Sen. Amy Koch sees political ‘classic situation’ in poll results

Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch calls the results of the MinnPost poll “a classic situation” in finding that by a 2-to-1 margin, Minnesotans blame the Legislature, not the governor, for the budget crisis and shutdown.

“People never like the Congress or the Legislature,” Koch said. “They may like their own legislator but not the body as a whole.”

Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch
MinnPost/James Nord
Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch

Laughing, Koch said that cultural attitudes toward the national and lawmaking institutions even show up in one of her favorite TV programs, “The Simpsons.”

She repeated a bit of dialogue from the episode in which a mechanized disc jockey, DJ 2000, was being unveiled:

“How ’bout those clowns in Congress?” DJ 2000 says. 

“How does he keep up with current events like that?” an obviously impressed Homer wonders.

Koch believes that one of the reasons people might hold the Legislature more responsible for the crisis and shutdown is reflected in one of the poll questions, which she considers misleading.

The question: Which approach would you rather see used to balance the state budget: Use spending cuts only, use tax increases only, or use a combination of spending cuts and tax increases? (By a 3 to 1 margin, those polled preferred the combination approach.)

“Our budget wasn’t cuts only,” Koch insisted. “For example, we increased K-12 funding. … There are a lot of folks who are beginning to understand that.”

That the governor’s approval ratings have taken a hit — the poll shows that 40 per cent approve of the governor’s leadership, 40 per cent disapprove — was a partial surprise to Koch.

“That’s lower than he’s been,” she said. “It’s lower than I thought he would be.”

Since the budget agreement was reached, Koch has been speaking to small groups as she unwinds.

The “intensity” was beyond anything she’s experienced, Koch said. She’s reminded of how difficult negotiations with the governor and legislators were as she watches the political collisions in Washington.

Koch said she and House Speaker Kurt Zellers sometimes would remind the governor that his negotiating job was easier than theirs.

“We’d say, ‘Governor, you just have to agree with yourself.’ ”

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Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 07/29/2011 - 09:56 am.

    Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, my dear. “Our budget wasn’t cuts only” Mmhmm. You’re right. Your budget was cuts and borrowing. I guess I can’t fairly say that it didn’t include taxes because MN’s citizens will discover those taxes later–fees, property taxes, etc.–they just won’t be part of the state budget.

    This budget is the equivalent of refusing to get another job to pay off your debt and then using your credit card to pay the electric bill, but not all of it…just enough to keep the power company thinking you might just pay them off so they keep the lights on. Boy, are we going to be in a world of hurt later.

  2. Submitted by Dan Landherr on 07/29/2011 - 10:58 am.

    One reason for Dayton’s disapproval rating is that his supporters were upset that he dropped the income tax hike. Those people are not likely to support Republicans. Dayton is polling 45% approval among independents, higher than his overall number. The legislature has 45% disapproval from those same independents.

    Couple these numbers with a strong top of the ticket (incumbents Obama and Klobuchar) and the DFL looks like it is poised for a comeback in 2012. Disclaimer – things get hazy looking past next week in politics.

  3. Submitted by Sherry Gunelson on 07/29/2011 - 11:13 am.

    Dayton’s lower approval rate probably reflects a lot of frustration that he gave in and passed a budget without new income taxes. Bringing the income tax rate back up to what it used to be is the obvious answer to bringing in new revenue in a fair way. If you do not have the income, you do not pay the tax.

    If you disagree, think about how many volounteers it will take to fill the 38 x 38 sinkhole in Burnsville and magnify it by 1,000. And figure out when you are going to show up.

  4. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 07/29/2011 - 12:00 pm.

    Intransigence, social engineering, and wrongheaded ideology are why the so called leaders of the legislature are held in low esteem. They did nothing but kick the can down the road after 8 very long years of the same thing with Pawlenty and he wrongly called it courage. They were sent there to do a job and they failed the people of Minnesota!

  5. Submitted by Ann McKinnon on 07/29/2011 - 12:58 pm.

    There are many disappointed progressives in this country that pollsters are having a hard time identifying. Not everyone is right, right of center or left of center. The questions aren’t getting to the fact that many of us don’t want our country back – we want it forward!

  6. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 07/29/2011 - 01:05 pm.

    Also, is it just me, or did she just liken the intellect of voters to Homer Simpson’s? Whether she did or not, it’s not funny, and the anecdotes won’t help. Especially since so little got done in MN’s legislature, yet our representatives got paid, even when the state was shut down.

  7. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 07/29/2011 - 02:36 pm.

    Man, that’s one butchered Simpsons gag.

  8. Submitted by Virginia Simson on 07/29/2011 - 03:57 pm.

    Our Ms. Koch lacks an essential element in being human – it’s called empathy/compassion. With her, all session it was intellectual decomosition and dog whistle politics dictated by Grover Norquist, Tony Sutton, American Legislative Exchange Council-Koch Industries and her PAC funders.

    Now, those who will pay are CHILDREN out of TANF funding primarily. There is NO shame shown whatsoever.

    The media refused to expose the ROT and said nothing about the lack of transparency until after the fact. Legislators didn’t even READ the bills and there was no time for CITIZENS, taxpayers and those affected (the disabled for example) to take in 900 pages of manipulation and control. There was no vision of meeting people’s very real needs.

  9. Submitted by David Willard on 07/30/2011 - 12:46 am.

    The clear ARROGANCE of the Left and the pressure brought upon the Democrats in the Senate proves that this upcoming election needs to be a MANDATE to steer this country toward sanity and AWAY from the WILD spending that the elected Democrat needs to get votes.

  10. Submitted by will lynott on 07/30/2011 - 02:56 pm.

    #9, oh, it will be a mandate all right….

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