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Norm Coleman says voting amendment foes are ‘crying wolf’

Former Sen. Norm Coleman drops off a commentary for the Strib. The topic: All that’s good about the voting amendment: “Opponents of Minnesota’s constitutional amendment to require a valid photo ID prior to voting are increasingly crying wolf rather than focusing on the facts. The developing logic around their opposition suggests that they are of the opinion that some level of voter fraud is acceptable in Minnesota and that a photo ID is an impediment to voting. … opponents to photo ID requirements are now resorting to two specious arguments:
• One, that photo ID prevents people from voting.
• Two, that while there is fraud, there’s not too much fraud.
To the argument about suppressing voter participation, it should be noted that 31 states have a photo ID requirement, including, in 2011, liberal Rhode Island, which passed a voter ID statute with significant support from black and Latino legislators. In states that have photo ID, participation in elections has actually increased. Regarding opponents’ second argument: Suggesting that there’s not too much fraud has as much weight as suggesting there’s not too much drunken driving.”

Mike Parry rises! Tim Pugmire of MPR reports: “Two Republican lawmakers say they think DFL Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has gone too far in his criticism of the proposed voter ID constitutional amendment, which is on the November ballot. Sens. Mike Parry of Waseca and Scott Newman of Hutchinson filed a formal complaint Thursday accusing Ritchie of using public money to campaign against voter ID and of spreading inaccurate information. The complaint, filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings, accuses Ritchie of multiple violations of state campaign law. Parry and Newman, who have hired attorney Fritz Knaak to represent them, claim that Ritchie traveled throughout the state in his official capacity and at taxpayer expense, to promote what they view as his personal anti-voter ID agenda.” And just for clarification, and peace of mind … I assume the state GOP is paying Mr. Knaak’s fee?

The Strib itself editorializes about Mitt Romney’s debate performance: “Romney was right and eloquent in framing public debt, and the burden it could place on future generations, as a moral issue. But he still needs to spell out which tax deductions and exemptions he would close in order to make his large reduction in tax rates revenue-neutral. He also needs to name, and sell, some of the painful spending cuts that the next president will need to ask of the American people if the nation’s fiscal affairs are to be put right. It’s easy to take aim at public broadcasting’s Big Bird. But what about the Air Force and other military spending, or a solid plan to curb costs on Medicare and other costly entitlement programs? Romney’s repeated promises to protect the Pentagon, Medicare and other programs, coupled with his tax plan, have led independent analysts to predict even more red ink. … Obama obfuscated on how his second term would achieve the policy compromises the country needs in order to avoid a European-style fiscal crisis. That is, unless the new Congress is decisively controlled by Democrats, hardly a sure thing.” I think a lot more on the details from both gentlemen is in order.

That’s full-out winter up north. The AP says: “On Minnesota’s eastern border, residents of Duluth who basked in 70-degree weather on Wednesday turned on the furnace for temperatures in the 40s and 50s the following day. About 4 to 6 inches of snow was in the forecast north of a line from Bemidji to Ely through Friday. The National Weather Service said an estimated 14 inches of snow had fallen 10 miles north-northwest of Badger as of 3 p.m. Thursday. Roseau reported 7 inches of snow, Karlstad 6 inches, Stephen 5 inches and Hallock 4 inches.”

Tim Nelson at MPR spent some quality time reading the architect’s contract for the new Vikings stadium. On Page 108, he found something possibly related to personal seat licenses. He says: “HKS [the winning firm] as you might expect, is taking the first job on the list — architect. But in the contract, they’re also tabbed for the LAST item, ‘demographic analysis for premium product.’ That’s a fairly cryptic listing — much as the Vikings have been cryptic about what may be one of the more controversial elements of a potential stadium financing plan, personal seat licenses. They’ve said they haven’t decided yet whether it’s something Minnesota Vikings fans will buy. But team vice president Lester Bagley says the design contract doesn’t have code for PSL’s buried in the fine print.” Just on Page 108.

A drug from a “specialty pharmacy” in Massachusetts is causing problems in a lot of places. Colleen Stoxen of the Strib writes: “U.S. health officials ramped up warnings Thursday about a Massachusetts specialty pharmacy linked to a widening outbreak of a rare kind of meningitis, urging doctors and hospitals not to use any products from the company. A steroid product has been linked to a nationwide outbreak of fungal meningitis infections, prompting Minnesota health officials to work with local clinics and track down patients who were injected with it. The Minnesota Health Department is working with Medical Advanced Pain Specialists in Edina, Fridley, Shakopee and Maple Grove, and the Minnesota Surgery Center in Edina and Maple Grove to contact the patients. The department says they are the only providers know to have used the product in Minnesota.”

Prepare to familiarize yourself with the notion of a “streetcar corridor.” Don Jacobson, in the Strib, writes: “The idea of establishing a streetcar or “enhanced bus” corridor along Nicollet Avenue through downtown Minneapolis and up Central Avenue NE. is drawing residents to open houses where city planners are asking for opinions. Minneapolis city planners carrying out the ‘Nicollet-Central Transit Alternatives Study’ want to know which mode of transit people would most like to see — fixed-rail streetcars such as those in Portland, Ore., and Seattle? Or perhaps ‘fancy’ buses that mix with traffic, like those found in Boston and Kansas City?”

You did catch GOP 1st District candidate Allen Quist’s gay marriage comments in Winona, yes? Mary Juhl of the Daily News reports: “Congressional candidate Allen Quist said Tuesday that government shouldn’t be involved in the gay marriage debate, one week after he declared his support for a proposed state constitutional amendment that would limit marriage to between a man and woman. ‘I think that government does not have a role in whether people should get married or not,’ Quist said at a public event in Winona. His words directly conflict with a statement the Republican, running against U.S. Rep. Tim Walz in the 1st District, sent the Daily News last week detailing his position on the state’s proposed marriage amendment. ‘I support the marriage amendment because for over a thousand years, Western culture has defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman,’ he said in the statement. ‘I don’t see a compelling reason to change that definition.’ Quist said in a subsequent interview Tuesday that the two statements are ‘paradoxical but not contradictory.’ ” Or, opposite and identical, if you will.

Here’s the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on Mitt Romney’s tax plan: “Romney is proposing to cut tax rates by 20% (from 35% to 28% at the high end). He says his plan would be ‘revenue neutral’ because he would close tax loopholes and eliminate or limit deductions. He floated the idea of limiting itemized deductions this week, including the one for mortgage interest, but Romney has been reluctant to lay out a fuller proposal for fear of having it picked apart. That means we have no idea whether what he says is true or not. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has concluded that it’s impossible to make his tax plan ‘revenue neutral,’ and we suspect the center is right — unless Romney and his acolytes make unrealistic assumptions. We favor a flatter, simpler tax code for individuals. But we think it should produce more revenue and be more progressive (wealthy Americans should pay a bit more). Obama’s plan calls for raising rates on the rich, but no tax reform. Apparently, he’s satisfied with the same old Byzantine system.”

Comments (15)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/05/2012 - 08:43 am.

    Brian, if you check MinnPost’s headlines, you’ll be advised that Knaak is not being paid by the taxpayers or the MNGOP.

    Personally, I hope the judge settles court costs upon George Soros’ “Secretary of State” project since it is they that foisted Ritchie upon us in the first place.

    • Submitted by Mark Stromseth on 10/05/2012 - 09:51 am.

      Not Proven

      “Neither the Senate Republican Caucus nor state tax dollars are paying for Knaak’s services, Newman said, but he wouldn’t elaborate on whether the two senators were paying for the attorney’s fees.”

      The statements by politicians cannot be taken as truthful when they have a history of fabrication. Unless they can prove otherwise, we must assume they are not telling the truth. Amy Koch famously proclaimed on television that she had done nothing wrong when asked about her affair with Michael Brodkorb.

      Since adultery is a crime, she did indeed do something wrong; and her apparent ignorance of the law while she was supposed to be acting in accordance with the law to conduct the business of the State and The People showed her to be unfit to govern, like all of the GOP.

      As for your assertion that some nefarious conspiracy funded by an evil, anti-GOP operative named George Soros “foisted” Mark Ritchie upon you, that’s nothing more than a paranoid delusion. The fact that you aren’t a member of the DFL party and don’t like ‘liberals’ or ‘progressives’ is the actual reason you don’t like Mark Ritchie, who was elected by The People.

      Wishing for a thing doesn’t make it so.

  2. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 10/05/2012 - 08:48 am.

    Crying straw men

    Opponents of the proposed voter ID amendment are not “crying wolf”; they are crying “straw man” against the phoney problems which the amendment is supposed to prevent. Just as the proposed amendment attacks a “straw man”, so does Mr. Coleman with his false claim that opponents of the think “there’s not too much fraud.” Norm, we don’t think there’s not too much fraud; we think you don’t need to make everyone get a photo ID to deal with it. Or have to pass a literacy test or whatever other “poll tax” substitutes your party has planned for us to get to vote.The existing system deals adequately with the fraud there is and no one has shown that there’s some rampant voter fraud which has not been discovered. Having to prove you are qualified to vote by a voter ID is like making everyone go through an airport security to vote. Maybe that’s what else the Republicans have in mind. What better way to deal with the rampant outbreak of terrorist attacks on voting stations.

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/05/2012 - 09:17 am.

    “Crying Wolf” About Voter Fraud

    I always love it when the charred, crusty, cracked, discarded old cast iron pot complains about the nature of the cooking utensils that are still useful, and therefore, still in use.

    In reality the Republican Party (at the behest of, and enabled by ALEC), nationwide (and in Minnesota), has been “crying wolf” about proven-to-be-nonexistent voter fraud for the past many years.

    The Democrats’ attempts (inadequate though they have been) to tell the truth: that Voter I.D. bills are nothing short of a Republican attempt to hand themselves the tools to take substantial control over the outcomes of elections in every state where such laws are enacted,…

    not only disenfranchising large numbers of those they regard to be undesirable voters, but also the means to decide WHICH votes actually get counted after they are cast,…

    is NOT “crying wolf,” it’s spreading accurate information,…

    which, as we see from the Parry/Newman/Knaak efforts to intimidate Sec. of State Ritchie into keeping silent, is information they hoped could be kept from the public until it was too late to save the integrity of Minnesota’s election process (currently regarded to be the cleanest of the 50 states),

    As to the Milwaukee Journal’s complaints about President Obama being “in favor of the same old Byzantine (federal tax) system, why on earth would the pathetic pundits at the Journal think it would have been prudent or wise to propose changes to our current tax system. Considering the deeply dysfunctional nature of the congress he’s been dealing with, such a proposal would have sucked up so much oxygen in Washington that every other issue would have died for lack of air.

    If the Democrats should miraculously regain control of congress when Obama is re-elected, it’s possible that tax reform might be on the agenda,…

    (but the Blue Dog democrats, such as Collin Peterson, who, in order to maintain their seats in conservative districts end up acting like Republicans most of the time, could kill such efforts, anyway, just as they seriously wounded the efforts to create the Affordable Care Act).

    If we somehow end up with Romney and a Republican congress, we likely will get tax reform, the effect of which will, as it has always been with Republicans since the days of Ronnie Raygun, serve only one purpose: to further enrich the rich at the expense of all the rest of us.

  4. Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 10/05/2012 - 09:18 am.

    “Not too much fraud”?

    If drunk driving was as rare as illegal voting, literally over one million Americans who died in car accidents would still be with us.

    Norm Coleman. I wonder who’s buying his suits now?

  5. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/05/2012 - 09:39 am.

    Coleman’s fallacy

    Coleman is simply regurgitating a fallacy based on a false dichotomy. The idea is that “liberals” aren’t concerned about voter fraud and conservative care, and that the only way we can address the issue is require voter ID or do nothing.

    The fact is that anyone who really cares about voter fraud would actually do something about it rather than promote an ID requirement that is worse than doing nothing. In 2008 the legislature passed a motor voter law with overwhelming bipartisan support that would have prevented 80% of the fraud in the subsequent elections. (it would have prevented most of the illegal votes cast by felons by allowing database cross checks and verification). Pawlenty vetoed that bill. Likewise Mark Ritchie has detailed an electronic voter registration system that incorporates photos. This would virtually eliminate all fraud taking place at the polls. By contrast the voter ID requirement spends millions, blocks legitimate votes, and prevents zero fraud because there have been no cases of voter impersonation in the state of MN. If is were simply a waste of money it would do nothing to prevent fraud. But the fact that it will produce thousands of uncounted provisional ballots, and create unnecessary barriers for legitimate voters actually makes it worse than doing nothing.

  6. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 10/05/2012 - 09:56 am.

    Maybe the Voter ID amendment is not such a shoo-in after all,…

    …else why are Norm Coleman and those 2 state senators so worried that the public might be developing an adverse opinion ?? They certainly are making a lot of racket.

    Could it be that opinion is shifting ?? I know that earlier polls showed there was substantial support for it, but then maybe the voters hadn’t really given it thorough, thoughtful consideration at the time. It seems to me that until the consequences are fully known, a wise voter is going to have some reservations.

    There are so many unknowns with this amendment, I would urge people not necessarily to vote “No”, but rather, to simply not vote on it at all – i.e., wait until a future time until a more forthright amendment is proposed.

  7. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/05/2012 - 10:32 am.

    Show me,

    Sen. Coleman, that more fraudulent votes will be prevented than legitimate votes suppressed and you might get my vote. But you’ll also need to show me that this is a cost-effective means of addressing the issue and that it can be addressed only by a constitutional amendment, as well. Until then, I’ll have to accept the statements by members of your own party that this is intended to suppress non-Republican votes.

  8. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/05/2012 - 10:35 am.

    Politicians hire a politician

    to sue another politician for making public comments on a political issue. I’m shocked by it all. Or would be, if lunacy weren’t the order of the day.

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/05/2012 - 12:24 pm.

      I’m dissapointed.

      Ritchie is being sued for using his office for political purposes, not because he made his opinion known…I had a higher opinion of your observations than that.

      • Submitted by Noel Martinson on 10/05/2012 - 12:57 pm.


        you would care to insert the term “allegedly” into your assertion…

      • Submitted by Matthew Levitt on 10/05/2012 - 01:50 pm.

        sounds like

        another personal attack without substance from Mr. Swift.

        Wasn’t the new policy that these were not to be posted?

        I had higher expectations of the editorial staff at MinnPost.

      • Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/05/2012 - 02:32 pm.

        Can you point me to a politician

        who does not use his or her office for political purposes? I think not. Every member of the legislature of whom I am aware routinely spends state funds to “inform” voters of what they’ve been up to. The Republican party recently had its hand slapped for incuding partisan material in a state-funded publication, but only because they went a step too far.

        Every one of them uses office as a bully pulpit from which to promote themselves and their agendas. Why Ritchie should be any different eludes me. My opinion would differ if Ritchie were not an elected official. And, lest we forget, the voters will have the opportunity to throw the man out of office if they choose. (Although why it’s an elective office is beyond me.)

        Sorry to disappoint you. Be assured that I’ve never been similarly disappointed.

  9. Submitted by Logan Foreman on 10/05/2012 - 12:50 pm.

    It is a republican disease

    “If they state anything, everyone else must believe it without any proof. Norm naturally has the disease – provide proof that more people vote with photo id. Otherwise Norm it is just GIGO.

  10. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 10/05/2012 - 01:15 pm.

    Where lies the fraud?

    If those limitations effected in the right of all citizens to vote, by actuating the mandatory use of Voter ID…is such an amendment by its very nature of refusing some the opportunity to vote fraudulent by its very nature.

    Therein lies the ‘Fraud’…not in the voting process as it now stands?

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