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Minnesota GOP Thinks Depression Is Hilarious

Minnesota GOP Thinks Depression Is Hilarious
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In December of 2009, Mark Dayton took a huge risk. He was attempting a political comeback, running for a seat being vacated by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Dayton was considered one of the front-runners; an heir to the family that built Target, Dayton had served as state auditor and U.S. senator. He was well-known throughout the state and was obviously capable of winning a statewide race.

Dayton was hiding a secret, however, one that had flared up during his time in the Senate, some time after he decided not to seek a second term. In a different time, the secret might have been enough to destroy his political career.

He was an alcoholic and he suffered from depression.

On December 27, 2009, the Star Tribune ran an article detailing Dayton’s struggles with substance abuse, which landed him in the Hazelden clinic in 2007, and with depression, which he treated with medication.

Dayton did not go into detail about his mental health issues, and in stoic Minnesota, most of the state didn’t feel they needed to know. Despite running in the 2010 wave year, Dayton managed to defeat State Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Delano, to become the first Democratic Farmer Labor (DFL) governor in a generation.

It would be nice to say that Dayton’s struggles are now a non-issue, that Minnesotans have accepted that people who battle addiction and people who suffer from depression are just like anyone else fighting a disease. It would be nice to say that, but unfortunately, at least some Minnesotans are taking a different approach.

A Laughing Matter

Minnesota’s House District 56B was newly redrawn for the 2012 race. It’s a competitive district, made up of the south part of Burnsville, an aging suburb, and a sliver of Lakeville, a conservative exurb. Republicans took the House in 2010, and if the DFL wants it back, this is the type of district Democrats will need to win.

The DFL settled quickly on former State Rep. Will Morgan, DFL-Burnsville, who represented part of the district from 2007 to 2011. Republicans, however, had to find a new standard-bearer after Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville, chose to move to an adjoining district.

At the district convention in August, Lakeville School Board member Roz Peterson listed her qualifications for her party’s nomination. She hit the standard points a Republican would — she’s pro-gun control, pro-family values, anti-taxes. She’s endorsed by the local Chamber of Commerce. She’s electable.

As she wound up her speech, Peterson finished with a call to arms.

“We need to make sure that this seat remains conservative,” Peterson said. “And we also need to ensure that Dayton has balance in power, because we all know that he’s mentally unbalanced.”

The room erupted into appreciative laughter and applause. Peterson ultimately earned her party’s endorsement.

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Image Credit: Office of Gov. Mark Dayton

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135 comments

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3:42PM PDT on Apr 22, 2013

Jeff Fecke's article did a fine job of making these politicians accountable for their hateful attitudes toward people with mental illness.

3:38AM PDT on Apr 18, 2013

Ignorance feeds this particular breed of monster.

8:40AM PDT on Oct 19, 2012

pretty sad. damn elephants

10:32AM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

Whoa, "we all know how scary Obama is"????? We do? What exactly is it that makes him scary?

Seems the GOP crowd is totally in denial about their own delusional paranoia that's teetering on the brink of psychosis.

1:53PM PDT on Sep 30, 2012

What kind of a person votes for these people??????. think about it, they have to know what they are voting for, do they not"??????. as I have said these are not the republicians we used to vote for, and voters are so wrapped up in hate they can not see it!!!!, so republician voters you need to "save" your party, not BY voting for THEM, but by not VOTING FOR THEM!!!!!!. in four years maybe this ayn rand disease will be out of ther systems and maybe yours as well, what do you know about the AYN RAND PARTY, well we know republicians and teaparty is infected!!!!. look up the republician party history go back to when the party started, research...it MAY be...........FUN!!!!!!. and it may change your vote!!!!!, for now only". just reseach, read. go online see how gop was years ago up til now, and look up AYN RAND, Then vote not for a corrupt sick party but for our country RUINED by this party. Diana.

12:31PM PDT on Sep 30, 2012

I assure these idiots that Depression is no laughing matter.

10:50PM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

Not surprising coning from a repub. Until iy happens to then, it is merely malingering for evertonre rlse, Dame with avortion, they oppose it yntil a mistress needs to be quiwtly flown to a private clinic. The party of 'do as I say, not as i do;.

2:07PM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

It is amazing at the number of people who still think of mental illness as something to laugh about. How can we fight such ignorance when the majority of these people can't claim ignorance, only stupidity!

1:41PM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

Aren't all Republicans ,uncaring and cruel!

1:17PM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

In response to this paragraph: Powerline’s Scott Johnson demanded that Dayton release all of his medical records, because “one would have to be a fool to take his word that depression is the only mental health issue Dayton struggles with.”

I must suggest that Dayton does struggle with another mental issue, as do many of us. That so-called mental issue is consternation over how and why the GOP is running Mitch Romney (with apologies to David Letterman) and Paul, Lyin' Ryan, for President and Vice President.

It is no wonder that people are leaving the Republican Party in droves. Those new Democrats will more than make up for the illegally disenfranchised Democrat Voters. And, were those afore-mentioned DEMs to regain their right to vote, the Obama-Biden win will be even more lopsided.

So long as Romney keeps opening his mouth and inserting both feet, as does Ryan (remember, even Fox news said they had never heard so many lies in one speech, as in Ryan's speech to the GOP Convention).

No, it's not a done deal, or a 'gimme,' but the Republicans are making it increasingly easier to win, by not reining in their Big Lie machine.

The American People are now better equipped to know the difference between how Republican Politicians see the world, and how the world really is.

Lest I forget to acknowledge the elephant in this virtual room, I hope those GOP hacks, who lurk in the comments' sections, have picked up their paychecks for their name-calling

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