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The Immigration Backlash Begins

May 13th, 2010 by Kevin

…but not in the way the Democrats have hoped.

The issue the Democrats were hoping to use as a wedge issue is now looking to become a political pitfall for them.  And the shovel that dug that pit, is the Arizona Immigration law.  Democrats heavily sold into the idea that by opposing the new legislation.  Obama called the bill \”misguided\”.  Obama\’s Attorney General is considering challenging the bill, in what would be a rare move by the federal government itself, challenging a state law.  Democratic safehavens such as LA and San Fransisco have boycotted Arizona over the the law.  The mega-union SEIU has also pledged to boycott Arizona.  Sharpton has pledged to defeat the bill.  Congressional Democrats called for the elimination of the bill.  Senate Democrats also attacked the bill.

But from the very start there were warning signs.  Initials polls showed the public, especially in border states, supported the legislation.  Initial glances at the bill showed little basis to oppose the bill on legal grounds.  In fact, most arguments against the bill merely highlighted the complete failure the Federal government has been on the issue.  Yet Democrats moved forward opposing the bill, hoping that they could still make a wedge issue out of this.  Now it appears things have taken a turn for the worse for Democrats.

Basically as people learn more about the bill, public approval has grown.  The problem, for Democrats, gets worse when you dig into the particulars of the polls.  The opinion of Democrats has heavily shifted in favor of the bill.  And while Democrats are now evenly split for/against the bill, a large majority of Democrats are supportive of the concept beyond the Arizona bill, which suggests that Democrats are no longer believing their own press.  Independents support has grown.  And even youth, where support is the lowest, is in favor of the Arizona immigration bill.  It\’s become such a problem that opponents are now dropping their attempts to kill the bill through a referendum, since it\’s likely to make the bill even stronger due to overwhelming public support.

So sure, the public supports the Arizona bill, but it\’s a minor issue right?  Well, actually the public is increasingly viewing immigration as one of the nation\’s most important issues.  In fact, a full 10% call it the nation\’s most important issue, above the economy, jobs, health care, etc.

Democrats have doubled down on the issue in which the public, including independents, has heavily turned against them and the importance of the issue is growing.  Immigration will certainly become a wedge issue in 2010….but it\’ll be a wedge issue for Democrats.

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Why You Seldom See People Arguing Against The AZ Immigration Law On Merit

May 11th, 2010 by Kevin

Since the Arizona immigration law, the response has been mostly positive, which isn\’t surprising considering the polls on the topic.  As usual, the open-borders crowd is trying to raise the body of Heinrich Himmler and prop him in front of a Border Patrol car, but beyond that the few complaints have been either been emotional (not logical) ranting or extreme distortion of fact.

Past couple of days, one \”attempt\” to make a real argument against the Arizona law has gotten some links….why I\’m not sure, since I\’m not even sure it qualifies as unpersuasive.  Basically it\’s arguments boil down to two different points.

1) Carrying documentation is hard and stuff
2) Federal immigration law is a slippery slope

Allow me to address both.

Carrying documentation is hard and stuff

The AZ law is apparently evil because before immigrants mostly had to worry about carrying their papers when they were likely to run into federal officers (border checkpoints, airports, etc).  Now they have to carry them all the time because they might run into law enforcement officials.

My response? Boo fricking hoo.

My somewhat more intelligent response?? It\’s a green card….you carry it in your wallet.  Problem solved.  I carry credit cards I haven\’t used in seven years just because I might need to one day.  Really this is no more burden than that.  It\’s a card, perhaps an ounce of weight.  Beyond that, it\’s a almost laughable burden for the privilege of being allowed to be here.

When I was on the radio last weekend, discussing this very immigration law, I had the privilege of several people calling in who were immigrants, one from Germany and the other I don\’t recall (if I was even told), and neither had any problem with having to carrying documentation, and according to their statements carried every day without trouble.

We ask people to carry a driver\’s license to drive and I don\’t hear anyone screaming about Nazis then…

Federal immigration law is a slippery slope

To be honest I\’m not sure if this is a real argument or something that was just tagged on the end as filler.  Apparently the argument is that asking someone to carry papers is a slippery slope and opens up to all sorts of abuse of freedom.

First of all, this \”slippery slope\” has been in place since 1940, and so far nothing has slid down it…which make me wondering how slippery or even \”slope-ish\” it could possibly be.  Again let me use the example of driver\’s license.  In order to drive, you need to have a license on you at all times to present if you should run into a law enforcement officer.  I must have missed the cries of Nazi and Facist on that.  And immigration isn\’t a right, it\’s a privilege, you get your rights after you become a US citizen….at which point you\’re not required to carry that documentation anymore.  So since this doesn\’t even apply to US Citizens, I\’m not sure how this is any sort of slippery slope….even less so than driver\’s licenses, which have hardly been the downfall of democracy.

In short, I welcome weak attempts like this at arguing against immigration enforcement.  As it demonstrates rather convincingly how weak the other side\’s argument really is.

[Crossposted at True North]

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Top Ten Arizona Immigration Law Myths

May 7th, 2010 by Kevin

To wrapup coverage of the immigration issue which has been at the top of the news lately, I figured I\’d top it off with the issue that probably relight this smoldering powderkeg….the Arizona immigration Law (SB1070).  Despite it being a relatively minor bill as far as actual legal impact, there has been a lot of demagoguery of the bill.  I figured I\’d tackle some of the bigger myths, and conveniently, the Washington Examiner already collected a list of the 10 dumbest things said about the bill.

1. “The statute requires police officers to stop and question anyone who looks like an illegal immigrant.”
– New York Times editorial

Actually no it doesn\’t.  The law doesn\’t take effect until after a police officer has already stopped, detained or arrested someone.    It\’s only after this point, if the officer has reasonable suspicion that the suspect is an illegal immigrant that he has to determine their immigration status.

In that sense the law is actually MORE restrictive than federal law, upheld by the Supreme Court (Muehler vs Mena 2005), which states that officers do NOT need reasonable suspicion to justify asking a suspect about their immigration status.  The Supreme Court has \”held repeatedly that mere police questioning does not constitute a seizure\” under the Fourth Amendment.

2. “As the Arizona abomination makes clear, there is a desperate need for federal immigration action to stop the country from turning into a nation of vigilantes suspicious of anybody with dark skin.”
– Dana Milbank, Washington Post

Dana is correct that there is a desperate need for federal immigration action, and the federal government has repeatedly refused, under both Republicans and Democrats, to enforce their own immigration laws.

The other claim has absolutely no factual support.  In fact the law (as amended by HB2162), specifically states that race, color or national origin can NOT be taken into consideration.

3. “I can’t imagine Arizonans now reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques whereby people are required to turn one another in to the authorities on any suspicion of documentation.”
– Cardinal Roger Mahony

Actually nobody is required to turn in anyone, and this bill mentions nothing of the sort.  This bill only affects police officers, and then only concerning people they already have contact with in the execution of their duties. This bill never even comes close to mention ANYTHING like this.

The good Cardinal might want to read through his Ten Commandments again, as number nine specifically forbids lying.  And considering this bill never even comes close to stating what he\’s implying, I can only interpret his remarks as willful misinformation.

4. “This law creates a suspect class, based in part on ethnicity, considered guilty until they prove themselves innocent. It makes it harder for illegal immigrants to live without scrutiny — but it also makes it harder for some American citizens to live without suspicion and humiliation. Americans are not accustomed to the command ‘Your papers, please,’ however politely delivered. The distinctly American response to such a request would be ‘Go to hell,’ and then ‘See you in court.’”
– Michael Gerson, Washington Post

Oh where do I start?? First of all, as I already pointed out, police can not even take ethnicity into account.  Moreover, if is already a federal crime (8 USCS 1304(a) and 1306(e)) for aliens to fail to carry their registration documents.  And that has been the case since 1940….remember, back when we were actually dealing with Nazis??  Nobody has complained about it since.

5. “In case the phrase ‘lawful contact’ makes it appear as if the police are authorized to act only if they observe an undocumented-looking person actually committing a crime, another section strips the statute of even that fig leaf of reassurance. ‘A person is guilty of trespassing,’ the law provides, by being ‘present on any public or private land in this state’ while lacking authorization to be in the United States — a new crime of breathing while undocumented.”
– Linda Greenhouse, New York Times

(Greenhouse’s “trespassing” allegation was based on an early version of the Arizona bill that was not the bill that became law.  Her mistake was later removed from the Times site, but you can see original version here.)

Granted this appears to have been retracted but I address it here, because so far, from what I\’ve seen, most of the people criticising the bill have no idea what\’s actually in it.

6. “Federal law treats illegal immigration as a civil violation; Arizona law criminalizes it by using the legally dubious mechanism of equating the mere presence of undocumented immigrants with trespassing.”
– Washington Post editorial

(This editorial makes the same mistake as Linda Greenhouse’s “trespassing” column above.)

Actually this bill just creates a state penalty that mirrors what is already a federal CRIME.  But again, you\’re ill informed.

7. “I am saddened today at the prospect of a young Hispanic immigrant in Arizona going to the grocery store and forgetting to bring her passport and immigration documents with her. I cannot be dispassionate about the fact that the very act of her being in the grocery store will soon be a crime in the state she lives in…An immigrant who is charged with the crime of trespassing for simply being in a community without his papers on him is being told he is committing a crime by simply being.”
– Bishop Desmond Tutu, Huffington Post

I miss the good old days when you could rely on the word of a man of the cloth.

If this immigrant is here illegally, then yes their mere presence is a crime, and always has been.  This Arizona law doesn\’t change that.  And if that immigrant is here legally, they are already required to carry their documentation with them, and that\’s been the case since 1940.  If you\’ve ever travelled abroad, you\’ll know that most other country have similar laws.

8. “It harkens back to apartheid where all black people in South Africa were required to carry documents in order to move from one part of town to another.”
– Cynthia Tucker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, on ABC’s “This Week”

Actually it harkens back to 1940, which is how long this has already been required by federal law.  Nothing is new here.

9. “You can imagine, if you are a Hispanic American in Arizona…suddenly, if you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you’re going to be harassed.”
– President Barack Obama

For being a legal scholar, you apparently don\’t know much about the actual…..well, law.  For being in charge of enforcing federal law, you apparently have no idea what the federal law already is.

10. “This week, Arizona signed the toughest illegal immigration law in the country which will allow police to demand identification papers from anyone they suspect is in the country illegally. I know there’s some people in Arizona worried that Obama is acting like Hitler, but could we all agree that there’s nothing more Nazi than saying ‘Show me your papers?’ There’s never been a World War II movie that didn’t include the line ’show me your papers.’ It’s their catchphrase. Every time someone says ’show me your papers,’ Hitler’s family gets a residual check. So heads up, Arizona; that’s fascism. I know, I know, it’s a dry fascism, but it’s still fascism.”
– Seth Myers, “Saturday Night Live”

Again, aliens are already required to carry their documentation, and have been since 1940.  Back when we were fighting real Nazis and fascism.

There is also another myth I\’ve heard, that\’s not so much a statement but a generally dismissal of one of the key parts of the language of the bill.  That being that the term \”reasonable suspicion\” is a meaningless term.

Quite simply that\’s ridiculous.  \”Reasonable suspicion\” is a legal term that\’s been defined by the courts for decades.  Quite simply, it is when a person has been, is, or is about to be engaged in criminal activity based on specific and articulable facts.  It\’s most well known application is in defining, when what\’s known as a \”Terry Stop\”, can be performed, as decided in Terry vs Ohio.

It\’s very instructive that opponents of this immigration bill have to use obvious mistruths as propaganda against this bill.  It\’s comforting to know they apparently can\’t oppose it on it\’s own merits, or with actual factual arguments.

[Crossposted at True North, comments welcome]

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Silver Linings

May 5th, 2010 by Kevin

Yesterday, I reviewed the immigration reform proposal put forth by Senator Reid, and basically dismissed it as insufficient to truly reform immigration, and a disingenuous effort to disguise the real motives of Reid and his allies.  However, what I didn\’t mention yesterday, because I was saving that for today, is that there are silver linings to his proposal and comments made by a number of other Senators lately.

Remember that back in the big immigration debates of 2007 and 2008, amnesty was the default position.  Enforcement was treated as a dirty word and consideration was soundly rejected by the Democrats.  Eventually, watered down versions of it were added, by Republicans, to amnesty bills as an effort to gain more votes for an amnesty for illegal aliens.

Fast forward to today…where enforcement is now the default position.  Oh sure amnesty is still being proposed, as I pointed out yesterday, but only wrapped in a pseudo-enforcement bill.  First, things like more agents on the border, stricter employer penalties and tighter border crossings are the attempted focus of bills being proposed by pro-amnesty Democrats.

The momentum has visibly shifted to the border enforcement side.  We\’re not on the outside looking in.  Our opponents are adopting some of our positions and trying to piggyback some of their onto it.  Enforcement is no longer a dirty word, despite the wishes of violent illegal alien criminals protesting in the streets.

Moreover, supporting enforcement is no longer a political risk, not that I\’m sure it ever really was.  The Arizona immigration bill definitely took the wind out of that sail.  Country wide, a large majority of the public either supports the bill or thinks it doesn\’t go far enough. Even more important, this is especially true in the Midwest and the Southwest, where most of the vulnerable incumbents are this election.

There is reason for cautious optimism people, as long as we keep fighting the good fight.

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GOP State Convention 2010 – Day3

May 1st, 2010 by Kevin

So we\’re back…again.  We\’re were scheduled  to start at 9:30, I got here a little late but we were still working preliminaries when I showed up about 15 minutes late.  Basically today should be a calmer day, as the endorsements are out of the way.  However, we still have a lot of resolutions to go through, plus apparently there is some major judicial thing that we need to go over?  I\’m not familiar with that but we\’ll see.  There might also be some fireworks from CD3 and others about a document of guiding principles they threw together.  Ideally it would replace the platform, but at the moment I think it\’s intended as a marketing tool.

10:09 – We\’re hearing the Constitutional Committee report…

10:25 – I\’ve been told that that attempt to pass the Guiding Principles and Values document as a State Document will happen today.  It\’s not going to be an attempt to replace the platform or anything, just as a state document so we can use it more as a market tool at the moment.

10:28 – There was a comment in my comments area about this document a couple days ago, and I want to address it further here.  The comment was :

Well, I still know a couple people who read the whole platform and know what is in it. And a statement of principle isn’t any good unless you are the individual that came up with it. And if you did, why would you want it subjected to the ugly process that took place on the floor, asking the word “be” be changed to “of”? Within two convention cycles, your brief elegant statement of fundamental principles would look more like the Bible than the Ten Commandments.

I guess my response to that would be, you’re misunderstanding either the intent of the document, or the concept of “principles”.

Principles don’t change. Ideas come and go. Legislation comes and goes. Events come and go. Principles are the bedrock all those are based upon.

If there is ever a time that the Republican Party has ceased to believe in the principles of liberty, family, the individual, life, security and the rule of law, then the Republican Party has ceased to exist.

10:43 – Girl Scouts are on stage for an applause?? I missed the reason…just a civics lesson?

10:44 – Here\’s the judicial thing…basically the appointment for members of the Judicial Committee are to change.  Basically there are 12 Judicial Districts instead of 8 Congressional Districts.  Makes more sense to appoint the members by Judicial District instead of by Congressional.

Makes sense….not sure why this was supposed to be contentious unless I\’m missing something.

11:16 – Treasurer report is happening….

11:20 – Janet Beihoffer is talking about election judges

11:24 – A rising applause for Marty Seifert…and he deserves it.  He gave it a good fight but when it was clear that it was all but over, he conceded and spared everyone a lot of trouble and strife.  He was very classy in his concession and I have no doubt that we\’ll see Marty moving onto to other great things.  Not just because he deserves them, but because he\’s got the character and ability to do so.

11:53 – I\’ve had a steady stream of people swinging through the area and we\’ve been chatting about the ramifications of the endorsements yesterday and what exactly it means for the election.  The Seifert crowd seems to have taken the endorsement well and are supporting Emmer.  The only negative in their eyes are that there are still existing question marks.  Seifert was very much a known quantity, whereas Emmer now must conform to a new role, that as leader and statesman, rather than party attack dog.

Personally, I think the same intelligence and wit that helped Emmer recognise vulnerable points in the DFL position will carry him.  And to be honest, his old role may very well help him sandbag against DFL attacks.  The DFL conventional wisdom is that \”Emmer is insane, Seifert was just evil\”.  If the DFL keeps poking at Emmer trying to reveal that fire-breathing attack dog, and it doesn\’t appear, suddenly the main theme of their attacks on Emmer rings hollow.

Also Minnesota is still very much a small state, as in retail politics still works here.  And that works in Emmer\’s favor as he does extremely well in small group settings.  And the \”I\’ve got a pickup truck\” that worked so well for Scott Brown in Massachusetts also works for Tom Emmer as well….although I\’m not sure if Tom actually does have a pickup truck.

One downside of Tom Emmer that I came to see a lot yesterday is how he appears on photography.  Some people, just by quirks of their face, frequently look bad in still photos.  Pelosi has this problem as well, although it\’s probably more self-inflicted, resulting from too much Botox.  But even in her most genial moments, she frequently comes off looking like a shrieking harpy.  Tom has a similar problem.

When taking pictures yesterday it was best just to start clicking and don\’t stop, see what turned out later on.  While going through my photos after the fact, a lot of the pictures of Emmer depicted him as having a very angry look on his face, when I know for a fact, that at that time he was not at all angry.  It was just how his face looked at that particular moment.  It\’s a relatively minor issue, but it could be a perception problem.

12:06 – With the endorsements gone, most of the press is as well.  In fact the only people helping me keep Press Row warm are Bill Salisbury from the Pioneer Press and Rachel Stassen-Berger from the Star Tribune.  There has been some good natured heckling both ways.

12:12 – Bonn Clayton, Judicial Elections Chair, is speaking…

12:23 – Greg Wersal, candidate for Supreme Court, is speaking…points out that the law states that if he tells us what he thinks, he also has to state that he keeps an open mind.  Rightly points out that this abridges on freedom of speech, religion, association, etc.

12:31Tim Tingelstad, candidate for Supreme Court, is speaking….

12:38Dan Griffith, candidate for Appellate Court Judge, is speaking….

12:48 – We just endorsed for judge

12:50 – Michael Brodkorb, Deputy Chair of the party, is giving his report….he\’s talking about the difference between us and the DFL.  First of all we didn\’t protest having to say the pledge.  And we have unity in our party after the endorsement, the DFL is very divided and fractured.  They had people walking out of the convention in anger and frustration.

12:55 -Tony Sutton, Chair of the party, is now giving his report…

1:03 – Tony just introduced Tom Emmer to address the convention…

1:04 – Tom briefly addressed the convention.  A good Rah-Rah type speech that also preached unity of the party moving forward for the common good.  Then the balloons dropped from the ceiling.  The girl scouts came out of nowhere to frolick through the balloons.  After fun frolicking, Tom Emmer\’s boys appeared with their campaign buttons to pop as many balloons as possible.

1:12 – We\’re now addressing the remaining resolutions, although the Emmer kids are still madly popping balloons all over the convention hall.  Very amusing.

1:15 – Now that it\’s calmed down a bit, I\’m going to take this opportunity to compliment both Tony and Michael, which is something that I\’ve already done in person, but I think it\’s worth repeating here.  I don\’t think it was any secret that during election of party officers I supported Dave Thompson and Dorothy Fleming for Chair and Deputy Chair, respectively.  I had very real concerns about how close both Tony and Michael were to the Ron Carey team, whom I really disliked.

However, I am happy to say I was VERY wrong.  From the start Tony and Michael have made openness and transparency their mantra.  They have made a point to repeatedly gather input from delegates and activists.  They have taken ideas given to them by activist and run with them, but they\’ve also made those same activists accountable for those ideas, so that there is some ownership and motivation to really pursue the idea.

Kudos to both Tony and Michael, and I\’d like to state you have my vote for re-election if you choose to pursue it.

1:32 – Confirmed….the concessions here at the Minneapolis Convention Center are still awful…

1:33 – We\’re still doing resolutions and it\’s likely we will be doing that for the rest of the day…don\’t expect too many more updates, because to be quite honest, this part of conventions, bores me to tears.

2:37 – The effort to push CD3\’s Guiding Principles document has begun

2:46 – Motion passed

2:59 – Convention adjourned.

We\’re done folks! Thanks for reading!

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Posted in 2010 Elections, 2010 MN GOP Convention, True North | 2 Comments »

GOP State Convention 2010 – Day2

April 30th, 2010 by Kevin

Well it\’s day two of the 2010 MN GOP State Convention, and we\’re here bright and early, ready to get started at 9:00 AM.  We were here until after 1 AM yesterday and it promises to be another long one today.  In fact I\’m pre-emptively labeling this day \”The Grind\”, and I urge the delegation to prove me wrong.  Seriously, please do!  Either way, I\’m setup for another lovely day of conventioning.  Due to the sub-par concessions of the Minneapolis Convention Center, I\’ve packed my own caffeine and snacks….I\’m ready for the long haul.

9:04 – Okay we\’re here, but haven\’t started yet.  So…..we\’ll wait.  I should note, if there is anything in particular you\’re looking to see or hear about, let me know in the comments and I\’ll see what I can do.

9:08 – Twice now they\’ve made an announcement for delegates to take their seats.  Looks like they are trying to get started.

\"\"9:09 – I should note there are noticeably more people today.  I know in my own personal BPOU we seated all our alternates yesterday, but I would not expect that to be the case today.  A lot more press showed up today as well.

9:12 – Pledge of Allegiance, which we also did yesterday…unlike the DFL nobody here has any qualms about saying the Pledge.

9:15 – And we\’re off!

9:16 – Congressman Kline is speaking.  Pure red meat to wake up the delegates this morning.

9:23 – And now Congressman Erik Paulsen is speaking

9:24 – Incidentally I should note we were told in the press area that we\’re not starting the Governor endorsement process until noon.  So if that\’s all you care about, go take a nap or something because sure as I\’m sucking down Mt. Dew, it will be a long night.

9:35 – Party staff is touting the new voter database, Phoenix.  I have access to that database and it\’s actually pretty nice.

9:50 – State Party Chairman Tony Sutton is speaking.  He\’s doing the Volunteer of the Year Awards

9:57 – I had a number of people stop by to chat.  Janet Beihoffer, former CD2 chair and activist-extraordinare, who is supporting Tom Emmer.  Then Pat Staley, chair of SD37, who has finally made his decision and is supporting Marty Seifert.  Could not instigate a fist fight between them, both of them are far to nice for that.

9:59 – Back to the topic of Voter ID. Historically the MN GOP has had an awful time of Voter ID databases.  The previous database, Voter Vault, was just horrendous.  Basically you stood a 50:50 chance of the information on the door you are knocking on being accurate.  In fact, Congressional District 2 even went so far as to officially abandon Voter Vault in favor of their own database, KatieVault, so named after it\’s creator.

Now the appropriately named Phoenix is here to take the place of Voter Vault.  And having used it, it definitely has potential.  The problem is that all databases, no matter how well designed are only as good as their data.  They\’ve made a HUGE effort to clean up and verify the data, but from using it I\’ve still found a number of glaring errors.  On the other hand, Phoenix is FAR more user friendly, so perhaps more users will be willing to dump in their updated data and improve the results for everyone.

Time will tell.

10:05 – Stanek is speaking

10:06 – Mark Drake just stopped by to let us know the speaking order for Governor candidates.  It\’ll be:

1) Phil Herwig
2) Marty Seifert
3) Tom Emmer
4) Bill Haas
5) Leslie Davis

Saving the \”best\” until last apparently.

10:09 – The Emmer camp is making their round of the floor, checking to make sure \”their\” votes are still on board.

10:11 – Apparently someone snagged a picture of me deep in discussion.

10:17 – Congresswoman Michelle Backmann takes the stage to a rockstar welcome from the crowd, barely audible over the roar of the crowd,  \”Hit Me With Your Best Shot\” is playing.  She may drive liberals crazy but this crowd absolutely loves her.  One probably has a lot to do with the other.

10:18 – Mitch Berg just showed up looking very tired.

10:21 – There is a mob of people in front of the stage taking pictures of Bachmann speaking….they haven\’t done that for ANYONE yet.

10:24 – Bachmann is touting unity, quoting Lincoln \”a house divided cannot stand\”.

10:34 – Randy Demmer just got done speaking

10:35 – Press row is now officially crowded.  My last donut was eaten, thereby removing temptation.  Thank you Brad Carlson!

10:36 – Senator Senjem, Senate Minority Leader, is speaking

10:41 – Activity on the floor has been steadily increasing…the crowd is still very much into the speeches, but there appears to be an army of ants crawling around the crowd as the various campaigns canvass their supporters.

10:45Chip Cravaack is speaking, candidate for Congress in the Eighth District

10:47 – Pioneer Press writer in front of me is reading about Annette Meeks, Tom Emmer\’s choice for Lt. Gov, on Wikipedia.

10:53Joel Demos is speaking, candidate for Congress in the Fifth District

11:00 – Mitch Berg has commenced liveblogging

11:03 – For those that have commented, yes, I am wearing a suit today.  As much as I hate putting on a monkey suit, I do tolerate it for weddings, funerals and some conventions.  Mostly today I just ran out of ideas for concealing my carry weapon.  A suit jacket is an easy (and lazy) solution.

11:05 – Tim Pawlenty is taking the stage for a speech to a very large applause, not quite Bachmann standards, but large anyway.

11:07 – Incidentally the MN GOP does have a live feed of the proceedings at their website…

11:10 – Pawlenty : We\’re gathered here shortly after April 15th, Tax Days….or as the Democrats call it, Christmas

11:12 – Paraphrasing Pawlenty here : Democrats call themselves Progressives, which leads one to believe they\’re in favor of progress or new solutions, but what they\’re offering is the ideas of Eastern Europe from a century ago.

11:15 – Coleman arrived here this morning through the loading dock area….he swung through the press area again just recently.  Not really chatting with anyone, just passing through.

11:17 -Pawlenty makes an elaborate setup to a big secret…..\”We can\’t spend more than we have\”.

11:20 – \”We can\’t spend more than we have\” is a repeating theme.  He\’s also pointing out that people behave differently when they are spending their own money, as opposed to someone else\’s.  He points out you just have to look at how people behave around an open bar.  He compares this to government spending people\’s money.  The crowd is very appreciative.

11:27 – Pawlenty is touting \”concealed carry\” in Minnesota.  Points out more people have been killed by the Hiawatha Light Rail line than \”Concealed Carry\” despite claims that it would be the Wild West from liberals.  That got his biggest applause so far.  I know there are at least three people in the room armed right now, although I wouldn\’t be surprised if it\’s actually MANY times that.

Of course, I should point out that Pawlenty is wrong.  He didn\’t sign a \”Concealed Carry\” bill….there is no such thing.  We only have carry permits, not concealed carry.  Concealment is purely optional.  It\’s a common misconception and it\’s a little disappointment that the Governor is furthering that misconception.  But his heart is in the right place.

11:33 – The Seifert camp has been ready to take the stage for about a half hour now….they do realize they aren\’t the first speaker right??

11:34 – Pawlenty is done speaking…to the tune of \”Fortunate Son\”.

11:35 – We\’re about to begin the Governor endorsement process….

11:38 – According to credentials, we are just short of being a full delegation.

11:40 – Okay we\’re beginning the endorsement process, the motion has been made and passed.

11:42 – Everyone but Leslie Davis agreed to abide by the endorsement.  That caused some annoyance in the nominating committee, because at first he didn\’t have enough signatures to pass the nominating process.  So the members of the nominating committee signed for him just to give him enough signatures…..and then they asked him to abide by the endorsement and he refused.

11:48 – Herwig is speaking

11:52 – Okay I was trying to decide whether to publish this but I\’m going to toss this out there, but I repeat this is a VERY unconfirmed rumor.  Supposedly there is someone coming to endorse Emmer for Governor that requires a very high level of security, as in higher than anyone else so far.  Keep in mind we have Congressman, former Senators and a Governor in the room.  Who could possibly need even more security??

Obviously there are suspicions…most prominent is Sarah Palin.  The Emmer campaign had wanted her endorsement to be secret until today, but it leaked yesterday and they are pissed about it.  Originally the idea was to have her record a video endorsing Emmer and have it played during his speech, but that apparently feel through.  So some are wondering if she\’s making an appearance instead.

I find that hard to believe….if you didn\’t even have an opening in your schedule to record a video, how would you have an opening to attend the convention??

But to be honest, I\’m a little struggling on an alternate name that fits the mold….although like I pointed out this is just a RUMOR at this point.

12:06 – Phil Herwig is done speaking.

\"\"12:07 – While Phil was speaking, had a chance to talk with Michelle Bachmann.  She was very adamant about staying out of the Governor\’s race, she\’s not endorsing anyone.  And she complimented how civil the entire process has been.

12:08 – Marty Seifert is on stage, being introduced by Taxpayer\’s League\’s Phil Krinkie.

12:19 – Huge response from the crowd for Seifert, it looks to be roughly half the crowd.  I think we\’re up for a long endorsement battle here.

12:20 – I gotta compliment the Seifert campaign, they have been working the press area HARD.  Every fifteen minutes or so I have a Seifert staffer swinging by to drop off some information.  Couple minutes ago I got an advance copy of Seifert\’s speech.

\"\"12:27 – Lots of red meat in the speech obviously, it\’s a laundry list of conservative requests….immigration, taxes, spending, welfare, health care, etc, etc, etc

12:28 – He\’s done with his speech….confetti falling from the ceiling.

12:33 – Emmer\’s team has taken the stage….kind of a folksy theme to his presentation.

12:51 – Emmer just got done speaking….and I think there is a game of one-ups-manship going on.  Emmer had confetti falling all over the hall, plus pyrotechnics!

\"\"12:55 – Haas is speaking now…no supporters with him, he never gives up that\’s for sure.

12:57 – Looks like a lot of the delegates took this opportunity for lunch1:36 – I stepped out for a bit to go grab lunch.  Looks like most of the delegation is back, although none of them are paying attention to Leslie Davis who is currently at the podium.

1:37 – And Davis is done….balloting to being.

1:40 – Apparently 13 BPOUs have requested a roll call vote….

2:39 – How long does it take for a group of adults to figure out how to vote?? Forever.  In fact my BPOU had so much fun, we decided to do it twice…..we screwed up the first time.

2:40 – Ok the numbers are flying in precinct by precinct….you can see the numbers as they are reported at the MN GOP livestream, but it would be damn near impossible to report live here.

2:48 – Emmer definitely has the early lead….I\’m predicting 55% on the first ballot for Emmer.  Of course at that point Davis and Herwig and Haas are gone, since they don\’t appear to be getting to 5%.  But if it\’s a 55-45 breakdown, does Seifert concede or insist on a second ballot??

It\’s hard to say, I would not be surprised if he wanted to go to at least a second ballot.  If nothing changes then he\’d concede….or at least that\’s my prediction.

2:51 – I do have to point out how greatly the state party is making to ensure transparency here.  I mean they are literally broadcasting a view of the spreadsheet as they enter the numbers, and that same feed is up on the big screens here in the hall.  The entire delegation is literally looking over the shoulder of the person totaling up the votes.

2:55 – Seifert is picking up ground here, but I don\’t think anyone is going over the top here.

2:56 – Seifert is over 40% now….so it won\’t happen on the first ballot.  The question here is does he concede?  Or does he think he\’s got enough votes in his pocket?

3:01 – Ok here are the final numbers….

Emmer  – 1076 (53.3%)
Seifert – 865 (42.8%)
Haas – 26 (1.3%)
Herwig – 36 (1.8%)
Davis – 6 (0.3%)

My prediction of 55% was close.  Haas, Herwig and Davis are all dropped from contention.  With the winner needing 1196 to win, even the combined totals of the dropped three aren\’t enough

3:05 – Haas just conceded and endorsed Seifert

3:06 – Davis just addressed the convention and did not endorse anyone.

3:07 – Herwig addressed the convention and endorsed Marty Seifert.  That\’ll definitely be enough to at least convince Seifert to go to a second ballot.

3:12 – Rep. Kurt Zellers is addressing the convention.

3:13 – Okay as was pointed out in the comments my predictions are pretty good, so here\’s my new one.  I\’ve previously predicted Emmer after three.  I\’m making a slight modification….it will be two ballots and then a concession by Seifert.  I think he\’ll do a second ballot to find out where the Haas, Herwig and Davis votes go.  Plus you have to think both candidates hide some votes.  So he\’ll do a second ballot to find out where all these votes settled down to.

My guess is that the second ballot won\’t really change the margins a great deal.  You\’ll still have Marty in the mid to upper 40s and Emmer in the low to mid 50s.  But after that ultimately what is Seifert\’s strategy for gaining votes from Emmer??  His floor organization will already be tested on the second ballot so he can\’t fall back on that.

So second and then a concession by Seifert, Emmer wins.

3:19 – Dave Thompson is addressing the convention.  He\’s addressing party unity, using his battle with Tony Sutton for Party Chair as an example.

3:24 – Tea Party Patriots, one of the main Tea Party organizers in MN, are addressing the convention.  They are studiously denying that they have endorsed ANYONE.

3:28 – Okay remember when I said the Seifert campaign was working the press area hard?? Well they just evened up.  The Emmer campaign just came through with Rice Krispie bars for all the press area.

3:37 – Ok there was a slight change to the numbers for Emmer and Seifert…..basically there was some double-counting of the affiliate votes.  So it\’s actually Emmer 1062 and Seifert 859, the percentage changes were negligble.

What is an affiliate, it\’s basically groups like the Young Republicans or the College Republicans that we give a few token votes to, but since they span multiple Congressional Districts they are prone to making counting difficult.

3:39 – We\’re beginning the second ballot

\"\"3:53 – Okay had a chance to talk with Tom Emmer for awhile and then I had to go vote.  I think the key takeaway from the interview was that despite what Phil Herwig says, he thought Herwigs votes were coming to his side.  If Emmer\’s percentage goes up at all, it\’s over.

3:57 – HELP!!! The Emmer team is attacking the press area!!!

4:00 – It\’s kind of amusing that the people in the press area are exchanging predictions.  General concensus seems to be that Seifert will concede after two.  Because really what\’s the logic for a third??  On the other hand there are a few claiming we\’ll go to a third ballot because Seifert is going to depend on his floor organization to turn some votes for him.

I just don\’t see that happening.  I\’ve been on the floor and the Emmer team seems far more organized and effective than the Seifert team.

4:00 – Tony Sutton is presenting the local elected official of the year award….the mayor of Plymouth, Kelli Slavik, won.

4:09 – Sitting next to Eric Black today in the press area, he reminded me of a part of the Emmer interview I had forgot to mention.  Someone tried to trip him up on support for public stadiums, because there is a rumor going on that his Lt. choice supports public funding for them.  He pointed out it doesn\’t matter, it\’s what he believes that matters and that is that we should support the Vikings to keep them in Minnesota.  But then went on to say we should support ALL business, not just the Vikings, by creating a climate that makes Minnesota the place to be.

So while he doesn\’t specifically rule out public funding he certainly left the impression that the Vikings shouldn\’t get special treatment than any other business.

4:12 – We\’ve moving onto debate on the platform while we\’re waiting for results on the second ballot.

4:14 – Another motion to kill the platform and go back to just a statement of principles

4:30 – Carol Malnau is addressing the convention…

4:41 – Second ballot results are in…

Emmer – 1118 (56%)
Seifert – 876 (43.8%)

Ok that means it\’s all but officially over….Emmer needs 60% and he\’s damn close.  Now does Seifert concede or make us do a third ballot?

\"\"4:46 – Seifert just conceded and endorsed Emmer!!!

4:57 – Ok there is much celebration on stage.  Seifert and Emmer did the show of unity on stage together, holding raised hands.  Pictures will be up soon.  We also endorsed Meeks for Lt. Gov.

4:59 – We just adjourned until tomorrow morning….here are some pictures from the celebration….






I\’ll see you tomorrow!

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Posted in 2010 Elections, 2010 MN GOP Convention, True North | 18 Comments »

No Need For Amateur Hour

April 28th, 2010 by Kevin

Last weekend, the DFL got together to decide which of a whole slate of tax-raising high-spending liberals they were going to run for Governor of Minnesota.  After beginning with a formal objection to saying the Pledge of Allegiance, they finally got down to business and eventually picked Margaret Anderson-Kelliher, who now gets to face a bunch of other rich fatcats in the DFL primary.  Now this weekend the MN Republican Party will gather to pick who they want to run against whomever the DFL finally decides to run, although realistically the choice comes down to Tom Emmer or Marty Seifert.

I haven\’t been real open on my choice, because….well, I\’m just this guy, who happens to have a single vote, which I intend to cast for Tom Emmer when it comes time.  To be fair, for the most part I think both candidates are damn near the same, and the decision large comes down to personality preferences.  So regardless of who wins I have no problem supporting them.  To be quite honest, at this point I barely even care, I just want the darn thing to be over with….if for no other reason than it means I can finally plug my phone back in and my email spam should drop by a third at least.

What does peak my interest about this content however, is that both candidates have recently made what I consider real boneheaded unforced mistakes in their campaigns which doesn\’t reflect overly well on their political instincts.  Each mistake stemmed from two separate attacks by the Seifert campaign on Tom Emmer.  We\’ll start with the most recent.


Seifert sent out a letter from a GOP delegate, Sandra Berg, attacking Emmer for basically having gotten a DUI 20 and 30 years ago.  First of all, we live in a post-shame world…and with 10% of the Minnesota population having gotten a DUI at some point, even if he got it yesterday it\’s hardly a career-ending fault.  But what most people are going to hear is 20 and 30….as in the number of years ago that he got that.  Let\’s put a frame of reference on that….at that time of the first one, I was a zygote.  For many that was a full home mortgage ago.  People spend less time than that in jail for first-degree murder.  The Voyager spacecraft spent less time traversing the entire solar system.  Point being, it\’s a long time.

Of course it wasn\’t just that, that the Seifert camp was attacking Emmer for.  They were also attacking him for introducing legislation seeking to change laws regarding DUIs.  The first that those SOME of those accused (not yet convicted) of DUI can keep their license.  And the other that if you behave yourself for 10 years, it\’s taken off your public record.  Those are hardly earth-shattering concepts and for those of you supporting the concepts of due-process and innocence until proven guilty are inclined to support.  Plus he did this 18 full years after his most recent conviction.  At that point it\’s doubtful he did it for himself.  Besides, which the public has such a low opinion of politicians as it is, that even if they did care, it\’s likely to fall into the \”politicians doing what politicians do\” category.

So it\’s an attack on an issue that the public has little interest in and which by any stretch is ancient history….which ends up making Seifert himself looking petty and cheap.   Having to attack your opponent over what amounts to nothing is pretty amateur.  And due to the timing of it, it was certainly intended to be an \”October Surprise\”….but it happened far too early to work as such, but happened far too late for it to develop into anything more than just a cheap smear.  An unprovoked boneheaded move by the Seifert camp….not encouraging.


This got less publicity which is probably good for Emmer as politically it looks he bungled a softball toss.  The Taxpayer\’s League of Minnesota has a pledge they ask politicians to sign promising not to raise taxes.  Short, simple, it plays well.  Seifert signed it, Tom did not.  What? Why? Well if I understand his reasoning, is basically that Pawlenty signed it and then every time he made a principled stand on taxes, people just ignored it as due to his pledge.  Basically that promises to special interests, even ones he agreed with, got in the way of effectively governing on principles.  Okay fine, I can respect that, but the problem is that Emmer takes 2:06 minutes to explain that position….guess what, the public tuned out about 2:04 minutes ago….all they heard is \”Seifert is against taxes, Emmer isn\’t\”.  When it takes you a long time to explain something, you\’re losing the public debate.

Moreover, Emmer has claimed he won\’t sign pledges, even though he eventually did…..and in the past he has as well.  And then to counter-attack his opponent by claiming that Seifert has broken his pledges not to raise taxes….by voting for a bill that was both majorly pro-life and raised taxes….and that Emmer skipped voting on that bill entirely.

In the end he could have just signed the damn pledge like he has in the past and eventually did and the whole issue disappears.  Instead he picked a very murky bog as his hill to die upon and bungled what should have been an easy softball toss, and gave Seifert an opening to make an effective attack, especially considering the political climate.  An unprovoked boneheaded move by the Emmer camp….not encouraging.

The right often makes fun of Obama\’s administration as \”Amateur Hour in the White House\”, and rightly so.  So it\’s a little discouraging to see these moves by two veteran GOP candidates for Governor.  Both are far too experienced to still be making what should have been fairly obvious mistakes.  Let\’s hope that after Saturday, whomever wins this contests leaves the boneheaded mistakes to the Democrats, they\’re far more adept at it.

[Crossposted at True North]

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Posted in 2010 Elections, 2010 MN GOP Convention, True North | 1 Comment »

McCain\’s Flip Flop Might Be Sincere…But Too Little, Too Late

April 21st, 2010 by Kevin

Despite being labeled the \”immigration guy\” around the local blogosphere, I\’ve been purposely ignoring this issue, because quite honestly this issue just doesn\’t have legs….not for at LEAST a year, probably longer.  Despite all their protestations otherwise, there is no possible way they are seriously tackling the immigration issue before November, and if November turns out like we all think it will, probably not for at least two years after that.

But regardless, the Democrats need to pander and I\’m enough of a political hack I can respect that, even if it is disingenuous.  But perhaps one of the most talked about aspects of this issue is the new position of John McCain

But on Monday, McCain was talking only about enforcement: \”The lesson is clear: First we have to secure the border,\” McCain said.  \”If you want to enact some other reforms, how can that be effective when you have a porous border?”

He\’s suddenly very pro border enforcement.  He\’s wanting to put National Guard on the border.  He\’s stopped the \”you\’re racist if you oppose amnesty\” talk.  So on and so on.  And it\’s very very easy to criticize McCain for flip-flopping just because he\’s facing a primary challenge, in fact it\’s my gut reaction.  But….and I can\’t believe I\’m doing this, I\’m actually going to defend McCain on immigration because…

Sorry, I had to vomit there for a little bit.

Ok, what was I saying? Oh yeah, defending McCain….be still my stomach.  I\’m afraid I have to give McCain the benefit of the doubt here.  He\’s dense and he\’s stubborn but even he has his limits, and conditions have changed drastically along our southern border.   So much so, that even McCain can no longer ignore it and the wishes of his constituents.  It\’s actually summed up pretty well in a recent letter to The Corner.

As someone who has lived in Tucson, AZ since 1972, I don\’t think you all back east understand how much things have changed down here in the last few years. This is not the same border we were protecting just a few years ago. The difference is the Mexican drug cartels and the war that is going on down there between them and the Mexican government and among themselves. Just last week, three of the cartels joined together to try to take out the Zetas, a sort of rogue group responsible for all sorts of horrible things. We have never had a rancher murdered before Mr. Krentz two weeks ago.

We\’re rapidly losing control down there, and there is very little stopping the cartel wars from spilling across the border and we start seeing non-corrupt police officers gunned down.  Our resources are stretched thin and there is very little on deck to help them out in the near future.  The Secure Border Initiative project by the Department of Homeland Security, to use technology instead of a proven fence to secure our borders was a craptastically miserable failure and has since been abandoned.  That means nothing new is coming online any time soon to help.

So I\’m not going to criticize McCain on finally coming around on this issue.  That said, his inability to see this coming years in advance demonstrates a horrifying lack of awareness and horrible judgment.  And his enthusiasm for demagoguery of his opponents on this very issue has earned him no good will.  So I would shed no tear if he was defeated for his seat, especially if it\’s taken by someone that didn\’t have to come around on this issue years too late to do anything about it.

Sorry, McCain, I\’m glad you\’ve finally seen the light at the end of the tunnel, but unfortunately that light is a train.

[Crossposted at True North]

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It\’s Time For Steele To Go

April 1st, 2010 by Kevin

Democrats just blew all their political capital on a healthcare bill the public hates.  The public is absolutely in anti-incumbent mode.  Deficits are skyrocketing.  The economy is not improving.  Our foreign policy has been a mess.  Global warming has been discredited.  Republicans are leading in polls.  Conservatives are energized.  This should be a time for the RNC to be flying high, drifting on the winds of political fortune.

Instead we have two competing storylines making the news.  The first that the RNC reimbursed a staffer for a party at a lesbian bondage club called the Voyeur West Hollywood.  The other is that Steele is very fond of spending massive amounts of cash on limos, private planes and luxury hotel rooms.  It\’s a sad reflection on the state of the party when the bondage club is probably the better of the two storylines.

The Republican party did poorly in past elections because they strayed from what they supposedly believed.  The party that promised to rein in spending and reduce deficit spending, instead spent like crazy.  They betrayed their principals and gorged on taxpayer money.  Conservatives punished them for it by staying home in 2006 and 2008.  Now Republicans claim to have learned their lesson, and just in time, because the deficit is perhaps the key issue in this next election and the voters are keen to see the problem addressed.  So news reports that the RNC is spending frivolously is politically more damaging than if Michael Steele was found with a goat next to a dead hooker on a pile of blow (heh, supposedly he is a \”cool boss\”).

Really the problem here is that these scandals are just the latest in a long line of bone-headed moves by Michael Steele.  Steele was picked as Chair of the RNC supposedly because of his media saavy ways.  But then he goes on talk shows and says things like the GOP \”might not be able to lead the country\” and that Republicans are \”afraid of black people\”, and that\’s just two examples.  The list is literally endless.

And now he doubles down by combining two of his worst traits and makes it even worse.

There is little that the RNC can do to excuse the $2,000 reimbursement at a bondage club, but party officials are clearly tired of the line of attack that Chairman Michael Steele is living high on the hog as he travels across the country.

RNC spokesman Doug Heye just blasted out raw oppo detailing the fact that the other guys also drop some cash for fancy purposes (mostly to stroke donors).

If your defense that the party of fiscal conservatism is spending frivolously is that the other guys do it too, you may as well pack it up and start planning for 2016.  Excuses like this just confirm independent voters suspicions that there is no difference between the two parties.  And it demonstrates to conservatives that Republicans still haven\’t learned their lessons from 2006 and 2008.  Either way this is a stupid move by the RNC compounding on other bone-headed moves and Steele has been at the center of every one of those bone-headed moves.

It\’s time for new leadership as the RNC has become an obstacle.  Already big donors are avoiding the RNC like the plague and instead directing their funds to the Congressional committeesSmall and mid-sized donors are pissed at the party and untold numbers have probably sworn off the party already.  It\’s a enough that we have to fight the Democrats in November, do we really need to be fighting Steele as well?

[Crossposted at True North]

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They Have Opened Pandora\’s Box, Releasing Many Ills….Including Hope

March 23rd, 2010 by Kevin

In my day to day social conversations, I tend to avoid the topic of politics. It\’s a subject, that like religion and sex, tends to make people very uncomfortable unless they are in a situation where such a topic is natural. I\’m also aware that I am rather \”unique\” in that I find politics interesting. I\’m very aware that most of the normal population finds politics dreadfully boring, to the point that between politics and an icepick lobotomy, their only question is \”Which nostril?\”.

So I intensely avoid the topic if possible, both to save others the ordeal but also because I spend so much of my free time engaged in political activity that a change of scenery is nice. That said, I\’ve never hid either my love of politics nor my political leanings, and most people who have known me for any length of time, be they neighbors or my boss, are probably aware of it. It\’ll come up, but I won\’t force the issue unless they really want to. They rarely, if ever, do. Today all that changed.

I found, with a great deal of surprise, that a number of people who were, as far as I was aware, were very apolitical, have approached me today and started bitching about the health care bill. Presumably they figured they\’d find a sympathetic audience with me, and I\’m happy to oblige, if somewhat reluctant and mildly confused.

The content of their complaints were rather pedestrian, all ones I\’ve heard ad nauseum before, not that I don\’t have similiar concerns. Worries about the cost, and how this plan could possibly work. Worries about being dependent on government for something as basic as health care. Worried about just what direction things are going. The basics we\’ve all heard echoed in the political ecosphere for the six months or so.

What really struck me is just who these people were. There are people who seek out a political conversation with me, these were not among them. For most of them, they are so apolitical, if they\’ve ever even voted I\’d be surprised. Some were little more than strangers to me, with whom the most personal conversation I\’ve had is asking how much snow they got in their driveway. Yet here they are, complaining about health care and how the politician \”don\’t give a damn about us\” and distress at how \”politicians don\’t listen to us\”.

Another striking observation I had was that these people were very well informed. For a topic as complex and constantly changing as this health care issue has been, these were people that were very knowledgeable about the debate, but also the various versions this health care bill has had. For people that I though hate and avoid politics, this is clearly an issue that they had become engaged about.

For almost all of them, I followed the same script. I listened, I symphathized, I corrected misconceptions or outdated information when there was some (rarely), and then I usually at some point made the comment \”Well, just remember all this in November\”. Universally the response was some variant of \”You bet I will! I\’m voting their ass out\”.

The liberals may very well have opened Pandora\’s Box by releasing the means to obtain socialized medicine. By like the fabled box (actually a jar), they have also released Hope. Hope comes in the form of an awakened public, this public has been content to slumber, only to find it has been taken for granted and it\’s wishes ignored. Now awakened, this public is enraged in a way my generation has never seen, and November looks to be a time of retribution.

That above all, inspires Hope…not the fake Hope of Hope&Change, but the real stuff. The Hope that can only come from good decent folk working together towards a common cause, and especially when against the oppressive tyranny of a distant elite.

[Crossposted at True North]

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