But if I were, I’d have a bunch of questions of Mark Dayton, his campaign, and the maze of PACs and organizations that are bankrolling his campaign.
Let’s start at the top:
- Settle Me This: So how much did you pay in your settlement to Brad Hanson? Since you were employed by the Senate, is it correct to assume that it was originally paid by the taxpayer – is that a fair assumption? When did you agree to pay the settlement off yourself – specifically, before or after you won the primary? Why did you litigate this case for a solid half-decade, all the way to the US Supreme Court?
- Why So Angry?: While Tom Emmer has been almost over-the-top in his civility and positivity – refusing to even call you “The Opposition” in a radio interview last September, on the ideal that we all need to be on the same side eventually – your campaign is distinguished by having been almost entirely negative. Your campaign has been heavy on witch-hunting (“tax the rich!”, references to Bush and Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty), scapegoating (“the rich”) and the occasional assurance that you are, indeed, part of some sort of Minnesota tradition. And your campaign’s main mouthpiece, Alliance for a Better Minnesota, has run an absolute slime-fest – lying and/or mangling the context of Emmer’s criminal record, proposed education budget, and voting record. Do you have a positive vision for your proposed administration? Please state it. Take your time, we can wait.
- What’s A Billion Or So Among Friends?: Your first attempt at a budget came up three billion dollars shy of solving the deficit. Your second attempt is at least $890 million short, and given that even MPR figured out that you can’t cut $425 million in contractors without changing a lot of laws and regulations, it’s pretty likely to be well over a billion again. Since you’re already soaking the rich, and you really are committed to not cutting a whole lot (since government is mostly sacred cows that are an integral part of your political base), what alternative do you have to soaking the middle class?
- Let Them Eat Food Stamps!: Your program looks, at best, to be a minor boon to state workers, and at the very, very best a hit to private employment. Where and how does your plan facilitate private-sector job creation in Minnesota? In fact, can you respond to the idea that further hikes on taxes will hamper private job creation?
- Between The Ears: The hit campaign run by your various PAC supporters has tried to paint Tom Emmer as temperamental. OK – let’s talk temperament. Six years ago today you closed your Senate office. You were branded “the Bumbler” by Time Magazine, which normally effuses for liberals. In the aftermath of the 9/11 commission hearings, you launched a thousand conspiracy theories against the Bush administration, the Pentagon and the FAA for political purposes. You’ve been treated for depression, and are a recovering alcoholic that’s had two relapses in the past decade. Given your surrogates’ assaults on Tom Emmer, how can you say you are temperamentally suited to serve as governor? And by the way, what is the nature of your current treatment for depression? And while you don’t have to answer, I need to ask; what is your current DSM-IV classification?
- Paperwork!: You have opposed alternative teacher licensure – and yet your career as a teacher in New York , which you’ve chosen to make a key part of your public-service image, was made possible by alternative licensing. Please resolve this bit of cognitive dissonance.
- Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork: Speaking of your teaching career, what coursework did you complete at U of Massachusetts Amherst? Could you release a transcript?
- Attendance: Since your surrogates at ABM chose to highlight Tom Emmer’s “absences” from the House of Representatives, please tell us why your “teaching career” in New York only involved 84 days in the classroom during a period when there were at least 240 days when school was in session?
- More Paperwork!: What were the “personal reasons” for which you left the New York schools? If someone were to say “because your likelihood of being drafted had dropped”, would you consider that accurate or inaccurate, and why?
- Staff: Can you announce any prospective staff appointments? Specifically, is there any truth to the rumor that Mike Hatch is going to be your Chief of Staff?
Now, that’s what I’d ask if I were a reporter.
But I’m not. I’m just a guy in Saint Paul with a job and a mortgage and a couple of kids. We have a class of High Priests of Information in this town, people sworn to the arcane code of the “Professional Journalist” whose job it is to ask these sorts of questions.
So will they?
Will Bill Salisbury use his position as “dean of Minnesota capitol correspondents” and his access to the campaign to ask any of these questions?
Will Tim Pugmire and Tom Scheck live up to MPR’s current “No Rant, No Slant” tagline, and get answers from Mark Dayton on these sorts of questions? (Let’s return to discuss Keri Miller, whose contempt for Tom Emmer oozes from every audible pore, some other time).
Will Rachel Stassen-Berger, scienne of a Minnesota family nearly as household-y as Dayton himself, decide that the public as a right to know any of these things – before the election, anyway, while people are paying attention?
Will David Brauer and Erik Black use the stated independence of their platform, the MinnPost, from the DFL and its media-political complex to enquire further?
Will the Minnesota “Independent” , the “Uptake” and “Common Cause”… er, ever have to register as 501(c)4 lobbying groups?