That Sucking Sound

The 2014 Legislative Session kicks off today. 

The DFL controls both chambers of the Legislature, and the Governor’s office.  It’s a little tiny bit less monolithic than all that sounds – Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and Speaker of the House Paul Thissen hate each other with a throbbing passion, and Mark Dayton is madly triangulating between both in preparation for his re-election bid (appeasing Bakk on some issues, like gun control, while throwing bones to Thissen, like his Lieutenant Governor selectee, Frau Blücher).

But here’s really all you need to know; the DFL’s priorities for this election:

  1. Pay Off Their Sharks:  This being an even-numbered year, the session will deal with bonding, not the budget.  Look for an avalanche of “infrastructure” “investment” that may or may not be actual investments in infrastructure, but will send lots of fiscal love to the DFL’s most important constituencies – the state employee unions.  It will be a fiscal orgy.
  2. MNSquirrel!:  Look for anything – anything – to distract the low-information “independents” from the complete debacle that is MNSure.  Minimum Wage hikes?  Vikings Stadium hearings?  Medical Marijuana?  Puppy Mill legislation, complete with tear-jerker footage on KARE11 delivered just in the nick of time?   Hell, all that and more.  The sky’s the limit.  Look for Tom Bakk to dance naked on the Capitol steps to divert attention from MNSure, if necessary.  The media will do its level best to ensure it’s not necessary, of course. 

The MNGOP’s mission?  Same as last session; focus on fighting a rear-guard action while trying to gin up a message that resonates with the higher-information voters that actually pay attention, all the while focusing the tensions in the GOP in a creativerather than destructive direction, leaving the good guys with the electoral ammo they need to retake the House, and God willing the Governor’s mansion, this fall.

Simple, huh?