This past session has exposed Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen for who they really are: defenders of a failed status quo. They’ve opposed almost every thoughtful reform the Republicans have offered. They’ve refused to offer constructive ideas of their own.

Sen. Bakk once went as far as saying that he “wouldn’t know why” the DFL would make a budget proposal of their own. (Because it would show you aren’t being obstructionists, Sen. Bakk.) The DFL legislature, both in the House and Senate, refused to create redistricting maps. Instead, they offered to have hearings around the state this summer in the hopes of “putting together a bill that Gov. Dayton can sign.”

In short, the DFL did their best to defend the failed status quo. Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen refused to participate in solving Minnesota’s biggest problems. They didn’t offer reforms, which indicates that they think the structure of state government doesn’t need fixing. Shame on Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen for ignoring the realities that state government needs to be fixed.

The DFL’s strategy appears to have included lots of obstructing, defending a failed status quo government and ignoring the reality that the antiquated policies of a generation ago need updating.

The DFL’s spinners are saying Republicans will face an angry electorate in 2012. That’s spin. Anyone thinking that 2012’s winning message will be ‘I defended the status quo and I voted for raising taxes’ is kidding themselves.

I’m not sure Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen aren’t attempting to sabotage the negotiations. I’m certain that this dynamic duo isn’t lifting a finger to support Gov. Dayton:

MANKATO — Republican legislative leaders can’t count on much Democratic help in getting a budget deal passed through the House and Senate next week, including from Mankato DFL lawmakers.

Sen. Kathy Sheran and Rep. Kathy Brynaert didn’t make definitive statements that they would oppose the budget deal worked out between Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch.

But both Mankato Democrats said the deal’s primary provisions, delaying $700 million more in payments to K-12 schools and borrowing $700 million to be repaid with future payments from tobacco companies, were among the worst options available for closing the $5 billion budget shortfall.

I’d be surprised if Sen. Bakk lifted a finger to help pass this budget. That’s their prerogative but it’s foolish because people want spending cut or frozen.

There’s stuff in this bill that neither side will like. Nonetheless, there’s no getting around the fact that a number of reforms, including education reforms, budget reforms and government reforms, will be popular with the people.

If the education, budgeting, policy and government reforms aren’t included in the final package, the GOP should walk away. These reforms are musts. Without them, all Republicans can point to is not raising taxes. That’s a dealbreaker.

The DFL’s policies aren’t popular. That’s why Gov. Dayton cut his statewide tour short. He found out that his allies and commissioners had sugarcoated reality. If Sen. Sheran and Rep. Brynaert think voting against those reforms won’t have consequences, they’ll quickly find out that they’re mistaken.

If Sen. Bakk, Rep. Thissen and the DFL want to run on the message of raising taxes, double-digit spending increases and defending the status quo next year, good luck with that messaging.

If the DFL can’t point to more than that, they’d better issue their candidates and legislators flack jackets because their message won’t be well received.

Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen can take that to the bank.

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4 Responses to “Sen. Bakk, Rep. Thissen: Obstructionists, Defenders of the Status Quo”

  • Rex Newman says:

    Dayton wants no policy changes. To him, a policy change is anything that spends less money, particularly in Minneapolis or St. Paul, or reduces headcount, particularly union headcount.

  • Gary Gross says:

    That isn’t what he said on Almanac Friday night. Nonetheless, Republicans should tell him the reforms are in or they walk away from the deal. The reforms go in before the deal goes down.

  • eric z says:

    Again, comment at 12:03 pm uses the term “reform” in a partisan sense. Subjectively, not objectively. 99 reasons can be strung in a line, but each is an argument that merely restates a premise. What the GOP majority is up to, the present GOP mind set’s reflection, is of uncertain merit, and it is wholly subjective whether to call it reform – even stunning reform – or to call and view it as simpleminded muddleheaded meandering down a narrow bad path. Calling it a clash of positions is fair. Saying one is better than the other is debate grounded upon premises that are far from universal agreement. I think the GOP legislators each has local pet projects, as Jungbauer with his City of Ramsey advocacy while the Landform firm draws consultancy money from City of Ramsey. The rubber meets the road as it always has. Ayn Rand took social security payments. That’s a fact.

  • Gary Gross says:

    What the GOP majority is up to, the present GOP mind set’s reflection, is of uncertain merit…

    Telling gov’t agencies that they can’t have multiple deputy commissioners per department & mega-multiple assistant commissioners is certainly meritorious. Eliminating legislative liaisons, aka taxpayer-funded lobbyists, is certainly meritorious.

    Take off the partisan blinders, employ some common sense & figure out that it’s important to not waste tons of money on government workers who contribute nothing to the operation of state government.

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