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Is Amy Klobuchar a moderate?

Sen. Amy Klobuchar
MinnPost file photo by Craig Lassig
Across the spectrum, Sen. Amy Klobuchar holds positions that until recently were considered the definition of liberalism, and even on the left edge of that definition. Now those positions look moderate.

This will eventually be about Amy Klobuchar’s place in the Democratic presidential field, but let me start with a different presidential candidate from three cycles back.

In a video, taken in 2003, Barack Obama, a mere Illinois state legislator starting a longshot bid for a U.S. Senate seat, said:  

I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its gross national product on health care, cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that’s what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single-payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. That’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we’ve got to take back the White House, we’ve got to take back the Senate, and we’ve got to take back the House.

After that man won that Senate seat, and then became president — at a time when his party controlled the White House, the Senate and the (other) House — he led the push to create the Affordable Care Act (now generally known as Obamacare). Obamacare is not “single payer” nor any other form of “universal” health care coverage, but did succeed in reducing the uninsured portion of the U.S. population to the lowest level it had ever reached. Still, even at the peak of Obamacare, the United States continued to have a far larger share of its population uninsured than most wealthy industrialized democracies. And we certainly didn’t get single payer or any of the other systems that provide pretty much universal health care coverage to other nations’ populations.

I’m not sure how close he has ever come to admitting it, but I believe that the now grey-haired ex-president probably agrees with what his young self said back in 2003. But even by the time of that same election cycle, he had stopped being so clear about it. The political and practical realities – the long American aversion to anything that can be called “socialism” and the power of the for-profit health industries – told him that he couldn’t get anywhere politically or practically, pushing the heavy rock labeled “socialized medicine” or even the less-scary-sounding “single-payer” up that steep double-black-diamond hill.

But times have changed in America, and certainly within the Democratic Party’s electorate. A man who openly called himself a socialist, Bernie Sanders, came close to winning the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. That never happened before. And no one to this day knows whether Sanders might’ve ended up doing better in the finals than Hillary Clinton did.

Many of the new darlings of the Democratic Party are unafraid to call themselves socialists. And most of the known aspirants for the 2020 Democratic nomination have endorsed some form of universal coverage, single-payer or otherwise.

Our senior senator, Amy Klobuchar, who is expected to launch her presidential bid Sunday, has never come out in favor of single payer or any other plan that provides or guarantees health insurance to everyone. But, short of that, the solidly liberal Klobuchar has supported pretty much every idea that has come along during her career that would shrink the ranks of the uninsured.

Here is the most recent statement I can find online about Klobuchar’s views on health care. Not very long ago it would have been viewed as almost unimaginably liberal. Almost everything in it is about increasing access to more and better health care at better prices to consumers, especially the families of the working poor who make a little too much to qualify for Medicaid.

She favors allowing Medicare to be authorized to more aggressively negotiate with drug companies to drive down prices (the “Empowering Medicare Seniors to Negotiate Drug Prices Act”). She favors a “public option” that would allow people who are not old enough for Medicare or poor enough for Medicaid to buy into those programs.

I mentioned in a recent post that there are two versions of what could be called “Medicare for All.” One version, which the leftmost Democratic candidates are supporting, is really a name for single-payer, which could virtually do away with private insurance. Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders favor that.

The more moderate version would allow anyone who wants to to buy into Medicare. It would be universal “access,” but not universal coverage, because some would not use that option and would remain uninsured. Pending her announcement, that appears to be what Klobuchar favors. It’s a perfect example of my overall point: Not long ago, a sitting senator advocating a universal option to buy into Medicare would have represented the leftmost wing of the Democratic Party. Now it makes you a moderate.

Klobuchar has not signed on to Sanders’ single-payer health care bill, commonly called Medicare for All. She said it “should be considered,” but prefers “a sensible transition” such as allowing people to buy into Medicare, or expanding Medicare it to cover those 55 (as opposed to the current 65 )and older.

Her push to make college more affordable is not as expansive as the left would like. While she has denounced Trump’s border policies, she has not joined the movement to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

At the risk of running on too long today, I won’t go issue by issue. Across the spectrum, Klobuchar holds positions that until recently were considered the definition of liberalism, and even on the left edge of that definition. Now those positions look moderate, and, some will say, too moderate for the energized Democrats of today.

I’ll make the point one more way. I looked up Klobuchar’s annual ratings by Americans for Democratic Action. For most of my life, the ADA was sort of the definition of “liberalism” in the United States.

Since she joined the Senate in 2007, Klobuchar has never gotten a rating lower than 85 percent from the ADA. In three years, ADA scored her at 100 percent. (One year, she was among only three who got a perfect ADA rating.) For seven years, she served alongside Al Franken and they were never more than five points apart ADA ratings-wise. These are the ADA scores of a very solid liberal, which is what Klobuchar always has been and still is.

But the word “liberal” is going out of fashion in the activist wing of the Democrat Party and the word “socialist” is becoming a word you can call yourself in some places without committing political suicide. The energy of the party is concentrated at that end.

The success of Bernie Sanders in 2016 energized that end. Many of the leading candidates for the nomination are at that end. And many of them will call Klobuchar, who is still a solid liberal, a moderate. And on today’s new spectrum, that may be accurate. Which brings us to the question of electability.

For most of my life, Democrats shied away from nominating candidates from their own left wing. And when they did go left — think George McGovern in 1972 — it didn’t go well. The argument was that a too-far-left nominee would scare away moderate voters, which would cost Democrats the election. That argument is still out there, and I assume it is an argument will be deployed on behalf of Klobuchar and others who are not in the Sanders-Warren-Harris wing of the party.

Of course, the defeat of Hillary Clinton, who was nominated in part based on the idea that she was electable and Sanders was not, was a blow to that argument, but hardly dispositive.

The counter-argument is that a leftier Democratic nominee will excite increased turnout among groups that sometimes don’t turn out, like younger voters and voters of color, as well as reduce the number of votes the party will lose to Socialist and Green Party alternative tickets.

Klobuchar’s truly impressive record of landslide wins in her Senate races will help her make an electability argument. But Harris and Sanders and Warren and others have won many elections, too, all of them in blue states. The Klobuchar argument will probably be that she can compete in purple states if she is harder to label as a big-government, borderline socialist lefty.

Right after the midterms, when the national punditocracy started focusing on the possible huge field of Democratic presidential candidates, the New York Times turned its gaze toward Klobuchar and encapsulated the question/dilemma I’ve been exploring today. The piece included this:

But while winning over independents and some centrist Republicans, as Ms. Klobuchar has done, may be an asset in a general election, it could be a hindrance in a Democratic primary dominated by the left. Although she is hardly a centrist, Ms. Klobuchar departs from progressive orthodoxy on several fronts.

She has not signed onto Mr. Sanders’s single-payer health care bill, commonly called Medicare for All; she said it “should be considered,” but prefers “a sensible transition” such as allowing people to buy into Medicare, or expanding it to cover those 55 and older. Her push to make college more affordable is not as expansive as the left would like. While she has denounced Mr. Trump’s border policies, she has not joined the movement to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

“She’s a perfectly fine Democrat,” said Adam Green, a founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, “but if we’re looking for a transformational leader and someone who’s going to elevate big, bold ideas and systemic change, others like Elizabeth Warren seem to fit the bill a little bit more head on.”

Comments (130)

  1. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 02/08/2019 - 10:00 am.

    “Across the spectrum, Sen. Amy Klobuchar holds positions that until recently were considered the definition of liberalism, and even on the left edge of that definition. Now those positions look moderate.”

    They look moderate from inside the Fringe left clown car the Democrat party is driving around in today. Heck, Bernie looks moderate in the current year.

    For instance, if one reads the ludicrous Socialist manifesto Alexandra Occasio-Cortez just released, Donald Trump looks like the model of calm, deliberative leadership.

    • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 02/08/2019 - 10:33 am.

      Emphasis added, but probably not needed…

      “Economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work.”


    • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 02/08/2019 - 10:42 am.

      First, I’m always amused at anyone from the party that said ‘Here’s our best & brightest, Don Trump” would have the temerity to critique any other candidates.

      But as we’re seeing as the number of older, more curmudgeonly thinkers like Mr. Senker and HIllary supporters dwindle, the country is definitely headed in a new direction.

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 02/08/2019 - 10:50 am.

        Speaking for myself, and everyone I know that voted for Trump, none of us ever thought he represented anything other than a safeguard for SCOTUS and not Hillary.

        BTW whippersnapper, I’m not scheduled to dwindle any time soon. lol

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/08/2019 - 11:30 am.

        Remember, all those people wearing the “F*** Your Feelings – Trump 2016” shirts were really just concerned about the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary. Chanting “lock her up” and using vulgar “acronyms” to describe Senator Clinton was another way of expressing a deep concern for constitutional interpretation.

        The racism, sexism, and burgeoning kleptocracy is just gravy.

    • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 02/08/2019 - 11:13 am.

      Donald Trump is the antithesis of calm, deliberative leadership.

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/08/2019 - 11:43 am.

      I would have to agree here. She’s not a moderate unless you’re already to the left of her. She also doesn’t lead on anything. The Democrats are moving way too far left with this new crop and I think it’s going to bite them in 2020.

      • Submitted by Greg Smith on 02/08/2019 - 03:08 pm.

        I think you are incorrect, my crystal ball shows success for the lurch left in 2020, and a red tidal wave back to the right of the suburbs when the see the cost of Utopia

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 02/09/2019 - 06:08 pm.

          That cost you mention must be the result of the sea of red ink just beginning to drown the federal government due to fically irresponsible GOP tax give away.

    • Submitted by Vonnie Phillips on 02/08/2019 - 12:03 pm.

      Based on a story I recently read in the Huffington Post, I have concerns about Amy Klobuchar’s treatment of people that works for her. The article is creditable. If you’re verbally abusive to staff that get up in the morning and drive to work everyday to work for you and support you, it says a lot who you really are. Why this has not been reported by the Minnesota Post or the Minneapolis Star Tribune? DFL politics are tribal, this is an excellent example of that tribalism, and it appears the hometown press is complicit. It’s inconceivable to me the local press has no knowledge of this. I’ve always voted for Senator Klobuchar, but why are people complaining she’s hard to work for, and according to the Huff Post article, people have resigned from her staff due to her alleged abusive communications to staff.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/08/2019 - 12:43 pm.

        It has been reported by Minnpost and the Star Tribune.

        Its just that anonymous complaints that she is mean to her staff doesn’t make much of a story. No on cares. And rightly so.

        • Submitted by Kurt Anderson on 02/08/2019 - 01:47 pm.

          I think we should be concerned. I think Klobuchar is a very interesting (and hopefully viable) candidate, but this may prove to be the worm that eats the apple.

          • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/08/2019 - 02:45 pm.

            If the worst thing they can come up with his that she was mean to her staff, she’s in good shape.

            • Submitted by Debra Hoffman on 02/12/2019 - 12:06 pm.

              I have emailed and phoned Sen. Klobuchar concerning a variety of issues and requested a response several times. As far as I remember, I have only received a few emails in response, and they were vague and non-committal. She very rarely takes a public stand on major issues. As a Democrat, she is not my first choice.

        • Submitted by Paul Scott on 02/08/2019 - 03:41 pm.

          Lol. This came out of right field. Everyone, it turns out, knew about it except for constituents. Thanks, local press. It’s not just gossip. She has the highest staff turnover in the Senate for, um, 16 years. It matters too. If your staff hates working for you can’t get anything done. It might explain her lack of signature accomplishments.

    • Submitted by Mike Davidson on 02/08/2019 - 12:16 pm.

      Ocasio-Cortez is not a socialist, she’s a democratic socialist. Yes, there is a difference.

      • Submitted by Paul Yochim on 02/08/2019 - 12:45 pm.

        There is no such thing as a democratic socialist. AOC wants what’s left of the capitalist economy to be the financial engine for her plans just like Chavez wanted the oil reserves for his. We saw how that worked out.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/08/2019 - 01:17 pm.

          That’s very interesting. Can you point us to specific language where she says that?

          Or are you falling into the intellectually lazy pattern of deciding there is only one “socialism,” defined by the worst of those who profess to be socialists? It’s like saying anyone who favors democracy is advocating a North Korean-style of government, because that country calls itself a “democratic people’s republic.”

          • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 02/08/2019 - 02:41 pm.

            Don’t forget about the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei. Obviously AOC favors death camps.

            For the Right, it’s always all labels and Manicheanism. I don’t know if it’s a debating tactic, or if the Right just self-selects for those who don’t do real-world complexity.

        • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 02/08/2019 - 02:59 pm.

          Yes, there is such thing as a democratic socialist, or a social democrat.

          Europe is rife with them, just for starters..

        • Submitted by Kim Jones on 02/10/2019 - 02:22 pm.

          Paul Yochim: “There is no such thing as a democratic socialist.”

          Not true. What AOC, Sanders, and other democratic socialists want is a MORE democratic society, with greater economic security, human rights, and a political system where officeholders are not bought and paid for by the big corporations. What conservatives and libertarians don’t understand is that you can’t live in “freedom” when you don’t know how to pay your medical bills, or how to pay for your kids’ tuition, or when you realize that Republican politicians don’t give a crap about whether your children and grandchildren will be able to survive climate catastrophe. There is nothing wrong with democratic socialism being one more voice in American political debate…

    • Submitted by Howard Miller on 02/09/2019 - 02:45 pm.

      Unwilling to work?

      You not know any people outside your front door who aren’t your family?

      There is a myth of the lazy undeserving American that you reawaken. Those are as rare as Republican hearts beating in empathy for the least among us.

      Time to bury that myth in the reality of how people not as rich as Trump struggle to make ends meet. It’s very hard to be poor in America. Made harder because others blame them, falsely accuse them of having made active choices to live on the economic edge as they do. Like being lazy.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 02/09/2019 - 06:12 pm.

        It has always shocked me that the Wave The Flag Crowd is always so willing to run down so many fellow citizens, all the while telling us we are the great people on Earth and we can do no wrong.

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 02/11/2019 - 10:11 am.

        Cortez disagrees with you.

        There are evidently enough people unwilling to work to make them worth specifically singling out in her manifesto.

      • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 02/11/2019 - 01:07 pm.

        I wouldn’t say they’re unwilling to work, I think they’re just engaged in “Executive Time”.

  2. Submitted by Paul Yochim on 02/08/2019 - 10:01 am.

    She knows that linking up with AOC, Sanders and Warren will be political suicide for her outside of Minnesota so she will run as a moderate.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/08/2019 - 11:36 am.

      Sanders’s won the MInnesota primary. Clinton nearly lost the MN electoral vote. Let’s Klobuchar is savvy enough to recognize these facts.

      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/08/2019 - 12:14 pm.

        He won a caucus, not a primary. Two very different animals.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/08/2019 - 12:22 pm.

        Sanders won the caucuses, not a primary. And those caucuses were so undemocratic and unrepresentative of the electorate that the legislature promptly eliminated the presidential caucuses.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/09/2019 - 01:33 pm.

        OK, Clinton LOST the MN caucus. And she nearly lost the MN electoral votes. How does that prove Clinton was a strong candidate in MN? If you don’t like the caucus results look at the polls where she was consistently less popular and more distrusted than Sanders. If you think Kobuchar is a second bite of the apple for HRC… you’re going to lose another election.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/11/2019 - 01:30 pm.

          Clinton was not a strong candidate. Not at all. What is weird is that people think that Bernie Sanders – who lost badly to Clinton – is somehow anything other than a horrible candidate.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/12/2019 - 10:40 am.

            Given the circumstances and decade of groundwork Clinton put into locking up her nomination it’s actually amazing that Sanders came as close as he did. Sanders’s literally came out of nowhere and captured 1,900 delagates, 23 states, and 43% of the vote. And through it all he constantly polled way higher than Clinton AND Trump in terms of popularity and Trustworthiness. Clinton was the most unpopular candidate Democrats ever ran as President. Clinton actually managed to lose the white woman vote, among others. Yes, Clinton got the nomination, but we keep having to remind Democrats that she lost the election.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/11/2019 - 05:13 pm.

          And actually, in the last poll taken before the caucuses, Minnesota voters hugely preferred Clinton to Sanders. He won the caucuses because of the massive voter suppression inherent to putting severe limits on the time and place people can vote. If it wasn’t for voter disenfranchisement, Sanders would have received very little attention at all.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/12/2019 - 10:55 am.

            You’re correct regarding the poll numbers, but the huge disparity between those polls and the caucus results (they were almost exactly flipped) probably tells us that the polls were in error. We know that a significant number of Trump voters would have opted for Sanders had he been on the ballot while few if any Democrats would have opted for Trump over Sanders. Since Clinton’s lead over trump rarely exceeded 6% and her eventual victory was only 4% it’s likely that Sander’s would have won by a bigger margin.

            And yes, you moderates are always complaining that your moderate candidates do so poorly in the caucus, it never seems to occur to you that moderate candidates simply aren’t popular. This is YOUR system, you set it up to get your candidates on the ballot… and then your candidates lose… whatever.

  3. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/08/2019 - 10:25 am.

    Klobuchar’s gift is to vote as a liberal on many issues while sounding moderate. She’s not a bomb thrower.
    On the topic of Socialism, I don’t think any American politician since Eugene Debs has labeled him/her self an unmodified Socialist. People like Sanders use the terms Social Democrat or Democratic Socialist to make it clear that, unlike a classic socialist, they do not believe in public ownership of the means of production.

    • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 02/08/2019 - 10:58 am.

      People like Sanders and Cortez call themselves Social Democrats or Democratic Socialists for two reasons:

      1. It confuses the low information voters they are counting on to get them elected.

      2. It keeps them from having to explain the utter destruction and incalculable suffering that has befallen any country that has lived through a Socialist government. ie: “We’re different, see? We’ll get it right this time, for sure”

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/08/2019 - 11:27 am.


        3. It actually has some meaning to those with any understanding of politics.

      • Submitted by Kurt Anderson on 02/08/2019 - 01:53 pm.

        I take this as yet another example of the way the right changed its rhetoric after the cold war. What used to be “godless Communism” is now recalled as “socialism.” Our socialist allies in Europe — including the British Labor Party, the German SPD, and Mitterand in France — were our staunch allies against the communists; the Portuguese socialists in the mid-1970s almost single-handedly rescued that country from a Communist-leaning junta. Oh, and BTW, who in this country is ready to give up their “Social” Security?

        • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/08/2019 - 02:21 pm.

          I would have gladly given up SS if they had promised not to tax me for it…that extra ~15% in my paychecks all those years would have been a nice sum to have invested.

          Having the word “Social” in the name doesn’t necessarily make is Socialist. Also, it never should have been passed in the first place as it’s had a terrible track record of pay outs. You would have done a lot better investing that money at even a small return over your working career.

          • Submitted by Greg Smith on 02/08/2019 - 03:29 pm.

            You and me both
            But now that they have taken for 40 years, I demand to get mine

          • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 02/09/2019 - 11:50 am.

            Social Security works.

            For most American retirees, Social Security is their ONLY income. Without it, they’d be destitute. Check the AARP website on that; it’s full of data on how Social Security is a life-saver for tens of millions.

            And Social Security is not a savings account or an investment account (there are now various types of IRAs for that–the saver takes the risks and gets the rewards for investing their money–most Americans are not informed enough to do that, though). Social Security is part of a safety net: we all pitch in and everyone has the chance to be saved from financial obliteration.

            A democratic socialist, and an FDR-style New Dealer, knows that we can all pull together to save the most vulnerable among us from life-devastating events. And I am glad to pay income taxes on 85% of my Social Security benefits each year (that money goes back into Social Security, my congressman told me some years ago after he and others “tweaked” the program to extend its life). The system knows that I have enough, and can share.

            That’s the whole principle: sharing with, and caring for others, within governmental structures and programs, not by forced private begging with a handout to passers-by.

          • Submitted by Howard Miller on 02/09/2019 - 02:58 pm.

            Sure. But in the mean time, old Americans who had nothing after they couldn’t work could still make a go of it. And minors who lose their breadwinner parent(s). And those with disabilities preventing normal life participation. Social Security provides the most basic.

            Social security is a generational agreement. Currently working take care of retirees with tax contributions, knowing that they will enjoy that support in their final years. That’s a more reliable promise than any 401K portfolio, how ever diversely organized. So far.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/08/2019 - 03:48 pm.

        Like Scandinavia?

    • Submitted by cory johnson on 02/09/2019 - 12:03 pm.

      Right- they just tax everyone who makes over 60k at a rate over 60% (hello Denmark and Sweden). I’d love to see Bernie run on that.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/10/2019 - 08:53 am.

        I believe that is a marginal rate.
        And of course they get a lot of social services (like health care) for their tax money, so they end up ahead.

  4. Submitted by Tom Knisely on 02/08/2019 - 10:33 am.

    Beneath that warm Minnesota smile beats the heart of a partisan liberal.

    Amy supports abortion on demand, at any time, for any reason, she opposes the second amendment and voted with Obama 97% of the time.

    She’s no moderate.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/08/2019 - 10:56 am.

      Sounds great to me!

    • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 02/08/2019 - 11:16 am.

      My impression is that, a generation ago, Obama would have qualified (as President, not necessarily as Senate candidate) as a moderate Republican. Speaking as a former moderate Republican, I’m OK with Klobuchar voting with Obama’s proposals 97% of the time.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 02/09/2019 - 06:20 pm.

        A generation ago, a conservative Republican President put S & L crooks in jail. More recently, Obama was not interested in putting any Wall Street crooks in jail.

        Saying Obama would have been a GOP moderate a generation ago may be generous.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/08/2019 - 12:15 pm.

      I’m sold!

  5. Submitted by James Hamilton on 02/08/2019 - 11:02 am.

    Amy Klobuchar is whatever she believes she needs to be re-elected. I’ve yet to see her get out in front and lead on any matter of substance, much less controversy. She sold her vote to the medical device industry immediately after voting for the ACA. She should not only not run for the White House, she should not be re-elected to the Senate. (How convenient for her that she doesn’t have to choose between one or the other in 2020.)

    “This is an additional tax on manufacturing, innovation and research at a time when we need manufacturing to be strong,” Klobuchar said in a statement to the Star Tribune.

    “We have worked across the aisle to secure suspensions of this tax for 2016 through 2019, and I will continue to work in the Senate on bipartisan efforts to permanently repeal or suspend this tax.”

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/08/2019 - 11:32 am.

      She just won re-election by 24 points a couple of months ago. Whatever exactly Klobuchar is, Minnesotans seem to like it.

      • Submitted by Greg Smith on 02/08/2019 - 03:30 pm.

        Jim’s daughter, no career without that

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/08/2019 - 04:09 pm.

          Lol but Trump’s a self-made-man, right?

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/08/2019 - 04:10 pm.

          Jim was a columnist for a newspaper that folded due to low circulation in 1982.

          Yeah, there’s a hook to hang a career on.

          • Submitted by Greg Smith on 02/08/2019 - 10:38 pm.

            If you do not believe the name recognition gave a boost to the start of her career, you are arent from around here.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/11/2019 - 12:49 pm.

              The only race her name recognition would have given her a boost in was the 1998 Hennepin County Attorney’s race. That was, as I recall, quite a close one.

              Her father’s column appeared in the Star, which never had much circulation outside of Minneapolis. When she ran for the Senate, it was against Mark Kennedy, a man who could teach advanced seminars on how to be an empty suit (I always thought of him as a latter day, real life version of Bob Forehead). It was also 2006, a goo year for Democrats.

          • Submitted by ian wade on 02/09/2019 - 12:51 am.

            LOL. Thanks, RB. That quip made my night.

        • Submitted by Tom Melchior on 02/11/2019 - 04:55 pm.

          I doubt many in the current (or perhaps past 15 years) electorate remember Jim Klobuchar. And she built a career in her own right. Also, was valedictorian of her high school class. I guess since Jim is her father, you could give him some credit for that!

  6. Submitted by Tim Smith on 02/08/2019 - 11:15 am.

    That’s a really great question. As has been said before here, she looks moderate compared to the extreme lefties that dominate the party. She would do better in a general election than dem primaries is my guess, given the core of the party so far left.

    She doesn’t seem to partake in identity politics and pc very much or pander to the victim tribes of the party. That would help if she could get to the general election which I would bet she won’t.

    Will be interesting to see what economic program she runs on. So far her opponenets all have some version of tax increases, big spending increases and regulations and gov programs for redistribution, nothing really to improve the overall economy.

    She also is adored by a soft and obliging media in Minnesota. That alls changes when she leaves here.

  7. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 02/08/2019 - 11:20 am.

    I don’t know if it qualifies as “classic” or not, but there’s a dilemma involved here, nonetheless. If Klobuchar swings farther left, she risks alienating a lot of people who aren’t at all fond of Mr. Trump, but are disproportionately afraid of anything that might be labeled “liberal.”

    “Liberal” might get her elected in Minnesota, and by substantial margins, but it might also be a handicap (see: again, George McGovern) in a general national election. Insisting on being mainstream would help in a general election, but might be enough of a handicap within the party power structure and / or in primaries to keep her from ever getting to the nomination.

    Decisions, decisions. If she’s too cautious, no one will notice her, and as a candidate, that strikes me as her greatest weakness. She may be solidly liberal in terms of her voting record, but no one outside of her current fans and / or disparagers knows it. On the other hand, if she gets out front too far, she’ll garner too much attention. Candidates are under a microscope anyway, so “bold” pronouncements, while appealing to a base, might well be off-putting to more voters on that national stage who are not especially liberal, but are opposed to a 2nd term for Trump.

  8. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/08/2019 - 11:25 am.

    Again, Obama’s aversion to single payer, and even the public option had nothing to do with fear of socialism and EVERYTHING to do servicing his and his Party’s financial benefactors and the nations Oligarchs in general.

    American’s don’t know what socialism is, and they don’t care, that became obvious when they nearly put a “socialist” on the presidential ballot. This socialism narrative is a false narrative created to obscure the reality of elitism and neoliberal deference to corporate interests and the supper wealthy. The “Pink” scare died with Nixon’s impeachment.

    We cannot use false narratives to “explain” the popularity of Single Payer, or locate politicians on any kind of spectrum of political ideology. False narratives can only yield false or disingenuous explanations.

    Liberal policies (make no mistake, we’re talking about New Deal Liberal initiatives here, NOT “progressive” initiatives) are not gaining popularity because fear of socialism is waning… they’re gaining popularity simply because a clear and growing majority of Americans are simply rejecting the failed compromises of the past few decades. Obamacare is in many way the signature accomplishment of failed compromises during the centrist/moderate Democratic era. American’s aren’t becoming socialists, they’re simply demanding more than failed compromises. American’s want progress and they know it’s possible.

    This looks like polarization to “moderates” because it rejects “liberal” moderation AND Fascism, but that polarity, like the anti-socialism narrative, is a false narrative that has to pretend the spectrum begins in the “center” and ends on the “right”. The truth is that Americans are coalescing around a liberal platform rather than fracturing into distinct poles of opposition. This is problem for Democrats and “centrist” who were comfortable with the failed compromises and power structures of the past few decades.

    This isn’t really the big change moderates like to pretend it is, the fact is that the New Democrats i.e. “moderates” and “centrists” were never THAT popular in the first place. This is why Democrats kept losing so many elections to Republicans. This is way voter turnout has been so low. This is why Clinton lost to Trump. The American people have been more liberal than either Party for decades now, again, this “leftward” shift is a false narrative.

    As for who or what Obama is… he clearly stated that he’s a “New Democrat” in 2009 when handed his health care plan over to Congress.

    Eric must have missed that. At any rate, for those of you who don’t know what THAT means- the New Democrats were the neoliberal “moderates” who created the Democratic Leadership Council and took over the Party’s leadership in the 70s and 80s. Their idea was that American’s were now living on a post partisan political landscape wherein traditional liberal or conservative ideology was obsolete or irrelevant. They organized around the idea that systemic change was no longer necessary and all politicians needed to do was “tweak” existing systems here an there, hence the focus on moderation.

    Of course the assumptions the New Democrats were making were wildly mistaken, and they couldn’t couldn’t have adopted such incoherent mentalities at a worse time (during the rise of the neo-cons). But that’s what happened. So when Hillary gets a chance to “tweak” health care, instead of offering single payer, she digs up an old Heritage Foundation proposal. That wasn’t out of fear of socialism, it was an existential inclination to suppress irrelevant liberalism.

    So what is Klobuchar? She’s clearly a New Democrat. But the New Democrats have a dilemma. Their past practice of always “compromising” with the “right”, is giving way to the political necessity of compromising with liberals for a change (historically they simply ignored liberals). Democrats and “moderates” have tried to marginalize liberals by labeling them “left wing” etc. but decades of failed compromises and failed leadership have rendered the old tactics ineffective. It looks like Democrats may actually have to deal with liberals for the first time in decades.

    So what’s Klobuchar to do? Historically New Democrats campaign as “liberals” of sorts, then return to station and reach out the right if they win elections. No doubt that’s what Klobuchar WOULD’VE done in the past. However the “right” Klobuchar would typically reach out to is finally collapsing, and liberals and voters may finally be a place to demand follow through, rather than excuses for failed compromises. Klubuchar might need to convince voters that she’s committed to liberal initiatives, and she might have to stay committed once elected. That’s kind of what Walz did.

    What these people actually do if the get elected remains to be seen. I predict however that if return to station with failed compromises on the right rather than progress with the left, they’ll just win before they lose again.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/08/2019 - 12:28 pm.

      That’s all completely wrong. When you explain to people what single payer actually means, its extremely unpopular. Democrats had a hard enough time getting the ACA through.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/08/2019 - 12:52 pm.

        Pat, you’ve obvious never explained Single Payer to anyone.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/08/2019 - 02:02 pm.

          Well, actually I have. But it isn’t about me.

          Here is a good piece explaining what I am saying:

          Once people figure out that single payer means that the government replaces their private health insurance, it gets very unpopular. We saw this in Colorado where single payer was on the ballot and it lost 80-20.

          I think the Democrats might be able to get a public option through. Essentially, Medicare for all who want it. But there isn’t public support (or a receptive Supreme Court) to get single payer through.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/09/2019 - 12:36 pm.

            These anti-MFA analysis all suffer from the same basic empirical flaws, basically they fail to balance expenses and benefits. So for instance in this analysis yes, when you tell people MFA will raise their taxes, they get concerned, but then if you explain that the tax increase will be offset by the elimination of current higher premiums, support bounces back. Likewise when you explain HOW MFA will replace (not eliminate) private insurance, they support it, because the primary driver behind this is a fundamental dissatisfaction with private insurance plans. And so it goes. Like I said, YOU obviously haven’t tried to explain MFA to anyone… whatever YOU’RE describing looks like a straw man more than a health care plan.

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/09/2019 - 01:38 pm.

              If anyone is looking for something a little more substantive than a Talking Points Memo article, here’s a description and analysis of Single Payer done by a group of economists at the University of Massachusetts, look for the link to the PDF:


            • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/11/2019 - 01:36 pm.

              You could not be more wrong.

              Yes, I understand that they will save money on the elimination of private insurance. It makes perfect sense. But people will never, ever, ever go for it.

              You can keep telling yourself that Obama and people who tried to fix health care sold out with half-measures, but the reality is that there is only so much that is politically possible.

              I know you believe that this country is secretly really progressive. I’m saying you may want to reconsider that notion.

              • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/12/2019 - 09:23 am.

                Pat, seriously, centrists like yourself need abandon this notion that you dictate political reality. You’re literally claiming that something 70% of Americans are already demanding will never be popular or feasible. When centrist can’t “imagine” something… the problem is their own limited imagination.

                I know a lot of centrist Democrats are invested in their limited political agendas, but it looks like the American people are moving on.

          • Submitted by Steve & Gayle Fuller on 02/12/2019 - 04:22 pm.

            Having just read the TPM that was linked to I don’t feel that the writer explained how the money moves around in the current health care system. Using my employer sponsored health care as an example I will attempt to articulate the system. The union negotiated health care from our employer; the employer rather than dealing with all the paperwork involved sub contracted the money management to a “insurance” provider. In this case it was Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota who calculated a premium that each participant would pay. In my case my employer paid 80% I paid 20% of the premium. When I went to the Doctor the clinic would submit the charges to BC/BS and if the procedure was covered by our negotiated health care plan they were paid, not covered it came out of my pocket. From year to year the premium would change; most often it was because of usage; the work force was getting older and went to the doctor more often and the pool of money that was available for health care wasn’t keeping up with usage. To balance the books the premium had to increase. BC/BS paid wages by taking a percentage of the premiums; CEO’s, CFO’s and board members were paid very well.
            Medicare works the same way they handle the money, the money comes from a tax, if you look at your W-2 it will list how much went to Medicare. It is a giant pool of money, Medicare manages the dollars, just like BC/BS does; but Medicare doesn’t have a CEO making millions of dollars so the administrative costs are a fraction of a for profit health care insurer.
            What we are talking about is how the consumer of health care pays the provider of health care. The system has evolved where society pools its resources; the healthy help the sick thinking that when they get sick the healthy will help them. It’s a socialized system; people joining together to help those in need; always hoping that they will ever be in need.
            Single payer or Medicare for all it is about moving the dollars from the consumer to the provider; really it is simple to understand.

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/13/2019 - 09:16 am.

              Yes, that TPM article appears to be drawn from a defunct 2016 New York Times “analysis” that had to be essentially withdrawn. My experience with those making these: “When Americans find out the ‘truth'” claims has been:

              A) They rely on false and misleading information.

              B) They don’t have any real understanding of the health care economy and how it actually works.

              C) They simply cannot reason beyond their flawed neoliberal market assumptions that this is all about some kind of consumerism, and that the “markets” will correct themselves given sufficient incentives.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/08/2019 - 12:57 pm.

        As for the difficulty of getting Obamacare through, after decades doing nothing, and losing to Republican’s, yeah it was difficult to sell a ridiculously complex market reform as a the health care fix Obama had promised. And then it WASN’T the fix that Obama had promised.

  9. Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 02/08/2019 - 12:00 pm.

    I would really like for Amy K. to come out with a definite pro/con stance on sulfide mining in Minnesota. Both she and Tina S. continually hide in the curtains just off stage on that and also the protection of the Minnesota wolf packs.

  10. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 02/08/2019 - 12:21 pm.

    Amy Klobuchar – I would call her a doer. She sees an issue that impacts the quality of life of all Americans, sponsors legislation, taps people from both parties to support it and gets it passed. The Congress works for us to make positive change. Talk about big ideas all you want, but the test is getting things done that help average citizens. It is great to advocate big ideas, but until you overcome the forces of resistance, nothing real happens, and average people stop believing your promises. Trump is the best possible example – he delivers nothing that the promises. He promised Mexico would pay for the wall. He promised average people would see tax cuts. He promised a trade war would be easy to win. He promised that Trumpcare would provide better access at lower costs than Obamacare. None of what he says or does helps average people or does anything remotely close to what he promises.

    Let’s forget about ideology. Let the new infusion on female energy not be wasted in “debating society” issues, but in finding real solutions. Putting our families and communities first is something that Democrats can unite around.

  11. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 02/08/2019 - 12:28 pm.

    What nobody is taking into account is that Amy Klobuchar is probably the Democrat who has the most winning personality.

    And, hands down, the best sense of humor.

    She’a “regular gal” to use a term that a lot of Americans like and that Hillary Clinton just could not project, and that even Elizabeth Warren has trouble claiming. George W Bush beat Al Gore on the basis of “regular guy” status that our wooden Gore couldn’t achieve.

    Don’t laugh: American voters absolutely do not, in the main, pay attention to policy details. They want to know which candidate they’d rather spend time with. And Amy Klobuchar has a Regular Gal brand that could sell to that audience.

    So she’s a quiet solid liberal in her policy views and votes. That’s icing on the cake, for those of us who do actually pay attention.

    Is Senator Klobuchar can keep her sense of humor intact (and let it show) during a hard-fought campaign, and maintain her calm personal dignity as she so brilliantly did when Judge Kavanaugh gratuitously attacked her in his Senate confirmation hearing, she’ll do fine.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/10/2019 - 09:49 am.

      I don’t vote for personality. POTUS is a serious job, I think it’s a mistake to assume that people will vote for someone just because they want to see that someone be that someone in the White House. We’re looking for leadership, strength, and compelling agendas.

  12. Submitted by Henry Johnson on 02/08/2019 - 12:44 pm.

    She’s catching flak as not being liberal or socialist enough and also for being TOO liberal.

    To me, that means she’s probably just about right (no double-meaning intended!).

    I think it should be recognized that beyond the stanch on issues is that one of her big strengths in my opinion is that she’s moderate in her style and her approach to getting things done.

    She’d rather reach across the aisle and reach a constructive compromise on a difficult issue I think, instead of announcing a press conference and launching a flame-thrower attack on “the other side” as a way to kick things off – which of course usually results in nothing actually getting done.

    I think we as a country need that willingness to compromise in a civil way very, very badly from both Democrats and Republicans, after the confrontational, let’s bombard, attack and insult the other side approach we’ve seen fostered by our current reality TV show host president.

    We need some adult behavior for a change, and a return to seeing compromise as a good thing again, and I see Klobuchar as being more in that camp than some of the other candidates.

    We’ve had gridlock in Washington now for a long, long time, and a nation can’t really survive forever if that goes on forever..

    There are probably a number of issues that the two sides generally could agree on and get constructive things done on, but up to now, this “my way 100% or forget it” attitude that came in with the ‘tea party’ movement has created this impression that compromise is equivalent to “selling out”, which is not true.

    Compromise has normally been the way two opposing sides have gotten things done and that’s being realistic, not ‘selling out’.

    But in reality, if both sides insist on getting everything they want and giving nothing in return – well, that’s classic gridlock, deadly gridlock, unmovable gridlock.

    Not good in the long term for any country when government is just frozen-up and unable to do anything constructive at all because of an unwillingness to negotiate a compromise on the issues of the day.

  13. Submitted by Sean Olsen on 02/08/2019 - 01:05 pm.

    I worry that Klobuchar has been bipartisan in some of the very worst ways. For instance, her palling around with McCain and Graham on foreign policy issues. Her proposal last week with Ben Sasse to create tax-advantaged accounts for career training is the epitome of the bad and bland centrism that too often infects our public policy.

  14. Submitted by Kurt Anderson on 02/08/2019 - 01:36 pm.

    First, if we can’t exorcise the ghost of Jesse Helms, let’s at least correct his grammar. The left-leaning party in the United States is the Democrat_ic_ Party.

    Beyond that, it seems as if the political spectrum is broken. The left and right sides no longer seem to meet at the center. If Klobuchar can help reconnect us, good for her.

    The self-styled progressives (I don’t want to make them wear the scarlet “L”) are risking another stinging defeat if they assume that Trump’s extremism opens the door for their own. I appreciate the incremental strategy – practicing trial and error, or “the art of the possible” – of Obama and Klobuchar.

    • Submitted by Kurt Anderson on 02/08/2019 - 01:38 pm.

      PS I forgot to include Russell Baker’s comment on Helm’s label – calling it the “Democrat Party” is “a real dumbness idea.”

    • Submitted by Kurt Anderson on 02/08/2019 - 01:40 pm.

      2nd whoops, make that “Helms’ label.” Jesse H probably is enjoying that goof-up.

  15. Submitted by John Webster on 02/08/2019 - 04:04 pm.

    Amy Klobuchar is down-the-line liberal on all important issues, not in the least the moderate that her media cheerleaders try to portray her as. But she has an excellent public personality; she doesn’t come across as a showboater like Kamala Harris, Kristine Gillibrand, Spartacus Booker, Elizabeth Warren, et al. She punches the gender card and as a Midwesterner will appeal to voters in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan – states that Trump won in 2016. She is careful in her public statements and I’ll be shocked if she jumps onto the Green New Deal bandwagon. She would be Trump’s most formidable opponent in 2020, so it bears watching if she can run the gauntlet of the crazed Left that currently furnishes most of the energy in the Democratic Party.

  16. Submitted by Ken Kalish on 02/08/2019 - 04:12 pm.

    I’ve been voting for Democrats for a long time. I live in northern Minnesota, where NAZIs openly campaign for membership and for Trump. One of them trolls local bars to show off his picture of his “uncle,” Rudolph Hess. Those NAZIs to whom I have spoken hold Trump dear. I see greybeards younger than my own septuagenarian self wearing their red Marine veteran jackets cursing Trump. Ms. Klobuchar represents the kind of calm reason we need in our Presidential administration. She’s not afraid of hecklers, she works to bring about consensus, and she isn’t afraid to be called names. If the worst conservative political murderers can say about her is that some of her staff don’t like her, she’s going to gather a great following among voters tired of loud dog and pony shows.

  17. Submitted by cory johnson on 02/08/2019 - 05:39 pm.

    She supports the Green New Deal. Definitely not a moderate.

  18. Submitted by ian wade on 02/09/2019 - 01:02 am.

    Oh Good Lord…it’s an outline. A non binding resolution to look at ways to address climate change and economic inequality. Stop with the ridiculous hyperbole.

    • Submitted by cory johnson on 02/09/2019 - 09:55 am.

      An outline of a massive government takeover of the means of production. The ridiculous hyperbole is included in the “outline”. Tear down and rebuild every building? Build light rail so that “planes aren’t necessary”? What a coincidence that the best solution to combat climate change is socialism.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/09/2019 - 09:03 pm.

        CJ really, no-hyperbole,right? The word on the buildings was “upgrade” so insulating is a bad idea? “Overhauling transportation systems” to reduce emissions. Didn’t see any thing about removing airplanes, you are aware that companies are looking at Electric Airplanes, and that a solar powered airplane flew around the world. There are also places in Germany that are 100% green on energy use, actually 100% + they are feeding back into the grid. Amazing what is possible when you open up your mind and are willing to think a little positive about how we can improve and solve tough old problems. But then again some folks would prefer to build walls and shut down intellectual thinking to preserve old pollution generating industries that destroy our environment.

  19. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 02/09/2019 - 09:51 am.

    Shall I enumerate the things that are wrong with that post?

    1. The vast majority of the Venezuelan economy and most of the print and broadcast media are in private hands, and Maduro is just a generic idiot who is way out of his depth and reacts to problems with authoritarian temper tantrums. It’s as if Trump had come into office in 2008 and winged it in dealing with the financial crisis.
    2. AOC’s program has nothing to do with Venezuela except in the minds of the right-wing shills who use it as a bogeyman word for their low-information audiences. Two years ago they would have said, “AOC’s program will turn us into Spain or Greece.”
    3. What’s insane about saving the planet?
    4. Neither AOC nor Ilhan Omar needs protection. When criticized, they lob it right back.
    5. No print or broadcast medium is required to be balanced, and it is literally impossible to lack bias. If you’re so concerned about “balance” in the media, take it up with your favorite AM talk station and tell them to stop lying about the left.

  20. Submitted by barry bonoff on 02/09/2019 - 10:41 am.

    What ever Amy needs, we in Minnesota should give. bb

  21. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/09/2019 - 11:47 am.

    Shouldn’t we need a good description that people could agree on what a moderate is? Suspect there are a fair amount of folks that would consider the present WH inhabitant a “moderate”. CJ’s comment above speaks directly to that point.

  22. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 02/09/2019 - 12:13 pm.

    From the point of view of this working poor guy, I would call Ms Klobuchar a neoliberal, a clintonite purveyor of monopoly economics and eternal war, working at the behest of corporations, banks and billionaires, mostly indifferent to epic income inequality and the ongoing ruination of the land and waters. Happy to talk about inclusion and tolerance, unwilling to walk in any way that would improve the economics of working people, or the general health of the biosphere.

    Only a moderate if you approve of the status quo of every advantage for the few and austerity for the many, and the ongoing pathology of eternal increasingly privatized war.

    • Submitted by David Lundeen on 02/09/2019 - 03:26 pm.

      If Sen. Klobuchar is as you describe, what does that make any number of Republicans I could list off? They are more than happy to pass outrageous tax cuts for the rich, while throwing table scraps to the working class, all the while blowing up the deficit. How much money has the Republican tax cuts saved you?

      • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 02/10/2019 - 09:51 am.

        I’m guessing that Mr. Duncan is critiquing from the left. Each party, necessarily, serves wealth, and has a propaganda approach to preserve its political base while serving its economic base. The Republican party employs the authoritarian approach, mobilizing its base with fear and hate while it picks their pockets. The Democratic party offers an expansive approach on social issues to distract from the fact that the prerogatives of its economic base are never seriously threatened in the important realms of economics, finance and national security.

        Obviously, the Democrats by far are the lesser of evils and, in general elections, always need to be voted for. And if the interests of ordinary folks succeed in breaking thru, certainly it will be via the Democratic party structure. But we shouldn’t delude ourselves about the values a person needs to assimilate to rise within the Democratic party establishment.

      • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 02/10/2019 - 11:57 am.


        Pretty much all Repubs are as you say. But from my perspective, it is only social policies that divide Congress. And that is a fraud, because when either party has a lock on Congress and the Presidency, they do nothing about it.

        On economics and war/security/surveillance, Dems and Repubs are indistinguishable.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/11/2019 - 01:39 pm.

          I can tell you that for a lot of poor and working class people, there are huge differences. Your privilege is showing.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/11/2019 - 03:07 pm.

          And a President Hillary Clinton certainly would have appointed Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

        • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 02/12/2019 - 09:37 am.

          If my privilege is to call out power and advocate for working people and the health of the land and waters, to be mocked for not being sufficiently partisan, Pat and RB, I’ll wear that honorably.

  23. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/09/2019 - 01:01 pm.

    I’m not saying I wouldn’t vote her, but I have hard time seeing her rise above the competition. To the extent she positions herself as a “safe bet” I think she’ll highlight mediocrity. Whoever takes over after Trump will need to be a bold and powerful leader willing to aggressively roll back Fascist policies. Does that sound like Klobuchar?

    I think the American electorate is demanding progress that’s been effectively denied for decades. Does Klobuchar represent that progress, or is she a return to the status quo of failed compromises and uninspired leadership? I think after 4 years of Trump (if he lasts that long) voters might be looking for more than mere competence.

    I’m not saying one way or the other at this point, I haven’t seen her campaign. But I do think these are the issues and optics she’ll have to deal with if she wants to get on the ballot. I know I’m NOT looking for someone who promises to return us to a dysfunctional political landscape of a bygone era. If her campaign promises a “return” of any kind to whatever, be it compromise, or comity, or bi-partisan whatever… she’ll lose me. Such promises, even if kept, can only yield failure and disappointment. So let’s hope Klobuchar isn’t going there.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 02/09/2019 - 06:37 pm.

      Oh man! Boldly roll back Don Trump’s handiwork!?! No no no!

      We need a sensible moderate, who will work carefully, to incrementally inch things back to the center. That way, when the GOP is in control again, they can bulldoze everything far right again.

      Look at what the GOP has done to labor rights in the last decade, knee-capping what is left of the labor movement. Why on earth would you want to move boldly on that? Inch things back from the 2 yard line, maaaaybe try to get it to the 3 or 4 yard line, if Wall Street isn’t too alarmed.

      Just because eviscerating Labor in Wisconsin and Michigan led to those electoral votes moving to the Red column, that’s no reason to get crazy here.

      Because the next SCOUTS decision on public employee labor law while just outlaw those unions outright.

  24. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 02/09/2019 - 03:15 pm.

    I sadly fear that the 2020 election is shaping up to rhyme with 1976.

    The “energized” Democrats are going to nominate someone whom the general public will not be even remotely interested in supporting,…

    (likely one of the women who gleefully took down Al Franken).

    Her very excited supporters will love her to death and be completely shocked to discover that their personal enthusiasm isn’t enough to win the day.

    Trump, who shouldn’t have had a ghost of a chance,…

    will be re-elected,…

    after which he, being newly energized,…

    will do something SO egregiously stupid and offensive as to bring about his own impeachment,…

    because he seems to be endangering the entire GOP for generations to come.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same,…

    no matter how many times youngsters proclaim, “THIS time it’s different.”

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/10/2019 - 09:43 am.

      Greg, this election will in 2020, it’s unlikely to be a replay of 2016, Clinton won’t be on the ballot.

    • Submitted by Paul Yochim on 02/10/2019 - 10:11 am.

      Let’s hope so.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 02/10/2019 - 08:44 pm.

      I wouldn’t count on a Comey letter eleven days before the election.

    • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 02/12/2019 - 10:49 pm.

      My concerns exactly Greg. I think Democrats are probably doing three things at this point that are an issue:

      1. Acting like we just need to get rid of Donald Trump, I think we need to flip the Senate Blue also, otherwise, we will have the turtle (McConnel) blocking anything and everything.

      2. Trump has a huge war chest, 130 million or something like that.

      3. Most of the votes are in the center of the political spectrum, as in center-left, center, center-right.

      If you ignore that huge bock and end up with a nominee for president that alienates and doesn’t resonate with that HUGE center block of voters (e.g.- Warren), you can still lose the presidential (and the senate) election you need to turn both houses blue and the presidency blue – even though much of that center is not crazy about Trump.

      They may be even more leery of Elizabeth Warren than they are of Trump is the danger.

      And even if Trump loses, the Warren message is going to help Republican senators retain their seats in my opinion.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/13/2019 - 09:38 am.

        “3. Most of the votes are in the center of the political spectrum, as in center-left, center, center-right.”

        This is a delusion that put Trump in the White House. Centrism is an incoherent ideology that has yielded little more than failed compromises that Americans have clearly been unhappy and dissatisfied with for decades.

        If “centrism” made any sense Bernie Sanders’s wouldn’t be the most popular politician in the US, and several liberal initiatives from single payer to taxing the wealthy wouldn’t be so incredibly popular.

        My experience with those who claim to know who and what everyone else will vote for, and who’s “electable”, is that more often than not they’re just projecting their own personal comfort levels onto the rest of the population.

        The failed compromises, moderation, and limited agendas of centrism typically find their greatest appeal among those those who’ve never had to actually live with the failed compromises and limited agendas they endorse. It is simply a demographic fact that the majority of American’s do NOT live in a bubble affluence beyond the reach of: stagnant wages, un-affordable health care, crumbling infrastructure, poverty level minimum wages, underemployment, debt, and housing crises.

        The fact is that American voters turned to Trump in the first place out of desperation and frustration with a political system that hasn’t represented them or even spoken to them in decades. The idea that a majority a Americans endorse failed centrism is affluent privilege pretending to be political analysis.

  25. Submitted by Jon Eisenberg on 02/09/2019 - 10:41 pm.


    At the end of the article, you say the N.Y. Times. “encapsulated the question/dilemma I’ve been exploring today.” It’s quite a bit more than that. These two paragraphs of your article are nearly verbatim copied from the N.Y. Times:


    N.Y. Times wrote:

    [[[She has not signed onto Mr. Sanders’s single-payer health care bill, commonly called Medicare for All; she said it “should be considered,” but prefers “a sensible transition” such as allowing people to buy into Medicare, or expanding it to cover those 55 and older. Her push to make college more affordable is not as expansive as the left would like. While she has denounced Mr. Trump’s border policies, she has not joined the movement to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.]]]

    This does become clear once you quote the article at the end of your piece. But why do you not quote it within the article instead of presenting those paragraphs as if your own writing?

    • Submitted by Jon Eisenberg on 02/09/2019 - 10:42 pm.

      These two paragraphs were omitted from my comment due to the characters I surrounded them with:

      Klobuchar has not signed on to Sanders’ single-payer health care bill, commonly called Medicare for All. She said it “should be considered,” but prefers “a sensible transition” such as allowing people to buy into Medicare, or expanding Medicare it to cover those 55 (as opposed to the current 65 )and older.

      Her push to make college more affordable is not as expansive as the left would like. While she has denounced Trump’s border policies, she has not joined the movement to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

  26. Submitted by JUDITH MONSON on 02/10/2019 - 10:09 am.

    Eric Black, this is such a fine piece. You stirred up so many wonderful, thoughtful responses. I counted 88, but because I had my slippers on, I’m not entirely sure that’s correct. My 2 cents about turnover. I served 23 years in a govt agency where high turnover was a good thing. Promotions. Moving back to your hometown. Leaving to care for an either new or perhaps aging family member. We all tend to forget that hard work is…hard work. Sometimes shouting and throwing things, if done infrequently, might be a good thing. I think about how many of us who thought ourselves civil — these past 2 years, find ourselves shouting and throwing shoes at the TV. Also, not everyone is a stayer when the lights go out and it’s dark and it’s uncertain when if ever they’ll be back on. Resilience is not easily learned. Not for the faint of heart. Which describes all of us from time to time.

    Wonderful article, Eric. Keep doing what you do! We’re paying attention!

  27. Submitted by Anne Uehling on 02/10/2019 - 10:15 am.

    She has consistently supported the proposed now industry of copper mining in northern Minnesota and backed Federal leasing of National Forest land to that industry even though it threatens the St. Louis River watershed (longest river feeding into Lake Superior) and supports mining along the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/11/2019 - 03:07 pm.

      In doing so, she’s representing the wishes of (most) of the residents of northern Minnesota, which is her job. Simply eliminating mining and logging would increase the already severe unemployment in that area.
      Do you have an alternative that would provide an equivalent number of jobs at the same wage levels? Now, not ten years from now?
      There’s no easy answer.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/12/2019 - 11:03 am.

        Dude, mining in MN has been in decline for decades, and it will continue to decline even if we destroy the environment to keep it alive. How many jobs do you think we’re actually talking about here? Do you think those are permanent jobs that will never go away? And once the environment is ruined, and jobs are gone… then what? Is Northern MN going to thrive on disaster tourism? Come see the poisoned wilderness we created in order to create a few jobs for a while?

  28. Submitted by Arthur Himmelman on 02/10/2019 - 12:34 pm.

    Amy’s politics are similar to those of an endangered species, the moderate Republican. Ironically, there are now more moderate Republicans, including Amy and former president Obama, in the Democratic Party than in the Republican Party.

    Re socialism. It is absurd to assume most Americans have any understanding of what socialism is. Even so, some politicians call themselves “democratic socialists,” while their policy proposals, such as Medicare for All, are mainstream social democracy. There is a major difference between social democracy and democratic socialism: The former exists within capitalism; the latter replaces capitalism. Even someone with a grade school education can understand which is more likely in America.

    Social democracy is also easy to learn about because it has existed in most capitalist countries for many years. In fact, anyone can by watching Michael Moore’s movie, “Where to Invade Next,” which examines the benefits of progressive social policies (social democracy) in various capitalist countries.

  29. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/11/2019 - 08:56 am.

    Yeah, I guess the point is whether Klobuchar is a “moderate” or not may be some kind of political taxonomy question, but it may well irrelevant. What the US needs is a liberal president and a liberal Democratic Party. As long as we see Democrats complaining about the “leftists” and worrying about being called socialists we know we have a long way to go.

  30. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/12/2019 - 09:06 am.

    I guess it’s worth pointing out the fact that the US Constitution currently prohibits a truly socialist economy because it guarantees private property rights in a variety of ways, as well as certain individual liberties. You’d have to tear up the Constitution in order to implement a truly socialist economic system. If I’m not mistaken that was one problem FDR had with his New Deal legislation… SCOTUS kept striking things down as unconstitutional.

    If you think AOC or Sanders’s or anyone else is or has advocated tearing up the Constitution your simply not aware of reality. The only people I know who talk about tearing up the Constitution and abolishing capitalism are Marxists. Social Democrats are about as Marxist as “Happy Days” was crime drama.

    The only OTHER people who would tear up the Constitution are Fascist… and we have one in the White House right now, so if you’re worried about who’s more likely to tear down our democracy I’d be more worried about the Republicans than the Marxists if I were you.

    • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 02/12/2019 - 12:36 pm.

      Actually, the Constitution and Bill of Rights don’t guarantee private property. They simply provide that private property rights may not be taken away without due process or just compensation. Changes in law cause the contours of private property rights to shift continuously. The Bill of Rights simply protects against shifts happening too abruptly. Nothing in those documents constrains how a thoughtful society chooses to arrange elements of a complex economy on the spectrum of individual vs. collective prerogative.

      Which is not to detract from your broader point that the threat to our individual rights and liberties is overwhelmingly from the authoritarian Right and the concentration of economic and political power that it seeks to advance.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/12/2019 - 02:39 pm.

        Interesting point Mr. Holtman but wonder if you’re playing with a false distinction. The US Constitution only offers the protections you describe (i.e. due process and compensation) in regards to established “rights”. Therefore is it not the case that protections offered to those with private property can only be coherent if owning such property is itself a right? We have 200 years full of hundreds of legal precedents establishing the rights of property owners. Are we to assume then that none of those ruling have any basis in the US Constitution?

        We can create public institutions, but the governments ability to Nationalize private institutions beyond some limited emergency basis is far too limited to form a truly Socialist economic regime without a dramatic change in the Constitution itself.

        • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 02/13/2019 - 12:58 pm.

          When a due process or just compensation claim is made, the first question is to what extent the private property right exists. This is determined by looking both to whether the right is recognized by statutory or common law, and to whether the social and historical context make the claim to the private right a reasonable one. So if, in a particular realm of economic activity, a thoughtful society, in the interests of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, gradually recalibrates how ownership and decisionmaking rights are allocated as between individual and collective interests, whatever endpoint is reached is perfectly constitutional and as a legal matter (as distinct from a political matter) won’t particularly require paying just compensation along the way.

          If I understand your argument, it’s that since the Constitution gives protections to private property rights, it must presume that such rights exist. This seems to be an argument only against the elimination of all private property rights which – I think you would agree – is a fairly academic question since there are maybe six or seven Maoists, and perhaps one or two eccentric Pol Pot adherents, who would aim at such a goal.

          Certainly a less academic question is the constitutionality of “nationalizing” certain elements of the economy where we’d be much better served by shifting prerogatives decisively in the direction of the collective (e.g., health insurance, national security, energy). Here, law and context may restrict the public capacity to do this quickly (without paying off private holders with huge sums of public money), even if a natural and desirable shift toward collective control has been retarded by the undemocratic exercise of private power. It would be an interesting discussion for a Supreme Court operating in good faith.

  31. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/13/2019 - 09:56 am.

    Look, in a country where we can’t even use eminent domain to get rid of a K-Mart sitting in the middle of a city street, if you worried about waking up in a socialist economy some morning your just being daft.

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