Editorial: Entenza's ratings race

  • Updated: May 27, 2010 - 6:58 PM

Robinson adds entertainment value but little else.

Don Shelby should keep his cell phone handy: Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner has not yet selected a running mate.

Shelby, the popular WCCO-TV anchor whose retirement plans seem to track those of Brett Favre, is a natural choice for Horner now that DFL candidate Matt Entenza has entertained the Upper Midwest with his selection of just-departed Fox 9 anchor Robyne Robinson as a candidate for lieutenant governor.

It would be a puzzling choice, but in today's political environment nothing much should surprise us. Early polls have shown that Entenza is an underdog in the DFL primary race, and picking a TV anchor certainly adds some sizzle to his campaign -- at least for a few days.

The problem is that this isn't a time for frivolity in vision-challenged Minnesota, and Entenza's selection of Robinson certainly seems designed only as a bid for attention -- not to make voters more comfortable about the level of expertise the ticket would bring to the governor's office. No disrespect intended to Robinson, who seems like a civic-minded person. She served on the Governor's Task Force on Juvenile Violence, works with inner-city academic youth programs and is a board member of the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota. She also started her own jewelry company and has been active in the local arts community.

That's a wonderful list of accomplishments to add to Robinson's 20-year career in broadcast journalism. Unfortunately, it's not the kind of résumé that inspires faith in the ability to govern. At least Sarah Palin had experience in public office before being plucked from near-obscurity to join the GOP presidential ticket.

In choosing Robinson, Entenza revealed his desperation -- or at least his sense of humor. "This reinforces our message; we've got to do things a new way and we have to get refocused as a state,'' Entenza said Thursday. "The old ways aren't working.''

Fortunately Entenza's new way of doing things stands in sharp contrast with the running mate picks made by the other top candidates in the race, who have at least opted for candidates with legitimate public sector experience and track records in government. Of course, we're still waiting to hear from Horner, who could try to up the ante.

We'd urge a more serious course, however. The Entenza-Robinson ticket already gives this race plenty of entertainment value.

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