June 15, 2005
Shutdown plans

Gov. Pawlenty and members of his administration are scheduled to meet with reporters today to talk about plans to shut down the government. The shutdown, or partial shutdown, will happen if the governor and legislators don't reach a deal on a new state budget by July 1. At least right now there's no indication they're making any progress toward a deal. And Pawlenty seems to be pleasing no one. The Star Tribune has a story about former allies launching an ad attack against him:

The Americans for Tax Reform, a national anti-tax organization whose approval is considered critical to conservative politicians with an eye toward higher office, has begun a statewide televised advertising campaign criticizing Gov. Tim Pawlenty for his proposed cigarette revenue increase.

The 30-second spot is to run statewide for seven days. It focuses on Pawlenty's proposal to raise $383 million by establishing what he calls a 75-cent-a pack health impact fee. Within the state, the fee has been criticized by liberals and conservatives alike as a euphemism for a tax increase.

The ad opens with a group of ducks walking in a puddle and asks the question: "If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, you wouldn't call it a horse, would you?"

The narrator then says: "Despite the governor's clever wording, his fee is nothing more than a $380 million tax increase."

The group's president Grover Norquist tells reporter Mark Brunswick the ads aren't designed to criticize Pawlenty, but to reinforce the no tax position. Hey, if it looks like a duck...

And of course liberals who actually support a tax increase are also ripping Pawlenty for proposing...a tax increase.

One of this column's readers, Patrick Murphy, sent me this:

As long as we are planning to shut down the government come 1 July, 2005, how about we just move right ahead and have a special election to see exactly how popular this governor is at that point in time? I submit that Gov. Pawlenty, whom I did vote for in FY 2002 or whenever he last faced the voters would find himself shutdown as well.

Leadership means that one must negotiate, call a tax a tax, and get things done. O, for the days of Arnie Carlson and Elmer Anderson! Heck, any of the Anderson's, just name one! I'd vote for him as long as he got things done in St. Paul in a rational bi-partisan fashion. I think the Republican Party of Minnesota, which I use to endorse because it was truly an Independent-Republican Party, will find that the next Senator from Minnesota will be a DFL candidate, and not a Republican, come FY 2006. Just a humble prediction given the current atmosphere in Saint Paul and environs.

It wasn't an Anderson but a Tinklenberg who announced a campaign yesterday. Elwyn Tinklenberg to be exact, and he's not running for Senate. MPR's Tom Scheck has the story:

Former Transportation Commissioner Elwyn Tinklenberg is the first DFLer to formally announce his candidacy for Minnesota's 6th Congressional District. The seat is open because Republican incumbent Mark Kennedy is running for the U.S. Senate. Tinklenberg says he wants to bring a real world practicality to Congress. While Tinklenberg faces competition from only one other DFLer, there are five Republicans who have announced plans to run for the seat.

Tinklenberg made his announcement at the National Sports Center in Blaine. Tinklenberg, who served as mayor of Blaine, was a key player in getting the facility built in the 1980s. He touted his work to get the light rail line up and running as transportation commissioner under Jesse Ventura.

Tinklenberg, a former Lutheran minister, says DFLers should not shy away from talking about faith and moral values. His announcement speech focused on restoring faith in government and ending the divisive bickering in Washington.

"We are deciding in this race whether we want to send another partisan to a Congress that is already choking on them, or if we want to take a new direction. A direction of progress and reasonableness and accomplishment," he said.

Gosh, he could be talking about the Legislature.

Posted by Mike Mulcahy at 6:54 AM