I'll come back to that.
But first, I've long held the assumption that a Vikings stadium bill would somehow get rammed through despite this being an election year. Now? Who knows.
After clearing two House committees with relative ease this month, a bill to use public money to help build a Minnesota Vikings stadium in Minneapolis was defeated Monday night, April 16, in a third, dealing a potentially fatal blow to the project's chances this legislative session.
In a 9-6 vote that was bipartisan in its opposition, the House Government Operations and Elections Committee declined to go along with even a watered-down motion to pass the bill "without recommendation" to the House Taxes Committee.
Bill sponsor Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, called the vote "very disappointing" and said that for the bill to have any chance now to pass this session - which is expected to conclude by the end of the month - "Somebody's going to have to pull a rabbit out of a hat."
Vikings vice president Lester Bagley called the outcome "extremely disappointing" and said "it's a mistake" for people to assume the Vikings and the NFL will continue operating under the status quo.
He said that isn't a threat that the team will leave, but "Minnesota's in control of their destiny.
"We've done everything we've been asked," Bagley said. The question for the state is: "What else would you expect us to do?"
Uh, for some reason, rosary beads come to mind.
Obviously a taxpayer subsidized stadium has always been a proverbial game of "hot potato" since such a project violates both parties' sensibilities. For Republicans, it flies in the face of "fiscal conservatism" and for Democrats it's a "handout to billionaires." But on the other had, both sides have no desire to face the wrath of their constituents if the most popular professional sports franchise in Minnesota leaves town.
Naturally, a game of pointing fingers ensued once this latest bill was shot down.
On 1500 ESPN's Reusse and Mackey Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Ryan Winkler (D-Golden Valley, who voted "no") pointed out that the GOP has pretty much done what they have wanted when it comes to passing legislation, specifically referring to Voter ID and the Marriage Amendment, both of which will be on the ballot this November. Therefore this failure is on the Republicans. But as is Winkler's wont, he leaves out key facts: Five of the nine Republicans on the House Government Operations and Elections Committee voted "yes" on the bill, whereas only one of six Democrats acquiesced. During the interview, Reusse (a professed lefty) also piled on, saying that committee head Joyce Peppin could've voted "yes" and then flip at least one other GOP "no" vote in the process, thus conjuring up the eight votes necessary.
But the prevailing sentiment from some Capitol reporters is Governor Mark Dayton, a stadium supporter, was betrayed by two Democrat colleagues on the HGOE Committee. Apparently one of the DFLers who voted "no" gave the Governor assurances he/she would vote "yes." From there, needing one more "yes" vote, Dayton attempted to reach out to another Democrat, only to not have his phone call returned. Had those two DFLers given their approval, the bill would have indeed made it through committee by an 8-7 margin.
But perhaps the most stupefying analogy for this stadium bill failing came courtesy of veteran Minneapolis journalist Larry Fitzgerald (via Twitter).
Vikings get kicked in the teeth again, 9-6. When it comes to the Vikings they get treated like Trayvon Martin. They get profiled and disrespected!
I've read this over and over and am still baffled how a teenager who was shot to death is analogous to a professional sports team being denied a taxpayer subsidized stadium. Huh.
Oh, and in totally unrelated news, if you're on Twitter, check out the new handle @LAVikings2013.