Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch gave an interview to Human Events, “Leading Conservative Media Since 1941.” John Gizzi writes: “ ‘[W]e stood our ground — the Republicans were not going to go along with anything that raised taxes, period,” said Koch. “Oh, [Democrats] played the class warfare card, spending more than $1 million on an ad campaign saying Minnesota needed to ‘tax the rich.’ But we emphasized that what government can’t afford, it needs to cut. We said, ‘It’s not about who you’re taxing, it’s what you’re spending.’ And you know something? The people came around to us.’ After three weeks, Dayton gave in. State government reopened after he signed the original Republican budget — albeit reluctantly and with some strong language about his opponents. Turning to Republicans in Washington, Koch urged them to ‘never give in to this ‘balanced approach’ that Obama and the Democrats talk about. All that talk from them is disguised class warfare — the old 1970s view of taxing the rich. ‘Balanced approach’ is a code word for tax increases. They can’t talk about cutting spending. We can and we should.’ ” OK. “Never be balanced.” Got it.
The Hastings Star-Gazette editorializes: “The cliché regarding the Minnesota budget deal is that Governor Mark Dayton and the Legislature ‘kicked the can down the road.’ The more apt cliché is that they kicked the mess into the high weeds, hoping no one would find it. The compromise cobbled together by Dayton and Republican legislative leaders is less than a Band-Aid. It’s an obvious smoke-and-mirrors shift of money and more borrowing. It does little, if anything, to address the fundamental problems facing the state’s budget: too much spending and not enough revenue. Negotiators nibbled around the edges of those issues but left long-term solutions for another day.”
GOP Sen. Scott Newman (perhaps best remembered for uh, declining, to meet with constituent groups who had opposed him in last fall’s election) offers a commentary in The Hutchinson Leader: “The simple fact is the state could not afford to continue the shutdown because it was no longer affecting only rest areas and state parks, but families and private industries. The shutdown closed down permitting and licensing offices, stripping businesses of the very tools the state requires of them to conduct business. Bars, restaurants, over width/overweight truckers and contractors all were being adversely affected. For example, one constituent contacted me after being unable to schedule an inspection of his construction site by a state electrical inspector to proceed with the remainder of his project. The real lesson learned from the shutdown is just how imbedded the government is in our lives and businesses with its regulations, licenses and permits. In the next session, I will do my best to address reforms to ease the impact they have on private businesses.”
Nancy Pelosi talked with the gay paper The Advocate Thursday, and she was not sparing of Our Favorite Congresswoman. Andrew Harmon writes: “Bachmann has yet to speak out on the suicides within the state’s 6th congressional district and appears to have chided anti-bullying legislative efforts in the past. Pelosi told The Advocate of Bachmann’s silence on the issue, ‘I would think that if she wanted to be the President of the United States, she would understand that this is a larger issue than whether someone is gay or not, but as to whether someone is harassed and bullied to the point of seeing no way out. Obviously it’s an issue bigger than Michele Bachmann’s district, so maybe we should all be speaking out about it, and not just leaving it to her,’ Pelosi added.” Somehow I don’t think constituent service is Ms. Bachmann’s main selling point.
At Salon today, Ed Kilgore looks at the Pawlenty-Bachmann feud and says: “Her attack on his fiscal record, moreover, echoes Democratic complaints about his signature accomplishment as governor (balancing the budget without tax increases), and also reflects her role in the Minnesota GOP as an ideological enforcer suspicious of ‘pragmatic’ pols like Pawlenty. She clearly aims to spread those doubts to hardcore conservatives — who cannot help but view Bachmann as one of their own — in Iowa and elsewhere. It must seem unfair to Pawlenty — who in another fine touch of irony, is reprising Mitt Romney’s 2008 strategy of aping every scrap of right-wing rhetoric available — to discover he is still subject to attacks as some sort of RINO. But that’s how fast the national GOP has moved to the right. No matter how hard he tries to pose as a True Conservative, there is a Truer Conservative position available.”
Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post had breakfast with Alice Rivlin, then went over to listen to Ms. Bachmann at lunch at the Press Club. She is woozy: “If men are from Mars and women from Venus, Rivlin is from Earth, Bachmann is from Saturn. Someplace way out in the solar system and removed from reality. Rivlin, a Democrat, is a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, former director of the Office of Management and Budget, and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve. She is, in short, a Very Serious Person and, like every serious person around, finds herself somewhere between disbelieving and aghast at the current crisis over raising the debt ceiling. … Bachman said that ‘saying no’ to an increase in the debt ceiling would be ‘saying yes to job creation and to the next generation.’ Up is down in Bachmann-world. The credit rating agencies are already threatening a downgrade. The grave implications of that are clear, for jobs now and stretching into the next generation with the hangover of higher interest rates. Bachmann spent a lot of time invoking Ronald Reagan, so here’s one from the Gipper back at her. ‘The full consequences of a default — or even the serious prospect of default — by the Untied States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate,’ he wrote to then-Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker in November 1983.” But Reagan, he was a socialist, wasn’t he?
It is also getting down to emergency time on the new Stillwater bridge idea. Brett Neely of MPR writes: “The greatest obstacle to the bridge may not be opponents like Tomten or even the legal nuances of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Instead, it could be time. MnDOT has set a deadline of September 30 to obtain congressional approval for the new bridge. Otherwise, the agency will direct the funds it had set aside for the bridge to other projects. With Congress engaged in the debt ceiling debate, budget battles and a scheduled recess for most of August, getting a bill through both houses in the next two months could be difficult. Klobuchar said she’s spoken with Gov. Mark Dayton and hopes if Congress shows signs of progress, that he might be able to extend that September 30 deadline.”
MPR’s unofficial voice of sublime reasonableness, Tim Penny, files a commentary on T-Paw in the Des Moines Register: “Ever since opposing Pawlenty in the governor’s race in 2002, I have watched with more interest than most to see whether his often eloquent rhetoric is, in fact, matched by results. After six years of observation, I concluded that his middling performance in Minnesota did not warrant his inclusion on the McCain ticket. As co-chair of Democrats and Independents for McCain, I counseled against Pawlenty being selected for the vice presidential slot. Looking back at his record over eight years as governor in Minnesota it is hard — no impossible — to see the leader his campaign ad pretends him to be. … Even when comparing Pawlenty to relative newbies — like governors John Kasich of Ohio, Scott Walker of Wisconsin or Chris Christie of New Jersey — there is a clear difference between talking and doing. Unlike Pawlenty, these Republican governors are actually challenging and changing the status quo on taxes, pensions, spending, education reform and more.”
Ruben Rosario of the PiPress tells the sad tale of the guy who had his ‘68 Volvo stolen: “Charlie Orme is one angry hombre. Last month, someone stole his 1968 Volvo from the alley behind his home in St. Paul. He had spent $4,100 to rebuild the car’s engine and transmission. But as bad as that was, it got worse. Two weeks later, police told him his car had been found at Metro Metals, a scrap metal recycling company in St. Paul. But apparently, the car had been sold for scrap metal and then crushed. Say what? Say hello to a growing auto theft trend aided and abetted by a loophole in Minnesota law that allows an auto salvager to buy an old-model car without requiring from the seller a title or other proof of ownership. ‘I’m finding it more and more frustrating that I, as a crime victim, have no recourse but to accept that my car has been stolen, crushed and sold to some large steel company to profit their shareholders, and I’m out of a car’, said Orme, 56, a carpenter by trade. ‘This is nuts that they can get away with stealing people’s cars for scrap.’ “
Andy Post of Minnesota Democrats Exposed has proof of a conspiracy: “New communications obtained by Minnesota Democrats Exposed today offer further proof the longest and largest state government shutdown in history was plotted out between Gov. Dayton and union leaders well in advance. The decision to shutdown was very much a political calculation made by the Administration at the hands of AFSCME. A local president sent the following letter to his members to report on the results of the AFSCME Minnesota Council 5 CPC meeting in which the results of the shutdown were discussed. Here’s some of the letter:
‘Early in the process when it was becoming clearer that the shutdown was going to happen there was discussion between the governors office and the coalition group ( a group made up of a wide variety of unions including AFSCME, MAPE ,Teamsters, and others who discussed on how broad the shutdown should be. All parties agreed that for the shutdown to be most effective, that the public had to feel the pain and realize what state workers do for this State. The best way for this to happen would be a real shutdown involving many state workers, in lieu of a partial shutdown.’ “