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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Anti-Semitic Flyer Attacks Democrat in Primary

Pam's House Blend:

Boy what a trifecta in that headline - and there's a dash of homophobia for extra seasoning!

In Tennessee's 9th district (Memphis and environs), Rep. Steve Cohen, who is Jewish, is being attacked in an flier (left, "Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen and the Jews hate Jesus") distributed by a black homobigoted pastor from Murphreesboro not even from Cohen's district, Rev. George Brooks. Cohen's opponent, Nikki Tinker, who happens to be black as well, and was called to condemn the flier. (WaPo)

From the Washington Post:

While he says he has plenty of support from the "old guard" African-American leaders in his district, Cohen is having difficultly wooing influential black colleagues from Congress to campaign on his behalf. He'll surely be looking for support from Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who is scheduled to be honored as this year's April 4th Foundation awards banquet in Memphis along with actor/singer Harry Belafonte - whose sister, Shirley Cooks, coincidentally, serves as Cohen's chief of staff.

Cohen battled racial and religious innuendo in his 2006 campaign for Congress, but not anything as blunt as the flier he received last week. After winning, he tried unsuccessfully to become the first white member of the Congressional Black Caucus, leaving him decidedly white.

The Malcontent comments:

So why am I writing about this, apart from my complete disdain for anti-Semites? Because Cohen has also been attacked in the past by black ministers for supporting the inclusion of gays in hate-crimes legislation.
The story broke yesterday, and yet, as far as I can tell, the list of people and entities that have failed to respond in any way to this vicious fusillade include Tinker herself, who declined a request for comment, the Democratic Party (in the guise of either the DCCC or DNC), the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

One would think that the Log Cabin Republicans would be all over this, but they aren’t. It would be a great way to show that anti-Semitism and anti-gay animus, particularly in the realm of political campaigns, are not the sole province of the GOP. It would also be a good way to set themselves apart from groups like HRC and NGLTF, with whom some critics say Log Cabin works too closely, too often. Log Cabin, and anyone who claims to be promoting equality and dignity for gays, Jews or any other minority group, needs to loudly condemn such bald hatred, no matter which political party (or race) from which it emanates.

Instead, HRC, with its laser-beam focus on gay-rights issues, is busy yammering on about health care, while Matt Foreman is busy attacking one of the strongest supporters of gay issues in history.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Frantic Fundraising from Norm's Campaign

I had a 6 pm call from Senator Coleman's Senate campaign, asking for a specific, generous donation.

Because it's late winter and I'm sometimes bored, my new response to unwelcome telemarketing calls is to not interrupt or hang up, but to let the caller finish their spiel. I find this especially gratifying with a political call, because the more time I can waste by keeping the caller engaged, the less time they have to work more names on their list.

I know this year's Senate race is 'important' to the overall headcount in the World's Most Exclusive Club, but I really think Minnesota is facing a weak menu of options in the general election. I could potentially not vote for any Senate candidate...... we'll see.

Anyway, when the caller finally asked for a specific dollar amount and took a breath, I let him know that I didn't plan to vote for the Senator, much less donate money. This wasn't enough to end the call...... I heard a few more tired talking points, after which the caller asked for a lesser amount. Now I was fascinated, given that I had said I wasn't even going to vote for Norm, and the requests for cash weren't stopping.

I was asked about my party affiliation (I no longer claim any), and I was asked who I was supporting, and I have no answer to that question. I think this whole conversation killed almost 4 minutes.

Mission accomplished... I would have been okay with talking even longer.

Rod Grams Possibly Challenging Norm Coleman is on the Hill

The Hill. This story reused the same quotes obtained by the Pioneer Press. The story also was posted on MPR's Polinaut.

Kudos to Checks and Balances for breaking this story (registration required).

Is Coleman Up for a Challenge?

We are hearing rumors of a possible Republican Party challenge to U.S. Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) by former U.S. Senator Rod Grams (R). Currently, discussions are underway about creating this reality due to Coleman’s lack of commitment to the conservative Republican agenda. Republicans are criticizing Coleman for the same reasons as Democrats are, being his willingness to stand on multiple sides of the same issue depending on which direction the prevailing winds blow from.


The stress of this election appears to be wearing on Coleman because he is looking tired and fairly gaunt. His normal vital, robust physical presence is not currently in evidence. People are commenting regularly questioning his current state of health.

If Grams challenge occurs now it is in time before the first Basic Political Organizational Unit (BPOU) convention in which determines the delegates going forward to the Republican Party State Convention. The first BPOU conventions occur Saturday in Itasca, Olmstead and Pine Counties on February 23rd.

I wonder what Michael Brodkorb thinks about this one. Andy Aplikowski has this one posted on True North.

Will Rod Grams Challenge Norm Coleman?

From the Political Animal:

Grams for U.S. Senate?
There's been some blog traffic lately to the effect that former Sen. Rod Grams will make a 2008 Senate bid to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman.
Grams, who was elected to the U.S. House in 1992 the U.S. Senate in 1996, said he today hasn't yet thrown his hat into the ring.
"I haven't said yes. I haven't said no," said Grams.


Grams said today that he's disappointed in Coleman, President George Bush, the seeming inevitable presidential nominating of U.S. Sen. John McCain and Republicans, generally, in Minnesota and Washington, D.C.

"I've been unhappy with the direction the party has gone," he said, largely because party leaders are not conservative enough.

But, he added, he doesn't want to be a spoiler in the U.S. Senate race and he's not quite sure how he will express his disappointment.

Aplikowski had posted something about this on February 12, and the Pioneer Press confirmed the rumor with Grams on the 13th.

Aplikowski's commenters weigh in:

# Blurb Says:
February 12th, 2008 at 4:39 pm

Why are you so hell bent on marginalizing any candidate you feel isn’t exactly the mold you envision? Rod Grams is not going to help the Republican party to become Conservative in Minnesota again. Actually he will hurt our chances to hold the seat against the DFL. Can’t you see that?

# J. Ewing Says:
February 12th, 2008 at 8:36 pm

Somebody earlier had it right. If the Coleman campaign is worried about disaffected conservatives not voting for him, why doesn’t he try voting for US for a change? If he doesn’t like the bad things we say about him because of his votes, why doesn’t he change the way he votes?? If most of the people who call you tell you you’re wrong, why would you continue to insist you’re right? When you disagree with the vast majority of your own party, you MUST be wrong.
# Blurb Says:
February 12th, 2008 at 9:56 pm

Why not Mark Kennedy then? He is a great choice too. Sure he got beat in 2006, but so did Grams.

I still am not understanding how splitting the Republican caucus can help the party or conservatives at this point.

Maybe I’m just not as “In” as you are.
# Kevin Says:
February 13th, 2008 at 12:43 am

How would he “split the Republican caucus”???

We’re going to endorse someone, and if the “you don’t want Franken as your Senator” is really so damned effective, does it matter who we endorse?!??

If Grams decides to run for the endorsement, we endorse one or the other than rally behind the winner.

Here’s a hint : Think first, then type.

Al Franken and the Colemelian

The Drama Queen has the video of Al Franken saying he doesn't normally talk about gay marriage in greater Minnesota. From the Drama Queen's blog:

This is a video clip of Al Franken admitting that he doesn't start out talking about gay marriage when he campaigns in greater Minnesota. As I wrote yesterday, it will be interesting to see which Al Franken comes to your town. Is it the Al Franken who's not afraid to talk about gay marriage, or is it the Al Franken who won't talk about gay marriage?

This post isn’t about the politics of gay marriage (as Franken does talk about gay marriage later in the video), but rather Franken admitting that he hides his positions from voters, depending on the audience.

Commenters call the Drama Queen on it:

# TwoPuttTommy Says:
February 13th, 2008 at 1:13 pm

Michael, Franken isn’t - as you claim - “afraid” to talk about gay marriage; what he said - and I quote: “…and I don’t normally go out start in outstate Minnesota talking about gay marriage.”

You’re really, Really, REALLY stretchin’, Michael. Again.

# Michael B. Brodkorb Says:
February 13th, 2008 at 1:30 pm

TPT: I don’t see it that way. The issue isn’t about the politics of gay marriage, but rather Franken admitting that he hides his positions from voters, depending on the audience.
# TwoPuttTommy Says:
February 13th, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Michael, what he SAID, is he doesn’t START talking about gay marriage.

But, you’re claiming he “hides his positions”.

That’s a stretch, Michael.
# Michael B. Brodkorb Says:
February 13th, 2008 at 1:50 pm

TPT: It is Franken who says he doesn’t talk about gay marriage when he campaigns in greater Minnesota. The video speaks for itself.

I do believe that Franken is admitting that he hides his position.

Here's the full context of the video. The person who introduced Franken talked about her mother - who died because her cancer wasn't caught early enough. She mentioned that her mother had a female partner. She said her mother would have been covered if gays had been treated equally or if there were universal health insurance.

In this case, Franken was responding to issues the woman raised in the introduction. I think the stronger case about Franken's stands on these issues, is he does not have a civil rights section on his web site.

Franken doesn't talk about how he'd plan on getting to gay marriage. Does that mean he would sponsor legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

Norm Coleman says very different things to different audiences. For example, I don't think he tells mainstream audiences how important his vote was in confirming Roberts and Alito. Norm also doesn't praise Michele Bachmann to mainstream audiences. He mentions these issues when he's on the stump at Republican conventions. When I and another member of Log Cabin Republicans met with Norm Coleman, he talked about the need to bring more moderate republicans into the party. He doesn't say such things when he speaks to conservative audiences. When I asked him about the anti-gay lit piece he put out at the 1998 Republican convention, he said he had "no choice." I think that says a lot about Norm Coleman. So I do think Coleman is what you'd call a political chameleon - or Colmelion.

In fact, most politicians tell people what they want to hear. That's why the smart voter will go to hear politicians speak to different audiences.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A 2008 Campaign Quiz

In this week's New Yorker magazine, Paul Slansky published a quiz about the 2007-08 presidential campaign. Here is the most remarkable question. See how you do... I'll post the answer in a few days.

Of the ten statements listed below, half refer to Mike Huckabee, the other five are attributed to ex-candidate Rudy Giuliani. Can you match the candidate to the statement?

  1. He said of's 'General Betray Us' ad, "It passed a line that we should not allow American political organizations to pass".
  2. Asked about financial disclosures, he said, "I'm not doing more than what is absolutely required."
  3. He asked, 'Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the Devil are brothers?"
  4. He said, "Most of our prisoners would love to be in a facility more like Guantanamo."
  5. He scoffed at the notion that sleep deprivation is torture, saying, "On that theory, I'm getting tortured running for President of the United States. That's plain silly."
  6. He turned up on Outdoor Life's list of the twenty-five most influential people in hunting and fishing.
  7. He assured a New Hampshire child who asked about the possibility of an intergalactic attack that "we'll be prepared for that."
  8. Ten years ago, his son was allegedly involved in the hanging of a dog while at Boy Scout camp.
  9. A conservative group ran an ad saying that he understands that 'all the average guy with a Confederate flag on his pickup truck is saying is he's proud to be a Southerner."
  10. It was written of him, "[His] Nixonian soul comes bearing the face of a particularly cruel Renaissance cardinal."

And in case you're thinking, oh, more hate speech from the liberal media, the same quiz has a true or false question:

An hour after attacking Barack Obama's voting record on "Meet the Press", Hillary Clinton appeared at a black church and declared herself to be "so proud" of him.

For the record... the correct answer is 'true'.

Answers re: Rudy and Huck: #1, 2, 5, 7 and 10 are Rudy. The others are the Huckster.