Thursday, July 28, 2005

Podcast sparks debate at Rice County Fair

Republican Senator Tom Neuville probably now knows he shouldn't try to debate Peter Idusogie, host of the "Inside Minnesota Politics" podcast.

Listen to the fun unfold from the Rice County Fair in a "Politics On A Stick" edition of Minnesota's first political podcast.

Friday, July 22, 2005

"Inside Minnesota Politics" At Rice Co. Fair Tonight!

You're invited to participate in the "Politics On A Stick" edition of "Inside Minnesota Politics With Peter Idusogie" podcast from the Rice County Fair in Faribault. Peter Idusogie and microphones will be at the Rice County DFL booth tonight (Friday July 22) from 6 PM to 8 PM. Come by and discuss politics, elections, or anything that's on your mind.

Directions to fair

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Podcast: How To Beat Republicans Using Health Care & Education Issues

Former U.S. Senator Dave Durenberger knows health care. He's written two books on the topic and Governor Tim Pawlenty picked him to head his Minnesota Citizens Forum on Health Care. On this week's "Inside Minnesota Politics with Peter Idusogie" podcast, Durenberger says Republicans have it wrong on health care and education and lays out how Democrats can use that to their advantage.

The text to the entire interview is also posted online at the IMP website.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Framing the message

One of the first things new DFL chair Brian Melendez has done is work on developing the DFL message. (See the Minnesota Stories Project as an example). One important step in doing that is deciding how to "frame" the message. Framing is NOT the message, but it does shape people's world view. That way they are more open to your message. A frame has to correlate to a voter's life and must be consistent and repeated.

Example: Republicans have framed the message with "giving money to the government is a bad thing. It's your money! Keep it." Of course, Republicans are happy to use the roads and other benefits of government investment, but don't want to pay for it.

Focusing on trying to say negative things about that frame is not going to change people's minds. Instead, you need to create your own frame. One of the more powerful suggestions at the DFL Central Committee meeting in Alexandria is this:
The DFL is the defender and protector of what is good in Minnesota.
Republicans are the plunderers and squanderers of Minnesota's legacy.

That frame exposes the current Republican agenda for what it is and makes it relevant to all voters. All messages then get delivered in the context of that frame.

Interesting stuff.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

US Senate Candidates at DFL Central Meeting in Alexandria

First up - Ford Bell. The man you haven't heard about. He didn't need a script. Picked up the microphone and told us who he was, why he was running and what he wanted to accomplish.

Next up: Patty Wettering - she started by talking about her son Jason, but seemed to be scripted. She did better than she did a month ago.

Next: Amy Klobuchar in a "power suit" -- which looked just a bit out of place on a hot steamy July Saturday. Amy usually gives a good stump speech seemingly off the top of her head. Today it was obviously more scripted since she looked to notes several times. That could be the fatigue of the latest campaign blitz, or it could be she was trying out new talking points.

Notable by not being there: Kelly Doran. There was a Kelly Doran table with t-shirts, hats, brochures and other stuff set up in the lobby. All manned by apparently one person. But no Mr. Doran. The only time we saw his face was on the brochures and the very large billboards along I-94 on the way back from Alexandria to the Twin Cities.

Conclusion: Klobuchar may have the most money, but Bell "gets it" more than any of the other candidates about what this race is about. I want to hear more from him. Wetterling is still trying to hit her own stride, but appears to be struggling to find it. Doran, by being a no-show sends the message that he's really not participating in the endorsement process and will see us all in September's primary.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Podcast: Sen. Durenberger says Mark Kennedy is "Stuck in the Texas Republican Party"

Former U.S. Senator Dave Durenberer has let it be known before that he's not too happy with the way the extreme right has taken over the Republican Party. But now he's upped the criticism calling it "the Texas Republican Party" -- a reference to the tactics Karl Rove used to engineer Bush II's rise to power in Texas.

It's that "win at all costs mentality" that has put this life-long Republican at odds with many of the policies of the Bush Administration. Hear how he paints a dim picture of Governor Pawlenty, questions President Bush's motives in Iraq and just speaks with complete candor about the things many politicians won't talk about.

It's another exclusive interview at "Inside Minnesota Politics With Peter Idusogie". Very good listening!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Rep. Wardlow refuses to accept responsibility

Wardlow says no blame for shutdown, blames anyhow and then ducks responsibility.
Here is my response followed by his original letter:

Dear Rep. Wardlow,
You neglected to say that you voted against suspending the rules so the House could even consider the "lights on" bill.

Your reasoning that a "lights on" bill would shortchange education is faulty. How urgent is giving education more money THIS WEEK? Last I checked, school is out. The urgent matter is keeping our state running. Shutting things down costs us MORE instead of less. The Democrats have made it clear that they want increased K-12 funding, so arguing that passing the lights on bill would ultimately mean less money for education is clearly a ruse.

There indeed is blame for all on this one. But you had an opportunity to avoid the crisis and voted to shut the government down. I'm incredibly disappointed in your action, and offended by your inability to accept the responsibility to do what you were elected to do.

On Jul 8, 2005, at 10:38 AM, wrote:
Comments from me in blue
Dear friends and neighbors,

For the first time in state history, Minnesota is experiencing a partial government shutdown. Legislators had been working day and night to avoid this situation, but an ideological battle is taking place that has both sides digging in.

I am disappointed that after six months of real work in committee hearings and House floor sessions our actions could not prevent a partial government shutdown. I am especially outraged at what took place as the shutdown deadline approached. Here are the facts (minus a few key ones), no blame (except by omitting key facts) and no personal opinion(and also no accepting any responsibility since I've left out some key facts).

House Speaker Steve Sviggum, House Minority Leader Matt Entenza, Senate Minority Leader Dick Day, Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson and Governor Pawlenty met all day on June 30, trying desperately to at least reach a handshake agreement to keep state government operating throug (sic) the July 4 weekend. To their credit, they reached a deal to keep
state parks open.

But late that night, with Democrats and Republicans only $150 million away from an agreement, and negotiations set to continue up until midnight, Senator Johnson adjourned the Senate and went home for the night - with hardly a single Senator in the chamber. (Of course Wardlow could have voted to keep the "lights on", but instead he voted no-- shutting down Minnesota government for the first time in history) His own party's members were unaware of what he was doing. That stopped any progress dead in its tracks. After the Senate adjourned, Governor Pawlenty took all offers off the table but he did relent and has continued negotiations.

By all accounts, compromise negotiations were progressing. According to Friday's Star Tribune, Governor Pawlenty gave in to the Senate's request that he pull his support for a Racino. If Racino were truly standing in the way of a compromise, as Senator Johnson said all week, I cannot understand why taking it off the table was not enough to at least effect the framework for a deal similar to the one they had on June 30th.

Everyone understood the need to compromise. Before they left, the Senate passed a two-year "lights on bill" that they say would have kept state government running until a compromise was reached. Instead, the bill would have let skyrocketing health care costs continue to increase unchecked, not funded our new road/transit projects, and left our schools short-changed. (Assuming of course that the Democrats were going to give up on K-12 education funding -- which is stupid since both sides want to spend money here.)

Here are my thoughts about what that bill would have done:

1. Removed all urgency and need from negotiations to reach a compromise. Given what we could not accomplish in 6 months, we would not have reached a budget with a two year safety net.
2. Drastically cut school spending. (How much would we be spending in the next month while a compromise was worked out? Isn't school out for the year?) We proposed giving schools a 4.5 percent funding increase each of the next two years. This "lights on bill" would have cut school spending by about 2 percent. As you know, that would be a disaster for schools.
3. The bill made no reforms to control health care spending. (The problem is not health care spending. The problem is health care is not affordable for all Minnesotans. Has Rep Wardlow even addressed that issue? Why is it suddenly a big deal for him now?) It does not fund treatment for children in foster care. It would not fund the statewide trauma system. And it did not fund a Cost of Living Increase for nursing home employees. None of these things are acceptable and passing this bill would have been fiscally irresponsible.

Please know that I will be here continuing to work on your behalf to come to a compromise that benefits all Minnesotans. We were able to get the previously mentioned jobs, agriculture and environmental bill passed before the shutdown, which saved about 6,000 jobs and kept the parks open for the Fourth. (But you had to "hold it" until you reached the park because Rep. Wardlow voted to shutdown the rest areas)

Starting the morning of the 4th of July, about 50 House members from both sides of the aisle have been meeting daily to discuss the issues and try to reach a compromise apart from Leadership and the Governor.

As a member of that group, I am pleased to report that we have been somewhat effective in that the Governor's people and Leadership have been watching us and some movement has been noticed. We met with a similar compromise group led by the senate yesterday and compared "notes" so to speak. We have budget items on paper that we could bring forward in the House to serve as a base to work from and vote on, possibly Friday or Monday. Health and Human Services are moving toward each other as well, which has happened before.

I am hoping that by Friday or Monday a deal may be struck between the Senate, the House and the Governor, but of course, that is not a guarantee.

Thank you and I hope you enjoyed your 4th of July weekend. Please contact me if you have any questions or comments. You can e-mail me at or call me at (651) 296-4128.


Rep. Lynn D. Wardlow
District 38B
491 State Office Bldg.
St. Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4128 (O)
651-296-3949 (FAX)

Podcast Pt2: Rowley exposes the cheaters

Part two of the interview with Congressional candidate Coleen Rowley is now posted at "Inside Minnesota Politics" . The theme of her campaign is ethical decision making. At the FBI she saw first hand what happens when ethics don't figure into a decision. She tells us stories about how an Army Corps of Engineers employee was punished when she refused to approve a multi-year contract for Halliburton. Rowley says it's the "win at all costs" mentality that leads to a "cheating culture" and ultimately our President misleading the American public into war. (See the Downing Street Memos) A fascinating interview about the loss of ethics and consequently the loss of trust in our government.

There's more to this interview. In Part one Coleen and Peter discussed her run for Congress and the lack of ethics displayed by her opponent Rep. John Kline. If you missed the interview
it is still available online.

Next week: Former US Senator Dave Durenberger says "I don't believe this nation is at war" and flatly declares "we were wrong" for invading Iraq. Why is this long-time Republican at odds with the Bush administration? Listen and find out.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Podcast: Coleen Rowley sticks it to John Kline

On this week's "Inside Minnesota Politics" newly declared Congressional candidate Coleen Rowley lays into Representative John Kline as unethical and devoid of "critical thinking". She says he suffers from the "good soldier syndrome" and just takes orders from the top without questioning why. It's the same theme that Peter Idusogie hit upon in his Congressional race, but Crowley has more credentials to say it. So the interview between the two is quite interesting.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Rep. Lynn Wardlow's weak excuse

I called my Representative Lynn Wardlow to express my displeasure with his vote to shut down Minnesota Government. His assistant explained that Rep. Wardlow cast the vote to prevent cuts in education.

"Hmm" I said. "Schools don't really meet during the summer, don't you think he could have approved a continuing spending resolution and then negotiated the education funding instead of shutting the entire state government down? That seems a little irresponsible."


After a long pause, the assistant said "Representative Wardlow is on the House floor now, I'll pass along your comments to him."

Call Rep. Wardlow at (651) 296-4128 and express your displeasure at his vote.

Republicans vote to shutdown Minnesota government

I couldn't summarize the situation better.
From the DFL Senate

Below is information for your use. The governor's phone number is 651-296-3391 if you want to call and weigh in today.

Pioneer Press has an online poll you may want to weigh in on.

It's important to remember that very single Democrat in the Senate and House voted to keep government operating. The DFL Senate will continue to pursue that course of action again today. Everyone Democrat agrees that government operations should resume immediately.

Jack Rice (WCCO Radio) is live at the Capitol today (Friday) from today at 12 noon if anyone wants to call in, the number is 612 or 651 989-9226 or email:

Background information on Breakdown:

At 11:59 p.m. on June 30, 2005, the majority Republicans in the Minnesota House of Representatives voted to shut down government for the first time in the 148 years that Minnesota has been a state.

Earlier in the day, Senate Democrats passed legislation to keep state government running. Senate Democrats voted to keep 10,000 state workers on the job, voted to keep the highway rest stops open, voted to keep the warning signals on the highways operating, and voted to keep allow Minnesotans to get their driver's licenses.

All the House Republicans had to do was approve the Senate's lights on bill and the government would not have shut down. Instead, 67 of the 68 House Republicans voted to fire 10,000 state workers, voted to close our rest stops, voted to shut off the highway signs and voted to not allow Minnesotans to get their driver's licenses.

Every single DFLer in the state legislature -- every DFL Senator and every DFL Representative -- voted to keep government open. Every DFLer voted to keep 10,000 state workers working, and every DFLer voted to keep our rest stops open. Every DFLer voted to keep the highway signs on and every DFLer voted to let our taxpayers get their driver's licenses.

Every Republican Senator except one, and every Republican Representative, except one, voted to shut down the state's government.

On the morning after, 10,000 state employees wonder if and when they will work again, highway rest areas sit dark on the busiest travel weekend of the year, while highway signs are turned off and thousands of Minnesotans in need of driver's licenses sit with no help. Meanwhile, all of Minnesota waits for leadership from a Governor seemingly
unconcerned about completing the task at hand. In place of leadership, we get more blame games from a chief executive clearly unable to lead his own party and unwilling to do what's best for the state he's been elected to govern.

Background on what DFL is fighting for:

After three years of budget deficits, the Governor proposed another budget that would create yet another deficit for 2008-09. The governor's budget takes the problems we face today and shifts them into the future.

We have a special session and an unresolved budget because Gov. Pawlenty is protecting 40,000 people that are making more than $250,000 at the expense of the other 2.2 million taxpayers in the state.

The Governor and House Republicans froze and then cut spending for schools. The education funding cut and freezes lead to larger class sizes, less educational opportunities for our students, and parents paying many more fees for their children to participate in activities.
It's time to stand up and fight for education in Minnesota.

Governor Pawlenty has raided funds dedicated to health care to cover his budget deficits. The Governor and Republicans had set their sights on dismantling MinnesotaCare and denying health care coverage to tens of thousands of working Minnesotans. The Governor and Republicans inaccurately and unfairly describe MinnesotaCare as "welfare healthcare" which isn't true - enrollees pay monthly premiums. Enrollees are working people and farmers. Referring to MinnesotaCare as welfare healthcare is an insult to the working men and women of this state who are paying their share to ensure they are covered.

We have a special session and an unresolved budget because Gov. Pawlenty is protecting 40,000 people that are making more than $250,000 at the expense of the other 2.2. million taxpayers in the state.