Posted at 7:29 AM on May 2, 2006
by Bob Collins
After only a week, I'm making my first change to Select A Candidate 2006. Usually, I end up having to make a few changes with every version because candidates -- hey, get this -- tend to change their positions.
I think this is the earliest I've had to change and the issue is the stadium. The candidate is Steve Kelley, running for governor. And the answer in question was one he gave on MPR in March.
To the question of what we should do about the stadium issue(s), the answer -- then -- was:
"I support limited public role in the Twins and Vikings stadium. Gophers stadium is public and we should support that. I see the state role as 'limited.'"
In the answer to a question from Gary Eichten, Kelley said "education and health care" come first and he wouldn't put the stadium ahead of those. (Listen in RealAudio)
Let's take it from the end. First, the Senate doesn't appear to have done anything on health care and education -- anything substantial anyway. The bill guaranteeing health care as a right is dead in committee. The bill mandating health insurance coverage by large employers (the WalMart bill) hasn't taken a breath since early March. On education, the DREAM act -- dead in the House -- didn't even get a companion bill in the Senate.
I say that because I want to be sure I'm not missing any technicalities on the original answer; that maybe some significant steps have been addressed on health care and education that I wasn't aware of, that makes stadiums jumping ahead something to ignore in the original answer.
So now we focus on the word "limited." Kelley is author of the amendment that replaced the Hennepin County tax for a baseball stadium, with a metro-wide half-cent sales tax that throws the Vikings into the list of beneficiaries.
I have no guidelines here, but by the power vested in me as the creator of Select A Candidate, I declare expansion of the sales tax by a half-cent, the number of counties by 6, and the teams getting the cash by one does not count as "limited." And we haven't even talked about the fact yet that the question regarding voting on a tax increase isn't a question of "they elect us to represent them." It's a question of taking away something via legislation that is granted by present law. That, regardless of how you feel about the referendum question, is an expansion of government power by simple definition. So "limited" is no longer a valid term for purposes of this question -- you can't limit something by expanding it.
So the original answer is thrown out as no longer valid. The replacement will be:
I support a half-cent increase in the state sales tax in the seven-county metro area, the proceeds of which should be used to help build stadiums for the Vikings and Twins.
Keep in mind I have no opinion on any candidate's opinion, but the hard part of Select A Candidate is keeping a proper connection between the actions and the words.
Now it's possible that Kelley's goal here is to actually sink the stadium by attaching amendments he knows the House will never accept. And he'd get credit for that before the Select A Candidate panel of judges. After he says that.
Ain't politics grand?
(Update 9:55 a.m.) The Kelley campaign points out the following two points:
1) "The sales tax would also pay for a network of light rail. Sen.
Kelley is a huge proponent of light rail and sees this
legislation as a possible avenue toward creating a modern
transit system in the Cities."
2) "By financing the ballparks Steve’s way, there are enormous interest cost savings (hundreds of millions in interest payments). Instead of a 30-year financing plan, Steve’s bill would pay off the
stadiums by 2014.
"Plus, if you take 3 different proposals and combine them,
that does not translate into a larger government role. The
substantive and economic terms of the deal between
Hennepin County and the Twins, and between Anoka County
and the Vikings, do not change--except for the addition of
the roof on the Twins stadium."
Delegates to the Republican state convention look like they'll have a front-row seat to the best political show in town. Some delegates reportedly are not entirely happy that Republican leaders have tried to block Republican-turned-Libertarian-turned-Republican Sue Jeffers from speaking at the convention, thus disrupting the coronation of Tim Pawlenty.
We got this e-mail today from Dan Coleman. I had to look around a bit to figure out who he was (he's Jeffers' campaign manager), since it didn't indicate in the e-mail that I got. Anyway, it appears this is being sent to delegates, although the names on my e-mail were all media types.
During the 2002 campaign season, Sue Jeffers was considered good enough to work on Tim Pawlenty's behalf. Sue believes the MN Republican Party has abandoned the principles it once stood for - freedom and personal rights, smaller, affordable, and effective government. When Pawlenty discarded party precepts for the wealthy special interests and fees that are not taxes, Sue Jeffers became as disenchanted as many of you have. Unless the right to think or have an opinion has been repealed - the real Republicans of MN still have choices in selecting who will be the candidate.
Once, the Republican Party prided itself on being the political party that grew from the integrity and justice of Abraham Lincoln, the tenacity and vigor of Theodore Roosevelt and the decency and indomitable optimism of Ronald Reagan. As great as those leaders are, it is always the people who make the party excel at the grassroots level. It is the volunteers, who work at the local headquarters stuffing the mailings or knocking on doors. The party people who do the grunt work and carry out often under- recognized but highly necessary jobs deserve to be allowed to hear from candidates with
As you have undoubtedly heard, the State GOP is attempting to unfairly block Sue Jeffers' challenge to Governor Pawlenty. All Sue is asking is the opportunity to be heard and give the convention a choice. The obstacles being placed before our campaign go against the principles upon which Republican Party was built. The 10 or 20 percent delegate signature petition smacks of the poll tax of old, which the Democrats used as a discrimination tactic. This is especially irresponsible and misguided in as much as only one candidate has announced her intention to seek the Republican endorsement for governor. Then perhaps it should be argued all candidates must meet this threshold.
The Republican leadership thought and encouraged Sue Jeffers to run for every other office as a Republican, just not governor. Now they want to play insider games, and try to change the rules on a whim, to prevent a new voice from being heard. Apparently, this insidious attitude rests with a few vacuous leaders at the top of the GOP. If they are so positive, their vassal is to be the anointed favorite, then what is the harm? Let Sue speak!
Intimidation, threats, and reprimand have no place in Minnesota elections whether it is the race for governor or failure to allow referendums to come before the voters who are capable of deciding on their own what they want. The government and the party politic belong to the people, not the other way around.
The bottom line here is that fairness and inclusiveness are still alive and well in the MN Republican Party. In order to substantiate this fact to those who deem themselves unaccountable to you for the decisions they unilaterally make - they must be told unequivocally by you, that Republican delegates will not tolerate it.
Posted at 11:48 AM on May 2, 2006
by Bob Collins
I can't really say that John Binkowski's news conference at the Capitol today was his announcement of his candidacy for the 6th Congressional District seat. He's already got the endorsement from the Independence Party.
So I'll just call it -- as a colleague suggested -- a "plea for publicity," which is a good call since I'd never heard of him up until now.
Here's most of his news conference (RealAudio), except for the beginning. We have a bunch of fancy, solid state recorders that replaced the DAT machines that replaced good old tape machines that ... worked. These often don't.
So, the guy from Daily Kos is coming into the world headquarters of Polinaut to talk to All Things Considered today. They're taping the interview at 2:30 or so.
I just strolled by the ATC cubicle to tell them I wanted the extended version (pre-edited) of the interview as soon as they're done, so I can get it on the site in this news cycle.
Tom Crann, who's reading the guy's book, asked me what I would ask him? I guess my answer amounts to "nothing about politics."
Frankly, I've started to pare down the number of national blog sites I read with a political philosophy -- Powerline, Daily Kos, Red State, for example -- because I know what they're going to say. They might come up with new ways to say it; but they end up saying the same thing.
I like radio talk shows, although I'm not very interested in radio talk show hosts. I like radio talk show callers. They're "local." They have a voice and something -- sometimes -- interesting to say.
I think local blogs are much more interesting than the "aristocracy blogs" for a number of reasons. One is that they're usually written by just one person. In fact, I think the more people contribute to a blog, the less interesting it is because it no longer has a "voice."
You look at Daily Kos, now, and it's many, many people. It takes, many, many people to feed the beast. But the New York Times is many, many people. The Washington Post is many, many people and the Pioneer Press is many, many people (at least for now).
So what's the difference?
This gets back a little bit to what I wrote last night. The beauty of a blog is that it's singular -- one person's thoughts. And the hardest part of blogging is that it's one person. So what is at the same time the medium's strengths, is also its fundamental weakness.
One of my must-read local bloggers -- Bogus Gold -- provided a more eloquent perspective(he's a better writer for one thing).
The strength of my mission? Low expectations. Seriously, that's an advantage.
I write about what I want to, when I want to. I don't worry about being eclectic. If I get bored writing about a particular topic, I write about something else instead.
And, perhaps more importantly, I like to write. I'm amazed by the number of bloggers who admit that they don't. Except for the occasional video blog, blogs are simply a new medium for the same old writing. If you don't like to write, you're not going to like blogging very much.
Reading blogs, to me, is fun because I like listening in to other people's conversations at restaurants. That's the personal nature of the medium.
Who else masters this presentation? Tons of people, none of whom are going to be interviewed by a radio station today. But here's another one of my favorites -- 56572 -- from Pelican Rapids.
Friends and neighbors of Louise Sasso-Lundin, wife of Pete, mother of Phil, daughter-in-law of Lynn and Miriam are grieving the death of Louise this afternoon at the age of forty-five. Louise fainted while driving home along Highway 108, then drove off 108 at the East Lake Lida Road intersection. She must have struck her head when the Corolla bottomed out in the ditch. When she regained consciousness she called Pete. He came to get her and took her home. She had a bloody nose. A short time later she passed away. Pete said he had no idea why. Louise is to be cremated and her ashes flown back to her family in Boston. Pete and Phil, Lynn and Miriam can be condoled at 40364 275th Avenue, Pelican Rapids. I thought that Louise was a lovely, dignified woman. A dreary weekend just got a lot drearier.
Isn't that something? The elegance and beauty of the writer's single voice.
So, that's a long-winded way of answering the question: what would you ask Markos Moulitsas Zúniga? I'd ask him, "what happened to your voice?"
The first hour of Midday on Wednesday will feature Republican candidates for the 6th Congressional District. Everyone's been invited. We'll see who shows up.
Posted at 3:54 PM on May 2, 2006
by Bob Collins
The extended interview with Markos Moulitsas is done and posted here.
For more from Polinaut, here.
I wonder if the convention itself will be as good as the warm-up. Here's the latest salvo in the Jeffers vs. the Republican Party battle. This responds to an e-mail sent out earlier today by the Jeffers camp.
One of these days, by the way, we should talk about why Minnesota allows multiple party endorsements.
Dear fellow Republican activists:
Many of you know me from my previous employment at the Republican Party of Minnesota. I am also a BPOU chair, state convention delegate, and state-central committee delegate.
Recently you received an email from Sue Jeffers' campaign manager, Dan Coleman, comparing the procedures of the Republican Party of Minnesota to a tactic used to disenfranchise African Americans, Native Americans, and select whites from voting.
“The 10 or 20 percent delegate signature petition smacks of the poll tax of old, which the Democrats used as a discrimination tactic.” Source: Dan Coleman email
As many of you know, Ms. Jeffers is a Libertarian Party candidate for governor and Mr. Coleman is a Democratic operative from Tennessee hired to manage Jeffers’ campaign.
Since deciding to seek the GOP endorsement for governor (while still running as a Libertarian), Ms. Jeffers has attacked the leadership of the Republican Party of Minnesota and Governor Tim Pawlenty. These misguided attacks have generally focused on perceived differences of fiscal policy between Ms. Jeffers and Governor Pawlenty.
Unfortunately, Ms. Jeffers and her campaign manager have now resorted to using incendiary statements and racists comparisons in an attempt to garner an additional 15 minutes of fame for her failed campaign for governor.
Mr. Coleman and I spoke earlier today and he informed me that Ms. Jeffers personally approved the email message sent out comparing Republican Party of Minnesota procedures to a poll tax.
Both Ms. Jeffers and Mr. Coleman should apologize to Chairman Ron Carey, the entire Republican Party of Minnesota leadership, and party staff for the inappropriate and insensitive comments contained in Mr. Coleman’s email.
Chairman Carey and other party leaders have acted in a completely appropriate manner in preventing our state convention from being used as a campaign prop for a candidate not even running as a Republican.
I find it outlandish that a Democrat operative from Tennessee, who ran for Congress as a Democrat in Florida, would challenge Chairman Carey and other party activists’ dedication to upholding the principles of the Republican Party of Minnesota. As party activists, we should be proud of Chairman Carey’s leadership.
Ms. Jeffers, through her campaign manager, has once again shown her true colors.
Ms. Jeffers filed to run for governor as a Libertarian. Ms. Jeffers sought and received the endorsement of the Libertarian Party.
It should be clear to everyone after reading Mr. Coleman’s email, that neither he nor Ms. Jeffers have any long-term interest in the success of the Republican Party of Minnesota.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this email and if you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.