Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Primary Day: Kurt Bills Falls Into The Abyss

Tonight Ron Paul hand picked first time candidate for statewide office and cheesy high school teacher Kurt Bills put in one of the worst performances of a Minnesota Republican Party endorsed candidate in tonight's primary election. As of this writing, the results show Bills received a naked 51.31% of the vote in his race for the US Senate. David Carlson, a veteran of thre tours of duty in Iraq, received 35.21% of the vote while the very strange wayfarer Bob Carney, Jr. received 13.48%. Both competitors were invisible, for the most part, before today's primary.

How does the crackerjack Bills campaign respond to such a calamity? By bluster and bravado in a press release issued while its candidate was being made a national laughingstock. Here is that press release:

Kurt Bills Wins Big in MN Senate Primary

Kurt Bills Wins Big in MN Senate Primary

Tea Party, Ron Paul, and “Paul Ryan” Republicans Unite Behind Bills

BLOOMINGTON, MN—High School economics teacher Kurt Bills soundly trounced his Republican primary opponents, setting up a contest between Bills and incumbent Senator Amy Klobuchar.

It was a contest between the Tea Party/Ron Paul wing of the Minnesota Republican Party and their establishment opponents.  Bills, a political newcomer, is a high school economics teacher who first ran for office only 4 years ago; he won a city council seat in 2008, defeated a Democrat incumbent for a state legislative seat in 2010, and won the Republican endorsement to run against Klobuchar in 2012.

Bills has run unapologetically standing up for free enterprise, for a common sense foreign policy, and against monopolies and crony capitalist ventures such as bailing out wall street banks.

Bills’ meteoric rise in the Republican Party coincides with the growth of the Tea Party and Ron Paul movements in Minnesota. As an economic teacher, Bills has run as an unapologetic proponent of ending government intervention in the economy, and scaling back US military interventions. He is a strong opponent of the Federal Reserve.  Bills’ campaign theme is “Econ101.”

It’s a message that resonates in populist Minnesota. One of his opponents, David Carlson, ran a harsh television advertisement directly taking on Bills’ ties to Ron Paul; it backfired.

“Don’t underestimate the Tea Party energy out there,” said Bills.

“Grassroots Republicans aren’t just angry at Democrats for mortgaging their future; they’re angry at Washington DC.,” argued Bills.

“There is a prairie fire of populism in the Midwest. Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan for VP is feeding that fire. Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa are now all in play in the presidential race. That same energy will carry my own campaign across the finish line,” Bills concluded.

Which stoned intern wrote this fiction? Does the campaign think the reader doesn't notice a lack of numbers in the release? Soundly trounced? A 51 to 49 win is not trouncing, even for the marginal liberty denizens. Bills has run a lousy campaign, going to safe areas (parades!) and never reaching out to moderate democrats and independents. Indeed, Bills has made no overture to the base of his own party which he and his unserious, moronic Paul supporters pretend he represents. Tonight the base told something the Bills campaign didn't, apparently, understand until tonight: we're not that into you.

And a backlash against David Carlson's completely true ad about Ron Paul? Toke up! Andy Parrish asked me if I had a hand in that ad and I told him no. This happens to be the truth and the truth about Ron Paul is available to anyone with an internet connection. Carlson had exceptional production values and was up on TV air before Bills. Who do they blame for that? The Jews again? 

Amusingly, the Paul supporters on Twitter tried to blame the base for not endorsing the alien transplant who has done nothing to make himself a real republican instead of a living sock puppet of the failed, odious Ron Paul. One friend of mine, a candidate this time actually, blamed the embarrassing primary numbers on low turn out. How do you educate such a mind set? Then again, she thought Emmer's tip credit idea was a teachable moment so I may as well never try.

The amazingly stupid & out of touch "film" 'Staring Into The Abyss' the campaign released weeks ago introduced Bills as a fool and illegitimate candidate. He's running for the Senate. There are only 99 others. One might wish to take note.

The second attempt at video coherence was incoherence bordering on plagiarism: Busy Kurt, also known as ripping off the dead Paul Wellstone. This was a frame by frame remaking of Wellstone's video showing him in fast motion having government control every aspect of our lives. OK, I jest but the idea was terrible. That no one killed it, instead of green lighting it, shows just how poor the talent is on the Bills campaign. But really, is it any worse than the candidate himself? No.

Bills' legislative supporters were noticeably absent on Twitter tonight (shades of the legislators who supported Emmer but ran away after his endorsement because, well, they're losers). Party leaders, such as they are, were mute in their praise of this smashing win. The requisite MN GOP press releases were issued so one is at least comforted that the mechanics of a functioning state-wide party were in order. But Shortridge, Fenton, Johnson & Anderson lead a fool's brigade to Tampa. They made a conscious decision to align themselves with what they thought was the ascendant movement in the party. Yes, the very definition of leadership, that. Someone should break it to Jeff he'll never be governor. One assumes the other three know how to dog paddle.

Bills' abject press release attempts to co-opt both the Tea Party and Paul Ryan. Sorry, the first is legitimate, organic, decentralized, not crazy or Jew hating and doesn't think 9/11 was an inside job. Paul Ryan has, literally, nothing to do with Kurt Bills but, given that he voted for TARP, would not the Paul zombies have problems? Yes. No matter. When you almost lose your own primary in a party that heretofore respected greatly the endorsement process, you ought look to yourself for fault instead of, Obama-like, blame others who have nothing to do with your incompetence.

Kurt Bills demonstrably cannot do this. That he let the above press release go out shows he knows nothing of personal responsibility or any understanding of the fundamentals of politics. This augurs poorly for the general election against Amy Klobuchar, who is Minnesota mediocrity incarnate. But, as the saying goes, you can't beat something with nothing.

My friend Maggie Mulvaney coined the Twitter hash tag #TwentySevenPercent. It's a way of saying, on Twitter, that we don't think Bills will get above that amount of the vote come November. All of us who use that hash tag would be delighted to be wrong. After tonight, though, we might have to lower our expectations to comport with the new reality that set in. And the idea that the Bills campaign will take down just those who are on it is fanciful. Too many were involved in stepping aside at every level of the MN GOP for this spasm of Paulism to have taken place. We actually know who you are because you told us so to our faces.

I'm told elephants don't forget.

Correction: This post initially said, incorrectly, that David Carlson had served two tours of duty in Afghanistan. It has been corrected to reflect three tours in Iraq.


Anonymous said...

Once again, you are absolutely correct on all counts. Through a very eloquently written blog post, you have pointed out the folly (read that - embarrassment) of the Bills campaign. I would actually like for him to win. But I don't see that happening. It bothers me that the Bills campaign and other Ron Paul supporters are trying to claim they are Paul Ryan supporters and Tea Partiers. They aren't. They don't hold a candle to Ryan and are just trying to catch his updraft. With the Tea Party, they have activism in common but little else. O.K., Ron Paulers are fiscal conservatives and are anti-supportive of every other country on earth. And they stop describing themselves there. If they were honest, they would go on to say,"We believe everything should be legal, like currently illegal drugs, prostitution, abortion, etc." But they won't say that. Instead they chant, "States' rights! End the Fed! We hate Jews! People with money suck! Someone else should pay for my trip to Tampa! Raw Milk! Wish we could get high on hemp!" If they had attended Precinct Caucuses and said, "I intend to support Ron Paul as long as I am alive," most of their neighbors wouldn't have voted for them to represent us as delegates. They knew that and lied. Win at any cost, right? The end justifies the means, right? Hence, we don't respect them at the same time that we don't agree with them. Our party isn't their party. They brag about the "hijack" of the MN GOP. Others call it a "hostile takeover". For the rest of us, it is sad to see them giving our majorities away and destroying our progress in rooting out the unacceptable. Sorry, I didn't mean to take over your blog. I am a just a fan who agrees with you.

Patrick Boone said...

I sadly have to agree with all you wrote. The consequences of the Paul takeover will be felt for years to come.In this specific case, at least six years.

As a result of this and other candidates backed by Paul supporters going to the slaughter, I am distancing myself from the state GOP as much as possible. At least I can still claim to be a national Republican. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

I thought you had made up this press release as a joke. When I went on the Kurt Bills website, however, there it wss in all of its glory.


Andrew said...

As someone who supports most of Ron Paul's ideas, I know this wasn't directed at me. However, I find it very sad that this was nothing more than namecalling. Had Carlson taken 51% of the vote in a 3way primary, you would be proclaiming a grand win and a step toward defeating Klobachar.
While I don't support many of the Paul-supporters actions in "delagate-grabbing" I find it all too funny that so many republicans were caught off guard by this. It shows who has come to play and who is hoping to just waltz their way to another election loss. The fact that you have so much Bils material to comment about shows just how much more publicity he has gotten than Carlson. I had to research Carlson just to find out anything about him. While Bills may lose to Klobachar, I don't see how Carlson would've done any better as a run of the mill MN Republican candidate who generated roughly 1/3 of primary voters.

Saint Paulite said...

This post is ridiculously unfair to Bills, and so is the poorly photoshopped cartoon at the top. It seems that some people just can't get over the Ron Paul association.

Do you really think Pete Hegseth or Dan Severson would have been better candidates? I don't.

Both had extremely limited political experience. At least Bills has been a state rep and a councilman. Moreover, they stressed their military experience, which would be important if foreign policy were a top issue of the day.

That's not the case. 2012 is an election year based on economics, and that's where Kurt Bills shines. Ron Paul, love him or hate him, was an economics candidate, and that's why he did far better than in 2008. It's the same reason Bills is associated with him too.

Disclaimer: I am very biased in Bills' favor. I am a former student of his and I supported Paul in the primary. Still, I don't see the point of conservatives creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of Bills losing because they are so bitter over the "takeover."

Anonymous said...

Saint Paulite, I am not "bitter" at a takeover.

I'm dismayed that a candidate I would normally never consider voting for won the endorsement. An endorsement that relied on a group of neophyte, political puritans hijacking a convention. Those immature delegates, deeply lacking in political acumen, thought that an endorsement would automatically translate into funding, a multitude of party volunteers and zombie-like letter-R voters. Obviously, that didn't happen.

Most committed Republicans aren't Republicans because the letter R is Sesame Street's letter of the day. Most Republicans are Republicans because they actually care about the party and care about winning. Both of which, most Ron Paul supporters seem to think are not only vices but proof of a "sheeple" mentality.

I am not a "sheeple" and being a Republican is more than a letter in the alphabet. I hope we hold the Republican legislative majority. If we do, it will be despite Kurt Bills and his supporters. If we don't, it will be in part because of Kurt Bill and his supporters.

So yes, Pete Hegseth or Dan Severson would be better candidates because both care about the party and winning. In case you don't know, helping the party and winning are very strong positives for a candidate.

Also, I highly doubt someone who advocated a secondary currency based on bimetalism for the State of Minnesota "shines" in economics. Quite the opposite, really.


Anonymous said...

I bet Bills does better than Mark Kennedy, who according to spent $9,759,094 in 2006 and got his teeth kicked in by Amy Klobuchar.

There's always one thing Democrats and the media love though, and that's Republicans who bash other Republicans. Remember the "unnamed McCain staffers" who bashed Palin in 2008? How about the Politico article the other day about "unnamed Republicans strategists" criticizing Paul Ryan? At least you use your friends use your names online when bashing Bills, but after skimming through the front page of this site I don't see anything that actually helps any Republicans or conservative cause in this state.

And by the way, I don't agree with Ron Paul or Paul supporters on everything, but I have never seen any of them stoned, advocate raw milk, or rant about Jews. I do know of one anti-Bills Republican from St. Paul who has an embarrassing google problem regarding Muslims, but I don't stereotype every Republican from St. Paul as an anti-Muslim drunk.

Patrick Boone said...

Severson and Hegseth were solid candidates and either could have won in November. They were both excellent choices, which made choosing between them difficult for me. It is a great pity neither got the nod.

My CD went for Carlson as a protest vote -- which was quite a surprise given how thoroughly the Paul supporters have taken over. I know people, including myself, who will not be voting for Bills. This race has already been lost and by a large margin.

If the Paul supporters want the party for their candidates, they will have to do all the work themselves. Which they won't, from personal experience and observation. Since Paul followers rarely help out on campaigns of endorsed candidates that do not follow Paul, the rest of the party does not need to feel obligated to help them, in my opinion.

Back in my youth, I was in the Reform Party and remember when the crazies took over the fledgling party. This is an eerie repeat of that.

And for the record, I have personally seen multiple stoned Paul followers and multiple ones make anti-Jewish remarks. Trips to Ames for the straw poll were very educational, to say the least.

Anonymous said...

David, My name is Scott Rinne and I'm a Kurt Bills supporter. I would like to take you out to lunch to hear your point of views in person. I would be willing to educate you on our points so you can accuratly protray them on your website...instead of misleading people. This would be a great oppurtunity for you and your supporters to showcase how 'stupid' RonBill bots can even record the lunch and use direct quotes from me. Let me know if you are brave enough to take me up on the offer. Feel free to contact me via phone, mail, or email (you should be able to find my contact info from my name).

Anonymous said...

Tia is right that Republicans are rational, issues-oriented voters. That's why I don't understand all of the grousing about Mr. Bills. He is right on all the issues, according to the platform, so what's the problem? I mean, really, when are we going to get over the childish pouting about who constituted the majority of properly-elected delegates who voted for his endorsement, and start focusing on the real enemy, Amy Klobuchar? Instead of sitting around gleefully anticipating how we're going to teach those Ron Paul kids a lesson by helping Bills lose, how about directing some of that energy to helping him win? I know he will accept sensible advice, but money and volunteer hours couldn't hurt, either. What have you done to elect the only Republican Senate candidate on the ballot? Who is a Republican and who isn't?

J. Ewing

Anonymous said...

J. Ewing,

From Kurt Bills' website:

"The FED is a private bank. It’s our money but we don’t get to know what’s going on behind the scenes. It’s time to audit the FED"

"It’s a big planet and the best way to spread democracy and freedom is with strong economic relationships."

From the GOP website:
"We believe in the power and opportunity of America’s free-market economy. We believe in the importance of sensible business regulations that promote confidence in our economy among consumers, entrepreneurs and businesses alike. We oppose interventionist policies that put the federal government in control of industry and allow it to pick winners and losers in the marketplace."

"President Ronald Reagan’s approach to America’s national defense, which successfully confronted the Soviet Union and ended the Cold War, is as essential today as it was then: Peace through strength — an enduring peace, based on freedom and the will to defend it. Today, it requires defending America’s homeland, including remaining vigilant in confronting global terrorism, maintaining a robust defense against the threats arising from nuclear proliferation, including a strong ballistic missile defense for America and our allies, and promoting an effective, capable intelligence community"

I believe the Federal Reserve has been one of the most responsible government institutions over the decades. I am strong supporter of the Global War On Terror.

I have done my part to help Kurt Bills win, but one can't fix broken. Our caucus system is broken. Our State Party is broke. MN talk radio does more to brake the back of the Party than the DFL. Our stalwart Republican incumbents are labeled RINOs.

Ron Paul supporters have spent years insulting me and now you want me to pick up your slack? I did my part for Kurt Bills. Are you going to do your part for Romney?

I doubt you or others will because of this:
"Although former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is the presumptive Republican nominee, Stebbins says she still plans to report 32 votes for Dr. Paul, including her own, during the nomination roll call of the states and is hopeful that, within convention rules, Dr. Paul’s name may be placed in nomination and he is given the opportunity to speak at the convention. Stebbins also said she will support GOP platform planks and resolutions endorsed by Dr. Paul."

Anonymous said...

The response to J. Ewing was by me, Tia.

Anonymous said...

As a Ron Paul supporter, I have to hear incessant whining from Republicans telling me I should vote for the lesser-of-two-evils Romney because, although he is not a real conservative, he is a Republican and we have a chance to get rid of the uber-liberal Obama by voting with him. Now what I'm reading is that Republicans WON'T vote for Kurt Bills BECAUSE of his affiliation with Ron Paul, despite no doubt that he is a real conservative. They'd rather throw the election and keep Klobachar because they didn't get THEIR guy. Hypocrites.