I had planned on writing about Speaker Daudt's disastrous step too far in calling, just last month, for now President elect Trump to withdraw entirely from the race. Not even Rep. Erik Paulsen did that. Yah Allah, as my muslim friends would say. No, alone among a wide array of elected and influential Minnesota republicans only Speaker Daudt demanded to-be-President 45 quit. Please clap.
Why this extravagant display of panic, of bad political instincts? Worse, why pretend no one noticed? An article last week in MinnPost, and a master class in throne sniffing, attempted the painful, intellectually insulting task of making the Speaker look good on this score. He doesn't and he shouldn't. But this, apparently, is what the inner circle of the Speaker thinks will still work.
The planted article was more alarming to me than the original mistake. The Speaker should admit in whatever fashion he can that his call for Trump to leave the race was a mistake and move on. Even privately will do; no one expects him to call a press conference about it. But continuing to insult those who were paying attention (he wasn't: Trump almost won the state and is now president elect) by suggesting this display of vacillation is indicative of leadership skills, won't help him, either in the upcoming legislative session or in any future plans he may have, by which I mean his run for governor. Everything coming from the house next year must necessarily be seen through this prism. No one expects bold leadership.
Daudt made a hash of things with his senate colleagues by colluding with DFL Sen. Tom Bakk in taking out Senate Minority Leader David Hann, the man who gave Minnesota republicans its senate majority for the next four years. They didn't expect republicans to flip the senate. Only Minnesota republicans are disappointed in their own success.
It's above my paygrade to suggest how the Speaker is now seen as loyal and a man of integrity by the superior chamber's republicans. As an aside, I hear rumors of a place for Hann (if he wants it) in Trump's Washington but beyond that I couldn't possibly comment.
Republicans in the Minnesota house gained seats this election and the Speaker more or less took sole credit. As a friend remarked, that's just doing his job. But good for him in any event. This is one conservative who'll never tire of republicans in Minnesota winning. The caveat is that they should actually make a substantive difference with those wins, something I've yet to see materialize. A real opposition party instead of a speed bump en route to a one party state, to quote myself.
Trump fired Paul Manafort when he realized his advice and counsel served him badly. Whether Kurt Daudt can draw the necessary inference, and possesses the requisite self-assurance and political skills, from this heavy handed reference of mine isn't really, well, in doubt. Still, the analogy was too good not to suggest it. Are you not entertained?
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Weirdly and not weirdly, Minnesota democrats seem better positioned this early on to take advantage of how well Trump did here than republicans. To be sure, democrats are none too happy with the great unwashed who voted not to become a Third World country accustomed to corruption as usual given the Clinton Crime Family's sordid history. After all, those voters used to be theirs and Trump is likely to continue to steal democrat issues and then (more) of their voters.
From my initial observations, they seem to understand the transformation of Minnesota politics that the Trump results herald. By contrast, Minnesota republicans, resentful at being shown up as comprehensively clueless by those results, appear poised to double down in their fantasy that the next two years will be politics as usual, hence the MinnPost article that essentially argues we should go back to sleep once woke. No can do.
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With swamp creatures Norm Coleman & Vin Weber still controlling Minnesota republican politics (go to GuideStar and input American Action Network or Minnesota Action Network for the former--the 990's is where monetary truth is revealed--or Google Mercury Partners for the latter, I can't do all your work for you), the election of Donald Trump as president means slim pickings for the politically dependent class here at home. Sorry those Ignatius of Loyola banners or Darelene Miller campaign things didn't work out for you. No DC job for you. It would take a heart of stone not to laugh. Oscar Wilde was Irish.
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Minnesota republicans have a once in a lifetime chance to fashion themselves into a permanent majority in Minnesota. That chance is wholly dependent upon them realizing and capitalizing upon Trump's amazing performance here. Perhaps the most noxious idea from the MinnPost puff piece about the Speaker was that Trump supporters constitute the purity faction when the facts of this election prove precisely the opposite.
Very few establishment republicans supported our next president and I mentioned them by name in my last column. The overwhelming majority did not and it is they who are in control of Minnesota republican politics. Talk about flying blind.
Get ready, as Sue Jeffers said yesterday upon her return to radio, for a litany of excuses from MNGOPe as to why republicans shouldn't expect much to get accomplished with them controlling the legislature: we don't have the executive branch. Sound familiar?
It was the mirror opposite, of course, when Pawlenty was governor with a DFL controlled legislature. He had to "work with them," something democrats never say.
Preemptive surrender by Minnesota republicans isn't so much an article of faith as a way of living. Old habits die hard (especially when monetized) and the opportunities presented by Trump winning 79 out of 87 counties seem destined to be ignored, lest republicans become politically sentient.
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Wisconsin republicans are far superior in every regard to Minnesota republicans. I've often wondered why that is the case and why we can't learn from them.
Then again, I realize they don't have the suffocating, self-interested presence of Vin Weber or Norm Coleman to sacrifice themselves on the altar of their clients. Everything here is subordinate to them. Follow the money; the political incompetence follows in short order.
Only the money didn't work this time, nor did our corrupt media, national or local. Donald Trump heralds the end of political business as usual except amongst the captives of Minnesota republican apparatchiks.
Tom Bakk, it seems to me, understands perfectly well Trump's showing in Minnesota and is most likely already moving to use it against Tina Flint Smith, urban out of touch liberal, handmaiden to our zombie governor and Our Lady of the Curette, to quote myself once more.
The political reality at the present moment is that one of these two will likely be our next governor.
Unless and until Minnesota republicans understand and avail themselves of the president elect's transformative opportunities, from whom they have foolishly distanced themselves, the election of 2018 will mark an even dozen years in which they were unable to win a statewide race.
Unlike our country, through the election of President Trump, this will mark a point of no return for Minnesota.
Image credit: MinnPost. Click to enlarge and you really should.