Ernest Hemingway once said, “The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, sh*t detector.”
I like to think I’ve got a pretty good functioning unit. It may be old, but it’s pretty reliable.
That may be the reason why I’ve struggled with the nagging question whether Mike McFadden’s campaign to unseat Senator Franken is for real, or just for show. Something hasn’t felt quite right, not quite genuine, about what I’ve seen so far. My spidey-senses are all a-tingle.
I understand that McFadden is a political newcomer, never having held political office before. So it would be easy to pass off any misgivings about McFadden’s campaign bona fides onto that. While inexperienced he may be, McFadden’s certainly not dumb. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of St. Thomas with a B.A. in Economics. He earned a J.D. from Georgetown. So you know he’s got the raw horsepower upstairs.
Presumably, he’s also a skilled business manager. He would know that you don’t try to push your way into a developed niche market against several strong competitors without having a helluva business plan, some ironclad financial backers, and Triple-A core competencies across the board. The risk of failure is just too great — and nobody wants to back a loser, especially the money guys.
So it’s telling that, after more than a year on the campaign trail, with less than a month before the primary election and little more than three months remaining before the general, McFadden remains largely unknown to Minnesota voters, his campaign is undistinguished, his messaging is unremarkable, his fundraising is woeful, and his crew seems unfocused and directionless.
Republicans just love Christmas. They defend it to the edge of insanity and then over the edge. But the truth is their Christmas spirit and Christian charity only go so far. The truth is they are closer to the Grinch.
Hence the ghosts of Republican legislatures past is coming back to haunt Minnesota.
Republicans and then Governor Tim Pawlenty passed a bill so that starting in 2014, many seniors would lose their assistance for in home care and nursing care. But let the Minneapolis Star Tribune push the MNGOP talking points that Medicaid spending was running away instead of the truth:
The changes, which were adopted by the Legislature and signed into law by then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty in 2009 as part of a broader effort to rein in soaring Medicaid spending, would have made it more difficult for low-income senior citizens with more limited needs to qualify for government supports that help them stay in their homes.
The truth is Republicans are happy to hurt kids, the poor, the mentally ill and seniors if it means protecting the magical job creators, i.e., the wealthy, from paying their fair share of taxes.
DFLers went along with this because at least the cuts weren’t going to happen immediately as Pawlenty and the MNGOP legislators forced through many immediate and draconian cuts to social services in 2009.
Thankfully, those bad days are gone and Gov. Mark Dayton comes to the rescue:
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton wants a special session to provide disaster relief and repeal one (1) unpopular tax on farm equipment repair. Conservatives think it should be all about reinstituting their failed agenda by blowing a huge hole in the state budget. That largely irrelevant idiot caucus is unlikely to get its way. I suppose they could do one of those flee-to-another-state-to-deny-a-quorum deals. The notion of everybody stuck in a Wisconsin hotel with Glenn Gruenhagen amuses me. (Actually, Dayton and GOPers are meeting today, about this, and will presumably get something dealt with.)
In any case, the notion that Minnesota’s spending is somehow “out of control” is thoroughly ridiculous.
A decade of conservative fiscal dominance drained so much money from Minnesota’s state general fund that recently enacted legislative investments only replace a small portion of the total inflation-adjusted cuts.
The FY 2014-15 budget approved by the Legislature during the 2013 session is projected to replace approximately one-sixth of the decline in real per capita state general fund spending over the last decade, based on Minnesota 2020’s analysis of end-of-session state budget information from Minnesota Management & Budget (MMB). By FY 2016-17—when all of the spending increases in the new budget are fully phased-in—the increase in total general fund expenditures is projected to replace only about one-third of the decline since FY 2002-03.
It’s going to take a while, indeed, to fix the mess. But long-term trends in public policy aren’t hard to forecast, in Minnesota and elsewhere. And they’re not what conservatives rosily predicted, beginning around 2000. Remember when Tim Pawlenty was going to be the state’s most important, transformative governor? (The remarks in green, in the linked article, are from a doofus named David Strom, who was Minnesota’s version of Grover Norquist when he mattered at all.) Well, now TBag is just another rich man’s lobby/propaganda mill bootlicker, that knows if he came back here and tried to get elected to anything he’d get creamed. And Minnesota’s conservatives continue to descend – all too slowly and fitfully, alas!, but inevitably descend nevertheless to oblivion, other than in the history books as the embodiment of what went wrong.
Just rubbing it in.
Pawlenty’s presidential campaign was often comical and sometimes funny, but not because of any of his jokes
Former Minnesota Governor and failed presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty ought not try to be funny. Whenever he does, he fails. His lack of charisma really hurts him.
When he plays up his lack of charisma, he can be quite funny. For example, his funniest joke was running for President. A campaign that never achieved lift-off nor threatened any trees at the end of the runway. He steadily polled in the lower single digits throughout the year or so he was running.
A funny episode was when he and his braincramp of a campaign team thought it would be a smart idea for him to bring his insipid, mealy-mouthed schtick to the libertarian think tank Cato Institute.
So now Pawlenty is a lobbyist for the banksters. And here’s his latest attempt at humor (some women tried to vandalize the Lincoln Memorial with green paint recently):
Read some of the wittier retorts at City Pages or as replies and RTs at his Twitter account.
Seriously, Tim. Stick to jokes about your “hot” wife. Those didn’t bomb as badly.
Here’s a list of Pawlenty attempts at humor:
photo from state lege site
Last night the 17 year old grandson of Mary Kiffmeyer threatened to kill himself and his family, especially his mother, with a shotgun in the Kiffmeyer home in Big Lake. The teen’s mother, who did not live in the home, called law enforcement, who arrested the kid.
Mary Kiffmeyer has been a MN GOP career politician, having served as a state Representative in the legislature, as Secretary of State first under Jesse Ventura, then under ol’ T-Paw, and is now serving in the state Senate during the 2013-14 , with her term ending in 2016.
She has also been the ALEC chair for Minnesota, meaning she does the bidding of that shadow organization that drafts legislation for special interests that is then pushed through by pretty much exclusively conservative politicians. In exchange, the conservative politicians sell or barter their votes to act on behalf of those special interests in exchange for perks, campaign donations, and other benefits.
The graphic below is fairly illustrative of the relationships between conservative politicians and the special interests.
It’s time to invest in Minnesota’s future!
Students nowadays are more screwed than ever before. They’re leaving college carrying heavier and heavier burdens of debt. The reason is the Repblicans. They’ve both cut funding (nationally and here in Minnesota) and empowered the same criminals who nearly bankrupt the economy to get into the business of becoming student loan sharks.
Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty oversaw the biggest education cuts in the history of Minnesota. Current students are paying the price for Pawlenty’s tax cuts for the wealthy.
Check out the graphic below. Students in the University of Minnesota system are paying 45.8% more than they were paying in 2006. And our funding has gone down in the vicinity of 20% to 40%. Coincidence?
These tuition spikes and funding cuts have a disastrous impact on students, as all these trends come amidst a student-loan crisis that has already reached record heights. Student debt now totals $902 billion, larger than credit card debt. It averages around $27,000 per student in the class of 2011, according to estimates by the College Board. That’s debt that can’t be easily discharged in bankruptcy, that can be garnished from social security benefits or wages by the federal government. That’s debt taken on by students for a good that used to be public. Many of the same villains from the financial crisis are now profiting on the growth of student loans, with banks now marketing private student loans directly to students.
Tim Pawlenty tried to reposition himself as a hard right, fire-breather when he ran for President in 2011. Republican primary voters saw through his repositioning and combined with his lack of charisma his campaign never achieved lift-off (or endangered any trees at the end of the runway).
Like most failed Republican politicians, Governor Gutshot failed upwards. He’s now heading the Financial Roundtable. That’s the advocacy group for the banks that have crippled our country. And isn’t he perfect for the role?
Timmeh addressed a meeting in Washington, DC of something called the Business Roundtable:
“It’s a deeply divided country,” Pawlenty said. “Sadly, we have become a government by crisis. Things get done only when there is a moment of crisis, when people are staring into the abyss, and then, and only then, are they able to lurch forward, sometimes awkwardly, sometimes more significantly.”
This was not good news for executives trying to push politicians toward a broad-based, long-term solution for the nation’s deficit spending.
Blandly obvious statements? Check.
But Pawlenty said he doesn’t see Washington returning soon to an era where politicians are as pragmatic as they are ideological.
“Almost all moderates have been systematically eliminated from elective office,” he said.
Kinda true but clearly missing the cause which everyone else sees? Check.
While he didn’t mention President Obama by name, Pawlenty suggested that a strong executive speaking with a “single voice” from a “bully pulpit” might have to fill the void left by a House and Senate that will not work together and a White House and Congress that don’t trust one another.
Bland non-blaming-assigning mealy-mouthed language? Check.
Sounds like the real Tim Pawlenty is back.
This story finally found its way into my Pawlenty-tracking inbox, last week. It’s for kind of a slow morning, just waiting for the MN lege to get underway (at which point Conservadems will presumably infuriate me by insisting that now isn’t the time to go raising taxes on those poor picked-upon rich people).
When former Gov. Tim Pawlenty was running for president last year, the Harkin Institute of Public Policy at Iowa State University wanted him to give a speech there.
But when Pawlenty’s agent said the fee would be $25,000, plus expenses, university officials decided to pass, AP reports.
As far as what the market will bear, preposterous as it sounds, $25K probably wasn’t too excessive an asking price for a third-tier dweeb like TBag, spouting off to an audience of naïve, star-struck Young Republicans and half-drunk local corporate honchos. The business is quite a scam; this list, which is worth a brief look if you’ve read this far, appears to be from a few years ago. Which is why it’s all the more embarrassing for Timmy that Iowa State passed, though the university tried to smooth things over by insisting that they don’t pay for anyone. The real issue is where Pawlenty gets off, expecting public institutions to pay for the likes of him.
This is the first in a series of essays on why I believe the Republican Party (“RPM”) of Minnesota is a dead organization that will be replaced by something new within the year. The first few entries will explain why I think the party is dead. Then I will outline one scenario about what I think could replace it.
Big money is going to stay away from RPM because it is not worth investing in anymore for several reasons. Smart money will go to the new alternative.
This series of notes is called the GOP Apple Tree because it is based on how to value an asset in which you are asked to invest. Suppose your neighbor offered to sell you a small plot of adjoining land on which there grows an apple tree. How much you should pay for the land and the tree depends on how you value the assets.
What is the apple tree worth if you chopped it down and sold it as firewood? Should you value the tree on the basis of next year’s crop? Ten years’ worth of projected crops? The shade offered by the tree? The cost of taxes on the land? The utility of the land, whether or not the tree remains? Alternative values and returns you could reap if you invested your money in some other investment? There are a lot of factors for an intelligent investor to consider.
So assume you are an investor who has been asked to invest $50,000 in the RPM. What questions would you ask before you looked to see if there was a batter and new place to put your money?
A first question might be, “how has the RPM done in state-wide elections over the past ten years?
Does 1 for 21 sound good to you? Smart money will look for a new alternative.
If you are 1 for 21 over ten years, even Ron Gardenhire would send you down to the minors and look for a better investment.
2012 Barack Obama(52.65%) Mitt Romney (44.96 %) RPM LOSS
2012 Amy Klobuchar (65.23%) Kurt Bills (30.53%) RPM LOSS
2010 Mark Dayton (43.63%) Tom Emmer (43.21%) RPM LOSS
2010 Mark Ritchie (49.10%) Dan Severson (45.64%) RPM LOSS
2010 Rebecca Otto (48.39%) Pat Anderson (47.13%) RPM LOSS
2010 Lori Swanson (52.90%) Chris Barden (41.27%) RPM LOSS
2010 Helen Meyer (58.01%) Greg Wersal (41.79%) RPM LOSS
2010 Alan Page (63.29%) Tim Tingelstad (36.53%) RPM LOSS
2008 Barack Obama (54.06%) John McCain (43.82%) RPM LOSS
2008 Al Franken (41.99%) Norm Coleman (41.98%) RPM LOSS
2008 Paul Anderson (60.41% Tim Tingelstad (39.21%) RPM LOSS
2008 Terri Stoneburner (58.70%) Dan Griffith (40.89%) RPM LOSS
2006 Amy Klobuchar (58.06%) Mark Kennedy (37.94%) RPM LOSS
2006 Mike Hatch (45.73%) Tim Pawlenty (46.69%) RPM WIN
2006 Mark Ritchie (49.09%) Mary Kiffmeyer (44.16%) RPM LOSS
2006 Rebecca Otto (51.92%) Pat Anderson (41.08%) RPM LOSS
2006 Lori Swanson (53.24%) Jeff Johnson (40.72%) RPM LOSS
2006 Chris Dietzen (56.04%) Dan Griffith (43.63%) RPM LOSS
2004 John Kerry (51.09%) George Bush (47.61%) RPM LOSS
2004 Alan Page (72.01%) Tim Tingelstad (27.75%) RPM LOSS
2004 Jim Randall(62.15%) Dan Griffith (37.57%) RPM LOSS