Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Governor Tim Pawlenty is making most Democrats, some Republicans and Minnesotans all across the state very, very angry and frustrated. Some are filled with rage at his antics. There are getting to be a lot of posts on Facebook that reflect that anger. I myself wrote such a post. I meant it figuratively, as a metaphor for the worst governor Minnesota has ever had, yet there were some who took me literally. This was most notably Luke Hellier on MDE (Minnesota Democrats Exposed). That blog, as most of us know, is dedicated to making democrats look bad. Hellier, and previously Brodcrap, will take the least little innocent item they can find about any democrat in the political arena and blow it all out of proportion with misrepresentations and gross exaggerations.

Shoud democrats accept this? Most of us are pacifists and against war, but if someone tries to destroy our home and our families, won't we defend ourselves? Won't we defend our homes and our families?

We won't lower ourselves to MDE's level. We might, however, express ourselves with words. And we will fight all the way in the legislature. Our current democratic legislators are doing a great job in fighting against Pawlenty's relentless attack on the poor, the homeless, the downtrodden, the disabled and the veterans. Many Republicans have joined them this time. Minnesotans will not stand by and allow the Pawlentys of this world to victimize the defenseless.

Should our blogs and posts include hate toward Pawlenty? In a perfect world, probably not. Did we hate Hitler? Did we hate Hussein? Do we hate evil? And what is evil, anyway? As I recall, someone once said "as you do it to the least of these my brethern, you do it to me." Should we not come to the rescue of those who are trampled upon?

A previous post on this blog was ill received by many. Some applauded me. Some agreed. All this shows me is that people are fed up with the antics of Governor Veto.

I saw another post on Facebook today that reflected this anger toward Pawlenty. Here's what it says:

Pawlenty says he will shoot down bonding bill.
Pawlenty chided DFL legislators and said he would veto the entire bonding bill.
Source:Politics in Minnesota
Published:2010-02-23 05:15:33 GMT

Gretchen:  so much for 21,000 jobs. Send them to use their ingenuity, just like the poor, sick, old & young...

Dave:  Anybody offer to shoot down Pawlenty? Gawd what a loser and an ASS!

This is like the experience that Henry II of England had centuries ago. He had a priest named Thomas Beckett. The two did not get along at all. Beckett did things that made Henry very angry and frustrated. Henry blurted out, "Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?" Of course he did not think that anyone would take him up on it. He just spat out what he was thinking. Three knights, however, took him at his word and eliminated the priest. Henry was astounded.

The moral is that we need to be careful what we say and what we write, just to cover our asses, in case someone thinks we really want someone dead, when that is not the case.

Going further, is Pawlenty evil? Is his budget evil? Is the way he thinks evil? Is his behavior evil? Some think so. Others think that the word evil has no place in politics or policy discussions. Yet when the decisions of one man destroys the lives of others, what are we to think? Are we to let it slide on by? Or are we to stand up and fight against a wrong? Do we revolt? Do we portray our indignities in verbal and written word? Do we stand by and do nothing? Or would that be a great evil?

I asked about this on a particular forum and encouraged reader comments. The responses were divided.

Here's what Mark Dayton recently said on his Facebook wall:

Here’s more of the evil in Gov. Pawlenty’s budget. $3M cut for people with serious mental illness. $1.2M cut for mental health care for children. $37M cut for long-term care, including nursing homes. Reduced hours for personal care attendants for people with disabilities. Thousands of the most vulnerable Minnesotans will suffer, while Tim protects the rich from paying their fair share of taxes. It’s disgraceful.

Many of his Facebook friends agreed with him. Many others did not. Here's some of the responses:

I agree! This is DISGUSTING! God help us if gets into office of any kind ever again.

Good god! I just want to scream!!! Has Tim no empathy in his spirit? God help us if he ever makes national politics! I work with clients who have SPMI and this is totally unethical, unmoral! Something needs to be done to prevent this? Can the state sue the governor or clients with Mental Illness? Can the ACLU become involved? He has breached his legal authority! This is pure evil. Couldn't agree more! Ouch!

I'm surprised that Pawlenty thought it was reasonable to release a budget that doesn't balance, and had the chutzpah to include corporate tax cuts despite the budget deficit.

This is disgusting. This is not what the people need. Is there anything we can do to stop this?

Tim Pawlenty is the worst governor that Minnesota has ever had the misfortune to have! He just doesn't care at all about our state's most vulnerable people.

Disgraceful doesn't begin to describe how horrible that budget is. It's unthoughtful and Shameful. The sad thing is, many Minnesota residents and Americans, country wide, support him with out any thought to those that are suffering "because of his hands."

All I can do is hope there is karma. Perhaps there is, in the form of Sarah Palin.

It's treacherous to demonize either poverty, mental illness OR fiscal restraint. I don't think "evil" is an appropriate word to use in a fiscal debate - it is an example of how we work ourselves into partisan gridlock again and again with inflammatory rhetoric and intractable positions. The problems you identify are very serious.

"Evil" doesn't have a place in my conversation on this topic. I am counting on you to model the civil and substantive policy discussion that we need to restore in MN.

Sen Dayton, you had my vote for primary 100% wrapped up, until I read this post, "evil"... I am tired of all this back and forth. I work in the Mental Health field, even the clients understand that we are in tough timex... we can disagree with each other and still not be, "evil."

As a public defender, I will tell you, this will result in more paranoid schizophrenics and others on your streets, untreated, unmedicated and harming themselves and others. This is a moral issue, but it is also a public safety issue.

So far I have not seen a single client that has lost or will lose services due to the GAMC cut... and I doubt this will lead to any cuts in actual services either, it will simply move the burdon on to less efficient providers/means. I am not saying I agree with or like these cuts, I don't... and in the end they will cost the tax payers more and will produce no savings... but the Governor is not evil and his actions are not evil...

I get your point about rhetoric, but Pawlenty truly brings out the worst in aggrevation. So I would like to add "pernicious self promotion" to TPaw's adjectives. Climbing over the backs of the most vulnerable. Wow.

I'm with you on the "evil" Felix. Talk about pathetic hate mongering. There's more than one idea of how to save the world. What arrogance to think your ideas, even if right, are the only ones with merit.

My favorite Cog Psy Professor used to point out the simple fact that everyone is usually wrong about 90% + of time (to some degree)... I have been training myself to not use the words, "hate" and "evil" so much. I also try to refer to people with respect, whether it's SEN Dayton for GOV Pawlenty... ,"TPaw" is not appropriate for addressing the Governor of Minnesota... IMHO.

Societies going back to the Elizabethan Poor Laws in England and further in history have shown that depending on the "goodness" of people's hearts (charities) does not provided sustained, reliable and even often dignified service to these populations. It is a myth that charities can do it all or even always do it better. Don't get me wrong I am all for them, but to depend on them as a foundation does not at all secure a "right" to dignified, sustained, equitable service.

I agree with Mark, it's disgraceful!!!!!

You are missing the point... the Governor is not, "evil" nor is he acting maliciously... and I dare say his defenders could write a litany of how his budget will help people to achieve healthier and happier lives. I am sure if we google around we could find a forum ripe with people applauding the wisdom, kindness, and vision of the Governors budget… *wink* equally I would not label our Governor good either… he is just a man that has his own beliefs and his vision for a better world.

Is Pawlety a sociopath? He does these cuts without the slightest hint of conscience. As progressives we need to hit these jerks where they live. If he is trying to appeal to the fundamentalist base or the libertarians they should read the quote below. I am not born again or fundamentalist but here goes. A new testament quote from Christ; 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was ahungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. ... 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee ahungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.  -- Matthew 25:41-46

To put it nicely, I will say that TPaw is not anyone I would want for a friend, a mentor or a governor. No, he doesn't deserve my respect, even if he is the current governor. He certainly didn't get elected by popular vote. He has been outrageously disrespectful to the poor and the downtrodden of Minnesota. So if he gets disrespect in return, it's because what goes around comes around. The plain truth is that he doesn't care at all about the segment of society who needs the state's help the most. May the roof fall in on his cactus.

People need to understand the philosophy of conservatives. It is that government isn't supposed to work, it will never work and they appoint people to posts in the government bureaucracy who make sure it doesn't work. It is part of their agenda. In addition to that they are fooling even their supporters. Those supporters are delusional. They think these guys actually save them tax dollars. WAKE UP! They raise taxes by mass deception. When the funding doesn't come from state or federal sources local sales taxes go up, school mil rates go up to compensate, etc. The property owners with no kids in school end up paying for the educational budget by higher real estate taxes, etc. I hope Mark is progressive enough to call it like it is. The conservatives are on the public payroll as much as or more so than the liberals. Why do they keep running for office and get fat from our tax dollars. Do conservatives think these public officials are going to budget themselves right out of a job? When have you heard of a conservative voting down a pay raise for themselves while still in office? Tell me again how they have our pocket book and savings in mind. Tell me again how their policies are not inflationary. ARE CONSERVATIVE SUPPORTERS THAT STUPID?

Well, we now know ignorance and hate trancend party lines. Disgusting... I can only say that I pity you both. Healthy people leave, so I am leaving now. Someone mentioned the word, “disgraceful” a few posts back… indeed, it does apply… but not to the Governor. I weep for my party tonight. Last I checked ignorance was not progressive...

I would like to point something out. Over many decades conservatives have resorted to bigotry, hatred, fear mongering, name calling, lying and much more. As progressives hand liberals we have been called communists, fag lovers, socialists, traitors, unpatriotic, consorting with the enemy and much worse. To call this figurehead of a governor evil is far less than we have been labeled by the conservative right. If one does evil one is evil. If there were a litmus test for evil and unsympathetic policies and behavior the majority of conservative republicans would pass. We as progressives have been too nice to the competition over the years. Progressives are not as uncouth as the "right." The conservatives and neo-cons have defined the public forum as a battleground. We cannot meet on the field of battle without armor.

I agree with you. Also, I want to point out that Mark did not call Pawlenty himself evil. He said there was evil in his budget. What is the nature of good? What is the nature of evil? Is evil the failure to do good? If someone walked past someone lying on the ground bleeding, or starving, or half dead, and just left him lying there to die, is that an act of evil? I would say that it is. Thus Pawlenty displays evil behavior. On the other hand, no person is 100% good or 100% bad. Most of us fall somewhere in between. It appears, however, that the best we can say about the current governor is that he lacks a conscious. He lacks the concept of what compassion and empathy are. He lacks a sense of what goodness is.

February 17 at 4:29pm · Kathy Drewes Strom Governor Pawlenty has cut services and benefits for the poorest in our state every year since he came into office. He has also added out of pocket co-pays for prescriptions and some health care for people on Medical Assistance. He has cut many people from Minnesota Care and plans to cut more. He has cut GMAC for many. He cut dollars for HCMC - one of the best hospitals for emergency care. He has cut food stamp supports and there is talk of cutting more this year. He has cut dollars for education, which could have serious repercussions as our youth become adults. He has increased tuition in our State Colleges and the University of Minnesota. He has increased fees for such things as renewing your drivers license, getting a fishing license, etc. And the list goes on. However, he has “found” money”—sometimes after the legislature has closed -- for pet highway projects that were not scheduled to be started yet. (3 of them in the most affluent area of our state.) He has protected the wealthiest from tax hikes even though our state is in dire straits financially. And, he is proposing more tax breaks for businesses. I find it difficult to watch as the poorest and the most vulnerable people in our state are once more being targeted to balance the budget. I, for one, can hardly wait for a change in the Governor’s Office.

I think "evil" is precisely the right word for a budget like that. It makes me wonder what Governor Pawlenty really knows about "real life." Maybe he has been rubbing shoulders with the elite for so long that he has lost his compassion for humanity.

Mark Dayton then responds on the next post:
I see that my use of the word “evil” to describe Gov. Pawlenty’s budget proposal has aroused some controversy. These honest disagreements are one of the great features of our democracy!
The dictionary defines "evil" as "profoundly immoral or malevolent." Or "harmful or tending to harm." I stand by that categorization of Gov. Pawlenty's cutting money from nursing homes, medical care to the poor, and mental health services for those most in need, while protecting tax breaks for the rich.
One commentator admonished me to run “a positive campaign.” I'll run a positive campaign about what I intend to do FOR the people of Minnesota as Governor; but I cannot be positive about what I see being done TO people under current policies. As I travel around our state, the stories I hear about the devastation being caused to the lives of good Minnesotans are horrifying to them and appalling to me.
That’s why I’m running for Governor: to bring about major changes in present state policies and priorities, and to lead Minnesota in a different, better direction. I respect those who honestly disagree with me – again, that’s democracy! There are other candidates for them. For those who believe our state is headed in the right direction, the leading Republican candidates are proposing to continue in that direction: protect the tax loopholes that allow the wealthiest Minnesotans to avoid paying their fair share of taxes and cut another $5-7 Billion from the state’s budget.
I say what I mean; I mean what I say; and, as Governor, I will do what I say I’m going to do. I am running because I believe this state’s future greatness depends upon real change and honest solutions to tough problems. I offer straight talk and real answers. You get to decide, if I’m for you.

Shortly thereafter, Mark Dayton gave a speech to AFSCME members at their Day on the Hill. He speaks out against evil and emphatically states that when he is governor, these things won't happen to the poor and downtrodden of Minnesota. This is the most passionate and forceful speech I have ever heard him give. Watch:

Do any of the other gubernatorial candidates stand up to fight against these issues? John Marty does. Who else? Who will return dignity and respect to every Minnesotan?

Have any of the other gubernatorial candidates addressed the issue on their Facebook page or anywhere else?

What is the consensus? Is Pawlenty evil? Or is his behavior evil? Is this administration evil? Or not? What do YOU think?

I'd appreciate some comments on what you think of the good vs evil issue.

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