#403 – Dick Bernard: Day 15 of the Minnesota Shutdown; 20 days before Default Day in Washington. A Tentative Agreement

A few hours ago Minnesota’s Governor Mark Dayton, and the leaders of the Republican House and Senate reached a tentative agreement on bringing Minnesota back from Shutdown. Predictably, as is always true in these situations, there is a great plenty of glumness, and anger. Here’s how it was described in the independent MinnPost on-line newspaper.
Now comes the tension of actually getting a deal done: passed by the House and Senate and signed by the Governor. It ain’t over till its over.
Art IV Sec. 12 of the Minnesota Constitution seems to be the crucial rule now in play: “A special session of the legislature may be called by the governor on extraordinary occasions.” The governor, and only the governor, can call the special session. The Legislature had 120 legislative days (the constitutional maximum) to reach an agreement that would be acceptable to the Governor. They chose unilateralism.
Games can obviously played in a special session, but those who play such games will have hell to pay from the electorate in a years time. The spotlight now shines on every single legislator.
Those of us who have ever been in difficult negotiations – I have – have “been there, done that” with what faced the Governor and House and Senate leaders after 13 days of Minnesota Government Shutdown.
The parties in the room do not have the luxury of second-guessing or arm-chair quarterbacking or winning total victory over the enemy. They are forced to face reality.
There is something of a rule of thumb in such situations: a good settlement is one that nobody likes. So the partisans on both sides are bemoaning this still tentative deal for diverse and opposing reasons.
Personally, I hope the deal gets passed. The longer this crisis goes on, the worse it will get, and the more difficult it will be to settle.
I did not initially support Mark Dayton when he ran for Governor in 2010. I preferred the endorsed candidate of the DFL party. But I will now say with absolutely no equivocation that Governor Dayton is proving himself to be an outstanding Governor.
I am not as impressed with we citizens. “We, the people” freely elected that this mess would happen in the way we voted (or did not vote at all*) in 2010. In effect, we chose this deal we do not like, and likely will not like, by electing who we did. We chose this craziness at both state and national levels. We citizens need to take a very hard look at ourselves, individually and collectively.
The new and often radical Republicans who ran and won in MN in 2010, often by infinitesimal margins, now have established a record in their votes in their first legislative session. (The special session doesn’t count, in my opinion). Now they will need to answer for what they did, not what they promised in campaign ads when running for office.
* – Citizens not voting at all, or voting in ignorance of possible consequences, is the big story of the 2010 elections, in my opinion. We’re paying the price for our collective laziness.
Just for comparison, here’s the vote for MN Governor in 2010, and the vote for President in 2008, both from the MN Secretary of State. They speak for themselves: Governor 2010; President 2008. Estimated total voters in 2008 were 2, 920,214; Registered voters as of May 2, 2011, were 3,099,862.
(Here at Outside the Walls are numerous other posts about the Shutdown, and Default. They begin at June 23 on this site. Behind every high-lited calendar date is a post. Hover your cursor over each date to see the topic of the day. This series will continue till at least August 2.)

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