Thursday, April 17, 2008

From the Star-Tribune:

Editorial: Sometimes you play through the pain

April 16, 2008

On Monday, Pawlenty admitted -- and let's give him points for honesty -- that he instructed an aide to pass along this bit of tough-guy bluster to a legislator: "Cheap shots are cheap, but they're not free.''

The dust-up came in mid-March after House Majority Leader Tony Sertich criticized Pawlenty, saying the governor preferred traveling out-of-state instead of dealing with problems at home. Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, complained publicly about the comment late last week after Pawlenty vetoed DFL projects in the bonding bill.

Sertich said he was "shocked.'' Shocked? Isn't politics, like hockey, a full-contact sport? Take a shot at someone, expect payback. Somebody from the rough-riding Iron Range delegation should know this. They play hardball for fun.

At the same time, if Pawlenty let a guy from Chisholm get under his skin at home in Minnesota, what's going to happen if he's on the national campaign trail? Trash talk, bruising checks and the occasional high-sticking are part of everyday life -- usually before breakfast. He'll be tussling with congressional leaders, the national press corps and an opposing presidential campaign desperate to win. Pawlenty might even come to miss the halcyon days of dealing with Sertich and another longtime needling nemesis: combative state Sen. Larry Pogemiller (DFL-Minneapolis).

OK, that might be a stretch.

The presidential campaign, not to mention the state's top job, requires less Hanson Brothers and more Jacques Lemaire. It wouldn't hurt Pawlenty -- himself a hockey nut who has dressed up as the Hanson Brothers at exhibition hockey games -- to get in a little practice now. Next time he deals with legislators, he should emulate a real-life hockey hero -- not the Hansons.

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