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MN 08

Rep. Nolan opposes Enbridge Sandpiper route

by Dan Burns on August 18, 2014 · 0 comments

1098432_644541492223499_1490753966_nWith so much attention focused on the Keystone XL proposal, it can slip one’s mind that there are proposals from Big Filthy Fossil Fuels for pipelines everywhere.

Citing both environmental and economic concerns, Minnesota’s Eighth District Congressman Rick Nolan has expressed his opposition to the proposed route for the Enbridge Sandpiper pipeline.
In a letter to the Environmental Manager of the Minnesota Department of Commerce, who is evaluating the project’s application, Rep. Nolan spoke of his ongoing concerns, as well as those of local residents, regarding the proposed route’s threat to environmentally sensitive areas of Minnesota. The current route requires the pipeline to cut through vulnerable northern wetlands, porous sandy soil and water tables used for drinking water, and some of the clearest lakes in the state.
“There’s no compelling reason why the Sandpiper pipeline can’t be rerouted to avoid environmentally fragile areas,” said Nolan. “From my meetings and communication with agencies and local advocacy groups, it’s clear there are several alternative routes out there that would take the pipeline south of this region, and thereby prevent a devastating ecological disaster in the event of a pipeline spill.”
(Rep. Nolan press release)

Here’s an overview of the Sandpiper project. Opposition to the proposed route is in fact not a brand new phenomenon.


MN-08: Mills wrong about unemployment up north

by Dan Burns on August 14, 2014 · 1 comment

millspartying2The other week I posted about how the GOP candidate for Sen. Al Franken’s (D-MN) job, Mike McFadden, had been babbling very inaccurate numbers about unemployment in northern Minnesota. At the end I typed:

The Republican congressional candidate in MN-08, Stewart Mills III, has also talked a lot about joblessness in northern Minnesota, purportedly as a result of Democratic policies – including, presumably, insufficient tax cut welfare for very wealthy people like himself. But it seems that for once he’s shown a bit of sense, if only inadvertently, and has not spouted specific figures that can be factually refuted.

Mills has in fact made at least one specific allegation about this issue. And it too was an exaggeration.

Mills is the vice president of Mills Fleet Farm Corporation, and he made a campaign stop in Duluth on (June 2). He called out Nolan on unemployment in the 8th district.
“We have an 8 percent unemployment rate currently. Contrast that with a 4.5 percent unemployment rate statewide. We know we can do better,” Mills said.

It’s not that hard to get this stuff right. A quick search, a click or two, and:

As of June, 2014, the unemployment rate in this area was 5.8%; compared to the state where the rate was 4.6%. One year earlier, the rate in the area was 6.5%; compared to the state where it was 5.2%.
(My District Data)

8% is about 38% in excess of the correct figure. The national number in June was 6.1%. In context, this is far from Stewart III’s most craptacular display of blundering idiocy, but it’s certainly part of a relentless pattern. Nobody this clueless and careless should be handed political power, at any level.

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MN-08: Stewart III can dish it out, but…

by Dan Burns on July 28, 2014 · 3 comments

Oh boo-hoo. That he should get to run negative ads, but not anyone else, is exactly what you’d expect from a spoiled rotten rich kid like Stewart Mills, after a lifetime spent in the embrace of unearned privilege.

Republican Stewart Mills is calling on TV stations and cable networks to stop running a new attack ad directed at him because it contains “false information” and asserts “blatant lies” about his position on several issues. Mills is challenging DFL U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan in the 8th District.
The ad from the AFSCME labor union and House Majority PAC uses a clip of Mills appearing to say that being asked to pay more in taxes is personally offensive. The Mills camp has produced the full video from the event and says the clip was deceptively edited from longer quotes taken out of context…
“House Majority PAC stands behind the facts presented in the ad,” said Matt Thornton, the group’s communications director.

The context of his remarks has in fact been available for some time, and you can decide for yourself how much unfairness is really present.

What a whiner. The Mills campaign recently made a notable addition, which is a likely indication that internal polling isn’t showing what they’d like to see. As is Rep. Rick Nolan’s own I’ve-got-more-important-things-to-do-right-now-like-govern confidence.


MN-08: Mills fumbles the gun issue

by Dan Burns on July 10, 2014 · 2 comments

Stewart Mills III is running for Rep. Rick Nolan’s (D-MN) congressional seat. I have yet to see reliable polling numbers. Here’s Mills’s latest ad.

What Nolan has in fact primarily supported is stronger background checks, favored by around 75-80% of Americans if you average the legitimate polling that I‘ve seen. But where Mills is stepping on his tongue, yet again, is that he apparently forgot he ever said the following.

In 2013 Mills said “So what’s the solutions, we need to put armed security in every school and fund that price tag. We have to stop putting things on our credit card and mortgaging our children’s future to China. The ATF collects approximately $ 24 billion a year in excise fees. If we need to increase the 11% ATF excise fee on firearms to 15% or whatever to pay for it, we need to do that.”

Vote Mills for higher taxes on guns! That ought to work with the base.


So, these things happened on the same day. One, the state DFL released a video juxtaposing one GOP candidate who thinks his wealth is all it takes to be qualified for public office with a former and possibly future GOP candidate who thinks the same thing. They think they pay their fair share of taxes by paying the lower rich guy rate, which rich guys had lobbied hard for and thereby think they earned. Not that anyone would mistake beer bong guy with Mr. 47% by voice or appearance, but in attitude, hard to tell them apart.


The other thing that happened was given away if you followed the Daily Kos link above. A poll of potential candidates in the 2016 New Hampshire GOP primary found the leader by a long way is, really, Mitt Romney. At 24%, he’s 15 points ahead of runner up Chris Christie. Actually, the fact Gov. Traffic Jam comes in second would be all the indication we need of the state of the GOP field. Oh yeah, among the pundit class, concern that Democrats are the ones with a thin bench is a thing. A funny, funny thing.
But hey, who thought we would get to put these pictures together?

Stewart Mills beer bong Mitt Romney etch-a-sketch


Labeling Kline and Paulsen as out of touch

by Dan Burns on June 12, 2014 · 3 comments

kline 1176138_546177168752935_1735475244_n

I agree with those arguing that the main reason Eric Cantor got beat like a drum is because his district was effectively convinced to regard him as a guy lost in DC ambition, who didn’t care any more about, and in fact was just using, the homefolks.

Which got me thinking about a couple of House incumbents in Minnesota. I mean, come on, Rep. John Kline (R-MN) practically revels in maintaining an aloof distance from, and even an almost contemptuous attitude toward, his constituents. (The ones that aren’t millionaires, that is.) And while Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) perhaps is spending some time here, if that‘s so, I never see it noted in the paper or anything. Even if he is, the perception could well be that he isn’t, because the guy is basically an ambulatory no-charisma zone.
My thinking in this is undoubtedly influenced by the fact that as a voter in MN-08, I retain clear memories of how well the “out-of-touch“ charge worked for Chip Cravaack against Jim Oberstar in 2010. And the fact that the incumbent apparently didn‘t realize how much trouble he was in, until it was too late. (Note that the e-newsletter for MN-08’s current House member, Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN), constantly features images of, and articles about, him hanging out with constituents, of all ages.)
I have to mention that the potential fatal flaw in this is that my examples involve the “out-of-touch” attack working when pitched to right-wingers. Those aren’t the voters that could oust Kline and/or Paulsen in November. I don’t know that the approach has been shown to work in motivating the more issues-based center-to-left crowd.


Yeah, I had some very low-paying, menial jobs as a kid, too, there, Stewart. Most of us did.

But the farcical nature of a pampered-and-privileged-from-birth type like Stewart Mills III, the Republican candidate for the U.S. House in MN-08, claiming to be “one of us” isn’t the blunder that really jumps out, in this one. It’s using a line of “attack” that the national GOP has essentially scrapped.

Congressional Republicans spent four years joyfully seizing every opportunity to attack Obamacare and call for its repeal.
No more.
Since the health care law blew past its 7 million sign-ups target last month, Republican leaders have been noticeably more restrained in the way they talk about it, ratcheting down their public calls for repeal. Action has also slowed…
In a shift that has been particularly noticeable to congressional reporters, House and Senate Republicans leaders have also steered clear of attacking Obamacare in their opening remarks at press conferences. It used to be unheard of for weekly GOP leadership news conferences to exclude attacks on Obamacare — now it’s common…
The GOP’s pivot comes amid growing intra-party tension over how to deal with the law. Independent conservative experts warn that Obamacare won’t collapse on its own and that repealing it is no longer feasible as it would strip benefits from millions of Americans. It also comes after some anti-Obamacare claims on the right turned out to be inaccurate or failed to stand up to scrutiny.
(Talking Points Memo)

Mills and his allies have run an extremely unimpressive campaign so far: bashing “Cash for Clunkers” and public subsidies for corporations when the family business (Mills Fleet Farm) has enthusiastically wallowed in both, and neglecting to take now infamous images of himself abusing alcohol down from his Facebook page for weeks after declaring his candidacy for public office. And there’s no sign that they’re ready to get it together.


I don’t often watch Channel 4 news at lunchtime. But when I remember, I do tune in to the Friday newscast at about 12:25 to see the awesome segment featuring a pet up for adoption from a local shelter. And this past Friday I left it on that station for a little too long, and saw an ad on behalf of Stewart Mills III. It was paid for by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

I expect, however, that more than a few viewers of the teevee ad will see it and find it incongruous that a person who is described as having “decades of experience” looks like the drummer in a high school garage band. Not that there is anything wrong with that; it’s just we don’t ordinarily send them to Congress.
According to Mills’ campaign website (you can find it), he’s 41 years old. Let us hope that the Chamber was referring to only two decades of experience, because I doubt that puberty is the kind of experience that voters are interested in.

(If you want to see the ad for yourself, it’s below the fold.)
There have been studies done purporting to prove that if a political race is close, and when one candidate just looks substantially more qualified and competent than the other, based entirely on appearance, that one always wins. If that’s true, this one’s over.

Rick_Nolan_(D) Stewart Mills III

This ad is mostly just shiny happy stuff about Stewart the problem-solver. The attack ads vs. Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN) will show up before long. They’ll be unpleasant to see, but it’s useful to remember that they don’t work, as long as the person being attacked has the resources to effectively counter. Which our congressional candidates do.



Former long-time Rep. Oberstar dies

by Dan Burns on May 3, 2014 · 2 comments

oberstarHappened this morning. Oberstar represented NE Minnesota for 36 years.

Former U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, a DFLer who represented Minnesota’s 8th District from 1975 to 2011, has died. Oberstar was 79.
According to family members, Oberstar died in his sleep this morning in his Maryland home.
“We are heartbroken to share the news that Jim Oberstar has passed away,” reads a family statement. “Jim was a loving husband, father, grandfather, friend and brother. While we mourn the loss of a good man, we also celebrate his life and his service. We ask for your thoughts and prayers, and understanding, at this very difficult time.”
DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin called the death of Oberstar, the son of an underground miner from Chisholm, Minn., “a huge loss.”
“There’s probably no one who’s contributed as much to public policy on transportation issues in this country as Jim Oberstar,” Martin said. “He’ll go down as truly one of the best Congressmen we’ve ever had in the state of Minnesota.”


MN-08: Mills candidacy is the real clunker

by Dan Burns on January 28, 2014 · 0 comments

millspartying2Stewart Mills III is running for the U.S. House as a “small-government,” market fundamentalist type.

Now that he’s running for Congress everything is wrong with America for Stewart Mills III. Via Duluth, The Star Tribune’s Kevin Diaz reports at the end of “Nolan duel with GOP ‘young gun’ heats up early:”

But Mills’ free-market philosophy is likely to be challenged by Democrats, who note that the Mills Automotive Group sold more than $3 million in inventory under Obama’s “Cash for Clunkers” program in 2009 and 2010.
Mills called the job stimulus program “another failed example of Washington, D.C., trying to legislate the free market.” His family business only took part, he said, “in an effort to protect employees and our customer base.”

(Bluestem Prairie)

Mills Fleet Farm even advertised itself as “Cash for Clunkers Headquarters.”
Stepping on his tongue seems to be a habit, with Stewart III. Previously, he decried the sorts of government subsidies that are, in fact, the lifeblood of his family business and therefore of his own standing as a member from birth of the “coddled class.”
This is clearly not somebody that thinks things through, very well at all. And with this being the kind of campaign he’s running, you can well imagine what kind of a legislator he’d be. He’s just a pampered, egotistical rich kid who has no idea of what’s really going on out here. All of that being said, his candidacy should not be taken lightly, in what is by no means a “gimme” blue district.