Tag Archives: Mike Hatch

When is the election for governor lost?

Not that long ago I heard what I think is a particularly sagacious comment. 

Often, the election is not lost in November.  It is lost at the primary.

Simple, but so true. 
 
We’ve seen it again and again.  It happened two days ago in Massachusetts.  I didn’t follow the race closely, but all reports seem to indicate Coakley ran a bad race.  Would Rep. Capuano have run a better race?  Seems like he wouldn’t have done worse.
 
What about the 1998 governor’s race.  Skip Humphrey beat the DFL endorsed candidate Mike Freeman by 16% in the primary.  I know “what ifs” are worthless, but I am a firm believer that Mike Freeman would not have lost to Jesse Ventura.  Heck, I don’t think any of the other three candidates Humphrey beat, Doug Johnson, Mark Dayton, or Ted Mondale would have lost to Ventura. 
 
And we keep doing it.  People close to me and who knew Mike Hatch told me not to support him.  He couldn’t win.  Too many people don’t like him.  They were right.   Every DFLer won, except Mike Hatch in 2006.  Becky Lourey?  We’ll never know.
 
So who is the likely primary winner this year?  Conventional wisdom says Dayton or Entenza.  Conventional wisdom hasn’t been wrong recently.  It was Hatch’s, Moe’s and Humphrey’s primaries to lose, they didn’t.
 
Is Matt Entenza or Mark Dayton the best candidate to win in November?  Does name recognition or money make you the best candidate?  Hatch had both.  Humphrey had both and finished third!
 
Dayton’s negatives are high.  It doesn’t help that last night’s WCCO News story about his official announcement also mentioned that Time once rated Mark Dayton among the nation’s “worst” senators.
 
Earlier today Matt Entenza posted a note on facebook that said:

We must remember who we are as a party and as a state. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of wimpy Democrats. It’s time we get tough.

I’ve seen him a few times, and tough is not a description I would use.  Maybe he said it is time we get tall?  I believe he might be a tough politician, but voters are looking for a physical toughness that demonstrates a toughness of conviction.   I hope he gets physically tough because I think he will be the candidate.  I will support him if he is the candidate, but I don’t want to see another third place finish for the DFL because we blew our chance when another candidate could have won.
 
I think we have candidates who can steamroll the GOP this year, candidates with authenticity, trustworthiness, charisma, great ideas and toughness.  But it might end up being a “what if” year if a candidate is chosen in the primary because of money and name recognition, rather than at the endorsing convention by people who want a winner.

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Will the 2008 caucus scare away 2010 caucus attendees

I kind of wonder if the Barack Obama-Hillary Clinton contest that created an incredible wave of DFL caucus participation in 2008, might actually hurt caucus attendance in 2010.  It was a madhouse with long lines, locations running out of supplies and grumpy people.  Despite the anticipation of a huge turnout, the group of volunteers at each location struggled to keep up.  For many of the people attending, it was their first caucus experience.  Will that caucus experience frighten people away from attending a second caucus? I’m afraid it will.

I have personal experience that makes me think that.  I attended my first DFL caucus in 1988 at a church in Richfield.  I was an excited 17 year old.  The caucus was packed with supporters of the different presidential candidates running, Michael Dukakis, Jesse Jackson, Dick Gephardt, Paul Simon and Al Gore.  It was filled with local candidates and state candidates.  I remember meeting Mike Hatch for some reason.  But the event was confusing to a newcomer in terms of format, organization and language.  It was overwhelming.

It was practically another 17 years before I attended my second caucus.  I never missed voting, but the experience in 1988 made me think the caucuses were for hardcore people, not for amateurs like me. 

While 1988 and 2008 both had competitive races, the 1988 race between Dukakis and Jackson does not compare to the passion and energy behind Obama and Clinton that pumped the 2008 race into a frenzy of support for each candidate.  Thousands of people showed up at caucus locations, many just to vote and leave.  Those that stayed were greeted by more chaos.  The people charged with leading the caucus struggled to deal with the long lines of new attendees and voters, start timess of meetings were delayed, and experienced caucus attendees in each precinct were unexpectedly forced to become teachers and meeting leaders.

The 2008 caucus was an anomaly.  While DFL leaders hope to keep those people involved, political meetings are often not the most exciting way to spend a cold February evening.  While the 2008 caucus was packed, loud, and even a little confusing, I recall at the 2006 Farmington caucus.  I felt a little like one needed to whisper it was so quiet.  While I don’t know the exact number, I know attendance was under 100 people at my location, and my precinct had four or five attendees. 

As I said, DFL leaders are making a push to get first time attendees to return, but I have a feeling that 2010 will look a lot more like 2006 than 2008.  There were a lot of people in 2008 eager to get involved, but people’s lives are busy.  Few people in my district realized that there was more involved in running for positions than just winning in 2008.  There were many people eager to join the fight, but attending a few meetings or working on fundraising is difficult when you are working to keep your head above water.  It is hard to attend a meeting when it takes away one of the few nights you get to spend with your children.  I don’t think a lot of those people will attend again.

 If you want to get involved, if you feel like helping to get the word out on DFL values, or can raise a little money to support candidates in the area, don’t be afraid to attend the caucus.  Think about becoming a precinct leader or assistant precinct chair at the caucus.  Become a delegate to the district convention, where you have the opportunity to become a delegate at the State Convention.  The caucuses will be a smoother experience in 2010, with a greater ability to get involved at the level you want.  Don’t be afraid.

And by the way, even if you don’t attend the caucus, you can still attend your local DFL meeting and get involved.

Angry White Man – GOP Campaign Plan?

I saw Governor Pawlenty’s ad where he stands, smiling in front of a white background with some happy, jazzy music playing. I have no idea what he was lying about, but I heard GOP apologist Sarah Janecek recently describe future governor Mike Hatch as “angry.”

Then I heard a caller to a radio station yesterday describe Mike Hatch as “an angry white man.” It hit me, the right wing is starting their labeling campaign, and the point of Pawlenty’s ad is not to say anything of any importance to voters, it is an ad to depict him as a “happy white man.”

They can’t beat Mike Hatch on issues or accomplishments because Pawlenty has done nothing good for the State, while Mike Hatch keeps working like a bulldog for the state and the underprivileged.

Well a bumper sticker comes to mind. “If you are not angry, you are not paying attention!”

I hope Mike get really angry if they ever debate.

No Gas Price Trap

So many people seem relieved that gas prices are dropping, but we can’t fall back into the trap that happened in the 90s. We should not accept that right now, the U.S. is more dependent on oil from unstable Middle Eastern countries than we were on September 11, 2001.

There are a lot of conspiracy theories out there, oil prices are dropping because the oil companies want people to forget about the high cost of gas by the time the elections roll around to keep their right-wing hacks in their back pocket, or that Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other oil rich nations want Bush to keep his power, along with his addiction problem.

If we want a safer and more secure country, not just in terms of terrorism, but the equally important environmental aspects, it’s time to break our dependence on foreign oil. We can do that by electing progressive candidates at the state and local level who support:

  • Investment in production of renewable, cleaner-burning ethanol so that, instead of importing oil from the Middle East, Minnesota’s farmers will produce America’s fuel.
  • Speeding up the development of new fuel-efficient vehicles such as plug-in hybrids, not hydrogen based vehicles that are years behind hybrid in technology.
  • Requiring car companies to increasing a gas powered cars fuel efficiency. According to a July 18th Washington Post article, the EPA said the industry-wide fuel economy of 2006 model-year vehicles was 21 miles per gallon. If we can increase that average to 26 MPG, our nation can reduce our auto fuel usage by 20%. That means you have 20% more of your gas money to spend on whatever you want, and terrorist supporting oil rich countries have 20% less to spend on what they want.
  • Offering tax incentives for buying hybrids rather than hummers for small businesses.
  • Requiring all municipality, county, state and federal vehicle fleets, including buses, to reduce its overall fuel consumption by moving toward hybrids or alternative fuels like ethanol and bio-diesel. 

If we can elect a majority, common-sense and progressive government, I think this will happen by the end of the decade. The new candidates in Minnesota we need to elect are Amy Klobuchar in the senate, Mike Hatch for governor, Lori Swanson for attorney general, and Patty Wetterling, Tim Walz and Coleen Rowley to congress in seats currently held by Republicans. We need to support local Democrats like Paul Hardt in my district and your local Democratic candidate so we can take back the Minnesota House.

A lot of people are kicking themselves for their votes in 2004. Together we can make sure that doesn’t happen again. I know it is hard to talk to people about political issues, but we can’t go on much longer as a nation, or even a world, if we don’t take back this country from the right-wing elite who think their 1% is more important than us.