Voters beware

Published 10:56 am Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Reporting from the Associated Press reminded Minnesotans this week that they need to be cautious indeed as they listen to candidates’ promises during this election year. As with any decision, voters would be wise to consider whether a candidate’s positions on the issues are likely to truly be implemented if he or she is elected.

At issue week was the AP’s follow-up on statements Gov. Mark Dayton made while he was running for office in 2010. Then-candidate Dayton, responding to a reporter’s questions, said that he would make his daily calendar public, allowing Minnesotans to know who he was meeting with. Now Dayton has, the AP reports, reversed course and indicated that he will not make his calendar public, although his office — like those of governors before him — does release an edited version of the calendar.

Whether the governor should share his calendar with the world is an interesting issue. But perhaps not as interesting as it is illustrative of the principal that candidates say what they need to in order to win votes, even if that means having to change course once elected. It has ever been thus.

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The moral for Minnesotans is this: Candidate promises that seem too good to be true, probably are. Voters who make their decisions based on amazingly favorable promises are likely to be disappointed.