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In State of the State speech, Walz embodies Minnesota’s best qualities

Gov. Tim Walz
Gov. Tim Walz delivering his 2020 State of the State Address from the Governor's Residence on Summit Avenue in St. Paul.

Last night, I kinda fell in love with Gov. Tim Walz.

In truth, I barely know the governor. I’ve covered him several times, spoken to him barely at all. He’s certainly not Mr. Charisma. And, oft-times, when I’ve heard him speak, I’ve found his style likably down-to-earth but amusingly lacking in flash or what usually passes for eloquence. But, at the moment, those things certainly seem less important than humanity, honesty, straightforwardness and competence.

Last night, from self-quarantine in the governor’s mansion, speaking not even on TV but over the internet, Walz’s regular-guy, Minnesota-nice routine had me at hello.

Seated, tieless, speaking via YouTube from the governor’s mansion so you didn’t have to count how many times he was interrupted by applause, lacking any attempts at flash, making no jokes, telling no lies and doing absolutely no bragging about what a great job he’s doing to get us through the COVID-19 crisis, Walz (who actually grew up in Nebraska) seemed to embody most of the Minnesota qualities I fell in love with when I moved here 42 years ago, and with which I have never fallen out of love.

If you skidded off the road in a snowstorm (as who among us has not), this is the guy you want to have pull over and help push you back on. 

He didn’t praise himself. He didn’t criticize you-know-who. He paid tribute to fundamental qualities that, if anything can do it, will get us through this horrible pandemic and get back to being, like all the children in Lake Wobegon, above average.

This link will get you the YouTube. 

Comments (29)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/06/2020 - 09:48 am.

    Tim is definitely the anti-Trump.
    Since he’s from Mankato, and I have a couple of connections with him, I knew him a bit when he first considered running for Congress and was one of his first supporyters (I knocked on a lot of doors that summer).
    He’s a natural politician, and has perfected the ‘aw shucks good ole boy’ shtick that can be effective politically. He’s a lot brighter than he appears. Underestimate him at your risk.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 04/06/2020 - 12:20 pm.

      Oh, his intelligence became abundantly clear in that first presentation where he presented all the modeling explaining why we missed the boat on “flattening the curve” and why it therefore had become necessary to institute the stay-at-home order in order to instead shift the curve and give our health care professionals needed time to prepare for when the curve reaches its peak. I was so impressed to see someone following a science-based plan, so reassured that that was our Governor, and never so relieved that Jeff Johnson is NOT our Governor today!

      • Submitted by Leon Webster on 04/06/2020 - 04:08 pm.


        It is comments like this that make me want a “like” button. Like you, I am very grateful we have gov. Walz rather than gov. johnson

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/06/2020 - 07:12 pm.

        Not only am I glad Johnson isn’t the guv, I’m also glad Mark Dayton isn’t the guv. We don’t need MNSure or MNLars type performance now.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/06/2020 - 09:54 am.

    “humanity, honesty, straightforwardness and competence”.”lacking any attempts at flash, making no jokes, telling no lies and doing absolutely no bragging” Are you talking about leadership?

  3. Submitted by BK Anderson on 04/06/2020 - 10:42 am.

    Walz is sort of a MN version of Cincinnatus, the Roman legendarily elected to serve Rome as consul while out plowing his fields. Walz (a high school teacher) decided to run for Congress during the throes of the last great “conservative” crisis, the maladministration of the nation by the criminal Cheney/Bush Junior regime.

    The Dems took the Congress in 2006, ending 12 years of conservative corruption, scandal and misgovernance in the House. Walz scored an unexpected upset victory over the Repub incumbent, and hasn’t lost an election ever since.

    I will say, as we engage in paeans to “Minnesota qualities” (and I’m a native), that one can’t forget that today half the state swoons over the “Minnesota qualities” found in terrible MN public servants like Tim Pawlenty (our first “conservative” governor) and Tom Emmer. A state that once had a solid consensus on sensible routes to progress is now hopelessly paralyzed and deeply divided as a result of the extremist “conservative” movement. Of course, no state’s populace has been immune!

    It is therefore highly likely that any MN Covid consensus currently being experienced as a result of Walz’s (science-based) leadership will be very short lived, as the MN right is simply waiting for the proper wedge issue to arise. Most likely it will come when the (scientifically-illiterate) Grand Incompetent in DC prematurely raises his “Mission Accomplished!” banner, declaring the nation Open for Business. Then all hell will break loose in Purple States like Minnesota that seek to follow Doctor’s Orders.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/06/2020 - 07:04 pm.

      It’s wasn’t more than two weeks ago that it was obvious Don Trump planned to be Disneyland Daddy, the non-custodial parent who made sure his weekends with the kids were fun & free of discipline; let those Blue state guvs be the bad guys. That act will likely return.

  4. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 04/06/2020 - 12:32 pm.

    I fear BK Anderson may be correct about the present and near future politically, but in the meantime, Dennis Wagner is on to something.

  5. Submitted by joe smith on 04/06/2020 - 01:42 pm.

    It takes no leadership to shut a business down. It does however take great leadership to start up a company and make it run. Walz has done nothing yet, his test is coming!

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/06/2020 - 02:01 pm.

      Yeah, ok Joe, doesn’t take leadership to run a $38.2B state budget, with 5.6M people through a pandemic crisis! Please feel free to state what leadership is then? Suspect it looks like generating BS 24-7-365 to mislead an entire country, and preserve your own narcissistic butt? Leadership sure isn’t making dumb-ass remarks, at least from this perspective, perhaps it is from yours?.

      • Submitted by joe smith on 04/06/2020 - 06:28 pm.

        He’s NOT running the businesses, he shut them down. Walz is a school teacher turned politician, not sure where his business acumen was acquired.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/07/2020 - 08:57 am.

          Mr. Smith, did it ever occur to you that running a business and running a state government are two entirely different things? That a good business leader is not necessarily a good governmental leader, and vice versa?

          I recall the Cult of the CEO from the 80s. Bios of successful corporate executives were everywhere, and I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard someone make the beyond banal observation that we could use a Lee Iacocca as President (don’t get me started on the “run government like a business” line of crap). No one seemed to reflect on the fact that we measure the success of a business by entirely different criteria than we measure the success of government.

          • Submitted by joe smith on 04/07/2020 - 10:27 am.

            Believe me I understand politicians cannot run businesses. My response was to the many that claim running a State is like running a business. It is not.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/07/2020 - 12:16 pm.

              Exactly! They are entirely different things. Government can’t be run like a business, and a business isn’t run like the government.

              A business person is not necessarily fit to be a governmental executive, even if his business experience consists largely of a string of failures.

            • Submitted by BK Anderson on 04/07/2020 - 12:39 pm.

              Um, historically it’s been your side making that specious claim, Joe.

              Along with the (equally stupid) analogy that government should operate like a cash-strapped family around their kitchen table. That was one of Pawlenty’s favorites…

            • Submitted by Chas Dalseide on 04/07/2020 - 05:01 pm.

              The Soviet Communist model was the closest thing we’ve seen to
              running the government like a business.

          • Submitted by Howard Miller on 04/07/2020 - 12:26 pm.

            George W Bush was our first MBA president.

            Handed off an economy crashing toward Depression to Barack Obama.

            Public sector leadership and private sector leadership differ primarily in how many people each sector answers to. Private sector leader answers to whom ever owns the firm, writes the check. Public sector leader answers to at least a majority of voters who put her/him in the office.

            Harry Truman was not a successful haberdasher, but a “buck stops here” president.

            Donald Trump is a multiple-bankruptcy private sector failure AND so ignorant of reality and management techniques he fires experts and stacks lackeys around him who praise his naked emperor act.

            Lets ensure our next president has held high public office successfully, or served well in our military, showing dedication to others. No more newbie narcissists for president

            • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/07/2020 - 08:56 pm.

              The military is a terrible training ground for political leaders.

              Don’t follow orders without questions? It’s immediate discipline for you. That doesn’t work in a democracy where people have not signed their rights away.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/08/2020 - 11:31 am.

                Results are mixed. We have had three Presidents whose only experience in public affairs was in the military: Taylor, Grant, and Eisenhower. Grant’s administration was a near-Trumpian nest of corruption, Taylor may not have been as bad as people thought, and Eisenhower was near-great.

                Before anyone mentions Washington, he had served in the Virginia House of Burgesses, as most landed gentlemen did in those days.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/08/2020 - 07:29 pm.

          25 years as a supply Master Sergeant in the Army.
          I’d call that business management experience.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 04/06/2020 - 02:07 pm.

      Walz has stepped up and made the hard decisions based on sound science. I doubt many people would want to have the weight of responsibility resting on their shoulders that he is bearing right now.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/06/2020 - 07:12 pm.

        Decisions on science???

        What is this science thing?

        It used to be we would rate a scientist on their academic preparation, historic research, publications, teaching, current research.

        No more. Our conservative friends have simplified this process to how did this person vote in the last election?

        If they agree with me, we have found a genius, if not, just ignore them.

        Best illustrated by Peter Navarro challenging Anthony Fauci on COVID19 response.

        “Navarro’s views on trade are significantly outside the mainstream of economic thought, and are widely considered fringe and misguided by other economists”

        And now he is guiding Trump on epidemiology…

        • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/06/2020 - 10:19 pm.

          And beyond science, Presidents used to value expertise and reasoned judgement.

          Case in point: Richard Nixon.

          Now old “Tricky Dick” could be as partisan as anyone, to the point that it ended his Presidency. He also understood a line between reasoned judgement and expertise applied to governing the country and pure partisanship.

          The best example being the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency during his term in office. And reasoned experts like Laird and Richardson at Defense, Kissinger at State and a strong Chief of Staff in Alexander Haig.

          Not to be confused with Jared and Ivanka, Stephen Miller and Peter Navarro. The criteria to get ahead now is simple, fawning adoration and praise: “Mr. President, thank you for your tremendous leadership, brilliant decision making and courageous leadership”.

          And during good times, these folks could only do so much damage. Put them into a crisis situation with thousands of deaths everyday and we get Jared telling us he owns our federal emergency assets and will deploy them as he sees fit.

          And Peter Navarro railing at Anthony Fauci:

          ““Doctors disagree about things all of the time. My qualifications in terms of looking at the science is that I’m a social scientist, Ph.D.”

          And the slimy finger prints of Stephen Miller firing the Intelligence IG in the middle of all this.

          Face it folks: The guy ain’t right in the head. Nobody calls themselves an extremely stable genius: not Albert Einstein, not Werner VonBraun, not Jonas Salk, not anyone who could actually call themselves such a thing.

          Our conservative friends here greatly enjoyed Trump’s well placed fingers stuck into the eyes of liberals of all stripes. We need to get beyond that and get the kids out of the kitchen and get reasoned experts guiding life and death Presidential decisions.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/06/2020 - 02:27 pm.

      Yes, it takes leadership to decide to do something as difficult as ordering businesses to close. It takes leadership to make a decision knowing that the immediate consequences will be difficult, but also knowing that it’s the most effective way to deal with the problem.

      What is not leadership is sitting and grousing because one may be inconvenienced for awhile.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 04/06/2020 - 03:19 pm.

      Yeah, I guess real leadership is ignoring a problem and stating that it will magically disappear.

    • Submitted by BK Anderson on 04/06/2020 - 03:51 pm.

      Joe, your idea of “leadership” apparently involves nothing more than telling people exactly what they want to hear.

      We all want to hear that things can go back to normal, so telling us that doesn’t require much in the way of leadership. Indeed, prematurely giving that message to the populace is simple pandering, something that Trump is quite good at, as he shows when he gleefully insults all the usual suspects during his raucous rightwing rallies for True Believers.

      When I look at Trump’s agenda of endless tax cuts, global warming is hoax, no need for Big Gub’mint regulations–yup, that’s Leadership with a capitol L!

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/06/2020 - 05:51 pm.

      Well, if that is your test, I expect you to be campaigning hard against Donald Trump this fall. All that guy knows how to do is close businesses. He inherited a huge fortune and squandered it on one failed business after another. The guy couldn’t even make money on casinos, and that was without a pandemic shutting the country down. Somehow a guy who couldn’t beat a 9-year old in Monopoly was a good enough actor to convince enough people he had the first clue about running a business.

      I’ll stick with the guy who served in the military and taught school before going into politics. The guy who relies on science. The guy who listens to the medical professionals. The guy who wants to save lives and who understands that trying to re-open the country too early will only make the economy worse.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/07/2020 - 11:09 am.

      So you’re saying you favor a draft Michael Bloomberg campaign?

      Not to forget he was elected as a Republican as mayor of NYC.

      Sorry Don, step aside, we have a real business person to replace you:

      No money from Daddy, no bankruptcies, no hookers and p grabbing…

  6. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 04/07/2020 - 11:13 am.

    Governor Walz is downright refreshing. With his teaching and military background he exudes confidence while presenting. No chest beating, demeaning, no Pinocchio’s, and he speaks in complete sentences. He has surrounded himself with competent administration. Minnesota is a well led state. Now we need to clean out the legislature, if they can’t work together.

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