Saturday, April 16, 2011

MN Republican Party Saves Itself From Oblivion

Today the Minnesota Republican State Central Committee elected Pat Anderson and Jeff Johnson to the Republican National Committee. The race for committee woman was intense--four good candidates--but of a different order than that for committee man. For those fortunate readers not inclined to political minutia, the refudiation of Tom Emmer is a seismic shock to the established political order within the party. It represents the beginning of the end for those self-serving types--there is no other word--who insist that far right principles are to be preferred over winning elections. That thinking gave us Senator Franken and Governor Dayton.

The usual purity people will bemoan the Emmer loss but will be loath to admit that he was the insider candidate and that Jeff Johnson bucked the establishment and won. Splayed behind Emmer during his speech to the State Central Committee were the highest elected republican state officials and the usual party hangers-on. The delegates assembled before them did not act as requested, however, and realized that by rewarding the retread Emmer with an RNC slot the party would never be rid of him. MC hopes those people on the dais behind Emmer feel foolish. They should.

It was an open secret that Emmer wanted to run for governor again. That way lies madness but the politically tone deaf borg which got him the endorsement last year could not see it as such. That part of the party constitutes a dangerous and ongoing threat to its electoral health.

Fortunately, a competent politician stepped forward and offered the non-crazies in the party a way out. Jeff Johnson has been an exceptionally able Hennepin County Commissioner. As he told the delegates, the RNC race was not akin to electing a homecoming king nor was it about big personalities (ie, egos) because the RNC itself is filled with them. The race was about competence and effectiveness. Johnson worked hard for this win. Emmer acted since he first announced that it was a coronation. He only started calling delegates last Sunday. Hubris of a high order from someone who ran an exceptionally lousy campaign and blamed everyone but himself for his loss to the baffling Mark Dayton. To the extent he deigned to campaign for the RNC race, he was insufferable in his smugness as some sort of up and comer. He had, didn'tcha know?, Chris Christie's number on speed dial on his cell phone. MC is confident all calls Emmer made went straight to voice mail. Add to the investment you made in me last fall, he'd hector various captive audiences. Has Emmer no idea that people do not like to have their intelligence insulted?

The Emmer supporters have been ugly and ungracious in their defeat. MC isn't surprised: this is who they really are. Their anger stems from their unarticulated sense of entitlement for their candidate. Vin Weber, John Kline, Michael Bachmann, Jack & Annette Meeks, Norm Coleman and others must all be shocked that they were not able to bully their sock puppet into the RNC. It's difficult for MC to describe the surprise and happiness that swept over the delegation when Johnson's win was announced. We knew it was a win far larger than just the RNC. We knew that we as a party had taken a step back from oblivion in Minnesota politics and now have a fighting chance of preserving the wins we made in the November 2010 elections.

Republicans typically do not reward failure. This is a distinct Democratic trait. Today the republicans in Minnesota redeemed their mistake in endorsing Emmer last year by refusing to grant him the RNC position for which he was neither qualified nor entitled. Today Tom Emmer's political career died. MC wishes him well as he pursues other opportunities.


Anonymous said...

While I may disagree with Johnson on both form and substance, he's a work horse compared to Emmer. I'd prefer to see your party continue to go with the show horses, but in this case, you made the right choice.

Anonymous said...

Tom Emmer's veneer is finally wearing thin. The people in MN as a whole were ahead of the GOP in recognizing this fellow Emmer for what he is, a party-on, empty-suit frat boy.

The adults in the party came to the fore today The worship of Emmer in our party as some sort of secular god is on its way to the dustbin of history.

Eric Ekstrand, Chair HD55a said...

What a great article. A little harsh, but sometimes the truth hurts. As a delegate from the 2008 state convention I had the [cough] pleasure to have Emmer at my door. My wife and I both could see right through his false exterior and quickly made the decision to endorse Siefert. Although we lost our bid, it is good to see that other have seen through his disguise.

Anonymous said...

Better late than never. Wish these people would have realized it before last year's Governor endorsement.

Jeff J. will do a great job.

Anonymous said...

If you put half as much effort into defeating democrats as you do slamming fellow Republicans, we might actually win statewide races. Maybe you are why we lost the Republican statewide races in 2010. Tom worked hard to campaign for the house & senate candidates across the state with no help from you. You are not a Conservative. You are the real fake in the Republican party. With friends like you, who needs democrats?

Craig Westover said...

I supported Emmer for Governor (after Pat Anderson switched to the auditor's race) and Jeff Johnson for RNC. There is a place for the ideological candidate and a place for the "workhorse" behind the scenes guy. The RNC is a workhorse position. The strongest point Jeff made in his speech (and throughout the campaign) was that the work at the RNC is done at the staff level; the path through success is through the staff, not the egos.

This is the second time in several months I have seen the GOP put good sense above emotion. The 10th Judicial District endorsed Chris Penwell for a judgeship, choosing him over two better-known political candidates. Penwell also ran a low-key campaign based on qualifications for the job at hand.

Just a note to MC -- in Penwell's case the party endorsed the best candidate, but he lost in the general election to one of the more ideological candidates he defeated for the endorsement. A strong ideological stance is not necessarily a deterrent to winning elections.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious. Supporting a successful conservative who actually wins elections (Johnson) instead of an angry, self-important loser like Emmer makes one "not a conservative". These "Republicans", Emmer supporters, lied about Marty and gave us Mark Dayton. Their credibility is worthless and they need to learn from their ongoing mistakes before it's too late for this state.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious. Who were the elected officials and the "party hangers on" who stood behind Emmer?

Anonymous said...

E - Ego uber alles
M - Many staff shake-ups
M - Making wait staff mad
E - Extremely poor fundraising
R - Runner-up in 2010 (and now 2011)

Anonymous said...

Funny things was that on Friday night (eve of the State Central meeting), a couple of former Emmer for Governor staffers went to Johnson's hospitality suite and were boasting that Emmer has the race locked up. Said Fitzsimmons was the best vote-counter around. Guess their count was off a little, eh?

not your mama said...

Good luck to Emmer and his family in whatever he decides to do next. I just hope it isn't for any more political offices/positions.

His diminishing vote percentage in his own district, plus his now streak of also-ran finishes, first to Marty (as minority leader), then to Dayton, now to Johnson should clue him in.

There's some disconnect he just can't bridge when it comes to putting finishing touches on a win. The best message in an ineffective messenger becomes mute. I know it's hard, but we got to find the people best at both.

Anonymous said...

Wow, MC & friends are really good at those Alinsky rules for radicals: name calling & demonizing their opposition. Save your spite for the democrats.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Emmer and friends were really good at name calling and demonizing anyone who, in the run up to the State Central Committee, dared to say anything even mildly critical of Emmer's miserably lousy and failed campaign for governor. They also saved up their spite and withdrew it from the spite bank to heap it on the Republican Jeff Johnson.

So take caution in lecturing anyone about the usage of the Alinsky rules.

Kris Broberg said...

It is fair to criticize Emmer, and a lot of fair critiques can be made, but please have a little courage and sign your name to it. You are probably many of the same people who lecture about the 11th commandment (which is a bunch of crap). But I think it is fair to ask you to put your name to what you are saying.

jerrye92002 said...

I don't know how anybody can draw conclusions one way or another from the facts presented here. I see no cause for celebration on whatever side of an ideological divide that I have yet to even understand. But the facts are:

> Tom Emmer got within 1/2% of victory in a three-way race. If you excluded the Twin Cities he would have won by six percentage points. If you assume all voter fraud favored the DFL candidate, Emmer would have won easily. One can at least argue that, without millions of dollars' worth of negative and unanswered attack ads, Emmer would have won and that NO Republican could have won in that environment.
> Tom Emmer did considerably better in his statewide race than Pat Anderson did in hers, yet she is going to the RNC and he is not. One can argue that he is more of a "show pony" then she is, but if we wanted workhorses at the RNC it is fair to say that Pat Anderson's opponents were even better qualified on that score then Jeff Johnson was.
> The notion that this election for RNC was some sort of significant "repudiation" of the "purity wing" of the Party seems overblown at best. First of all, the margin of victory was narrow, about as narrow as the ideological difference between the two men. And the committeewoman race went to Pat Anderson, who emphasized her ideology without any mention of compromise or conciliation. The closeness of the vote simply indicates that winning elections still requires all the wings a Republican Party can find, plus a few. Repudiations are only satisfying to the self-destructive.

J. Ewing

Anonymous said...

Tom Emmer was a flawed candidate who ran a poor campaign, end of story so get over it. In hind sight Marty Siefert would have been a stronger candidate and with the help of the National GOP Wave election would have likely won reguardless of the Tom Horner bunch. Hind sight is always 20/20! What was really amazing is that the State Central reelected the leadership that has bankrupted the party both financially and morally. Good luck in 2012, you will need it.
Larry from Burnsville

Anonymous said...

In a May 3, 2010 Minn Post item, Max Sparber wrote, "Emmer offers an interesting summation of why he might be an appealing candidate: 'I own blaze orange that's got blood on it. We hunt, we fish, we've been in every hockey rink in this state ... the Emmers are just another family in the state of Minnesota and we connect with families in the state of Minnesota.' "

He surely had his hand on the pulse of a part of the GOP.

As a counterpoint to the views here, Andy A. at Residual Forces offers thoughts:

"Look, before the race, I thought Jeff Johnson was one of those special guys in politics. Nice guy, building bridges, uniting factions, and doing so in a way that didn’t leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth. After the election, I don’t see him the same way anymore.

"And its not entirely his fault or the fault of his long time supporters, to a point. In the end, the means had no limits so long as it worked out in the end. Johnson engaged in a campaign to tear down a fellow Republican for a job that didn’t even come with a pay check. Well, for him I suspect anyways.

"Johnson capitalized on the hatred towards Tom Emmer from the Marty Seifert holdovers. I’m sorry, but I think the people who think Emmer was the worst candidate the MNGOP has ever endorsed are delusional and should have to have to pass a drug test before the next convention. Tom Emmer had more money spent against him than any other candidate for Governor has. Those tens of millions perpetuated lies. Lies started by the Seifert campaign team who just so happened to be in Johnson’s corner on Saturday.

"That Seifert campaign team became Jeff Johnson’s. And folks, that’s a problem to me. I know I am in a small minority in this party. But I think you have to be held accountable for your actions, answer for your mistakes, but unfortunately if you have the right friends, you can do and say whatever you want."

He wrote without using the term "RINO."

He strongly supported Emmer.

MDE was silent about the party inside dealings, as was the Let Freedom Ring Blog, out here in MN 6.

You guys need another blog, Minnesota Republicans Exposed.

At least this time Jesus did not have his thumb on the scales, or it seems so.

Some said that Michele Bachmann should have run for governor. Emmer seems to have been a close surrogate. Yet as J. Ewing notes, Emmer came surprisingly close to winning - at least I was surprised by how close.

MikeWBL said...

Well said John Gilmore! You nailed this analysis of last week's State Central Committee Meeting.

It is truly said that a young & inexperienced group placed purity over winning. Look at what we could have accomplished with Gov. Seifert!

Anonymous said...

Being Republican doesn't mean you are a conservative. Emmert lost because of a third party candidate, endorsed by a group of Republicans that couldn't tolerate a real conservative. With state gov expanding at alarming rates, something needs to be done. Johnson, Bush .... are all democrates "lite" so please spare the bashing of Emmert... The tea party will make a difference, the Republicans can come along or remain on the side line. Watch out good old boys ... the tea party express is rolling.

Anonymous said...

This is all so confusing.
I read over and over that all you needed was a conservative enough candidate and we would win.
No need to worry about if they were electable.
No concern about their background.
Just have to be conservative enough.

Emmer lost not because someone stole the election, you can't steal an election if it is not close.
Emmer didn't lose because they ran so many ads, he lost because they had something they could run ads against.

In a Republican sweep across the nation, Many "pure" conservatives lost because they were bad candidates - Tom was a bad candidate.
At times he came across Smug and Angry. Nice in convention fight, no so good when the Mom is on TV talking about how her kid was killed by a drunk driver. Was it fair - No, but it was not like it wasn't know.
Would Marty have won - Not sure, he was kind of a weenie when he campaigned, but he might have one in spite of himself.
If anyone want to complain about leadership elections, no one else (real) ran.
So I find i funny how we have heard since the end of the election from the "purity" folks how the election failure of Tom was all MNGOP fault, and yet none of them stood up to say they could do better.

Anonymous said...

Why did Pat win and Tom lose.
Different election.
Pat wasn't conservative vs moderate or failed election vs new.
It was Blond vs Gray.
I think people were tired of little old ladies in RNC position.