Minnesota Republicans took the rare step on Monday of voting to remove an appointee of DFL Gov. Mark Dayton.Back in 2008, then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty had to swallow hard and deal with the decision. Dayton took a different tack:
By a 37-29 party-line vote, Republicans voted against confirming Ellen Anderson, a former longtime member of the Senate, as Dayton's appointee to chair the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.
The vote means Anderson must leave the post. Dayton, angry at the vote and calling Republicans "too extreme to lead,'' immediately hired Anderson as an energy advisor on his staff. He must now search for a new chair of the PUC.
Now, I'm of two minds about this. First, I fully suspect that whomever Dayton selects will be just as much of a problem child as Anderson was in this position. Second, elections do have consequences and Mark Dayton is the governor and should, barring anything extraordinary, be able to appoint lieutenants of his choosing.
Having said that, I have no sympathy for the outrageously outraged Dayton or any of his colleagues in the DFL. The vote against Molnau was shameful and an exercise in raw political power, mostly done for the hell of it as far as anyone could tell. The pretext was that the 35W bridge had collapsed during Molnau's tenure at MnDOT, but as was later demonstrated, that collapse was the result of a faulty bridge design that took place some 30 years before.
Republicans have been all too willing to play by Marquess of Queensbury rules -- the primary reason that Mark Dayton is in the governor's chair is that the Republican Party, at Tom Emmer's direction, didn't unload on Dayton's very troublesome history, while Dayton's hired goons had no hesitation in running dozens of scurrilous ads that scored Emmer.
The only way Republicans are ever going to be praised in this state is if they lose, graciously and perpetually. Perhaps the Republicans in Minnesota are finally learning that hearing the praise of your enemies is far less enjoyable than hearing their lamentations and vows of revenge.