In 2006, when Gov. Tim Pawlenty was seeking this board's endorsement for a second term, he was asked specifically what he'd do different if re-elected.
Coming off several very partisan sessions, he earnestly responded that he'd wished he had "kept a few pitches in the glove" when it came to partisan bickering preventing progress. Duly impressed, this board took him at his word and endorsed him.
Based on his reaction to the House overriding his transportation veto Monday, we obviously misunderstood him. He wanted to keep those pitches so he could throw high hard fastballs directly at the heads of anybody who disagreed with him.
Seriously, the immature reactions of Pawlenty and the punishments delivered by the Republican Party to six House members who broke ranks with their peers to support the override are inexcusable.
They even evoked the memory of Jesse Ventura!
It's hard to remember a governor providing a better example of not just politically embarrassing behavior, but flat-out bullying. And remember, this state experienced four years of Jesse Ventura.
And to be honest, they aren't too happy with the Marty Seifert's, Tom Emmer's and Dean Urdahl's either.
Speaking of the Republican Party, its leaders at the Capitol and statewide not only showed the same immaturity as Pawlenty, but they gave fair-minded voters ample reason to doubt their own credibility by demoting those who opposed the governor.
Just look at Central Minnesota House Republican Reps. Bud Heidgerken and Dean Urdahl. Heidgerken voted against the governor and lost his post as senior Republican on the House K-12 Finance Division. Urdahl, also a potential swing vote, backed the governor. He's now lead Republican on the House Agricultural, Rural Economies and Veterans Affairs Committee. (He replaced Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, who voted with Heidgerken.)
What else can be deduced from such moves other than the Republican Party wants key leadership spots filled not by the most qualified members, but members who put party loyalty first and all other concerns second?
This scathing opinion in the SC Times is the tip of the iceberg for House Republicans. With major bills still looming on the horizon, the obstructionists in the House will be under greater scrutiny. The Times points out that nearly 70% of legislators have supported similar transportation bills for years. Ignoring that political will, democracy in action, will have negative consequences for the GOP in November.