If there were a political equivalent to Branson, it would be a great place to put Arne Carlson. He could strut around on stage in his yellow Gophers sweater and regale his pals about the glory days and curse those Republicans who won't listen to reason, i.e., Arne Carlson. Unfortunately, as the Star Tribune reports, he's touring out in public again:
Meanwhile, a clan of Minnesota political elders moved to step into the budget dispute as Minnesota heads into its sixth day of a widespread government shutdown.Arne Carlson was the king of the third way back in the day -- the DFL would propose and Carlson would kvetch and then sign the bill. The scope of government has grown inexorably under every governor since Floyd Olson and Carlson did nothing to stop it. Ever since he left office, he's been making life hell for Republicans in this state and was quite ostentatious in supporting various Democrats to high office, most notably Barack Obama in 2008. It's hardly surprising that he's more comfortable working with Walter Mondale than he is with Kurt Zellers or Amy Koch, who matter a lot more to this process than Carlson ever will.
Former two-term Republican Gov. Arne Carlson and former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale, a Democrat, on Tuesday convened an ad hoc budget group chaired by bipartisan former lawmakers and commissioners charged with developing a "third way" to end the impasse by week's end.
So is Mark Dayton, of course. Here's the giveaway about the "third way":
Dayton, who previously sought a court-appointed mediator for the budget dispute, gave the group his help, aiding in its formation over the weekend and offering Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter as a resource.
Schowalter wasn't available to testify at a legislative hearing last month, but he's got time for Arne Carlson.
There's a reason Dayton keeps seeking "mediators" and ad hoc committees and the like; he's looking for some sort of authority figure to bless his machinations. Then he can say, "of course I have to raise taxes on the rich -- the mediator says so, and so does a former Republican governor. Really, my hands are tied here."
Personally, I'd rather listen to Jim Stafford. At least he can be entertaining.