Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pawlenty to DFL: chores before allowance

Once again, Gov. Tim Pawlenty is being forced to play the adult in the room to the Minnesota Legislature's adolescent refusal to face fiscal realities.

In his letter Monday, Gov. Pawlenty told the Legislature to do what they already know the state Constitution mandates must be done: balance the budget.

Prior to this evening's debate on the Capitol Investment bill, I wanted to inform you, and the entire legislature, that I will be vetoing this bill in its entirety.

The people of Minnesota expect us to spend their tax dollars frugally and wisely. This bill does neither...

As you know, the state is facing a $1.2 billion deficit. Before the legislature passes any additional spending bills, I ask that DFL legislators submit a plan to resolve the budget deficit. My budget plan has been available for more than a week, but during that time the DFL majority has only shown an interest in spending more money, not in balancing the budget.

With Moody's recently lowering the state of Minnesota's debt rating, the DFL needs to get serious about getting the state's fiscal house in order, or risk paying higher interest rates on its bonds, not to mention passing on higher debts to the taxpayers. It's no different in the people's house than in your house: more money going out than coming in is an unsustainable, an unnecessary, situation.

Once again, with Republicans in the minority, Gov. Pawlenty is the last man standing in the way of the DFL spending more money we don't have on things we don't need. Later this year, Minnesotans must elect another governor who is prepared to do the same, regardless of which party holds the majorities in Saint Paul.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The peasants are revolting

I am seeing more and more examples lately of why you should not let your political adversaries define you.

The latest meme circulating around the press and liberal circles (including President Obama) is this idea that the Tea Party patriots, Sarah Palin partisans, Republicans, and mid-America in general are stupid and/or evil. They learn everything they need to know about conservatives by watching Saturday Night Live, reading the newspaper, and from political scientists at leading liberal universities.

A perfect example of this is the BBC article "Why do people vote against their own interests," in which two "exasperated Democrats" tell the BBC that "the politician with the best stories is going to win," and "many of America's poorest citizens have a deep emotional attachment to a party that serves the interests of its richest." I urge you to read the excellent rebuttals by Ed Morrissey and Charles Krauthammer on this subject.

Another example of the media defining conservatives Kevin Diaz's Star Tribune article, "Michele Bachmann does delicate political dance."

Diaz characterizes Palin as "the former Alaska governor who electrified down-home conservatives as the GOP's nominee for vice president in 2008," and Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN-6) as "the envoy of a populist movement born in church basements, at race tracks and gun shows across the country." If this story had a soundtrack, it would be "The Ballad of Jed Clampett!" I don't know about you, but even though I support Bachmann, I have never been to a political rally at a race track, a gun show, or a church basement. I have been to several at the Minnesota State Capitol, however.

A third variation of how the left defines the right is when they helpfully point out how Republicans are hurting themselves politically. Almost without exception, it's actually just the opposite.

Example: the Tea Party movement. In Diaz's article, sources say "the Republican Party has been hijacked by the Tea Party movement," and "This is a grass-tops [as opposed to grass roots] movement." Diaz blames the Tea Party for causing the Republican party to fret "whether to tack to the right or the political center." He reports that "Divisions over ideological purity already cost the GOP a congressional seat in New York last year, after Tea Party activists rallied around a Conservative Party candidate who ended up splitting the Republican vote," while neglecting to mention stunning Tea Party supported, Democrat-to-Republican flips by Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts, Gov. Chris Christie in New Jersey, and Gov. Bob McDonnell in Virginia.

Diaz also neglects to point out that it was big-spending Republicans who "hijacked" the Reagan Revolution, broke the Contract with America, and cost the party majorities in Congress and the White House, not to mention elections in the various states.

How should one respond to these inaccurate portrayals of the ascendant conservative movement in the United States? By following Sarah Palin's example of positive leadership and grace, an unwavering dedication to our country's founding principles of limited government, low taxation, free markets, and liberty, and by avoiding an Obama-like cult of personality or allegiance to party over country.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Hang on to your wallets

The Minnesota Legislature is now in session!

Helpfully, HD43A Rep. Sarah Andrerson (R-Plymouth) provides her take on yesterday's first day of session. As Anderson notes at the end, the DFL is having their usual trouble deciding, as Bob Seeger would say, what to leave in, and what to leave out:
Dear Neighbors,

Today marked the start of the 2010 legislative session at the Minnesota Capitol. As your State Representative, I wanted to give you an idea what to expect in the coming months.

It's about JOBS!!!
As more Minnesotans are out of work, our state economy as a whole suffers. We are facing a $1.2 billion budget deficit. To dig out of this hole, we need to look at long-term solutions to improving our economy. Last week I met with area job providers to discuss the barriers to growing and retaining jobs in Minnesota. I have a laundry list of policy changes we can make that will help stimulate job growth. Government should not be the reason someone closes their doors and moves jobs out of this state.

Growing State Debt
Today, the state debt bill was unveiled. Chair Alice Hausman (D - St. Paul) is proposing we commit the state to $1.1 billion in debt. Though some of the projects in the bill are important for maintaining Minnesota's infrastructure, many of the proposals contained in the bill fail to meet the "project of statewide significance" standard or are fiscally prudent given the state's deficit of $1.2 billion. We will be spending state general fund dollars to support this debt bill at a time when other areas of the budget such as our schools are facing potential cuts.

Portions of the bill to watch include:
Gorilla housing - $11 million
Rochester Volleyball Center - $4 million
Snowmaking machine - $1.15 million

What's not in the bill:
Funding to house serious sex offenders
Funding for local road projects

Tell Terri Bonoff what you really think!

Earlier this week, Sen. Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka) sent this e-mail to her SD43 constituents:
Dear Friends,

With the 2010 Legislative Session fast approaching, my office has assembled a 2010 Legislative Questionnaire that will allow us to find out where our community stands on the issues currently facing the Minnesota Legislature.

I am hopeful that each of you will take a few moments to share with me your thoughts and opinions on issues that will be discussed in the upcoming session. Simply click on the link below and you will see instructions on how to complete the online questionnaire.


Best regards,


Sen. Bonoff's multiple-choice questionnaire predictably has plenty of options for raising taxes, but unexpectedly also contains options like "Take no action and allow the market to continue its course." And there are no questions relating to light rail transit, which has always been high on Bonoff's wish list.

I urge you to complete Sen. Bonoff's questionnaire, particularly if you live in SD43. It will enable you to state a position on specific legislative action that the Legislature will likely be considering this session, including the budget deficit, the Vikings stadium, and a racino at Canterbury Park. If your answer is "none of the above" to a particular question, why not call, e-mail, or write Sen. Bonoff (or your state senator if you live outside SD43) to voice your opinion?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Saul Alinsky disciples are driving Palin backers batty

Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose. —Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals

All that Sarah Palin and her conservative, Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party patriot brethren want to promote is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness via limited, responsive government and low taxation. Their political opposition counters by talking about everything but: Bristol and Levi, ethics complaints, Palin's clothes and hair, Trig, Tina Fey satire as documentary, and now, SarahPAC's purchase of Going Rogue to give as a premium or thank-you gift to $100 donors ("so that explains how the book became a best seller!" anonymous Palin-haters breathlessly proclaim on Twitter and in the comment sections of countless obscure web sites). Palin backers in turn parry every thrust, some even drawing fire (and ire) on themselves.

"The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition," said Alinsky in his seminal Rules for Radicals. "It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign.

"Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it...as you zero in and freeze your target and carry out your attack, all the 'others' come out of the woodwork very soon. They become visible by their support of the target." Sound familiar?

The radical left is using the 24/7 nature of Internet communications against Palin supporters and other conservatives, by implementing Alinsky's rules to a degree that he could not have imagined when he published them in 1971. Expert negotiators understand that a tactic perceived is no longer effective. Conservatives must study how Obama's camp is using Alinsky's rules, or risk becoming casualties of them.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Season opener

Last night's turnout was nothing like 2008, but I don't think we'll ever see another precinct caucus night in Minnesota like 2008...until maybe 2012!

When I arrived 30 minutes before the call to order at 7:00 pm in 2008, the parking lot at Wayzata Central Middle School was full and I had to park a block away. This year, I arrived at a similar time and the lot had plenty of space. Senate District 43 BPOU officer and state Senate candidate Norann Dillon was in the airlock when I entered the school, with her son, getting ready to meet and greet. Within several yards of the front door, I recognized several other of my SD43 cronies, busy with sign-in sheets, precinct maps, and caucus room assignments. It was like coming home again, except for the absence of former BPOU chair Frank Weir, who passed away in 2008.

A table in the lunchroom had three coffee urns with the signs "Regular," "Decaf," and "1/2 and 1/2." Only in Minnesota. I helped myself to a cup of decaf and a cookie, and went looking for my precinct caucus room.

The precinct caucus proceedings are fairly scripted, yet the size of the groups are small enough (ours had around 30) that they are also fairly informal, with a minimum of parliamentary procedure. The idea is to encourage folks to participate in the discussion and volunteer for various roles such as BPOU officer, delegate to the BPOU convention, be a campaign worker, or serve as an election judge (more on that later).

I recognized several of my precinct neighbors from previous election cycles, renewed acquaintances, and met some new friends. In particular, I was pleased to meet fellow blogger Walter Hudson, who blogs at Fightin' Words (http://www.fightinwords.us), and his family. Also on hand was BPOU committee member Master of None, who blogs at Jack of All Trades blog (http://jackofalltradesblog.com/). So the blogosphere was well represented in SD43.

Two or three homeschool families were in my caucus, along with a few twentysomethings, several younger kids as observers, a few married couples, and a few first-time attendees whose children had grown up or jobs had changed such that they had some time they could commit to political activity. All professed social, fiscal, and Constitutionally conservative views, although I think some may have been taken aback when I claimed to be a TEA Party conservative!

Our gubernatorial straw poll results: 15 votes for Marty Seifert, 14 votes for Tom Emmer, and 2 votes for David Hann. Many in the room did not seem familiar with the candidates, so we took a few minutes to read the open letters to the caucus from all three of them before the vote. I think that all three are great conservative candidates. I admire how Seifert has run the House GOP caucus, Emmer has a refreshing, "gimme a break" presence (and has garnered an impressive roster of endorsements, including former U.S. Sen. Rod Grams and colleague Rep. Laura Brod), and I know and respect Hann's work in the state Senate from my education reform efforts.

We received visits from three local candidates: Brian Grogan, who ran unsuccessfully against HD43B Rep. John Benson (DFL-Minnetonka) in 2008; Kathy Dettman, a former Minnesota House of Representatives staffer who is running against Grogan for the endorsement; and Dillon. Republican HD43A Rep. Sarah Anderson is not expected to face an endorsement challenge this year.

Grogan was in full campaign mode, with a group of young volunteers in tow passing out his campaign brochure, and campaign signs pre-positioned in the hallways and caucus rooms. Grogan has been busy preparing in the off-season for a rematch against Benson. (Grogan is an occasional guest commentator on North Star Liberty.) Dettman is regarded in House circles as well-informed and well-spoken, which she demonstrated in her 60-second caucus stump speech. Dillon was similarly prepared to speak, even down to a gold-tone name tag like you might have seen elected officials wear when they speak to groups away from the Capitol.

The surprise visitor to our caucus was Third District Congressman Erik Paulsen, in a rare mid-week visit to Minnesota. Paulsen told us that he was there to support local candidates, whose needs he understands well from representing HD42B from 1995-2008, including five years as Majority Leader. Paulsen is also up for re-election, although he will not be facing Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka) who recently announced that she will be defending her state Senate seat instead (in none other than SD43). After his remarks, Paulsen left the room to a round of applause.

The last order of business, resolutions, was mercifully brief, with only two resolutions offered. I think that the standing platform of the state GOP is already way too long.

There will be plenty of work to be done, and not just the party business of conventions or the candidate ground game of lit drops, door knocking, phone banks, debates, lawn signs, and parades. As the election for U.S. Senate in 2008 demonstrated, we need more Republicans to step up to get trained as election judges, work the polls, and be ready to help to ensure fair and legal voting on Election Day. To underscore this point, two of our caucus attendees related experiences of shall we say less than kosher poll incidents in 2008. Contact the state GOP, the Minnesota Secretary of State, or your city clerk for details. The time commitment boils down to a few hours of training and four to eight hours on Election Day, but the importance to election integrity is huge.

So Campaign 2010 begins. As Sarah Palin said recently of the Tea Party movement, here are the kinds of people I saw at the caucus last night:

They're folks in small towns and cities across this nation who saw what was happening to our country and decided to get involved. Thank God for them. Many of these good Americans had never been involved in their government before, but now they attend town hall meetings and participate in online forums. They write letters to the editor. They sign up to be precinct leaders and run for local office and support other independent patriots. They have the courage to stand up and speak out.

With all hands on deck, this year we can put a conservative Republican in the governor's office, elect a Republican state auditor, grow the Republican caucus at the Legislature, and restore fiscal responsibility and a warmer business "climate change" to the North Star State. I hope you'll join us by contacting the Minnesota GOP and finding out how you can help.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

On caucus day, ten truths for conservative candidates

When you are sitting in your precinct caucus room tonight amongst fifteen or twenty of your neighbors, and the candidates for the state House and Senate races drop by to ask for your vote at your upcoming BPOU convention, try to determine whether they truly believe these time-tested truths:
  1. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
  2. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
  3. You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
  4. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
  5. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
  6. You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
  7. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
  8. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
  9. You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
  10. And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.
William John Henry Boetcker (1873–1962)

If not, either you went to the DFL caucus by mistake (this happened to me in 1992!), or you need to call or e-mail your BPOU leadership on Wednesday morning and ask for conservative replacements, or do some soul searching and run yourself, as a Republican or an independent. Current Republican and DFL leadership is transforming Minnesota into a cold Cuba, and we must elect a Legislature and Governor who will do something about it.