Dayton v. Kennedy

Returning Senator Mark Dayton to the Ranks of the Idle Rich in 2006


Wellstone Rally Redux

Cue the black helicopters...

UPDATE: This explains a lot. James Fetzer #4 is our culprit. Unfortunately we were unable to come up with any campaign contributions for Fetzer's co-author "Four Arrows"?!

Doesn't it give you warm fuzzies to know you are helping to pay this clown's salary?


Senate Predictions 2004

Since Dayton v. Kennedy currently has a readership that could fit into a phone booth, these predictions will probably not reach a wide audience. But they should. If I may toot my own horn for a minute, in August of 2002 I emailed Eric Black of the Star Tribune and correctly called the outcome of every U.S. Senate race. Well, make that every race with one exception -- New Jersey. Even I could not predict the Democrats would violate New Jersey election law, find a sympathetic liberal judge to uphold the skulduggery, and replace Torricelli on the November ballot in time to keep the seat Democratic. You may recall that almost everyone was predicting a status quo election to a 2 seat Democratic gain. Even the mighty John Zogby predicted a 3 seat Democratic gain. Mr. Black was kind enough to stroke my ego with "how did you do that?" Note to Eric Black: I would love for you to authenticate for my readers.

In any event, since this blog is devoted to a Senate race 2 years away, I thought it would be only fair for me to stick my neck out and see how well my crystal ball is working.

Of the 9 hotly contested Senate races: FL, LA, SC, GA, NC, SD, CO, OK, AK I predict the Republicans will win the following on November 2nd: Martinez in Florida, DeMint in South Carolina, Isakson in Georgia, Burr in North Carolina, Thune in South Dakota beats Minority Leader Daschle. I further believe that Coors will win narrowly in Colorado over Salazar and Coburn will win a bit more comfortably over Carson in Oaklahoma. Both would be Republican holds.

Barak Obama's liberal star will continue its meteoric ascent with a trouncing of Alan Keyes (our version of Mark Dayton). I further believe that Lisa Murkowski will accomplish the almost impossible: lose to a Democrat in an Alaska that will go for the President by 30%. If I am allowed one mulligan this would be it. It's just possible President Bush will drag Murkowski over the finish line as her favorables have been rising, albeit slowly, for the last several months. But her 46-47% approval ratings should make her the walking dead.

On Wednesday, November 3rd, the Republicans will have added 3 Senate seats if Murkowski loses. This brings us to Louisiana. Republican David Vitter has been polling close to 50% which is the threshold needed to avoid a runoff. The most likely scenario is that Vitter comes up just short and must face either Congressman Chris John or John Kennedy in early December. Louisiana has been a heartbreaker for Republicans each of the last 2 years with Republicans polling 49% in both a Senate and Gubernatorial runoff respectively. Moreover, LA has never sent a Republican to the U.S. Senate. That being said, I think Vitter is better than even money to win in December because of his enormous popularity and the increasing likelihood that he will face the more liberal Kennedy. Louisiana Democrats like their Democrats medium-well and Kennedy is a little too rare.

The Republicans will net between 3 and 5 Senate seats with the most likely scenario being a +4 by early December.

Not quite filiubuster-proof but we're getting there.

UPDATE: Charlie Cook of National Journal and one of the foremost political prognosticators has decided to go head-to-head. Actually, he doesn't know I exist so let's see how my predictions fare against one of the guys who gets paid big money to crunch the numbers. Read Below...

The Senate
In the fight for the Senate, the odds still favor Republicans retaining
their majority, but Democrats have expanded the playing field by a seat,
which may improve their chances. Democrats are certain to lose their
open seat in Georgia, while their four other open seats and the race in
South Dakota are all too close to call.
Every time it seems that Republican Rep. Jim DeMint appears on the verge
of putting away the open seat in South Carolina, he sticks his foot,
ankle and much of his leg down his throat, tightening the margin and
forcing the National Republican Senatorial Committee to go back on the
air to help drag him across the finish line. Given the state's strong
Republican tilt, DeMint has the slimmest of advantages over Democrat
Inez Tenenbaum, but this race should have been over weeks ago.
In North Carolina, GOP Rep. Richard Burr appears to be ever-so-slightly
ahead of investment banker and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff
Erskine Bowles, thanks to the small Republican advantage in the state.
Still, there is little question that Bowles has been the better
candidate and run the better campaign. Republican worries over Burr's
micromanagement of his campaign have made for a more difficult race than
it should have been, but the recently passed tobacco buy-out legislation
has given him a boost. Although this race isn't over, put a thumb on the
scale for Burr.
There is no question that Republican Rep. David Vitter of Louisiana is
exceeding all expectations, particularly mine, and is lapping both of
his principal Democratic rivals, Rep. Chris John and state Treasurer
John Kennedy, in the state's unique open primary. By most conservative
estimates, Vitter is averaging in the mid-40s, while John and Kennedy
are each around 20 percent. Democrats went to DEFCON 1 a couple of weeks
ago when polls warned that Vitter was in range of reaching the required
50 percent necessary on Nov. 2 to avoid a Dec. 4 runoff. National
Democrats ramped up their attacks on Vitter weeks earlier than they had
Kennedy has been a better candidate than most expected (myself
included), while Chris John has been something of an under-performer.
Having said that, it is interesting to note that the very same polls
showing Vitter with more initial support than Chris John and John
Kennedy combined also indicate that Vitter picks up very little
additional support in runoff match-ups. Both Democrats pick up a clear
majority of the other's support in a runoff contest. In short, it is not
accidental that no Republican has ever been elected to the Senate in
Louisiana, that 11 of the 12 statewide officials are Democrats and that
Republicans have won the governorship only under unusual circumstances.
Still, it would be a mistake to underestimate Vitter in this race, given
his already impressive performance. A runoff will be very close.
Don't keep Charlie's insight all to yourself!
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The Florida contest between Democrat Betty Castor, a former state
education commissioner and former president of the University of South
Florida, and Republican Mel Martinez, President Bush's former Housing
secretary, is basically tied. Many believe the outcome will be as close
as the presidential contest and will be dictated by which side gets
their voters to the polls.
Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, meanwhile, is in the
fight of his political life against 2002 GOP Senate nominee and former
Rep. John Thune. Recent polls are split on who is ahead, but this is
another race that will be won on the ground.
In terms of Democratic shots at picking up Republican seats, appointed
incumbent Lisa Murkowski in Alaska looks to be in pretty tough shape.
It's not over and it is certainly better to be a Republican than a
Democrat in that state, but very few polls have ever shown her ahead of
Democratic former Gov. Tony Knowles. While it remains a very close race,
it looks tough for her.
The race in Colorado between Democratic state Attorney General Ken
Salazar and Republican Pete Coors is close, but it appears that Salazar
has a tiny edge going into the final week. Like North Carolina, the
normal advantage afforded Republican candidates seems diminished this
year, and Coors is just now getting the hang of being a candidate. It's
not over, but put a thumb on the scale for Democrats.
Expectations that Republican former Rep. Tom Coburn would self-destruct
in the open-seat contest in Oklahoma have not come to pass. While Coburn
has made some unusual and unconstructive statements, the NRSC helped him
retool his campaign and the candidate has largely behaved himself,
giving him a slim advantage over Democratic Rep. Brad Carson. This race
isn't over, but the political demographics tilt slightly in Republicans'
Finally, there is Kentucky, the newest addition to the list of toss up
races. Democratic physician and state Sen. Daniel Mongiardo has pulled
within single digits of Republican incumbent Jim Bunning. Democrats'
enemy is time and whether the race tightened too late to get Mongiardo
over the top. Give the edge to Bunning, but this race is definitely not
a done deal.
For Democrats to capture a majority in the Senate, they have to win six
out of these last nine really close contests and win the presidential
race (with the vice president breaking the tie), or seven out of nine if
President Bush is re-elected. This is a tall order, but the addition of
Kentucky to the list improves their odds a bit.

UPDATE: Scott Elliott of Election Projection weighs in with a Senate projection identical to mine of last Monday, October 25. Great minds think alike...

Safely Home

Minnesota is home to some of the most influential bloggers in business. So with folks like Powerline, Captain's Quarters and Shot In The Dark it's tough for others to shine. Nevertheless, I love Minnesota Democrats Exposed. MNDemsX consistently has the latest information before anyone else in town as it relates to Minnesota's former majority party.

MNDemsX has the latest numbers from a KSTP Poll in the Kennedy-Wetterling race.

It looks like Kennedy is safely home and I can breathe easy about the title of this blog.

"Too far"

The most important number in this poll by the Pioneer Press is not the fact that Minnesotans by a 53-32% margin believe Mark Dayton overracted by closing his Senate office for fear of a pre-election terror strike. Rather, it is the 47% who approve of Dayton's job. As any pollster worth their salt will tell you, an approval rating below 50% is political cancer.


Youz Dirty Rats!

Let me make sure I've got this straight: Nick Coleman accuses us "right-wing hatchet bloggers and operatives" of "juvenile name calling". He does this in today's Star Tribune in a paragraph immediately following one in which he quotes Senator Dayton calling those who have been critical of his decision to close his Washington D.C. office, "sewer rats, and they're down in the sewer." The irony, apparently, is lost.

I guess the sewer is as likely a place as any for a sewer rat, but I digress. Coleman points out that none other than Bob Woodward offers his support -- if this qualifies as support -- with "It's not totally irrational". Whew. I was afraid one of my U.S. Senators was totally irrational. Thank God he's just irrational.

Coleman apparently was invited to chronicle Dayton's remarks at a recent Rotary Club of Minneapolis event. The group listened "respectfully" as you might expect but then again it's difficult to picture a group of riotious and maurauding Rotarians.

Our columnist correctly points out that Dayton is "in the cross hairs in a brutal election battle". It should be said that this predicament is entirely of the Senator's own doing. 24 months before he will stand for re-election, Dayton has singlehandedly made himself the most endangered Democratic incumbent in the 2006 mid-terms. That he will be doing so with an incumbent president who defied history by adding seats to his party's numbers in 2002 would be enough for any Democrat to up their dosage of Olanzapine.

Coleman gets the goods with this impactful quote from one unnamed attendee, "No one here would say he was crazy".

C'mon, getting a background quote from an unnamed Administration source is interesting, but it doesn't compare to getting an off-the-record quote from a Rotarian...


The Better Half

Dayton v. Kennedy has focused almost exclusively on the first half of our name: Mark Dayton. What can we say? Sen. Dayton has been extremely generous with material for a young blog.

But we have not forgotten the other half of our name: Mark Kennedy. Congressman Kennedy is a favorite to win re-election but the threat from Patty Wetterling can not be discounted. Wetterling remains a sympathetic figure more than a decade after the disappearance of her son, Jacob. As a father of 3 boys, 2 of whom are the approximate age of Jacob at the time of his disappearance, I have always saluted Patty for her tireless work on behalf of missing children. If anything, I am puzzled that Wetterling would give up her focus on this important issue to become a nameless face in the minority party in Washington.

Even though Wetterling has displayed a shocking ignorance of basic issues, she could pull off the possible upset because of lingering empathy for her longsuffering.

For an update on the race, we refer you to the Pioneer Press' account of the closing days of this campaign and the accompanying media war which even features an appearance from America's Most Wanted.

We do not wish Patty Wetterling luck, but we wish her well. Both for the sake of the missing children's movement and the name of this blog, we hope Ms. Wetterling gets to stay close to home.


Doug Grow: "Dayton scares people..."

With Democrats claiming that Sinclair Broadcasting's airing of "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal", amounts to an in-kind campaign contribution to BC'04, we like to remind them about the free generous cheerleading provided to KE'04 by the likes of Doug Grow at the Strib.

So when Grow acknowledges that Dayton "scares people" we take notice. In fairness, it should be noted that Grow says the reason for Dayton's scariness is because of his bold moves like closing his office in the face of a diminishing terror threat -- which he does without concern for the political consequences. I suspect the scariness is primarily to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee who will be forced to spend millions defending Dayton's seat in 24 months.

It's a funny read that not-so-subtly paints Dayton as the crazy uncle of the DFL. Yeah, he's crazy, but he's our crazy uncle. If you were still wondering why Kerry-Edwards '04 is keeping the senior senator at arms length you'll get a chuckle.

Demographics 2006

On a recent day-trip from our home in Minneapolis to an outlet Mall in Albertville the Millers expierienced first-hand the reality of the below piece in Slate. We live in the Nokomis area where only a brave (foolhardy) soul would put a BC'04 sign on their lawn. 28th Avenue -- no exaggeration -- has Kerry lawnsigns in front of every other house from the airport into downtown.

The further we got into the western suburbs the more Bush bumperstickers appeared until we got into the burgeoning city of Albertville and stopped for lunch at the local Culvers to feed the kiddies (O.K., I love the butter burgers, too). In the parking lot were dozens of BC'04 bumperstickers. In fact, it was the exact inverse of Minneapolis. The good news for the good guys is that the growth is all in cities like Albertville. From Slate:

There’s more good demographic news for the Republicans. Seventy percent of recent population growth in Minnesota has occurred in outer-ring suburbs near the Twin Cities. These young suburbanites pouring into new beige tract houses are solidly Republican: culturally conservative, concerned about security, and less interested in Humphrey’s prairie populism than were their parents, who worked in the mines and factories. The 3M Company symbolizes the state’s changes. Those three Ms stand for Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing. But now the company is known for that staple of modern cubicle life, the Post-It Note.

This can't be good news for the senior senator...

Also from the Miller anecdote department it seems we Minnesotans are segregating ourselves politically more than ever before. My wife, a Minneapolis realtor was sitting at an open house on Sunday and had two women come in who said they were moving into the city because their political views were not as accepted in the suburbs as they would be in Minneapolis. The Millers could sympathize.


Why Didn't the Other 99 Senators Close Up Shop Too?

You know you're a laughinstock when one of the pillars of the liberal media ridicules one of their own. From TIME:

Even stranger, Dayton sent his staff home several days after the CIA toned down the dramatic multiple-attack scenario, which the intelligence community "no longer believed to be valid," says the official.

Cathy in the Wright

We were directed to Cathy in the Wright from Powerline. Under her "Profile in Courage" post are some of the funniest "quotes" from Senator Dayton you can imagine!

Our favorite: "Flee when you see the whites of their eyes!"


Standing Up For Cowardice

Mark Dayton offered his explanation for Panicgate in today's Star Tribune. From the piece we get this tortured bit of logic: "If senators had wanted to send a message to the nation or the world, the Senate should have remained open through the election." To which we ask, would this have made any difference in Dayton's decision to flee?

We are told this decision was about "real people", namely his staffers. We commend the senator's commitment to the safety of his staff. A carefully coordinated letter to the editor by Ms. Jackie Johnston of Maple Plain explains that Dayton was traumatized by a bomb planted in a Dayton's department store a quarter-century ago.

But certainly Dayton must have known when he endeavored to challenge Rod Grams that the Capitol was a target to anyone who would wish to do harm to the United States government. Dayton's tenure in the Senate corresponds closely with the start of the Global War on Terror, a conflict likely to last a generation or more. What will persuade Dayton that the Capitol is, once again, a safe place?

Particularly troubling is the last two sentences of Dayton's explanation: "...the heightened risk surrounding the Capitol until the election is real, and it cannot be wished away. I could not face myself or the people for whom I am responsible, if I had not stood up to it."

To which Dayton v. Kennedy asks, if this is standing up to terrorism, what does caving in look like?



The Strib joined the rest of the civilized world yesterday in calling Senator Dayton a "Cassandra" "flake" and "little chicken".

Flake and chicken I'll give you. But perhaps we're not being fair to Cassandra. As the link below explains, "She predicted the outcome of many disastrous events. In one memorable example, Cassandra announced the dire consequences of the Trojans accepting the infamous Wooden Horse from their Greek opponents. But as Apollo made certain, no one believed Cassandra when she warned her companions about the future. "

In other words, Cassandra was accurate. Senator, you're no Cassandra.

Laughingstock II

As a young political geek growing up in Reagan's America of the mid-80s I found Sen. Robert Byrd -- then majority leader -- to be everything I expected a senator to be: eloquent, stately and, well, senatorial. His ability to quote Shakespeare, Cicero and much of the Western Canon inspired.

But for the better part of a decade, let's just say Mr. Byrd has been "showing his age". In the last several years he has been an embarassment to the conservative folks of West Virginia with his shrill anti-war rhetoric. His racial epithet of a few years ago would have ended a Republican's career. His greatest contribution in recent years was his cameo as a Confederate general in the magnificent Civil War film Gods and Generals. Apparently, at 86, he can still bring home the bacon.

That's why Dayton's staff can't be comforted with the fact the only senator to come to Dayton's defense over Panicgate is none other than Senator Byrd. We chuckle at Byrd's almost desperate request that Dayton "should not be mocked".

We choose to ignore the request.


Kerry's Mom

Dayton v. Kennedy can't resist the temptation. Word is that the dearly departed Mrs. Kerry, contrary to her son's claim she murmured "integrity, integrity, integrity" was actually heard to utter this from her death bed.

Ornstein Weighs In On Dayton

Commentator Norman Ornstein is, if not universally loved, then universally respected by Republicans and Democrats alike. That is why this quote is so striking from today's Pioneer Press.

Said political analyst Norm Ornstein, "The reality is, we know the Capitol is at the top of the target list for the unfinished business of the terrorists, and we know that members of Congress in particular have been told by the Department of Homeland Security that there is a lot of chatter for doing something before the election."
But, Ornstein added, "I can't see any evidence out there that there's something that's happened in the last two weeks that would cause this kind of reaction, as opposed to the more general one. … Why you'd sort of 'go public' with this is a question that I can't quite answer."

Dayton v. Kennedy asks: Is this going to be too easy?


The distinguished Senator from Minnesota continues to make headlines all across the nation. Just not the kind you put in your scrapbook...

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Across the hall from Dayton's office, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) said he did not see "the basis to get out of here. We haven't seen any specific threat that would justify evacuating this building."
"We have more security people and apparatus around our buildings than we've ever had," Sessions said. "I think it's an unfortunate decision, because it's a victory for the terrorists who've succeeded in disrupting our business."
Noting that he was privy to the same security information as his absent colleague, Sessions wrote to Frist saying that since Dayton was likely not to feel safe anytime soon and would likely stay off Capitol Hill, "I suggest that you... allocate his Russell office space to me so that my fine staff can make productive use of what would otherwise be idle property."

Jeepers Freepers

Free Republic has been the best online chat room for right thinking folks since conservative ideas were translated into 0's and 1's. Dayton v. Kennedy would like to salute "Choose Ye This Day" for this clever poem posted this a.m.

Brave Sir Dayton ran away (No!)
Bravely ran away, away (I didn't!)
When danger reared its ugly head
He bravely turned his tail and fled (No!)
Yes, brave Sir Dayton turned about
And gallantly he chickened out
Bravely taking to his feet
He beat a very brave retreat Bravest of the brave, Sir Dayton

Update from "Choose Ye This Day": "I didn't write the poem. I just slightly modified the lyrics to the famous Monty Python and the Holy Grail song about Brave Sir Robin--who ran away at the first sign of danger."

Note to self: I've got to rewatch my Holy Grail DVD.

Something about a stopped clock being right...

From Wednesday's Strib:

"It doesn't take perfect foresight to imagine what the principal judgment will be: In staking out this Cassandra's position, Dayton has added considerably to unfortunate aspects of his reputation: loner, loose cannon, flake.
In fairness to Dayton, it must be said that these criticisms are often overbroad; in fairness to his critics, it must be acknowledged that he seems at times to invite them. Tuesday's press conference was one of those times.
It's simply impossible to take Dayton's alarm seriously in the absence of any other lawmaker or security official, so far, coming to a similar conclusion. Take it as political theater, it is farcical -- and counterproductive. "

Can there be any doubt that Dayton will be at the top of the Democrats most endangered list in the 2006 mid-terms?


You'll love our prices...but you'll hate our politics

It seems that Carroll's Furniture of Arden Hills, MN has decided to pull advertising from local Sinclair Broadcast Group's station, KMWB Channel 23 for its planned showing of "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal". One doesn't usually think of Arden Hills as a leftist enclave and I suspect it has less to do with any pressure brought to bear by the likes of Josh Marshall and more to do with the politics of Scott Rosenthal, owner. Scott was "with another customer" when we asked for a comment.

To paraphrase Laura Ingraham, "Shut up and sell me *&%$# furniture!"

For our readers edification, Scott can be reached at or by phone at (651) 494-3908

What a shame. I needed a new sectional.

Free Speech for the Dumb

Inquiring minds want to know if Senator Dayton was one of 3 unidentified senators among a group of 20 to ask the Federal Election Commission to block Sinclair Broadcast Group's plans to air the documentary "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal". The 1 hour broadcast will proportedly chronicle Kerry's 1971 testimony before Congress and links him to activist and actress Jane Fonda. It also includes interviews with Vietnam POWs and their wives who claim that Kerry's testimony maligned them and led their captors to hold them longer.

Dayton v. Kennedy will be the first to applaud Dayton if he refused, on principle, to participate in this attempt to suppress free speech. We suspect a more likely explanation would be that Sen. Dayton was simply unavailable to join due to his panicked escape from the nation's capital yesterday afternoon.

It should be noted that local KMWB -- aka WB 23 -- is part of the Sinclair Broadcast Group. As of this posting calls have gone unreturned as to channel 23's plans on whether or not to follow the lead of the parent company.

Question: Does Lake Minnetonka count as an "undisclosed location"?


More than a "nuisance"?

In the last 72 hours John F. Kerry has made his sophisticated views on terrorism known to the nation. In this weekend's New York Times Magazine, Kerry called international terrorism a "nuisance".

Minnesota's Senior Senator has apparently taken issue with his party's standard bearer by, well, running for the hills. Dayton, a member of the Armed Services Committee, intimated that he was privy to some bone-chilling information that was shared by Majority Leader Frist some two weeks ago.

This could be considered prudent except for the fact that all 534 other members of Congress apparently saw no similar threat. The distinguished gentleman from Minnesota is apparently so worried that he will not allow his two sons to come anywhere near the Capital Dome.

This raises some interesting questions: Does the Senator take issue with the nominee of his own party on the threat presented by Islamic terrorism between now and the election? Does the Senator possess a "Sixth Sense" that doom is imminent? If the entire 108th Congress -- with the exception of Sen. Dayton -- is wiped out, would Dayton assume the legislative duties of the entire U.S. Congress?

With even such leftists as Barbara Boxer acknowledging "no specific threat", it can only be assumed that Senator Dayton is either the most precient man of either party, or he is demonstrating once again, in the words of Scott Johnson of Powerline, that he is "not dealing from a full deck".

Hat tip to Minnesota Democrats Exposed for yeoman's work on this topic today.

UPDATE: All 3 major Twin Cities network affiliates had the Dayton story near the top of their 10PM broadcast. WCCO noted that a Washington D.C. Deputy Mayor expressed "outrage" that Sen. Dayton would withold information from the city concerning a terrorist attack. Senator, if lives are at stake, don't you have a responsibility to protect the innocents by revealing the nature of this threat?


You didn't actually bother to read the report did you, Senator?

This sage wisdom from Minnesota's senior Senator via the Strib:

Similarly, Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., said the report proves that the administration's principal reason for invading Iraq is "totally unsupported by the facts." He said this is an "inexplicable and inexcusable discrepancy."

Had the distinguished gentleman from Minnesota actually bothered to read the report rather than the Cliffs Notes version supplied by his staff he might have taken note of the following:

Saddam asked in 1999 how long it would take to build a production line for CW [chemical weapons] agents, accordingto the former Minister of Military Industrialization. Huwaysh investigated and responded that experts could readily prepare a production line for mustard, which could be produced within six months. VX and Sarin production was more complicated and would take longer. Huwaysh relayed this answer to Saddam, who never requested follow-up information. An Iraqi CW expert separately estimated Iraq would require only a few days to start producing mustard—if it was prepared to sacrifice the production equipment.
Imad Husayn ‘Ali Al ‘Ani, closely tied to Iraq’s VX program, alleged that Saddam had been looking for chemical weapons scientists in 2000 to begin production in a second location, according to reporting.

With the success that Congressman Nethercutt is having using Sen. Patty Murry's own words against her in Washington State this year, Senator Dayton's staff had better keep him on a tight script.