With recall elections in Wisconsin on the immediate horizon, Greg Sargent of The Washington Post looks ahead to January, when Gov. Scott Walker will likely face a recall fight of his own: “Top Democrats in Wisconsin are increasingly worried that Republicans will be able to prevent Governor Scott Walker from recall by engineering a situation in which the election to recall and replace him takes place on the same day as the Wisconsin GOP 2012 presidential primary, when GOP turnout is at a maximum, I’m told. The possibility of this happening is being taken so seriously by Wisconsin Dems that they are currently gaming out what to do about it. That both sides are already plotting their strategies over Walker is a sign that both recognize that a recall election against him is a near certainty and that it will be intensely fought, with an immense amount riding on the outcome. Leading Wisconsin Dems are leaning towards a plan to ensure that the recall election against Walker is held on the same day as the November general election in 2012. This would ensure maximum turnout among Dems in the state, making Walker’s recall more likely, and provide a big boost in grassroots energy that could help Obama win a key swing state.” It might be worth changing residency for that one.
Dan Balz of The Washington Post writes: “Wisconsin remains in political turmoil. Recall elections are pending for nine state senators, six Republicans and three Democrats. Republicans could lose their Senate majority as a result. The governor could face a recall next year. Lawmakers, the political parties and their coalitions are now consumed with elections and recriminations, rather than being able to concentrate on finding ways to create jobs and fix the economy — the major promises of Walker’s campaign. ‘It’s tough,’ Walker said about the GOP’s prospects for holding onto the Senate. He argued that the more Wisconsin citizens learn about the effects of the changes in his budget, particularly in education, the more they will see them positively. ‘If the election were January 9th rather than August 9th, I’d feel a lot better,’ he said.”
The Strib editorializes positively about the bonding bill tucked into the proposed budget deal: “Plenty of Minnesotans are panning the budget agreement reached last week by Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP legislative leaders — and they should. Its borrowing and payment delays are almost the definition of shoddy fiscal management. But one aspect of the deal deserves cheers. An economy-stimulating $500 million bonding bill, stalled all year, appears headed for passage. That bill will be as welcome as a cool breeze this week for thousands of unemployed construction workers. Minnesota lost 6,700 construction jobs in the 12 months that ended in May. The sector’s unemployment has matched or exceeded that of the nation since the recession began, even as the state’s overall jobless rate has been smaller than the nation’s. By the calculus of the state AFL-CIO, a $500 million bonding bill would generate 15,000 jobs directly and indirectly in the next several years.” But wait, I’m sure I’ve heard legislative leaders saying government doesn’t create jobs. Maybe they were thinking about China …
Another day and another pledge signed by Our Favorite Congresswoman. Says Rebecca Stewart of CNN: “Bachmann changed her mind about signing the “Cut, Cap and Balance” pledge, but made a critical addition before doing so. Bachmann is seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for president and previously vowed that she would not sign the pledge because it didn’t go far enough. But the three-term congresswoman remedied that concern Monday when she signed onto the agreement endorsed by nine other GOP presidential candidates, and added on a condition of her own: that candidates agree to repeal and defund health care reform legislation passed over one year ago and signed into law by President Obama.”
The crime rate in Minneapolis has hit a 10-year low. Matt McKinney of the Strib reports: “Violent crimes reported by mid-year in Minneapolis have dropped to their lowest point in a decade, and every category of crime except larceny has fallen from last year, statistics show. While the drop in crime parallels what’s happening in cities nationwide, local leaders who gathered in north Minneapolis Monday credited better policing and a crackdown on gun-toting felons for reducing murders, aggravated assaults, rapes and robberies. Five years ago, violent crime surged in Minneapolis to 3,179 incidents at midyear. That same year, Mayor R.T. Rybak hired Tim Dolan as his police chief. Violent crimes reported this year were down to 1,761 for the same period.”
And who isn’t a sucker for “dirty restaurant” stories, or to be fair, “code violation” stories? Jane Friedmann of the Strib writes: “The city of Minneapolis inspected 664 eateries during the three-month period ending in May, down from 771 in the three months before that. I reviewed 804 inspection reports to identify the 10 businesses with the highest number of new or unabated critical violations during that time. Critical violations are deemed most likely to cause food-borne illness.” A list of the “Top 10” follows.
Somebody’s going to start brewing hootch in the bathtub. Bars and restaurants running low on booze still can’t buy more … because of The Shutdown. Jake Grovum of Politics in Minnesota writes: “Rejecting a petition from the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, [Judge Kathleen] Gearin accepted the recommendation of Special Master Kathleen Blatz that not issuing the cards may be harmful to business in a variety of ways, but that the function is not critical enough to override concerns about the judicial branch making budget decisions. ‘The effects of the shutdown will be harmful, if not crippling, to many businesses,’ Blatz wrote, ‘but the solution to this problem does not rest with the judicial branch but rather those branches charged with enacting the state’s budget.’ “ Kind of like everything else, in other words.
News over the weekend that freshman Congressman Chip Cravaack is moving his family to New Hampshire has Democrats there making jokes. Jeremy Herb of the Strib writes: “New Hampshire Democratic Chair Ray Buckley says in a statement: ‘It’s a pleasure to congratulate Representative Chip Cravaack on relocating his family to New Hampshire since there is little doubt he will soon be retiring here permanently.’ Cravaack was already in for a tough re-election fight, as the freshman Republican is being targeted nationally by Democrats and election forecasters say it will be one of the top House races in the country. But the move will put Cravaack on shakier ground for the 2012 campaign, as he was swept into office in part by labeling 18-term Rep. Jim Oberstar as being out of touch with his district. Before the GOP nominating convention in 2010, Cravaack told the Duluth News Tribune: ‘I was shocked to find out he lives in a million-dollar home in Potomac, Maryland.’ ”
A Minneapolis man has pleaded guilty to charges of abetting terrorism. Laura Yuen of MPR says: “Omer Abdi Mohamed, 26, was set to become the first defendant to go to trial Tuesday as part of a sweeping federal terror investigation. Mohamed admitted being a member of a conspiracy that recruited young Somali-American men to fight the Ethiopian troops that had occupied Somalia. He acknowledged attending secret meetings that planned out the trips, and helping the travelers secure plane tickets. Mohamed told U.S. District Court Chief Judge Michael Davis he now agrees those actions were illegal.”
The reliably doctrinaire Wall Street Journal opinion page boldly declares Gov. Dayton the one who “blinked” in the budget fight out here on the prairies. Says Stephen Moore: “Dayton took new taxes off the table and in the end agreed to a spending ceiling very close to the original GOP target. Republicans made concessions, too, but there can be no mistake that in this two-week long St. Paul stare down it was Mr. Dayton who blinked. From the start, the newly elected governor wanted giant tax increases. Under his proposal, the top income tax rate would have risen to almost 11% (initially, he proposed 13%) from the current top rate of just below 8%. Republicans didn’t cave to the class warfare, even as the press carped at how unreasonable they were being. But Minnesota voters seemed to understand that the state would only make its economic troubles worse by increasing costs to employers. … it’s a big victory for House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, who led the fight. It’s also a win for Minnesotans, who won’t face new taxes or unsustainable spending. Republicans remained committed to the principles that won them legislative majorities in November for the first time in more than two decades. Let’s hope lawmakers in Washington were watching.” The fealty to word-perfect script is breathtaking.