Friday, March 24, 2006

Doran and the DFL

Kelly Doran dropped out of the race for governor today, leaving three DFLers -- Attorney General Mike Hatch and state Senators Becky Lourey and Steve Kelley -- vying for the chance to take on Gov. Tim Pawlenty in November.

Doran was always a bit of a long shot but he was spending serious money, and I liked his more centrist approach. With him gone the other three can avoid spending big bucks in the primary contest and keep their powder dry for the general election.

Pawlenty hasn't been a horrible governor, but he has spent a lot of time trying to recover from various mistakes, such as his "no new taxes" pledge, his various flirtations with social conservatives and the tobacco "it's a fee, it's a tax" debacle. He also must answer for the budget gimmicks used to balance the state budget, notably taking inflation into account for revenue projections but not for spending and pushing the tax burden down to local governments, effectively financing the budget with increased property taxes.

But the DFL needs to learn from past mistakes, too.

Confession time: I voted for Jesse Ventura. I didn't really mean to; but I got into the voting booth and just couldn't bring myself to pull the lever for either the colorless Skip Humphrey or the self-serving Norm Coleman. Ventura spoke bluntly, and generally expressed common sense. "How much harm could he do?" I asked myself, and thus did my part to force the Chinese to come up with a word for "feather boa."

The problem with the DFL in that election was that they nominated a party stalwart who had "earned" the nomination through his party work -- ignoring minor matters like electability.

Four years later, they did it again. Roger Moe was a nice guy, but he really gave no reason why he should win the governor's post. With Tim Penny splitting the vote, Pawlenty won another three-way race.

The question is, will the DFL make it a trifecta? Will Mike Hatch get the nod simply because he's been the party leader by default for the last four years?

Hatch is another generally good guy, but there's not a whole lot to point to in his stint as Attorney General that makes me say "man, that guy should be governor." Lourey and Kelley have their own problems, which I will get into as the primary race heats up. But at least they quicken my pulse a little bit.

Of course, the biggest fool in the story is state GOP honcho Ron Carey:

GOP state chairman Ron Carey said "the race for governor is now between four liberals and one common-sense reformer, Governor Pawlenty. ...[The] early exit from the race further underscores how difficult it is for centrists to find a warm welcome in a DFL Party dominated by far-left activists."

What a maroon. I'm not really sure why Carey acts like a clone of former RNC chief Ed Gillespie, but it barely worked for Ed, who had dozens of red states to draw support from. Mindless labeling might play well elsewhere, but in an educated swing state it's just mindless.

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Blogger Sue For MN 2006 said...

You know, if you are really looking for a more centrist candidate...

Look no futher than Sue Jeffers, libertarian candidate.

For reasons unbeknownst to me, nobody seems to recognize her as a viable candidate.

What, people think someone like Kelley or Lourey has any better of a shot than Sue Jeffers?


Check out her website. She's really got things in order, and her site itself is well-run and up-to-date.

I like her approach. "People Before Politics".

3/25/2006 12:18 AM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

I respect Libertarians for basing their politics on solid principles. Their stance on civil liberties, for example, is admirable. But like any ideology, it's possible to follow one's beliefs out a window.

The Libertarian worship of private property rights sounds good in principle. But it leads to things like opposition to zoning laws. In a Libertarian world, my neighbor could build a metal shredder on his property and operate it 24/7, and that's just fine. They ignore the externalized costs that some property uses place on their neighbors.

Jeffers seems to be a pretty solid Libertarian believer. But while I respect her, some of the policies she advocates are draconian nonstarters.

If Libertarians want to get elected, they have to demonstrate how they will reconcile their principles with the realities of governance. I want a principled leader, but I do not want a radical ideologue.

3/27/2006 10:57 AM  

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