Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Border Envy

I don’t have to tell Minnesota sports fans how ugly things have been of late: The Minnesota Twins currently have the worst record in the American League. The Vikings finished tied with the Detroit Lions for last in the NFC North. The Timberwolves finished with the worst record in the NBA and the Wild, once again, failed to make the playoffs.

The news does not get any better when we look at the college side: The Gopher hockey team stunk up Mariucci Arena for the seconds straight year. The basketball team played well early but then collapsed down the stretch. The Gopher football team was the same old Gopher football team.

Making all of this infinitely worse is that while Minnesota teams have floundered, our hated rivals in Wisconsin have prospered.

A look at recent head to head match-ups:
Twins vs. Brewers
The Brewers swept the Twins last weekend and have beaten them seven games in a row.

Vikings vs. Packers
The Packers won both games last year and the Super Bowl. The less said about this the better.

Wolves vs. Bucks
I know few care, but the Bucks did win both games last season.

Gophers vs. Badgers
The Gopher football team has lost seven in a row against the Badgers. The basketball team lost their only match up last season. The one semi-bright spot was that the dismal Gopher hockey team managed to break even against the Badgers, 1-1-2.

This sports domination is bad enough, but now Wisconsin is also starting to dominate us when it comes to politics. Minnesota has long been dismal ground for conservatives, but at least we could look across the river and see that Wisconsin was not much better.

That is until the 2010 election. While both states elected Republican majorities to both houses of the state legislature, Wisconsin elected the principled Scott Walker governor while Minnesota inexplicably voted in failed Senator Mark Dayton.

Now Wisconsin is reaping the benefits with fiscally responsible state government and needed reform of public employee bargaining. Even the aging Madison hippies are getting to relive their glory days of ineffectual protesting – everybody wins! Everybody except those of us watching with envy from the west side of the river.

The Wisconsin hippies have managed to force a half dozen or so recall elections. While the recalls are unlikely to be successful in upsetting the balance of power in the legislature, part of me is guiltily hoping the left regains control in Wisconsin.

I know, I know, it is morally wrong to assuage my border envy by rooting for our neighbors to be brought down to our political level, but it is a powerful thought. I can understand why the Democrats resort to the politics of envy so early and often -- it is a powerful urge to resist.