Thursday, March 29, 2012

Byberg Buys Endorsements? Hennen Deceives?

MC has explosive information concerning the hard fought contest for the republican endorsement in Minnesota's 7th Congressional District. Documents obtained by MC suggest that far from being neutral in this race, Scott Hennen has been paid over $35,000 by candidate Lee Byberg over the last two years. The top document shows the payments (click on the image to enlarge) while the bottom document contains the balance of an email Hennen sent claiming his heretofore neutrality in the race (click on the image to enlarge).

MC will leave it to others to see if Byberg & Hennen are trying to pull a fast one and deceive the delegates in Minnesota's 7th. Others better placed than MC need to ask some tough questions, however.

The payments put one in mind of that Elvis Costello lyric: "Money talks and it's persuasive."

Friday, March 9, 2012

Failing Mary Franson, Breitbart & Ourselves

MC isn't usually as closely involved in stories it comments on as the recent faux outrage manufactured against Rep. Mary Franson (R-Alexandria) over comments on a video emphasizing how dependency on government largesse degrades the dignity of the human person. An imperfect analogy used in Franson's video allowed leftist hacks to claim she considered food stamp recipients to be animals. Only their pals in the media could take such a laughable claim seriously and run with it but run with it they did. Quelle surprise!

MC was on Twitter (@Shabbosgoy) when this controversy broke out Friday last and did its best to refute the preposterous claim that Franson thinks of anyone as an animal. Panicky House staff pulled the video that night despite MC's admonitions that that would only feed the narrative that there was something substantively wrong with Franson's comments. Behold, the next day lefty blogger Sally Jo Sorenson had the video on her site (she's frightfully good but mostly because we give her so much easy material to knock out of the ballpark). Others had it too and the narrative turned into "here's what those mean republicans are hiding from you." Bad turned into worse and by our own actions. Care was apparently taken not to learn from this initial misstep. How else to explain what followed?

Franson apologized that night on Twitter if anyone took offense but, of course, the sanctimoniousness of the radical left admits of giving no ground and they refused to accept it. Why give up a good issue with cheap points to make when the other side didn't even put up a fight? Was anyone on our side starting to figure this out? Apparently not because, bereft of any policy that actually lessens dependency and poverty, the leftist assault continued on Franson. The slanted, smear of a story made its way to The Huffington Post, replete with "that video" we took down. Because we know what we're doing. Other stories in the week were going to eclipse it and the fallout would be "limited" to the blogosphere. Seriously? People in political communications think the blogosphere is limited? Subsequent events showed differently and rather conclusively. And to the detriment of a profoundly conservative and eminently defensible position.

MC authored the written statement Franson released in connection with media attempts to interview her on the non-story and not horrific emails threatening her and her female family members with rape and then death through explosive devices shoved into their vaginas and detonated simultaneously. Her statement was picked up by MC friend, ally & all round good guy Mitch Berg. Click here to read.

Franson gave an interview over the weekend to a newspaper blog and, amidst many solid and irrefutable points made, used the old adage about not getting a horse to drink the water to which it has been led. Cue a second wind of fake outrage on Twitter and elsewhere: animal analogies again. Yet the left was mostly steadfast in its refusal to condemn the shocking emails Franson received and local media was, initially, curiously uncurious about them. But the word slut from a talk radio show host? Right. To his credit, liberal tweeter John Shannon condemned them without qualification. (He's on Twitter @TheShannonFiles). He, alas, was mostly the exception. Carrie Lucking condemned them late in the week when it was largely impossible not to.

Eventually, the Republican Party of Minnesota released what it called a press release around 8:30 in the evening on Super Tuesday. As one political reporter tweeted about it "Better late than . . ." Defensive, poorly written and clueless about how to reframe the narrative in a way that would have supported Franson's essential point, it would have been better to release nothing. It squandered a golden opportunity to fight back. Who knows? Perhaps that was the point?

One leftist activist encouraged a protest at Rep. Franson's house, tomorrow, March 10th. Notably, the first commentator on that post was Sally Jo Sorenson who wisely said that it was a very bad idea. Yesterday, a clutch of the rent a mob on tap from A Better Minnesota showed up at the House of Representatives to harass and impede the function of government in general and Rep. Franson in particular. Two simpering dolts later showed up at her office looking like extra's from Portlandia to deliver signatures! on! a! petition! demanding her resignation. At what point does smug self-satisfaction impede breathing? There must be a point.

At any rate, the "why bother" press release from the RPM did nothing to change the structure of how the press covered this story. Why on earth could not a women only press conference have been held, led by Deputy Chair Kelly Fenton, to highlight the vicious, hateful nature of the left over a policy dispute and turn the narrative? Why not call for Governor Dayton, Lt. Gov. Prettner Salon, Carrie Lucking, Alida Messinger and other women on the left to condemn those emails? If the party had any money (fixable) and political spine (MC despairs), it would have organized a fly around the state by the press conference women and put the left on justified defense.

But no.

House leadership, mediocre to the point of not existing, failed to rally behind Franson (she's said not to be well liked in the caucus, which is precisely not the point. But it is high school so MC assumes they act only in ways they know). They wanted the issue to go away but seemed blind to the need to fight back because the Soros funded Left in Minnesota was not about to let it go. One teacher's pet conservative activist contacted Franson twice at the behest of a female legislator to hector her into silence. Bad for donors, she was told. Really? Mary Franson is the problem with donors? They must have missed December, 2011. And what to make of a representative who doesn't have the courage to call Franson herself? She's running for a congressional seat but MC is confident she has the talent to place a call from the car in between scheduled events.

The Senate was no better, of course. Yet why should that body come to the defense of a House member when the House itself is AWOL? Except for political savvy, competence and principles, of course.

MC was contacted by Franson in the middle of the rent a mob protest and fashioned a response on her behalf. Click here to read it. Mitch Berg nicely headlines the piece "not for turning." Well done. If readers don't get it, Google "the lady's not for turning."

Conservative stalwart bloggers Andy Aplikowski and Gary Gross also addressed the issue(s). Andy's take is here and here. Gary has an excellent take on the thug who wants to harass Franson and her children in their home. Click here to read.

MC understands full well that the House caucus (or Senate for that matter) have interests that will not always align with the base and activists. That's a given and understood by them. It's quite another thing to see those who fancy themselves leaders do nothing to save a member from being maligned, slandered and threatened with death over a policy position that is morally correct and in tune with the general public. Is there nothing worth fighting for in their world except their undistinguished house seat?

Andrew Breitbart, of blessed memory, taught us to fight back against a leftist framed narrative if conservative ideas and policy were to have any chance of being advanced. Yet our elected conservative response in Minnesota concerning Mary Franson? Timidity. Fear. Fecklessness. Who needs A Better Minnesota when we have representatives who don't and won't fight back? The fear of attempting to reshape the narrative was perfectly encapsulated when a House staffer and good friend of MC's opined that such an attempt couldn't get past reporters who cover the capitol. This sells us, our ideas & policies, as well as those reporters, very short indeed. To use it as a rationale for impotence condemns us eternally to it. Breitbart taught us just the opposite lesson and many in conservative Minnesota politics are applying it. They just aren't elected officials and this, perhaps, is the most revealing point of this public relations debacle. It's time for leaders to follow. We'll be happy to guide them in the newly transformed political terrain that has shifted beneath their oblivious feet.


Late today Mary Franson issued the following press release in anticipation of a smear column set to be published tomorrow by a Star Tribune opinion writer:


I have learned that tomorrow yet another liberal reporter will attack me personally in his opinion column in the Star Tribune under the guise of the public's right to know about me. In fact, he's just a voice for the dependency lobby that has been attacking me for the last week. He
and they are threatened by my efforts to help the poor instead of binding them more tightly into their abject conditions. My personal shortcomings, of which, mercifully, the reporter has none, are now to be used to discredit my message of hope and dignity. For some reason, my vicious attackers don't seem to realize I'm not intimidated, even when I have been threatened with death.

However, I wanted to state again what has been known publicly for some time.

Approximately ten years ago I was charged with careless driving and again one year later. These were serious mistakes as everyone knows. I have never hidden this and, in fact, talked about it during my campaign for office in 2010. The Republican House caucus knows about it as well. In politics, these things are generally known about members from both sides of the aisle. In addition, I have had several moving violations. I have reformed my driving habits completely, which is all one can do after such mistakes.

According to Alinsky tactics, supine media will highlight the target's shortcomings in order to suppress the message it fears. But that won't work anymore; those days vanished with the end of the liberal media monopoly.

The reporter seems to think that personal responsibility means never making mistakes. In fact, it means precisely the opposite but I'm uncertain he can grasp that concept.

At any rate, I wanted to speak first because I am not afraid. As always, my preeminent duty and loyalty are to my constituents. They have been overwhelming in their support of my anti-poverty efforts and for that I am deeply grateful.

Friday, March 2, 2012

After Breitbart (1969-2012)

MC got the news, fittingly enough, on Twitter, in real time. At first, the thought was that his "Big" sites had been hacked and the news was a hoax. It went downhill rapidly from that kind of wishful thinking. Soon enough, Andrew Breitbart was really and truly dead at the age of 43. Some checked his Twitter timeline as a sort of post-mortem. MC couldn't bring itself to do so. Stupefaction best described the response among so many familiar strangers on Twitter.

Throughout the day, Breitbart's admirers and detractors took to Twitter: it was the only place to be. Late in the day, before going on Late Debate, it occurred to MC that we were sitting shiva for Breitbart on Twitter. One hopes the thought would have brought a smile to his very secular face.

Today dawns cold amongst conservative activists, a long yet brief & full day after the news hit, thirty six hours after he apparently collapsed on a sidewalk near his home in Los Angeles. His last hours were stitched together through various haphazard accounts. They brought no comfort. In fact, the immediacy with which they were known seemed only to mock that he was permanently gone.

Then came the Christopher Hitchens sort of reminiscences: the "I talked to him a really long time at a confab," the "he retweeted me and I knew he knew," and the "we got really drunk together and I can't quite recall the balance of the evening." These are all harmless, in their way, and signal not much more than admirers grieving the loss of their admired. And no one on the right did not admire Andrew Breitbart; such was the depth of his accomplishments.

Not so, of course, those on the left. An open sewer or Twitter? Yesterday it depended on who was doing the tweeting. A discouragingly high percentage of "names" on the left did themselves no favor in what they wrote in the haste of survival and anger. Some deleted their egregious tweets but everything is forever online. Media Matters for America and Eric Boehlert had welcome notes of condolence. Some excused their vitriol by pointing to Breitbart's excesses which, at times, he surely did have. It's an odd logic, though, to seek to exculpate one's odious behavior by referencing behavior of the dead they condemn. This elemental point seemed lost on too many.

Much stock taking ensued yesterday and this was only a normal reaction after the shock wore off to some degree; to some degree the shock never will. But MC couldn't help but be struck by a certain bravado, a note of resolve that seemed to mask deep despair over the loss of a singular and inspiring leader who sought to slay the rancid media on its own terms and largely did. The fundamental hypocrisy of the left and its captive institutions was never so exposed and ridiculed before the advent of Andrew Breitbart. Rush can yammer to the choir; Coulter sell books to the convinced; Hannity drone to those who apparently don't know better. None of them could touch Breitbart because he lived the fight, took the bullets.

Consequently the hash tag that developed late in the day #IAmBreitbart served only to underscore the depth of the loss. Yes, yes, it was a means to buck up and by all means do so. Can anyone who admired Breitbart think of giving up now in this crucial election year? Not at all.

But let's not take false comfort from a false sense of ourselves. We've lost a crucial player and nothing will ever be the same again. Only Andrew could say: I am Breitbart. Let him have it. He earned it. He may have even paid with his life for it.

Breitbart was adopted, which is another way of saying his mother did not kill him in her womb. The defenders of abortion can elide all they like but death is what they proffer and it was death Mother Breitbart turned away from. Dead at 43, Andrew Breitbart's natural mother may well be living. Let us pause in our mourning of him to honor her. Then return to the field of political battle in both their names.