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Endorsing Richard Painter for US Senate

by Invenium Viam on August 9, 2018 · 5 comments

Painter familyBut she was…
Blinded by the light
Revved up like a deuce
Another runner in the night
Blinded by the light…

Mannfred Mann’s Earth Band, 1976; lyrics by Bruce Springsteen


Let me be clear at the outset – given nearly any other scenario that I can imagine, I would be supporting and endorsing Tina Smith for the US Senate.


Instead, I’m endorsing Richard Painter. (Insert cries of derision and outrage here).


The reason is simple: Richard Painter is a better candidate and will make a better US Senator for the people of Minnesota.


And Richard Painter, unlike Tina Smith, wants Donald Trump impeached and imprisoned. That’s a BIG plus for me, even if Painter didn’t support many of the progressive policies I believe in. But he does. He comes at them from more of a wonkish angle than I would take, but he gets there in the end all the same. For example, he supports single-payer because it makes the most economic sense. For me, health care is a human right and we can pay for it by eliminating corporate welfare.


I’ve said before, here on MNPP, that if two candidates of different gender stack up roughly equally, I’ll preferentially support and vote for the woman. That’s because, as a member of the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, I believe in Democratic principles of political representation. With only 23 members of the US Senate currently women, we need to double that figure to achieve something close to gender equality. So I’d much prefer not to replace Smith with Painter, if it were avoidable.


But this US Senate race is another situation where the party leadership has jammed their preferred candidate down our collective throats and expects us, as always, to fall in line. Had it been former Speaker of the House and Champion of All Things Righteous the Honorable Rep. Paul Thissen, I might have been able to handle their uninvited intimacy with good grace. But they picked another Bogan top-sider and I, for one, am Reggae Tired of t’all, mon. I’ve said many times that all the party leadership really wants from its activists is money, time and shoe-leather (our candidates excepted). When it comes to influencing the appointment of candidates that we’d like to see in office, the attitude among the party leadership is: Stay in your lane and let the grown-ups make the important decisions. We got this.


That’s exactly what they did with Tina Smith: a vacuous tool of the party bosses, an uninspiring wallflower of a political candidate, and no-show when it comes to many of the issues that the DFL rank-and-file care most about including environmental protections, opposition to nickel-sulfide mining in the Boundary Waters, single-payer healthcare, economic relief for the middle-class, and so on.


It’s nothing new. That’s exactly what they did when they fronted Skip Humphrey for Governor in 1998. Humphrey, a feckless gadabout in the Minnesota Senate who was never heard from again, was shaping up to lose the election against former DFL’er and St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman, now (then) running as a Republican. That is, until a former Navy Seal, former bouncer at Moby Dick’s, former WWF pro wrestler, former Mongols M.C. biker, former action film actor, and former Mayor of Brooklyn Park, threw his hat into ring. Minnesota voters loved it.


That’s politics. The stakes are so high that everybody’s trying to queer the game in their favor. It’s not that I really blame them for doing it. I blame them for getting it wrong. As a friend once told me, “It ain’t illegal until you get caught.”


Well, the DFL over-seers done got caught. Nobody really knows Smith. She looks like the shy girl who came with a friend that everybody ignores at the after-game party. Her campaign is lifeless. Her campaign team is clueless. Plato Boulevard is on auto-pilot. And the political cross-currents created by #45 among progressives of all stripes across Minnesota are threatening to swamp her boat.


Tellingly, the word on the street is that internal polls show Painter running neck-and-neck against Smith. Oh, you’ll hear plenty of denials, but a big reason for all the sulfur and brimstone coming from DFL-HQ against Painter speaks volumes: The numbers ain’t lookin’ too pretty. If Painter were 20 points back, Ken Martin would be extolling the virtues of an inclusive, Big Tent Party. But it looks like Smith could lose. With less than a week to go, panic is starting to set in.


Add to all that the likelihood of a massive turn-out of primary voters on August 14 due to a high energy, high interest gubernatorial contest – not to mention a high energy, high interest congressional contest in the 5th CD – and you have the makings of a … a … my god, dare I say it … a popular referendum on the current leadership of DFL party. It won’t be the party rank-and-file who decide this primary election. It’ll be any voter who decides to vote the Democrat side of the ballot. A lot of them will be unhappy millennials, current Berniecrats and new voters. In light of the progressive contingency that detonated the DFL State Convention last June, dude, that can’t be good.


One week from today, it will all be over but the weeping and the shouting. If things turn out the way I suspect they’re going to, a lot of resumes will hit the job boards on August 15.
Comment below fold.


McFadden Four-Flushing on Veteran Funding

by Invenium Viam on June 23, 2014 · 9 comments

Mike McFadden

Mike McFadden

Four-flusher‘ is one of those great old slang terms that has fallen into general disuse over the years. Specifically, it means a poker player who likes to bluff having a flush, but only has four cards of the same suit, not five. By extension, it means someone who misrepresents himself to others in a self-serving way. More pejoratively, four-flusher is used as a synonym for a con-man, a phony, or a fake.


I’ll leave it to you to decide in which senses of the term Mike McFadden might be a four-flusher.


On June 10, McFadden’s campaign issued a press release damning Senator Franken for failing to keep a campaign promise to veterans: “In 2008, Al Franken promised Minnesotans that he would stop shortchanging our veterans and put an end to wait times at VA clinics. Five years later, we know that Sen. Franken has failed miserably,” said Tom Erickson, spokesman for the McFadden for Senate campaign. “With over 57,000 patients waiting for their first appointment, it’s clear that Sen. Franken’s campaign promises are little more than empty rhetoric from just another politician. Our veterans deserve better.”


As a veteran, I have enormous regard for Senator Franken, as do millions of others across the country. With regard to flag-draping, ambitious posers — not so much.




Chris-DahlbergAt this point four notable Republicans are seeking the nomination to face Sen. Al Franken (DFL-MN) in 2014. Ethically-challenged, flip-flopper Julianne Ortman (R-Chanhassen) has a decent chance as she’s quite far to the right. Mitt Romney clone Mike McFadden’s chances are probably fading as he can’t seem to take a position on anything or attend any events. Rep. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) remains rather anonymous.
But what about Duluth native and St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg?

Dahlberg portrays himself a candidate with broad appeal, capable of winning votes among Independents and Democrats.
“The Republican Party cannot continue to put forward candidates that can win only in staunch Republican areas,” he said.
(Star News)

If this were 2004, it’s possible that Dahlberg would seem like a formidable candidate. But it’s not. In 2013, the right wing nut jobs control the MNGOP and the endorsement process is more of a Crazy-Off than anything that resembles politics.
Here’s where Dahlberg dooms his chances:

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Paulsen declines Senate race (or not?)

by Joe Bodell on January 3, 2013 · 7 comments

Senator Al Franken has dodged what, frankly, could have been a pretty big bullet in 2014: Erik Paulsen won’t run against him:

When asked Wednesday whether he was interested in a run for Senate, Paulsen said, “No, that’s ridiculous.”

He emphasized that he wants to use his seat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee to overhaul the tax code this year and said any legislation produced by that effort would the best way he could represent his constituents in the 3rd District, which spans the western Minneapolis suburbs.

Paulsen may be in the House Majority for the time being, but is still a back-bencher, stuck behind more than a dozen Republicans who also enjoy their seats on the committee. For a non-Tea-infused Republican, seniority and the perks that accompany it matter.

Thus, I’m not really impressed by this statement from Paulsen. But it’s still surprising — having kept up the ex-Congressman’s campaign color scheme and not had very tough reelection efforts, he’s been able to cultivate an aw-shucks, workmanesque reputation despite his having voted with Michele Bachmann more than 90% of the time. Either he’s worried about having his record vetted before the entire state’s electorate, or simply doesn’t think Franken can be beaten this cycle.

The big question now is this: who do the Republicans have left? A state legislator with no statewide profile? A former office-holder with baggage? Either way, it’s good news for Franken.

Update: or maybe not. This definitely has the stink of “keeping my options open.”


One week from tonight, former legislator Kurt Bills will lose to Sen. Amy Klobuchar in a landslide. It has been a foregone conclusion that Mister Bills will lose. It is exactly like an episode from the Mister Bills Show from the good old days of Saturday Night Live. We know its going to end badly for our inanimate hero, the only question is will it be Mister Sluggo or Mister Hand to do him in.

In Minnesota’s version of the claymation classic, we know its going to be Sen. Klobuchar with the grassroots campaign in the election.

How badly is it going for Mister Bills? This bad:

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In a race that polling guru Nate Silver rates as a 100% chance of victory for Sen. Amy Klobuchar, one-term Legislator and Ron Paul minion Kurt Bills is searching for any glimmer of hope that he can find.

Mister Bills has to look pretty hard. And spin what he finds even harder. Unfortunately for those who’ve enjoyed his comedic stylings, Mister Bills will soon be squashed by Mister Election.

With polls showing little hope for his bid to upset Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Republican Kurt Bills found what he thought was a silver lining courtesy of Google.

Somebody told him that if you typed the Democratic incumbent’s name, one of the first results the search engine guessed was: “Amy Klobuchar’s opponent.”

That, the GOP longshot reasoned, must mean that voters are searching — quite literally — for an alternative, even if they don’t know his name.


Seriously, I couldn’t make this sh*t up. If I made it up, you wouldn’t believe me.

Mister Bills wants Minnesota voters to believe that anyone searching for “amy klobuchar” is unsatisfied with her and really want to know about him.

I think he’s getting delusional.

On the first page of above search of Google, Mister Bills appears on the right hand side among the list of other related people users also search for. In addition to Mister Bills, users have searched for Sen. Al Franken, Gov. Mark Dayton, Rep. Keith Ellison and Rep. Betty McCollum.

At the bottom of the page is one reference to Mister Bills. Unfortunately, its a link to a post at the conservative St. Paul Pioneer Press bemoaning how poorly he’s doing.


Screenshots below the fold…


Politics The Old Fashioned Way In MN-03

by TwoPuttTommy on July 11, 2012 · 0 comments

Ask any political pro what’s the most important thing in winning votes and they’re more than likely to tell you it’s conversations with voters.

In CD-3, that’s exactly what’s happening.  Today the Amy Klobuchar, Brian Barnes, and Denise Bader campaigns joined together and knocked on over 600 doors in Mound. Today, the Brian Barnes and Denise Bader campaigns called over 800 voters on the phone.

This is the kind of cooperation and team work that wins in November.  Nothing beats boots on the ground.

To help with Senator Amy Klobuchar’s campaign, link here.   To help Brian Barnes knock off a guy that loves to spend your money on himself, link here.  To help send Denise Bader to the State House for 33-B, link here.  To find the folks in your local DFL Party, link here.

“We all do better when we all do better.”  Wellstone said it because it’s true.  It’s also true we all do better when we all work together.  Today the Klobuchar, Barnes, and Bader campaigns are showing what that means.  Get involved, and make a difference – you’ll be glad you did!  


— Schadenfreude Alert! —

When Ron Paul minion Rep. Kurth Bills (R-Rosemount) swept up the Republican endorsement to face Sen. Amy Klobuchar (DFL-MN), many rank and file Republicans weren’t happy and warned that it wouldn’t go well.

After releasing an epic fail of a campaign video (one of the worst I’ve ever seen), it seems that the Bills Campaign is spinning from failure to falling apart:

Don’t look now but that invasion of fake republicans, also known as Ron Paul supporters, have largely abandoned the hapless school teacher they corralled into the MN GOP endorsement for US Senate, Kurt Bills. MC happens to love people who say they told us so, especially because in this instance MC fairly led the charge against these politically unserious people who temporarily seized control of the endorsement mechanisms to hijack the party. But many others also saw the danger and sounded the alarm.

We told you so. Oh, and the endorsing convention wasn’t even two months ago but who’s counting.

How can one tell if the Paulers really have abandoned their hand picked candidate? Possibly by noting that the person who did the hand picking–Marianne Stebbins–has effectively withdrawn from politics due to what might more or less be called a civil war within the Paul zombie community. Yes, that’s right, Stebbins isn’t “doing” politics because her consignment shop business has suffered while she toiled in the vineyard of liberty. She has deleted her Facebook account and created a private one. She’s going all Greta Garbo.

The writer comments that Bills’ legislative allies, who he sees as complicit in getting Bills the endorsement, haven’t done anything and it also appears that Ron Paul won’t be holding the promised moneybomb for Bills anytime soon (if ever).

Mmmm, mmmm … popcorn goes so well with some afternoon Schadenfreude.


Compare and contrast…

In the pantheon of political campaigns, two ads leap to mind as possibly the worst two ever. First, Carly Fiorina’s Demon Sheep ad. Secondly, Mike Gravel’s ad in which he just stares into the camera for a minute before walking away.

But is there now a rival? A third ad that could be even worse?

We’ve had indications that the Kurt Bills campaign against Sen. Amy Klobuchar is going to be a train wreck. But who could predict it might be this bad?

Within the first 30 seconds, some poor senior citizen hangs himself while ominous music meaninglessly throbs. By the 32 second, there’s been a mullet sighting. Somehow, the guy who hanged himself is back from the dead?

Is Kurt Bills the pro-zombie candidate?

Who the **** cares about Riley Thomas when Bills tries to impersonate Rod Serling and fails. He’s wooden enough and creepy enough, but is utterly lacking in any kind of cool demeanor that Serling radiated.
Demon Sheep:

Mike Gravel:

What others would you suggest?


There Was A Day…

by TwoPuttTommy on May 20, 2012 · 0 comments

Back in the day, I was there when Giant’s Ridge Quarry Course opened (actually, on that same media day, so did The Wilderness; but that’s a different story).

And Tim “The Mullet” Pawlenty was there to speak.

And before we tee’d off; before the “Gentlemen, start your golf carts!” announcement, Tim got up to speak (before cutting the IRRRRRRRRRRRB ribbon): “So I’m on the way over here, and my aide goes: “Governor, you ready to play?  Got your sticks? Shoes? Glove? Balls?”

Tim continues: “Listen, I’m a Republican that travelled willingly to the Range; I got plenty of balls!”

Don’t care who ya are; that’s a funny joke.

And: it doesn’t excuse Timmeh’s horrible record as Governor.

But:  it does help explain why Timmeh won – TWICE.  He’s personable, and he knows how to tell a joke.

DFL endorsed candidates should pay attention.

Well, the Party, on Plato, too.

So, watch out for Kurt Bills. He’s personable; the jury’s still out on if he can tell a joke.  If he can, and with the Ron Paul Anointment, it may spell trouble…..