Must Read: Minnesota Government Shutdown is a Grim Lesson for Washington

Lessons From Minnesota’s Government Shutdown About the Dismal, Irrational State of U.S. Politics Walter Shapiro

The state government shutdown in Minnesota is entering its eleventh day, with leaders from both parties deadlocked over the state budget. The standoff is emblematic of how "the irrational has, alas, become commonplace in America in 2011," Walter Shapiro writes at The New Republic. Put another way – in the words of one political scientist – "What we’re seeing in Minnesota is the AAA baseball version of the debt-ceiling negotiations in Washington." The stalemate follows from the 2010 election, which left Democratic governor Mark Dayton sharing power with an extremely conservative Republican legislature. “Eight years ago we had just one Michele Bachmann in the Minnesota senate,” Democratic state senator John Marty tells Shapiro. “Now, we have maybe twenty or forty of them in the legislature. (It doesn't help either that former Gov. Tim Pawlenty left a projected $5 billion deficit on the books.) The difference between Democratic Governor Mark Dayton and the Republican legislature is down to about $1.4 billion. And yet, nobody's budging."This is what happens," Shapiro writes, "when political differences morph into moralistic struggles over unyielding principle. It is a chilling precedent for Washington." [The New Republic]

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