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Smart Politics
 


January 2007


Lights Out On Lighting Up? Potential Smoking Bans Considered in MN and WI

Minnesota continues its progressive agenda in guarding its citizens against the ills of smoking tobacco with the introduction of its Freedom to Breathe Act in the legislature. The Act—which has the qualified support of Governor Tim Pawlenty—would essentially ban all smoking statewide in public places and workplaces. Some listed exemptions...

A Long Political Half-Life: Abortion Politics in South Dakota

South Dakota's House of Representatives appears likely to take up the issue of abortion once again in its new 2007 legislative session. The GOP-led state legislature already passed a ban in its last session, which was signed by Republican Governor Mike Rounds. The referred law was defeated 55.6 percent...

Klobuchar Begins Term With Strong Statewide Support

The approval ratings are in for Minnesota junior Senator Amy Klobuchar, after only a few weeks on the job in Washington, D.C. The latest SurveyUSA poll finds 56 percent of Minnesotans approve of her job performance in the U.S. Senate, with 30 percent disapproving, and 14 percent having no...

Upper Midwestern US Senators React to State of the Union Address

Several U.S. Senators from the Upper Midwest have released official statements in reaction to President George W. Bush's seventh State of the Union Address from last night. Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa stated he was impressed with Bush's overall leadership and his "very ambitious agenda" to make "America energy independent...

Could Tom Vilsack Emerge As the Next Bill Clinton?

When Iowa ex-Governor Tom Vilsack announced his candidacy for the presidency two months ago he was immediately labeled as a 'long shot.' While there are some similarities to the successful long-shot bid then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton launched in 1992, the hill Vilsack must climb is much steeper. Both...

Addresses by Upper Midwest Governors Remarkably Similar

Three gubernatorial addresses conducted this month across the Upper Midwest have been remarkably similar with regards to the main issues raised in the speeches. Republican Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty's State of the State address delivered last week focused on four primary issues—better government, better energy, better health care, and better...

Presidential Nominees Likely To Be Determined By <br>'The Unknown'

As politicians officially and unofficially begin their campaigns for the presidency in 2008, speculation about the strengths and weaknesses of each potential candidate will naturally be thoroughly debated in the media. Frequent questions already being posed by pundits include: Will Mitt Romney's Mormon faith alienate religious fundamentalists? Are John...

Divided Government in Minnesota: New Smart Politics Commentary at TPT

The latest Smart Politics commentary for Twin Cities Public Television's Almanac: At The Capitol website is now online, discussing divided government in Minnesota. The essay suggests that high expectations for productive, low-conflict legislative sessions in Minnesota are unreasonable in a state that continues to elect different parties to power in...

Unified Democratic Party Control a Rarity in Iowa Politics

When Democrats took control of the Iowa House last November, it marked a rarity in Iowa politics that had not occurred in more than 40 years: concurrent Democratic control of the Governor's office, Senate, and House. The last time Democrats were elected to sole control of both the executive...

Upper Midwestern Republican Senators Weigh in on Bush Iraq Plan

Two more Upper Midwestern U.S. Senators—both Republicans—have released statements in response to President Bush's new plan outlined in a national address earlier this week. South Dakota junior senator John Thune acknowledged the need for change in Iraq, stated winning in Iraq is the "right thing to do for America's security,"...

Three Upper Midwestern US Senators Publicly Oppose Bush's New Iraq Strategy

Less than 12 hours after President George W. Bush's address to the nation revealing his new strategy for victory in Iraq—a strategy that included sending more than 21,000 new troops to the region—three Upper Midwestern senators have expressed public disapproval of the President's plan. In a press release, Junior Wisconsin...

Collegiality in 110th Congress Enhanced by Rosie-Donald Junk News Feud

As Democrats took control of Congress this week, a few reports have emerged of an apparent camaraderie between the outgoing Republicans and the incoming Democrats. Some of these reports deal with the trivial—such as Democrats taking a break from the new session as per outgoing new House Minority Leader John...

Will 2008 Republican National Convention Have An Impact On MN Presidential Vote?

When the Republican National Committee announced in September 2006 that its Site Selection Committee had voted to recommend the Twin Cities to host the 2008 Republican National Convention, it continued an interesting trend in GOP party politics. For the fourth consecutive convention, the Republicans will convene on a state which...

Smart Politics Meets Twin Cities Public Television

Smart Politics blog author Eric Ostermeier is now also a regular on-line commentator for Twin Cities Public Television's Almanac: At The Capitol website. Ostermeier is part of that website's "Brain Trust" - a collection of political opinion leaders who write brief essays on the current issues affecting state politics in...

Immigration: The Unspoken Issue Facing Minnesota Politics?

Most Republicans and DFLers at the Minnesota Capitol are in agreement regarding the most important issues to be addressed this year—education, property taxes, transportation, health care etc. But there is one concern to many Minnesotans that remains bubbling beneath the surface of these top-tier issues that virtually no officeholder seems...

Ford Ran Successful Upper Midwest Presidential Campaign in 1976

The passing of our 38th President Gerald Ford prompted Smart Politics to take a look at his 1976 presidential campaign in the Upper Midwest—and the close races he faced with Jimmy Carter that year. Richard Nixon—who had nearly swept the nation's electoral votes in 1972—made a clean sweep of the...