This is a little summing up of the Great Minnesota Shutdown of 2011. It was a contrived experiment by the progressive/socialist wing of the Democratic Party to embarrass the productive class and shame them into voting for Democrats again. Instead the whole thing just blew back in their faces and they ended up looking like fools. What finally took them down as a bureaucratic mix-up that exposed them for the inept frauds they truly are. This is the story of how beer took down the vaunted leftwing political experiment in a giant crashing wave.
It looked so good on paper. The political hit squad of the Democratic/Progressive-Socialist Party met following the 2010 election and had it all figured out. They had lost the state house and senate, which they couldn’t really accept, and had barely eked out the governorship. They had to do something to smear the Republicans in the legislature so they could regain power. Their future as the ruling class was at stake. So they concocted a scheme to defraud and trick the people of Minnesota. They’d make the productive class pay for their betrayal of their rulers, the Democrats. So, they hatched a plot that would make all hard-working, free market Minnesotans as uncomfortable as possible while still handing out patronage to their government class stooges. It was going to be a beautiful thing.
First the Democrats looked back at the last shutdown and saw that in 2005, Governor Pawlenty had played them like a fiddle. This was a limited shutdown that didn’t affect many people and he was able to skate by with a few ‘fee’ increases and some serious limitations to their pork barrel plans. Any limit on their social experiments is seen as ‘foolish’ and ‘mean’ so they were determined to use Pawlenty’s tactics. They could then engage their own propaganda wing, the newspapers and local media, to sell it to the public even more effectively than Pawlenty had.
They had Dayton veto all the budget bills, except the ag bill, and basically just make pronouncements from time to time about how terrible the GOP was. Meanwhile, their union thug buddies would agitate their minions to write and call and generally make a big nuisance of themselves to drum up discontent. The media would publish tale after tale of woe. Businesses would be shackled because of the shutdown and the ‘people’ would rise up and go after Republican legislators with pitchforks and banana cream pies.
But, as usual, progressive social experiments don’t actually work most of the time.
First of all, Republicans kept negotiating and talking. They weren’t supposed to do that. They were supposed to get mad and storm out, like they were President Obama. They were supposed to pout, and scowl, and in general act like petulant children, once again like President Obama. Republicans instead engaged the press, the public, and Governor Dayton. People saw Dayton’s erratic announcements and bizarrely inappropriate facial expressions and scratched their heads. Instead of looking statesman-like, Dayton looked like a forlorn child lost in a mall and didn’t know where his mommy is.
Next, the press dutifully reported on all the tales of heartache and woe that came with a state shutdown. Unfortunately for the press, they didn’t have much to work with. Most of the stories bordered on the absurd. They were especially discomfited by the work of bloggers, social media organizers and the Tea Party activists who pointed out the flaws in their arguments and kept telling the truth. The Democratic Party-run media wasn’t too happy with that. No one is supposed to correct them especially when they’re weaving narratives that simply don’t reflect reality.
Finally, the worst part of this whole mess was the productive class wasn’t getting mad. The union thugs couldn’t rile up their members. The government class remained docile. In fact, most people were actually questioning the entire point of the shutdown.
Democrats had contrived to apply the most direct pain to the productive business class. They continued to dole out the bennies to their base, but they shut down the parks, during 4th of July. They shut down historical sites, during summer vacations. They shut down rest stops, used by weary travelers and truckers. They shut down licensing bureaus and state inspection boards and everything that annoys us.
They shut down everything that actually collected money while they continued to hand out patronage to every needful person in the state.
It needled people. Liberals, progressives, Democrats, and socialists were embarrassed by this upside down philosophy. Why stop collecting licensing fees, which don’t do anything to aid a business, and yet continue to send welfare checks? Why shut down the Canterbury horse track which MAKES the state money and yet continue to fund refugee services? In a particularly bizarre decision, the state would continue to send unemployment checks but shut down the lottery.
Regardless, people were perplexed by the entire theater of the whole thing. It made no real sense, especially given the governor’s cook and housekeeper would continue to be paid through the shutdown.
Dayton went on a speaking tour to galvanize his base. He went to St. Cloud and Rochester and it just didn’t catch fire, in spite of his doubling up on his meds.
Then came the decision to take Miller off the shelves. The reaction was both enormous and obviously unexpected to the Dems. Rachel Stassen-Berger whined in a tweet on July 13, 2011, “”What do MNs care about? Beer. @ stribroper’s post about a Miller-free MN has 300 comments, 300 RTs and 4k#fb shares.” You could practically hear the professional jealousy Stassen-Berger was feeling in her comment about her fellow Party-run pamphleteer at the Star Tribune. That night the local television coverage about Miller products getting pulled from the stores was huge. Once the whole story was told, people were livid.
Eric Roper’s story, “MillerCoors kicked off state shelves,” Star Tribune, July 13, 2011 reports the story.
“The problem stems from brand label registrations that brewers must renew with the state every three years, showing the label on each brand of beer. MillerCoors attempted to renew in mid-June, but, according to company officials, sent the state a check for more than the required amount. Green said the company followed up with a new check, which the state received June 27.
But on June 30, one day before the government shutdown, the company received a letter from the state that its brand licenses had expired. State employees who would typically renew those licenses have been deemed noncritical during the shutdown and laid off.”
Stassen-Berger, being a progressive/socialist, was shocked. Since prog/soc’s only drink $80 bottles of wine (and then verbally assault conservative congressmen like Rep. Paul Ryan) or handcrafted microbrewery beers aged in LEED certified bamboo barrels blessed by an acolyte of Al Gore, she was stunned that regular, ordinary Minnesotans drink Miller or Coors. Since the productive class has to earn their living through hard work and thrift, they drink ordinary, inexpensive beers. They don’t get grants from the government or George Soros so they drink something affordable.
Anyway, the people were now riled, but not in a way that benefited the Democrats. Their little ‘screw the productive class’ experiment blew up right in their faces. The absurdity that Miller products would have to be pulled from the shelves because of some idiotic licensing snafu simply confirmed what they already suspected. This was a contrived farce from the get-go. They would continue to subsidize food stamps for unwed mothers but refused to cash a simple check and return the overages to Miller. This kind of madness typified exactly what is going wrong with this country. Its impact simply washed away Dayton’s, and his Democratic handlers’, arguments. This utter mess was not caused by Republican intransigence but by governmental enormity and pettiness.
And so the next day Governor Dayton buckled like a Minnesota highway on a 102 degree day under a tsunami of frothy, thrifty beer.
Crossposted at Looktruenorth.com