Democrats Shut Down State Government

Political insiders here in Minnesota told me some time ago that the Democrats were maneuvering to try to achieve a shutdown of the state government. Their strategy was to refuse to agree on a budget, hold out until there was no alternative to a shutdown, and then blame Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty. The Democrats have been frustrated by Pawlenty’s strong popularity throughout the state–his high approval ratings include many Democrats–and a shutdown was viewed as a means of denting the governor’s popularity.
That prediction became a reality last night, when Senate Democrats, who have a small majority in that chamber, walked off the job, which will cause a temporary layoff of some state government employees and cessation of some nonessential services. The Democrats’ walkout took everyone by surprise; Governor Pawlenty called the Democrats’ walkout “irresponsible and bizarre behavior, the likes of which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. … The Democrats punched out before their shift ended.”
Will the Democrats’ stratagem succeed? I doubt it. The Minneapolis Star Tribune article linked to above is surprisingly even-handed, and even the head of Minnesota’s public employees’ union didn’t blame the Republicans for the Democrats’ walking off the job.

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