I’m only posting this because I don’t want to have a bunch of people calling me asking what the heck.
Look, before the race, I thought Jeff Johnson was one of those special guys in politics. Nice guy, building bridges, uniting factions, and doing so in a way that didn’t leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth. After the election, I don’t see him the same way anymore.
And its not entirely his fault or the fault of his long time supporters, to a point. In the end, the means had no limits so long as it worked out in the end. Johnson engaged in a campaign to tear down a fellow Republican for a job that didn’t even come with a pay check. Well, for him I suspect anyways.
Johnson capitalized on the hatred towards Tom Emmer from the Marty Seifert holdovers. I’m sorry, but I think the people who think Emmer was the worst candidate the MNGOP has ever endorsed are delusional and should have to have to pass a drug test before the next convention. Tom Emmer had more money spent against him than any other candidate for Governor has. Those tens of millions perpetuated lies. Lies started by the Seifert campaign team who just so happened to be in Johnson’s corner on Saturday.
That Seifert campaign team became Jeff Johnson’s. And folks, that’s a problem to me. I know I am in a small minority in this party. But I think you have to be held accountable for your actions, answer for your mistakes, but unfortunately if you have the right friends, you can do and say whatever you want.
Only a few of us walked out of the meeting Saturday scratching out heads saying what the hell just happened?
On one hand we told a past candidate to go pound sand, but on the other, we had just elected a 3 time state wide candidate who’s 1 for 3 and has not proven their fundraising prowess or managerial skills.
On one hand we told a candidate to go keep your self busy, while on the other hand we elected a sitting politician who has a pretty busy job being the lone voice of sanity in a bastion of liberal utopian feeling, but that politician promised to spend time getting to know the paper pushers in the RNC because big names don’t matter.
On the one hand we elected a guy who we have no clue who he really works for, and by work for, I mean who is paying his hefty salaries thus controlling his loyalty, on the other hand we threw a lady who has worked tirelessly the last 2 years for peanuts (if that) who is full of good ideas and determination, out to pasture.
The day stunk to high heaven, and I don’t just mean the stuffy dorm room atmospheric conditions of the mid-twentieth century accommodations of the Thunderbird Hotel. There was no intellectual consistency to the results of the day. Arguments for one candidate worked against others, but the results didn’t follow suit.
And those arguments, oh those arguments. In the end, it was Marty Seifert’s revenge. The same people who were fuel on the Emmer hating fire into and out of the 2010 MNGOP Governor endorsement were freely participating on behalf of Johnson. Whether fully included like a general consultant, or just given a free pass for the fun and sport of perpetuating lies and helping promote DFL attacks from special interests.
Sidenote: Oh, another thing I can’t grasp yet is how the RNC money thing was so powerful for the RNC races, but not barely a whisper in the others or even a general topic. These races were fought on talking points not solutions or even reality. They were waged on what would work to win that specific race, not improve the party. In other words, they were a massive waste of time, energy, resources, and unity.
Mind you, in leadership elections of past, I was torn to shreds because one time I linked to a DFL blog that had posted an unedited email from Ron Carey. I was attacked for aiding and promoting the enemy. I just wanted people who didn’t get the letter (oh yes, they used to purge opponents from their distribution lists) to see it.
My past opposition to leadership and tactics of openness and the occasional daily emotional outburst, turned me into the plague, I could part crowds like Moses, and I was run out of the party figuratively. I’m just to Polish and German (dumb and stubborn) to understand I have no place here. Many of the same people who had a role in Johnson’s win are the same people who tarred and feathered me in the past. Oh, the fake email accounts, fake comments under my name. The file of stuff that is handed off to people who they get drunk to then unleash against me when its convenient.
Maybe this outcome Saturday stings so much because it was so personal. Yeah, I don’t fit into the cocktail and social gatherings on any side. I could care less. I didn’t get into politics to make friends. I got into it because of the issues. Frankly, after getting to know some of the people, I wouldn’t let them walk my dogs. Others don’t see that and are good friends with them, but they’ve never seen ‘that side of them’ as I have. Hence, I’m just crazy.
Watching to speeches for RNC Committeeman, I noticed more people standing for Emmer. There were, it appeared, more people standing in the seated Delegate sections, than when Johnson took the stage. And after Johnson’s nomination and own speech, where he went negative, even less people were standing. I was stunned when the results were read that he had won on the first ballot.
I guess I learned that this party isn’t really my home, and I’m not even a member of a faction or coalition with in it. Emmer had another campaign filled with the death of a thousand cuts and I couldn’t do anything about it, extremely frustrating. Why no one understands I have been through these races enough and know a thing or two and could be extremely useful, is beyond me. But then again, they have seen that file and I’m too risky to have on the team.
Another major peeve of mine is that before this race, I really liked Jeff Johnson. After Marty Seifert’s General campaign consultant (Ben Golnik) dropped out, I made a conscious decision to stay positive. I thought, hey, we have to great guys running, may the best guy win. What could go wrong? Only I had that mindset.
Saturday hurt for me more than my 2007 loss for CD6 State Exec Vice Chair. It hurt even more than the crushing blow the Ron Paul folks gave me in 2009 when I was blindsided for the same position. I took Saturday very personally for a number of reasons. I felt like it was me who was on the ballot.
I don’t understand how we can begin to build a majority in this state by not just winning swing voters for a single election, but gaining their trust that we are better at governing so we get a generation of votes, when we divide and conquer our own. We have internal races where you can’t tell if the people talking to you are telling the truth. Where anonymous smears and lies actually work.
I see the MNGOP as weaker after Saturday. We reelected a Chair who has at the least questions to answer, simply saying they are all lies, is not enough for my trust. A Deputy Chair with 3 full time jobs that are in conflict from time to time. Bitterness from some of us in the RNC Committee man and woman’s races. And mind you we lost every statewide race last year. We’re (reportedly) $800,000 in debt. We have no serious candidate who is willing to take on Senator Klobuchar (who is sitting on $2.5 million already). Presidential candidates taking piles of money and volunteers our of Minnesota on their missions to win the talent contest. Cravaack is likely to face a Primary and is also at the top of the Democrat red to blue list. Bachmann may or may not be around to run for her seat. Walz is still holding a conservative district. Oh and the entire Legislature is up again, House & Senate, in new Districts with all new BPOU leaderships and organizations.
The equalizer for all that would be the actual party being unified. But we’re not. We have our Legislators taking rhetorical swings at each other. We have conservative groups lashing out (and occasionally ignoring the truth) about our own Legislators. The general Republican activists’ mood toward Legislative leadership is an eyebrow raised as to why we came in spending all revenue while still taking the same amount of flak and media spin as if we’d actually cut spending from last budget. Now I think they may end up winning the staring contest with Governor Dayton, but only because I’ve had the chance to spend an hour talking directly to some House leaders.
What the MNGOP needs to do to hold the Najorities and win races statewide in 2012, is be ready to pivot out of redistricting with out missing a step. We need to all be on the same page so when all the CD & BPOU lines are redrawn, people fall into place and we all put our shoulders down and start throwing blocks for our candidates and politicians. But if local activists and leaders are to take a page out of the statewide leadership campaign playbooks, we’ll have countless food fights and turf wars across the state. We’ll be fighting with ourselves in 12 months, rather than leave the DFL in the dust.
I’m confused where we really stand as a party. Who is really pulling the strings. Who really wants to see the base united. It’s a leadership problem.
The ends don’t justify the means. Divide and conquer is a bad internal strategy. Scorched earth burns down your own house.
Most importantly, one of the things that has sunk in with me the most from my past Don Quixote crusades, is something a certain someone said to me once. “You shit where you eat”. Crass, I know, but true. Someone else put it as “you have sharp elbows, you’re going to get some back”. It has sunk in and I have tried to change my tactics. Unfortunately, I think I am all alone in that.
Despite majorities in both State Houses, The US House, and 2 Minnesota politicians being in the mix for the Presidential sweepstakes, I can’t help but feel all alone right now. I shouldn’t. This should be a time when we are standing shoulder to shoulder like an army waiting for battle. But we seem to be more inclined to who gets credit, who is in General, field commander, what weapons we use, and sadly, who gets paid.
Maybe I should have taken the door slamming in my nose of 2009 more seriously, and taken my own advice to get the heck out of party politics and just help the candidates I like.(Or better yet, go enjoy my new house, marry my fiancé, and spend all my free time at the cabin) I think getting back involved might have been a mistake. I’m quite likely to get even more crazy from all the banging my head on the wall.
With all that said, I hope I am wrong. I hope the similarities I see to past divisions are merely coincidental. I hope that the new blood can help rebuild those bridges. Look, unlike some critics from with in, I don’t want to see failure. I got involved in the nuts and bolts of party politics because it’s that bus that can win majorities and major races. I want Sutton, Brodkorb, Sturrock, P. Anderson, & Jeff Johnson to be successful. They have to be. Its not about them, the people who got them there. Its not even about the people who showed up Saturday, or will next Summer at our State Convention. Its about the hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans that we need to agree with us enough to pull the lever for Republican candidates next November.
I hope they understand that.