Last Wednesday night a self selected group of far right types, some masquerading as republicans, gathered unto themselves at a hideous suburb (redundant, I know) watering hole called The Blue Fox in Arden Hills. The name and location alone should have been enough to put off right thinking conservatives. But no, because this wasn't a gathering called for by republicans or, mostly, attended by them.
It happened nonetheless and it happened for the worse to the extent the public saw this as being under the imprimatur of the Minnesota Republican Party. Nothing, of course, could have been further from the truth. It just looked that way. There is something to be said for absenting oneself, from politics or love. Self preservation is always a worthy goal. To an extent.
The photo above constitutes the panelists, the moderators and the single organizer: left to right, Dan Severson, Steve Hensley (the organizer), Erin Haust, Walter Hudson, Jeff "Get Over it" Johnson, Sarah "Follow The Gambling Money" Janacek, Mitch Berg, Andy Parrish, Marianne Stebbins.
This is not the face of the republican party in Minnesota but one would be hard pressed to disprove it by the advance publicity, the attendance and the subsequent reportage. As one who (almost singularly at times) has called Minnesota media to task, I cringed as I attended this fiasco to think of their stories: hopefully words would fail them to describe just how awful it was. I could probably out write most of them but never, ever Bill Salisbury of the Pioneer Press. I'm late to the game, know enough to make me dangerous, but Salisbury reminds me of my coming of age: the press you could trust. Long gone, those days. But there he was, at the end of the bar, taking notes in longhand. Meanwhile on Twitter, an exceptionally thin skinned, ferociously untalented "reporter" wondered if the panel liked her. I checked my impulse to throw up. Some of my peers sucked up to her. Get me rewrite.
Throwing up was a good thing because what I heard could warrant it. I sat far away, made certain not to run into that tapeworm known as Keith Downey (seriously? I have to set my leadership standards *this* low? No thanks) and sat far from the maddn crowd. Mad it remained, though.
I sat next to my friend Jeff Kolb, who despite his Twitter brilliance, never struck me as a reader: Borges: Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius
Thanks for that.
Everything that was wrong with the republican party was on excruciating display that night.