Where Was Minnesota’s Media on Klobuchar Concerns?

It must be an eye-opener to many of the 60 percent of Minnesota voters who backed Sen. Amy Klobuchar last November to see USA Today describe the state’s most popular politician this week as “a strange and unpleasant boss” whose behind the scenes persona draws comparisons to President Trump.

The paper’s cut line had to hurt: We don’t need more nastiness and chaos from another Trump.

It’s not biased to apply this yardstick. It has nothing to do with Klobuchar’s gender or any double standard. Trump shows us every single day why competence, discipline and management skills are absolutely essential in the next president. It is a top consideration on my check list for all candidates, as it should be for every American desperate to end the Trump era.

The third-term senator’s now notorious temperament issues were brought to light by the national media covering her presidential bid. Numerous national publications have revealed Klobuchar’s Minnesota nice shtick as a facade, including a 2,000 word New York Times expose in recent days.

As Ms. Klobuchar joins the 2020 presidential race, many of these former aides say she was not just demanding but often dehumanizing — not merely a tough boss in a capital full of them but the steward of a work environment colored by volatility, highhandedness and distrust.

The senator feared sabotage from her own team: In an email, she once raised the prospect of an in-house mole. She and her top confidantes could complicate the future job opportunities of some staff members who sought to leave, former aides said, sometimes speaking to their would-be employers to register her displeasure. And Ms. Klobuchar frequently suggested that her aides were preventing her from greater standing in Washington and beyond, former staff members said.

All of which raises an obvious question. Why did Klobuchar’s constituents have to learn about the senator’s “volatile, abusive and paranoid” side from USA Today and other national news outlets? Why the kid glove treatment from Minnesota media over the years?

J. Patrick Coolican of the Star Tribune provided a clue to the local media’s mentality in his February 7 political newsletter. Coolican posited that Klobuchar’s traumatizing of staff was so widely known in political circles that he apparently didn’t consider it newsworthy enough for public consumption.

Welcome to the presidential race, Sen. Amy Klobuchar: HuffPost out with a story about the worst-kept secret in DFL politics, that Klobuchar is difficult to work for. The lede asserts that her reputation is so bad that “at least three” candidates for campaign manager withdrew from consideration. It’s also all anonymous sources, and none of the anecdotes are so shocking as to go viral. (Ho-hum: We’ve all had bad bosses before, right?)

Coolican went on to hypothesize that the revelations might turn out to be a positive for Klobuchar’s presidential ambitions in the long run.

In a sense, maybe this is good for Klobuchar — a weaker story is out, and now they can say “old news” when the next one pops. Better to take a small hit now than something devasting a month before the Iowa caucuses.

But no such luck. The reported chasm between Klobuchar’s public and private posture continues to dog and define her campaign so far. Perhaps the Minnesota media wasn’t doing Klobuchar any favors after all by giving her a pass on “the worst-kept secret in DFL politics.”