55 thoughts on “The Strib Almost, Just About, Kind of Calls Pawlenty a Liar.

  1. Jeremy Powers says:

    I think another reason is that business leaders in Minnesota have so gone over to the dark side that they are not only willing to drink the Kool-Aid, but they think everyone else ought to as well. So when the publisher , editor and others that are supposed to be out in the public, working with business leaders, they get pounded by the business leaders when they do anything more than brush the maggots off of the rotting lies put out by Republicans. And, like anyone else, they get tired of hearing it. They are not like the Publishers of old who would stand up to the business leaders, tell them they are wrong and continue to do good deeds for the benefit of humankind. Advertising dollars are just not there like they used to be. Today, advertising dollars are so rare the publisher and others probably fear each week that they won’t make budget and be forced to further downsize the newspaper. The only hope is to have a dynamic and courageous publisher who is willing to stand up to business leaders. And I am not holding my breath.

    1. Publishers of old had a near-monopolistic business model that insulated them from the worst kinds of financial pressure. Some of course were complete tyrants — Hearst, McCormack, etc. But as competition evolved and public media companies fell prey to the leveraging game and the internet, that insulation was stripped away and the “responsible” publishers decided they had little choice but to be over-mindful of their precarious financial predicament and avoid, whenever possible (i.e. most of the time), irritating likely advertisers and catalyzed partisan groups.

      Bottom line. Don’t hold your breath. The game has changed for good.

  2. Joe Loveland says:

    Brian, do you think the opinion writers at the metro dailies would have been any tougher on a Governor Hatch, if he had won and used the same kicking the can down the road fiscal practices? Is there any element of this that is “we can’t criticize conservatives or they’ll call us the Red Star again,” or is it all about maintaining access to the powerful and avoiding conflict with the powerful.

    In other words, are are the metro daiy editorial writers equal opportunity miquetoasters, or are they especially miquetoast when it comes to Republicans, who for years have been working over the editorial writers like Bobby Knight worked referees?

    1. There’s no way to know, of course. But I’d like to see a sustained public discussion over the ways a local politician’s national profile indemnifies them from … warranted … and persistent criticism by mainstream news organizations. Again, TV news has no standing in this regard at all. MPR makes the calculation to avoid “opinion”, so we’re really only talking the two dailies. But I point to the two papers’ curious treatment of Michele Bachmann’s near daily bursts of grandstanding craziness … which rather than “report” among that day’s news, they routinely file away in one of their blogs.

  3. Jeremy Powers says:

    Been there; done that. Reporter, photographer and minor editor at the Des Moines Register and Mason City Globe-Gazette.

      1. Jeremy Powers says:

        Oh, yeah. I’m building websites, working in my basement in Fridley. The Pillsburys and I are just like this.

  4. Newt says:

    Brian’s ass is chaffing because Pawlenty, once again, is a step quicker and a 1,000 watts brighter than the journalists that cover him and the DFL partisans that hate him.

    He balanced the budget – as required by the state Constitution (thank God) – using federal pork, spending freezes and a few minor cuts. And he did all this while circumventing the media. It’s the first step in right-sizing state government so that 3M, BB, Cargill, Target and Big G can assume again their rightful places as Minnesota’s largest employers.

    1. Jeremy Powers says:

      No, Pawlenty technically balanced the budget through gimmicks, shifts and strapping the school districts with the majority of the real debt. No one should be proud of having done that. What he did should be made illegal. Oh, and who can forget his illegal unallotment scheme. But now the Republicans are going to come in and try to fix what he broke. In many respects, this is justice. By the time they muck up the whole state voters will toss their butts like smoked up cigarettes.

      1. Newt says:

        MN taxpayers have no appetite to pay additional taxes to cover mismanaged public employee pension funds so that 48-year-old bureaucrats can retire comfortably for 40 years.

        The moment of reckoning is here, and when push comes to shove Minnesotans will penalize the AFSCME ass-kissing DFLers.

        The shakeout is about to begin. Palwenty is pushing accountability back to the bloated and selfish bureaucracy. It will be ugly, but worthwhile.

      2. Jeremy Powers says:

        Pawlenty did no such thing. It was all about him. He was the most selfish politician, which is in a sense saying the most selfish person in the state.

  5. I’m left with only a couple questions–
    1) Now that we are nearing the 20-20 hindsight of Gov BridgeFail’s tenure…what thoughts/insights/power might have been gained by the local MSM (Strib, PP, TV stations) greater access to t-paw to offset their years of non-coverage of his continual mis-guided leadership?
    2) Now the MNGOP has severed the Horner hand of the party, can we now officially call the GOP the Whigs?

    1. Editorial suites of highly-leveraged, resource-deprived newspapers breathe a strange, rareified air that restricts normal abilities to concede failure, admit mistakes and change behavior appreciably.

  6. Joe Loveland says:

    I posted this a while back, but it is perfect for this discussion, and one of my favorite local commentaries ever, so I’m posting it again. In this wonderful piece, the St. Paul Pioneer Press’s Jim Ragsdale lets Pawlenty have it with a smirk instead of a snarl:

    Minnesota — broke, a little bloated, and now looking for a new love
    By Jim Ragsdale
    Updated: 05/20/2010 05:58:46 PM CDT

    He goes on long trips without explanation. He comes home and criticizes my appearance, even as he pays greater attention to his own image. Where there once was fondness and love, now all I get is, ‘Your taxes are too high! You’re spending too much! You have to cut back!’

    I hate to say it after seven wonderful years, but I, Minnesota, can avoid the truth no longer. My governor, Tim Pawlenty, is seeing someone else.

    Am I the last to figure this out? My neighbors, particularly, Iowa, said he has been seen there often, giving their presidential voters the affection I once received. Bigshot pundits who are on the make for a new star delight when he trashes me. But I thought that was, you know, just business, and not really serious.

    I admit I have problems. My taxes and spending are on the heavy side — although I’m not as bulky as he likes to say. But hey, I’m Minnesota. I think I carry the weight well. And he knew all this going in back in ’03, when all was kisses and hugs. Why is he dumping me now for slimmer, sexier states?

    Sorry — my bitterness occasionally gets the best of me. Deep breaths — in, out. Now, let me give you the whole sad story.

    Gov. Tim was born and raised in Minnesota. He has lived and studied and worked here his whole life and he seemed to really care about me. We both knew there were things he didn’t like. He’s “red” and I always go “blue” in presidential years. He’s a fiscal conservative and I have a long tradition
    of high taxes and generous services.

    But he was so cute back when he became governor in 2003. He had a charming way of saying he would try to nudge me in his direction, understanding that I was Minnesota, after all, and would never be, say, Texas or Mississippi. And he did just that. He pushed and prodded and battled and got me shaped up pretty good.

    He said he loved my forests and lakes and trees and blue skies, and he was very protective and passionate. Green — good heavens the man was green!

    That’s why I loved him back then, despite our differences, and why voters put him back in office for a second term, beginning in 2007. We were pretty happy for a while longer, at least as far as I knew. I never failed to deliver the goods on walleye opener — how ’bout that 22-incher at Kabetogama on Saturday? — and I know he appreciated that.

    Then, almost overnight, everything changed.

    That bigshot John McCain put him on the V.P. shortlist in 2008, getting him around the nation to red-hot audiences. And right after that, Jan. 20, 2009, happened. A new president — a blue president — took office. Gov. Tim began talking more about national politics and about running for president himself.

    He began wandering. First to Iowa. Then New Hampshire. The South. Even the West. States that were trimmer and more red-hot than me.

    I saw it but I didn’t see it — know what I mean?

    Those floozy states were filling his head with ideas about how great he is, how good-looking and smart and presidential. I couldn’t compete with that. I was broke and a little bloated — just trying to keep home and hearth together — and when he came back, I could tell he no longer had that gleam in his eye.

    I’d display my woods and waters and he’d be on the cell-phone with someone in South Carolina. We’d run into our usual budget problems and all he do is scold me to reduce eligibility here, cut benefits there, slim down all over. “Stop snacking on Local Government Aid!” he’d say. “They’re just empty calories!”

    I am so tired of hearing that.

    I thought of hiring a private investigator. But then I saw the evidence in black and white, from Eastern pundits. They said the only way he can get love from them is to withdraw it from me. It’s right here in the Wall Street Journal — every time he calls me fat and ugly, he wins points with them.

    And trust me, the verbal abuse makes it worse, because when I’m stressed, I tend to binge on the K-12 funding formula.

    Well, I may be dowdy and past my prime. I will always suffer through seasonal cold and hot flashes. But I’m not ignorant. The last thing I need, in the middle of a severe bout of economic recession, is my governor trashing me.

    So I hereby free him to transfer his affections to those red-state red-hots, those governor-grabbing gigolos, those low-tax lovergirls who have turned his head.

    As for me, I’ll survive. I’m getting my budget balanced and I’m having some work done on the out-biennium. But like I said, I’m Minnesota. I’ll always have big bones.

    There are a lot of fish in the political sea, of the blue and red and even purplish variety, who will be darn proud to be seen with me. I wish him well in his quest for national stardom. And I hereby issue this request for proposals: I’m looking for a new Gov to be my true love.

      1. Joe Loveland says:

        My sense is that very few average readers regularly read editorials. Among those who are motivated to read lengthy editorials, most already have their minds made up about Pawlenty.

        With that sweeping caveat, I do think the Pawlenty criticism is apparent to the narrow sub-population of folks who actually read editorials.

        For that audience, I don’t think the cuteness makes the point less apparent. In a world awash with ear piercing jeers, the jest can be mightier than the jeer.

      2. Let me put it this way, the Twin Cities could use a Jon Stewart-like topical news satire show. I’ve had this very conversation with local radio executives … who look at me like I’m the most totally out-of-it rube on the planet. The (younger, better educated and marginally more affluent) demo would seem ideal for any talk-driven station, and there’s no shortage of funny people wandering the streets of this town … who could supply material along the lines of Ragsdale’s piece here … day after day after day. But that would cut in to unique programming like … eight stations of “Christian” politics, all fanatical right-wing talk and Joe Soucheray scoffing at climate change.

      3. 108 says:

        I see a recurring sketch / bit about Governor Dayton. Hijinks ensue during Tourette like outbursts where Mark fires people for either having heart conditions or taking one too many sodas from the staff fridge.

  7. Mike Kennedy says:

    Well, Pawlenty is gone — and I think his career in politics is over unless someone picks him as a VP.

    My prediction is that the state will be as anxious if not more to give Dayton the boot in four years, although his worst instincts are neutered by an opposition party.

    What I find more interesting is all this hand wringing and navel gazing from former and current journalists over whether the media has been hard enough or too soft on Republicans.

    What a howler. With 90 percent of newsroom reporters self described Democrats and liberals, I think plenty of favorable shit got through that portrayed liberal groups and politicians in a positive light.

    And please don’t give me that………uh chicken crap that publishers put a chill on the newsroom.

    I worked at four dailies, one of them the second largest paper in the nation, and I never saw it.

    All my colleagues and J student peers who ranted about the evils of big government and the danger of government power somehow fell in love with it and are positively dreamy about it……and trust it to boot.

    Go figure.

  8. Mike Kennedy says:

    And you’re telling me what. That in 20 years publishers are now putting the big chill on anything anti business and self respecting reporters have to kiss everyone’s ass, including government or just have to kiss Republicans and business leaders asses?

    1. Jeremy Powers says:

      Talk to some journalists at mid-size to large dailies and it is NOTHING like it was 20 years ago. Usually the publisher doesn’t have to put on the chill, usually the “content coordinator” already does that just through assignments. Some of these mid-size dailies can’t put national news on the front page. Look at the Forum Communications papers. In 20 years they have taken over newspapers in northern Minnesota and put a much more conservative bent on them. And what passes for journalism at a lot of newspapers these days is “he said; she said.” No fact checking behind it. So if Michele Bachmann spews more of the delusional stuff that came to her in a dream, no one checks it. The top tax bracket in Minnesota has dropped from 17 percent to 7 percent and the conservatives in this state scream like we want their first born. The conservatives in this state are the ones living in a complete fantasy world – a bunch of nouveau riche who thinks they invented business and the family. They forget they’re the product of affordable education – like you – who did exactly what you were supposed to do, right up to the point where you think you raised yourself up by our own bootstraps and are somehow better than everyone else and that no else has a right to the same things you did growing up.

    2. john sherman says:

      I’ve got a simple, if imperfect, test; look at the last year or two or three of the op-ed page in the strib and count the number of conservative national columnists compared to the number of liberal columnists. I’ll bet that like Meet the Press, the ratio will be somewhere around three to one.

  9. Mike Kennedy says:

    How would you know who did or did not raise themselves up and how much help they got?

    Another liberal Kool Aid drinker who has it all figured out. Why don’t you get your facts straight before commenting on something you know nothing about?

    You think because I went to school — college included — that’s what got me to where I am. It’s a simple as that. What a simple, black and white, easy world you live in.

    Affordable education? Well that contradicts your liberal world view that college is too expensive….doesn’t it?

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      Who but a feral child living on grubs and carrion does not owe a debt to many by the time they reach adulthood? In some way, we all stand on the shoulders of our predecessors. I doubt you’re any exception, Mike. The details hardly matter.

      1. Mike Kennedy says:

        Well, it sounds appealing. I would have loved someone to have paid for all mine.

        Assistance? Absolutely, especially for the ones who have no or little resources. Guaranteed for all? Nope.

        But then I don’t believe college fits all.

      2. The way it works under the hellhole system is “we” all pay for yours. A “common good” concept sorely lacking in Tea Party America. And if college, with “nuancy” literature isn’t your thing, trade schools are an option. A further educated and/or trained workforce. Appalling!

      3. Jeremy Powers says:

        When my daughter was looking at colleges five years ago, she was interested in going to school in Europe. We visited Oxford in England. The cost for her to go was less than it would be for her to go to the University of Minnesota, including room and board. And that was for an American. Brits and European Union students would pay FAR less; less even than Minnesota State. In two generations, America went from having low-cost college, with plenty of help via student loans, grants and GI benefits, to having some of the most expensive colleges in the world. Gee, I don’t suppose low cost college was one of handful of reasons America was the leader in science, technology and innovation from about 1950 to 2000.
        Obviously college is not for everybody. But post-secondary education – vocational, business school, college, apprentice trades – is.

      4. Mike Kennedy says:

        We do agree on that. Post secondary training is for everyone or should be.

        Community colleges (of which I attended) are underrated, as are vocational schools. My oldest stepdaughter attended a business school which helped prepare her for what she does.

        I fully support assistance for those who need it, loans (for pretty much anyone) and grants and scholarships based on both need and academics.

        It’s one area in which I’m more than happy to see my tax dollars go.

  10. Mike Kennedy says:

    I didn’t say I didn’t owe anyone, Jim, but thanks for the input.

    What straw man argument are you trying to perpetuate?

    Did I every deny I ever got any kind of help? No. But to deny and downplay individual initiative, risk and hard work is just bullshit.

  11. Mike Kennedy says:

    Oh, and before I forget.

    As I recall, I’ve supported a flat tax, doing away with the myriad of deductions, credits and other drags on the tax system, and I’ve supported the ideas of the deficit commission.

    Why is it that not one liberal on this board has come out in favor of the deficit commission’s proposals? Because it would involve too much shared sacrifice? Or is it that liberals just don’t want some of their own ox gored?

  12. john sherman says:

    The maddening thing about Pawlenty is that he sticks other people with his bills, whether shuffling the costs of his office off on other agencies or on the larger scale stiffing the local units of government and school districts, and then he unctuously blames the local units for not spending their money wisely and raising taxes.

    Brian, you’re right access whoring is the curse of modern journalism, but even if there were a modern I.F. Stone who was willing to work his way through a couple of thousand pages of a government report issued on a Friday in August to see what the bastards were hiding, his or her report would disappear in the whirl of the twenty-four hour news cycle.

    1. The question of access whoring is probably a little too inside baseball for readers here, but it is, I will continue to argue, profoundly germane to the inability of the mainstream press to properly and REGULARLY report and describe genuinely radical behavior in public officials. A summary of coverage of Pawlenty would give little indication that he was acting any differently than a garden variety Republican.

  13. Karl says:

    Just wait till the Strib’s shiny new editorial writer–a former religion reporter/web designer from out of state–gets settled into her new job, Brian. At least her work will look good online. Or so say her new bosses.

    1. I gave brief thought to applying for that gig … if only for the suitable-for-framing rejection letter. But as a proudly dogmatic, liberal jerk, born and raised here, my pathological fear of staff meetings, group think and politesse in the face of cynical caricatures got the better of me.

    1. Of all the instantly disprovable assertions, the conventional wisdom that “conservatives” have proven themselves better at management of public finances may be the most flagrant “un-fact” of all.

      1. PM says:

        I might consider changing your assertion to one using Republicans/Democrats instead of conservatives/Liberals, only for definitional reasons–was Clinton a liberal? was Bush a conservative? But I think you are absolutely correct that Republicans have not proven themselves to be better economic stewards than democrats.

  14. Mike Kennedy says:

    I posted this earlier in another thread, but I think it is instructive.

    Democratic presidents are better fiscally than Republicans, but that’s not so true of Congress, which actually formalizes the budget.


    I helped my kid write a paper on JFK’s inaugural speech — it’s been 50 years next month. Now here was a guy who could give a speech.

    He seemed to include something that appealed to everyone no matter what party or ideology — how refreshing considering the polarization we’re stuck with now.

  15. Mike Kennedy says:

    No, but I’m sure you’ll tell me………..uh let me guess — conservatives? I figure my odds are terrific on that guess.

    However, you sound like a like a second grader with the who started it first. But I guess that’s where we are today.

    There is no and will be no bipartisanship because you are either with us or with them mentality that permeates today’s political climate.

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