Sunday, January 18, 2015

Dr King's Dream

As we observe Martin Luther King Day in America, I think it is a fine time to review the qunitessential passage that King passed on to us from his famous 'I Have A Dream' speech.

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

In a day and age when we have a black president, it ought to be obvious that we judge men and women on their character and not their skin color, but that is regretably not the case.  This nation still treats whites different than blacks, like when a white cop was assumed by the media to be guilty of murdering a black teenager, despite evidence that the teen had robbed a store and tried to take the officer's gun.

But Dr King's dream was not one of vengenace or retribution, it was one of equality.  He dreamed of a society where people are treated equally no matter your skin color, or religion.  Al Sharpton and his fellow race baiting agitators would do well to remember this, and respect Dr King's legacy.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

A DFL slap in my veteran face

With the start of a new legislative session comes the news that a priority bill by the DFL will be 'free tuition' for high school students for a two year degree.  Typical of their limited experience with the current generation of military members and recent veterans, this idea of state paid college tuition for anyone is a direct slap in the face to those who earned theirs.

Like many veterans, I took advantage of the school benefits offered to me by the GI Bill.  In exchange for limited tuition assistance (capped at $4500 per year) I was obligated to serve a minimum of 24 months on active duty, 2 years of my life.  Those two years of service that qualified me for the GI Bill consisted of 6 months in Mississippi away from my family for mobilization training, and 16 months in a combat zone, where we were subject to conditions that most civilians would consider intolerable; no right to privacy while living in an open air tent, threat to life and limb from constant mortar attacks, Improvised Explosive Devices, and the old fashioned gun battle, and further separation from friends and family.

For that service, I along with many other veterans feel that we earned the school benefits we used after returning home.  I was obligated to submit mountains of paperwork, monthly verifications of my attendence, and acheive a final grade of no less than a C to keep my benefits.

In contrast, the DFL wants to give high school students a free two year college degree, no strongs attached and limited rules that would apply.  Minnesota students are already eleigible for Post Secondary Enrollent Options, which allow hard working high school students to double up on college classes while still in high school, a program which encourages hard work and ambition.  A free college degree would enable high school students to avoid adulthood for two more years, taking dual advantage of the fact that Obamacare requires their parents to carry them on their health insurance plans.  Free college for any high school student would draw an enormous number of non-motivated students, who will see college as a way to avoid having to get a job.

But most of all, free tuition to any high school student will devalue and disrespect the agreement millions of veterans made with their Uncle Sam-first you serve your country, then you get school.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Eating our own

The lamentable reaction to newly sworn Conressman Tom Emmer voting for John Boehner is yet another example of conservatives being more zealous in attacking fellow conservatives than liberals.  When making his decision to cast a ballot for Speaker, a couple of facts had to play into Rep Emmer's decision:
1) Voting against Boehner, even voting present, would have made him a freshman congressman voting against the most powerful congressman in the House.  Say what you will about Boehner's votes and tendency towards RINOism, but you cannot honestly say that he doesn't wield immense power in DC.
2) There were no viable options to vote for.  The Speaker position is not about who is most conservative, it is about being able to plot a course for the House caucus and being the public symbol of that message.  I agree with many conservatives that Rep Boehner has a terrible track record for representing the conservative position, but no one else made a good case for why they would be a better speaker.  Several candidates rose up under the 'anyone but Boehner' banner, but up until just days before the vote, no Republican congressman had the courage to step up and announce they were running for speaker.
3) Rep Emmer was not elected by only Tea Party Republicans in the 6th CD, nor does he only represent them.  He was elected by and represents every person in CD6.  The majority of Americans took no notice of the vote in the House, and even in the conservative 6th district, Rep Emmer's vote is likely already forgotten by the vast majority of the people who voted for him.

If there is an example of Emmer saying bluntly and directly that he would not vote for Speaker Boehner, then that video/audio should be brought forward to let the congressman explain his vote.  But over 24 hours later, no such evidence has appeared, and no activists have stepped forward to say "Tom promised me he would never vote for Boehner".  What seems much more likely is that conservatives who supported Emmer projected their own views on Emmer the candidate, and are now amazed that he isn't following their own unspoken wishes.

And lastly, there is a sense of irony that Minnesota conservatives are so loudly complaining about one of only three Minnesota congressmen who did NOT vote for Nancy Pelosi.  There are legions of conservatives in CD 7, 8 and 1 that would give their right arm for a congressman who would even listen to them, let alone vote along conservative principles.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Racism run amok at the U of M

The University of Minnesota is in the midst of an incredibly racist campaign to exclude poor, minorities, veterans and senior citizens from employment opportunities.

The recent snowstorm has left the U in need of a small army of snow shovelers to clear the taxpayer funded TCF Bank Stadium.  In order to qualify to work for the U shoveling snow, you must meet one signle solitary requirement- not being in shape or possessing a strong back.  No, more insidious than that, you have to be able to prove your identity.

From the City Pages-
It pays $10/hour and shovelers can pick from two different shifts: 1-5 p.m. or 6-10 p.m. Shovels are provided.
Cash money for work.  Work tools are provided.  All you need is an ID.
In order to get paid bring two forms of ID, one of which needs to be a social security card or birth certificate. Shovelers must be 18 or older.
What??  Social security cards and birth certificates?  Other media outlets specify that a drivers license is also required.  That means a photo ID.  All of those were proposed as acceptable forms of ID to get a state issued ID card for voting.  Liberals were outraged, because according to them, minorities, poor people and veterans would somehow not be able to provide these forms of ID in order to cast their ballot.

By the liberal definition of identification, the U of M requirement of ID for elegibility to work is racist and discriminatory.

By the way, every media outlet I have heard so far has reported on this story and included the ID requirements, so everyone of these media outlets is racist as well.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Today is the 8th of November

Today is the 8th of November, a hallowed day for the US Army 173rd Airborne Brigade.

If you aren't familiar with the 8th of November, let Big and Rich explain it for you.

48 brave men gave their lives, an iconic moment in the Vietnam War, known as Operation Hump.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

2014 After Action Review

I'm late to the party on ruminating about what happened, both good and bad, in the MNGOP 2014 elections.  But I learned in the Army that no training exercise or real life operation is complete until you have dissected it for the Mission, Sustains and Improves.

Mission- 2014 for the MNGOP was 4 separated but related ops; the US Senate, the Governor's mansion, the constitutional officers, and the MN House.  Our goal was to be successful in all four ops, but in reality that was never a likely outcome.  The US Senate seat was dependent on the candidate and whether or not outside money came rolling in.  The governor seat was dependent on the candidate.  The constitutional offices were more dependent on the opposition, as in whether or not they made gaffes that would give our guys a chance.  And finally the MN House was dependent on the HRCC efforts as well as the individual candidates.  While total victory was the hope, the fallback defensive position was always the MN House-if we lost everything else, winning the House would allow the MNGOP a check on total DFL control of state government.

Sustains- The party did several things very well.  Among them;

-A massive statewide GOTV effort that was paid for in advance.  The party reacted to the brand new dynamic of early absentee voting by agressively educating and courting those votes, laying the groundwork for repeat efforts in future elections.

-Winning the primary with our endorsed candidates.  It is easy to forget that in early August, victory for our endorsed candidates was very much up in the air.  The party contacted and turned out enough voters to easily secure a win for the candidates endorsed by the delegates in May.  While much debate will ensue about the endorsement process, the fact is that if Johnson and/or McFadden had failed to secure the primary win, the endorsement process (as well as the MN GOP party as a whole) would have been in a shambles for the entire rest of the election.

-Moving forward on the plan to retire and manage the long term debt of the party.  Thanks to the party leadership of 2010, the MNGOP has been handicapped with debt that has been a continuing drain on our resources.  Despite the temptation to let the debt slide and spend away in the 2014 cycle, the current leaders of the party held firm against the very 'irrational exuberance' that crippled us in 2010.

Improves- Areas we need to do better on;

-Minority outreach.  The results of the constitutional officers makes one thing abundantly clear, and that is the work done by Dan Severson to sell the conservative message to Somali, Latino and Asian communities paid dividends.  Not enough to eak out a win, but enough to prove that the path to
statewide victory runs through the minority communities that Republicans need to reach out to.

-Voter ID.  The Dems conduct voter ID on a continuous basis, making use of their base constituencies.  The USPS mail carriers union, for example, delivers your mail, and knows who gets the NRA vs who is reading SEIU Quarterly Update.  They use their base to populate the spreadsheet of voter information.  The MNGOP needs to find out natural base groups that have knowledge they can share with our Voter ID system.

-Countering the ABM.  We bitch and complain about their ethics, but the truth is the ABM is effecting real change in our elections.  The MNGOP made good strides towards helping outside groups push our message, but we are still nowhere near their level of saturation.  We as conservatives need to find and agree on a single solution to the ABM threat, and get behind it fully.

The bottom line of 2014 is that the MNGOP held a losing hand.  Saddled with leftover debt from four years ago, facing an incumbant governor, US Senator, and consitutional officers, and handicapped by a 3 or 4 to 1 spending advantage, we realistically should have expected to lose across the board.  Like an underdog football team who plans for victory, we cannot be surprised by the reality of the outcome.  Consider it this way-the Denver Broncos had a game plan for beating the Seattle Seahawks in the last Superbowl.  Nontheless, they lost 43-8.    

Retaking the House fulfilled our minimum threshold for victory.  Not a bad acheivement for a party that was given up for dead after the 2012 elections.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Insultingly ironic

In my inbox the other day was an email from Cindy Bills, asking me to come out and support Scott Honour for Governor.  Cindy is the wife of 2012 US Senate candidate Kurt Bills, and her email is reads as an intentional insult to Republican activists across Minnesota.

In 2012, after his surprising endorsement at the state convention, Kurt Bills emerged as a major candidate with no money, no fundraising plan, no volunteer base, and little if any name recognition.  The meager positives he had going for him on the campaign trail were his undeniable conservative beliefs, and his endorsement by the state party.  All around Minnesota, Republicans who didn't even quite know who Bills was, myself included, pounded lawn signs, made calls and walked in parades on his behalf.  One local activist who has been involved in party politics since before Jimmy Carter was president asked me if we had any signs left for 'that Bill Kurtz guy, the Senate candidate'.

So after relying on the endorsement for support in 2012, Kurt and Cindy Bills are now repaying all those who worked on their behalf by thumbing their nose at delegates and activists statewide and telling us to come out and support a candidate who never even seriously competed for party endorsement.

In response to the Bill's entreaty for my support, I'd like to go on the record today and predict that Scott Honour will finish dead last of the three challengers to Jeff Johnson in the August primary.  Money is an unfortunate requirement in politics today, but money alone will get you nowhere.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Reality rears its head in CD1

In the MNGOP's Year of the Primary Challenge, there's an odd situation in CD1-a Republican primary challenger who ran for the endorsement, promised to abide, and then changed his mind.  Jim Hagedorn, who claims he had an epiphany a few weeks after the convention and decided that he didn't think the endorsed candidate, Aaron Miller, was working hard enough, has done his best energizer bunny impression, trying to make public appearances everywhere possible.  But even a casual observation brings to light the fact that while Hagedorn does in fact travel around the district quite a lot, his public appearances and parades feature a small handful of supporters.  Miller on the other hand, appears with dozens of volunteers everywhere he goes.

But the real irony is that while Miller was suppossedly 'not working hard enough', what he was actually doing was raising money, exactly what newly endorsed candidates should be doing.  And the campaign finance reports just released this week validate Miller's strategy and should put the final nail in Hagedorn's campaign.  From the Mankato Free Press-
Hagedorn's $30,025 fundraising total included $18,310 in contributions from individuals and $11,725 from Hagedorn himself through in-kind contributions. His individual contributions included $3,000 from the Fitzsimmons family and people associated with their business Protein Sources.
While Congressman Walz raised over $230k this quarter, Hagedorn raised less than a tenth of that.

Miller, on the other hand, just announced fundraising totals of $143k, and $107k cash on hand.  His fundraising totals make it clear that he was doing the least fun thing for any campaign-raising money- in order to put himself in a competitive position with Congressman Walz.  Good fundraising totals attract the attention of national players and PAC's, which means Miller can leverage the hard work he has done raising money into larger donations and more national visibility.

Jim Hagedorn now faces the prospect of limping into the primary with few campaign signs, no presence at Republican events and country fair booths across the district, and certainly no money for radio or TV ads.

Interestingly, Hagedorn is likely to drag down the vote totals of another candidate who fumbled the endorsement-Marty Siefert.  Hagedorn's going back on his word about abiding upset a lot of activists, and is strongly motivating them to vote for the endorsed candidate.  That backlash against Hagedorn is carrying over to Siefert- primary voters in CD1 are much more likely to vote the endorsed GOP ticket because of their antics.