Denny McNamara (R-Hastings) doesn't like being blindsided.
At the Pioneer Press, Rachel Stassen-Berger reports in Dayton vetoes environment, economic development bills:
"It seems the governor's version of compromise is his way or the highway. Moving forward from this veto, which blindsided us, will be difficult," said McNamara, R-Hastings.
McNamara neglects to acknowledge the inconvenient fact of nonpartisan opposition to the final product. Perhaps those who ignore news reports of citizen opposition to the ag and environment bill--almost entirely because of language on the environmental side--can claim to be "blindsided."
Nor can earlier warnings matter to a fellow who is so blindsided by the veto. An article in the Star Tribune from April bearing the headline House GOP legislators, Dayton spar over environmental bill and subhead, House Republicans are using budget bill to push policies seen as more business-friendly would of course never lead anyone to suggest that Dayton might consider a veto.
Admittedly, a chair who savored eliminating the Citizens Board of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) likely doesn't much think that citizens' petitions, emails, and visits to the Governor's Residence have a role in the decision-making process.
Blindsiding is a huge ethical problem on Planet McNamara. This is the dude who wanted three-week notices prior to discretionary environmental reviews--a reflex action after the DNR decided to conduct a review of the hydrological consequences of converting pinelands to potato fields. (This provision in the final bill was cited as item #2 in Dayton's veto letter).
Surely, that individual members of the family that owns the potato company buying the pinelands had given generously to Representative McNamara's campaign had nothing to do with his fear of being blindsided. We looked at that back story earlier in the year in Hot potato politics: Offutt family members gave Representative Denny McNamara campaign cash and No small potatoes: Dept of Natural Resources requires EAW for pinelands-to-spud-fields project.
As for the wailing and gnashing of teeth over the delay in granting legislative relief for Minnesota's poultry industry, suffering the aftershocks of an avian flu pandemic, it's not as if the House Republicans weren't cautioned about the hazards of putting all their eggs in this basket. Veteran Forum News Service reporter Don Davis notes in With more budget vetoes, preparations begin for partial government shutdown in Minnesota:
Dayton said it was "very, very difficult" to veto the agriculture-environment bill because he supports $19 million for farmers dealing with avian flu and establishing specific requirements for buffers around state water. . . .
As the session was winding down, Rep. David Bly, DFL-Northfield, several times tried to get the House to pass avian flu funding to help farmers repopulate flocks and to receive mental help assistance as a stand-alone bill instead of one that wrapped together hundreds of agriculture and environment issues. Republicans opposed him.
Moreover, the suggestive title of an earlier Stassen-Berger and Bill Salisbury article at the PiPress, Minnesota legislators hit deal by leaving out the man who had to sign it, implies that blindsiding is simply all in the game-yo:
Standing in the foyer of his Tudor-style St. Paul residence a week ago Friday, his tired staff and commissioners around him, Gov. Mark Dayton waited to hear from the legislative leaders who had thwarted him all year.
Dayton, Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk had spent five days ensconced in the mansion trying to agree on how to spend $42 billion.
Unable to reach a deal, with only 90 hours left in the year's session, Bakk and Daudt decided to go it alone.
"I haven't had a chance to pursue with them why they felt the need to do that. But they did," Dayton said that Friday night. . . .
While trying to negotiate an education compromise, Daudt and Bakk were also saving other measures. House and Senate specialists on state government funding, environment funding and jobs budgets were stymied.
Leadership stepped in.
"We just helped them get to conclusion for the most part. We didn't order them: 'You have to do this or you have to that,' " Daudt said. . . .
Deals were cut. Among the provisions slipped into bills: . . .
-- Abolishing the 48-year-old Citizens' Board of the Pollution Control Agency. Dayton vetoed that budget bill Saturday, saying it would destroy environmental protections.
Perhaps the word McNamara was groping for is "outflanked" rather than "blindsided." While neither term honors the victim with strategic acumen, the degree of cluelessness in the former is far less than that implied by the latter.
An admission of this universally acknowledged truth might well salvage the hash browns of McNamara's dignity as well as identify as starting point for renewed negotiations. We hardily recommend it to the gentleman from Dakota County.
Photo: Denny McNamara (R-Hastings).
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