Phyllis Kahn compares R.T. Rybak's stadium flip-flop to Nixon's views on communism
When Kahn saw Rybak drinking beer out of a Viking's horn, she flashbacked to Nixon toasting Chinese officials.
In a MinnPost column, Rep. Phyllis Kahn, D-Minneapolis, criticizes Mayor R.T. Rybak for serving as Governor Dayton's "best supporting actor" during the Vikings stadium drive.
Kahn notes that Rybak "began his political career by railing against the evils of lavish taxpayer subsidies to professional sports teams and private corporations" but ended up as "the purple cheerleader-in-chief for the Minnesota Vikings and Zygi Wilf." While running for mayor in 2001, Rybak criticized then-Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton's support for the city's takeover of the Target Center.
Rybak's stadium subsidies flip-flop reminds her of another famous political 180-degree turn -- namely, former President Richard Milhous Nixon's views toward communist China.
Kahn on the stadium: "I seriously doubt that mortgaging the city's future to such an enterprise will ever pay off."
Kahn notes that Nixon began his career by painting Democratic Rep. Helen Gahagan Douglas as a communist sympathizer and allied himself with noted anti-communist Sen. Joe McCarthy. But in 1972, Nixon traveled to China and had drinks with Chairman Mao at the Imperial Palace.
She writes, "When I saw pictures of Rybak drinking beer out of a Viking's horn in the mayor's office, I flashed back to Nixon toasting Chairman Mao."
"Rybak's turnaround on pro sports public-subsidy bailouts is truly incredible. It does rank up there with Nixon's trip to China in terms of political about-faces," Kahn concludes.
Somehow, we doubt Rybak's role as cheerleader-in-chief during the Vikings stadium drive will go down in the annals of American political history as 'ranking up there' with Nixon's change of heart toward Mao, but if nothing else it's an interesting comparison with some merit to it, don't you think?
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