Editorial Roundup: Compromise remains key for efforts in govt

Published 10:43 am Monday, January 2, 2012

“Success of governance rooted in compromise” proclaimed the Times ‘Our View’ headline a year ago in addressing the key challenges government faces heading into 2011.

Looking to 2012? Well, ditto.

Sadly, the 2011 efforts of the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton and the U.S. Congress and President Obama provide no logical reason for voters to believe that in 2012 state and federal governments will suddenly move to — much less serve — America’s political middle.

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In fact, it’s a presidential election year complete with fewer rules on campaign donations; things could get worse, not better.


Central Minnesotans know all too well the real and perceived costs of a 21-day state government shutdown resulting from partisan paralysis. Worse yet, the solution simply passed on the hardest decisions.

For 2012, the Legislature and governor at least need to resolve the Vikings stadium issue early in their session. After that, expect them to act only in ways that foster their personal re-elections.

Governance is scarily similar at the federal level. Congress and the president reached a partisan pinnacle in late summer when they feuded about raising America’s debt ceiling. The results? America’s credit worthiness was downgraded, along with a warning to knock off the partisan drama and be more fiscally responsible. A supposed congressional “super committee” formed to tackle such matters, but after three months and no presidential leadership, it barely cleared the lowest fiscal bar.

If there is a bright side to 2011, it might be that local governments — city councils and school and county boards — operate without political designations, not to mention the inability to pass the buck.

Big year ahead

Don’t kid yourself. The coming year will be huge for government.

The 2010 census means the redrawing of political districts. Minnesota’s courts are handling it. That decision is due in February. Experts already are predicting the St. Cloud metro area will be split into two U.S. House districts. Stay tuned.

At the state level, every legislative seat is up for grabs, with many of those boundaries also potentially changing. And the controversial marriage amendment also goes to voters along the usual number of judicial seats. Election Day 2012 is Nov. 6. Circle it now!

– St. Cloud Times, Dec. 27