Thinker Bell ponders: Dayton or MAK?

June 08, 2010 by barbara

barbara writes

I seem to have an uncanny knack for backing the wrong horse and then watching the winner lose the whole magilla and/or trash our country.

So it will not surprise you to know that my whole-hearted support of R.T. Rybak for governor and subsequent developments have left me (and likely many others) with no small amount of PTSD.

For those of you beyond the bounds of Minnesota Wonderland, let me give you some back story. Read on.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and a herd of others vied for DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor, which really doesn’t mean that anymore, but there you have it) endorsement for November’s governor election. The only outsider in the bunch was Rybak. Nearly all the others (and at some point there were nine, I believe) are or have been legislators.

The eventual winner (in a sadly predictable outcome) was MN House speaker, Margaret Anderson Kelliher (MAK), who is savvy, bland and speaks in carefully scripted talking points. Among other things, I am being asked to support her because she’s a woman.

Well, hell, so is Michele Bachmann – the polar opposite of MAK by every definition. Gender is not reason enough to snag my vote.

I suspect MAK is competent. For starters, she clearly knows how to work the DFL system. That’s essential for advancing to leadership in the MN legislature and scoring the endorsement, which basically comes down to insiders circling the wagons around insiders. This probably is offensive to DFL apologists, but it is what it is.

Initially, I took a dim view of the wealthy and self-financing outsiders who bypassed the DFL’s extremely flawed endorsement process. I even suggested that MAK choose Mark Dayton as her lieutenant governor (cheek, meet tongue).

But as time has passed, I find myself shifting allegiance to the outsiders' outsider, by every definition. I believe Dayton can do the job. He appears eager to begin the long, arduous process of restoring Minnesota to its former fine self on the heels of TPaw’s decade of decimation.

Dayton has his political and personal reputation on the line in a very big, very public way. He is smart. He is competent (in spite of media attempts to bring him down). And he is pretty close to fearless about bucking the GOP and also the arcane DFL. Unlike Jesse Ventura, however, he smacks ‘em down politely.

The only thing that really matters now is defeating Emmer. Absolutely must happen. He is TPaw +, which spells disaster for the people Pawlenty has thrown under the bus (which, by the way, is most of the population -- very crowded under there).

If Mark Dayton wins the primary, it’s time to shut down the firing squad and help him win.

I mean it.

Posted in


Anon 1 (not verified) | June 13, 2010 - 1:56pm

Forget whatever hopes you might have.

Kelliher is totally unelectable; another endorsement bungle while doe-eyed Dayton is.....well...weird to say the least. What he is trying to sell, voters of Minnesota will reject outright,by a huge margin. Add this to the national anti Obama backlash that is coming on a historic scale, my advice would be to get used to the wilderness.


susan | June 27, 2010 - 10:49pm

Now, where was I?

All of what you say, Barbara --on this governor's race (and all else, natch) is sad and true. And Anon's line is also apt. An endorsement bungle indeed.

I supported Mayor Rybak, (and remain heartsick) not only because I thought he'd be a terrific governor, but because in all early polls he was the one who could beat Dayton in the primary and also beat either Republican Tom Emmer or Marty Seiffert in the general. (Emmer and Seiffert went to the mat to prove their tea party bona fides, and Emmer out-bagged Seiffert.)

The caucus/convention system has delivered the wrong candidate for the DFL now for how many election cycles? Mike Hatch? (Okay, I liked Roger Moe.) Rybak went into the convention ahead in the regular delegate count, but when you added in the state legislators, who automatically become super-delegates, it got tight.

And in the end it was legislative maneuvering that put Kelliher ahead. She was, after all, the Speaker of the House, which means she knows how to dragoon the votes of her colleagues. Margaret's smart, her heart is in the right place, her husband is an uber nice guy, but she's -- I won't go as far as anon and say totally unelectable, but she will have to overcome an awful lot to get elected.

This playbook is all too familiar. The DFL has three candidates battling each other and spending oodles of money on an August 10 primary that most people won't notice. "Hey everyone, enough with the lake, let's go vote!" (Older people will vote, they always do. And that's Dayton's base.)

Just as Independence Party candidates Tim Penny and Peter Hutchinson captured enough of the "middle" votes to give us Tim Pawlenty, Tom Horner will also pull "middle" votes to give us . . .

And that's the part that no one knows for sure. Will Horner pull more Republican votes away from Emmer? Or Democratic votes away from Kelliher -- or Dayton? Or not be a factor at all?

My political Magic 8 ball says, Reply hazy, try again.