To be honest, Republicans should give their grudging respect and admiration to the DFL in both houses of the Legislature for leveraging their majorities into some kick-ass legislative productivity.
The session just started on February 5. Today is February 28, and we have already seen the first-ever override of a Pawlenty veto, and on a $6+ billion tax increase no less (while the cat was away chairing the National Governors Association meeting. The timing was brilliant; what was he going to do, come back to Saint Paul or sit at the head table in Washington, D.C. with egg on his face while Minnesota burned? Either way, he was, pardon the expression, screwed). The Senate didn't even need any Republicans to vote for the veto override due to their veto-proof majority, but they got two to stick it to "Governor No New Taxes" anyway! This achievement alone is going to jack up the enthusiasm in DFL BPOUs statewide from now until November, but the cherry on top was putting a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that puts appropriations for natural resources and the arts where they belong, safe from the inconvenient vagaries of representative government.
The pork-barrel bonding bill may top $1 billion, about equal to the anticipated budget deficit, a virtually unthinkable tab until this year. And transportation commissioner Carol Molnau will likely join Pawlenty's former education commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke as legislative road kill, thanks to some skillful politicization (with the help of gobs of earned media in TV and newspapers) of the I-35W bridge collapse.
The DFL is showing the rest of us how to get things done in Saint Paul: get the majority, make the minority party governor irrelevant, and take care of business. "Reaching across the aisle" is for wimps. Or as Rep. Ron Erhardt (R-Edina, soon to be DFL-Edina?) so eloquently added insult to injury, "Tell the people who told you to call [to tell me to vote to uphold the Governor's veto] to go f— themselves and that they are full of s—." And if you can demoralize the Republican base for the rest of the session, you could very well keep (or expand) the majorities in November and it will start all over again in 2009 — which is a budget year!
North Star Liberty has obtained a double-secret list of DFL legislative priorities, for which the transportation bill merely paved the way. (Eat your heart out, Minnesota Democrats Exposed!) Now that's how to run a legislative majority: tell the minority to go f— themselves!
TOP SECRET DFL LEGISLATIVE PRORITIES FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE SESSION:
- Make tobacco a controlled substance, legalize marijuana, and repeal all statewide smoking bans
- Declare Minnesota a "sanctuary state," and grant state funding for free liability insurance to illegal aliens
- Repeal the constitutional amendment requiring a balanced biennial budget (too much of a restraint on spending)
- Replace the I-494/694 beltway with a light rail line and bike trail
- "The State of Minnesota Bans Guns Within Its Borders Act"
- Reinstate an autonomous state school board, with the president of the teachers union as its chair; require homeschooling parents to join the union
- Replace the current House and Senate with a unicameral legislature based on Senate districts (the House just gets in the way); convert the House chamber and offices into a new Minnesota Department of Peace
- Get Jason Lewis and the Northern Alliance Radio Network off the air by enacting the Fairness Doctrine for talk radio stations in the state
- Increase the minimum wage and provide free health insurance for all, funded by a "maximum gross income" tax on the "rich"
- Enact "steps and lanes" and grant tenure for legislators (think of all the money we won't be spending on campaigns and elections); index the legislative per diem to inflation
- Lobby Congress for a state government bail-out bill in the hypothetical event that some unnamed state goes bankrupt due to private industry and most citizens not receiving welfare or a government paycheck leaving the state