The many faces of Mark Dayton

Minnesota’s gubernatorial election has become an entertaining spectacle for those who are untroubled by major-league hypocrisy.
As we have noted here in the past few weeks, Democratic candidate Mark Dayton has run a sophisticated two-faced campaign. On the one hand, Dayton has spent millions in television advertisements depicting himself in warm-and-fuzzy situations. On the other hand, Dayton’s family and friends supporting the Alliance for a Better Minnesota PAC have paid for brutal advertisements attacking Republican candidate Tom Emmer. In today’s Star Tribune Rachel Stassen-Berger accurately notes that ABM has has spent weeks hammering Emmer with nightly ads that cite his decades-old drunk-driving charges.
On Tuesday Dayton emerged as the narrow winner of Tuesday’s Democratic primary. On Wednesday the Minnesota Republican Party started running an advertisement reviewing the lowlights of Dayton’s recent career as United States Senator for Minnesota. TPM grudgingly describes the ad as “mostly true” without identifying anything the ad got wrong. I’d say that makes the ad a bingo.
“He was absolutely positively, one of the worst Senators in America,” the announcer says in the ad, referring to the “honor” that was bestowed on Dayton and four other Senators by Time in 2006. “And Mark Dayton agrees — Dayton gave himself a failing grade. Time magazine called Dayton ‘erratic’ after he closed his office, fearing a nonexistent terrorist threat. Dayton’s behavior was called ‘a strange aberration,’ ‘perplexing,’ ‘panicky.'”

The ad withholds some information that would shed light on Dayton’s erratic behavior. It does not directly mention Dayton’s mental health issues, his alcoholism, or his alcoholic relapse during his term in office ending in January 2007.
What now? If you’re Mark Dayton, of course, it’s time to call for “a ceasefire” in the ad wars. Well, what say you, Republican Party of Minnesota? Will you lay down your arms and sign on to Mark Dayton’s hudna?
Tom Emmer professes his desire to sign up. He says he dislikes negative advertising and wants to take the high road. Dayton’s family and friends at the ABM PAC, however, are having none of it. And neither are the Republicans.
Michael Brodkorb is the deputy chair of the Minnesota Republican Party. He provided the response to Dayton’s proposal. Brodkorb said Dayton was being hypocritical by not suggesting a truce until the Republicans fired back.
Brodkorb countered Dayton’s cease-fire proposal with an offer of his own. Alluding to the contributions made by Dayton’s family and friends to the ABM PAC and to its advertisements attacking Emmer, Brodkorb had this proposal: “Here’s the deal: Mark Dayton’s son, his cousin, his aunt and his ex-wife can write checks to the Republican Party for $851,000 and we’ll continue to fund our ads and then we’ll talk about a cease-fire.” Then we’d have the level playing field that Democrats always profess to love.
As I say, if Dayton’s transparent hypocrisy doesn’t bother you too much, we have an entertaining spectacle now playing in Minnesota.

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