I sat about four rows behind Lori Sturdevant in the press pit on Friday.
Now, I’m a gregarious guy. I took the liberty of introducing myself to MPR’s Tom Scheck (a lot younger than he sounds), the PiPress’ Bill Salisbury (memes about liberal press aside, he’s one of the greats) and WCCO-TV’s Pat Kessler (a charming guy).
But Lori’s body language was pretty emphatic. She sat in the front row of the press pit, in her trademark scarf (Eric Eskola didn’t even have his with him) and Margaret Thatcher coif…
…and I don’t believe I saw her turn her head once. The computer, the stage…and that was it. That was her field of view, near as I could tell.
So between that, and the fact that there’s no figure in the Twin Cities media that I’ve spent more time criticizing than her in the past eight years save her papermate Nick Coleman, and I figured I’d stay in the back of the pit with the other bloggers.
In a sense, fisking her post-MNGOP Convention column was almost pointless; the eight writers in the contest I’m running to parody the column pretty much caught it all; she renders the DFL’s chanting points so thoroughly that you can almost hear Darth Vader’s “Imperial March” in the background as she describes Emmer’s victory.
I’ll be adding bits and pieces of emphasis to the Strib column.
State Rep. Tom Emmer sold himself to Minnesota Republicans as a candidate who is “not a politician as usual.” At a convention infused with Tea Party revulsion about government spending, that evidently sounded gubernatorial.
I almost titled this column “Our Pauline Kael”.
Yes, he “evidently” sounded gubernatorial enough to convince the GOP to make a go of it. Go figure.
Emmer, a trial lawyer/legislator from Delano, won an endorsement Friday that appears to assure him of the Republican spot on the Nov. 2 ballot to succeed Tim Pawlenty as governor. That’s so despite the fact that he may be the most conservative candidate endorsed for governor by a major Minnesota party since “Tightwad Ted” Christianson in the Roaring Twenties.
Ever tone-deaf to points of view outside the clubby confines of the media/DFL (pardon the redundancy), Sturdevant misses the point for the first of many, many times in this column. Emmer won because he is conservative. Emmer and Seifert got to the final round because they reflect how the MNGOP, and a good chunk of Minnesota, feels.
The piece’s comedic moneyshot is next:
No moderate Republican is girding up to take on Emmer in the Aug. 10 primary. The GOP of 2010 isn’t Star Tribune reporter Rachel Stassen-Berger’s Grandpa Harold’s party — far from it.
And, amazingly, enough, no “moderate” Democrat is getting lubed up to take on Kelliher, Dayton or Entenza; the DFL/media (ptr) have their choice of left, lefter and leftest.
Why, one might say the DFL “isn’t the party of Lori Studevant’s father/grandfather”, the one that supported the hawkish tax-cutter JFK, to say nothing of the one that cuddled up to Josef Stalin in the thirties and forties – or the Democratic Party of their parents, the party of Jim Crows.
One might say that – if one were not that bright. Parties change. And all the DFL/media (ptr) clubbiness in the world doesn’t change that!
The GOP changed; Reagan changed the national GOP thirty years ago; that same change is finally happening here. Like it or don’t, but quit pining for the intellectual fjords; the liberal Arne Carlson/Harold Stassen is one dead parrot.
What counted with those Tea-stained delegates, it seemed, was that Emmer appeared to be the stauncher conservative.
It takes decades of keen-eyed journalistic experience to note the bleeding obvious.
And it takes decades of careful towing of the DFL/media (ptr) line to look at the convention’s results through utterly DFL-colored glasses as Sturdevant does:
Seifert, a legislator since age 24, struck delegates as a career politician. In the vernacular of the 2010 GOP, that’s not a compliment.
Legislative skills aren’t much valued, either. Seifert got little credit among delegates for holding his caucus together on tough veto override votes in 2007 and 2009 — an achievement that greatly strengthened Pawlenty’s hand as governor.
He got credit for it. Here’s the thing Sturdevant, with all her vaunted experience, missed; there was no evidence of a vote against Seifert among the Emmer crowd; his chops as a legislator are legendary; the MNGOP will do well to get him back into office, hopefully Congress, soon.
But Minnesota, and the MNGOP, want someone with an executive vision. We’ve had eight years of leadership by a legislator – and Tim Pawlenty has done a great job (to Sturdevant’s eternal and obvious chagrin). We’re in a time when a big, executive vision counts for a lot.
Sturdevant actually catches that, sort of – although she trivializes it:
The personal qualities euphemistically called “style” mattered more on Friday, and scored in Emmer’s favor. He came across as the affable hockey player he once was for the University of Alaska; Seifert seemed like the studious kid who was always in the library.
I excised a lot of the DFL chanting points from my fisk – but this was too rich to miss:
In coming weeks, Emmer will have to answer for a good deal more. He espouses the idea that government can abandon a big share of the public work it’s shouldered through the decades without damaging this state. That’s a notion that must be considered faith-based, since little evidence backs it up.
Because Minnesota has never tried. Even after eight years of Pawlenty’s responsible leadership, the DFL/media (ptr) still think that everyone in the state should pay for everything in the state – the immense money-laundering scam that is Local Govermment Aid.
Emmer – and Seifert – want government to be accountable at all levels, rather than playing a fiscal shell game by laundering spending through the state. It’s a huge winner among conservative circles; if the MNGOP can convince the people of Minnesota to wean themselves from the state’s bread and circuses, it could be a huge change in shining a light on the roaches that hide in the nooks and crannies of the system.