Politics with Jennifer Brooks

Fish or cut bait, say the pros

Good morning.

I'll be interviewing U.S. House Ways and Means Chair Kevin Brady and Rep. Erik Paulsen today. What should we ask them? Email: Look in tomorrow's paper for the story.

GOP operative on CD1 and state Sen. Carla Nelson and Rep. Nels Pierson getting in: Not getting the sense that delegates want another candidate. Also worth noting: former U.S. Sen. Rudy Boschwitz and former U.S. Rep. Gil Gutknecht already pledged earlier this summer to do a fundraiser for Jim Hagedorn. And, recall that Pierson once worked for Gutknecht. That should tell you where the establishment is on this.

Another GOP operative on CD1: make up your mind.

Stewart Mills being coy about CD8 race, GOP sources tell me. Which is ruffling feathers because they really like Pete Stauber, who has already announced he's in and has a great profile: St. Louis County Commish, 22-year veteran of Duluth police, which means union member, once shot off-duty, wife an Iraq War vet. (This is much better than Mills' wealthy heir thing, a DFLer concedes, though Mills brings money to the game.)

A sour mood among Republicans this week, but one GOPer has a little bit of hope because Democrats "still seem to have an air or superiority, that you didn’t vote for us because there’s something wrong with you." In the Rust Belt states, as well as wide swaths of Minnesota that went for Trump, "Being anti-Trump isn’t great to get back voters who voted for him." Although maybe they stay home.

The biggest challenge facing both parties, a smart operative tells me: Mastering the rapidly changing political geography. Wherein the suburbs shift to the DFL while rural Minnesota rapidly moves to Republicans. But even that's a gross oversimplification, and mastering the change will require good data paired with sound political instincts about how to recruit candidates, offer appropriate messaging and where to spend money.

About that sour GOP mood:

Cover of the British Tory mag The Economist this week.

Related: Trump comments open breach with CEOs, military, GOP.

CBS Poll: 34 percent of Republicans approve of Trump's handling of Charlottesville. There's his floor.

Remarkable incident in which Steve Bannon calls Bob Kuttner from the liberal-left American Prospect and dishes about various foreign policy issues as well as internal strife in the administration. Later he claims he didn't realize Kuttner, a journalist, would write up the conversation. It crashed the little magazine's website. This is the second time a Trump White House official has done this in just a few weeks, the other of course when "The Mooch" called Ryan Lizza at the New Yorker. Most damaging, Bannon says what everyone knows but you're never supposed to say: There really isn't a military solution to the North Korea situation. Bannon was already on thin ice and no doubt didn't help himself here with new COS Kelly, badmouthing colleagues and openly talking about sabotaging them.

Paul Walsh reports someone allegedly threw a pig's foot at a young man of Somali descent selling vegetables at the farmer's market. Story went national.

H/t Bluestem.

I had a great experience traveling with a newborn on Sun Country in June, so this is ... hmmm... Sun Country gonna be more like ... Spirit.

Thanks to reader S.J. for catching my homophone problem Wednesday: yolk/yoke. Sadly, none of the rest of you caught it.

From the summer leave file:

Addiction to cookies and meth are pretty similar, according to Richard Friedman, a psycho-pharmacologist: Neuroscientists have found that food and recreational drugs have a common target in the “reward circuit” of the brain, and that the brains of humans and other animals who are stressed undergo biological changes that can make them more susceptible to addiction.

Memo to bosses everywhere: Ease up on the stressful expectations, or it’s booze, drugs or diabetes.

Tremendous grace from the mother of Heather Heyer, the woman killed in Charlottesville: "By golly if I gotta give her up, we’re gonna make it count."

Finally, big thanks to our biz columnist Lee Schafer, who recommended Peter Matthiessen's "The Snow Leopard," which I've been reading a few pages at a time. Matthiessen -- the only writer to win the National Book Award for both fiction and nonfiction -- writes about his trek in Inner Dolpo (Nepal) with a biologist in search of the Himalayan blue sheep. But it's also an exploration of Buddhism. Here, he laments what the West has lost since it turned to technology as the answer:

And then, almost everywhere, a clear and subtle illumination that lent magnificence to life and peace to death was overwhelmed in the hard glare of technology. Yet that light is always present, like the stars of noon. Man must perceive it if he is to transcend his fear of meaningless, no amount of "progress" can take its place. We have outsmarted ourselves, like greedy monkeys, now we are full of dread.

Read this book, and it may ease your dread, just a bit. Have a great day everyone!

Correspond: and @jpcoolican.

-- J. Patrick Coolican



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