Will DFLers give it right back in 2014?
Understandably, Republicans in Minnesota are pointing fingers at each other, wondering who’s to blame for all that went wrong for their party on Nov. 6.
Two short years after Minnesota voters saddled DFL Gov. Mark Dayton with a Minnesota House and Senate controlled by Republicans, voters switched gears and gave Dayton DFL majorities in both chambers.
So what in the world happened to cause Minnesota voters to do such an about face in such rapid fashion? Well, if those who want Republicans to succeed listen to former Minn. House Speaker Kurt Zellers’ take on the subject, they won’t return to power anytime soon. In an Associated Press story late last week, Zellers said that heavy spending by DFL interests, including all kinds of nasty, negative mailers that told tall tales about Republican candidates, were to blame.
Is Zellers serious? No matter where you lived in Minnesota over the past weeks and months, was your mailbox not under an almost daily assault, courtesy of your mail carrier and all those huge postcards? Did you even glance at them after a while? Do you even know which political party sent you the most? Zellers is reaching.
If you want to know what might have spurred Minnesota voters to boot the Republican majority out of the state legislature, lend a credible ear to Charlie Weaver, a Republican and former state lawmaker who now heads up the Minnesota Business Partnership. Weaver says the Republican leadership in the legislature blew it when they forced the two proposed constitutional amendments, on voter ID and marriage, onto the ballot. It was an “enormous mistake,” Weaver said, because the proposed constitutional measures alienated women, young people and minorities.
So more of them voted...against the amendments and against the Republicans who backed them. Sure, it was a presidential election year and no doubt the DFL voting populace came out in big numbers to re-elect Barack Obama, but those amendments, for lack of a better reference, came back to bite the Republicans in the butt. Jaded, alienated voters who ponder the notion of staying home on Election Day because they’re sick of all the deception and negativity are looking for something to excite them, something to rally them, something to motivate them to hop in the car and drive down to their polling place. Those amendments did the trick. Maybe those amendments even irked some moderate Republicans.
But if Republicans are patient, the new DFL majority in the legislature might gift-wrap a return to a Republican majority in the legislature in two short years. Less than two days after the election, it was already reported that DFL leaders were “tip-toeing” around Dayton’s tax proposal, which involves raising the tax rate on the very richest of Minnesotans.
Typical DFLers, wishy-washy when they should be emboldened, skittish when they should be confident.
Memo to the DFL: Big money spent more cash than ever on the 2012 Election, and got basically nothing in return. Big money lost. So why be so afraid to dare consider a tax increase on the state’s richest people in order to add needed revenue to a state budget that’s projected to dip back into the red in 2013?
Just watch as a DFL governor, a DFL-led House and a DFL-led Senate muddle along and come up short of the expectations placed on them by the voters that put them in office. Watch as enough DFLers break ranks and vote with Republicans on crucial legislation simply because they’re afraid...afraid to raise taxes a little bit on the richest of the rich in Minnesota.