Tony Sutton argued on this page that the GOP is positioned for victory. He's out of touch.
Minnesotans are used to extremes. From scorching summers to frigid arctic winters, they are able to adapt (without too much complaining) to just about anything.
But there is a set of extremes that people across the state are saying they aren't willing to live with -- the extreme positions from an increasingly out-of-touch Republican Party.
And while Republican operatives like Tony Sutton are free to claim that the issues are on their side come November ("The stars are aligned for the GOP this fall," June 22) the facts prove otherwise, and we're confident that voters will think the same.
Republicans captured legislative majorities in 2010, promising to make tough choices and balance the state budget. But what they have delivered since has involved political gimmicks, serious scandals and passing the buck.
Instead of working out differences with Gov. Mark Dayton, who proposed a balanced budget through cuts to state spending without raising taxes on 95 percent of Minnesotans, Republicans insisted on their fiscally irresponsible proposals that forced a government shutdown, raised property taxes, borrowed billions from our schools, and jammed two constitutional amendments onto the ballot that threaten to take away our citizens' personal choices and freedoms.
Contrast that with Dayton and the state Legislature's DFL leadership in passing a bonding bill that will create thousands of jobs across Minnesota, from Duluth to Rochester to Worthington to St. Cloud. They also showed leadership in pushing through the new Vikings stadium, which will put thousands of people back to work and encourage private investment in the metro area.
And as I travel across the state, I hear time and again from Minnesotans that they don't expect to agree with their leaders all the time, and they don't expect things to be easy. But they do want leaders who will work to find reasonable compromise and common-sense solutions.
Republicans had their chance. In St. Paul and in Washington, they have shown that they aren't interested in compromising or finding solutions. They are only interested in pushing an extreme agenda that kicks the can down the road, hurts the middle class and helps wealthy special interests. And that's why, when Minnesotans go to the polls this November, they will return DFL majorities in the state Legislature; re-elect Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and give President Obama a second term.
Obama has brought the American economy back from the brink of collapse; has rescued the auto industry, saving more than a million jobs; ended the war in Iraq, and killed the world's most-wanted terrorist -- a remarkable record given that the Republican leadership in Congress has sought to stonewall his administration at every turn.
In the Senate, Klobuchar has been the leader that voters thought she would be when they elected her in 2006. She has consistently put Minnesota first and has reached across the aisle to get things done for our state -- two-thirds of her legislation has bipartisan support.
She successfully fought to save auto dealerships across the state and their workers' jobs; reached across the aisle to get our veterans the benefits they were promised; secured funding to rebuild the Interstate 35W bridge, and just recently helped pass a bipartisan farm bill that will strengthen our state's economy.
She continues to work with members from both parties to find a balanced approach to reducing our nation's debt and has fought off attempts to do so on the backs of our seniors and middle class.
Our other congressional campaigns are in full swing, with candidates traveling across their respective districts to meet with voters and businesses. U.S. Reps. Tim Walz, Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison and Collin Peterson have strong records of representing their constituents.
Walz led the way this year on the STOCK Act, which made sure that politicians can no longer use their positions to game the stock market. McCollum and Ellison have fought to make sure that the metro area has strong voices in Congress, and Peterson again has showed leadership in fighting to pass a strong farm bill in the House.
This year we are also positioned to make gains in our other House races. Whether it is Mike Obermueller, who has delivered for Minnesotans in St. Paul; Brian Barnes and Jim Graves, who have the experience to get the economy moving again, or Rick Nolan, who understands how Congress works and knows how to get things done, we have strong candidates who are well-positioned to defeat U.S. Reps. John Kline, Erik Paulsen, Michele Bachmann and Chip Cravaack.
When Minnesotans go to the polls, they'll look at the records, and they'll vote for the candidates who are willing to lead. Extreme Republicans will find themselves frozen out, and Minnesota will have DFL leaders ready to put Minnesota, and the country, first.
Ken Martin is chair of the Minnesota DFL.