MyDD Conversation with MN-Sen Candidate Amy Klobuchar

On Wednesday afternoon, I had the chance to speak over the telephone with Hennepin County District Attorny Amy Klobuchar, the presumptive Democratic Senate nominee in the great state of Minnesota.

Klobuchar and I covered a range of interviews during our conversation, including the situation in Iraq, GOP corruption, US port security and the United Arab Emirates, local Minnesota issues, and why the progressive blogosphere should get involved in the campaign. You can listen to the interview here (warning: a 15.1 megabyte mp3) or read the rush transcript below.

Jonathan Singer: I don't know if you saw, but the news out of Iraq today does not inspire much optimism, with the AP raising the specter of an outright civil war in the country. Is there anything America can do to help remedy the situation?

Amy Klobuchar: I opposed this war in the first place. The administration went into this war without a plan and without the help of other countries to the extent that we have seen in other wars. We sort of had a go it alone philosophy. Sadly, it just keeps going on and on and on. You just pray for our troops and that we will see success there.

But the bottom line is, I think we - as the events of today bear out - that we need a significant change of course so that we can send a message to the people of Iraq that we're not going to be staying there indefinitely, that we do bring some of our troops home, and that we transition to them, because, so far, sadly, as much as our troops are doing everything they can and as brave as they can, when we went into this war in false pretences - which I think Colin Powell called a blot on his career - and the administration has been spending so much of their time sort of spinning the war and explaining it and getting involved in legal entanglements. This is not the direction we should be going.

The other thing that bothers me about this is that it took us away from other pressing crises, in terms of Iran, North Korea and some of these other countries and potential high risks, in terms of weapons of mass destruction, where we should have been putting our resources.

We've now spent over $300 billion, over 2,000 Americans have been killed, countless Iraqis. We have to hold the people accountable that brought us to the place that we are.

Singer: Where do you stand on something like the Murtha Amendment, or other similar plans to help extricate itself from Iraq?

Klobuchar: I would like to see a drawdown of the troops this year, a significant drawdown of the troops. I don't believe that at this point we can set a specific date to get each and every troop out of Iraq, as much some people would like to see that. I understand the sentiment, and I don't think we should be attacking people who are at least in good faith trying to come up with good solutions. My hope is that we could bring in peacekeeping forces, whether it is the UN or NATO, and I believe that to make that work would have to be a part of that. You know we went into that country and dismantled their police force, their army, and to just get out overnight would not be responsible. So I would like to see a transition to an international peacekeeping force that I believe we would most likely be a part of.

Singer: To the best of my knowledge, your Republican opponent, Rep. Mark Kennedy, has not been directly implicated in the corruption scandal surrounding Jack Abramoff. Will you still be talking about the GOP corruption in general during the campaign?

Klobuchar: I will.

In my role as a prosecutor, you draw the line every day. We see white collar cases come into our office. It usually starts with someone maybe stealing a little money from the petty cash, and then they end up taking millions of dollars from the workers' 401k accounts. And I believe it's our job to draw the line and say there's a difference between what's right and what's wrong.

Well, in 2006, it's going to be the job of the American people, the voters. Because what's happened here is really the responsibility of everyone in leadership in Washington, DC, because this started with them bringing... I always say, "You dance with the one that brung ya," that that's what's going on out there. They would give tax loopholes to their friends and give companies the ability to send jobs overseas that brought them into office, and then the next thing you know, they're taking PAC contributions and funneling them into other PACs, trying to hide them, and the next thing you know they're lying before a grand jury. That's what this culture of corruption is.

And if you asked how does my opponent, Congressman Kennedy... what does he have to do with it? I'll just look at the prescription drug bill. This was a bill pushed by the Republican leadership. Congressman Kennedy did support this bill. And it basically insulated the prescription drug companies from competition.

A study just came out two weeks ago that showed the Veterans Affairs, that agency - they negotiate prices with the drug companies - their prices are about 50 percent lower than they are for Medicare Part D. 50 percent lower. That's about $90 billion a year. So what's the cost of the culture of corruption? Of people giving breaks to the oil companies and giving giveaways and Christmas presents to the drug companies and the insurance companies? The cost is $90 billion a year. There you go. Quantifiable.

You go down the line, and I believe we need to start putting the people in front of these drug companies and in front of these oil companies and coming up with solutions for people. In my job in local government, you don't have the luxury of just putting your head in the sand, and doing favors for your friends and throwing out partisan bombshells all of the time, you actually got to make decisions and get things done. And that's the spirit that I want to bring to Washington, DC.

Singer: Let's talk about a different billion figure. I don't know it exactly, I think it's something like $6.8 billion is the amount that a government-owned company in the United Arab Emirates bought control over some American ports. There has been some talk among Republicans opposing this - most of the opposition comes from Democrats - but we see leading Republicans like John Warner, who is the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee in the Senate, really coming out in favor of it. Where do you stand? Do you think that we should be handing over essentially control of American ports to the UAE?

Klobuchar: No I don't, and I was quite shocked when I saw this. We are living in a world where we are constantly concerned about terror and homeland security, and here we are going to be turning our ports over - and presumably the security part of our ports - to these foreign countries. I couldn't believe it.

We have ports here in Minnesota. I know not everyone would expect that, but we do in Duluth, Lake Superior, and down the river, and I checked into that today, and our ports are all owned by home-grown companies in the United States and in Minnesota, and that's the way it should be.

Singer: Are there any other specific issues or items of legislation you'll try and bring to Washington, should Minnesotans send you there?

Klobuchar: I come from a place, Minnesota, where we value things like hard work and fair play and responsibility. I learned hard work from my grandpa. He worked 1,500 feet underground in the mines in Ely, Minnesota. He saved money in a coffee can to send my dad to college. I grew up in a middle class neighborhood, knew I'd always have to work hard to get where I wanted to go.

What I see going on in Washington is just a deterioration of that American dream, a middle class crunch, where people in our state - they've got jobs, a lot of them - but they keep saying, "What's going on? It's harder and harder for me to get by, it's harder for me to buy a house, it's harder for me to send my kids to college." Well, the numbers are their. Tuition at the University of Minnesota up 81 percent, healthcare costs up 3 ½ times the average wage. We are basically losing our middle class with these wrongheaded policies where we are having the wrong priorities, we are giving tax cuts to the wealthiest, giving loopholes to the big corporate special interests, and it's becoming harder and harder for people to get by.

So if you asked what I want to work on, I want to work on, one, balancing this budget - they've taken a $300 billion Clinton budget surplus and turned it into a $300 billion Bush budget deficit - by going back to the pay-as-you-go rules that we had during the Clinton administration, looking at cutting down on this discretionary spending so we can put the money where it counts, on our big challenges of healthcare reform and energy independence. I would like to see more money to help kids afford college and change the priorities away from the wealthiest and the healthiest for healthcare. I would like to see true energy independence. We are sitting here in Minnesota on what we consider the Saudi Arabia of energy with the wind sweeping through the prairies. Down in Southwestern Minnesota, we have many, many wind turbines, to the point that they've now set up a bed and breakfast there, so people can go down and spend a weekend touring the wind turbines, so if you're interested in that, you can come down to Minnesota for a weekend.

But we're very excited and optimistic about the energy future here, the good it'll do for the environment, the reduction in dependency on foreign oil. But to get there, it's not just talk - it's actually setting standards. I want to see a 20 percent renewable energy standard for electricity. I want to see higher standards for renewable fuel. I want to see them change the federal fleet of cars, which has just been sitting there without fuel-efficient cars for years and years and years. We need to lead by example.

Singer: You brought up your roots outside of the Twin Cities. I know that you have a strong political base of support within the Democratic-friendly Twin Cities, but how might you extend this to places like the Iron Range and other places that, at least in recent years, have been less friendly to Democrats?

Klobuchar: I represent a quarter of the state of Minnesota right now, and it's an area - Hennepin County - that is two-thirds suburban, and then an urban area. It is one of the areas where you look at where Kerry picked up a number of supporters, people in the suburbs who wanted to see more of a focus on education and transportation. So that's an important piece of this.

But the fact [is] that my roots are on the Iron Range up in Northern Minnesota. I have many friends there, Congressman Oberstar's support. And what I've found is that people there, or down in Southern Minnesota - Mankato, where my husband and his five brothers are from - they're basically saying a lot of the same things. And I think this election, which is so critical on these issues of what's right and what's wrong, unite people across geographic lines.

The issue of CAFTA, the Central America Free Trade Agreement, really hurt 30,000 farmers and their families and workers in the Red River valley in the Northwestern part of our state. So that's something where Congressman Kennedy was the deciding vote for CAFTA, when they could have put in some amendments and changes that would have helped that industry in our state and chose not to do that. Again, a go it alone philosophy. Didn't listen to Congressman Collin Peterson or some of our North Dakota friends, and they just kept it as it is.

Those are issues that people are going to care about in our state, whether they're farmers or workers. So as I look at a state as a whole, I see some unique issues in different parts of it, but I also see that overriding concern that we need change in Washington, we need someone who's going to work on solutions for people for a change, someone who's not going to spend the whole time in a 24 hour TV shout-fest about what's right and what's left and instead talk about what's right and what's wrong, because when you talk to people in Minnesota about what's right and what's wrong, people listen. They know it's right to make Social Security a guarantee and it's wrong to make it a gamble. They know it's right to invest in our kids and education and it's wrong to give oversized tax cuts to the wealthiest among us. They know it's right to invest in our troops and herald our veterans and they know it's wrong to go to war without a plan. And when you talk to them this way, they listen.

They are so fed up with what I call the lies and the legends. I always tell the story of a diner in my neighborhood. It's called Betty's Bikes and Buns. They've got this business card that says, "Betty's Bikes and Buns: Where Lies Become Legends." Well the people in our state are beginning to see the lies beneath the legends of the leadership in Washington, DC. They told us there were weapons of mass destruction; there weren't. They told us they'd leave no child behind; they left behind millions. They told us they'd unite this country, and they've divided us as ever before. They told us that we'd be ready for any national disaster, and you just ask that mom stranded on the roof in New Orleans for three days with her three kids if that was true and she'll tell you the truth.

They've had it with lies and legends, and they want to see some leadership - real leadership - on issues like affordable healthcare and energy independence and tax fairness and economic and international security.

Singer: I just want to ask you one more question. What would you like to say specifically to the members of the liberal blogosphere to get them involved in the campaign? There's no longer a primary. It seems like Minnesota is a "blue" state. Why should they expend time, money and effort to help you win?

Klobuchar: I'm running against one of the most conservative Members of Congress. He has had in for him now Frist, Card, he's had Hastert, he's had Cheney, he's had George W. Bush in for a fundraiser on Air Force One, and now he's actually going out to Washington to have an event with Karl Rove. The only celebrities we've had are the Gear Daddy's Band of Austin, Minnesota who's most famous song is "I Want to Ride the Zamboni."

So we need help from the blogosphere. We need help from progressives across this country to stand up and help me with this race. I've done everything that I can. We've built a huge grassroots network. We're in the process of adding more and more volunteers every day. Jeff Blodgett, who was Paul Wellstone's campaign manager, has been helping me extensively. I've raised money from my kitchen table, from the Internet - I always joke that I've even raised $15,000 from ex-boyfriends, and as my husband notes, that's not an expanding base.

This is going to be a truly grassroots effort. And we're going to need everyone on board across the country. I know it's hard to pronounce my last name - it's Klo [rhymes with glow] - bu [buh] - char [more like shar]. But we need people to get beyond that and help us in Minnesota with spreading the word about what I stand for, which is, in the true Minnesota tradition, this belief that one Senator from Minnesota can make a difference. That we can send someone to Washington who's going to change the culture and who's going to put people in front of the big oil companies and the big drug companies and actually get something done. That's what I've been about in my career. When I took on the big insurance companies when they kicked my out of the hospital when my daughter was born - she was really sick - in 24 hours. And I went to the legislature and got one of the first laws passed in the country for a 48-hour hospital stay for new moms and their babies.

I've taken on these tough fights and I've won them. But I know very well with the people that I'm up against, who are going to fight with every fiber of their being to hang on to their special interest tax breaks and loopholes, that I can't do this alone. I'm going to need people at my side. I'm going to need people with laptops on my side. I'm going to need them watching my back on the blogs, and so that's what I ask you to do for me.

Singer: Well terrific. Good luck and thank you so much for your time.

Klobuchar: OK. It was great being on, Jonathan. I hope we didn't have to cut it too short here. And I was sorry I was a little late.

Singer: No, that's perfect. Thank you again.

[THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.]

Tags: Interview, Minnesota, MN-Sen, Senate 2006 (all tags)

Comments

27 Comments

Re: MN-Sen Candidate Amy Klobuchar

The DSCC's chosen candidate, Amy Klobuchar. Shortly before we were all bitching about Brown getting Schumer, Reid and Emmanuel to scuttle Hackett's campaign, Klobuchar became the presumptive Democratic standard bearer in MN via one can not unreasonably imagine a very similar script.

Unlike Hackett, Patty Wetterling, Klobuchars opponent in the primary, agreed to fall on her sword to instead run again for a fairly conservative congressional seat (Mark Kennedy's) she had recently run decently in (in 2004).

I'm wondering, did you ask Amy about her relationship with AFSCME? With the union rank and file in general? Her poor relationship with AFSCME in her office? The AFSCME local representing her employees did their best to block AFSCME's endorsement of Klobuchar (once Wetterling had been pushed out of the race) and though she in the end got that endorsement, I think you can count on more passive than usual union involvement in GOTV, a huge factor in MN elections for the DFL.

http://www.startribune.com/462/story/256 713.html

Dollars to donuts, she'll lose. I certainly don't want to vote for her, right now I'm thinking I won't. Remember, MN is a state where the DFL base is very important, and remember also how well Kucinich did here. Klobuchar isn't exactly an attractive candidate for this base I am part of.

I'll be sorry to see her as the standard bearer.

by redstar66 2006-02-23 07:43AM | 0 recs
Re: MN-Sen Candidate Amy Klobuchar

Amy Klobuchar has strong support with the DFL base. If you are really committed to a blue Minnesota, and a change in Washington, you will support Klobuchar. What is your other option? Bush-Cheney hack Mark Kennedy?

by conservativedem 2006-02-23 08:20AM | 0 recs
Re: MN-Sen Candidate Amy Klobuchar

Another one strumming the Democrat as protection racket riff.

I have other options.

I imagine the Green party will have a candidate. The Independance party will have a candidate. And I suspect both will have primaries where the national party will not have stepped in to undercut one of the viable candidates for the nomination, as was the case here for the Democrats.

Kennedy is indeed a Bush/Cheney hack, as you say. But I've yet to be convinced Klobuchar shared my values, and her treatment of her union employees is but one aspect of this.

You know, if the Democratic party actually had a track record of progressive accomplishments and effective defense of my values over the past couple of decades, it would be one thing, but I'm afraid it doesn't have that track record, and I'm not willing to cut 'em any slack anymore. I don't care buy into your protection racket - it's simply ineffectual.

And your moniker sorta says it all, doesn't it?

by redstar66 2006-02-23 08:32AM | 0 recs
Re: MN-Sen Candidate Amy Klobuchar

I understood the AFSCME thing to be more the gripe of one individual.  See the following letter from an AFSCME member, reprinted from the Strib's LTE page:

http://www.mnpublius.com/2006/02/the_oth er_side.html

Today's paper also had Sarah Janacek, a well-known MN Republican* criticizing the initial AFSCME letter writer, whose chief concern seemed to be that Klobuchar is an ambitious woman.

http://www.startribune.com/562/story/264 081.html

Having worked alongside Klobuchar for a previous Dem Senator from MN I can say that she is a charismatic, cheerful person who is as willing to stuff envelopes as she is to make high-dollar fundraising calls.

I am not an AFSCME member, but I certainly help form the base of the MN DFL and I am very happy to have Klobuchar as my candidate for MN SEN.

by Zhirrad 2006-02-23 08:39AM | 0 recs
Re: MN-Sen Candidate Amy Klobuchar

Glad for the DFL you're enthused. I was a long-time DFLer, and I'm not enthused.

John Redmond

by redstar66 2006-02-23 08:43AM | 0 recs
If I can ask...

Is there anything Klobuchar could do at this point to gain your vote? What would she need to do to make amends?

I'm just curious whether there is any hope for Klobuchar in your mind or whether she has burned all her bridges.

by bogun 2006-02-23 01:43PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Conversation with MN-Sen Candidate Amy Kl

I don't know how anyone can say that Amy Klobuchar is not supported by the DFL base in Minnesota. I am certainly part of that base, and I'm thrilled that she is running for the Senate.

I also don't think you can say that Patty Weterling was pushed from the race. She recognized that she was not getting the support she needed and withdrew, endorsing Amy Klobuchar. I call that classy.

This just seems like more of the self-destructive stuff that Democrats sometimes do. Let's stop the nonsense, the threats to stay home because the perfect cadidate is not running, and do what needs to be done to beat the likes of Kennedy and Kline.

Daniel Ethier

by dethier 2006-02-23 08:36AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Conversation with MN-Sen Candidate Amy Kl

You didn't notice that Wetterling's announcement came days before Hackett's? You don't think there's a connection?

We'll see how well the unions GOTV for Klobuchar. And I wouldn't expect the Greens to run a soft campaign like when Paul Wellstone was up for re-election.

Klobuchar puts it on the in support of some real Progressice stands, like Paul was able to do quite articulately, and I'll start listening. But hearing her talk about Iraq sounds far too squishy and convenient to me, so I'll be taking a wait-and-see attitude on this. And as I said, her office's relationship with AFSCME does not bespeak her progressive bona fides...

by redstar66 2006-02-23 08:40AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Conversation with MN-Sen Candidate Amy Kl

I don't think Wetterling should have ever run for Senate. She should have gone back into the house race from the beginning.

by MNPundit 2006-02-23 09:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Amy Klobuchar

I don't know if any of you heard the MPR interview today, but I thought she was great. Frankly, she reminds me of Wellstone's '02 against Coleman (agressive and smart, but a little more careful about what he said).

I was a little skeptical about her at first because I don't like Minneapolis lawyers with connections, but I think she's had a great campaign so far and I'm very glad she's the DFL candidate.

Bill, Saint Paul

by birusan 2006-02-23 09:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Amy Klobuchar = Paul Wellstone?

Fuzzy math.

by privatewl 2006-02-23 09:35AM | 0 recs
Well done, Jonathan, and well done, Amy

When DFLers unite behind statewide candidates, we win.  When we have divisive endorsement and primary contests, we lose.  When we snipe at our candidates because they're not perfect (with all due respect to Mr. RedStar or GreenStar or whatever above), we lose.

This one Senate race is a huge deal.  It can make the difference between A) taking back the Senate and holding the Bush administration accountable during its last two years, and B) leaving the Repubs in control and watching helplessly from the sidelines.

Klobuchar showed signs in this interview that she's got a good set of issues and she can stay on message.  

Let's help her win.

by DFLer 2006-02-23 09:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Well done, Jonathan, and well done, Amy

"When we have divisive endorsement and primary contests, we lose."

You mean when we hit the DFL primary with the endorsed candidate Jerry Janezich coming in third behind Dayton and wealthy, connected Mpls lawyer Dave Ciresi, with centrist Rebecca Yanisch coming in 4th at 15-20% of the vote?

A veritable free-for-all in the DFL primary, and we all had wonderful choices there. And of course, Dayton went on to beat the incumbent GOPer handily.

You taking us all for idiots with short memories here, or ???

I see you've memorized Schumer's talking points well. Unfortunately, they don't fit Minnesota facts on the ground.

by redstar66 2006-02-23 09:57AM | 0 recs
Get real

Your kind of argument got us 16 years of Dave Durenberger.

The one exception you cite does not change the rule.  Look at the contested DFL endorsements and primaries for Senate and Governor for the last twenty five years, especially against uncontested Repub nominees, and see what you get.  Repub wins far more often than not.  Ask Joan Growe.  Ask Ann Wynia.

And I don't give a rat's behind what Schumer says, or what you think about Schumer.  Schumer is not the point.

Klobuchar is a good candidate, and now she's going to be the nominee.  Are you a Democrat or a Green?  Do you want the Democrats to keep the seat or not?

by DFLer 2006-02-23 03:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Get real

I know Dave Durenberger. Dave Durenberger is a good man. I would never vote for the man, but he is a good man.

You know who sounds a lot like Dave Durenberger?

Amy Klobuchar.

by redstar66 2006-02-23 04:30PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Conversation with Klobuchar

redstar, I honestly don't understand what you're trying to accomplish here.  I could understand if you had a specific problem with the positions that a candidate is taking...e.g. candidate X is not strong on this issue or that.

But you have been complaining about candidates who are not, by any stretch of the imagination, conservatives.  AK appears to be a strong opponent of the war in Iraq, for example, which is a defining issue for me.

What does seem to genuinely bother you is the Democratic party pressuring people to drop out of primaries early.  I lean that way, but if candidates are truly passionate they can ignore that pressure too.  I can't see anything but a whole lot of bitterness and hostility to the Democratic party, overall, in what you write - and I don't see anything constructive that you're proposing.

If you're selling us a Naderite Demopublican line, forgive me for not placing a whole lot of stock in that after the last five catastrophic years.  If you're angry at the ineffectiveness of the national democratic party...support candidates and leaders who are for change.

No one said change is easy, and it may take some time.  But it does occur; I can pretty clearly see it here in Ohio.  We've gone from a state party that could barely field candidates to one that has quite a few strong candidates within a couple of cycles.  It isn't perfect; I'm disappointed with the state endorsement for AG - I think Chandra is an exciting candidate and better than Dann.  But Chandra is also not dropping out.  And it is a whole lot better than living in a corrupt one-party state.

As far as multiparty stuff goes, it's a whole lot further down the pike than reforming the Democratic party.  Things like proportional representation (which I very strongly oppose, BTW) have enormous structural hurdles.  Lots of real people will get hurt if we let things get worse while we wait for the revolution (TM)...

by ohioastronomy 2006-02-23 12:11PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Conversation with Klobuchar

See my response to Klobuchar's staffer, below. I re-iterate: no more blank checks to Democrats, they've proven themselves more than a little unreliable.

And I guarantee you I am not a derisory minority in MN, again, just check how well Kucinich did up here and ask yourself how many Kucinich Democrats get enthused about voting for a Schumer/Clinton Republicrat. And quite frankly, what happened in your state really put me over the edge on this. Democrat contains the seeds for Democracy, and it would be nice if your party would respect the principle rather than playing the money game to undercut it, as was the case in both OH and MN.

by redstar66 2006-02-23 03:21PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Conversation with Klobuchar

In redstar's defense, he did cite Klobuchar's Iraq stand as one of the reasons he is withholding support: "But hearing her talk about Iraq sounds far too squishy and convenient to me, so I'll be taking a wait-and-see attitude on this."

I gotta agree here.  Her answers on Iraq in this interview were a joke.  Specifically, her response to the question on the Murtha amendment made me want to throw up: "I would like to see a drawdown of the troops this year, a significant drawdown of the troops. I don't believe that at this point we can set a specific date to get each and every troop out of Iraq, as much some people would like to see that. I understand the sentiment, and I don't think we should be attacking people who are at least in good faith trying to come up with good solutions."

First, this answer makes me wonder whether she knows the specifics of the Murtha amendment at all.  Second, thanks so much for taking the bold stand that Murtha shouldn't be attacked for coming up with a solution.  There is only one word for answers like this: horrible.

I live in Minneapolis and I am with redstar -- crappy Dem candidates like this will no longer be getting my vote.  Kerry is the last time.  Amy needs to start positing clear alternatives and not just hope that anti-Bush sentiment will get her the seat.  Only then does she get my vote.

by Stahlsworth 2006-02-23 03:37PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Conversation with MN-Sen Candidate Amy Kl

If you didn't like what Chuck Schumer did to Paul Hackett, well, Chuck Schumer talked to Wetterling just before she dropped out. Right now I'm so angry about DNC interference with state primaries I could spit.

I won't speak against Klobuchar, but she IS NOT THE PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE! Our primary isn't until September, so I really don't know where ANYONE gets off handing her the nomination yet.

Now those of us who complain about the DNC's high handedness are told that we 1) don't like strong women, 2) a primary is divisive (welcome to democracy), 3) Amy's too wonderful to be opposed.

Pretty lame stuff indeed, but the sheeplike media joined in on the presumptive crap and each and every time a blog like My DD says "presumptive" then that becomes a little truer.

Ford Bell is running a solid campaign and educating voters on single payer health insurance. Amy Klobuchar is running a Bush-style campaign that's entirely about getting elected, and I think that approach is wearing very thin with voters.

AFSCME's regional council overroad the judgment of the Local that works out of Klobuchar's office (she's currently the Hennepin County prosecutor). I cannot imagine any union overriding a local in such a matter, but Klobuchar's campaign has been all about locking up the high muckety mucks.

Again, I don't want to speak badly of a candidate willing to work so hard, but she really creeps me out at times.

Endorse her, support her any way you like, but when you say "presumptive" you're telling MN Dems to screw off. I think we've had enough of that from Chuck Schumer without getting more of it from My DD.

by Mark Gisleson 2006-02-23 01:11PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Conversation with MN-Sen Candidate Amy Kl

I'll be up front, I work for Amy's campaign. I just don't understand why folks keep trying to compare this to Hackett.

Patty and Amy stood side-by-side when Patty left the race. Let me know when Hackett and Brown do that. Patty sent an email out on Amy's behalf and has been supportive of Amy. It's not even the same situation.

And btw, this comment from you speaks volumes: "Again, I don't want to speak badly of a candidate willing to work so hard, but she really creeps me out at times."

Way to focus on the substantive issues.

by lhuynh 2006-02-23 01:36PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Conversation with MN-Sen Candidate Amy Kl

Since you work on her campaign, perhaps you could ask her to work on the substantive issues?

One thing sticking in my craw. Check out the interview up there. The part about needing to reduce discretionary spending to get the federal budget under control.

Is that Mike Pence I'm hearing? Or a "Democrat"?

Ok let me give her the benefit of the doubt, that she wasn't "watching her words". So let's deconstruct the following:

"So if you asked what I want to work on, I want to work on, one, balancing this budget...by going back to the pay-as-you-go rules that we had during the Clinton administration,  looking at cutting down on this discretionary spending so we can put the money where it counts, on our big challenges of healthcare reform and energy independence. I would like to see more money to help kids afford college and change the priorities away from the wealthiest and the healthiest for healthcare."

Lot of stuff to cover there. Here are the positions she needs to stake out to give this fluff answer some crediblity:

1) Is Amy willing to go on record that she will balance the budget by getting behind slashing military spending and getting us out of Iraq as quickly as possible (really the only way to cut discretionary spending as she refers to it)

2) Given that even this is not enough to balance the federal budget, is Amy ready to get behind not only allowing recent tax cuts to expire, but to re-instate fed income tax progressivity at the upper income brackets not at derisory Clinton-era levels, but substantial Eisenhower levels?

3) Get behind either single payer national health care or, at hte very least, French-style three tiered health care which guarantees basic health care coverage for all citizens?

4) Re-instate Pell grants as a percent of educational spending to Carter-era levels?

5) Energy independance sounds great, but what are her conservation proposals? Would she be in favor, as is currently the rage in Europe, of punative automobile registration taxes on high-end low-fuel efficient automobiles and SUVs to make a point? Or is she simply, like Dubya, "committed to alternative fuels and blah blah blah..."

6) Now we're all happy Amy was "against the war in Iraq before it started". But so was Pat Buchanan. What does she propose we do NOW to get us the hell out of there, and what does she propose for physically and psychologically broken veterans of that war? (You know, Paul was kinda good at this issue. Your candidate? Not so sure...)

7) Amy is sounding overall like a DLC "hand up not a hand out" type of Democrat to me. Given federal taxation, due to SS and Medicare/Medicaid withholding, is so regressive and amounts essentially to a "hand down," would Amy be in favor of expanding the EITC program to counter act this, and would she also be in favor not only of increasing the minimum wage to what it would be worth in 1996 dollars (approximately $9), but make sure the Federal minimum wage be indexed to CPI in the future, via same?

8) Amy's got problems with labor. Could you get her to talk about her views on Taft-Hartley?

Your help in getting your candidate to actually stake out positions on the above issues rather than simply talking in DLC platitudes designed to placate inattentive liberals and progressives would be greatly appreciated.

Because for some of us, there is no longer going to be any blank check, regardless of the alternative.

by redstar66 2006-02-23 03:14PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Conversation with MN-Sen Candidate Amy Kl

Great, great response.  I agree with everything.

by Stahlsworth 2006-02-23 03:41PM | 0 recs
Give me perfection . . .

. . . or give me death!  Go Kucinich!  Do you feel pure now?

Klobuchar won't offer a specific plan for getting out of Iraq, so she must be a closet Republican?  Oh, please.  

If you don't think there are huge and important differences between Kennedy and Klobuchar, why are you bothering with a Democratic blog?  You were probably one of those Nader Greens who said there wasn't any important difference between Gore and Bush in 2000.

Well, you got purity and we got Bush.  If you get purity this time, we'll get Kennedy and the Repubs will keep the Senate.  No, thank you.

by DFLer 2006-02-23 03:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Give me perfection . . .

This isn't a Democratic blog, it's a lefty blog. Not all lefties sign blank checks to Democrats, especially since they've been worthless for three decades. (Please cite for me one piece of progressive legislation passed into law on a federal level since Nixon was president...)

And I'm not looking for purity, but if your candidate could even make the right sounds about, much less put a full throated voice to, two or three of the issues I cited above, I'd be surprised.

You talk as if Dems did better than Bush, but Dems controlled the Senate in 2002, and they gave a blank check to Bush in Iraq,  so I don't give blank checks to Dems anymore.

And by the way, your Patrick Henry allusion is quite fitting. It'd be nice if Democrats actually had convictions and got behind them. Instead, they make funof historical figures who did to score cheap points.

Unsurprisingly, average Americans think they believe in nothing and will simply so and do what they think they need to in order to get elected.

And average American's are not wrong.

by redstar66 2006-02-23 04:28PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Conversation with MN-Sen Candidate Amy Kl

You're either a troll or ignorant.

When precisely did Mark Dayton in the 2000 campaign talk Taft-Hartley or returning tax brackets to Eisenhower-era levels?  He didn't.  He ran a campaign based on the thrilling drug reimportation platform, but when he became a Senator his voting record mirrored Wellstone's.

But he emerged from a primary, so that somehow excused his campaign strategy?

If you're all about Democrats spending hundreds of thousands of dollars running TV ads against one another, all while Kennedy hoards his filthy cash, then yeah, keep bitching that Wetterling dropped out (and announced for a race that she could actually win...Kennedy beat her once and would again.  She's a miserable speaker and a Senate campaign would expose the hell out of that fact).

And let's assume you magically overnight turn every Senate Democrat into a Taft-Hartley repealin', Pell Grant expandin', Earned Income Tax Credit championing machines (Well...since they're already all about the last two, let's just talk Taft-Hartley repeal).  That gives you 44 people who want to repeal Taft-Hartley, and since you couldn't possibly fathom voting for Amy Klobuchar, knock that down to 43 come January, 2006.

43 amazing, ideologically pure Senators won't do a goddamn thing when there's 56 Club for Growth/Focus on the Family darlings electing majority leaders and passing legislation.

And your gripe isn't even that Amy is illiberal.  It's that she hasn't yet "staked out" positions that are liberal enough.  And her lack of "staking out" is what causes you to go all apocalyptic and say you'll never vote for a Democrat again.

Maybe you'll be in luck and be able to vote for Ed McGaa or Ray Tricomo in this cycle, too.

by moleman 2006-02-24 07:45PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Conversation with MN-Sen Candidate Amy Kl

Being called ignorant or a troll, my, you have a convincing way with words. I appreciate the kind consideration. In future, you might stick better to the arguments, your strictly ad hom argument does not exactly bespeak your knowledge or your courtesy.

My gripe is indeed that Amy is not progressive. She could prove otherwise by talking some real stands, instead of the squishy crap above.

And you'll note, genius, that I had about ten points I'd like some clarification on in terms of her positions, and I've explicitly said she could give me a sign on two or three of them - not even a strong stnad, but the right noises - and I'd probably be satisfied, but that I haven't heard them yet. And given the tenor of interview she gave to a sympathetic audience such as this blog sorta leads me to think that we're going to hear a bunch of DLC-inspired rhetoric. Given the effectiveness of these Republican-lite politicians who call themselves Democrats, I'm afraid I'm not voting carte blanche Democrat anymore. No progressive accomplishments in three decades, miserable track record in the past five years (Iraq, Bankputcy "Reform", Tax Cuts for the Wealthy, ALito) makes me wonder what's the point in voting for yet another DLC/DSCC clone?

And you're wrong about Dayton. He not only made the right noises about health care, but he had had a track record from prior campaigns on workers rights, consumer rights and so forth. Klobuchar has none of this.

No more blank checks. She either gets up to bat for our side, and does so in the campaign, or she doesn't. Simple as that. And don't expect much progressive support if she doesn't get up to bat for us and bat at least .250, cuz this "vote democrat because we're protecting you from the big bad republicans" is wearing thin, not least because the Dems not only are not protecting us, but they're joining in on the other side's action.

And you can go on putting down progressives for not jumping on the Klobuchar gravy train just because she's a Democrat, but that's hardly convincing.

by redstar66 2006-02-25 10:08AM | 0 recs
Good

Good interview there with lots of interesting questions and answers. Seems to be a nice lady with good opinions.

by Jared B 2008-02-29 12:57PM | 0 recs

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