Local media savages Pawlenty over flood relief


Winona newspaper says it “seems like Pawlenty cares more about political ideology than people.

A somewhat valid complaint about statewide news coverage in the traditional media, as well as in the blogs, is that sometimes we lose focus on the real issues behind the news — namely, the individuals, families and communities affected by things like floods and bridge collapses. I can criticize Gov. Pawlenty all I want, but my critiques are limited in their value because, quite honestly, my family and my home have not been hit by the twin disasters of 2007. We can savage Tim Pawlenty for playing ideological games when he should be practicing statesmanship, but sometimes it’s on behalf of others, not for our own sake.

Opinion: Local media savages Pawlenty over flood relief

That doesn’t make those critiques any less valid or critical in the debate over courses of action in response to the widespread flooding in southeastern Minnesota. So don’t take my word that people there are pissed off at Pawlenty — take a look at the local media!

In the Winona Daily News…

Gov. Tim Pawlenty did not hear 45 minutes of organized statements made to the committee. He had visited Rushford, told workers in a food shelter, “We need to see commitment and strength and hope,” and left before the legislative meeting began.

“The only way we can help is a special session,” said Rep. Gene Pelowski of Winona. “We have to have it. Can you set a definitive date?” he asked the governor.

“The hold-up isn’t me — I’m in agreement,” said Pawlenty.

They sparred and the governor left.

Tom Witt, who lost $650,000 in his pharmacies, later told the committee,”We don’t need the kind of crap we saw this morning.”

Rushford is in crisis.

Actually, the responsibility and constitutional authority to call a special session rests solely with the governor of Minnesota. The governor could have chosen to let go of the ideological stonewalling (God forbid he be forced to allow a marginal tax increase to help his fellow Minnesotans and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure) and get this done, but has chosen not to do so.

It would appear the WDN editorial board is thinking along the same lines…

There is but one man who could make a difference and that’s Gov. Tim Pawlenty. And as hundreds of Minnesotans’ suffering slowly boils into rage, Pawlenty has been doubly bad.

His trips to the affected areas now number in the double digits. He’s talked to those who have lost everything. He’s seen the tears, promised a special session. And it seems like every time he wanders back to St. Paul, he intimates that a special session will not have to be called.

We have to wonder what beyond petty political motives is going on here. Is it because of some worry he might be forced into signing a tax increase? Well, if it’s an increase in taxes to help our fellow Minnesotans rebuild their lives, it’s money well spent. It seems like Pawlenty cares more about political ideology than people.

Or the Fillmore County Journal…

Unfortunately, the only no-show has been our state government. Rushford needs their help, and they need it now. They need to call a special legislative session immediately to respond to the emergencies Minnesota has faced this summer, namely the I-35 bridge disaster and the floods in southeast Minnesota. Governor Tim Pawlenty’s executive funding actions announced on Friday fall far short of what is needed.

Mr. Pawlenty, it’s time to act like our governor. The people of southeast Minnesota can’t wait any longer for state politicians to get their ducks in a row before calling a special session. It’s time to get’r done.

Of course, the FCJ plays it as a pox-on-both-their-houses rant against state politicians as a group, but again — Mr. Pawlenty has the responsibility to call a special session, and has been talking out both sides of his mouth on the issue. We’re talking about people’s lives.

If it were just one media outlet savaging Tim Pawlenty for his inaction and blatant ideological nitwittery, the governor and his friends in the media, both traditional and new, would at least have an argument that the outlet’s politics had something to do with it. But when media, individuals, chambers of commerce, families, communities, entire regions are united in a cacophony of pleadings for swift action, it’s more than politics. It’s time Tim Pawlenty realized that.