What’s Mike McFadden for and against? He offers some hints

McFadden for Senate
It would be a huge overstatement to suggest that Mike McFadden has met his obligation to level with Minnesotans about what he is for and against.

For the last several days, I’ve been hectoring poor Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden about the fact he had been running  for nine months and had yet to take meaningful concrete positions on most of the issues on which he would have to vote and legislate and perhaps compromise if he won the election. (I am among the shrinking pool of politically obsessives who continues to act as if this is an important requirement for a candidate, although it clearly has no future).

I had no sooner posted my latest sarcastic and unfair piece along those lines than my MinnPost editor alerted me that McFadden had recently added an “issues” section to his campaign website. In fact, among the four most serious candidates for the Republican Senate nomination, this puts McFadden second, behind only St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg in having an explicit “issues” section, although the others, state Sen. Julianne Ortman and state Rep. Jim Abeler, had previously said much more about issues and all of them had pre-existing voting records (although not on federal issues). All of the others had also previously attended public debates, which McFadden, rather amazingly, has been too busy to do.

Anyway, I apologize for not noticing McFadden’s issues page sooner. However, after reading the material, it would be a huge overstatement to suggest that McFadden has met his obligation to level with Minnesotans about what he is for and against, except that he is for things that would benefit all and against anything that would cause anyone any pain or cost them any money.

Health care

On health care, McFadden’s website now commits him to repeal Obamacare and replace it with “a patient-centered market-based solution that will lower costs and increase accessibility for all Americans.” He wants the states to have more flexibility (which, if it means anything, would presumably mean that some of them will not increase access). He wants those with pre-existing conditions to have access to affordable insurance (as many did not not before Obamacare) but he doesn’t say how that will be paid for while he is lowering costs for all. He favors repealing the tax on medical-device sales. He says that Sen. Al Franken opposes repealing the tax, but that is somewhere between an oversimplification and a falsehood, and closer to the latter.

a patient-centered, market-based solution that will lower costs and increase accessibility for all Americans. – See more at: http://www.mikemcfadden.com/smarter-solution-health-care/#sthash.kEUVm97f.dpuf
a patient-centered, market-based solution that will lower costs and increase accessibility for all Americans.  – See more at: http://www.mikemcfadden.com/smarter-solution-health-care/#sthash.kEUVm97f.dpuf
a patient-centered, market-based solution that will lower costs and increase accessibility for all Americans.  – See more at: http://www.mikemcfadden.com/smarter-solution-health-care/#sthash.kEUVm97f.dpuf

Economy, education, deficit

In his new entry on how to stimulate the economy, McFadden comes out against burdensome regulations and excessive taxation without specifying what he would get rid of in either area.

Since the day he announced, McFadden has emphasized education, without specifcying how he would try to improve it, and has emphasized that he served on the board of Cristo Rey, a Minneapolis Catholic school that has had excellent results educating students from poor families. But he hadn’t yet, and in his new education paper still hasn’t elucidated how the Cristo Rey methods could be applied to the larger public school population.

McFadden thinks the deficit is too high and the federal debt has become “our greatest liability.” He favors reducing debt and deficit by “reining in out-of-control spending” but doesn’t specify any cuts. Not one penny.

Other issues

The briefest of the papers, titled “Protecting Minnesota Seniors,” calls for fulfilling all Social Security and Medicare promises made to those at or near retirement age, but expresses the need for unspecified changes that will secure the programs for future generations.

As I mentioned in a previous post, McFadden is fond of the term “limited but effective government,” and his five-paragraph overview of what that means is the longest of his new position papers. It includes: “Demand excellence,” which means “programs that are both cost effective and have a positive impact”; “Stop Snooping on Americans,” and Franken comes in for special blame for NSA-type violations of Americans’ privacy because he chairs a Senate subcommittee on privacy issues;  “Saying No to Higher Taxes,” which clarifies that all of the deficit and debt reduction will come from spending cuts ;”Protect the Second Amendment,” in which McFadden seeks to fix a problem he created in a previous interview when he seemed to imply that he favored what some call the “gun show loophole”; and “create an immigration system for the 21st century,” in which he calls for a “radical rethink,” comes out against “amnesty,” seems to favor what liberals call a “path to citizenship” only after the would-be citizen meets several tough requirements — which he enumerates and promises not to do anything about opening such a path until the border is secured first.

Come to think about it, that last one, about immigration, comes pretty close to being a policy position. None of the others would meet my own definition. What about yours?

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Comments (12)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/19/2014 - 09:29 am.

    So he’s gone from

    being a nebbish to being a generic Republican.
    He still needs branding (and I could offer some suggestions where ;-).

  2. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 02/19/2014 - 09:34 am.

    He wants “a patient-centered market-based solution that will lower costs and increase accessibility for all Americans.”

    Gosh, such a stirring, new vision that everyone can get behind.

    Making the hard calls, taking risks.

    Leading from the middle of a fog bank.

  3. Submitted by jody rooney on 02/19/2014 - 09:48 am.

    You are right

    a whole lot of nothing there.

    • Submitted by Richard Steuland on 02/19/2014 - 10:15 pm.

      Maybe he just wants the salary, pension and healthcare plus the

      At least Franken has a vision for America. This guy sounds like your typical corporate sponsored candidate. I am not a firm believer in the marketplace solutions these generic types offer. I don’t think he can run as a social conservative and win. Minnesotans are not going to embrace a knuckle dragging Christian fundamentalist so it seems we are safe from sending another embarrassment like Bachman to Washington.i will support Franken. He is a wise,intelligent and well intentioned Senator. Much better than Coleman by leaps and bounds.

  4. Submitted by Tim Milner on 02/19/2014 - 10:41 am.

    The golden age

    of real debate between candidates regarding the issues of our times is unfortunately gone forever. In my opinion, you can thank the “news media” for that.

    With the deluge of attack ads, tweets, blogs, 24 hours news channels, etc., it seems the far better strategy for any candidate to stay as vague as possible for as long as possible. It minimizes the amount of time he/she will spend defending oneself against all the special interests attackers who will immediately surface on any issue.

    It’s a sad commentary on our political environment.

    I honestly can’t blame McFadden one bit for not providing much in the way of position papers right now. Very little reward and with a lot of risk for doing so. But at some point, late this summer, he will have to, and I am sure he will. Then we can judge him properly – and hopefully only bear a few weeks of the attack ads that will come from all sides against all candidates.

  5. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 02/19/2014 - 12:18 pm.

    Is he for blue skies and puppies?

    Or merely for effectiveness in sky coloring and pet selection?

  6. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/19/2014 - 12:52 pm.

    Your rant would have merit

    if the same thing couldn’t be said about his opponent.

    “Al is a champion for improved access to good education from pre-kindergarten through college, as well as job training programs to provide workers with the skills they need in the 21st century economy.”

    “Al has always been personally moved by the service and sacrifice of our armed forces, and he’s fighting to ensure that the promises made to Minnesota veterans are kept.”

    “Al is fighting to help Minnesota businesses create good jobs for the middle class, bring new industries to our state, and set our nation on a path towards smart budgets and strong growth.”

    Oh really? Where’s the beef?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/19/2014 - 01:26 pm.


      Senator Franken has a record to run on. One can judge from that.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 02/19/2014 - 01:48 pm.

      Where’s the beef?

      maybe it’s in the trunk of a car with all of those mythical votes you people believe in. The fact is Franken has been a fine Senator and I look forward to putting him back into Washington for another term.

  7. Submitted by Peder DeFor on 02/19/2014 - 02:35 pm.

    Met His Obligations

    If we were right at the primaries, then this would be light. If this were right before the elections, then he would not have his obligations. But this is February and some general stated positions are quite fine.
    Does anyone seriously doubt that if McFadden is elected, he would vote along general Republican lines?

  8. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 02/19/2014 - 03:02 pm.

    Republican pablum

    Mr. McFadden either doesn’t know what a policy position is, or he is following a Republican advisor’s suggestion that’s akin to Tim Milner’s comment. That is, the less you say, the better, and when you do say something, the less specific, the better.

    For a change, I absolutely agree with Mr. Tester’s first comment. I also absolutely agree with RB Holbrook’s follow-up.

    Mr. Tester’s second comment, of course, is off-target because, after all, Mr. Franken was merely following his party’s leader in making his comment to begin with (something Republicans and even Libertarians have been known to do), and as far as I’ve been able to tell, Mr. Franken had nothing to do with the fact that the comment turned out to be untrue for a rather limited number of people.

    Meanwhile, we all wait – breathlessly, in my case – for the unveiling of the “…patient-centered market-based [health care] solution that will lower costs and increase accessibility for all Americans…” touted by Mr. McFadden and a sizable number of other Republican candidates. That solution is the little pink pony that flies through the Republican sky. Attractive in description, totally absent in reality.

    I think Tim Milner has the best handle on what’s happening here, and I agree that it’s sad to see the passing of the reality-based campaign, especially when its replacement is such a blatant pile of steaming horse feathers. If you don’t know the code words and phrases, how can a voter make an intelligent choice?

    No serious candidate is going to come out in favor of ineffective and inefficient government, poisoning the water we drink, a 90% tax rate for those whose incomes are over ‘x’ number of dollars, and so on. Cable news, social media, the disappearance of any semblance of decorum (what an antiquated word that’s become), to name but a few, have combined to turn political campaigns into rhetorical games of “telephone,” and with similar results.

  9. Submitted by rolf westgard on 02/21/2014 - 01:03 pm.

    MN in the Senate

    We have a solid delegation in Amy and Franken. I suggest it is likely to stay that way in 2015.

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