Last night, reading the excellent comment threads under all the coverage of yesterday’s shutdown-ending events, I could see the palpable struggle within the liberal side of the spectrum to decide whether Gov. Mark Dayton’s decision showed wisdom or weakness.
At the Humphrey Center event where Dayton announced his decision, he discussed his own feelings about that several times. He claimed to be more at peace with the decision than I suspect is humanly possible, but, as I mentioned my first post on the event, he seemed eerily calm. I decided to transcribe for you this one long version of how he feels about it, starting with what you will see in a very strong, direct question from the event moderator, Larry Jacobs, which also captured a lot of the comments in the threads
Jacobs: You’ve talked about the fact that you wanted things to turn out differently but you found it impossible to bring that about. So you felt obligated for what’s best for the state to come back to the Republican proposal.
You’re six months into your term. You’ve got three and a half years left. Are you concerned that the message — to Republicans particularly if they sustain their majority — will be: Take a strong position. Hold out. And the governor will cave?
Dayton: Y’know, people can say that. I’ve stopped worrying about what people say about me. If I did I would be seriously hampered in doing what I think is best for Minnesota.
If I can look myself in the mirror and say: This is what I believe is the right decision for the right reasons because it’s right for the most people in Minnesota then I can live with that self-assurance and what people say about me frankly is beyond my control anyway.
Dwight Eisenhower once said that any eighth grade student of history can make better battlefield decision with perfect hindsight than the best general can in the middle of the battle. That’s the reality we all live with. Anybody in a decision-making leadership mode realizes that you make the best decision you can at the time, with the information that you have, which is incomplete.
People can second-guess it and call you all sorts of names and ascribe all kinds of motives.
If this solves the issues, protects the people and services that I care about — that so many of my fellow DFL legislators care about — if it gets this resolved and gets Minnesota back to work in the next few days, then whatever people want to say about it or about me frankly isn’t a major concern.