Gotta hand it to the DFL.
They’re playing a pair of “fours” this election. But they’re playing them for all they’re worth.
Intellectually and politically, the DFL is running on fumes this year. The closest thing they had to a legislative agenda – “tax the rich!” – stalled and died in the legislature. The regional economy is slowly (sloooooowly) obsoleting their “We have to tax our way out of deficits!” meme. They’re looking at Obama’s eroding popularity and hoping that the President’s coat tails are like the ones on a tank top. And redistricting, for all of the partisan media’s backing and filling, looks to be mostly a wash in the near term, and reflects long-term demographic changes that can not bode well for the DFL (other than the progressives’ great long-term fairy tale, “lots of potential liberals are immigrating to the US”, which is of course true provided that we allow generations of new Americans to stay ignorant about what this country’s about – which is, of course, Democrat policy).
In response, the DFL really has only a few points to run on:
“Aren’t Those Republicans Awful People?” In 1998, when the Democrats had a skirt-seeking missile in the White House, they responded by teaching a generation of American teens that oral sex wasn’t really sex at all, and demanding that we all just Mooooove On. The French were laughing at us after all.
Now, after a low-grade “sex scandal”, Mary Fransion’s manufactured gaffe and a few other minor incidents, expect the Party of Infanticide to plead “family values”, making me wonder if all those teenagers from the Clinton era – now pushing thirty – will need years of therapy to sort out the mixed messages.
“Just Look At The Economy!” Minnesota’s economy is doing better than most. Not North Dakota-good, but not bad. The DFL and media (ptr) will work overtime to convince Minnesotans that correlation – Mark Dayton is governor and the economy sucks less than the rest of the US – equals causation, scrupulously ignoring that it’s the GOP majority in the Legislature that have done all the positive work this past few years (and, likely as not, eight years of Pawlenty’s leadership and four years of his stymying of the DFL that set the stage for the relative level of health we have).
“We Saved The Vikings!” And they’ll save snowmobiling and binge-drinking, too, if they have to!
The mainstream media – especially the Strib, which profits from the current Dayton/Bakk plan – spun this as a partisan issue (and part of it was; principled conservatives joined a few principled liberals, like John Marty, in rejecting Wilfare), playing up Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Bakk’s “leadership”, and only incidentally scratching the surface of their plan, which seemed to rely on money borne down from heaven on the backs of unicorns. (You can go to MPR to read what I was reporting on two weeks ago, if you’d like).
Of course, with the Senate tabling the bill, that’s looking a little dodgy. But no worries – the Dems still have the big daddy of them all:
“It’s Inevitable!” One of my favorite aphorisms is an old Hungarian saying: “the best way to become wealthy is to appear as if you already are”.
The DFL apparently read it too.
The DFL and the media – and on this, as few other issues, when I say “pardon the redundancy”, it rings truer than usual – are doing their best to portray this next election as an inevitable winner for the DFL, for…well, whatever reason. Redistricting favored them (more on that probably later today), or people are sick of GOP squabbling and want the government to “get things done”, or demographics make it inevitable, or the economy is racing back so fast that Obama’s coattails are going to lift them up, or Minnesotans just loooooooove keeping their beloved government fat and happy…
…or all of the above. Because the best way to win an election may not in fact be to appear as if you already have – but it doesn’t hurt to add it in there, either.
So this blog will spend a good chunk of the next seven and a half months covering the DFL Ministry of Truth’s attempts at psychological warfare. There’ll be no shortage of material.