Still, I wonder, why are we only finding out about Mark Dayton's, ahem, issues now? Scott Johnson at Powerline is wondering, too. He shares an interesting personal anecdote:
At a charity auction in 1994 or so I won the opportunity to have Dayton take me and a friend to lunch at the Minneapolis Club. The lunch occurred toward the end of Dayton's tenure as the Minnesota state auditor. At lunch we argued politics and found nothing on which to agree. The lunch was extremely unpleasant because Dayton seemed to be unable to disagree agreeably. Dayton nevertheless put me on his Christmas card list for roughly the next five years.
Over those five years Dayton used his Christmas cards to discuss the dissolution of his two marriages, his entry into rehabilitation for alcoholism and related therapy issues. His psychiatric challenges were no secret to the many people on Dayton's Christmas card list, including virtual strangers like me.
Now, that's news we could have used, right? If you'll recall, Dayton was elected to the United States Senate in 2000 and served one highly erratic term there. He is best remembered for closing his office in 2004 because of terror threats that he perceived. No one else did, of course.
What’s less speculative is the Twin Cities’ media’s disingenuity in covering the “story”. This is a media market where every aspect of Michele Bachmann’s personal and legislative lives, from her speeches to her choice draperies to the supposed inner workings of her marriage and family are virtually a cottage industry among the local mainstream (to say nothing of lefty “alternative”) media. It’s a place where the antics of Morgan Grams became front-page news at precisely the moment they had to be to affect his father Rod’s defense of his Senate seat against Dayton (even though Grams hadn’t had custody of the boy in many years). Where misinformation about Norm Coleman’s apartment was unquestioningly accepted and reprinted during the past Senate race. Business connections between GOP stalwart Tim Commers and Governor Pawlenty and then-State Auditor and current GOP gubernatorial candidate Pat Anderson got pored over by everthing the Twin Cities media had, looking for a scandal they just couldn’t quite find.Mitch is right to chronicle such things, even though he and I both realize that complaining about media bias is ultimately a mug's game. Things aren't going to change because there's no incentive for the local media to change. The Lori Sturdevants of the world are going to carry water for the DFL, even as their sinecures crumble around them. The local reporters are going to continue retailing whatever nonsense the Dump Bachmann people put out there. It's who they are and what they do.
What strikes me as odd is this: in 2000, Dayton had credible DFL opposition in the primary, including tort lawyer supremo Mike Ciresi and state official Rebecca Yanisch, who could have been Amy Klobuchar with a 6-year head start. So why wasn't Dayton vetted back then? I'm geniunely curious.