Kurt Zellers as Hamlet: Alas, poor Morrie, I knew him well | Avidor cartoon
by Steve Timmer
Feb 9, 2013, 2:00 PM

Kurt Zellers on political cowardice

On the Late Debate (with Jack and Ben!) after the State of the State address by Governor Dayton, Kurt Zellers, the former Speaker of the Minnesota House, said that raising taxes was the “coward’s way out.” It was a remarkable, asinine statement. Raising taxes, even when it’s to start repairing the twelve years of kicking the can down the road by people like Zellers himself, isn’t cowardly, it’s courageous. The howls of protest from many corners demonstrate that it took guts to advance the budget that the governor did.

But I’m surprised that neither even Jack nor Ben said, “Excuse me, Kurt, but who are you to accuse anybody of being a political coward?” Zellers’ conduct on the Vikings bill and negotiations stands as one of the greatest acts of political pants pissing in modern times, for which he earned — from me — the moniker the “Dithering Prince of Maple Grove.”

Here’s an exchange between Kurt Zellers and a couple of Capitol reporters trying to figure out what the Prince really thinks about the stadium bill. The dialogue took place on Friday, May 4, 2012 and was reported in the blog Hot Dish Politics (Minneapolis Star Tribune). It will stand the test of time as a seminal moment in political obfuscation.

Credits to Ken Avidor for the Hamlet cartoon, Politics in Minnesota for two photos of Zellers, and the Minnesota Legislature for the legislative bio photo, which I posterized. I got Zellers’ remarks from a Two Putt tweet.

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