The Strib’s Hot Dish Politics noted a couple of days ago that Mark Dayton is going to be a guest at Drinking Liberally. I am now informed that it was mentioned by one of the local television stations, too. All accompanied, of course, by the obligatory reference to the fact that Mark is a recovering alcoholic.
I don’t think that Mark has ever gotten a DWI.
We were unable to put together an appearance for Mark at DL at the time the other candidates came through for guest appearances; some of the candidates had a beer, by the way; some did not. Since he is running — strongly, by most accounts — in the primary, I thought it was only fair to give Mark a chance to appear before the handicappers at Drinking Liberally.
I invited him to come, and he graciously agreed; I think we have a date that will work now: July 22nd, a Thursday night, of course.
It was inevitable, I suppose, that there would be a certain amount of twittering — so to speak — about Mark’s appearance, but it’s in part a failure to appreciate Drinking Liberally’s purpose: providing comfortable and convivial society in which to discuss liberal politics. We meet in a bar, a public house, but the drinking isn’t an important part of it. Lots of attendees don’t drink alcohol. I do usually, but not always.
I can write without fear of contradiction that everyone reading this post, or everyone who read the Host Dish Politics post, or heard about the appearance on the television report, knows family, friends, and co-workers who are alcoholics, including some who are practicing, not recovering.
As the host of Drinking Liberally, I haven’t — and won’t — endorse a DFL gubernatorial candidate in the endorsement or primary contests. But I will say this: Mark Dayton is a public-spirited man who has contributed a lot of time, energy, and his own personal wealth to the DFL and the State of Minnesota over many years. He has also won state-wide races twice.
It would be disrespectful, naïve, and a mistake to fail to take Mark seriously because he battles a disease as common as alcoholism.
Steve Timmer, host of Drinking Liberally Minneapolis