Thursday, January 31, 2008

Down to Three and a half - Con Version

The McCain juggernaut rolls over another candidate. Rudy steps aside and gives John the thumbs up. That leaves us with McCain and Romney as legitimate candidates, Huckabee as a potential spoiler, and Paul, the Kucinich of the Right

Huckabee needs to look closely at what the new makeup of the race looks like. If he is true to his ideological beliefs, and I don't claim to fully understand what they are, he may want to re-evaluate his candidacy prior to Super Duper next week. If there is any hope to having a true conservative on the ballot, that will not fracture the delicate balance of common sense moderates and the Neo Cons, coupled with a vulnerable religious component, he may have to step aside or risk splitting the Con vote with Romney. That would allow McCain to walk through just about every Feb 5 state in what is, I think, mostly winner take all environments.

McCain is the most tolerable of the remaining GOoPers, but he still doesn't hold a candle to either of the two Democratic contenders.

By next week at this time, both parties should be on Mop Up duty, shoring up their base, and getting ready for the General. The right will be loading up their smear guns, since they are wrong on most every point and don't dare talk issue. The Left will have to dodge that mud and slime and try to keep focused on the issue, restoring faith in our country, truly protecting Americans and their rights, and fulfilling the dreams of our society, not a few Richie Riches.

The electorate is smart enough not to fall for the SmearBoat tactics. Besides, we've tried it the way of the Right for 8 years and look where that has gotten us. Time for the grownups to come in and clean up the mess. God knows the adolescents in charge right now won't pick up after themselves. I have teenagers, I know how that works.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

And Then There Was Two-Edwards OUT

Sorry, Dad, but CNN reports:
Former Sen. John Edwards is dropping out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, CNN has learned.

Edwards has told top advisers about his decision. It is expected he will announce it at a speech in New Orleans, Louisiana, at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

New Orleans is the same city in which he declared his run to be the 2008 Democratic presidential nominee.
There will be no early endorsement, which makes sense for a potential VP nominee. Same play Governor Richardson made. Now we wait a week for Super Duper. Some say the math isn't there, but I still think we will have a presumptive nominee come this time next week.


Footsie with FISA

In our visit with Sen. Amy last October, we spent some time on her controversial vote on the FISA extension::
Klobuchar was willing to go along with this brief, 6 month, extension due to the "15,000' univestigated tips. She stated "I don't defend that deal, I didn't negotiate that deal, and I think it should have been much better". She went on to explain some of the intricacies of the legislation which made it better for us to understand her take on the issue.

She continued; "I believe it was what we needed to do at the time. We take these votes that won't make everyone happy, but people have to understand my main focus here is to balance the need for getting the information and civil liberties. And I do think there is a much better way to do that."
A new extension is coming up and enough time has passed to find "a much better way to do that." and Senator Am made it clear to us last October:
she will not vote for an additional extension, placing the pressure on Congress and the administration to get a permanent piece of legislation in place.
I plan on holding her to that.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

State of the Toonion

via Cagle:Last night's speech now makes Carter's 'malaise" speech look inspirational. I've never seen a President grab for legacy straws so desperately and fail so miserably in the process.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Veepstakes - Cons

So we're down to the final four in the losers bracket. Here in Minnesota, talk has been heavy regarding TPaws political promiscuity. I'm thinking he is a long shot at best, but not enough to put him on the 'not a chance in hell' list. That list is reserved for McCain, who at 71, is not interested in pulling a Cheney and camping out at the Naval Observatory for the next 4-8 years. But as the front runner, who will he pick.

Conventional wisdom is TPaw, the Gov. Tim doesn't bring the necessary ideological balance needed to reel in the Right Wing Fringe. The conservative Wing of the Republic Party is becoming more and more alienated and are pretty much ready to sit this one out. They will need something to excite them, reinvigorate them, to rejoin the process. that means McCain will have to pick a staunch conservative. I would have ruled out Fred Thompson, but after reading AAA I am not so sure. A McCain/Thompson ticket would provide a much needed boost to the party and give them at least an outside shot at retaining the White House.

If Thompson is truly interested in the Veep slot, he would make an excellent ideological balance for any of the remaining candidates, sans Huckabee. I am not totally up to speed on the Conservative litmus test, but would think that He is the furthest Right of the bunch. Most of these guy are changing their positions so regularly I can't even keep up.

However,m there is one name I have seen bantered around much, if at all, and I think it is their dark horse. A conservative member of the Bush administration. One who was not afraid to butt heads with him. One who eventually left due to these parting of ways. At a time where the Right needs to distance themselves from the failures of this administration, an individual like that should be appealing. This person is also a former governor, carrying with it executive experience and the preparedness needed for the Presidency. Finally, they carry with them something the Right just may need to balance out the ticket, when considering the real possibility that Hillary will be the Democcratic nominee. It is the she with the he, and why I have a strong feeling that the GOP could do no worse than adding former New Jersey Governor Christine Whitman to the ticket.

She provides experience, geographical balance, ideological intrigue, and the gender offset. She can claim independence from the administration through her resignation as Administrator of the EPA while still touting her administrative experience. I am sure my friends on the Right will have much to say about this dark horse, but I will go out on a limb and say she will be the VP nominee.

So, when November rolls around, your choices will be:

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama
John McCain and Christine Whitman

It is no real choice at all. If this country is going to pull itself out of the doldrums created by the failed and flawed policies of the Right, and the Bush administration specifically, it will be Clinton/Obama in a walk!


Friday, January 25, 2008

VeepStakes - Dems

As we get closer to Feb 5, where a presumptive nominee will almost certainly be crowned in at least one, if not both parties, attention turns to the VeepStakes.

Here in Minnesota, much talk has been made regarding Gov. TPaw as the heir apparent on McCain's under card. I am not so sure. In the past, geographical balance was a key component, throw in a Swing State with Double Digit electoral votes and you have a VP nominee. This year, with both sides trying to grab the middle with their most moderate offering, a run to their fringe may be necessary to corral the base.

The Democratic slate seems like a no brainer. I am convinced there are two names that will NOT appear in the VP slot, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. It may not be unprecedented, but to think of Edwards on the ticket again is a stretch for me. With Hillary, I don't think she could play second fiddle to anyone, again. Eight years of her husband being President was enough back seat driving for her.

Hillary is the front runner, and short of a severe case of hoof 'N' mouth disease, will become the nominee for President. Her choice for VP will have to take into account two major factors, reeling in the far left that is frustrated with her hawkish views and other moderate stances and the negative baggage she brings to the table. Although some believe that her choice must be a White Male, since it will be shock enough to have a woman on the ticket as it is, there is another option, Barack Obama. If Kerry and Edwards could kiss and make up, and Kennedy with Johnson, I have no doubt that Clinton/Obama can do the same. This historical ticket would be unbeatable, and I could support it without even plugging my nose.

Same thing with Edwards. Although he is the longest shot of the remaining three, should a brokered convention opt for the 54 year old pretty boy, he'll need an Obama on the under card to lock in the rest of the base.

Obama's endorsement is a bit trickier. Since I have already stated neither Edwards or Clinton will appear as the 2nd fiddle, we need to reach just a bit. The biggest concern with Obama is experience, and there is one person out their that can put that all to rest. Someone who has a strong resumé, is from a Southern/SouthWestern swing area, and has a campaign machine not even cooled off yet. You guessed it, New Mexican Governor Bill Richardson.

So the likely pairing is Clinton/Obama, followed by Obama/Richardson, and an outside chance of an Edwards/Obama. I could easily support any one of those, because right now, losing is not an option. The future of our country is at stake. After almost 8 years, the Right has shown they just don't seem to care.

I'll have some thoughts on the Cons, later. Maybe even later today.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Stimulus is On The Way

They struck a deal. Here is what I gather from the article:
rebates would go to 117 million families, according to a Democratic summary. That includes $28 billion in checks to 35 million working families who wouldn't have been helped by Bush's original proposal, the analysis estimated.


Individuals who pay income taxes would get up to $600, working couples $1,200 and those with children an additional $300 per child under the agreement. Workers who make at least $3,000 but don't pay taxes would get $300 rebates.

The rebate part of the plan would cost about $100 billion, aides said. The package also includes close to $50 billion in business tax cuts.

The package would allow businesses to immediately write off 50 percent of purchases of plants and other capital equipment and permit small businesses to write off additional purchases of equipment.


Pelosi, D-Calif., agreed to drop increases in food stamp and unemployment benefits during a Wednesday meeting in exchange for gaining the rebates of at least $300 for almost everyone earning a paycheck


The rebates would phase out gradually for individuals whose income exceeds $75,000 and couples with incomes above $150,000, aides said. Individuals with incomes up to $87,000 and couples up to $174,000 would get partial rebates.


Researching Bush Tax Cuts

I was looking at the White House page and stumbled on the President Bush's Tax Cut plan. I noticed that those in the Taxable Income range of $12,000 - $45,000 (income less deductions and personal exemptions) receive nothing, nadda, no change in their tax rate. I would fall into this range and it is a range that encompassesd the majority of the true middle class.

The Doctor and I get hung up on where the true middle class is. I have even expanded my definition to include those making up to $100,000 ($200,000) for married couples. He thinks I am being unreasonable even then. Today I noticed a prominent Republican, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, drew his own line.:
Boehner pushed to include upper middle-class couples with incomes of up to $130,000
I know who the true middle class is, but the GOP likes moving the goal posts to put more money into the hands of those who don't need it, by taking it away from those that do. There is no wonder the electorate is so fed up.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Smoldering Hole in the Pocket

I'm not so sure people are in a spending mood. As a bi partisan discussion continues, that in itself unique in this day of wedge politics, on how to stimulate the economy, most agree a fat check is on the way. $500 to $800 per single, double for couples, in the hopes of a spending spree. I'm not sure that is what would happen on a large enough scale. Others share my thoughts:
The interest rate drop could encourage spending because the rates of many consumer loans are tied to it, including most credit cards. The president's hope is that Americans will go out and spend any rebate check that comes their way.

Both strategies have worked before, some economists said. A series of rate cuts by former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, and a tax rebate in 2001, kept the economy strong after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack that threatened serious panic.

Don't count out the American consumer's resilience, said Michael Englund, chief economist at Action Economics, a Colorado-based market consulting firm.
I think people are going to hang on to their funds, by saving or buying down debt.:
"I'd rather see a break in my health premiums than a cut in interest rates," said Bonnie Herringshaw, 57, of Minneapolis. "This won't be enough to make a difference in my life." She will use any money she gets to help pay down a $1,500 credit card bill, including some health care bills.

"It's too little too late," said William Schroyer, a tree trimmer for the city of Minneapolis. "The ideas that consumers can spend our way out of this is ridiculous."

At least some economists now agree with them. "All of a rebate won't go to spending," said Robert Hammer, CEO of R.K. Hammer, an investment banking company in Los Angeles. "There will be some, but others will put it in savings for a rainy day, or pay down bills they otherwise couldn't have."
I'm with them. Any check I got would buy down debt, and not necessarily stimulate the economy at the level it is intended. So what should happen . . . probably nothing. As was said earlier "It's too little too late"


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Patriot

Actor Heath Ledger, 27, died this afternoon:
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Actor Heath Ledger is dead, the New York Police Department said Tuesday. The Academy Award nominated actor was 27.

Ledger's housekeeper found him dead in his Manhattan apartment, New York police said.

He died at 3:26 p.m., they said.
The news will label him as the Oscar nominated star of Brokeback Mountain. I will always remember him as the young star, along side Mel Gibson, in the sterling 'The Patriot'

Posthumously, he will be playing 'The Joker' in the latest Batman installment, 'The Dark Knight'

Back To 'Law and Order'

Thompson bails:
Former Sen. Fred Thompson on Tuesday ended his run for the presidency, coming off the heels of a disappointing third-place finish in South Carolina's GOP primary and heading into the showdown state of Florida next week.

"Today I have withdrawn my candidacy for president of the United States," Thompson said in a statement.

"I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort. Jeri and I will always be grateful for the encouragement and friendship of so many wonderful people."
I was going to hold off on Veep predictions until after the presumptive nominees were decided. Feb 5th is Super Duper Tuesday, it seems pretty clear that on Feb 6th we'll know who are nominees are. Almost as certain is who their runnings mates will be.

I've hinted at who I think will fill in the blanks, so here is your chance for a turn. I'll spill mine later this week.




Friday, January 18, 2008

Bobby Fischer; 1943 - 2008

I was a chess geek when I was a kid. My neighbor, Roger, and I would replay the Fisher/Spasky matches over again the next day, as the move by move list was in the paper. It was an era where the space race was won, and only Apollo 13 brought renewed interest into the program.

Bobby was a hero, of sorts, in those early 70's days. But it didn't take long for his eccentricity to become evident.
In 1975 Fischer surrendered his world chess title to Soviet contender Anatoly Karpov. The two never met over the board: Fischer contested the ground rules set by the International Chess Federation for the match, and was stripped of his title for his refusal to comply with them.

He lived in relative obscurity for years after that. When he reemerged in public, it was to a controversy that would last the rest of is life.

In 1992, he agreed to a rematch with Spassky, scheduled to be held in Yugoslavia and carrying a prize in excess of $3 million. The match -- which Fischer won -- was a high-profile violation of U.S. sanctions imposed on the Yugoslavian government of Slobodan Milosevic. U.S. officials issued a warrant for his arrest.

The warrant -- and rage against the country that once hailed him -- dogged Fischer for a decade. Known as much in later years for his ideological tirades -- against Jews, in praise of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks -- he was arrested in 2004 in Japan where he was traveling on an invalid U.S. passport.
I followed the tumult in his life, but it never really distracted me from the younger Bobby Fischer whose games against Spasky I followed like the Twins Box scores I check in the Summer.

Bobby Fischer was 64, the same number of squares on a chess board.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Academic Half Time

End of the Semester week, meaning I am swamped at work, and at home. With two teenagers left in high school, it is stress and cram time. Someday, they'll understand if they do a little bit each day, you don't have to do it all at once at the end. Of course I never got it either. Not even in college *laughing*

I'll try not to forget you are here, but understand if I am too distracted the rest of the week to taunt you.


Small 'r'

The State economist got a spank down from TPaw for slipping the 'r' word into his latest annoucenment. I'll let Charley share first hand what is going on:
Today, my son told me the training class for his new job was canceled after a week. His roomate's training was supposed to start Monday. It never did.

Oh, yeah, and I'm a landlord renting to two guys without jobs.
I can hear the President now "But 9/11 changed everything"


Monday, January 14, 2008

MN-3rd District Congress

I haven't been following this race too much. The uncertainty is still there regarding Ramstad's status. It seems Jim, who has been rock solid for the district, may be hedging on his decision. I don't give it too much credence, but in politics anything can happen.

Friday night, on Almanac, the three individuals vying for the DFL nomination for that seat went head to head in one of Almanac's patented sit downs. This was a first read for me, and they say first impressions count. In that case, Ashwin Madia hit it out of the park.

I felt all three were competent and qualified, but Madia had that extra bit of vigor, commitment, and determination I expect in a candidate. He may be the rookie of the bunch, but you would have never guessed it watching this segment. If I lived in that district, I would take a long hard look at this up and comer. On the surface, he is the only one of the three I would consider over Ramstad, should the congressman change his mind.

Watch the debate yourself and let me know what you think.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Dear MN Legislative Majority

If I had the gonads to write a letter to the DFL Leadership in the legislature right now it would go something like this:


Your victory in the special election has now locked up the Senate with a veto proof majority, all that is holding you back is a few votes, count 'em, five, in the House. Now, I can see why that may make you a little nervous, but gee criminy, the Right hasn't played nice since the Good Ole Arne days, what makes you think they will change now:
One theory, he said, is that a DFL-led removal of Molnau might anger House Republicans who may be needed later in the legislative session to help override a possible veto of a transportation funding bill by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican. While Senate DFLers have enough votes to override a governor's veto, House DFLers need the votes of some Republicans to do the same.
You are in the leadership for a reason, because the electorate put you there. Do you think a GOP controlled environment would play nice with a DFL Transportation Chair that had failed at the level of Molnau, regardless of the legislative consequences, hell NO. Do you think the GOP thought twice about that when they tied up the national government ad nausea just to embarrass a sitting President, knowing full well they didn't have a case, or votes for removal anyway. In this case, you have a case, AND the votes for removal.

So here's the deal. You better push that Transportation bill early and hold the higher ground. If you don't get what you want (you are in the majority remember, your call you set the agenda), then go for the Molnau jugular. Bring up your top 3 - 5 priority issues right out of the shoot, call it the 21 day salute to Minnesota. Do all the right things you said you were going to do when you ran for the seat you occupy. You hold the GOP's feet to the fire. If after those three weeks you haven't passed veto proof legislation and shoved it in the Governor's face, then you play hard ball, just like they do. Give them a taste of their own medicine, and start with Molnau.

But you won't. You'll play, at best, a losing game of mumbly peg, at the last minute, just like the Pelosi's and Reids' of the world. You'll fold like a blanket in the end. There is a reason Right WingNut talk radio exisits, you give them an endless stream of material.

This once, prove me wrong.

Yours truly from the Mushy Middle.


But I don't have the gall to write that letter, cause it may hurt someones feelings, and I am too compassionate for that. So, dear readers, Shhhhhhhh, don't tell anyone how pissed I am.

UPDATE: I have been encouraged to post Legislative Contact Information. Seems that others have no problem sending my letter for me. I love it when a plan comes together!

Senate Majority Leadership

Sen. Steve Murphy

Senate Transportation Committee (LA's contacts below)

Committee Administrator: Billie Ball 651.296.1738
Legislative Assistant - Chair: Kelly Russell 651.296.4264
Legislative Assistant - Vice Chair: Steven Huser 651.297.8073

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thank You, from Governor Bill

From the Governor:
It is with great pride, understanding and acceptance that I am ending my campaign for President of the United States. It was my hope that all of you would first hear this news from me and not a news organization. But unfortunately, as with too many things in our world today, it's the ending of something that garners the most intense interest and speculation.

I knew from the beginning that this would be an uphill climb. When I entered the campaign, it was clear that we, as Democrats, had the most talented field of candidates in my lifetime running to change the direction of our country. And in the end, one of them will.

Despite overwhelming financial and political odds, I am proud of the campaign we waged and the influence we had on the issues that matter most to the future of this country.

A year ago, we were the only major campaign calling for the removal of all of our troops within a year's time from Iraq. We were the only campaign calling for a complete reform of education in this country, including the scrapping of No Child Left Behind. And we were the campaign with the most aggressive clean energy plan and the most ambitious standards for reducing global warming.

Now, all of the remaining candidates are coming to our point of view. I am confident that the next President of the United States will implement much of what we've been urging for the last twelve months, and our nation and world will be the better for it.

There are so many of you who gave so much to this campaign. For that, I will be forever grateful. Running for president has been, at times, humbling and at other times, exhilarating. I have grown and learned a great deal from the experience, and I am a better person for it.

Also, because of your close friendship and support throughout the ups and downs of what is a very grueling and demanding process, I have never felt alone.

Running for president brings out the best in everyone who graces the stage, and I have learned much from the other candidates running. They have all brought great talents and abilities to the campaign.

Senator Biden's passion and intellect are remarkable.

Senator Dodd is the epitome of selfless dedication to public service and the Democratic Party.

Senator Edwards is a singular voice for the most downtrodden and forgotten among us.

Senator Obama is a bright light of hope and optimism at a time of great national unease, yet he is also grounded in thoughtful wisdom beyond his years.

Senator Clinton's poise in the face of adversity is matched only by her lifetime of achievement and deep understanding of the challenges we face.

Representative Kucinich is a man of great decency and dedication who will faithfully soldier on no matter how great the odds.

And all of us in the Democratic Party owe Senator Mike Gravel our appreciation for his leadership during the national turmoil of Vietnam.

I am honored to have shared the stage with each of these Democrats. And I am enormously grateful to all of my supporters who chose to stand with me despite so many other candidates of accomplishment and potential.

Now that my time in this national campaign has come to an end, I would urge those who supported my candidacy to take a long and thoughtful look at the remaining Democrats. They are all strong contenders who each, in their own way, would bring desperately needed change to our country. All I ask is that you make your own independent choice with the same care and dedication to this country that you honored me with during this campaign. At this time, I will not endorse any candidate.

Now I am returning to a job that I love, serving a state that I cherish and doing the work of the people I was elected to serve. As I have always said, I am the luckiest man I know. I am married to my high school sweetheart. I live in a place called the Land of Enchantment. I have the best job in the world. And I just got to run for president of the United States.

It doesn't get any better than that.

With my deepest appreciation for all that you have done,


Governor Bill Richardson
The Governor's Mansion
Santa Fe, New Mexico

That'll Leave a Mark-Bloghouse on MDE

O'Brien echoes something that most of us knew already. Following MDE's whimpering of Cox's loss, (leading to a well staged eat their own moment, ending with the predictable singing of Kumbaya) he stated ""Negative politics works".

O'Brien notes:
Considering the level of issues analysis and thoughtful debate found on Brodkorb's blog, Minnesota Democrats Exposed (10), he'd better count on negative politics working. Otherwise, he'd be out of a job.
Nice to know at least someone at the STRIB is paying attention.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Bill (Richardson) We Hardly Knew Yee

Governor Bill Richardson will announce tomorrow he is bowing out of the presidential race:
MERRIMACK, N.H.—New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson ended his campaign for the presidency Wednesday after twin fourth-place finishes that showed his impressive credentials could not compete with his rivals' star power.

Richardson planned to announce the decision Thursday, according to two people close to the governor with knowledge of the decision. They spoke on a condition of anonymity in advance of the governor's announcement.

I am now officially uncommitted.


Its Not About Ritchie

The STRIB has a very balanced editorial in today's paper:
Add the name Mark Ritchie to the long list of state and national public officials who have learned the hard way that trying to hide an error in judgment only magnifies the mistake.

If Minnesota's first-term DFL secretary of state had owned up when first asked about giving his campaign the names and addresses of people who participated in a series of civic engagement meetings his office sponsored, the matter likely would have blown over weeks ago.
From the beginning, I was disappointed in the SoS, and even agreed with the calls for resignation, as long as the same standards they were applying to him, were applied to Republicans as well. Of course, that would mean the resignation of the President, Vice President, and most all currently elected GOP officials, so it was a safe bet. In the end, Ritchie was exonerated on all the technical stuff. And this exoneration came from "Jim Nobles - the state’s legislative auditor, . . . known as a person of scrupulous integrity; his office is no partisan hacketeria.". His office found:
Ritchie did not violate any laws; the data is public and available to anyone.

Moreover, Nobles said, there was nothing illegal in the collection of the data, or the meeting at which it was obtained.
No, this isn't about Mark. I say isn't, cause it is not over. The game plan here is for the MNGOP and their mouthpiece at MDE to do everything in their power to pound and pummel the current Secretary of state. The editorial recognizes that:
here there's an opening to go after Ritchie, Republican officials have shown themselves excessively eager to seize it. Their overblown rhetoric, going so far as to call for Ritchie's resignation, calls their sense of proportion into question. Their zeal makes plausible DFL claims that Ritchie's real offense in GOP eyes is something else -- perhaps his vigorous defense of the opportunity to register to vote on Election Day.
If the Right had any character at all, they would choose a different tact, and show that they can be reasonable:
if, instead of pursuing legal action, Ritchie's critics would join him in a review of the statutes, to make them better match Minnesotans' expectation that elected officials separate campaigning from the performance of their official duties. Those who say Ritchie's conduct ought to be illegal can prove their sincerity by putting that notion into bill form for the 2008 Legislature and getting it into the statute books, so that it applies to GOP and DFL officials alike.
Oooooo, I see the problem now ""so that it applies to GOP and DFL officials alike."", that pesky fairness thing, they wouldn't want it to apply to them. Silly me!


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

AP Calls New Hampshire for Hillary

AP sticks their neck out:
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton has won the Democratic primary in New Hampshire.
Concord Monitor reports:
NBC, AP project that Hillary Clinton wins Democratic primary. John McCain wins Republican primary. Clinton doing very well in Manchester, has won big in Salem, Hudson, also won in Hooksett, Dover, Rochester. Obama carries Concord, Bow, Hopkinton. Still no returns from Durham or Hanover. Refresh for updates on town-by-town numbers.
CNN Joins the parade as well.


McCain leads, Clinton/Obama battle

With about 60% reporting McCain is declared the winner, and Hillary holds on to a surprising lead over surging Obamarama. Key Obama friendly precincts are still out there, but even if Barak squeaks a win, the Hillary camp will have to be pleased. With all polls shifting from 10+ Hillary to 10+ Obama soon after Iowa, this is back to being a nail biter.

Edwards, a disappointing distant 3rd, will hang on till at least the South Carolina vote, before all but having to drop out. Richardson pulls in at 5%.


Ritchie Exhonerated, Mike's in a Tizzy!

I can here MDE from here "Say it ain't so , Uncle Ron":
The chief Minnesota elections official didn't violate state laws when he furnished state mailing lists to his campaign, a legislative auditor's report released Tuesday concluded.

The audit said there was no misuse of the data by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, which the DFLer seized on as he accused his critics of acting with partisan motives.
The hypocritical hate machine/attack meisters want to continue to tie up public dollars through frivolous accusations. If they really wanted to cut government spending, they would not keep spending it on personal vendettas to begin with.

They were wrong on this issue, and will continue to be wrong on just about every other one. We really know what is going on here:
"You've heard the expression, it matters less who votes than who counts the votes? That seems to be the Bush/Cheney strategy in winning elections. It worked for them in Florida in 2000; it worked for them in Ohio in 2004, and they are trying to make it work in Minnesota," Melendez said.

That Elusive Reason

I've made it pretty clear that I struggle with a Hillary candidacy, to the point I couldn't think of a single reason how I could support her. Mitch provides that elusive reason:
while not all Republicans will meet a good conservative’s approval, it’s a safe bet that virtually no Democrats will. It will be time to realize that even an “imperfect” Republican is, in almost every case and on nearly every issue, better than a Democrat.
And this is where he is wrong, as usual, and why it opened my eyes. The Left has shown, over 8 years of Economic and National Security destruction how wrong the Right is. It is not only imperative that we correct the course of this country, but as Mitch shows, there is more to their end game than stay the course. They want to run the ship aground for a long time to come:
The first reason: Every ten years, the state’s congressional districts are reapportioned. And the party with the most seats controls the process. And the DFL, if they are in control, will gerrymander the state’s districts to reinforce their control over this state.

The second: there will, in the next four to eight years, be between one and three Supreme Court seats opening up. And a Republican-controlled Senate will be better for seeing responsible, constructionist, sane judges confirmed.

And in neither case does it matter one iota if the GOP majority is 100% Reaganite purists or 40% Sturdevant-approved moderates. In these cases, literally, a majority that is 2/3 of “good enough” is better - as in, better for the sake of 10 years of state legislation and 20-30 years of SCOTUS decisions - than an ideologically perfect minority.
They want to legisalte by fiat from the bench.

They aren't Pro Life, they are Pro Prohibition of medical decisions being made between a Doctor and their patient and Pro enforcing their religious faith on other. The Left, on the other hand, is truly Pro Life, by providing programs and and environment that discourages the awful act of abortion with the goal of make them rare. For the first time, abortion rates DECLINED under Clinton, and those declines stagnated, and I suspect once the studies are updated, began growing again under the Pro Abortion Bush administration.

As for Security, the Left is looking smarter everyday. Afghanistan should have been the primary front of this fight, not Iraq. and the time, money, and lives lost in this misdirection has allowed for a resurgent AlQaeda to rebuild for another day.

So while I struggle with candidates who may distract from an issues based campaign, or other candidates who may not align with me on every issues, I find that on the whole, the Left is right, and the Right is wrong.

I do not give up my moderacy by taking this stand, I clarify it. The GOP doesn't want me, I am not pure enough. With the Left, and the Democratic Party specifically, I can work within to promote my goals and visions. With the Right, I wouldn't even get a seat at the table.

It is becoming clear to me that no matter who the Democratic Party choses for their nominee, they will be light years better than any Republican that makes it through. Well, maybe accept for Giuliani *grin*

But that's just me!


Monday, January 07, 2008

Mitt to get Hit by fellow Republican

Author Mike Moody, Republican, goes for the theological jugular in a book to be released today:
In 2008, it's Mitt Romney's turn to be "Swift-Boated" -- but this time, instead of unsubstantiated innuendo, Romney is "Swift Boated" with a comprehensively-researched, solidly fact-based book -- Mitt, Set Our People Free!
Let the games, begin
Jesus said that man cannot serve two masters -- but if Romney is elected President, he will have to serve two conflicting oaths. American Presidents swear an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. However, this Presidential Oath is in direct conflict with Romney's sacred oath to his Mormon Church -- a blood oath which puts Romney's life, fortune and obedience at the unrestricted service of his Church. This obedience is defined by the Church's Living Prophet, the President of the Mormon Church and -- as they believe -- the literal Voice of God on earth.
Honestly, I am ot sure this will get much legs. The Morman angles has been played out. I suspect the Author and the fledgling publching company are using the New Hampshire Primary and all the attention that goes with it is a media sounding board. But we'll see. No one thought the lies and deceptions of the Smear Boaters would get any legs. either, and look how naive the electorate was then.


ObamaRama Surge

Every poll before Iowa had Clinton spanking, in some cases +10%. Since then, they have done a complete 180:

CNN +10
Suffolk/WDH +1
Galluo +13
Fanklin Pierce +3
Strategic Vision +9
Zogby +10

These numbers are all fresh weekend/post Iowa number. Some see a significant change in the race, others, like myself, recognize it only point out how volatile the race still is. There are many big states left, and Super Duper Tuesday will determine our next President, not a couple small state races being played off by the media. I wish the electorate would stand up for themselves and decide on their own, and not based on the direction provided by the main stream press.


Sunday, January 06, 2008

Richardson Shines Through

It was actually enjoyable watching the debate last night, now that the field has been trimmed to a more manageable 4. With Biden, Dodd, and Gravel bowing out, and Kucinich failing to me the criteria that left the Final Four; Obama, Clinton, Edwards, and Governor Bill Richardson.

Chris Cillizza of WaPo's 'The Fix' declares the Governor one of the winners last night:
Bill Richardson: Anyone who has spent time with the governor of New Mexico knows he is tremendously affable and entertaining. But in the debates previous to this one, Richardson seemed to struggle with the format; crowded out for speaking time by the better-known candidates, he always seemed to be trying to pack too much rhetoric into a too-small box. With the field slimmed down (Sens. Chris Dodd and Joe Biden dropped from the race after Iowa and Rep. Dennis Kucinich didn't qualify to participate under the parameters laid out by ABC) Richardson shone. He was still the odd man out as the Big 3 battled for the title of "change agent," but when he did get time to speak, Richardson showed his sense of humor and his deep résumé. "I've been in hostage negotiations that are a lot more civil than this," he said after one particularly heated exchange between Clinton, Obama and John Edwards. Will Richardson's strong performance matter? Probably not. But he deserves credit for giving it.
Post Iowa polling in New Hampshire shows the Obama surge, the Edwards fade, and Governor Bill hovering in 5-7% land. Probably not enough to remain viable without a major blowout by one of the three candidates. But Bill did a nice job of playing peacemaker while playing the 'Can't we all just get along' card. If anything, he boosted his likability numbers, but not necessarily his polling ones.

Tuesday will be a crucial day for his campaign. I am still holding out hope!


EXCLUSIVE:5 Minutes with Governor Bill Richardson
EXCLUSIVE:5 Minutes with Sen. Barack Obama

Friday, January 04, 2008

Veto Proof*

Governor TPaw has become as lame a duck as possible. The surprising victory by DFLer Dahl breaks the veto stranglehold The Guv once had:
Dahle, a DFLer, beat former state Rep. Ray Cox, a Republican, and Independence Party candidate Vance Norgaard, an organic farmer.

The victory gives DFLers the two-thirds majority they need to override a veto by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
The MNGOP tried to hold down turnout, again, by staging another Holiday election in a red district and it backfired.

It wasn't that long ago a DFLer could run unopposed in a special election and still lose, but now there is something in the air where the Left can win out even in a Red district. I guess the electorate can put up with only so much before they finally recognize it will take competence, guts, and true leadership to dig us out of this hole.


* subtitle "MDE electing more Democrats each and every day. Huckofa job Mickey!"

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Iowa Predictions

You can bank on it!!

Obama convincingly!
Clinton a disappointing 2nd only in the context of being +5 behind Barak and edging Edwards only due to 2nd preference voting.
Edwards a frustrating 3rd in a caucus he needed to win to remain viable. See Edwards drop out within two weeks.
Richardson a strong enough 4th that Edwards may just endorse him going into SuperDuper Tuesday.

Huckabee by a nose.
Romney pissed off at 2nd in a state he had locked up just a few weeks ago.
McCain and Thompson battling for 3rd(4th) with the McCain surge being enough to hold off the actor. Either way, look for the Thompson's novelty candidacy to wane and his departure from the field imminent.
A surprising 5th will be Ron Paul embarrassing the GOP front runner Giulliani ending up 6th

There, now you don't have to watch the news tonight or read the paper tomorrow.


UPDATE: ""Obama convincingly!"" -- Nailed it
Clinton a disappointing 2nd . . . and edging Edwards - Clinton ending 3rd, just a smidgen behind Edwards. No Harm no Foul for Clinton, Edwards needed to win, he's done!
Richardson 4th, as predicted.

Huckabee by a nose. - Huckabee spanked
Romney pissed off at 2nd - BINGO.
McCain and Thompson battling for 3rd(4th) - both at 13% with Thompson having a slight edge
A surprising 5th will be Ron Paul - BINGO
embarrassing the GOP front runner Giulliani - Double BINGO!

I think I did pretty good, actually!

Shooting in the Dark

Spot calls 'em like he sees 'em:
Poor Mitch put up a post today lamenting the problems of the core cities:

The inner cities have their issues. If you’re in Minnesota and reading this, you know about them; you’ve either fled them, are paying for them via your taxes, or are - like me - living among them.

Where does Mitch live, Spotty? The near north side of Minneapolis?

Actually, grasshopper, he lives near Hamline University in St. Paul. But Mitch is so put upon, so besieged by something called "local government aid" that he can't stand it.
Mitch, as has been his practice of late, falls flat on his face.
Actually, that - like pretty much everything Stoop has ever tried to write - is wrong. LGA takes money from the parts of the state that “turn a profit”, and transfer it to the parts that live “beyond their means”.
No need to point out the clear fallacy of this statement. Mitch knows exactly how wrong he is, but being beholden to SaifeNet and the MNGOP talking points he can't talk sense anymore. He gave himself away a few weeks ago. Astute observers know exactly what I am talking about.

Sad really! He used to be the best!