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MN 08

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.


Party pictures of Stewart Mills III

by The Big E on November 22, 2013 · 2 comments

Stewart Mills III
Axl Rose Stewart Mills III

Fleet Farm heir Stewart Mills III is not just a conservative family values Republican. According to City Pages, he’s also the life of the party. It’s not enough to have earned his money the old-fashioned way (inherit it), he represents the kind of family values the Republican Party is known for: Axl Rose impersonations.
Mills the Third is running unopposed and will likely face Rep. Rick Nolan (DFL-MN) in the MN-08 race in 2014.
But Mills the Third isn’t just an Axl Rose Impersonator, he’s also a beer bong aficionado. Who knew he was so talented? Here he is on his knees practicing his version of Republican Family Values:

And it’s not like this is back from his partying Junior High, High School or College days. According to City Pages, these are from Christmas 2008.
Oh … one more thing: he likes to lick women.


MN-08: Getting to know the real Stewart III

by Dan Burns on November 11, 2013 · 3 comments

Stew-Mills_subsidies-graphic-Draft-2Some beach-ball questioning was recently gently lobbed at Stewart Mills III, the putative Republican candidate for the MN-08 congressional seat currently held by Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN). I’m not blaming the interviewer for that; it’s early. And the candidate nonetheless left himself open to informed criticism, not to mention outright mockery. This guy’s a piece of work.

MP: How would you have voted on the final bill ending the government shutdown?
SM: I’m not in Washington and I’m not privy to their conversations. I can neither commend nor condemn the votes that they’ve made because I just don’t have access to the strategies or the back-end.
There is such a divisive culture in Washington DC that it would have not been necessary to shut down the government if people were able to come together, put their cards on the table. When you take a look at what the Republicans were asking for, some of this, in hindsight, wasn’t unreasonable.
MP: Would you attach any conditions to voting to raise the federal debt limit?
SM: First of all, the United States of America has to pay its bills. As we go forward, we have to tie the increases of the debt limit to solid spending cuts, things that are unnecessary: the Department of Energy being turned into a venture capital firm … These are all things that maybe it’s a good in some people’s minds, however, it’s not the true function of the government, the proper function of the government, nor can we afford it, it is not sustainable. So, in a nutshell, yes, anything that we do, budget-wise, has to be tied to spending cuts because our current trajectory is not sustainable.

I’ll interpret: Not only would Mills have supported the GOP hardliners on the shutdown/debt limit, he’d in all likelihood be among those that would still want the government shut down, until the losers in the last national election got their way: annihilation of what’s left of the social safety net, and a massive increase in handouts for the rich man and his corporations – like Stewart Mills III himself, and Mills Fleet Farm. And he’d love to feed his own ego, as well. There’s a dose of George W. Bush in this guy: born with diamond-encrusted platinum spoons protruding from every orifice, of course he’s meant to rule!
Why not pay some dues in the state legislature, and work his way up? Because “work his way up” has never applied to Stewart Mills III, that’s why. And that should be enough to sour any voter. The most important thing about Mills, though, and candidates like him, is that they represent a failed, dying ideology. Now is not the time to be looking backward, like that. Not that it ever is.
All of that being said, it’s critical not to make the mistake of taking this guy’s candidacy too lightly, as I know I did Chip Cravaack, pre-November 2010.


Stew-Mills_subsidies-graphic-Draft-2There is a righteous, recently-launched progressive blog in Minnesota, and it has, among others, the Republican candidate for the U.S. House in Minnesota’s Eighth District, in its sights. I anticipate plenty more, along these lines, from a wide variety of sources. Even, perhaps, from corporate media, as the vast gap between Stewart Mills III’s fantastical self-promotion as some kind of grass-roots populist underdog, and the reality of his existence as a most favored son of corporate privilege, becomes impossible to ignore.

After all the hype about Stewart Mills’ fundraising for the last quarter, we continue to dig. Turns out contributors to Mills’ campaign for the Minnesota 8th Congressional District seat allegedly exploited out of state workers while profiting from a taxpayer funded project to build one of Mills’ own stores. Principals of WIDSETH SMITH NOLTING, a Mills’ campaign contributor and civil engineering outfit, reportedly used questionable practices.
From the Finance & Commerce article…The $20.5 million Mills Fleet Farm store, under construction near Highway 212 and Jonathan Carver Parkway, is being built with help from temporary laborers making as little as $7.25 an hour, according to the Local 563 laborers union in Minneapolis.
(Minnesota Politicos)

MN-08 is not a slam-dunk for the incumbent, Rep. Rick Nolan. Among other things, whatever he does on the sulfide mining issue is going to tick a lot of people off – indeed, that‘s already happening. But eventually Stewart III is going to have to start saying a lot more about his neo-libertarian Tea Party ideology, and that stuff isn’t held in high regard, these days. Neither is the party of the government shutdown: the second one that Minnesotans have had to put up with, in short order. As goes for Minnesota’s DFL elected officials in general, I don’t see Nolan as being in any real trouble, unless the economy tanks.