The Questions:comment on Fraser-Sutton summary 070309
1. _9.1 average _____On a scale of (0)
most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, what is
your view on whether Minnesota voters are entitled to a better
dialogue among political leaders about level of taxes versus level of
2. Any suggestions you might have for improving such dialogue? __see
3. _7.6 average _____On a scale of (0)
most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, what is
your view on whether political parties should modify precinct caucuses
to attract more grass roots participants, in addition to party
4. Any suggestions you might have for changing precinct caucuses?
_see responses below
5. _64.1 % yes; 35.9 % no; Have you
attended a precinct caucus in the last five years?
Jan Hively (10) (3) (yes)
Question 1: When you say "versus," I assume that you are not saying
that the discussion should be about one or the other, but about the
relationship between the two -- the big picture.
Question 2: I think that it would be interesting to put together: a) a
panel of "retired" journalists who would develop a few questions for
all of the candidates and ask for written responses. Maybe using the
caucus approach with answers on a scale of 1 to 10 plus comments.
Question 4: To be honest, I think that it's the Republicans who are
having trouble with
their precinct caucuses. The last couple of precinct caucuses for
Democrats that I attended were valuable and productive. Many new
people were welcomed into the process and involved as delegates in
legislative and city conventions. I do think, however, that the party
could modify the process of narrowing down to the state conference
Are you saying that there aren't enough good candidates coming through
for Governor, for example? It's tough to choose among some excellent
candidates within the list of Democrats interested in the job. I think
that Steve Kelley, Matt Entenza, Margaret Kelliher, or Paul Thissen,
or ??? would be able governors. What's wrong with people being good
politicians as well as smart, caring human beings? How else do people
interact wtih the needs and strengths of all of our citizens? The
issue comes when the costs of campaigning require investment from
venal power brokers.
Shari Prest (10) (5) (no)
Question 2: Demand it and stop pretending to believe we can do more
with less. It is a complex choice and/or a balancing act.
Question 4: Better organization when there is a big turnout.
Question 5: We used to for many years but they became too polarized
within the parties.
Fred Zimmerman (10) (8) (yes)
Question 2: Present and analyze more facts rather than merely
articulating political ideology. We need to make changes. We do not to
adhere rigidly to all of our previously held positions. In order to
make the improvements essential to retaining the prosperity of the
State, we are going to have to change our individual behavior -- all
of us. It is neither fair nor insightful to presume that all changes
will have to be made by others, while we endeavor to avoid all
personal adjustments. Retirement programs provide an example. None of
us deserves to retire until we are at least 70 years of age. Education
is another. If education is important, why are not those of us who are
a part of it required to work a full year?
Question 3: We not only need a few more people at the caucuses, we
need more information -- particularly even-handed information.
Caucuses should be more like seminars and less like pep fests.
Question 4: Serve beer to encourage truthful candor.
Charles Lutz (10) (8) (yes)
Chuck Slocum (10) (10) (yes)
Question 1: There is great interest in getting beyond the current
partisanship. Perhaps 2/3rd of the voters consider themselves outside
the current partisan political milieu.
Question 2: Reaching and engaging young people and the more idealistic
below age 40 voters who care deeply about their communities. The tone
in which we talk about politics and the explanation of ideas are very
important. See answer to 4. below.
Question 3: Parties have lost favor. The multiple endorsement idea is
worthwhile and could forestall a movement to open primaries to select
Question 4: Sometimes looking backward can be helpful. As GOP state
chair in the post-Watergate era, we decided to go after the elusive
political “independents,” many of whom were voting locally for
Republican candidates. Fewer than one-in-ten of the voters, however,
would call themselves “Republican.” We had only 31 of 134 House
members in the GOP caucus in 1975. We developed a serious outreach
plan. We invited party search committees to include “Non-Republicans”
and we actively courted political independents like Jim Miles, Al
Weiser and Charlie Stenvig. We organized labor, women, youth and
Hispanic arms within the party. Working with local legislators, we
changed the party name officially to “Independent-Republicans of
Minnesota State Central Committee” and won big in 1978, achieving
legislative majorities in short order over the next three decades. We
lost to Governor Perpich, a maverick DFL’er, in 1982 and 1986, and
then continued to hold the governorship in 1990 and 1994 with Arne
Carlson. The party changed its name back to Republican in the late
1990’s; Governor Pawlenty won in 2002 & 2006.
Donald H. Anderson (10) (8) (no)
Question 2: Drop the ideology of no new taxes which has killed any new
ideas of working together by all Minnesotans.
Lyall Schwarzkopf (9) (9) (yes)
Question 2: Sutton's point is well taken. If any group tries to bring
about good dialogue, they must be seen as non-partisan. Any group that
either party thinks is partisan, will not work.
Question 4: Have the voters register by party and let the party people
vote in their election to elect precinct officers and delegates and
John Cairns (10) (5) (yes)
Question 2: Convene off the record discussions with 6-10 pairs of
senators/reps.. invite Paul Thissen to come for a 2 hour lunch on
health care.. and have him invite the best House Rep on Health Care
Policy.. Greiling and Buesgens on Education, etc.
Question 4: Later in the Spring.. think about electronic participation
via email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Ray Schmitz (10) (10) (yes)
Question 1: This dialogue has degenerated to a ' more taxes/we are not
serving the least of our citizens' polar opposites harangue. It does
not have to be so, if in fact we need to
spend more on, for example, health care for low income children then
what can we cut from those who can afford to spend their own money to
replace the government activity. If we stop mowing the grass in parks
and roadsides so often how much would that free up for another use,
for example. But we don't hear those discussions.
Question 2: Today the legislature spends most of the session setting
up the confrontation with the governor that will occur at the end of
session, and the governor does similar things. Why not work together
during the session instead of waiting for the end. Do the legislative
hearings really attempt to work out the necessary cuts, if that is the
state of the income stream, or defend the status quo, does the
governor really use his staff, and they are the agency staff who have
the knowledge of what is happening to make delivery most efficient?
Question 4: Better training for conveners, less crowding by better
Bert Press (10) (10) (no)
Question 2: Carefully worded questions should be presented to each
candidate and their answers made public with comments about evasive or
Dave Durenberger (5) (10) (no)
Question 2: I don't believe it's the right question as the
Fraser/Sutton debate illustrated. Tony's reaction is closer to the way
a majority is likely to respond any time
Question 3: I'm with Frenzel on this one.
Question 4: Anyone with 25% of delegate votes gets on the ballot as
GOP/DFL if they can afford to. Parties don't like this because is
dilutes the value of their money. Because so much money comes from
national interests, their argument dilutes the value of MN voters.
Wayne Jennings 10) (10) (yes)
Question 2: Start with asking for positions and ideas in writing with
tightly drawn questions. Then televised discussions via non partisan
Question 4: We need rules to limit the shrill aggressive types. Size
of the groups must be limited to afford everyone voice—maybe sub
precincts. Separate out some of the tediousness such as elections for
officers to give more time to issues. Limit time and exposure of known
cranks and one-issue people.
Question 5: I used to attend every year but the process became so
impersonal and tedious that I gave up until last year but the crowds
and organization were overwhelming.
David Dillon (10) (10) (yes)
Question 2: An ongoing on line debate.
Question 4: Greater on Line participation is the key.
Fred Senn (10) (10) (no)
Question 4: I favor IRV.
Bob White (9) (9) (no)
Question 2: Encourage forums that give political leaders time to
explain their views, with a nonpartisan moderator able to follow up
with probing questions and, time permitting, allow some audience
participation. The model, of course, is the kind of discussion Larry
Jacobs oversees at the Humphrey Institute. Similar conversations could
take place outside the metro. This would be a worthy project for an
organization like the Business Partnership or, perhaps MNSCU.
Question 4: I'm all for caucus grass-rootsism, but I haven't the
faintest idea how the parties could encourage it.
Kathleen Anderson (10) (10) (yes)
Question 2: I guess we need good, thoughtful candidates who know the
issues, ideally from both or all parties.
Question 4: The atmosphere should be more inviting for new people. I
like to encourage new attendees to run for delegate positions. But
more often than not, entrenched party people win those slots. The
old-time delegate sees winning the slot as power which, of course, it
is and there's not much willingness to share which is short-term
thinking for the parties.
Robert A. Freeman (9) (5)(no)
Question 2: Do it somewhere other than the pressure cooker environment
of legislative sessions.
Question 4: No. Whichever party figures it out first and produces
better candidates as a result, the other is guaranteed to follow
Malcolm McLean (9) (5) (yes)
I learned some things from this CC report. Thanks.
Question 1: Very important. We should decide what we want from
government and then figure out what it will cost and tax accordingly.
The "no new taxes" is a mantra that has been far overdone. I am
idealistic to think that people want good, effective, responsible
government and are willing to pay for it.
Question 2: More publicity - More efforts by groups like the CC,
Citizens League. Various means of sparking discussion.
Question 3: Not sure of this. I know the argument of radical elements
dominating caucuses but Fraser's point that you shouldn't take away
that passion is also important.
Question 4: Not right at hand.
Question 5: Several
Carolyn Ring (9) (5) (no)
Question 2: A true debate. Each candidate gives his speech and
rebuttal. A debate on one subject only, not a series of questions.
Question 4: I wish I had the answer. The biggest problem is education
of the electorate as they do not know what a caucus is. The citizens
need #101, Basic Politics, and I don't know how that can happen.
Question 5: My husband and I attended every precinct caucus from
1956-1986. Since then we have been out of MN during caucuses.
Kent Eklund (10) (10) (never)
Question 2: Structure the conversation about the public financial
model into debates -- simplify for the average citizen. The average
citizen is lost in the layers of taxation among state, county and
Question 4: I am not a fan of them at all
Norman Carpenter (8) (8) (no)
Here we go again. Don Fraser, whose position on early childhood
education is right on, says the Republican position on global warming
is "unreasonable." The globe may be warming, as it has been since
Minnesota was a glacier. I don't think that human activity is the
basic cause, distinguishing correlation from causation. Even if it
was, I don't think we can reasonably change mankind to reverse the
warming trend. Let's just adapt...and get rid of this political "sky
is falling" alarm which many people are using as a campaign plank.
(Vote for me and I'll preserve the coasts.) This view is not
Question 2: More facts, less hyperbole and stridency.
Question 4: Serve dessert.
Glenn Dorfman (5) (5) (yes)
Question 2: Have the Civic Caucus/ Citizen’s League and others lay out
the state budget with some detail in both graphic and raw data format,
including current and future demographics, long term government
liabilities (pensions and health care) and stimulate public debate
around the issues and questions raised by participants. My suspicion
is that this approach would help some interest groups (education)
better understand how an aging population has and will continue to
erode their funding in favor of “human services.”
Question 3: Political parties, like most incumbent organizations will
not change from within. The people who have established the current
system, who manage its ebbs and flows for their own gain will only
surrender that power to a greater power (an enlightened, educated
Question 5: And it was a complete waste of time.
David Pierson (8) (8) (yes)
Question 2: Unicameral government.
Question 4: Unicameral.
Joe Mansky (10) (10) (no)
Question 2: Yes – give the dogmatic approach a rest - any meaningful
discussion of public finance needs to occur without preconditions.
Question 4: It may now make more sense to conduct “virtual” caucuses,
where participants would indicate their preferences for endorsements
5. My occupation prevents me from doing so.
Bill Frenzel (10) (10)
Question 2: CC might try to arrange interviews, send questionnaires,
or even interpret delphic statements by candidates, but they have
become pretty skillful in weaving their tangled webs. They are better
evaders than we are interrogators. Probably it would be more effective
to try to educate the press as to which questions to repeat
Question 4: Nope! When the caucus system worked for me, I liked it.
Were I among those who like it now, Iwould surely, and vigorously,
resist change. I suspect that the best way to change the system now is
to beat ‘em in the primaries, but that is hard, and high cost, work.
Larry Schluter (10) (5) (yes)
Question 2: We need a discussion controlled by someone other than
those running for office. The dialogue session needd to be set up far
in advance and those running for office need to know whether they show
up or not the session will be held and it will be on TV. If one of the
persons running for office does not show up, their position on the
issue will be stated. There needs to be many follow up questions so
they cannot dance around with their answers. We have not had a good
question & answer session for the governor's race in a long time and
we have many important issues to discuss and answers from those who
want to represent us. This would be the time for Civic Caucus or some
other independent group to step up. This is going to be a very
important election and we have many serious problems and issues to
Question 4: I am not sure how you can eliminate the single issue
Scott Halstead (5) (10) (no)
Question 2: There should be a cost benefit analysis as part of all
Question 4: Prior to the precinct caucuses, each candidate should
complete a questionnaire on various subjects that are anticipated in
the upcoming term and the results are published in the media.
Sheila Kiscaden (5) (6) (yes)
Question 1: This question is not entirely clear to me...and I have a
reaction to the word "entitled"...there is no question that voters
would benefit if there were more substantive discussion of this and
many other issues during the campaign and after.
Question 3: Last year our caucuses were overwhelmed with people who
turned out to
support one of the presidential candidates. We were unprepared for the
turnout, which caused many problems, but the caucus approach itself is
not really that "user friendly" or interesting. I have never found
attending a caucus was an experience I look forward to....it is
something I do because it is important. Can't we redesign the caucus
system so there is meaningful dialog?
Question 4: Better training for caucus leaders. Start with a review of
outcomes that will be sought. Have a real agenda with timelines. Use
more small group and one on one discussions to get people involved.
Use computers for real time reports back on vote totals so people
leave knowing what has been concluded. Bring everyone together for the
political "fly-by" speeches at the end or at the beginning before
breaking into individual caucuses.
Bill Jungbauer (10) (3) (yes)
David Detert (10) (8) (yes)
Question 2: 1.Have the endorsed candidates of each party publish in
September of the election year the budget they would submit to the
legislature if elected. 2. Have the endorsed candidates announce their
major department appointments prior to the election.
Question 4: The opportunity to participate in the caucus process is
available and it is really more a matter of people being willing to
commit the time to attending and being active. The only real
alternative is an open primary but in a sense that is lazy democracy
because citizens to not have to be any more involved than going to the
George Pillsbury (10) (10) (yes)
Question 4: Have them on Sat. or Sunday.
Robert J. Brown (10) (10) (yes)
Question 1: There has to be a discussion about things such as the
priorities for government services, the potential for partnerships
between government and the private sector (profit and nonprofit) in
meeting the needs of the public, the reality of tax competition with
other states, the balance of types of taxes in meeting the financial
needs of state and local government, and the overall balance of
responsibility between federal, state, and local government in
providing the necessary government services.
Question 2: Get the media to quit talking about the “horse race”
aspect of campaigns and concentrate on policy discussions. Get more
groups (including the Civic Caucus and the Citizens League) to partner
in hosting policy discussions. Other nonprofits, higher education,
think tanks, schools, etc. should work together hosting either general
discussions or discussions focused on specific policy issues.
Question 3: It is not likely that anything constructive will happen
when the power brokers from the major parties are content with a small
turnout at caucuses so that ideologues can maintain control. It will
be necessary for a broad based citizens revolt (committed to
respecting the right of all to be represented and allowing dissent
within the group) to get large numbers at caucuses to make them better
representative of the people of Minnesota.
Question 4: There should be a change in the whole system of picking
candidates such as multiple endorsements within parties, allowing a
candidate to run on more than one party’s line or at least encouraging
minor parties to endorse major party candidates when they seem to be
the best (or better) alternative for that minor party. The current
establishment in the legislature has no inclination to change things
because this is how they got elected.
Bright Dornblaser (10) (10) (yes)
Question 2: A fact base on the effect of taxes on the no of high
wealth people leaving because of high taxes, also, business, and the
significance in terms of tax income lost.
Question 4: Eliminate them. Use IRV
Donna Anderson (_) (_) (yes)
Christine Brazelton (10) (5) (yes)
Question 1: Real dialogue? Not canned rhetoric? What a concept!
Question 2: No one is allowed to use the party "talking points". No
one leaves the room until they can honestly see the other side's point
Question 3: Sounds good, but with people's busy lives, I just don't
see how you get people to show up and invest time in the caucus
process unless you connect with what they are passionate about. Then
you end up with activists. As a former candidate, it is incredibly
difficult to get non activists to take the time to sit down and talk
about the issues.
Question 4: I wish I did.
David Broden (10) (8) (yes)
Question 1: We need to address the level of service vs. taxes and
particularly the type and source of taxes including who does the tax
management vs. who does the distribution, allocation, and spending.
Regarding which services we need to revisit the vision. If Mn does not
have a vision of who and what we are--the services are piece meal and
then the costs are too independently defined. Linking the costs to
some sort of vision and thoughtfulness could help. To revisit the
topics in the question first requires a big picture look to at least
set some priorities-I would like a citizen based group to set the
priorities and recommend these to the legislature--If the ideas for
priorities only come from internal to government or particularly the
legislature many of the ideas will be the traditional "stove pipe" and
circle the wagon themes. Citizen participation must be the driver.
Question 2: A citizen driven dialogue lead by citizen leaders across
the state must set the tone. How to start this approach is perhaps the
challenge. The work in process at the U via Humphrey Institute if
approached as an open process--or via a linkage of statewide media--or
via such organizations as Chamber of Commerce etc. could be key to
gathering the involvement of today's community leaders. There also
needs to be a way to make this work without locked in influence of
NGO's or special interests which may set agendas and themes that do
not represent openness across the board. Reaching to organizations
such as State league of cities, state league of counties--and using
their name lists to link with citizen elected officials may be
helpful. Working with business organizations such as Mn Ag Council, Mn
Bankers Assoc, Unions Mgmt (Iron Range as well and Urban) etc. Also
perhaps one or more of the Foundations within MN with interest in a
vision and future of Mn could be helpful as a focus of emphasis.
Asking the Mpls Fed--Art Rolnick etc. how they could help in
collecting and reaching organizations to assess and set a vision could
be helpful. Bottom line this cannot be a government driven solution
must be citizen driven. _ The process may require elevation to
implementing an almost statewide conference of leaders which could
approach becoming a push change the way the state is organized,
operates, etc.--ie a "citizen driven start to revised and updated
state constitution or other document --at least a rebirth of a
planning commission. Time to start is now. Who will lead???
Question 3: To begin this answer I need to start with the premise that
we have the caucus system as it is and that is what we will have in
the next election round--seeking change must be how the caucuses are
used and operation not changing the format--so the word modify must
relate to how the caucus system is applied by each party etc. We need
to treat the caucus as a process that benefits the selection process
and use it in that way rather than chopping at it at least until a new
effective process is defined debated and established. With that in
mind there are perhaps four considerations to address--
• 1. The caucus system is what we have and that cannot be modified
until later --finding a way to make it work better is in the best
interest of all. Forcing the decision into the primary is part of the
process also so if that is what evolves the system is working-- the
citizens and the candidates need to work together to get the best
dialogue and decision process that all are comfortable with--even with
• 2. Party leadership in both and perhaps all 3 parties in Mn have not
been effective in stating the importance and need for openness and
dialogue in the caucus system. This has been driven by the party
ideological views as well as leadership style. The party leaders must
change the way they work to prepare and use the caucuses. Training of
caucus leaders must be improved significantly. Statement of openness
must be expressed by the individual caucus leaders. Special interest
groups must have some form of constraint in the caucus without
limiting their expression--simple statement that a position stated is
from an organization may do the job if this does not impact freedom of
• 3. The Caucus trend in the past 20 years to shift to ideological
decisions vs. good government decisions must change--this can only be
done by the party leadership making it clear that the caucus is not a
home for ideology discussions only it must be a discussion of how and
what is involved in "good government" processes and decisions.
• 4. Party Visions --must focus first on "Good Government"--as the
planning and activity for the caucuses moves ahead. Each party
individual and together should make a statement the caucus system is
to involve citizens of all views and that good government is ahead of
ideological positions. A common message with this focus endorsed and
pushed by the parties--not only the state chairs but also the
leadership committees of each party (Republican State Central and DFL
equivalent) and supported by the candidates can help this in many
ways. To begin we need the media, business and community organizations
etc. to reach out with a message that the caucus system must work in
2010. Special interest groups need to temper their statements in a way
that enables open discussion in the caucus but do not block the
opinions of others.
• 5 There are many challenges but if it is addresses wisely and
through leadership from citizens the caucus system and the follow on
primary will provide good government decisions.
Terry Stone (10) (5) (yes)
Question 1: Fraser is wise to be troubled by the idea that we look at
taxes first, without asking what they pay for. It seems intuitive that
priorities would be set before a taxing structure would be established
to pay for state services.
It was widely assumed (and promised during the last campaign) that the
Legislature would start dealing with the budget shortfall by setting
priorities then legislating an appropriate tax policy to support those
priorities. Surely, all state expenses are not created equal, yet
during the entire 2009 legislative session, no meaningful priorities
were set; just various tax increase schemes ranging from $1 billion to
over $2 billion to support what the Governor obviously felt was an
unacceptable status quo.
The unallotment authority of the Executive Branch of Minnesota
Government is a blunt instrument with which to set priorities. It
would have been better for the Legislature to have set priorities and
funded them with the money available; and in a manner acceptable to
the people’s Governor who we sent to the capitol to provide the very
Question 4: Caucuses simply have to be separated from straw polls.
Question 5: The Civic Caucus premise that the Governorship is
especially critical today to the state’s future evoked informed
responses from both party icons.
It was polite of Sutton not to mention something he surely knows; that
another problem with Minnesota finance is that environmental policy
sucks the lifeblood out of the State Treasury--- much as it has in
Federal ownership and management of massive tracts of northern land
strangles tax base opportunities for northern counties (whose
population is shrinking) while environmental policy applied to state
land strangles mining development and logging production efficiencies
in the Arrowhead.
Minnesota now has the longest permit acquisition time of any
Midwestern state. To advance beyond political rhetoric, the new
governor must streamline the permitting process for economic
development. This will mean engaging the environmental lobby, with all
its political allotropes, and challenging the desiderata of its
national and international actors; not a task for the timid.
Minnesota has lost a number of business development opportunities due
to what is almost certainly regulatory climate issues and saturnine
permitting policy. Polymet Mining is the poster boy for environmental
hostage taking with a five-year history of being jerked around for no
valid scientific reason. Meanwhile the waiting jobs and national
security are held subordinate to the perceptions of environmental
interests; we import 37% of our copper.
Marty Seifert, interviewed by the Civic Caucus earlier this year and
now a candidate for governor, is the only candidate to have
articulated a solid grasp of this economic challenge and forwarded
concrete solutions to date.
Energy and enthusiasm for education has predictably waned with the
ablation of personal responsibility. In the historic Minnesota
paradigm, education was the dispositive, obvious and useful survival
tool. In the world of the welfare state and nanny state governance
education becomes useful but optional.
In the conversation on what was agreed to have been economic
development, neither Mr. Fraser nor Mr. Sutton discussed the exciting
new political and media adjective Green Jobs. It would be useful to
understand how injecting labor costs into the energy supply chain is
anything other than an inflationary redistribution of wealth. Trying
to do an end run around free market demand seems like busily
rearranging the deck chairs on the Ship of State while oblivious to
the budgetary iceberg annihilating the ship. Raising the unemployment
numbers in established dependable energy sectors while subsidizing
employment in untested intermittent energy sectors will surely have
unintended consequences of an undesirable quality.
The question on the relationship of the party-caucus system was
insightful. Fraser acknowledged that caucuses get ideological but that
was a source of much of the energy around the process. He then
explained that candidates, once endorsed, need to moderate once they
get to state-level campaigns.
Fraser is describing (perhaps accurately) an intrinsically dishonest
process. If we choose to tolerate the caucus system, we should, at
minimum, never loose track of this fact.
When Sutton said that, “Big ideas don’t come from the middle; they
come from the outside,” I found him insightful.
When he said, “You can’t be in the middle; few people truly are,” I
felt an attack of erosive esophagitis; with which I haven’t been
diagnosed. Either Tony received information from aliens to which the
rest of us aren’t privy, or I need more credits in Political Science.
For now, I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that. I hope such ideas
don’t arise from eating too much Mexican food; I love the stuff.
Regarding multiple party endorsements, Both Sutton and Fraser seem
cheerfully dedicated to the time-honored circular firing squad. Fraser
even opined that the idea of multiple endorsements runs against human
nature. My experience with human nature is that, faced with multiple
qualified candidates, partisans will be paralyzed by indecision like
an environmentalist in the cereal isle of the grocery store reading
the lists of ingredients. Only when compelled by party rules will they
resist the urge to send all the candidates to the ballot and begin the
unkind process cannibalizing the candidate pool until there is only
one left standing.
Representatives of both parties agree that the circular firing squad
of each party will be a positive and friendly experience. Excellent.
Now we know how they made it to the top.
In a pool of about 50 candidates there are bound to be crackpots,
completely unqualified candidates, wannabees, political has-beens and
an LRT supporter or two hiding among the fully qualified contenders.
Good luck sorting that out in a positive and courteous manner.
I was struck by the Civic Caucus apparent preference for more
gubernatorial citizen candidates over professional politicians. It is
fashionable for us private enterprise business folks to see the state
as a big business that is best run by a businessman like any other big
business. In business terms Minnesota has the same amount of employees
as the national workforce of Menard’s; about 40,000. Minnesota has
about 8 times the revenue of Menard’s national annual sales.
Yet, I’m learning that a state is not a normal business by any
definition. It is a political hybrid requiring a unique skill set that
probably isn’t going to be found in a corporate executive. The idea
that our local pharmacist could effectively run the state is probably
obsolete; but continues to have appeal.
My specifications for governor used to include someone who can hit the
ground running. My standards have risen to include someone who is
already on the ground running and has been for a number of years. That
narrows the candidate pool considerably.
Peter Hennessey (10) (5) (no)
Question 1: By all means let us all be more open, honest and
forthright in explaining to the public the philosophical foundations
of our views and opinions.
Let the Democrats acknowledge that they derive all their "new" ideas
from the 150 year old writings of Karl Marx.
Let the Republicans, at least the religious ones, proclaim their
foundations in Christianity (teach a man to fish, rather than rob the
Let other Republicans, those with a libertarian bent, proclaim their
foundations in the writing of the Founding Fathers as well as the
writings of Ayn Rand, and explain to the public that free enterprise
is the highest expression of our most fundamental moral values:
honesty, integrity and justice.
And, therefore, at the very least, explain that there can be no false
dichotomy such as "level of taxation" versus "level of services."
First of all, the two must necessarily be in balance -- it is immoral
to run deficits.
Secondly you have to explain and justify precisely what you mean by
Thirdly you have to explain why it is government, rather than private
enterprise, that must provide those services.
And fourthly you have to explain if the government is permitted under
the Constitution to provide those services.
Question 2: First of all let them all admit that there is very little
common ground, if any, between Karl Marx and the Founding Fathers.
Second, let them all admit that it is un-American to propose anything
that is based on something other than the philosophy of the Founding
Third, let them all define what they mean by being a "Democrat" and a
Fourth, let them explain how their self-definitions as "Democrats" and
a "Republicans" relate to the philosophy of the Founding Fathers.
Fifth, let them explain how the various problems they are trying to
fix are the government's problems to fix. Let them prove that private
efforts have been tried and failed.
Sixth, let them prove that the proposed fixes are consistent with the
Constitution, with the philosophy of the Founding Fathers, and with
their self-definitions as "Democrats" and "Republicans." Let them
prove that similar proposed fixes have been tried and succeeded.
Seventh, allow the people vote on the proposed fixes and vote the
funds for the proposed fixes, or at least allow the legislative
process to proceed openly without lobbyists, back room deals,
earmarks, demagoguery, reprisals, voting on 1000-page bills they have
not read, late-night dumps of 300-page addenda, etc. Allow
representatives to act like statesmen, not as agents of local
interests sent to the legislature only to bring back as much pork as
Question 3: I have no idea about changing the caucuses. Primaries are
for activists, they are the ones who go everywhere for a cause. As
soon as the grassroots get involved, do they not change into
activists? What are we to do, force individuals to speak up?
Question 4: OK, well, in any classroom where it was always the same
few kids who raised their hands (activists), the teacher had to call
on the shy ones (grassroots) and make them participate. Caucus
participants are not graded, so, are we to take away their snacks if
they don't participate?
Under communism, voting is mandatory and not voting is a criminal
offense punishable by jail time. The police come to your house if you
have not voted yet. They haul you to the polling place. They even give
you a pre-marked ballot to stuff into the ballot box. I thought I'd
share a piece of my mother's personal history.
Question 5: There is no caucus in CA, and I am not good in crowds.
Bill Hamm (5) (2) (yes)
Question 1: Since the mechanism by which to quantitatively compare
ourselves with other states on this issue doesn't exist it becomes
hard to put forth any meaningful dialogue. Some scale of efficiencies
must first be developed.
Question 2: First this is far more detail than either of the main
political players likes to have on the table and I can tell you from
experience putting to much info out can be and most times is a
negative thing to all but the 10% or so of us who are actually paying
attention. Everyone else is locked into the 30 second sound bite,
(Don't bore me with the details just get it done). If I had that
answer I would have been elected by now.
Question 3: The political caucus system works well if people turn out
to participate; changing the system to attract the lazy doesn't help
us. We need to attract the disenfranchised, those the media has
convinced that the system doesn't work.
Question 4: . When you can convince the aggrieved out there that
participating in this process will actually create the changes they
need you will have fixed this problem. The other quick and easy
solution is a $1000 a year for 5 years tax deduction for those who
participate. Since we are talking about 1/4 of 1% of the population it
shouldn't have too big a budget impact.
Question 5: Twice; at least 15 times in my life.