Mark Dayton has had a full career, and is Governor now, but it’s not all that arguable that to this point he’s not demonstrated the qualities of someone who should take up politics as a vocation. And that’s as much a compliment as is it’s not a compliment. We know by now he’s kind of a nice man with good intentions. But he’s not terribly leaderly and has no appearance of formidability. He’s not dynamic at the podium or in crowds, with no evidence there are nimble routes from his mind to his mouth. Which is to say, he doesn’t have a skill set that serves him, the public, or the job that well. Also…he’s a bit old. Superficially, I see those wrinkles and gray hair and I see grampa napping on the couch. I don’t see energy.
This would be disqualifying under most circumstances. A candidate with these flaws probably wouldn’t be a candidate. Dayton didn’t actually deserve the DFL nomination in 2010, having washed out of his senate seat. But he had some good will and money left. Smartly deployed, this was enough to elbow a couple decent candidates aside to secure the nomination. And then he ‘beat’ Tom Emmer (ahem).
This ought to be the makings of a farce, IE, something comparable to the Ventura years….but it’s not. Dayton has distinguished himself with steadiness. And now, he seems to be that person who properly sets course for the party and sanctions misbehavior.
Look, I’m conservative simpatico, so I know there’s a decent complaint to be made about Dayton’s bewilderment over the warehouse / tractor repair tax, etc. But what ya gonna do, it is what it is with one party government. PPACA / MnSure: same. His gamesmanship during the shutdown, which was in his first year, was awkward. But he’s moved on.
The economy in Minnesota is very good. Dayton and the DFL got their (modest) income tax hike on already high taxed high earners, and the sky hasn’t fallen. The state budget is balanced, and looks good structurally going forward. This settles an argument that went on in this state for about 15 years. Dayton was ballsy, and he won the argument. I’m at peace with this.
I have no idea if Dayton was for marriage equality 10 years ago, but he didn’t screw around in 2010 when he campaigned or in 2013 when it was clear there would be a bill.
In 1989 I had an academic quarter where I was a clerical intern for a rural DFLer in the house. About 5 DFLers, all men about 50, used to congregate in this guy’s office at the SOB. Very jocular, lots of shit talk.
Superficially, it didn’t seem like these guys had a lot of respect for Rudy Perpich. The F’n governor this, the F’n governor that. Thing sis though, Rudy Perpich was the boss. I have some sense Mark Dayton has ascended to that sort of pedestal.