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Sunday, June 04, 2006

When a 28 Vote Majority Becomes a 2 Vote Majority

Think back to 2003, Governor Pawlenty's first year in office. Republicans held a 28 seat majority in the House and were down by 5 votes in the Senate. Governor Pawlenty – and Republicans in the House – eliminated a 400 million dollar deficit without raising taxes. Not only did Minnesota's economy rebound, but tax revenues exceeded expectations. Can you spell “surplus”?

Nothing that the Governor has signed since undercuts this accomplishment.

In 2004, the DFL Senate returned from the Daschle School of Obstructionism and blocked everything the Republicans tried. They forced a special session in an effort to thwart a government shutdown and a government employee strike. Then they blamed Republicans for “not getting anything done.”

In the 2004 elections, the DFL benefited by winning back 12 seats in the House.

For the last two years, 2005-2006, the Republican majority in the House has been a slim 2 votes. Their deficit in the Senate slipped to 9 votes. And, Governor Pawlenty has accepted more moderate bills.

For those frustrated that Pawlenty gave in to any form of a new tax – from cigarettes to a Hennepin County ball park – I share your frustration. I wish the Governor was able to do more with his bully pulpit and shame the DFL back into their dens. However, let's give credit where credit is due. Last year the DFL tried to pass a $400 million dollar tax hike that Governor Pawlenty prevented. The difference between Pawlenty's last two years and a potential Hatch administration is huge – and expensive.

But, sometimes politics requires politics. Governor Pawlenty simply does not have the congressional support for his agenda that he enjoyed during the first two years of his term. A swing from a 28 vote majority in the House down to 2 cannot be overlooked. With support in Congress, Pawlenty is able govern conservatively. With a closely divided House and a DFL Senate, Pawlenty is forced to compromise – perhaps more than most of us would like.

Clearly, the key to more conservative legislation in Minnesota is to put more conservatives in the legislature – not to “punish” the ones that are there.

I encourage grass roots conservatives – and Sue Jeffers – to abandon any attempts to fracture the party. Nothing would make the DFL happier and nothing would lead them to power quicker. If we want our Governor to sign conservative bills, we need to give him a legislature with enough strength in numbers to write them.

Remember 1992. Nationally Republicans sat on their hands because President Bush 41 broke a single promise not to raise taxes. While it was stupid to break this promise, it was more idiotic to sit back and allow the election of a President who would sign the largest tax hike in history – and do nothing to thwart the growing threat of terrorism.

While some may enjoy the satisfaction of hurting the Republicans that didn't do everything we expected, the risk of their defeat will be more devastating. A DFL victory in November will undermine the good that has already been accomplished. Think closely about everything conservatives have accomplished in recent years – holding the line on taxes, a woman's right to know, the right to protect oneself by earning a gun permit, the defense of marriage, accountability in schools, judges who uphold rather than make law – all is at risk if we allow frustration from the past session defeat our will to strengthen the Republican ranks in St. Paul.


Blogger Dan said...

Jeffers isn't out to "fracture the party" She's trying to return power in the party to the delegates, and let the people have their say. People before Politics. There is no point in a Republican victory to wind up with a governor who runs to the left.

6/05/2006 12:24 AM  
Blogger G-man said...


I think you have missed the point of my post. Our best hope for a Republican governor, for ANY Republican governor to govern conservatively is to put more conservatives in Congress. Putting more conservatives in Congress is also our best hope for strengthening our voice in government.

Even Ronald Reagan was forced to accept considerable liberal spending because he lacked sufficient support in Congress.

Regardless of her intentions, if Jeffers is successful in pulling Republican voters and activists toward her campaign, she is fracturing the party. If her targeting the Governor is successful at diminishing his support among Republicans, she is fracturing the party. No matter how you cut it, Jeffers' does more to help Hatch than she does to help the conservative cause.

As conservative activists, we fail if we put all are hope and expectations into one office. It would be nice to win the governorship then expect the governor to steer the barge in St. Paul to a hard right. But, it won't happen if the DFL control the oars.

6/05/2006 9:03 AM  

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