Whether Gov. Mark Dayton has been able to put in a full 40 hour work week since he was first elected remains an open question. Certainly local media were not about to embed themselves in his job in order to find out and report. Their lack of curiosity is a source of ongoing astonishment to me, even accounting for their overt liberal political affiliations.
From his first term, Chief of Staff Tina Flint Smith was widely seen, albeit sotto voce, to be the power in the governor's office. This is not to say that Dayton was merely window dressing to her machinations. He had real moments of both lucidity and poor judgment, consistent with his need to be kept on a more or less tight leash, whether pharmaceutical or political.
No one thinks he's his own man. He recently flip flopped on whether, while the state runs a billion dollar plus surplus, there should be an increase in the gas tax. The press have handled this whip lash with their usual liberal kid gloves, which is to say, not to draw attention to it at all.
The recent death of his billionaire father, Bruce, only brought out further the psychopathologies of his relationship with him. The Dayton family never wanted Mark to go into politics, they knowing his fragile psyche far better than the public, although the local press would never print the truth about it.
As far as I know, I'm the only one in Minnesota who blogged about whether he was, on a sustained basis, mentally competent to govern. That post can be read by clicking here.
Once she bred with him to keep the money in a tight circle, his former spouse in an arranged marriage Alida ("she's so good looking but she looks like a man") Rockefeller moved on to someone undamaged. She goes by Messinger now, a downmarket name that conjures up car dealerships, like something out of John Updike, who a friend of mine accurately characterized as "a poor man's John Cheever."
The nurse Ratched of Summit Avenue, Smith, former executive vice president of the abattoir known as Planned Parenthood, is best thought of as the Visiting Angels of political handlers to a bored billionaire political dilettante who rotely executes an agenda he is unable to articulate, or, indeed, formulate.
Think Mrs. Wilson, only with Alida Rockefeller's millions flowing into far left political projects in Minnesota. The kind my friend Jeremy Schroeder of Common Cause Minnesota would never deign to condemn as they advance an agenda unsupported by most voters. I've also written in support of Alida's right to spend her money in this way: there is no contradiction. That post can be read here.
When explicit videos came to light of the dismemberment and harvesting for sale of fetal body parts by Planned Parenthood, sickening anyone with a conscience, local media had to be positively shamed on Twitter to ask Smith whether the outfit for which she was an executive vice president engaged in such sales.
* * * *
Dayton dismissed in a demeaning and disgraceful manner his first lieutenant governor, Yvonne Pretnor Salon, and replaced her on his 2014 ticket with Smith.
Subtext became text.
Had a male republican governor treated a woman subordinate in the same way, the usual hypocrites would have had a field day. But this is Minnesota and media exist to promote the DFL agenda.
The positioning of Smith as the next governor began in earnest with Baird Hegelson's piece in the Star Tribune in February of that election year, 2014. The headline: "Dayton's chief of staff Tina Smith: Bridge builder with a hammer." The sub-headline called her "every republican's favorite democrat." It doesn't get any more unctuous than that but the entire piece is an exercise in Tina promotion.
Any discerning reader will laugh at the embarrassingly fulsome language passed off as insight and political analysis. Increasingly, Star Tribune "reporting" is hagiography of their left wing subjects and not journalism in the old sense, journalism itself having died out some time ago. Hegelson's piece can be read by clicking here.
Yes, I realize reporters don't write the headlines. But they do get published by a shamelessly in the tank for the democrats newspaper, under the tutelage of white hispanic executive editor Rene Sanchez and failed Seattle Times former employee and now Strib managing editor Suki Dardarian. I've written about Dardarian as well, a rare two-part post which I recommend. Click here.
Hegelson is now the political editor for the Star Tribune, having replaced the toe curling Patricia Lopez. When liquid water was recently found to exist on Mars, Lopez was at a loss to understand how water could be anything other than liquid, apparently never having heard of snow, fog or steam. She is now a member of the Star Tribune editorial board. It's collective IQ must be approaching 95.
Yet, for a long time, she was the one who managed the newspapers' political reporters. No wonder one of its more well known reporters, albeit still a liberal, was forced out by her and left for the Pioneer Press. Previously on Twitter I had mistaken her ouster as caused by Dardarian.
In October of last year, Star Tribune reporter Patrick Condon filed a story "Lt. Gov. Tina Smith's high-profile role fuels speculation about her political future." The subhead read: "She has become nearly as much the face of the administration as Gov. Dayton himself. And he plans to hand her even more responsibility." Why would this be?
Amongst whom has this so called speculation been fueled? The answer is given within the article by Speaker Kurt Daudt and others, which can be read by clicking here.
Smith herself weighed in on the left's secular religion "climate change" in an op-ed in the Star Tribune. The piece is rote, rigidly ideological & programmatic, rather like its author. It can be endured by clicking here.
* * * *
Some tell me that St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman might present a formidable challenge to her and split at least some of the donor base. That's an interesting thought but it seems unlikely to me, at the end of the day. There is simply too much institutional DFL support for her and the media suck up reflects that.
Coleman doesn't have a vagina but, like almost all democratic, and far too many republican, politicians in Minnesota he's effectively been feminized by the rancid culture of our times.
Ages ago former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch was seen, rightly, as a strong candidate to become the first woman governor of Minnesota who just happened to be a republican. That was then and this is now.
* * * *
Who do Minnesota republicans have currently?
Mike McFadden is said to be sure to run. "Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?" McFadden was a poor senatorial candidate when he ran against Al Franken. He lost by ten points and to my knowledge still hasn't congratulated Franken on his win. He has money but not much else. How to break it to him? Honesty is hard to come by in Minnesota republican politics: how else to explain its failure to win a statewide office in many years? McFadden is a non-starter, no matter how much Mitch Perlstein of the Center for the American Experiment wants to promote him.
Some say Keith Downey, currently failing as the Chair of the Minnesota Republican Party, wants to run as well. Who are these people? Downey is the Rubio of Minnesota politics: supported by untalented staffers, dismissed by thoughtful people.
Speaker Kurt Daudt seems sure to run and with Ben Golnik his likely campaign manager. Together they might be able to exploit the increasingly sharp divide between rural and metro Minnesota. He'll have to promote a different kind of Daudt though (new and improved) given that place holding and "third smallest increase in government spending" is hardly an agenda that beats Tina.
Scott Honour is also said to be interested in running, despite his tone deaf support of Gov. Chris Christie. Still, he hasn't lost like McFadden has and might not want his son to run his campaign and his daughter to be its spokesman. This McFadden wanted which, among other things, caused the talented, Florida based, Brad Herold to move back to the sunshine state.
Honour is going to have to have more personality and charm than he displayed last time out. I can appreciate how grating this might sound, given that Mark Dayton is frequently a medicated automaton given a pass by the media.
Sen. Michelle Benson is mentioned as a possible gubernatorial candidate and certainly she's a strong, conservative leader. Sen. Dave Thompson, who was at the top of her ticket when the two of them ran for governor & lieutenant governor last time out, is leaving the state. Possibly Benson could become heir to his wing of the party except for the fact that women officials are not treated well in the Minnesota republican party.
* * * *
There's only one republican, in my estimation, who could beat Our Lady of the Curette Tina Smith and her cold hands. Whether that person wants to run or not depends on several factors, none of which I am privy to. But there's enough of a public record, and concomitant rationale, for me to suggest their chances. Even so, that possible candidate's recent positioning as something of a republican Social Justice Warrior gives me pause, all of which I address in a future post.
Photo credit: Glenn Stubbe