Friday, May 4, 2012

Memo re: Minnesota's 2011-12 legislative session

Minneapolis, Minnesota

We Minnesotans have always been passive aggressive with each other. Beginning with statehood, we had two state constitutions because both parties at the time refused to sign on with each other. No surprise now if it feels like every bill passed by a legislature controlled by one party is vetoed by a governor from the other. My optimist angel says the legislature should carry on until next week's mandated deadline; my pragmatist angel says "shut the session down tomorrow." Present circumstances are better than intra-state civil war with real bullets – but my head screams "make them stop!"

Kurt Zellers, the GOP speaker of the state house, is a particularly interesting study of ineffectiveness. Regardless of his position on any issue, he seems not to understand that when accepting a leadership position, his "positions" are no longer all about him – he needs to anticipate, get out in front, try to work with all constituents; in essence, he needs to lead and take whatever salvos come his way. He had some effect as a low-profile back-bencher but, unfortunately, he is miscast as a legislative leader.

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