Wednesday, June 30, 2010

See no evil

Minnesota has a reputation for running clean elections, but how do we really know that if allegations of voter fraud are never seriously investigated?

On Monday, Minnesota Majority released its report, "Report on Fraudulent Votes Cast by Ineligible Felons in Minnesota’s 2008 General Election." That's right, convicted felons, at least several hundreds of them, who are prohibited by law from voting, may have been permitted to vote in Minnesota in 2008. If these allegations are true, and Minnesota Majority has documented evidence to support its claims, it raises serious questions about Minnesota's election integrity.

On his campaign web site, GOP-endorsed candidate for Minnesota Secretary of State Dan Severson tells of his unsuccessful attempts as a state legislator to get claims of voter fraud investigated. From Severson's campaign web site:
Severson, a fourth-term state representative, was contacted by a poll watcher making serious claims about election fraud. He has investigated the allegations and helped file affidavits describing the complaints.

All to no avail, says Severson, R-Sauk Rapids.

"[Current Minnesota Secretary of State Mark] Ritchie's office says we had a clear and transparent election. Nothing could be further from the truth," he charged.
What other voter irregularities, in fact attacks on our traditionally free and fair elections, are going undetected if the Secretary of State's office is asleep at the switch? If the Secretary of State refuses to look into allegations of voter fraud, then Severson's common sense and inexpensive election reforms, including photo ID to vote (supported by over 70% of Minnesotans) and the elimination of vouching as a method of voter ID, are all the more urgently needed to preserve the will of the people in the election process.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The bus stops here

Northwest metro Republicans are invited to enjoy a barbecue dinner, nice summer weather, and greet the last stop of the Republican Party of Minnesota's statewide Freedom and Prosperity Bus Tour, as it arrives at the party's new Third Congressional District office at 111 Cheshire Lane in Minnetonka, this Friday around 6:15 pm. You can also pick up a lawn sign, meet party staff, and work a phone bank shift. The event will cap the three-day statewide bus tour across the state with stops in twenty cities.

Scheduled to appear are: gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, Lieutenant Governor candidate Annette Meeks, Attorney General candidate Chris Barden, State Auditor candidate Pat Anderson, Secretary of State candidate Dan Severson.

If you're elsewhere on the tour, check out the complete tour schedule and be there when the bus stops in your area:

Wednesday, June 30 - Red Wing, Winona, Rochester, Owatonna, Mankato, New Ulm, Hutchinson

Thursday, July 1 - Willmar, Alexandria, Fergus Falls, Moorhead, Fertile, Bagley, Bemidji

Friday, July 2 - Grand Rapids, Brainerd, Little Falls, St. Cloud, Elk River, Minnetonka

RSVP on Facebook.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Yankee, come home?

The most significant thing about the Rolling Stone article, "The Runaway General," that apparently led to Gen. Stanley McChrystal's resignation this week was not the remarks made by Gen. McChrystal or his inner cicle disparaging the Obama administration. Nor was it the unblinking reporting about the profane warrior culture of McChrystal's Afghanistan command, the self-proclaimed Team America. These are the people we want, and need, to stand post on the wall protecting our country (in fact, we could use a few of them now — and a wall — on the Mexican border). Rather, it is the strong indictment of the entire Afghan war counterinsurgent (COIN) strategy. It led me to wonder, why are we still in Afghanistan?
But even if he somehow manages to succeed, after years of bloody fighting with Afghan kids who pose no threat to the U.S. homeland, the war will do little to shut down Al Qaeda, which has shifted its operations to Pakistan. Dispatching 150,000 troops to build new schools, roads, mosques and water-treatment facilities around Kandahar is like trying to stop the drug war in Mexico by occupying Arkansas and building Baptist churches in Little Rock. "It's all very cynical, politically," says Marc Sageman, a former CIA case officer who has extensive experience in the region. "Afghanistan is not in our vital interest – there's nothing for us there."
In March 2009, President Obama said this about the United States policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan:
So I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future. That's the goal that must be achieved. That is a cause that could not be more just...

Going forward, we will not blindly stay the course. Instead, we will set clear metrics to measure progress and hold ourselves accountable. We’ll consistently assess our efforts to train Afghan security forces and our progress in combating insurgents. We will measure the growth of Afghanistan’s economy, and its illicit narcotics production. And we will review whether we are using the right tools and tactics to make progress towards accomplishing our goals.
We presume that the major players in the Obama administration, so derided in the Rolling Stone article, are using this leadership crisis (military and civilian) to assess our "Af-Pak" policy. The president should inaugurate the new Afghanistan command with an Oval Office address that updates his March 2009 remarks with a clear assessment of our efforts so far and a statement of the path forward.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

SD43 candidates on Facebook

All three SD43 endorsed candidates have established campaign presence on Facebook, and have begun to build their online networks. To find and "Like" their pages, simply enter Norann Dillon for Senate, Brian Grogan for Minnesota House 43B, and Rep Sarah Anderson into the Facebook Search. (The SD43 Republicans BPOU has a Facebook group with an active Wall.)

Dillon has the most established page, updating it from the campaign trail, chronicling her door knocking and formal appearances, and uploading photos. She also gets extra points for repeating her Twitter posts on her Facebook page, which has over 500 fans. Grogan's relatively new page features the candidate introducing himself in a short video. Anderson's campaign Facebook page just launched. As the HD43A incumbent, Anderson has produced several podcasts and is also well-spoken on video. She should make them more visible during the campaign.

Politicos at all levels are learning to use Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks for constituent and voter engagement. In suburban districts like SD43 where folks are spread out over wide areas with work and leisure that often takes them away from home, these tools can let candidates stay in touch, build support, rally campaign volunteers, and most importantly, get out the vote in ways that are more engaging than phone banks, e-mail, and direct mail.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Push me, poll you

A week ago last weekend, several GOP activists in SD43 reported receiving phone calls from a "pollster" asking about statewide and SD43 races. Some of them speculated that the call was actually a "push poll," which is not really a poll at all, rather it is "political telemarketing masquerading as a poll," according to a recent CBS News report. Push polls do not collect any data, their objective is to widely spread negative statements and innuendo about the opposition candidate, in a format that sounds like an opinion poll.

SD43 candidates Sen. Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka) and Republican challenger Norann Dillon were apparently both unaware of the poll, which according to sources was conducted by a Colorado-based firm, until it was reported in the blogosphere last Monday on The Activist Next Door. Sen. Bonoff told me via telephone that she had no prior knowledge of it, and that she will focus on the issues to win reelection. Dillon was more interested in analyzing the call itself, which sounds like it may have been rather long for a push poll.

Bonoff has been accused of push-polling before, in her races against former Plymouth mayor Judy Johnson for the SD43 seat, and in her endorsement contest for U.S. House of Representatives against the eventual Democrat nominee, Ashwin Madia. Yet push-polling can be expensive for local campaigns, in which case they would be third-party expenditures that by state law are not visible to the candidate, let alone controlled by his or her campaign committee. Third parties with pockets deep enough to mount a push poll might be the state party, partisan state legislative or Congressional committees, national PACs, and unions.

Instead of a push poll, I think it more likely that someone out there is simply doing the campaign legwork of poking and prodding the registered, likely voters of SD43 to craft their campaign messages. All of the candidates and parties will be doing the same this summer, until the public at large (as opposed to you, dear readers) begin paying attention to Campaign 2010.

If you receive a telephone call from a poll taker, I would be interested in hearing about it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

America's rallying cry, or its epitaph?

"Here's a couple of things America got right: cars and freedom."

Monday, June 14, 2010

Grogan session recap: DFL ignores spending problem, at state's peril

By Brian Grogan

The 2010 session opened with legislators being informed that due to declining tax revenues, our state faced a $1.2 billion deficit. The deficit grew to $3.5 billion when the Minnesota Supreme Court overturned Governor Pawlenty’s 2009 unallotment. Sadly, during the 2010 session our legislative leaders worked harder at avoiding rather than dealing with our state’s fundamental issue: unsustainable spending. Minnesotans are poorer for it!

For the last four years, the Democrats have had significant majorities. They have controlled the legislative agenda in both chambers (Senate and House). During this period they have repeatedly communicated that our state faces a revenue problem. As proof, in the last three legislative sessions our state faced a deficit of $1 billion or more. But rather than having a serious bipartisan discussion on how to reduce government size, the Democrats have chosen to use tax increases (gas tax, sales taxes and others), accounting shifts and delayed payments to address the majority of the deficit problem. In other words they have consistently booted the deficit problems into the next session.

Is our state facing a spending or a revenue problem? Minnesota’s revenues are projected to grow by nearly 5 percent during the next biennium, but analysts are still projecting a $5.5 billion deficit. If revenues are growing in a slow economy, why is our state still facing a deficit? Because our state’s spending is increasing faster than revenues. In fact, under law many state programs have automatic spending increases regardless of whether our state has the revenues to pay for the program. We have a spending problem in Minnesota!

If you have cancer and your doctor told you not to worry about it. What would you think about his advice? The Democrat party wants Minnesotans to believe we don’t have any structural problems in our state’s budget. They want us to believe we can basically maintain the current spending programs while addressing our deficit problems with increased taxes, federal bailouts, shifting money and deferring payments to later times. They hope revenues will catch up with spending. This is a false hope the Democrat party is promising us.

Cancer treatment is painful and scary. Likewise redesigning our state’s commitment to children, families and the poor will be challenging. People will face difficult choices. If our state leaders address the state’s spending problems today, we will be an in better position to thrive in the future. The greater good is served by getting our fiscal house in order.

How well would you grade the 2010 legislative session? Could you take a brief moment and complete this survey?

Brian Grogan is a candidate for the Minnesota House of Representatives in House District 43B. His campaign web site is at

Friday, June 04, 2010

Grogan appointed to board of Academic Excellence Foundation

Republican endorsed candidate for House District 43B, Brian Grogan, was appointed Thursday to the board of directors for the Minnesota Academic Excellence Foundation by Governor Tim Pawlenty. The foundation advocates for the promotion and recognition of academic excellence in Minnesota. Its 21-member board has representatives from private industry, government, and education.