Gov. Mark Dayton stormed out of a public meeting about the State Capitol restoration on Tuesday, after accusing a Republican state lawmaker of playing politics with decisions about a set of Civil War paintings and their placement in the soon-to-reopen building.Where to begin?
“If this commission gets hijacked for political purposes, I’ll resign from it,” Dayton said at the meeting of the Capitol Preservation Commission. He cited a recent memo by state Rep. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, to his House colleagues arguing against what he alleged was a move by the administration to remove one or several Civil War paintings.
“The Capitol should not be designed around the likes and dislikes of any temporary tenant,” Dean wrote in the memo.
- Storming out of a meeting is always the best approach to a dispute.
- I would like a bit more precision in the reporting -- "one or several"?
- Dean is correct -- the Capitol is more than just a place the politicians meet.
There's more -- back to the Star Tribune story:
At a news conference later in the afternoon, Dayton reiterated that he believed House Republicans were trying to make political hay out of disagreements over the paintings’ placement: “I’m not going to sit around and be part of that contrivance,” the DFL governor said. He said he would not try to influence the Historical Society’s decision.
Dayton said he believed the art kerfuffle was an attempt by Republicans to distract from their inaction in addressing an expected spike in MNsure premiums in January. He also alleged that Dean, who is considering a 2018 bid for governor, was using the issue to bolster his own conservative credentials.
I don't know if the Republicans want to take action on MNsure, but they can't do a thing unless a special session is called. The only person who can call a special session is Dayton, but he won't call a special session because once the legislature is in session, it can do any number of things. Dayton only wants the lege to rubber stamp what he wants done. That's not how it works in a system of government where the legislature and the executive share power. Despite having similar voting patterns, St. Paul is not Pyongang, at least not yet.
As for MNsure, it's difficult to see why the Republicans are responsible for fixing something that the DFL broke. At this point, Dayton would be better off calling the special session and letting the chips fall where they may, because the next lege will be completely in Republican hands and he's not likely to get a better deal on anything in 2017. And of course the personal attack on Dean is par for the course.
Someday we'll look back on the Dayton era and marvel at it all. For now, the repeated demonstrations of pique that we get from the guy who is head of the state government are causes for disgust and shame.