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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Blogging Workshop for Candidates

I have been invited to do a blogging workshop for women candidates at the Go Run Lead Conference sponsored by the White House Project. If you are interested, my materials are available here.

King's Cat Gladys Dies

King Banaian posted a eulogy to his cat, Gladys. I recently made the decision to put down my cat Kiddleewink and can commiserate.

Blogswarming Aravosis's Use of the Term Big Girl

Oh what a world, what a world.

Julianne Ortman Gets the Stadium Boondoggle Bill She Wants

Now will she break her pledge? Will she vote to stick this to the Hennepin County Residents WITHOUT a Referendum?

This bill - as written, raises both sales and property taxes in Hennepin County, since municipalities in Hennepin County are not exempt from the sales tax increase.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Strib's Tim OBrien Takes Another Shot at the Drama Queen

Here.

Will the Drama Queen counter?

Stick a fork in Steve Kelley

I've been fairly neutral (so far) on the DFL candidates for governor.

But, Senator Kelley.... had better take a hit for folding on the stadium conference committee. They'll be back to voting on the Mike Opat/Jerry Bell/Brad Finstad bill. All that conference committee did was bring the Senate representatives over to the unethical House position.

I can't wait to have a DFL primary ballot in my sweaty hands in September.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Calling Out Air America's Janet Robert

Over at Whine in the Dark, the MOB Parrot in Chief Mitch Berg had a suggestion for Air America's Janet Robert, adding some liberal bloggers to the radio.

I sent Janet Robert and a few other bloggers Mitch's suggestion, adding that I didn't think many liberal bloggers would want to work under Janet Robert's "no guns, gays or abortion" gag rule on Air America.

Well Janet Robert has responded:

Eva,

As a Republican, I understand why you do your best to keep everyone talking about the winning issues for Republicans – gay marriage (which Paul Wellstone would not support) and abortion. You are confused about the gun issue – we enjoy talking about guns especially Dick Cheney’s hunting prowess.

As a log cabin Republican, I am not surprised you enjoy shilling for "I can't keep my pants zipped up" Norm Coleman. Or "I think you'll want to take your kids to Iraq in ten years" Mark Kennedy. Your goal in dividing Democrats works well towards re-electing your Republican leaders that are bankrupting our country and sending our National Guard to death sentences in Iraq.

Janet Robert, President
KTNF AM 950 Air America Minnesota
Manager@AirAmericaMinnesota.com

JR Broadcasting LLC
11320 Valley View Road
Eden Prairie, MN 55344
952-946-8885
Fax 952-946-0888
Cell: 651-270-4810


Yes, Janet, we are well aware of Paul DOMA Wellstone's record on DOMA. Unlike many lefties, I am not under the impressions that liberal or progressive means friendly to the gay community and conservative means hostile to the gay community.

Elwyn Tinklenberg lost the DFL nomination because he listened to Janet Robert's idiotic advice. Lori Sturdevant listens to Robert all too often. Sturdevant was predicting a Tinklenberg win at the 6th District DFL convention.

A Pox on Both Sides

Outfront Minnesota often uses the word "conservative" when they are referring to anti-gay activists. This is unfortunate - because there are a number of limited government conservatives such as Craig Westover and Peg Kaplan - who have been publicly supportive of gay marriage. Then there are liberals - such as Mike Hatch, who say "there is no difference between Governor Pawlenty and myself on gay marriage".

Now there's a new campaign training group modeled on Camp Wellstone for conservatives. The Academy for Conservative Leadership mentions that Outfront Minnesota is part of "the competition".

OutFront Minnesota
OutFront Minnesota is a 501(c)(4) non-profit dedicated to advancing the issues of the GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender) community through training, lobbying and grassroots activism.
Recently, OutFront Minnesota launched a series of Community Action Trainings across the state. These trainings will provide a space for GLBT activists to meet throughout Minnesota and discuss how to ensure that their local grassroots organizing will flourish during the legislative session and the 2006 elections.


The other groups they mention are: Wellstone Action, Take Action Minnesota and Moveon.org. Outfront Minnesota claims to be bi-partisan, but their main lobbyist, C Scott Cooper also works full time with the Minnesota Alliance for Progressive Action.

Liberal groups such as Moveon.org, Wellstone Action and MAPA like to have conservatives to be viewed as anti-gay. That way they have an issue they don't deserve. Unfortunately, this new conservative campaign training group is playing right into the DFL script.

Where do the many gays in Minneapolis go, who are disgusted by the way local government is run in Minneapolis, but are also appalled by the way the Leviticus crowd has taken over the Republican party at the state level?

Is the Drama Queen Starting a Wetterling Exposed Site?

Here. Michael Brodkorb is excellent at opposition research.

He's been focusing on all Keith Ellison, all the time. I assume the reason for that is to try to equate Ellison as the other extreme from Michele Bachmann.

The problem with that is Ellison is a good speaker and is good on TV and radio - and in that way compares with Bachmann. Ellison is also known on both sides of the aisle as a hard worker and a formidable opponent. Most of the Minneapolis delegation does not have that respect. Ellison, unlike Michele Bachmann, doesn't just use grandstanding in the media to push his agenda.

I don't agree with Keith about alot of stuff. I still respect Keith as a hard worker.

Mike Hatch and Big Tobacco

From the Pulse:

Mike Hatch has built his reputation as a crusading attorney general willing to investigate excessive profits in the health care industry. He went after Allina and scored points with a public frustrated with increased health insurance premiums and bloated profits. Then he went after MPAAT, the Minnesota Partnership for Action Against Tobacco. He demanded it restructure its board, and he wanted more smoking cessation programs and fewer publicity campaigns. The original MPAAT board was made up of people who were getting grants, but, in all fairness, those members of the board represented organizations that had been working against Big Tobacco for decades. They were the experts and they were doing the work. Also, every study that’s ever been done proves that public campaigns are more effective in stopping tobacco than tobacco cessation programs. [In the interest of full disclosure, Pulse has been sponsoring Smoke Free Saturday Nights for seven years—before MPAAT existed, and we have received some support for these events from numerous sources, including MPAAT.] Hatch did nothing when Target Market was gutted by Governor Tim Pawlenty and House Speaker Steve Sviggum so they could give tax breaks to their rich friends. Big Tobacco contributes generously to the Republicans in general and to Pawlenty and Sviggum in particular, so it was expected that they would kill a program that had proved effective in getting young people to stop and not start smoking. But what is little known is that one of Mike Hatch’s principal fundraisers when he was running for attorney general four years ago was a principal lobbyist for the tobacco industry. This conflict of interest alone raises questions about Hatch’s commitment to public health.


Thanks to the Drama Queen for pointing this one out.

Creationist Explanatory Filter Explained

PZ Myers illustrates the concept with a flowchart!

Kennedy Supporting Blog Pushes Mark Kennedy's Warped Priorities

Here.

Saying:

It Can Happen Here
Filed under: Miscellany — By: Gary M. Miller —May 17, 2006 @ 11:40 am

NYT: Same-Sex Marriage Amendment Is Struck Down by Georgia Judge


Ironically, this is what could happen if Minnesota would pass the Bachmann amendment.

UPDATE: Craig Westover writes:

The judge's ruling essentially says that the combination of defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman AND banning civil unions (the legal equivalent of marriage in Minnesota terms) effectively prevents voters from voting for a ban on same-sex marriage but voting against a ban on civil unions. In other words, people holding both those positions were denied a right to vote their conviction.

How can a conservative that believes the people should decide questions about who can and cannot marry object to a ruling that assures each and every voter that ability?


I wonder what Westover's 6th District candidate, Michele Bachmann would say to that one.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

HRC News

NEWS from the Human Rights Campaign
For Immediate Release - May 17, 2006

Contact: Brad Luna | Phone: 202/216-1514 | Cell: 202/812-8140
Contact: Jay S. Brown | Phone: 202/216-1580 | Cell: 202/716-1650

Senate Committee Expected to Push Forward Discriminatory Amendment Tomorrow

"With gas prices hitting $3 a gallon, millions living without health care, a broken immigration system and an endless war in Iraq, Congress should be helping make America stronger, not weaker by trying to put discrimination in the United States Constitution," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Whether 40 pages or 1 sentence, any amendment that writes discrimination into the Constitution is wrong."

WASHINGTON - The Federal Marriage Amendment (S.J. Res. 1) is scheduled to be marked up tomorrow at 9 a.m. in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Earlier this year, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Senator Bill Frist announced that the Senate would vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment during the week of June 5.

"With gas prices hitting $3 a gallon, millions living without health care, a broken immigration system and an endless war in Iraq, Congress should be helping make America stronger, not weaker by trying to put discrimination in the United States Constitution," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Tampering with the Constitution in order to pander to a political base is wrong, and all fair-minded Americans should call their members of Congress to speak out against the Federal Marriage Amendment. "

Republicans have made it clear that they will use the vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment to drive their base vote.

As introduced by Senator Wayne Allard, the amendment currently reads: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman."

However, sources from the Hill are anticipating the amendment will be altered before it comes up for a vote on the floor, deleting the second sentence in an attempt to attract more votes. The far right's increasing discontent with the administration and Congressional leadership is fueling the push for this amendment. Essentially, it comes down to trying to ban marriages and civil unions outright or leaving it vaguer and trying to get civil unions banned through court rulings.

"Whether 40 pages or 1 sentence, any amendment that writes discrimination into the Constitution is wrong," added Solmonese. "People want Congress focused on things like rising gas prices and health care affordability, not writing Americans out of their own Constitution."

In 2004, the Senate and House both fell far short of the two-thirds vote necessary to send the amendment to the states for ratification. In the Senate, the vote against cloture was 50 to 48, with six Republicans voting no. The Republicans who opposed cloture were Senators Campbell, Chafee, Collins, McCain, Snowe and Sununu. In the House, the vote was 227 to 186.

Many prominent Republicans and conservatives expressed opposition to the amendment in 2004, including Vice President Cheney, Arlen Specter, Rudy Guiliani, Chuck Hagel, David Dreier, George Pataki, Bob Barr, Alan Simpson, George Will, and David Brooks. This year, those numbers increased to former Senator Danforth who called the amendment, "silly" and "contrary to basic Republican principles." Also, First Lady Laura Bush was recently quoted as saying, "I don't think it should be used as a campaign tool, obviously."

After it was announced that Senator McCain would deliver the commencement address at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, the many media stories prompted McCain to reaffirm his opposition to the amendment several times.

Along with McCain's reaffirmation, other Senators such as Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have expressed their concern about spending time on a Federal Marriage Amendment when Republicans are losing in the polls while average Americans are facing the greatest challenges of our generation. Senator Graham was quoted in a recent New York Times article as saying, "Gay marriage is not the magic bullet to get us out of our situation."

In response to a letter sent by Bill Frist in late April outlining the Federal Marriage Amendment as a key vote, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said, "We owe it to the American people to focus on their needs, and not waste a single day focusing on partisan needs. That means setting aside an issue like the marriage amendment, and tackling the issue of gas prices instead."

A long list of African-American leaders has spoken out against the amendment. Coretta Scott King told college students once that "a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay-bashing. ... Instead of trivializing the Constitution, we need some laws that give families the kind of help they really need, like job-training and child care assistance, stronger schools and health insurance coverage for every family." Julian Bond, Congressman John Lewis, Rev. Andrew Young, Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun, Leonard Pitts, Rev. Peter Gomes and Dr. Henry Louis Gates have all been public in their strong opposition to the amendment. The NAACP also opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment and testified against the amendment in 2004.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.


Personally, I think great ads could be made with Laura Bush's words.

The anti-gay AFA is having a cow over Laura Bush's statements.

The president of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania (AFA of Pennsylvania) says federal and state amendments protecting traditional marriage should be a campaign issue, regardless of what First Lady Laura Bush says.

Last week on "Fox News Sunday," Mrs. Bush commented that although Americans do want to debate marriage amendments, the issue should be addressed with "a lot of sensitivity" and should not be used as a campaign tool. However, AFA of Pennsylvania president Diane Gramley feels the suggestion from the First Lady is not sound campaign advice -- especially for pro-family candidates.

Gramley feels it is tragic that Mrs. Bush does not see the importance of making the marriage amendment a campaign issue. Marriage is of essential significance to America's citizens, the Pennsylvania pro-family leader says, "because it is the foundation of the nation and of any society -- and that is one of the main issues that got the values voters out in 2004."

But now, the family values advocate asserts, many Christians who voted for President George W. Bush and other conservative candidates in the last elections are still waiting for confirmation that their marriage protection concerns are being addressed by the people they helped to put in office. Although a number of states have passed marriage protection measures, many conservatives feel the Bush administration has been sending mixed signals about its support for a proposed federal Marriage Protection Amendment.

Most Americans want traditional marriage -- that is, marriage defined as the union of one man and one woman -- protected, Gramley contends. She says elected U.S. officials at both the state and federal levels need to pass the marriage amendments that are before them so the people can vote on how they want marriage defined.

"Mrs. Bush, of all people, should see that it's been a very important issue," the AFA of Pennsylvania president observes, "and that politicians should stand up for marriage and should support the marriage amendments and voice their support for the marriage amendments during this campaign."

A proposed marriage protection amendment goes before Pennsylvania voters next month. While some opponents have argued in favor of "marriage rights" for homosexuals, Gramley insists that same-sex marriage is not a civil rights issue and that there is nothing discriminatory about the Pennsylvania Marriage Protection Amendment or its proposed federal counterpart.


For once, John Aravosis has a point. John is talking about Mary Cheney's book:

In the book Mary makes clear that lots and lots and LOTS of Republican aides came into her office, closed the door, and told her how awful they thought this anti-gay constitutional amendment was. Mary was their friend, and they didn't want to do ANYTHING to hurt their friend. Does anyone in the religious right REALLY think ANY of those staffers are pulling the extra hours to help make gay-bashing a high priority in the Mary Cheney White House? I don't think so.

And you just saw Mary's influence on Laura Bush. Does anyone really believe that it's a coincidence that Laura Bush is speaking out rather unfavorably on the religious right gay-bashing agenda the same week that Mary Cheney's "I'm a lesbian and dad thinks it's okay" book comes out? Please.


Minnesota for Marriage was on KKMS today asking people to come down to the capitol to encourage the legislature to pass the Bachmann amendment. Steve Sviggum was also a guest today. A podcast should be available tomorrow.

Stadium Boondoggle Update

Shane Nakerud has a blow by blow report of the Conference Committee Sausage making.

I don't think there's votes in the Senate for the house bill.

An Old Story With a New Twist

From a reader tip:

Remember when MDE (at least I think it was MDE) had a fit because some defunct DFL site had comments that linked to smutty sites? Here's a question: If MDE links to defunct DFL sites that have spam comments that link to kiddie smut, Is Michael Brodkorb a criminal under James Sensenbrenner’s (R-Wisconsin) proposed law?

From CNet news:

"In addition, Sensenbrenner's legislation--expected to be announced as early as this week--also would create a federal felony targeted at bloggers, search engines, e-mail service providers and many other Web sites. It's aimed at any site that might have "reason to believe" it facilitates access to child pornography--through hyperlinks or a discussion forum, for instance."

Given that the defunct DFL site was dead, its operators did not have reason to believe that it linked to the bad places, but when Brodkorb linked to it – knowing full well and intending fully for people to click through to kiddie smut – wouldn't MDE's operator be the felon?

Just asking.


Yes, that overblown post exposing comment spam was from the Drama Queen. Lately it's been all Keith Ellison all the time over there.

Dump Bachmann Blog Irritating the Democrats

From the comments to my post about Air America's Janet Robert promoting Michele Bachmann to the press:

Your title is purposefully misleading. If you want to challenge Bachman you can start by challenging your ...ahem...own party. Why do you keep muddying the water by trying to associate democrats and liberals with the very thing your party is known for: Moral pandering?

Do you want to be a republican so bad that you can't see it is against your own humanity as a gay rights advocate?
Rahelio the Neo-Con Slayer


I've challenged the Republican Party and Republican candidates when they have gone anti-gay. I find it rather bizarre that Democrats expect me not to point out when Democrats miss the boat on these issues.

Michele Bachmann supporter Winger makes a good point that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee doesn't seem to be supporting Patty Wetterling. I have emailed the DCCC for comment.

DCCC unethusiastic about Wetterling?

Since February 21, I noticed that the candidate page of the website of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee listed Elywn Tinklenberg as the only candidate running for Congress in Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District. Wetterling jumped into the House race on February 3. Before she jumped into the race, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had sent Tinklenberg money and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and DCCC Chair Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) did campaign events for Tinklenberg. I got the impression that the D.C. Democrats still favored the more "centrist" Tinklenberg to run in the conservative 6th over the more liberal Wetterling after she entered the race in February.

It appears that sometime between Saturday and today (Tuesday), a staffer at the DCCC has finally listed Wetterling as a candidate for Congress in Minnesota's 6th District. However, Tinklenberg's name is still there. Even more interesting is that Tinklenberg has a short biography on his DCCC page, but only campaign contact information is given for Wetterling's DCCC page. Is the DCCC still upset with Wetterling entry into the race and capture of the DFL endorsement over the more "electable" Tinklenberg? Are they encouraging a primary fight? Probably yes to the former and probably not to the latter, but I'm enjoying pointing out the laziness of the staffers at the DCCC. Let's see how quickly it takes for Rahm to correct this.


I have contacted the DCCC about this. If others want to contact the DCCC about this issue, here's the information:

Contact Us
Mailing Address

430 South Capitol Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
Phone Number

202-863-1500
Fax Number

202-485-3436
Email Address

dccc@dccc.org


Developing...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Laura Bush Raising Money for Mark Kennedy

From the Kennedy campaign:

US Senator Norm and Laurie Coleman

Cordially invite you
to join them in welcoming

Mrs. Laura Bush

For an evening in support of

Mark Kennedy
Candidate for United States Senate

Tuesday, June 6

"The Blue Room"
4:30 p.m. - Reception

"The Red Room"
6:00 p.m. - Dinner

The Depot
225 Third Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota

For more information
Please call 651.644.2506 or email rsvp@markkennedy06.com
All attendees must be paid and registered by June 1

Business Attire Suggested


How do Mark Kennedy's priorities fit with Laura Bush's recent statement about not making the Federal Bachmann amendment a political issue?

Craig Westover Fisks Pioneer Press Editorial on Stadium Boondoggle

Here.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Strib Spins Poll Results

Dane Smith writes a followup piece to Mike Kazuba's excellent reporting on the stadium issue. The focus of Smith's article was on the numbers from the Hennepin County only, Twins stadium only tax, and two gopher stadium plans. Noticable by their absence were the numbers for the Metro transit/stadium tax plan proposed by Senator Steve Kelley. I sent the following to the Strib's readers representative and Dane Smith (readerrep@startribune.com, dsmith@startribune.com).

I was disappointed in Dane Smith's article on the stadium poll.

Here's the numbers for the Hennepin County Plan from your poll:

38% approve, 55% disapprove, Outstate 40% approve, 48% disapprove and metro, 36% approve, and 61% disapprove.

Here's the numbers for the Metro wide sales transit/stadium tax:

Overall:

45% approve
49% disapprove

Metro: 41% approve, 53% disapprove
Outstate: 50% approve, 42% disapprove.

The strib is leaving out crucial information in this article. The metro wide transit/ stadium tax was the more popular than the Hennepin County only- Stadium only tax - among the poll respondants. A good question is why. Should the strib be registering as a lobbying firm on behalf of the Twins?


Steve Sviggum comments:

House Speaker Steve Sviggum, who supports the Twins and Gophers plans, argued that legislators need to look beyond the polls.

He said that he himself would answer "no" to a general question about subsidizing sports teams, but "there are some times when you have to lead and you have to move ahead when you feel it's in the best interests of the state."

"I don't want to tell voters they're wrong. That would be very arrogant," Sviggum said. "But, you know, if we took the Guthrie Theater [which received $25 million in state bonding money for its new facility] to the citizens for a vote, what type of support do you think it would have? If we took a bridge in Warroad to the citizens, what type of support statewide do you think that would have?"


I personally would be fine with private funding only for the Guthrie. However, the Guthrie is a non-profit entity. The bridge in Warroad is a legitimate function of government - as are roads.

The legislators who are the most morally bankrupt on this issue are people like Al Juhnke, who voted against the stadium when his constituents were taxed for it, but has no problems sticking it to the Hennepin County taxpayer.

Lloydletta reader, David Drake over at Mr Satan has an excellent fisk of Sid Hartman's unhinged whining about the Minnesota Poll results.

Conference Committee for the Stadium Boondoggle

From the strib:

Senate conferees are: Sens. Steve Kelley, DFL-Hopkins, chief author of the Senate combination bill; Don Betzold, DFL-Fridley, Senate author of the Vikings bill; Linda Higgins, DFL-Minneapolis; Sharon Marko, DFL-Cottage Grove; and Julie Rosen, R-Fairmount.

House conferees are: Reps. Brad Finstad, R-New Ulm, the Twins bill author; Barb Sykora, R-Excelsior; Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead; Neil Peterson, R-Bloomington; and Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis.

Noticeably absent from the House side was Rep. Andy Westerberg, R-Blaine, a chief author of the Vikings bill, and who said he was "very unhappy" to be excluded. "I think we deserved a voice at the table," he said.


I encourage readers to send the conference committee emails:

sen.steve.kelley@senate.mn,sen.linda.higgins@senate.mn,
sen.sharon.marko@senate.mn,sen.don.betzold@senate.mn,
sen.julie.rosen@senate.mn,rep.brad.finstad@house.mn,
rep.barb.sykora@house.mn,rep.morrie.lanning@house.mn,
rep.neil.peterson@house.mn,rep.margaret.kelliher@house.mn


Remind these legislators of the results of the Minnesota poll.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Theocrats Frustrated Over Slow Pace of Republicans in Establishing a Theocracy

From the NY Times


May 15, 2006
Conservative Christians Warn Republicans Against Inaction
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
WASHINGTON, May 13 — Some of President Bush's most influential conservative Christian allies are becoming openly critical of the White House and Republicans in Congress, warning that they will withhold their support in the midterm elections unless Congress does more to oppose same-sex marriage, obscenity and abortion.
"There is a growing feeling among conservatives that the only way to cure the problem is for Republicans to lose the Congressional elections this fall," said Richard Viguerie, a conservative direct-mail pioneer.
Mr. Viguerie also cited dissatisfaction with government spending, the war in Iraq and the immigration-policy debate, which Mr. Bush is scheduled to address in a televised speech on Monday night.
"I can't tell you how much anger there is at the Republican leadership," Mr. Viguerie said. "I have never seen anything like it."
In the last several weeks, Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and one of the most influential Christian conservatives, has publicly accused Republican leaders of betraying the social conservatives who helped elect them in 2004. He has also warned in private meetings with about a dozen of the top Republicans in Washington that he may turn critic this fall unless the party delivers on conservative goals.
And at a meeting in Northern Virginia this weekend of the Council for National Policy, an alliance of the most prominent Christian conservatives, several participants said sentiment toward the White House and Republicans in Congress had deteriorated sharply since the 2004 elections.
When the group met in the summer of 2004, it resembled a pep rally for Mr. Bush and his allies on Capitol Hill, and one session focused on how to use state initiatives seeking to ban same-sex marriage to help turn out the vote. This year, some participants are complaining that as soon as Mr. Bush was re-elected he stopped expressing his support for a constitutional amendment banning such unions.
Christian conservative leaders have often threatened in the months before an election to withhold their support for Republicans in an effort to press for their legislative goals. In the 1990's, Dr. Dobson in particular became known for his jeremiads against the Republican party, most notably in the months before the 1998 midterm elections.
But the complaints this year are especially significant because they underscore how the broad decline in public approval for Mr. Bush and Congressional Republicans is beginning to cut into their core supporters. The threatened defections come just two years after many Christian conservatives — most notably Dr. Dobson — abandoned much of their previous reservations and poured energy into electing Republicans in 2004.
Dr. Dobson gave his first presidential endorsement to Mr. Bush and held get-out-the-vote rallies that attracted thousands of admirers in states with pivotal Senate races while Focus on the Family and many of its allies helped register voters in conservative churches.
Republican officials, who were granted anonymity to speak publicly because of the sensitivity of the situation, acknowledged the difficult political climate but said they planned to rally conservatives by underscoring the contrast with Democrats and emphasizing the recent confirmations of two conservatives to the Supreme Court.
Midterm Congressional elections tend to be won by whichever side can motivate more true believers to vote. Dr. Dobson and other conservatives are renewing their complaints about the Republicans at a time when several recent polls have shown sharp declines in approval among Republicans and conservatives. And compared with other constituencies, evangelical Protestants have historically been suspicious of the worldly business of politics and thus more prone to stay home unless they feel clear moral issues are at stake.
"When a president is in a reasonably strong position, these kind of leaders don't have a lot of leverage," said Charlie Cook, a nonpartisan political analyst. "But when the president is weak, they tend to have a lot of leverage."
Dr. Dobson, whose daily radio broadcast has millions of listeners, has already signaled his willingness to criticize Republican leaders. In a recent interview with Fox News on the eve of a visit to the White House, he accused Republicans of "just ignoring those that put them in office."
Dr. Dobson cited the House's actions on two measures that passed over the objections of social conservatives: a hate-crime bill that extended protections to gay people, and increased support for embryonic stem cell research.
"There's just very, very little to show for what has happened," Dr. Dobson said, "and I think there's going to be some trouble down the road if they don't get on the ball."
According to people who were at the meetings or were briefed on them, Dr. Dobson has made the same point more politely in a series of private conversations over the last two weeks in meetings with several top Republicans, including Karl Rove, the president's top political adviser; Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the Republican leader; Representative J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, the House speaker; and Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the majority leader.
"People are getting concerned that they have not seen some of these issues move forward that were central to the 2004 election," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, who attended the meetings.
Richard D. Land, a top official of the Southern Baptist Convention who has been one of Mr. Bush's most loyal allies, said in an interview last week that many conservatives were upset that Mr. Bush had not talked more about a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
"A lot of people are disappointed that he hasn't put as much effort into the marriage amendment as he did for the prescription drug benefit or Social Security reform," Dr. Land said.
Republicans say they are taking steps to revive their support among Christian conservatives. On Thursday night, Mr. Rove made the case for the party at a private meeting of the Council for National Policy, participants said.
In addition to reminding conservatives of the confirmations of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court, party strategists say the White House and Senate Republicans are escalating their fights against the Democrats over conservative nominees to lower federal courts, and the Senate is set to revive the same-sex marriage debate next month with a vote on the proposed amendment.
But it is unclear how much Congressional Republicans will be able to do for social conservatives before the next election.
No one expects the same-sex marriage amendment to pass this year. Republican leaders have not scheduled votes on a measure to outlaw transporting minors across state lines for abortions, and the proposal faces long odds in the Senate. A measure to increase obscenity fines for broadcasters is opposed by media industry trade groups, pitting Christian conservatives against the business wing of the party, and Congressional leaders have not committed to bring it to a vote.
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and another frequent participant in the Council for National Policy, argued that Christian conservatives were hurting their own cause.
"If the Republicans do poorly in 2006," Mr. Norquist said, "the establishment will explain that it was because Bush was too conservative, specifically on social and cultural issues."
Dr. Dobson declined to comment. His spokesman, Paul Hetrick, said that Dr. Dobson was "on a fact-finding trip to see where Republicans are regarding the issues that concern values voters most, especially the Marriage Protection Act," and that it was too soon to tell the results.

Soucheray's Got it Wrong on DeLaSalle

Zaphod at Middlebrow Minnesota fisked a recent Joe Soucheray column about the Nicollet Island Resident/DelaSalle school controversy.

Soucheray's never one to let facts get in his way on this issue.

Citizens for Stadium Tax Referendum Press Release

New Poll:

65%: Taxpayer Money Should Not Be Used for Professional Sports Stadiums

63% Support Referendum Requirement

St. Paul, MN (May 12, 2006) — After a lack of polls for months, KSTP just released a new statewide opinion poll on stadiums.

The poll provides important insight for legislators regarding the stadium debate.

Some of the results:

o 63% said there should a referendum for any sales tax for stadiums

o 57% to 29% prefer the Metro stadium tax over the Hennepin tax

o 65% said taxpayer money should not be used for professional sports stadiums

The metro tax would be a seven-county ½ cent rate to fund two professional sports stadiums (including a roof for the Twins owner), along with creating a permanent source of funding for transit needs. A voter referendum would be required.

"The poll results show the public strongly supports a referendum and that any stadium tax should be metro-wide," said Laura Lehmann of Citizens for a Stadium Tax Referendum.

With the Senate's most recent action, Senators are now on record supporting the referendum law in three separate votes – Senate Taxes Committee, Senate Rules Committee and a Senate floor vote.

"If Governor Pawlenty signs any stadium tax bill without a referendum he will be breaking his No New Taxes Pledge," added Lehmann.


Exactly.

Laura Bush Says Marriage Amendment Shouldn't Be Used as Campaign Tool

Very interesting.

Some election-year advice to Republicans from a high-ranking source who has the president's ear: Don't use a proposed constitutional amendment against gay marriage as a campaign tool.

Just who is that political strategist? Laura Bush.

The first lady told "Fox News Sunday" that she thinks the American people want a debate on the issue. But, she said, "I don't think it should be used as a campaign tool, obviously."

"It requires a lot of sensitivity to just talk about the issue — a lot of sensitivity," she said.

The Senate will debate legislation that would have the Constitution define marriage as the union between a man and a woman early next month, Majority Leader Bill Frist said on CNN's "Late Edition."

President Bush supports the amendment, but Vice President Dick Cheney does not. Cheney's daughter, Mary, is a lesbian and has been speaking out against the marriage amendment as she promotes her new book, "Now It's My Turn."

Mary Cheney wrote that she almost quit working on the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004 because of Bush's position on gay marriage. Asked Sunday about reports that White House political adviser Karl Rove and other Republicans want to use the issue to mobilize conservatives for the midterm election, she said she hoped "no one would think about trying to amend the Constitution as a political strategy."

"I certainly don't know what conversations have gone on between Karl and anybody up on the Hill," she said on Fox. "But you know, what I can say is look, amending the Constitution with this amendment, this piece of legislation, is a bad piece of legislation. It is writing discrimination into the Constitution, and, as I say, it is fundamentally wrong." (AP on 365.gay.com)


I hope that Mary Cheney will campaign against some of these state constitutional amendments. I think the amendment in Wisconsin can be beaten if conservatives are included in the campaign.

Minnesota Poll on the Stadium

Overall, Minnesota voters oppose public funding for stadiums. This sentiment is especially strong among female voters and independents. You can view the results here.

Sid Hartman is having a cow.

There is more approval for the metro transit/stadium tax than the Hennepin County stadium only tax. (38 approve of the Hennepin County Stadium tax plan and 55% disapprove, while with the metro transit/stadium tax, 45% approve and 49% disapprove). Dean Johnson was claiming this shows that the far right and the far left oppose the stadiums. Actually the poll results showed that Independents were especially opposed to public funding for stadiums.

78% of the public believe that a referendum should be included with the Hennepin County stadium plan.

Wetterling Wins Endorsement

Thanks to Rew and Smartie at Powerliberal and Wonkoria at Minvolved who live blogged the 6th CD convention.

Andy Aplikowski has started a Bachmann vs Wetterling blog.

There are no comments allowed on that blog.

Un-Conventional Thinking

Loosetrife writes about bizarre guest editorial in the Twin Cities Daily Planet.

While the Republicans of the Minnesota's 6th Congressional District embraced homophobia, xenophobia and pearls last weekend, the folks at the 5th Congressional District DFL convention endorsed a Muslim African-American who is further left (egads!) than most DFLers in the state.

Keith Ellison is unapologetically anti-war and continues to develop a progressive environmental awareness to complement an already strong sense of justice. He neither foregrounds his religion nor apologizes for it.

Michele Bachmann burrows ever further into the warm underbelly of Christian theocratic desire.

It's hard to imagine a starker contrast.

The City Pages had stories this week on both conventions but did not link them in any way. Over at the Daily Planet, however, a "centrist" voice bemoaned the extremism of both candidates...


Read more at Minneapolis Upside Down.