This week has been quite exciting what with the ongoing state government ?shutdown? and a Britney Spears concert on Wednesday night. [We don’t know, though there has been speculation, whether Governor Dayton and Spears are on the same meds or not.] Regardless, some exciting developments have been occurring in the North Star State that I want to catch you up on. One of the stellar reporters on the Star Tribune staff discovered on Friday that the state websites are shutdown. [They’ve been down since July 1st]. We discovered that if the Governor’s mansion doesn’t have a housekeeper it will collapse into a pile of rubble. Finally, the intrepid WCCO commentator John Rash has analyzed how the Dayton Shutdown has affected the state’s ‘brand.’ Quite a week, when you consider we are supposed to be lying in waterlogged ditches and bellowing to the heavens for relief from this dastardly Republican-caused calamity.
The Black and Orange of It All!
“Even the websites have been shutdown.” This is the first line in an article by the Star Tribune’s finest political reporter, Rachel Stassen-Berger, ‘This (state) website "has been suspended,” July 8, 2011. Of course, the websites have been either closed or are not being updated since last Friday, but Stassen-Berger either just noticed it or couldn’t find anything more thrilling to write about. [Not a good sign when your preeminent political reporter just stumbled upon a story eight days later.] Regardless, we Minnesotans will have to suffer the infernal torture of having websites that haven’t been refreshed.
Stassen-Berger reports this, “The Minnesota Historical Society's site treats visitors to a big black pop-up that says "CLOSED" and informs that historic sites are shutdown but some parts of the website are open before they move on. Still, many of the pages' banners have a (sic) orange "closed" sticker to remind surfers of the lacks.”
Several questions arise from this part of the story. First, is it of paramount importance that the Minnesota Historical Society, which provides historical references, which are things in the past, shuts down its website due to the inability to provide timely updates? Second, how many hours did tech people log following the shutdown to create a black screen ominously reminding us that they are shut down? Finally, isn’t this just a blatant political message and by using black screen and orange closed stickers they are really politicking instead of giving us information? These are all questions that naturally occur to a critical mind, but apparently not to a StarTribune reporter.
Propping Up the Governor’s Shanty
From Minnesota Public Radio, July 8, 2011, ‘Republicans critical of Dayton keeping chef, housekeeper,’ they report:
“Republicans say the governor's chef earns $45,000 a year and his housekeeper makes $35,000. The DFL and the governor's office say Dayton is paying for his chef out of his own pocket and the housekeeper is needed to maintain the nearly 100-year-old residence.”
Much has been made of this story. It was on Drudge and reported at many conservative websites on “the internets,” as President Obama calls it. But let’s explore the absurdity of this a little more deeply. Dayton’s first excuse for keeping these two vital state assets working is he is paying the chef out of his own pocket. I really doubt that. For a man who swore up and down as a candidate that he wouldn’t shut the government down, this doesn’t fly. He didn’t get his way, shut it down and so really doesn’t have much credibility. If Dayton said this water was wet, I think we’d have to verify that in writing and with scientific analysis. [It could be hydrochloric acid or liquid nitrogen for all we know.] Dayton is the kind of guy who hides his money in South Dakota trusts safe from his own tax increases. So, this is a man without a scintilla of honor.
Second, why the hell would he need a housekeeper just because the governor’s mansion is a hundred years old? My house is nearly 100 years old and we feel quite safe leaving it unattended for a couple of weeks at a time. There is no need for a housekeeper to come in and shake out the linens in order to keep it standing erect.
Dayton and the Democrats’ suggestion that a housekeeper is needed to maintain the structure makes it sound like the thing is a shanty that needs daily propping up to keep it standing. Besides that, you would need maintenance staff to repair or shore up things, not a housekeeper to pick up Dayton’s undies off the floor. This kind of ridiculous argument should be thrown in their lying, deceitful faces. Are we really supposed to fall for this kind of nonsense?
The Brand is the Thing
Finally, John Rash of the Rash Report on WCCO radio gives his weekly progressive/socialist perspective at the Star Tribune. (Something the Strib already has in abundance.) This week, he calls up four advertising executives to ask about how the Minnesota ‘brand’ is suffering during Dayton’s shutdown. [For those of you standing, please take a seat as I’m sure you will be as shocked as I am.] All four advertising executives believe Minnesota’s brand has taken a hit.
This is what’s considered insightful commentary and bold reporting in the Twin Cities.
"These things leave indelible marks, especially within Minnesota, as far as our ability to trust," said Tom Moudry, CEO of Martin Williams. "And when it comes to a brand, trust is one of the most important dynamics. People may or may not like a brand, but they have to trust it, and the damage has been done there. An inability of a brand to do its core competency at its lowest level is damaging." ‘Shutdown tarnishes Minnesota’s national image,’ July 9, 2011 Star Tribune.
All four of these advertising exec’s are probably salivating over a fat government contract to ‘fix’ our brand problems supplying a nice, lucrative wad of cash to their bottom lines. We are being told that Ole Crazy Eyes Dayton’s little shutdown experiment isn’t just harming the state’s reputation nationally, but undercuts faith by Minnesota residents in their government. Our “core competency” has been sullied.
We knew the state was in deep doo doo which is why we elected so many Republicans in the first place. Dayton won the gubernatorial race with a mighty 43% of the vote, which obviously gives a loon like him the impression he has an unshakeable mandate.
However, Rash doesn’t believe Dayton is the problem. He carefully chose his ‘sources’ for this story. This piece is supposed to bash the GOP and not the governor. His narrative is intended to explain how government is what makes a state great. He ends this piece with this:
“But, he said, "you can't really create a 'good life' if you don't have a government. ... Part of what's behind a great brand is a great story. Maybe we've lost sight of what that story is here. We don't want that story to be that our government can't figure out how to solve problems." This quote is from a former colleague of Rash’s from Campbell Mithun, the CEO, Steven Wehrenberg. Wehrenberg is arguing that only government can create a ‘good life.’ Without government, you just don’t have a thing. Government is your nursemaid, your subsidizer, your patron, your friend, your helper, your guide, and most of all that which gives you meaning in life. In spite of the fact that we all just get up in the morning, go about our daily work, have fun with family and friends, and hardly ever need government to tell us what to do, Rash wants to make government a vital part of our identity. This kind of bizarre thinking has increasingly pervaded political thought throughout both parties.
As you can see, there has been no great catastrophe in Minnesota with Dayton’s Shutdown. That is driving the collectivists absolutely nuts. Political leaders run for office because they want to make a difference. That means they want to change things. To change things they need power and status. We are coming to realize the amount of power and status we have afforded them is out of proportion to the good they actually do. The political class of this state, and this nation for that matter, are not vital to our existence. They are not the fundamental glue which holds us together. We don’t rise and fall on their ability to control us.
We need to internalize and communicate this lesson.
Crossposted at Looktruenorth.com