In college, Mark Dayton (DFL) was a goalie and he should have learned you can never win a game, but you can prevent your team from losing. Right now he is the only person between the direction Republicans want to take our state and where we are at this moment. Its showdown time.
DFL legislators are forestalled and disheartened every time the Governor talks to reporters when he undermines negotiations with the Republican-controlled legislature. A perfect example is his most recent statement about accepting the Republican Transportation plan to use one-time money to pay for a portion of the projects. This is like playing poker and showing your opponent your hands while they hold theirs to the breast. Or a better analogy is playing Russian Roulette and you are the only one who holds the gun to your own head.
The call by House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-31A, Crown) for Dayton and his commissioners to be at the table while the House and Senate Republicans negotiate between each other is a tactical maneuver. It forces Dayton into a position where he is partially culpable for these proposed cuts. Dayton should hold the line and remain outside of the negotiations until the two Republican sides have agreed. The transportation issues can simply be resolved through a Bonding Bill and if Dayton stands firm then Republicans will come to him, because of internal pressures felt in their caucuses.
The reality is, people need to feel pain for them to seek resolution from their elected leadership. The only way Republicans will move is when the voices of their constituents become too loud to ignore.
Dayton’s legacy is in play he can leave office with a poor 2017-18 Budget and that will be what he is remembered for, or he can stand and fight. He needs to give no quarter, prove his resolve, and draw lines he will not cross. He needs to have staff far more active and visible and they need to speak with one voice. No, that is not acceptable to our Governor. Then he needs to call Republicans out when the mischaracterize, distort, and misguide the public.
Also, if Dayton wants to prove he is looking out for Minnesota’s interests when and if a Special Session ensues, he needs to ignore AFSCME and let state employees experience pain too. Many jobs in Greater Minnesota exist because of government and Republicans need to be reminded of that fact.
Governor Dayton, play like Minnesota Wild, your back is up against the wall, and if you lose one play you lose the game, the series, your playoff hopes and hearts and minds of your supporters.