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Sour at session

It is tempting to claim that Minnesota Senate Republicans’ rejection of the governor’s appointment to run the state Public Utilities Commission was somehow wrong. But any such judgment needs to be nuanced, since Republicans were certainly acting within the bounds of their responsibilities. What was wrong was the decisions to set a tremendously contentious tone at the start of the legislative session — a tone that is likely to, once again, serve most Minnesotans poorly.

Apparently incapable of learning even the most basic lessons, lawmakers have begun their 2012 session about where they left off in 2011 — putting partisan issues ahead of the people whom they were elected to represent. It is hard to imagine that the Democratic governor and Republican-dominated Legislature are likely to work together well after this unnecessarily harsh opening move.

It is clear that both parties seem, these days, to find more pleasure in hurting each other than in governing wisely. That may be well-received among the most extreme members of each party, but it does not sit well with most Minnesotans, the vast majority who merely want good government. There are many weeks left in the 2012 legislative sessions, and thus still time for clear heads to prevail. However, if they don’t prevail, voters will definitely need to take note when they go to the polls in November.