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Zaleski: Holiday gifts for people in real need

At this festive time of year, I propose Christmas gifts for politicians, organizations and a pathetic peddler of piffle. Here goes.

  • To Democratic Governor-elect Tim Walz of Minnesota: A dollop of common sense to leaven the partisan goo of his holiday eggnog. Walz declined an invitation to the White House to meet with the president and other newly elected governors. Too busy with the transition in Minnesota, Walz said. Yeah, right. Walz doesn’t like the president (he’s in good company), but his vision as governor should be broader. He need not respect President Trump (he’s in good company). He need not endorse the president’s policies or behavior (he’s in good company). But as governor, he should consider two factors: One, it’s simply polite and politic to accept such an invitation. You know, Minnesota nice. Two, it surely can’t hurt for a new governor to forge working relationships with the administration, even Trump’s corrupt gaggle. You know, common sense.

  • To Republican Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota: A wedge of humble pie, spiced with humility and deference. The half-term governor was a successful autocrat-in-chief in the private sector. His minions fawned and fussed over his alleged genius. Want to keep your job? Fawn and fuss over the boss. Preach the company dictum that he’s the smartest dude in the room, even if you know he isn’t. Doesn’t work that way in public life. An accomplished legislator said about his encounters with the governor: “It’s like getting lectured by a bad professor.” Tell me about it. I have had the privilege of being in sessions with Burgum and some very bright people. He was not the smartest person in the room. Not even close. Is one piece of humble pie enough? Probably not. Let’s do a whole pie. The gov can grab a slice before meeting with lawmakers, business leaders and other smart people in the room. A gift that keeps on giving.

  • To Forum faux pundit Rob Port: A charitable fund to pay for counselling, therapy and possibly institutionalization so he can be cured of a PTSD-like affliction. His unique malady, however, is not Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s PTHD — Post Traumatic Heidi Disorder, as in his odd obsession with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D. Indeed, everything “Heitkamp” brings on distressing symptoms. It’s sad. So sad that in Port’s loopy condition, he fancies himself a “colleague” of legitimate journalists. He is not. Therefore, I urge that we help him as best we can. I’ll step up with a donation of one wooden nickel, because it’s as worthless as his fatuous punditry.

  • To the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party: A stocking stuffed with backbone and purpose, and a card that advises, “Quit whining!” A once relevant political party is close to giving up the Christmas ghost, and blaming everyone and everything but its own culpability. Get off the pity pot. Rebuild the base — city councils, school boards, legislators. Restock political coffers so statewide candidates can finance campaigns. Take the Democrats’ case to voters during the legislative session, rather than complain Republicans appropriate your causes. Start working.