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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

General Petraeus: Military Commander & Political Surrogate

Category: US Politics
Posted: 09/10/07 17:27, Edited: 09/10/07 17:28

by Dave Mindeman

There is obviously a coordinated Republican effort to get into a PR war over the new MoveOn ad regarding General Petraeus' testimony. It is as if the General is immune from criticism because he wears the uniform.

But the general wears two hats. One represents command of the US forces in Iraq... the other is as the personal representative of the Bush administration in testimony to Congress.

Now the general is a fine military commander; of the various commanders we have had in Iraq, he has probably done the best job with our forces. But Petraeus is also an astute politician; he would not have attained his stature without being adept at maneuvering his way through the political mine fields.

And it is the politician that Bush has called upon to testify to Congress. We cannot accomplish anything more militarily in Iraq. That mission is done.

It is the political goals, or lack thereof, that is keeping us there and the General is quite aware of that. He bargains for more time. And that bargain comes with no guarantees of success.

The Bush administration has no credibility with Congress on Iraq. General Petraeus has been given the task of using his own political capital to push the Bush agenda.

If he accepts that mission then he must accept the criticism that goes with it.... and the frustration of a restless American public.
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Remember: Only Gov. Pawlenty Can Call a Special Session

Category: Tim Pawlenty
Posted: 09/09/07 17:18

by Dave Mindeman

Only the Governor can call a special session.

That is what the state Constitution says and Governor Pawlenty makes sure everyone is aware of it. Yet, it is hard to decipher exactly what he wants. After last year's narrow election win, it seemed as though Pawlenty realized that he needed to work with this legislature... that confrontation and mistrust were not going to serve the needs of this state. But as time went on, the signals became mixed and he became more concerned with the conservative tax policy that led to heavy legislative losses. Still, when it comes to the recent events of the I-35 Bridge collapse and the massive flooding in southeast Minnesota, you would think the chief executive would push the partisanship aside, because....

Only the Governor can call a special session.

Pretty soon there will be people looking for someone to blame for this display of government inertia. Fingerpointing will be in order and the Governor has already offered his opinion about the legislature. They want too much.... they can't give him a signed statement of a limited agenda. But the legislature has tried to meet him more than halfway and really their hands are tied, because:

Only the Governor can call a special session.

In the Winona Daily News there is a guest editorial from the publisher of the Rushford, Minnesota paper called the Tri-County Record. The title of his article is.. Rushford is Now Pawlenty's Katrina. That is a connection that the Governor would like to avoid. At the beginning of this trying time for Minnesota, Governor Pawlenty seemed to want to move quickly.... to gather the needed resources and make state government work the way it needs to. But, he got distracted by the no-tax advocates. He lost sight of the greater needs of the state and succumbed to special interests. The Winona - Rushford article could be prophetic. The longer this state of government stagnation goes on, the greater the danger that the southeast Minnesota flood gets compared to the government response in Louisiana. The Governor could very well have to face a legacy stained with these catastrophic events, because:

Only the Governor can call a special session.
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Recycling Lesson From the Cheeseheads

Category: Society
Posted: 09/09/07 16:42, Edited: 09/09/07 16:43

by Paul Bartlett

Minnesota officials -- at all levels of government -- talk a good game about recycling, reducing waste, and in general, going green. It's sad to say, but their actions fall far short of their words.

Despite all of the talk about dwindling landfill space, resource
depletion and skyrocketing commodity costs, Minnesota still doesn't require source separation. Wisconsin mandated source separation decades ago. It simply isn't an undue burden to put mixed recyclables in one collection container and garbage in another.

Attend any TwinCities public event -- the Guthrie Theater, Como Park, art or music festivals -- and try to properly dispose of recyclable items. For example, after finishing beverages at the Guthrie, I asked an attendant where the recyclable bin is located, and in a chipper voice, she responded, "Oh, we don't recycle at the Guthrie."

Minnesotans display an air of superiority toward their Wisconsin
neighbors (I know, I've lived on both sides of the border). So I
challenge our public officials: Can't we do as well as Wisconsin, and mandate recycling? Can't we provide minimal recycling opportunities at public events? Can't we do the environmentally right thing?
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