Thursday, April 29, 2010


FNR hit the Huffington Post. How in the hell did that happen? I feel the sudden need for a shower...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Friendly Neighborhood Republican's endorsement goes to...

A lot of thought went into this decision. Even more than what I wrote about here regarding Emmer and Seifert's campaign styles and their personal and professional differences and similarities. I listened to each candidate's KTLK-FM interviews. I scoured their websites. I read every piece of mail they sent to me. I listened to and read what others thought, and I even interviewed former gubernatorial candidate Senator David Hann about why he thinks Marty Seifert is the man for the job. I also spoke to a representative from Tom Emmer's campaign. I did my research.

In the end it came down to two things: experience and campaign style.

Friendly Neighborhood Republican endorses Tom Emmer as the Republican candidate for governor of Minnesota.

Asking Emmer's representative Chris Van Guilder what he considers to be the biggest difference between the two candidates, and his answer that the two men formed their experience in two different walks of life, lead to one of the most influential pieces of research in this journey.

Comparing the two men's backgrounds, mostly as detailed on their own campaign websites, clearly showed that Emmer has much more life experience outside of government on which to base his decisions and actions. He is older has held positions in the private sector much longer than Seifert. When compared, Emmer stood out as the candidate with the kind of life experience to lead the state of Minnesota.

The other influential piece was campaign style. For Seifert to go negative didn't sit well with many people, including me. DUI is a very serious issue. I lost a cousin to a drunk driver, and I've seen the devastation that ripped through the family afterward. But I thought Emmer's response was appropriate. If the incidents had been more recent, it would have made a difference to me. I don't excuse what Emmer did so long ago; but I ask you, would you want to be judged by the mistakes you made when you were 19 years old? It seemed desperate to bring it up. It was as if Seifert put his personal victory over the potential victory of the party. I still think Seifert is a good man, but this campaign strategy was a mistake.

That, combined with the obvious gap in experience between the two candidates, sealed the deal for Emmer. I'm also thrilled with Emmer's choice of running mate, Annette Meeks, as his lieutenant governor.

Who knows what will happen Friday night at the Republican Convention? But now I know what I wish will happen.

No matter what, I wish for all of us to unite behind our newly endorsed Republican candidate for governor. We have two good candidates, and we must all choose one.

There is nothing to be gained by fighting amongst ourselves. Whoever is ultimately chosen must be supported by us all, or we risk losing the governor's office to a Democrat.

Preventing that is worth fighting for.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Who will FNR endorse: Does campaign style matter?

We have seen over the last weeks and months two very different campaign styles coming from the Emmer and Seifert organizations. Does campaign style matter?

Well, I suppose that depends on what you're ultimately asking. Does campaign style effect voter opinion? Also, is the candidate responsible for everything his campaign, which may consist of many people, does?

Does campaign style reflect voter opinion?

This is a difficult one to answer. Let's take a look at some past campaigns. In Coleman vs. Franken, the campaign styles were all over the place. Well, at least on the Coleman side. Franken started out going for the jugular even before officially declaring his candidacy with his vitriolic "rally" at the State Capitol Rotunda, coincidently (if memory serves) on the same day Norm Coleman officially threw his hat into the race. Coleman ran attack ads almost from the beginning, but really, who could blame him. Al Franken? Come on, that's just a opponent bubbling over with fodder. People were very critical of the "mean-spirited" campaign. Anyway, after Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, Coleman had a change of heart and announced he would stop attacking Franken and only be positive. We all know what happened after that. I don't think Coleman could unring the bell once the negative attacks were out there. And I think people thought his turn around was disingenuous.

In the Democrat primary prior to the Obama vs. McCain presidential election, Hillary Clinton, in a desperate attempt to discredit Obama, an opponent whom her camp had deeply underestimated, claimed Obama hadn't been born in the United States and therefore couldn't even run for president under our current law that requires a U.S. president to have been born in the U.S. This issue is now associated with the extreme right wing, and its believers are called "birthers." Many don't realize, however, that Hillary Clinton actually dug up this little gem as part of a nasty campaign against Obama for the Democrat endorsement. We can all see how well that worked out for Madam Secretary Clinton.

In the campaign for the Republican gubernatorial endorsement between Tom Emmer and Marty Seifert, there has been a lot of talk from Emmer supporters about the negative tone of Seifert's campaign. This came to a head last week when Seifert's campaign sent a letter to delegates about Emmer's DUI arrests 20 and 30 years ago. Emmer's supporters were incensed. They pointed out one of Seiferts own personal code of ethics, which reads: "Any Seifert for Governor campaign employee or member of the Seifert for Governor team that engages in negative campaign ads of a personal nature against any opponent of either party will be fired or removed from the campaign should those charges be proven." I wonder if this will backfire on Rep. Seifert as it did in the prior examples?

Is the candidate responsible for everything his campaign, which may consist of many people, does?

In my opinion, the answer is yes. I don't believe in moral relativism, I believe in moral absolutes. One of those absolutes is that anything done in your name by someone you hired or who represents you, is ultimately your responsibility.

As Truman said, "the buck stops here." People in power must believe that. To be an effective leader in any capacity, one must take responsibility for what is done in his name.

So, in the above examples, Coleman, Clinton and Seifert would all be responsible for what their campaigns did whether it came right from their mouths or not. The only one who took responsibility for it was Coleman, but he didn't reap any political rewards for it.

Will the delegates hold Seifert to this standard when they are deciding whom to endorse on Friday? We'll see.

next: Who will FNR endorse? The decision.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Who will FNR Endorse: Learning about Tom Emmer

I'm impressed with Tom Emmer's gubernatorial campaign. On April 22 I wrote the first in the series, Who will get the Friendly Neighborhood Republican's endorsement for governor: Emmer or Seifert, and I asked for anyone with any information on either candidate to contact me. Last night, the Emmer campaign did just that.

Looking at the how the two candidates feel abut the issues could lead one to believe they are incredibly alike. So when the Emmer campaign represenative called, I was able to ask my most important question, which is: "What is the biggest difference between the two candidates?"

The gentleman I spoke with, Chris Van Guilder, was happy to answer that question and just speak with me about the campaign in general.

So, what is the biggest difference between Emmer and Seifert? According to the Emmer campaign, it's that the two men formed their experience in two different walks of life. Tom Emmer's experience is life experience. At age 49, he's the elder of the two men. He's spent years as a small business owner, and five years in the legislature.

Marty Seifert, on the other hand is 38-years-old--quite young for a gubernatorial candidate. He was first elected to the Minnesota legislature in 1996, just one year after graduating from college. He has served in the legislature since then.

The Emmer campaign's position is that nearly all of Seifert's experience is from "within," while Emmer's experience was gained overwhelmingly from a life lived outside of government.

The two men's biographies included in their official websites could not be more different.

Seifert's bio focuses mainly on his childhood growing up on a farm in Springfield, Minnesota, and his college years. The biography lists 11 years of private sector experience: five years as a school teacher and six years as a school counselor before taking an unpaid leave of absence in 2006. It mentions that he co-owns a business, Seifert Properties, LLC with his wife, but not for how long or what exactly the business is.

Emmer's biography, on the other hand, is quite extensive before it even begins to speak about his legislative career. He is the father of seven children, very active as a volunteer in his community, and an award-winning trial lawyer. He received his Juris Doctor from William Mitchell College of Law in 1988 and is licensed to practice law in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota. The biography details a long and distinguished career practicing law, and lists articles he authored and cases he defended.

When the biographies turn to their legislative careers, they seem quite different as well. Seifert was first elected in 1996 and, his bio reads, has been re-elected by large margins every two years since, always winning re-election by over 20 points. It also points out that he has had strong bi-partisan support from Independents and moderate/conservative Democrats.

Emmer's highlights the fact that he has served as chair, co-chair or a member of nine legislative committees and lists some of the legislation he has written, including truancy reform and stringent penalties and alternative treatment options for the "worst of the worst convicted sex offenders."

If one were to look at their respective biographies as the only consideration for who would make the better governor, Emmer would win. Van Guilder said, "Tom's job is to negotiate outcomes. That's his training," adding that it's an excellent skillset to have as governor.

If you want to listen to the radio interview Rep. Emmer had yesterday with Chris Baker of KTLK-FM, click here. Yesterday's blog post about getting to know Seifert focused on this set of interviews, but only on Seifert's portion. I urge you to listen to Emmer's portion as well.

During the interview, Emmer displayed his sense of humor when he described working on legislative projects such as native earthworms and warning labels on bags of mulch instead of working to balance the budget. He had a very down-to-earth persona as he spoke about Minnesota's having the best health care institution in the world (the Mayo Clinic), getting down to the real business of the people instead of pet projects, and pondering why some Americans feel success is a bad thing. It had the feeling of having a chat with a neighbor, rather than listening to a politician's prepared set of talking points.

Detailing Emmer's KTLK-FM interview on this blog isn't as important as it once was because I decided to focus on the information that came in from his campaign last night.

Thanks to the Emmer campaign for calling to talk to a little blogger from Eden Prairie about their candidate. It shows they are really plugged in to what people are saying about Emmer, and it shows an admirable committment to winning. I'm still comparing, but today's lesson in getting to know Tom Emmer has been quite valuable.

next: Campaign style--does it matter?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Who Will FNR Endorse: Learning about Rep. Marty Seifert

I began the day early by heading out to the Miss Minnesota Workshop, and while I was driving--between interruptions from the GPS lady--I was listening to KTLK FM 100.3.

I began listening during Chris Baker's interview with Marty Seifert. I was wishing I could hear the whole thing, because it was giving me the exact information I've been looking for. I came in in the middle and had to stop before the interview ended because I had reached my destination (as the GPS lady would say).

I hadn't heard Rep. Seifert speak other than in sound bite form, so the interview was a good way to get a better idea of his personality. He came off as somewhat soft spoken, but very decisive as well. He possesses a pronounced, but not Ventura-like Minnesota accent.

While I was able to listen, he was talking mostly about his business and about the fact that he lives well outside the Twin Cities. He was also talking about the importance of relieving the burden on businesses so they will want to stay or come to Minnesota.

He told a story about a man who wanted to start a vodka distillery business in Windom, Minnesota. He had the building, the workers, the banks and everything else he needed. All he needed was a permit. He was told the permit would cost $30,000 per year, every year he would be in business. He went to Iowa and lined up the building, workers, etc., and was told his permit would be $350 per year. Where do you think this man took his business and the jobs that went with it? Seifert introduced a bill to reduce Minnesota's fee to that of our neighboring states, but it was stalled in the legislature. There are only two distillers left in Minnesota. Seifert feels strongly that it's not just taxes, but also licenses, fees, permits, regulations, and paperwork that are sending businesses fleeing for other states.

So, Marty Seifert is in favor of making it easier and more profitable for business to operate in Minnesota. Most conservatives would wholeheartedly agree.

He also spoke about how he feels Minnesota is a welfare magnet for residents of other states. People move here because we have a reputation for being a great place to live on government entitlements. Seifert would like to see regulations put in place to make that reputation disappear; for example, drug testing for new welfare applicants from other states. Again, a concept most conservatives would agree with.

He claims he is the only candidate of either party who has put out a budget; it's on his website and he's mailed it as well. "We have to be capable of doing this," he said. "It's not just rhetorical; it's got to be real."

If you want more information, visit Seifert's website and listen to the podcast of today's interview with KTLK's Chris Baker.

next: learning about Representative Tom Emmer

Friday, April 23, 2010

Who will the Friendly Neighborhood Republican endorse for the Republican gubernatorial ticket: Emmer or Seifert?

I am working on the process of rather quickly deciding who I will back for the Republican endorsement for governor. But I wanted to make something clear.

I will try as hard as possible not to degrade or put down either candidate. I think it's of the utmost importance not to do this because in the end, one of these candidates will be the Republican candidate for governor of Minnesota.

Ultimately, what is most important to me and to most conservatives, is that we don't lose the governor's office to a Democrat. If I, in my decision-making process, put down one of the Republican candidates, I'll be doing the Democrats' job for them.

No matter what happens, we conservatives are all on the same side. Whether we like the results of the endorsement at next week's convention or not, we must live with it and get behind the chosen candidate with all the strength we have, or we will not win the governor's race.

After the endorsement process is over, if each Republican camp snipes at the other instead of working with all their might for the endorsed candidate, maybe we won't deserve to win.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Who will get the Friendly Neighborhood Republican's endorsement: Emmer or Seifert?

I'm usually a very decisive person. I don't understand, for example, people who don't know what to name their baby after having nine full months to think, argue and compromise. Good Lord, isn't nine months enough?

I like to do my research, and I am usually able to come to quick conclusions about things. I have never understood the need for "undecided" in a poll. I live on very solid moral ground, and I pride myself on that.

My parenting philosophy reflects my world view. Most people, when asked, say they just want their children to be happy. I don't. Nobody ever learned anything by skipping through a field of flowers whistling a happy tune. Adversity makes us stronger. What I do want for my children is for them to be people of integrity. I want them to be able to look in the mirror and be proud of who they see. I want them to know their word means something.

I believe in moral absolutes. I believe some things are wrong just because they're wrong, and some things are right just because they are. This usually makes it easy for me to make decisions.

I'm not proud to say that I haven't made a decision yet as to who I am backing for the Republican endorsement for governor. I've been very distracted of late, and I haven't had the time to do proper research on these two candidates.

I interviewed Senator David Hann about why he is backing Marty Seifert. I know what others are saying about Emmer and Seifert. But I'm not skilled in bandwagon jumping. I need to form my own opinion based on my own beliefs, not the beliefs of others.

I'm not a delegate for the upcoming Republican convention. I'm a second alternate. I don't even know if that requires my attendance. I'd like to go, but personal issues are taking precedence right now. However, attending the convention is a goal of mine.

So in the next few days, I'll be reading through the small stack of literature each candidate has mailed to me. I'll dissect their websites. I'll try to use as many resources as I can to make a decision.

I am the Friendly Neighborhood Republican. I am also a conservative columnist for, which reaches more people than my blog could ever dream of.

So who will the Friendly Neighborhood Republican endorse for governor of Minnesota? Tom Emmer or Marty Seifert?

We'll discover it together, because as soon as I make a decision, I'll post it here.

Feel free to send any information you think is important. I won't accept opinions without solid information to back them up. This decision is not emotional, it's cerebral. So, who will be endorsed by the Friendly Neighborhood Republican?

Who knows?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Should Rush Limbaugh and Chris Matthews be sharing a cell in federal prison?

TIME magazine columnist, Joe Klein, for all intents and purposes accused Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck of sedition during an appearance on Chris Matthews' show April 18. He said, "I did a little bit of research just before this show--it's on this little napkin here. I looked up the definition of 'sedition,' which is conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of the state. And a lot of these statements, especially the ones coming from people like Glenn Beck, and to a certain extent, Sarah Palin, rub right up close to being seditious."

Since we're consulting dictionaries, Merriam-Webster Online defines sedition as:

Main Entry: sedition
Pronunciation: se·di·tion
Function: noun
Date: 14th century
incitement of resistance to or insurrection against lawful authority

A visit to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Law shows an even more serious definition of the word:

Main Entry: sedition
Pronunciation: se·di·tion
the crime of creating a revolt, disturbance, or violence against lawful civil authority with the intent to cause its overthrow or destruction— compare CRIMINAL SYNDICALISM

Those are some serious accusations, Joe. Everything from inciting rebellion, to inciting resistance or insurrection, to a crime intended to overthrow or destroy the government.

Even so, it wasn't long before others jumped on Klein's bandwagon. John Heilemann of New York Magazine agreed with Klein and even added Rush Limbaugh to the list of the "seditious." His reason? "I'll name Rush Limbaugh, who uses this phrase constantly and talks about the Obama administration as a 'regime.' That phrase, which has connotations of tyranny."

This isn't really new. I've heard a lot of rumblings lately about how the right is stooping so low as to use the heinous word, "regime" when describing Obama's administration.

It does sound kind of wrong to accuse any American administration of being a "regime." After all, didn't we say, "Sadam Hussein's regime," before we took him out?

Chris Matthews sure doesn't like it. He said, in an on-air rant: "I've never seen language like this in the American press, referring to an elected representative government, elected in a totally fair, democratic American election... fair, free, and wonderful democracy we have in this country.... We know that word, 'regime.' It was used by George Bush, 'regime change.' You go to war with regimes. Regimes are tyrannies. They're juntas. They're military coups. The use of the word 'regime' in American political parlance is unacceptable, and someone should tell the walrus [Limbaugh] to stop using it." Matthews continued, "I never heard the word 'regime' before, have you?" he asked NBC's Chuck Todd. "I don't even think Joe McCarthy ever called this government a 'regime.'"

But it sounds so familiar. I know there are other examples...oh, yes, of course! I remember now.

The Bush Regime. has compiled video of MSNBC staff and former staff, including Chris Matthews, using the term "Bush regime" several times.

Progressive organization Center for Media and Democracy's "Source Watch" cites a Wikepedia-like definition for the term Bush regime. The term shows up in The World Can't Wait's website 92 times. Political analyst and free-lance writer, Ted Lang, writes about "The Nazi Bush Regime" on

If you're looking for a gift for your lefty friends, you can purchase a Bush Regime deck of cards, detailing the "52 most dangerous dignitaries." Or,

you can download a "Wanted" poster titled, "Wanted for Mass Murder: The Bush Regime," complete with "mug shots" of various Bush staffers, including Condoleezza Rice.

There are articles about the Bush Regime trying to postpone the elections; there's the Bush Regime Historical Society that was taking design ideas for a monument; Sidney Blumenthal wrote the book, How Bush Rules: Chronicals of a Radical Regime; the term was used 16 times in the New York Times and 24 times in the Washington Post.

I could go on, but there are too many references to cite.

To those progressives who clutch their pearls every time Rush Limbaugh says the words, "Obama regime," I say, "If the right is guilty of sedition, which is a federal crime, shouldn't Chris Matthews and his friends be broadcasting their rants from federal prison?"

Or maybe the left should just let this go.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bachmann/Palin rally in Minneapolis: so this is "liberal" Minnesota?

Minnesota has a reputation for being exceedingly liberal (e.g. we were the only state to vote for Dukakis in 1988--you may pause for a moment to hang your head in shame). Despite this inclination, approximately 11,000 Minnesotans came out of their closets and showed up at the Minneapolis Convention Center today to rally for Michele Bachmann and all things conservative.

The rally featured speakers Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rep. Erik Paulsen, Republican Party of Minnesota State Chair Tony Sutton, Sarah Palin, and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Even FOXNews talk show host Sean Hannity was there. It was like Minnesota conservative crack.

It was surprising to note that the biggest "lift" from the crowd came when Governor Pawlenty spoke. The people really responded well to his message, and the excitement around him was palpable. He has been virtually everywhere lately, on T.V. and at events such as this around the country, and his confidence shows. He is beginning to appear as a strong leader, which will serve him well if he does, as people have predicted, run for President in 2012. His introduction and speech elicited more noise from the crowd than Palin or Bachmann.

Thank God for giant television screens. I could hardly see a thing without it because I'm only 5' 1" tall, I was on the floor, and there was a huge dais filled with camera people smack in the middle of it. About half the crowd was in front of it, and the other half behind it. Its placement wasn't popular. An elderly woman approached me and said, "They put the cameras in the middle so it only looks like half the people showed up, those a@& holes..."

It was a diverse crowd.

There were elderly people, babies, children of all ages, guys wearing baseball hats, slim women in pearls, stout women in flannel, and men in business suits and ties. One thing connected all of them: there were smiles on every face and people were polite, friendly and respectful to one another. They were there for the "cause;" the cause being: winning back our liberty and saving this country we love for our children and grandchildren. They must have thought it was important because they came out in huge numbers in the middle of a work day to stand shoulder to shoulder in a large, dim room on an absolutely gorgeous Minnesota spring day.

Michele Bachmann, looking fantastic in yellow, was as energized as I have ever seen her. She seems as comfortable on stage talking to thousands of people as she would be having coffee with friends. She possesses the rare quality of being able to appear caring and gentle while simultaneously coming off as strong, tough and true. It seems uncontrived and natural, and while I don't know Rep. Bachmann personally, I believe it to be her genuine personality. Those are the qualities we need in Washington: a woman who cares enough about her country to fight for it.

FOXNews personality, Sean Hannity, began taping his show live from the Minneapolis Convention Center almost immediately after the "rally" portion of the event was over. He was tossing toy footballs into the crowd, as he does on his nightly FOX show. I was almost able to catch two of them, if I had been tall. And a man.

There were lots of conservative vendors working this event. I didn't get a chance to visit them all, but some that got my attention were:

AM1280 The Patriot was there selling patriotic T-shirts.

Cool Conservative was there with its newest additions to its growing conservative fashion and accessories line.

Space Case Jase was selling hats, T-shirts, and bumper stickers.

Sons of Liberty from AM1280 The Patriot were selling books, inspirational CDs, and pink "virtue" T-Shirts.

There were also various button vendors, who were doing very well for themselves, judging from the crowds around them.

It was a fun, inspiring event. I hope everyone who attended came out of it energized and ready to work to show America that Minnesota isn't just for liberals anymore.