Senator Dayton shirks his duty

On the one hand, Minnesota’s pride: Col. Joe Repya (see the post immediately below). On the other hand, Minnesota’s disgrace: United States Senator Mark Dayton.
Dayton is one of the beneficiaries of the Dayton’s (now Target) department store fortune. He himself has never worked in the private sector and has spent most of his adult life in politics. As a subject, Dayton is Minnesota’s contribution to the psychiatric profession. As a politician, Dayton is the expressive form of the Democratic Party.
At a charity auction in 1994 or so I won the opportunity to have Dayton take me and a friend to lunch at the Minneapolis Club. The lunch occurred during Dayton’s tenure as the Minnesota state auditor. At lunch we argued politics and found no point of agreement. Senator Dayton nevertheless put me on his Christmas card list for roughly the next five years.
Over those five years, Dayton used his Christmas cards to discuss the dissolution of his two marriages, his entry into rehabilitation for alcoholism, and related therapy issues. He does not appear to be a fellow who is dealing from a full deck.
Last spring we witnessed Dayton’s weirdly dissociated performance at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing with Secretary Rumsfeld. Dayton’s performance provided an unforgettable example of the phenomenon to which Dan Quayle was referring in his mangled version of the United Negro College Fund slogan: “What a terrible thing to have lost one’s mind. Or not to have a mind at all. How true that is.”
If you failed to catch Dayton’s performance last spring, please check out the transcript of the hearing. Ed Morrissey of Captain’s Quarters highlighted the Dayton disgrace in his post on the subject: “Minnesotans owe you an apology.” Dayton hectored Rumsfeld:

You’re increasing the number of forces, the number of tanks over there. How can this have anything to do but to escalate the level of violence, the opposition of Iraqis, intensify the hatred across the Arab world to the United States, and more atrocities? How can this have any result other than to put us deeper into this situation and make the conditions there worse for our forces and for our nation and for the world?

What a terrible thing to have lost one’s mind. Or not to have a mind at all. How true that is.
On Wednesday Dayton held a telephone press conference to announce that he would boycot Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi’s speech to Congress yesterday: “Dayton will boycott Iraqi premier’s speech.” The Star Tribune reports:

Dayton described the speech as “a production” staged by the Bush administration and said that Allawi “ought to be over there running his country.” Dayton made the remarks in a conference call with reporters Wednesday.
Dayton said members of Congress should be able to question Allawi during his appearance but won’t be allowed to do so. He said he would like to ask Allawi about the new Iraqi government’s responsibility for policing and securing Iraq.
Spokeswoman Chris Lisi said Dayton probably will watch the speech on television.

Is there any chance we could turn Dayton’s boycott into a permanent arrangement and keep him glued to the television? Dayton is up for reelection in 2006.


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