Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Vote for the duck!

That's what Neil Peterson is afraid that the Republican party wants you to do. From the Strib:

The six representatives who broke party ranks didn't act in concert, said Rep. Neil Peterson of Bloomington, although each was aware that others were considering supporting the override.

"The hardest part for me was the public lashing from the governor," he said. "It's hard not to take it personally."

In an interview, Peterson expressed concern about being expected to "march in step" to the caucus: "If that's the case, they might as well send a duck to do the job instead of me." [italics are Spot's]

Spot recommends taking it personally, Rep. Peterson. Take it personally and ponder what it means when Governor Pepsodent and Marty Seifert, two people in the very senior leadership of the Republican party—let's not forget Ron Carey, too—dress you down like a pledge during hell week. Maybe it's not the fraternity for you.

You're not alone in thinking you were treated shabbily. Here's what Arne Carlson had to say in the same article:

Former Gov. Arne Carlson, a Republican, vetoed 127 bills. None was overridden. Still, he called last week's treatment of the rogue Republicans "appalling."

"I can understand a governor wanting to prevent an override," Carlson said. "I cannot understand the caucus turning around and punishing people who express independence, and what they feel is in the best interest of the state.''

Carlson added that he believes the six Republicans actually guaranteed their reelection because "the public is light years ahead of a political party. They understand the virtue of independence and independent thinking."

Dave Jennings, another of the nearly extinct breed—the avuncular Republican—agrees and compares his experience swimming against the stream:

Dave Jennings, one of four Republicans who held out against a budget-balancing measure crafted by Republican Gov. Al Quie and DFL leaders in the early 1980s, said the four were pressured to change their minds, but not reprimanded. Within a year, Jennings ran unopposed for reelection and was named House minority leader.

Party discipline is needed, Jennings said, but it's not always clear when it needs to be enforced, or when a "conscience" vote should be honored.

"I think it's probably a bad idea to punish people who believe they're doing the right thing for the people they're elected to represent," Jennings said.

You can contrast this with Marty Seifert's comment that "We expect Republicans to follow other Republicans."

And Marty is the mother duck.

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