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Perhaps the most exciting lieutenant governor race ever

Will Robyne Robinson be a candidate? What, exactly, does a lieutenant governor do? What happened to the GOP candidate’s blog? And which one wrote a history of Atlantis?

One imagines most Minnesotans don’t wonder about the lieutenant governor the way Sarah Palin once publicly mused about vice presidents: What is it that they do every day? As expected, Jason DeRusha of WCCO actually tackled that question, and got this response from a Hamline law professor: “[T]hey wait for the governor to get sick, die or go on an extended leave.” He also reminds us that the Center of the American Experiment once recommended eliminating the position as unnecessary and wasteful. Who was behind that recommendation? Annette Meeks, who Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer chose as his running mate.

And, even though the job costs taxpayers about $80,000 year, perhaps this is good enough reason to keep the lieutenant governor of Minnesota: It’s just so darned entertaining. Let’s take Meeks as our first example. She used to blog at the Star Tribune and then, as David Brauer points out, all of a sudden her blog was gone. He made a few calls and was told the Strib didn’t want it to seem like there was an active blog on their site from a political candidate. However, the blog is back now, with an explanatory note. So we can read her chastising the president and reminding him that he ran as “a moderate consensus seeker. Consensus means passing bills with more than one (or in the most recent case zero) Republican votes.” Apparently, the fact that Republicans have decided to vote against their own bills if they are supported by Obama is somehow Obama’s fault.

She also claims news bias, but her only demonstration of this is a poll showing a perception of bias, and ignoring other Pew studies that show that perceptions of bias shift depending on the partisanship of the reader (such as this piece on Sarah Palin). This was merely an introduction, however, to her complaining about ACORN employees who “appear to tacitly encourage tax evasion, prostitution, government fraud, and child sexual exploitation.” Now, this was written before the videotapes in question were found to be so heavily edited that it is impossible to determine what advice was being given. But it’s good that the Strib has reinstated this blog, so that reporters can question her about her comments on it, if it occurs to them to do so.

But, as Brauer points out, this was only the third-most-compelling lieutenant governor news from Monday. There was also Mark Dayton’s selection of State Sen. Yvonne Prettner Solon, which MinnPost’s Doug Grow analyzes. And then there was the really big news, which isn’t official yet: the possibility that Matt Entenza has asked FOX9 news anchor Robyne Robinson to be his running mate. The MnPublius blog seems to be the first one to print the rumors, but City Pages, who apparently had caught wind of them separately, quickly confirmed that Robinson was in consideration.

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This lead to a a bit of a duomachy on Twitter about who broke the story, with City Pages editor Kevin Hoffman complaining, “Today’s Robyne Robinson scoop was a roller coaster. I expect it to lead the Strib and Pi-Press, and neither will mention @CityPages.” Local scribe Molly Priesmeyer then reminded Hoffman that the story had actually been published elsewhere first, and asked if it’s really a scoop if it was a story that was going to be broken everywhere anyway. Well, yes, it is still a scoop, of a sort, but it’s like breaking a press release embargo two days early. One imagines the Entenza campaign would have liked this news to come out on its own timetable, especially if Robinson hasn’t actually made up her mind yet. One also imagines it doesn’t really matter that much whether the news breaks on Monday or Wednesday, although, as City Pages points out, Robinson herself kept mum on the subject while anchoring the FOX9 news Monday night.

Of course, the actual question in all this is “Why Robinson?” Blogger Jeff Fecke phrased it thus on Twitter: “What makes Robyne Robinson qualified to be Lt. Gov? I mean, she’s as qualified as Mae Schunk, but that’s not a high bar.” Minnesota Public Radio’s Bob Collins is equally blunt: “Acknowledging that Lt. Gov is a bogus, nothing position, I’m still compelled to ask what Robyne Robinson’s qualifications are for the job?” And columnist Nick Coleman has just been making fun of the whole thing, saying, “If I run for governor, I will settle for no less than Belinda Jensen as my running mate. Or maybe Sven Sundgaard. Tough choice.”

We should know Wednesday if Robinson is a candidate or if this discussion is premature, but it’s been nice that the lieutenant governor race has a bit of excitement to it. Usually it doesn’t. What was there to say about Konrad K. Solberg, for instance? He was the director of a telephone company and a member of a Norwegian Lutheran church. Heck, to our memory, things haven’t been this exciting since Ignatius L. Connelly, our second lieutenant governor, wrote a history of Atlantis.

In other news, Minnesota Independent’s Andy Birkey won a Page One award last week for his continuing coverage of the Christian band/public school ministry You Can Run But You Cannot Hide, and today he continues his coverage with the discouraging news that Bradlee Dean, the group’s frontman, seemed to approve of the execution of homosexuals, saying on talk radio, “This just shows you they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do, because these people are livid about enforcing their laws. They know homosexuality is an abomination.” Of course, people are entitled to their opinions, however odious; the discouraging thing about this quote is that You Can Run But You Cannot Hide regularly tours Minnesota schools, as the group discusses on its webpage.

They’re also closely linked to Michele Bachmann, as Birkey’s story details. Is there any news from her? Why yes: As Jason Hoppin of the Pioneer Press reports, she’s filed to run for another term as a congressperson. Also, she somehow intimates that Obama is responsible for the Gulf Coast oil spill. You can read it for yourself; this reporter has decided not to reprint vague insinuations. When Bachmann has some substantial facts to back up her claims, we’ll print them, but we’re of the opinion that her ongoing cataract of intimations and non-facts just muddy up political discourse.

For instance, she once got a lot of coverage for her claim that Obama wanted to establish re-education camps for young people. There was no reason for anybody to print that claim, and it turned out not be true, unless you count the training camps at Target Field. Those do sound sort of menacing, so thankfully Gregory J. Scott of the Downtown Journal looked into them. As it turns out, they just bring out Hall of Famers to teach kids how to play baseball.