Well the dust has settled and credential badges are all turned back in for the 2012 Republican Party of Minnesota State Convention. Sunday was a day of utter laziness and sleeping, no seriously, anything but being on my feet….. Here are some quick hitting random thoughts…..
The biggest thing is that the outcome of the convention was sealed on Caucus night. Ron Paul supporters showed up and stayed. The party was in shambles and there was no Presidential or statewide candidate presence. The Paulers managed to have about 40% of the Delegates on Friday for the endorsement and could exercise their will.
- Kurt Bills is the endorsed US Senate candidate to take on Senator Klobuchar. His solid block of Paul Delegates was complimented by people outside their block Friday and Bills garnered 64% on the 2nd ballot. Now he has to prove he can run a general election campaign. Frankly I don’t think he can. Some are predicting a 20 point loss already, because while Bills will inherit a portion of the national Ron Paul campaign and donor network aid, his supporters are not inclusive or used to growing their ranks. Finding over a million people to agree with them (within a state’s borders) seems to be outside their scope or yet proven skill set …
- I do want Amy Klobuchar to lose, I’m sorry I just see no path to victory for Bills. Look everyone was saying she’s a shoe in before our convention, how picking an unveiled and untested candidate changes that, is beyond my comprehension. His Ron Paul backers have ostracized (and personally blamed) many long time activists and volunteers, so there will be a large vacuum for his campaign to fill. (A perfect example of the ‘chaos’ is what is going on in CD4, where the Ron Paul supporting Chair thinks the GOP CD4 isn’t supposed to help elect Republican candidates.) The last man standing strategy can get you the endorsement, but it can’t build you an army of people who know what to do to get people who’ve never heard of a GOP Convention to vote for you in November.
- I hate to break it to people, but you can’t point fingers and call the “establishment” names and expect them to greet you with open arms. You also can’t purge them from leadership and be as heartless as to not even send Chris Tiedeman as a national Delegate or boo Bachmann’s inclusion. The Paul campaign and people were ruthless, you have to accept the ramifications of some people throwing up their arms and saying its over for this year.
- The responsibility to heal the wounds is not on the shoulders of the defeated. Leadership is required from Bills and the Ron Paul movement to, if they actually do want to help the party continue to hold majorities and win this year, reach out to the purged and keep them involved. I myself have been neglecting my cabin for 6 years……
- There are people whispering about a Pete Hegseth primary challenge, probably the same people who were doing it leading up to the convention, I can say no, its not going to happen. Instead, Hegseth is the front runner for the 2014 US Senate race against Senator Franken. Look for him to spend some time relaxing in the short term. Please don’t forget he literally stepped off his flight from fighting a war in Afghanistan and right onto the campaign trail. He needs to spend some time with his family. I hope he stays involved in some way, but he will not be running as a candidate in 2012.
- Dan Severson sealed the deal that he is done as a potential candidate for any major political office. His campaign tactics were divisive beyond good taste. Many of us will remember what was done and said. His goal was simply to beat Pete Hegseth. There was no path to 1st place and he did what he had to to make people not like the better candidate. I was able to confirm most of my assertions and suspicions of where smears were coming from were true. His campaign never took off and he should have realized that much earlier, but he just kept plugging along pointlessly. In the end, all he could do was tear down Hegseth with smears about his divorce. A really classless thing to do. I’m sorry, but many people who played principle roles in Severson’s campaign will have trouble being taken seriously next time around and did serious damage to their reputations.
And yes, I would put myself in that same category but …..
As I was saying goodbye to Pete on Friday, he said that I gave up the most to help him. And it hit me that I did. I’m an enemy of the new Ron Paul establishment now. I did what I did because I was trying to help my candidate. I did really try to avoid any personal attacks on Bills. In the heat of the moment some things may not have come across that way, but it was supposed to be about issues and contrast.
But I have solidified myself, as Jeff Johnson so hastily put it, “as a Ron Paul Hater”. My involvement in the Republican Party is suspended indefinitely.
Its fine, as I said, I really miss my cabin and boat and spending time there with my fiancé and dogs. Who knows, maybe we’ll have the time and money to go get married now. We met while I was volunteering during the 2006 US Senate race and its been a series of one campaign to the next, cycle after cycle. Maybe its time for me to focus on me.
Politics has been getting in the way of my personal life for the last 6 years. Maybe this is God’s little way of saying “Be free Andy”. Or maybe he’s saying, “Let those who are casting blame, prove that they are better at it.” My guess is that I shouldn’t sell my post driver and lawn sign tools as my belief that Bills will be destroyed and the people who forced him upon us will be held accountable and forced to go back to teaching Austrian economics at the local coffee shops.
In closing, I want to thank Chairman Shortridge, CD6 Chair Jen Niska, and former Chair David FitzSimmons for nominating me for CD6 volunteer of the year. You can’t put all the success that CD6 had on my shoulders and I know this wasn’t supposed to be that. But if there was an actual award or had I known in advance I would decline it. There were so many of us who could put our differences aside and worked together during the 2010 cycle thru 2012 CD6 Convention, that we all are volunteers of the year. Thank you though, it was a nice parting gift for my early retirement.
So good luck Mr. Bills, so long Doc, and we’ll see you soon Pete.