to decide who we love, what language we speak, if we can vote, whether babies born in the U.S. should be citizens or not, how clean the air is, whether women are equal or which populations get special treatment.  They want government to control your personal life as much as possible if it could impact them. 

And never mind the fact that some rich kids, who feel they are better than everybody else (maybe like the children of rich politicians and rich businessmen,) like to use date-rape drugs like Rohypnol.  Maybe they want to set the precedent that since there was a date rape drug involved, it really wasn’t “forced rape,” so it should have a lesser sentence.  That way they can protect their sons and all his frat buddies.

I realize I might be going a little over the top, but this bill isn’t about making our country better!  It is another cheap, hypocritical, poorly thought out stunt to feed to their base.  This bill not only deserves to be defeated, but the many Republican co-signors, including John Kline, Michelle Bachmann and Chip Cravaack, should be chastised for trying to say a rape isn’t really a rape unless it is violent.  This is just another wedge driven in to divide America.