Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Getting the Band Back Together

I've often thought it unfortunate that there's no political equivalent to Branson, Missouri, the Ozarks burg where has-been musicians build their own theaters and perform nightly for crowds that appreciate their work. Jim Stafford, the goofball who had a number of novelty hits in the mid-70s, has a nice setup down there.

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.

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.
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.

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.


Night Writer said...

So neither Gov. Dayton or Arne Carlson like spiders and snakes but never learned that you shouldn't fool around when there's a fool around. Sounds like another lost weekend with the wildwood weed for Governor One-Note while the esteemed elders bring forth a steaming pile of cow patti that will have no legal authority but will get heavy rotation from the Strib.

When, oh when, will Arne Carlson let go of our leg?

Mr. D said...

Perhaps we could arrange for Arne to have a one-year marriage to Bobbie Gentry. That seemed to derail Stafford's career.

Night Writer said...

Bobby Gentry? Hmmm, any chance The Elders are meeting at a conference center up on Choctaw Ridge? Do you think there might be a bridge nearby that Mark and Arne can jump off of?

First Ringer said...

I'd like Arnie to add another member to his Blue Ribbon Panel - his 1994 doppleganger.

Carlson was never anything close to approaching a conservative, but certainly his rhetoric and some of his fiscal policies (until about 1998 when he went for broke buying a legacy) were at least scolds to the DFL's taxing agenda.

I don't think Arnie circa 1994 would even recognize his modern iteration. I still remember his '94 State of the State address which sounds downright Pawlentyesque:

"During the 1980s, the growth in state government exceeded the growth in people’s paychecks by 15 percent. Since then we have frozen the number of state employees, held the growth of government to the growth in personal income, implemented a wage freeze, and cut welfare for able-bodied adults…

In the process, we quickly became the target of nearly every entrenched and powerful spending system in Minnesota. And as we were being attacked by all the forces that resists change – it was then that I knew we were doing something right."