MINNESOTA POLITICS-ARE ALL STATES THE SAME?

Fritz and Hubert

We are now roughly seven months from the mid-term elections. I have been very closely tuned in with the federal, Congressional and Senatorial races, around the country. I’m not really in involved in the Minnesota state races, much less local and municipal races. I used to be more involved, I actually ran for city council two times seriously and once as a joke. I realized I don’t like door-knocking and I have a real personal problem engaging in discussion with people who don’t have a clue what they are talking about.

I would think I would be much more energized to get involved in the Minnesota race for Governor. Recent history in our once great state has shown a lack of judgement by the voters by electing a self-serving ego-maniac and an off the charts right-wing idiot that have used the past twelve years to drive the state right into the ditch. I am so pissed off about these past twelve years, that I should be fired up enough to jump in. But, I haven’t. I guess my problem is not a single remaining candidate in the field of way too many candidates has “wowed” me. What inspires me are leaders with great intellect, leaders with fire, leaders with imagination, and leaders who are completely transparent and won’t play the “political” games. I guess, for this year anyway, I won’t find the next Paul Wellstone, Al Franken, Fritz Mondale, or Hubert Humphrey. Have we been spoiled in Minnesota for spawning these four great leaders from the progressive side? Maybe. Maybe my expectations are too high. Maybe I need to accept the fact that those four are/were exceptional and very rare. I have no choice now, I must settle for something maybe less. This is not a broad-side slam of the current group of Democratic candidates by any means, these are some very good people, and quite capable too. I also don’t expect any of these guys to bow down to me and sell me personally. I’m just a regular voting citizen of Minnesota that wants to return our state to the heights we enjoyed under the leadership of Arnie Carlson, Rudy Perpich, and Wendy Anderson.

There was a poll taken some time ago about which state was represented by the most braggers in the country. I believe I was in college at the time. The poll revealed that not only was Texas not the home of the biggest braggerts in the country but, Minnesota actually won that top spot. Coincidentally, Wendy Anderson was Governor at the time. I was at the University of South Carolina and bragging about Minnesota was easy for me in that state. In my coherent adult life I have resided in 4 states and one commonwealth. I lived in Maryland and Arizona, both states have rich histories of political corruption. I lived in South Carolina, which has a rich history of political corruption and cronyism. I lived in the Commonwealth of Virginia with its rich history of cronyism and then Minnesota, whose claim to fame is the clean and corruption free history of politics. Quite a contrast from my other residences!

Between the four years under Governor Jesse Ventura and the eight years under Governor Tim Pawlenty, the state of Minnesota has sunk to being like any other state. Minnesota is no longer the strong beacon of solid progressive government that really takes cares of its citizens and businesses. What Pawlenty has done is damn near bankrupt the state by one bone-headed deal after another. His wish to get national attention from the Republican party has blinded him from what’s important in the state. He has cut all agencies and programs to the financial bone, some with huge negative results, GAMC, for example, which the weak-kneed democrats gave in to, and at the same time he has either cut or not increased personal income tax and corporate taxes. Because he made such deep cuts in these areas, the burden of taxation has been piled on to governmental entities lower than state. He has cut LGA funding twice, thus forcing cities to raise property tax to try to cover local responsibilities and services. The cities are also partly responsible for funding public education. The local government can’t raise their taxes any more because of state regulated tax levies. He has created one hell of a mess on the local scenes. But, on the plus side for him, the latest poll of Republican voters nationwide shows him polling a strong 6% for President. That’s pretty good, he’s only trailing Palin by 1%! Palin’s biggest supporters are the tea-baggers and they poll to 52% that reject they don’t want Palin as President. Tim, work over the tea-baggers, maybe they’ll swing their support to you, assuming they can’t talk Bachmann into running! What a comedy of tragedy! What do the progressive Minnesotan’s have left to choose from out of candidates that have a realistic shot in November?

RT Rybak is arguably the leading candidate at this point. He is a great guy and a great mayor. He has been at the helm in Minneapolis while it has become one of America’s great cities, again. He has a history of being a “grassroots” kind of politician with some wonderful connections. Howard Dean has endorsed RT, and I love Howard Dean. He is the most politically savvy progressive in the country. That says a lot for RT. Minnesota Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher has been a great tactician as Speaker. I love her rural-agricultural and urban background. After discussing some issues with her, I came away being very impressed. Her thoughts on agriculture in Minnesota and her vision of where it needs to go are spot on. She also addressed my concerns regarding the disparity in quality of public education in Minnesota. As it turns out, she more or less agrees with me, just a matter of working out the details. State Representative Paul Thissen is a guy I fell in love with. He has a great sense of urgency and a lot of fire in his gut. This is a guy I want to go have a beer or five with and discuss the issues. He has an amazing level of enthusiasm and brains to tackle the issues. I think his years in the House with Helmut Head as Governor, have him fired up and ready for the gubernatorial tasks at hand. Finally, there is Mark Dayton. I am in line with Dayton on every issue I can remember. He is a progressive closer to the Humphrey mold than any of them. He is incredibly smart, he has a great family pedigree, he has a great resume of service to back him up, and he has state-wide executive experience as the one time state auditor. Here’s what Dayton doesn’t have; the ability to be a “politician”. He seems to be very nervous in groups and has difficulty articulating his points, even though I personally don’t have a problem with any of his points. Politically, opponents will go after him for the Senate office closure, bizarre behavior, and his history of depression. Opponents can rightly get after him about the office closure, but the mental health issue should be off the table. I attended a DFL function in Eagan on Sunday and was interested listening to all three of the candidates’ veiled remarks about Dayton’s ability to fund his own campaign. SO WHAT! That means Mark Dayton will not be beholden to any person, corporation, and special interest group. He’s his own man. So Democrats, and if it comes to it, Republicans, get over it. It’s a non-issue!

I was also offended by the set up questions for the candidates on Sunday. Three virtual softballs that addressed nothing! I did sense a little nipping at each other between RT and MAK, about, of all things, who runs a better “grassroots” campaign. How about issue questions and answers. I was also uncomfortable with the seemingly shallow or empty cheering. Believe me, there was no evidence of a Wellstone or Franken in the room!

The republican are offering up a pair of non-competitive suits. Seiffert and Emmons. To Emmons’ credit, at least he didn’t sign the signature republican promise to not raise taxes!

The last twelve years of incompetency really has made it so easy for any of the Democratic candidates to win in November. T-Paw has run the state out of money. The current deficits are now more of a result of tax cut than budget cuts. The revenue streams that fund state governmental operations have been cut to a trickle or a drip. The next Governor will have to raise taxes. There really isn’t much else to cut from the budget. To Pawlenty’s credit, that’s been done. I not only want it to be done, but i want the candidate who faces the Republican in the general to embrace and explain to the voters why. the Republicans are going to come after you for raising taxes, but the Democrat has to hold their position and enlighten the voters why it’s necessary. The Democrats need to be a strong united force. The dismal recent history of failure from the Governor’s office has made winning for the Democrats virtually automatic. Be strong, and sell the case. Thanks for today’s read, and I’m still uncommitted to any candidate. I need help with this, so please sell me.
Cam Obert

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One Response to “MINNESOTA POLITICS-ARE ALL STATES THE SAME?”

  1. youandmedoweagree Says:

    Sorry about the typos and lousy grammar, but I’ve got to get to work!

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