Category Archives: Middle America

On Wisconsin!

Wisconsin road sign

Less than two years ago, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was embroiled in a hard fought recall election just to keep his job. Beset by powerful unions and outside progressive advocacy groups, it looked like the bold Gov might have his proverbial GOOSE cooked.

But he won that contest, and has continued applying reasonable free market wizardry to the ills that face his state. For his good work, just days ago he was able to announce a nearly 1 billion dollar budget surplus.

Brink & myself celebrate the governor’s deeds, the glories of vodoo economics, and talk whether or nay it would be possible for Governor Walker and the noble Congressman Paul Ryan to BOTH make a run in 2016. Mirth ensues below…

Senator Thune – Obama Has Cost Every American $12,000

A pretty sweet way of summing up the decidedly non-sweet reality of the Obama economy. In the weekly GOP address, Senator John Thune really pounds the President on his affection for unions, his lack of action on common sense trade deals, and his general ineffectiveness on creating jobs…

Also loving the celebration of South Dakota… a rare haven of business growth. And check out the emphatic hands! You know – much of the Republican activist community sees a President Rubio on the near horizon. I wouldn’t be too put out if Marco had to wait for eight years of a President Thune for his shot.

And while we’re dreaming – how about a Thune / Rubio GOP ticket in 2020?! After eight years of President Mitt Romney of course…

How Government Shuts Down

Imagine you have two parties in government who both want to raise the budget, one by six percent, and the other by fifteen. While there exists disagreement about how much the budget should increase, at the very least all parties agree that the budget shouldn’t decrease. One would think that it would be impossible for this to lead to a government shutdown. Even if both parties continue arguing until the end of time about how much the budget ought to be increased, because both are in agreement that the budget should not go down, it ought to be a fairly simple matter to pass continuing resolutions to maintain government spending at the same level government spent over the last biennium. Because both sides want to spend at least that much, both sides ought always to consider that preferable to spending any less than that much.


Nonetheless, the political process often makes what ought to be easy stopgap measures very difficult to obtain. Because the level of spending over the last biennium is always closer to one party’s target than the other, passage of a continuing resolution would be counterproductive for the more extreme party in budget negotiations. The moderate party has no need to compromise with the extreme party if the extreme party will continue to authorize spending at previous levels, levels which favor the moderates. The only leverage the extreme party has is the ability to shut down the government if the moderates don’t compromise.


By all means, it may be unfair that the moderates have a naturally stronger hand in budget debates, but the political process, like life in general, isn’t fair. This does not excuse the use of the nuclear option, the shutdown, as leverage to level the playing field. When people are laid off during a shutdown, the party that will not authorize a continuing resolution is at fault. If citizens go unprotected due to cuts to law enforcement, the party that will not authorize a continuing resolution is culpable. If welfare is interrupted, the party that will not authorize a continuing resolution is responsible.


“I don’t want politicians to point fingers and blame each other for whose fault the shutdown is,” one often hears. “I just want all parties to compromise.” But parties don’t need to compromise to keep the government from shutting down. Both parties already agree that no less than $X ought to be spent and could authorize it in a heartbeat. The extremists simply don’t want people to realize they’re playing a game of chicken with the budget because they have no other viable negotiating tactics. When one rejects continuing resolutions as a political ploy, one bears sole responsibility for the government shutdown. It need not happen. You don’t want it to happen. You can stop it from happening. But you won’t because you need to use it in a game of brinkmanship.


The above scenario is not fiction. The moderates trying to increase spending by six percent are the Republicans in the Minnesota legislature. The extremist, trying to increase it by fifteen, is Governor Mark Dayton.


See also:

Kristi Noem Tees off on Herseth-Sandlin in New Ad

2010 sure boasts its share of topsy-turvey November races. One of the most fun is South Dakota’s contest for the state’s lone congressional seat. The oft-described ‘hottest race in the nation’ features an incumbent Democrat in what continues to shape up as a terrifying year for both. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin has somewhat surprisingly stayed competitive in polling throughout the summer. Granted, her blue dog status and voting against ObamaCare has allowed her some wiggle room. That wiggling though, shouldn’t get her off the hook this time round. The GOP newcomer, Kristi Noem, might be somewhat to blame in that her message through the spring and early summer was fixated on tying together her opponent and Nancy Pelosi – and not specific enough in connecting the dots from Herseth-Sandlin to the real life effects of Democrat largess in the capital.

If one of her Noem’s newest ads is any indication, that shouldn’t be a problem any longer. Bam!

Minnesota Democrat Promises to Save State from… George Bush?!

Middle America Politics

The more things change the more they stay the same. It’s 2010, but to hear Democrat candidates across the fruited plain, there’s still a familiar villain in the Oval Office. This man is wreaking havoc on our economy, destroying our educational system, and sullying our reputation abroad. This man is George W. Bush!

Pay no mind to the fact that he’s been out of office for a year and a half. The horrors he unleashed upon our nation are so great that a year and half of a Democrat majority in both houses of congress & a Democrat president are simply not sufficient cleansing.  We must elect more Democrats to save this planet from Jorge Booosh!

Learn how Democrat candidate for governor of Minnesota’s great white north, Matt Entenza, will save our children from George Bush…

It’s the same track taken by the top liberal in the land, but will this blame game work at the ballot box 2 years after the election that handed Washington to the Democrats?

Scott Munsterman Deserves a Look in GOP’s Race for South Dakota Governor

Middle America Politics

With the Tea Parties galvanizing the ire of a large segment of the American electorate, GOP candidates who might sail with ease to their party’s nomination in most years are facing much more competitive contests this time around. It’s not just that candidates born from tea-party-dom are rising up and attempting to carry the banner of tea-party-ness forward into battle – although that is happening. Politicians already in the ring are seeing a golden opportunity to seize a ready made and riled up constituency. The whole situation is making for some very entertaining political theater.

South Dakota holds its primary on June 8th, and in the race for Governor and for the state’s lone US House seat some interesting story lines are developing. The race for the congressional nod features a doctor, a rancher, and the secretary of state. On the governor’s side, the candidates getting the most press are current Lieutenant Governor Dennis Daugaard and the state senate majority leader Dave Knudson. Apparently Daugaard is doing fantastically in the polling against the likely Democrat nominee, Scott Heidepriem. Knudson holds his own as well. And then, for good measure, there’s Gordon Howie from the western part of the state – a wildcard making a serious play to be the ‘Tea Party Republican’.

Additionally, it appears that Daugaard built a house with his own hands and Knudson can fix any broken piece of machinery that presents itself. So that’s something to consider.

Scott Munsterman

These guys are probably swell, but I came away quite impressed this week when I had a chance to interview the other guy in the race, Scott Munstermann. The former mayor of Brookings, South Dakota – Munstermann came off as articulate and intelligent. He’s got a unique background as a health care professional before (and during) his public service career, which lends itself well to some new ideas he has on the topical health care debate. He’s got strong fiscally conservative credentials.

All that is great, but what really stayed with me was how open and honest he was about his Christian faith. He spoke unprompted and at length about how central a role it has played in shaping who he is, and how it informs his worldview. He didn’t back away from the issue of abortion either, explaining that from his earliest medical studies he has understood that life begins at conception.

Scott Munsterman is a candidate that deserves your time, and – if you’re a proud South Dakotan – your consideration as you decide where to cast your ballot for governor. You can find out all you could hope to know about the man on his website. The guy even wrote a book about what he’d do as governor and has an audio version right there on the interwebs. New Media savvy stuff.

Montana, Dakotas Bear Blame for Obamacare

byron-dorganSenator Byron Dorgan”s announcement this week that he would not run for reelection in North Dakota has focused a bit of media sun on the otherwise frosty region. The somewhat jaw dropping news, along with talk that windbag / human being / somewhat North Dakotan Ed Schultz ought to run for the seat, brings once more to mind the question – how on God”s green earth did conservative North Dakota send liberal Byron Dorgan to Washington in every election since 1980 (he served in the US House afore his senate career began)? Many believe the answer simply lies in the influence Dorgan kept acquiring in the capital, enhancing his ability to deliver pork back home. Other theorems stretch from his more  conservative positions on some issues than coastal leftist beacons like Kerry and Feinstein to just being a nice and relatable hoser.

In any of our country”s best times, hardscrabble folks in the Great Plains ought to know better than to send a liberal to represent them in high office, but these times are not our best and the cost of Dorgan might end up being higher than North Dakotans could have imagined. With once in a generation Obamacare legislation being further shaped by Dems behind closed doors (in what Nancy Pelosi calls the most open process in history… what kind of medication is this woman on?!), Dorgan”s 1 affirmative vote suddenly becomes the 60th vote without which a Republican filibuster could succeed and the bill halted.

The reports of just what the Democrat health care bill would unleash upon average dudes and their dudette counterparts finally brought Dorgan”s poll numbers in a hypothetical 2010 match up with current North Dakota Governor (and likely candidate) John Hoeven crashing back to the wheat-bearing earth. the Dorg-mesiter losing that probable contest by 22 points.

Max BaucusThe awakening of the Dakotans and the departure of the Dorgan are lovely things. Unfortunately, the 2010 elections are still 10 months away and that”s an awfully long time for Democrats to pass a health care overhaul that could sincerely screw up one of the largest sectors of the economy, particularly for the small business owners and employees that so populate the Great Plains.

I noted that Dorgan”s “aye” vote in the senate was effectively the 60th vote the Democrats so badly needed to avoid a Republican filibuster to block the bill. Here”s the sad part. If one takes a gander at the US Congress-folk from the 2 Dakotas and Montana – what one finds is 5 Democrat senators and 2 US Representatives, with exactly 1 Republican US senator and 1 GOP US Rep. An unfortunate and unwarranted 7 votes for a liberal health care overhaul from 3 of the most conservative states in the union.

Many of the Conservative talkers have said the American people deserve better than this bill would give us. While that sure sounds right, I think those of us in Middle America might be getting exactly what we deserve for who we elected. And yet, let us not despair! Let your congresspersons know just how you feel about this bill before the world collapses into a dark, dank pit of doom!!! Well… maybe not quite that… but you can find their contact info easily here.