Wow, that was something else, wasn't it? For once, Charlie Brown kicked the football, and it went straight through the uprights. That was a roller coaster ride that made anything out at Valley Fair a kiddie ride, amirite?
So, as is our wont here on DN, it's time to break out the SMR. For in this ordeal, there are more winners and losers than usual, and both hero and villain alike need to be highlighted.
Because heroes and villains abound in this drama.
But first, VICTORY DANCE:
SMR, after the jump. GOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Okay, a couple things before we go any farther. We will be talking about political figures in this SMR, and hopefully, this will be my last reminder about politics on DN. My views expressed about these ladies and gentlemen are not party specific, but rather how they acted during the stadium debate. As a community, we've done a very good job of keeping politics out of this debate, impossible as it might seem. So if you want to comment on these folks, please do. But keep it confined to how they acted during the stadium debate, and let's keep the labels out of it, okay? Okay. And if you haven't seen this story yet, you need to go read it. It's the best scouting report I've ever read.
Blue Chip Stocks:
Morrie Lanning: The stadium author in the House of Representatives, I started calling Lanning Don Corleone Lanning during the floor debates. Lanning is a man not to be trifled with, and even after the bill seemed dead in committee, he was able to marshal his forces, revive the bill, and keep ridiculous, bill killing amendments from being attached to the House version prior to it going into conference committee. Oh, he also got the thing passed, which was no small feat.
John Kriesel: What can you say about Kriesel that hasn't already been said? He was a champion of this bill from the beginning, and his impassioned speech on the floor of the House is must see TV if you call yourself a Vikings fan. Kriesel became, at least for me, Average Joe Fan in the House. A Mr. Smith goes to St. Paul, if you will, and he did a lot of the heavy lifting to get this thing across the finish line.
Julie Rosen: Stadium Julie was an Iron Lady in the Senate, and during the final Senate debate, she absolutely slapped down several senators who were doing nothing more than stalling for time and trying to kill the bill. Like Lanning, she steered the bill through treacherous waters, and was able to get an extra $50 million out of the Vikings once the bill went into conference.
Zygi Wilf: Be honest, if you were Wilf, would you have stuck it out as long as you did? I don't know that I would've, and I'm as big a Vikings fan as there is.Look, Wilf isn't doing this for free--he's getting a good deal, but he also said he was committed to keeping the Vikings in Minnesota. He was good to his word, and now the Vikings will stay in Minnesota for at least another 30 years. When the Vikes had an extra $50 million added to their final tab, some people thought Thanks, Zygi. I'd offer to buy you a beer, but you're like a billionaire. Ah, what the hell. First round's on me.
You: Yes, you, the Vikings fan. God love you, each an every one. We've suffered on the field more than our fair share, and some people might not understand why, but by God, you came out of the woodwork. You demonstrated, you called, you emailed, and you wouldn't let this team get away without a fight. We lost the narrative early and were playing from behind almost from the beginning, but when it came down to it, you delivered in the clutch. I'd offer to buy all of you a beer, but there's like millions of us. Ah, what the hell. First rounds on Chris, heh heh.
Roger Goodell: Is there any doubt how powerful Roger Goodell's words are? No one said exactly what he said when he flew out here the day after the stadium bill was defeated in committee, but whatever it was, it worked. It was pretty simple, though--the status quo was unacceptable, and no stadium in this session was a decision by the state of Minnesota, and the NFL would act accordingly.
Tom Bakk: Bakk is the Senate Minority Leader, and he delivered the votes when it counted. He also cock blocked Shawn Nienow when Nienow pulled a real dick move and asked for a motion to reconsider after the bill passed the Senate initially. Had that been successful, time would've run out and no bill could've passed, because the entire bill would've had to have been debated again. But Bakk shut it down almost as soon as Nienow introduced it.
Bobby Joe Champion: You know, Champion is one of the guys I came to admire the most out of this whole deal. It would've been very easy for Champion, who represents one of the poorest districts in Minneapolis, to just be a kneejerk 'no' vote, based on his district and his politics. But he wasn't. He looks like a pretty young guy, but he acted with more maturity than many of his peers in both the House and Senate. Champion might pay a political price for his vote, but I hope he doesn't. The guy lived up to his name, and I give him credit for swimming against the current of his party.
Ryan Winkler: Like Champion, Winkler is a guy that might pay a political price from his base for his 'yes' vote, but I appreciate the fact that he was willing to try and reach across the aisle and compromise for the greater good. Now, when he was talking on the floor of the House, it seemed like someone was holding a gun to his head just off camera, because he went on and on about how bad the bill was, but he looked at the good things in the bill and found more good than bad. I wish more people could be that open mined about issues.
Tom Rukavina: There is no one who is more unapologetically Minnesotan than Tom Rukavina, and by God I love it. Rukavina is a guy that will never stop fighting for his district, and wanted to make sure, time and again, that if this bill was the bill that was going to keep the Vikes in Minnesota, it was going to be built by Minnesotans using Minnesota's resources. That is commendable and to be applauded, and I hope Rukavina's district benefits greatly from this stadium project.
Governor Mark Dayton: I criticized the governor on more than one occasion for being more than a token cheerleader at times and not using his bully pulpit as governor as early or as often as he should have. But when he needed to, he did, and he never abandoned the cause. He made it one of his priorities, when it would have been easy to say, in this political climate, that a stadium wasn't a priority. Here's all you need to know about Dayton's standing: My dad, who is more conservative than Rush Limbaugh, categorizes people into two categories: Good people, or bags of shit. To my knowledge, no Democrat had ever been in the former category, except his brother, and that was due only to the family connection. Today, my dad actually said "Dayton? He's an idiot, but he saved the Vikings. He's good people." I can't understate how astounding this was for me to hear that from him.
Doug Wardlaw: Wardlaw strikes me as a guy that has never laughed in his life, and is constantly dehydrated. Seriously, what was with the constant lip smacking into the microphone? I don't know what was more irritating, that or your constant look of constipation on your face. You, sir, are the living caricature of 'uptight conservative'. Not once did I see him crack a smile, nor did he see the fact that putting 8,000 folks to work was a good idea. Dude, lighten up.
Sean Nienow and John Marty: These guys were a couple of bi-partisan dickheads. I get the fact that you didn't like the bill. Good for you. It's one thing to oppose a bill you don't like--heck, that's part of your job description, I get it. But you went out of your way to sabotage the bill and prevent it from ever being voted on. You are the worst embodiment of slimy, sleazy politicians, and the Vikings are still in Minnesota in spite of you, not because of you. Jackass. Honestly, you make me embarrassed to say I am from Minnesota.
Phyllis Khan: It's one thing to be opposed to a stadium. It's another thing entirely to be opposed and uninformed. For the love of Norm Van Brocklin, Phyllis, no one knows everything about everything, I get that...but you didn't know the most basic stuff about any of this. After awhile, it just became embarrassing for you, and uncomfortable for me.
Kurt Zellers: Oh, Kurt. Kurt, Kurt, Kurt. When you are a key player in the "I need to go take a Marty, and wipe my Nienow with some Zellers" joke, you will forever be in the neoconservative Don Glover 'bag of shit' category, and until today, I thought that was impossible for a Republican. So take solace in knowing you've pissed off your base in a way I'm not sure you've quite comprehended yet. But come November, I pray you will.
Buy: Legitimate opposition to publicly financed stadiums-- I respect the fact that people have legitimate concerns about publicly subsidized stadiums, when they feel that money could be put to better use. I disagree, not just on the financial aspect of it, but on an emotional and cultural level. I would hope that we can stand shoulder to shoulder and cheer the Vikings come fall, but that said...
Sell: The 'I want the Vikings to stay, but..." argument--...the "I want the Vikings to stay, but I don't want to pay for a stadium" argument was one of the most ridiculous arguments you had, because that wasn't an option. You hid behind that argument as a mask, wishing the Vikings would secretly leave. At least that's what I think. If you don't want professional football in Minnesota, just come out and say it.
Buy: The grassroots effort of the pro-stadium coalition--You know, sometimes Democracy is messy. It's inefficient, tedious, and sometimes it can be maddening...but I loved watching it in action this last week. The anti-stadium folks grabbed the narrative of this stadium issue early, and held on to it with a willing press until the very end. But we mobilized, and our voices were heard, and what we saw unfold was a popular uprising that gave me goosebumps and made me proud. Yeah, Democracy might be imperfect, but I'll take an imperfect Democracy over an efficient tyranny 7 days a week.
Sell: #Wilfare--#Wilfare has become #Wilfailed, and not a moment too soon. That Twitter hashtag was the social media rallying cry for the anti-stadium folks, and it was a vapid, cliched argument that died with this stadium bill being passed. I don't dislike you folks, but to say there's not a little bit of schadenfreude running through my veins knowing your pissed that you lost would be lying.
Buy: The re-election chances of legislators who voted 'yes'--It became apparent in these last few days that the silent majority would no longer stay silent, and Sen Tom Bakk said himself we made a difference. In his closing argument on the floor today, he said that these votes will be remembered come November, and I think he's right. Now, my Dad can no longer vote in Minnesota, but if he could, he would vote for mark Dayton today if he could. I still can't wrap my head around that.
Sell: The re-election chances of legislators who voted 'no'--The Vikings are bigger deal than some people want to believe, but I think they will understand the attachment to this team come November. People like Kurt Zellers are gambling that we'll have short memories and that this will be long forgotten come November. Now that there's a stadium, he might be right, but I hope he's wrong. Especially with the "I want the Vikes to stay, but I'm voting against the bill" stance he took. Way to be politically courageous, you tool.
Buy: The stadium being in Minneapolis--I was a fan of the Arden Hills site over Minneapolis, but sometimes you have to face political realities. And the reality was that the only plan Dayton and the Legislature would support was the one in Minneapolis, so Minneapolis it is. I don't like the way the city played the game, but at the end of the day, I'm ecstatic that my team will stay in the land of my birth.
Sell: The Los Angeles Vikings--Suck my gjallahorn, L.A!
Buy: Opening Day of Bud Grant Field at Valhalla Stadium, circa 2016--We are going to party like rock stars, people. I will see you on the Daily Norseman plaza!
Don Glover Quote Of the Week: Most of you that read this know that my Dad is a fairly irascible guy, and while the Senate was debating and voting on final passage today, I had to take him to a dentist appointment. He was in the chair when the final vote was taken, and when we got in the car he asked me how it turned out. When I told him it passed and that a new stadium was going to be built, he said:
"You know son, it means a lot to me to know that we’ll be able to watch the Minnesota Vikings together until the day I die. I would’ve missed that more than anything."
It really gave me a lump in my throat, and well, that's why I'm glad the stadium is being built.
That reason right there.