37 thoughts on “Matt Entenza and the Dark Arts.

  1. PM says:

    (anyone but dayton)

    are we about ready to start saying “thank goodness for Horner”?

    1. Count me out. While I think we’re heading for a plurality election, and while old style Wonder bread Republican governance sounds damn wholesome in an age when alleged adults are sustaining themselves on an all Kool-Aid diet, Horner isn’t saying anything unique or useful.Culture is undergoing dramatic change and at best Horner is a ’77 Oldsmobile.

  2. Newt says:

    Brian nailed it.

    Any regrets from you libs about not nominating Rybak?

    I, frankly, thought Rukavina would have given the DFL it’s best shot. After all, Rukavina says he is the love child of a Wellstone-Ventura union (bad visual, I know).

    1. PM says:

      At the very least, Tommie has the best sense of humor. Seriously, can you imagine what the Rukavina-Emmer debates might have been like? You could sell tickets to something like that!

      And, to your point about RT–I think that he would have been the stronger candidate by far, but the powers that be in the DFL felt that Margaret had paid her dues, bided her time, and it was her turn. This is why I do not like the caucus system.

      Newt–you and i seem to agree that the caucus system on the DFL side has flaws. Do you think it works any better on the Republican side?

      1. Newt says:

        It’s high time to for primary runoff elections, but I doubt we’ll see them in our lifetime.

        I am not certain Rybak would have had any advantage over Keliher. Rukavina was quirky enough that he would have captured hearts.

        As for Dayton – I’m not convinced his elevator reaches the top floor. He acts like his lithium is wearing off.

      2. I honestly don’t know where you get away with saying things about Dayton like he’s “psychologically unstable” or doubting “his elevator reaches the top floor.” That’s pretty juvenile, and not in a good way.

      3. Adding, if you’re trying to make the case that Mark Dayton is some kind of emotional incompetent then make the case – don’t just make snide innuendo. It seems to me a pretty serious and flagrantly unfair accusation, but at least man up to why you think it is the case.

      4. PM says:

        Shit, Dayton himself gave his own performance as Senator an “F”. Is there any reason to assume he’d do a better job as Governor?

    2. There’s no question that of the three DFLers left standing Rybak would have been the most aggressive, composed and credible candidate. My choice, Paul Thissen, would have been better. But the game doesn’t get played that way.

  3. In a three-way race muddled mush just won’t cut it. I like the cut of Dayton’s jib – tax the rich, stop attacking school teachers.

    1. The MAJOR issue there, Rob, is whether Dayton has the personal, psychological constitution to persist, month in and month out to make those deals happen. More likely, were he to win, he’d simply offer four years of impediment to the Tea Party crowd. I want something more.

      1. Aside from psychological speculating about Dayton’s constitution, it seems you’re making the case for him. Who can find anything to like, for example, in Kelliher’s fake compromising of the GAMC bill? At least Dayton says what he believes, and from what I can tell he’s on the right side, loudly.

      2. The larger problem is that no liberal seems to have a strategy for the “no new taxes” bullshit. Lacking any semblance of honesty or responsible governance It always plays with the public, who have been ingrained with the belief that everything “government” is a corrupt money suck. Better candidates can and do win, but rarely — very rarely — by arguing for increased taxation, even on the very rich.

  4. 108 says:

    You’re properly astute here BL.

    Mind you, at least conceptually, I have great affection for the DFL. Or the idea of a DFL. Agrarian populism – very romantic.

    You folks got to stiffen up, there’s a real danger of being too clever by half. So Dayton’s more aggressively committed to ‘tax the rich’. Alrighty then, support him, give him the nomination. He’s a loser. He’ll lose this election. Despite her placidity, an MAK victory is not outside the realm of possibility.

    Dayton is regarded by the public as a boob. There’s no getting out from under that now.

    It will be tragic for the DFL if a rich guy can waltz in and buy the nomination out from under the endorsed candidate. It will be farcical for the DFL if a rich boob can waltz in and buy the nomination out from under the endorsed candidate. I mean, the irony…geez.

    1. Besides the other issues I mentioned, I’m startled to agree with you, 108, on the “rich guys” skating past the fervid constituencies of the caucus season.

      1. I’d be worried if I agreed with 108 on anything. The statement that insiders know there is something inherently wrong with Dayton is a pernicious accusation, and I’m quite frankly surprised to hear that from Brian. So what if Dayton found out he didn’t like being a senator? Another way to interpret that is his disappointment in being part of a body owned by the banks, as Richard Durbin said. He shut down his office when there were bomb threats? What if there HAD been a bomb and it went off – he’d look like a genius. There’s no downside, practically, to shutting the office for a day.

      2. The office closing was one … odd, but defensible … episode. Dayton briefly argued that he was simply acting on the routinely hysterical warnings issued by Bush’s Homeland Security department, who were forever hyping new threats, usually coinciding with the eruption of a new scandal or screw-up on an unrelated front. Were he adroit enough he would have kept hammering that idea, which would have resonated with a lot of people mightily PO’d at the fear-mongering of the Bush White House. Instead, he caved. To paraphrase “A League of Their Own”, there’s no “caving” in politics … unless you’re caught with a live boy or a dead girl, and even then … . The next governor has to both bring the message but a skill set that DELIVERS on that message. Obviously, that person also has to win a general election. A person with less self-admitted, highly exploitable baggage has a better chance.

  5. PM says:


    I agree with 108. Doesn’t matter whether dayton is brilliant or a psychopath–the public perception of the man is already set, engraved in stone. And it isn’t very flattering. People by and large believe he is a whack job–all an opponent needs to do is to keep going back to the way he closed down his office, or the way he “retired” from the senate. Dayton the candidate will spend all of his time defending himself from his past actions–and neither Emmer nor the Republican Party will have to say a word. They will distance themselves from this, as a third party smear campaign funded by corporate dollars will bring this crap up over and over again. Emmer will talk about the future in vague ways, and ignore anything Dayton says, while dayton will become the issue, and none of the mud will splash onto Emmer.

    dayton would be a complete electoral disaster.

    1. Dayton’s message is sound and admirable. The issue is his ability to handle the daily stresses of the job, which is far more demanding than the U.S. Senate, which even he admits he completely wasted.

      1. PM says:

        I didn’t say a thing about his message–i think he is unelectable, because of his past performance.

      2. I know. I’m responding to Rob or anyone who might appreciate his message. there’s no question that the message is his allure, as witnessed in my source’s belief that the money folks are gravitating toward Dayton. Having said that, what you’re saying becomes the critical issue. His past performance will become the major focus point of the opposition, with justification.

  6. Newt says:

    I don’t take mental illness as a joke and I am not in a position to diagnose Dayton. But I will say that he has a strange demeanor. His reactions are delayed and he seems rather Stepford in his delivery. I don’t think he is a bad person – just not inspiring.

      1. I’m saying party pros, quite a few of them anyway, will express great disappointment in Dayton’s Senate performance, the office closing being only one episode. Dayton has conceded personal problems. An executive job like the Governor’s requires quite a bit more personal initiative and energy and focus than a U.S. Senator.

      2. barbara says:

        I have an uncanny knack for backing the wrong horse and then watching the winner lose the whole magilla. So it will not surprise you to know that my whole-hearted support of Rybak and subsequent developments have left me (and probably others) with no small amount of PTSD.

        I do not doubt that MAK is competent. And knows how to work the DFL system. That’s required for advancing to leadership in the legislature and scoring the endorsement, which essentially comes down to insiders circling the wagons around insiders. I do not mean to offend DFL apologists, but it is what it is.

        Initially, I took a dim view of the self-financed outsiders who passed on the DFL’s sincere but flawed process. I even suggested that MAK choose Dayton as her LtGov (a feeble little joke).

        But as time has passed, I find myself shifting rapidly to “consummate outsider” preference. I think Dayton can do the job. He has his political and personal reputation on the line in a very big, public way. He is smart. He is competent (in spite of media attempts to bring him down). And he is pretty close to fearless re bucking the GOP and even the dinosauric DFL.

        The only thing that matters up front is defeating Emmer. Absolutely. Must. Happen. If Dayton wins the primary, it’s time to get off this firing squad and help him win. I mean it.

      3. If Dayton wins the primary, I think there’ll be the migration toward him, if only to stop Emmer and his Tea Party apparatchiks. What I’m saying is that post-Pawlenty (as is the case with Obama post-Cheney/Bush) the problems are so immense and the fixes so unpalatable the “bold visions” of campaign season HAVE TO HAPPEN. They have to be pushed, aggressively to ruthlessly. That type of activity requires a uniquely gifted candidate, one that has among other virtues, tremendous personal tenacity and knack for one on one salesmanship.

      4. Mike Thomas says:

        Interesting you use the term “Apparatchik” to describe “tea partiers”, a Russian term used to describe masses of the Communist party. Probably some other groups on the political spectrum that would fit closer.

        This “anything but Emmer”, “Emmer is scary”, is the same kind of rhetoric used on Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush. It is fun for DFL circles and college students on corners downtown, but it is not going to resonate to mainstream voters at the polls. The trouble is the DFL had their chance for a red blooded candidate and they went with an endorsee that was picked by the strong armed unions. Perhaps the DFL should have gone out and recruited another has been Hollywood “D” list to claim residency. Then again without an appeal of Obama, I doubt they would be able to pull a questionalbe 200 something vote lead.

  7. john sherman says:

    After Pawlenty and Ventura, I’m really eager for a governor who is actually interested in governing–in unguarded moments I even get nostalgic for Arne Carlson. Kelliher’s track record and choice of running mate suggests she would actually like the state to function. I can see that she would have trouble negotiating with Pawlenty because his ace in the hole is that he doesn’t really care whether the toilets flush or not as long as he can blame the stink on somebody else.

    My impression of Dayton is that he is a nice guy, but with limited horsepower.

  8. markmwhite says:

    Hi Brian,

    We are old acquaintances from long ago softball days. Seems there is a tax-the-rich (more) vibe going here. Reminds me of an unattributed quote I recently heard and liked “now a days earning money no longer entitles you to it, merely wanting it is all that is needed for entitlement” and I would add “being able to get the votes to steer money your way entitles you to it.”

    Seems like legislatures at all levels have lost focus on long term sustainable ways to generate tax revenue and prioritize responsible spending – emphasis on sustainability.

    As to the electability of the DFL candidiates (none of which i support) Rybak and Theissen (sp?) would indeed be better, but MAK will win against Emmer/Horner. MAK is a comfortable pick for those on the fence, while Emmer is too scary (or at least will be portayed as such) and Horner has not enough support.

    1. 108 says:

      It’s not reasonably accurate. It’s no good. Horner will not draw more than Hutchinson did. Horner’s true level of support is 5%. One reason Horner has to like the poll is because it shows Dayton as stong when he’s actually weak.

      I don’t foresee a harmonius DFL after Dayton wins the primary. The whole thing’s gonna be fouled by rich man’s whimsy.

      It’s Will Roger’s who was prescient here. MAK’s a good candidate. Superior to Marty and Skip, a bit better than than Moe or Hatch.

  9. Ellen Mrja says:

    Like Barbara, I tend to pick the second place winners on American Idol. But truly I’ve noticed, the contestants who come in second place are far more talented than the “winner.”

    I realize that’s a horrible way to describe my support of Dayton, whom I’ve appreciated for years. In particular, my estimation of him went way up when he dealt openly and honestly with his depression a few years ago. That was the action of a brave person, not some slick politician.

    I would support Kelliher also as the most connected right now. She knows her way around the capitol and DFL fundraisers.

    My favorite line in this thread is john sherman’s above: “After Pawlenty and Ventura, I’m really eager for a governor who is actually interested in governing–in unguarded moments I even get nostalgic for Arne Carlson.”

    I’ve felt the same pull…

    1. Quite frankly, this is the side of politics I hate, all the pundits from the 1st-15th tier, who offer little clarity and what might be found there is lost in the 16th-50th tier commentors.

      From my tier–Dayton rated himself an F…and if memory serves correct, the congresses from which he served were arguably the worst in history. So, that tells me he was both aware and honest, which is five stars ahead of the rest of those bozos.

      And I was depressed witnessing their awful performance and sending raging rants to any email address who would listen…I can’t imagine having to actually get up in the morning to face these idiots in person for a 6 year term–prison time would be more honest.

      Governor is a different job, and after Ventura and Pawlenty…are you REALLY trying to convince me Dayton can’t handle this job?

      Then, as for MAK and Mr Quam…what you have described of them is exactly what I want in a legislator, not a governor. They need seasoning, experience.

      Emmer and Horner, belong to lost parties without any vision (or present for that matter), and they offer nothing. Period.

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