Monday, March 17, 2008

With Gov. Pawlenty, MN Could Go GOP in Nov?

Chris Cillizza, author of the Washington Post's Blog "The Fix" has begun a series on states that may flip this November in the presidential race from the way they voted in 2004.

Of the current top ten, as Cillizza sees it, only two fall into the category of states that may go Republican even though they went Democrat in 2004. Minnesota is one of them, should Senator McCain have the foresight and wisdom to choose Governor Pawlenty as his running mate this fall.

The Fix’s Chris Cillizza announced on Friday that he’s going to begin dedicating his Friday Line to rating which states are most likely to flip from red to blue (or vice versa) in the presidential election. In last week’s Line, Cillizza offered his base-Line and predicted that eight of the 10 states most likely to flip were carried by George W. Bush.

9. Minnesota (Kerry 51%) – “If [Republican Gov. Tim] Pawlenty is picked [as McCain’s running mate], Minnesota is in play and could certainly move up the Line.” It’s no surprise the Republicans picked the Twin Cities for their Convention. (excerpted from Cillizza post. Click here to head post in its entirety)

John McCain has a lot of factors to consider when selecting his Vice Presidential running mate. He needs to consider geography (electoral college), loyalty, ideology and demographics. Cillizza is absolutely correct that choosing Pawlenty will help deliver Minnesota (he forgets in this post Iowa and Wisconsin).

We will continue to follow Cillizza and other analysts we Senator McCain moves through his decision making process.

Another Judicial Home Run

As we've discussed before, Governor Pawlenty has worked diligently to right the ship of state here in Minnesota, seeking to fundamentally shift the public policy paradigm on issue after issue after issue.

He has moved, albeit slowly by necessity, some of the institutional red-tape within the bureaucracy. And despite the make up of the legislature, has tried to demand any legislation that crosses his desk have measurable benchmarks and legislative sunsets.

But nowhere will Governor Pawlenty have left a more positive mark on the state than in the way he has reshaped the judiciary.

Today, Governor Pawlenty appointed Eric Magnuson to be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (replacing a very fine and honorable Chief Justice Russell Anderson who will be retiring in June).

Magnuson is a well respected attorney, always a student of the law and will be a Supreme Court Justice who respects the rule of law and the intent of the constitution. I have the highest level of confidence that we will not see Justice Magnuson attempting to legislate from the bench.

In appointing Magnuson, Governor Pawlenty said, "Eric is nationally recognized for his appellate advocacy and writing, and is consistently ranked among the top appellate attorneys by his peers. He has argued hundreds of cases to the state and federal appellate courts covering a wide range of issues over the course of his 30-year career. Eric has also taken on leadership positions in his law firms and in legal professional associations, which will serve him well as he assumes the leadership of state’s judicial system. He will be an outstanding Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court."

On the seven member Minnesota Supreme Court, a majority of four are Governor Pawlenty appointees. And of the four Governor Pawlenty appointees, 100% are rock-solid, with a tremendous amount of respect for their role as judges (as opposed to some sort of super-legislator in a black robe).

These appointments will have a lasting and real effect on the state of Minnesota for decades to come, and we all owe Governor Pawlenty a debt of gratitude for his backbone and tenacity on judicial appointments.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Love to See These News Reports

The sun was shining today and it is looking more and more like Spring.

Today, the AP is reporting that Governor Pawlenty will announce tomorrow his choice to fill the outgoing Chief Justice Russel Anderson's spot on the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Governor Pawlenty has been the most successful Governor in the history of Minnesota appointing rock-solid jurists with a penchant for actually respecting the rule of law and a strict construction of the state's constitution. This next appointment will mean that 4 of the 7 members of the current Supreme Court will have been chosen by Pawlenty.

Please check back to Party of Pawlenty with a full analysis of his announcement tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Governor Pawlenty and the Supreme Court

One of the unsung items of serious heroics during the Pawlenty tenure has been his tremendous success in appointing Judges and Justices with true respect for the Constitution and the Rule of Law.

In June, Chief Justice Russell Anderson will step down from the court giving Governor Pawlenty a majority of members on the court appointed by him during his time as Governor.

A quick side note on Chief Justice Anderson.

I've had the honor of knowing Chief Justice Anderson since I was very young. I attended grade school, high school and even college with his daughter. Chief Justice Anderson was gracious enough to swear me in to the state bar in his chamber after I was admitted. He is a class act, a cautious jurist, and wonderful person.

Now, Governor Pawlenty will have a chance to continue to make long-term, positive, institutional change in Minnesota by appointing yet another honest Justice who will not use the black robe as a tool to be a super-legislator. Governor Pawlenty has consistently appointed well respected jurists who are committed to respecting the law, and respecting his or her role as an umpire calling balls and strikes rather than a batter stepping up to the plate.

The departure means Pawlenty will have named a majority of justices over his five years in office.

Pawlenty previously named G. Barry Anderson, Lorie Gildea and Christopher Dietzen to the Supreme Court.

Dietzen was selected in November for the most recent high court vacancy. Pawlenty has used a more insular selection process for the Supreme Court than he has for lower court appointments.

"We've been through several Appeals Court and Supreme Court appointments recently, so we're familiar with the talent pool," Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung said. "The governor will make his decision based on that and other information." (Excerpted from Article. Click here to read article in its entirety).

I wish Chief Justice Anderson well in his retirement. He has been the consummate public servant, an honorable Chief Justice and a wonderful guy.

Governor Pawlenty will undoubtedly choose yet another strong voice for judicial respect and restraint.

I know this to be true because he has been in office since 2003 and has never missed on this issue. Not once.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fiscal Restraint and Economic Stimulus

Is it such a novel idea that Minnesota's $1 billion projected budget deficit should be solved by spending less and stimulating our economy by confiscating fewer of Minnesota family's hard earned dollars in taxes?

Just a week after Democrats in the State Legislature voted to impose on the people of Minnesota the largest tax increase in Minnesota history, we now find ourselves with a $1 billion deficit. (oh, and not to stray too far away, after this massive Democrat gas tax increase gas prices are up 9 cents per gallon from just two weeks ago).

There will be calls (mark my words) to increase taxes further while we increase more and more taxes on the people of Minnesota in order to solve this budget shortfall.

This, obviously, would be a huge mistake. Why would the state of Minnesota stick it further to the taxpayers, and think that revenues will increase to cover ever increasing spending?

Governor Pawlenty has a different approach.

Governor Pawlenty is asking the state legislature to start thinking about Minnesota families. He is asking the Government to exercise spending restraint, and asking the legislature to pass legislation taking fewer dollars on purchases from Minnesota families through an actual, real cut in the state's sales tax.

Staring down a nearly $1 billion projected deficit, Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Friday that the state must scale back health care and higher ed spending, dip into reserves and, in a surprise move, cut the state sales tax.

Pawlenty rebuked the DFL-controlled Legislature for overriding his veto of gasoline and metro sales tax increases, and said lowering the state sales tax by one-eighth of 1 percent would partly neutralize those increases.

The cut, he said, could also serve as "a modest stimulus" to the economy.

"The Minnesota economy is under great strain," Pawlenty said, noting that the housing collapse, credit crisis, skyrocketing oil prices, a grinding war and global economic changes have all taken their toll and may do so for years.

"It's important to recognize that the country and Minnesota face great challenges," he said.

Pawlenty's recommendations for the rest of the current two-year budget period would reduce the growth in state spending by $341 million. (Excerpted from article. Click here to read the entire article).

It is too easy for the Government, when faced with a shortfall in the Government's budget, to simply take more and more from families while it keeps spending and spending.

After all, it isn't their money. It doesn't come out of their pocket. Until we get to a 100% tax burden, there is a huge pot of money just sitting there for these legislators to fill Government spending gaps.


In the real world, it doesn't work that way, and there are unintended consequences to burdensome taxation and wasteful Government spending.

Like deficits. (yeah, the type like we are facing now).

Until Governor Pawlenty has a more family friendly legislature, he is going to take his case for fiscal restraint and economic stimulus right to the citizens of Minnesota.

In fact, his campaign committee is advertising right now to make sure the people know what is happening to their family budget every day in St. Paul.

Click here to listen to Governor Pawlenty making the case to Minnesota citizens.