The Quarterback At The 20 Year Reunion

Any bets on what they’ll talk about at this one?

Former Vice President Walter Mondale and former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson have called a news conference to discuss the state government’s shutdown.

Mondale is a Democrat who represented Minnesota as a U.S. senator in the 1960s and `70s. Carlson is a Republican who served as governor in the 1990s.

No, I don’t think there’s any action on that bet.

Whenever the regional establishment (read: left-leaning) media wants to try to delegitimize the MNGOP in the eyes the vast majority of people who don’t pay much attention to politics, they wheel out Arne Carlson.  Carlson, who governed Minnesota from 1990 to 1998, was a Republican, and that’s usually where the media accounts stop, omitting that he governed like a moderate Democrat; indeed, James Lileks used to joke that while he was in DC, he described the Carlson/Perpich race (1990) as “the pro-abortion, pro-gun-control candidate versus the Democrat”.

The MinnPost  continues the media’s curious habit of genuflecting to Carlson.

Gov. Arne Carlson had one of those “hey-wait-just-a-minute” moments Thursday while reading a MinnPost article.

On the surface, the article, about government reform, seemed complimentary of Carlson, who was governor from 1991 to 1998.

Rep. Keith Downey, a leader of the reform movement in the Republican-controlled Legislature, was talking about how way back in the Carlson era a report had been issued calling for structural reforms to help government move from budget to budget more smoothly.

“We’ve been putting off reforms for 15 years,” Downey said. “The time to act is now.”

That’s the line that upset Carlson.

“Who’s this Downey fellow?” he asked me.

“Me”, in this case, is Doug Grow, who along with Lori Sturdevant has been building the gauzy, soft-focus myths about the glory days of DFL/”GOP” cooperation.

And if Carlson doesn’t know Keith Downey, then who the hell cares what he thinks?

A representative from Edina starting his second term, the governor was told.

“If he’s starting his second term, he’s probably part of the problem,” Carlson said.

Can you imagine if Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann or Amy Koch had said something that so fluently mixed arrogance and ignorance?

Carlson contends that his administration didn’t just point out the long-term structural problems in the 1995 report that Downey was referring to. Rather, it made the “reforms” necessary to correct the problems.

Let’s talk about the truth about Carlson’s administration.

He had revenue surpluses most years during his administration.

You know – surpluses.  Years where revenues exceeded expenditures.  Given that Minnesota’s state revenues are so closely tied to economic performance, through income and sales taxes, a surplus is generally an indicator of a good year.

And most of the years in the nineties were good years.  Indeed, from 1990 to 1998 it was ar pretty cha-cha time in Minnesota; after a brief downtown early in the decade as the ’92 recession worked out and the local economy readjusted to plummeting post-Cold-War defense spending, the economy pretty much boomed the whole last 2/3 of Carlson’s reign.

And Carlson took those temporary surpluses into permanent entitlement spending. The budget more than doubled under Carlson’s regime – spending that was paid for by temporary windfalls during good times.

In other words, Arne Carlson is the problem we currently face in this state; he was the godfather of the autopilot spending increases that feed the all-consuming, ever-escalating  hunger for tax revenue that currently hobble our state’s budget process.

Arne Carlson – shut up and enjoy your retirement.  You are not just irrelevant and in the way; you are not just a Potemkin Republican that estabishment backslappers like Lori Sturdevant and Doug Grow trot out to beat over the MNGOP’s head.

You are the problem.

10 thoughts on “The Quarterback At The 20 Year Reunion

  1. Gentlemen, please a little decorum and respect for our esteemed, former Chief Executive Horse’s Ass.

  2. ““Who’s this Downey fellow?” he asked me.”

    Then he shook his cane at some kids and said “get off my lawn!”.

  3. “Former Vice President Walter Mondale and former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson have called a news conference…”

    I doubt there’s a more despicable tag team!!!

  4. “Former Vice President Walter Mondale and former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson have called a news conference…”
    And the media said “Who?”

  5. I doubt there’s a more despicable tag team!!!

    I’d like to call Bobby Heenan so that Arne can replace his U of M sweater with the Weasel Suit.

  6. I recall a choice passage from the book “The Taming of the Press: Cohen v. Cowles Media Company”

    Author Elliot C. Rothenberg as either aMN state legislature candidate/elected was asked about the death penalty by the MPLS Star Tribune. Rothenberg recalls giving somewhat tepid support for the death penalty in MN “in extreme cases. Supposedly Arnie Carlson contacted him and pleaded with him not to say such things. When Rothenberg replied “I said it, not you” Arnie Carlson replied by saying that “The Star Tribune will be all over all of us”.

    This is a “memory quote”. I read the book a decade ago but that stood out.

    I get the idea that Arnie Carlson had an almost “Stockholm Syndrome” fear of getting the Star Tribune mad at him.

  7. Arne is no RINO. He is a DIABLO (an acronym created by Mark Steyn), which stands for Democrat In All But Label Only.

  8. You have to wonder – If the Strib/MinnPost would consider Ronald Reagan a Democrat today because he was one in the 1940’s.

    Mitch wrote “The budget more than doubled under Carlson’s regime …”
    In the eyes of many Democrats (including the people who are covering this story for er, ahem, ‘objective’ news outlets), that is more of a feature than a bug.

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