Brave Sir Robin Cries About Politics To The AP

Mark Dayton gave an interview to the AP which clarified his reasons for declining a run at re-election in 2006. Dayton confirmed that he has no stomach for the grind of the same kind of politics he displayed in Condoleezza Rice’s confirmation debate last month, and would rather quit and go home rather than defend his record:

Sen. Mark Dayton said Friday his low poll numbers and an expectation of vicious political attacks were factors in his decision not to seek re-election next year.
“I certainly was not looking forward to the likelihood that on November 7, 2006, 99 percent of the people of Minnesota would think less well of me than they do now,” Dayton said in an interview with The Associated Press. “There’s no question the Republican strategy is to destroy you personally in order to defeat you politically.” …
Dayton said that last month’s poll by the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, which showed his approval rating had dropped 15 points, to 43 percent, factored into the decision.
“It’s hard to go into an election cycle and recover that public support, because everything you do is cast in political terms,” he said.

Dayton gives quite an extraordinary statement in rationalizing his retreat, accusing the GOP of using the politics of personal destruction after calling Rice a liar on the floor of the Senate last month. Dayton regularly casts his opposition in harsh personal terms, but seems quite unable to bear the thought of defending himself on the same footing.
Dayton lost significant ground in this state, as shown by the polling, because of the way Dayton approached his job. His personal attacks on Rice did not play anywhere near as well as he expected here. Moreover, his flight from DC last October because of supposed security risks while all other 534 members of Congress managed to muster up the courage to keep their doors open gave Minnesotans a look into the same lack of intestinal fortitude that he displayed yesterday and today.
Along with the bizarre demands made by Chuck Schumer on behalf of Harry Reid yesterday, however, Dayton’s political cowardice does not deviate far from the norm of his party. Once a formidable political machine, the Democrats have drifted so far philosophically that they cannot even answer a standard political challenge on voting records without crying “Uncle!” The defeatism that underscores so much of their foreign policy initiatives has infected their entire political thought processes, so much so that their knee-jerk reaction to any tough spot is to run away.
I thought I might retire the Brave Sir Dayton icon when Dayton left office, but it might remain as applicable after 2006 as now, if the Democrats can’t grow up.

Beating A Very Brave Retreat — Again

Brave Sir Dayton has again beat a very brave retreat from Washington DC, this time in a metaphoric sense, as he abruptly announced that he will not seek re-election in 2006, more than eighteen months away:

Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., said today that he will not run for re-election in 2006.
Dayton made the announcement this afternoon in a telephone conference call with reporters.
“I do not believe that I am the best candidate to lead the DFL Party to victory next year,” Dayton said.

No kidding. Even the DFL has started to come around to that realization. Late last month, Dayton’s approval rating in the always-generous Minnesota Poll retreated faster than Dayton himself last October from DC. He lost 15 points, even among Democrats and their Twin Cities power base. His positive rating came in five points below what George Bush had just received in the last election in Minnesota in a losing effort. Responses showed that Minnesota voters had deep reservations about Dayton’s hysterical flight from the nation’s capitol before the election and in his equally hysterical rants about Condoleezza Rice during her confirmation debate.
His early surrender gives the Democrats two years left on his lame-duck seat, complicating his committee assignments. After all, anything with any visibility should be given to Democrats who need the positive publicity of their assignments for their re-election campaigns, especially with the Democrats in such poor shape in the Senate already. Dayton leaves the DFL plenty of time to develop a candidate to run against Rep. Mark Kennedy, who the cognoscenti feel has the best shot at the GOP nomination.
This time, Democrats, try to get someone who won’t wet his armor at the sight of a killer rabbit.

Brave Sir Robin Demands Run-Away Date

Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton accompanied Joe Lieberman on his fact-finding trip to Iraq, after Dayton petulantly demanded that someone take him there. Dayton managed to sound a bit more coherent on this trip, echoing Lieberman’s call to stay the course on the scheduled January elections. However, he still took the opportunity to demand a schedule for our withdrawal:

Wrapping up a trip to Iraq, Sen. Mark Dayton said he’s convinced the United States must take efforts to quicken Iraq’s self-sufficiency.
“That process needs to be accelerated,” Dayton, D-Minn., told reporters in a conference call from Israel Wednesday, after spending the day in Iraq meeting with U.S. troops and U.N. and Iraqi officials.
“We’ve been there for 18 months now … We’ve got to start to define the remaining amount of time necessary for our forces to be there before they can leave with a victory secured.”

Once again, Dayton displays his utter incomprehension of our efforts in Iraq. The point of our mission isn’t to set up an exit date and then get done as much as we can before then; it’s to establish a functioning, democratic, federal government and establish a stable security force to keep it safe. Instead of focusing on making sure we succeed at that mission, Brave Sir Dayton worries that we won’t run away fast enough.
Nor was that the only demonstration of Brave Sir Dayton’s incoherence. After jumping on the uparmoring hype earlier this month, Dayton finally had the chance to actually ask real servicemen about their equipment — and then refused to believe them:

Dayton, who sharply criticized the Bush administration for not providing U.S. troops with enough armored vehicles, said troops he spoke with in Iraq said they are getting the equipment they need.
“But I think we got an incomplete picture of that,” he added.

What? Does he think that the soldiers and Marines lied to him? Maybe he has a grand conspiracy in mind that involves every serviceman in Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush, and Karl Rove, all working together to make Dayton look like a paranoid idiot. The only flaw in this theory is that Dayton does that so well all by himself.