Five Things to Know About 2020 Democrat Amy Klobuchar
On Sunday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) will make an announcement at Boom Island in Minneapolis-St. Paul. She is widely expected to announce that she is running for president. Klobuchar is well-liked in Minnesota and has presented herself as a more middle-class senator.
Senator Klobuchar warned about the dangers Tide Pods pose toward children two years before the Tide Pod Challenge, as National Review's Jim Geraghty noted. Klobuchar also co-sponsored -- along with Democratic 2020 hopefuls Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) -- the shoddy and absurd Green New Deal resolution, along with other.
Klobuchar may not be quite as dangerous as Kamala Harris, but she would still prove a disastrous president.
Without further ado, here are five things to know about this likely candidate.
1. She's hard to work for.
On Wednesday, HuffPost released a devastating expose on the eve of Amy Klobuchar's budding 2020 presidential campaign. At least three potential campaign managers have withdrawn from consideration due to the senator's history of mistreating her staff, HuffPost's Molly Redden and Amanda Terkel reported.
"Some former Klobuchar staffers, all of whom spoke to HuffPost on condition of anonymity, describe Klobuchar as habitually demeaning and prone to bursts of cruelty that make it difficult to work in her office for long," they wrote. The staffers recalled one episode in which the senator proved to be particularly petty. Staffers were running late, and Klobuchar wrote out tardy slips, leaving one staffer in tears.
"She was constantly lighting new fires," a former staffer recalled. "When you have people who don't want to work for you, you can't be as effective."
The Minnesota senator's office has consistently had one of the highest staff turnover rates in the U.S. Senate. That rate ranked number 1 in an analysis of all Senate staff salaries between 2001 and 2016, according to LegiStorm (Klobuchar entered the Senate in 2007). Recently, her office dropped down to third.
2. She wants her Obamacare cake and to eat it, too.
In 2009, Sen. Amy Klobuchar voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (better known as Obamacare). The bill included a 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices such as pacemakers, ultrasounds, ventilators, and artificial hips.
Shortly after voting for the law, Klobuchar and her fellow Minnesota senator, Al Franken, shifted gears. They lobbied to repeal the medical device tax, which was deeply unpopular in their state.
In 2015, she tried to rewrite history after a two-year suspension of the medical device tax went into effect. "I opposed the medical device tax from the start and have led Senate efforts with Sen. [Orrin] Hatch [R-Utah] to repeal it because of its impact on manufacturing and innovation in Minnesota and across our country," Klobuchar said in a statement.
As National Review's Jim Geraghty reported, many medical device manufacturers are based in Minnesota. Cargill, Inc., one of those manufacturers, donated $53,785 to Klobuchar's campaigns between 2013 and 2018, ranking as her third-largest contributor.
In her 2006 campaign for U.S. Senate, Amy Klobuchar attacked Rep. Mark Kennedy (R-Minn.) over earmarks. "Let's start with [what] Rep. Kennedy voted for, the bridges to nowhere, the rain forest in Iowa, the waterless urinals in Michigan," she said in a 2006 debate, pledging to shore up the deficit, balance the budget, and start addressing the long-term solvency of Social Security.
Opposing earmarks got Klobuchar elected, but when she had power in the Senate, she supported millions in earmarks. The senator sponsored or co-sponsored 103 earmarks totaling $201 million in fiscal year 2008, 88 earmarks totaling $134 million in fiscal year 2009, and 88 earmarks totaling $118 million in fiscal year 2010, according to OpenSecrets. Klobuchar ranked in the top third of senators on earmarks for 2008, but fell to the middle of the pack for 2009 and 2010.
4. Filibuster on judges.
In 2013, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) proposed a measure to eliminate the filibuster for administration nominees and judicial nominees, except for nominees to the Supreme Court. Amy Klobuchar voted for it, saying she was okay with a future Republican majority using the new rules, MinnPost reported.
In September 2018, however, she changed her tune. "I don't think we should've made that change, when we look back at it," she told The Washington Post. "But it happened because we were so frustrated, because President Obama wasn't able to get his nominees."
Now President Donald Trump's nominees have an easier time.
5. Pizza as a vegetable.
Across the country, pizza in school lunches counts as a serving of vegetables due to the tomato paste. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture considered changes to school lunch programs that would have downgraded the nutritional value of tomato paste.
Klobuchar sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, opposing the changes. "Tomato paste contributes dietary fiber, potassium—a nutrient of concern for children—as well as Vitamins A & C. It is delivered to kids in popular school menu items they enjoy eating and drives [National School Lunch Program] and [School Breakfast Program] Participation," she wrote.
"By changing the crediting, many tomato-based sauces and salsa-type applications would no longer be factored into the weekly requirements for vegetables," Klobuchar argued. "I believe we must focus on increasing fruits and vegetables rather than decreasing specific foods that provide an important source of essential nutrients."
Congress passed legislation protecting the existing nutrition rules.
Minnesota representatives fought to make sure pizza still counted as a vegetable. Schwan Food Company, based in Marshall, Minn., is one of the country's biggest producers of frozen pizza. It boasts more than $3 billion in sales annually and claims to have produced 70 percent of the pizzas served in school lunches.
Amy Klobuchar will enter a crowded Democratic field, and she's not likely to stand out. Her hypocrisy and trouble with staff will count against her, and her support for radical proposals like the Green New Deal is tragically a standard feature of 2020 Democrats.
Democrats want former Vice President Joe Biden to enter the race, and Kamala Harris stands close behind him in most polls. Klobuchar will be hard-pressed to compete with the leaders, especially with her checkered history.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.