Sunday, June 26, 2005

I had the experience today of actually encountering an opinion piece from a Star Tribune editor that actually contained a criticism of the DFL. You had to get past the carping about the GOP first, of course. It was however a criticism that echoes one of the common complaints of conservatives:
Hutchinson is already rehearsing next year's stump speech. He faults Gov. Tim Pawlenty and his GOP allies at the Legislature for offering Minnesota less government at a "no new taxes" price, and DFLers for proposing to provide existing services in about the same way, but at a higher price.

"That's not what Minnesotans want. People want more for their money. They want their government to deliver better education, better health, better transportation, and they are willing to pay the price to get it. ... People don't really care that much whether their state moves left or right. They want it to move forward."

He'll get a good argument from both parties about his characterization of their positions. But as long as the GOP idea of health care reform is booting hard-working, premium-paying people out of health insurance programs, and the DFL idea of better education consists mainly of spending more money, Hutchinson's accusations will hit home.

The article itself is about Peter Hutchinson's bid to become the next Independence Party governor of Minnesota. Lori Sturdevant seems to rather like the idea. Unfortunately for her, whatever the merits of having third parties involved in Minnesota government the fact is that until that same third party has some significant representation in the Legislature, the gridlock will continue. The financial difficulties of the past three years were the spark for the current impasse, but it would have happened sooner or later. The GOP and DFL are too far apart and in my opinion more interested in winning than in governing, especially the DFLers who are playing scorched earth with a vengeance. The surpluses from 1999-2002 during Jesse Ventura's term made it easy to paper over differences without actually resolving them at the time. Now it's crunch time, and we're getting another lesson on how disfunctional our current set of politicians is at the moment. It would be well for them to remember (and act on) the idea of actually doing their jobs and completing their work in the alloted time. Just about everyone else does... Well, at least the GOP recognizes that our current difficulties are more of a spending problem, unlike the DFL.

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