Here’s his website. I’m not going to try to pass off Schneider as very progressive. (And the election won’t be easy; it’s an R+7 district per the analysis I use.) But he would be a gargantuan upgrade, because he’s going after “The Draz,” Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa), one of the premier head cases in contemporary Minnesota politics.
I saw a post about a Virginia Republican legislator, Bob Marshall, that ThinkProgress claimed was “easily one of the worst lawmakers in America.” It got me thinking about who would be Minnesota’s worst legislator. My immediate reaction was to nominate Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa).
- Drazkowski moronically claims gay marriage ban helps economy
- Drazkowski proposed super majority for future tax increase
- Ban video or photos of animal facilities
- Drazkowski: Lay off the nurses and health aides, we can use baby monitors
- Steve Drazkowksi proposes logging in our state parks to raise revenue
- Knuth gamely tries to explain global warming to Drazkowski
- Drazkowski proposes eliminating pay equity for women
- Drazkowski wants to drug test welfare recipients
- Because creating jobs is such a high priority, Republicans introduce racist immigration law
(The Big E)
(Each individual example is a link to a blog post.)
Like most righties in the Minnesota legislature – Glenn Gruenhagen is the only big exception that readily comes to mind – Drazkowski has toned down the formerly loud, proud & crazy public rhetoric, during the past couple of years. But I see no reason to think that his actual ideology has changed one bit. Could even be more extreme, due to the “backfire effect” and/or other factors. Which goes for many MN GOP electeds, as well.
Minneapolis-based Medtronic announced a while ago that it was acquiring an Irish firm and would move its headquarters there. At the time, high-profile Minnesota politicians hemmed and hawed, what with Big Device being a particularly pampered industry in these parts, despite its very mixed record of product development and reliability. Now, though, there is increased criticism of U.S. companies trying to dodge their obligations to the society that makes everything possible for them. And, guess what:
While U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp have resisted calls for a crackdown on companies adopting overseas addresses to pay lower taxes, both have made money off one of the deals. They also have investments at risk of losing value because of government action.
The two lawmakers reported the sale of stock in Covidien Plc within nine days of Medtronic Inc. saying it was planning a takeover, an announcement that sent Dublin-based Covidien’s shares near a 52-week high. The deal, one of several that have sparked a national debate over U.S. corporate tax policy, would put the combined company’s headquarters in Ireland and reduce its tax rate.
Announced this afternoon:
Home care workers announced today that workers voted resoundingly to form their union and join the SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. Workers gathered with home care clients and supporters at the Minnesota State Fair Labor Pavilion to announce that the Bureau of Mediation Services tallied the votes earlier in the day and certified the victory, with 60% Yes votes to 40% No votes. The election, the largest of its kind in state history, was triggered when workers turned in thousands of cards on July 8th requesting to form their union. Ballots went out on Friday, August 1st, and the historic election ran for 25 days, ending yesterday, Monday, August 25th.
At the press conference announcing the results, home care workers shared their joy over the results, coming after many years of effort. They discussed their commitment to continue fighting, through their newly-formed union, to finally make real improvements to the home care programs on which so many people with disabilities and elderly Minnesotans depend.
“This union has the power to change the lives of thousands of Minnesota families for the better,” said Yankuba Fadera, a home care worker from Maplewood. “Home care work is real and important work. Both workers and the people we serve deserve better, and winning our union and having a collective voice is a huge step toward getting a contract that makes these improvements a reality. Today, after exercising our democratic right to vote for our union, we are showing how true the statement ‘When We Fight, We Win’ can be for workers in Minnesota.”
(SEIU Health Care Minnesota)
DFLer Joe Walsh came close to winning the red-but-bluing-fast district, in 2012. (Gail Kulick did win it in 2008, when essentially the same district was 16A.) Here’s Rittenour’s website. And his Facebook. Strong progressive.
As for his opponent, I actually don’t have much to say about “my” state representative for a long time now, Rep. Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton), because, what’s the point? Politically, her head is entirely locked into Reaganism. There is, for example, no use in pointing out to her that tax cuts for the rich have absolutely not been shown to benefit everybody, and that the opposite has in fact been conclusively proved to be the case. Almighty Reagan said that they do, and that is that. Dandelion fluff wafting onto a giant hunk of granite has about as much impact as reality does on her ossified neural network. We’re talking about a textbook case study in socio-political cognitive rigidity, and one that is unfortunately still very common, including among voters in districts like 15A. But we can win this anyway.
August marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, and certainly that deserves to be amply remarked upon (if all you know of the war is which Roman numeral it gets, here’s a quick primer). However, it reminds me of a 200th anniversary coming up for the decisive part of a war that’s been remarkably ignored. The title of this post is something of a play on words, specifically the title of the seminal book on the start of World War I, Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August. August was also the start of the decisive battles of the oft-forgotten War of 1812. I feel particularly odd at having stayed wrapped up in current events because I’m a War of 1812 reenactor, or at least was. It’s been long enough that I probably lost my present tense status. But it has bugged me for two years that the war’s bicentennial came and went with little notice outside commemorations at the places where events happened.
So I’m fixing that now. This is the anniversary of a war where the US government was run by people who were delusional about our prospects, and thereby got everything wrong. Campaigns went badly, the economy suffered, and the armed forces turned out to be unready for a badly underestimated enemy. No, I didn’t veer of into talking about Bush’s war in Iraq, though learning some history might have salutary lesson for those who led us into our recent debacle. They forgot, however, assuming they knew, which I don’t actually assume.
Maybe the War of 1812 is forgotten because of the bland name, merely the year the war started, and people at the time didn’t know what to call it. That was true of Canadians and British too. Maybe it’s forgotten because it ended in a draw, which perhaps is boring and gives the impression nothing happened or nothing changed — yet this is a very different country than it might have been. Imagine the Mississippi River is our western border. Imagine the Great Lakes are all British. Imagine the country is split in two with the split sustained by foreign force. Imagine the US, far from being the confident nation we take for granted, looked at the outside world with a strong desire to keep its head down and not be noticed, because the idea we could take on a European great power had been beaten out of us. We came close to all of that being reality. Here in August, we mark the 200th anniversary of the events that settled which future we would have.
Warning: this post gets long following the “read more” link, at least long considering it’s a blog. Get comfy.
Jim Hagedorn won the MN-01 GOP primary, over endorsed candidate Aaron Miller, to run against Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN).
Hagedorn, the son of retired congressman Tom Hagedorn, was a surprise victor in last Tuesday’s GOP primary. But he brings some serious baggage to his race against Walz, a four-term incumbent. In posts from his old blog, Mr. Conservative, unearthed by the now-defunct Minnesota Independent, Hagedorn made light of American Indians, President Obama’s Kenyan ancestry, and female Supreme Court justices, among others, in ways many voters won’t appreciate…
Not all female politicians were viewed as favorably. In a 2002 post, Hagedorn referred to Washington Democratic Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray as “undeserving bimbos in tennis shoes.” Former Bush White House counsel Harriet Miers, he wrote in 2005, had been nominated “to fill the bra of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.”
Writing about now-Sen. John Thune’s race against Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson, Hagedorn turned his razor-sharp wit on America’s most coddled demographic—Native Americans. “The race has been highlighted by a Democrat drive to register voters in several of several of South Dakota’s expansive redistribution of wealth centers…err…casino parlors…err…Indian reservations. Remarkably, many of the voters registered for absentee ballots were found to be chiefs and squaws who had returned to the spirit world many moons ago.” Alleging that fake votes from Indians would provide the margin of victory, he echoed “John Wayne’s wisdom of the only good Indian being a dead Indian.
(Correction: This story originally credited the Minnesota Independent with first reporting on the Mr. Conservative postings. The Independent was the first outlet to report that the blog posts had been deleted.)
Among Minnesota’s lefty blogs, Bluestem Prairie has been writing about this starting years ago. I’m noting it at this time because it’s being highlighted in a national publication. For this election, the Hagedorn candidacy now has legs everywhere as yet another example of the crazy right wing out of control. Which is hardly what the flaccid and flailing Minnesota Republican Party, in particular, needs. Good deal.