Posted: 12/31/10 02:28
by Dave Mindeman
This marks the 5th anniversary of the mnpACT! 10 Worst Political Persons in Minnesota. What started out as a spoof of Keith Olbermann's Worst Person in the World schtick has turned into mnpACT!'s annual top hit post of the year, every year.
There are some who don't like the negative connotation...that's why for the past couple of years I have also done a 10 Best list as well. But it does give me a chance to reflect on what I see in Minnesota politics...and believe me, a lot of it reflects the dark side.
Looking over the past lists, the range goes from that Lizard people guy to Katherine Kersten to the Star Tribune. Some people are consistently on the list so you will see some familiar names. Some are one shot wonders, but each year a crop of people always appear that affect political discourse in Minnesota.
Here is the "Worst" List for 2010:
10. Brad Brandon of the Berean Bible Baptist Church. (Note: he also wins the alliteration award). Brandon is a Hastings pastor who decided to defy the IRS and endorse an entire slate of candidates (mostly Republican with a sprinkling of Constitution) directly from his pulpit. He challenge anyone to file a complaint (and one has been), and proceeded to preach his sermon on the need to elect those God-fearing Republicans. You have to wonder what Erik Paulsen did to get on God's bad side -- he wasn't endorsed.
9. Randy Brown (SD 56 GOP Webmaster). To the tune of "Who Let the Dogs Out", Mr. Brown thought it would be funny to profile a video on his BPOU's website that portrayed Democratic women in a less than flattering light.....while putting Republican women on display as the sex objects Mr. Brown seemed to be fantasizing about. It is hard to find a more blatant display of sexism these days. Brown actually tried to defend his actions....
"Again its only intention was to bring a smile to a few peoples faces, and possibly irritate a few others. Is it fair? Does that matter? It wasn?t intended to be fair. It was intended to be funny." Yea...funny.
8. Zygi Wilf (Vikings Owner). Zygi was #6 on last year's list and he is back again...for the same reason. The State of Minnesota is dealing with a monster deficit, but Zygi thinks a new stadium for his team should be on the agenda....and this year it has an "or else". Or else he's packing up his football hobby and heading to LA. Really, how long do states have to put up with these kind of ultimatums from pampered billionaires? How long? Speaking of money management.... how about that contract with Brad Childress? You sign him to a long term contract after last year and then fire him 3/4 of the way through the season. Can you get that money back, big guy? Or maybe you can borrow from Brett Favre....I hear he has sexy text messages worth about $50 grand.
7. Minnesota Majority. This GOP sympathizer group seems to have made a mission out of discrediting a very good state election system. They filed a frivolous lawsuit charging election officials for not complying with election laws and they put out a bogus study insinuating that a massive number of felons illegally voted. These turned out to be gross distortions and the County Attorneys complained about the time and money they had to spend pursuing these ridiculous assertions. Funny how election integrity is directly proportional to the final results you want.
6. Target Corp. In the "what were they thinking" department, Target Corp's donations to the Tom Emmer campaign became a very public affair. And what's worse, a carefully honed public image of a gay friendly corporation was nearly destroyed. Are corporate tax breaks really that important? Frankly, the idea that corporations could come close to making a "political" list like this is a little disturbing, but the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision has changed all of that forever.
5. John Kline. Congressman Kline will soon take over the chairmanship of the Education and Labor Committee in the House. And along with that will be his total disregard for union rights and his big buck contributions from the for-profit education corporations. Along with the energy companies and the banking industry, etc, etc. He has nothing but disdain for health care reform as well as disdain for his own district. Roads and bridges in the 2nd get nothing from John Kline because he's against earmarks. He's saving us money... oh, wait, no he isn't. Our money gets spent in other districts. Thanks again JK.
4. Tony Sutton (Chair of the MN GOP). The provocative chairman of the MN GOP managed to open his mouth at every inopportune moment. He was especially vocal regarding the Governor's race and the ensuing recount. His "quislings" statement will go down in infamy and his denigration of the MN election system was just downright ridiculous. News conferences with Sutton were always chock full of delicious sound bites...but devoid of substance. If his cohorts had worked as hard at real facts and figures as they did at distortions, they might have pulled out at least one of those statewide races.
3. MN Chamber of Commerce. Outside of a few token Democratic endorsements, the MN Chamber was hell bent on reversing legislative power in Minnesota. And thanks to a disgruntled public, they were highly successful. Portraying an image of protecting the taxpayer, the Chamber poured money into key legislative races. Inuendo mailings and distorted records were the order of the day. But in a move reaching the heights of hypocrisy, the first thing the taxpayer protectors endorse is a state supported stadium for the Vikings. Incredible.
2. Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty is on this list because he has flat out ruined Minnesota. He has left us with an incredible deficit. He presided over the biggest transfer of tax burden (state to local governement) in history. He watched a bridge fall down and then he vetoed transportation funding at every opportunity. And all the while MnDOT looks at a 10 year, 10 billion shortfall. He dumped GAMC people on the street and then agreed to a fix that was doomed to fail. He unalloted money for education. And was reprimanded by the Supreme Court for overstepping his authority. He proposed "green initiatives" when chairing the Midwestern Governor's Association....and then renegged on all of it. He worked against gay initiatives even though he voted for some as a legislator. Tim Pawlenty has done all this and more...and yet, after examining his own record, he thinks he is Presidential material. Yikes.
1. Michele Bachmann. Michele has topped this list for 3 years in a row (tied in 2007). It is, essentially, an easy selection. Bachmann is the Politifacts "Pants on Fire" all time champion. She has no qualms about distorting facts or outright fabricating them. She will even change her mind if it is self serving enough -- as she seems to be doing with earmarks. Bachmann is not just a bad legislator, she is a dangerous one. She relishes the spotlight and protects herself with a loyal bubble of fanatic followers. A perfect example of the times we live in, she has risen to her current status on distortion, fear, and inuendo. I don't know how long she will continue to gain status, but it can't last. It is all built on a false premise....that she alone knows what is best for the country. She has mixed up political fervor with religious zeal.....has lost the ability to determine when she might be wrong. It will all come crashing down at some point. But in the meantime, Michele Bachmann continues to be the Worst Political Person in Minnesota.