MC wishes to thank its supporters and detractors for a most interesting year. MC attempts to fill the gap in regular thinking on the right in Minnesota politics. Sometimes, this wins us praise from the other team. MC knows the type of "republican" to whom that is anathema. That reaction doesn't bother MC at all. Really, those purity types have given us Senator Franken and Governor Dayton. The coming new year is an opportunity for them to be quiet. If they don't take that opportunity, it will be enforced upon them. Enough with losers. MC is in it to win.
Francis Fukuyama famously wrote an article later turned into a full length book "The End of History And The Last Man." Buy it by clicking HERE. Be forewarned: it contains a lot of Heidegger. To MC's mind, not a bad thing but surely not to everyone's taste.
His critics mostly misunderstood his thesis but proceeded to take it to task nonetheless.
Consequently, MC feels (a dreaded word, really) that its critics will do the same with this post. So be it. MC is up to the task.
What, then, are the social issues? The tiresome ones, of course. Abortion, same-sex marriage, and, well, that's it, isn't it?
Abortion will never be illegal in America. No, the analogy to slavery is not apt. Conservatives should shun ridiculous groups like Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. MCCL is mostly concerned about paying its ossified staff good salaries. They save no unborn. They take you for and treat you as suckers. Do not enable the charade to continue any longer. Give your money and time to the the Catholic church or any other legitimate group that reaches out to real women in real distress. You will be doing good. Don't forget to try to act like Christ either. Tough sledding but that's what you signed up for.
Same sex anything: it's over. Isn't it slightly creepy that some care about how others achieve sexual satisfaction? The marriage debate is real and MC is not for same-sex marriage but really, if civil unions flourish, who cares at the moment? MC favors social change organically, to use that silly word. Put it to a vote. Then follow what the people say. More or less, this is a good guide to social comity.
MC supposes this approach would defund the silly Minnesota Majority, which, apparently, exists only to raise money to pay its lone staffers Jeff Davis and Dan McGrath. Readers, send them no money at all. And voter photo id? A solution, as Joe Mansky said, in search of a problem.
The left was mightily disappointed in the lack of right wing outrage when DADT was repealed. Do they not understand that their favorite enemy, Dick Cheney, has an openly lesbian daughter in a committed relationship and has come out, so to speak, in favor of same sex marriage? In this Mr. Cheney is ahead of MC. Go figure! The military concerns, to be sure, are of a different order yet MC could not help but think that if those exceptional Israeli soldiers have no problem, why should we?
The point of this post is that no matter what one may think about this or that issue, the social issues as we once knew them are over. Indiana governor Mitch Daniels said as much recently and this generated a small boomlet in the the blogosphere. Michael Barone weighed in and dismissed it all as so much nonsense. The American people, the ones the left professes to love and care for but mocks at every opportunity, have moved on.
They want jobs, less government, less debt. The left can mock them all it wants in order for their dwindling numbers to feel better about themselves.
But, paradoxically, it is the American people who have now put the knife to social issues they themselves have outgrown. Can the blood suckers on both sides of the aisle do this?
MC emailed the link of an interesting article to friends of this blog earlier in the day. They in turned tweeted it to their followers who in turn retweeted it and so on. The focus of all this attention? An exceptionally insightful and comprehensive article by Patrick Ruffini on the recently released census results and its implications. Click on the title of this post to read it.
It is always easy to overstate any given case or outcome in politics (or in politically biased science, for that matter, think global warming junk science). Yet here the data, collected only once in a decade, is truly astounding and vindicates the essentials of the conservative position. MC highlights this article not to boast or preen; that way lies hubris and defeat. But MC is sure its readers will agree with Ruffini that "this week's numbers were the most ringing endorsement of the Republican governing model since Rudy Giuliani towered over the vested interests in New York City." Good for us. More importantly, good for the American people.
Tom Emmer conceded the governor's race in the cold of his front lawn in Delano yesterday. Running mate Annette Meeks was nowhere to be found. MC has been alarmed by the reaction of his hard core supporters, ie, those who got the endorsement for him, upon this denouement. Their rationalizations as to his loss are alarming for their continued political tone-deafness and unwillingness to examine the premises upon which they based their earnest support of this candidate. Precisely the wrong lessons are being learned, or spun, from this debacle (there is no other word) and MC is unable to continence them.
First, Minnesota's electoral system works just fine, thank you. Take your fraud allegations, your vapor-filled scenarios of Mark Ritchie's nefarious conduct and your desperate, wholly beside the point campaign for voter photo id and come back when you are serious about politics. By definition, that would mean wanting to win.
These allegations mystify MC and others. We are hardly soft on voter fraud. Did some felons vote previously who should not have? Yes. Is that voter fraud? Not as we understand the term. Did Mark Ritchie steal the election for Al Franken? No. How many times do we have to refer readers to Powerline and the writings of our friend Scott Johnson who analyzed the abject failure of Senator Coleman's exceptionally mediocre local attorneys who did so much damage that when real, national legal talent was brought in the damage could not be undone? MC is at a loss to explain the fetish with which some activists take after Mr. Ritchie. He's always struck us as perfectly average, the type of lesser talent who tops out in the position currently occupied. Why he should be imbued with real talent--albeit wicked--is beyond us and serves only to make him more important than he is in the state constitutional system.
Second, the media didn't drag Mark Dayton over the finish line. This narrative from the hard core is boring, actually. MC doesn't think the Minnesota media is all that tough (this *is* Minnesota, after all) and we can't really find any sustained mistreatment of our endorsed candidate. That he had lousy skills in dealing with them is his fault. Why can't that be said outloud? MC does fault the media and all three campaigns for endless debates. For those not born in Minnesota, as MC was not, there are at times things deeply weird about this state that those born here cannot perceive. We offer the earnest, rote, school-boy debates as a first but not only example.
Three, Minnesota isn't a Tea Party state but that section of the RPM more or less got Emmer the endorsement. A high school mentality reigned supreme in that faction at the convention and no amount of cold, rational argument could convince them of the downsides of their choice. In one sense, MC admires such passion and loyalty enormously and we mean no disrespect of any that in these comments. That said, we found it odd that the singular focus on being (far) right outweighed any studied consideration about the goal of the endorsement process: winning. More than once we were asked: Do you want a third Pawlenty term? To which we now say: well, do ya punk?
How does one talk sense to delegates elated by the endorsement of Tom Emmer by Sarah Palin? This is Minnesota, we emphasized. No matter. Such talk by MC was just so many wet blankets. We'll see, we were told. Indeed we did. Yet we haven't had any of the Emmer convention supporters contact us and say we were right. This is disconcerting. It shows a lack of learning anything from this--that word again--debacle. A poll released yesterday showed Palin's unfavorable rating in Minnesota at 60%. For those still in Emmer denial, that's a majority of the state's population. MC doubts it was much lower in late April when she delivered her hockey Mom loves hockey Dad endorsement. Hooky. If we see another hockey jersey it will be too soon.
Third, pick a running mate of your own choosing, not that of a fringe, single issue outdated group like MCCL's. MCCL, should you not know anything about Minnesota politics, is Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. Apparently this retrograde group vetoed the selection of former and now current Senator Linda Runbeck as Emmer's choice for Lieutanant Governor at the last moment. Her crime was only an 80% voting record on their scorecard. The RPM needs to leave such zealots behind and fast. Carry on in your futile effort to criminalize abortion: it will never happen again in America and MC would urge you to funnel your efforts to women in a crisis pregnancy, one-on-one. This is much more difficult than preening and feeling good about yourselves, playing king makers in Minnesota republican politics. It would also accomplish something, however. Annette and Tom were a match made in hell. Thanks, purity people for that dysfunctional ticket. MC thanks Annette Meeks, though, for going through with the arranged marriage. Her change yesterday in her Facebook avatar did not go unnoticed or, to our mind, unappreciated. In fact, we quite agree.
Fourth, reject players behind the scenes with agendas. MC would be looking at Vin Weber, our own insider and who, by rights, should be anathema to the Tea Party and anti-establishment types that at the convention got Emmer the endorsement. Does MC have to do *all* their thinking for them? Vin is the quintessential corpulant lobbyist trading for decades on his slender Congressional service. Apparently, because Tony Trimble was childhood friends with Vin and Jack Meeks he remains ensconced in the RPM providing 3rd tier legal advice. Lovely. Then there's Laura Brod, more spoken about than seen. May it remain ever thus. She trashed Marty Seifert to a degree none of his other detractors did. MC says no more about her, karma being what it is. Brian Sullivan stood insider-cheek-to-insider-cheek with Vin Weber in throwing his, um, weight to Emmer. He still can't be bothered to attend RPM state central committee meetings, understandably so. He'd float right away. Like Evie Axdahl, he needs to be fired and replaced with real people. MC has it own replacements in mind.
Fifth, don't nominate graceless people like Tom Emmer. Can the ur-base handle that? After the election results were announced, he vanished for a week. Would the purity people have put up with that from Marty Seifert? Of course not. Yet in this instance, they excused it, if they even admitted it. Do you know how tiresome you people have become? A good friend of MC's said before the endorsement that she didn't even know how to pronounce Marty's running mate's last name. That would be: @SivarajahMN Call me, Sue Jeffers, for pronunciation lessons. But kindly do not be proud of your ignorance in not being able to do so. It's just more of the nonsense MC fears in going ahead with republican candidates in 2012.
As for any of you who supported Emmer at the convention, we await your apology. MC told you but you persisted in your know-nothingness. When it comes to 2012, stay silent. We republicans who want to win can figure out a winning path on our own. With you Emmer supporters, we repeat what we just went through. You have nothing to offer our future except defeat.
At the end of a long state central committee meeting December 4th a motion was made from the floor to "renounce" those republicans who publicly supported Tom Horner for governor. Those named were pretty much has beens although they included two nominally republican former governors and one nominally republican former senator. While much outrage was directed at these miscreants, an observer could be forgiven for wondering if delegates have too much time on their hands or are unable to think of a productive use with which to put that time. Having just won control of the state legislature a large segment of the delegation promptly looked backward and in a manner that made the RPM look petty, small and foolish.
The final vote on this ridiculous motion was 59 to 55. Lost in media reports, almost understandably so, was the fact that this motion split the party. Why would republican activists insist on proceeding with a course of action that would damage the party? Because these type of activists insist on being right and pure rather than effective or useful in winning elections. MC would have enjoyed listening to them explore why their candidate for governor failed in spectacular fashion in a wave election but no such self-reflection was forthcoming. Instead, another target was chosen and off they went: smug, self-righteous and tone-deaf.
Those opposed to the motion, including MC, tried to point out that this group of republicans should not be given the attention the motion would bring. How this motion would be perceived by the press and general public was dismissed out of hand by these Robespierre wanna bes. Needless to say, the publicity has been uniformly negative.
Unfortunately, there is a large overlap of these types of delegates with those in the RPM who think our entire election system is fraudulent, that Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is a communist or pals around with them and who see a conspiracy of some sort around every corner. This is a worrisome development on many levels, not least of which is the diversion from focusing on how to govern best in 2011. It also constitutes some sort of political pathology that will poison the party if left unchecked.
Our friend Craig Westover has a very different take on the issue and explains his position with his usual eloquence. Click here to read him.
MC doesn't care for those republicans who endorsed Horner any more than those delegates who thought the purge motion was a good idea. In our view, the cure was worse than the disease. These people are not moderates, either, and there should be no doubt about that. The best approach to outliers or those who have left the reservation is to ignore them. The need to punish is usually one best to avoid.
Now we'll have to live down the wholly expected media attention, the memes of civil war in the party and the glee of the recently defeated democrats. All this, of course, will pass. But the mindset that caused it is not likely to pass, at least quickly, and at some point in the near future the RPM will have to deal with the purity people who erode what they insist they wish to strengthen: the GOP brand.
The day after the election MC asked: who lost the governorship? Our analysis still stands, we believe, upon re-reading that post a month and a day later. The question we now face, however, is whether Tom Emmer should challenge in court the election results after the ongoing recount concludes and the almost certain certification by the Secretary of State that Mark Dayton won, that Mark Dayton is, incomprehensively, Minnesota's next governor.
The answer to that question is no, Tom Emmer should not contest in court the outcome of the election for governor. We were appalled that Emmer vanished after the election--some leader!--and appeared a week later to give a defensive, graceless 19 minute press conference without once ever thanking his staff or supporters. Cue Kennedy's comment about Nixon: no class. Where, pray tell, was his running mate Annette! Meeks? She was a no-show at the ersatz press conference. MC can't exactly blame her, can't exactly absolve her absence either. Emmer's supporters insisted he should be the the GOP nominee because Seifert was too establishment. Meeks was formerly Newt Gingrich's chief of staff. We are not certain how much more insider one can get and her selection split Emmer's far right base in the party. The omens were bad coming out of the convention and the campaign's subsequent hapless performance only underscored them.
MC understands perfectly well the campaign's request to the Minnesota Supreme Court to engage in reconciliation before the state canvassing board met. This claim would have been time barred after the board met. We don't believe, having said that, that its argument was particularly persuasive or well grounded. Contrary to many of our friends' protestations, the Minnesota Supreme Court got the decision exactly right. We can't judge its analysis because it has not yet issued its opinion in the matter. We do believe, however, that its considered opinion is likely to intentionally close off any arguments based upon its decision in a subsequent election challenge. One apple. One bite.
Currently the recount proceeds apace with the occassional flared nostril of a volunteer or election official providing the only passing drama. We pity our friends in the media who have to cover this as though it were the Coleman/Franken recount, which most assuredly it is not. The observations on Twitter about the recount are worth their weight in, um, ballots or something.
Which brings us to our present position: all known facts indicate that Dayton has an insurmountable lead that cannot be overcome either through the recount process or a challenge in court. There is no path, despite being given such assurances.
We have read in news reports of our friend Tony Sutton, chair of the RPM, saying that reconciliation and the vouching issue could provide a basis for a court challenge after the inevitable certification in Dayton's favor. MC doesn't see it. To be sure, anything could be ginned up as grounds to justify an election challenge in court, the effect of which is to leave the current, what's his name, governor in place. The salient point is that with such an enormous lead (these things being relative) the average Minnesota voter will be repulsed, and rightly so, with actions that smack of gaming the system, of bad faith, as politics not really as usual in squeaky clean Minnesota. MC is sorry Senator Coleman had such abject, lousy lawyers last time out but getting a better one from DC this time won't do the trick. The dog barks, the caravan moves on and all that.
MC must, however, admit that it is not privy to all of the facts and circumstances that the party and Emmer have at hand. We don't mean to suggest that a court challenge should be foregone if there are, in fact, real and credible issues that warrant such. Having paid excrutiatingly close attention for the last month, though, we'd be hard pressed to name any. Hence our concern that actually contesting in court the governor's election would look to be nothing more than an obvious attempt to keep a republican governor in office while a republican legislature proffered up for the former's signature legislation that Dayton most likely would not sign.
MC stands for Minnesota Conservatives and as conservatives we don't believe voters are stupid. Our fear is that their disgust will be taken out on republican candidates--especially in the senate--in 2012. That's the self-interested take. But there is also the idea that we as republicans and conservatives stand for something, opportunism not being one of them. We hear endless trashing of Dayton. We get it. We also offered up to voters such a flawed candidate that he could not beat Dayton. A little humility is in order from the crowd that got Emmer the endorsement. His performance with the press recently not only leaves much to be desired but reveals the candidate for himself. We're not sure there ever was a mask but if so, it has slipped and the man behind it is unappealing.