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Other view: It was good to have Minnesotans in the hunt

Minnesotans have long been prominent in helping to frame the national debate. Though they departed the race well before it approached the wire, Minnesota's 6th District Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty continued that tradition in the current presidential election cycle, and they're to be commended for it.

Bachmann ended her run on Wednesday after the Iowa caucuses. Pawlenty ended his last August after the Iowa straw polls. But, in a series of debates and campaign appearances and speeches, both contributed important ideas and lines of reasoning to the national discussion over American ambition and the role and scope of the federal government.

In a political system that depends on multiple voices and a voting system that vets not only individuals but also the ideas they represent, both Minnesotans helped to draw the lines of the debate, and give voice to parts of the electorate.

"I have no regrets, none whatsoever," Bachmann said as she bowed out Wednesday. "We never compromised our principles." She also said, "I didn't tell you what the polls said you wanted to hear."

When Pawlenty left the race last summer, he said he had listened too closely to political handlers. In an MPR interview back then, Pawlenty said he believed he would have fared better had he said, "To heck with that; I'm just going to go out and say what I want."

Much different from each other, Pawlenty and Bachmann stood up to be scrutinized and judged, by ordinary Americans, by pundits and operatives, by mass media, by their fellow candidates. They were willing to take the heat, to represent the ideas they care about, to participate in the grueling process of running for national office, to take a chance at chasing down the highest political office in the land. It was good to have Minnesotans in the hunt.