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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

2016: The Top 10 Worst In Politics In Minnesota

Category: GOP House Republicans
Posted: 12/31/16 02:42

by Dave Mindeman

It has been a year of worsts. Maybe Republicans think it was great but even they have to sit and wonder what 2016 has wrought. It has been a year when political norms went through an upheaval. When right was wrong and up was down. It was the year of Trump and even though Minnesota resisted the quicksand, it was still tarnished by its destructive will.

These 10 politicos are emblematic of the worst of 2016:

10. The Univ Of MN Athletic Department: Something is amiss in Gopher athletics. The men's football program went through a public embarrassment of threatening a boycott of a bowl game because they did not believe that player suspensions over a sexual assault encounter were fair. Personally, I do not care about the actual details - portraying themselves as the "victims" here was just plain wrong. But it is not only the football program that has had issues. The wrestling team was involved in sales of controlled substances. And last spring the basketball team had some players suspended over a sex tape controversy. This constant parade of issues coming out of these programs is disturbing and tarnishes the reputation of a good academic university. It needs to end.

9. Jerry Loud: Yes, he was a Democratic candidate but he failed his supporters. It should be a hard and fast rule that any person involved in domestic abuse should be front and center, from the beginning, with the honest truth and how it has been remedied.... or never bother to run at all. Loud violated that rule and contributed to increasing the DFL minority in the House. Let no one violate that rule again - in either Party.

8. Ali Jiminez-Hopper: This GOP candidate in District 57A must have believed that Trump rhetoric was now normal, because she made race and sexual orientation part of her negative campaign tactics. She brought back, or at least attempted to bring back, the tactics of us vs them societal values. It did not work - she lost to DFLer Erin Maye Quade. Now, can we be done with that?

7. Erik Paulsen: The 3rd District Congressman has corporate money oozing out of his briefcase. His marriage to the medical device companies is well known. But this year he added wimp to his descriptive arsenal. It is bad enough that the MN GOP looked the other way in regards to Trump behavior but Paulsen refused to even take a stand on his personal support. He would criticize some of the over the top language, but once Trump managed to squeak out a win, he has jumped on board full throttle. He now relishes the full Trump banner.

6. Ben Golnik: There is something kind of sinister about the long time political operative. He came out of the MN Jobs Coalition to work for the House Republican Caucus as Kurt Daudt's right hand man. But it is hard not to sense the potential collaboration between the MJC (with new director John Rouleau) and the GOP House Executive Director moving the GOP Senate Caucus into giving its entire campaign over to that same MN Jobs Coalition group. Golnik fingerprints are all over the House, the Senate, and the ad campaigns of MJC. He's good at his job - but with little concern for what actually benefits the state of MN. I imagine that we will find Mr. Golnik operating the Daudt for Governor campaign very soon. Oh, and by the way, Golnik speaks Russian - maybe he can translate Trump for us.

5. John Rouleau: Well, speaking of the Minnesota Jobs Coalition, let's just add its director to the list. The MJC has run the most dishonest ads and flyers of the 2016 campaign. They sent out one in our district accusing our incumbent Senator of voting for a pay raise for himself. He voted against it, but no correction was offered. The entire 2016 campaign method was to increase the divide between the metro and greater MN. They lied about the Republican record and accused the DFL of failures that the GOP themselves obstructed. Another ugly campaign in a generally ugly year.

4. Michelle MacDonald: MacDonald ran once again for the Supreme Court as a challenge candidate. Another black mark on her career. She duped the Republican Party into an endorsement without telling them she had court dealings on a DUI. She has been a person of interest in a family abduction. And has disrespected the court in a number of ways. Yet, despite all of this she ran against Supreme Court Justice Natalie Hudson - and she got 41% of the vote! All I can say is...bizarre.

3. Nolan West: This is a real GOP character. He ran as the GOP candidate for District 37B (Blaine). During the campaign, his ugly past came out. This guy has said and done things like this:

"Lincoln was the single worst President this country has ever seen."
When Obama won in 2008: "It's lynching time." He honors Jefferson Davis' birthday and displays Confederate flags.

But ladies and gentleman, Blaine has embarrassed us all by sending this guy to the legislature. He squeaked out a 168 vote margin, but he won. He will be sitting in a desk in the House that faces the Lincoln portrait that is stationed above the Speaker's desk. It is embarrassing and wrong. Ugh.

2.Jason Lewis: Well, the 2nd District has its own personal Trump. Yes, by a margin of 6600 votes, Jason Lewis will take over where John Kline left off and embarrass this district once again. His ugly rhetoric - his far right policy ideas - his smug and arrogant manner...will now be on full display in the Congress of the United States. Lewis road his horse with Donald Trump who also, somehow won the district based on rural voters. It will be a difficult 2 years putting up with this type of representation. He, like Kline, will represent only 1/2 of the district - and allow corporations to control the strings of government.

1. Kurt Daudt: This #1 "honor" was too easy in a year of really bad things. But Kurt Daudt is really bad at being Speaker of the House. Because of Daudt, we did not get a transportation bill...did not get a tax bill... did not get tax relief for MNSure premiums...did not get a bonding bill...none of it because Kurt Daudt wants to be the next governor. He simply can't allow Mark Dayton to get anything done - he is risking the Minnesota budget for his own ambition. Daudt has used Minnesota problems to forward his political agenda. He has divided this state into a deep urban/rural split...and takes great pleasure in blaming the metro's population for taking things away from rural areas. Even though it is simply not true. He has made light rail his main target - because it has high expense numbers. But even though a metro sales tax pays for the bulk of it (along with Fed transportation dollars), he tells the utter falsehood to rural Minnesota, that it is light rail that costs them there projects. He is in the position, as Speaker of the House, to negotiate terms of policy - but he has proven that he cannot be trusted to make fair agreements, always looking for another method to blame Gov. Dayton for the things that Daudt, himself, obstructs. The way Daudt approaches governing is almost comical. He disrespects the Governor; he creates division; and he negotiates through the press. Kurt Daudt may be effective in obstruction - but he is still bad at his job.
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An Uncertain Future

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 12/29/16 13:07

by Dave Mindeman

Since the election, it has been very hard to get out of this funk. It is different than Democratic losses in the past. I was motivated and angry about W winning in 2000. I knew that there would be policy problems but GW Bush had some practical knowledge about how governance works. He changed a lot of things and he got us into perpetual war, so that was bad. But he could be challenged. We could fight on concepts and legislation.

I would have been upset at losses to either John McCain or Mitt Romney, but again, I would have lived with it and knew the parameters that would have been necessary to oppose the things that I did not agree with. It would have been hard but not impossible.

But with Donald Trump it is a different story. There isn't any defined way to lessen the potential severity of what he might do. Republicans seem to think that they can simply promote their agenda in normal methods. They are proceeding as if normal give and take between the Parties will continue.

I am uncomfortable with that idea, because I think this is too different.

Trump has no moral compass. He has no set of guiding principles. He only values what he can do for himself in the moment. He wants to be in power. To do exactly what he wants. And he is delusional enough to think that being President IS ultimate power. He will be disappointed with that; he will run into obstacles.... but I think that that will make him even more dangerous. He will look for ways to get around the legalities and bypass the normal checks and balances we have come to accept.

I am not just angry about how the election turned out. I am actually somewhat fearful. We will soon have a President that seeks control over consensus. Power over leading. Ultimatums over diplomacy.

That gives me a sense of forboding that I have never had before with any other election outcome.

The future is no longer about which direction to take...it is about our system surviving.
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The Capitulation Of The Republican Party

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 12/24/16 00:20

by Dave Mindeman

Vladimir Putin, in a letter sent to the President-Elect, has given American Democrats some advice...

"They are losing on all fronts and looking elsewhere for things to blame. In my view this, how shall I say it, degrades their own dignity," Putin said. "You have to know how to lose with dignity."

OK, let's think about this. A former KGB agent who is now essentially the dictator of Russia is explaining to American Democrats that they need to lose more graciously.

He also had some kind words for the electoral winner....

"I hope that after you assume the position of President of the United States of America we will be able - by acting in a constructive and pragmatic manner - to take real steps to restore the framework of bilateral cooperation in different areas as well as bring our level of collaboration on the international scene to a qualitatively new level."

This is a bit creepy.

There is strong evidence that Putin directed Russian cyber hackers to help Donald Trump in the US election. A Russian leader helping a US politician.

There are so many levels to this, it is hard to outline them all. Russia is an international rival. They have a weak economy and are essentially an international gas station - subject to the ebb and flow of oil prices. Putin has routinely jailed his political opponents. Killed more than a few. He controls the Russian press and openly states that he wishes to destabilize the West. He has overrun the Crimea and threatens the rest of Ukraine with military action. He is seeking bonds with European right wing parties in order to assemble kindred spirits in the power structure of the European Union.

The country's economy is controlled by the wealthy oligarchs which are allowed to maintain that control as long as Putin gets a piece of the action. A government model that seems to be Trump's future vision for America.

In a normal world, this type of Trump/Putin alliance would raise major suspicions. Outcries would come from Democrats, but it would normally be Republicans that would raise the most noise about Russian interference in our elections and in our foreign policy.

But the GOP is uniformly silent. They see Trump as their ticket to power across the board and seem to be willing to accept this new found Russian attraction as something they can tolerate to keep Mr. Trump happy and maintain his willingness to go along with a GOP agenda.

It is a bargain with the devil. It is a slippery slope into a Constitutional crisis. It threatens the world's political and economic stability.

I don't see any conscience in the Republican Party. I don't see any stand for Conservative principles. I don't see any leadership willing to call out the troubling issues that have developed. The GOP has capitulated and has ceased to be a party of American interests. It takes its cues from Donald Trump alone.

How long will it be before we have reached the point of no return?
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