When you really look at the daily activities of Congress, the one inescapable fact is they really don't do much heavy lifting on a daily basis. Sure, there's a vote here and maybe a vote there but for the most part, it's siesta time on the floor itself.
Take yesterday, for example, by a 400-32 (not voting) vote, the House congratulated Spellman College on the occasion of its 125th anniversary.
Then, Congress voted 399-33 (not voting) to recognize "the Life of Preston Robert Tisch and His Outstanding Contributions to New York City, the New York Giants Football Club, the National Football League, and the United States."
And then by a 401-33 (not voting) vote, the folks passed the "Abraham Lincoln Commemorative Coin Act."
They all must have been plum tuckered out after a day like that.
With my golf game, I have an overarching saying about my philosophy toward the sport. "It's not whether you are good, it's whether you look good.
Politics sometimes is the same way. It's not always about what a candidate says or does. It's how they act.
Unless certain candidates really do have nothing but plaid shirts and khaki Dockers in their closet -- or dark, conservative suit/dresses -- I'm going to guess that one of the consultant contributions to the election this year is control over what the candidate wears.
That's why I was interested in a Boston Globe article this morning that examines the clothing habits of the Bay State's gubernatorial candidates and what statement they make.
Posted at 10:24 AM on September 7, 2006
by Tom Scheck
Minnesota's Fifth Congressional District leads the digest again today (the primary is just days away in a race that could be for all the marbles). Rochelle Olson with the Star Tribune says Mike Erlandson issued a lit piece criticizing DFL endorsed Keith Ellison and former state senator Ember Reichgott Junge.
The West Central Tribune writes that Dean Johnson's primary challenge is getting hot and heavy. The DFL Senate Majority Leader is facing a primary challenge from Michael Cruze.
The Star Tribune examines Mike Hatch's first tv ad in the race for governor.
Kare-11 says the governor's race is going to get very expensive.
Pawlenty's campaign spokesman Brian McClung just issued a news release saying the recut ad will air on tv now as well.
Pawlenty is proclaiming September 8th, Church Basement Ladies Day.
Amy Klobuchar, the DFL endorsed candidate running for Minnesota's open U.S. Senate seat, proposes an elder tax credit.
Republican Mark Kennedy's campaign is sending out a fundraising request to potential donors. The e-mail highlights the campaign's recent criticism of Klobuchar including being a prosecutor but not personally prosecuting a case, criticizing lobbyists but was a registered lobbyist in the past and has oil holdings in her mutual funds but criticizes big oil.
WCCO's Pat Kessler reality checks oil money for both Kennedy and Klobuchar.
Finally, a group of Minnesota National Guard members are headed to Iraq.
(see updatednote at bottom)
Election Night Policy and a Pint
Hosted by Steve Seel and Tom Crann
broadcast on The Current
Tuesday, November 7
7:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
The UBS Forum at Minnesota Public Radio
Minnesota Public Radio will host an "alternative" election night event in The UBS Forum modeled after The Current's successful Policy and a Pint series. This event will bring together 80+ bloggers, news junkies, and interested citizens to talk about politics and election results in a informal and non-partisan atmosphere co-hosted by the Citizens League.
Steve Seel and Tom Crann will anchor a four-hour live webstream from the forum as well as cutting into The Current to provide election updates. The forum will host high-profile political bloggers from the region who will update their blogs and and participate in the hosted discussion. Steve and Tom will talk politics with local political analysts and commentators and, where possible, connect with the candidates themselves. Monitors throughout the forum will broadcast the latest results from MPR and other sources while a DJ provides entertainment and continuity during breaks in the action.
This event is free, but tickets are required. Tickets will be given away on The Current and through the Citizens League. Refreshments (a limited amount of beer and wine) will be served.
My job with this project -- aside from coming up with the general idea in the first place -- is to round up bloggers. Did I mention there's food. I have a fairly good cross section in mind but if you have a POLITICAL blog and are available, would you drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org ? We'll even put you on the radio. Maybe.
And I mentioned there's food, right?
Update: Just to be clear, we're hoping the bloggers can work their sites while at this event. We'll provide whatever technical resources you need to accomplish that. You'd be "working press." Or push. Or whatever.
Oh and there aren't 80 bloggers to be there. They'll be about 80 people, I'm guessing 8-10 of whom will be bloggers.
Posted at 12:15 PM on September 7, 2006
by Mike Mulcahy
Gov. Pawlenty's campaign is sharpening one of its TV ads to take a shot at Mike Hatch. The ad talks about Pawlenty's support for a proposal to require that 70 percent of every state education dollar be dedicated to classroom instruction. Here's part of the release from the Pawlenty campaign:
The new version of the ad ends with Governor Pawlenty saying: “Minnesotans deserve that kind of accountability. Mike Hatch opposes it. I’ll fight for it.”
The updated ad begins running today in the Twin Cities, Rochester, Moorhead and Mankato media markets.
“Now that Mike Hatch has staked out a position on this issue, we want Minnesotans to be aware of it,” campaign spokesman Brian McClung said. “Based on his recent statements to reporters, we know for certain that Hatch is not interested in bringing more accountability to our schools and supports a big chunk of our education dollars going to bureaucrats and administrators, not to students and teachers in the classroom where the funding would do the most good.”
McClung cites Laura McCallum's MPR piece and Dane Smith's Star Tribune piece for the information contained in the updated ad.
Both he and the ad fail to mention that one reason the Legislature rejected Pawlenty's initiative is that currently school districts statewide spend an average of 69.2 percent of their money in the classroom.
I've waited to run this until it could be personally confirmed but the AP has just put out a story on it...so. According to an e-mail, Andrew Borene has dropped out of the race for state Senate in District 41 against Geoff Michel.
Edina, MN- In the next days I will formally withdraw from the Minnesota Senate race in District 41.
With the assistance of professionals, I have concluded that I am chemically dependent and will enter treatment for my alcohol dependency. That dependency has hurt those I love, including my wife and our children.
Recent events have convinced me that I cannot pursue my passion for public service, make progress in recovery and tend the needs of my family.
For my actions which I deeply regret, I apologize to my amazing wife, Britta, my family and to my friends and the citizens of District 41. While my withdrawal is necessary, I apologize also to the many good people who have stood by me, generously contributing their time and talents.
Laura McCallum did a piece on this race last month.
Posted at 7:00 PM on September 7, 2006
by Tom Scheck
I was talking to a senate staffer this week who says DFL Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson is in for the fight of his political life on Tuesday. Johnson is locked in a primary battle with Michael Cruze, who Johnson claims Cruze is a GOP plant.
Nonetheless, there are several interest groups who are targeting Johnson. Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life has endorsed Cruze and has sent out campaign literature on his behalf. They also ran this radio ad last week. It's a brutal ad that says:
"Today, your tax dollars were used to kill 12 unborn babies."
The ad shows the MCCL's unhappiness with Johnson. But they're not the only group. Opponents of same sex marriage say Johnson was the reason there wasn't a floor vote on a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Supporters of a constitutional amendment to dedicate a portion of the state sales tax to the environment also say Johnson blocked a vote on their initiative as well.
What does this mean? Well, the staffer said Johnson is more concerned about the primary than the November election. Partly because Republicans may choose to cross over and vote for Cruze and partly because fewer voters turnout on primary day. I'm not sure Johnson loses but keep an eye on the returns in Senate District 13 on Tuesday night.