- If you search around the local blogosphere, you'll see the same greeting for Mr. Dayton twice, from both Mitch Berg and Gary Gross: Welcome to Hell. If that seems somehow ungracious, let me help you understand why so many conservatives are especially bitter about this election: it's not just that Tom Emmer lost by such a close margin. It's the incredibly sleazy and cynical way Mark Dayton ran his campaign, with the complicity of a news media that completely ignored all the red flags that surround the governor-elect. This is a man who couldn't handle the rigors of being a backbencher Senator, but now he will be in charge of a state government. This is also a man who has had myriad substance abuse problems and mental health issues. He is ill-equipped for the job on any number of levels. Of all the prominent figures on the Minnesota political scene, he was the worst possible choice for an executive position. And yet here he is. And a lot of people, who know all these things, were cheering him on.
- The good news is that Dayton will have adult supervision in the form of a legislature that is now in Republican hands. Dayton will not be able to raise taxes, because the lege holds the power of the purse. I don't suspect that Dayton's calls for tax hikes will get much traction among the citizenry either, especially since it now appears that inflation is coming and will eat away at household incomes. Gas prices are now around $3 a gallon and that's a sign of things to come. Nor will punitive tax policies be likely to attract new business to the state. I'm guessing that Dan Hindbjorgen of the Sioux Falls Development Council will be spending a lot of time in the recording studio over the next few years.
- Watch carefully who ends up being on Dayton's staff. There's been a lot of speculation on the starboard side that Mike Hatch would have a prominent role in a prospective Dayton administration. That could happen. What I want to see is if Matt Entenza has a role. You might remember Entenza, the unappealing politico with the rich wife who spent millions of dollars on a primary campaign in which he never really criticized Dayton, instead attacking Emmer and, at the very end, Dayton's real DFL challenger, Margaret Anderson Kelliher. It's always struck me as strange that Entenza would do these things, unless he had some expectation of either (a) a prominent role in a Dayton administration, or (b) the prospect of having state monies directed to his wife's environmental startup company. I'm going to watch this carefully. If Entenza has a role in a Dayton administration, it ought to be a subject of discussion.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
And so, Governor Dayton
Tom Emmer decided to concede yesterday, so we are now faced with the prospect of four years of Governor Mark Dayton. A few thoughts: