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November 18, 2006

Wetterling defended

This is a great letter in the Star Tribune today:

Faith and family also a Wetterling mainstay

In reading Katherine Kersten's Nov. 9 column regarding U.S. Rep.-elect Michele Bachmann, I was reminded of all the Sunday School classes and church services I attended with Patty Wetterling when we were growing up in St. Paul.

Although she did not proclaim it from the pulpit, I know that she also is a good Christian and a good mother and that she would have given anything on the evening of Nov. 7 to hear the voice of her oldest son calling to her from the crowd.

RODERICK AIRD, BURNSVILLE

I am glad to see this letter defending Patty. Michele Bachmann and her supporters cannot claim a monopoly on the Christian faith. They claim to speak for all Christians, but obviously they don't. I would much rather vote for someone who is humble and respectful in their faith than someone who is loud and self-righteous. Apparently the voters of the Sixth District did not agree.

November 7, 2006

Prediction: Wetterling takes it

My prediction for today:

Wetterling 49 Bachmann 47 Binkowski 4

Want to make this dream a reality? Help Patty to Get Out the Vote:

Wetterling '06 Anoka Headquarters:
2022 N Ferry St.
Anoka MN 55303
(763) 323-1803

Wetterling '06 St. Cloud Office:
904 W. St. Germain St.
St. Cloud, MN 56301
(320) 229-0444

Washington County DFL Office:
8645 Eagle Point Blvd
Lake Elmo, MN 55042
(651) 209-9356

This election will be decided on turnout. It all comes down to tomorrow. See you at the polls.

I probably won't be posting tomorrow until the polls close. I will do a post-mortem at some point, but it may not be tomorrow night. I've added MPR's cool election-results widget to the blog sidebar on the right, so you can check that if necessary.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

October 12, 2006

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 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 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.

October 3, 2006

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]

October 2, 2006

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.

September 29, 2006

A perfect opportunity

Now that Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) has resigned from Congress because of sexual improprieties involving teenage boys, there is a perfect opportunity for Patty Wetterling, if she is elected and the Democrats take control of the House.

Foley was ironically the leader of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children. If Patty Wetterling is elected, who better to lead the caucus than a woman who has overcome the tragic kidnapping of her son to lobby successfully for tougher laws protecting the kids of America?

(P.S.-- anyone know if Patty was involved in starting this caucus? I found info that Rep. Nick Lampson founded the caucus, but I would venture to guess that victims' advocates were also involved.)

September 26, 2006

Press release on ad

Here's Wetterling's press release on her new ad:

ANOKA, Minn. – Patty Wetterling released a new TV ad on Tuesday that exposes opponent Michele Bachmann’s support for a radical plan that would raise taxes and hurt middle-class families.

“Michele Bachmann says she’s for lowering taxes, and yet she supports replacing the income tax with a national sales tax,? says Wetterling. Under a national sales tax, all taxable goods and services – including daily basics like milk, bread, groceries, clothing, new tires and prescription drugs – could cost 23% more.

“All lower and middle-class Minnesotans would pay more taxes under this plan, up to $4,077 per year,? says Wetterling. “I find it incredible that Michele Bachmann wants to place a heavier burden on the people who can least afford to pay more for basic goods and services.?

“My opponent’s support for a national sales tax shows that she is ready to raise taxes. This plan is another example of her extremist agenda that hurts everyday Americans," adds Wetterling.

Wetterling notes that in the state Senate, Bachmann raised taxes after pledging not to (Taxpayer’s League of Minnesota 2005;HF 139, 7/13/05). “She goes back on her word and cannot be trusted to offer relief and opportunity to the average American.?

“Unlike my opponent, I believe in providing real opportunity for the middle class. That’s why I have clearly proposed targeted middle-class tax breaks that assist in buying a home, raising a family, paying for college and saving for retirement,? adds Wetterling.

Still no source where she supports the plan. I will e-mail the campaign and ask.

(Still no response from the Bachmann campaign; I wrote them a few days ago to ask about Michele Bachmann's "accomplishments" in the State Senate. We'll see if I have better luck with the Wetterling campaign.)

[UPDATE]: I did have better luck with the Wetterling campaign. Here is the solid source for the ad's claim.

BvW is on this, too.

Wetterling's New Ad: "Michele Bachmann: Radical Ideas We Can't Afford"

Commenter Karl stated below that he'd seen the new Wetterling ad. I checked and it's now up on her website, entitled "More."

The ad says that Bachmann supports a 23% national sales tax, and concludes, "Michele Bachmann: Radical Ideas We Can't Afford."

This is a claim I had not heard before. I did some searches and I can't find Bachmann explicitly making this claim. It's certainly not on the "economy and taxes" page of her website.

[UPDATE]: Here is the solid source for the ad's claim.

Bachmann did mention a national consumption tax in a Star Tribune candidate profile dated 2/21/06:

[Bachmann] says the federal tax system is "totally broken," and "in need of a complete overhaul." She would consider the elimination of federal income taxes, to be replaced by a national consumption tax.

And here's a quote from a debate between the candidates for the Republican nomination:

Michele Bachmann: "...we are now at a time where we are, very realistically, looking at a consumption tax vs. an income tax. And the whole difference behind this is that people would really feel the burden of the tax increases, and they would choose how they want to proceed."

I can't find her making the solid claim to "support" a national consumption tax, and nowhere does she mention that 23% number. I can't see a source in the ad, either; perhaps it is too small to be read in the tiny internet version.

[UPDATE]: Here is the solid source for the ad's claim.

IP candidate John Binkowski is the only candidate I've found to have put out the 23% national sales tax idea. He gets it from the "Fair Tax" plan proposed by Rep. John Linder of Georgia, which has over 60 co-sponsors. Perhaps Bachmann made the claim to support that at one of the recent debates, I don't know.

I was going to write a post a while back detailing the fallacies of Binkowski's plan, but it never caused much of a splash so I held off. I would refer you to this article by Media Matters on the many fallacies of the "Fair Tax" plan.

For one thing, the 23 percent figure is calculated by the "tax-exclusive" method; using our current "tax-inclusive" method the sales tax rate would be 30%. Also, the recent Bush administration Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform concluded that the tax rate would have to be even higher to make it truly "revenue-neutral":

In their submission to the Panel, proponents of the FairTax claimed that a 30 percent tax exclusive sales tax rate would be sufficient not only to replace the federal income tax, but also to replace all payroll taxes and estate and gift taxes and fund a universal cash grant. In contrast, the Treasury Department concluded that using the retail sales tax to replace only the income tax and provide a cash grant would require at least a 34 percent tax-exclusive rate.

Some may wonder why the tax rate estimated by FairTax advocates for replacing almost all federal taxes (representing 93 percent of projected federal receipts for fiscal year 2006, or $2.0 trillion) is so much lower than the retail sales tax rate estimated by the Treasury Department for replacing the income tax alone (representing 54 percent of projected federal receipts for fiscal year 2006, or $1.2 trillion).

In conclusion, John Binkowski is supporting some bad legislation and is not being straight with the voters when he proposes this 23 percent sales tax plan. If Michele Bachmann supports it, or has in the past, she is also guilty.

As of right now, with no proof that Bachmann concretely "supports" this proposal, I have to say I'm disappointed in the Wetterling campaign or the consultants who decided this ad was necessary. I suspect they're trying to counter Bachmann's recent "Accomplishments" ad that talked exclusively about taxes, but there are better ways to make taxes an issue. Why not talk about Bachmann's do-nothing record in the State Senate, or how extending the Bush tax plan hurts the middle class instead of helping it. Then contrast that with Patty's own middle-class tax plan.

The Wetterling campaign could have stayed above the negativity of Bachmann and the NRCC; now they've waded into it. I think this could be a poor campaign move.

I will wait for a source on the Bachmann 23% claim; until then I'm reserving judgement. I do like the line, "Michele Bachmann: Radical Ideas We Can't Afford." It could have been made in a better way.

[UPDATE]: Here is the solid source for the ad's claim.

September 25, 2006

Wetterling receives LCV endorsement

Tom Scheck of Polinaut reports that Patty Wetterling has received the endorsment of the League of Conservation Voters, quoting from their press release:

Patty Wetterling understands that by investing in clean energy technologies, we are investing in our future public health and economy. We know Patty Wetterling will be a true leader in Congress for the people of Minnesota’s 6th District.?

In addition to her strong support for investing in renewable energy, Ms. Wetterling is also a proponent of investing in public transportation projects. In Congress, she will support public transportation measures and will work to extend Minnesota’s Northstar Commuter Rail line from Minneapolis to St. Cloud.

September 24, 2006

Wetterling, Edwards rally for education

John Edwards was at my former high school yesterday for a Patty Wetterling campaign rally. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any pictures. If you were there, please send me some!

Edwards joins Wetterling in rally for Minnesota's public schools

ANOKA, Minn. – Former Sen. John Edwards joined 6 th District congressional candidate Patty Wetterling today at Stillwater Area High School for a rally in support of public education. Flanked by local leaders, teachers and students, Wetterling laid out key principles that should drive our government investment in public education.

"Public education is the cornerstone of our democracy," said Wetterling. "We need more people in Congress who know education – as a mom and a former teacher I know the importance of strong schools and I know that our future depends on our investment in our children."

Wetterling stated that we must provide the resources schools need to meet national mandates in No Child Left Behind, increase emphasis on math and science to prepare students for the next generation of jobs, and decrease class sizes so that kids can get the individual attention they need to reach their full potential.

"I want to work with superintendents, school boards, teachers and parents to make significant, common-sense changes to this law to make sure our focus is on our children's success – not a testing company's profits."

Wetterling has made increasing educational opportunities a cornerstone of her campaign. A former teacher, she has seen first hand the needs of our students and the failings of our government to meet those needs.

"Education is the most important investment we can make in our future. If we don't educate our kids – we have no future. When I am in Congress I will put our children first."

Edwards emphasized support for our public schools, teachers and students, and echoed Wetterling's hope for public education: "We have got to make a commitment as a nation that every child in America, no matter where they live, what the color of their skin or the income of their family, will get exactly the same education as the richest parents in America can afford for their children."

I heard that my former U.S history teacher introduced the candidates.

Wetterling's polls have her up 2-3 points?

I found this on DKos. I don't know the source; presumably it originates from within the campaign. It is a response to the SurveyUSA poll that showed Bachmann up by 9 points:

"The only polling that is reliable in this race is the internal polling in this race done by our campaign and the DCCC. This polling shows that it is an extremely close race leaning towards Patty by 2-3%. This is reliable polling done by Mark Mellman, possibly the most respected public opinion researchers in the nation."

So is this spin? or reality? One person in the thread disputed these numbers, another said they were correct. It's hard for me to tell who to trust. I'm sure that this race is closer than 9 points, and would like to believe that Patty is up, but until we get some more polling data, you just don't know.

If anyone knows the source on this, please let me know. I am subscribed to the campaign emails but did not get this one. Perhaps there is a separate campaign donor list, or an "insider list."

If anyone knows Bachmann's internals, or has heard anything, post those as well.

September 18, 2006

Massive CD6 doorknock this weekend

Dedicated DFLers will be doorknocking across the district this Saturday, September 23rd, in support of Patty Wetterling and other statewide and local candidates. Here are the locations and details:

Elk River 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Elk River Dairy Queen 403 Morton Avenue Northwest Contact Caitlin at charvey@dfl.org or 320-229-3930

Circle Pines
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
43 E Golden Lake Rd
Circle Pines, MN 55014-1702
Contact: Graham Wilson at gwilson@dfl.org or 651-249-1736

Rocori High School
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
534 5th Ave North
Cold Spring, MN 56320
Contact: Jeff Will ( jwill@dfl.org) or 320-229-3930

Carol's Restaurant
2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
11888 Aberdeen Ct
Blaine, MN
Contact: Graham Wilson at gwilson@dfl.org or 651-249-1736

St. Cloud DFL Office
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
904 W. St. Germain Street
St. Cloud, MN 56301
Contact: Jesse ( jlevine@dfl.org) or 320-229-3930

Forest Lake Area High School
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
6101 Scandia Trail N.
Forest Lake, MN 55025
Contact: Katy Cosse ( kcosse@dfl.org) or 651-982-8400

Washington County DFL Office
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
8645 Eagle Point Blvd
Lake Elmo, MN 55042
Contact: Jonpaul Barrabee ( jbarrabee@dfl.org) or 651-209-9356

The ads begin

Last week, Michele Bachmann released her first ad, and is calling it "Dream Big." You can see it at her site (but only with Internet Explorer, at least in my experience.) Today, Patty Wetterling released her first ad, entitled "Voice."

Patty's ad is, in my opinion, a fantastic "intro" ad. In the same vein as Amy Klobuchar's well-received ad touting her successful fight to win more hospital time for new mothers, this ad starts with a brief summary of the Jacob Wetterling tragedy and then moves to Patty's successful fight in Congress for tougher crime and safety legislation. People already know who Patty Wetterling is, so this is more of a "reintroduction," and it seems nearly pitch-perfect.

Bob Collins at Polinaut does point out the oddity that the ad is entirely in black and white, a color scheme normally reserved for attack ads. He suggests an Oz-like color change from B&W to color would be psychologically effective. I'm wondering if there is some new advertising theory that seeks to blunt the effect of the inevitable GOP attack ads by creating a positive connotation with that color scheme. Has it ever been tried before?

(Anyone with any knowledge of the psychology of advertising, help me out here. I'm just BSing.)

On the other hand, Bachmann's ad seems mostly boring. It tells us a little about Bachmann, that she has a family and a "small business" (but, predictably, fails to mention that neither the Bachmann clinic or the Bachmann campaign provides healthcare for employees) and used to be a tax attorney. Its biggest success, I suppose, is that it does nothing controversial and portrays Bachmann as a run-of-the-mill Republican. Once voters learn the truth about Bachmann's extremism, this positive image of Bachmann will start to be tarnished.

Smear campaign begins

Dump Bachmann has been covering the anti-gay lit piece sent out by the NRCC to smear Patty Wetterling. It says that Patty "failed to vote in 3 elections" on the front, and when you turn it over, there's a picture of a wedding cake with two grooms and the text,

"But There's One Vote Patty Wetterling Would Make..." "Liberal Patty Wetterling is against a Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage. (St. Cloud Times, 10/20/04)" "You'd think protecting marriage would be a piece of cake, but obviously Patty Wetterling's "hometown" values aren't like ours."

I just received a tip that there's another NRCC hit piece circulating, using the same format ("Patty Wetterling didn't vote in 3 elections, but there's one vote she will make...") and then making the claim that she would "raise taxes." I'd be interested in seeing this piece, so scan it if you have it and send it here.

August 31, 2006

Patty leads the money race again (for now)

Eric Black has the round-up of Minnesota "pre-primary" fundraising numbers. Patty Wetterling leads Michele Bachmann $800,450 to $666,257 in cash on hand, and outraised Bachmann by about $85,000 for the period of July 1st - August 23rd. However, as articles have pointed out, the Bachmann Victory Committee (Bachmann's other fund) did not have to report, and thus the reported $500,000 take from the Bush fundraiser is not included.

I took a look through Bachmann's donor list, and some names jumped out at me.

Glen Taylor, owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Minnesota Lynx, gave $1,000. His net worth is $1.9 billion, and he's consistently been ranked among the Forbes 400.

Rudy Boschwitz (and a bunch of other Boschwitzes, as well) gave $2,000. Boschwitz is the former Minnesota Republican Senator who lost his seat to Paul Wellstone in 1990. He currently serves on the board of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, an organization with close ties to both Israel and the neoconservative movement. Here is Jason Vest, a writer for The Nation:

Industrious and persistent, they've managed to weave a number of issues--support for national missile defense, opposition to arms control treaties, championing of wasteful weapons systems, arms aid to Turkey and American unilateralism in general--into a hard line, with support for the Israeli right at its core.

On no issue is the JINSA/CSP hard line more evident than in its relentless campaign for war--not just with Iraq, but "total war," as Michael Ledeen, one of the most influential JINSAns in Washington, put it last year. For this crew, "regime change" by any means necessary in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority is an urgent imperative. Anyone who dissents--be it Colin Powell's State Department, the CIA or career military officers--is committing heresy against articles of faith that effectively hold there is no difference between US and Israeli national security interests, and that the only way to assure continued safety and prosperity for both countries is through hegemony in the Middle East--a hegemony achieved with the traditional cold war recipe of feints, force, clientism and covert action.

Vin Weber, a former Minnesota Republican Congressman, and his wife both gave $1,000. Weber is currently an influential lobbyist on K Street with close ties to Tom DeLay.

John Hinderaker--formerly "Hindrocket"-- of the right-wing blog Powerline gave $2100, and his wife gave $400.

Bob Naegele, lead investor and chairman of the Minnesota Wild, and his wife both gave $1,000.

August 29, 2006

Influential pundit upgrades Sixth to "toss-up"; predicts Democrats will control House

Eric Black quotes Stuart Rothenberg's latest Rothenberg Political Report :

“Wetterling, who drew 46% against incumbent Kennedy (in ‘04) initially announced that she couldn’t win this district and therefore would run statewide. But she changed her mind, and Democrats are very optimistic about her chances. The Republican nominee is Bachmann, a personable, high profile conservative who has proven her campaign skills by defeating two incumbents.

“The district is quite Republican (Pres. Bush won it with 57% in 2004), but Wetterling appears to lead in early polling, in part because of her better name recognition. Bachmann has a chance of overtaking her by painting her as too left for district voters, but even GOP operatives are worried about Bachmann’s strongly indeological reputation and her combative quality.

“The question here is which candidate becomes the main issue in the race, Wetterling or Bachmann. A very competitive race that Republicans can’t afford to lose if they have any chance of holding the House.

I don't know what "early polling" he's talking about-- does he have access to polls the rest of us don't? Or is he referring to the polls that came out well before the endorsing convention?

Also significantly, Rothenberg predicts the Democrats will pick up 15-20 seats, enough to win control of Congress.

Interesting side note: David Sirota discusses Stuart Rothenberg and his reputation. If Rothenberg is, as Sirota claims, a "hard-right-wing political pundit," then his prediction that the Dems will win the House is an astonishing admission, and possibly understated.

August 28, 2006

The Wetterling online machine

I don't know how much help these victories will actually be, but Patty Wetterling has been raking in the cash lately from online voting contests. She previously won a contest run by John Edwards' One America PAC and a "Red to Blue" contest run by the DCCC. She's now won a $5,000 contribution from Russ Feingold's Progressive Patriots Fund. Here's what Russ had to say:

"Patty Wetterling is a wonderful addition to our growing list of Progressive Patriots," Feingold said. "Patty has been a tireless advocate for those in need throughout her private life, and that experience will make her a valuable asset in Congress as she continues to stand up for improved educational opportunities, meaningful health care reform, and the working families of the 6th congressional district. I am proud to call her a 'Progressive Patriot.'"

And now, she's been featured again in another DCCC contest called "Candidate for Change." Voting appears to have ended, but the site promises to announce a winner soon. Based on her track record of these online contests, I'd say that Wetterling has a strong chance to pick up another.

August 19, 2006

Eric Black on Wetterling-Bachmann

Eric Black has an article in the Star Tribune today, and a post on his blog, "The Big Question," addressing the Sixth District race. Though he states his own opinion in a question, to make it seem as if he's only fishing for input from the audience, his thesis seems to be this:

Wetterling is too incoherent; Bachmann is too extreme

One huge failure of the mainstream media is that it seeks to be even-handed, or, more accurately, "bi-partisan." Sometimes this is good. Though I am a partisan Democrat, I would rather see dedicated, truthful reporting than a liberal/DFL slant on everything I read. In many cases, especially in politics writing, it can be a negative. Most politics writing goes a little like this: some news is uncovered; both major parties (and, sometimes, outside observers or third parties) are given a chance to respond and spin, whether that spin is deserving of reporting or not. In the worst cases, reporters allow one side to blurt an obvious untruth for the sake of "balance." Now, I'm not accusing Eric Black of this last, most egregious pattern, but in both of Black's pieces, he follows the basic motif. He says something bad about Bachmann ("too extreme"), so he has to come up with something bad about Wetterling ("too incoherent").

Bachmann's extremism is on display for all and pretty indisputable. Head over to Dump Bachmann for example after example of her out-of-the-mainstream politics and views. You can agree or disagree with her policy views, but no one should argue that they are far, far to the right of the mainstream political discourse in Minnesota.

But here's what Black says about Wetterling:


Wetterling’s answers to specific issue questions are often so meandering and unspecific that they raise questions about how well-informed she is, on issues other than children’s safety. Feel free to quarrel with the premise. But please bear in mind, the argument I’m making is about the rhetoric moreso than the positions.

OK, Eric. I'll argue with both.

As an example he says illustrates both Michele Bachmann's extremism and Patty Wetterling's incoherency, Black lays out both candidates' views on Iran. I will quote that part of the blog entry in full for easier reference.

Bachmann on Iran Here’s Bachmann, during a May 3 debate with her intra-party endorsement rivals, on what the U.S. should do about Iran:

The question was: “If diplomacy should fail to stop Iran’s nuclear program, what should we do??

Bachmann: “I think that at this point diplomacy is our option. And we certainly don’t want to move toward a nuclear response any time soon or without an abundance of caution.

Iran is at a point right now where America has to be very aggressive in our response. We can’t remove any option off the table. And we should not remove the nuclear response.

However, we must proceed with an abundance of caution. Because we know that Iran is very precarious. And I think we should take very seriously the threats coming out of Iran right now. But again, there are other nations including Venezuela that we need to keep our eyes on as well.?

Just me talking here, but this is an interesting example. Depending on your preferences, you might note that Bachmann endorses diplomacy and caution. And saying that no options should be taken off the table, is almost boilerplate, since few people argue for taking options off tables.

On the other hand, you could notice that, although the question didn’t ask about whether the U.S. should nuke Iran, Bachmann chose to bring it up twice in her answer, to say that it is an option. And then what heck was up with the sudden appearance of Venezuela at the end of her answer?

Wetterling on Iran

Not long after impeachment, good ol’ Gary Eichten asked Wetterling what the U.S. should do about Iran.


Wetterling: “We have to hope. We have to take Iran’s threats seriously. They see a world without Israel and without the United States. We have to aggressively go after them and work diplomatically to try and stop their going forward. I think that it’s part of our not having a strategic plan.

This is an error we made with the Iraq war. We did not engage the support of our allies. And we’ve got to pull everybody together at this point and take it seriously with tough economic sanctions and hope that it makes a difference. Right now, they’re hurting and we can have an impact.?

Eichten: “Anything beyond economic sanctions??

Wetterling: ? Political sanctions. How we all work together. I think the U.N. option has to be given an opportunity to succeed.

We recognize the fact that we are living in a shrinking world and we have to figure out a way to work within this planet. And that’s going to take people, serious efforts of coming to the table.

We all have an interest in making sure that Iran does not go forward with their stated plan.?

Take the bit about working within this shrinking planet. Perhaps to some ears that sounds like Gandhian wisdom. To others, meaningless mush. Who, after all, suggests that the answer is to move Iran to another planet? Who opposes people coming to the table? And, ultimately, what do you do if no one at the table produces a solution?

Take a look at what both candidates really have to say. Of course, these exchanges are just short examples of each candidate's rhetoric and speaking style, but how can you say that Wetterling's position is "meaningless mush" without saying that Bachmann's position is the same? At least, if you are being at all intellectually honest? Both candidates are saying basically the exact same thing: Take Iran seriously, be aggressive, use diplomacy, proceed with caution. Where Wetterling talks of economic sanctions, Bachmann emphasizes the nuclear option (and then goes off about nuking Venezuela.) Neither speaks of specific steps, because that's really not what the interviewer was looking for.

This pattern could also extend to candidates' talk on education. Michele Bachmann's website is extremely vague on education-- two paragraphs of meaningless drivel: "high standards," "educational choices," "parents and guardians," "local control," "understand our students' needs," yada yada yada. Wetterling's is more specific, addressing No Child Left Behind and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act specifically and laying out plans in a section entitled, "What Will I Do?" Of course, for brevity's sake, she is still very general. If she was too specific and wonky, who would go to her website?

I think you have to acknowledge that both candidates, and all candidates in any race anywhere, are guilty of dumbing down their actual priorities into generalities. Michele Bachmann is just as guilty as Patty Wetterling, who is just as guilty as John Binkowski. That's politics, folks. For the sake of balance, Black's pieces did not acknowledge this fact and call Bachmann on her lack of specific detail. Star Tribune's readers deserve better.

Well, I could write more about this, but I'm going to see Snakes on a Plane! I may return a changed person. Head over to The Big Question to comment on this piece. It is a much bigger and more diverse forum than this humble site.

August 16, 2006

Wetterling named a "Progressive Patriot" by Sen. Russ Feingold

Today I received this e-mail from the DFL:

Last week Patty Wetterling was one of the top two vote-recipients in John Edwards’s online One America Votes contest. Through your efforts, John Edwards will be coming to Minnesota to help raise money for Patty!

Now you can help support Patty again by voting for her in an online Progressive Patriots Fund contest.

The candidate to receive the most votes will receive a $5,000 campaign contribution. So vote for Patty and help send her to Congress this November!

The e-mail quoted a letter from Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, a probable candidate for President in 2008 and one of the most principled and courageous members of the Senate. Here is that letter:

I'm proud to announce that today is the beginning of our next "Pick a Progressive Patriot" event. We're once again featuring great candidates for the House of Representatives who were nominated by you: the grassroots. Now it's up to you to decide whom we should support next. Please vote for your favorite candidate, and whoever receives the most votes will receive a $5,000 contribution to their campaign from the Progressive Patriots Fund.

Vote Now!

It wasn't easy choosing just twelve candidates. You nominated some outstanding people from all fifty states. But these candidates are all running in tough races, and our support can make the difference. As we've seen in recent months, without Democratic control of Congress, we can't hold this President accountable for his actions, so I need you to help me choose who to support in our effort to take back the House.

Vote Now!

If you're not familiar with the candidates in our "Pick a Progressive Patriot" event, you can learn a little more about them by visiting our website. They're all fantastic candidates who I'm proud to support. With the crucial midterm elections just a few short months away, these candidates need your support. Please cast your vote today.

Sincerely,

Russ Feingold

Russ Feingold
United States Senator
Honorary Chair, Progressive Patriots Fund

I especially like what Senator Feingold has to say about accountability. Michele Bachmann will follow in Mark Kennedy's footsteps as a Bush rubber-stamp, and may even outdo Kennedy in the lockstep-voting department. He's now trying to run away from that record of consistently voting over 95% with Bush; something tells me that Bachmann would outdo that impressive record. As long as folks like Kennedy and Bachmann are willing to sacrifice principle and the Constitutional system of checks and balances to party loyalty, the failed domestic and foreign policies of the Bush administration and the Republican leadership will never change. As long as one-party rule continues, Congress will refuse to investigate the misdeeds and mistakes of the Bush administration. Democrats have a golden opportunity to re-take the House. Patty Wetterling is one piece of that puzzle.

Minnesota police association endorses Wetterling

Patty Wetterling has won endorsement from the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association. Here are the organization's stated goals:


Created to fulfill the promise of making law enforcement a recognized profession, the MPPOA’s mission statement is simple, direct and effective.
• To organize into one body all Police and Peace Officers in the State of Minnesota.
• To correlate the activities of several regional Police and Peace Officers Associations around the state.
• To promote efficiency in police work statewide.
• To promote sound development and administration of laws.
• To maintain the highest standards of ethics, integrity, honor and courtesy in the police profession.
• To encourage the sound, practical and thorough training of police officers.
• To promote a spirit of brotherhood among its members and to perpetuate the memory and history of their calling.

Here is what the organization states about their endorsement process for House candidates:

In terms of the United States House and Senate races, endorsements are granted based on the same line of reasoning as the endorsements for the state races. Performance on and voting records for law enforcement issues, accessibility to and willingness to listen are what we consider and discuss when deciding who to endorse and who not to. Candidates for the federal races tend to have a history that we can look at so we know where they stand, and that does help in aiding our decisions.

Though Patty Wetterling has not held elected office, she has been a strong advocate for law enforcement, especially on children's safety issues. Probably the endorsing committee also looked at Michele Bachmann's record; her support of conceal-and-carry was probably a factor in her not winning the endorsement. The MPPOA opposed that legislation, as NPR reported February 11, 2003:

Opponents say the bill would make the state more dangerous because virtually anyone would be able to receive a permit. Bill Gillespie, with the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, says Boudreau's bill would let permit holders carry guns into the Metrodome, stores and other public places. It would also allow people to carry a gun into a school if they were dropping off their child. There are fines for others who carry a gun in a school.

Gillespie says sheriffs and police chiefs currently spend thousands of dollars doing backgound checks on permit applicants. The proposed bill would require local law enforcement to process an application in 15 days. Applicants would pay forty dollars to cover the cost of processing. Gillespie says applicants would automatically have their permit approved if officials don't deny it in the 15-day period.

"Every year there are millions of contacts between citizens and police officers. It only takes an instant, I can tell you from 25 years as a police officer, that it only takes an instant for those things to go to pieces and for that situations to be heightened by a handgun lawfully issued by the state of Minnesota is an awesome responsibility," Gillespie said.

A quick look at the list of endorsees around the state (very balanced between Republican and Democrat) shows that this is a very non-partisan organization. Their endorsement document even states this:

Just so it is clear to everyone, the MPPOA does not endorse based just on political party affiliation. There are MPPOA members out there that just cannot understand how the Board could endorse a member of this party or that party. Folks, it is not about party affiliation for us. As a matter of fact, it might even be a fair statement to say that party affiliation is about the least considered factor of anything when it comes to who we endorse and do not endorse. Endorsements are given based on performance and attitude as pertains to law enforcement issues and not on party affiliation. It would simply be stupid for the MPPOA to endorse anyone based only on the party they belong to. Legislators from all three major parties in Minnesota are champions of and for the membership of the MPPOA, and to turn our backs on them come endorsement time simply because of the party they belong to, would just plain be wrong.

Here are the issues ranked as "most important" to the endorsing committee:

• Wage & benefit reductions to law enforcement • Changes to our PERA Police & Fire plan benefits • POST Board funding formulas • The Public Safety Officers Benefit Act • Primary seatbelt enforcement • Proposals to increase tractor / trailer weight & load limits • Gasoline taxes as pertains to State Patrol funding • Gang Strike Force / Drug Task Force organization & funding • Legislation regarding making false complaints against cops • Legislation regarding lying to cops • Part-time Police Officer licensing • 800mHz / trunked radio system funding • CrimNet • Legislation regarding non-licensed DNR staff writing citations • Meth related legislation • Local Government Aid (LGA) • Sex offenders

No time right now to do the research-- but what was Michele Bachmann's role in passing/not passing this legislation during her time in the state Senate? Please post any research in the comments.

August 14, 2006

Remember 2004

Patty Wetterling came very close to winning the Sixth District in 2004. Where the DFL candidate, Janet Robert, a socially conservative Democrat, lost by 22 points to Mark Kennedy in 2002, Patty Wetterling lost by just 8 percent in 2004. Then, she was running against an incumbent who raised millions from conservative PACs and ran vicious, degrading, and false ads impugning Wetterling's character, distorting facts, and ascribing views to Wetterling that were completely untrue. One ad showed pictures of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, implied that Wetterling had been against the war in Afghanistan (she supported the military action there), and claimed she had taken $80,000 from MoveOn.org, when FEC records showed she had received only $32.

Patty's friend John Walsh, a Republican and host of TV's America's Most Wanted, appeared in an ad defending Patty from Kennedy's vicious smears and endorsing her candidacy.

The Pioneer Press, which I would rate as having a moderately conservative editorial page, endorsed Wetterling, saying the following:


Voters in the 6th, a diverse district of rural, exurban and suburban communities, have two excellent candidates who can represent them in Congress. We think that Wetterling is the better choice. ...

Wetterling is an extraordinary person, a moral presence with her feet planted firmly on the ground. She is just the kind of person who can dilute the partisanship and mean divisions that are preventing Congress from solving problems with civility. She has grown quickly as a candidate, gaining knowledge about the issues. [...]

It also is discouraging to see the Kennedy campaign go fiercely negative against Wetterling. The baseless anti-Wetterling ad Kennedy began airing late last week shows appalling judgment. She has kept the campaign on a positive plane. That's where we see the future of productive congressional decision-making for the people of the 6th and the nation. Patty Wetterling is an extraordinary person who salves terrible wounds with constructive action.

Below is some reading material on the '04 race. Remember the old saying, "those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Fellow Sixth Districters, let's not repeat history. Never fall for the GOP smear tactics again. Vote for the "extraordinary...moral presence" in this race: Patty Wetterling.

City Pages: "Mother and Country: How personal tragedy made a politician of Patty Wetterling"
MPR: "Negative ads suggest close race in Minnesota's 6th District"
MN Republican Watch's October 2004 Archive

August 13, 2006

Anecdotal evidence

In Stillwater, there are a ton of lawn signs for mayoral and sherrif candidates. But until this past weekend, I had not seen any for the Sixth District race. I drove around Stillwater a fair amount over the past few days. Here are my sign counts:

Patty Wetterling: 3
Michele Bachmann: 1 (this was not even in Stillwater, it was on 36 on the right side as you're heading east, about 4-5 miles outside of town.)
John Binkowski: 0

Significant? Probably not. But even on her home turf, Michele Bachmann does not appear to be enthusiastically supported by her constituents.

August 12, 2006

More good news

Poll after poll shows the public trusts Democrats to run the country much more than they trust the GOP. A new Newsweek/MSNBC poll gives these results:

On every issue other than terrorism and homeland security, the Dems win. Americans trust them to do a better job than the Republicans handling:

* The situation in Iraq: 45 to 39
* The economy: 53 to 34
* Health care: 56 to 26
* Gas and oil prices: 52 to 25
* Stem-cell research: 52 to 29
* Federal spending and the deficit: 53 to 29.

Wow. But what about the issue of the "war on terror" and homeland security? Republicans still hold a 5-point edge. But in the 2002 midterm elections, the GOP held a 23-point lead. Keep in mind also that this poll was conducted directly after the airliner plot was foiled, as the hype was still fresh in the air and the Republican fear-mongering began. If this news hadn't broken, would the Republicans be leading on any issue? Doubtful.

Polls coming soon?

Wetterling v. Bachmann hasthe scoop. Apparently someone's been calling voters asking about the races for Gov, Senate, and Congress in CD6. They don't know who's doing it, but theorize it's not the NRCC (and by their sound logic, I would add, not the DCCC either.) Chances are we'll see a poll released in the next couple of weeks.

What will it show? Well, I can't say for sure, but it seems to me that Michele Bachmann and the Republicans have been ramping up their desperate attacks recently. A few days back, she attacked Wetterling for not showing up at the Forest Lake debate. She also used a significant chunk of that debate (after arriving late) to harangue Wetterling for not appearing, according to someone who was there. The state GOP chairman, Ron Carey, also recently attacked Wetterling on national security, asking if she supports the Patriot Act and the "Terrorist Surveillance Program" (apparently a euphemism for Bush's warrantless wiretaps.) As Polinaut notes, his press release was less than wholly original. He also parroted Bachmann's debate attacks. (Predictably, though they attacked Wetterling for not debating, there was no complementing praise when she agreed to a fair debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters.)

What does all this mean? In politics, an increasing frequency and intensity of attacks issuing from one side's camp usually means that they know they are behind in the polls. I predict that, if the results of this poll are made publicly available, it will show that Bachmann is slightly behind Wetterling, or that the race is a statistical toss-up. Given the GOP spin that this is a conservative district and that the "crazy, out-of-touch liberal" Wetterling has no chance, anything less than a poll showing a clear Bachmann lead could be considered a setback for the Bachmann campaign.

August 11, 2006

Yet another poll shows great news for Dems

33%: President Bush's approval rating

55-37:: Margin by which Democrats now lead Republicans in generic poll matchups for House seats

Bad news for Bachmann, who's holding a fundraiser with Mr. 33% in a couple of weeks. Great news for Wetterling, who is capitalizing on this anti-Bush, anti-Republican sentiment with an optimistic vision of a new direction for this great country, and a plan for a way out of the quagmire that is Iraq.

Trust the experts:

``The signs now point to the most likely outcome of Democrats gaining control of the House,'' said Robert Erikson, a Columbia University political science professor.

We'll still have to work hard and remain vigilant to achieve that goal, but the news keeps getting better for Democrats. Go Patty!

August 10, 2006

Wetterling, Bachmann to court sportsmen/women at Game Fair

pattyfishing.jpg

Dennis Andersen's latest column in the Strib asks why the DFL isn't working harder to court the votes of sportsmen and sportswomen, 60,000 of whom are expected to attend Game Fair in Anoka this weekend. Patty Wetterling and Amy Klobuchar are the two DFLers who will be there. Both Wetterling and Bachmann will have booths set up and will be working the crowd.

Patty Wetterling has a lot to offer sportsmen, and I think that fairgoers will be impressed. She strongly supports the Second Amendment, stating,

I am convinced that the right way to fight the problem of gun violence is to crack down on the criminals who use them. Let’s take guns out of the hands of criminals and children, not law abiding Minnesotans.

Who's going to be a more appealing candidate to hunting and fishing enthusiasts-- the no-frills Wetterling, who seems like she'd be most comfortable in jeans and tennis shoes, or Michele Bachmann, who enjoys vaccuuming in high heels and wearing her "little pink dress"? But, of course, Bachmann does have a conceal and carry permit, which apparently (according to her) makes her bona fide on "sportsmen's issues."

And what about Bachmann's $2,000 donation from the Safari Club? Does she represent the real-life sportsmen of this district, or the 40,000 fat-cat trophy hunters of the Safari Club?

Here's some more info on the Safari Club:

The Arizona-based SCI has made a name for itself as one of the most extreme and elite trophy hunting organizations, representing some 40,000 wealthy trophy collectors, fostering and promoting competitive trophy hunting of exotic animals on five continents. SCI members shoot prescribed lists of animals to win so-called Grand Slam and Inner Circle titles. There's the Africa Big Five (leopard, elephant, lion, rhino, and buffalo), the North American Twenty Nine (all species of bear, bison, sheep, moose, caribou, and deer), Big Cats of the World, Antlered Game of the Americas, and many other contests.

To complete all 29 award categories, a hunter must kill a minimum of 322 separate species and sub-species - enough to populate a large zoo. This is an extremely expensive and lengthy task, and many SCI members take the quick and easy route to see their names in the record books. They shoot captive animals in canned hunts, both in the United States and overseas, and some engage in other unethical conduct like shooting animals over bait, from vehicles, with spotlights, or on the periphery of national parks.

SCI members have even tried to circumvent federal laws to import their rare trophies from other countries. Prominent SCI hunter Kenneth E. Behring donated $100 million to the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum and, according to published reports, tried to get the museum's help in importing a rare Kara Tau argali sheep which he shot in Kazakhstan and had shipped to a Canadian taxidermist - one of only 100 Kara Tau argali sheep remaining in the world. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, now under Hogan's watch, is the agency charged with granting or denying such trophy import permits.

Read Andersen's column. He brings up some interesting ideas on why this voting bloc traditionally votes Republican, despite the Democratic value of protecting the environment. He also points out that, with around 90% of sportsmen and women in three key swing states voting in the 2000 election, they are an extremely motivated and important bloc that both candidates must appeal to.

Bachmann's response to "homegrown" British terror plot: "military action...in other parts of the world"

Michele Bachmann made the following statement today on the recently-uncovered plot to bomb airliners heading from England to America:

(Woodbury, MN) – State Senator Michele Bachmann, Republican candidate for Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District, commented today that news of a thwarted 9/11 type commercial airlines hijacking plan is a chilling reminder that the world democracies must still be ever vigilant. “The fight against global terrorism is never-ending,? said Bachmann. “Today’s events in Great Britain demonstrate our need for continued vigilance and the need to win the War on Terror at home and aboard [sic]. I believe the terrorists. They say they are committed to doing harm to the United States and this plot further reveals their goal.

The necessary safeguards need to be in place to keep our citizens safe here and abroad. The discovery and arrest of the terror suspects validates our need to be vigilant everyday.

This is a victory for the intelligence community and the watchful citizens who were on high alert for patterns of suspicious behavior. Our goal must be to catch those who plot against us before they can implement their dastardly acts. We need to track down these people and in due process, deliver the ultimate penalty our society can place on them.

“If elected to Congress, I will work non-stop to assist in strengthening our homeland security needs and support military action that needs to be taken in other parts of the world to fight terrorism,? stated Bachmann. “It is imperative we give our intelligence agencies the tools they need to fight terrorism wherever it exists. We must continue to support the Patriot Act and strengthen our borders to help keep a protective shield around our citizens.?

I wonder if she actually said "aboard" instead of "abroad." That would be kind of funny.

Anyway, I don't think I would disagree with much of Bachmann's statement. Do we need to support the intelligence community, strengthen our borders, and uncover these plots before they happen? Absolutely. I don't think you'd find a Democrat who would disagree with you on any of these points. Though, admittedly, there is no link on Wetterling's too-skimpy "Issues" page about "National Security," she does have this to say about border control and national security:

When elected to Congress, I will:

* Work with Democrats and Republicans on a bipartisan basis to make our borders more secure;
* Work to increase the rate of border enforcement;
* Vote to give Homeland Security the budget it needs to get the job done;

Basically, Wetterling takes the same positions as Bachmann on national security.

But Bachmann goes a step further. Even though this terror plot is described as "homegrown" (more details are sure to come later), Bachmann says she "support[s] military action that needs to be taken in other parts of the world to fight terrorism." Please, somebody tell me how bombing another country to smithereens would have stopped this attack, or any of the other attacks that have been perpetrated or attempted in the past 20 years? The way to fight terrorism, in the short term, is to beef up law enforcement efforts, to support efforts to gather intelligence on terrorist threats, to investigate and cut off the terrorists' means of financial support and recruitment, to better control our borders and keep tabs on those entering from other countries, and to secure our ports, airports, public transit systems, and other potential targets.

Bush, Cheney, Rove (all Bachmann cronies), and the Republicans talk a tough game on the "Global War on Terror" and the war in Iraq, but have they really made our country safer since 9/11? In June 2005, 52% of Americans believed that the war in Iraq has made us less safe from terrorism. Support for the war has eroded still further since then, so a larger majority probably now agrees with this statement. I believe that the war in Iraq has diverted resources that could be used to really make us safe against terrorism. It has increased anti-American sentiment across the globe, increasing the ability of al Qaeda and other groups to recruit potential terrorists. Meanwhile, critical areas of national security have been neglected almost entirely.

Here are some statistics compiled by About.com's Deborah White in December 2005:


Factor by which passengers on mass transit systems exceed passengers on airlines: 16

Funding per passenger the Bush Administration has spent to secure mass transit systems since September 11, 2001: $0.01

Cost of security upgrades needed to protect rail and transit systems as estimated by U.S. transit authorities: $6 billion

Amount of funding designated specifically for rail and transit security in President Bush's budget: $0

Total amount of funding added to the Fiscal Year 2006 Homeland Security Appropriations bill for rail security in the wake of the July 7 London Bombings: $0

Number of provisions in federal law requiring chemical facilities to establish safeguards against a terrorist attack: 0

Number of chemical facilities at which a terrorist strike could threaten the lives of over 1 million people: 123

Percent of cargo arriving at U.S. ports inspected for WMD: <1

Percent of "high-risk" cargo inspected: 17.5

Estimated economic impact of a terrorist attack to a U.S. port: $1 trillion

Percent of Transportation Security Administration Fiscal Year 2005 budget allocated for port security grants: 2.8

Deadline for meeting port security standards set by the Maritime Transportation Security Act: 2004

Year in which MTSA port security standards will be met if port security funding levels remain constant: 2050

Ratio of federal air security screeners to federal surface transportation (rail and public transit) security screeners: 450:1

Homeland security grant dollars per capita awarded to the U.S. Virgin Islands in Fiscal Year 2004: $104.35

Homeland security grant dollars per capita awarded to California in Fiscal Year 2004: $4.97

In short, the Republican "national security" program is not working. Michele Bachmann's solution is to hype the Iraq war and threaten military action against... who? Should we be bombing London's Pakistani neighbo(u)rhoods? Nuking Iran? Would that have stopped these terrorists?

Democrats like John Kerry, Harry Reid, and Ned Lamont spoke out today on the disastrous effects the Iraq war has had on our national security, and were promptly attacked for "playing politics" with national security-- contradicting RNC chairman Ken Mehlman's own words from the 2004 campaign, when he said that the war in Iraq and national security were "entirely appropriate issues for election campaigns." Here's Kerry:

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts...said America was "not as safe as we can and must be" and in part blamed the president's focus on Iraq.

"This event exposes the misleading myth that we are fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here. In fact, the war in Iraq has become a dangerous distraction and a profound drain on our financial and military resources," Kerry said.

Patty Wetterling's national security plan seems to be simple. Step 1: withdraw our troops from Iraq, eliminating this resource drain, distraction, and rallying cry for jihadists. Step 2: improve our homeland security for real by increasing border security and increasing resources available to the Department of Homeland Security to prevent attacks on America. I would agree that Wetterling needs to present a comprehensive plan for national security; I hope she will do this sooner rather than later.

Wetterling is also the only candidate in this race to address the only long-term solution to the problem of global terrorism: to eliminate the conditions that breed terrorism. In a questionnaire for the Global Solutions PAC, Patty Wetterling is on record supporting initiatives that will fight poverty worldwide, thereby helping to eliminate the conditions that can make the "solutions" offered by bin Laden and other extremists attractive:

4. Will you actively work to allocate an additional one percent of the U.S. budget to Official Development Assistance in order to match the commitments of our G8 partners and other allies to help reduce hunger, poverty, disease and other agreed upon goals?

[Wetterling's answer]
Yes.

Providing people in poor populations the economic opportunity to sustain themselves is an important part of our national security to reduce the threat of terrorism.

Where is Michele Bachmann's press release on fighting the "War on Poverty" that is the only long-term solution that can combat the influence of bin Laden, Hizbollah, and other hateful ideologies? Bachmann inadvertently said something in her press release that is very illuminating. She described the war on terror as "never-ending." With her idea that we can stop (but apparently not "end") terrorism by attacking other countries, the "Global War on Terror" truly will be never-ending. I think that's the appeal for Bush, Cheney, Rove, Bachmann, and others like them. Wetterling knows there's a better way.

August 9, 2006

Shades of '04: John Edwards campaigning for Wetterling; G.W. Bush lending the "golden touch" to Bachmann

The big names keep rolling into the Sixth District. This time, it's a fundraising rematch between the current President Bush and John Edwards, who was the VP candidate on the Democratic ticket in '04.

First, the Star Trib reports that the Prez is coming here on August 22nd to fundraise for Bachmann. (One quick aside on the priorities of this administration-- Bush couldn't cut short his infamous annual vacation last year to deal with Hurricane Katrina, and insists on taking another vacation this year instead of dealing with the Lebanon crisis, but he can afford to fly in and raise some money for candidate Bachmann? Who elected this guy?) The AP reports that Bachmann's campaign manager, Andy Parrish, refused to confirm this report, showing that the Bachmann campaign doesn't want to give this any more exposure than they have to. And why would they? Bush is an albatross around any candidate's neck. Mark Kennedy has been trying, with little success, to distance himself from Bush and his 95%+ votes-with-the-President average. Bachmann seems to want it both ways... accept the President's cash, but try to keep it a secret in order to lessen the fallout. Well, we're not going to let her. The President, his failed domestic and foreign policies, and his mid-30's approval rating are going to be synonymous with Michele Bachmann after this.

Meanwhile, since Wetterling won an online contest, John Edwards will be headlining for Wetterling in the near future. Dates aren't worked out yet, but it would be nice if the fundraiser were held around the same time as the Bush visit. The images of Bush chumming it up with Bachmann (and those of the protestors surrounding the Bush fundraiser) will present a nice contrast with photo-ops of Wetterling and the photogenic, extremely well-liked Edwards. I'm guessing, too, that if we compare the totals from these fundraisers, the draw of Edwards won't be all that far behind that of Bush, and Patty's fundraiser may even come out ahead. A lot of big Bachmann donors are probably already tapped out, what with the Rove, Hastert, and Cheney events. Wetterling supporters may not be, and more might come out of the woodwork for such a big name.

August 5, 2006

Poll analysis, pt. 1

Recently, I posted about an interesting NPR poll which seemed extremely promising for Democratic candidates in the closest House races that will determine which party will gain control of that deliberative body in 2007. Now Eric Zaetsch over at Dump Bachmann has pointed out the raw data used in that study.

One section of this data was especially interesting to me, and I had a few thoughts about the significance it may have in the Sixth District race. I've produced a very professional-looking chart in Microsoft Paint, which I shall endeavor to explain below.

pollchart8506.GIF

[open image in new window]

This question is very interesting because it gives data on those issues that are supposed to be the "hot-button issues" of the upcoming election. Basically, it shows how voters react to the Democratic vs. the Republican position on each issue, and how likely they are to vote for the Congressional candidate based on their views on that issue. Though this is a composite poll combining data from the 50 most competitive races, I believe the results will generally reflect the situation on the ground in CD6. It is a typical suburban/exurban battleground district in many respects, and, while of course there will be some dynamics that are atypical, the differences should be slight. If you disagree, please let me know, as I am by no means an expert.

Here are my thoughts, issue by issue.

Illegal Immigration: The poll results, as I have highlighted above, show an extremely even distribution of opinion on this issue. Unlike other issues examined in this poll, there appear to be more voters that have not entirely made up their minds on this issue-- 11% completely undecided, and 34% (17+17) leaning "somewhat" towards either party (but apparently still convinceable.) There is also a small segment - 6 percent - that feel that "neither" party is qualified to lead on immigration. This is a small number, but at least twice as large a percentage answered "neither" on the immigration question than on any other question in this survey. Perhaps this signifies a "third way" that could be exploited by a sensible candidate?

I expect Bachmann will be the aggressor on this issue, and perhaps she may gain the upper hand as the election goes on. Anti-immigrant sentiment has been strong throughout U.S. history, and this year is no exception. But overall, as the data shows, there will likely be a relatively even split of voters on this issue.

The war in Iraq: Undoubtedly, this will be one of the most important issues of the campaign. The candidates have already clearly defined themselves on the Iraq war, with Patty Wetterling calling for quick withdrawal and Michele Bachmann stubbornly insisting on "staying the course." I also believe that, with the strong beliefs this topic generates, it will be one of the issues most influencing voters' decisions this fall.

The generic Democrat in this poll seems to have a slight advantage (+5%) when looking at the "Dems-Reps" column. The advantage is much stronger when looking at the columns circled in red, those that are "strong" in their views-- Democrats enjoy a 10-point advantage in this group, showing pretty clearly that a majority of those who have come to a strong decision on the Iraq war will vote for Patty Wetterling, who has taken a much clearer stance on the war than many Democrats. There is a decided shortage of undecideds and "leaners" for this question, showing that Michele Bachmann will have a smaller base of possible undecideds to court as she tries to wrest control of this issue from Wetterling. But because Michele Bachmann will be forced to defend an unpopular war, and because Patty Wetterling has defined her stance extremely clearly, I believe that the advantage on Iraq lies in the Wetterling camp.

Economy/jobs: I expect this to play a role in the race, though not more or less than a typical race for Congress in Minnesota. Bachmann will stick to her guns of lowering taxes and being "pro-business," while Wetterling will argue for the traditional DFL policies of a fairer tax policy and support for working families. The minimum wage will be an issue here, especially with Bachmann's extreme statements against it. The poll data shows a slight advantage for Democrats on this issue, especially when comparing "strong" supporters, though there is a sizeable body of voters just waiting to be convinced. I think that this group will generally be more receptive to Wetterling's overtures rather than Bachmann's extremist rhetoric and record on this issue. She will not be helped by rising gas prices and an economy that, while growing, has not produced gains for the majority of working families or created as many quality jobs as hoped; fairly or not, these failures will be blamed on the Bush administration and the GOP-controlled Congress.

Guantanamo/Bush Administration spying & abuse of power:
This appears to be another issue where voters are split down the middle. Dems enjoy an advantage that could be more of a statistical blip than anything else. I don't forsee either of these topics becoming a huge issue, though they could play into the debate on Iraq and the broader "Global War on Terror." Wetterling could score points by tying Bachmann to the Bush administration's willingness to violate civil liberties, especially in light of her fundraisers with Rove and Cheney. But, since Bachmann has not served in Washington and thus will not be viewed as a Bush/GOP toady in quite the way that Norm Coleman or Mark Kennedy might be, she may escape relatively unscathed.

Stem cell research: As the poll shows, stem cells are a HUGE winner for the Democrats and for Wetterling. Look at the difference in the two numbers circled in red, those with strong feelings on the issue: Democrats enjoy a 17-point advantage on the issue. Being an issue with a complex blend of science, ethics, and faith, there are understandably a large amount of undecided/"leaners" on this issue. I would guess that they would break heavily for Wetterling, especially in light of Bachmann's extensive ties to the religious right.

"Moral issues": Michele Bachmann has based nearly her entire political career on a crusade for the "moral values" espoused by the extreme Christian right. This poll decisively shows that voters in swing districts have severe doubts about the direction that Bachmann and others of her ilk want to take this country. The 10-point differential between "strong Democrats" and "strong Republicans" on these issues contradicts the conventional wisdom that "moral values" are a winner for the GOP. This divide, as well as the others circled in red, are the more exceptional in light of data on party breakdown and ideological self-description found elsewhere in the survey:

Q.31 Generally speaking, do you think of yourself as a Democrat, a Republican or what?

Strong Democrat ................................................................. 27
Weak Democrat................................................................... 10
Independent-lean Democrat................................................ 12
Independent ......................................................................... 6
Independent-lean Republican .............................................. 9
Weak Republican ................................................................ 12
Strong Republican............................................................... 24
(Don't know/Refused)........................................................... 1


Q.34 Thinking in political terms, would you say that you are Conservative, Moderate, or Liberal?

Liberal.................................................................................. 20
Moderate ............................................................................. 40
Conservative ....................................................................... 36
(Don't know/refused) ............................................................ 3

The self-described "conservatives" in the survey outnumber "liberals" by nearly a 2-to-1 margin. Yet, the "liberal" Democrats enjoy a wide margin of support on these moral issues and especially on stem cells. The party ID chart shows a similar pattern-- those identified as some type of Democrat or Dem-"leaner" outnumber their GOP counterparts by 4 points. This says to me that moderate voters are abandoning the Republican Party over the so-called "values" issues that have been increasingly hijacking their party over the past couple of decades.

In light of Bachmann's strong views and extremist, divisive record on issues like gay marriage and abortion, voters will probably be even more likely in the Sixth than in a "typical" swing district to favor the common-sense, consensus-based policy views of Patty Wetterling.

Well, that's my summary. Please post any thoughts you have in the comments.

August 2, 2006

Wetterling gets support from big IP donors

While researching Patty Wetterling's campaign recepits, I noticed something that I think is significant. Two of the biggest donors to the Independence Party of Minnesota have also given money to Patty Wetterling's campaign.

Julia W. Dayton (I can't confirm this, but it's probable she's connected to, or married into, the family of Sen. Mark Dayton) gave $5,000 to the IP, and has given $4200 in this cycle (for Patty's Senate and House campaigns) and $4000 in the '04 cycle to Wetterling.

Michael D. Goldner, a $1,000 contributor to the IP, gave a total of $800 to Wetterling in the '04 cycle.

Since John Binkowski, the IP candidate in the Sixth, does not list his individual contributors on his FEC filing (I'm not sure why... perhaps the donations were all very small, or since he declared his candidacy more recently he is not required to file that information), it is impossible to say whether these IP backers will switch to Binkowski. But it seems that Wetterling, through her moderate, common-sense policies and values, is reaching out to independent donors (and, by extension, independent voters.)

Wetterling has celebrity backing

The Bachmann campaign receipts have been analyzed quite a bit, with some shocking results, as this blog has detailed in the past. Not much has been said about those who are backing Wetterling. They include:

-former Vice President Walter Mondale ($200 donation)
-Susan Vento, political activist, current board member of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, and widow of the late U.S. Rep. Bruce Vento ($1,000 donation)
-Garrison Keillor, writer and host of the popular public-radio show "A Prairie Home Companion" ($500 donation)
-William C. Moyers--I thought it was THE Bill Moyers at first and got excited, but it's actually his son-- a Vice President at the Hazelden Foundation, which runs the world-famous Hazelden addiction-treatment facility. ($500 donation)

The right is also making a fuss over the fact that Wetterling received $10,000 from Al Franken's Midwest Values PAC. Ken Avidor at DB wrote a good rebuttal to the claim that "Hollywood values are not Sixth District values." I also like this quote from Larry David, star of the hilarious Curb Your Enthusiasm and creator of Seinfeld:

"It's better to get money from people in Hollywood than corporations," he said. "He's not beholden to anyone in Hollywood to do them favors by accepting their money."

Very true. Hollywood actors have their pet issues, and doubtless wield influence, but their donations have "less strings attached" than the corporations and the corporate PACs that give to politicians hoping to use their money to favorably influence legislation.

Wetterling, Bachmann, Binkowski at Farmfest

Bachmann v. Wetterling has a decent round up of the coverage of the CD6 candidates at Tuesday's FarmFest. Even better is St. Cloud Times writer Lawrence Shumacher, who has audio up of the CD6 candidates' responses to the questions asked. Looking through the coverage, I found some real gems.

Apparently, Michele Bachmann was walking around in style:

Difficult walking conditions on the FarmFest grounds did not prevent state Sen. Michele Bachmann from staying in style.

The 6th Congressional District candidate appeared at the event in high-heeled shoes. She is known for that type of footwear. A newspaper article about her once included a picture of her running a vacuum cleaner wearing them.

I'm guessing that Patty Wetterling just wore tennis shoes. She probably doesn't vacuum in high heels, either.

With both her style and her policy positions, Bachmann showed she's a lightweight:

Bachmann noted her service on the Senate Environment, Agricultural and Economic Development finance committee and said she was an early supporter of a dairy investment tax credit that has yet to make it through the Legislature.

She offered elimination of state and federal inheritance taxes as a tool for preventing the loss of Minnesota dairy farms.

Hmm. Bragging about yet another bill that didn't pass? And what's this about the inheritance tax? You mean the one that only applies to those estates above $1.5 million for 2006? How many small farmers have $1.5 million lying around? I'm sure their land is worth something, but studies have shown that the fear-mongering of Bachmann and other "taxpayer advocates" is unfounded:

The debate sometimes revolves around which estates are affected by current law. The effects of the law on small business owners and family-owned farms (entities which, conservatives argue, are hardest hit by the estate tax) was studied in an analysis undertaken by the Tax Policy Center. A study of the 18,800 taxable estates taxed in 2004 found 7,090 which had any farm or business income. Of those, there were 440 estates in which half or more of its assets were the value of farms and/or businesses. The effective tax rate on the 440 estates studied in detail never averaged more than 23%.

And the chart of the study shows that, for all but the largest estates, the effective tax rate is lower than that 23% figure. And, with 435 House districts in the United States, if you accept that figure of 440 farms/small business estates affected, that means that, on average, the federal inheritance tax only affects one farm or small business in the Sixth District each year.

Meanwhile, Patty Wetterling offered a real solution:

Wetterling suggested prohibiting milk protein imports to ensure local milk is used in making cheeses. She advocated a permanent disaster assistance fund and renewal of a milk subsidy that kicks in when prices fall below a specified level.

[...]While Tuesday's debate yielded no direct clashes, Wetterling said finding a solution to spiraling health care costs would do more to help farmers than Bachmann's proposal to eliminate inheritance taxes.

She also delved into the political ramifications of voting Democratic this November:

She attempted to link her election to potential benefits for Minnesota farmers that could arise if Democrats take control of the U.S. House. That could mean Rep. Collin Peterson, DFL-Minn., would become chairman of the House Agriculture committee, and Rep. James Oberstar, DFL-Minn., would lead the House Transportation committee.

"When I get to Congress it will not only elevate Collin Peterson, if we get 15 seats, but it will elevate Congressman Oberstar to head the transportation committee," she said.

The Strib had only this to say:


In the Sixth District, Republican candidate Michele Bachmann and her DFL opponent Patty Wetterling agreed that rural roads need improvements.

Where was Michele Bachmann on this issue in her years in the State Senate?

Independence candidate John Binkowski was also there, being independent (as usual.)

In a three-way race for an open Sixth Congressional District seat this fall, Independence Party-endorsed candidate John Binkowski of St. Mary's Point appeared most willing to say things the audience might not have wanted to hear.

Binkowski questioned whether federal crop insurance was wasteful and whether price supports help small farmers or large agribusiness corporations.

"My responsibility in all of this is not only to Minnesota farmers and Minnesota family farmers, especially, but to the American taxpayers," the first-time candidate told the crowd. "So some of the things I say here might not be agreeable to everybody, but I'm going to be honest with you."

I respect that, and it might resonate with voters. Not a huge percentage of Sixth District citizens are farmers, and despite the farmers' political clout, I think it might help Binkowski in the long run. (He still has no chance, though.)

July 28, 2006

John Edwards to campaign for Wetterling-- if you vote!

John Edwards, former VP candidate and former U.S. Senator from North Carolina, is holding a contest through his One America PAC. He will headline fundraisers for the top two votegetters in an online poll. You can vote for Patty through that link.

I volunteered for John Edwards in Waterloo, Iowa in 2004, before the critical Iowa caucuses. After seeing him speak a couple of times, I know that Edwards is a very good speaker. With his optimism and enthusiasm, he'd be a perfect person to campaign for Patty.

[Hat tip to Karl Bremer.]

July 27, 2006

Wetterling campaign kickstarts grassroots efforts

The latest post to the Patty Wetterling campaign blog alerts us to the fact that the campaign is starting its grassroots efforts in full force. It's never too early to get involved.

Patty has kicked off her campaign! 05:00 PM Jul 26, 2006

From Corey Day, Campaign Manager:

Patty has kicked-off her campaign’s grassroots effort. The campaign headquarters, located in Anoka, opened its doors last Wednesday to people interested in volunteering; two of the campaign’s other offices, in St. Cloud and Lake Elmo, held their first volunteer organizing meetings this week. Concerned citizens from the 6th District and beyond have already signed up to door-knock, make phone calls and write letters.

The Wetterling campaign is entering a new phase. Our offices are busier than ever taking calls from people who want to do whatever is needed to help send Patty to Washington.

Sign up to volunteer with this simple online form, or call 763-323-1803. Or, you can e-mail the campaign.

...What's that? You can't leave your house to volunteer because of crippling agoraphobia, but you just happen to have a sock full of cash lying around that you inherited from your (sadly deceased) crazy uncle? Why not donate it? (Actually, I'm sure you could make calls from your house if you can't leave it for some reason. Campaigns love all the help they can get.)

Wetterling campaign updates

Recent news on the Wetterling front:

*The campaign marched in the Stillwater Lumberjack Days parade with over 50 supporters; pictures are up on Wetterling's website.

I was at the parade (on Greeley, near Oak Street), but I didn't realize it would last so long. We left after two hours, still not having seen the Wetterling or Bachmann contingents. I guess I could post my pictures of Pawlenty's gang, or IP candidate John Binkowski, but... why?

*Patty Wetterling will receive fundraising help from Nancy Pelosi. The folks over at that other site are concerned lest the Democrats re-take the House and Pelosi becomes Majority Leader. Well, they'd better be concerned... a new study commissioned by NPR says that Dem candidates are up by an average of 6 points over the Republicans in the 50 most competitive House races. The Republicans won those seats by an average of 12% in 2004. The results were stable whether the pollsters used candidates' names or just their party labels:

We asked the question about a generic Democrat or Republican, then we plugged in the names of actual incumbents and challengers. The numbers didn't change much and the voters seemed pretty firm about their choices. Only 18 percent of those favoring a Democrat said there was any chance they'd change their minds. Only 16 percent of those favoring a Republican said they might switch.

PS: I dislike MDE, but his headline is priceless: "Woman Who Wasn't Familiar With Curly Fries to Campaign For Wetterling" If that's all the dirt he can dig up on Patty, then it's fine by me.

*I'm not sure why the folks at MPR think that the above news is more important than this next item... but I heard them repeat the Pelosi story at least 3 times today, while a piece on the Walsh crime bill signed today at the White House didn't mention Patty Wetterling at all. But she was there.

To conclude, I just can't resist a pinch of Bachmann news: was her campaign spying on protestors at the Karl Rove event?

July 22, 2006

Local candidates dig Wetterling

Via MNCR, we learn that Patty Wetterling is one of the favorite local political figures of Jeff Rich, DFL candidate for the state House in district 41A. He's also the co-owner of the infamous Donkey Truck, one of the best campaign ideas I've seen. Here's what Jeff had to say in MNCR's interview:


MNCR: Who [...] is your favorite [...] Local Political Figure:
Paul: I really admire Sheldon Johnson, Steve Simon, Steve Kelley, Amy Klobuchar - a lot of really great leaders right now.
Jeff: Yeah, I really have to go with Steve Kelley, he’s soft-spoken, he stands up for what he knows is right, you just can’t NOT like the guy. I also have a ton of respect for Patty Wetterling - it was right around the time I came to Minnesota that her son was taken, and [the] way she’s devoted her life to the things she’s done is pretty amazing.

July 13, 2006

Wetterling gets DCCC ca$h

Some good news for the Wetterling campaign, which should help offset the moolah raised by Michele Bachmann's trifecta of recent & upcoming fundraisers (Cheney, Hastert, Rove):

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) on Thursday expanded its program to focus attention on Democratic House contenders who are seeking to take over Republican-held seats.

The committee newly identified 13 House candidates as waging competitive campaigns and deserving of additional political and financial support from the party leading up to the November elections.

These additions were the latest installment of the 2006 “Red to Blue? program established in February by the DCCC, which is trying to orchestrate the net gain of at least 15 seats needed to erase the Republicans’ current House majority. The program takes its name from the now-familiar color-coded partisan maps, as the DCCC is trying to turn Republican-held “red? districts to Democratic-controlled “blue? districts.

This is a good boost for the campaign as we get closer to the point where people other than us die-hards on the 'nets start to care. It should help spread Patty's positive message and help counter the Republican attack machine.

Going negative

A local conservative blogger gets word of a Patty Wetterling child-safety event tomorrow and proceeds to call Patty a "whore" and a "pimp":

I hate people that whore their tragedies. Kid gets killed and you have to camp out at the President's vacation grounds. Mom dies of cancer and you have to go on a crusade against tobacco companies. [...]

I personally feel there are more things that should be looked at with more scrutiny when assessing the person's character...namely a character that would pimp one's tragedy or use the tragedy of others for one's own political gain.

Cashing in on your celebrity is another thing. An example of this is how Coleen Rowley uses her position in the FBI and her created celebrity as a "whistleblower" to draw attention to her campaign. (Details at the link above.) Basically making appearances under the guise of being "not a part of" one's campaign during a campaign. Typical politicians do it all of the time (and that does not make it right or palatable) when they show up at places as the Representative so it is not campaigning even though they are running for a different office.

To me the level of depravity by the person is directly correlated to the importance of the cause to remain non-political. Do it for a Save the Humpback Beatle awareness seminar and it is bad but not bordering unethical. Do it for a Save the Children from Incest Session and it is bordering on reprehensible.

Now enter Patty Wetterling.

Patty Wetterling to Host Session on Child Internet Safety

ANOKA, MINN. - Patty Wetterling will lead a one-hour information and discussion session on child internet safety at Northtown Library in Blaine on tomorrow, July 14. The public is welcome to attend. Wetterling will suggest ways to keep children safe while using the internet, and will provide an update on internet safety legislation. Detective Jeff Rokeh from the Anoka County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division will also be present. Wetterling and Detective Rokeh will invite attendees to ask questions and participate in a discussion.

This is politicizing an issue that should not be politicized. Worse than that is Wetterling is not even willing to admit this to be a campaign event which means that the effort is to deceive the public. [...]

Wetterling is preying on the fact that Joe Q Public will go, "Hmm, this is not a campaign event and it is an important issue. That Patty is willing to sacrifice her campaign to help this important cause."

Legal? Yes.
Commonplace? Too much so...in fact this particular race will see this done to the nth degree because both candidates have very little regard for anyone but their own career and both candidates have very little, if any, decency or honor.
Should we accept it? Hell no.

Patty is politicizing an issue that should be left unpartisaned (check the OED for that one please). The result may be a short term bump for her ("oh, she REALLY cares about children"). The long term result is that this issue will get less attention that it deserves because once politicians have an issue they rarely can help the issue.

Patty...the best thing for you to do is cancel this event so that it can be an American issue instead of a political one.

Hmm. Well, he does have a point... important issues such as child internet safety should really be nonpartisan. But the post implies, using extremely insulting language and rhetoric, that this is an issue that Patty has recently discovered and hopes to use to further her own career. This is just patently false. Patty Wetterling has spent a substantial portion of her life since her son Jacob was abducted dedicating herself to the safety of children and families. Is this blogger suggesting that Patty Wetterling has spent the last 17 years as a tireless advocate for children solely in order to get herself elected to Congress? That is just tasteless and ignores all the facts.

Patty decides to hold a talk on internet safety for children. Well, she's running for office, so of course it's political. It's also practical and useful, as evidenced by the Anoka County Detective who will be present. This isn't just some George Bush-style "look at me with the Katrina victims, see, I do care" photo op. Patty Wetterling has spent three presidential administrations learning about this stuff, lobbying Congress, and advocating for children. She's an expert. So to accuse her of being a "pimp" and a "whore," to say that she is "deceiving the public," and to say that is just plain despicable.

(Of course, I should note that the person making these accusations isn't one of the foaming-at-the-mouth Bachmann addicts. He's no fan of Michele Bachmann, either.)

June 26, 2006

Wetterling hits Bachmann on minimum wage

Last Thursday, the Patty Wetterling campaign released this statement questioning Michele Bachmann's anti-worker, anti-family stance on raising the minimum wage:

Patty Wetterling to Michele Bachmann: Would You Vote to Give Minnesota Families a Raise?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 22, 2006

(Anoka, MN) — With Republican leaders announcing in news reports today that Congress will vote on a minimum wage increase this summer, Democratic Congressional candidate Patty Wetterling pointed to her opponent's dismal record on the minimum wage in St. Paul and demanded to know whether she would vote against working Minnesota families in Washington, DC, too.

"Families in Minnesota need a Representative in Congress who will fight for them," Wetterling said. "Given Michele Bachmann's past record of voting against working families, Minnesotans deserve to know if they can expect more of the same from her in Congress. No parent should work full-time, year-round and not be able to afford the basic food, shelter and healthcare for his or her family, yet that is the situation hardworking Minnesotans across the state face every single day. We can do better than the Bachmann status quo that puts a partisan agenda ahead of the best interests of Minnesota families."

As a state Senator, Michele Bachmann voted at least twice against a raise for working Minnesotans. It has been nine years since the last increase in the federal minimum wage, the second longest period since it was enacted. In 2003 there were 3.7 million Americans who worked full-time, year-round, and still lived in poverty.

Bachmann Voted Twice Against a Raise for Working Families

Bachmann Voted Against Increasing the Minimum Wage in 2005. In 2005, Bachmann voted against increasing the minimum wage. The Minnesota Senate voted on the legislation SF 3/HF 48, that increased the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour-the lowest amount allowed by federal law-to $6.15 per hour. It is estimated that $100 million will go into the pockets of low-income workers as a result of the increase, which went into effect August 1, 2005.

The bill passed 44 to 22.

Bachmann Voted Against Increasing the Minimum Wage in 2004. In 2004, Bachmann voted against increasing the minimum wage. SF 3 authored by Senator Ellen Anderson increases the state's minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $6.40 an hour.

The bill passed 36-30.

I like the phrasing of this press release. Framing the minimum wage as a "family values" issue lets voters see that, despite Michele Bachmann's claim to the "values" voter, she does not have the best interest of the working families of the Sixth District in mind.

However, the Wetterling campaign could have gone further in attacking Bachmann's record on the minimum wage. During her time in the MN Senate, Bachmann has made some pretty extraordinary statements regarding this issue. For instance, there's this doozy, stated during testimony on January 26, 2005, to the Jobs, Energy and Community Development Committee:

"I was wondering, if most employers are already doing this anyway, isn’t minimum wage really just superfluous? Why do we even have one?"

Did Michele Bachmann really advocate abolishing the minimum wage? Does she still hold this out-of-the-mainstream position? Well, wait 'til you hear some of her other plans regarding worker compensation...

"Many teenagers that come in should be paying the employer because of broken dishes or whatever occurs during that period of time. But you know what? After six months, that teenager is going to be a fabulous employee and is going to go on a trajectory where he's going to be making so much money, we'll be borrowing money from him." —Michele Bachmann, 1/26/05, explaining why teenagers should pay employers for the privilege of working instead of receiving minimum wage.

(All quotations taken from the "Quotes" page at Dump Bachmann)

How can we take Michele Bachmann seriously when she suggests that, not only should we abolish the minimum wage, but that some employees should not be compensated for their labor at all, and should even pay the employer to work?

In an era where the average American CEO earns 262 times the pay of the average American worker, the minimum wage has been stuck at a miserable $5.15 since 1997; in that same time, Congress has voted to raise its own pay at least 7 times. Earning minimum wage, a full-time worker will earn just $10,700 a year, leaving a family of three more than $5,000 below the poverty line. Minnesota needs a leader who can take charge on this issue and help working people everywhere. As we can see from Michele Bachmann's record, she is not that leader. Patty Wetterling is, and 86% of Americans agree with her: the minimum wage must be raised.

June 21, 2006

Wetterling hits the blogosphere

Browsing Patty's site, I notice that she has added a new "Campaign Blog" feature. I'm looking forward to reading what Patty and her campaign have to say. Hopefully it's updated more often than Michele Bachmann's blog, which appears to have mercifully fizzled out on February 22nd after a grand total of two posts. (Now it seems that she's delegated the work to her chums at Bachmann v. Wetterling.) Let's all give a big Stillwater Slow Clap to Senator Bachmann and her valiant efforts at blogging.

June 19, 2006

Choose your photo op

We're all eagerly awaiting the pictures and news accounts of next week's Bachmann/Cheney fundraiser. Now it appears that the Wetterling campaign is striking back with its own fundraiser: "HAVE YOUR PHOTO TAKEN WITH PATTY AND DICK"... Wetterling supporter Dick Bernard, that is. The fundraiser is the same night as Bachmann's $1,000-a-pop gig with veep Cheney-- next Monday night, June 26th, from 5-6 PM in Woodbury. Photos are only $1... but I'm sure you can give more if you choose. (Hat tip to Dump Bachmann.)

May 16, 2006

CQ Interview with Patty

A few excerpts from a new interview, out tonight:

On campaign finance reform:

CQ: How are you doing in terms of fundraising?

Wetterling: Fundraising is always a challenge. If I could fix one thing immediately when I get there [to Congress], it would be to address that. It’s going to be, it’s going to continue to be a challenge. I will continue to do what I can. We’ve done well so far.

On her fundraising chances:

CQ: Do you think you will be able to match Michele Bachmann? [Bachmann’s latest report showed she had $396,347 in receipts and had $196,000 in cash on hand as of March 31.]

Wetterling: Yes, I do.

CQ: And do you have a target you’re aiming for?

Wetterling: You know, that’s all part of the strategy that we’re developing this week. I know last [cycle] in ‘04 I raised nearly $2 million in six months, and I know it will be more than that that this race is going to take. It’s a targeted race once again.

On taking on Bachmann:

CQ: Michele Bachmann is very well known for her [conservative] stance on social issues like abortion and the same-sex marriage amendment. Do you think your stance on these issues reflects the voters’ views? [Wetterling supports abortion rights and opposes a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage, although she believes marriage is defined as between a man and a woman.]

Wetterling: I do, and I think that there’s more than one issue that people are going to be concerned about. There’s a lot of concerns in the 6th District about everyday family issues, about getting their kids educated, about jobs so they can care for their families, it’s about health care, it’s about buying gas for their cars. There’s a lot of concerns of people in the 6th District, and I believe I represent those concerns more accurately than Michele.

The money race

In a recent post, Bachmann v Wetterling mocks Patty's campaign accounts:

Patty Wetterling proclaimed this weekend during her endorsement that she wouldn’t have to spend a dime getting her name out in the District this weekend. That’s good for her since she will have to work on getting her ‘message’ out there. She had better hope she can do it cheap.

Patty Wetterling

Total Receipts: $244,986 Latest Cash On Hand: $168,402

Now if she could only remember what that ‘message’ thing is.

This is kind of ironic criticism, considering the piles of money backing the "Wetterling" side of the Bachmann v Wetterling logo-- it seems to imply there is a wealthy liberal machine (an unholy alliance of the Star Tribune, the DFL, OutFront Minnesota, and the DCCC) showering money on Wetterling.

Irony aside, in that CQ article that everyone's linking to, an observant reader finds this:

As of March 31, Wetterling had net receipts in her House account of $197,406 and $168,000 on hand, both rather modest totals. But she still had $1.2 million sitting in the campaign account she had set up for her planned Senate bid, which she is allowed to transfer to the House account. Wetterling predicted her fundraising would surpass the $1.9 million her campaign spent on her 2004 challenge to Kennedy.

So by my count, that's almost $1.4 million that Patty's got available. Now that she's got the endorsement, watch for those numbers to increase substantially. And remember that, at least initially, El Tinklenberg had the backing of the DCCC and the labor unions--thus the surprising number of PAC contributions in Tinklenberg's fundraising. [side note: Why isn't Patty listed on opensecrets.org? She's not in the CD6 section or the Senate section.]

Compare that to Bachmann's FEC totals:

Total Receipts: $396,347 Total Disbursements: $200,114 Latest Cash On Hand: $196,232

So, unless she's got some money stashed away somewhere (in the bushes, perhaps?), Republicans "better hope she can do it cheap."