Your ol' pal Spotty really hopes you can read this over din of all the squeals, squawks, bellowing, bitching, belching, braying, clucking, keening, kvetching, crying, and the full array of other barn yard noises made by Minnesota Republicans this week. Their performance was a tour de force.
Spotty, isn't that tour de farce?
You know grasshopper, in this case, you're probably right. Let's take a look at just a couple of the major types of Republican responses to the transportation bill and the cashiering of Carol Molnau:
First, there is the reaction of snarling and threatening. As a canine, Spot recognizes this response very well. It really only occurs when the exhibitor of the behavior is threatened or afraid himself, especially when cornered. Sure enough, this was the governor's reaction at the news conference after the veto override. There he stood, hunched over the podium, his hackles raised, gimlet eyed, and curling his lips and baring his Pepsodent-white teeth into a snarl. "GRRRR! I'll get you DFLers!"
Spot says that crises don't so much build character as reveal it, and it is moments like this week that reveal the real Tim Pawlenty. The shambling "aw shucks" Pawlenty? It's an act.
Next, there is lashing out impotently, usually in a counter-productive way. The poster boy for this coping strategy is Marty Seifert. By his symbolic excommunication of the Moderate Six, he only alienated them and some of the other House Republican Caucus members further. Threatening to withhold campaign support from the Moderate Six would just help the DFL. Let's hope Marty follows through.
And we haven't even gotten to the real troglodytes, yet!
Drew Emmer of the widely unread blog Wright County Republican posted a long and fevered piece about how the transportation bill was just a piece of special-interest legislation. He then goes on to provide a list of those so-called special interests that includes, well, just about everybody, except Drew, of course. In a comment, Charlie Quimby makes that observation, and tells Drew there was one group that he left out: the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.
Drew sputters back Nuh uh! And who do you work for, Charlie?
This is a variant of the your mother wears combat boots defense. If your opponent makes a point you really can't rebut, respond with a distraction.
But Spot's favorite reaction comes from the box of puffed cereal known as the Taxpayers League of Minnesota and the Big Puffer, Phil Krinkie. (Incidentally, Phil, it really ought to be Taxpayers' League, like two weeks' notice or a day's advance warning.) In this morning's (see how it works?) Strib, the Big Puffer sets out to gum to death the piece that Rep. Neil Peterson, one of the Moderate Six, wrote for the Strib a few days ago. We will call this the, um, gum to death ploy.
The Big Puffer starts out this way:
Rep. Neil Peterson writes that he supported the transportation bill for several reasons (Opinion Exchange, Feb. 27). Unfortunately, his reasoning lists toward rationalization, not fact and logic:
But then, you know what, boys and girls? The Big Puffer goes on to make Neil Peterson look pretty darn lucid. And remember, this is Big Puffer v. 2.0. When he was v. 1.0, as a legislator, he was one of the reasons we got into the fix in the first place!
You may read the whole opinion piece if you want, boys and girls, but here's just a little summary from Spot:
Neil Peterson only cares about people in his district because some of the money raised will be spent there. He voted for this because the swells in Bloomington and Edina will take money from poor people.
Here's what an article on the MPR website says about projects that will get early consideration of funding because of the transportation bill:
Leading candidates for work include Mississippi River crossings such as St. Paul's Lafayette Bridge and the ailing Hastings Bridge; accident-prone Highways 14 and 60 in southern Minnesota and the incomplete Highway 610 in the northern Twin Cities.
How's your geography, BP? Which of the above are NOT in Bloomington or Edina? Why, none of them are!
Here's a direct quote from BP: This bill, Peterson says, will support thousands of jobs. Indeed, it will -- but all jobs are not created equal. If a job doesn't create value, it sucks vitality right out of the economy.
Right, BP. If the public spends a dollar, it doesn't count. That must be why nobody wants army and air force bases, defense contractors, or say, the National Institutes of Health, located in their state. Dead loss to the economy. Much better to have plastic extrusion plants and light assembly work that pay minimum wage, created by the JOBZ program!
It is hard to imagine how a construction worker can come home after an exhausting day of working on the new Hastings bridge and look his kids in the eye, when he is thinking to himself, "Daddy is just a vitality sucker." This is the sort of thing that BP wants to save us from.
Providing and maintaining infrastructure is the most important thing local government does, for crying out loud. You can't get out of your driveway to go visit Captain Fishsticks without it, BP.
People should be able to make decisions about their own money. That's what they just did. It is called the political process. Look, BP, most of us would spend money to fix the roads and bridges—okay you wouldn't—but they only way we can do it is through our representative government. It's called taxation with representation. We did it your way for a while, and we put ourselves in a big hole. Now, at least some of the grownups want to get us out.
BP ends his polemic with the other bookend to the "vitality sucking jobs." It is his criticism of Neil Peterson for talking about the "best interest of the state." Hunter gatherers like BP are so alienated from the society they live in that they are unable to understand notions like the public interest, or the common good. Sometimes, we call these people sociopaths.
Well, boys and girls, that's enough for today.
But Spotty, what about the sacking of Carol Molnau? We were looking forward to hearing about that.
Ah, yes, grasshopper, after Spot finds a transcript of Dick Day & Co. pleading for her life.