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‘I live in the real world,’ Bachmann says on CBS

MORNING EDITION ALSO: Democrats Exposed goes after Oberstar, state House leaders make their cases, Minnesota Conservatives blog takes on social issues, and Turf Club closes, at least temporarily.

MORNING EDITION

‘I live in the real world,’ Bachmann says on CBS

I will not attempt to recap everything that has gone down in the days we were away, if only because what happened Sunday is so completely familiar, almost like a new year didn’t happen. For example: Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, out of her usual FoxNews bubble and on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program, “debating” not-exactly defenseless Democrats Anthony Weiner of New York and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida. Here’s a link, via … FoxNews. Prepare to be reminded that the congresswoman lives “in the real world.” (Watch Wasserman’s eye-roll when Bachmann tries to throw another thought into the argument.)

Jeremy Herb of the Strib watched the incident and blogs at “Hot Dish Politics”: “Bachmann told the CBS audience that the country’s debt ceiling should not be raised again, which Weiner said would lead to a government shut down. But Bachmann, who has an online petition against raising the country’s debt ceiling, shot back that holding firm on the debt cap wouldn’t cause a government stoppage. ‘You’ve got it exactly wrong,’ she told Weiner. ‘That’s not what we’re looking to do. We are not looking to shut the government down. But at the same time, we’re not looking at wanting to continually raise the debt ceiling.’ ‘I don’t know what you call it, Michele,’ Weiner responded, ‘but that’s shutting down the government.’ “

Andy Post at Minnesota Democrats Exposed posts documentation “proving” that Jim Oberstar’s legal residence was Maryland, not Minnesota: “That’s what recent documents acquired by MDE now reaffirm. The (soon) former Congressman has held residency in Cloquet, MN for years, but for tax purposes has listed Potomac, MD as his primary place of residence. He has simply been paying property taxes for his Minnesota property from Maryland.” I know I’m stunned. The next thing we’ll find out is that Oberstar hadn’t been at a Fishing Opener in 10 years.  

The Strib runs competing commentaries  from DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen and House Majority Leader Kurt Zellers. Says Zellers, after noting the shift in power and the voice of “the people” in November’s election: “Tax increases are not a viable solution for resolving the short-term budget deficit or stabilizing the structural need for reform. Minnesota already has the eighth-highest tax burden in the country, and our business climate rests in the bottom 10. Increasing the tax burden simply throws more resources at an existing problem: expansive and expensive state government. Government spending needs to come off cruise control. Our philosophy is to spend less through real structural reforms and innovation, steering government toward priorities and better controlling the speed at which it spends.” He does not suggest specific cuts.

Thissen reminds his readers: “In the Republican imagination, we can balance a $6.2 billion state deficit — a 16 percent hole in our budget — with something they call ‘streamlining.’ It’s painless, doesn’t touch our children’s educations and has no impact on where our aging parents will live out their golden years. Streamlining is the Republicans’ magic wand that will simply wipe away the largest deficit our state has ever faced. Don’t get me wrong: I believe government should do things more efficiently, and I will work with my Republican colleagues to make sure it does. But I also know we cannot ‘reform’ ourselves out of a $6.2 billion budget hole. Minnesotans deserve better than the promise to pull a rabbit out of a hat.”

Both Zellers and Thissen might want to check out a piece by Patrick B. Anderson of the Winona Daily News that has been picked up by quite a few other outlets since its publication after Christmas. Anderson looks at the demand of public services in his area: “Poverty is on the rise in Winona County — up at least 34 percent from 2000 to 2009, according to five-year estimates by the American Community Survey. Demand for public assistance is up too, but [Human Services head Craig] Brooks said there’s little his department can do as state and local officials grapple with their own budget problems. … But most predict funding from the state — or any government unit — will be cut, not increased, within the next year. Almost 8,000 county residents live below the poverty level, according to estimates released by the U.S. Census two weeks ago — a troubling statistic, Winona County Commissioner Jim Pomeroy said. ‘I think it shows that the county is probably no different than any place out there,’ he said.” What those folks need is to get off “cruise control.”  

Those of you in line for the big Marijuana Deathsquads show at the Turf Club in St. Paul Saturday night already know that the reassuringly grungy bar has closed, at least temporarily. Andrea Swensson at City Pages writes: “Manager Dave Wiegardt, who has worked at the club for the last 15 years and helped to shape it as an institution in the local community along with former staff members Rob and Leah Rule, was let go on Saturday night. The locks were changed, and staff were given no notice of the closing — though regulars and staff members report that the bar hadn’t been fully stocked in weeks and that they knew ‘something was up.’ “

John Hugh Gilmore, blogging at Minnesota Conservatives, has his year-end post up, and it’s a good read. The topic is all the treadworn social issues his friends on the right are forever chasing: “Abortion will never be illegal in America. No, the analogy to slavery is not apt. Conservatives should shun ridiculous groups like Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. MCCL is mostly concerned about paying its ossified staff good salaries. They save no unborn. They take you for and treat you as suckers. Do not enable the charade to continue any longer. Give your money and time to the the Catholic church or any other legitimate group that reaches out to real women in real distress. You will be doing good. Don’t forget to try to act like Christ either. Tough sledding but that’s what you signed up for.
[Also] Same sex anything: it’s over. Isn’t it slightly creepy that some care about how others achieve sexual satisfaction? The marriage debate is real and MC is not for same-sex marriage but really, if civil unions flourish, who cares at the moment? MC favors social change organically, to use that silly word. Put it to a vote. Then follow what the people say. More or less, this is a good guide to social comity. MC supposes this approach would defund the silly Minnesota Majority, which, apparently, exists only to raise money to pay its lone staffers Jeff Davis and Dan McGrath. Readers, send them no money at all. And voter photo id? A solution, as Joe Mansky said, in search of a problem.” Naturally “MC” hears from Dan McGrath in the comments section.

Judd Zulgad of the Strib and others are reporting that the Vikings will make Leslie Frazier the team’s new head coach: “The Star Tribune has confirmed that the Vikings have decided to make Frazier the eighth head coach in team history. An announcement is expected Monday or Tuesday. It’s believed Frazier will receive a deal in the neighborhood of three years. With four other head coaching jobs already open and more changes sure to be made on Monday, the Vikings had to act quick if they wanted to retain Frazier. Although owner Zygi Wilf was not in the Twin Cities on Friday, Frazier spent several hours meeting with team officials as things really heated up.”

Oh, and in the “For What It’s Worth” file, Brett Favre says he’s retiring. Kevin Seifert of ESPN adds: “He was picked off 19 times this season and his 69.9 quarterback rating is the lowest of his career. The Vikings sunk to the bottom of the NFC North after starting the season with Super Bowl aspirations, coach Brad Childress was fired during the season and Favre was fined $50,000 for failure to cooperate with an NFL investigation into allegations that he sent lewd photos and messages to a game-day hostess when both worked for the Jets in 2008. Favre’s reputation took a serious hit from the humiliating scandal, which tarnished the image of one of the league’s most popular players. He declined to comment on the fine after the game.