Categories

Archive for the ‘Alida Messinger’ Category

Gov. Dayton attended a rally in Virginia Monday but that doesn’t mean he’s committed to mining.

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton urged iron miners to step up the fight against foreign countries illegally dumping steel in the U.S. and threatening the local mining industry.

“The story of the Iron Range is one of standing strong against exploitation and oppression, and too often of a government that will not stand with them,” Dayton said to a cheering crowd of 1,500 iron miners. “Today’s enemies are not the companies, but the countries that dump their steel in the U.S. market, depress the prices and take away your jobs.”

It’s interesting that Gov. Dayton will rally with miners who work at existing mining companies but won’t support new mining projects like PolyMet and Twin Metals-Minnesota. I didn’t say that Gov. Dayton’s behavior is inexplicable. It’s quite understandable.

When it comes to taking a stand on jobs or the environment, Gov. Dayton is a wimp, always siding with environmental activists like his ex-wife Alida Messinger. This year, despite loud protestations from the Range, Gov. Dayton has insisted that he won’t take a position on PolyMet until the reviews are done.

That isn’t leadership. That’s what spineless wimps do.

Republicans are capitalizing on the PolyMet issue:

GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Honour’s running mate, state Sen. Karin Housley, drove up to attend the rally. “Scott Honour and I support the mining jobs in northern Minnesota,” Housley said. “We are all about mining jobs.”

After the rally, Housley toured the proposed copper-nickel mine in Hoyt Lakes, where PolyMet Corp. is seeking approval for a mine that could bring hundreds of jobs and millions in new investment. But the 20-year mine would also require environmental clean-up that could stretch 500 years.

Housley said she has a long connection to PolyMet. She is a member of a small group of hobbyist investors who first invested in PolyMet about eight years ago and even toured the facility.

“There is room for common-sense growing jobs and protecting the environment,” she said. “We are all over creating jobs up here.”

GOP-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson issued a statement saying Dayton is not leading on job-creation issues on the Iron Range.

“Attending rallies is not leading – it is standing,” Johnson said. “When I am governor, I am not just going to stand with people who are losing their jobs, I am going to do everything I can to ensure that mining jobs aren’t just protected, they are expanded.”

Of course, the DFL doesn’t like the possibility of losing support on a long-time electoral stronghold:

Dayton and other Democrats took direct aim at Republicans at the rally, saying that the GOP has repeatedly tried to raid special Iron Range funds whenever the budget got tight. Democrats said the Republican’s sudden interest in the Iron Range is a fleeting political ploy.

First, Gov. Dayton’s support of mining is questionable at best. He hasn’t said a positive word about mining since becoming governor. Second, Democrats sound defensive now that GOP gubernatorial candidates are fighting for Iron Range votes.

Third and most importantly, Democrats talk about budget tightening while they’re causing the tightness by not letting the Iron Range economy flourish. Their history of creating jobs on the Range is awful. That’s why the MHI for Eveleth is $35,500.

Dayton and other Democrats fought for projects and jobs “that would improve your quality of life on the Iron Range, across Minnesota and across the country.”

On that front, Gov. Dayton and the DFL failed. One in 6 people living on the Range live in poverty. That isn’t the definition of jobs that “improve your quality of life.” That’s the definition of failing the Range while leaving them in misery.
Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Allison Sherry’s article in the Strib is yet another article highlighting the tensions within the DFL. While things look normal on the outside:

things are anything but normal on the inside:

That has DFL state Chair Ken Martin fretting.

“I’m worried about the Eighth,” Martin said. “The rank-and-file union members showing up and supporting the Democratic candidates, I’m worried about environmentalists in Duluth showing up and supporting our candidates. I’m worried about college students throughout this district and young people showing up. We have to win big. We have to run up the score here.”

Here’s why Martin’s worries are legitimate:

Increasingly, the Eighth is cleaved by forces difficult for any one party to address. PolyMet Mining Corp.’s plan to extract copper and nickel from the long-closed LTV mine in Hoyt Lakes has pitted out-of-work but union-loyal miners desperate for decent wages against preservationists, who say the mine could damage the watershed and poison the landscape.

Even after loyal DFLer and Aurora City Council Member David Lislegard lost his job at the mine in 2000, he canvassed for DFL candidates, fighting to get fellow miners to the polls.

No more. “The party is starting to change in direction to the point where I don’t know if it necessarily aligns itself with northeast Minnesota anymore,” said Lislegard, 41. “I’m going to support those who support our way of life.”

Former state Rep. Tom Rukavina, who lives here, was more brusque.

“I just wish one day that our good DFL senators, both of them, you know, would tell the environmentalists to quit crying wolf, you can’t be against everything,” he said. “You can’t want a broadband if there is no copper. You can’t want windmills if there is no nickel. You can’t want a medical device industry if there aren’t stents made of copper, nickel and stainless steel. So cut the crap and grow up.”

There’ve been tons of times I’ve disagreed with ‘Tommie the Commie’ when he was in the legislature. This time, I wholeheartedly agree with him. In the aftermath of the DFL State Convention, a DFL activist made a similar statement, saying that environmental activists walked the convention floor with cell phones and iPads. This DFL activist then asked “do they think that the minerals in those phones and iPads magically drop out of the sky”?

Both nationally and here in Minnesota, Democrats are at a tipping point. Will environmental activists continue to dictate their agenda or will they be abrupt like Tom Rukavina and tell these environmental activists to “grow up”?

Lislegard still favors Nolan in the upcoming election, but he is wavering on whether to support Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Al Franken’s re-election bids. He senses that the DFL has taken his and other blue-collar votes for granted, and he is particularly disgusted with the carefully parsed answers he hears about the idled mine that once was his livelihood.

Mindful of the different factions, both politicians are careful when talking about PolyMet.

“What they [miners] want is sustainable mining, that’s what they always wanted,” Franken said. “That’s what we’re doing with the process, and I think the process has improved the project considerably. … There is never anything without risk, but we have to make sure the risk is as minimal as possible.”

That’s slippery language from Sen. Franken, which isn’t surprising. The mining issue wasn’t controversial because of what the miners wanted. It was controversial because environmental activists were steadfastly opposed to precious metals mining. In fact, Alida Messinger, who has written some of the biggest checks to the DFL, vehemently opposes precious metals mining.

Dayton makes no apologies for staying neutral until more is known about one of the most environmentally sensitive projects the state has embarked upon.

“I’ve said before and I’ll say again, my position is I’m not going to take a position,” Dayton said. “I’m going to remain intentionally neutral until all the reports are done, all the comments have been made and filed and responded to, until there is final information. When that will be, I’m not entirely certain. Some people jumped in already pandering to one group or another … before the final analysis came in. I think that’s irresponsible.”

Gov. Dayton, it’s time you stopped walking the tightrope. Tons of information is already known about PolyMet. Alida Messinger and Becky Rom won’t support PolyMet. Get over it. No amount of information will change their minds.

If the DFL won’t tell the environmental activists to sit down and shut up, lots of Rangers will vote for the MNGOP’s pro-mining candidates. It’s that simple.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This week, I’ve spent a ton of time focusing on the DFL’s hostility towards the Iron Range’s problems. The truth is that a prominent part of the DFL is interested in preventing another mining project from starting. That’s what’s really behind the PEIS that Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, aka NEMW, asked the US Forest Service to put together.

As I wrote here, Becky Rom, the vice-chair of NEMW, lied about whether NEMW had requested the PEIS. Here’s the proof that the Ely Echo cited:

Then, late Thursday a Freedom of Information Act request by Twin Metals-Minnesota was granted. Upon request, they shared those documents with us. If anyone would like a copy, just send us an email.

In the documents provided by the Bureau of Land Management was a letter asking for the PEIS. The agency requesting the PEIS? Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness. And who is the vice-chair of NEMW? Becky Rom.

We also have copies of emails sent by Rom outlining a meeting with the BLM where the agenda included: “The BLM, together with the Forest Service, should undertake a programmatic environmental impact statement.”

I’ve written extensively about which DFL politicians have tried tiptoeing that tightrope. Every DFL politician elected to statewide office has tried tiptoeing the tightrope. One day, they’re artificially supporting the miners. The next day (or next event), they’re enthusiastically, albeit quietly, supporting environmental activists like Becky Rom and Alida Messinger.

Rom doesn’t want another mining project to start. Enough, though, of the DFL’s negativity. If I just wanted to write about the DFL’s hostility towards mining, I’d need a staff of writers and tons more bandwidth.

There’s a simple solution to the miners’ crisis. And yes, it’s a crisis. The solution is voting for Republicans. They’re staunchly pro-mining. Better yet, they don’t answer to dishonest environmental activists like Becky Rom and dishonest environmental philanthropists like Alida Messinger.

If elected to statewide offices, Republicans will fight for the PolyMet and Twin Metals-Minnesota mining projects. It’s that simple. It’s that uncomplicated because Republicans don’t rely on campaign contributions from environmental activists like Becky Rom.

If the RPM wanted to run a clever campaign against the DFL, they could start a ‘What have they done for the Range lately’ campaign. Even when the DFL-filled Executive Council approves mining exploration leases, it’s torture for them. It’s like they’d rather have a root canal without anesthesia than voting to approve mining exploration leases.

It’s been 9 years since the PolyMet permitting process started. In that time, PolyMet has spent more than $150,000,000 in their attempt to comply with Minnesota’s stringent environmental regulations. They’ve shown that they’re solid corporate citizens.

If Iron Range communities like Chisholm, Eveleth, Hibbing and Virginia vote for the candidates who will fight for these mining projects, it’ll be a tough night for the DFL, from State Rep. David Dill to State Auditor Rebecca Otto to the DFL’s Secretary of State candidate to Congressman Rick Nolan to Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Al Franken.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

All of the pundits have hinted that the DFL is one big, happy family. I’m betting that those pundits are stretching things a bit based on this article:

The DFL political establishment on the Range is virtually unanimous in its support, which also has the backing of many in the construction trades, another key DFL constituency. But the controversial project faces stiff and well-coordinated opposition from environmental groups and many DFL lawmakers.

“Clearly this opens up the clash and conflict between those DFLers who value the environment first, versus those who value jobs first. We will all have to answer the question, ‘Whose side are you on?’” Anzelc said. “I think this issue has the potential to divide the DFL convention this summer. The table is set for Democrats running for statewide office to have a real challenging time of it in the ’14 elections.”

Anzelc is partially right. He said this in the context of Gov. Dayton picking Tina Smith as his running mate. This split has been developing since 2009. That’s when Chip Cravaack campaigned hard on the Range and took tons of votes from Jim Oberstar, something that people thought was impossible.

In 2012, ‘normalcy’ was restored when fossilized Rick Nolan defeated Chip. That calm exterior disappeared when Nolan decided to vote for HR761:

Northern Minnesota is known for its great fishing, so perhaps it’s fitting that tracking 8th District Congressman Rick Nolan’s position on a bill that deregulates the mining industry and fast tracks the permitting process for PolyMet is a bit like watching a fish flopping around on a dock: first he’s against it, then he’s for it and now he once again opposes it, this time promising to vote against the legislation if it “comes anywhere near close to becoming law.”

Picking Tina Smith certainly contributed to this division getting exposed but the DFL’s allies have contributed more to this expanding division. Twin Cities Metrocrats are militant environmentalists. They’re passionately opposed to mining. They love harvesting the Iron Range’s votes. They also love stiffing the Iron Range on their highest priorities.

Gov. Dayton’s pick is essentially the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

Marlene Pospeck, a former mayor of Hoyt Lakes and a longtime DFL activist, noted that strong turnout on the Range has been critical to many DFL victories in the past, including Gov. Dayton’s narrow victories in the DFL primary and general election in 2010.

“The people in St. Paul need to be aware that if they want to be re-elected, we on the Iron Range hold one of the keys,” Pospeck said.

Still strong for DFL in ’14?

Like Anzelc, Pospeck believes that PolyMet and, more generally, mining, is the principal source of regional conflict within the party. But she said it is not the only one. Another came in 2012, when Mark Phillips was squeezed out as commissioner of the powerful Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). An Iron Range native who previously worked at the IRRRB, Phillips resigned the post after less than a year on the job. The reasons for Phillips’ departure have never been made entirely clear.

Pospeck isn’t issuing an idle threat on this. I wrote this post about Pospeck’s LTE about taking the Iron Range for granted:

For instance, although mining is the lifeblood of our region and provides benefit for the entire state, those in high office in St. Paul have been almost silent in support of this important industry that provides thousands of jobs on the Iron Range.

So when these DFL candidates come north, seeking our votes and making promises they do not intend to keep, let’s carefully assess whether or not they truly support our concerns and intend to effectively address our issues.

It is no longer enough for them simply to carry the label DFL to win our votes. We Iron Rangers must hold their feet to the fire and demand their support for issues important to the Iron Range in return.

It’s put-up-or-shut-up time for the DFL. They can either support the Iron Range or they can start expecting to get a smaller share of the Iron Range vote.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When Alida Messinger picked Tina Smith to be her ex’s running mate, she sent the signal that she didn’t trust Iron Range candidates. That’s likely because Alida hates mining. Imagine her disgust when she found out that the Duluth Chamber of Commerce voted unanimously to support PolyMet:

The Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce has announced its board of directors has voted unanimously in support of the proposed PolyMet copper mine project.

Chamber president David Ross said the vote was to “support advocacy for the PolyMet project. And to go beyond that and state that we are here to encourage decision makers to allow this project to proceed,” Ross said in a video statement.

While it’s about 5 years too late, this development is still welcome. This puts pressure on DFL legislators because they’re trying to thread the needle. DFL legislators have to please the miners. These legislators have to keep the environmentalists happy, too.

At this point, the environmentalists have to be discouraged. They’ve poured time, money, campaigning and misinformation into their effort to prevent PolyMet. At this point, it looks like they’ve lost the fight. It looks like they’ll have to rely on President Obama’s corrupt EPA to prevent PolyMet.

Iron Rangers have traditionally supported the DFL. Their faithful support shouldn’t earn them the DFL’s cold shoulder. At this point, the ruling Metrocrat wing of the DFL loves the Iron Range’s support but they hate the Iron Range’s pro-mining agenda.

Hopefully, the Iron Range will wake up to the fact that the GOP is pro-mining. Hopefully, that recognition translates into increased support for the GOP’s pro-mining candidates. Hopefully, conservative DFL voters will file for a messy divorce the first Tuesday this November.

Frankly, it can’t happen soon enough.

After the DFL’s 2010 wipeout, Alida Messinger told then-DFL Party Chairman Brian Melendez that he would be resigning. If he didn’t, she’d stop writing big checks to the DFL. Melendez resigned a week later. He was replaced by Ken Martin, who had worked for her at the Alliance for a Better Minnesota.

This morning, Gov. Dayton announced that Tina Smith, his current chief of staff, would be his running mate for the 2014 election. First, here’s a little something from the Martin coronation article:

Most of the criticism of DFL state party chair Brian Melendez in the wake of Election Day has been confined to the liberal blogosphere. The three-term incumbent could likely survive those barbs.

But a much more important DFL supporter, wealthy donor Alida Messinger, is also apparently opposed to Melendez remaining as party chair. According to a reliable DFL source, there won’t be any checks arriving in DFL coffers from the Rockefeller heir if Melendez remains in the post.

Of course, Ken Martin, the person most often cited as a potential rival for state party chair, is closely aligned with Messinger. He chaired the Win Minnesota Political Action Fund, which played a key role in the governor’s race. The group’s largest individual donor: Messinger.

Back then, I wrote that the DFL was quickly becoming a subsidiary of the Dayton Family Politics, Inc. This information provides important insight into Gov. Dayton’s pick:

Smith is a longtime friend of Dayton’s former wife, Alida Messinger, a significant donor to Dayton’s first election effort and other prominent DFL causes.

When Dayton was searching for someone to help his campaign after winning the DFL primary, Messinger recommended Smith for the job.

This isn’t surprising. Alida Messinger wants to create a political party that stands for the things she stands for. If that means filling the DFL power structure with her yes people, then that’s what she’ll do. In fact, we have proof that that’s what she’s doing right now.

The Alliance for a Better Minnesota, aka ABM, is funded by her. Ditto with the DFL. One of her puppets is the DFL Party chairman. Now, because she doesn’t trust Iron Rangers, she’s hand-picked a candidate to be Gov. Dayton’s candidate for lieutenant governor from the Twin Cities.

Simply put, Tina Smith was picked because Alida Messinger didn’t trust another Iron Ranger as Gov. Dayton’s lieutenant governor. In Alida’s DFL, Iron Rangers are welcome for their votes. Unfortunately for people living on the Range, Alida’s DFL doesn’t like a pro-mining agenda. Gov. Dayton’s pick of Tina Smith turns that opinion into fact.

This LTE is exceptionally defensive sounding:

Some people are making a big deal out of a story about the executive committee of a local DFL party unit coming out against copper-nickel mining jobs and, therefore, workers in Northeastern Minnesota. Some even wonder whether and when the DFL decided to drop the “L” from its coalition (“DFL unit’s resolution opposes copper mining,” Jan. 14).

The resolution was the action of a small minority of extreme folks who apparently don’t believe in the regulatory process that Minnesotans worked together to develop over decades. This was not a reflection of the larger feelings of DFLers across the state or even in the Northland.

I can assure you, as a labor leader in Northeastern Minnesota, that the “L” is alive and well in the DFL and that the party will stand strong for good-paying jobs and working people across our region and state. We hope.

Dan Olson
Superior

People aren’t questioning that private sector unions support mining. That isn’t the point. In fact, it’s a non sequitur argument. The point the article made, which I wrote about here, is that elitist Twin Cities Metrocrats vehemently oppose mining. That part of the DFL isn’t a tiny minority. They’re the part of the DFL that writes the biggest campaign checks. That’s why they get the preferential treatment from the DFL. Tom Rukavina represented the miners, which he told me in this email exchange. Here’s Rep. Rukavina’s response:

Gary

I’m perplexed. I sent an email to the three who voted no, I’m awaiting a reply. Frankly, if Gov Dayton is pissed off at the DNR (hell, Rangers have been pissed off at them forever), he should fire some top dogs over there. But don’t take it out on the good people of the Range who have been mining for 130 years and playing by the rules that some folks now want to change.

Perplexed and pissed off would better describe my reaction. But hey, I’m a has been but I have been wondering why I’m the only member of the Range delegation who seems concerned about this. Perhaps it’s because I’m the only member of the Range delegation who represents the real Iron Range and has never represented any other constituents in my 26 year tenure.

Rep. Rukavina is an old school Iron Ranger. While Metrocrats agreed with his tax and spending policies, they worked tirelessly to undermine his mining policies.

As long as the Metrocrats dominate the DFL, Mr. Olson can talk all he wants about the DFL still supporting Labor’s issues. Their claims will ring hollow in the ears of the unemployed miners.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , ,

This LTE isn’t what the Metro DFL wants to hear. In fact, it’s an in-your-face ultimatum to the DFL:

For instance, although mining is the lifeblood of our region and provides benefit for the entire state, those in high office in St. Paul have been almost silent in support of this important industry that provides thousands of jobs on the Iron Range.

So when these DFL candidates come north, seeking our votes and making promises they do not intend to keep, let’s carefully assess whether or not they truly support our concerns and intend to effectively address our issues.

It is no longer enough for them simply to carry the label DFL to win our votes. We Iron Rangers must hold their feet to the fire and demand their support for issues important to the Iron Range in return.

TRANSLATION for DFL: Put up or shut up. Here’s what Marlene Pospeck wrote prior to that ultimatum:

It will soon be time for DFL candidates for statewide office to trek to the Iron Range seeking our support. They do this because they know how strongly Iron Range voters turn out on Election Day. Many candidates have been successful in their quest for higher office chiefly because we Iron Rangers have supported them.

It can’t be enough, however, for these candidates to simply be DFL to garner our support. When asking for our support, these St. Paul candidates have an obligation to offer the Iron Range their support in return but this hasn’t necessarily always been the case. They tend to rely on our votes and then promptly forget about doing what’s good for our region.

This is a variation of what I call Tom Daschle Disease. Prior to his defeat in 2004, Tom Daschle would act like George Bush’s best friend while visiting South Dakota. The minute he picked up his luggage at the DC airport, he’d instantly turned into the far left’s darling. In 2004, he got exposed. Then he got defeated. That time is coming for the DFL, too.

Metrocrat elitists consistently repeat the mantra that they support “working families.” That usually happens right before they file another lawsuit preventing PolyMet from becoming a reality.

Pospeck isn’t just any DFLer. She’s the former mayor of Hoyt Lakes. She speaks for lots of Rangers. Patterns are patterns until they aren’t anymore. Range Republicans are making a spirited push to win over ‘Mining Democrats’:

The 8th Congressional District Republican Committee has given full backing to copper nickel/precious metals mining projects on the Range.

The GOP committee’s strong support for nonferrous mining was announced just prior to today’s public hearing on PolyMet Mining Co.’s NorthMet project’s draft Environmental Impact Statement. And it closely followed a resolution passed by a St. Louis County DFL unit that opposes nonferrous mining, which is in conflict with views of Iron Range DFL legislators.

“It’s a shame that the DFL Committee in northeast Minnesota is publicly opposing new copper/nickel mining jobs and projects seeking permits in the state. We’ve met as an 8th Congressional District GOP board and announce our strong, unapologetic support for copper/nickel mining and the jobs it promises to create,” said Ted Lovdahl, chairman of 8th District Republicans.

“We want to assure the hard-working people across Minnesota that the GOP is with them, and if they aren’t yet with us, they have a home in the Republican Party.”

It isn’t known how long the DFL’s tired mantra of supporting “working families” will be effective. How many times will miners buy that schtick, then watch the Metrocrats get their way? The Metrocrats don’t have a history of being pro-mining. That’s big because Rangers are suffering bigtime. The median household income for Minnesota from 2008-2012 is $59,126, compared with $46,231 for St. Louis County for the same period. There’s an income gap of 22% between Minnesota’s statewide median household income and the median household income for St. Louis County. That’s the direct result of the Metrocrats’ anti-mining policies. Even retired Rep. Tommie Rukavina is upset with the DFL’s anti-mining policies. Here’s what he told me right before he retired:

I’m perplexed. I sent an email to the three who voted no, I’m awaiting a reply. Frankly, if Gov Dayton is pissed off at the DNR (hell, Ranger’s have been pissed off at them forever), he should fire some top dogs over there. But don’t take it out on the good people of the Range who have been mining for 130 years and playing by the rules that some folks now want to change.

Perplexed and pissed off would better describe my reaction. But hey, I’m a has been but I have been wondering why I’m the only member of the Range delegation who seems concerned about this. Perhaps it’s because I’m the only member of the Range delegation who represents the real Iron Range and has never represented any other constituents in my 26 year tenure.

Finally, it isn’t possible to argue that elitist Metrocrats like mining. They like getting miners’ votes but they don’t care about mining. If they didn’t need miners’ votes to win elections, there’s a 100% chance elitist Metrocrats would throw miners under their political bus.
Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Based on what’s in this editorial and what’s in this editorial, the DFL’s divisions might soon be front and center. Let’s start with the ‘PolyMet’ editorial:

While Duluth and other media speculated that opponents and supporters were evenly split at the five-hour public hearing that included a two-hour open house session and a three-hour comment period, the numbers just don’t add up that way.

They reported that attendance was 1,300 to 1,500. But of that number, a caravan of seven buses and a passenger van journeyed from the Range with at least 500 supporters and another 100 or more arrived in advance by cars.

Simply put, there are lots of Iron Rangers who badly want PolyMet to happen. They might not have sophisticated presentations but what they lack in sophistication, they more than make up for in passion and verifiable information.

The unified message of business and labor all across the Iron Range to Duluth and the Twin Cities delivered in a fact-based and civil manner was outstanding.

That paragraph indicates that Iron Rangers are tired of being told by elitist metro Democrats, aka Metrocrats, that they don’t have the right to earn a living. This has the potential of turning the relatively conservative, pro-Second Amendment, Range Democrats against the anti-mining Metrocrats. This indicates the hostility isn’t that far below the proverbial surface:

Yes, some opponents and preservation groups will continue their misinformation campaigns which are part of an excessive rhetoric fear campaign of damage to the environment.

The facts, however, will win out in the EIS and then permitting processes. And the preservationist fear mongers do not hold those cards.

The “preservationist fear mongers” that the editorial cites have this in common: they’re almost exclusively elitist Metrocrats. That’s a stark contrast with the blue collar Iron Rangers who supported Gov. Dayton in 2010. The ‘Lt. Gov. editorial’ offers a different perspective of the same potential problem:

The list of four is heavily female-metrocentric-weighted. The governor’s chief of staff, Tina Smith, state Sen. Katie Sieben and Kelliher, all of the Twin Cities area, are strongly suggested.

The other person that’s supposedly on Gov. Dayton’s short list is IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich. I haven’t confirmed whether Sertich is actually on Gov. Dayton’s short of if he’s more of a ‘wishful thinking’ candidate. Still, the risks are high for Gov. Dayton. If he picks a Metrocrat, he risks alienating Iron Rangers. If Gov. Dayton picks Sertich, he’s essentially snubbing the check-writing, anti-mining Metrocrats from the Twin Cities.

The other name I’ve heard floated is former Sen. Tarryl Clark, aka Taxin’ Tarryl Clark. With Gov. Dayton’s tax increases likely to be a major campaign issue, Taxin’ Tarryl would just add fuel to that fire. That’s before talking about her responsibilities with the Blue-Green Alliance. ‘Carpetbagger’ Tarryl didn’t win many friends when she ran for the Eighth District endorsement. DFL activists rejected her, in part because she was a carpetbagger, partially because she’s as anti-mining as the Metrocrats on that short list.

The simple truth is that Gov. Dayton will have to choose. Either Gov. Dayton sides with the elitist Metrocrats and alienates Iron Range Democrats or he sides with the more conservative Iron Democrats and alienates elitist, anti-mining Metrocrats.

There’s an old, ancient really, joke about giving a chameleon a nervous breakdown. The way to give a chameleon a nervous breakdown is to put it against a plaid background. In this situation, I’d argue that Gov. Dayton is the chameleon and the DFL is the plaid background.

Good luck with that.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Baird Helgeson’s article doesn’t do the greatest job highlighting the inevitable split in the DFL but it’s a start:

All sides are closely watching as Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration faces a crucial decision on the project that could come near the election.

At risk is a political coalition that has made good on a string of high-profile DFL priorities like same-sex marriage, higher taxes for the rich and expanded union influence around the state. Dayton is depending on that same coalition to help him press for a second term and keep the state House in DFL hands.

“We are going to go through some hard times,” predicted Rep. Tom Anzelc, DFL-Balsam Township. “This may be the signature event in the decades-long battle between jobs and the preservation of the environment. This battle determines what kind of a Minnesota Minnesotans want.”

Democrats are scrambling to contain the conflict and prevent another “massacre” of 1978, when Republicans capitalized on similar outrage over the creation of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Rivals divided the DFL over the issue and allowed Republicans to make historic electoral gains, claiming the governor’s office and both U.S. Senate seats.

It’s anti-climatic to say that the DFL left blue collar workers. That happened when the DFL, like Democrats nationally, decided militant environmentalists were a more important special interest group to be coddled than the miners. This paragraph is incomplete, perhaps intentionally:

A copper mine that could provide hundreds of high-paying jobs on the Iron Range also is threatening to crack the fragile alliance of blue-collar Democrats up north and the environmentalists that are an influential part of Minnesota DFL’s base.

Let’s include what’s missing from that paragraph. Here’s how it would read:

A copper mine that could provide hundreds of high-paying jobs on the Iron Range also is threatening to crack the fragile alliance of blue-collar Democrats up north and the Twin Cities-based environmentalists that are an influential part of Minnesota DFL’s base.

The so-called Metrocrats tossed the Tom Rukavina wing of the DFL under the bus long ago. Here’s what then-Rep. Rukavina said about mining just about a year ago:

I’m perplexed. I sent an email to the three who voted no, I’m awaiting a reply. Frankly, if Gov Dayton is pissed off at the DNR (hell, Ranger’s have been pissed off at them forever), he should fire some top dogs over there. But don’t take it out on the good people of the Range who have been mining for 130 years and playing by the rules that some folks now want to change.

Perplexed and pissed off would better describe my reaction. But hey, I’m a has been but I have been wondering why I’m the only member of the Range delegation who seems concerned about this. Perhaps it’s because I’m the only member of the Range delegation who represents the real Iron Range and has never represented any other constituents in my 26 year tenure.

This sentence stood out for me:

But don’t take it out on the good people of the Range who have been mining for 130 years and playing by the rules that some folks now want to change.

The DFL is playing a game with these miners’ lives. Increasingly Republicans are coming to these miners’ assistance. Chip Cravaack’s loyalty to the miners is exceptionally well-documented. Other Republicans, including Stewart Mills, are taking up Chip’s fight.

Here’s what happens when the DFL treats this issue as a political issue:

Northern Minnesota is known for its great fishing, so perhaps it’s fitting that tracking 8th District Congressman Rick Nolan’s position on a bill that deregulates the mining industry and fast tracks the permitting process for PolyMet is a bit like watching a fish flopping around on a dock: first he’s against it, then he’s for it and now he once again opposes it, this time promising to vote against the legislation if it “comes anywhere near close to becoming law.”

The reaction of the those who gathered in Bohannon Hall on that Saturday afternoon is perhaps best summed up by 32-year-old Jesse Peterson, who characterized Nolan’s responses and actions with respect to HR 761 as “incredibly deceptive and reflecting a willingness to be phony.

Rick Nolan is the ultimate politician. The best way to expose Nolan’s phoniness is to tape him while he’s talking mining with the United Mine Workers, then tape him talking with militant environmentalists. The contrast would be sharp. In fact, he’d look like 2 different people.

That’s the DFL’s dilemma. It’s inevitable that something earth-shaking will happen to settle the issue once and for all. The split between the Metrocrats and the blue collar Iron Rangers is inevitable. I just hope I’m here to watch the collision.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , ,