Who was it who said that success has a hundred fathers, but failure is an orphan? In the wake of the Minnesota budget deal, voters may be looking to file a paternity suit. It sounds as if most political leaders whose fingerprints are on this agreement are trying to make clear just how repulsive they personally find the thing.
Allow me to make a prediction: Gov. Mark Dayton's emphasis on agreeing to a deal he did not agree with is going to come back to haunt him. Finely parsed distinctions between one preposition and another do not come from a place of political strength, as John Kerry learned with "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it." It smacks of hair-splitting, like Bill Clinton's "It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is."
In Washington, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell floated a plan to give President Obama authority to raise the debt ceiling over Republican objections because a) he knows it has to be raised, and b) he wants his party to be able to avoid the blame for raising it. Not exactly Nathan Hale stuff, but very much in bipartisan step with the spirit of our times. Here in Minnesota, Dayton's own party shows no interest in agreeing - on, with, to or about - his initiative.
It may be petty to point this out, but we came from people who understood the value of standing up for things - of pledging "our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor." Are we still the sort of people who could put our names on a dangerous political document, and hang the consequences? Discuss.
And no, I did not just compare the budget deal to the Declaration of Independence.
If it was a comparison to the Declaration of Independence, I would comment that the meaning of "Independence" has changed from "We" to "I".
I think in time it will be clear to most that Dayton had little options. An intransigent GOP, real pain for the vulnerable and others, no movement on negotiations.
Republican base is not happy, and the borrow from schools and tobacco bonds is their idea of a solution. They have to explain to people why that is better than taxes on a few people.
The themes are taking shape for the next election. Can't come soon enough.