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Saturday, June 14, 2008

WaPo Editorial Writer Discusses the Problems With Sam Nunn As Obama VP


When Bill Clinton sought to keep his 1992 campaign promise to end the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, he met strong resistance in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill. Nunn, one of the most adamant opponents, led a series of hearings that were stacked against ending the prohibition. Critics noted that Nunn held more hearings about and spent more time on gays in the military than he had on the defense budget or even the Navy's Tailhook sexual harassment scandal.

Already, the prospect of an Obama-Nunn ticket does not sit well with some prominent gay Democratic fundraisers. "It would without question irrevocably diminish my enthusiasm for the democratic ticket," a longtime Clinton supporter told me in an e-mail. "Sam Nunn not only opposed [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people's] rights to serve in the military, he viciously campaigned against it."

Famously, Nunn led lawmakers on a tour of cramped submarine quarters and showers, an exercise that many viewed as a crass attempt to raise an ick factor of homosexuals living among straight troops. As if gay men and lesbians are devoid of discipline and incapable of defending this country.

Andrew Tobias of Florida, treasurer of the Democratic National Committee and (half) a superdelegate who was neutral in the primaries, told me in an e-mail, "For all Nunn's qualifications . . . there would be very little enthusiasm for him within the LGBT community." But Tobias doesn't expect "don't ask, don't tell" to last long if Obama wins in November. "Every Democratic contender favored lifting the ban, whereas Senator McCain and all HIS fellow candidates opposed it."

For his part, Nunn let it be known last week that he thought "don't ask, don't tell" should be revisited. "I'm not advocating anything, except I'm saying the policy was the right policy for the right time, and times change," he said. "It's appropriate to take another look." An attempt at inoculation in case the VP vetters come calling?

Jeff Soref, former chairman of the DNC's LGBT caucus, isn't buying it. " 'Revisiting' is not admitting a mistake or apologizing for the pain he inflicted or the tens of thousands of lives affected by the policy," said the Clinton supporter. "Surely there are more compelling choices out there" for vice president, "starting with Hillary Clinton."

This sentiment underscores a larger problem for Obama: how to reach Clinton's backers to unify his party. Many women, particularly older women, are none too happy with what they view as Obama's shabby treatment of her. In the final primary states, many blue-collar white voters told pollsters that if Obama topped the ticket they'd stay home or vote for Republican John McCain, who has wasted no time in trying to court them. If Obama taps Nunn, he could end up adding gay men and lesbians to the list of disgruntled Democrats. They might not vote for McCain, but they might very well stay home.

The numbers are with the blue collar white democrats. Many gays are independents, not democrats, but will vote democratic because they have been used as political fodder by the Repubicans. Some of the commenters suggested Sam Nunn as Secretary of Defense - but to me that would be more problematic than VP. The question is who is pushing Sam Nunn's name? Is it the Obama campaign or the media?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Interesting Post by Lady Logician

Grass Roots Republican party activist Lady Logician writes on Look True North:

The fact of the matter is your friends in DC has no clue what is on the minds of the average voter in Minnesota. They don't know what issues are most important to the remember them don't you? They are the folks that you (and your candidates) are supposed to be courting in order WIN ELECTIONS. I use the term "courting" deliberately. You are supposed to be winning these people over - not scaring them into voting for you. We all know that Al Franken is a cad with a hair trigger temper. This is not news......tell us why we should vote for your guys (and gals) what makes them deserving of my precious vote. Your DC friends can't vote for you...Minnesota residents can. However we need to know why you deserve to be sent to DC - not why the other guy is a royal schmuck!

Listen to the voters. As I said, kitchen table conversation today does not revolve around gay marriage, abortion and Iraq. Today's kitchen table conversations are about why the idiots in DC don't allow us to drill for domestic oil when the price of gas is so high, the high cost of feeding the family and the fear of losing their homes because they can't afford to keep up with payments because of the high price of food and fuel! Thow away your silly surveys that ask if people are pro-life or pro-choice. IT IS NOT IMPORTANT TO VOTERS AT THIS TIME! Get out off the 1990's and into today! Take two seconds to ask the voters "what is important to you and what would be your ideal fix?" Our principles resonate with voters if you give it a chance. GIVE IT A CHANCE!

The Republican Party is not the about of "God, guns and gays". We are about solutions. Solutions that provide the most freedoms to the most people. Freedom to succeed and the freedom to fail! When you put it to the voters in that way - you will find out that you have more supporters in this purple blue state than you thought. It resonated in 2000 and 2004 - it will resonate again as long as you remember one simple lesson. Listen to the grass roots. They are your most valuable asset and right now they want nothing to do with you because you have nothing to do with them.

The Republican Party of Minnesota under Ron Carey has been focusing mostly on the evils of Al Franken, and then on the gays. They need to get better things to do. It speaks volumes that this doesn't get the Republican base excited. Will Ron Carey respond to Lady Logician's plea for him to get a clue?

Southern Baptists Wary of McCain but Richard Land Calls Obama an "Arsonist"


The Rev. Frank Page, the SBC's outgoing president, said many evangelicals might not be enthused by McCain but most will vote for him. McCain's pledge to nominate Supreme Court justices with a conservative judicial philosophy is a huge draw, Page said.

Page saw some positive in the lack of a McCain campaign presence in Indianapolis.

"I have admonished — lovingly but firmly — our convention not to get too close to any political party," Page said. "Parties change. I think we need to stay close to issues, and not hold allegiance to political parties."

Page has kept his door open to politicians regardless of party, and has met with Obama. The Illinois senator, forced to reject his former pastor for his inflammatory rhetoric, has launched an ambitious faith-based outreach program. He met in Chicago this week with an array of religious leaders, including conservatives like Bishop T.D. Jakes and Franklin Graham.

"What I hear from people," said Richard Land, president of the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission, "is, 'John McCain was not my first choice, John McCain was not my second choice, John McCain was not my third choice. However, I would rather have a third-rate fireman than a first-class arsonist.' And they view Obama as a first-class arsonist."

In Memoriam: Tim Russert

As most have heard, Meet the Press Moderator, Tim Russert died of a heart attack today. He was 58 years old. Russert was a true giant in journalism - and will be sorely missed. Gerald Seib was interviewed by Russert a few hours before Russert died.

Tim had set standards. He had shown how to hold politicians accountable for their own words and promises in a way that was both tough and fair. He reminded all of us on both sides of the journalism-politician divide, that the point of it all wasn’t to impress each other but to serve the viewer, the reader, the voter – the citizen. More than any journalist I know, in print or on air, Tim harkened back constantly to that central truth: politicians and those who cover them are responsible not to each other, but to the common audience of voters to whom they all spoke.

And somehow he did all that while making everybody – those who actually knew him and those who knew him only as a T.V. figure – see him as a good guy. Which he was.

As it happens, his son, Luke, and my oldest son are similar in age, have a similar love for baseball, and have the same Catholic background. So when it was time to pick a high school for our son, my wife and I called him who graciously and thoughtfully walked us through how he and his wife had made that same decision. It was obvious that Luke occupied a bigger part of his life than anything having to do with T.V., politics or Washington.

And indeed this son of Buffalo was a regular guy til the end. Friday morning, as we prepared for what turned out to be his final interview, the NBC makeup crew was concerned that he hadn’t had time to get a haircut, meaning his hair was curling about his ears as we prepared to open his show. I smiled inside. Of all the things Tim might be worried about, that was never likely to be one of them.

About a month ago, Russert talked about his hopes that this presidential campaign would be about the broader questions about the direction this country should go, rather than the trivialities that tend to drive campaigns.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

NARNian Mitch Berg on Norm Coleman's Skirt Chasing

Shot in the Dark:

It’s been an open secret forever in Saint Paul and Minnesota politics; Norm and his wife have a rather unconventional marriage. Schultz is being disingenuous if he claims this is some big revelation (or, equally likely, the dim little bulb inside his thick little head hasn’t quite quite figured it out yet, and his prime directive, “blow hard first, ask questions later”, is in control).

This type of comment gets left both on the Pioneer Press and Strib websites. This one was left on the Pioneer Press website:

Talk to Erich Mische and ask about how he used to ride the Friendship Express and take Norm along for the tour. They both like Greek girls. They like them a lot.

Go here to check out the Friendship Express.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Norm Coleman on the Windfall Taxes Bill

Leo Pusateri at Look True North:

I was at once relieved at the news, but a feeling of trepidation came over me as I looked at the link to the roll call of Senate votes. Expecting the worst, given Senator Norm Coleman's leanings as of late, I fully (and sadly) expected to see the name Norm Coleman once again aligned with the fever swamp democrats, voting to confiscate the "obscene profits" of the oil robber barons, thus getting even wid da man!

When I went to the site, I put my hands over my eyes, as I peered through parted fingers..afraid of what I might see. When I finally gathered the courage to risk further disappointment in our senior Republican senator, what I did see brought a smile of sweet relief to my face. Norm Coleman actually voted with the Conservatives this time to kill the bill!!!!

While this was a sweet sense of relief, at the same time I couldn't help but feel a continuing sense of frustration. If you actually have to think twice and wince every time your "Republican" Senator casts a vote on a socialist measure to confiscate profits, or to further hamper our nation's attempts toward energy independence, you necessarily have some trust issues.

It appears he was wrong.


I guess I was wrong about Norm, in a way. The article I read regarding the votes led me to the "cloture" vote, I made the same mistake as did John Hinderaker at Powerline (at least I'm in good company).

Norm did vote with the democrats when it counted on this one. Even Harry Reid had the sense to vote no on this one.

A caller to Jason Lewis's show mentioned this yesterday also. Jason Lewis said he had a hard time believing that Coleman would vote with the Democrats on this bill. This got Lewis onto a rant about RINOS taking conservatives for granted.

Obama Picks Director of GLBT Outreach

Pam Spaulding has the story. Obama also recently privately met with "people of faith" (apparently all evangelicals), who seemed mainly concerned with gay marriage.

Barack Obama discussed Darfur, the Iraq war, gay rights, abortion and other issues in a closed door meeting with Christian leaders, including conservatives who have been criticized for praising the Democratic presidential candidate.

Bishop T.D. Jakes, a prominent black clergyman who heads a Dallas megachurch, said Obama took questions at the Tuesday meeting, listened to participants and discussed his "personal journey of faith."

The discussion "went absolutely everywhere," Jakes told The Associated Press, and "just about every Christian stripe was represented in that room."

Jakes, who does not endorse candidates and said he also hopes to meet with Republican presidential candidate John McCain, said some participants clearly have political differences with Obama. The senator's support for abortion rights and gay rights, among other issues, draws opposition from religious conservatives. Some conservatives have criticized Jakes for praising Obama.

Jakes said the meeting, at a law firm's offices, seemed designed to prompt a wide discussion rather than to result in commitments from either Obama or those attending. Others familiar with the meeting said some participants agreed to attend only because it would be private.

Rich Cizik, vice president for governmental affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals, an umbrella organization for evangelical churches and ministries, said Obama asked participants to share "anything that's on your mind that is of concern to you."

"I think it's important to point out this isn't a group of people who are endorsing Obama," Cizik said in an interview. "People were asked for their insider wisdom and understanding of the religious community."

Mark DeMoss, a spokesman for the Rev. Franklin Graham, said Graham attended and asked Obama whether "he thought Jesus was the way to God, or merely a way." DeMoss declined to discuss Obama's response.

Graham, who succeeded his father as head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, found the senator "impressive" and "warm," DeMoss said.

"He feels that dialogue with someone who may be president is useful whether or not you agree with them on everything or anything," DeMoss said. Graham expects to soon meet with Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Joshua Dubois, the Obama campaign's director of faith outreach, said the meeting included "prominent evangelicals and other faith leaders" who "discussed policy issues and came together in conversation and prayer." Similar sessions will occur "in the months to come," he said.

About 30 people attended, the campaign said, but it released only three names: the Rev. Stephen Thurston, head of the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc., a historically black denomination; the Rev. T. Dewitt Smith, president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., which was home to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders; and Bishop Phillip Robert Cousin Sr., an A.M.E. clergyman and former NAACP board member.

Two sources familiar with the meeting, but who spoke on background because the session was private, said others attending included conservative Catholic constitutional lawyer Doug Kmiec; evangelical author Max Lucado of San Antonio; Cameron Strang, founder of Relevant Media, which is aimed at young Christians; the Rev. Luis Cortes of Esperanza USA; and Paul Corts, president of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities.

Kmiec, an abortion opponent who worked for the Reagan administration's Justice Department, was denied Communion in April at a Mass for Catholic business people because he had endorsed Obama. Church leaders later apologized, according to syndicated columnist E.J. Dionne.

Cizik said the issues discussed Tuesday included "protecting the traditional family, same-sex marriage, gay rights, religious freedom, genocide, poverty and hunger in America, and how we might even improve America's standing in the world."

This should be interesting.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cook Report Moves Marilyn Musgrave Seat to Tossup

Marilyn Musgrave is Michele Bachmann's clone in Colorado. Betsy Markey is running an excellent race, and the race is now listed as a tossup by the Cook Political Report. From the Fix:

* The Cook Political Report, one of the most esteemed handicappers of House races (and The Fix's former employer), moved ten (TEN!) Republican-held seats into more competitive categories last week. (The site is subscriber-only and you SHOULD subscribe.) Seven of the ten -- Colorado's 4th, Connecticut's 4th, Illinois's 10th, New York's 29th, North Carolina's 8th, Ohio's 1st and Washington's 8th -- went from "Lean Republican" to "Toss Up". Writes Cook Report's David Wasserman: "Now that Sen. Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee, several GOP incumbents will have to work harder than ever before to survive. While hitching their stars to GOP nominee Sen. John McCain will provide them some cover with independents, unprecedented base Democratic turnout looms as a huge threat beyond their control."

The Democrats in this race are directly attacking Marilyn Musgrave's anti-gay record. That is something they are avoiding like the plague with Michele Bachmann.

It Seems Like Amy Klobuchar is Strongly Supporting Al Franken

From the DFL:

John Stiles, 651-251-6315
Frank Benenati, 651-251-6330
Klobuchar, DFLers, Rally with Franken and Allies to Kick Off Campaign for Minnesota’s Middle Class
On Heels of DFL Endorsement of Franken, Democrats Rally to Obama and Entire DFL Ticket

St. Paul, MN (June 9, 2008) Newly DFL-endorsed Senate candidate Al Franken was joined today by Senator Amy Klobuchar and a wide variety of DFL elected officials, candidates, labor leaders and progressive allies — including Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer — at a rally to kick off their campaign to fight along with Senator Barack Obama for Minnesota’s middle class and to put hardworking Minnesotans ahead of corporate special interests and Washington lobbyists.

Al Franken thanked the united front of DFLers who joined him at the Capitol. “I’m ready to stand up for Minnesota in the Senate, and I’m honored to have the DFL party standing alongside me in this campaign,” he said. “In every corner of our state, I’m looking forward to working hard to build our party. And working together, we’ll win together in November. We’ll win the fight for the middle class, we’ll win to put Minnesota first, and we’ll win to put our country back on track.”

“The enthusiasm Senator Obama has unleashed cannot be contained,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar. “Its enthusiasm we saw reflected in record caucus turnouts in Minnesota, and it will only grow in the coming months as Minnesotans hear the message of Senator Obama and of Al Franken as he travels across our state. I'm fired up and ready to go. Together, we will turn this enthusiasm into victory.”

“This is a historic election year,” said U. S. Representative Keith Ellison. “Nationally and here in Minnesota, we’ve had passionate, qualified candidates; candidates who are as hungry for change as the American people. Our candidates have sharpened their steel and strengthened their weak spots by competing against each other.

“But now we’ve made our endorsements. Now it’s time to work hard and work together to explode the vote, make history and give the American people the change we’ve all been hoping for,” Ellison continued.

Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher said, “Today we come together as Democrats to show Minnesotans that we are unified. We are unified in our dedication to bringing our message of positive change and progress to Minnesotans. We are unified in our dedication to improving the lives of Minnesotans, as we have been working so hard to do in the House of Representatives on important issues like creating jobs, improving access to affordable health care and building a green economy.

“I know that Al Franken will join Senator Amy Klobuchar and the entire congressional delegation in partnering with us on the state level to keep the focus on the issues that matter to Minnesotans,” she concluded.

“I’m proud to stand here today with a united DFL Party and particularly with Al Franken,” said Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak. “Al is a fighter in the great Minnesota tradition. At a time when few else were, Al was not afraid to stand up and speak out against George W. Bush and for what’s right — and he very effectively reminded DFLers of that on Saturday. Along with Senator Barack Obama, Al is ready for the fight of standing up for Minnesotans against the powerful, well-connected special interests that always seem to get their way — and they shouldn’t forget that Al has already taken them on and won.”

Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman commented, “The Republicans will try to use the politics of division and fear to win this election, but those are the politics of the past. When John McCain and Norm Coleman come at Barack Obama and Al Franken with personal attacks that are intended to distract Minnesotans from their sorry record, we will respond with talking about the issues and values that Minnesotans really care about. We will hold Coleman and McCain accountable for the records and offer Minnesotans real change and hope for the future.”

“Last Saturday, DFLers from across Minnesota listened carefully to two superb candidates, unanimously made their choice and left the convention united and determined to win in November and defeat Norm Coleman” concluded Minnesota DFL Associate Chair Donna Cassutt. “We feel that same spirit of unity and strength here today.”

“As we go forward from here, we will fight together every day and night to make sure that this election is focused on the issues and values that Minnesotans care about: restoring middle-class prosperity and equal opportunity, ending the war in Iraq and making sure that our government works for people, not for the special interests and lobbyists with whom Norm Coleman is far too cozy.”


Monday, June 09, 2008

John McCain: United Constitution Says the US is a Christian Nation

As the Minnesota Independent points out:

The United States Constitution, of course, specifically states that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

McCain clearly doesn't know much history.

Mark Drake Starts Work at Norm Coleman's Campaign with Bobblefoot

MN Publius has the scoop.

A dedicated reader of MNPublius has sent us these incriminating photos of Mark Drake at a St. Paul Saints game picking up his very own Larry Craig bobble-foot.


So on his first day on Norm Coleman’s staff I have a few questions for Mark.

1. Senator Coleman gave Larry Craig’s donations to charity, in that spirit can we trust that you were getting the bobble foot so you could donate it to Toys For Tots?

2. While Norm Coleman donated Larry Craig’s contributions, he has refused to donate the money contributed to him by DCI to the victims of the Myanmar cyclone, so would it be okay then if you got a Than Shwe bobblehead (complete with super oppressive action!)?

3. Is a fully grown married man trying to have a hot tryst in a public bathroom with another man funny? And if so can we count on this new found sense of humor in what I can only expect will be a summer long barrage of press releases about Al Franken’s past writings as a satirist?

A commenter notes:

amuseinc Jun 9th, 2008 at 3:15 pm

Senator Vitner, he of the diapers and hooker plus now the dead madame, has never been censured nor even hand slapped by the great moral GOP party you espouse Swiftee. So exactly how is it that a bunch of dusty words in a long forgotten magazine issue is worse that a dead woman two weeks ago? Sure does sound like Republicans are defending feminist ideals when not a single action was brought even after the Senator admitted to financial romances in both Washington DC and Louisiana.

Have you complained to national about this? More importantly show me where Ron or Norm or any of the other Republicans who could complain ever did? This is worse than the Foley matter that Dennis Hastert kept under wraps for years.

Save your outrage for deeds, not words.

Norm Coleman never did explain why he called for Craig's resignation but not Vitter's.

Vitter in Diapers

Anti-Gay Democrat Nixon Running for Governor in Missouri

Pam Spaulding has the story.