Thursday, October 28, 2010

Minnesota: Not Only Not Florida, Not Illinois

During the endless Coleman/Franken recount a justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court informed an attorney: "This is not Florida." The observation deservedly got wide-spread attention. Indeed, Minnesota is nothing at all like Florida when it comes to election recounts although some of our choices in elected officials bring widespread scorn and contempt, ie, Senator Franken. Minnesotans simply think too highly of themselves and avoid the obvious conclusion that at times they are something of a laughing stock in nation, ie, Governor Ventura. Should we go on?

Yet what MC has noticed of late is that Minnesota is also not Illinois. We say this because of the very serious issue of voter fraud being bandied about, mostly by our team but in ways so overt and heavy-handed that the issue is drained of importance, not highlighted. A disservice is done to the very issue that is sought to be made serious to a wider audience. This is a pity.

MC has had these thoughts for some time but kept them to itself until now. Our candidate for secretary of state, Dan Severson deserves to win over the hack, ACORN coddled Mark Ritchie. Yet the former's claim in a recent press conference that voter fraud swayed the outcome of the Coleman/Franken senate race of 2008 is simply not supported by the facts. Coleman's own attorneys said that there was "not a whiff" of voter fraud. We are confused as to why a solid, decent candidate should claim otherwise. The case against Ritchie is overwhelming and is only undermined by unsupportable assertions.

Minnesota Majority has done a fair amount of work on the issue of felons and others who should not be voting voting. This is to the good. Large, dramatic, over-arching conclusions about the integrity of the Minnesota electoral system should not be made, however, let alone be made fodder for breathless fund raising efforts. Minnesota is not Illinois. By claiming more than can be reasonably proven, or even inferred, an important issue is marginalized as a football between two political parties. The issue deserves more, deserves better.

MC would be remiss if it didn't point out that the DFL routinely minimizes the issue of voter fraud and irregularities. This is a disgraceful abdication of its responsibilities as a political party wielding great power in this state. We hope our friends on the other side take the DFL to task in the same spirit in which we caution our side from inadvertently making Minnesota into Illinois.

MC supports voter photo ID but does not see it as a panacea because we are not convinced of any underlying pathology. With same day voter registration still in place, we aren't sure that any alleged fraud will be remedied. Still, presenting a picture ID is not a burden in any meaningful sense and democrat opposition is not only misplaced, it positively suggests bad faith. So, too, does democrat opposition to voting integrity efforts while placing complete emphasis on voter registration. If democrats don't want to be seen as suspect, they might want to stop acting in suspect ways.

The point MC is making is a simple one: voter integrity is crucial to any healthy, functioning state in this nation. By overstating the case of problems, republicans only serve to make it more likely than not that an effective corrective can be brought to bear on the matter. By minimizing, if not denying outright, any such problems brought to light, the democrats in Minnesota make themselves resemble democrats in Illinois, failing the public in being responsible and responsive to a legitimate--and bi-partisan--issue of great importance.

The public has every right to expect more and better of these parties and, starting November 3rd, MC hopes they begin to provide it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

After The Deluge: A Republican Abattoir?

Last week MC cast about the Minnesota political landscape and detected signs of blame being queued up in advance of a potential loss of the governorship. You can read what we wrote HERE. Now, one week to the day out from what increasingly looks to be a tectonic shift in the national political landscape MC finds alarming signs of a coming political bloodbath amongst republicans. This is both utterly unnecessary and avoidable. The rising level of snark from the Twitterati and the blogosphere does not suggest, however, that the malcontents understand the potential for the damage they can inflict.

First, MC understands the frustration with the professional right and the atrophy of principle in the republican party in the second half of the second Bush term. The losses of 2006 and 2008 are entirely understandable even though the latter has given us a frighteningly incompetent and hubristic president. The tea party movement, far from giving rise to a third party movement and the mortal danger that could have presented to the GOP, has largely been incorporated in the party. Always misunderestimated, Sarah Palin deserves enormous credit in sheparding that movement into the GOP instead of watching it grow from the outside. And no, we don't want Palin to run for president. But credit, please, where it is due. Besides, who more than she reduces the left to foaming at the mouth idiots?

Recently, however, certain conservative activists have seen fit to attack the "establishment" GOP in advance of the election. MC finds extremely little of value in bashing the party at either the state or national level. We've not been shy in this regard and we think there is value in constructive criticism, not criticism that advances the agenda(s) of the critic at the expense of the party.

Among others being lined up against the purity wall is none other than Karl Rove. MC is amused at this development while at the same time disgusted by it. There is much with which MC disagrees with when it comes to him and to his former boss, frankly. That disagreement, however, does not make him the enemy of the party or of the conservative tide likely to hit shore on November second. Unfortunately, for others it does.

Michelle Malkin attacked Rove for stating his belief that Christine O'Donnell was an exceptionally flawed candidate and that her nomination in Delaware likely lost a relatively sure seat to the Democrats. We do hope Michelle weighs in a week or so from today and lets us all know where Rove went wrong. MC never for a moment thought Christine was a witch but we did think her a loon and we've not exactly been proven wrong by the way she's run her campaign.

This week Dan Riehl (don't worry if you've never heard of him) attacked our friends at Powerline for the sin of taking the fraudulent, non-conservative Elmer Gantry-like Mike Huckabee to task for attacking Karl Rove. Anyone noticing a pattern here? Huckabee is a comprehensive fraud who guarantees the GOP failure at every turn. The late John Paul II decreed that no man or woman in Holy Orders could serve in government; it wasn't their calling. We wish the protestant world had an equivalent decree.

At any rate, Riehl attacked Powerline in typical snarling, self-satisfied juvenile fashion. It was an exercise in who we do not want leading the activists in the party after the election. You can read his drivel HERE. Displaying his trademark cool restraint, Scott Johnson responded and effectively demolished the alleged basis for Riehl's attack. You can read his sword work HERE. Never one to quit when behind, Riehl responded further HERE. We trust readers can discern who are the adults and who are the juveniles in these exchanges.

Inevitably, talk show host Mark Levin and his third rate mind (when he's in it and not having a nervous breakdown over the death of a pet dog: no joke, read his book about it HERE) gets brought into the fray. And all he can do is slash and burn the "establishment" in similar unhelpful fashion. Is this really what we have to look forward to after a strong election showing next week? His radio show, mercifully, airs late at night with a corresponding lack of audience. Try to listen to it sometime. It's almost as bad as Air America.

MC is certain that at some point the scope of sniping will expand to include the likes of Norm Coleman and others. We think this is a huge mistake. Rove, Coleman and others have created independent expenditure committees that have allowed many races this cycle to be competitive against the usual flood of union and Soros money. It's alarming that these critics cannot see the value in this. Do they have any idea how much help they have been to Sharon Angle and others?

Purity has been our word of caution since the Minnesota Republican State Convention earlier this year. We won't be told that we have less conservative principles simply because we can discern between stronger and weaker candidates. Conservatives can disagree about them without losing their status as conservatives, thank you.

Just as purity must be avoided on a state level, so it must be on a national level. The goal of politics is to win. Once in office, the goal is to achieve as much as is reasonably possible of one's agenda. If republicans overreach upon winning in the same way that Obama and the democrats did after their enormous back to back victories of 2006 and 2008, they'll be thrown out promptly. And if the purity conservative activists don't think the American people will keep doing this until one side or the other gets it approximately right, then they manifestly don't know the people they claim to understand and represent best.

Illustration above: Michelangelo's
"The Deluge." Click to enlarge

Friday, October 22, 2010

Peggy Noonan Punks Conservatives

Obama voter Peggy Noonan pens another trademark column of the obvious and the treacly and some conservatives waive it around as exoneration of, well, anything they wanted exonerated. Really? From Peggy in pearls, who called Sarah Palin part of the new vulgarization of politics? Because politics was so refined in the oral sex era of Bill Clinton? MC is afraid that if conservatives are taken in by this tripe there is no hope for our side, no matter how excellent the results may be for the GOP come November 2nd.

The title of her most recent, moist, missive is: "Tea Party To The Rescue." How *does* Peggy do it, staying this far ahead of the curve? If she had written this months ago MC might not be so hard on her for it would have taken some smidgen of courage to have done so. Courage, however, is not her metier. None of the alleged observations in her most recent column can be vaguely said to be fresh or new. She writes as if the rest of us have been cut off from news and developments. She even goes so far as to opine that 11/2/10 will be a good night for republicans. Alert the media!

Peggy (the name puts us in mind of "Mad Men," not "What I Saw At The Revolution." How times change) says that the Tea Party movement released the GOP from Bush. Perhaps and so far so good. But she then goes on to say it released the GOP establishment as well. Not so fast: weren't they as complicit as W in straying from conservative principles? Did we miss something?

Earlier this week the "establishment" talked about compromising with Obama after the election, counting unhatched chickens. The base recoiled from the supine position of the Professional Right, to steal a phrase. To feed into a narrative, this came along and with Rush Limbaugh calling them out. All this work only to see the sellout this far in advance? No, but people like Peggy think it's this easy, couched, of course, in upper-eastside speak.

"We are a nation in crisis," observes Noonan. Phew, thank god someone diagnosed the situation at long last. Why are we, though? Crickets from the sensitive one, the one who took to praying the rosary on the subway after she left the Reagan White House and during which she was, by her own admission, not a particularly devout Catholic. MC knows the feeling but we're not trying to pull a fast one on conservatives. Peggy Noonan is. Peggy Noonan is trying to stay relevant to a base with which she long ago lost touch and to which she has condescended in order to stay in the good graces of MSNBC with which she, to steal another phrase, pals around with.

Peggy borrows credibility from someone who really did take a chance, Moe Tucker, drummer for the legendary Velvet Underground. Most of us knew of her involvement and support of the Tea Party long before Peggy cut short a ladies-who-lunch appointment in order to make deadline. Say this for Peggy: if she doesn't possess integrity, she is still able to recognize it in others.

Appallingly, she moves on to quote Fareed Zakaria! MC has been accused of snobbishness (we are not save when it comes to food and chocolate) and one friend of the blog suggested we were trying to be The Claremont Review of Books in blog form. Neither is true but we choked when we saw Noonan quote the deeply flawed Zakaria in approving form. Was she trying to shoe-horn some multi-culti nonsense into her column? Had Zakaria provided an approving blurb for a forthcoming Peggy book? We know the Affirmative Action President has read Zakaria. Was it cat-nip for him to read her column? Who knows; we wondered how many readers on the right knew Zakaria for what he is instead of as the innocuous observer she presents him. (Born in India: be impressed whitey!)

Noonan concludes---are you ready?---that the upcoming election is about Obama. Gadzooks, what brilliance, what insight, what a penetrating understanding of the American human condition. What lameness.

MC is afraid that people who betrayed the cause are now racing to catch up with the group that made them wealthy, bought their books, paid attention to what they proffered as ideas. That Peggy can throw a few sops to the Tea Party and some locals in Minnesota think that that is peachy is an equal concern.

Peggy Noonan voted for the worst President ever. If you're a conservative, instead of an ideologue, she has nothing to say to you.

Monday, October 18, 2010

MN Gov Race: Pre-positioning The Scapegoats

Two weeks from tomorrow Minnesotans will learn if they have a democrat governor for the first time since 1986. Mind you, this real possibility is being discussed in what by all accounts looks to be a wave election of some strength in 2010. Endorsed GOP candidate Tom Emmer has never once lead in any polls save one. The third party candidate is fading in accordance with historical experience. The democrats betrayed their own formidable endorsed candidate and gave the primary victory to a profoundly flawed man whose failure in elected office has been on previous, spectacular display. How did Minnesota republicans get to this sorry state?

Before one can answer that question, it is worthwhile to observe the actions of the Emmer borg who, candidly, are pre-positioning the scapegoats for use in an Emmer loss. It's never them, you see, nor their frequently appalling political instincts. MC wanted to position itself ahead of this pre-positioning so that if the unthinkable happens, and Mark Dayton becomes governor, readers will at least have our view without questioning whether we ourselves are spinning after the fact.

MC supported Marty Seifert because we thought he could win. MC is old school: politics is first about getting elected and then purity tests or whatever is the fad du jour can be applied. This is also sometimes known as the Buckley rule: run the most conservative candidate who can win. Once in office, by all means get that man or woman to tack right on certain issues if you don't feel they are sufficiently so. It doesn't work in reverse, however, but you'd be hard pressed to get any in the Emmer borg to admit such.

Consequently, the first scapegoat of which we are hearing is Seifert supporters abandoning the endorsed candidate. This is true only if you want it to be. MC knows of no Seifert supporters who didn't fall strongly into line after Emmer won the endorsement at the state convention. More, there simply aren't enough of them to matter statewide. We insist on reality.

Another scapegoat is the RINO: republican in name only. Such creatures exist, we've no doubt, but not in large numbers in Minnesota. Liberal leaning republicans (laughably called moderates by the old media/democrats) have already left the party. They are not missed. Consequently, the call for RINOs now to show up in numbers and support Emmer is a bit quixotic to our mind. One can't credibly dismiss RINOs at the front end and then clamor for them at the back end when election day is nigh. Worse, one has no legitimacy in blaming them for any subsequent loss. But that's some of the pre-positioning we have been noticing. We're having none of it.

An eternal favorite scapegoat of the borg is "the Party," both before and after the convention. In fact, it's not going too far to suggest some Emmer support was premised on sticking it to the party. How brave! Outre! And pointless, if not futile. The party exists to elect republicans to office in Minnesota. For the first time in something like 32 years, the party filled all house and senate races with candidates. Apart from this crucial objective, the party's only real interest thus far was a well run, fair and enjoyable state convention. By any objective measure, it succeeded in fine fashion but collected its reward from the "no good deed goes unpunished" department. Has everyone in the borg forgotten the previous management of the party? MC hasn't and refuses to be blind to exceptional improvement. If Emmer loses, watch for party bashing from those wishing to absolve themselves. If Emmer *does* win, it will be due in large part to the consistent, focused support of the party for which it will be given absolutely no credit.

Weirdly, another RINO variation scapegoat is Governor Mitt Romney, in town today and scheduled to participate in a rally this evening. Comments on Facebook and elswhere claim he's not sufficiently conservative (code for the rampant anti-Mormon prejudice in our party?) and people will not be attending. One tone deaf commentator suggested that nutjob Ron Paul would be much better. We aren't joking though we wish we were. MC plans to be at the rally because we want to show our support for Tom Emmer as our next governor.

We cringed at Sarah Palin's endorsement of Emmer but only because she doesn't exactly play well in Minnesota. Even the republican woman running for Congress in South Dakota, Kristi Noem, took a pass on her endorsement (although Romney endorsed her; horrors!). MC is relieved Palin hasn't become more of an issue in this race but there's still time, we suppose.

After receiving the endorsement at the state convention, the Emmer campaign was very badly run indeed. MC didn't stay on the sidelines because the stakes of losing were too high. We thought the month of July would never end: 100K earning servers, tip-credit, a town hall forum/seppuku replete with a shower of pennies played endlessly on tv and the internet. Some of this was called a teaching moment. We called it political malpractice if not suicide. MC can't bring itself to recount the various DUIs that cropped up.

Eventually Team Emmer jettisoned its top staff and brought in others who know how to run a campaign. Oddly, those people can be fairly characterized as Norm Coleman's people. Oh dear, the Emmer borg considers Norm to be RINO number one. They've been painfully silent as to what this development makes Emmer. RINO-lite? Who knows. Who cares. A focus on actually winning was long overdue. Whether it came in time we'll find out soon enough. But there can be no denying the improvement of the candidate himself and the campaign after new staff. Kudos to both.

During the rocky summer of the campaign, MC noticed that some of the most prominent supporters of Emmer were AWOL. Curious. Whither Vin Weber? Brian Sullivan? Not exactly in the front trenches defending Tom or helping to steady the campaign. Smelling a possible win in the Demmer campaign, Weber signed on. Opportunism rarely is this well executed.

Perversely, it was the Seifert campaign manager who was routinely on "At Issue" and other political shows ably defending the Emmer campaign, its issues and the party in general. The contrast in integrity could hardly be greater.

Finally, we saw Tim Pawlenty being utilized by the Emmer campaign to mixed results. MC is no fan of the governor but thought he should have been used much earlier in the election cycle. Why? Because Pawlenty can only help Emmer win. Remember winning?

Yet many supported Emmer because he was seen to be the non-Pawlenty. Seifert was Pawlenty-lite. This was their calculus, not ours. In supporting Seifert at the convention, we were asked repeatedly if we wanted a third Pawlenty term. To which we replied: "It beats a first Dayton term."

We'll be working flat out for Emmer and other republican candidates in the frantic last two weeks of the election year. Having seen disastrous one-party rule in Washington, DC, we'll be agog if the same comes to Minnesota next month. If it does, Minnesota republicans will have a lot to reflect upon but the discussion will not be lead by those who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

If Emmer does win, our analysis still applies but only with a caveat from Bob Dylan: "I can't help it, if I'm lucky."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Liu Xiaobo Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Almost a year ago MC told you about the plight of this brave man, Liu Xiaobo. Click HERE to read our original post. Today he won the Nobel Peace Prize and rightly so. What a contrast to the fraud of Obama who won the same prize for doing and being nothing. When we despair of the incompetence of the political class, the recognition of Xiaobo gives us hope. We further hope that international attention to his enslavement brings his release. We're not optimistic because unlike our president, we are not naive.