The conventional political opinion is that five states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio and Virginia) will determine the Electoral College and who will be President in 2012.
That race will dominate the cable networks and Sunday news programs, but the real battle is for who (and which political party) will control Congress … with particular emphasis on the House of Representatives.
The 2010 mid-term elections brought John Boehner and the Republicans into the leadership. Speaker Boehner promoted his Pillars of a New Majority as a way part of his Pledge to America that would produce a new way of legislating.
For example, Speaker Boehner said :
In too many instances, we no longer have legislators; we just have voters. In my view, if we want to make legislators legislate again, then we need to empower them at the committee level.
So it was that voters thought there would be engagement by both parties, lively debate producing legislation addressing America’s critical needs.
For the Education and Workforce Committee, the Republicans empowered John Kline (R-MN-02) as Chairman.
Sadly, Chairman Kline has ignored many proposals — even critical ones that he had complained about for years — reforming No Child Left Behind; and even ignoring worker safety legislation. Committee hearings are infrequent, but the taxpayers are paying for a large staff (over 30 employees whose salary (without benefits) cost the taxpayers $5,667,861).
Meanwhile, The Agenda that has been promoted has been through the Ryan Budget including the Kline-supported Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012, H.R. 5652, would make $300 billion in cuts over to ten years to critical safety net programs … this to increase defense spending, rather than cut it, as would be required under the sequestration proposal in last summer’s deficit cutting deal.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan estimated that the Ryan Budget could result in an 18 percent cut to education funding the department projects for 2014.
That is what the 2012 election is really about … the President will be decided by five states, but each state will elect Representatives and that is where the focus needs to be.
The Democrats offer a different agenda and as such most nonpartisan prognosticators believe that Democrats will make gains in the House.
Mike Obermueller, the DFL-endorsed candidate for the Second District is getting noticed. “Our message of creating jobs, standing up for middle class families, ending Congressional perks and cutting through the gridlock in Washington has been resonating throughout the region.”
DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (D-NY-02), Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee observed, “Growing up on a farm, Mike Obermueller learned early the importance of hard work, sticking to a budget, and working together to get things done. Mike is first and foremost a problem solver who Minnesota families can count on to overcome partisanship and put Minnesota middle class families, seniors, and small businesses before Washington special interests, millionaires, and Big Oil.”
To that end, MN-02 started out as what the DCCC called an “Emerging Race” (meaning candidates and districts that are making themselves competitive by running smart campaigns which are becoming increasingly competitive) has now been elevated to one its top contests in the “Red to Blue” category.
Actually, when you visit the Mike Obermueller For United States Congress website, it’s the issues page that voters will respond to … a lot of politicians pander by calling for “commonsense solutions” but Mike is promoting “sound solutions” … for example,
Cutting Wasteful Spending and Reducing the National Debt
Every day the National Debt grows larger and it seems the only thing Washington can do is pass the buck. We’ve got to get serious about it, but we need to keep the right priorities in mind. We shouldn’t just balance the budget on the backs of the middle class—we need a multi-pronged approach.
First we need to cut spending. We can start right away by eliminating more than $200 billion in government redundancies and waste identified by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO). We also need performance audits for every agency so we can quickly identify and eliminate programs that are not working. Second we need to end tax subsidies for big oil companies and ask millionaires to pay their fair share.
What we cannot afford to do is cut investments in innovation and in our future such as medical research, high tech development and educating our youth. Although we all need to do our part in balancing the budget, cutting these types of investments will risk America’s ability to have a competitive economy in the future.
Chairman Kline has had his chance to reform Education in a responsible manner … and has failed to deliver. Conversely, Mike Obermueller offers a sound analysis :
Education is crucial to the long term sustainability of the American economy. Right now America is 25th in math scores and 21st in science. This is unacceptable if we want America to continue to lead in an ever-competitive world economy. We need to be teaching our students how to be the next generation of innovators and job-creators—not how to memorize answers to a standardized test.
A strong public education system means a strong long-term economy. In order to achieve this, we must lower our class sizes, adopt high standards for schools that reward creativity, train and retain the best teachers and provide higher education that is affordable and accessible to all qualified students.
Yep, no wonder that Representative Israel is impressed … Congress needs problem-solvers not disciples of the Republicans Party Managers.
Mike Obermueller is running a “smart campaign” … engaging the voters on real issues … that is a winning strategy.