I’m going to start a new TV show. I’m going to call it “Profiles in Leadership”.
I’ve got a few episodes all plotted out.
Episode 1: After decades of weak mayors who futzed around with “due process” and “the limits of government”, Boss Tweed finally did more than pay lip service to the office of “Chief Executive”, and actually used the office of mayor to lead the City of New York!
Episode 2: Putting lesser religions with their notions of “spiritual commitment” to shame, Revered Jim Jones put the leader back into “leadership”, when by the strength of his example he led his followers to put the “Ded” in “Dedication”.
Episode 3: Unsatisfied to be a regular businessman, Bernard Madoff led his organization to excel beyond all others in its category!
Episode 4: Mark Dayton truly led “his” state in the quest to stick the bill for a billion-dollar spiff to Zygmund Wilf’s real estate investment on Minnesota’s taxpayers in an example of “leadership” for the ages.
No, the Strib say so:
Gov. Mark Dayton’s savvy and indefatigable advocacy for a new Vikings stadium represents the kind of executive leadership Minnesotans should applaud.
In much the same way that Chicagoans should have “applauded” Al Capone getting the prostitution rackets lined up and paying him tribute.
Unlike his predecessor, Dayton did more than occasionally lead cheers for the Vikings — he delivered on a key campaign promise to the people of Minnesota despite significant political risks.
Unlike his predecessor, Mark Dayton makes no pretense of being fiscally responsible, except where that means “taking other peoples’ money to pay off your campaign chits”.
And make no mistake about it; this was a payoff – to the Strib as well as many others.
The Strib needs the Vikings to be in downtown Minneapolis, to be paying big money on that fallow land the Strib owns near the current ‘dome, and to give it another ready market for selling newspapers. So do the rest of the Twin Cities media, to a lesser degree. They knew Dayton was a willing stooge for the downtown Minneapolis business interests that want that state subsidy every bit as bad as Wilf did.
And so the Star/Tribune’s coverage of the election race that led Dayton to office resembled DFL public relations more than journalism – from their careful white-washing of Dayton’s political record to the election-eve “Minnesota Poll” showing Tom Emmer trailing by an improbable margin that certainly induced not a few Republicans to stay home.
The threat that the Vikings would have left Minnesota without a stadium deal this year was real, although to their credit the team and NFL leadership negotiated in good faith.
The negotiations were done in the same “good faith” the Mob uses when “negotiating” with a shopkeeper who is threatening not to pony up protection money fast enough.
Had this market lost the franchise, we no doubt would have seen an expensive reprise of the effort to bring big-league hockey back to the state after the North Stars left for Dallas.
And we all know how that loss devastated the State of Minnesota…
…well, no. It devastated hockey fans, who were upset that “their” team got moved elsewhere by an owner that, like Zygi Wilf, wanted better tribute from the local government.
And it devastated the TV and radio stations and newspaper reporters and (especially) ad execs that covered, and sold ads for coverage of, North Stars games.
Other than that? The loss of the North Stars had much less impact on this city than the loss of, say, the Ford plant.
Thursday’s passage of a stadium bill ends years of debate over the future of the team and the outdated Metrodome.
And the debate will be “ended” for another twenty years. Until the next round of NFL owners wants their investments buffed up on other peoples’ money.
Or until someone tells them “no”.
Which would devastate nobody…
…but WCCO, KSTP, KARE, Fox Sports North, the PiPress and the Strib.
Which, to be fair, at least discloses part of their vast interest in this bit of racketeering:
(Disclosure: The current stadium development plan includes one of five blocks owned by the Star Tribune near the Metrodome.)
But they graze up against the truth at least briefly:
The stadium bill, and the bonding bill that went before it this week, were exercises in effective bipartisan lawmaking,
And there you.
“Bipartisan” legislation. Everybody wins…
…but the taxpayer.
And that, as they say, is all.