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‘Teammates’ Walter Mondale and Arne Carlson find common ground on causes

Former Gov. Arne Carlson and former Vice President Walter Mondale

MinnPost file photo by Terry Gydesen

Former Gov. Arne Carlson and former Vice President Walter Mondale have spoken out on several public policy issues, including last year's budget impasse that led to a shutdown of many Minnesota government functions.

There are some advantages to aging.

“You get over some of the polarization,” says Walter Mondale, who is 84 years old. “You find out you agree on some fundamentals with a lot of different people.”

“When you’re older,” says Arne Carlson, who is 77, “you don’t feel the constraints that you might have when you were younger.”

Both oppose Voter ID amendment

Carlson, the former Republican governor, and Mondale, the former Democratic vice president and U.S. senator, talked with MinnPost in separate interviews about how easy it was for them to team up on a recent Star Tribune op-ed piece they co-wrote opposing the proposed Voter ID amendment.

Actually, Mondale said, Carlson did most of the writing.

“He’s an excellent writer, very fast,” Mondale said, adding that he never was very happy with his own writing style.

The former governor and former vice president were brought together for this project by the League of Women Voters, an organization that also opposes the amendment that is expected to be on the ballot in November, if it passes the current court challenge.

Now, the two of them are among the leaders of the Our Vote Our Future coalition aimed at defeating the amendment.

They never did sit down in the same room for the writing project. Rather, over a 10-day period, they exchanged emails about what they wanted to say. Carlson put together the final version, Mondale approved it and off it went to the Strib.

This project only firmed up the admiration the two have for each other, though they’re not social friends and, at the heights of their political careers, their paths seldom crossed.

“We were both on parallel paths,” said Mondale. “But he was basically dealing with state issues, and I was involved in federal matters.”

Common ground on other issues, too

Now, far removed from elective office, the two have found common ground on other Minnesota-related public policy issues.

Last summer, of course, the two came together with other former office-holders when the state faced its worst political meltdown — the budget impasse between DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republican-controlled Legislature that led to a nearly three-week shutdown of many state government functions. The pair offered suggestions for a compromise, but their plan never got any political traction.

The two — along with former Republican U.S. Senator Dave Durenberger, former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz (who earlier served as a Republican state legislator) and former Republican Gov. Al Quie — have been involved in other joint matters.

All of them, for example, have worked to reform Minnesota’s redistricting process. (Their efforts to move the process out of the Legislature to a more impartial group didn’t succeed.) They also jointly worked to keep politics out of the selection of judges, although that effort, too, has run into political opposition.

Mondale also expects to be working with Blatz soon in opposition to the other constitutional amendment heading to the general election ballot — the so-called marriage amendment.

Different styles

But it is the Mondale-Carlson matchup that is so intriguing, because the two are so different in style.

“He’s always been, umm, a free spirit,” said Mondale of Carlson.

That, of course, has often created problems for Carlson within his own party.

 Despite serving as a hugely popular governor, Carlson was shunned by GOP delegates who refused to endorse him for a second term in 1994. That action, however, only showed how far removed from the mainstream Republican activists had become. Carlson not only defeated the endorsed GOP candidate, Allen Quist, in the primary but went on to win the general election with 63 percent of the vote.

These days, Carlson, Durenberger and Quie are among Republicans exiled from official party functions because of their 2010 support of Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner over the GOP’s endorsed candidate, Tom Emmer.

It doesn’t appear that Carlson will be back in good graces with his old party any time soon. And he doesn’t seem to care. In fact, he’s unimpressed with the work of contemporary politicians in general.

“I long for the days when people got into politics to do true public service,” said Carlson. “When you think of Minnesota senators like Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, Walter Mondale — and I would put Dave Durenberger in that company — you had people who got involved in the big national and international issues. There were many like that. What we have now is the politics of avoidance.  They’re only interested in getting re-elected. They have nothing to say about the big issues, because that might be politically dangerous.’’

Mondale laughs when he talked about Carlson’s “feistiness” in dealing with how the so-called Voter ID amendment came to be.

This is a paragraph from the op-ed piece, but apparently this one was Carlson-inspired:

“The proposed amendment does not have its origins in Minnesota, nor does it come about as a result of legislative studies of recent elections. It is a product of an organization call ALEC, which is the creation of the Koch brothers, who amassed their fortunes in oil and who live in Florida.”

This is a strike right at the heart of the new Republican majority in the Minnesota Legislature.  The GOP legislators claim they weren’t influenced by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Carlson isn’t buying.

“He doesn’t beat around the bush,” said Mondale of Carlson, laughing heartily.

The great freedom, for old pols, is not being involved in political campaigns.

“You’re fundamentally free to think about the big issues from all perspectives,” said Carlson.

Mondale echoed those thoughts.

“When you’re not on the campaign trail, you have time to sit back and think things over,” Mondale said.

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Comments (75)


Swedes and Norwegians can work together.

Every time he's warmly

Every time he's warmly introduced, or described as "Republican former Governor" by an adoring lefty, Arne's credibility is further eroded.

Conservatives and centerist Republicans would give Arne more respect if he respected us enough to admit the blatently obvious fact that he's drifted solidly to the left.

We wouldn't respect his newfound political understandings more than any other leftist, but at least he could make a claim to honesty.

No warmth allowed!

"We don't need to listen to anyone else's opinions--we knwo they're wrong! Even when they adopt our ideas, they must be wrong! We hate liberals!!!"

And that's all we need to know about the Republican Party. It's about hatred and opposition--no ideas need apply.

"Republicans would give Arne

"Republicans would give Arne more respect if he respected us enough to admit the blatently obvious fact that he's drifted solidly to the left. "

Arne hasn't drifted anywhere. The party has.

It's not Arne who has "drifted"

Arne seems much the same as he ever was. It is the Repub party that has been steaming right full rudder for the past 25 years or so. And so out of touch are they, that they accuse everyone else of moving left. Well, I guess that's how it must seem when one is in the midst of a hard right turn and focuses on the subjective viewpoint to the exclusion of the objective.

And just for good measure, let's throw in an ad hominem attack and call those who aren't turning with you "dishonest".

To this I would say "shameful", except one must have a sense of shame for that to have any meaning.

Sour Grapes and Hard Feelings

Yeah, I would just like to say that those who criticize Carlson for drifting "to the left" are disgraceful in their behavior with all their hard feelings, bruised egos and sour grapes. As for Carlson himself, it's amazing that he opposed the Voter I.D. law, given that he's consistently badmouthed the greatest Governor Minnesota has ever had, Jesse Ventura, because his candidate didn't win. Most Americans as well as most Minnesotans such as myself are taking the best ideas from all over the political spectrum (that's right: all over the political spectrum), and will not stand for this kind of fringe thinking. My message is this: the Ronald Reagan era is over, and will never come back. Get over yourselves.


for the Tea Partiers to post that Arne (along with Durenburger, etc.) are traitors to the Cause. It's really becomes amusing to watch as the Believers look around and see membership in the Cause growing smaller and smaller.

What irks the republicans about these two?

It irks republicans that these two agree on similar ideas and are mature enough to admit it. There is a sense of "compromise". COMPROMISE, a new word for todays republicans, but it is an essential word in a democracy. Get over it!

Not just compromise

They are infuriated at the idea that a Democrat might have an acceptable idea. If they can't demonize everything about the other, the Republicans have nothing. It is essential that they shout that everything a Democrat says is, by definition, wrong.

I believe they imported that principle from North Korea or Iran, flouting all trade embargoes.

Leadership Reflecting Minnesota Quality PoliticalGovernment View

This article in one that should be required reading for anyone in Minnesota with a concern for the direction of politics in Minnesota today. I and both Carlson and Mondale participated in a political era that focused first on "achieving good government" and second on politics. The partiies differred on specifics of how accomplish common objectives and compromise was negotiated for the common good of all Minnesota. Activity and structure across Minnnesota today can thank those of that period for the leadership provided. These same people today offer suggestion that adapt the legislation for "lessons learned and changes in society, business, and education etc." that can offer a a responsive change in government role and operation matched to today. This is todays "good Government First"approach. I we all focus on good government first as Carlson and Mondale as well as Durenburger, Frenzel, Quie and many on both poitical sides of the legislature did and consider politics second Minnesota will have a bright future. Bottom Line is thanks to the leadership that these individuals have shown and continue to express as they continue to set a positive approach and model that all Minnesotans can apply as we enter another election cycle.Building on a the Minnesota leadership vision legacy of government innovation and qualty of life for all is the result that we all we benefit from Lessons of the Past applied to to the future vision.

Dave Broden

"Centrist republicans"

Arne, Fritz, Durenberger, Quie, Tom Horner, ARE centrist republicans. They know a great deal about governing, having done so successfully for years, and that's because they know the word COMPROMISE. Playing well with others.
I'll bet you were a real menace in kindergarten.

"Centrist DFLers"

Miss Martin:

Ask the DFL to compromise on:

1. Tax supported funding for abortions;
2. Race and sex preferences in hiring and education;
3. Non-enforcement of immigration laws and declaring sanctuary cities;
4. Retaining the correct definition of marriage and family;
5. Verifying the identification of voters to prevent fraud.

Go ahead. Ask them.

Well, now . . .

. . . it was a DFL Governor who signed legislation prohibiting tax-supported funding for abortions in Minnesota.

Race and sex preferences in hiring and education are not allowed unless they are court-ordered as a remedy for past discrimination.

There is a big difference between "not enforcing" laws and prohibiting racial profiling.

Who's to say what the correct definition of "marriage and family" is? If it doesn't have to do with your marriage or family, why do you care?

Show me the fraud, and show me how verifying identification would have done anything to stop it. Then, let's get some GOPers to compromise on verifying the identities and qualifications of gun pruchasers.


for proving my point.


Neal, you seem to be laboring under the misguided belief that compromise means getting your way. It doesn't. Nor does it mean validating your misconceptions.

1. Doesn't exist.
2. Being disappointed that you're male and white doesn't mean that the world is against you. If this happened to a significant degree, the proportions wouldn't add up. But they do.
3. Huh? Being afraid of brown people doesn't mean that the world is conspiring against you.
4. Tell me, what is it? And how can we compromise?
5. You presume that your solution would work, but since fraud is almost non-existent and the fraud that does exist can't be prevented by "verifying identification," "compromising" would only be an act of validating your misconception.

I see no room for compromise. On your part.


I was a State Central Committee Delegate and Alternate Delegate in the DFL. I know exactly how compromise works with progs.


I know how much you relish providing definitions. Will you tell us the definition of "compromise" as you understand it?



I was a State Central Committee Delegate and Alternate Delegate in the DFL. I know exactly how compromise works with progs.

And that's not what I asked

You're complaining about a lack of "compromise". I'd like to know what YOUR understanding of the definition of "compromise" would be.


Miss Martin wrote:

"They know a great deal about governing, having done so successfully for years, and that's because they know the word COMPROMISE."

Why don't you ask Miss Martin? It was her assertion.

As I said below . . . . .

it's pointless attempting to have this discussion with you when no one has any idea what your definition of "compromise" entails.

It's obvious

"Compromise" means "give me everything I want, and quit your whining."


Interesting. I was a delegate in the DFL, too. This year. It seems that either time or ideology has clouded your recollection of it. Please, tell us how YOU think it works. Telling us that you held certain positions in the DFL only suggests that you weren't sincere then or you're disgruntled now.


To reiterate:

Miss Martin wrote:

"They know a great deal about governing, having done so successfully for years, and that's because they know the word COMPROMISE."

Ask Miss Martin for the definition of "compromise". It was her assertion.


Unless you're intentionally trolling, I'd say the ball's in your court. I understand Ms. Martin's definition of "compromise" from the context. It fits with the dictionary definition of "compromise": An agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions. I'm clearly not the only one who is having trouble figuring out what the heck you think it means. You've provided no context, yet suggested that it means something other than the understood dictionary definition.


Provide the definition.

I did

It's only a few sentences and the definition is in the third one (in case you're unable to find it yourself). Please read again. It's not like it's buried in an epic story, there.

If you think that irritating those who disagree with you is a good strategy for winning an argument, you need to reconsider. It just makes us wonder whether we're arguing with an unarmed opponent.


"An agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions."

When I ran for another term as SCC Delegate, I asked the SD60 Convention that perhaps the DFL should take another look at the moral implications of mass abortions.

I didn't even make the cut.

What was that about compromise again?


What is a political party going to do about "the moral implications of mass abortions?" Dude...that's a personal issue. No one condones "mass abortions." Why would you suggest anyone "compromise" on looking at the moral implications of such. What would the compromise be, in any case? Think about it? Why don't you bring up a gripe about something relevant to politics and not religion?


You first.

Re: Centrist DFLers

@ Neal Krassnoff:

1. Tax money is not used to pay for abortion services. Ever. Thanks for spouting that erroneous GOP talking point one more time for us though.

2. Race and Sex bias is illegal in hiring practices. It's NOT illegal to recruit a diverse employee pool, but since it makes sense for a workforce to reflect the diversity of the population of its community and the customers it serves, we're lucky for that.

3. Immigration laws ARE enforced - by the people who are supposed to enforce them. Immigrations & Customs Enforcement. You are, no doubt, passively-aggressively ranting about local police like Minneapolis PD not asking if victims are legal immigrants or not. That's because local police departments are here to protect and serve, including people who are not US citizens.

4. If YOUR marriage is threatened by two men or two women marrying each other, YOU need help, not the rest of us.

5. Voter identification is verified and re-verified by the County. This is based on where we live, not on whether or not we can afford to purchase a government issued ID. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Minnesota and certainly none significant enough to offset the damage done by disenfranchising those who can't afford or don't have a way to get a state ID.

So, perhaps your question should be:

Ask the GOP to come up with a REAL issue and solve it, instead of creating crises just to polarize voters. Go ahead. Ask them.

Centrist DFLers

Thank you for proving my point.

About point #1

"1. Tax money is not used to pay for abortion services. Ever. Thanks for spouting that erroneous GOP talking point one more time for us though."

Per the latest MN Dept. of Health annual report:
Last year there were 11,071 abortions performed in Minnesota. 3,791 were paid for by public assistance.

Cites needed

Much as I hate speaking on someone else's behalf, I'm going to assume that Mr. Dobbert actually meant to say that FEDERAL tax money is not used to pay for abortion services. I'm also assuming that the "public assistance" mentioned in the statistic you provided (without supporting cite) refers to STATE level Medicaid funding of abortion, which is legal.

However, the conservatives are going after that, too:

And the war on women rages on . . . . . . . .

Per the MN Department of Health

The report can be found at per the article in last week's Strib article written by Maura Lerner.

The writer said no tax money. Ever.

Broken link

Your link goes to a "File not found" page at the Strib.

Regardless - it is Mr. Dobbert's choice to come back and say "Ooops - I meant to say no STATE tax money." Or not. But the error was his, and all I can (and did) do was make a guess that he might have meant something a little more specific than what he wrote. Because people do make errors. Really, they do.

And given that the discussion started around a point having to do with the DFL - a uniquely MINNESOTA-based organization - it seemed to me a pretty understandable error for him to have made.

That's the Strib for you.

You can check out the Dept. of Health Annual Report on abortions on their website I suppose. It has interesting figures like of the 11,071 abortions, 7451 of the women weren't using any contraception. This is a war on women? Sounds like a war on children.

Pretty sure that there won't be any admissions of a mistake. I take it that you don't mean that because it involved the DFL it is logical to make errors, but because the topic was about Minnesota the error was understandable.

Since there is a federal law against using federal tax money to pay for abortions, doesn't that mean it would be State tax money used to provide them? The writer probably wouldn't insist that he meant no STATE money, or he'd be wrong again.

Statistics always need context . . . . .

However, considering the obstacles to obtaining contraception that conservatives have been working to enact, it's a questionable tactic to hold the women themselves to blame for being unable to prevent pregnancies. The very fact that these pregnancies were terminated would seem to indicate they were unwanted in the first place. It would seem to be a reasonable supposition that with more ready access to contraception, the overall abortion numbers would have been lower.

If you want fewer abortions, then don't cut off women's access to contraception. And if you cut off women's access to contraception, then don't blame the women when they seek abortions to terminate the resulting unwanted pregnancy.

Why is that such a difficult concept to grasp?


Doesn't every drugstore, Target, Walmart, etc. have contraceptives available for over-the-counter purchase? How much more access to we need? We'll look at the Annual Report again in a year or two when or whenever free contraceptives are guaranteed by the ACA (not that I anticipate that the stores will just let us walk out with the products) and we'll revisit the numbers. I say that the number will drop by no more than half and probably less than a third.

If you don't want to become pregnant, why are you having sexual intercourse without some sort of contraception? Why is THAT such a difficult concept to grasp?

Abstinence is NOT always the answer

To start with your second paragraph, why should men have the right to a sexual life while women do not? Sex is about more than just making babies. There's a lot of science out there establishing the benefits of a good sex life. Here's just one of many articles about it:

So why should men's interests in this regard be treated differently from women's?

And as far as over-the-counter methods of contraception are concerned, they are not as effective as those available only through a prescription ( So a woman who is denied access to prescription-only forms of contraception is automatically limited to less effective birth control methods. Which again equals more pregnancies. Which again equals a higher abortion rate.

I find it more than a little astonishing that you're decrying the fact that with better contraception access, the abortion numbers may drop by "only" a half or a third.

That would constitute a fairly substantial level of change by any measure. And for someone who speaks of being so terribly concerned about these numbers, I'm astonished that you wouldn't be celebrating any measures that can bring about such a significant decrease.


Pretty much burned out this thread but I enjoy listening to views different from my own.

Remember, the women were using NO contraception (or their partners for that matter but don't expect free condoms courtesy of the ACA) not less effective contraception. There is no effort at all.

I get it, accessable means FREE.

I like to be right which is why I gave the 1/2 or 1/3 numbers. I'll be right that way. Realistically, a drop in 10% would be astonishing to me. That would be an improvement, but then there will have to be a new excuse for the 10,000 or so abortions.

I look forward to reading your comments on other topics at MinnPost and thanks for the civil discourse.

Which war on women?

The one in South Asia where women and girls are sprayed with acid or murdered when trying to assert basic human rights, or in the United States, where taxpayers refuse to pay for your contraceptives?

And did you know that . . . . .

children in China are starving because you didn't clean off your dinner plate?

Your false equivalency is another insulting example of the trivialization of the issues faced by women in this country due to the theocracy which is trying to insert itself in very private and very critical decisions women must make every day.


I counter argued using an objective fact about actual theocratic authoritarianism that sprays acid in the faces of females because they are getting an education, are murdered by a barbaric 7th Century culture, and you assert that I am arguing a false dilemma as you concurrently assert we are subject to a theocracy in the United States because taxpayers don't want to pay for contraceptives?

Are you serious?

Totally serious

Ask the Catholic bishops.

No, Miss Berg.

"The DFL is ambivalent about the alleged honor murder of Jessica Mokdad, a Muslim woman from Minnesota. Addressing this subject will result in a sanction of prior restraint by the State Party Secretary, a decision was supported by the State Affirmative Action Officer, Associate State Chair, and the State Party Chairman. This is a subject is one that apparently cannot be discussed with progressive leftists and the hierarchy of a DFL, who, ironically, claim to be the Party of inclusion and the protector of women’s rights. They are not able to address that Miss Mokdad (may she rest in peace) was killed specifically because she was a woman who asserted her independence as a sovereign human being, and that she was killed because of a misogynist, barbaric cultural practice. The failure of the DFL to allow the discussion of the murderous oppression of women is particularly egregious and shameful."

Returning to the subject of article, The two former office holders and the DFL do not want to prevent electoral fraud.

Source for your statement?

Your first paragraph is a verbatim reprint of a paragraph from your letter resigning from the DFL. Then, as now, you gave no source for your assertion. That is hardly what I would call credible.

Yes, honor killings anywhere, committed by anyone, are despicable and worthy of condemnation. Please tell us, however, why that should blind us to the creeping theocracy in our own country.

Incidentally, how is saying that "[t]he two former office holders and the DFL do not want to prevent electoral fraud" different from saying "Mitt Romney and the Republican Party want people to die from a lack of medical treatment?"

re: verbatim

That's right, RB Holbrook, it is verbatim. Where you there when I presented this to the SCC via email? Miss Mokdad is quite dead, the facts of her death are generally known. The DFL didn't want to talk about it, because in the hierarchy of identity politics that rules the DFL, race trumps feminism, especially when the race is black or brown, and Islam is considered by white leftists as a brown people's religion, or perhaps the brave Islamists are fighting against the evil white male heterosexist capitalists - or some thing like that. You'll have to ask them yourself about their motives, but there it is, for all to see.

If someone is against verifying a voter's positive identification at the polls, they do not want to prevent electoral fraud. It's simple logic.

I hope you read the rest of my resignation letter.

centrist DFLers

Liberals would welcome compromise on public funding for abortions since almost none exists, and federal funds for abortions as abolished in the 70s.
Last I checked, immigration law enforcement has been increasing since Obama took office.
On the marriage definition, I'd love to hear what your compromise position is on the definition of marriage and family. I've heard many definitions but since you have the "correct" definition, that sounds like an unwillingness to compromise.
Implementing expensive measures to prevent fraud, where there is no proof of fraud, that also deprive people of a basic constitutional right does sound like a hard thing to compromise on. How would we know what makes better policy since there would be no way to measure the impact on phenomenon that doesn't exist?

It looks to me you are declaring that compromise means I accept your position to replace my own. That is not compromise.




"the correct definition of marriage and family"?

And this correctness is based on what? Who has made this determination?

I think your list is a little short. Possibly you forgot to mention something about:

The one correct religion?


The correct definition of a man or a woman?

or possibly

The correct definition of a real American?

I see a few problems here.

The dialogue is good government ahead of poitical ideology

As with many articles in the press there are several ways to interpret the purpose and message of the article. The Mn Post article regarding Carlson and Mondale was not focused on compromise alone but was pointing out that good government and governing comes from placing government ahead of poltics and to make that work compromise is the center of the dialogue. Compromise does not mean giving up the views of either side --it is however work accomdations that work for both those favoring the legislation and for those against but having a vailed purpose. To achieve this approach there must be flexibility in the ideology of both sides--this has been missing from both sides--thus little or no real good government improvement legislation. As I said in the earlier response if both sides will move to recognize the focus must be on good government first and politics will follow and flexibility in ideology is central some meaningful progress can be made. Carlson and Mondale are suggesting this approach --I hope all readers will seek the benefit of this poltical party shift in emphasis from power to value of good government first. I am ready to continue the dialogue in any way to continue this discussion. Please join this thoughtful approach vs. continualy conflict with those who oppose your approach and ideals based on a no compromise ideology.

Dave Broden

Excellent point!

"Compromise does not mean giving up the views of either side --it is however work accommodations that work for both those favoring the legislation and for those against but having a veiled purpose. To achieve this approach there must be flexibility in the ideology of both sides--this has been missing from both sides--thus little or no real good government improvement legislation."

That's a critical distinction. Unfortunately, when one side thinks "good government" is an oxymoron, nobody is going to get "good government." This is where I think we need to be more forthright in pointing out that "both sides don't do it." I think today, whether you are considered "left" by anyone who considers themselves on the "right" is determined by thinking that there can be such a thing as "good government." The right has come to be defined by those who believe in minimalist government, whose only powers are to send shock troops to parts of the globe which threaten U.S. business interests and then to monitor birth control and abortion by women. Anything else, including "good government" (which means in their eyes a government which is responsive to the problems and needs of its citizens) is a "threat to freedom." When we are surrounded by people who relate to a crowd of people cheering in favor of letting an uninsured person die because they lack health insurance, aren't we dealing with a serious dysfunction? Does one have to make the obvious comparison between such behavior and the attitudes of guards in a concentration camp? The problem in US politics and government today is "the right", which can be defined as a mass movement based on delusion and hysteria which is rooted in fear and ignorance.

I see a few problems here.

You got that right.

Confusion is one and a lack of standards is another.

Former Governor Carlson has a

Former Governor Carlson has a long record of good governance and strong convictions. I voted for him back in the day and I continue to support him today.

By the way...

Lest we forget how the tolerent left treats those that stray from it's shining path, I refer to the white-hot hatred that Saint Paul Mayor Randy Kelly was subjected to.

Uncomfortable truths are sometimes the most instructive.


I don't suppose Randy Kelly's his backing W for president had anything to do with it?
Why would DFL'ers be tolerant of that?

Do you know who Arne endorsed for Governor, Ginny?

Think about it.

Ancient history, presented as comedy

Randy Kelly claimed to be a DFLer, but publicly endorsed George W. Bush for re-election. What on earth did he expect--universal adulation? He spoke publicly, and he was held to account for it. The man had been in politics long enough that he should have known that endorsing an unpopular President in a state he was likely to lose wasn't going to get him a testimonial dinner. And what "hatred?" I know that Republicans regard any disagreement with them as "hatred (disagreement with Democrats is "patriotism")," but that just isn't how the thinking part of the world sees it.

Kelly claimed at the time it was because he was offended by all the mean things people said about President Bush. Apparently, all the vitriol hurled at President Clinton didn't bother him any. Even so, you don't suppose his real motive was to curry favor with Bush-Cheney state chair Tim Pawlenty, who was deciding where to put a new Twins stadium, do you? THAT certainly worked out well.

He [Kelly] spoke publicly, and he was held to account for it.

That's putting it mildly.

And where has Arne been speaking, in his basement?

I don't get your point

Are you saying it was wrong for the DFL to be so mean to poor Randy Kelly? If so, you cannot defend or condone the treatment of Arne Carlson by the Republican Party.

Or are you just resorting to the tiresome playground taunt of "neener, neener, look what your guys did?" That seems more likely, which means the greatest voter fraud in Minnesota has been committed by the Republicans who claim to be adults in order to vote.

Did someone say...

"tiresome playground taunt"? Yow.

I get your point

Holbrook stated:

"...the greatest voter fraud in Minnesota has been committed by the Republicans who claim to be adults in order to vote."

You call that "civil"?

Minnpost moderators in action.

My point

You got the point, but you missed the context.

"I get your point

"I get your point new
Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on July 8, 2012 - 3:44pm.
Holbrook stated:
"...the greatest voter fraud in Minnesota has been committed by the Republicans who claim to be adults in order to vote."
You call that "civil"?
Minnpost moderators in action.}

When one sets up straw man arguments based on twisted perceptions such Krasnoff did, then he has no right to expect respect for those statements. There is nothing to compromise on when initial statements are so invalid as those were. That was pointed out several times in the replies with no rebuttal resulting.


The original assertion was that somehow Republicans (read: conservatives) are incapable of "compromise". I noted that DFLers (read: leftists) would not be able to compromise on specific issues - proven by the argumentative responses by, presumably, DFLers and leftists, and the decidedly uncivil responses that prove my point concerning the inability of my opponents to seek "compromise".

Somehow, you take offense to that.


It's kind of hard to have this discussion when no one knows what is included in your definition of "compromise".

Specific issues

The definition of marriage and the right to vote are not "specific issues," they are matters of principle. Who is allowed to define marriage--the state? Is that definition to be permanently cast in stone (miscegenation laws were regarded as normal until teh mid-1960s)? What about voting rights? The ubniversal franchise is essential to democracy--are we to limit that, based on overblown claims of fraud?

What about conservative compromise? As has been pointed out too often, Obamacare is Romneycare, and it is the health care plan originally put forth by the Heritage Foundation. Adopting that plan, rather than a more effective and more efficient single-payer system, was itself a compromise. Is it compromise to put forth a plan, see it adopted, and wail loudly about how evil it is? I call that a lot of things, but certainly not "compromise." The Republicans have stated that their priority is is making President Obama a one-term President. Not making the economy grow, not putting people back to work, not even making health care accessible to all. Their only interest is scoring partisan political points. There is no incentive for them to compromise, because they don't care about anything else. If they were responsible, if they truly were interested in making things better, they might show some interest in governing. Unfortunately for all of us, their priorities are elsewhere.


I'm not going to pick on anyone in particular, just want to point out that the comments here illustrate the theme of the article. I have my own views on which side is more to blame but expressing them here won't accomplish anything. Democracy has become very messy, but I think if you study history you'll discover that it has been since the beginning in the US as well as in other countries where it has been practiced. The periods of compromise ebb and flow and it seems like a low tide for the time being. I have my own view that giants walked the earth at one time and hopefully some will again.

The problem is . . . . .

that these days there's a pretty good chunk of the population who think that compromise=capitulation. Which of course it does not. But that doesn't seem to stop them from thinking it does.

This is why it is important to get something as simple as "What do you understand the definition of compromise to be?" clarified at the outset. If people are not using the same definition, then the discussion is doomed to be at cross-purposes and the participants may or may not even be aware of it. That's a big problem.

When "giants walked the earth", they all properly understood what "compromise" meant, were using it productively, and things got done.

Sure - everyone didn't get everything just the way they wanted it. But hey - that's what "compromise" is about, after all!

May I offer a compromise

On the marriage issue.

Marriage, throughout most of human history has been a religious institution. Therefore the issuing of "marriage licenses" should not be a government function. If the government deems that two people living together, making a home and family together, is beneficial, so be it. They can issue "domestic partnership" licenses or whatever "Orwellian" name they can come up with. Church's would then be the only institution to issue marriage licenses, and they could issue them to whomever they wished, according to their beliefs.

Marriage v.s. Domestic partnership

I have also been intrigued by the idea of "get religion out of it" as a solution. And I think that idea may well hold promise, but only under certain conditions.

As I understand it, "marriage" offers many universal legal rights and protections that "civil unions", "domestic partnerships", etc. do not:

So until and unless this inequity is addressed, your proposal remains an imperfect solution.

However, if those gaps were closed, I would think the idea of "keep government out of the marriage business" might be a very good idea indeed. I am not aware of any additional reasons this would not work, and if anyone reading this would like to post about it, I'd be interested in learning what they might be.

rejected duplicate Pat,The idea is not to "get


The idea is not to "get religion out of it." The idea is to get government out of it. The domestic partnership / civil union would be renamed the societal protection license or, as I said what ever they want to come up with. It would have all the protections and "legal kinship" of any "marriage".

Pat,The idea is not to "get


The idea is not to "get religion out of it." The idea is to get government out of it. The domestic partnership / civil union would be renamed the societal protection license or, as I said what ever they want to come up with. It would have all the protections and "legal kinship" of any "marriage".

Same idea, different angle

I think we're talking about essentially the same concept - just coming at it from different angles. You said "Get government out of it", I said "Get religion out of it". The common thread is separation.

Separation, as in, let there be two similar, but separate, institutions.

Let churches bless the sacrament of "marriage", whatever any one belief system defines it to be, and let "marriage" be a religious recognition, and ONLY a religious recognition - with no automatically-conferred legal rights and privileges, but only whatever is conferred by the laws/rules/teachings/customs of the church which conferred it. (A parallel might - I believe - be baptism. Although not being a religious scholar, that may or not be the best example. Hopefully it will serve as a good enough example.)

Then let government be the one to confer civil unions/domestic partnerships which have NO religious component but which DO carry universal legal rights and protections and responsibilities once conferred. Churches would be under no obligation to recognize these unions, and presumably a couple which is united legally in this way would also have to have a church ceremony if they wished to obtain the title of "married" within any given church.

But whether or not they sought a church to put the title of "married" on their union, they would still be legally bonded in the eyes of the law, and would not lose these protections by something as simple as moving to another state.

The problem, of course, is that making this change would require the writing/editing of a huge new body of law. Which is not an insignificant thing.

But I still think it is an idea with merit and worth exploring.