Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Great Pretender

A Minnesota state senator, not the crooner. Geoff Michel, not Freddie Mercury and the Platters.
Oh yes I'm the great pretender (ooh ooh)
Pretending I'm doing well (ooh ooh)
My need is such I pretend too much
I'm lonely but no one can tell

Yes, Geoff has been getting lonelier and lonelier since the election in 2004. John Kerry carried Geoff’s district (41) which includes the salons of Edina. The same election swept a dozen or so new DFLers into the Minnesota House of Representatives. The DFL just took another state senate seat in
Minnetonka in a special election. And one of the Representatives in Geoff’s district, Ron Erhardt, is a well-liked moderate Republican who is increasingly alienated from Governor Pawlenty.

And we know that Geoff is tight with the guv. He and the guv signed the No New Taxes Ever, I Really Mean It, Cross My Heart and Hope to Die Pledge by the Minnesota Taxpayer’s League that helped cripple publics schools and will lead to double digit property tax increases just for 2006. That’s an election year, isn’t it Geoff?

What’s a party apparatchik to do? Become the Great Pretender, of course.

How does a guy with a 100% rating from the Taxpayer’s League of Minnesota in 2004 (he slipped a little this year) become the Great Pretender? Well, if you’re Geoff Michel, you start by trying to look as bi-partisan as you can, without actually being bi-partisan, of course. A tall order you say? Nah, not for a pro like Geoff. You could start by assisting in the birth of a shuck and jive called the 2020 Caucus.

The what? The 2020 Caucus is a recently formed group of primarily first or second term legislators from both parties who, for the most part, come from swing districts. They recognize that there is a big anti-incumbent sentiment in the electorate, and as new legislators they know they are the most vulnerable. What’s a callow legislator to do? Well, try to put a little daylight between your caucus leaders and you; run against St. Paul. And that is exactly what Geoff is trying to do with the 2020 Caucus. Boy, Spotty, you are a cynical S.O.B. In Spot’s case, the S.O.B. part is accurate, but he pleads not guilty to the cynicism charge. How does Spot know that’s what Geoff is doing? Pretty simple, really.

The 2020 Caucus is dedicated to the proposition that the sky is falling. People are getting old at an alarming rate; we must plan; we must plan! Okay, what are the 2020 Caucus’ plans? Well, um, there aren’t any. None? Nope, not as far as Spot can determine. This group just wants to raise the issues, and let its members appear as earnest and statesmen-like as possible, hoping to divert the wrath of the voters.

Spotty, this group is certainly going to caucus together—caucus is in the name, after all—and develop legislative positions on stuff, right? Again, no. So the senator will still be at Dick Day’s beck and call. He admitted as much last Wednesday night at a presentation as part of a public affairs series at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. (Some of Spot’s friends from Dump Michele Bachmann were there and filled Spotty in.)

And ask yourselves, boys and girls, what are they going to propose? The budget has to be balanced every biennium. Do we bounce a bunch of people off of Minnesota Care, funded by the medical provider tax and premiums paid by enrollees, and then take half-a-billion dollars out of Minnesota Care surpluses to help plug up the budget deficit? Well, the governor already thought of that.

Maybe we could raise additional tax revenues now and salt some money away for when the boomers get old. Good idea. Let’s ask Davy Strom and the rest of the deep thinkers at the Minnesota Taxpayers League what they think about running surpluses year after year! Geoff’s in tight with the Taxpayers League after all.

Behind it all, of course, the senator hasn’t changed. He just wants you to think he has. In coming posts, Spot will discuss how Geoff is the same old, same old on education, taxes, transportation, and civil rights, especially for gays and lesbians.


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