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On the Monday, April 6, broadcast of Hardball With Chris Matthews, in a segment called “Get the Message,” Mr. Matthews suggested that many past successful presidential campaigns have had an inspired campaign theme. He cited presidential campaigns going all the way back to JFK.


  • Kennedy 1960: “Get the Country Moving Again.”
  • Nixon 1968: “Vote Like Your Whole World Depended On It.”
  • Carter 1976: “Leaders, For A Change.”
  • Bush 1988: “A Kinder, Gentler America.”
  • Bush 2000: “Compassionate Conservatism.”
  • Obama 2008: “Change We Can Believe In.”

Matthews then asked his panel which candidates would have the best campaign themes in 2016. I found their answers, for the most part, unimaginative and unedifying. So, remembering that we writers and bloggers at Minnesota Progressive Project do indulge from time-to-time in satire and satirical commentary — not to mention supporting fellow journalists in the innovative pursuit of new knowledge — here’s my offering of what will be the Top 10 Campaign Themes of 2016, presented as graphic renderings in alphabetical order.



Bush 2016 Campaign Theme
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Christie 2016 Campaign Theme
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Cruz 2016 Campaign Theme
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Huckabee 2016 Campaign Theme
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Paul 2016 Campaign Theme
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Pence 2016 Campaign Theme
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Perry 2016 Campaign Theme
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Rubio 2016 Campaign Theme
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Santorum 2016 Campaign Theme
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Walker 2016 Campaign Theme
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Early Symptoms of ODS

In a heartbreaking confession of mental incompetence, Senator John “Country First” McCain broke down on the floor of the Senate chamber today and admitted he’s been suffering from a long-term mental illness.


“For anyone who still questions whether Obama Derangement Syndrome, or ODS, is real,” a sobbing McCain told fellow senators in a querulous voice today, “you need to look no further than me for living proof. Fortunately, my psychiatrist tells me that with a long rest and various medications I can expect to make a full recovery. As long as there are no black people around to upset me.”


Apparently realizing that his last remark was somewhat incendiary, McCain attempted to clarify what he meant. “It’s just … it’s just … I still can’t believe I got beat in a presidential election by that skinny black kid from Chicago!” he moaned.


The unspoken motivation behind McCain’s admission is the recent letter to Iran’s leadership by 47 Republican senators now universally reviled as the infamous ‘Gang of 47.’  “I used to say ‘Politics ends at the water’s edge’ and I meant it,” McCain continued. “Then that know-nothing dipsh*t Tom Cotton stuck that godd*mn Iran letter under my nose. My political instincts just evaporated and something inside me couldn’t resist. I was too confused to see the danger and I signed it. The need to lash out against Obama is just so … overwhelming. It’s all because of Obama Derangement Syndrome and, my friends, it’s real. A lot of my fellow Republicans have it. Forty-seven of us, in fact. We joke about getting cotton-mouth from gnawing at the bedsheets while we sleep.”


With that, Senator Lindsey Graham rushed to the podium to help his distressed friend. Draping his arm over McCain’s shoulders and whispering quietly in his ear, he was able to coax the aging senator back to his seat where other Republican senators quickly surrounded him to prevent CSPAN cameras from recording what appeared to observers present there to be a series of petit mal seizures with incontinence.


“It’s sad, really” Senator Graham told reporters afterward. “My friend John McCain was once a revered national hero and a prominent statesman. Because of this terrible disease, ODS, he’s degenerated into an embittered, emotionally fragile old man who no longer has a dependable grip on reality. ”


Reporters then asked whether Senator Graham’s recent remark that he would, as president, ‘… literally use the military… ” to prevent Congress from leaving town, should it fail to vote on various spending bills, might also indicate a break with reality. Senator Graham responded, “I’ll leave that to the voters of Virginia to decide. We don’t all of us 47 traitors suffer from ODS, regardless  of what John just told you.”


When a reporter pointed out that Senator Graham represents South Carolina, not Virginia, and that he had just referred to himself as a traitor, he evaded the question by quickly dodging into a nearby elevator.


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isil-300x162‘There are roads which must not be followed,
armies which must not be attacked,
towns which must not be besieged,
positions which must not be contested,
commands of the sovereign which must not be obeyed.’
Sun Tzu ~ On the Art of War


‘Don’t do anything stupid.’
President Barack Obama


War hysteria is a fascinating and horrifying thing to watch. I’ve seen it several times now in my life and it is always beyond ugly, like watching scorpions mate.


Aside from the verminous lies that tumble over each other like a swarm of filthy rats to electrify public opinion with fear and frenzy, our national leaders — grown men and women whose strength of character and deliberative judgment we rely on — daily prove susceptible themselves to the most transparent mendacity and appear spineless in the face of true moral challenge.


Until a few short months ago, the American public had never heard of ISIL and didn’t know a thing about them, even though ISIL has been fighting an insurgency in Syria against the Assad regime for years, and for years it has committed unspeakable atrocities against the Syrian people. The brutal murders of two American journalists notwithstanding, why now the sudden sense of urgency and demand for action in the public discourse and among our leadership?


The answer lies in war hysteria.


As the New York Times put it:


“… as President Obama prepares to send the United States on what could be a years-long military campaign against the militant group, American intelligence agencies have concluded that it poses no immediate threat to the United States. Some officials and terrorism experts believe that the actual danger posed by ISIS has been distorted in hours of television punditry and alarmist statements by politicians, and that there has been little substantive public debate about the unintended consequences of expanding American military action in the Middle East.”




Mike McFadden


In his latest television ad, Mike “Nutshot” McFadden attempts to heap scorn on Senator Franken for “missing the mark.” It looks to me like yet more evidence that McFadden’s campaign is Not Ready for Prime Time.


The ad portrays a Franken look-a-like replete in suit and tie attempting to back the family boat into the water, failing repeatedly, knocking over garbage cans, while others are waiting impatiently and shaking their heads. The subtext reads contempt: Pity the Fool. Of course, Mighty Mike gets it on the first try. ‘Cuz he’s no fool.


Or.Is.He? If the ad’s intended audience is boat-owners, he may be on to something. Minnesota has more boat-owners per capita than any other state in the union. But to my knowledge boat-ownership has never been identified as a persuade-able voter demographic. Maybe I’m wrong …


No, I think he actually missed the mark himself. It appears that the ad is appealing to those viewers who dislike Coppertone®-tan Presidents, dislike Obamacare, dislike votes on higher taxes (never mind that the House GOP majority makes those votes moot), and dislike bespectacled Jews in suits trying to back boats.


If that’s the demographic he’s appealing to, I’ve got a newsflash for Team McFadden. Those guys are already voting your way. You’re wasting the old man’s money. Why not give the money to me and I’ll pass it on to a worthwhile charity — it’s better spent.


Also, I thought McFadden was supposed to be a smart business guy. The smartest move he could make right now would be to six his ad agency and find someone who knows what the hell they’re doing.


Mike, you need to widen your message, starting right now, and begin appealing to moderates, or your campaign is DOA on Election Day. Time is short: early voting begins in five weeks.


As the ad says, “Here in Min-ne-SO-ta, there’s a right way and a wrong way.” Looks to me like you picked the wrong way. Pity the fool.


Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) presidential hopes peaked in the fall of 2011 after she won the Iowa Straw Poll in August. But campaign soon fell apart once the media spotlight was upon her. She withdrew in January of 2012.

In October 2011, her New Hampshire staff quit en masse protesting they hadn’t been paid and were treated poorly by national staffers.

Not paying her campaign staff seems to be a pattern for Bachmann. The folks who helped her nab the Iowa Straw Poll win haven’t been paid because the staffers haven’t signed a non-disclosure agreement.

Her top Iowa staffer Peter Waldron has decided to have a public hissy fit over Bachmann’s negligence:

Waldron said the staffers are owed a mere $5,000, and that Bachmann has more than $2 million in her campaign account, but has refused to pay unless the staffers sign the agreement. Negotiations over payment with Bachmann Finance Chairman James Pollack eventually broke down and Waldron decided to go public with the news, posting a press release on Christian Newswire this evening.

“I feel a moral obligation to see that my Christian brothers and sisters are paid for worked performed in good faith. I’ve continually communicated by telephone and email with Mr. Pollack for 1 year but he broke every promise made to me to pay the staff. I appealed to Dr. [Marcus] Bachmann for help. I appealed to Representative Bachmann’s Chief of Staff Robert Boland to intercede with Mrs. Bachmann on behalf of her loyal Iowa staff – all of whom are married, all have children,” Waldron said in the press release.

“It is sobering to think that a Christian member of Congress would betray her testimony to the Lord and the public by withholding earned wages from deserving staff,” Waldron added.

In October 2011, Bachmann staffers simply denied the reality that her NH staffers quit. Her staff is doing the same thing with this controversy.

James Pollack, cited by Waldron above, categorically denies Waldron’s charges and accuses Waldron of lying.


Klobuchar for President?

by The Big E on November 20, 2012 · 3 comments

The rumors have begun that Sen. Amy Klobuchar (DFL-MN) is aiming for a 2016 Presidential run. Klobuchar first ran for Hennepin County Attorney in 1998 and was reelected in 2002. Soon after her reelection victory she began touring Minnesota relentlessly. Nobody was surprised when she ran for US Senate in 2006.

She walloped rising MNGOP star Mark Kennedy in the 2006 MN-SEN race and her popularity has always remained high. In her 2012 reelection bid, she klobbered Ron Paul minion Kurt Bills who barely even campaigned after winning the MNGOP nomination.

I’ve spoken with plenty of political insiders and hacks who are convinced Klobuchar will run for President. Personally, I always thought she’s angling for a Supreme Court nomination. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been wrong. Either way, these rumors are rampant.

Now we have a well-connected woman urging her Facebook followers to tell Klobuchar to run.

So what is the deal? Does she have a chance? What are her strengths/advantages? What are her weaknesses?


Her chances hinge entirely upon one and only one name: Hillary. If Hillary Clinton does not run, she is well-positioned to vie for the nomination.

Klobuchar the Moderate

Sen. Klobuchar has positioned herself as a moderate. Despite the clear and obvious dysfunction of the US Senate in that the minority (concerned only about political posturing) virtually controls the Senate via the threat of filibuster, she always talks up bi-partisanship and explains how she works across the aisle.

She has a liberal voting record on all the important issues and she’s reliably voted the right way on the big issues. Democrats can trust her to do the right thing.

On the other hand, she rarely takes a stand on the issues of the day.

She’s vote correctly, but she won’t lead. For example, she was absent during the health care reform debate. When pressed she offered non-commital statements about how important the issue is.

Her triangulation toward the middle is probably an advantage nationally, but progressives in MN consider it a weakness. We want a leader and this is something Klobuchar hasn’t done.

She is quick-witted and funny

Klobuchar is great at the unscripted moments. She is really calm under pressure and this is a huge advantage over the stodgy, over-scripted alpha males she’ll face if she runs.

Furthermore, she’s often quite funny.

There is no better way to make voters comfortable with you than making them laugh. She’ll never get herself in trouble, either, as her humor is self-effacing. Her jokes are about herself and her family or about her interactions with the press or other politicians.

Don’t discount the ability to make non-offensive jokes that make people laugh. It’s a rare ability. I think she has the ability cut through to the heart of issue in a memorable way.


Klobuchar will likely join Michele Bachmann and make it two Minnesotans (and 2 MN women) to vie for their party’s presidential nomination. One representing the wackiest far right and the other a confirmed moderate.

Unlike Bachmann, Klobuchar will not embarrass us if Hillary decides not to run. It will be nice to have a Minnesotan on the national stage who isn’t crazy.

So … who has Hillary’s cell and can ask her what she’s planning to do?


Dear Media: Fox News Blames You!

by TwoPuttTommy on November 7, 2012 · 1 comment

To Be Clear: Locally, Fox9News does a pretty good job.  This is a quick post about some of the nastiest Republicans in the state of Minnesota – the GOP SD48 – and the National Faux “Fox” News.  

It’s the morning after a historic election; locally the ethically challenged Kirk Stensrud got knocked off by Yvonne Selcer in 48-A.  Knowing how “classy” the local GOPers are (not), I went to their website – let’s look!

OK, see that on the bottom, middle?  “• BIAS ALERT — Five ways the mainstream media tipped the scales in favor of Obama.

That’s “right” – blame the media.  That’s the local GOPers excuse for possibly the worst candidate a party has ever put up for President, the “fiercely conservative” – until he got the GOP’s endorsement – “Multiple Positions” Mitt Romney (who even the Salt Lake Tribune couldn’t endorse).

“Blame the media” from the local Party of Personal Responsibility (from OTHERS).  Forget Etch-A-Sketch; forget Romney Shambles; forget the non-existent tax returns; forget…  well EVERYTHING – it’s the media’s fault.

These local GOPers are the ones that rallied behind disgraced former Mayor Phil Young.  The ones that two years later; still vilify former DFL State Representative Maria Ruud.  The ones that…  well, I could go on and On and ON. The local “leaders” of the Mn GOP SD48 simply are NOT nice nor classy people.

And their very first post on their website, on the day after an election rejecting their candidate for president, saw the DFL take over the House and Senate in St. Paul (including the defeat of their endorsed candidate in SD48-A, Kirk Stensrud), saw the defeat of two State Constitutional Amendment proposals is a link to the National Fox News, whose message is:  “blame the media.”

Message to GOP SD48:  take some responsibility.  

You know, like you’re always demanding, from everybody else.

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Just in case anyone thought Minnesota was in play, let’s compare and contrast the two Presidential campaigns’ activity in Minnesota. Yesterday, Barack Obama had 82 events in MN or just over the border in Wisconsin. The Romney campaign? Zero.

A Stillwater reader emailed me two screenshots.

Romney hasn’t opened an office in MN. Obama has a huge grassroots campaign targeting the ’08 voters who didn’t vote in ’10.

Furthermore, the Republican-owned KSTP has a poll showing Obama with 52%, Romney with 41%.

Nate Silver of the NY Time’s fivethirtyeight blog has never had MN in play. I’ve been watching this blog as a sanity check. Silver has been the most accurate polling analyst since he came on the blogging scene in 2008.


The AP breathlessly reports that Mitt Romney will have television ads running in Minnesota starting this weekend. I guess Romney can waste his filthy lucre however he wishes, but this isn’t a prudent ad buy.

Republican Mitt Romney is placing television ads in Minnesota, a move that pushes his presidential campaign into a state Democrats have held for more than three decades.

Republicans and Democrats who track campaign spending confirmed late Thursday, Oct. 25, that Romney will begin running ads in Minnesota over the weekend.

Romney has no Minnesota campaign. He hasn’t opened a campaign office. Romney didn’t even participate in the GOP straw poll this spring.

The reason is Minnesota has never been in play. Never has been and never will be. Heck, we went for Mondale in ’84 … only state to do so.

In contrast, President Obama’s campaign has multiple offices in Minnesota. OFA’s grassroots effort has been up and running at full speed since May. Their main goal is to find the 2008 voters who didn’t show up in 2010 and get them to the polls.


I am a Public Health Grad student and I just finished reading Gene Griessman’s “Lincoln and Obama.” I was surprised to learn the depth of the parallels in these two Presidents’ lives.  Both acquired the presidency during struggling economic times and war.  Both were Washington outsiders and underdogs within their own party.  Griessman paints a detailed picture of Obama as a man who not only utilizes Lincoln as a guiding example, but as a man whose experiences and persona are so similar to our great 16th, it is a wonder I never realized it before.

I strongly encourage you to read this book.  I feel I learned a great deal about our current president.  With the election process in full swing, I feel that it gave me an even greater insight into the man I plan on voting for next month.