The Wednesday Hero blogroll is celebrating its one year anniversary and a member of the blogroll, Kathi, made a slideshow of all the heroes profiled:
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Why Not a Special Session?
Pawlenty has been underestimated by a majority of the political bloggers and pundits in Minnesota. It’s an affliction from which I myself have suffered. After the disastrous 2006 elections, when the DFL was just a few votes shy of a veto override in the state house and senate, I thought for sure taxes would be going up and spending would be even more out of control.
Instead of higher taxes Pawlenty was able to satiate the DFL tax appetite with a healthy budget surplus. Sure, the surplus should have been returned to taxpayers but if it took gorging on a surplus to avoid permanent increased taxes then I agree with what Pawlenty did in the recent session.
In fact, if we reflect upon the latest session we have to conclude the Governor handled the legislature masterfully. He avoided raising taxes and kept his approval ratings high despite the tremendous defeats his own party had suffered. He used his veto powers liberally and the end result redeemed him in my eyes, as it should have redeemed him in the eyes of all fiscal conservatives.
[I would be remiss if I didn't also mention the superb job Marty Seifert and the legislative GOPers did in keeping together in the face of DFL pressure.]
The collapse of the 35W bridge has saddened us all and the DFL has seized upon public fears in the hopes of raising taxes. They hope to use the bridge collapse as a way to make up for the failures of the regular session.
For w while there it looked to me like it might work. Pawlenty opened up to the idea of a gas tax increase as he and his staff probably assumed the public would support a gas tax increase.
This was a mistake as polls have since shown Minnesotans don’t support a gas tax increase and those who do support an increase by and large support a small increase. Though Pawlenty acted too soon in showing his cards he is still much closer to the public’s wants than than the DFL. Pawlenty holds a position of strength in the eyes of the voters since he is going to be the one defending their views and will appear the voice of reason in government.
That’s reason number one to embrace a special session.
Sure, Pawlenty is now forced to stick to his guns in supporting a modest gas tax increase but he can also put demands on the legislature which they won’t be able to follow. Among the goals I’ve heard him talk about are an income tax cut and restraining social services spending.
After listening to Pawlenty on Garage Logic I can say with confidence that I believe there won’t be a gas tax increase. The DFL isn’t going to moderate itself and try to win over GOP moderates with a small gas tax increase; they are going after all the programs and taxes they missed out on in the regular session. This will be a huge blunder for the Dems.
The DFL will fumble again and Pawlenty will not only save face and continue to dominate the opposition party in the legislature he will do it all and increase his approval ratings too.
I don’t see this as a pie in the sky fantasy, I see it as history repeating itself. Pawlenty is our guy and in the special session he’s someone to have confidence in. Even if we do get a tax increase we will know Pawlenty has prevented for more taxes than he has caused. To borrow a baseball analogy, Pawlenty will be our closer; sometimes he fails but there’s really no one else better to have in there when the game is on the line.
Beyond the abilities of Pawlenty we also need to consider another situation before pushing against a special session. The GOP is going to have a difficult time winning back seats in 2008. Even if Republicans are “perfect” in how they handle their minority roles in the state legislature it will still fail to be enough to persuade voters to put them into the majority.
In reality, to gain seats the GOP is going to need a lot of DFL mistakes. Only by showing the weaknesses of the DFL leadership will voters be willing to take another look at Republicans. Thus, every opportunity must be given to the DFL to screw up. A special session to address infrastructure needs should provide ample opportunity for the DFL to hang themselves.
If the DFL priorities going into a special session are wrong, and I am sure they will be, than a special session should be a winning venture for Pawlenty and the MN GOP.
To borrow a phrase from Michael Brodkorb, the GOP can’t be afraid of the Democrats. Taking them to the mattresses in a special session should show the voters the leadership capabilities of the GOP while highlighting the weaknesses of the DFL.
This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Randy Thorsvig
Ken Leonard (On The Right)
From High Point, North Carolina
Every once in a while you run across one of those “feel good stories”. Those stories that show us just what a person can do when they really want it bad enough. And Ken Leonard has one of those stories.
In 2005, Ken Leonard left his job as a police officer in High Point, North Carolina to go to Iraq to work with a private security firm. In December of that year, Ken, along with five other men in his vehicle and six others in the vehicle behind him, was hit by a roadside bomb outside of Baghdad. “After the bomb went off, I knew exactly what had happened,” Leonard recalled. “My feet got jarred, so I knew they were hit.” While others in his vehicle were injured, he had received the worst of it. He had lost both his feet.
The vehicle behind them pushed Leonard’s to a safer area. But flames were coming out of the air conditioning vents and they had to get out. Leonard crawled from the car and fell to the pavement. “That’s when I saw my feet,” he said. “I could tell they were gone. They were still attached, but they were shredded.”
On July 19, 2007, Ken Leonard went back to North Carolina to get his job back with the police force. To do that he needed to pass the Police Officers Physical Abilities Test, which, among other things, consisted of a 200-yard run to be finished in under 7 minutes, 20 seconds. And he did just that with 24 seconds to spare.
“Somebody told me one time they said, ‘You know, what you’ve lost is just bone and muscle. You’ve still got heart, and you’ve still got, you know, what’s up here,'” Leonard said, pointing to his head.
These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived
This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesday Hero, you can go here.
Wednesday Heroes are written by Indian Chris as part of a non-partisan effort to recognize the bravery of our men in uniform.
Others Participating in the Wednesday Hero effort:
It’s always an adventure with these free podcasting services. Last week BlogTalkRadio didn’t start to record on time and this week Gabcast failed to publish to this blog automatically. How dare these online startups produce free podcasting tools that work most of the time?
Anyway, this week’s podcast is a short one. There’s only so many ways to say “Twins offense sucks” and “I’m disappointed in Terry Ryan.” I’ll have to find some way to break up the monotony next week.