Meet The New Huckster, Same As The Old Huckster

During last week’s gubernatorial debate in Duluth, Governor Dayton referred to the Iron Range has having been victimized by “hucksters” with hare-brained economic development schemes to try to compensate for the crash of the mining industry.

Dayton Dustbowl

Yesterday on their show blog, Jack and Ben (who, notwithstanding working for the lesser talk station, have been on fire this past week or so) discovered something important; exactly who one of the key “hucksters” was:

The smoking gun is a January 1986 document titled “Housing and Community Development Briefs” authored by the Minnesota Department of Energy and Economic Development and several other organizations. According to the document: “The Department of Energy and Economic Development recently approved [a direct, fixed-interest rate, fixed asset new/expanding business loan].” The publication then lists several businesses that were recipients of the loans, including Lakewood Industries [the company that built the chopstick factory]. It states, “Lakewood Industries, a startup company expected to create 76 jobs in the next two years, received final approval for a $250,000 loan.”

Now, Dayton was Minnesota Department of Energy and Economic Development commissioner from 1978-79, and again from 1983-86.  In other words, his fingerprints are all over the infamous Chopstick Factory. 

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And You Want To Be My Governor?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and it’s interesting to consider what pictures say about Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. I first noticed Dayton’s unique photogenic qualities way back when he was a United States Senator and was captured calling bingo by a local community newspaper. 

Dayton calling bingo


The distorted mouth and eyes wide open have sort of become a Dayton hallmark over the years. As has the thousand yard stare. 

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Franken’s 6 extra words

Whenever a DFL politician talks about major construction projects, whether it’s the Sandpiper Pipeline project or the PolyMet Mining project, they always say these 6 extra words:

“We need to do this right.”

This time, the politician was Al Franken and the project he was talking about was PolyMet. Unfortunately, Sen. Franken loves using the environmental activists’ code words. Here’s a perfect example:

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Our Incoherent Newspaper Of Record

On “Up and At ‘Em”, on the lesser talk station this morning, Ben Kruse said (I’ll paraphrase) if you left out the parts about Governor Dayton, this past weekend’sendorsement of the incumbent governor actually reads a little like an endorsement of Jeff Johnson. 

And Ben had a point:

Johnson, 47, is gubernatorial material…Voters who want a state government that’s leaner and more trusting of the marketplace to solve public problems can opt for Johnson without concern that he is unprepared, excessively doctrinaire or temperamentally ill-suited to the office….Unlike Dayton, Johnson is unfettered to Education Minnesota, the teachers’ union.

[Remember the emphasized bit.  I'll be making a return appearance]

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You are very sleepy. Very sleepy

Bill Glahn has been one of the best bloggers in Minnesota for a while now and the handy synopsis he published yesterday is right on the money:

We boil down the Sunday Minneapolis Star Tribune Opinion page to its basic message.Lori Sturdevant:  All of the long-serving Democrat legislators, who occupy safe seats, tell Lori that this has been a quiet election year.  Everyone is just sitting around waiting for the labor unions and lefty billionaire donors to post their new list of demands.Editorial Board:  The Board suggests voting for Democrat Mark Dayton.  Why?  See above.

There's more at the link and you should read it. In fact, you should have bookmarked Bill a long time ago if you care at all about Minnesota politics. A few observations of my own:

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Hucksters: It takes one to know one

During a debate in Duluth last week, Governor Dayton stated: “Irresponsible … you’re just doing it for political advantage,” he said. “I’ve been working on behalf of northeastern Minnesota for 37 years and I’ve seen the hucksters go up there and promise chopstick factories … and all those other things because they are dangling out the prospects of jobs. Well we’re going to do this one responsibly.”  What Dayton failed to mention was that two of the "hucksters" in fact worked in the Dayton administration: Dayton himself and Mark Phillips.  A third "huckster," Governor Rudy Perpich, passed away in 1995.

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Hamline Debate Highlights

I watched and live-tweeted yesterday’s gubernatorial debate from Hamline University, which was telecast on Fox9.

For starters, it wasn’t the worst debate format I’ve ever seen.  Fox 9′s crew of hairdos (I have long since stopped paying attention to Twin Cities anchor teams) largely stayed out of the way of the three reporters – Rachel Stassen-Berger, Tom Scheck and Bill Salisbury – who did most of the questioning.  And most of the questions – the ones that didn’t get into personal lifestyle issues (do we really care if either candidate ever smoked pot?), anyway – were pretty good. 

Oh, yeah – Johnson shredded Dayton.   I know, I’m partisan – but I’m pretty clinical about public speaking.  Johnson is cool, calm, collected, an on top of his facts.  Dayton – as Johnson quipped, at one point – pretty much ran through his ex-wife’s chanting points. 

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Dayton-Johnson debate highlight

I’ll risk saying this but the professional political punditry needs to get start seeing things through a policy impact perspective, not through a ‘will it play politically’ perspective. During this morning’s gubernatorial debate, Gov. Dayton said that he’s long advocated for a single-payer health care system.

What was the collective reaction from the professional political punditry? Crickets. No big deal. Keep moving.

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Wanted: A Better Politics

The same political party that has been battling against the second amendment takes a rather different view when it comes to the more serious matter of elections.

In a recent political mailing, Minnesota state Democrats issued this Old West-style “wanted” poster against a Republican candidate for the state House of Representatives, Andrea Todd-Harlin:

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