Kurt Zellers as Hamlet: Alas, poor Morrie, I knew him well | Avidor cartoon
by Steve Timmer
May 5, 2012, 8:00 AM

The Dithering Prince of Maple Grove

Alas, poor Morrie; I knew him well

Do you know how many Speakers of the Minnesota House have ever gone on to be governor? Well, the dithering Prince Kurt is out to make sure the line remains unbroken.

The drama of Conflicted Kurt transcends how you may feel about the stadium and plunges into the realm of tragedy and comedy — or perhaps comedy alone — never before seen in Minnesota politics, at least since last December when Amy Koch was awarded the Scarlet Letter and Michael Brodkorb went face down into the soup. Personally, though, I think this is better. It has a wonderful Ken Avidor illustration, for one thing (although he did some great stuff for that fiasco, too).

In just the briefest recap here, earlier in the week, the Republican leadership floated the idea of using the state’s general obligation bonding authority to raise the money for the state’s share of a roofless stadium, rather than electronic pulltabs for a roofed stadium. Virtually within hours, though, the plan was withdrawn as unworkable and probably illegal. Apparently, we’re now back to an up or down vote on the stadium bill carried by Morrie Lanning and others on Monday next.

This is a proposal that the Speaker of the Minnesota House says that he hopes will pass, but that he won’t vote for. He really said that in an interview on KFAN. The interview with Zellers begins at about 11:30.

Stadium proponents don’t think they have the Republican votes — 34 — in the House.

Mike Kaszuba of the Strib caught up with a puzzled Morrie Lanning to find out what Morrie thought about the events of the last couple of days. The ever-thoughtful Morrie said that he was “puzzled” but not “surprised.”

Kids, I invite you to think about that for just a moment. There is indeed a passing resemblance between Morrie and Yorick.

Prince Kurt is also quoted as saying the matter is in the hands of Mark Dayton now, to which Dayton replied, “Who am I, the Speaker of the House?”

Dithering Prince Kurt’s plan from the get go seems to be that the stadium bill would pass without assigning any of the blame to him. But the plan has come a cropper, and all it has done is reveal Prince Kurt’s breathtaking level of political cowardice.

That is probably why Morrie isn’t surprised.

Update: The Prince of Maple Grove, recognizing that he had left things a little, um, confused, had a presser today where he cleared everything up. [snort]

Further update: Remarkably, a package of business tax cuts would make the Prince of Maple Grove and other Republican’s reservations about expanded gambling disappear. This is what is known as qualified morality.

Update 5/8/12: The stadium bill — with some material amendments — passed the House evening 73 -58. Zellers voted against it, but it passed, as he wanted.

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