Democrats have to clean GOP mess

Published 8:10 am Friday, November 9, 2012

Finally, a clear ending to the Tim Pawlenty-Steve Swiggum era of hubris and arrogance is in sight. Civility and humility are now possible at the legislative and executive branches of our state government.

In 2002, Gov. Pawlenty won that election with 44.37 percent of the vote. A majority of the electorate did not vote for Pawlenty but did vote for DFL candidate Roger Moe at 36.46 percent, Independence Party candidate Tim Penny at 16.18 percent and Green Party candidate Ken Pentel at 2.25 percent.

Pawlenty gave his anti-tax pledge to Grover Norquist in order to gain the Republican Party endorsement at its 2002 state convention.

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Immediately after the 2002 election, Pawlenty and several other new Republicans flew into the Albert Lea airport to tell us that they had a mandate to do whatever they wanted to do. I was there at the airport.

Among the things these new Republicans spoke about was the public advice given to them by past Republican Party office holders like Arne Carlson, whose advice they each mocked. Pawlenty said he and his new partners knew what was best for all of Minnesota and any advice from basically all past Republican Party officers was irrelevant to the issues as they saw them.

So what did they see?

They saw cuts to education, cuts to all social-service programs for the poor, cuts to local government aid funding (claiming our local elected officials just needed to be “smarter”), cuts to as many regulations as possible, and reaching their crescendo, was a radical anti-tax pledge to Grover Norquist. This was not a pretty picture.

Essentially, this new group of radicalized Republicans created an agenda modeled on the George Bush style of governing.

Gov. Mark Dayton, state Rep.-elect Shannon Savick and state Sen. Dan Sparks have the unenviable task to now sift through all of the radicalized Republican Party wreckage to create a more civil society and government for all of us.

I know they can do it.


Ted Hinnenkamp

Albert Lea