Is a shutdown the Democratic plan to recapture the legislature in 2012?

posted at 12:00 pm on July 3, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

On yesterday’s NARN show, Mitch Berg and I had the opportunity to speak with the two leaders of Minnesota’s legislature, Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and House Speaker Kurt Zellers, as well as our friend and former NARN band member Rep. King Banaian.  Mitch and I asked them all why the government shutdown occurred — a question none of them could quite answer.  The budget comes in nine bills, and Republicans had reached substantive agreement with Dayton on six of them, were close on two more, and only had difficulties on one, tax policy.  The last biennial budget spent just under $31 billion; Republicans wanted to reduce that spending, but ended up offering a budget that came in at over $34 billion for the next biennium, an increase (after adjustments) of 6% in real spending.  At the end, as Dayton refused to sign any of the budget bills, Republicans offered a “lights on” bill (a version of a continuing resolution in Congress) to keep government open while they struggled to reach agreement on policy.

Dayton refused to agree to the special session that would have considered the lights-on bill — and which will need to get called eventually to resolve the government shutdown anyway.  Why did Dayton refuse to negotiate in good faith?  Via my friend Scott Johnson at Power Line, Katherine Kersten accuses Dayton of trying to torpedo this session in order to give his party an opportunity to win back control of the legislature in 2012:

Did Dayton intentionally try to provoke a shutdown? We can only say that if he had wanted to, he would have acted precisely as he has in recent months.

Throughout the budgetary process, Dayton refused to give legislators the details they needed to take his priorities into account in crafting their own budget bills. He refused to negotiate on individual bills until he had seen them all.

The Legislature sent its bills to Dayton six weeks before the session ended, but he frittered away the time for negotiation. He vetoed all nine bills at the end of the session, so legislators had no chance to rework them to address his concerns.

As shutdown loomed, Dayton refused to resolve small differences and sign major portions of the budget, such as K-12 education, judiciary and public safety, on which agreement was close. The Pioneer Press called this “hostage taking,” not “compromise.”

But Minnesotans need to understand the bigger picture here. Behind Dayton and out of the limelight, DFL legislators have been playing for much higher stakes than a $1.8 billion spending increase.

In recent weeks, DFL minority leaders Paul Thissen and Tom Bakk have been glued to Dayton’s side throughout budget negotiations. Why? If Dayton — with the help of DFL legislators — could parlay a shutdown into a DFL legislative takeover in 2012, the political payoff for the party would be huge.

Dayton won’t face reelection until 2014, and the public’s memory of the current fiscal train wreck will be long gone by then.

But the Legislature is up for reelection in 2012 — just around the corner. If Dayton gets egg on his face for the shutdown, DFL leaders may view it as a small price to pay, so long as irate voters can be led to spread the blame to Republicans and to transfer legislative control to the DFL next year.

A 6% biennial increase seems like a pretty good offer of good will by Republicans in this environment; we heard from a couple of callers who were unhappy that the GOP increased spending at all.  One e-mailer wondered aloud how he should vote in future elections if both Republicans and the DFL were determined to continue spending increases (answer: vote for the party that increases it least, I guess).  What did the GOP get for its attempt to find a middle ground with Dayton, who wanted to increase the biennial budget to $37 billion and institute higher tax rates in the state already ranked 43rd in business tax environment?  An utter refusal to negotiate and a state shutdown that Dayton at one time promised not to pursue.

I’d say Kersten is on the right track here.

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It worked for Clinton… to a degree.

darwin-t on July 3, 2011 at 12:06 PM

Why don’t conservative Minnesotans move next door to to the Dakotas which are sane states? Let the libs have MN which will turn into another CA in no time. Schadenfreude. Then you can thumb your noses at the lefties who are broke and have no jobs etc. I can understand a sentimental attachment to one’s native state, but after the collapse y’all can move in and buy up everything at dirt cheap prices and then set up a conservative state. Call it , ‘Reconquista’.

JimP on July 3, 2011 at 12:07 PM

It appears the only thing a d is able to come up with to deal with anything is raise taxes! Then blame the r’s for not doing it!
L

letget on July 3, 2011 at 12:08 PM

So, who are the regular people up there blaming?

When the dems ran away down here in Texas, they were rightfully taken to the woodshed.

How about up there?

And on a related subject, Wisconsin dems?

cozmo on July 3, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Tell me again why our chosen candidates have to be Minnesotans because the MSM will make fun of Texans. Oh worry worry.

Marcus on July 3, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Democrats thrive on the public opinion of low-information voters.

Revenant on July 3, 2011 at 12:11 PM

This is exactly why the GOP MUST get their messaging right and drill it home!

The only way to stop this game is to call them on it straight up!

Educate the people and stop assuming they all understand or even want to. THEY NEED TO! That’s what real leaders do DAMN IT!!

katy on July 3, 2011 at 12:14 PM

Democrats are simply evil. No two ways about it.

darwin on July 3, 2011 at 12:15 PM

What are Scandi’s so enamored with socialism?

Immolate on July 3, 2011 at 12:17 PM

The contrast between Wisconsin’s economic future and that of Minnesota should provide a clear lesson about whether growing government spending or restraining government spending provides for a better standard of living down the road. We know the answer at HA but the MSM will not draw the picture for the general public; thus the nonsense that it is government that creates jobs and planned economies working better than free market economies lives on and thrives.

KW64 on July 3, 2011 at 12:27 PM

It worked for Clinton… to a degree.

darwin-t on July 3, 2011 at 12:06 PM

The Democrats progressives have a play book and not an updated one :)

This isn’t the 90s things have changed – for one we are mass communicating. No one would ever compare Barack Obama to Bill Clinton. Jimmy Carter – Richard Nixon sure, we know how they dealt with political crisis.

If this is all the progressives have, going back to what they used in the Clinton years, it means they are fresh out of ideas. If the Republicans don’t take advantage of their misstep, and use it against them, it’s the Republicans missing an opportunity to expose their poor attempt at manipulating the public, and turn the tables against them. I comes down to which one of the candidates is going to lead the charge? It’s time for the Republicans to take the offense not defense. Where are they?

Dr Evil on July 3, 2011 at 12:31 PM

this isn’t 1995.

rob verdi on July 3, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Of course he did – heck he went back on his campaign promise not to shutdown the state because of a tax increase.

He’s ticked because he didn’t get the DFL legislature he thought he was going to get. So he’s being spiteful on a weekend were he thinks he can do the most damage.

gophergirl on July 3, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Why don’t conservative Minnesotans move next door to to the Dakotas which are sane states? Let the libs have MN which will turn into another CA in no time. Schadenfreude. Then you can thumb your noses at the lefties who are broke and have no jobs etc. I can understand a sentimental attachment to one’s native state, but after the collapse y’all can move in and buy up everything at dirt cheap prices and then set up a conservative state. Call it , ‘Reconquista’.

JimP on July 3, 2011 at 12:07 PM

Cause we have jobs, lives, etc. Besides why should we give up and let them win?

gophergirl on July 3, 2011 at 12:38 PM

So, who are the regular people up there blaming?

cozmo on July 3, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Everybody to be honest. People are just plain ticked off.

I still think Dayton will cave first though

gophergirl on July 3, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Is a shutdown the Democratic plan to recapture the legislature in 2012?

Its too late for that game! Everyone realizes Hussei nand his Posse of Clowns FAILED! Kind of reminds me of Jimmy Carter era.

BigMike252 on July 3, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Of course, serial liars always repeat what worked for them last time. Tell the ignorant masses that the GOP is the bad guy and call the office re-decorator. Nothing new in what once was America.

Don L on July 3, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Go ahead. Next time republicans need to cut the budget to say 25 Billion. Let the government be shut down. A government not working is good.

antisocial on July 3, 2011 at 12:44 PM

“Liberals” only know how to take and spend. Their message only appeals to those people who have that mentality.

KMC1 on July 3, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Everyone realizes Hussei nand his Posse of Clowns FAILED! Kind of reminds me of Jimmy Carter era.

BigMike252 on July 3, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Maybe you haven’t looked at his near 50% likability polls yet? Wait until you see the vicious and deceptive games that he’ll play to take dowm the wimppy RINO the GOP is hell-bent on electing!

Don L on July 3, 2011 at 12:46 PM

this isn’t 1995

FOX News started on October 7, 1996.
The DRUDGE REPORT started in 1997.

Emperor Norton on July 3, 2011 at 12:53 PM

I assure you that this is the entire calculation of the Democratic party throughout the nation.

pat on July 3, 2011 at 1:26 PM

gophergirl on July 3, 2011 at 12:40 PM

I thought he would too; however now I’m not so sure. He’s not up till 2014; what does he care and he has his excuse. The GOP won lots of state legislative races by very narrow margins. The article’s right; their motive is pretty clear. Unfortunately, more idiots will come out for Obama in 2012 than in the 2010 election. I could see both houses flipping very easily. If that happens, this state is over.

IR-MN on July 3, 2011 at 1:30 PM

This is exactly what the Dems are going to do. They tried to do it in Wi. but failed. Obama is lining up the agencies that will be cut if the debt ceiling is not raised and they will be the ones that will garner the most sympathy from the public. Let’s start with Social Security checks and Medicare payments. Then the military will not get paid and the poor family members here in the US will be on national TV every night telling their hardship stories. The states that are normally Republican will have their federal funds delayed or cut off and their citizens left in the lurch. Only Obama can direct where and what money is paid out during the crisis and the bastard will use it to his benefit. We need someone who can get a national podium to counter his lies and chicanery and that person is Sarah Palin and only Sarah Palin. Not the milk toasts that are running in the primary.

inspectorudy on July 3, 2011 at 1:31 PM

IR-MN on July 3, 2011 at 1:30 PM

The thing that makes me think he’s going to cave is that he raised the tax threshold from $250,000 to a million in his last proposal – that’s a pretty big jump.

I agree though – if the DFL gets the legislature in two years we’re doomed.

gophergirl on July 3, 2011 at 1:33 PM

The DFL is nothing more than a bunch of smiley faced Hubert Humphrey Marxists.

But now they don’t have the smiling face of HHH to fall back just the pot marked mugs of Wellstone and Dayton.

PappyD61 on July 3, 2011 at 1:36 PM

I agree though – if the DFL gets the legislature in two years we’re doomed.

gophergirl on July 3, 2011 at 1:33 PM

Is the secretary of state a democrat? Is the SoS appointed or elected and if elected when does that election come up?

darwin on July 3, 2011 at 1:39 PM

I don’t know. The Congress hasn’t passed a budget in what 800 days. the failure would I think boomrang back on the dems as they have a history of not doing their duty. But then again knowing the GOP as the party of Stupid I doubt they will make a good case for themselves either. But I sense a shutdown is looming. The dems tried to get it before and the GOP blinked why wouldn’t they try again. this was why it was so bad for the gop to blink the first time. Now the dems will take us to the brink because they think in their hearts the gOp will blink again and the dems will get what they want. At some time the gOP isn not going to blink and we implode. the GOP has a month to get their message out that the dems are holding up the process. they need to be running ads, appearing on MSNB, CNN giving interviews etc.

unseen on July 3, 2011 at 1:43 PM

The Democrats are counting on the State’s residents being nothing but a gaggle of irresponsible, hedonistic dolts . . . we’ll have to wait and see if they’re correct.

rplat on July 3, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Is the secretary of state a democrat? Is the SoS appointed or elected and if elected when does that election come up?

darwin on July 3, 2011 at 1:39 PM

He’s a democrat and elected – Mark Ritchie is his name. I don’t trust him at all.

As for when he’s up – I’m not 100% sure.

gophergirl on July 3, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Any time there is a government shutdown, federal or state, democratics will tend to win the propaganda war because they own the liberal old media. That’s the sad state of politics in our nation, and it’s just another reason why Republicans should refuse to support the liberals with interviews and debates.

slickwillie2001 on July 3, 2011 at 2:04 PM

I look forward to the day when Republicans learn that when Demonocrats continually spit at you in the face, the correct response is to duck and smash them back, right in their mealy mouths.

Not enough comity chaps? How about Screw me? No, screw you?

Jack Bauer on July 3, 2011 at 2:05 PM

I assure you that this is the entire calculation of the Democratic party throughout the nation.

pat on July 3, 2011 at 1:26 PM

It is way beyond this now.They have put themselves and party above the people,the country and everything else.

docflash on July 3, 2011 at 2:08 PM

What a shock. Dems using anything and everything to manipulate, to get their way.

For all the Dem talk about not playing games…they sure play a lot of them. Oh right. It’s only when they think Republicans are playing games, that it’s a game.

capejasmine on July 3, 2011 at 2:10 PM

How’s that 6% goodwill deal working out for you, MN GOP?

Really? Wow, what a shame. That other boy just doesn’t like to play nice.

Have some milk and a cookie.

TexasDan on July 3, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Why don’t conservative Minnesotans move next door to to the Dakotas which are sane states?

JimP on July 3, 2011 at 12:07 PM

IMHO, this is exactly what we need to stop doing. There are more than enough Blue States already. We need to defeat the Dems — not run away from them!

RedPepper on July 3, 2011 at 2:47 PM

An increase in the two-year budget from $31 to $34 million in this fiscal environment and wack-job Dayton walked out? If the Gopher GOP-pers can’t sell the public on the dem insanity on this, they’re beaten already.

PatMac on July 3, 2011 at 3:14 PM

Unlike their credulous counterparts on the Right, Democrats and liberals have never had any interest in working with the other side. NEVER. They only do it when and if they have no choice. In 2008 they got a taste of what total power was like. It tasted good; they want it back. They’re also getting their first taste of true fear in places like Wisconsin, Ohio and New Jersey where seemingly indomitable union bastions are beginning to crumble. Desperation time. There is nothing you won’t see in the next year and a half — no strategy they won’t try. It’s throw-it-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks time.

rrpjr on July 3, 2011 at 3:33 PM

I still think Dayton will cave first though

gophergirl on July 3, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Dayton will never cave; the DFL has too much invested.

After losing the Battle OF Wisconsin, Minny is now the Alamo.

They will sacrifice the state workers, the non-profits and the labor rank& file, because if they lose now they will be a minority party for the foreseeable future.

It’s a “Last Man” strategy.

Bruno Strozek on July 3, 2011 at 3:35 PM

when you look at the big picture, it is clear that the left is going full bore after the whole enchilada. In Europe there is the general strike etc. which is an elaborate extortion game to get/keep your salary/benes/etc. To life the life you want at the expense of others.

This is exactly the mindset of the leftists here. There are many states who will eventually go to the Feds for a handout. Just the other day there was a tear jerk story about some city who had to close its summer programs for urban youth. Natch, the feds were mentioned as a possible source of funds. Natch, no mention was made of the PEU etc. enriching themselves of the public, and if you asked the PEUs to share a little with those poor urban youth without summer programs I’m sure their paid thugs would show up to say FU

Speaking truth to power is a dangerous game

r keller on July 3, 2011 at 3:43 PM

Recall Dayton.

stefano1 on July 3, 2011 at 4:10 PM

answer: vote for the party that increases it least, I guess

With all due respect, we as a nation are well and truly f@#$ed until we get over this kind of mindset.

But wait – the founders told us that’s what we should do when finding ourselves being ruled by an unresponsive and repressive government, right? To vote for the least unresponsive and repressive government? That’s what they pledged their lives and sacred honor to accomplish, after all.

How proud they’d be of us!

But, no worries – our children can take care of it. Or following our fine example, they can just bleat a bit and leave it for their children to handle. Maybe.

Midas on July 3, 2011 at 5:10 PM

What are Scandi’s so enamored with socialism?

Immolate on July 3, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Interesting question, -their native countries are as well. I also wonder why America, with British roots, and Mexico, with Spanish roots turned out so drastically different. Is there something in the genes predisposing us to one political philosophy over the other?

slickwillie2001 on July 3, 2011 at 6:17 PM

When I put my tinfoil hat on, the waves I tune into tell me that what’s looming with all this and along with prohibitive fuel prices are curfews, suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus and so on.

There is no dearth of Flag-waving, Conservative, ultra-Patriotic, hard-a$$ police officers, military and judges that will do exactly what their told in order to fight an impending Muslim terrorist plot, militias up to something, those shifty survivalists, those who spout off about the Constitution at the drop of a hat, etc.

Give them any lip and they’ll “find” stuff on your computer that will make perverts blush, all those times you attempted to hack into the CIA or the Pentagon, and so on-you sick, Commie trash.

When I take the hat off, however, I just hear a slow sucking sound.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 3, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Yes:: GPS, DPS, TSA, CIA…all sound good to me….

Mcguyver on July 3, 2011 at 9:24 PM

Is a shutdown the Democratic plan to recapture the legislature in 2012?

Not if the Republicans make the effort and take control of the narrative.

Speakup on July 3, 2011 at 10:16 PM

Billary Clinton did have to deal with Fox news, and the social media.

Slowburn on July 3, 2011 at 11:22 PM

Why don’t conservative Minnesotans move next door to to the Dakotas which are sane states? Let the libs have MN which will turn into another CA in no time. Schadenfreude. Then you can thumb your noses at the lefties who are broke and have no jobs etc. I can understand a sentimental attachment to one’s native state, but after the collapse y’all can move in and buy up everything at dirt cheap prices and then set up a conservative state. Call it , ‘Reconquista’.

JimP on July 3, 2011 at 12:07 PM

The state is too beautiful to abandon. And there’s no way we’re just gonna give up all the gains we’ve made. We’ve went from probably the most leftist state in the union, a state without even a true Republican party where Humphrey would win 2/3 of the vote without campaigning, to more or less a swing state. The same forces at work in Wisconsin are at work here. The state is trending right slowly but steadily. It’s just that the Twin Cities dominate the state while there is no comparably sized metro area in Wisco. We’re going to get there though. I believe Minnesota is one of the few states where the younger you are, the more likely you are to be a conservative. Obama and 2010 dflers did worse among the youngest two age groups here than the two oldest age groups. The old time union DFLers are dying off fast.

I drove down to the Twin Cities today to hang with some friends. I35 was lined with conservative billboards and signs the whole way. Everything from Pro-life America, to get out of the UN, to stop Dayton, to generic vote conservative messages. There was literally ~40 signs I passed. We’ve got a number of tv ads up, but the other side does too.

We’re going to fight the fight. No way the DFL will win.

Nelsen on July 3, 2011 at 11:50 PM

Remember Minnesota has given us Humphrey, Mondale, Wellstone, Ventura, and Franken as well as Pawlenty and Bachmann. There is no telling what those people are thinking – or smoking.

If Dayton is allowed to get away with holding out for a tax increase, the state is beyond hope.

Adjoran on July 4, 2011 at 4:02 AM

This could be another test case for the O, Dingy Harry and SFNan to learn a lesson from on what works and how hard to hit back and where next year. Nothing is sacred to these people except obtaining power and keeping it forever.

Kissmygrits on July 4, 2011 at 9:01 AM

I guess we find out in a little over a year whether Minnesotan want to go Full California or not.

MNHawk on July 4, 2011 at 11:58 AM

The solution to this sort of crap is a Taxpayer Directed Budget (TDB) that takes a lot of the direction of spending out of politicians hands and put it under taxpayer control.

When Taxpayers are allowed the opportunity to direct their tax dollars in a reasonably balanced fashion to non-profit (including government) social marketplaces of their choice for full tax credit, these sorts of budget impasses will be history.

After all, it was the taxpayers property that was taken, they should be allowed some just compensation for what was taken. Allowing productive taxpayers to direct the future of their state and nation will redirect our nation from lounge lizards who vote to support their lounge lizard life style towards the vision of a productive prosperous and compassionate society that taxpayers (not politicians) collectively could determine.

The politics of old aren’t getting the job done. They are leading governments and societies around the nation and world into fiscal and moral bankruptcy by making promises to voters that have limited basis in market or scientific realities… It’s time to evolve beyond these old school political ways towards vibrant individually driven social marketplaces that can quickly adjust the wide variety of ever changing conditions encountered throughout society.

drfredc on July 4, 2011 at 10:05 PM