What The Hell Do We Do About The MNGOP Now: Part II

I remember going to my first Fourth Congressional District convention.  It must have been in 2000; it was long before I had a blog.  I had been elected as a delegate from House District 66B; this was my first Congressional District convention, and my second convention of any kind at all.

And I sat in my chair, and waited for all the democracy to kick in.

And it did.  We listened to about two hours worth of speeches, if I remember correctly, before we got down to business.  Which was…

…about two hours of debating rules and picayune aspects of the Constitution.

Not the US Constitution, or even the Minnesota one.  The Fourth Congressional District COP Constitution.  And a group of three or four people, who seemed to live for this sort of thing, basically alternated back and forth on the microphones as the chair and parliamentarian fielded, processed and wove an ever-expanding web of motions, sub-motions leading to amendments, amendments to amendments…

…all to answer a question on the order of “do we allow the rules to be suspended to move the treasurer’s report in front of the teller’s report on the agenda?”, or something equally earth-shaking.

Of course, two things became clear:

  1. This wasn’t entirely about convention rules; there was some subtext at work; old feuds, the detritus from years of people doing politics together resurfacing in the form of a squabble over some picayune aspect of parliamentary procedure or other.
  2. But for some of them, it genuinely was about convention rules.  There are people on this earth who genuinely get exercised about that kind of stuff.
I was not one of them.  I’m still not.  I want to talk policy, and candidates, and get down to the business of subduing the DFL and putting their toxic policies on display in the “Museum of Stupid Ideas” where they belong.  Squabbling over convention rules gives me nothing but a numb butt and a craving for caffeine – and eventually cocaine.   That’s what I’m there for.

Judging by the utter boredom on the faces of the first-time conventiongoers around me – many of them last-time conventiongoers – I was hardly alone.

People who are drawn to the GOP don’t tend to be people who enjoy sitting in meetings, much less arguing about picayune parts of parliamentary procedure.  They – we – tend not only to be goal-oriented rather than process-oriented people, but to be the type that actively eschew politics for its own sake, preferring to actually change society for the better. It’s the same sort of things that draw people to the Libertarians or the Constitution or Green Parties – the urge to actually get out there and solve problems rather than sit in rooms and argue procedure until your butt falls asleep.

And yet to any party – the sheep-like DFL, of course, but the GOP too – are drawn people who do just love the whole “being a party” thing; people who love navigating the bylaws and codedils and playing politics, on the most venal possible level, for its own sake.

The rift over the weekend between Emmer Campaign and the Seifert/Party Establishment crowds was a bit of deja vu.  There may be no more beaten-down organization in this country than the Saint Paul Republican City Committee and its various wards and districts.  So nobody, perhaps, was more surprised than Saint Paul Republicans a few years back when, hard to the heels of two devastating electoral losses state and nationwide, Republicans captured a community council deep in the heart of stereotypically-DFL-dominated Saint Paul…

…and promptly proceeded to watch the victory dissolve in infighting, squabbling, backstabbing – the kind of stuff the Saint Paul City Committee is usually known for.

Too many Republicans seem to have forgotten Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment; duke it out with Republicans, but keep it in the house.  Never, ever bag on fellow Republicans in public.  Even ones you disagree with.  Even ones who you detest.   Especially not to the media, who are – never ever forget this – working for the other side.

(Some leftyblogger will chime in here with “what about the Override Six?  What about Arne Carlson and Dave Durenberger?”  Only half of that chime-in is dumb; Carlson and Durenberger endorsed Democrats and used their remaining political capital to attack the GOP; while as a Norwegian-American I might not have used the term “Quisling”, Tony Sutton was absolutely right to toss them from the party.  As to the Override Six – it was endorsing activists that got ride of two of them, and the voters that got the others).

A fair chunk of the GOP – the part of it that is into the “party” stuff more than the “getting government off our backs” bit – needs to remember what the actual goal of all this party-mongering is.  It’s not more party-mongering.

Much more later this week.

17 thoughts on “What The Hell Do We Do About The MNGOP Now: Part II

  1. What were the Seifert people still bitter about the endorsement battle and saying if he had won the endorsement he’d be Gov now as opposed to some schlub in the 7th district?

  2. OK, so I’ll just ignore that “it was endorsing activists that got ride of two of them, and the voters that got the others” is a misstatement and inaccurate. And I’ll ignore it because it pales in comparision to the utter delusion in the rest of the column. But Mitch, at least you acknowledged that it may have been the cocaine behind all this.

  3. This is an afterthought but let’s remember that dumping Ron Erhardt brought us Keith Downey. That’s a trade I’ll make any day & twice on Sundays.

  4. is a misstatement and inaccurate.

    It’s not.

    it pales in comparision to the utter delusion in the rest of the column

    Ah. Well, if you say so.

    Well, no. Specifics, please?

    I’ll wait.

    I suspect I’ll have to.

  5. At least one member of the Overide Six is still in office. Jim(en)Abler still represents me. He has been better but I always expect the RINO in him to come back out the moment he thinks we are not watching.

  6. Leftists just can’t understand this. To them, there’s nothing that a General Assembly meeting (without any sort of direction or moderation, of course ’cause that would be Fascist) and a nice squat in the street can’t solve.

  7. To be fair Erhardt was on his last straw, the override vote was just the straw that broke the camels back. Keith was in it to win it 4 months before he cast that vote.

  8. Thanks jpmn, I couldn’t get back here until now. Yes, Abeler seems to be quite involved in legislation for a guy who was done away with by endorsing activists and voters.

    So Mitch, it actually IS a misstatement and inaccurate. Look, we all make mistakes. Just man up when it happens. Otherwise, when you get the basics wrong, it makes the rest of the stuff you write suspect…like say, everything in this post.

    I’ll wait. I’ll suspect I’ll have to. (Smarm intended)

  9. man up

    Oh – as in “agree with me, if you’re a “man?”” Oh, my. The last refuge of the guy who can’t argue literately.

    Two of the Override Six were tossed at primary time. Two others lost in the generals (one after losing the primary). Abeler and Hamilton remain.

    So – man up and admit that the only argument you have is abusive little rhetorical card-tricks like bleating “man up”.

    And if it’s your opinion that the MNGOP shouldn’t have worked against six candidates who betrayed the party’s position on the override, and shouldn’t have tossed Carlson and Durenberger for endorsing Barack Obama, then by all means square that with the DFL’s torpedoing of Norm Coleman and Randy Kelly.

    You can’t. And you know it.

  10. Game. Set. Match.

    I can’t wait for the reply. I’ll suspect I’ll have to. (Smarm intended).

  11. OK, I’ll take this s-l-o-w-l-y so that even your syncophant Kermit can follow along.

    1. Your original statement was that the Override Six were tossed out of office by endorsers (2) or voters (the others). 2. I told you that was a misstatement. 3. You told me it wasn’t. 4. Myself and others told you that not all of the 6 were tossed out, proving you wrong. 5. rather than acknowledge that error, you choose redirection. Nice, but weak, effort.

    Again, I told you it wasn’t the end of the world, that you simply made a mistake. Rather than acknowledge that, you’ve chosen to ignore that fact and instead focus on an obscure phrase I used to get you to admit your error.

    See, the problem isn’t that you made a mistake Mitch, the problem is that you feel compelled to argue it. Like I said, that position only results in others questioning the accuracy of everything you write or (in the worst case), you end up sued like the Oregon blogger. But I guess you can find comfort in the knowledge that critical thinkers like Kermit will always be there for you.

  12. Ears,

    Get some fiber. You know I meant that the voters got the two of the six that got tossed.

    So to summarize – all you’ve got is petty “gotchas” and de minimis misstatements that don’t detract from my actual point one iota.

  13. Honest to God man, stop while you’re way behind. Here’s your statement – ” As to the Override Six – it was endorsing activists that got ride of two of them, and the voters that got the others. Mitch, 6 minus 2 equals 4. How in the hell would I know you meant only 2 when you said “the others”. That’s just nonsensical. It’s Ok to make mistakes, I’ve made plenty of them and will do so in the future. I’m just troubled by your denial. You can try to classify this statement as de minimus. I might even agree with you since I said “it pales in comparison”. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why you just can’t admit you screwed up. Talk about “petty”. I now stand by my “man up” statement more than ever. You’re obviously not up to the task.

  14. stop while you’re way behind

    It’s so cute that you think I’m “way behind” you. What’s the quote? “That a man’s reach exceed his grasp, or what is heaven for?”

    Mitch, 6 minus 2 equals 4. How in the hell would I know you meant only 2 when you said “the others”.

    I dunno, Ears. I can think of a few possibilities; you’d assume from the context I meant “the others THAT WERE DEFEATED”, since Abeler and Hamilton are in office, maybe?

    Was it unclear? Sure – and you’ve wasted a lot of time being smug and pedantic about the unclarity. Fine – it wasn’t written clearly.

    It doesn’t change the point.

    Quick, Ears – what is the point? Do you have the foggiest clue?

    Answer my question.

  15. Mitch, the point was the future of the GOP. MY point is, in the context it was written, you were attempting to create the impression that The Party had rid itself of RINO’s. It also painted a picture that the more conservative element of your party was more unified and stronger than was actually the case. A couple of legislators fought against your wing of the party and won.

    Mitch, sometimes I’ve written some things here that could have been misinterpreted or misconstrued. It isn’t a crime to admit them and clarify them. I can acknowledge when I could have done a better writing job.

    And again, now acknowledge my point. When a basic fact is wrong, it could undermine your larger point. And when the author can’t even admit to an obvious error, what does that say about his credibility?

    Answer MY question.

  16. Answer MY question.

    You don’t realize what you’ve just done, do you?

    You done just stepped in it now, son.

    (cue howls of derisive laughter)

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