Democratic enthusiasm appears to be waning nationally. According to polls published by the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio, however, Minnesota Democrats are bucking the trend. These polls show Democrats enjoying a significant advantage over Republicans among likely voters. The MPR/Humphrey Institute poll released this week showed the Democratic share of likely voters to be an astounding 48 percent (with Republicans at 38 percent). In 2008, exit polls reflected a partisan breakdown in Minnesota of 40 percent Democrats and 36 percent Republicans. So I question the validity of the MPR/Humphrey Institute poll sample, but we’ll see.
In my post noting the MPR/Humphrey Institute poll, I noted the Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton is an obviously troubled man. By Dayton’s own account, he is under treatment for depression. He certainly appears to be medicated. By Dayton’s own account, he is also an alcoholic who relapsed only a few years ago during his tenure in office as a United States Senator. I argued that before Minnesotans are presented with the choice of voting for Mark Dayton to hold another high office — this one with serious executive responsibilities — someone who covers politics for a living really should ask Dayton to disclose his medical records.
One intrepid Power Line reader forwarded my comments to a prominent Twin Cities reporter who answers to my description; he covers politics for a living. Should someone who covers politics for a living ask….? This was the reporter’s somewhat telegraphic response:
Very interesting, and compelling questions:
Should someone who “appears to be medicated” be treated differently?
And is a recovering alcoholic disqualified from office or subject to tougher scrutiny?
If so, many politicians I cover fall under one or both of those categories.
Nevertheless, we’ve reported Dayton’s personal revelations, though not as frequently as his critics would like, and his opponents won’t touch it.
It’s a sensitive topic, and a serious one, but it raises many equal and opposing issues:
Should the same be asked of Tom Emmer, after two DWI arrests [Ed.: upwards of 20 years ago]?
Should all the candidates release their personal medical records, including psychological and marriage counseling?
How about extra-marital affairs, and drug use?
At a minimum. they refuse to release their client lists and tax returns– which arguably could
have a greater impact on how they govern than their personal struggles.
Bottom line: I’m in favor of transparency, for all.
Well, you get the idea. He misses the point just about entirely, as one deduces from his detour into marital counseling and abortions. Short version: No, he won’t be asking for a review of Dayton’s medical records, but for the very best of reasons, or something like that.
UPDATE: Reporting on a debate among state senate candidates in St. Cloud last night, Gary Gross comments: “[I]f tonight’s audience was an indicator, then the surging [Democratic] enthusiasm that Larry Jacobs talked about in his MPR-Humphrey Institute poll doesn’t exist.”