Well that didn't take long: fresh off a republican win that left everyone grasping for metaphors we find some conservatives trying to re-argue lost causes and threatening current and future successes with a rigid purity test that few could pass and for which they have no standing to impose on the rest of us.
MC speaks primarily of Dan Riehl and Mark Levin but, we are sure, there are others. Unpleasant, nasty people as people, Riehl and Levin have taken it upon themselves to lecture the rest of us about what can or cannot constitute an appropriate choice in any given republican primary. They do so in strident, repulsive and frequently ad hominem ways. Given less to reason than outrage, they focus on the dreadful Christine O'Donnell and roundly condemn anyone who thought Mike Castle would be the better candidate for the general election. There is, really, no question about this but the purity activists insist that this isn't true. In fact, some of them go so far as to say her loss is a win. MC walks away from discussions where down is argued strenuously as really being up. We're not fond of Kool-Aid on either side of the political aisle.
The problem is not that republicans have different ideas as to whom to endorse at a convention or vote for in a contested primary. It's that one small group takes unto itself anathema-like powers as to those with whom they disagree. MC thinks this is a threat to future GOP successes and shows the shallowness of political thoughtfulness on their part. The purity activists here tend to (that dreaded word) bully those who disagree with them. But being nasty politically merely fits in with their personalities. Republicans who want to (continue to) win simply have to be fearless and either ignore these types or push back. We're doing the latter at this point, no doubt to be followed by the former. These people are, after all, mostly marginal. The goal is to keep them that way.
Idiotically, New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie has come under fire from these, well, idiots. His crime was to tell David Gregory on Meet the Press that Delaware was a lost senate opportunity. Yes, MC wishes Mike Castle was more conservative. In a fit of purity, Delaware put up the flaky Christine O'Donnell and the results were a classic foregone conclusion. And no--why should we have to say it?--MC doesn't think she deserved the media ridicule and piling on that she received. But Delaware isn't a Tea Party state. Is it apostasy to say so? Apparently to some but we think they point toward permanent minority status. No thank you.
MC is a big admirer and supporter of the Tea Party movement. Being judicious in running such candidates doesn't contradict that support. In fact, MC thinks it showcases our understanding of what has brought it to prominence. Slap-dash anywhere and everywhere foisting of those kind of candidates is simply unwise if not ignorant. The smugness of Riehl and Levin, to say nothing of those like them, is suffocating. By themselves, they do precious little to actually help republican candidates win. Contrast this with Governor Christie criss-crossing the nation in support of all kinds of republican candidates.
MC wants republicans to be a durable, lasting governing party which, we believe, best represents the views and values of the American people when we don't stray from who we say we are. The purity activists fancy themselves guardians of the cause but, in fact, they are the leading edge of an ideological position which, if allowed to become preeminent, assures our defeat.
First, context: Republicans won nationwide on a scale not seen since 1938. More than 60 seats in the House and at least 7 in the Senate. On the national state level, republicans gained legislatures and governorships in unprecedented numbers. Locally, republicans gained control of both chambers of the Minnesota legislature for the first time since before the dawn of creation and against any reasonable expectation. In some sort of Hollywood movie, Chip Cravaak defeated the ossified, entitled, Congressman-for-life James Oberstar in Minnesota's CD 8. Know hope, to quote that idiot Andrew Sullivan. There, dear reader, is your context.
Into this amazing and refreshing conservative environment we must face facts and welcome Governor Dayton. It fairly kills us to say this but we are not the denial type. There will be a recount by operation of law due to the closeness of the race but MC is not in doubt about the outcome. Nor, to our extensive knowledge, are any serious political observers. We understand the political expediency of Chairman Tony Sutton and Deputy Chair Michael Brodkorb's efforts to stoke up energy and focus on the recount. That isn't the point of this post. The point is:
Who Lost The Governorship?
First, Tom Emmer and his campaign staff. How could this not be said? For almost two months after his endorsement at the state convention the campaign was a textbook exercise in how not to run. Servers making $100,000 and "tip-credit" dominated the summer months. Some on our side said it was a teaching moment. What? At the same time they told us that voters were not paying attention to the pratfalls and would not be remembered by the average voter. Well, which is it? Because both cannot be true at the same time. Senator Amy Klobuchar warmed up the crowd at the Obama led rally last month by reminding the crowd of Emmer's views on servers. The rally was in October. The comment made in July. Thank God that storyline didn't have legs. Town hall seppuku: it was actually a considered decision by Team Emmer. Sorry about those pennies from, er, heaven. Or whatever.
Eventually (cough) the campaign tossed out its tone-deaf, never-run-a-statewide-campaign-before leadership and brought in Norm Coleman's people. Norm Coleman's. We can hear certain of our friends choking as they read this. Good.
Tom Emmer and the campaign improved markedly. Here's the pity: we know Tom. Love him (in a conservative, uptight, don't touch me sort of way) and think he should have won. One half of MC even spilled beer on him more than a year ago (long story; saving the rights for big money from the National Enquirer) and he's teased us ever since. The nice guy lost and we are not happy.
MC wonders what would have been different if Tom had had his current team in place from the outset. Well, we won't be coy: he'd have won. But . . . .
Purity people would not have stood for this until a crisis. The same people who outfoxed Marty Seifert and Ben Golnik at the convention. Once Norm's people were in place they were rather quiet. For the life of us, MC couldn't get them to utter RINO about Tom. Odd, no? And they say RINO so recklessly otherwise.
Where is Vin Weber? Brian Sullivan? Laura Brod? [see reader's comment below about Brod's participation] Those three were big names in getting Emmer the endorsement (note to DFL readers: our endorsement actually means something; yours is more like something Christine O'Donnell would tell you not to engage in). Their absence in the campaign should be held against them. Thanks for nothing.
Only a day after the moving hand has written on the wall MC is seeing (Twitter!) the usual suspects run from any responsibility for the outcome. We're having none of it. Yes, we thought Seifert more electable. Thank god the Palin endorsement proved us wrong.
We wrote about this day two weeks ago: Prepositioning The Scapegoats. Damn we're good: it's all coming to pass as we predicted.
Only the "First Principles" group has no standing to speak to the rest of us in the Minnesota republican party. You told us we were wrong, or worse. You were full of yourselves. You believed your own insular hype. And in the republican tsunami of 2010 you turned Minnesota from red to blue. We don't want to hear from you for a very long time indeed. You deserve your silence but we doubt you have the grace to observe it.
Who lost the governorship? The Minnesota republican purity people. You know who you are.
So do we.
Update: Cindy Brucato has a post mortem on the campaign: http://tinyurl.com/27sr5rl
Hat tip: ExJon. Follow him on Twitter or you will miss out: @ExJon Oh, and if you are not on Twitter, you don't exist. Also, follow him on www.blip.fm under the same name as a DJ; excellent taste in music. And yes, Minnesota, you are welcome.