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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Majority Leader Bakk Throws Another Monkey Wrench Into The Mix

Category: Mark Dayton
Posted: 02/12/15 19:13

by Dave Mindeman

Anybody who has followed this blog knows that I am not a fan of Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk. Today, another case in point of why that is, hassurfaced.

This time the tense relationship between Bakk and Governor Dayton exploded into the meda....

"Now I know how President Obama feels. I'm confronted with hostile legislative leaders," Dayton told reporters hours after the state Senate voted overwhelmingly to put the brakes on the big salary increases to commissioners that Dayton had ordered.

"I'm not going to meet with Sen. Bakk anymore without others present because I don't trust his word," Dayton said, adding that he believes the Senate leader from Cook "connives behind my back."

Bakk has been undermining the MN Democratic legislative agenda from its promising beginning in 2012 when full Democratic control was achieved. The Majority Leader pushed his own preferences on the Democratic MN House and now has opposed his own sitting Governor publicly.

All Bakk is doing is adding token (and foolish) legitimacy to the House Republicans ridiculous assertions about the Commissioner pay raises. It is hard to understand a comparison of Dayton's proposal of $800,000 in governmental department head pay raises not being supported by Bakk....while Dayton backed Bakk's $77 million office building - during an election year no less.

Dayton is not coming to some new revelation about Sen. Bakk. This has been brewing for some time and Dayton has tried diligently to be supportive of his legislative leaders. But with Rep. Thissen now in the House minority and Sen. Bakk taking on some incredible notion of being the leader for Democrats statewide - with a DFL Governor in power, no less, Bakk has made the Democrats position much weaker and is stretching unity to its outermost boundary.

The House Republican whining about Commissioner salaries has no real effect on the budget. It is just another of their ridiculous talking points. To push a Senate vote on "delaying" these salary increases is an embarrassment for the Governor and will extend the GOP talking points for weeks, if not through the end of session. Which, in turn, will make the final negotiations that much more difficult.

When Senator Bakk made his run for Governor in 2010, he made a weak attempt at promoting "progressive credentials". It failed miserably and he has made no attempt since to even pretend he will support progressive ideals in policy. He has a personal agenda which takes precedence over good public policy. And he has no qualms about pulling his support from Democratic policy when it suits his purpose.

This session has the makings of being a rocky one....and the blame falls squarely on the Senator from Cook.
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Polymet: "We Only Have To Endure It Another 11 Days"

Category: Mark Dayton
Posted: 10/24/14 17:36

by Dave Mindeman

GOP Governor candidate Jeff Johnson continues to make unforced errors in his campaign. Here's another one regarding an ad the Johnson campaign is using in the Iron Range in regards to Polymet. Polymet, themselves, responded:

We have been informed that the Jeff Johnson Campaign for Governor has launched a TV ad in the Duluth/Range market which includes a statement that if Governor Dayton wins, the PolyMet project is dead...While it's difficult to determine what, if any impact the ad may have on the company, this assertion is simply not true.

It's unfortunate that the PolyMet project has become the focus of so much campaign rhetoric during this election season. The good news is we should only have to endure it another 11 days before the election. In the meantime, we thank you for your patience and support as we continue to move this project forward.

When your supposed ally in your claim undercuts it almost immediately, you probably blew it.

Johnson blew it.

It seems to be a continuing pattern with Johnson's campaign. He throws out some over the top rhetoric, hoping that it will get accepted and repeated by the media - but not having much factual basis for what he is saying.

Johnson's campaign can only be described as "flailing" right now. It has little focus and not much direction. And it is running out of time.

As the Polymet Memo says - "we should only have to endure it another 11 days".

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Politics and The Exploitation of The Innocent- It's All Just Sad

Category: Mark Dayton
Posted: 10/22/14 23:54, Edited: 10/23/14 16:30

by Dave Mindeman

I feel sad tonight.

I feel sad for our political process. I feel sad that politicians feel that exploitation of families for political gain is within the boundaries of common decency.

Mostly, I feel sad for the family of 4 year old Eric Dean.

Eric Dean suffered repeated abuse and finally died at the hands of his stepmother....and yes, Child Protection failed him. The circumstances were awful and the whole situation makes you sick to your stomach.

It was a total system failure, especially in Pope County....

In all, between 2010 and 2012, Pope County had 15 chances to intervene, and perhaps save Eric Dean.

All of that is truly bad enough, but...


This 30 second ad was paid for by the Republican Party of Minnesota. It is an independent expenditure and is being run outside of GOP Candidate Jeff Johnson's control. But Jeff Johnson needs to address this. He needs to say something. He has no personal control over its use, but he can condemn it - and he must. If he believes that the Republican Party of Minnesota can be allowed to use the horrible death of a 4 year old boy as a political proxy for a stupid political point, then shame on him. Shame on them all.

Obviously, there was a huge problem in child protection. Dayton can't control the levers of every county government, but there is no question this little boy needed someone to blow a loud whistle. And I am fully confident that if Dayton had an inkling of what was happening he would have intervened.

He will now. He is going to fix this immediately in the next session.

That doesn't help Eric Dean. That doesn't bring him back to us.

But neither does the ridiculous exploitation of this tragedy for a stupid 30 second commercial.

The family spoke....

The grandmother of 4-year-old Eric Dean, who was murdered by his stepmother in 2013, called on the Republican Party of Minnesota to immediately stop airing a new television advertisement which blames Governor Mark Dayton for the death of her grandson.....

In an emotional phone interview this evening, Yvonne Dean, the mother of Eric's father David, said Governor Mark Dayton was not to blame for Eric's death and was highly critical of the advertisement, calling it "unfair." Dean said the "system failed Eric at the county level...how could that be Governor Dayton's fault?"

Those quotes come from an article by Michael Brodkorb of all people....

When is the stupidity and vitriol going to stop? When are politicians going to learn that human tragedy is not an opportunity for exploitation?

When are we going to stop insulting the voters with commercials about hair, about candidates walking in the woods with thought bubbles regarding taxes dancing in the wind, about Congressman that age during their tenure as if its a bad thing, about how you duck hunt, about grainy, dark caricatures of opponents who get their records twisted by creepy voiceovers.....

When is it all going to stop?

But the Republican Party has stooped to the newest of lows - and we are at a pretty mossy bottom right now. They think their desperation justifies the ultimate risk - and the exploitation of a little boy.

Yes, I am sad. Sad for what we have become. Sad that no one had the guts to say, "this is a bad idea."

Sad that I even have to talk about this.

UPDATE: The Republican Party has now removed all references to Eric Dean from the ad.
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