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This morning, KSTP’s Tom Hauser interviewed incoming Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and incoming House Minority Leader Melisa Hortman. One of the first topics they discussed was MNsure. Sen. Gazelka quickly made the point that Minnesota’s system prior to the ACA was significantly superior to the system we’re currently dealing with. To her credit, Rep. Hortman quickly agreed with Sen. Gazelka. Later in the show, former DFL State Party Chair Brian Melendez complimented Sen. Gazelka and Rep. Hortman before stating his optimism that their exchange showed that a deal might be reached this session.

I’d like to think that there’s hope but I’m not optimistic about it. IMO, there are 2 people standing in the way of getting something positive done. One of the people that will likely try jamming things up is Paul Thissen. I’m certain that he’s running for governor. If he runs, I’m confident that he’ll run a scorched earth campaign, criticizing Republicans for not getting anything done.

While I’m confident that Rep. Thissen will play the obstructionist card frequently, I’m certain that Gov. Dayton will continue with his hissy fits. The opening paragraphs of David Montgomery’s article say it all:

There was so little trust left between DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt by Friday that the two leaders wouldn’t agree to meet in private as they tried to salvage a package of bills to cut taxes, build roads and water projects and help people struggling with health insurance premiums.

Instead, the two sat down in front of television cameras to try to salvage a deal they’d been fighting over in various forms since May. The cameras didn’t help. After just 17 minutes of accusations and arguments, both Dayton and Daudt walked out of the room, unable to agree.

It’s obviously a very disappointing outcome,” Dayton said afterwards.

Gov. Dayton’s quote is a lie, at least from his perspective. Gov. Dayton hasn’t wanted to work in good faith with Republicans. He stated it matter-of-factly in multiple op-eds by asking voters to give him DFL majorities in the Minnesota House and Senate. (Instead, Minnesotans gave him GOP majorities in the House and Senate.)

Let’s be clear about this. Gov. Dayton is an obstructionist at heart. He’s shut down state government twice. The first time, it’s possible to argue it was the Republicans’ fault. It isn’t a strong argument but it’s an argument. The other time, though, it’s all on Gov. Dayton. Gov. Dayton vetoed bills from a bipartisan budget agreement negotiated by Speaker Daudt and then-Senate Majority Leader Bakk. (It’s worth noting that Rep. Thissen sabotaged both negotiated agreements.) It wouldn’t be surprising if Gov. Dayton shut down the government again this summer. He’s done it before. He apparently thinks that it’s the only way he’s relevant in the budget process. This is Gov. Dayton’s definition of good faith negotiating:

Daudt accused Dayton of breaking the early-December deal earlier this week, when he unveiled proposed language for all three potential special session bills. The proposed infrastructure bill, Daudt said, took away Republican priorities without harming any of Dayton’s own.

It’s time, after 6 long years of the Dayton administration, to call him what he is. Gov. Dayton is Minnesota’s Obstructionist-in-Chief.

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According to this article, Paul Thissen was encouraged to run for another term as the DFL leader in the Minnesota House of Representatives. In the end, though, he declined, saying in part “I am grateful to my colleagues and Minnesotans for giving me the chance to lead the caucus for the last six years. It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life to lead our caucus and to build a better future for our state. Many of my colleagues have encouraged me to seek re-election as our caucus leader. I thank them for the confidence they have placed in me. However, six years is a long time – the longest period a DFL leader has served since my great political hero, Martin Olav Sabo. And after six years, I’ve decided that I will not be seeking to continue in my role as caucus leader when we reconvene in January. It is time for new voices in leadership to emerge.”

Instead of being led by Rep. Thissen, the leader of the House DFL Caucus will be led by Melissa Hortman.

Rep. Thissen’s decision will undoubtedly start speculation over whether he’s intending to run for governor again. His profile fits perfectly into what the DFL is these days. He’s a Metrocrat, which is essential these days in the DFL. Thissen’s fidelity to the truth is virtually nonexistent. In a party that’s led at the state level by the Alliance for a Better Minnesota and by Corruptocrats like Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Dishonest Donna Brazile at the DNC level, Thissen is a good, though not great, fit. Most likely, the DFL will endorse Lt. Gov. Tina Flint-Smith as their gubernatorial candidate in 2018.

What’s interesting about the DFL’s pick for their House leader is that they picked a climate-change fanatic from the Twin Cities to be their leader. That isn’t surprising, is it?