Paul From Minneapolis

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

“Pawlenty, Twins talking stadium.”

That’s the main headline at the Strib site right now.

The ongoing struggle to build a news Twins park to replace the hapless Metrodome is of course a local story. I may try to do more of those. (Tim Pawlenty is our governor, for those who don’t know. He has Presidential dreams, a fact which enters into this tale.)

The underlying tension is that plenty of politicians want it to happen, but no one wants to take the responsibility to “step to the plate” and say: “Look, I know any new tax would fail in any referendum, and I don’t care. I believe it should happen anyway. So no vote, fuckers. We're gonna ram through a funding plan, and you'll take and like it.”

If Tim's looking for a moral justification for such a path, here’s one:

There aren’t two bodies of opinion, there are three. There’s the left demagogy that says “no corporate welfare, baseball is sick and should fix itself first.” There’s the right demagogy that says “no new taxes, especially since baseball is sick and should fix itself first.”

To me, those are distinct groups. Thus a vote on any supporting tax would have no chance because the third group, the reasonable center (that’s me) would be demagoged by two ends, rather than just one, which is more typical. It's like facing two spit-ballers simultaneously.

So if Pawlenty says screw it, let’s do it, he can say he’s siding with one of three groups, meaning naturally his view represents only a plurality. What he’s not doing, clearly, is forcing through a minority view against the wishes of an outraged majority.

Get it? What could possibly go wrong with that explanation?

Maybe I’ll describe the reasonable center in more detail at some point. As usual, it has to do with reality, and in this case with the “baseball is sick” premise, which is what joins the strains of idealists on the ends.

Update: New headline: "Twin stadium deal elusive; 'Dynamics have to change.'"

"Nothing was decided today at all," said Jerry Bell, a team spokesman.... Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat said that while the meeting was cordial, both the county and the Twins are wary of pushing ahead with another stadium plan, given opposition at the Legislature. But, he added, "We would like to do something that eventually results in a new ballpark."

The key to this, of course, is the word "eventually."