Most people who know me realize that I am not enamored of politicians on the far right. Some might be surprised to learn I am not enamored of politicians on the far left either.


Most people who know me realize that I am not enamored of politicians on the far right. Some might be surprised to learn I am not enamored of politicians on the far left either.

As this year’s election campaign season begins in earnest, I dread having to listen to and read the political twaddle that will inundate us from both the left and right.

The problem with the ideologues on both the left and right is that they think they are always correct and that those on the other side are complete nitwits or moral deviants or both, and are leading us straight to the gates of perdition and ruination.

It reminds me of the old saying: there are two ways to do things — my way and the wrong way. That seems to be more and more the prevailing mind set among the folks on both the left and right.

To them I say: Bull twaddle.

Maybe that’s why I find Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner to be such a refreshing change. He understands that compromise is essential to governing a pluralistic, secular society such as ours.

I don’t question the sincerity of former Sen. Mark Dayton or state Rep. Tom Emmer. I’ve met them both and they are likeable enough. And both are obviously passionate in their beliefs.

Unfortunately, they both are too focused on the extremes; Dayton with his proposal to balance the state budget on the backs of the wealthiest Minnesotans, and Emmer with his blind adherence to the Republicans’ no new taxes obsession.

Many people like the analogy that nothing gets done by staying to the middle of the road, but I prefer the analogy that it is better to land in the middle of the runway than on the far left or far right.

Monday morning former Minnesota Gov. Arne H. Carlson — not my idea of a screaming liberal although the state Republican Party labeled him as such in a statement issued later in the day — endorsed Horner, citing Minnesota’s dire financial situation in his announcement.

Carlson pointed out that the current record $5.8 billion deficit is the product of poor fiscal management dating back to 2003, when lawmakers began to rely on one-time money to fix long-term budget holes rather than make the tough decisions necessary to address the structural shortfall. Call me a tax-and-spend liberal if you will, but wasn’t Carlson a Republican (albeit a moderate one)?

Contrast that to a statement made by Emmer at a gubernatorial debate Sept. 8 in which he said the state deficit is “a deficit on paper.”

Say what????

Tell that to the school districts who have had to borrow operating funds to make up for state aid that has been “borrowed” by the state and may be repaid some day. The interest they’re going to pay is not on paper only.

And how can Emmer maintain Minnesota is doing so well we’ll have a budget surplus, but Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been worried about avoiding a government shutdown because of a possible cash-flow crisis.

While I believe the state’s richest 1 percent can afford the same tax rate they were “burdened” with a decade ago, I do not believe the state budget deficit can be eliminated by that measure alone. Sorry Sen. Dayton, but your plan lacks depth.

I agree with Carlson and Art Rolnick, former head of the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis, who have both said Horner’s budget plan is a mix of “realism and redesign” and that he is the only candidate in the race who has the vision, plan and capabilities to restore financial integrity to the state.

But why wouldn’t I agree with them? They’re just a couple of tax-and-spend liberals bent on taking us down the road to socialism.

Excelsior!