Progressives and Moderates Intrigued By Gary Johnson Should Look Deeper

Cursor_and_gary_johnson_funny_-_Google_SearchWhen I started seeing ads and social media chatter about former Republican Governor Gary Johnson running for President, I went to to learn more.

I liked some of what I saw on foreign policy and law enforcement reform, but one line jumped out at me as particularly disturbing. It said Governor Johnson wants to:

“cut the federal budget by 43%.”

Just to be clear, a 43% cut in federal spending would constitute a major conservative revolution.  That would bring a much deeper reduction in government services than has been proposed in the past by ultra-conservative firebrands such as Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, Pat Buchanan, Newt Gingrich, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, or Michele Bachmann.

Still, I realize that a 43% cut has surface appeal.  After all, nobody feels a deep affinity for the abstract notion of “the federal government budget.” But budgets are collections of individual programs that deliver individual sets of services and benefits to Americans,  so we need to evaluate Johnson’s radical austerity plan on a program-by-program basis.

So, my fellow Americans, which federal services are you willing to cut by 43%, as Gary Johnson proposes.

Cut Infrastructure by 43%?  For instance, are the American people willing to cut infrastructure investments by 43%?  Do we want to slash investment in roads, bridges, transit, trains, airports, water and sewage systems, and the like?  A GBA Strategies survey finds that an overwhelming 71% of Americans want to spend $400 million more on infrastructure, not less.  Only 13% oppose such a massive federal government spending increase.

Cut Medicare by 43%?  Do the American people want to cut Medicare by 43%? After all, Medicare is a huge and growing part of the federal budget.  Americans not only don’t want to cut Medicare, more than three-fourths (77%) of Americans want to fund a new, massively expensive Medicare-for-All option.  Only 17% oppose such an expansion of government services and spending.

Cut Social Security by 43%?  Maybe Americans want to cut Social Security benefits by 43%?  While Social Security represents an enormous slice of the federal pie, the vast majority of Americans not only don’t want to cut Social Security benefits, a whopping 70% want to strengthen them.  Only 15% oppose expanding Social Security benefits.

Cut National Defense by 43%?  What about a 43% cut in national defense spending? Gallup finds that only 32% of Americans support national defense budget cuts.

Cut Other Programs by 43%?  Similarly, the GBA survey finds that an overwhelming majority of Americans want major government spending increases for green energy technology (70% support, 20% oppose), debt-free public higher education (71% support, 19% oppose), and subsidies for high quality child care  (53% support, 33% oppose) . There is no public appetite to cut any of those federal programs by 43%, as Governor Johnson proposes.

In other words,  only a thin slice of the most deeply ultra-conservative voters support Johnson’s fiscal austerity ideas.  Therefore, more moderate voters who are concerned about the nation’s poor, middle class, national security and global competitiveness need to learn about the implications of Johnson’s fiscal proposals before they jump on the Johnson bandwagon.

Progressives Should Be Proud To Protect Outstanding Young Teachers

young_teacherAnybody who has followed my lunatic rantings knows that I’m an unabashed wealth redistributin’, Wall Street regulatin’, minority rightsin’, carbon tradin’, Keynesian spendin’, Medicare-for-Allin’, tree-huggin’, consumer protectin’, Pentagon cuttin’, infrastructure rebuildin’, union supportin’, monopoly bustin’, education investin’ liberal.

But the moment I support allowing younger teachers to have their classroom achievements considered as one factor in firing decisions – the same position supported by more than 90% of Minnesotans, the liberal Obama Administration and two-thirds of younger Minnesota teachers with less than 20 years experience — you’d think I’m the second incarnation of Michele Bachmann.   “Teacher basher!!!”

LIFO_teacher_seniority_firing_mapA talented young teacher who is successfully improving kids’ learning automatically should be mandated to be the first to be fired? That’s putting kids first? That’s pro-teacher? That’s pro-education? That’s respecting the teaching profession?  That’s helping struggling low-income school districts, who have a disproportionate share of younger teachers?  That’s liberal?

I’ve listened. I really have. But on this issue, the teacher’s union, for all the good it does, is simply wrong.  Any progressive should be proud to fight for the rights of outstanding young teachers and the kids benefiting from them.

Bachmann Accuser Says He Prays Daily for Bachmann

Bachmannistan__Behind_The_Lines_eBook__Peter_Waldron__John_Gilmore__Kindle_StorePeter Waldron, the evangelical Christian minister and former adviser to Minnesota U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann in her 2012 presidential bid, has accused the Bachmann campaign of a series of illegal and unethical acts.  Waldron’s charges have been made in discussions with federal investigators and in Waldron’s recently released digital book, Bachmannistan:  Behind the Lines.

In a response published in the Star Tribune this morning, the Bachmann campaign gave the evangelical minister some old fashioned fire and brimstone:

“This former staffer with an ax to grind has been peddling these same reckless falsehoods, half-truths, and innuendos for well over a year in his attempt to maliciously smear Congresswoman Bachmann’s name,” finance chairman James Pollack said in a statement released by the campaign. “Doing this to someone of her immense character is despicable. Whether his motivation is an attempt to selfishly get 15 minutes of fame or reap an economic benefit on this e-book, it is unconscionable.”

jesus_turn_the_other_cheekDespite the Bachmann campaign’s blistering attack, Waldron apparently is a turn the other cheek kind of guy.  He told Wry Wing Politics in an email this morning that he prays every day for Bachmann and her husband Marcus.

“Of course, I pray for Michele and Marcus daily.  They are my brother and sister in Christ, their health, family, and future are the areas about which I pray.  God is abounding towards them at all times to love, care, and provide for them.”

On Pollock, Waldron says:

“With regard to Mr. Pollack’s effort to discredit me or our book is to simply say that I forgive him. There is one, Jesus Christ, who has forgiven me of my sins. I must forgive Jim Pollack with the same love that our Lord showed me.”

As for the the Bachmann team’s accusations that Waldron was motivated by financial gain, Waldron pointed out to Wry Wing Politics that a portion of the proceeds from the book will be donated to a church.

“I am a lifelong tither.  The work of the local church is critical to the Lord’s work in the community and nation.”

The Merriam Webster Dictionary says the definition of the verb tithe is “to pay or give a tenth part of especially for the support of the church.” That leaves 90% of the proceeds for other uses.  Still, at a relatively modest list price of $2.99 on Kindle, it’s unlikely that Waldron will achieve Stephen King-like financial status anytime soon.

Despite the firestorm Waldron encountered during his last foray into politics, the minister told Wry Wing Politics that he remains interested in working on more presidential and congressional campaigns:

“Yes, I will work for another presidential candidate, the Bachmann for President campaign was an anomaly in the context of my previous experience on campaigns for the House, Senate, and OPUS.”

Bachmannistan is available to Kindle users on

The Morning After

After yesterday’s enactment of Minnesota’s gay marriage law, I was pleased to wake up this morning to see that:

1)   The sun rose, Armageddon had not arrived.   Fire, brimstone and locusts appeared to be in short supply;

2)   I was still married, despite the unsuccessful defense of my marriage;

3)   Thousands of Minnesotans had not converted to gayism, as per the alleged “Gay Agenda.”

Continue reading

Bachmann Accuser: Congresswoman “Hijacked by Mercenaries”

The following was submitted to Wry Wing Politics via an April 6, 2013 email written by Peter E. Waldron, the former National Faith Outreach Director for the 2012 Michele Bachmann for President campaign organization.  Dr. Waldron’s post-election allegations that Bachmann violated election finance laws are currently being investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) in Washington, DC.  He also says that Bachmann has asked him to sign a confidentiality agreement that he says would bar him from discussing the Bachmann campaign’s “unethical, illegal, or immoral activity.”

Dr. Waldron, who has an interesting personal history, was responding to a January 16, 2013 Wry Wing Politics post. Continue reading

Norm Coleman To Return To His DFL Roots?

Former St. Paul Mayor and U.S. Senator Norm Coleman is nothing if not flexible.

  • When  leftist radicals were de rigueur in the 1960s, Norm 1.0 was a leftist radical.
  • When Skip Humphrey and Bill Clinton were on top of the political world, Norm 2.0 clung to them and the rest of the Democratic establishment.
  • When the easier path to higher office appeared to be through the GOP, Coleman retrofitted into GOP Norm 3.0.
  • When the Tea Partiers became power brokers, Norm 3.0 dutifully donned a tri-corner hat, formed a Super PAC to fund Tea Party-backed candidates, and endorsed Tea Party darling Michele Bachmann for, I kid you not, Vice President.

Then in 2012,  the going got tough for Senator Coleman and Tea Partiers, so the tough got a poll. In a St. Paul Pioneer Press commentary this week, Coleman advises Minnesotans  that he is in possession of scientific evidence indicating that “Minnesotans are not anti-government.” Continue reading

Franken Opponent Wish List

Minnesota Senator Al Franken doesn’t have a high profile challenger yet in the 2014 U.S. Senate race.  People don’t seem to be flocking to run against Franken at a time when a January 2013 Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey is finding that Senator Franken is leading former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman by 6 points, Congressman John Kline by 8 points, Congressman Erik Paulsen by 11 points and Congresswoman Michele Bachman by 14 points.

Despite these findings, 45% of Minnesota Republicans want to nominate Bachmann to oppose Franken. I would be in Blogger Heaven if a Franken-Bachmann race came to be, but I find it difficult to imagine that I, or Franken, could possibly be so lucky.

Given that the conventional candidates like Coleman looks to be taking a pass at the Senate race, maybe it’s time for the Minnesota GOP brain trust to get unconventional.  These are some of the match-ups that I personally day dream about: Continue reading

Bachmann Vindicated: Industrialized Nations Continue Rush To Replicate U.S. Health Care System

Oslo, Norway — The Storting, the supreme legislature of Norway, today enacted sweeping health care reforms that will make the land of the midnight sun the latest industrialized nation to scrap its government-run health care systems in favor of an American-style private sector-based health care system.

“As I’ve often said, the United States enjoys the world’s finest health care,” said U.S. Rep. Michele Bachman (R-MN).  “And the ultimate proof of that fact is that so many other industrialized nations with government-run health care are copying America’s proven private sector approach.”

While Bachmann and other advocates of the American health care system tout the efficiency of the United States’ private sector health insurance companies and health care providers, a 2012 analysis by the non-profit Commonwealth Fund notes that the the United States spends more on health care than 12 other industrialized countries, nearly $8,000 per person.  For instance, the analysis finds that the U.S. spends 12 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care, while Japan spends just 9 percent. Continue reading

The Battle of the Bachmanniacs: Mercenaries versus Missionaries

The Star Tribune’s Kevin Diaz is covering an interesting story about an ugly battle happening inside Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s 2012 presidential campaign circles.  The coverage details allegations made by an evangelical leader named Peter Waldron who worked as a national field coordinator for the Bachmann-for-President staff.

Mr. Waldron is accusing Bachmann of several things, including complex and serious violations of Federal Election Commission (FEC) spending laws.  But at the visceral core of Waldron’s allegations, he is also blowing the whistle on the fact that Bachmann refused to pay Waldron and his campaign allies, at the same time she was paying a lot of money to a political consultant, Guy Short, and an Iowa Republican party official, Kent Sorenson.  This as much about the IOU as the FEC. Continue reading

Can Norm Coleman Recover From His Recent Tea Party Cheerleading Role?

So, Norm Coleman won’t rule out a run for Minnesota Governor.  Well, let’s see, what has Norm been doing to ingratiate himself with Minnesota voters since he lost to Al Franken in 2008?  He:

1)   Moved out of Minnesota at the first opportunity.

2)   Became a Super PAC (Congressional Leadership Fund) political hit man doing the dirty work for a group of Tea Party-controlled House members sporting a 9% approval rating, an all-time historic low.

Continue reading

Packers-Vikings Border Battle: Wanna Bet?

In case you haven’t heard, there is a Vikings-Packers game happening this Sunday that has playoff implications.  A couple people seem to be interested in it.  It’s reportedly an even bigger deal than the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

So, of course, now is the time when rival state politicians customarily make a sporting bet over who will win, to prove to the commoners that they are just regular Joes obsessing about football like everyone else.

Usually the bet is pretty predictable.  If Minnesota wins, Green Bay pays in cheese.  If Green Bay wins, Minnesota pays in pork, or whatever industry the politician wants to court.  Hilarity ensues.  We all can’t get enough of it.  It’s one of the most hackneyed and enduring rituals in American politics.

But how about we spice things up with some more culturally appropriate gifts? Continue reading

Dayton’s Backbone To Get Even Stronger

Then presidential candidate Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN) famously flapped her titanium jaw bone about having a “titanium spine” that would never bend under pressure from those she labels “anti-America.”

Well, Governor Mark Dayton proved he had a strong spine when he stood up to Republicans pushing draconian spending cuts on the most vulnerable Minnesotans in their all-cuts budget.

He proved he had a bipartisan backbone when he built a bipartisan coalition to get the Vikings stadium deal done where other Governors had failed for a decade. Continue reading

Michele Bachmann and the Anatomy of a Laugh

“The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses.

They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, the laughed at the Wright Brothers.

But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”

– Carl Sagan