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.