Sunday, November 07, 2004

Guess I'll Ease Up on the "East Dakota" Crack (*)

by Tom Bozzo

From the Star Tribune, a lede we'll hopefully be seeing more of in '06:
Minnesota Republicans were hoping to enter the 2006 election cycle -- a crucial one in which the governor's office, a U.S. Senate seat, three constitutional offices and the entire Legislature are on the ballot -- in a lot better shape than they found themselves on Nov. 3.

A propos of Nina's mandate post, the Minnesota experience shows that it's more than possible for conservative Republicans to badly overestimate the scope of their mandate and to end up running in defense of policies a majority of the electorate didn't like so much after all.

Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota's Republican governor, won a plurality victory in '02 as the DFL and Ventura-Reform candidates split the center-to-left vote, so Minnesota may have been unusually primed for a backlash. Though ya'd think our far-right Wisconsin legislature might take the opportunity look beyond their artfully drawn districts to notice that Democrats hold every statewide office and make up half of the U.S. House delegation. (Based on the Isthmus profile, no link available, I doubt that John Gard, our assembly leader who apparently hates Madison elites so much he's willing to sacrificially be part of the Madison political elite to save us all from the Madison political elite, is so inclined.)

So what's the issue for the '06 election? One suggestion that may resonate with the middle to upper-middle classes: "stealth" taxes, particularly on education -- obnoxious fees on practically every public school activity other than showing up in the morning, soaring UW system tuition, etc. Seemed to work in Minnesota.


(*) Our Governor, Jim Doyle (D), was on the stiff side introducing Springsteen at the big Kerry rally, but was in top form on A Prairie Home Companion, January 10, 2004 (the East Dakota line is around 10:40 in the Real Audio stream for Segment 4, near the end of the Guy Noir sketch, or see the script).
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