Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sunday Evening Smackdown...

The St. Cloud "SomeTimes" (Thanks, Gary) had an op-ed from Opinion Page Editor Randy Krebs:

Gottwalt joins in partisan choir

After hearing his recent radio rants, though, I wonder. Did I misjudge him? Did he mislead the voters of District 15A last fall? Did the Republican Party somehow implant its platform of partisan cliches in his brain? Or is the Capitol environment really so partisan that there is no chance for common-sense government?

Now I realize the radio station he spoke on probably should be renamed "KGOP," and it most certainly will never be able to broadcast in stereo because all its programming comes out of the speaker on the right.

But as surely as Gottwalt knows that, he also knows all listeners are not lockstep members of the right-leaning choir to whom he clearly is preaching.

Yet for a month, he has done nothing but portray himself and the Republican Party as the saviors of state government, your morals and, of course, your tax dollars, while pretty much demonizing the DFL Party.

Although he speaks for only a few minutes each week, he routinely manages to parrot the governor's "no new taxes" philosophy and bash the DFL as playing nothing but politics at the Capitol.

Indeed, I find it perplexing that he talks in such starkly partisan tones about those issues, but in the next breath makes it sound like local legislators — no matter their party — are holding hands and singing "We Are The World" on local issues. (Aren't all politics local?)
KGOP? Never mind that the St. Cloud editorial board can just as easily be called the St. Cloud DFL Times.

KNSI, a talk radio station, is conservative, and unabashedly so. None of the shows, including Hot Talk, make any pretenses about being fair and balanced. Most all shows are political opinion.

Suffice it to say, that two local bloggers, Gary Gross and King Banaian have taken it upon themselves to take Mr. Krebs to task, and have done so swimmingly!:
...From Gary:

Having followed this legislative session with a microscope, I'm qualified to say that, yes, the partisanship that Rep. Gottwalt has talked about exists. In fact, I'd say that Rep. Gottwalt's criticism is a bit mild.

Here's the link to my post about the ugly partisanship displayed by House Majority Leader Tony Sertich:

When the House voted on the permanent rules for the House, Sertich defeated all but one of the rules that the GOP offered. The only rule that passed was one that put in place a 1 year ban on lobbying after a legislator left the legislature. Worse than that, Sertich made some of the snippiest comments I've ever seen. It wasn't enough that he defeated a series of great reforms. He had to add to that by being a total jerk that day.

I've watched committee hearings on the government access channel, too. One afternoon, the DFL defeated all but one of the GOP's amendments to various education bills by a 9-5 vote. The amendment that passed did so by an 8-6 vote.

I've watched the DFL House stripped out all of Gov. Pawlenty's education recommendations. Does that sound like bipartisanship?

Now, let's deal with Rep. Gottwalt's speaking well of "local legislators". There's a simple reason why he does that. It's because Larry Haws has probably been the least partisan DFL legislator in the state.

I also remember the night I got a call from Rep. Gottwalt, telling me of how Rep. Cy Thao told him at a committee hearing "When you guys win, you get to keep your money. When we win, we take your money." I remember him telling me how the DFL wasn't having anything to do with any 'GOP-only' amendments, that they were shooting down almost all of the GOP only amendments.

That doesn't sound like bipartisanship.

I remember the day Assistant House Minority Leader Laura Brod tried proposing a series of tax cuts during the debate on the tax conformity bill that's now the law. Speaker Margaret Anderson-Kelliher ruled all of Rep. Brod's amendments "not germane". It was her way of saying that the DFL legislature wouldn't debate any GOP amendments. This was in the first week of the session.

Now we know why. Now the DFL have proposed $5 BILLION worth of new tax increases. That despite running all summer & fall on their 'ability' to fund their priorities without raising taxes. I said then that the DFL shouldn't be trusted with not raising taxes:

Now the Minnesota GOP has put an internet video together showing the DFL's hypocrisy on taxes:

These are all prime examples of the hyperpartisanship that the DFL leadership have shown. These are all prime examples of how the DFL leadership hijacked this legislative session from the opening week.

At the end of the day, Rep. Gottwalt's complaints about the DFL's partisanship are more than just speculation. Unfortunately, they're the reality this year.

From King

Hi Randy,

I think if everything else was equal, if the other people in the Legislature were behaving as they campaigned last fall, and Steve had turned out to behave as he is now, you could have a legitimate complaint. But unfortunately the DFL has not followed through on their pledges from last fall to work with the GOP, and has absolutely lied to us about living within the revenues provided in the budget. Seen the Taxapalooza video yet? Sure, it's a political ad, but those are real, live DFL legislators in the first 80 or so seconds telling us no tax increases, and then dropping the mother of all tax increases on us on a Saturday before slipping out the door to campaign for more of my money during Holy Week.

(I know, separation of church and state and all that. But I'm not the one calling it the Easter/Passover break; they are.)

So I see Steve having a choice to make: He can either take a principled stand -- one with which you might disagree -- or he may compromise. I believe the first few weeks of the session caused some scales to fall from Steve's eyes and he returned to principles he already held. If you think he campaigned on a platform that included tax increases, then find the quote. (Unlike me, you don't have to pay to use your archive!)

If you can't, your alternative is to argue for an ever-expanding government in which case I can't understand why you ever supported Gottwalt at all. Either that, or you really didn't to begin with and this is just a charade (as well as taking a shot at a competitor in the local news market?)

One more thing. Your newspaper reported on 11/4/06 on a debate between Tarryl Clark and Jeff Johnson thus:

“(Tarryl) Clark cites a vote cast against her DFL leadership's proposed commercial and industrial income tax rates as proof of her independence. She supports increasing that state's gas tax to pay for transportation improvements, but said Minnesotans need to decide on priorities before deciding whether we need to increase other taxes to pay for them. ‘If we have a $2 billion tax bill put in front of us, I'm not going to vote for it,’ she said.”

Has Sen. Clark voted against any of the tax increases that we've seen from the Senate this past month? Isn't she in fact author of the bill in which a billion dollars of income tax increases are nestled inside an education spending bill to make it harder for Governor Pawlenty to veto? Can you find the quote where Tarryl Clark and the DFL said "Vote for us, and we'll spend all of the $2 billion surplus and raise your taxes $5 billion more"?

When may I expect your column on this volte face? Or don't they sing that song in your choir?

Never to be left out of a good bru-ha-ha, in much the manner of a skid row drunk getting into a debate on Shakespeare, a former St. Cloud Mayor (and damn-near self-proclaimed emperor) had this to say:
John Ellenbecker from St. Cloud
Comment Posted: 4/15/2007 6:42:26 PM

Does work with the GOP mean pass the GOP agenda? I don't think so. DFL legislators where not elected to enact the GOP agenda.
To which King retorted:
scsuscholars from the blogosphere
Comment Posted: 4/15/2007 6:48:00 PM

So do I have you on record, John, saying the DFL agenda requires more taxes?

And when did the DFL announce during the 2006 campaign that this was in their agenda?

IOW, The Minnesota DFL isn't presenting the agenda that the voters signed up for. Far from it. So when Mr. Gottwalt takes a principled stance and refuses to support it, he gets lambasted for not supporting what the voters didn't support.

Sorry, Mr. Krebs and Emperor Ellenbecker, bi-partisanship in the face of kicking taxpayers in the groin is not bipartisanship--that's out-and-out collusion.

Oh yes, and one more note to Mssrs. Krebs and Ellenbecker:

Never bring a knife to a gunfight.