How they see us: NY Times shocked by a "red" Minnesota

On a recent visit to Minnesota, Verlyn Klinkenborg was shocked by the proliferation of "Firearms Banned on These Premises" signs in the state. Such signs have been ubiquitious since the legislature passsed the Personal Protection Act--aka conceal carry--way back in 2003. But you have to live here (or have access to the internets), to know that.

For Klinkenborg, an editorial writer for the New York Times, the discovery of the signs provided a reason to write about the North Star state's political evolution; hence the title of today's screed, "Once a Progressive state, Minnesota is now a fief of the NRA."

Yes, Minnesota's days as liberal bastion are over. Finis. Toast.

But given that Minnesotans haven't elected a Democratic governor since 1986, this is hardly breaking news. So I'd like to issue a general plea to the national media: Can we please see more stories about Minnesota politics that don't use Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale and the glory days of the DFL as central references?

A sidenote to the Times fact-checking department: Klinkenborg writes that Minnesota passed a conceal carry law "a year ago." That time frame helps foster an impression of currency, thus serving Klinkenborg's thesis of a presumably recent transformation of the state's political culture. While technically correct, it is not accurate. The original conceal carry law was passed in 2003. It was thrown out on appeal, then redrafted for passage in 2005, minus the unconstitutional provisions.

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