News from the transition: Settling in after the election

What’s the upshot of having a bicameral Legislature that is now dominated by conservatives? Well, at least one issue that’s been pushed to the back burner may reach the front burner, if Hart Van Denberg of City Pages has it right. According to Van Denberg, “[T]he Minnesota Family Council says it’s going to push for a 2012 statewide referendum seeking a constitutional ban on gay marriage.” They’ve tried before, and failed, thanks to liberal control of the House and Senate. This is the sort of thing that would be put to a statewide vote, which is a funny place to put a question of human rights. Would it work? Hard to say. Marriage is already unavailable for members of the LGBT community in this state, but recent polls find a majority of Minnesotans actually would agree to extending those rights to gays and lesbians. Ultimately, this is all headed toward the Supreme Court, which is likely to find a ban on gay marriage to be unconstitutional, but it’s not like we have issues like economy to worry about. MinnPost’s Eric Black also looks at the subject.

Otherwise — well, lots of little news from the transition, and from the stalled gubernatorial transition. The GOP Senate caucus has chosen its majority leader in the person of Amy Koch, the first woman to fill that role, as MinnPost’s Joe Kimball reportsFOX9 reports that Kurt Zellers has been tagged as the next speaker of the House, making him the first Zellers to do so. Jason Hoppin of the Pioneer Press gives us the DFL minority leaders: “Tom Bakk of Cook will head the Senate caucus, while Paul Thissen of Minneapolis will head the House caucus.” Hoppin points out that Bakk opposed DFL gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton’s “tax the rich” approach to the looming budget crisis, and so this may signal that, if Dayton is certified as the winner of the election, the Democrats may not throw their full support behind him. Which is OK. After all, what’s a little more gridlock?

After all, if the Democrats aren’t going to throw their support behind their governor, who will they support? The Republicans? Well, yes, sort of, according to the Associated Press. At least, the AP quotes  Bakk and Thissen as saying they want to cooperate with the Republican majority. So hooray for bipartisanship, especially when it only comes from one side. That being said, they did promise to be tough bargainers, according to Joe Kimball. “The new minority will be vocal in pointing out the consequences of their actions,” Kimball says, which is nice. We at the Glean know a bar the new minority can meet at, where there are already a bunch of guys who also enjoy discussing politics and pointing out the consequences of Republican actions. Or, if they’re not drinkers, there are a few web forums we can point out.

And then, of course, there is still a recount onseveral, in fact — but the gubernatorial election dominates the headlines. Mark Dayton, who may or may not have won the gubernatorial election, told Minnesota Public Radio’s “Midday” program that the new governor should be seated by Jan. 3. GOP candidate Tom Emmer, who may or may not have lost the election, hasn’t commented. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has set a timeline for the recount, delineated by Jason Hoppin of the PiPress: The recount process will begin the day after Thanksgiving and continue until Dec. 14.

Conservatives relentless cried foul over the Franken/Coleman recount, despite there never being any evidence of misbehavior on Ritchie’s part, and it looks like they may be ready to start that process up again. In this instance, as reported by the AP, the MN-GOP is complaining about Mark Ritchie retweeting comments about the recount from his personal Twitter feed, some of which cast doubt on Emmer’s ability to win the election. An example: “9,000 votes is a mighty steep hill to climb and the Emmer folks know it.” The GOP is calling this a partisan statement that is inappropriate, but 9,000 votes is undeniably a steep hill, so apparently the truth is now partisan. The GOP has long painted Ritchie as a liberal activist, as you may remember. If there is a chance you may lose an election, it is useful to case doubt on the integrity of the election officials, although it’s not especially respectful of the democratic process. There’s even a fake Twitter account called ACORN4Ricthie (“Voter Fraud, Mortgage Fraud, and More! WE BUY VOTES”), because in politics, ad hominem attacks aren’t the last refuge of the scoundrel, but the first resource. Well, politics and the Internet alike.

We’re going to take some additional space for sports today, as this weekend was opening weekend for deer hunting season, and it was an especially chaotic one. Firstly, in the sort of scene that typically opens “Law & Order,” hunters in Stevens County found human remains, according to the Star Tribune. WCCO also reports that there were two car crashes involving deer this weekend — no relation to hunting season, as far as we can tell, but worth noting, especially as the combined crashes involved at least 13 people and took one life.

There were actual hunting mishaps as well: According to the AP, there were two incidents in Otter Tail County, including a teen who shot himself in the foot and a 24-year-old who fell through the floor of her deer stand. Another AP story informs us that a 52-year-old man shot himself in the wrist in Barnesville. And in yet another AP story, we discover that a 16-year-old in Big Stone County was accidentally shot by his father.

Outgoing (eventually) Gov. Tim Pawlenty also went hunting this weekend. Last year was something of a debacle for him, as he shot a deer, tracked it for a while, and then had to leave it to attend to business (leaving behind his hunting partners to finish the task). This was criticized as poor sportsmanship, and perhaps the gods of hunting had it out for Pawlenty: As related by the AP, who seem to have a yen for hunting stories, Pawlenty failed to bag a deer this year. Just like last year, come to think of it, as he never actually got around to bagging the deer he killed.

In arts: The Chanhassen Dinner Theater performed a mass wedding, which is usually the sort of thing associated with religious cults. But, then, it’s a sort of a stunt to promote their revival of the play “I Do, I Do,” which had its own sort of cult in Minnesota, running for 22-1/2 years, which is 22-1/2 years longer than Britney Spears marriage to Jason Alexander lasted (minus 55 hours), about a decade longer than either of New Gingrich’s first two marriages lasted, and 221/2 years longer than gays and lesbians are allowed to be married.

Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Sheila Ehrich on 11/08/2010 - 10:45 am.

    The GOP should look to themselves for the “partisan” nature of the “9,000 votes is a steep hill to climb . . .” quote as it originally came from none other than Coleman recount lawyer Fritz Knaak

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/08/2010 - 11:38 am.

    Say bunny?

    Did you catch the tweets from the referee assigned to next week’s game between the Vikings and the World Champion Chicago Bears?

    “The Vikings don’t have an ice cube’s chance in hell agains the Bears.”

    I spoke with my family back home on the South Side, and we are all in agreement that there is nothing untoward to be read into that.

  3. Submitted by John Edwards on 11/08/2010 - 12:09 pm.

    Most interesting line in the Glean:

    ” . . . recent polls find a majority of Minnesotans actually would agree to extending those rights to gays and lesbians.”

    Just a guess that the unnamed polls referred to were the Minnesota Poll from the StarTribune and MPR/Humphrey Institute.

  4. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/08/2010 - 12:35 pm.

    John, if the sand-is-food crowd really believed that, they would be holding hunger strikes on the capital steps, demanding their Gaia-given right to vote.

  5. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 11/08/2010 - 12:57 pm.

    Should a ban on marriage for gays reach the Minnesota State Supreme Court, and one or two of the right-wing candidates who ran with Republican Party endorsement this year have been elected because of their religious fundamentalism and strict constitutional constructionism, Minnesota can say goodbye to this and all efforts at improving human and civil rights.

    Their names are Tingelstad, Griffin, Wersal and Penwell and they will be back to try again, most likely with advertising that signals their positions on hot-button issues and their desire to bring God into the courtroom to voters. (Never mind the First Amendment.)

    The organization that supported these candidates and the politicization of what should be nonpartisan appointment-reelection by popular vote is called Justice in Minnesota.

  6. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 11/08/2010 - 01:11 pm.

    RE the reference to the referees of the Vikings/Bears game. Can you spell “false equivalency?”

    If the scoring of, and awarding penalties in a Vikings/Bears game were ruled by the same iron-clad policies and procedures as a Minnesota election recount it would mean representatives of both sides would be doing an instant replay judgment on EVERY contact situation in EVERY play, (i.e. 11 or more judgments on the part of team reps from both sides for EACH play of the game).

    Under those circumstances where a single, referee is not in the position to make a decision about anything, decisions are made by agreement between reps of both sides, and any decision at any level can be appealed to a higher level which can ratify or reject any and all decisions made at lower levels, it wouldn’t matter in the least what an individual ref said.

    (And, after the game is played, it would be at least a couple of months – if not six – before we knew the final score.)

    If he/she were in the position to single-handedly make biased decisions (which Ritchie is not), the ref from the other side on the State Canvassing Board would immediately complain and the whole thing would be appealed (or recounted).

    But then once again, our conservative friends reveal, by what they accuse their opposition of doing, what they, themselves, would feel completely justified in doing, righteously entitled to do, and what they would exert effort in attempting to do if they were in a position to do so (skew the process to ensure that their side won).

    Of course even Mary Kiffmeyer couldn’t pull that off in Minnesota considering the way our system works, but I have no doubt if she (or any other of our current crop or Republicans) were to regain the Secretary of State’s office she would immediately begin to invent creative ways to seek to disenfranchise less well off voters (the claim of “fraud” being, in itself, a fraudulent claim) and to give herself sufficient power to be able to skew a recount (no doubt in the interest of “streamlining the process” to provide quicker results).

  7. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/08/2010 - 01:42 pm.

    See there, bunny?

    Even Greg agree’s with us that the ref’s cheerleading is unimportant, and the State Canvassing Board would righteously complain, and iron-clad policies and procedures; or something.

    Bears by 14.

  8. Submitted by Michael Hunt on 11/08/2010 - 04:17 pm.

    Somehow, it makes perfect sense to me that a guy who believes Emmer can lead us to the Promised Land would put that same faith in Cutler.

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