Last night the undisputed leader of the poisonous Ron Paul invasion of the Minnesota Republican Party, Marianne Stebbins, was elected sixth alternate from SD 33 to the State Central Committee which meets on April 6th to select new party leadership, among other tasks. She may as well have not been elected at all. Alternates are just that and her last place position essentially means that assassins would have to take out all of the delegates and the five preceding alternates before she could cast a vote at that meeting.
This is an amusing descent from her apotheosis at Tampa and the Republican National Convention last August. There she lead a delegation that was overwhelmingly in support of Ron Paul and voted accordingly. It was all for naught, of course, because Ron Paul wasn't going to win the nomination, just like he hadn't won anywhere else. Most Paulers are not in politics to win elections but an argument. I have taken up the helpful nomenclature of Nancy LaRoche (soon to be the next Chair of CD 5) who refers to builders and destroyers when looking at the infusion of people who came into local republican politics under the Ron Paul liberty banner. This keeps me, as I had done previously, from sweeping too broadly about them. Builders welcome. Destroyers must be destroyed. Destroyers delenda est.
I'm not sure that this won't keep the local media and the laughable Prof. Larry R. Jacobs of the shopworn Humphrey School from putting Stebbins on their stale, tired programs or stale, tired panels. At some point, however, even these democrats with a byline will have to recognize that the future of the MN GOP does not, and never did, belong to this group of people. I don't fault them, actually, for including Stebbins but to position her in the manner they did was simply to hurt the overall image of the republican party. I'm not interested in appearing on these shows or panels (we're trying to attract not repel people) but I can give interested producers a dozen names of smart, savvy, hard working activists who know far more than Annette! Meeks or Andy Brehm or just about anyone else you see on those programs, Ben Golnik specifically excluded.
We'll see if that happens. In the meantime, republicans who want to fight the awful overreach of a one party state should be gladdened by last night's denouement. Keith Downey seems very well positioned to become our party's next Chair, something I now welcome and about which more another time. I think he can reach out to all sorts of republicans, including the builders. Our choices for deputy chair are deeply disappointing and the current field is the best argument for abolishing the position altogether and saving money. The elimination of this position would only strengthen the role of executive director, something long overdue. In fact, without a deputy chair, we could pay someone who is very good (do we ever search for national talent or is Minnesota still too xenophobic?). We shouldn't duplicate the senate and house caucus example which simply hires leaderships' friends regardless of how good they are or how much they had a hand in losing the majority in each chamber. For a party that insists on measuring outcome, not intent, I'm always surprised by the junior varsity teams we deploy based purely on cronyism. To be sure, there are other reasons for our shocking lack of messaging which the fishbowls of caucuses seem worried about not at all.
I've thought for some time Minnesota is in a post-party environment and that the DFL realized this long before republicans. The new chair will necessarily have to take this into account. The tasks are daunting but not insurmountable. Fortunately our Portlandia political opponents are doing their best to show normal Minnesotans just how out of touch and embarrassingly far left they really are at heart. Their relationship to unions is a classic example of the Stockholm Syndrome. Their overreach is necessary but not sufficient. In addition, the republican party's endorsement means virtually nothing (as opposed to being an outright kiss of death) given the Kurt Bills fiasco. The primary will be moved to June and republicans will select quality candidates who can win; not hot house flowers that wilt and die in the heat of political battle.
The withering of the Ron Paul destroyers is a much needed and welcome sign that the worst of this hostile take-over is behind us. Yes, small skirmishes likely remain but the overall direction of the party back toward something voters would like to trust with a majority again has commenced. Republicans need to keep that momentum going by admitting our failures in the last cycle while providing principled opposition to one party rule during the current one. As always, the future is unwritten.