Thursday, October 29, 2009

Favre has Pawlenty in no win situation

While it's clear that the Minnesota Vikings signed Brett Favre, they did so because they had been through several years of suffering with a team that was good, but not good enough. The Favre acquisition was an upgrade to the quarterback position and a chance at making a serious run deep into the playoffs.

Some outside of the area may not be aware of the other motive that Vikings ownership may have had in signing Favre. Namely, they are attempting to build a new home for the Vikings to replace the Metrodome. Doing so might be a bit easier with a winning season and a big name like Favre. The alternative, and there are Vikings fans who fear this is more than just idle talk, is that the Vikings leave Minnesota.

But how to pay for a stadium? A few years ago the Vikings may have been able to persuade the taxpayers to foot the bill and count on a bustling economy to paper over the unseemly side of public funding for private profit. These days, a taxpayer funded stadium seems a lot less likely.

When you add to the mix a governor in Tim Pawlenty who has presidential aspirations, the political calculus can be as difficult as actual calculus.

Writing at the @TAC blog, Sean Scallon says:
This puts Governor Tim Pawlenty in a bit of a bind. Unlike his rivals for the 2012 GOP Presidential nomination, he still has his day job. Certainly he doesn’t want the Vikings to leave the state on his watch so he’s on board with building a new facility, but he’s not offering any solutions on how to pay for it. If new taxes are the only way it gets built, will the Club for Growth forgive him because it was all to pay for a new football stadium? Well, if they didn’t let Mike Huckabee off the hook because of a measly food tax, you can imagine what their reaction will be and what the attack ads in Iowa and New Hampshire will look like. Pawlenty knows this as well as anyone, so it is quite the taxing teaser the young Minnesota governor and would-be president faces over the next two years.
And I thought Favre's move to Minnesota put Packer fans in a bind. We seem to be getting along just fine; for Pawlenty, this dilemma could prove one for which his political playbook simply has no answer.

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