The Big E's blog
Ashwin Madia introduces himself in this video and discusses patriotism. Real patriotism. Please be sure to do your part and help Ashwin out with a donation.
Ashwin is the Marine Iraq vet challenging Republican Erik Paulsen to replace Jim Ramstad in the MN-03 race. He wants fiscal responsibility whereas Paulsen practiced credit card financing while serving in the Minnesota State House.
Ashwin wants our troops out of Iraq in 18-24 months, Paulsen is incoherent on Iraq.
Ashwin stands up for what he believes in, Paulsen hides his far right agenda ... Paulsen may believe that global climate change is a hoax.
Ashwin is a proud Democrat, Paulsen's website does not have the word Republican on it and he'll never identify himself as a Republican.
This MTV vid is a great intro to Ashwin for those who don't know him:
Let's give Ashwin a li'l boost on the final day of this financial period.
Since Republican Erik Paulsen has so little to run on, he has apparently hired a polling company to run push polls against Democratic candidate Ashwin Madia. Unfortunately, Mike Mulcahy (who normally practices real journalism at MPR) falls into the lazy, Republican-friendly school of mindless journalism claiming that both sides are doing it. Let's be clear about the facts, a Houston-based telemarketing firm is push polling against Ashwin Madia. AFSCME was calling its own members urging them to support Ashwin Madia and did not mention Paulsen. Mulcahy is willing to print lies from the Paulsen campaign spread by Spawn of Turdblossom.
What better reason to make a donation to Ashwin Madia! Go here to donate.
Here's the details:
Sen. Norm Coleman is no different than the other endangered Republican Senators. He is running as fast as he can away from President Bush and his own voting record. Most of the other endangereds are not coming to the convention. Unlike the other endangereds, the RNC08 freakshow is coming to his hometown of St. Paul. Amid news several Senate Republicans have already backed out of attending the quadannual event, Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman made clear Monday he wouldn't attend either — if the convention was anywhere else but his backyard. "The colleagues who don't come are staying at home only because they have tough races," the embattled senator told Minnesota Public Radio. "If the convention wasn't in St. Paul, I wouldn't be at the convention," Coleman, like many of his colleagues who have opted not to make the trip to Minnesota, faces a tough re-election battle this fall and may be wary of tying himself to the unpopular GOP brand.
Amid news several Senate Republicans have already backed out of attending the quadannual event, Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman made clear Monday he wouldn't attend either — if the convention was anywhere else but his backyard.
"The colleagues who don't come are staying at home only because they have tough races," the embattled senator told Minnesota Public Radio. "If the convention wasn't in St. Paul, I wouldn't be at the convention,"
Coleman, like many of his colleagues who have opted not to make the trip to Minnesota, faces a tough re-election battle this fall and may be wary of tying himself to the unpopular GOP brand.
Norm's concrete shoes, George W. Bush, will be in town on the Monday of the convention. What are the chances that Norm will be seen anywhere near him? Imagine a picture of His Shrubness hugging or planting a kiss of death on Norm's cheek? Imagine it splattered all over the blogosphere. While I relish the idea, I'm sure Norm's handlers are going to be working overtime to keep him away from the more toxic Republicans. Considering how many are enmeshed in some sort of scandal or another ... that'd be pretty much all of the elected ones. Ya think Abramoff might get a weekend release to attend?
How else is Norm shunning the Republican brand?
This Wednesday, August 20th, surf on over to your favorite Minnesota blog and drop some money in the bucket for Our Brave Captain, Ashwin Madia. This is shaping up to be a very winnable race. The district is trending blue. Democrats have a majority of the State Senate and House seats. The DCCC have adopted Ashwin into their Red to Blue program. Wednesday is the end of the fundraising period, so we lefty bloggers figured it was time to help Ashwin out.
Ashwin Madia is a Marine vet who served in Iraq. He's running against former Republican Majority Leader of the State House Erik Paulsen. Ashwin believes we should be responsible with out tax dollars while Paulsen practiced credit card politics at the State Capitol. Ashwin wants to withdraw our troops in 18-24 months while Paulsen is incoherent. Ashwin wants to find a solution to global climate change and our dependence upon foreign oil by building a green economy in MN in which we export wind turbines, solar panels and hybrid cars. Paulsen spouts the Republican "Drill Here, Drill Now" lies.
They are running to replace moderate Republican Jim Ramstad. Ashwin is brave and stands up for what he believes in. Paulsen is pretending he's a moderate ... he's as far right as you can get.
SurveyUSA gave Al Franken some more good news today. His race against Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) is tightening.
Most political analysts have long thought the race would be a close one. Coleman has had a comfortable lead in many recent polls, but there's evidence things are tightening up.
Coleman leads Franken by seven points, 46 to 39. Eleven percent chose "other," possibly whomever emerges as the independence party candidate.
Five percent are undecided. The margin of error is 3.8 percent.
Republican-owned KSTP's July poll had Norm up by 13%. In one month, Norm's lead has been halved.
As I have said on numerous occasions before, Al just needs to stay close and build the right kind of campaign. Norm-speakTM is Norm's worst enemy and he lets loose every time he opens his mouth. On the other hand, the more people hear and see Al talk, the more they see that he is a clear alternative.
This is going to be another election about change. It's also likely to be a Democratic landslide. Al is positioning himself to ride this wave by building a massive volunteer operation and getting out to every corner of the state. He's actually meeting the people and shaking their hands. He's also raising enough money to compete with Norm on the TV and radio. This is exactly the same kind of campaign Amy Klobuchar ran in 2006.
Minnesota Public Radio ran a piece that I heard this morning (you can listen here) examining an issue that is becoming a central part of the Minnesota Senate race (MN-SEN): energy. They give Al Franken and Norm Coleman a fair hearing and allow the listener to decide what they believe. As usual, this examination of the issues is a far cry from the favorable coverage the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Saint Paul Pioneer Press give Norm Coleman.
Our two major papers are simply incapable of providing this race the coverage it deserves. There have been too many cutbacks and too few reporters left to cover politics in MN. Then there's their editorial behavior. So whenever Norm attacks, front page. Any response from Al is relegated to the inner pages of the metro. Whenever Al goes after Norm's voting record or, for example, his sweetheart apartment deal, inner pages of the metro. When Norm responds, front page.
Rep. John Kline has scheduled an event at Waconia Senior High School tomorrow, August 18th at 7pm. This is apparently a public event, but don't worry, any liberals that show up will not be welcome. Of course, in John Kline's narrow mind, liberal is anyone who would ask him a tough question about his lousy voting record. Definitely do not ask him any tough questions about Iraq. He gets a wee bit rude if you do.
This Monday night at 7 p.m.
is your opportunity to
meet Congressman John Kline at Waconia High School
to ask questions and hear about:
1. Russia's invasion of Georgia and its threatening escalation for oil and renewed nuclear and world power;
2. Congress's running debate over "Drill Now" for energy and why Nancy Pelosi and her Democrats resorted to turning off the Capitol lights to prevent Republicans from passing real energy policy for America and her protection;
3. What is needed to meet the needs of our veterans and heroes who stand strong for freedom;
4. Congressman Kline's continued fight against earmarks–those spending measures inserted by members of Congress into bills that direct taxpayer dollars to their pet projects;
(Carver County GOP)
The Kline campaign makes sure that the only people let through the door into their events are Republicans. They work hard to make sure only those drinking the kool-aid get to ask any questions. I wonder if Kline will even hold a forum in the Twin Cities in the evening this campaign? Is there a chance he might debate Steve Sarvi?
As I cross path with folks I know or acquaintances, they often express their worry about Al Franken's campaign. I have been telling them that everything is going fine. Al is running the exact right kind of race. He's got a massive volunteer operation, he's running a grassroots campaign, he's raising ****loads of money and he's the right kind of personality to take on Norm Coleman, i.e., a DFLer with some personality.
Reactions vary from "I hope you're rights" to eye rolls to rants about everything they perceive Al to be doing wrong. I think DFLers expect Al to be leading by 15% like Amy Klobuchar was by this time two years ago. That's just unrealistic. Amy was running for an open seat, Al is battling an incumbent Republican Senator with all the advantages that come with it.
Al was running close to Norm (-6% to +2%) from July 2007 through this last June when when the toll of unrelenting bad press finally took its toll. 3 polls in June had him trailing by around 15%. However, Al's first ballot DFL endorsement victory and a little bad press for Norm (sweetheart apartment deal) and the race is even again. A late July poll had Al up by two and a Rasmussen poll that was just released has them tied at 45%.
(Rasmussen Reports, h/t Dave Mindeman at mnpACT!)
So what exactly do I mean when I say Al is running the right kind of campaign?
Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) thinks he's dodged the proverbial bullet on his sweetheart apartment deal. He and his landlord have created a lease after the fact describing how everything is legit, Norm is on the hook for utilities, was only supposed to pay them once per year, etcetera, etcetera. Doesn't it seem just a wee bit
fishy weasely that Norm is performing a little CYA once his apartment deal was publicized?
In addition, Coleman didn't make a payment for utilities for the living space until last month, under a verbal agreement he had with his landlord -- St. Paul businessman Jeff Larson -- to settle up after a year in residence, Coleman campaign manager Cullen Sheehan said.
We are supposed to take Norm's assurances at face value that they had a verbal deal that Norm would pay the utilities once a year?
Whom among you have EVER worked out that kind of deal with your landlord?
Okay ... I can imagine that after a divorce, long illness or bankruptcy someone might move in with Mom n Dad promising to help with the bills once someone got their feet on the ground financially. However, the person in question is different and so are the circumstances.
Norm is a US Senator. Norm is paying to keep his wife in her accustomed lifestyle in California. Norm is paying for a mortgage, upkeep and taxes on a house in the posh Cathedral Hill neighborhood of St. Paul. Norm has two kids in college. Jeff Larson's (Norm's landlord) has a company (FLS Connect) that has received $1.5 million in business from Norm's campaign and office. Norm employs Larson's wife. This is just a little backscratching between fellow Republicans. Nothing to see here. Move along.
Unlike regular folk, Senators cannot receive gifts of more than $250 from friends ... Norm saved at least $1,150/mth switching from his $1,750/mth apartment to his new $600/mth one. The going market rates for the area are around $1,600 - $1,800 per month for the Capitol Hill neighborhood. On top of that I don't believe it is a stretch to claim that he didn't have to pay utilities until he got busted. I lived in the Maryland suburbans of DC for 3 years ... it's freakin' hot from June through September ... my electric bills were way higher for that period alone than $500 or so dollars. It's hard to believe that Norm's utlities all put together averaged $40/mth.
My guess is the reason they will not produce the utility bills is that Larson's company was paying the bills. That means Norm was accepting gifts from a company. That's an even bigger ethics violation.
(DFL Press Release)
Ashwin Madia held a press conference yesterday to announce his energy plan and announce that the League of Conservation Voters have endorsed him. Our Brave Captain held the presser at a LEED certified bicycle parts manufacturer in
Maple Grove Bloomington.
“LCV is proud to endorse a candidate eager to find solutions to environmental issues both on the local and national scale,” Nazar said. “With an acute legal mind and hands-on international experience, Madia will bring to Washington skills and commitment that will greatly aid our nation’s fight to create a new, clean energy future. As we can see here at Quality Bicycle Parts clean energy will be a part of the solution, creating millions of jobs across the country and ending our dependence on oil”
(League of Conservation Voters)
By contrast, we have Republican Erik Paulsen. He talks about energy independence at a gas station.
While it probably isn't comforting to know that Sen. Norm Coleman is doing a better job providing for Iraq than Minnesota, the news that Iraq could likely have an $80 billion surplus shows what happens when the US government decides to prop up a country's economy. Even Republican Faux News agrees.
Wouldn't it have been great if we wouldn't have spent all those billions and billions of dollars on Iraqi Reconstruction? Yes, it would. That is where oversight of the reconstruction process would have made a difference. As Chair of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Norm Coleman could have made that difference. Now Norm, that Republican Champion of Oversight (i.e., sharpest spoon, tallest midget, etc.) wants to rescind about 2% of what he voted to give them over the years, $1 billion.
While Rep. John Kline (R-MN02) has had 7 1/2 years of Republican rule to do something about our energy problems, all he's done is rubberstamp the Bush Administration's energy policy which has benefitted Big Oil which in turn has rewarded him with large campaign donations. Now that it's an election year he's joining in with the Republicans "Drill Here, Drill Now" publicity stunts in Washington, DC. All of a sudden the Republicans want the energy crisis they created solved. And they want it solved yesterday.
I suggest that all they want is this issue to quit kicking them in the shins and could care less if the problem is actually solved.
So isn't it funny that the Republicans are notorious for not taking care of the nation's business? During the Rubberstamp Congresses in which the Republican majority ran the House, their work week started on Tuesdays and everyone was heading home early Friday if not Thursday. It also turns out that since the Democrats took control of the House, Republicans try to end the work day early as often as they can. Particularly when they are addressing issues they don't like
John Kline has voted for early adjournment to the day 28 of the 39 times (72%) this year rather the put in a full days work on the people's business.
Isn't it ironic that after slacking off for 7 1/2 years, Republicans like John Kline are staging reelection year publicity stunts instead of taking their August vacations? Shouldn't we have someone who'll work hard for the people of the 2nd district? Someone who would listen to the people of the district instead of avoid them? Someone not beholden to corporate interests? Someone like Steve Sarvi?
YouTube is hosting the US Senate debates. The first race is ours! The Minnesota Senate candidates Al Franken and Norm Coleman answered questions posed by real people who's questions were selected. While the newspapers and TV want to make this race about porn, apartments and the typical 'he-said-she-said' crap, this bypasses them to get straight to what is important to Minnesota voters ... the issues.
Their answers to these questions clearly shows that Al is forward thinking and that Norm is simply a part of the problem. Watch for yourselves and decide for yourselves.
I'll be on KFAI's Truth to Tell tomorrow to discuss the coverage of the Republican National Convention. 90.3 FM from 11am - 1pm.
Paul Rosenberg at OpenLeft.com has written some great analysis entitle 10 Reasons For The False Media Narrative of A "Tied Campaign". He explains why the media cannot and will not acknowledge that Barack Obama has a healthy lead over Grandpa McSame. Take Minnesota as an example. The media wants and needs MN to be a close race regardless of how badly Grandpa McSame will get his *** kicked in my fair state.
The media always calls MN a purple state. The only reaons I can see is because the DFL hasn't won the governor's office since forever, Paul Wellstone's death gifted Norm Coleman the Senate seat and bat-**** crazy Michele Bachmann got elected in MN-06. Of course, this has less to do with blue-red but more to do with DFL candidates running old school grasp-defeat-from-the-jaws-of-victory campaigns instead of grassroots campaigns. And all this despite retaking control of both the State House and Senate in the 2006 elections. Republicans are hoping their convention in
Minneapolis St. Paul (or wherever they think its going to be held in MN) will actually help their chances of taking this state. The media doesn't want to recognize that we're in the process of throwing the Republicans out of power in this state -- Governor Pawlenty may even be irrelevant if we get veto-proof majorities in both houses. Wouldn't it suck if the Republican VP candidate were politically neutered in his own state?
So ... read Paul's analysis then think about how the Minnesota media frames the races in this state.
I've been documenting how poorly things are going for the Republicans in the 2008 election. The Republican brand has been so severly damaged by 8 years of Republican greed, corruption, lawlessness and incompetence that not much seems to be going right for them. They can't compete financially with the Democrats and face another landlslide loss in November.
More evidence of their desperate plight has surfaced in the last few days.
After attending a parade over the weekend, Rep. John Kline (R-MN02) returned to Washington, DC to continue the Republicans "Drill Here, Drill Now" shenanigans. They are protesting Congress being out on August recess without an energy bill finalized. The reality is that they are protesting two achieve two aims:
- Use drilling in Alaska and the Outer Continental Shelf as a wedge issue in the 2008 election.
- Get more giveaways for their buddies in Big Oil.
All the "Drill Here, Drill Now" talk is a lie. Big Oil has many, many leases for drilling that they are not currently using. If they really wanted to start drilling immediately, they could have been drilling
yesterday, last week last year on the leases they already have. Why would they begin drilling? Why would they add extra expenses when profits are so high? Furthermore, any drilling rights Congress might grant wouldn't produce anything for at least a decade and there is a 50% chance (p. 26 of report) that any particular find wouldn't amount to anything. In addition, the Roadblock Republicans ... now converting as you read this into the Drill-Here-Drill-Now Republicans ... blocked every attempt to pass legislation to address our addiction to foreign oil, cut back on hand-outs to Big Oil and promote alternative energy. Last but not least let's not forget how much filthy lucre Kline has received from Big Oil:
(Politics and Hypocrisy)
It may come as a shock to many of you, but apparently, there are a few Republicans able to learn from their mistakes. Well ... at least a little and he needed a lot of help. Ashwin Madia's opponent Erik Paulsen had an article written about him in the Republican-friendly Pioneer Press. The Republican-friendly journalist wrote a nice piece pushing Paulsen's "Drill Here, Drill Now" lies which is a centerpiece of Republican strategy for the 2008 election.
This is not, of course, what Paulsen got right. No, he's going to tell the "Drill Here, Drill Now" lies as much as he's going to try and twist his record to appear moderate. With a lot of help from the Republican-friendly writer, Paulsen actually sounded coherent on Iraq:
Responding to a question, he said the war has been badly handled, but the military surge over the past year has clearly worked. He said a phaseout should be done as quickly as conditions allow, but planners should listen to the military on the ground.
"I think a precipitous withdrawal would be a disaster for the longterm,'' he said.
Notice that the journalist had to paraphrase much of what Paulsen had to say. This is probably because Paulsen is incoherent on Iraq. But nonetheless and regardless of the help from the friendly journalist, it appears that Erik Paulsen said something coherent about Iraq.
Is he capable of doing it again and without help?