4th District

Republican red meat in Rochester

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

ROCHESTER – Minnesota’s Republicans held a pep rally at the Mayo Civic Center Thursday night, a full-throated partisan crank-up for this weekend’s state convention.

Barack Obama (more than Hillary Clinton), Nancy Pelosi, Al Franken, liberalism and the “Democrat” Party were repeatedly, if predictably, bashed. “Look at what the Democrats
offer us – Barack Obama and Al Franken are the most radical extremists this country has ever seen,” said state GOP chairman Ron Carey, decrying their “left-wing values.”

Surveying the conventional wisdom writings of what he called “the pundits” who have predicted a “slaughter” of Republicans in November, Carey predicted that “the joke’s gonna be on these folks.”

The party trotted out a couple of its congressional candidates who are facing decidedly uphill battles in deeoly blue districts come November and gave them a few minutes in the spotlight.

Ed Matthews, who is trying to take down Rep.Betty McCollum in a district that has been held by Democrats for 60 years, mentioned “change” in Washington almost as incessantly as Obama has. He said his platform is grounded on God, the U.S. Constitution and the Republican Party’s platform.

Barbara Davis-White, who is trying to knock off first-term Rep. Keith Ellison in the deeply blue Fifth Congressional District, called him “a liberal.”

“BOOOOOOOOOO,” the crowd replied.

“We cannot let our country die under the influence of Democrats and socialism,” she said, adding that Ellison is “a man who’s threatening our national security.”

Sen. Norm Coleman, whose endorsement for a second term is expected to be the centerpiece of the convention, made a brief, surprise, appearance when he introduced Sen. Tom Colburn, who gave the keynote address of the night. “Six more years,” members of the crowd roared.

“You are what defends liberty,” Colburn told the Republicans, saying the party can “regain our footing” if the party keeps its focus on Islamic radical terrorism and the federal government’s deficit spending. “There’s a culture in Washington that kicks the can down the road,” Colburn said. “It’s time that stops.”

Officially, the convention kicks off at 9 a.m. Friday.

McCollum seeks end to death penalty

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., introduced an amendment to the U.S. Constitution Wednesday to end the use of the death penalty.

Her proposal comes on the same day that a U.S. Supreme Court decision will likely restart executions in the United States after a six month hiatus, and as Pope Benedict XVI, who she called “the most high-profile death penalty opponent in the world,” pays his first visit to America.

“Criminals who are found guilty of committing heinous acts should be sentenced to life in prison as a punishment and for the well-being of society,” McCollum said. “The death penalty, by contrast, does not serve society’s interests – it is damaging and harmful. Fighting crime, achieving justice, and elevating human dignity are all damaged by state-sponsored executions.

“We know the death penalty is more expensive to implement than regular sentences, it does not reduce crime, and it imposes a shared societal responsibly for killing another human being on behalf of a justice system that is clearly not perfect.”

Other than the press release, there was no formal announcement of this initiative. It remains to be seen whether any of the House’s Democratic leaders, now facing an election year, will want to take up McCollum’s death penalty challenge.


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