Dayton v. Kennedy

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


Threat? What Threat?

Yesterday our good friends at Polipundit assembled a list of recent headlines regarding the ballistic missile capabilities of some prominent United States adversaries. Here we learn that China continues to assist Iran in their nuclear ambitions by providing both material and technical assistance to the regime in Tehran. And for more than a year we have known that China has the means to hit the Western United States and Alaska with their own 12 Dong Feng 31 missiles:

"China now has approximately 36 intercontinental missiles that can hit the United States – 24 older CSS-4 missiles and up to 12 new Dong Feng 31 missiles," said Col. Larry Wortzel, vice president of the Heritage Foundation.
"The Dong Feng 31 missiles can reach Alaska and the western U.S. China has also tested the Dong Feng 31 with multiple warheads," stated Col. Wortzel during a recent Washington conference on missile defense.
The new Dong Feng 31 (DF-31) missiles are attached to the 80304 Unit of the Second Artillery Corps. The 80304 Unit is headquartered in Luoyang, Henan province. Its older CSS-4 missiles can strike targets throughout the United States and Europe.
The new Dong Feng 31 missile can be armed with a single H-bomb with a yield of over 3 million tons of TNT. A single DF-31 missile armed with the huge H-bomb could destroy any major U.S. city including Los Angeles, San Francisco or Seattle.

The proprietors of the appropriately named MAD doctrine will be encouraged that our most potent potential adversary now has the capability of vaporizing American cities but the rest of us are alarmed enough to do something about it. In a national poll conducted for the New York Times, 39% of respondents said it was "very important" and 42% said it was "somewhat important" that "the United States try to build a missile defense shield against nuclear attack."

Well, most of us are encouraged to do something about it. Mark Dayton's response to these threats? "I would be, at this point, not in favor of anything that would cause abrogation of the ABM treaty. I think that's a very, very serious step. (It is) the essential cornerstone of the era that we've managed to live through without a nuclear holocaust."

But Senator, doesn't it matter that the states most threatened are blue?


Red State Blues

While Minnesota's senior senator does not fall under the description of 'red state Democrat', he does nevertheless stand to lose a number of his colleagues who do. Among them, two Democrats named Nelson — Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Bill Nelson of Florida. Should, as now seems likely, President Bush succeed in expanding his party's majority in the upper house in two consecutive mid-term elections, it would signal full-fledged realignment.

Senator Ben Nelson may cry 'uncle' in the near term and take over the Department of Agriculture. Should he do so, it would build on a Republican 11-seat margin that would be the largest since 1928.

DvK can't resist the urge to use the coolest movie quote ever: "What is best in life? To crush your enemies. To see them driven before you. And to hear the lamentations of their women..." --Conan the Barbarian

Shame on me.

Larry Jacobs On Realignment

Just three weeks ago Dayton v. Kennedy documented the Humphrey Institute's Larry Jacobs' sloppy scholarship regarding the results of November 2nd. For our newer reader's edification, Jacobs made the easily refutable claim that, "Sen. John Kerry held nearly all of the states that voted for Al Gore in 2000 and did so by greater margins, as we saw in Minnesota but also in California, Massachusetts and others."

Some quick fact checking revealed that Jacobs was technically correct in Minnesota (although the President increased his share of the vote from 45.50% to 47.62% here) but was demonstrably wrong in California and Massachusetts.

So Dayton v. Kennedy found it curious that the Washington Post went back to the well and asked Jacobs his thoughts on a possible Republican realignment. Said Jacobs: "I'm not seeing that enduring majority." DvK: How could he? Garbage in, garbage out...

Meanwhile, as The Economist noted, "There was an incremental shift in America's ideological make-up. In 2000, half the voters described themselves as moderates and 29% as conservative. This time, the share of self-described moderates fell to 45%, and that of conservatives rose to 33%. In other words, America took another small step to the right."


Advise and Consent

Today comes word that Chief Justice Rhenquist will not return to SCOTUS proceedings this calendar year. Regrettably, his retirement is likely in 2005.

With as many as four possible vacancies over the next 4 years, the stakes could not be higher for campaign 2006.

Mount up.

A: When Their Lips Are Moving

Gratuitous lawyer jokes aside, it goes without saying that trial lawyers have become the #1 patron of the Democratic Party. Or is that the other way around?

A quick peek at Senator Dayton's anemic fundraising since taking office 4 years ago shows that lawyers comprise -- by far -- the single greatest source of revenue for Minnesota's senior senator. Among Dayton's chief contributors are a veritable who's who of Twin Cities law firms: Briggs & Morgan, Schwebel, Goetz et al, Robins, Kaplan et al, Maslon, Edelman et al, Sieben, Polk et al, Lockridge, Grindal et al, Dorsey & Whitney, Faegre & Benson (et tu, Hinderaker?), etc. In short, names with whom any Minnesotan who has ever been in a fender bender are well acquainted. Moreover, on the votes that the American Bar Association considered to be most important, Senator Dayton voted in lockstep 100 percent of the time.

Certainly the legal industry has as much right as any other to defend its interests. But it must also be noted that the cost of the U.S. tort system has increased one-hundred fold over the last 50 years while GDP has grown by a factor of only 34. Medical malpractice lawsuits are just a part of the cost of excessive lawsuits. Often the mere possibility of a lawsuit being filed causes a potential defendant to settle.

As noted by The National Center for Public Policy Research, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a surgeon, says 12 states are in health care "crisis" because of malpractice lawsuit abuse while 30 others are in "near-crisis." An estimated $50 billion annually is wasted on unnecessary tests to safeguard doctors and hospitals against lawsuits. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates unreasonable jury awards cost an estimated $70-126 billion extra in health care costs every year.

In the soon to be adjourned 108th Congress, Dayton voted against all 3 medical liability reform bills: S 2207, S 2061 and S 11.

Money well spent.


The First Ring

The Miller family had the distinct pleasure of sharing some animal flesh and Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel this evening with the proprietor of The First Ring. In case you haven't already, you've simply got to bookmark this blog. First Ringer (whose secret identity shall remain safe with the Miller household) was as charming as he is well-written and scored major points with my bride by showing up with some excellent chocolates.


Double-plus Good

We interrupt this previously scheduled national holiday to bring you news relevent to the origins of this blog.

I made the case in launching Dayton v. Kennedy a few months ago that the single most important issue of our time is the unhinged, leftist federal judiciary that routinely fashions new constitutional doctrine out of thin air and routinely ignores the plain meaning of our founding documents.

Late yesterday came word that a "California teacher has been barred by his school from giving students documents from American history that refer to God -- including the Declaration of Independence"

Other documents banned include George Washington's journal, John Adams' diary, Samuel Adams' "The Rights of the Colonists" and William Penn's "The Frame of Government of Pennsylvania." DvK: Don't ever ask me why I home school...

Why is this relevant to a Senate race 2 years away? Should it reach that far, the left-wing 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will almost certainly side with the school district, rendering, in effect, the Declaration of Independence unconstitutional in the 9th Circuit. The Senate has filibustered two supremely qualified nominees of President Bush for the 9th Circuit: William G. Myers III and Carolyn B. Kuhl. Who voted to sustain these filibusters? Mark Dayton.

On a related note, Winston and Julia called the California school district's plans to ban the Declaration "double-plus good".


Happy Thanksgiving

Shame on you for being here. You should be on your way to grandma's for Thanksgiving turkey (feelin' sleeeepy) and some football. And if you have no place to go for Thanksgiving -- come on over!

If you are a conservative fellow-traveler there is much to be thankful about this year. I am reading a book to my boys called Of Plymouth Plantation: Bradford's History of the Plymouth Settlement, 1608-1650. It has given me greater appreciation for the origins of our nation -- and the origins of Thanksgiving. For what it's worth...

Unless Senator Dayton evacuates Washington or some such nonsense, I will be signing off for a day or two.

God bless and travel safely.


Exurbia & 2006

Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times offers an eye-opening piece on the explosion of exurbs and the corresponding Bush victory. The money line: "The problem for Democrats is that in almost all metropolitan areas the distant Republican strongholds are growing much faster than either the cities or the inner suburbs."

It goes without saying that this trend was not quite strong enough to turn Minnesota red this fall. Equally obvious is that the flight to exurbia will only hasten over the next 2 years in the run up to 2006. Slate, of all places, got it right about a month ago: "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."

I especially like the fluorescent green Post-It Notes.


National Journal Pimps Dayton v. Kennedy

So far a link has been elusive, but Jason Van Beek of South Dakota Politics blog references an article in National Journal that mentions Dayton v. Kennedy. So far I am only able to cut and paste.

From National Journal:

"South Dakota Republicans opened a new and potentially powerful front in the war over public opinion during their successful bid to oust Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle in the November 2 election. Not only did they orchestrate a highly effective, Internet-based campaign against Daschle, but they also targeted the state's largest newspaper and primary news source, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

GOP activists in the state -- several of whom were paid thousands of dollars by Sen.-elect John Thune's campaign committee for research consulting -- launched an unprecedented assault on the Argus Leader. Through an alliance of South Dakota-based Web logs, or blogs, and a pseudo-news Web site, the activists hammered away continuously at the paper's coverage of Daschle and raised persistent questions about the objectivity of its writers.

The effort, which could test the limits of federal campaign finance regulation of Internet activities, played a crucial role in shaping the news coverage of the race. Commenting on the bloggers, Argus Leader Assistant Managing Editor Patrick Lalley said, "I don't think there's any way to say they didn't" affect the paper's coverage of the election.

The use of blogs to help shape media coverage and force issues to the front of a campaign has not gone unnoticed. A blog called DaytonvKennedy recently sprang up in Minnesota in advance of the expected 2006 race between Democratic Sen. Mark Dayton and GOP Rep. Mark Kennedy. Republican strategists said the blog phenomenon could be duplicated in many other states, particularly ones with smaller populations and just one or two dominant media outlets."

DvK: What's this about being paid thousands of dollars? Gotta get me some of that. Here I thought I was just being a good citizen!


Word out of Washington is that 2 Democratic Senators are being considered for cabinet positions in Bush Reloaded. Ben Nelson of Nebraska is being sized up for Agriculture and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut for Homeland Security, a department whose existence he helped legislate. The upside? Two competent, non-ideological Democrats in the cabinet which would yield a gain of 2 seats for the majority party by virtue of Republican governors in their state of origin.

But with this piece from ZNet, it looks like the left would like to see Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada jump ship as well.

Reshaping Minnesota's Electorate

One took supreme comfort on election night/morning when Michael Barone, the foremost political technician ever, began crunching the numbers in Ohio and proclaimed he just couldn't see where John Kerry could harvest the requisite votes necessary to carry the state. Why? Well, as principal coauthor of The Almanac of American Politics, Barone simply knows stuff at the precinct level few others even bother to contemplate.

Which is why Barone's piece in this week's U.S. News and World Reports is so encouraging. Barone contends that the elevation of Ken Mehlman to head the Republican National Committee could be a seminal moment in the Republican Party's quest for majority status.

Says Barone: "If Karl Rove was the architect of George W. Bush's thumping re-election victory, Mehlman was the structural engineer who turned the plans into reality. Mehlman's great achievement was to create a largely volunteer organization of 1.4 million people who turned out the vote in counties big and small for Bush."

How does this relate to the upcoming midterm election in Minnesota? "Re-elected presidents seldom do much for their parties; certainly Reagan and Nixon didn't. Roosevelt did, and Bush evidently intends to also. Look for Mehlman to continue engineering volunteer organizations to increase Republican turnout and further reshape the electorate. Obvious targets are New Jersey and Virginia, which elect governors in 2005. Neither was a battleground state this fall; Bush ran better in New Jersey and a little worse in Virginia than expected, and Mehlman would like to make Virginia safer and put New Jersey in play. Then there are the 2006 Senate races in Pennsylvania, where Republican Rick Santorum could face a serious challenge, and in Michigan and Minnesota, where freshman Democrats are likely to face serious challenges. "

Clearly it is Mehlman's intent to turn pool chalk blue Minnesota into a nice salmon color come 2006 through a continued mobilization of volunteers at the precinct level. I wouldn't bet against him.


A Conscience Discovered

24 hours previously, Senator Mark Dayton was "undecided" on a Senate measure to liberalize trade with Laos. Dayton v. Kennedy chronicled the unenviable position the Senator was in while trying to decide which segment of the local Hmong community he could least afford to offend -- the older part of the Hmong community who still remembers the atrocities of their communist country of origin or the younger generation who was more sympathetic to normalization.

Yesterday, however, Dayton discovered his conscience and decided to join his colleague, Senator Norm Coleman, in voting against trade normalization.

Apparently Senator Dayton discovered what Senator Kerry did before him: young people don't vote in the same numbers as the old -- even among the Hmong. (Sorry. We couldn't resist.)


Pulling the Rip Cord

From comes more evidence that Senator Dayton will be part of an incredible shrinking minority as more Democratic Senators seek other lines of work.

From Redstate:
Think about it: There are about 25 Republican strongholds to about 15 Democratic strongholds with 10 swing states which would lead to a 60-40 split if they all followed according to their general tilt. The 50-50 deadlock has been broken, so lets watch the Senate slide toward a Republican filibuster-proof majority during the next few Senate cycles.



Welcome Friends from Club for Growth!

Ever since I first read Jude Wanniski's The Way the World Works and George Gilder's Wealth and Poverty circa 1982 (didn't every 14 year-old?), I have been an ardent devotee of supply-side economics.

After heartbreak with the 1988 Kemp candidacy and the 1996 Forbes bid, supply-siders got smart. The Club for Growth is an extraordinarily potent 527/advocacy group for anti-tax, pro-growth conservative government. Their track record in seeing like-minded folks elected in the last several election cycles is amazing. Moreover, they have been successful in bringing squishy Republicans 'to Jesus' with the threat of a stiff primary challenge.

That's why I was so delighted when Andrew Roth of the Club reached out to Dayton v. Kennedy today with some encouraging words and subsequently mentioned us on the Club's in-house blog. I welcome the new readers and would ask that you come back frequently. We have a great chance to elect a genuine free market fiscal conservative in 2006 here in Minnesota.

And for our other readers, JOIN!

Washington Times on 2006

Barry Casselman of the Washington Times joins the chorus of pundits saying Mark Dayton is in trouble.

"A number of Democratic incumbents could be in trouble, however, particularly Minnesota's Mark Dayton and perennial 2008 presidential mentionee Hillary Clinton of New York (should Rudy Giuliani decide to run against her in 2006)."

The Hmong Among Us

The late Senator Wellstone -- much to his credit -- reached out to the burgeoning Hmong community in the Twin Cities. As one Hmong activist said upon Wellstone's death, he was "the first political figure to pay serious attention" to their immigrant community and came to be known simply as "Senator Paul". As a result, the Hmong became one of Senator Wellstone's core constituencies. Shame on the GOP for not taking a more active role in courting a group that could have been a natural fit -- a hard working people fleeing Communist oppression.

Congress today is expected to approve normalizing trade relations with Laos, an issue that divides the Hmong-American community in Minnesota. Senator Dayton is ambivalent. And frankly, there is much to be ambivalent about. Older members of the Hmong community are outraged that their communist country of origin is allowed the same trading status enjoyed by America's best allies. There are significant human rights concerns about the existing regime. The issue has the potential to split a key part of Dayton's political base and as a purely political consideration, the Senator is not in an enviable position.

Would Mark Kennedy have the courage to pursue an ethnic group that should have a natural home in the Republican party? Signs point to yes.


Making Waves

As a conservative columnist in the early '90s in my college newspaper I took much less satisfaction from seeing my columns published than I did from the hate mail they generated in the weeks subsequent. The name of my old "No Left Turns" column has since been appropriated by the Ashbrook Center who beat me to the punch.

So it was just like old times when I stumbled across this reference to Dayton v. Kennedy on a fairly well-trafficked leftist blog called Swing State Project.

From Swing State:
"In the Democratic net-roots, you can hardly escape a blog that isn't littered with discussions of voter fraud or people getting pissed because their favorite bloggers aren't talking about the issue. Meanwhile, some of you might be shocked to know that Republicans bloggers are already at work on 2006. Don't believe me? Well, they are already going after Democratic Senator Mark Dayton of Minnesota, and putting netroots infrastructure in place. Check it out HERE.
So as we go into the bottom of the first inning: Republicans 1 - Democrats 0"

So that's what you call this -- "netroots infrastructure"? Here I thought I was blogging...

Must Read

Sometimes it's easy to think that politics is all about red vs. blue, us vs. them. The mentality can be like Al Davis' famous war cry, "Just win, baby!". But now that conservatives have a governing majority in both Houses and the presidency it's time to take action on policy prescriptions that have been simmering for more than a generation. It is for this same reason that the 2006 Minnesota Senate race is not just about claiming the scalp of a silly and somewhat unbalanced man. It is so that much needed reforms can actually come to fruition. If you wonder why Dayton v. Kennedy was launched more than 2 years before the next federal election, read "Locking It In" by Robert Moran in NRO.

If we fail, we deserve to go back to the wilderness for 40 years.

"Shooting at 60"

As noted yesterday, Norm Coleman came up a vote short in his quest to head the NRSC. Graciously, Sen. Coleman promised to do whatever he could do to assist Elizabeth Dole in reaching the coveted 60 seat mark.

Was that Senator Dayton we saw breathing a sigh of relief? Remarkably, Dayton stumbled into the truth here: "It's preferable, from my standpoint, not to have my fellow colleague engaged full-time in an endeavor to defeat me," Dayton said. But "it's not going to materially affect the effort to defeat me. I know whomever is in that position has an institutional role to perform."

Just like the hangman has an "institutional role to perform".


National Review's John J. Miller on 2006

John J. Miller of National Review magazine has been breaking down Senate races for several election cycles. This story would be noteworthy if it didn't have Mark Dayton listed as among the most endangered Democratic incumbents for 2006. But it does.

MINNESOTA: First-term Democratic senator Mark Dayton will sit near the top the GOP's hit-list, especially if Sen. Coleman heads the NRSC. Dayton's decision to close his Capitol Hill office shortly before Election Day encountered almost universal criticism and highlighted his extreme vulnerability. The GOP's best potential candidate may be Rep. Mark Kennedy. Wouldn't it be neat to have a Republican named Senator Kennedy?

Yes, it would. on 2006

Another one of our favorite poliblogs,, has postulated who they see as the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents for 2006 and the best candidate to defeat each in their respective states. Among them -- of course -- Senator Dayton. Check in and add your .02 to the best candidate to take on Dayton.

Hint: His last name starts with K and ends with Y...


We will be watching closely the highly contested race between Sen. Norm Coleman and Sen. Elizabeth Dole. The head of the NRSC is not only responsible for recruiting a competitive slate of Senate candidates, but also in the strategic allocation of millions of dollars in key races. Electing Norm Coleman would likely mean additional monies spent to defeat Mark Dayton in the waning days of campaign '06.

If it's necessary.

UPDATE: Word out of Washington is that Dole beat Coleman. It was a glutton's choice between two great fundraisers.


"I think it's bizarre," said Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., who supports abortion rights. "It's evidence that the extremists who were involved in the president's campaign seem to believe they have the right to choose Senate committee chairmen. And I think this is the first step in their attempting to dictate other terms to the president and congressional leaders."

Maybe Garrison Keillor wasn't joking.

Those uppity folks in Jesusland thinkin' their vote matters...



Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog. I'm told this is the way to go. Forgive me if your comments were deleted as a result and please comment again soon.

Tooting Our Own Horn

In this week's "Off to the Races" column, Charlie Cook writes: "One of the most fascinating shows to watch for the next two years is a drama focusing on what Republicans will be able to do with their unexpectedly large 55-45 majority in the United States Senate. While most observers anticipated that Republicans would hold onto their majority, or maybe increase it by a seat or two, a four-seat gain -- halfway to a theoretical filibuster-proof majority -- was an outcome no one likely contemplated."

Ahem. Dayton v. Kennedy "contemplated" exactly that on October 25 where I said "The Republicans will net between 3 and 5 Senate seats with the most likely scenario being a +4 by early December."

Dayton v. Kennedy asks, "when do I start getting paid for this stuff?"

Garrison Keillor Shows His Hand

Could it be that Minnesota native and "humorist" Garrison Keillor inadvertantly tipped his hand on a new strategy Mark Dayton could employ to keep his seat in 2006? As widely reported in the blogosphere, Keillor opined that the franchise should be denied to evangelical Christians: "I’m trying to organize support for a constitutional amendment to deny voting rights to born-again Christians. I feel if your citizenship is in Heaven—like a born again Christian’s is—you should give up your citizenship. Sorry, but this is my new cause. If born again Christians are allowed to vote in this country, then why not Canadians?"

It is hard to imagine this side-splitingly funny diatribe being employed successfully against any other religious or ethnic group but the patrons of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel ate it up as "tears of laughter rolled down audience members' cheeks". And why not? As this link shows, evengelicals account for 25.2% of all Minnesotans. If the right to vote could also be stripped from like-minded devout Catholics and Lutherans, you could conceive of an electorate composed entirely of secularists, Wiccans and other coffee house denizens (and the most progressive members of the ELCA). This -- more than any other conceivable strategy -- could give Senator Dayton a big advantage as he faces an electorate minus the "citizens of heaven".

Dayton v. Kennedy acknowledges we violated rule #1 of "Minnesota Nice" by mixing religion and politics. "But Mom, Garrison did it first!" Moreover, no slight was intended toward coffee houses per se. Dayton v. Kennedy is often times seen amongst the local glitterati at Nokomis Beach.


Status Quo

One of the highest priorities for President Bush's second term is a dramatic restructuring of the federal tax system. In almost every proposal under consideration the IRS would become a less significant part of the average American's life whether the change was towards a consumption tax or a radical simplification of the federal income tax. This once-a-generation (or two) chance was brought about by the increased Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress 2 weeks ago.

Senator Dayton's response? Status quo and class warfare.
Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., said that he favors simplifying the system to close tax loopholes but that imposing a flat tax would be just another way to benefit wealthy Americans.


RealClearPolitics on 2006

The folks at distinguished themselves again this election cycle with their aggregated polling averages that were extremely accurate. They correctly predicted the outcome in every state for the presidential election with the exception of Wisconsin. They have been one of my favorite web sites for more than 4 years. Their daily selection of columns from across the political spectrum are always must-reads.

So I find it noteworthy that in the attached post "It's Never Too Soon", they correctly predict that Mark Dayton heads the endangered list for the Democrats.

From RCP:
"On the Senate side, the playing field of competitive races looks a bit smaller, but the names that pop out are more problematic for the Dems. The GOP will likely target first-termers Mark Dayton in Minnesota and Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, as well as Maria Cantwell in Washington and Bill Nelson in Florida."

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Word comes that Michael Moore plans a reprise of his magnum opus Fahrenheit 9/11 just in time for the 2008 election. We recall how Mark Kennedy explained to Moore on camera that he has two nephews in the military, one who had just been deployed in the Army National Guard and would be headed to Afghanistan in the month after the filming. Moore cut Kennedy’s response from the film and instead packaged the segment to suggest that Kennedy and other Members of Congress were unwilling to have their own family members serve in the war on terror.

Based on his political track record, we wonder if Messrs. Moore and Weinstein could be persuaded to move up the timetable for release by the 2006 election.


How Does That Boycott Look Now, Senator?

Dayton v. Kennedy hasn't been around for long but we're already looking through our archives. One of our first posts was on the contemptible decision of Mark Dayton to "boycott" the speech at the U.S. Capitol by Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. Presumably this was because Dayton thought Allawi a U.S. puppet.

Today there is word that Allawi's cousin, the cousin's wife and their daughter-in-law have been kidnapped.

As I noted in September, "Boycott is what you do when you have a moral objection to someone or something. Dayton may have a serious policy difference with the President and his Iraqi policy. But Allawi can hardly be considered someone worthy of moral opprobrium. As Hugh (Hewitt) notes: "Every morning the sun rises on thousands of jihadists who spend their next many hours trying to murder Allawi". Allawi's crime: trying to build a democratic Iraq. Hmmm...sticking your neck out for the cause of freedom. We must boycott this Allawi character immediately! Nice logic, Senator."

It turns out that Allawi is willing to pay a very dear price for the liberation of his country from radical Islamists. It would be nice if Minnesota's Senior Senator would extend him the time of day when next he comes to Washington.

Get While the Gettins' Good

While it must be said that the departure of any of the 3 below-mentioned Senate Democrats would be a unlikely Republican pickup, it is still noteworthy that Alber Eisele of The Hill foreshawdows their possible departure. Very likely there are other potential departures in more Republican-friendly parts of the country.

"Maybe that’s what three veteran Democrats — Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), Jon Corzine (N.J.) and Christopher Dodd (Conn.), who are said to be seriously considering running for governor — have
in the back of their minds."

Will Minnesota's Senior Senator want to stick around to be part of an even smaller minority?


Instapundit Pimps Dayton v. Kennedy

Just yesterday I jokingly asked another local blogger with limited eyeballs, "If two blogs fall in the forest and nobody is there to hear them, do they make a sound?"

Today Glenn Reynolds -- god-emperor of the blogosphere -- pimped Dayton v. Kennedy. Now my readership can move from the local telephone booth to a Kia Spectra. Thanks, Glenn.

His column from yesterday is a must read if you didn't catch it.

Romesh Ponnuru on 2006

From National Review Online:

MORE BAD NEWS FOR DEMOCRATS [Ramesh Ponnuru]The Hotline reports that 40 percent of Senate Democrats will be up for re-election in 2006, compared to 27 percent of Senate Republicans. Democrats will have to win 24 of the 33 races to take the Senate in 2006. (That assumes, of course, that nobody switches parties or dies and gets replaced by someone from the other party.) That means--my calculation, not the Hotline--that the Democrats would have to hold all of their seats that are up and win one third of the Republicans'. Partly, this is the result of the Senate Democrats' having done so well in the 2000 election.

Atlas Shrugged

For more than a half-century now, the Democratic Party has been at war with capitalism. Behind this antipathy lies a curious form of self-loathing as an increasing number of Senate millionaires come from a background of inherited privilege. A certain senator from Minnesota comes to mind.

It is a relentless pursuit of success on the part of Mark Dayton's ancestors that allowed him, until recently, to take a $1 annual salary. And it is that same enterprising spirit that has employed thousands of Minnesotans over the last century, helped pay their mortgage, and educate their children. It can safely be said that Dayton's progenitors exerted a greater force for the good of Minnesota citizens than Mark Dayton could do in a lifelong tenure in the U.S. Senate.

In light of recent corporate accounting scandals, there has been an effort on behalf of the Left to outlaw stock options which remain an extraordinarily effective means of attracting top talent to progressive, innovative companies who create goods and services that better the life of people and create wealth for their employees and shareholders.

So when someone of the stature of Pete Mariani, Chief Accounting Officer of Guidant Corporation, asks both of Minnesota's senators to support the Stock Option Accounting Reform Act (S. 1890), it is worth noting. Mariani notes that Senator Coleman has already cosponsored this legislation. What a refreshing change it would be if someone like Dayton would also recognize the vital role employee equity plays in the fountainhead of human progress.

We're not holding our breath.

Wishful Thinking

From Strib letters to the editor:

Kennedy vs. Wetterling
Republicans are all excited by the victory of Rep. Mark Kennedy over Patty Wetterling and are already proposing that he run against Sen. Mark Dayton in two years.
Let's not overlook the reality: The polls showed Kennedy ahead by almost 20 points. He won by 4 or 5 percent against a novice candidate in a conservative district.
Patty Wetterling had a reputation that helped her out a lot, but her inexperience was self-evident during the candidates' debate. Kennedy is a formidable candidate, but I believe the Republicans will overreach themselves in the next two years and he won't look so exciting then.
Rick Felber, Minneapolis.

Don't you love it when Democrats give Republicans political advice? Thanks, Rick.


Larry Jacobs' Sloppy Scholarship

Lawrence R. Jacobs, "McKnight land grant professor and director of the 2004 Elections Project at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute" must be between TAs because no one checked his recent work. On Sunday, November 7th in his piece "Bush effort to mobilize his base deepened divisions", Jacobs claims that "Sen. John Kerry held nearly all of the states that voted for Al Gore in 2000 and did so by greater margins, as we saw in Minnesota but also in California, Massachusetts and others."

Must be the new math.

While Professor Jacobs is correct that Minnesota voted for Kerry by a greater margin than they did for Gore, Bush increased his share of the vote from 45.50% to 47.62%. Still, Jacobs is technically correct here. Where his scholarship breaks down is with California and Massachusetts. In California, the margin between the Republican and Democrat decreased from approximately 12% to 10% and in Kerry's home state of Massachusetts, the margin between Republican and Democrat decreased from 28% to 22%.

For the record, the following link shows that President Bush increased his vote share in every state of the Union with the exception of Vermont and South Dakota.

Three cheers for tenure

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds on the Future of Politics and the Web

Glenn Reynolds -- god-emperor of the blogosphere -- weighs in with his Tech Central Station column on "Politics and the Web". Reynolds notes the blog that likely had the greatest impact this year was John Lauck's Daschle v. Thune blog.

In one of my first posts I refered to this blog as "son of Daschle v. Thune" and predicted that Lauck's efforts would contribute mightily to a Daschle concession speech.

"I've written before that blogs on state and local affairs have more potential than is generally realized, and this is another example. National political blogs have to compete with the national press and punditry, and with a host of similar blogs. Local blogs can often devote as many person-hours as local newspapers and television stations, and can pay close and continuing attention to subjects that the traditional local outlets gloss over or ignore. This is probably better for Republicans than for Democrats, since traditional media tends to lean pro-Democratic, but it's also probably better for challengers than for incumbents, since challengers face more barriers to getting their message out than do incumbents. Expect to see a lot more of this sort of thing in the next election cycle."


Fellow Traveler

"The First Ring" is an extremely well-written new Minnesota-centric blog that somehow became aware of the existence of Dayton v. Kennedy. Despite its newness, I suspect that this "First Ring blog from a First Ring Suburb" will gain a loyal readership very quickly.

From the mutual admiration society this.

Question: if two blogs fall in the forest but there's no one there to hear them, do they make a noise?

Al Hunt on 2006

Al Hunt, long-time columnist for the Wall Street Journal and contributor to CNN's "Capital Gang" does not sound optimistic about the Democrat's 2006 incumbents. From Saturday's transcript:

HUNT: They have Democrats like Chris Dodd, who, after watching the election returns, are now talking about running for governor of Connecticut to get out of Dodge, if you will (DvK replies: "I will"). You look at that 2006 line-up, and there's just no way the Democrats are going to pick up six seats and re-take control two years from now. So it's a pretty bleak picture.

Can you think of anyone in the "2006 line-up"? Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?

Bleak indeed.

Dane Smith on 2006

Dane Smith of the Star Tribune offers thoughts contrary to Sarah Janacek's punditry on Dayton's strength for 2006. From Smith:

Dayton stronger?
Dayton's decision a few weeks ago to temporarily close his Washington office because of fears of a pre-election terrorist attack reinforced Republicans' conviction that he is both too liberal and too eccentric to win re-election. But incumbency is the single most powerful asset a politician can possess, and Dayton has proved to be a savvy tactician and campaigner.
Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy is the most oft-mentioned competitor, but it's unlikely that he will be able to waltz through with no competition for the party endorsement. Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer, state Rep. Phil Krinkie, R-Shoreview, and Brian Sullivan, a businessman and entrepreneur who almost defeated Pawlenty for the gubernatorial endorsement, also are often mentioned by activists as possible opponents.
Dayton said he's prepared for a "titanic political struggle" and is greatly encouraged by the developments this year, which started with an astounding DFL turnout at precinct caucuses. Several potent new groups allied with the Democrats, such as America Coming Together, showed that Democrats have new life and lots of skilled organizers.
Dayton, heir of the department store family, has said he doesn't intend to finance his own campaign as he did twice before. But money won't be a problem, he insists.
"I intend to win. I'll raise the money we need ... and when they start smearing me, I'll be ready."

We are delighted that the Senator still has 'the fire in the belly' and stand by our assertion that Dayton will be extremely hard to defeat for the DFL nomination. One card that Dayton can play that no one else can is the "Wellstone protege" card. Look for Dayton to secure the support of the far left of his party (is there anyone else?) over the next 9 months as he seeks to fend off an intra-party challenge. I contend that Senator Dayton will remain a formidable force within his own party (despite fundraising issues) but a particularly vulnerable incumbent for the general election.

Sarah Janecek on 2006

Sarah Janecek, author of Politics In Minnesota: The Directory, offered her thoughts on the 2006 race for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota on this weekend's "Northern Alliance Radio Network" on AM 1280 The Patriot. Janecek said she would not be surprised if Dayton faces a DFL challenger in the primary or even if he were to decide against seeking a second term altogether.

Dayton v. Kennedy thinks S.J. has entirely too much faith in the Democrats ability to nominate someone other than Dayton, who remains extremely popular with the left wing of his party.

On the Republican side, Janecek acknowledged the CW by saying that Mark Kennedy would be a major contender for the nomination, but said other heavyweights were contemplating a bid. Janacek was sworn to secrecy as to the identity of these folks, but certainly Brian Sullivan -- early frontrunner for the 2000 Republican nomination for governor -- has to be among them.


Note to Minnesota Liberals

Let's help our friends to the north meet their ambitious immigration goals.

Based on Tuesday's results, we need approximately 98,397 of you to consider the Great White North.

Plus, I hear Manitoba will have 13 electoral votes come 2008...

2006: Filibuster Proof or Bust has a post on the prospects of a filibuster-proof Republican majority in 2006 (if Daschle's defeat hasn't already gotten us there). They take a look at the 34 Senators who will be up for reelection in 2006 and the vote percentage they got in 2000 vs. how their party's nominee fared in the state. Mark Dayton won in 2000 with 49% of the vote which actually bested the result of Al Gore in Minnesota that year by 1%.

As Dayton v. Kennedy has already noted, the biggest red light on Mr. Dayton's dashboard is his 47% approval rating.


Mr. Dayton Goes Back to Washington

It seems Senator Dayton will seek to declassify the intelligence briefing which caused him to close up shop 3 weeks ago.

We can't wait.

"Odds-On Favorite"

Kevin Duchschere has a very well written article in today's Strib. I have yet to detect any of the hostility towards Republicans that typifies most local political reporters in Duchschere's work.

Kevin points out that, by beating Patty Wetterling, Mark Kennedy has "cleared a major hurdle toward becoming the Republicans' odds-on favorite to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton in 2006."

The article points out that Kennedy used some very aggressive advertising against Wetterling which could cost him in the future. Perhaps so, but in order to take on Sen. Dayton, the first thing he had to do was win. Mission accomplished. I maintain this shows Kennedy has great political instincts. The will to win should be what Minnesota Republicans demand in a race against Dayton. Minnesota has to be considered one of the most likely Republican pickups in the 2006 midterms and a failure to capture the seat would likely be from a lackluster bid.

Professor Larry Jacobs of the U of M suggests that Governor Pawlenty may have an interest in Dayton's seat. This seems doubtful to me for many reasons, not the least of which is that Pawlenty is already being discussed in conservative circles as a possible heir apparent to President Bush. Paul Weyrich, conservative godfather, has said that Pawlenty combines a geniality and conservative philosophy he has not observed since the rise of Ronald Reagan. Moreover, Pawlenty will not even have completed a single term before he would have to start campaigning for the Senate seat.

Read the whole thing here.

Senate Predictions 2004: Not Bad

If I exercise my mulligan with Alaska, I was incorrect on one of 9 contested Senate races. Pete Coors came up short against Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar. 8 for 9. Not bad. I'll put my predictions up against Professor Larry Sabato or Charlie Cook any day.

The bottom line is that the Senate gains 6 genuine conservatives in Isakson, Burr, DeMint, Vitter, Martinez and the dragon-slayer John Thune.

Time to make progress on the federal judiciary.