MNGOP Reform, Un happy, but not sure, Email Response
I’ve been getting a number of emails voicing shared concerns with the performance of Party leadership, but un sure/willing to consider a change. They gave me the impression that they were willing to give Carey another chance to do what he said (promised) he would do during his campaign to become chairman.
Here’s my response.
In 2005 Ron Carey promised many of the same things he is just now saying he will begin to work on. He sold us a bill of goods he couldn’t deliver on.
He spent more time following certain candidates, than leading our party. Its obvious money was no problem given the recent preliminary budget report. Why were the funds spent so foolishly trying to smear candidates? Why were some candidates never given any resources or assistance?
We need to change the schedule of how our party elects leadership. Having it fall in the middle of the cycle is ludicrous. I was hoping that someone would step forward and provide a plan since so many have seen Carey’s didn’t amount to a hill of beans.
The structure of our party needs to be addressed as well. Our leaders should have assigned roles and duties. In this cycle we had our elected leaders performing remedial staff duties. We didn’t elect them to fulfill tasks that could be handled by volunteers. We elected them to lead.
I am proposing we begin working towards major reforms in our party in both structure and schedule. These things can not be accomplished immediately, but we have to start somewhere. Ron Carey and other party staff and leadership are trying to get a do over for one of the most dismal election performances, and not taking a lick of credit.
RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman has decided to resign due to the national performance of Republicans. He is also pointing out some major downfalls of the party as a whole in this last election, and that was being solely focused on voter turnout at the expense of paying attention to what issues matter to voters. We did the same thing in Minnesota. The party was so focussed on GOTV activities that it never bothered to define our ideals to the broad electorate. It never bothered to display the incredible team of candidates we had assembled across this state.
It was only after people started to display their criticisms and concerns that Carey and the leaders even began to stop taking credit for winning reelection for Pawlenty and Bachmann’s less than impressive victory. In Pawlenty’s case, Carey diverted almost our entire arsenal of resources and energy against Hatch, and in teh end it was a rookie mistake by Hatch’s running mate and his outburst at the media that lost that race for him. If not for the final week of the campaign, the DFL would have had a clean sweep. It was that one action that caused the ethanol vote to swing to Pawlenty. Given the final vote totals in that race, it more than likely would have been hatch’s day. I don’t think that is something our party should be proud of. Sure a win is a win, but we shouldn’t be take credit for having one handed to us.
Bachmann underperformed terribly. She mustered only 50%, and fell tens of thousands of votes behind Kennedy’s previous performances in 04 and 02. The state party made it a sport of attacking the great St. Patty, as did the NRCC. I believe that was detrimental to the case that Bachmann was a better choice for voters.
Which gets to the jist of elections. Elections are not just about getting out the vote. With out providing something for people to get excited and vote for, more than likely they won’t show up. The state party should help provide a clear difference in the vision of the 2 parties, and not focus on who said what when. When voters are presented with a clear choice, they will make a decision, in 2006 their choice was whether or not to go vote. And hence we had just 59% turnout, the lowest since 1994.
So I understand you are unwilling to vote for change when there is not a clear alternative. I agree, but I am asking that the state central committee not let Carey and the rest of leadership get away with it. We need to send them a message that status quo, negativity, and mea culpas are not the signs of real leadership. We need to send a sign that we will not simply sit back and watch them fumble about to figure out what went wrong, because by and large, what went wrong was them.
Not many people can look in the mirror and consider the problem might in fact have been themselves. I highly doubt such ambitious self promoters and opportunists will realize that the problems of 2006 were more pronounced due to the very decisions they made.
Our party can be better. It has to be better. The excuse I have had told to me from some state party insiders is that this state is not really a purple state that conservative Republican ideas are shared with a vast MINORITY of voters. Is that really teh kind of message and thinking you want being shared in our state party’s leadership? Do you really want people who believe that Conservative Republicans cannot really win in Minnesota?
Well, I guess we saw what happens when we are being led by people who think that way. They follow candidates, rather than lead and inspire movements.
As Sen. Coleman always says, “A leader with out followers is just a guy taking a walk.”
Our state party leadership followed in this election, they did not lead. I do not trust them to behave differently next time, especially with the national spot lights and attention of the 2008 RNC convention. There will be unprecedented external pressures on our state party leaders to perform unordinary tasks. We need strong principled leaders who are more concerned about righting the momentum in this state, than putting on a good show.
Our party can be better. We need to send notice to the leadership that they have not performed up to the task and promises that were made. The candidates who lost on election day have been punished already. Their failing grades were rewarded with unemployment. Our duty as state central delegates is not to provide a shoulder to cry on for Carey, Hoplin, and Sutton. Nor is it our duty to propel them or their friends and allies to higher aspirations. It is our duty to hold them accountable.
So far, they haven’t shown the ability nor intention to admit they failed. Instead they are pandering to us in the Central Committee in order to save their butts. Do you really think they will take these task force recommendations seriously in 18 months when the full force of the DFL, media, and national spot light is shining in their faces? They didn’t even listen to their own promises from 18 months ago. I can predict the excuses already. “They had to divert the resources to the races they could win.”
Playing defense is not the sign of strong leadership, because unlike sports, playing defense cannot win in political elections. It can win one race or another, but that is not the role of the state party. They are not the king or queen makers. Remember that line from August of 2005? Well, Carey crowned his king and queen election day, its just is too bad we had to lose everything else and a lot of good Republicans in order for him to do it. The very least we could expect is for him to stand before us, look us in the eye, and admit that he did let some people lose in order to help some people win.