The Twin Cities media have largely been dutiful stenographers during the shutdown, carrying the DFL’s message pretty much verbatim while gundecking the GOP pretty consistently.
Let’s let all that slide for the moment. We’ll come back to it, naturally.
But let’s talk for a moment about the “Old” Twin Cities media’s moldiest meme; that there was once a time when the parties just got along, and agreed to do “what was best for Minnesota”.
It’s baked wind, of course; to the extent things ever worked that way, it’s because the MNGOP used to be both extremely moderate, in the Rockefeller/Stassen mold, and also very weak, especially after Watergate. So when the Twin Cities Old Media says “they just got along and did what was best for Minnesota”, what they mean was “they shut up and passed a “progresssive”, tax and spend agenda without a whole lot of muss and fuss”.
So let’s accept them at their word for a moment. Let’s say that they, the old-school, dead-tree media (I’m looking at you, Lori Sturdevant and Doug Grow and Rachel Stassen-Berger) really do believe in that myth, and really think it led to “good government”.
So how does the behavior of Senate Minority (aaah) leader Tom Bakk and House Minority leader Paul Thissen fit into that meme?
The GOP and Governor Dayton had reportedly reached an agreement on June 30 – the day before the shutdown. The shutdown that had the Twin Cities media wetting its collective pants was minutes away from being averted. Governor Dayton had agreed to drop tax increases – any of them – from the agreement.
Until Bakk and Thissen entered the picture – as related by Gary Gross at LFR, with emphasis added?
[State GOP deputy chair Michael] Brodkorb said he could confirm that Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen were in the room when Speaker Zellers and Leader Koch returned to say that they’d accept Gov. Dayton’s offer. At that time, Gov. Dayton said that he’d changed his mind and that tax increases had to be part of the final solution.
It’s important to remember that Speaker Zellers and Sen. Koch returned only 45 minutes after Gov. Dayton’s initial offer. The only thing that’d changed was that Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen weren’t in the room when Gov. Dayton made his initial offer but they were there when he’d reversed himself.
Let’s make this perfectly clear; it appears that Bakk and Thissen, after spending the entire session lighting farts in their offices (*), coming out periodically to wag their fingers on Almanac and heckle the GOP’s various plans to their various stenographers the media, did exactly one substantive thing during the entire session; scupper a settlement two weeks ago.
It’s pretty clear that they believe they could play the shutdown for their political benefit in 2012, and get that benefit on the back of state employees, contractors, the service-using public, and those that depend on the state for whatever reason.
Brodkorb then said that “The only thing that Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen had done since the start of the session was cash paychecks. You can quote me on that.”
When will the Minnesota Media raise its collective eyebrow over Bakk, Thissen and the DFL’s exploitation of this shutdown? The region’s conservative blogs have done everything but engrave the story on the back of a “Society of Professional Journalists” award and walk the story into the Strib’s office.
It’s clear at this point that if Thissen and Bakk could tie defective strollers to the GOP, they’d both roll prams full of infants down the Capitol steps, with cameras rolling and the Strib’s editorial staff pondering with mock sincerity “why don’t the Republicans just compromise and fight Big Stroller?”
(*) Figuratively and rhetorically speaking. I have no idea if anyone lit a single fart, and if they did, it’s none of my business. It’s a figure of speech implying sloth, negligence, and passive-aggressive idleness, and as such it’s richly, if disgustingly, appropriate.