Minnesota GOP To Bring Back Fiscal Mullet?

George Orwell called it “Newspeak,” the restriction of disapproved language by a powerful entity. You may also recall that in his dystopian novel 1984, “goodthink” was used to describe an officially sanctioned viewpoint, and “thoughtcrime” was used to describe an illegal type of thought.

So finally I understand why Mrs. Stolles made me read that creepy book. For now I know what is truly going on in the budget negotiations between the GOP-controlled Legislature and DFL Governor Dayton. The biggest sticking point in these negotiations is not really whether DFL legislators can participate in the negotiations, or whether supplying respirators constitutes an essential government service.

No, the show-stopping sticking point is that GOP Newspeak dictates that use of the word “taxes” is a thoughtcrime, because it is not goodthink. No can do. Dayton may as well be requesting Speaker Zellers to commit serial murders on the House floor. Just ask GOP Chair Tony Sutton.

And this presents the Mother of All Sticking Points for budget negotiators.

But have no fear, State Rep. Joe Gimse is here. This clever GOP legislator from Willmar knows that someone who raises revenue but doesn’t call it a “tax” is not technically guilty of a GOP thoughtcrime. Kind of like a robber who only points a fake finger gun through a coat is not guilty of armed robbery, at least on the TV shows I watch.

The PiPress reports today that:

…(Grimes) said he would consider voting for proposals to raise revenue as long as the money doesn’t come from taxes. He said he would consider money from gambling, surcharges or fees.”

Fiscal mullet, Pawlenty style.

Mr. Gimse may be onto something. This looks to be a nifty little thoughtcrime dodge, though far from an unprecedented one. Those of you who hold grudges will recall that then-Governor Tim Pawlenty raised “fees” by 21%, while still aggressively marketing his fidelity to the No New Taxes gods. One cheeky blogger of the day dubbed the maneuver a fiscal mullet — “cosmetic constraint in the front, unrestrained growth in the back.”

So now we have something to negotiate, though we must choose our words very, very carefully. But since I am an infidel who is not governed by GOP Newspeak, I have my own word to describe the potential consideration of, well, you know, “new contributions for the support of a government required of persons, groups, or businesses within the doman of that government.”

I call it “hope.”

Loveland

Pawlenty’s Secret Weapon in Iowa

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has been busy preening Presidential in Iowa, which raises an interesting question: Where will his breakthrough political moment come in the Hawkeye State?

Will Governor Pawlenty’s breakthrough come during a spellbinding address to the Muscatine County Republican Women’s Club meeting? Will it come with a well-timed anti-evolution zinger at the all-important Dallas County Republican Steak Fry and Pie Auction? Will it come the old fashioned way, by promising the most special interest tax loopholes at the first joint appearance of all the Repbulican candidates?

Or will T-Paw’s big breakthrough happen during a less conventional event at the Iowa State Fair?

It’s no secret that Pawlenty’s napeline yo-yos with the political winds. So come Iowa State Fair time, if you see Pawlenty put the breaks on barbering out back, you might want to book your hotel room for the Inaugural.

- Loveland
irs debt relief nice

No Peace. No Prosperity. No Pawlenty.

Snake oil dr. vesuviusMany political scientists maintain that peace and prosperity are among the most reliable predictors of presidential electoral success.

At this stage, America in the Obama era has neither. It has the highest unemployment in a quarter century and is embroiled in two bloody, complex and unpopular foreign wars. Bad news, Barack.

So with all of Obama’s current woes, why is Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty — a supremely talented politician — trailing Obama by 11 points in his home state?

It’s way too early for presidential polls to be predictive of anything. They are merely a snapshot of the moment, and circumstances will change in a thousand different ways before the next presidential campaign. But at this particular moment, many Minnesotans who know plenty about Pawlenty are pretty grim about Tim.

What do the Minnesota masses know that the national Republican kingmakers don’t? I submit that over the last seven years, many Minnesotans have learned to translate Pawlentese. They now know that Pawlenty’s “no new taxes” pledge translates roughly into “yes new fees,” “yes higher local taxes,” and “yes higher long-term costs.”

Governor Pawlenty makes a darn good first impression. But the Pawlenty era has taught Minnesotans that too often when the initial sales pitch sounds too good to be true, it is.

- Joe Loveland (guest post)

Pawlenty’s Fiscal Mullet

pawlenty-mullet-2-300c397379-pixelsIs it possible for Governor Pawlenty to raise “fees” by about 21% while continuing to brag about keeping a no new “taxes” pledge?

As Minnesota 2020 notes: “While some fee increases may be necessary to pay for increased costs, it is clear that fee increases are also being used to back fill a hole in the state budget.”

Call it a fiscal mullet. Cosmetic constraint in the front, unrestrained growth in the back.

- Loveland

A Mirror in the Crowd

mirrorAbout six months ago I posted a reflection on who was coming to the Crowd and what they were looking for (porn as it turns out).  With the election behind us and year-end being a time for looking back and summing up, I thought I’d take another look at our traffic patterns and the search terms that most often bring people to our doors.

Politics, politics, politics.

As the graph below most clearly illustrates, the Crowd was way into the election and tended to follow its twists and turns day-by-day.  We saw steadily increasing traffic throughout the summer and fall, culminating on election day, and then a big fall off in site visits, back to the levels we saw at the start of the summer.

12-2-2008-9-25-52-am

I suspect a lot of us are just a little burned out and need a little break from the subject (not that I don’t appreciate those frequent personal e-mails from David Plouffe).

The traffic patterns also are a reflection of how much the authors are posting; prior to the election, we were posting much more frequently than after (on 10/29 alone, for example, we posted 9 items).

Continue reading

Helmet Hair Homecoming?

With it, he was a popular Governor.

Without it, he was passed over in order to select the worst vice presidential candidate in memory.

Could the good luck Mississippi mudflap be coming back?

From an interview on Fox News, November 16, 2008.

From an interview on Fox News, November 16, 2008.

- Loveland

 

Blues’ Clues

It looks as if the security perimeter around next week’s Republican National Convention (RNC) is going to make St. Paul’s Excel Energy Center about as publicly accessible as China’s Forbidden City during the Ming Dynasty.

So how are blue bywatchers to know when the Red Man Group arrives in our fair city? A few clues:

Festive Bush and Cheney figurines replace Snoopy and Charlie Brown on streets.
• Airport men’s room sounds like rehearsal for Riverdance.
• McCain offshore drilling proposal expanded to include 10,000 lakes.
• Stretch helicopters brought in to ferry delegates over Pawlenty’s unfunded bridges.
• Electric Fetus targeted for Operation Rescue protest.
• “Mission Accomplished” banner hoisted outside Deja Vu.
• Mickey’s adds foie gras to menu.
• Rove holds press conference to deny leaking location of Winter Carnival medallion.
• Pawlenty actually stays in Minnesota for a couple days.

If one or more of those things happen, there’s a good chance our conservative comrades have arrived.

- Loveland
(Assist from Austin)

marketing strategy fine

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