The Minnesota DFL (Democratic) Party is struggling to adapt to a position of political inferiority with which it is unfamiliar; at present it narrowly controls only the state senate. Over the past 18 months it has targeted four of Governor Tim Pawlenty’s appointees — one his lieutenant governor, three of the four conservative women — for confirmation hassles, refusing to act on them until the earlly morning hours today at the end of the legislative session: “Senate refuses to confirm Yecke.”
At the end, the DFL caved on three of the four, refusing to confirm only Cheri Pierson Yecke as Education Commissioner. Yecke was without any doubt the most stellar of Pawlenty’s appointees, picked to help him fulfill one of his key campaign promises involving the wholesale rewriting of the state’s educational standards. She was the best thing that ever happened to the benighted department she served as acting commissioner and she did a superb job.
The Minnesota DFL, however, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the state’s teacher unions. The unions’ opposition to Yecke was unstinting, and the propaganda retailed against Yecke by the DFL was shameless in its disingenuousness. Her failure to win confirmation is a tribute to her excellence and to the DFL’s acute recognition of self-serving priorities.
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