This is not the first time Minnesota has experienced a government shutdown. In 2005, during Tim Pawlenty’s first term as governor, there was a partial shutdown that lasted for nine days. It is instructive to compare the events that led to the shutdowns of 2005 and 2011.

In 2005, Democrats controlled the Minnesota Senate while Republicans controlled the House. The governor was, of course, a Republican. The shutdown did not result from a veto by Governor Pawlenty. On the contrary, as of the end of the regular legislative session that spring, no budget had passed the legislature. Governor Pawlenty therefore called a special session that ran through June. During that session, Senate Democratic leaders negotiated with their counterparts from the Republican House and Governor Pawlenty. By the end of June, the parties reportedly were close to an agreement.

Then, to the surprise of nearly everyone, Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson pulled the plug on the negotiations …