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Editorial: Minnesota standoff: A budget showdown

Minnesota leaders -- on both political sides -- are upset they are not getting their way in the budget process and have failed to reach a balanced budget agreement that Gov. Mark Dayton will sign.

The reality is that Minnesotans now face a government shutdown July 1, which will close down offices, parks and services, as well as lay off many state workers.

In any budget standoff, there is often fault on both sides. This is true in this case.

The bigger challenge facing state leaders today is the House's Republican freshmen class of legislators. These legislators -- including Rep. Bruce Vogel, R-Willmar -- believe they were elected by a mandate of the voters.

These freshmen legislators have never been through a complete session to this point, but they are driving the House GOP Caucus leadership. These legislators have never been through a government shutdown. These legislators have never walked a summer parade during a budget deadlock and government shutdown.

These House Republican freshmen need to remember how fast the public opinion can turn. Their 2010 caucus victory was a margin of only 1,500 votes across a handful of House districts.

House Republicans in Congress also believe they have a mandate from the voters in the mid-term 2010 elections. A Democratic candidate defeated the Republican and Tea Party candidates Tuesday in the New York 26th District's special election, which is historically a heavily Republican district. The Republican proposal to transform the Medicare plan was reportedly a factor in this race.

After winning re-election in 2004, President George W. Bush saw a major opinion change when he attempted to privatize Social Security.

After winning election in 2008, President Obama saw public opinion shift as he implemented significant policy and spending changes.

House Republicans believe strongly in their principals. Dayton believes strongly in his principals as well. Therefore, this may be a long standoff.

However, once the government shutdown begins, the political fallout will soon follow. Moreover, the governor does not face re-election in 2012.