Craig Westover's last column in the Pioneer Press is something that the Governor's staff needs to tape up someplace where the Governor can see it multiple times a day!
"Conservatives were embarrassed by the obvious semantic ploy of "fee" versus "tax." They were angered that the governor proposed the fee knowing revenue projections made it possible to increase education funding without raising taxes. He gave conservative legislators Sophie's choice with a health and human services bill that contained both the hated health impact fee and anti-abortion provisions."
Then what can the Governor do to regain the Conservatives trust and yet show the rest of the state the differences between the Republicans and the DFL?
"There is, however, another alternative for the GOP — uncovering or creating alternative constituencies that have a vested interest in free-market activities. In other words: Don't necessarily propose cutting government, but rather push structural changes that create value and reduce the demand for government.
Ripe areas include parental school choice and expanded free-market education, a market-oriented health care strategy and removing government-imposed barriers that inhibit development of innovative, private sector mass transit. Open doors for entrepreneurs by eliminating unnecessary and overly restrictive occupational licenses. Follow the model of the eminent-domain reform legislation and set criteria limiting government intervention in individual health issues; set rigid criteria for bonding proposals."
One thing that Republicans have been saying for the last 2 years is "you can't beat something with nothing" - in other words "we aren't the other guy" is not a winning platform. It didn't work for John Kerry in 2004 and it will not work for Governor Pawlenty this year. If he really wants to continue to stay in the Governor's mansion, he needs to let the people of this state know why we need to vote for him. To campaign on the fact that he is not a conservatives worst nightmare (a "big-spendin', tax-raisin', abortion-promotin', gay marriage-embracin', more welfare-without-accountability-lovin', school reform-resistin', illegal immigration-supportin' Democrats for governor who think Hillary Clinton should be president of the United States.") is not enough. He needs to run on policy - on what he will do for the state given another 4 years in office! Tell us why your vision for the state is better than Mike Hatch's vision. Then let us know how you are going to make that vision happen!
cross posted at Ladies Logic.