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What kind of governor would these three be?

Mark Dayton, Tom Emmer, Tom Horner
MinnPost photo by Terry Gydesen

That’s the finish line, just ahead. After party conventions and primaries and an endless series of debates and political commercials, we’ll soon know who our next governor will be.

The choices couldn’t be more distinct: Mark Dayton, a wound-tight man of the left; Tom Emmer, a full-blown populist from the right; and Tom Horner, who has tried mightily to present himself as the rational man in the middle.

For months, we’ve been hearing their ideas. But there’s a huge jump between campaigning for office and heading the government.

What follows is an effort to examine the style and approach each of the candidates would bring to the job they’ve tried so hard to win. —Doug Grow

Mark Dayton: A serious man taking serious work seriously

Tom Emmer: A salesman with gusto, and a bit of a hockey brawler

Tom Horner: A bipartisan army of one ready to engage public and tackle tough issues

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Comments (15)

  1. Submitted by John Sinna on 10/29/2010 - 11:19 am.

    How is there any question? Mark Dayton is going to make us the most heavily taxes state in the union…taking more from the productive to subsidize everyone else. This works well as long as the productive keep on being the “revenue source” for endless spending and government expansion. This will be sad clown funny to watch…nobody wants to make the hard decisions, answer is always the same from career politicians – “more”.

  2. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 10/29/2010 - 01:06 pm.

    Mr. Sinna: The term “productive” can’t honestly be used to describe only those wealthy enough to own or manage corporations or determined enough to build a small business.

    All workers and those who support their work (family, friends, medical/dental providers, media/communication systems, government through education and infrastructure and basic safety net programs, and – yes – UNIONS) are the productive folks on whom owners and managers depend to become “productive” themselves. They’re just not as highly compensated.

    Merely investing money does not make one “productive.” It just has the potential to make one rich and, in recent years, to manipulate the Congress so as to appropriate profits to oneself and losses to the taxpayer.

  3. Submitted by Alicia DeMatteo on 10/29/2010 - 01:17 pm.

    While figuring out how any individual will fare in a job they’ve never held takes a bit of imagination, I thought this was a unique approach to covering the candidates. While positions on policy are certainly important, even someone with the best intentions needs to know how to effectively execute their ideas, listen to others, and make friends rather than foes.

  4. Submitted by Tim Brausen on 10/29/2010 - 02:05 pm.

    Dayton is the only one with the nerve to tell the rich that they will have to pay income taxes at a level equal to what they paid in the 1990s, a time when state government provided for our essential community needs (the purpose of government, I believe.)

    Sadly, the rich (or their apologists like Sinna) now act as if it’s their birthright to exploit the rest of us for fun and profit without the need to pay their fair share, a hang-over from the Ventura-Pawlenty-Bush mentality. It’s time for them to pay their share like the rest of us. Equalize the income tax the past 12 years and we wouldn’t have these structural deficits that we now need to address, our schools would be adequately funded, and our property taxes would be lower.

    Thinkers like Emmer and Sinna resisted the 5 cent gax tax increase in 2006, like it was going to kill us. All it did was permanently fund development of mass transit at a negligible cost. These guys don’t understand the concept of taxes, that we pay them to pay for community needs. It’s all about them individually, instead of us collectively.

  5. Submitted by DeeAnn Christensen on 10/29/2010 - 02:05 pm.

    Hmmm. I’d like to see some evidence that “Mark Dayton is going to make us the most heavily taxes state in the union.” Interestingly, I heard on the radio this morning that 2/3 of the people recently surveyed in MN believe that it is necessary to raise taxes to continue important services. Some people frame the aint’t-it-awful arguement as elevating taxes only. The counter to raising taxes is eliminating services. How much do we want to diminish education? Civic safety? The courts?

  6. Submitted by larry boss on 10/29/2010 - 02:50 pm.

    Read it and weep! Dayton 45%, Emmer 38%, Horner 14% & 3% other!

  7. Submitted by John Sinna on 10/29/2010 - 02:55 pm.

    Yes, the “rich” (or people who don’t need a handout) have to fund the pork. If you have any choice in the matter, why would you stay in MN after Dayton wins? People like Dayton (and his backers) assume linearity…if you are a few years away from retirement, a nice tax increase is probably enough to push you to exit today (more jobs GONE), if you are planning to start a business, why would you do it in a now higher tax state like MN (more jobs NEVER), if you “get” to fund the wasteful government more and more you cut spending on everything (less money into the economy = less jobs). This is all so easy to see…

    Define “important services”…that is the issue. Lights, police, fire…list is fairly short, but everyone needs everything but doesn’t want to pay for it…

    If I want to fund things, let me make the choice…that is the issue, not us versus them, community.

    But hey, don’t take my word for it, watch it all happen…same as your hope and change president from 2008 – naked.

  8. Submitted by CJ McCormick on 10/29/2010 - 04:22 pm.

    John Sinna…is this you?

  9. Submitted by Charles Holtman on 10/29/2010 - 05:09 pm.

    Mr Sinna – In your post (#7), it really would have been more accurate to just use the pronoun “I” instead of “you.” What is important to me is being able to feel that I am living a life of integrity and meaning. A necessary element of this is other-directed activity for the common good, including paying – via a progressive tax rate – for things that benefit others because I have the good fortune to be able to do so and because anyone who is not mindful of “there but for the grace of” is lost. I do wrong by my children if I do not give them the opportunity to grow up absorbing values of curiosity, openness, respect and humility from their environment. You offer as a truism that someone fortunate enough to be in such a community would forfeit it in an instant for a slight reduction in his marginal tax rate. I do not know what separates us as human beings, but I have absolutely no ability to understand what it would be like to think the way you appear to. And as to your last sentence, please explain to me why you and your ideological fellow travelers deride “hope and change” with such contempt. Are you so nihilistic as to be contemptuous of hope? I don’t feel much of it these days, but I can’t say I’m happy about that.

  10. Submitted by jones jackson on 10/29/2010 - 11:07 pm.

    I’d like to see some evidence that “Mark Dayton is going to make us the most heavily taxes state in the union.” Interestingly, I heard on the radio this morning that 2/3 of the people recently surveyed in MN believe that it is necessary to raise taxes to continue important services. Some people frame the aint’t-it-awful arguement as elevating taxes only. The counter to raising taxes is eliminating services. How much do we want to diminish education? Civic safety? The courts?used cars

  11. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/30/2010 - 08:38 am.

    There are always people among us who can’t bear being told what to do (probably a mild form of oppositional/defiant disorder). Such folk can’t bear to work for anyone else and thus start their own businesses (a small subset of business owners).

    They set up those businesses as their own little kingdoms. Those with insufficient ideas and/or management skills to make it in business do so with their own homes or families. When they are forced to work for others, they do whatever it takes to rise to the top of their business or their division, but then set up that business or division as their own little fiefdom (this includes some school administrators and law enforcement personnel).

    They insist on being the source of all ideas, and on having all their ideas carried out, no matter how hare-brained. When they fail, they seek scapegoats for their failure so that the “buck” never stops at their desks (government regulations, taxes. and the “lazy poor” are among their favorite scapegoats).

    Even if they become fabulously wealthy, such people go to their graves harboring anger and resentment toward everyone who they think got in the way of them making that next million or billion.

    Often such people with these exact personality dysfunctions as motivation, read Ayn Rand at an early age, find in her tortured, resentful writings a kindred spirit and an ideology with which they can justify those dysfunctions and forever after use phrases like, “the creative” or “the productive” to describe themselves, implying their superiority (or that of the wealthy heroes) over the rest of us and to justify their claims that NOTHING of the common good should be expected of them.

    Never will they admit that Ayn Rand’s ideas and ideals are the recipe for a society which inevitably destroys itself when the rich come to have everything, the poor come to have nothing and nothing left to give to improve the lives of their children and grandchildren but their own lives (i.e. revolution inevitably occurs).

  12. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 10/30/2010 - 09:27 am.

    @John Sinna

    Lights? Lights aren’t part of government — at least in most places. In most places electicity is provided by regulated, but private enterprise. Or are you talking street lights?

    And if we’re talking just street lights, I hope you think more of government than providing some mini safety net around your hoouse.

  13. Submitted by John Sinna on 10/30/2010 - 10:23 am.

    Dont fall for the fear – we don’t need to raise taxes. The sky will not fall if government is forced to act like every other entity – within its means.

    It is crazy sad how much people have been trained to believe that only government can do certain things. That is a recent issue. If you want government to control everything, then you have the choice to give up your decision making ability. I would rather not, and I am not alone…others should be able to give mine up for me is again sad.

    Do the math – with the tax increase, MN will have the highest income tax rates in the country. Look at the states that have issues, and you will see that being a high tax state doesn’t help…

    Yes, I would like to keep more of the fruits of my labor so I can take care of my family and decide how it is spent. That this desire makes me and others like me worthy of personal attacks is again, crazy. Hiding behind “society” etc. doesn’t make you any different – it is just that your greed is in your desire to have others fund your idealogy…which is worse because it is done against the will of others. Some might call that slavery…

  14. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/30/2010 - 02:09 pm.

    No doubt Mr. Sinna is correct in his assertion that the sky will not fall if government if forced to live “within its means” as defined by the right wing. People will lose their jobs, streets and parks might get less maintenance, trash picked up less often, and so on. It’s not the sky falling, it’s merely a less functional society.

    Contrary to Mr. Sinna’s assertion, however, the belief that only government can do certain things is neither new nor unusual. It’s been around, and widely believed and practiced, for as long as humans have lived together in groups. Equally crazy sad is the belief that government is always the enemy, and that private entities, whether individuals or corporations, will always perform the same job better and for less money. The only people of whom I’m aware that have truly given up their decision-making ability are those serving their terms in “corrections” institutions. All the rest of us have our decision-making ability unimpaired.

    Minnesota IS a high-tax state, at least compared to my former home of Colorado, but there’s no factual support – at least not as simply as the right wing would have us believe – for the common reactionary notion that high income taxes “cost jobs.” Similarly, there’s no factual support – again, at least not as simply – to suggest that the reverse is true. Low tax states are having just as much of a problem with unemployment currently as high tax-states do. The current economic situation affects the whole country, not just Minnesota.

    I hardly know what to make of Mr. Sinna’s last paragraph in #13, except to point out that there are no functioning societies – nor have there ever been – based on the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Taxes are the price we pay for civilization. There may well be grounds for arguing over just how high a price we should pay, and I assume Mr. Sinna believes that price should be a low one, but no society functions – that is, provides even minimal services or protections for its members – without a dependable revenue stream. That revenue stream has been arrived at through the mechanism of taxes more or less since recorded history began, so it seems unlikely that humans will abandon it any time soon.

    Since we can assume Mr. Sinna has maintained his ability to make decisions, it seems reasonable to assume further that he’s free to leave Minnesota should Mark Dayton win the election. If Minnesota elections are still based on that quaint concept of majority rule, an idle threat, or even a real one, to leave the state if a particular candidate wins is equivalent to “I’m going to pick up my ball and go home because I don’t like the way the game turned out.” Leaving the state because you don’t like the election results is the petulant response of a child.

    That, Mr. Sinna, is crazy sad.

  15. Submitted by scott gibson on 10/30/2010 - 10:12 pm.

    Here is the number of Allied Van Lines for those who must move after the candidate they fear wins the governorship: 1-800-348-3702. Better luck in your next state/country. I know there MUST be so many other places you feel would be BETTER places to live than here, so PLEASE act accordingly. We will suffer on without you.

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