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Bachmann and Graves: Round Two

David Lebedoff’s “vote no” rationale; St. Jude layoffs much bigger than announced; Romney’s Jeep assertion; Powerline rips Friedman views; and more.

This time the 6th District debate was at MPR. For the PiPress, Megan Boldt writes: “[Moderator Kerri] Miller called out [Michele] Bachmann on two claims she made about ‘Obamacare’ during the debate. When Bachmann said premiums are going up because of the health care law, Miller jumped in, pointing out 80 percent of law it not yet in place. ‘How do we know that premiums are going up under the Affordable Care Act when most of it’s not in effect’? Miller asked. Bachmann also stated that the Congressional Budget Office determined the health care law would kill 800,000 jobs. The CBO director said the law would reduce the workforce by about 0.5 percent because some people would work less or leave their jobs altogether because they wouldn’t have to work just to afford health insurance. Not because employers wouldn’t hire them.”

T.W. Budig of the suburban ECM papers writes: “Miller unsuccessfully tried to get Bachmann to address comments by Indiana Republican U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock indicating he opposed abortion in case of rape because the resulting pregnancy was something God intended. ‘I’m 100 percent pro life,’ Bachmann said. ‘I believe there needs to be an exception for the life of the mother,’ she said. But Bachmann suggested Miller’s question was missing the point. ‘It’s not a small issue. It’s a big issue,’ Bachmann said. It’s not just rare cases they’re dealing with, but the big overall issue, she argued. ‘Again, my position is in line with the Catholic church,’ Bachmann said. Graves indicated that the issue of abortion belonged outside of government. ‘That’s between her family and her God,’ he said of the decision of whether to terminate a pregnancy. ‘I’m not going to be involved in that,’ he said.”

For the Strib, Jennifer Brooks says: “Bachmann also repeated her support for a constitutional ‘personhood’ amendment that would ban abortion. Asked how such an amendment would affect couples seeking in-vitro fertilization — a process that can destroy or risk human embryos — Bachmann said she might consider ‘waivers.’ ” … Which is kind of like a “variable.”

For MPR, Brett Neely says: “On the subject of health care, Bachmann repeated her long-standing opposition to the 2010 health care law, saying it was too intrusive and didn’t do anything to reduce health care costs. “The best way you can do that after you repeal, because that’s the first step, is to allow every American wherever they live in the United States to buy any health insurance plan they want anywhere in America with no minimum requirements,” Bachmann said. Many health care analysts worry that such an approach would lead to insurers offering cheap plans with minimal coverage in whichever states offered the least regulation. But Graves has been wary of endorsing the health care law in a heavily Republican district and said he could envision voting to repeal it under some circumstances. ‘If there’s something better, yes,” he said. ‘I’m not dodging the question.’ Miller: ‘So in principle you agree with the Affordable Care Act, on principle you like it?’ Graves: ‘No, in principle it’s a process, not a destination.’ ”

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And … yet another argument against legislating through the constitution. In a Strib commentary, prominent attorney David Lebedoff writes: “There are three things that no rational person should ever do:
1) Choose to sit in the middle seat of an airplane.
2) Buy a watch on the street for a dollar.
3 )Vote “yes” on a constitutional amendment. … We fought a revolution to achieve consent of the governed. So let the people govern. At the ballot box. At elections. You count the votes, and the majority wins. People who want to carve in granite something that is already against the law are simply afraid that the majority might someday change its mind. But the right to change one’s mind over time is also known as democracy.”

According to a filing, we learn that that the layoffs at St. Jude back in August were 800 employees, not 300. James Walsh of the Strib says: “In August, St. Jude said it had terminated 300 employees, including 80 in Minnesota, as part of a broader companywide reorganization expected to slash $50 million to $60 million in costs in 2013. But on Thursday, St. Jude revealed in a regulatory filing that it had eliminated an additional 500 positions — still as part of that restructuring. St. Jude officials would not say how much additional savings it expects to reap from the most recent layoffs. About 100 of those 500 displaced workers are in Minnesota, said company spokeswoman Kate Stoltenberg. The company employs more than 2,500 people in the state. St. Jude executives were not immediately available to comment about the additional cuts Thursday.” Why? Were they taken by surprise?

In another Strib commentary, former auto exec and now Carleton prof Roy Grow provides some context to Mitt Romney’s, uh, untenable assertion, that Chrysler is shipping “all” Jeep production to China: “The debate about whether U.S. manufacturers (Jeep/Fiat in particular) are shipping jobs to China demonstrates just how reality-twisting the current campaign dialogue has become. The TV ads and campaign charges completely misrepresent a 35-year relationship between China and an American firm that ought serve as a model of cooperation between two economic giants. … So how did we come to a place where rumor is confused with reality? Where something good (joint cooperation and understanding) has been transformed in our public discourse to something odious? One might think that at least presidential challenger Mitt Romney would speak up. His father, George Romney, was, after all, CEO of AMC-Jeep before he ran for governor of Michigan. Mitt Romney grew up in the Detroit automobile and country club culture (as did I), where even distracted teenage sons of auto executives absorbed an understanding of the complex auto industry.”

St. Louis Park native Tom Friedman’s recent column on his hometown and state brought out the long knives from the Power Line boys. First, John Hinderaker wrote: “Friedman’s problem is that he knows little or nothing about Minnesota politics. He implies that today’s Republican legislative candidates have only limited appeal because they are too extreme. But he fails to mention that in 2010, the GOP captured both houses of Minnesota’s legislature in a stunning sweep, winning the Senate for the first time since it became a partisan body some decades ago. So the idea that Republicans do well only in “exurbia” is a fantasy. Moreover, while it is true that quite a few Republican legislators can fairly be associated with the Tea Party — which is another way of saying they are concerned about the state’s budget — I am not aware of any who are Ron Paul disciples. Possibly there could be one or two. … Friedman concludes:

In the 1990s, centrist Democrats, led by Bill Clinton, brought their party back from a similar ideological ledge; they and the country and my home state are better for it.

But haven’t the Democrats gone back over the ledge, with Barack Obama, trillion dollar deficits, hundreds of billions in crony payoffs, rampant class warfare, and record numbers of Americans in poverty and living on food stamps? And how about Minnesota politicians like Al Franken, Mark Dayton and Keith Ellison? Does Friedman mean to imply that they are moderates in the Clinton mold?”

Now, Scott Johnson, who long ago played the Louis Farrakhan card on Keith Ellison, adds: “I want to add no more than a footnote regarding Minnesota Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison, whose district includes St. Louis Park and whom Friedman salutes as ‘an African-American Muslim and one of the most liberal Democrats in the House.’ … Given Ellison’s status as the first black congressional nominee in Minnesota and first Muslim congressional nominee in the United States, the constraints of political correctness drastically inhibited the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s coverage of Ellison. Indeed, it was frustration with the Star Tribune’s coverage of the race and noncoverage of Ellison’s past that provided the impetus for prominent local Democrats and others who approached me with information about Ellison. … In seeking their respective nominations, both Ellison and Obama found support among Hamas and friends. The Hamas-related support for Ellison and Obama is indicative of the melding of the left with Islamist forces at home and abroad. It is an alliance that Ellison embodies.” Can you feel how much those two guys miss the Rooskies?