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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

So Simple, Yet So Wrong

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 05/07/05 09:56

By Jay H. Steele

I am on my way to the Mother's Day Walk for Peace in Minneapolis this morning, so I don't have time to post much on this, but check out businessman Ward Eames piece in this morning's Star Tribune. He takes on Pawlenty's latest cheap shot at public schools: the 65% solution. Eames says Pawlenty is totally wrong about school funding. The article is here.
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Prime Minister Brown

Posted: 05/06/05 15:14, Edited: 05/26/13 11:25

by Dave Mindeman

Tony Blair may have won an unprecedented 3rd term as Prime Minister but his ability to effectively govern was the loser on Thursday. Blair's Labour Party lost approximately 100 seats and now have a majority of just over 60 seats (down from 160). While his spin concentrates on the new term as prime minister, Blair will have a host of obstacles to overcome.

Blair was essentially running against himself in this election. The main issue that divides the country is the Iraq War. The Conservative Party, led by Michael Howard, offered no real alternative because they essentially were in lock step agreement with Blair's Iraq policy. They still gained 30 seats in this election, but Mr. Howard will probably step down, as his party has shown disappointment that he offered no competing vision. The main opponents of the war came from the Liberal Democrats -- a smaller, minority party who still are a political force holding about 60 seats in parliament. They cannot be ignored.

Blair's real problem comes from within his own Labour government. The Iraq War has divided his own party and even his own cabinet. The strength of the nation's economy which has continued the deficit reduction policies that fueled the American economy in the '90s, is the only reason Tony Blair is still prime minister. Labourites are reluctant to make wholesale changes in a very successful and popular economic model. The main beneficiary of this adulation has been Treasury chief Gordon Brown. He is widely regarded as Blair's successor. He has been walking a fine line as a loyal cabinet minister in the Blair government, who wants to become the Labour leader and thus Prime Minister.

Blair's "special relationship" with the Bush administration will now be an albatross around his neck. Labour looks at Blair as a lame duck and he will get no allowances for any more foreign entanglements. As one British commentator put it, "The key factor in the campaign was that this time Tony Blair was not an electoral asset. He was becoming a liability".

Sooner or later, it will be Prime Minister Brown
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Can DFL Play Pawlenty's Game?

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 05/06/05 10:41

By Jay H. Steele

The Star Tribune reports that Governor Pawlenty called the DFL tax increase proposal "profoundly stupid" and a "job-killer." Raising taxes on the richest 46,000 in the state as a temporary measure to fix the budget is profoundly stupid? A job killer?

As for the job-killing aspect of the proposal, let the Governor prove it. As Wayne Cox, director of Minnesota Citizens for Tax Justice, said in the same article:

"Pawlenty says this is a job killer? I say 'Prove it,' " Cox said. Pawlenty's budget cuts have resulted in thousands of jobs lost, he said. "We've lost police officers, firefighters, teachers, day-care workers," Cox said. "His approach is the only proven job killer at this point."


Republicans simply have no reasonable response to the economic boom of the Clinton years, when our high tax state was one of the economic leaders in creating jobs. But Pawlenty isn't reasoning; or at least he isn't reasoning about the facts. He is reasoning that if he attacks loudly, quickly, and with loaded phrases guaranteed to get the media's attention, he can keep his party out ahead of the spin game.

How will the DFL respond? Unfortunately it is not enough to be right on the facts. They have to be ready to immediately respond in the media with their own media-savy statements.

They also need to make it clear they have the moral high ground. 46,000 rich Minnesotans are asked to pay a short-term tax hike so 30,000 working poor Minnesotans can stay on Minnesota Care and we can fund education and fund transportation. If we play this right and smart, it a clear win for us.
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