One Brief Shining Moment

“Don’t let it be forgot

That once there was a spot,

For one brief, shining moment

That was known as Unallot.”

Governor Pawlenty claims that he has the power to unallot billions of public dollars absent an unexpected emergency.  If that is true, Minnesota effectively has a democratic monarchy. That is, we have an elected head-of-state with no fiscal check from the other elected branch of government.

“Unallot! Unallot!

I know it gives a person pause,

But in Unallot, Unallot

Those are the legal laws.”

Camelot movie posterConservatives don’t seem to be given pause by Pawlenty’s unprecedented, unconstitutional application of unallotment powers. But before they get too giddy, they should think ahead a bit. How would they feel about:

  • … a Governor Bakk or Rybak unilaterally unalloting billions from Republican districts to save funding for DFL districts?
  • … a Governor Kelliher holding unallotment threats over Republican legislators’ heads to secure swing votes to pass her legislative agenda?
  • … a Governor Thiessen unalloting funding for conservative-backed projects he considers wasteful, such as abstinence education, subsidies for businesses, or freeway improvements to serve the Republican exurbs?

“In short, there’s simply not

A more congenial spot

For happily-ever-aftering than here

in Unallot!”

Indeed, during this one shining moment Unallot is a pretty glorious place for House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, GOP Chair Tony Sutton and their merry band. But if they were capable of true vision, they would cease happily-ever-aftering and join the legal challenge to Governor Pawlenty’s unallotment power grab.

Though Pawlenty is their guy for a few more months, they should remember he is a disinterested lame duck busily packing his UHaul for Iowa. He won’t have their back much longer. Moreover, Minnesota’s demographic trends make it possible that even the lame DFL Party may seat a governor one of these years.

And something tells me that a Governor Marty with unallotment powers would be every bit as bloodcurdling to Republicans as a Governor Pawlenty with unallotment powers is to the 52% of us who didn’t vote for him in 2006.

– Joe Loveland (Guest Post)