Friday, December 23, 2011

Mitt Romney For President

Mitt Romney represents the best chance for republicans to beat President Obama and because of that fact MC endorses him for the republican nomination. If you're not in politics to win, you shouldn't be in.

MC has heard all of the criticisms of Romney and isn't about to recite the litany here. Suffice it to say they are unpersuasive on balance. And that balance is a field of imperfect candidates. Has it ever been otherwise?

The stakes for the country could not be higher when it comes to defeating the worst President since James Buchanan. Hence the candidate with the best chance of defeating him is by definition the best candidate. Various problems with this policy position or that can be addressed once in office but MC thinks there will be far fewer of those than his critics anticipate.

And it's not that Romney can't be criticized--who cannot?--but that his critics fancy themselves to be good judges of things political. They criticize him while arguing that Herman Cain or Michele Bachmann are viable candidates in the general election. It's enough, as the late Christopher Hitchens would say, to make a cat laugh. (That was a depressing sentence to write.)

Conservatives believe they have longer memories than their friends on the other side of the aisle and MC certainly believes this to be the case. How odd, then, for them to forget that RINO's like Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin were praising Romney as the conservative alternative to John McCain in 2008. Stay with that for awhile, please. National Review also endorsed him that year.

The puzzlement is that Romney has moved further to the right since that time. This cycle he's been endorsed by Ann Coulter and South Carolina governor Nikki Haley. New Jersey governor Chris Christie has come out strongly for him.

The activist base, not Mitt Romney, has been the flip-flopper this year. From Bachmann to Perry to Cain to Gingrinch, all that can be said about them is MC thinks they'll finally come round to Romney. Add in a vice-president candidate like Marco Rubio and people tend to settle down a bit.

One important subject that has not gotten much attention is the Supreme Court and the next president's nominations to it. Romney has the esteemed Robert Bork as his chief adviser in the realm of judicial appointments. It simply doesn't get any better. People in Minnesota may have largely missed it but months ago there was a small Leftist effort born of angst and despair to pressure Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg into retiring so President Obama could appointment her replacement. This didn't happen, of course, and President Obama made two mediocre appointments that pleased no one but the box checkers of faux diversity. The concern on the Left should please those of us on the Right.

The energy from the republican side was never going to come from our candidate himself. The energy is almost wholly from its well warranted allergic reaction to a far left, incompetent, not-really-so-smart president. This will still be the case with Romney at the head of our ticket. In purple states like Minnesota, it could well help republicans keep one or both chambers in the legislature, a not unimportant but imperiled goal given the latest developments.

Romney will bring strong conservative principles into the contest with President Obama. He's clearly aware of the slimy campaign Mr. Hope & Change knows is his only chance not to be thrown out of office on his ear and is prepared to fight back vigorously. He knows what it takes to win. His strength on things economic will likely prove decisive. He will also, MC believes, govern in a strong and effective manner once elected. For these reasons and more, Mitt Romney should be our nominee.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

RPM: Crawling Out Of The Wreckage

Yesterday, December 16, 2011, was unlike any other day in recent Minnesota political history. One bombshell story after another fell upon the Republican Party of Minnesota in a manner that left everyone--left, right, center, media, bloggers, the Twitterverse--stunned and reeling. One could hardly keep up with the serial catastrophes that befell the party. Things got so bad that even avowed enemies of conservatism sent MC DM's of condolence. Even boxers stop punching after the other guy is down for the count.

The day before, Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch abruptly resigned her leadership post and said she would not run for reelection to her seat. The insultingly usual bromides were given as the reason. She said she wanted to spend more time with her family. Eyes were promptly gouged out. But what could one do? The $64,000 question was why and no one had the answer. Or, at least at that point, was willing to say.

Welcome to yesterday. It started with a shock by news that the hapless Brandon Sawalich was preposterously arrested on charges of his vehicle's license tabs being expired at the Mpls/St. Paul Airport. The campaigner in chief did not yet have time to wade in with his usual intellectual shallowness and declare: "The police acted stupidly." There was no need: even Minnesotans could figure this one out on their own.

Eventually the charges against Sawalich were reduced, appropriately, from a gross misdemeanor to a petty one. Having announced con brio on the preceding Monday that he was the leader ready to take the Republican Party of Minnesota out of it financial doldrums, he folded under very weak adversity which he could not apparently outsource. The lack of any discernible leadership skills was disturbing. Not everything in life is handed to one, a lesson Sawalich seemed incapable of grasping. The real reason for weakness came soon enough.

The AP reported that he settled a sexual harassment claim brought by a subordinate in 2003. It further reported that Sawalich had not replied to its inquiries before he withdrew from the race for Chair of the RPM. MC is a friend and ally of Sawalich; twice it supported him for Chair of the RPM before, twice, he withdrew before truly beginning. It would seem that his heart is just not in it sufficient to the fight in which republicans find themselves. Political observers seem unanimous that his political career in Minnesota is now conclusively over. This does not mean, however, that he cannot bring high donors back to the party and MC urges him to do so. There are many ways to serve and the stakes are high. Elected leadership may now be beyond his grasp but Brandon Sawalich has no shortage of other avenues in which to lead. Here's hoping he does for his party needs him.

The Lynchian tale of being arrested for stale car tabs was quickly surpassed by news that Senate Majority leader Amy Koch had been confronted by her ersatz peers with allegations of indiscretions with an immediate subordinate on staff. She neither admitted nor denied the allegations and her resignation from leadership came shortly thereafter.

Later in the day it was announced that Michael Brodkorb (former deputy-chair of the RPM) was no longer employed by the Senate Caucus. By this time the party establishment, elected or otherwise, was reeling. Twitter burst into flames; text messaging reached overload proportions and people went from one urgent phone call to another. Scraps of information were passed around like cheap wine.

Then, as if to mock sanity, four lumbering senators, full to overflowing with themselves, held the Hindenburg of press conferences. Sens. David Hann, Geoff Michel, David Senjem and Chris Gerlach decided that a press conference of apparently endless proportions would be the best response to the unfolding calamities. Michel spoke and far too much. All the men sounded like Rush Limbaugh's new castrati and the local premiere female conservative radio talk show host Sue Jeffers acidly noted today the lack of inspiration, push-back or general strength. Instead it was all hang dog and maybe the press will not flay us overly much. Please like us!

In real time, however, activists on Twitter were losing their minds. The press conference was being tweeted by press and their tweets fell like lashes as inane and tone deaf comments were made by the eunuchs. Readers were treated to tweets like: "Michel confirms the staffer with whom Koch had improper relations was male." Well thank God for that, no need to fear a lesbian fling or beastiality. Small victories while the RPM was being bulldozed by these idiotic senators.

Before the Hindenburg presser was finished, however, word came that Sen. Parry, for whom Brodkorb worked as a volunteer, was going to have his own press conference shortly after the conclusion of the ongoing one. By now normally rational republicans found themselves barking mad. Commitment proceedings were avoided only because Sen. Parry himself canceled the unwise press conference.

Thus the day ended, leaving observers of all stripes on stun and exhausted. The press itself was exhausted simply from attempting to competently cover the amazing stories that broke in eight hours or so. GOP activists spoke of taking cabs and hoisting multiple glasses to the late Christopher Hitchens or having their own private melt downs at home.

Today has been quiet although MC was reduced to tears when receiving a phone call in the middle of Costco detailing the human cost of these events. There's nothing quite like crying in public, is there?

The way forward is straight forward. The wounded must be tended to, with simple basic human decency. The selection of the RPM Chair takes on even more importance although everyone seems to be looking for a magic bullet of a candidate. That candidate doesn't exist. Senate leadership has much to account for; misdirection won't work this time. Expect more on this in the near future.

Once the upcoming State Central Committee meeting on December 31st is behind it, the Party must focus on money, messaging, recruiting quality candidates and retaining the majorities it now has in both the House and the Senate. As everybody knows, however, the future is unwritten.

UPDATE: This post has been changed since first published to reflect the fact that Senator Robling was never present at the Hindenburg press conference but rather Senator David Senjem. So, uh, no women were present other than Koch when the men went to speak to her. Got it. Kind thanks to Paul Demko of Politics in Minnesota for pointing out the error.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Premiere: The Michael Brodkorb Interview

Introducing The Minnesota Conservatives Interview Series

This is the first in what will be an ongoing series of interviews with people MC finds interesting and important. The format is unlike any other MC is aware of and readers should know about it in order to appreciate what is trying to be accomplished here. Crucially, the MC interview series is not and will never be about "gotcha" journalism. There may be a place for that but it isn't here. The ground rules are simple and transparent. MC generates all the questions readers will see in the interview. The answers to those questions are written by the interviewee without any changes of any kind by MC. What they write is what is published. MC does no editing and does not consult or suggest changes to what is tendered. The challenge for MC is to draft interesting, engaging questions (with its readers in mind, obviously) while the goal for the interviewee is to be direct and substantive. With those premises and goals in hand, MC sought out Michael Brodkorb, the former deputy chair of the Minnesota Republican Party, for its first interview. Opportunity not only makes the thief; it also makes the blogger. Or can. So special thanks to him, then, for being the first to try out this new format. With luck, these interviews will be seen as adding value to the political discourse in Minnesota and will include those from other parties with decidedly non-republican views. With no fear of "gotcha," we might actually start listening to each other more. MC is under no illusion that such an interchange will alter people's views or policy positions; a greater understanding, however, as to why people hold the views they do is nonetheless a worthy endeavor. This includes, especially at this premiere of the interview series, those of us within the Republican Party of Minnesota.

MC: You made explosive comments yesterday to Tom Scheck from MPR at the State Central Committee meeting that have been the talk of Minnesota politics. Can you explain to readers your rationale for doing so, what you hoped to achieve and whether going public hurts the RPM instead of helping it?

The bulk of yesterday’s state central committee meeting was a discussion about party finances. As a former party officer who was actively involved in the 2010 elections, I believed a story needed to be told about how Tom Emmer’s campaign was run in the 60-90 days after the convention. It drained the party’s resources, terrified the major donor community from giving to both the party and the Emmer campaign and allowed an opportunity for republicans & independents to move to Tom Horner’s campaign.

I don’t believe most party activists realized how dire the situation was for the party. We couldn’t mention Emmer’s name in generic fundraising scripts for the call center. After the tip-credit debacle, candidates for statewide and legislative office didn’t want to campaign with Emmer. We also had a problem getting surrogates to defend Emmer, so it fell to then-Chairman Sutton and myself.

Just look at the polls: Survey USA released a poll immediately following the MN GOP State Convention and Emmer had an 8-point lead over Dayton. Survey USA released a poll in early August and Emmer was down to Dayton by 14-points – a 22-point swing. The messaging mistakes made by Tom Emmer in the months following the convention cost him the election.

Legislators and others who worked so hard to ensure Emmer was endorsed were suddenly unavailable to help defend Emmer from the attacks in the weeks after the convention. It was very disappointing. As a party officer, I was bound to be neutral during the endorsement process. But it seems in retrospect that some of the legislators that endorsed Emmer were more interested in preventing Marty Seifert from getting the endorsement than helping Emmer win the general election. Once Emmer was endorsed, some were nowhere to be found. It fell to Sutton and I to defend Emmer and we did it without question.

Imagine the impact we could have had on this state with a GOP governor and GOP-controlled legislature. We may have missed a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Now that it is a day or so later, do you regret either saying what you did or do you in fact wish you had added something, which, of course, this interview allows you to do?

I stand by my comments. My only regret is not speaking out sooner. If I had publicly spoken out earlier, maybe the 2nd campaign team to lead Emmer’s campaign could have come in sooner and had more time to rebuild the campaign.

MC was a Seifert supporter then an Emmer supporter (MC is not unaware of its detractors who say any criticism of the Emmer campaign while ongoing was defeatist; MC simply has to disagree). Do your comments open up an old wound that should have been allowed to be healed? Is MC simply the blog equivalent of Rodney King: can't we all get along?

Nobody is above criticisms in our party and in order to fix our problems we need to have a full discussion on the issues that impacted the party’s financial situation. Pawlenty was out-spent 2 or 3 to 1 in ’06 and was able to win. 2010 was the best year for republicans since Watergate and the party nominated likely the one republican who couldn’t win.

What are your thoughts about the Minnesota House & Senate remaining in the hands of the party of sanity next November?

Brodkorb: First, let me state that I have complete faith in deputy chair Kelly Fenton. She will be an outstanding deputy chair and, for the next few weeks, she will lead our party and this will build confidence. My hope is that the legislative caucuses will work with the new chair and deputy chair Fenton and we will be successful in ’12.

What do you think is the best approach to taking back the governorship?

It’s very simple: endorse a candidate that can win the general election. This also means that our endorsed candidate for governor surround him or her self with a professional and prepared campaign staff that is ready to hit the ground immediately following the convention with a strategy to win.

MC: Given Citizens United, as well as the deleterious effects of McCain-Feingold, what's your take on the future topography of politics in Minnesota? Are parties almost beside the point given the rise of 501(c)(3)'s and (c)(4)'s and would it make sense to move to a primary system instead of the insider's game of the current caucus system?

I support the caucus system and hope our party recovers and rebuilds. I will do everything I can to help make the party stronger. But there is no question that we are out-matched by outside groups and we need to build a similar coalition of groups.

You're currently working on the Parry campaign in Minnesota's CD 1 (Parry seeks the GOP endorsement to run against incumbent Tim Walz). Politically, that's a short one-year cycle. Here's a possibly unfair question: what do you want to do in the future?

I am a proud partisan Republican. I don’t need a big title; I’m just a simple republican activist. I’m going to work just as hard as I did as deputy chair to ensure the Republican Party of Minnesota is strong and that we win elections. I’m going to continue to be passionate about supporting our values and candidates. I’m not going anywhere. The fight still continues.

MC: Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Michael.

UPDATE: Michael Brodkorb contacted MC to emphasize that the legislators who strongly and vocally supported Emmer for the endorsement were AWOL especially after the tip-credit debacle. MC: apparently they know who they are.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hann Comes For The Archbishop

The most recent Roman Catholic catechism, promulgated against much liberal protest within the Church by the Venerable John Paul II, says at one point: "The Church is an expert in humanity."

MC agrees, in that Joni Mitchell "both sides now" kind of way. The Church knows sin both within and without. Benedict XVI has been excruciatingly clear about this for those paying attention. Non-Catholic readers will not be able to follow that the Church qua Church is outside human defilement. But that is a topic for another day.

What MC observes is the shameless use of the Catholic church and its teachings in the current debate over the Minnesota budget and the impending shutdown of state government. MC is amused that liberals like to quote what suits their political purposes while savaging the Church when it teaches moral positions opposed to their agenda. In this regard, liberals are the ultimate cafeteria Catholics. Of course, most liberals believe the Catholic Church in toto is retrograde, backward, oppressive. Everything South Park would caricature it as. Piss Christ, anyone?

Yet here come the minions of Governor Dayton, Bob Hume foremost amongst them on Twitter, claiming that Archbishop Nienstedt's letter about the budget is somehow trump. Yet when David Hann, an elected representative of the people, responds respectfully to the Archbishop he is pilloried by lazy DFL hacks and media hangers-on as somehow disrespectful. Seriously? As if that has stopped the left and their allies in the state controlled media from attacking the Catholic Church?

No. Senator Hann confronted the Archbishop with the teachings of his own very Church and with respect. Remember how the media hated the Archbishop for sending out DVDs on traditional marriage? All is forgiven for the latest expediency. Oh, and dismembering the unborn? Well, Catholics just hate women. Got it. Until, of course, the Left wants to use whatever Church teachings suits their immediate purposes. Who says the Democrats have no moral center?

Then again, American bishops are not held in particular esteem in the world-wide Catholic church. The Catholic future will never come from them. Remember their embarrassing support of the nuclear freeze? The bishops have no expertise in the land of the layman and the Church catechism says as much. Can anyone remind them? This is not to say they cannot opine about such things. It is to say: in things secular, and not moral, they are but another actor.

The Archbishop said in his letter that the proposed GOP budget increased 'the breadth and depth of poverty." You are deeply ignorant about things economic, Your Excellency. Catholics in the pew would hope you would go after your fellow Bishops who condoned the rape of our sons but perhaps you, like the American magisterium, can't be bothered for fear of being implicated. Not personally, but institutionally. Strangely, in light of what has not been repaired, you seem to think you act from a place of moral authority.

Look to the Dayton left to use and abuse the Catholic Church. Look to an intelligent Protestant like Representative David Hann to speak truth to both. Catholics thank him. Leftists no doubt will continue to revile him. One is known by their enemies.

Click HERE to find the most excellent letter from Rep. Hann. Thank you, sir.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Budget: How Republicans Failed Themselves

The early warning sign that dealing with Governor Mark Dayton would not be as easy for the republican legislative majority as it assumed came early on: at a signing ceremony to foolishly opt in to federal Obamacare funds, he let the leaders of the assembled opposition speak. Call it Dayton's Twila Brase moment. Governor Pawlenty would never have done that nor, MC is convinced, would a Governor Emmer. Yet there was the first democratic governor in decades doing the unexpected. A small gesture but impressive.

Months later, republicans find themselves boxed into a budget corner of their own making. Having won both the House and Senate, the latter for the first time since the 1970's, they should have been able to advance their core principles in a manner that consistently gave them the upper hand, despite the executive branch being controlled by the opposition. Instead, republicans find themselves on the defensive and playing a poor hand largely dealt to them by themselves.

The shortest analysis is that the republicans erred badly in sending only one "this is it we really mean it!" budget to the Governor and expecting him to roll over. Even that truncated analysis, however, obscures other problems with the manner in which the republican majority has performed. For example, running uniformly on a platform of bringing down government spending while not increasing taxes, one might plausibly have expected them to produce a budget that actually cut spending. Not a budget that was signed into law by the Governor, mind you. No, one that actually required of the majority some intestinal fortitude and made cuts to the bloated mess that is Minnesota state government. The idea that there isn't largess is laughable. The fact that the Minnesota government is the state's single largest employer is shameful.

At any rate, a genuine effort at putting their principles into play was not too much to expect of the brave new majority. For whatever reasons, though, this never came to be. MC understands that ideas championed by friends like Sue Jeffers for a budget of 28 billion was never politically realistic. Yet couldn't the majority have fashioned a budget of approximately 31 billion? Submit it to the certain veto, craft another one closer to, oh, say 34 billion and thereby look reasonable? Governor Dayton has had to do hardly anything to outfox the republicans. He and his staff are savvy enough to get out of the way when political opponents are making a hash of things on their own.

To be sure, the DFL in both chambers was petulant and unhelpful. Why there should have been any expectation other than that escapes MC and it was painful to see republicans waste time and energy trying to call them out in this regard. A competent majority leads. It doesn't whine.

This calls to mind the feeble response from the MN GOP to Dayton's claim of extremism and new members being too far right for Minnesota. Instead of executing a jujitsu like move and characterizing the governor as a failed paleo-liberal who hasn't had a new political idea in his adult life, republicans stayed on the territory mapped out by him and bleated that they were not extremists. Readers not on Twitter are unable to appreciate how pathetic this was as an effective political response. One was treated to tweets along the lines of "I'm a mother of 9, spin my own cloth, practice yoga daily and have amazing sex with my husband of 32 years. I'm no extremist." MC jests but only slightly. Moreover, new members fail to realize that Twitter drives the conversation but only rarely is the conversation.

Republicans were appalled when they lost to Mark Dayton last November, though some saw it coming for months. Still, reality is always stronger than expectation. The offset was winning the legislature and having someone like Mark Dayton to kick around. MC doesn't mean attacks on character or personal issues; it does mean a large target of being clueless during a time of economic peril. And here is perhaps the single biggest deficit of political acumen all year.

Governor Dayton should have been painted out from day one as the quintessential tax and spend liberal. He literally knows no other approach to policy which, upon reflection, is a very real poverty of intellect. His robotic insistence on raising taxes at all should have been his undoing, his neutralization. In the hands of a competent political opposition, it would have been. Instead, he was allowed to position himself as reasonable (he only wants to confiscate some people's money) while calling attention to purported republican instransigence. Perversely, this was accomplished because he lowered the amount of taxes he wanted to raise while still raising them at all in a dire economic climate. Republicans could never seem to find their footing to reframe the issue and show the average Minnesotan how preposterous, almost delusional, very Marin county, this type of thinking was. The result is that issues are framed across the board in a way that favor the Governor. They didn't need to be and there's the political malpractice.

There was also, unbelievably, the incoherent republican response to their proposed budget being an all cuts budget. Elected on their own terms to cut government spending, republican leadership responded by saying they increased spending by six percent, thereby managing to disgust their own base while playing into the narrative set by the left at the same time. Well done. MC shudders at the thought of an encore performance.

Yesterday Rep. Mary Franson tweeted "Spent the entire day in meetings around the district. Some attendees disappointed that Republicans were spending 6% more than last biennium." Well, yes, in a word and why should they not be? How do republicans square their actions with their campaign promises? Incompetence? Waffling? Caving? General ignorance about effective political messaging and delivery?

MC was amused at the faux bravery of legislators who put on their office doors posters that had a pot of money and words to the effect "34 billion and not a penny more." The posters should have read: "6% increase is enough of a broken campaign promise and sell out of my principles." But that wouldn't have left them feeling smug, apparently the only point of the real posters.

Before the session ended Minnesotans were treated to political grandstanding and theatrics not seen in some time when the House took up and ultimately passed the traditional marriage amendment. What a debacle. The usual suspects got emotional and non-rational on the floor and supporters stayed mute, as if the guilty party somehow. While the hearing did allow a sitting Representative to call MC an obscenity on Twitter, not much else good came of it. How did the Senate manage to pass the same bill without the public meltdown?

With the budget vetoed, shutdown became the word of the day. The RPM responded strongly with . . . a website! Governor Shutdown, get it? Tacking back to the day when Dayton closed his senate office, the website perfectly captures the inability of republicans to get it. Universally panned as ineffective, the website is now mostly forgotten.

Proving there was worse yet to come, however, the republican brain trust decided that re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic would take people's attention off the cold water rushing in. House and Senate leadership ostentatiously offered to provide approximately 110 million dollars more in funding for, as they put it in baby-speak, "kids, cops and courts." In adult language: education, police and the judicial branch. This was claimed to be a compromise but it's terrible to insult people's intelligence regardless of party affiliation.

There was no movement from the 34 billion budget as a result of this offer. There may well be merit in focusing on particular areas within the overall budget for political and policy reasons. All well and good but to call it a compromise makes republicans look venal. Isn't there anyone thinking a step or two ahead in these matters? Where do republicans go from here?

MC understands from sources that the party and possibly legislative leadership meet once a week with a select group of activists for feedback and guidance. The only problem with this is that MC is lead to understand the group consists of those who thought focusing on the tip-credit issue during the gubernatorial race was a good idea. Weirdly, if this is true, why the legislative session unfolded as it did makes a bit more sense, though no less depressing. Perhaps these meetings are mere containment of the purity people; one is hard pressed to guess. What isn't hard to discern is the current state of failure.

Add to this the Alliance for a Better Minnesota going up on air with well produced but duplicitous ads. The republican response? Nothing, really, though MC was told by some that money was coming in after Memorial Day weekend to push back. So far there's been nothing but a poorly produced ad from the Taxpayers League and some web ads.

How does this end? MC doesn't gamble except in its choice of friends. It is difficult to see Governor Dayton accepting the badly played budget of 34 billion and avoiding a shut down. Does a shut down hurt republicans or democrats more? In one sense neither side wants to find out. This suggests that there will be no new taxes but there will be more money, the dreaded revenue word. Having abandoned their principles by agreeing to a 6% increase in spending over the last biennium, republicans will find it difficult to complain with a straight face about going to 7 or 7.5 percent. And let's not forget some of this revenue could come from racino, the issue which so unified the republican party in April. Yes, it's been a masterful six months for the majority party.

The criticism of RPM Chair Tony Sutton, however, seems a bit unbalanced. Is the party to have no influence over the legislators who ran under its banner? Sutton's public comments have been lambasted but MC forgives all for his giving us "bored dilettente" to perfectly capture the essence of wandering ghost Mark Dayton. Legislative leaders now appear to be distancing themselves from him but MC can only speculate how wobbly they would have been if not for Sutton encouraging them to stiffen what passes for spines. He was, after all, only reminding them of the promises they themselves made to the voters.

In the end, there will likely be a special session to pass the budget deal hammered out over the coming weeks. No republican legislator or party leader, however, should claim victory when this happens. Instead, they should explain why they performed so badly and what they intend to do to make sure such a performance is not repeated in the next session. It's their last chance.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Moral Blindness Of The Star Tribune

The Star Tribune has never enjoyed a reputation for intellectual prowess, rightly so given the prominence of such mediocrities as Nick Coleman and Lori Sturdevant, to say nothing of its editorial board with its relentlessly stale, conventional paleo-liberal mindset. Still, MC was surprised that it nonetheless managed to best its own abject track record of moral blindness and desperate attempts at superiority with a badly written editorial titled "Celebrations of bin Laden's Death in Poor Taste " by Jill Burcum. No readers, it wasn't from The Onion.

For all the lack of thought and analysis, however, it may as well have been. And for the condescension toward America and average Americans, it was something out of the Susan Sontag playbook immediately after 9/11 of "Why do they hate us?" One would be hard pressed to find a better example of being out of touch with the zeitgeist and history. Burcum, no doubt, thought she was precisely the opposite.

She starts by saying there's "cold satisfaction" from conjuring up the burial at sea scene. Really? Why do liberals always speak in terms of stories? (Narcissism comes to mind; stories are usually about them, one way or the other) And isn't it the fact that Osama bin Laden can no longer kill innocents that's the source of satisfaction, not the manner of his burial? But that observation won't drive her insipid narrative.

She manages to say lamely "good riddance" and then this: "May the much-deserved bullet that ended bin Laden's life bring about eternal atonement for his sins." Is incoherence a prerequisite for being hired as editorial staff at the Star Tribune? Does Burcum have the slightest idea what the word atonement means? Here she has an inanimate object doing spiritual work for a mass murderer. Bin Laden alone could atone for his sins but not the instrument of his death. It's embarrassing but typical liberal tripe. Thought need not apply.

After granting a certain admixture of emotions to the hoi polloi, Burcum allows that a "sense of national accomplishment was earned." Well thank goodness for that or we'd all be in real trouble. Except that in Burcum's morally blind world, we are and for good reason.

There was "an uneasiness" that came from watching people celebrate (from whom? types like her?) and instead of "a moment of somber reflection" we suffered and writhed to watch "Flags, high-fives, chants of USA! USA!" The horror, the horror. Can there be anything worse for people whose first instinct in every political situation is to blame America first?

Continuing her unfamiliarity with the English language, Burcum labels this jingoism. It's not by any reasonable definition but that doesn't hold sway for such types in the moral cul-de-sac inhabited by Burcum. Those demonstrations are forms of patriotism, that dreaded word. Jingoism "refers to excessive bias in judging one's own country as superior to others – an extreme type of nationalism." That an editorial writer at a (somewhat) major national newspaper can't or won't tell the difference is shameful. By her use of the word, celebrating VJ and VE day was jingoistic. Perhaps to Burcum they were; one can never tell. After all, she goes on to say that celebrating "Olympic hockey gold medals or professional sports teams championships" is also jingoistic.

Yes, by God, the reaction to getting rid of Osama bin Laden is precisely the same as the reaction to the 1980 USA hockey victory over the evil empire of the USSR. And liberals wonder why they are viewed with contempt and disgust?

Things got worse for our sensitive editorialist when she was brave enough to venture onto Facebook. Doubtless she spilled her cup of organic camomile tea when she read that some cretins had written "Nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey goodbye." Oh the humanity. One could almost hear the jack boots in the street, the Zyklon-B hissing in the showers. However did she sleep that night? Perhaps a comforting phone call from Gwyneth Paltrow? Now there's an image.

Warming to her true subject--contempt for America--Burcum then escalates to fantasy, saying "[h]ad President Obama put bin Laden’s head on a pike and paraded it down Pennsylvania Avenue, we as a nation were ready to click as one on Facebook’s “Like” button."

No Jill, we would not have. But you want to think that's what we would do because that's what you already thought of Americans before you wrote this pathetic editorial.

She praises our military this way: "Our military forces' heroism should not be underappreciated." Underappreciated? Who writes this way? Apparently those who think this way and fit right in at the Star Tribune. She is unable to praise the armed forces in an affirmative, positive way. Might be jingoism, you know. One tries not to be enraged. Might be conservative stereotype, you know.

Finally, Burcum engages in that most quintessential of liberal ploys: moral equivalence. Americans celebrating the end of a mass murderer is precisely the same thing as the celebrations in some parts of the Arab world after 3000+ Americans were slaughtered. MC hates to be rude and is certain Burcum is a nice woman, fun at parties etc but: is it possible to be this stupid? This morally blind? Apparently so and in the course of making a living.

As someone on Twitter said about the same moral equivalency argument about celebrating crowds, the difference between theirs and ours is that Lara Logan would be safe in ours.

Stating, Obama strawman-like, that "this was not a game," Burcum quotes approvingly from a 9/11 survivor/useful idiot quoted in (where else?) The New York Times who says he's sad about any death. Sad. Spare us. But it's enough for Burcum and her self-serving moral smugness.

Weirdly, Burcum trundles on to lecture that "[t]he street celebrations also reflect an unfortunate and simplistic understanding of the war on terrorism." Why? What's the sophisticated understanding? We deserved it? That was Sontag's take, initially, and she was of a smart set Burcum couldn't ever hope to join. Yet those celebrations weren't about the war on terrorism per se; they were about justice, biblical or otherwise.

Pretending to insight, Burcum bleats: "Others inspired by him will take up his cause." Newsflash: they already did and will. Good grief. Also: "The fight is far from over."

The people celebrating Osama bin Laden's death already knew this. Already knew much more than this risible editorial writer with an overly favorable opinion of herself and others like her at the Star Tribune. Already knew that nothing justified or warranted the attacks on us on 9/11. Already knew that the struggle against Islamo-fascism is a long one, often set against the co-opted, morally blind and impoverished attitudes of bien pensants like Burcum. Already knew that the elites of America frequently despise Americans.

As with 9/11 itself, the killing of Osama bin Laden is a Rohrschach test that people like Burcum have failed for the second time running.

Hat tip: Jenna Zark. Follow on Twitter @ZarkWriting

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Republican Party's Gambling Problem

In an odd, over-heated moment this week the issue of gambling, whether to expand it, what constitutes expansion and the role of RNC committeewoman/man engulfed the Republican Party of Minnesota. As someone said to MC at Thursday night's Elephant Club meeting held to congratulate Tony Sutton, Michael Brodkorb, David Sturrock, Pat Anderson and Jeff Johnson for their respective elections: "How did we go from one to ten in volume on this issue on the basis of a single Star Tribune article?" Good question.

Earlier in the week Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Star Tribune tweeted a story by her colleague Baird Helgeson that newly elected RNC member Pat Anderson had registered as a lobbyist for Cantebury Park, the race horse facility in Shakopee. That story can be read HERE. Plotzing, ventilating and general over-reaction ensued among activists and some RPM leaders. MC waited for the week to pass before making any observations, studied or otherwise.

The primary indictment against Anderson is twofold: that her position on "racino" is at odds with the party platform against gambling expansion and that she should have disclosed her upcoming lobbyist position in advance of the election she won at State Central on April 16th to replace Evie Axdahl as the RPM committeewoman to the Republican National Committee. MC thinks there is no merit to the first and some to the second.

The chief scold against Anderson has been RPM deputy chair Michael Brodkorb. In his view, Anderson must choose between her client and her RNC position. Apparently this is because of the perceived conflict with the party platform: "She is a party officer, she sits on the executive committee. There is an expectation she will support the party platform. Plus the timing of this and how she handled this, it's going to be difficult for her." These comments strike MC less as reasons than conclusions. To each of them one may respond sprightly: so what? It's not that Anderson can't be criticized or that a good discussion about gambling should be had; it's that Brodkorb's arguments are not on their face persuasive and fail as such. Other, improved arguments may well be forthcoming in the next few weeks from him and others and they will deserve attention and reflection.

Anderson, rising to the challenge, points out that most republicans don't agree with everything in the platform (demonstrably true) and that "[o]ne of the platforms in the party is to support the free markets. Another is opposition to the Indian casino monopoly." She went on to suggest Brodkorb himself was on thin ice given he is (paid) senior staff of the Senate GOP caucus as well as (volunteer) deputy chair of the party. To this Brodkorb replies that the delegates knew of that fact when they elected and reelected him. True as well but this suggests to MC that conflicts are ok if delegates approve them. Both Anderson and Brodkorb would be well served to leave this issue alone; it's a draw at best and comes at a bit too much spilt blood. Cyndy Brucato tweeted that she was unsure how both Anderson and Brodkorb could get along at the Elephant Club meeting given her sense that the disagreement had become personal. To the disappointment of some media, Anderson had left for another engagement (with Jeff Johnson) in Carver County by the time Brodkorb arrived seriously late for the event. MC approves of manners and chalks this up to the deputy chair being gracious, something his critics fail to appreciate in him. Some say he was afraid of Anderson to which MC can hardly stop laughing. Brodkorb has more guts than most of our elected republican officials (or talk show critics) and has the scars to prove it.

Thursday the sparring couple dialed into the KTLK FM (100.3) morning show (still looking for an identity and ratings) hosted by Bob Davis and Tom Emmer. Who knew there was a market for incestuous republican party contretemps? At any rate, MC thought Anderson had the better of the exchange although the parties were not on the air contemporaneously. Readers can click HERE to listen to the podcast themselves and make up their own minds. MC found Anderson fearless and armed with exceptionally strong arguments not usually heard in public.

Other observers and party activists have weighed in with thoughtful commentary. Andy Aplikowski at Residual Forces blog came down strongly against Anderson. He can be read by clicking HERE. Reflexive ur-liberal Sally Jo Sorenson writes with some humor (that rarest of commodities on the left) about the gambling issue at her blog Bluestem Prairie. She can be read by clicking HERE. MC must lament in passing her wildly inappropriate use of homo homini lupus and its application to the current controversy. Latin for "man is wolf to man" the phrase is best used when discussing the Holocaust, the Gulag or the Killing Fields. It's typical of the liberal mindset to be overwrought about mere policy disputes while staying silent about, oh, the slaughter of Syrians while our President remains likewise mute. But MC digresses.

Without knowing or intending it, Pat Anderson has provided the RPM a signal service. First, why does the party have a platform the size of a Manhattan phone book which no one reads and no one, really, on balance cares about? The more stuffed the platform with exotic fringe issues of importance only to those few delegates who advance them, the less worthy of overall respect and adherence it becomes. The platform should be scrapped altogether and replaced with a dozen or so cleanly stated principles (hat tip Joey Gerdin). Perhaps then they would actually mean something.

Second, why is an RNC committeewoman being savaged when Senate President Michelle Fishbach, House Speaker Kurt Zellers and twelve GOP committee chairs all support some form of gambling? The idea that a party official who cannot pass legislation ought to be held to a stricter platform standard than those who enact legislation is simply absurd. It is also telling in that only Anderson has been publicly singled out for this treatment. Why? The question really does demand an answer.

Third, can the pretense that this isn't about Jack & Annette Meeks and their lucrative relationship with the Indian gaming tribes be dropped once and for all? Most delegates have no idea that the real fight going on here is below the water line. CAGE, Citizens Against Gambling Expansion, has on its board of directors both Meeks, Tony & Bridget Sutton, Corey Miltmore and Cathie Hartnett. An interest front group run by republicans with Indian gaming money. Potemkin astroturf.™ The gloss is that CAGE is bipartisan. Right, and MPR and the League of Women Voters are neutral and objective too. Jack Meeks makes enormous money from the Indians to keep the RPM neutered on the gaming issue. The Indian tribes that make him wealthy then contribute vast sums to elect democrats. Meeks turns around and feeds social conservatives anti-gambling tripe that makes them feel better. Talk about carnival barkers. And rubes.

Late word has it that the State Executive Committee is being hounded by a party official to act in someway against Anderson. MC is amused: the issue is not as inflammatory as had been hoped. Consequently calls must be made! Outrage ginned up! Anderson is indisputably correct when she says that she has a clear track over years on her support of racino and that "a majority of Republicans in the state have a similar position."

This leads naturally to the obvious observation: where has Chair Tony Sutton been on all of this? Full disclosure: MC supported Tony Sutton for chair and Michael Brodkorb for deputy chair, as well as David Sturrock for Treasurer/Secretary. Why? They actually did what they promised to do two years ago. MC is not part of that group which takes routine target practice on party leadership. As MC's friend Mary Igo would say: shoot outward, not inward. Good advice always. Still, why leave the attack on Pat Anderson to the junior position in the party if the chair did not agree with it? If he does disagree with his deputy, then it is time for him to say so.

Two days before State Central the Star Tribune ran what was widely considered a hit piece on Tony Sutton, driven by selected emails disclosed by a malcontent which hoped to show his wife, Bridget, acting as a shill to sell him to the highest bidder, explicitly on the subject of gambling. MC believes the Suttons over the Star Tribune. Most activists do. The story can be read HERE.

Fourth, Tom Emmer, the party's endorsed nominee for governor, also has a prior record of supporting some forms of gambling, most of which would clearly be expansions. Talk about an inconvenient truth. Of course, once Emmer caved to the demands of the thuggish MCCL to dump Linda Runbeck as his lieutenant governor in favor of Annette! Meeks he changed his position on the subject. First Principles, you know (think of a white Obama; no color has a lock on shallowness). More on the now you seem him now you don't gambling subject by clicking HERE. MC awaits the same sorts of attacks on Emmer as we now see deployed against a woman. After all, Emmer wanted to be RNC committeeman and braggged, to his detriment, about the contacts he was making after losing to Mark Dayton. Mark. Dayton.

Fifth, MC has it from multiple and reliable sources that Jack Meeks and Evie Axdahl were attempting Friday to find ways to prevent Pat Anderson from being seated on the RNC. They concluded, one assumes reluctantly, that there was no process to do so after the state central election. It has been said that Meeks was forced to resign as RNC committeeman given his lobbying efforts. This is incorrect: the Governor forced him to resign because he was leading a front group funded by political opponents. Think of Jack and Annette Meeks leading a pro-life group funded by Planned Parenthood. Consequently the argument that Pat Anderson should do as Jack Meeks did lacks integrity. This doesn't mean that the frequently not too bright social conservatives won't eat it up. They will. After all, they gave us Emmer. Q.E.D.

Where does this leave the Republican Party of Minnesota? MC hopes, at a minimum, questioning why the party circles the wagons to protect a select few who profit financially from an enforced, wrong and hypocritical policy position on gambling. Will the RPM ever outgrow the baleful influence of the Meeks and Vin Weber and their lackies? One can hope.

MC also hopes that elected party officials like Brodkorb won't attack in the future and give the appearance he is speaking for all republicans and activists. What's next? A Huckabee endorsement? MC kids but the point remains the same. Protecting Jack Meeks is not within the job description of any party official. The party genuinely is divided about gambling. This is a good thing. Gone are the days of a few protecting even fewer who can make money from the issue in the most cynical and repulsive ways imaginable.

Pat Anderson, like her RNC colleague Jeff Johnson, will stand, presumably, for re-election a year hence. Delegates and activists can then decide if her decision to be a racino lobbyist was wrong or not. In the meantime, the RPM needs to revisit the gambling issue and allow for divergent views on the subject. It can no longer be held hostage to a few unscrupulous types who profit from manipulating the good will or ignorance of regular party activists.

Note: All quotes are from Cyndy Brucato's excellent article at MinnPost which can be read in full by clicking HERE.

Correction: The original blog post incorrectly credited Rachel Stassen-Berger with reporting Pat Anderson's racino lobbying position. It has been changed to reflect that this was the reporting of of her Star Tribune colleague Baird Helgeson and to provide a link to his story.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

MC Interviewed By The Late Debate

MC was interviewed by a new, up and coming radio show "The Late Debate" hosted by Jack Tomczak and Benjamin Kruse. You can find their show weeknights at 10:00 p.m. on 95.9 FM in the Twin Cities.

They described their show with MC thusly: "For the whole two hours we debate with John Gilmore, blogger at, about Jeff Johnson's victory over Tom Emmer, last year's gubernatorial campaign, the definition of "purity" conservatives and "electable" candidates, Michele Bachmann, Amy Klobuchar, and the Tom Emmer's future political career."

Listen to the Minnesota Conservatives interview podcast by clicking HERE. Or simply click on the title of this post. You can find other shows in the iTunes store simply by searching for "The Late Debate." Subscribe and get each podcast automatically as it posts.

MC thoroughly enjoyed the interview and thanks Jack & Ben for the invitation. Follow Jack on Twitter @JackTomczak and Ben @BenjaminKruse. Follow their radio show on Twitter @LateDebate

Saturday, April 16, 2011

MN Republican Party Saves Itself From Oblivion

Today the Minnesota Republican State Central Committee elected Pat Anderson and Jeff Johnson to the Republican National Committee. The race for committee woman was intense--four good candidates--but of a different order than that for committee man. For those fortunate readers not inclined to political minutia, the refudiation of Tom Emmer is a seismic shock to the established political order within the party. It represents the beginning of the end for those self-serving types--there is no other word--who insist that far right principles are to be preferred over winning elections. That thinking gave us Senator Franken and Governor Dayton.

The usual purity people will bemoan the Emmer loss but will be loath to admit that he was the insider candidate and that Jeff Johnson bucked the establishment and won. Splayed behind Emmer during his speech to the State Central Committee were the highest elected republican state officials and the usual party hangers-on. The delegates assembled before them did not act as requested, however, and realized that by rewarding the retread Emmer with an RNC slot the party would never be rid of him. MC hopes those people on the dais behind Emmer feel foolish. They should.

It was an open secret that Emmer wanted to run for governor again. That way lies madness but the politically tone deaf borg which got him the endorsement last year could not see it as such. That part of the party constitutes a dangerous and ongoing threat to its electoral health.

Fortunately, a competent politician stepped forward and offered the non-crazies in the party a way out. Jeff Johnson has been an exceptionally able Hennepin County Commissioner. As he told the delegates, the RNC race was not akin to electing a homecoming king nor was it about big personalities (ie, egos) because the RNC itself is filled with them. The race was about competence and effectiveness. Johnson worked hard for this win. Emmer acted since he first announced that it was a coronation. He only started calling delegates last Sunday. Hubris of a high order from someone who ran an exceptionally lousy campaign and blamed everyone but himself for his loss to the baffling Mark Dayton. To the extent he deigned to campaign for the RNC race, he was insufferable in his smugness as some sort of up and comer. He had, didn'tcha know?, Chris Christie's number on speed dial on his cell phone. MC is confident all calls Emmer made went straight to voice mail. Add to the investment you made in me last fall, he'd hector various captive audiences. Has Emmer no idea that people do not like to have their intelligence insulted?

The Emmer supporters have been ugly and ungracious in their defeat. MC isn't surprised: this is who they really are. Their anger stems from their unarticulated sense of entitlement for their candidate. Vin Weber, John Kline, Michael Bachmann, Jack & Annette Meeks, Norm Coleman and others must all be shocked that they were not able to bully their sock puppet into the RNC. It's difficult for MC to describe the surprise and happiness that swept over the delegation when Johnson's win was announced. We knew it was a win far larger than just the RNC. We knew that we as a party had taken a step back from oblivion in Minnesota politics and now have a fighting chance of preserving the wins we made in the November 2010 elections.

Republicans typically do not reward failure. This is a distinct Democratic trait. Today the republicans in Minnesota redeemed their mistake in endorsing Emmer last year by refusing to grant him the RNC position for which he was neither qualified nor entitled. Today Tom Emmer's political career died. MC wishes him well as he pursues other opportunities.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Invocations: Senator Terri Bonoff Is Correct

Earlier this week a Baptist pastor gave the invocation which opened the republican controlled Minnesota Senate in which he asked the assembled elected officials to do their work exclusively through and in the name of Jesus Christ. The pastor also proclaimed that no one (apparently referring to more than just the assembled public officials) can know God except through Jesus Christ. The invocation lasted slightly less than two minutes and can be viewed HERE. This is standard fare for believing Christians of a wide variety when gathered together in church or otherwise.

The Minnesota Senate being neither, democratic State Senator Terri Bonoff rose afterwords and objected to the extremely narrow--and exclusive--nature of the prayer. As a practicing Jew, Sen. Bonoff could hardly be expected to sign off on the fundamentals proffered by this Baptist pastor nor do her duty to her constituents under those auspices. Why should she? She asked that in the future invocations be less religiously sectarian and more generic or inclusive in nature. The senator is correct.

Regrettably, some in the Minnesota Republican Party have attempted to make political hay over something which should be simple religious decency. MC restrains itself from discussing why there are prayers in the first place at the opening of a public session of government. Tweets about "banning" or wanting to "prevent Jesus Christ" from being mentioned are unworthy of our party. A FOX News article titled "Democrat: Ban Jesus Prayers" is disgraceful. One could be forgiven for thinking that Sen. Bonoff called for invocations to be eliminated. She didn't.

According to the AP as published in the StarTribune, Bonoff simply asked that Senate tradition be observed once more. Visitors who give invocations are asked in a "letter given to [them] by the Secretary of the Senate . . . .'In an effort to be respectful of the religious diversity of our membership (Christian, Jewish and possibly others among them), we request that your prayer be interfaith and nonsectarian.'" The problem with this is what, precisely? Rather than deal with the merits of her understandable request, the basest of political hay is made.

In that same article (which can be read HERE), Sen. David Brown, R-Becker, observed that invocators come from specific belief systems. "I believe we don't have the right to censor their prayers." This is either willfully demagogic or deeply ignorant. The framing of the issue in this way betrays a base political prism (and not a terribly sophisticated one at that) through which religious pluralism is transmuted into opportunism. Mr. Theology went on to say that "there just seems to be intolerance for the name of Jesus on the Senate floor." What on earth is his name doing there in the first place? Moreover, MC is confident that that name is taken in vain daily during Senate doings and mostly by his followers. Preferring not to be beseeched to do one's legislative duties when one does not believe in him is not being intolerant of Jesus. Must this even be said?

Finally, Sen. Brown opined that "[t]here's nobody that loves the Jews any more than the Christians, so that was not meant as an insult or disrespect." Of course. And pork is delicious too, if only they tried it! But MC and Jews misunderstand, apparently. Said Brown: "Rather, it was a show of respect to Jesus Christ — just like our founders showed respect to Jesus Christ and the word of God when they built our Constitution." Someone is watching too much Glenn Beck. MC fears for Sen. Brown's psyche should he ever learn of The Jefferson Bible. Hint: go HERE.

Are MC's republican colleagues so insecure in their faith that at government proceedings they feel the need to proclaim it no matter what the religious composition of those gathered before them? MC realizes that at republican party functions there's a fair amount of invocations of the exclusively Christian kind. MC cringes for its Jewish friends at such events but they insist they can suck it up and carry on in the conservative cause. One doubts the same of those who give such invocations were the situations reversed.

Sen. Bonofff, however, needs improving as well. She said "I'm a very religious woman and believe deeply in God. We honor God in public and our political discourse, and that's proper. But in doing a nondenominational prayer we are honoring him without violating the separation of church and state." No. Invoking Jesus or Yahweh does not violate the separation of church and state. This misses the point entirely but then again MC has not found democrats to be well versed in either religion or the constitution. She should have quit while she was ahead.

Interestingly, at last year's MN GOP convention, the first day's invocation was given by a rabbi. Progress, thought MC. The next day's invocation was given by a Roman Catholic priest who never mentioned Jesus (the theological equivalent, one supposes, of being labeled a RINO). The simple point here is that the Minnesota Republican Party is not made up exclusively of Christians. We have Jews, Mormons, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and even atheists, God forbid!

One can make a strained case that members of our party can or should or must put up with an exclusive emphasis on Christ. At February's Elephant Club meeting in Minneapolis, Sen. Hall gave the invocation. Before doing so, however, he opined that those who were about to feel left out by his prayer to Jesus sit quietly and invoke whatever other lesser Deity they were foolish enough to follow. Of course the Senator didn't put it in those terms; the condescension of his precise words were almost worse, though. It failed to occur to him that when engaging in spiritual matters before political events, such comments are a sign of failure. MC hopes for a Shinto priest at this month's luncheon, and then a mullah in April, followed by a Hindu priest in May, and then a Buddhist in June. In July let's go all out with a lesbian rabbi!

Seriously, when the invocation is before the Minnesota Senate, such sectarian provincialism has no place. Not only is Sen. Terri Bonoff not wrong, it's wrong to treat her genuine request as a political football. What's next? Fund raising emails from Minnesota Majority decrying the vanquishment of God (ie, Christ) from state government?

Democrats are profoundly wrong on almost all major issues of the day. Minnesota republicans control the senate for the first time since the dawn of creation. They control the house. Their deeply flawed gubernatorial candidate lost to a paleo-liberal in a red wave election. There is much to do and these are serious times. Treating Sen. Bonoff's spiritual request politically is unserious and discrediting. Republicans are better than this and the senate leadership should honor her request. Then everyone can move on to the business to which all members of the legislature were elected to address.

UPDATE: Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch last week rejected a nondenominational approach to the essentially silly practice of praying before senate sessions by burbling: “I’m not going to get into the process of sort of editing prayer.” Why, yes, editing. That's what this entire affair was about! MC supposes she didn't mean to insult people's intelligence but she did. The New York Times has it HERE.

The majority leader is laughably cynical and that's giving her the benefit of the doubt. Who edited prayers before the republicans took over the senate, Senator Koch? Did she have anything to say about not wanting to make members intentionally uncomfortable? No. Did she decry MC's friend deputy chair Michael Brodkorb's misguided tweets designed to hurt democrats over a religious issue? [Those tweets got certified crazies Dan Riehl and Mark Levin into a spittle flecked lather!] Any contradiction there, Sen. Koch? Oh wait: she wouldn't want to edit his tweets either. Got it. Any thoughts about those of us who actually vote you types into office and are made to look ignorant, backwards and foolish as a result of your behavior? Any?

No doubt abusive religiosity goes over well with the Emmer neanderthals with whom the party leadership has allied itself so as not to have a challenge from its fringes at State Central. Mission accomplished. The financial and business benefits of this craven alliance will be explored another time. Feeding into the snake handlers in the party may be (temporarily) expedient but when it comes a cropper MC hopes it takes down only those who made that Faustian wager rather than the rest of the party and its activists.

Sen. Bonoff and her fellow brain-dead liberal colleagues, of course, over-played their hand in spectacular fashion. Not satisfied with having made an easily understood, discreet religious and political point, they obnoxiously insisted on changing the language of the letter given to guest invocators from "requesting" they take the mix of religious faiths in the chamber into account in their prayer to "requiring" it, whatever that truly means. Then, with the whiff of totalitarianism that always attends true liberalism, the paleo-liberals in the senate demanded that anyone in the future who violated the "require" language be barred forever more from being invited back to pray again.

They may as well have fled to Illinois for all the good this tactic did them. It allowed the majority speaker to cast the issue in terms of editing--which it wasn't--and elide the more serious underlying argument. MC, to that extent, can't really blame Sen. Koch but it does wish she had not given in to the most political opportune riposte but acted as a leader in her own right rather than someone well schooled by others.

At any rate, the democrats in the senate have no moral high ground in this matter given their own conduct. Yes, they are smarting still from losing their birthright of being in the majority in the senate. MC can only relish this. But such bitterness from an election defeat ought not to bring out the worst in people though it often does. Had Sen. Bonoff and her colleagues acted in good faith, so to speak, much of the ensuing nonsense could have been avoided. Instead, each side played to the worst amongst it for temporary gain.

The members of the Minnesota senate deserve each other.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Intellectual Fatuousness Of The Star Tribune

Admittedly, it may not be fair to think of the Star Tribune (ST) as intellectual, coherent or consistent (except in its deracinated '60's thinking) and so MC may be far afield in noticing its most recent foray into the unctuous. But it could not help it when one of its recent editorials about Congressional hearings into Islamofacist terrorism was retweeted by a member of the Fourth Estate. MC admits to not reading on a regular basis the editorials of the Star Tribune; the Nation does it so much better.

Still, the delusional aspects of that newspaper's editorial is something. One hates to be uncharitable but it reads like a CAIR press release. No critical thinking will be found within. Instead, the reader is water boarded with tripe not even President Obama and his hand maidens in the state controlled media would repeat. No so with flyover land editorial boards. Where to begin?

The title gives what little game the Star Tribune possesses away: "Terror Hearings Fuel Anti-Muslim Fears." Really? Aside from the press releases it republishes, the editorial board manages not to tell the reader why this is so. MC thinks, like most of their prejudices and biases, this fear exists in the collective shallow minds of the board. Is it too much to suggest there is a connection between content--both editorial and news--and declining subscriptions? And no, this does not mean the newspaper needs to pander. Ceasing to insult its readers' intelligence would be a huge advance.

As evidence, in the third paragraph (and small paragraphs at that, given the low educational level of its diminished readership) the ST stamps the upcoming Congressional hearing as McCarthyism. No evidence, of course, is adduced for this preposterous claim. But throwing out this claim makes the board feel good about themselves. Remember, readers, feelings are the sine qua non of liberalism.

In the following paragraphs which pass for discourse, the ST mashes together preposterous claims from a wide array of the usual suspects, none of which has a reputation for veracity. No matter: the point is to bludgeon its readers, not persuade them, not to allow another voice into the editorial. This is worthy of a paper which takes itself seriously?

The snow job concludes with this claim: "In short, anti-Muslim rhetoric is fueling anti-Muslim violence and alienating American Muslims." The problem is, ST, no one believes you.

There is no anti-Muslim rhetoric to speak of and the alienation of Muslims seems a story confined to Europe. But MC can't expect the third rate minds of the ST editorial boards to know that much. Really, it's unfair. Ayaan Hirsi Ali? Who's that?

More to the point, how about Abdirizak Bihi, Director, Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center in Minneapolis? He's been threatened by his own Somali community for cooperating with the Congressional hearings. Why doesn't the ST condemn the attacks on him? Why doesn't the ST support this brave man? One would hope the editorial board knew of Bihi: its own paper has reported on him in its news pages.

The editorial slouches toward its predetermined end by quoting the disgraced Southern Poverty Law Center and other organs of the far left, which appease anything Islamofacist, and concludes Muslim auto-da-fes are but an evening entertainment for the hateful Christians of this country. This is, apparently, as sophisticated in her reasoning as Susan Hogan can get. And we thought Obama was out of his depths!

What is most objectionable to this agitprop is the ST's refusal to phone Rep. Peter King, the chair of the Congressional committee which is holding the hearings the aging '60's types see as "McCarthyism." What? The ST is losing so much money, deservedly so, that it can't afford a phone? Even a rotary one, which bespeaks the mindset of the board?

But no, the ST can't see above it's own low water-line. Instead, it serves up insulting editorials like this which any educated person can see through. Then again, they lost that audience long ago. Reps. King and Ellison recently appeared together on CNN's "State of the Union" hosted by the refreshingly decent Candy Crowley. One would never know these two have had an extremely civil public discussion over many weeks about these hearings.

No, instead what one can see on television is a report on this subject with a representative of CAIR brandishing the StarTribune editorial. The term useful idiots comes to mind. The list of arrested and convicted CAIR officials is long but MC doubts that the ST has any interest in bringing this to its readers' attention.

One can only surmise that the mindset of the Star Tribune would fit perfectly well within the smug confines of the "anti-Zionists" at National Public Radio. Fortunately, people can get correct and broader information from other sources than this fading, aging, beyond-parody newspaper.

Jennifer Rubin has a smart take on the national left losing their minds over these hearings. Go here to read her.

UPDATE: A reader points MC to this cringe-worthy rambling of a Jewish female rabbi. Really, you can't make it up and fiction can't compete. The sanctimoniousness of the piece has to be read to be believed. Another useful idiot.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

MC To Host The Only Minnesota RNC Debate

Minnesota Conservatives is pleased to announce that it will host the only debate for the race for the Republican National Committee. One committeeman and one committeewoman will be selected from Minnesota at the State Central Committee meeting on April 16th.

MC is particularly pleased that The Uptake has agreed to cover this event and live stream the proceedings on the web so outstate delegates and alternates and others can participate. Web viewers will have an opportunity to ask questions via email or Twitter. Details about online participation will be forthcoming. All declared candidates but one have agreed to participate and MC believes the one remaining will agree shortly. Please share news of this event with your fellow activists and conservatives. MC encourages use of the comment feature to suggest approaches to the format and the question and answer session. This debate is for you.

WHEN: Monday, March 28, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: O'Gara's Irish Pub at the corner of Snelling & Selby in St. Paul, MN. Event will be held in the annex within known as The Garage. Signs will be posted.

COST: None. Kindly have a beverage of your choice to show your thanks to O'Gara's for agreeing to hold the event.

FORMAT: Current plans, subject to change, will have each candidate give an opening statement for 3 minutes. Questions strictly limited to 1 minute will be taken from the audience and from online viewers. Candidates will have 2 minutes to respond.

Women candidates will debate first for approximately one hour. After a 15 minute break, the men candidates will debate.

MC encourages suggestions designed to make this event successful.

ONLINE VIEWING: The Uptake (click here ) will have more information and links as the date approaches.

MC would be grateful if readers could share news of this, the only debate, for the RNC.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Purity People & The Debt Ceiling

No conservative is for more debt so the recent posturing by some among us over the looming extension of the federal debt ceiling, while not surprising, is discouraging. MC refers, of course, to the purity people who seem not to be going away despite ample failures due to their rigidity and political tone-deafness. The errors of their approach seem to take on new shapes or manifestations.

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is the most recent disappointing example. She is fundraising via an online petition to just say no to raising the federal debt ceiling. Her position is irresponsible and MC isn't about to be lectured by anyone about being soft on the national debt. But to take advantage of people's increasing alarm about the issue in such a way as to benefit financially while failing to educate them on the consequences of raising the ceiling is just wrong. Bachmann is not dumb, despite her detractors' claims and, it must be said, her occasional verbal gaffes. MC is consequently mystified as to her conduct. Click HERE to see her PAC solicitation. Could there be less information provided?

MC was initially leery about the prospect of a Speaker Boehner (and that was before his cringe-inducing crying jags) but now must correct that impression. Boehner seems measured, sober and careful. Above all, he seems to have listened very well indeed to the shellacking heard around the world. This only bodes well for a continued GOP controlled House of Representatives.

However, Boehner himself has said that the vote on raising the debt ceiling will be an adult moment for freshly minted Congress members hailing from the tea party movement. And indeed it will be. No responsible elected member of Congress would allow the United States to default on its financial obligations. Bachmann's demand that the USA go "cold turkey" on debt is relatively insane, to use a neutral term. It works well, apparently, for heroin or cigarette smoking. The international, interconnected financial system? No.

William Kristol is a big fan of Bachmann, as is MC for the most part. Kristol, fortunately, is not a purity person but an adult. He has come to admonish the Congresswoman for this exceptionally regrettable position. Click on the title of this post to read his comments. MC especially liked:

"This is irresponsible. I've seen no plausible plan that would enable us to go "cold turkey" (to use her term) fast enough or dramatically enough that we could reduce the deficit to zero in a few months--which is what would be required if Congress were not to authorize an increase in the debt ceiling.

If Michele Bachmann has such a plan, she should share it with us. If not, she should withdraw her endorsement of the "cold turkey" petition, and help figure out what legislation could be attached to the debt ceiling or passed separately that would further the cause of real spending restraint and reduction. But there's no turkey cold enough to enable us to avoid raising the debt ceiling."

Purity people can no longer grandstand on principles immune from the real world. Just this weekend past Bachmann said on CBS that she lived in the real world. If in fact she does, she will vote to raise the debt ceiling the minimal amount while extracting the greatest concessions on spending cuts. This is what adults do. This is what leaders, as opposed to politicians, do.

MC notes in closing that despite her rhetoric, Bachmann has not refused the pay raise Congress recently granted itself despite PR stunts designed to make her appear against it. Yet democrat Congressman Tim Walz has.

Purity people have run out of room in having it both ways. They should remember that while they posture as the ones watching "the establishment," they themselves are being watched. Media saturation and fund raising prowess are no longer sufficient for not walking the walk. And it will be the very base they profess to represent that will hold them to account.