Archive for May, 2009

The gathering storm in 2010

I got (very appropriately) called out a few days ago for never updating this thing, and honestly, it’s not like I have an excuse. I’m deeply ashamed of myself. After graduating on May 16, I’ve spent the last almost-two weeks pursuing job leads for about two hours every day and then sitting around watching Intervention on demand for the rest of the afternoon. I’ve made remarkable strides in my Super Mario Galaxy game. Walter and I have become pals. And, yeah, I’m on the internet quite a bit.

Sorry to admit this, but Twittering is a lot easier–I can do it on the go, and it appeals to my 140-character attention span. I can also conveniently stalk Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Rainn Wilson of The Office, local master of glib James Lileks, and Shaq. And finally, as I said, nothing going on in my life right now is worth more than a Tweet. If you’re a fellow Twit, follow me here:

In local news, medical marijuana advocates are pushing for a ballot item in 2010. After considerable narrowing of the legislation that went through Minnesota’s House and Senate, giving access to terminally ill patients only, then a prompt and entirely predictable veto from Governor Pawlenty, the next option would be to ask the voters directly. Referendums like these are tricky, since a no-vote counts as a “no”–a group needs lots of boots on the ground to get people to not only vote “yes,” but to vote in the first place. Luckily, the national group Marijuana Policy Project seems to have the cash:

Since 2005, the group has spent nearly $900,000 lobbying the Minnesota Legislature with money raised at events like its recent fourth annual Playboy Mansion fundraiser. “While nobody’s drawn up a budget yet, our basic approach is we would spend what’s needed,” said Bruce Mirken, a spokesman for the group.

The Pioneer Press brings up an interesting secondary dimension of the situation in 2010, drawing parallels between Ventura’s gubernatorial win in 1998 and a constitutional amendment (Article XIII, Sec 12) to ease restrictions on hunting and fishing. Libertarian-minded voters flocked to the polls to keep the government out of their treestands and ended up throwing in for the libertarian-minded candidate. The amendment passed with 72% of the vote–and we got The Body.

It’s an interesting carrot-and-stick theory of voter behavior. Voters may find it a lot easier to go in for one, relatively simple issue rather than attempt to judge and choose gubernatorial candidates baed on a variety of often-complicated issues. But once they’re in the booth, they’re there–why not?

The opposite happened to me when I voted in Ohio in November. I went in to vote for Obama and checked off a couple of referendums along the way. So I suppose it goes both ways.

It’ll be interesting to see whether marriage equality activists apply this thinking to their own actions in Minnesota–and whether their opponents will, too. With our friendly neighbor to the south legalizing gay marriage and Tim Pawlenty making it pretty clear that he’ll strike down any gay-friendly legislative action here at home, I won’t be surprised if activists begin to beat the drums in earnest for a referendum of some sorts in 2010. Of course, a major move on gay marriage will provoke a swift and well-financed opposition campaign.

I guess all we’ll have to do is wait and see how things pan out. Either way, I predict 2010 will be an aggressive political year for Minnesotans.


May 28, 2009 at 9:58 am Leave a comment

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