Friday, May 04, 2012

Kurt Zellers Confuses and Contradicts

Minnesota House Speaker Rep. Kurt Zellers -- a Republican from Maple Grove by way of Grand Forks -- spent much of this year's legislative session saying nothing of note about the Vikings stadium issue.

Based on his comments Thursday, he probably should have kept it that way.

When it was announced that the $975 million plan to build the Vikings a new stadium in Minneapolis would finally get a vote in the Minnesota House and Senate, Zellers made it abundantly clear that he could not support the bill.

You know, the bill that members of his party helped negotiate and write. That bill.

As if that wasn't bad enough, Zellers then appeared on KFAN with Dan Barreiro Thursday afternoon. Asked about the prospect of the Vikings moving, Zellers admitted he didn't want to see that, called himself a Vikings fan, and then said ...

"That's why we're gonna have a vote on the House floor. Hopefully it will pass, and hopefully the governor will get a chance to sign the bill."

You know, the bill he's not going to vote for. That bill. He's not going to vote for it, but he wants it to pass.

On KFAN (podcast it here), Zellers tried his best to blame Governor Mark Dayton for the bill's struggles, and also did his part to put pressure for the bill's passage on the governor and the legislature's DFL minority.

Yes, you heard that correctly. It's up to the minority party to get a bill passed, according to the House Speaker.

This is your government at work, people. For six years, Democrats and Republicans alike have put off the inevitable -- that the Metrodome would have to be replaced. That a Democrat is a leading force in this particular stadium bill and a Republican has come out vehemently opposed to the bill (while hoping it passes) is simply a factor of timing.

Zellers wants to play the blame game. In doing so, he contradicts himself, both in terms of how people should see this situation, and how he feels about the bill. Seriously, how can you say you want something to pass when you're not going to vote in favor of it? It's confusing and hard to follow, but in the end, it's all about making this stadium a political pawn to get the things passed that Zeller wants.

It's not about blame. The Vikings stadium is simply the government shutdown of 2012. They can't close the government this year (the budget is a two-year cycle), so they need another issue to bicker and blame each other for.

You might remember that -- during the shutdown -- Dayton worked his rear end off, trying to get the majority party to negotiate a budget that all sides could agree upon. In the end, after seeing no progress, Dayton relented and gave the GOP virtually everything the GOP asked for, because the alternative was keeping the government in lockdown mode.

There is no "giving in" this time for Dayton. He sat down with Republican leaders and worked up a stadium bill. Now, one of those Republican leaders is speaking out against the bill.

While hoping it passes.

Just another day in Minnesota politics, I guess.

(You can make your voice heard. Go here, look up your local representative, and make a phone call or write an e-mail. Do not let this pass without making sure you contact your representative. Just please be respectful when you do, no matter your feelings on the issue.)

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