There are two kinds of things being written about yesterday’s ouster of Lt. Governor Molnau as Minnesota’s Transportation Commissioner.
- First Ringer’s authoritative takedown of the situation.
Let’s go with #2 for now (with emphasis added):
While the political adroit will likely observe that the day’s vote was set in motion five years ago with Pawlenty’s appointment of his right-hand gal in MN/DOT’s head office amid a more closely divided Senate, even the laymen know that whatever weakened clout she may have carried on July 31st, 2007, her tenure collapsed alongside the stretch of I-35 that sat in the Mississippi on August 1st. As the dust settled and the administration’s critics drew blood with ink, most knew nothing could be done to salvage Molnau’s post – not even a record that saw increased construction and a willingness to entertain the transportation boondoggles of expanded light rail – given her proximity to the Governor.
The DFL resembles a toddler who’d rather smash a toy than share it:
Removing Molnau had emerged as something of a cause celeb among sectors of the local DFL as eager for a head on a plate as any significant legislative accomplishment.
And now, what passes for good news in this story, if you’re a Republican:
The DFL may have finally bludgeoned their transportation Bête noire but they may regret some of their defenses of their crime of passion. Imbuing the Commissioners of the Governor’s Cabinet with an autonomy equivalent to a double-parked UN bureaucrat, the DFL implied the Governor had little right towards appointing authorities to carry out his administrative wishes yet alone share a philosophical view that there existed an alternative view of management of the state’s infrastructure outside of simply increasing the tax burden. Rather, the DFL continued to present a series of false dichotomies as, perhaps in keeping with times, “change” versus doing nothing all.
A practice and dichotomy that is, by all accounts, getting the Republican base as riled as a hive of hornets.
Saddled with a superminority and few, if any, friendly media outlets, Republican plans to improve transportation or MN/DOT itself were relegated to a shallow grave on the back pages of the Metro section at best. And without an aggressive effort to showcase an alternative, viable or not, the same strategy will be employed by the DFL’s electoral demolition crew until the margins look less like a Minnesota-flavored version of the Bertrand Snell-sized Republican minorities of the Great Depression.
The solution? Well, Ringer has half of it?
Armed with an approval rating far greater than his current legislative lilliputians, Pawlenty would be wise to appoint a replacement more willing to do battle with the DFL Senate and even less likely to be approved. Basking in victory, there seems little reason why the DFL would or should accept an appointee even remotely on the young governor’s terms. Perhaps it would be far better to see an endless parade of appointees go before the Senate’s legislative gulliotine and leave MN/DOT headless for the duration if only to see one suggest that fixing the structural deficiencies of the State’s transportation funding system are necessary to improve roads – not paving them over with pork.
That, and focus all that outrage in the Republican conventions this next few weeks on getting that DFL supermajority escorted out of the building.