Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What To Do About the League of Women Voters?

The League of Women Voters, if it ever was a “non-partisan” organization, has made it abundantly clear that those days are over.  Their over-the-top advocacy against the Voter ID amendment this year has shredded any claim they may have had to being impartial.

At the same time, the League is deeply entrenched in our political process.  I happened to catch a bit of one of the 1980 presidential debates the other day, which was, incidentally, sponsored by the League of Women Voters.  While the League is now out of the Presidential debate business, in most parts of Minnesota, the League is the only organization that sponsors debates for state or local races.  I’ll be attending two LWV debates this week.

Several Republican candidates have refused to participate in LWV debates this year, as a protest of sorts against the League’s over-the-top behavior.  While I do understand where those candidates are coming from, one-off boycotts of LWV debates is a losing strategy.

While it’s clear that the LWV is a problem, the solution is not so clear.  As I see it, we have a few options on how to deal with the League going forward:

  1. Do nothing, continue to complain.  This is a stupid approach, but it’s the default and what we’ll end up doing if we don’t make a plan, so I thought I’d include it.

  2. Marginalize the LWV – Expose the League for who they really are.  Mock the League and call them the League of Liberal Women Voters.  Get all GOP candidates to boycott the debates and try to destroy the League’s influence in politics.  While this strategy may feel good, it would also take a ton of effort and organization and will ultimately fail.  Please name one example where the Right has been able to tear down an established institution on the Left and keep it down.  While you’re thinking about it, I’ll move on to #3.

  3. Build an alternative organization. Fill it with Conservatives and get them to sponsor debates and put out a voter’s guide to combat the liberal bias. Not a terrible idea, but again, it requires a ton of effort, organization, and fundraising.  It will also require time.  Remember, the League has been around since 1920.  They didn’t get where they are overnight.

  4. Infiltrate. Get conservative women to join the League, and change the organization from the inside.  And now we’re talking.  This, if it isn’t clear, is my humble proposal.  The League already has the partnerships and infrastructure in place to execute debates all across the state.  They have agreements with cable access channels to broadcast the debates.  They have a longstanding partnership with Target to print and distribute a voter’s guide.  And most importantly, they are going to do what they are going to do regardless of what we do.

I guess what I’m saying, in the simplest form, is- “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”  And I don’t think we can beat ‘em.  So what do you say, conservative women?  Will you join ‘em?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Crystal Mayor ReNae Bowman: I Hate My Opponent and He is a Liar

The city of Crystal, MN has been helmed by Mayor ReNae Bowman for the past 8 years.  In that time, property taxes have gone up and the city government has grown.  That should be no surprise, because Bowman is, after all, a member of the DFL.

It’s also no surprise that Bowman, faced with the very real prospect of losing her seat this year, will fall back on the tired DFL tactic of name-calling, flailing, and calling her opponent a liar. But Bowman finds a way to up the ante a bit more.

From the Mayor’s campaign site:

My challenger laments on the issue of taxes in our city, my challenger lies when he talks about the tax rate.  I hate a liar, I have never lied to get elected.  My belief is that if a candidate is willing to lie to get elected, what will they be willing to lie about after they are elected.  I have proof to back up my statements, can my challenger prove his statements? 

We’re used to DFLers lashing out and making bizarre statements when they are challenged (see Ellison, Keith) but I think this is the first time I’ve actually seen a political candidate say they “hate” their opponent.  Even Ellison stopped short of that during his latest meltdown.

And yes, she said she hates her opponent.  If you’re unclear on that, try recalling your Junior High Algebra: If A=B and B=C then A=C.  My opponent is a liar, I hate liars, and therefore, I hate my opponent.  QED.

You’ll note that nowhere on her website can Bowman point out where or how her opponent is wrong or lying. Facts are inconsequential when your political mentors teach you that you can just reflexively yell “liar” when challenged.

This isn’t the first time that Bowman has lashed out at her opponents.  I covered her bizarre behavior at the LWV debate during the primary.

The bizarre behavior continues later in the same post, when she ends with a statement that shows she lacks even the slightest bit of introspection or self-awareness:

Vote for ReNae Bowman on November 6th, a candidate with a positive, proven track record of citizen service and respect. 

I hate my opponent, but vote for me because I’m the one with the track record of respect. Got it.

To vote for a candidate that will respect all of the citizens of Crystal, even the ones who dare to disagree with him, vote for Jim Adams.  Let’s retire the Mayor from her style of “service” for good.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Little More to Consider re: Ellison

Brett Stevens wrote a fascinating post earlier today, speculating that part of the reason we’ve seen Keith Ellison in full meltdown mode lately is that he knows that challenger Chris Fields is drawing blood, and that the DFL sharks in Minneapolis have begun circling.

I think he’s on to something.

It’s worth remembering that Keith was not the first choice of many Democrats when he won the primary in 2006.  He only took 40% in a 7-way race.  Since then, he’s held on to a seat that’s D+23 against severely underfunded challengers. Not exactly a difficult task.

I also know from my time with the Fields campaign that more than a few prominent Democrats in Minneapolis have privately confessed their frustration with Ellison.  One even mentioned that Keith likes to pretend he’s Mr. North Side, but they’d be surprised if Keith could even find the North Side without his driver these days.

As is clear to anyone, Keith is not focused on his District.  He’s in love with the spotlight, and he spends his time seeking national attention.  Keith’s own campaign treasurer thinks he was elected to be a national “progressive public figure.”

Democrats in Minneapolis are used to effective representation in Washington- having been represented by Martin Sabo for almost three decades. Sabo was a guy who brought home the proverbial bacon, and was known for knocking doors in his district, despite his huge electoral advantage.  Not the type of guy you’d accuse of not being able to find the city without a driver.

There’s no question Fields has been getting under Ellison’s skin. After all, confident incumbents don’t tend to scream “That is a lie. You are a liar, sir. That is not true,” at their opponents in debates.

If Ellison makes it through this election without suffering a major breakdown and manages to get re-elected, it will be interesting to see if he gets a primary challenge in 2014.

I hope so, because if it has to be a Democrat that represents the fifth, I’d at least prefer a competent one.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Declaration of Do-Nothing

If you’ve been following along with the saga of CD5, you know what a sorry state we’re in over here, thanks to the “leadership” of the Destroyers, who have taken over our district and run it into the ground through a combination of negligence, incompetence, and deliberate behavior.

If you haven’t been following along, get caught up here, here, here, here., and here.  You should also take a look at the drama over in CD4 (here, here and here), so you can see that Destroyer takeovers are not a uniquely CD5 thing.

It’s pretty well known that the Destroyers will be making a play for control of the State Party next year.  I thought I’d offer a preview of what we’re in for if we allow that to happen.

On September 20, 2012, the CD5 executive committee held its second meeting of this election year.  Rumors had been swirling that CD5’s Destroyer-in-chief, Chair Adam Weigold, and even possibly his Deputy Destroyer, Mark Johnson would be resigning at this meeting.  That didn’t happen.

Instead, the first order of business at the September 20 meeting was to appoint 4 new Vice Chairs to the do-nothing organization.  You can see them here, at the ridiculous new CD5 website, at the top of the 1700 word manifesto.  If you’ve been around for a while, chances are you’ll recognize the names.  If you don’t recognize the names, ask around. 

Going into this meeting, CD5 had a few thousand dollars in the bank.  Because that cash is not in a Federal account, it can’t be spent to help CD5’s endorsed candidate, Chris Fields.  Setting that piece of genius aside for now, as Builders know, you don’t leave money in the bank in an election year.  It should be strategically deployed to help candidates who can win, especially in the last few weeks of the election.

A proposal to make donations to winnable campaigns was brought up at the meeting.  After a lengthy discussion, in which the proposal was modified to add the Honey Badger to the list, the entire plan was voted down.  Several committee members felt that a few hundred bucks won’t make any difference to a campaign anyway, and one committee member felt the money would be better used for a party.  OK then.

So, we’re heading into the election with a few thousand dollars in the bank.  Sorry, candidates, we tried. But maybe if you’re lucky you’ll get an invite to the party as a consolation prize.

For the grand finale, we have the night’s resolution.  The Declaration of Do-Nothing, presented by the Destroyer-in-Chief himself:


CD5’s activities shall hereby consist of the following procedural duties:

  1. Help coordinate caucuses.

  2. Host fair conventions.

  3. Endorse candidates.

  4. Maintain party lists.

  5. Maintain online presence.

  6. Advocate for BPOU autonomy, and resist all impositions on BPOUs from broader party entities.

Coordination of congressional campaigns and assistance of other Republican candidates shall consist of directing volunteers to campaign committees, BPOUs, and political action committees.

The plan of action herein shall endure indefinitely, until amended or repealed by the executive committee and/or the body.

This is what CD5’s chair believes CD5 should do.  You’ll note the lack of mention of fundraising, supporting and recruiting candidates, or coordinating BPOUs.  You know, party building stuff.

I have to give them credit for an interesting strategy.  If people are harping on you for failing to do the job you’re supposed to do, just redefine the job.  It’s brilliant, in a way.

In an unexpected turn, the resolution failed to pass. 

Yes, the CD5 chair stacked the committee with friendlies, who less than an hour later voted against what was supposed to be his crowning achievement.  Epic.  It’s not clear whether his courageous battle for BPOU autonomy and fearless resistance against impositions will continue in spite of this embarassing defeat.

Welcome to the circus, ladies and gentlemen.  Consider it a preview of a State Party run by Destroyers.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Honey Badger Clarifies a Few Things

The Patch this week profiled HD61B GOP Endorsed Joke Candidate Nate “Honey Badger” Atkins. The profile contains some interesting insight into the Destroyers.  But first a bit of background.

District 61, the Honey Badger District, is in the heart of the Fifth Congressional District. The Chair of SD61, Mark Johnson, is also the CD5 Deputy Chair. He’s the guy who wrote the 1700 word post we covered here about “rebooting” the Fifth CD and “starting from scratch”.

Which makes a bit more sense, when you read the wisdom of the Honey Badger.

Atkins is part of a faction trying just that, by attempting to push social conservatives out of the state Republican Party in the name of Ron Paul and libertarianism. Campaigning on issues like legalizing marijuana, defeating the marriage amendment, ending wars, and tearing up the deal that gave the Minnesota Vikings money for a new stadium comes from a libertarian stance, Atkins argued that change was necessary to keep the party alive as its base ages and dies off.

Emphasis mine.

This is how Destroyers talk publicly.  To the press even.  Imagine the conversation behind closed doors.

Destroyers are arrogant enough to think that the Republican Party should be remade in their image, and destructive enough to take things over just to run them into the ground. They try to push Builders out by creating drama and discord, and If they can’t push all the Builders out, they’ll just wait for them to die off.

I want to thank Honey Badger for the moment of clarity.  It will be helpful November 7.

Monday, October 1, 2012

An Open Invitation

I want to open an invitation to all those who are upset at being labeled Destroyers.

The SD45 Victory Office, located in Plymouth, is in need of volunteers to make phone calls.  I just printed a few hundred pages of call lists.  We have quite a few unidentified voters to identify.

If you are in CD5 Leadership and want to prove that you’re not a Destroyer, I expect to see you there.  Often.  You keep telling others publicly how supportive you are of our efforts, but in reality I’ve never seen your bodies, in chairs, making phone calls.  Actions speak louder than words.

We have two very winnable house races in SD45- Jeff Pauley and Reid Johnson.

Also- if you’re not a Destroyer, but you happen to live in a district run by one and want to make a real difference in a real election that can be won, we’d love to see you too.

Call us at (612) 567-8501 or just stop by.