Dayton v. Kennedy

Returning Senator Mark Dayton to the Ranks of the Idle Rich in 2006


“An Error of Judgment”

No it’s not Mark Dayton’s political epitaph, but it could be.

Senator Dayton made the local media rounds on Friday, giving out numerous interviews explaining his decision not to run for a second term. And in his front-page interview with the Star Tribune, Dayton attempted to walk readers through his decision to pull up his stakes and go home. In reading Dayton’s comments, one need not be a partisan to see a man thoroughly bewildered with the modern political process:

”I was into the fund-raising mode for the first time and ... it took a lot of my time. Every time I'd see (New York Senator) Chuck Schumer, chairman of the DSCC (Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee), he'd say, "Raise money, Mark. Go raise money. Raise money." That's facetious, but everybody said I was going to spend every waking moment of the next two years having to raise money, which I abhor.”

Refreshing or naïve? Dayton’s comments regarding his bizarre endorsement of DFL St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly, who garnered brief national attention with his supporting Bush over Kerry, suggest the latter more than the former:

”Q: Your public image is that of a very earnest, thoughtful, private kind of a man. But a lot of people didn't see this decision coming. A lot of people didn't see it coming when you got in the race in 2000 and financed it yourself. The mayor of Washington said he was scratching his head why you closed your office. Just this past week a lot of grass-roots DFLers were mystified as to why you endorsed St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly, a pro-Bush Democrat.

A: I retracted that. That was a mistake.

Q: You retracted it 24 hours later. Can people be blamed if they think your behavior has been unpredictable, or restless or even erratic at times?

A: I've always disliked public equivocation, whether or not you seek an office. The only person who ultimately makes a decision is the person you see when you're shaving in the morning ... And people who kind of conjure this up with "Oh, all these people are asking me to run. Should I run, or shouldn't I run?" I just find very unseemly, and it's just not the way I want to do it. So I made a decision...

Q: It was a mistake?

A: It was an error of judgment on my part. I think he's been a good mayor of St. Paul, and he called me on Monday, and I wasn't expecting the call. But he asked me to support him….I'm reminded daily of my fallibility. It's like being a hockey goalie - one goes between your legs, and the red light goes on, and you kick yourself. "How could I have not made that save; I've done it a hundred times." But you just have to go on.”

Instead, Mark Dayton decided to bench himself. Permanently.

--Posted by First Ringer


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