In an interview today on MPR, new Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller — who has a reputation for being arrogant, shrewd and combative — sounded reasonable and conciliatory.
Not surprisingly, some Republicans who have dealt with him over the years aren't buying it. Maybe more important, some DFLers aren't either.
A DFL activist who once worked at the legislature told me that Pogemiller was possibly the worst leader possible for getting the DFL majority in the two houses working as an effective unit. Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL House Majority leader, heads a large, relatively moderate caucus, and she has innovative ideas about how the two bodies could work together in a more coordinated fashion — with shared goals, some joint committee meetings and common processes.
Some think that's less likely to happen with Pogemiller, who regards the Senate as the senior body, and who may have been selected primarily for his ability to be an equal adversary to Gov. Pawlenty.
Pogemiller said all the right things on the radio. The former Senate Tax Committee chair, who has strong personal ideas about fixing tax inequities between income levels, said he'd leave it to the new Tax Committee to decide what proposals it would advance. He said also he'd worked well with Govs. Carlson and Ventura, and he'd do it with Pawlenty.
Over at the House, members may be hoping the same goes for them.