The Legislature and Gov. Tim Pawlenty are already battling over building projects and health care for the poor and the state budget. All the drama at the Capitol has essayist Peter Smith thinking back to a simpler time when political issues and TV wrestling were both much more black and white
Smith: And so it begins. With two opponents in the ring, circling each other, trying holds, clinching up, letting go. Circling. Circling. Warily circling.
It's Tim Pawlenty vs. the Legislature-the biggest wrestling match of 2010.
Up on Capitol Hill, shades of Larry "The Axe" Henning and all the other "good" bad guys-guys like The Crusher, Dick the Bruiser, Nick Bockwinkle, and Bobby "The Brain" Heenen-stalk the halls. A session's worth of plots, counterplots, colloquies, calumnies, and coup attempts-dramas that will take months to work their way through committee, onto the floor and down the hall to the Governor's office-begin to take shape. Politicians of all stripes assume their wrestling personas.
Look-over there. It's the Inner City Progressive.
And there's the Outer Ring Suburban Republican.
And the Farmer. And the Wily Old Iron Ranger. And the Small Town Businessman.
And bestriding their narrow world like a colossus (at least when he's in state; he has a lot of out-of-town matches these days) is Pawlenty The Giant, ready to pull his veto pen out the way Ray "The Crippler Stevens used to pull folding chairs out-and cold-cock any spending measure he doesn't like.
Pawlenty The Giant hates spending measures. That's his shtick-his bit. It's cut-cut-cut. Unallot. Cut-cut-cut. The louder you boo, the more he cuts.
And there they are, folks. The Legislature and The Giant. Circling and clinching, breaking and circling some more. Going for the choke or an eye gouge when the referee's back is turned.
With a little luck and a few more vetoes, the entire session could end up in another one of those last minute all night free-for-all cage matches. No holds barred. We could hold it down at the Minneapolis Auditorium.
Where have you gone, Verne Gagne, Wally Karbo and-especially-where have you gone Marty O'Neil?
Minnesota needs your "nervous-little-guy-in-sunglasses" interview technique for this one.
Your interview style and maybe a few decisions from the Minnesota Supreme Court-or American Wrestling Association Commissioner Lord Stanley Blackburn-whoever gets the appeal first.