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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Mark Dayton's last year

The Star Tribune talked to Mark Dayton about his last year in the Senate. He feels frustrated by how things work, but more free to vote his conscience now that he isn't running for re-election. That sounds about right.

Dayton has several strikes against him for getting things done: he is in the minority party, he has little seniority, and he doesn't have the best reputation as a heavy-hitter or a mover and shaker. Even so, he is frustrated with how things work in Congress, and I have to agree with him. The longer I am involved in politics, the clearer it becomes that Congress or the legislature is not a good way to get things done. Being a believer in a meritocracy and trying to find new ideas and compromise, this doesn't mesh well with elected office. The Senate really is an old boys' club with rules and procedures like the Stonecutters in the Simpsons.

It's probably a good thing that Dayton isn't running for re-election in terms of keeping the seat in the DFL column. It's still very early and lots of things are to be decided (such as who I would like best), but, for example, a ticket headed up by Amy Klobuchar for Senate and Mike Hatch for Governor would be a pretty good draw. If there are strong candidates at the top, it could be a very good year for the DFL.


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