Mr. Walz goes to Washington

Election ’06 is over and done with. Tim Walz predicted a bright, sunny day for 11/8. And if you live in southern Minnesota, it’s true — both literally and figuratively.

On the campaign stump Tim Walz would often close with something like this:

When you wake up on November 8th the sun will be shining. There will be a new Congress, and the nation will once again have found its balance, its center. Just think about what the rest of the world will say on November 8th… “America is back!”
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Is Jerry McNerney the Tim Walz of California?

Or is Tim Walz the Jerry McNerney of Minnesota?

Nov. 7 was indeed a day of upsets. Two of the most unexpected were Tim Walz in Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District and Jerry McNerney in California’s 11th. How did these guys — both have never held political office before — overcome two entrenched, very conservative House members?

Could the answer be “the environment”?

Ah yes, the environment. The bête noir of “liberal” politicians. Right-wing Republicans love to hang the moniker of “environmental activist” on politicians advocating for a more sustainable environmental policy. Less flattering terms have included “tree hugger” and “environmental nazi”.
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Election day in southern Minnesota

Okay, I admit it. I live in a reasonably well-off subdivision in Mankato. My neighbors are mostly doctors and pharmacists and seasoned university professors. We also have two bank owners and several insurance agents, so the financial industry is well represented.

My wife and I are the “po’ folks,” as they say. We have the oldest house, built in ’79, which is half-bermed, half in desperate need of new siding. (The woodpeckers love the existing weathered cedar planking.)
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Why campaigns become horseraces and issues fade into the background

Too often the media stop looking at the issues in a campaign and start focusing on the horserace. I’ve discovered why. It’s because the candidates themselves don’t offer anything new — at least from the reporters’ point-of-view.

By this time in the campaign the candidates have honed their stump speeches to a fine point, knowing which phrases will resonate in what cities and where to pause at which point. Reporters have heard it all before, and so to them what the candidates say is not news.
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Tim Walz on “lies about my service record”

In several previous articles we have noted that the political discourse has moved beyond charges and countercharges to outright lies. One particular astonishing claim was made in a recent letter-to-the-editor in the Winona Daily News. It’s astonishing because the writer has impeccable credentials as a distinguished attorney, a man who has recently served in our military overseas, and as the former mayor of a Minnesota city. It’s further surprising that the Winona Daily News would print such a letter without doing its own simple fact check.
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Congressional gravy train: Gold-plated health care

So your congressman votes against allowing the federal government to negotiate with Big Pharma for lower prescription drug prices for seniors. And so he advocates health savings accounts, which are great if you’re young and healthy but a ticket to bankruptcy if you’re older or have a chronic disease. And so he opposes any movement towards a single-payer system, which would cut billions from wasteful administration costs, drug and insurance industry profits, and fat-cat CEO pay.
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How many saw Obama in Rochester?

I was going to write a straight news story about Barak Obama’s visit to Rochester in support of Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar and Minnesota District 1 congressional candidate Tim Walz, an event that I attended. But it has been amply covered by the Associated Press here and by Matt Stolle of the Rochester Post-Bulletin here (and on Bluestem Prairie here, if the Post-Bulletin story disappears). So why duplicate? No reason to, except that…
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DM&E: When right and left agree, the middle better listen

“I can’t imagine this loan would’ve ever passed if we had due process.” — former Vice President Walter Mondale

“This is a fundamental perversion of the political process…. The only reason we’re having this discussion is because of the horrendous corruption that’s come about in the last six years.” — David Strom, President of the Minnesota Taxpayers League

Former Vice President Walter Mondale and taxpayer rights advocate David Strom don’t agree on much. But there is one issue they do see eye-to-eye on: They both oppose the $2.3 billion loan earmarked for the DM&E railroad that was snuck into a conference committee report the day before the House of Representatives was due to vote on the massive Transportation Bill.
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VoteVets.org puts out simple but devastating ad against Gutknecht

At Vox Verax and Minnesota Monitor we have taken exception to negative attack ads, not because they were against a candidate, but because they were untruthful. Witness our complaints about Minnesota DFL ads and Gil Gutknecht ads.

In an interview today with KTTC TV Station Manager Liz Dahlen today, we sensed her frustration with the PACs’, political parties’ and candidates’ competition for advertising time. (More later.)
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Project Vote Smart Update

Too many Minnesota candidates don’t respond to national bipartisan survey.

“Over 100 news organizations throughout the nation also urged their candidates to supply their issue positions through the National Political Awareness Test.” — Project Vote Smart

Project Vote Smart has been on a 10-year mission to tell voters the truth about politicians — not about writing about them but by allowing the politicians’ words, actions and deeds to be made available to the public.
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