« September 2006 | Main | November 2006 »

October 31, 2006

Fun with the media

Polinaut today linked to one of the funniest things I've ever seen on the 'net. I wonder if this is Michele Bachmann's picture of the New York Times?

->The Right Wing New York Times: what right-wingers see when they reads the New York Times. (WARNING: this page contains some bad language and semi-explicit imagery.)

Ken Avidor points out that a Star Trib article about Michele Bachmann's church's views that the Pope is the Antichrist was, for a time, the number one most-emailed story on the Strib website.

The title of the article? "Antichrist buzz brings Bachmann camp denials." Double meaning? You decide.

October 30, 2006

Majority Watch poll shows race even

A new Constituent Dynamics/Majority Watch poll shows the following results:

Bachmann 48
Wetterling 47
Other 3
Undecided 2

This poll was conducted 10/24-26 and has a margin of error of 3.01%.

You can view the crosstabs here.

BvW says that another Zogby poll will be released at the end of this week.

This race is going to be determined by which side has the better turnout. Voter motivation is even on both sides. You can help Patty by signing up to help with Get Out the Vote efforts leading up to or on election day. There is now a GOTV center on Patty's website.

Sign up to help on election day
Sign up to help phone-bank
Sign up to door-knock

Want to elect Patty Wetterling? Want to defeat Michele Bachmann? Do your part to help out. There are only 8 days left!

Hat tip to reader bamchell for the tip on this newest poll.

October 29, 2006

Wetterling endorsed by St. Cloud Times

So, probably the three largest papers in the Sixth have endorsed Wetterling. Will this have an impact? Who knows? I have yet to see the Bachmann campaign trumpet its endorsment by any newspaper.

The St. Cloud paper endorsed Kennedy in '04, but they've decided that Wetterling has improved substantially as a candidate.

Read the Times' endorsement here.

Anyone who criticizes Wetterling for not knowing the issues and not having well-reasoned, moderate solutions this campaign simply hasn't been paying attention.

Sure, you might disagree with her stands. And, yes, she still has room to grow. But she offers the most substance of any of the three major-party candidates.

For example, when asked about her goals for the war in Iraq, she reiterated a longtime theme of quickly withdrawing U.S. troops. But she also stressed that must be done as part of a strategic plan that counts on Iraq's religious leaders, its citizens and an international military force. She notes that this trio must work together to make sure moderate groups are at least positioned to try to lead the country once America withdraws.

The Independence Party's John Binkowski offered a similar answer but seemed more focused on immediate withdrawal. Republican Michele Bachmann defined Iraq as one part of a war on radical Islam, yet she offered no specifics on how she would win that war.

Wetterling also has credible solutions to issues such as the federal budget, taxes and health care.

On the first, she advocates the federal government utilize "pay-as-you-go" budgets, while on the other two her focus is to adopt measures that help middle-class families. Among ideas she supports are changing Medicare Part D to allow price negotiations for drugs and opening government health insurance "buying pools" to middle-class families.

[...]

Bachmann's fiscal and economic strategies rest almost completely on continuing or increasing tax cuts. She spoke in only vague terms about large-scale tax reforms. She also endlessly praised the U.S. economy. Sorry, we just don't think it's that good, especially for middle-income Americans.

Overall, Minnesota's 6th Congressional District is a rapidly growing place with an array of challenges. Voters need to elect a candidate who knows the issues and offers realistic, moderate ideas. That's Wetterling.

This editorial recognized some crucial things about this race. Patty Wetterling is the true moderate, offering real solutions to America's problems, and is the only candidate with a proven track record in Washington. For all Bachmann's conservative credentials, her platform mainly seems to be to follow the President's lead. She has not demonstrated real leadership capability during her time in the State Senate, passing little substantial legislation, and has mostly offered platitudes rather than specific policy objectives.

Patty Wetterling is the best choice in this race. Send Patty Wetterling to Congress.

My generation

pattyfacebook.gif

The real race may be tight, but Patty Wetterling is winning by a landslide on Facebook. In fact, most of the Democratic candidates are doing well, though Mike Hatch is trailing Pawlenty slightly.

Of course, this is all anecdotal, and it doesn't really mean anything. But I think the phenomenon of today's youth supporting Democratic candidates is real. My generation, having come of age during the good years of Clinton and the bad years of Bush, will be one of the most Democratic ever, according to this NYT article and the accompanying graphic, which is very cool.

From the article:

Turning momentary popularity into a more lasting majority, of course, takes more than a midterm election. For one thing, voters typically develop a party preference based on the political atmosphere at the time they come of age and grow more attached to that party over the course of their lives. The voters who came of age in the 1930’s, for example, have remained the most solidly Democratic. Fifty-seven percent are Democrats and only 38 percent are Republican, according to the American National Election Study.

Recent surveys and exit polls suggest that the Democrats have regained the upper hand among the young voters who entered the electorate over the last 15 years, and political scientists say dismay at the Iraq war is likely to prolong that trend.

“The longer Bush’s approval ratings stay in the mid-30’s, the more lost young Republicans there will be in the next generation,? said Donald P. Green, a political scientist at Yale. But by the same rule, voters who came of age in the Reagan era are reliably Republican. Voters around the age of 36 are the only age group in which Republicans outnumber Democrats, according to 2006 surveys by the Pew Research Center. And it will be decades before they pass through the populace, “like an elephant through a boa constrictor,? Professor Hansen said.

Currently, of those who turned 20 under the GW Bush presidency, Democrats outnumber Republicans 52-37. Of course, the CW is that as people get older, they get more conservative... this remains to be seen. (Looking at the polls for the Wetterling/Bachmann race, the opposite seems to be true--in the most recent SurveyUSA poll, Bachmann has her strongest support from those under 50, while Wetterling is preferred by those over 50; Bachmann has her strongest support in Gen Y, and it declines steadily after that.)

October 27, 2006

Wetterling endorsed by Pioneer Press

This is a great endorsement for Patty and a slam on Bachmann.

Bachmann is a Stillwater lawyer whose political rise began among public school critics who see soft-headed education policies like the Profile of Learning as central-planning conspiracies. Once in the state Senate, she became a leader of the movement to cement the state's gay marriage ban in the constitution. "This is the line in the sand for our culture right now,'' she told a cheering group in Blaine this year.

Bachmann's energy, her determination and her courage made her a rock star of the fervent believers. In choosing their nominee this year, 6th District Republican activists gave short shrift to fiscal conservatives like state Reps. Phil Krinkie and Jim Knoblach, who challenged Bachmann for the party endorsement.

The YouTube generation has seen her proclaiming widespread scientific support for the intelligent design concept of life's origins, equally widespread doubts about whether global warming is a reality and saying that Terri Schiavo, the comatose Florida woman whose end-of-life treatment triggered federal intervention in 2005, was "healthy" and "not terminally ill.''

Those have become talking points among moral crusaders. But Bachmann pushes her faith-based politics well past that. In testimony to a Brooklyn Park church congregation this month — also available on YouTube — she spoke of how the Almighty called her to run for the state Senate and the U.S. Congress, and how she followed her husband's career advice because "the Lord says, 'Be submissive, wives — you are to be submissive to your husbands.' "

And, finally, how God has "focused like a laser beam in his reasoning on this race.''

We used to call that the sin of pride.

It pains us, in the middle of a campaign, to have to pry into these private, spiritual moments. The issue is not that she believes. It is that she builds political support by claiming to know which side God is on. We say that's unknowable.

Uh-oh: the anti-Christian bigots at the PiPress strike again!

I love this frame contrasting Bachmann with Wetterling:

Wetterling, on the other hand, comes by her moral standing the hard way.

The unsolved kidnapping of her 11-year-old son, Jacob, during an outing to a small-town convenience store in 1989 changed the state. Wetterling emerged from the tragedy as a soft-spoken advocate for child safety and resilient motherhood. She is a living Oprah book — the indomitable mom, undefeated by the worst life can deliver.

"I refused to let the guy who took Jacob take anything else,'' she said of her determination to save her marriage, her family and work for her community. Presidents and governors heeded her message and wanted her at their bill-signing ceremonies.

They also discuss the issues, and conclude that Wetterling is a better fit for the district:

It is hard to separate policy from personality in the 6th. But we submit that Bachmann, in focusing on cutting taxes during a time of war, will not be the voice that this growing region needs. Schools, highways and transit programs will put demands on the state and federal budget. We appreciate fiscal conservatism, but rigid, anti-tax fervor can simply put too much pressure on property-tax payers.

Wetterling is committed to transit and transportation solutions — she particularly emphasized the North Star Corridor commuter rail project. Her support of abortion rights will turn off many voters in the district. But her advocacy for education and health care will be welcomed by many more. And where Bachmann would arrive in Congress with her mind made up on most topics, Wetterling, if she grows in her grasp of the issues, could become a force for moderation and bipartisanship.

[...]

Many 6th District voters will only care that Bachmann is opposed to abortion and Wetterling supports abortion rights, or that Bachmann has an "R" next to her name and Wetterling a "D." We hope some go deeper. When they do, perhaps they will find themselves, as we did, far more comfortable with the inspiring life story and effective advocacy of Patty Wetterling than with the crusading, divisive career of Michele Bachmann.

Send Patty Wetterling to Congress.

Update: Did you notice how much of this stuff comes from the blogs?

-Bachmann's "central planning conspiracies": credit The Bachmann Record.

-all the YouTube videos mentioned: credit Ken Avidor and others at Dump Bachmann, as well as others like Pharyngula and DailyKos, which made the videos an (admittedly smallish) internet phenomenon, and Minnesota Monitor/11th Avenue South, which raised the IRS issue regarding Bachmann's church politicking speech.

At least the editorial board has been reading the blogs, even if the PiPress news staff hasn't!

October 25, 2006

TV debates this weekend

Try to watch these. From a Wetterling campaign e-mail:

League of Women Voters Debate
Broadcast on KSTP, channel 5
Friday, Oct. 27
7:00 p.m.

WCCO Debate

Broadcast on WCCO, channel 4

Sat, Oct. 28

11:05 p.m

No additional details, but the WCCO debate seems kind of late...

Stay the course - part deux!

As a reminder,

Michele Bachmann, 10/5/06:

In taking editorial board questions, Bachmann explained while the reasoning behind the U.S. invasion of Iraq might be debated, America is there.

"And I do believe we need to stay the course," she said.

Now watch this great DNC ad.

Uhhhh.... Custard it is, then!

bushbachmannyogurt.JPG

New SurveyUSA poll shows Bachmann up

Crazy! This race is topsy-turvy. It's going down to the wire.

SurveyUSA 10/22/06 - 10/24/06 MOE 3.7% Bachmann 49 Wetterling 43 Binkowski 5 Undecided 3

Still within the margin of error. The recent trend for Wetterling had been encouraging; I'll add it to my chart and get a new trend graph up soon.

Recent polls had shown Wetterling up by 5 (Majority Watch) and 8 (Minnesota Poll). The last SurveyUSA poll, released October 9th, showed Bachmann up by 3.

H/T to MDE who was first on the draw.

Wetterling racks up another newspaper endorsement

The newspaper syndicate ECM Publishers, which publishes small papers across the Sixth District, has endorsed Patty Wetterling. This is a big change, as they endorsed Kennedy in '04, and have endorsed other Republican candidates this year (Ramstad, Pawlenty). Here's what they have to say:

ECM EDITORIAL BOARD: Wetterling deserving of chance in 6th District

[...]

Our endorsement two years ago in the Sixth District went to Mark Kennedy over Wetterling. We felt he was best suited to continue in that job and that America was on the right track.

In 2006, we are endorsing Patty Wetterling.

The recent events in Washington with the Foley page scandal and its handling and the sum total of two more years of Republican control in Congress are enough to conclude it is time for change. Electing Wetterling is a step in the right direction.

In the past two years we have witnessed little progress with the war in Iraq. The growth in sectarian violence is approaching a full civil war and U.S. troops are caught in the crossfire. Our national debt is fast approaching $9 trillion and the current leadership has turned a $200 billion annual budget surplus to a $300 billion annual deficit in six years. Social Security remains in peril while those in upper-level income classes are handed tax breaks.

Wetterling is on record favoring a gradual withdrawal from the conflict, establishing benchmarks for the Iraqi government to stand up and thus enable U.S. forces to stand down. Staying-the-course as Bachmann supports is an indication she would never oppose the Bush folks. She is unwilling to distinguish Iraq from the much larger war on terror.

Wetterling would also put a clamp on the continued raiding of the Social Security Trust Fund while Bachmann has spoken positively of privatization of Social Security.

On taxes, Wetterling would work to protect middle-income taxpayers and suggests the wealthiest 1 percent carry their fair share of the tax bill. That conflicts with Bachmann who favors the push to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. It is little wonder that we continue to pile debt upon the shoulders of future generations while pushing through tax cuts during a time of war.

We believe Wetterling's time to serve in a new capacity has come. In the 17 years since the abduction of her son, Wetterling has grown in prominence on a national scale as an advocate and policy maker for missing and exploited youth. She has worked on the national stage and is a skilled consensus builder who can get things done.

Electing Bachmann will do little to break the gridlock in Washington, only place someone in power who is in lockstep with the president on matters where he is unwilling to compromise at great cost.

Bachmann's record in the senate is less than sterling. She has been a lightning rod for social conservative issues such as opposing gay marriage, and is often an obstructionist. She says she is persuadable and now a backer of the Northstar rail line. But her senate opposition resulted in delays that mean only half of the Northstar line can be built for the onetime cost of the entire line. It is such extreme views that make her wrong for the Sixth District.

In John Binkowski, the Independence Party candidate, voters have a third choice. He is a likable, energetic, intelligent and idealistic candidate who has some good ideas but little realistic chance to be a winner, only a spoiler in this race.

In Patty Wetterling's interview with the ECM Editorial Board, we listened to a candidate who has grown light years since 2004 when she came across at times as unprepared and unsure. But no more. She is ready to serve on the Congresional stage and we would all benefit from that service.

ECM publishes the following newspapers, a good portion of which are in the Sixth District:

Anoka County Union
Blaine-Spring Lake Park Life
Coon Rapids Herald
Caledonia Argus
Dakota County Tribune
ECM Post Review
Forest Lake Times
Isanti County News
Mille Lacs County Times
Morrison County Record
Princeton Union-Eagle
Star News
Thisweek Apple Valley
Thisweek Burnsville
Thisweek Eagan
Thisweek Farmington
Thisweek Life&Times
Thisweek Prior Lake
Thisweek Rosemount
Thisweek Savage

October 24, 2006

Patty Wetterling endorsed by Star Tribune

Here is the Strib's endorsement:

Sixth District: Wetterling

Voters who have followed this race via TV commercials might think it's a classic showdown between a conservative, Republican Michele Bachmann, and a liberal, the DFL's Patty Wetterling. But voters who have taken a good, careful look will recognize that Wetterling is the real moderate here -- a compassionate but sensible voice for mainstream Minnesota values.

Bachmann has campaigned on broad strokes of low taxes and patriotic ideals. But her career in the Minnesota Senate was built on the narrowest of agendas, chiefly injecting her religious values into the public sphere. Her recent testimony to a Brooklyn Park congregation that God called her to run for Congress -- and win -- is an embarrassment, and despite her polish, she is surprisingly shallow on national issues.

Wetterling, by contrast, is a genuine centrist. She supports a balanced budget and tax cuts for the middle class; she wants the troops home from Iraq, but would ask the generals how to do it; she believes in traditional marriage, but not dragging the U.S. Constitution into the matter. When asked to cite favorite politicians, she quickly names Rep. Jim Ramstad and former Sen. David Durenberger, both respected Republicans.

Wetterling made her name as an advocate for child safety, but she has used the tragic experience of her son's abduction years ago to acquire broad policy expertise and considerable experience in Washington, and it has shown her to be an individual of uncommon courage and hope.

Independence Party candidate John Binkowski of St. Mary's Point brings a young voice to the race -- alternately funny, incisive and blunt -- but he needs to prove himself in public life before asking voters to send him to Congress.

Go Patty! Send Patty Wetterling to Congress.

October 23, 2006

Wetterling endorsed by police, firefighters, nurses

Wetterling for Congress Press Release:

At a state Capitol press conference today, Minnesota's first responders declared their support for 6th District congressional candidate Patty Wetterling, while Wetterling proclaimed her commitment to keeping families and communities safe and fighting to give first responders the tools and resources they need.

"We trust Patty Wetterling," says Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Executive Director, Bill Gillespie. "For 17 years she's worked with law enforcement to make our communities safer. We know that as a member of Congress, she'll fight just as hard, tough, and smart to keep America safe and to strengthen our homeland security."

"We are more interested in a dialogue," said Gillespie, "and the one we've had with Patty Wetterling is more than we ever had with Sen. Bachmann."

"I'm running for Congress because we need a new direction," said Wetterling. "Current leadership in Washington, through a disastrous budget and misdirected priorities, has failed to provide first responders with the necessary resources."Wetterling said, "State and local budget crises are forcing cities to fire police, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel -- even as more of them are needed to meet the increased demands of homeland security."

If elected, Wetterling pledged to work hard to provide first responders with the funding they need for tools and training and will fight to ensure that community safety is a top priority in Washington.

Another reason to vote Democratic this year:

[Wetterling] believes all of the comprehensive recommendations of the 9-11 Commission should be enacted into law including implementation of the technology for first responders to communicate between jurisdictions and in times of emergency. Democrats, if they regain the majority in the House, have pledged to enact the bipartisan recommendations within the first 100 hours of Congress.

Who said Democrats don't have a plan? Here's a good article on the planned Democratic agenda if they take control of the House.

Why have the Republicans, with control of all branches of government, failed to enact these important pieces of legislation? They talk tough on terror, but they have utterly failed to make the substantive changes that will protect this country from terrorism. Their war in Iraq has made us less safe from terrorism; their "fight them there so we don't have to fight them here" rhetoric gets less and less believable with each reminder (Madrid, London, India) that terrorists are still determined to strike us, and the "stay the course" meme is so weak that even Bush is now abandoning it.

True to form, Michele Bachmann proved this weekend that she is more interested in fear-mongering and playing politics with terror than with keeping this nation safe. She hyped a false story about a terrorist plot against NFL stadiums, even after the story even after it had been disproven.

We need a leader in Congress who will pledge to take action to keep this country safe, rather than use empty rhetoric and fear-mongering to gain political advantage. Our nation's safety is too important to play politics with. Patty Wetterling understands this, and that's why our state's first responders have pledged their support.

Send Patty Wetterling to Congress.

Stay the course?

What to do when even your most steadfast friends are abandoning their cherished, time-worn "stay the course" frame on Iraq?

Michele Bachmann, 10/5/06:

In taking editorial board questions, Bachmann explained while the reasoning behind the U.S. invasion of Iraq might be debated, America is there.

"And I do believe we need to stay the course," she said.


George W. Bush, 10/22/06
:

STEPHANOPOULOS: James Baker says that he’s looking for something between “cut and run? and “stay the course.?

BUSH: Well, hey, listen, we’ve never been “stay the course,? George. We have been — we will complete the mission, we will do our job, and help achieve the goal, but we’re constantly adjusting to tactics. Constantly.

Uhhh... Custard, anyone?

bushbachmannyogurt.JPG

October 20, 2006

Quote of the day

"Dobson and his gang of thugs are real nasty bullies. I pray devoutly every day, but being a Christian is no excuse for being stupid. There is a high demagoguery coefficient to issues like prayer in schools... These issues are intellectually lazy and can appeal to a large demographic."

Who could have said such a thing? It must have been a High Tax Liberal Politician We Can't Trust. No? Perhaps an anti-Christian bigot? Guess again, it's former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey, quoted in Ryan Sager's book The Elephant in the Room. NYTimes today has an article about the "blame game" between Republicans over their upcoming losses in November.

Apparently Armey has sparred with Dobson in the past:

According to Armey, he also sparred with Focus on the Family leader James Dobson while in office. Armey wrote, "As Majority Leader, I remember vividly a meeting with the House leadership where Dobson scolded us for having failed to 'deliver' for Christian conservatives, that we owed our majority to him, and that he had the power to take our jobs back. This offended me, and I told him so." Armey claims that Focus on the Family targeted him politically after the incident, writing, "... Focus on the Family deliberately perpetuates the lie that I am a consultant to the ACLU."

Bachmann's sweet tooth

I found an amusing juxtaposition in Michele Bachmann's FEC reports. Check it out!

sweettooth.gif

timmytooth.jpg

Timmy the Tooth asks, Michele, whose side are you on?

October 19, 2006

More corrupt money for Bachmann

Michele Bachmann on 9/29/2006 received a $1,000 contribution from John Doolittle's Superior California Federal Leadership PAC. Doolittle is a representative from California, and has been named one of the "most corrupt members of Congress" by CREW. His alleged misdealings:

-tied to Abramoff scandal:

In 1999, Rep. Doolittle also assisted Jack Abramoff in securing a lucrative lobbying contract with the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, helped Mr. Abramoff stave off legislation protecting workers in the CNMI and wrote letters on behalf of some of Mr. Abramoff’s tribal casinos. In return, Rep. Doolittle, an alleged gambling foe, has received $130,000 from gambling tribes with ties to Mr. Abramoff. If Rep. Doolittle has received contributions from Mr. Abramoff in return for legislative assistance he may have violated prohibitions against bribery, honest services fraud and House rules.

-employed his wife as a fundraiser, paying her over $215,000 since 2001 to raise money for his campaign.

-connection to defense contractor Brent Wilkes and the bribery scandal surrounding Duke Cunnningham; he earmarked $37 million for one of Wilkes' companies after receiving over $100,000 in campaign contributions from Wilkes' employees, associates, and lobbyists for the company, and their families.

-Along with Richard Pombo (another big Bachmann donor and fellow "most corrupt" member with Doolittle), used his influence on the House Resources Committee to protect Houston millionaire Charles Hurwitz from an investigation by the FDIC.

In her latest filing, Bachmann also accepted another $2,000 from corrupt congressman Pete Sessions, from his campaign fund. She had already received $10,000 from his PETE PAC leadership PAC.

Sessions is also in trouble for alleged misdeeds involving defense contracts, and for his role in the Abramoff scandal helping out one of Abramoff's Indian gambling clients in exchange for campaign donations.

This brings the amount of money Bachmann has received from CREW's Most Corrupt Members of Congress to at least $49,000. I previously posted on Bachmann's ties to this corruption here. You can also access my Excel spreadsheet listing Bachmann's contributions from members of Congress (it is not yet updated for the most recent FEC filing.)

How can we trust Michele Bachmann, if elected, to hold her fellows in the House responsible for their unethical and corrupt behavior when she has depended on their dirty money to fund her campaign?

Do you want these people in control of Congress?

I've noticed a lot of Republican commentators, knowing that the vast majority of voters are feeling dissatisfied with and dejected by the record of our Republican-controlled government over the last few years, start to play the fear card. Their argument basically seems to be this:

I know our Republican-controlled government has screwed up royally in pretty much every conceivable way over the past few years, and there's no reason to think that anything will change if our party stays in power. But please, I'm begging you, don't stay home this year, don't cast a "protest vote," and for the love of God DON'T vote for the Democrat. Do you really want NANCY PELOSI, A HIGH-TAX SAN FRANCISCO (=gay!) LIBERAL POLITICIAN BABY-KILLER CUT-AND-RUNNER WE CAN'T TRUST, to become Majority Leader?!?!?!?!

They then proceed to list all of Pelosi's sins, and raise the fear factor by telling us what CRAZY LIBERALS will come to positions of power if the Democrats win control of the House.

As an antidote, consider the Republican fools that hold significant positions of power in our government right now. Here are a couple of examples from a recent op-ed in the New York Times:

[T]o his credit, Mr. Hulon, a distinguished agent who is up nights worrying about Al Qaeda while we safely sleep, did at least know that the vicious struggle between Islam’s Abel and Cain was driving Iraq into civil war. But then we pay him to know things like that, the same as some members of Congress.

Take Representative Terry Everett, a seven-term Alabama Republican who is vice chairman of the House intelligence subcommittee on technical and tactical intelligence.

“Do you know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?? I asked him a few weeks ago.

Mr. Everett responded with a low chuckle. He thought for a moment: “One’s in one location, another’s in another location. No, to be honest with you, I don’t know. I thought it was differences in their religion, different families or something.?

To his credit, he asked me to explain the differences. I told him briefly about the schism that developed after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, and how Iraq and Iran are majority Shiite nations while the rest of the Muslim world is mostly Sunni. “Now that you’ve explained it to me,? he replied, “what occurs to me is that it makes what we’re doing over there extremely difficult, not only in Iraq but that whole area.?

"Extremely difficult"--Ya think?! This also begs the question... what exactly are we doing over there? No one seems to know. "Stay the course" is not a plan that will help us "win" the occupation of Iraq. He's not the only Republican leader on national security who doesn't know the difference between Sunni and Shiite:

Representative Jo Ann Davis, a Virginia Republican who heads a House intelligence subcommittee charged with overseeing the C.I.A.’s performance in recruiting Islamic spies and analyzing information, was similarly dumbfounded when I asked her if she knew the difference between Sunnis and Shiites.

“Do I?? she asked me. A look of concentration came over her face. “You know, I should.? She took a stab at it: “It’s a difference in their fundamental religious beliefs. The Sunni are more radical than the Shia. Or vice versa. But I think it’s the Sunnis who’re more radical than the Shia.?

Did she know which branch Al Qaeda’s leaders follow?

“Al Qaeda is the one that’s most radical, so I think they’re Sunni,? she replied. “I may be wrong, but I think that’s right.?

Did she think that it was important, I asked, for members of Congress charged with oversight of the intelligence agencies, to know the answer to such questions, so they can cut through officials’ puffery when they came up to the Hill?

“Oh, I think it’s very important,? said Ms. Davis, “because Al Qaeda’s whole reason for being is based on their beliefs. And you’ve got to understand, and to know your enemy.?

It’s not all so grimly humorous. Some agency officials and members of Congress have easily handled my “gotcha? question. But as I keep asking it around Capitol Hill and the agencies, I get more and more blank stares. Too many officials in charge of the war on terrorism just don’t care to learn much, if anything, about the enemy we’re fighting. And that’s enough to keep anybody up at night.

People, these are two of the Republican leaders that are supposed to know about this stuff. They hold important positions charged with overseeing our national security apparatus, but they are completely clueless. They don't believe the news from Iraq, challenging every piece of bad news with something like, "well, what about all the progress we've made over there? Why isn't the media reporting the positive stuff?"

Rather than try to make a real plan to deal with the chaos in Iraq, Republicans would rather rely on empty slogans like "stay the course!" and "support our troops!", and questioning those who dissent by asking, "Why do you hate America?" They gloss over their failures and deflect blame with ridiculous oversimplifications like this classic from Rick Santorum:

"As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else. It's being drawn to Iraq and it's not being drawn to the U.S. You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don't want the Eye to come back here to the United States."

— Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), comparing the Iraq War with The Lord of the Rings, in an interview with the Bucks County Courier Times editorial board late last week [via Salon]

Somehow I doubt that "positive news" from Iraq is much consolation to the families of the 70 American soldiers killed this month in Iraq. Oversimplified and idiotic Lord of the Rings analogies are not much help to the families of the 655,000 Iraqi civilians killed since the invasion.

We need leaders who are serious, who know their stuff, and who have the guts and intellect to see that we need a change of course in Iraq. Our Republican-controlled government has failed us. Vote Patty Wetterling for Congress.

October 17, 2006

Minnesota Poll shows Wetterling with 8-point lead

The Star Tribune's Minnesota Poll continues the trend of positive polls for Patty. This race is trending her way. Results were:

Wetterling 48
Bachmann 40
Binkowski 4
Other/None 3
No opinion 5

Margin of error is 4.5%, so this race is still within the margin of error, but Patty's trend is encouraging.

The poll also shows interesting stats on favorability ratings: 56% have a positive view of Wetterling, compared to just 44% for Bachmann. The two candidates' unfavorability ratings are about the same. Only 1% of voters don't know who Patty is, while 9% still haven't heard of Michele.

To show the trend, I've put together a chart showing all the poll results to date. The data points are accompanied by a 2-period moving average to illustrate the trend. You can view it here.

cd6poll1.gif

October 14, 2006

Would Michele Bachmann use her "visions" as a basis for deciding national policy?

Now Ken Avidor has posted the first half of Bachmann's "testimony" in Brooklyn Park.

This is utterly astonishing. Watch the entire 10-minute "testimony." This is Michele Bachmann as you've never seen her before. This is the real Michele Bachmann, the one that her campaign has done a very good job of hiding from the voting public at large (with the aid of a complicit, docile news media who refuse to examine this side of her.)

This is a Michele Bachmann who talks about having "visions," and basing life decisions on those "visions." To those who haven't watched the video, these are the self-identified facts of Bachmann's narrative of her marriage:

1. Michele and her "girlfriend" study the Bible at college.
2. Michele begins to have "visions" of her future wedding with Marcus Bachmann at his parents' farm in Wisconsin.
3. Marcus Bachmann has similar visions.
4. They decide to get married on the basis of these visions, not because they want to, but because God wants them to.
5. The romantic side of their relationship takes a further two years to develop. (It is unclear if this is before or after their vision-ordained marriage.)

Questions raised by this narrative:

1. Does Michele Bachmann still have "visions"?
2. Would she use these "visions" to make policy decisions, if elected to Congress?

The thought of electing this woman to Congress is truly terrifying. What if she has a "vision" of nuclear warheads raining down on Tehran? Will she do everything in her power to make that "vision" a reality?

Before you object, I don't think this is all too unlikely. Remember when God "spoke" to George Bush and told him to invade Iraq?

"President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God,' " said Nabil Shaath, who was the Palestinian foreign minister at the time of a top-level meeting with Bush in June 2003. Mahmoud Abbas, then Palestinian prime minister and now the Palestinian Authority president, was also present for the conversation with Bush.

"God would tell me, 'George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.' And I did, and then God would tell me, 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq ...' And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East.' And by God I'm gonna do it," Shaath quotes the president as saying in the three-part series.

Do you remember how that turned out?

Nearly 3000 Coalition soldiers dead. Thousands more maimed and wounded, not to mention those psychologically scarred for life.
An estimated 655,000 Iraqi civillians killed by Coalition bombs and bullets, terrorists, insurgents, and sectarian death squads. 2.5% of the population of Iraq.

Keep Michele Bachmann and her "visions" out of Congress.

Wetterling fundraiser with musician Tim Mahoney tomorrow in Elk River

Here is the info in a pdf. Maybe some of you can make it. They're asking $25 per family, which seems reasonable. You get to hear some good music, and there will also be hot dogs and face painting.

Here's Tim Mahoney's website. You can listen to some of his stuff there.

Here are the details in text format:

Please join us Sunday, October 15
AN AFTERNOON IN HONOR OF OUR NEXT CONGRESSWOMAN PATTY WETTERLING

Join us for an afternoon of entertainment, food and fun for the kids!

Come hear musician Tim Mahoney perform a live acoustic show

For more information, visit http://www.timmahoney.com/

Hot dogs!

Facepainting for the kids!

Orono Park, Elk River — Shelter #2

At the intersection of Gary Street and Highway 10

1pm - 1:45 pm: Tim Mahoney performs.

1:45 pm - 2:00 pm: Patty Wetterling speaks.

2:00 pm - 2:45 pm: Tim Mahoney performs.

2:45 pm - 4:00 pm: Meet and greet with Patty.

$25 donation / family

If you can't make it, you can always simulate the live experience by listening to some of Mahoney's music on his website and making a donation through Patty's website.

Does God speak to Michele Bachmann? Is she a "fool for Christ"?

Wow. You absolutely need to watch this video at DumpBachmann. This is hot off the presses, Michele Bachmann speaking today at a church politics-fest in Brooklyn Park.

In this video, Michele Bachmann claims that God spoke to her and told her to run, that she "fasted and prayed" for three days prior to making her decision. She also claims that God is "focusing in like a laser beam on this race," apparently because of the media coverage on the Foley scandal.

Most Christians would not be comfortable with Bachmann's self-aggrandizing language. The voters need to be informed that this is how their Republican candidate for the U.S. House thinks of herself.

Patty Wetterling should run this entire 4-minute Bachmann speech as a campaign ad. Seriously. Just run it once on WCCO or KSTP or KARE. The rest will take care of itself. Or edit the most ridiculous parts into a 30-second ad.

People deserve to know about the extreme views of this self-described "fool for Christ."

Those who don't know much about the Russian Orthodox religion might be interested to learn the meaning behind the term "fool for Christ." Here's a brief summary:

One form of the ascetic Christian life is called foolishness for the sake of Christ. The fool-for-Christ set for himself the task of battling within himself the root of all sin, pride. In order to accomplish this he took on an unusual style of life, appearing as someone bereft of his mental faculties, thus bringing upon himself the ridicule of others. In addition he exposed the evil in the world through metaphorical and symbolic words and actions. He took this ascetic endeavor upon himself in order to humble himself and to also more effectively influence others, since most people respond to the usual ordinary sermon with indifference. The spiritual feat of foolishness for Christ was especially widespread in Russia. --(Excerpted from The Law of God, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, NY: 1993)

The most famous of these "holy fools" is probably St. Basil, an important religious figure in Russian Orthodoxy.

Saint Basil or Vasily (known also as Vasily Blazhenny, Basil Fool for Christ or Basil the Blessed; Russian: Ва?илий Блаженный) is a Russian Orthodox saint born to serfs in 1469 in Yelokhov, near Moscow. He is thought to have died in 1552 or 1557 and was canonised around 1580.

Basil is considered a yurodivy or holy fool. Originally an apprentice shoemaker in Moscow, he adopted an eccentric lifestyle of shoplifting and giving to the poor. He went naked and weighed himself down with chains. He rebuked Ivan the Terrible for not paying attention in church.

He is buried in St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, which was commissioned by Ivan and is named after the saint.

Michele Bachmann, the "fool for Christ." WOW.

It is interesting to note that the website for the Living Word Christian Center promotes Bachmann's "testimony" thusly:

Guest Speaker Michele Bachmann
When: Oct 14 - 15
Time: During all weekend services
Location: Sanctuary
Description: Minnesota Senator Michele Bachmann is a national speaker on education, tax, and pro-family issues, and the Chief Senate author of the Defense of Marriage Amendment.

No mention of her status as a candidate for the U.S. House. Yet the pastor mentions in the video that "voter guides" will be available following the service. Sounds like the IRS would be interested.

I am personally offended by the pastor's statement:

"Now, I don't want any more letters about how church and politics don't mix. If that's your opinion, then you need to get saved."

We don't need anyone representing us who truly believes that, if you don't share her views, you are going to Hell. Isn't that what this pastor is saying?

October 12, 2006

Michele Bachmann: scientist, doctor, and lawyer!

Michele Bachmann has gotten some unwanted national exposure the last couple of days on YouTube.

In this video (linked to by Daily Kos and Wonkette at least, and probably others), Michele Bachmann denies the existence of global warming and says we need to "look at the science."

Gee, those scientists have sure dropped the ball on this one! Wonder what they've been doing for the past few decades? Why haven't they been looking at the science, trying to reach a scientific consensus?

In a video from last night's debate in Stillwater, Bachmann says she would have voted to "protect the life of Terri Schiavo," and claims that Schiavo was "healthy" and "not terminally ill."

Thanks, Dr. Bachmann! Good to see you've been consulting with fellow doctor Bill Frist and his amazing video diagnosis techniques.

Thanks to reader Lisa for the tip.

Warning: There are some nasty comments and personal attacks on Bachmann in these threads, which I do not condone. I do like this comment, from "astron1000":

Bachman[n] is really a victim of muddied thinking. Listen very carefully! Her comments subtley [sic] cast doubt on science in general, implying that science first thinks one way, then another. Her brand of conservatism assumes that truth is universal and unchanging. Her touchstone is the [B]ible, which she argues is the ultimate truth and is unchanging. She's one of many, many conservatives in this country who are maliciously undermining rational and skeptical thought.

New poll shows Wetterling up 5!

A new poll is out from RT Strategies/Constituent Dynamics, the firm that released the first Sixth District poll back at the end of August. The August poll did not use candidates' names, but instead used their party affiliations. That poll found the Republican candidate up by a margin of 53-42.

Now, things have reversed. The candidates are named, and Wetterling is up 50-45 with an MOE of 3.09%. It's still within the margin of error, so it's like I've been saying all along: this race is going down to the wire.

Neither poll included IP candidate John Binkowski, but the option "other" gets 3% in this poll. Polls that included Binkowski showed him at about 6-7 points.

See the poll results in a nifty graphical format here. The wonks out there can check out the crosstabs in this pdf.

I'm going to try to create a graph of all the polls released to date. I will post that later, along with further analysis of this encouraging poll.

October 11, 2006

Wetterling raises $822,000

The Star Tribune is reporting that the Sixth District race could be one of the nation's most costly, and could break the record set in the '04 Kennedy-Wetterling race for the most expensive House race in Minnesota history. In her most recent filing, Patty Wetterling reported receipts of $822,000 as of Sept. 30th, bringing her total amount raised to $2.1 million. Michele Bachmann has not yet filed; the deadline (I believe) is Oct. 15th.

From the article:

Wetterling and Bachmann, locked in a virtual tie in a Republican-leaning district, still have five weeks of fundraising to report to the FEC, covering the period from Oct. 1 until the Nov. 7 election.

"The trajectory is that we're headed for record territory," said Carleton College political scientist Steven Schier.

The race became the focus of national attention last week when Wetterling put out the first TV ad in the country calling for a criminal investigation in the Foley scandal.

In addition, both political parties' congressional campaign committees are pouring, or soon are expected to pour, more money into the race for television spots.

Wetterling's $2.1 million outpaces by 50% the $1.4 million she had raised at the same point in 2004.

Wetterling's report is not on the FEC site yet, but it should be soon.

October 10, 2006

More thoughts on the poll

First, check out what Jeff Kouba has to say over at BvW on the new SurveyUSA poll. His analysis seems sound and is worth reading. He discusses the impact of the most recent Wetterling ads and what role they may play in the new poll numbers.

Jeff also points out the crosstabs for this poll, and they tell an interesting story.

Look at the movement of the poll numbers across the three days of the poll:

Day 1, 10/6: Bachmann 50, Wetterling 42, Binkowski 6, Undecided 2
Day 2, 10/7: Bachmann 45, Wetterling 44, Binkowski 9, Undecided 1
Day 3, 10/8: Bachmann 46, Wetterling 45, Binkowski 7, Undecided 2

Wetterling's numbers jumped by 3 points, while Bachmann's fell by 5, across the three days of the survey. Now, because of the margin of error and the smaller sample size for each day, the movement might not mean anything. The degree to which Binkowski's numbers jumped around over the three days is a confounding factor for this theory. But one could reasonably infer that the overall trend, if there is one, is the Foley scandal having its impact. Remember, Patty's ad on the Foley scandal began running 10/3, and she delivered the national radio address on 10/7. During the past week there has been an enormous wave of media coverage for Wetterling, and Bachmann in interviews has seemed pouty and angry about the attention being given to Wetterling. It is conceivable that there would be a lag time between the ad and its effects.

A surprising and depressing story told in the crosstabs is the degree to which self-identified "Democrats" and "Liberals" are crossing over to support Binkowski, and even (shudder) Bachmann. Seriously-- 9 percent of liberals and 9 percent of Democrats support Binkowski?! 9% of liberals and 7% of Democrats support Michele Bachmann?

I would like to retract my earlier statement about this poll overstating support for Binkowski. I did some research and found that the Independence Party candidate in 2002 got around 7.5% of the vote, so I feel it is conceivable that Binkowski could receive a similar number. Some liberals could be attracted to his platform, for instance, because of his criticism of Israel's invasion of Lebanon, which was not popular among many liberals, but which both Bachmann and Wetterling expressed support for. I sincerely hope that, as the election gets closer, many of this group will switch their vote to Wetterling as it becomes apparent that John Binkowski cannot win and that the consequence of voting for him may be to elect Michele Bachmann.

But I am completely at a loss to account for the 9% of liberals that say they'll vote for Michele Bachmann, in my opinion one of the most reactionary conservative candidates ever to run for public office in this state. What could account for this? Is it the gay marriage issue? I know anti-gay-marriage liberals, though I don't think they are single-issue voters. Perhaps it is something else?

Finally, I would like to ask for your help. The SurveyUSA poll counts as "likely voters" an even 50-50 split between men and women. My research reveals that, in the counties that make up the Sixth, there is a very even demographic split between the genders, perhaps slightly tilted . But conventional wisdom is that women vote in greater numbers than men. An extensive Google search turned up no records of past Sixth District election records that included breakdowns by gender. If anyone is able to find them, please let me know. They would be very helpful to see if the poll's assumptions about the gender split are accurate.

If they are not, and more women end up voting than men, it could have a very beneficial effect for Patty Wetterling-- she leads among women by a 50-41 margin.

New poll shows race is still extremely close

A SurveyUSA poll released yesterday shows these results:

Bachmann 47 Wetterling 44 Binkowski 7 Undecided 2

The margin of error is 3.9%.

Here is the methodology.

I think that this poll significantly overstates support for John Binkowski, and significantly understates the number of undecided voters.

There is good news for Patty Wetterling in this poll; the last SurveyUSA poll showed a 50-41 gap in favor of Bachmann, which is now significantly closer. The trend in most recent polls has shown a significantly narrower gap than in the first two polls which were released for the Sixth. However, the race has been extremely tight all along; at no point did any poll show a result very much outside of the margin of error.

This race will come down to the wire, but the trend for Wetterling is encouraging.

Props to GOP WIngman at BvW for picking this one up.

October 9, 2006

More extreme rhetoric from Michele Bachmann: Democratic Congress would put American culture "at stake"

I didn't have a chance to read Hugh Hewitt's interview with Michele Bachmann until just now. It contains some gems, such as this one:

And if you have Patty Wetterling win this seat, and Congress flips and goes Democrat, I'm just going to tell you this. Our country is at stake. Our security, our tax policy, our culture and morals. And we just have so much at stake, that at this point, everybody had to get up, get in gear, volunteer, write checks, do what you have to do for the next 33 days. But let's not lose these elections.

It reminds me of Bachmann's fundraising pal Denny Hastert, who had this to say about why, if he resigns over the Foley cover-up, the terrorists win:

But, you know, this is a political issue in itself, too, and what we’ve tried to do as the Republican Party is make a better economy, protect this country against terrorism — and we’ve worked at it ever since 9/11, worked with the president on it — and there are some people that try to tear us down. We are the insulation to protect this country, and if they get to me it looks like they could affect our election as well.

Folks, if the Democrats win Congress, the country is not at stake, as Bachmann would have you believe. What a crazy, extreme statement. Really? "Our security, our tax policy, our culture and morals." All of them will be wiped out by a Democratic Congress. Riiiiiiiiiight.

Our security will be better, because our troops will be at home protecting our country, not engaged in wars in the Middle East, and that will free up resources to improve our transit security, port security, and all the other security-related items that will be the focus of a Democratic Congress. This is a return to the sane--but not weak-- foreign and domestic security policy that was practiced before the Bush administration by both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Michele Bachmann likes to claim that Patty Wetterling will raise taxes by repealing the Bush tax cuts, but this. is. a. LIE. She has proposed additional tax breaks for the vast majority of the middle class, who have been squeezed by rising tuition, property taxes, and wage stagnation under the Bush "tax cuts." The only people who will pay more taxes under a Democratic plan are the wealthy, who disproportionately benefit from the Bush tax cuts. This seems to be a return to a sane tax policy, the one that existed before Bush came into office, not a complete destruction of our nation's tax policy. (BTW, which is the only candidate that would not consider the insane national sales tax proposal, that truly would be a radical change to our nation's tax policy? Patty Wetterling. So who's the flaming radical?)

And, most ridiculous of all, our "culture and morals" will be wiped out by a Democratic Congress? That's ridiculous. Leaving aside the question of whether there truly ever can be a homogenous, unchanging American culture and set of moral values, the premise itself is ridiculous. I guess she means that the values that she believes in, the heteronormative evangelical Christian moral and cultural code, will be destroyed if Patty Wetterling is elected. But Democrats believe that everyone has a right to practice their own religion and their own set of values; Bachmann and her friends in the WELS can practice their lives and their religion in whatever way they wish. On the culture front, it would take more than two years to destroy American culture, a worldwide phenomenon that has been profoundly influential to cultures and nations around the world. Though it can be influenced by what the government does, it is a largely separate entity, and changes naturally of its own accord in response to current events, trends, personalities, and technologies. So to say that a Democratic Congress would "destroy American culture" is just ridiculous.

Does Michele Bachmann believe her own rhetoric? If so, we should be extremely concerned if this conspiracy theorist is elected to Congress.

If this is mere rhetoric, we should be concerned that this woman would say something this extreme to get votes. It would make it clear that she would be a divisive figure, cutting off at least half (if not more) of her constituents from having any voice in Washington.

Either way, these comments are alarming.

Bloggers debate on radio

This past Saturday, there was a debate on the Northern Alliance Radio Network with Jeff Kouba of BvW and Eva Young of DumpBachmann. You can listen to it here.

I was invited at the last minute to participate in the debate, but unfortunately I was unable to. I am listening to it right now, and it got pretty ugly. I wish I had been there to get my perspective in. Eva was there with another perspective on Bachmann, but she was holding her own against three stridently pro-Bachmann, anti-Wetterling voices. Every caller to the show was pro-Bachmann, and Andy Aplikowski of BvW called in not once but twice to weigh in. I guess he was miffed because he wasn't invited on the show.

There were definitely some cheap shots thrown against Patty Wetterling on the show. One host (Michael Brodkorb of MDE, I believe) snidely remarked that Patty didn't know where Iran or Venezuela was. Then a crazy woman called in claiming that Patty Wetterling's foundation has a sexual predator working on her staff who molested her son, something I've never heard before and that I think would be pretty big news. Luckily the hosts cut this woman off.

Another woman calls in at the end ranting about the "creepy" photoshop pictures on Dump Bachmann and personally attacking Eva-- she even said she should "come out of the closet" and support Wetterling, and said that people dislike Bachmann because she's a "god-fearing Christian."

I did appreciate when a caller claimed that Patty Wetterling wants to take away Second Amendment rights, and Eva and Jeff both pointed out the statement on Patty's website that she wholeheartedly supports the right to bear arms.

Semantics

Good LTE in the Star Tribune:

Black, Republicans playing word games

Published: October 09, 2006

Eric Black's Oct. 6 article regarding Patty Wetterling's political ad on the Mark Foley scandal serves only to parse the word "coverup."

The fact is that the Republican leadership knew of the existence of these e-mails for at least a year and did not discipline Rep. Foley.

Nonfeasance (dereliction of duty) is a poor turn of phrase for such an act, and Black does a disservice to the public by calling the event anything less than hiding information from the people to protect the power of one of their own.

And that, Mr. Black, is a coverup, whether the Republicans wish to call it one or not.

BRAD BAGLEY, ST. PAUL

On a similar note, from another good post by Eric Zaetsch at DB...

The admission of the factual accuracy is an admission of circumstances most people would call a coverup. Black was splitting hairs when he applied a standard of "confession" as opposed to admitting actions which constitute a coverup. Actions speak louder than words, and when undisputed, actions can show words to be self-servingly false; as with Hastert and Reynolds.

...and a link to a Media Matters piece which lays out the evidence for a cover-up.

To paraphrase a famous comment by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart:

"I can't define 'cover-up,' but I know it when I see it."

Most Americans seem to take this view. 52% of Americans believe there was a cover-up with regards to the Foley matter.

And on another front, 53% of Americans "believe that the Bush administration purposely misled the public about evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction to build support for the U.S.- led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein."

It would appear that the Republicans have a cover-up problem on their hands.

Is this really the time for semantics?

October 7, 2006

Wetterling delivers radio address

WCCO says she "rails against GOP" in this morning's Democratic radio response to President Bush's weekly address.

I don't know if I would use the term "rail"-- from the transcript, she seems much calmer and more reasonable than that word would imply. On Google News, other media outlets are running this story with the more neutral "criticizes," and some with the more violent "jabs" instead of the word "rails." One could make an interesting analysis of the political neutrality of a particular outlet looking at how they choose to re-work AP headlines. But that's beside the point.

You can read the transcript and listen to the audio of Patty's address here, and decide for yourself.

Seventeen years ago, I committed my self and my work to strengthening penalties for those who harm children and to stopping the sexual exploitation of children. The terrible reality of child sexual abuse is that it almost always involves someone that the child knows. As was the case with Congressman Foley.

Foley sent obvious predatory signals, received loud and clear by members of the congressional leadership, who swept them under the rug to protect their political power.

If a teacher did this and the principal was told but did nothing, once the community found out, that principal would be fired.

If this happened in a church and the minister received information and he did nothing, he'd be fired.

Congressional leaders shouldn't be held to a lower standard than what we expect of our community leaders.

October 5, 2006

Bachmann's violent rhetoric

In the MPR article about the Foley dust-up yesterday, I saw this Michele Bachmann quote, and thought it a little strange:

"The unfortunate thing is that it seems like Patty Wetterling is saying, 'A bad thing happened so let's shoot everybody.' We can't do that. We can't take everyone out because a horrible occurrence happened to an individual," Bachmann said.

Then I saw more violent language in a new piece on the KARE 11 website:

Wetterling's campaign launched an ad calling for the expulsion of house leaders who may have ignored or covered up reports of Foley's behavior. An ad her opponent found surprising, "It just struck me as ironic that Patty Wetterling would rush to have an ad on television calling for lopping off Republican heads before we even know what's happened on this issue," said Michele Bachmann.

What to make of this? This isn't the Crusades or the Inquisition or the Soviet purges, Senator Bachmann. Patty Wetterling hasn't proposed "shoot[ing] everybody," "tak[ing] everyone out," or "lopping off" anyone's heads. All I see is a proposal for an investigation and a call for resignations of anyone culpable in the cover-up once all the evidence is sorted through.

So what's wrong with Michele Bachmann? I thought she looked a little angry in this KSTP interview... is it just a bad week for Michele? I would completely understand... you've got the Foley thing and the accompanying national attention for Patty, then you had the City Pages article raising unwelcome questions (that article has now hit the national 'sphere, btw)... it would be enough to make anyone angry.

There's a psychological phenomenon called projection, in which unacceptable or unwanted impulses are unconsciously assigned to another person. Are Michele's violent impulses reassigning themselves in her unconscious to her opponent, Patty?

I remember Bachmann saying she was the "tip of the spear" at some point, though about what I don't remember. It also brings back memories of Marcus Bachmann's... interesting statements at the Republican nominating convention:

"I don't think it's going to be a Republican blood bath," said Marcus Bachmann, husband of Sen. Michele Bachmann. Observing that his wife has represented more Sixth congressional district voters than anyone else in the race, he added that Bachmann would "eat up" Democratic frontrunner Patty Wetterling.

"She's pro-life, pro-family and knows the values of the district," he said, contrasting his wife to Wetterling. "Whatever's left, she'll eat for dessert," he continued, eliciting hoots and hollers from the crowd.

I'm sensing a pattern here.

I wonder what the discussion is like around the Bachmann family dinner table. Post your suggestions in the comments.

Also post any other examples of Michele's & Marcus' violent language.

On outrage and fear

This is a great post.

So is this.

The Republican majority has got to go. Start by taking back Mark Kennedy's seat for Patty Wetterling.

October 4, 2006

Wetterling ad is national news

Check out Google News. This thing is everywhere. There are positive and negative reactions, but I think this ad is doing what it's intended to do: get exposure to Patty's background and work on child-safety issues, and get the call for investigations and possible resignations out there.

This ad is looking like a brilliant move for the Wetterling campaign. They've got free, nationwide media exposure from every conceivable outlet. This, in turn, should help bring in campaign contributions in the final stretch of the campaign. Keep an eye on Patty's FEC page as we get close to the next filing deadline; I'm guessing you'll see a fair number of "48-hour notices" coming in.

On top of it all, Wetterling is slated to give the Democratic response to President Bush's weekly radio address this Saturday, giving her even more exposure.

Meanwhile, the folks over at BvW are still alleging Wetterling-DCCC conspiracies and whatnot. Haven't they heard about the new scapegoat: the gays?

On CBS News on Tuesday, correspondent Gloria Borger reported that there's anger among House Republicans at what an unidentified House GOPer called a "network of gay staffers and gay members who protect each other and did the Speaker a disservice." The implication is that these gay Republicans somehow helped page-pursuing Mark Foley before his ugly (and possibly illegal) conduct was exposed.

[UPDATE]: Eric Black has a story along the same lines here.

Political scientist Steven Smith, who lives in the Sixth District, said the Foley case offers Wetterling "about as fat a pitch down the middle of the plate as you can get in politics."

Amid evidence that the race is tight, Smith said the attention might rejuvenate Wetterling's flagging campaign. A new poll by the Zogby polling organization showed Bachmann ahead 46-43 percent. The poll was taken over several days, both before and after the Foley story broke, and Zogby spokesman Fritz Wenzel said there was no discernible difference in the poll findings between the pre-Foley and post-Foley interviewing days.

If the Foley story is really going to help Wetterling politically, it would show up in the next round of polling, Wenzel said.

[...]

Smith said Wetterling is about to receive "a truckload of favorable publicity for her background, her personal history and her expertise that will be worth more to her than all the advertising she can buy for the rest of the campaign."

I could've told you that, and I'm not a "political scientist."

"Someone always knows"

This is from a comment left at Daily Kos. For all of you who are saying that Patty Wetterling is a "tool" of the DCCC, or worse, that she had some knowledge of Mark Foley's behavior, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

Patty was livid (4+ / 0-)

I co-hosted a fund raiser for Patty in MN-6 on Sun. I'd met her a couple times before. Usually to call her mild-mannered would be making her seem too excitable. However, this matter hits her to the core. She could barely talk she would get so up set about the Foley matter and mostly the cover-up.

"Some one always knows" is what she said. Hastert, et al, have known for a year or more and did nothing. She knows Foley personally, worked with him, and was peeved.

Zogby poll shows race too close to call

The new Zogby/Reuters poll shows Bachmann 46, Wetterling 43 and 10% undecided with a +/- 4.5% margin of error.

It appears that Binkowski either was not included, or drew less than 1% in the poll.

I couldn't find the crosstabs, but here is the methodology.

This shows the race is still too close to call. In my opinion, this poll shows a more reasonable number of undecided voters than the other polls that have been released.

The poll period overlapped the Foley scandal by a few days, and would not have included the new Wetterling ad. It remains to be seen what effect that will have on the race.

October 3, 2006

City Pages takes a real look at Bachmann

G.R. Anderson has an article about Michele Bachmann that is the cover piece in the new issue of the City Pages. Go read it. That's some great reporting, far and away the best piece done about Bachmann so far by our local media, which stubbornly refuses to examine Bachmann's past and her record of being associated with extreme causes.

I hope this will spur some discussion about Bachmann in the other local media outlets.

Once again, go read the article. It's great.

New Wetterling ad demands resignations in Foleygate

Tom Scheck finds Patty's new ad, entitled "Crimes." You can view it at her website. The ad repeats again her call for resignations and accountability for those who covered up for Foley. Here is the text:

It shocks the conscience. Congressional leaders have admitted covering-up the predatory behavior of a congressman who used the internet to molest children. For a over a year they knowingly ignored the welfare of children to protect their own power.

For 17 years, Patty Wetterling has fought for tougher penalties against those who harm children. Thats why shes demanding a criminal investigation and the immediate expulsion of any Congressman involved in this crime or cover-up. I'm Patty Wetterling and I approved this message.

This ad is an indirect shot at Michele Bachmann, who has held fundraisers with and benefited financially from her associations with Dennis Hastert, John Boehner, and Tom Reynolds, the key players in this scandal. It also gives Patty an opportunity to highlight the work she has done to protect children in the past.

I think it's a great ad, far more effective than the Bachmann-national sales tax ad. Kudos to the campaign for getting this ad out the door and on the air in just a few days.

On a separate note, I notice there's a new section up on the Wetterling website called "Michele Bachmann: Rhetoric vs. Reality." Good for them.

My favorite part:

Michele Bachmann: On Bipartisanship

Rhetoric:

Bachmann: "We worked together on legislation down at the capitol because that's how we get things done ... I brought together Democrats, Republicans, we got it done ... I saw significant legislation passed while I was in the minority."

Reality:

[...]

Bachmann only passed 5.9% of all bills introduced. While in the state Senate, Bachmann was the chief author of 203 bills. Twelve of those bills were adopted signed laws or successfully enrolled resolutions, a 5.9 percent overall passage rate. [MN State Legislature]

Michele Bachmann accepts $46,000 from the "Most Corrupt Members of Congress"

Michele Bachmann likes to talk tough about holding government accountable and "changing the culture" in Washington. The announcement of her campaign for Congress touts her "Reform Platform for Change in Congress," and her "Issues" page states,

I will work tirelessly to put hard earned money back in taxpayers' pockets - where it belongs - not in the hands of Washington bureaucrats.

If Michele Bachmann is so dedicated to change in Washington, why, one might ask, has she received so much money from the central figures of the Washington "culture of corruption?"

On September 20th, Citizens Responsible for Ethics in Washington, a non-partisan ethics watchdog group released its 2006 list of the most corrupt members of Congress. The list

documents the egregious, unethical and possibly illegal activities of the most tainted members of Congress. CREW has compiled the members’ transgressions and analyzed them in light of federal laws and congressional rules.

It seems that Michele Bachmann has taken a whopping $46,000 in campaign contributions directly from these most corrupt members of Congress, either from their re-election campaign warchests or from "leadership PACs" established in their names.

Michele Bachmann has accepted money from the following members of this hall of shame:

Ken Calvert EUREKA PAC $1,000.00 Dennis Hastert * $2,000.00 Dennis Hastert Keep Our Majority PAC $10,000.00 Tom Feeney House Conservatives Fund $5,000.00 Tom Feeney Together Our Majority PAC $10,000.00 Tom Feeney * $1,000.00 Pete Sessions PETE PAC $10,000.00 Roy Blunt Rely on Your Beliefs Fund $5,000.00 Richard Pombo RICH PAC $2,000.00

The grand total of this haul? A whopping $46,000.

In all, Michele Bachmann has taken $152,000 in contributions from current members of Congress.

The CREW website states that

An August 2006 Harris poll shows that 77% of Americans have a negative view of Congress and a May 2006 Gallup poll indicates that 83% of Americans consider corruption a serious issue.

Michele Bachmann should explain why she has accepted contributions from these key players in the Washington culture of corruption, and what she intends to do to separate herself from this culture of corruption.

Can Michele Bachmann be trusted to carry out the people's business in Congress? Or will she owe favors to those who paid for her election and be sucked into the web of corruption in Washington?

Please see my Excel spreadsheet detailing Bachmann's campaign contributions from members of Congress.

I'll be back with more on each of these corrupt donors and their connections to candidate Bachmann.

October 2, 2006

Connect the dots: Bachmann's contributions from politicians

As a Republican candidate for a hotly-contested seat, Michele Bachmann has been the recipient of a huge amount of money from the war chests of incumbents who want to see her join their team. She has received thousands from the re-election campaigns of Republican incumbents, and much more from individual leaders' "leadership PACs." I figured that it would be useful to be able to connect the dots between Bachmann and these incumbents.

But paging through FEC filings can be an arduous process. PACs are not always listed by the name of the politician who runs them. I decided to sit down and go through Michele Bachmann's FEC filings to see who she's been getting money from.

The document is compiled in a Microsoft Excel .xls format. If anyone has trouble reading this format, let me know and we can try to convert it somehow. Download it here:

Bachmann contributors.xls

Please feel free to modify this document, or to send me corrections or additional information.

I hope this is useful to those of you doing the work the media outside the blogs won't do. Let's connect the dots, people!

I will have the first connect-the-dots post up shortly, exposing Bachmann's ties to some of the most corrupt members of Congress.

Patty Wetterling calls for resignations in Foleygate; Bachmann's connections to predator-protectors documented

Pioneer Press:

Congressional candidate Patty Wetterling called today for more resignations in Congress and an independent investigation into inappropriate contact between former Rep. Mark Foley and teenage pages.

Foley, a Republican from Florida, quit Friday after reports that he sent sexually explicit electronic messages to teenage boys working as pages. The FBI is investigating.

Wetterling, the Democratic candidate in Minnesota's 6th District, said any members of Congress who knew of the contact and didn't act should resign. She stopped short of naming specific GOP leaders, saying an investigation is needed first.

"Imagine your son telling you of that experience — the nightmare, the broken trust, the horror of being 16 and being stalked by a 52-year-old congressman," she said at a Capitol news conference. "It's not OK and this is not how our government works, or should work."

Wetterling, a child safety advocate whose son vanished 17 years ago, said she knew Foley, who was co-chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus.

"That's what makes this so insidious," she said.

She called for more stringent oversight of the House page program, which brings high school students to Washington to learn about government.

I repeat my call that Patty Wetterling should replace Mark Foley as the head of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus, should she win and the Democrats take control of Congress (or even if they don't).

Dump Bachmann has the Wetterling press release announcing the press conference.

They also have Michele Bachmann's press release on the matter. Tellingly, though she condemns Foley's actions, she doesn't mention anything about holding those who knew about Foley's "problems" accountable.

Gee, I wonder why.

MN Publius documents Bachmann's connections to the scandal:

Will Michele Bachmann hold RNCC Chair Tom Reynolds, Speaker Dennis Hastert, and Majority Leader John Boehner accountable for their deplorable actions?

It may be tough for Michele Bachmann to honestly claim independence from these GOP leaders considering her extensive history with each:

* In this cycle Dennis Hastert's PAC, Keep Our Majority, has given a total of $10,000 to Michele Bachmann
* In July Dennis Hastert came to Minnesota to hold a fundraiser at the Territorial Golf Club in St. Cloud for Michele Bachmann. I'm not sure what the total receipts from this event were, so if anyone does know please drop us a line.
* Majority Leader John Boehner's PAC, "Freedom Project," has given a total of $5,000 to Michele Bachmann this cycle.
* In July John Boehner held a fundraiser for several Republican Congressional candidates and Michele Bachmann was one of the cited beneficiaries. Receipts were reported to be around $1 million but Bachmann's individual take is unknown
* NRCC Chair Tom Reynolds' PAC, "Together for Our Majority," has given $10,000 to Michele Bachmann this cycle.
* But all of this pales in comparison to the work that Tom Reynold's NRCC does for Michele Bachmann. She's featured directly on the "our candidates" page and has been one of their top targets.