jeudi, octobre 12, 2006

My Third Wish for the 2006 Election Part Two: I admit that I’m not so much FOR Hatch as I’m AGAINST Pawlenty

This post is part of a series listing my ten wishes for the upcoming election. Each day I will post one wish starting with number 10 and working my way up to the wish I desire most. Because we should think globally and act locally, you’ll notice a Minnesota slant to my wishes. If you’re a progressive or a liberal or a left-wing nut job from another state, I hope your wishes come true too. And now, without further delay, here’s today’s wish…

3. Mike Hatch Defeats Incumbent Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Governor

I’ll start with a confession.

Mike Hatch, our Democratic candidate for Governor lines up well enough with me on the issues, but I liken him to a Microeconomics text book. You know he’s chock full of accurate data and useful information, but he’s not exactly a page turner.

He is, in fact, a wonk. He is intelligent. He knows only one direction – straight ahead, and he’s made his share of enemies.

I’ve skimmed* his position papers on economic growth, energy independence, the environment, education, health care, and corporate responsibility. He’s thoughtful and focused on a better Minnesota. I really, really think he will make a fine Governor. In large part because I think he wants to be the Governor. But also because I sincerely think he’ll pass up fancy for significant.

Unlike his opponent.

I really, really, really cannot stand Tim Pawlenty. If you think I don’t like the Bush Administration, it’s only because you haven’t been around me when I’m discussing Tim Pawlenty.

I gave very serious thought to started a blog, just for this campaign season on why people should not vote for Tim Pawlenty.

For example, just before he last election, Pawlenty, who, after receiving public financing agreed to abide by spending limits, ran a “coordinated campaign” with the Republican party. What that means is that he avoided the spending limits by directing how the Republican party supported his campaign. He avoided a hefty punishment by agreeing to a $100,000 fine and agreeing to reduce is campaign account by an additional $500,000.

Not long after he was elected with less than 50% of the vote, Pawlenty was involved in another scandal. He was director of a Telecommunications company NewTel, the parent company of a telcom that was accused of cheating its customers.

Later, he was slapped on the wrist for failing to disclose $60,000 he received while on retainer for another telecom, Access Anywhere. Access Anywhere just happens to be owned by a Republican activist.

I cannot comment on the whole of Minnesota history. But I can say that I have been here since 1990, and he is, by far, the worst Governor we’ve had since that time.

And it ain’t even close.

I would take 30 years of Jesse Ventura before I would sign on for another year of Tim Pawlenty.

He has turned our state into a joke - much more so than Ventura.

I’ll give you my favorite example. Tim Pawlenty signed an NRA-drafted law allowing private citizens to conceal and carry handguns after licensing them. As a result, if you come to Minnesota, every business you enter has a sign which reads “This Business bans guns in the premises.” And I kid you not, every single out-of-town visitor who comes to Minnesota (unless they’re from Texas) comments on it. And it’s never with appreciation. It’s always in ridicule.

Pawlenty vetoed a bill to resurrect the a state Poet Laureate. He’s anti-poetry.

Pawlenty signed a pledge the last time he ran. He pledged not to raise taxes. In order to keep his pledge (and I have a lengthy argument on how pledges of that sort elevate the interest of the individual (the candidate) over the best interests of the state (the electorate). And, of course, he could not break his pledge, so he did what anyone else would do when faced with a revenue problem. First, he cut expenses. Our parks lost funding. Our schools lost funding. College education lost funding (and increased tuition dramatically). He cut aid to local governments (and THEY raised taxes – so, in effect, Pawlenty did not raise taxes, he just pushed a button to make counties and cities raise taxes!). He cut transportation spending. He cut spending on the environment and on support for the less fortunate.

Then, when he couldn’t cut further, he started looking for alternative sources of revenue.

Here are my favorites:

A “user fee” on cigarettes (not a “tax,” mind you, a “user fee”)
He looked to add “non-Indian gaming” as a source of tax revenue.
He increased user fees in parks.
And, my all-time favorite, he asked private construction companies bidding on an enormous highway project to lend the state the money needed to fund the project.

That’s right, he wanted to borrow from private corporations to fund a highway project with an estimated price tag of several hundred million dollars.

And then he was done. We are, under Pawlenty, officially the laughing stock of the nation.

Through the whole thing, he was a poster boy for conservative nonsense. He offered the Minnesota National Guard to defend the border. He passed the NRA bill (without READING it, and I’m serious). He rallied for prayer in schools, the Ten Commandments in Parks, and against equal rights for GLBT Minnesotans. As the government worked its way toward a shut down, he showed no leadership, but was quick with talking points and finger pointing as soon as the shutdown began. No serious observer sees him as anything other than a party opportunist. He wants a national office. He does not want to be our Governor. He knows his values are not the values of the majority of Minnesotans, and he governed like he has a mandate anyway.

For that reason and all the reasons listed above, I wish Minnesotans had a Governor who wanted the job of Governor. I wish we had Mike Hatch instead of Tin Pawlenty.

*They’re quite long.