Star Tribune endorses Tinklenberg, no one in 3rd District


Yesterday we reported on the WCCO scoop that the Star Tribune wasn't going to endorse one of the Minnesota U.S. House seats. And they were right!

The Star Tribune endorsed El Tinklenberg in the 6th District, Rep. Michele Bachmann's opponent who has received superstar status since her MSNBC comments two weeks ago. And the paper wouldn't endorse in the 3rd District, which has Republican Erik Paulsen, Democrat Ashwin Madia and Independent David Dillon running for retiring Jim Ramstad's seat.

Why Tinklenberg? Because no newspaper would dare get dirty with Bachmann.

While Tinklenberg’s been criticized for not running a feistier campaign, he would be a tonic for partisan-riven Washington. He’s an accomplished, level-headed politician who put in his time at the local and state level and has achieved much through consensus-building. Tinklenberg’s deep expertise in transportation — a key issue for this north suburban district — has already proven a valuable asset. He had the foresight to push for Hwy. 610 — a critical area artery — and the Northstar commuter rail, set to open next year.

Bachmann has little to show for her two years in office — three minor bills, one of which recognized the state’s 150th birthday. The incident earlier this month when she went on MSNBC’s “Hardball” and accused Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama of possibly harboring “anti-America” beliefs and calling for the media to investigate her colleagues to see who was “pro-America or anti-America” just adds to the list of bizarre incidents and statements that undercut her credibility as a political leader.

Bachmann is a culture warrior for the far-right; clearly, that’s been her priority. This north-suburban district is hard hit by foreclosures and the economic downturn. It deserves a U.S. House representative who’s practical, focused and results-oriented: Elwyn Tinklenberg.


And what's up with the 3rd District? No one is good enough for the Star Tribune's standards:

Ashwin Madia, an Iraq veteran and Democrat, is young, bright and energetic. A vote for Madia is a vote for potential. He gets it right on energy policy, and his military service gives him welcome foreign policy perspective.

At the same time, we can’t quite shake concerns that Madia’s knowledge of key issues is wide, but not deep enough. Health care reform requires more than the efficiencies he emphasizes. His call for more education funding is good, but money alone won’t solve school ills. And how does this new funding square with his call to cut spending?

The candidacy of Eden Prairie Republican Erik Paulsen generated significant reservations. Paulsen has an impressive political pedigree, serving as the Minnesota House Majority leader from 2003 through 2006. He was awarded a prestigious fellowship that took him to India and China.

But Paulsen’s endorsement interview was disappointing. His answers on energy, health care and foreign policy lacked depth, detail and vision. Paulsen performed better at debates, but did not make the case that he has the depth needed to be a strong, independent leader in Congress.

Paulsen was a fiscal and social conservative in the Legislature, voting for measures that this newspaper opposed. Why he’s casting himself as a moderate in this race is unclear. His conservative credentials are solid; he should have run on them.

We think Paulsen got it worse, but still no endorsement for Madia. Could this cost Madia any sort of edge in the election?