Conservative Voters: Step Back From The Ledge

One of the worst takeaways from this stadium fiasco has been the wedge it’s put in the GOP – and which, naturally, the DFL are using on Republicans, inside and outside the party.

Which is politics, and to be expected.

But it’s also at least in part wrong.

Hear me out here.


Conservative voters have become a majority among GOP activists.  It’s why the GOP has morphed from the party of Arne Carlson and Dave Durenberger 15 years ago to the party of Dave Thompson and King Banaian today; the base, and people who vote Republican, want it.

And when the party strayed too far toward being “DFLers with better suits” over the past decade, the voters punished them by staying home in droves in 2006 and 2008, and by voting with the Tea Party and expelling many of the “moderate” hamsters from office in 2010 (to say nothing of many liberals).   They were sent to office with a mission; cut taxes, shink government, get out of the way of job creation, among a few other things.

And they took a good whack at it this session – hobbled by a Governor whose only goal (and job) was to veto everything he could, and the rhubarb at the State GOP (which slopped over into the Senate) they certainly didn’t get it all done.

But the stadium?  That was the bill that’s gotten conservatives exercised, one way or the other.  It’s been amusing to see Ron Paul and Kurt Bills supporters laboriously backtrack to justify spending public money on the single least essential bill government has – Zygi Wilf’s real estate improvements.

The DFL and media (PTR) scarcely need to exacerbate the internecine scrum between Republicans over the stadium (although they are), though. We’re beating ourselves up hard enough.

I’m going to suggest that conservative Republicans have a little more to show for the stadium debate than the DFL, the press and our less sanguine friends may let on.


On the surface, of course, the numbers just aren’t good.  The stadium passed both chambers:  71-60 in the House, 36-30 in the Senate.

The partisan breakdown looked like this (and this is my count, not the official one – I assembled much of this data manually, and errors are very possible – although they don’t really affect the conclusion):

House (and I know, the math doesn’t square with the totals I got from the Strib above – I’ll work on it when I get a moment – and it doesn’t change the conclusion, again):

  • For: 40 DFL, 33 GOP
  • Against: 20 DFL, 38GOP


  • For: 21 DFL, 15 GOP
  • Against: 8 DFL, 22 GOP.

So on the one hand, it does make sense – the DFL, yet again, voted in greater measure to pick the taxpayers’ pockets.  Indeed, it’s instructive which Democrats voted no (in both chambers, they included Davnie, Dibble, Dziedzic, Eaton, Falk, Greene, Greiling, Hansen (Rick), Hausman, Hayden, Hornstein, Kahn, Laine, Lenczewski, Liebling, Loeffler, Lourey, Marty, McGuire, Mullery, Murphy (Erin), Pappas, Paymar, Scalze, Torres Ray and Wagenius) – for the most part, the ones whose constituents would actually have to pay for the stadium.  It’s the DFL philosophy writ small; make other people pay for your toys.

But the fact remains that there would have been no publicly financed stadium without GOP participation.

And the GOP voted for it; 15 of 37 Senators and 33  of 71 Representatives; a minority within the caucus, but enough to saddle the taxpayers with the bill.

But as the DFL and media (ptr) remind us, there are really two GOPs.  There’s the “moderate”, pre-Tea Party version, and there are the newcomers who came to Saint Paul in 2011 full of whiz and vinegar and on a mission to change government.  They are in fact the majority of the Senate GOP caucus.

What’s the divide in the vote between the “old’ and “New” GOPs?

More on that at noon today.

5 thoughts on “Conservative Voters: Step Back From The Ledge

  1. Vox Day put it rightly – better to pay half now than all later.

    you know this wasn’t going away and if, God forbid, the Democrats regained control, the resulting stadium bill would have been far worse.

    Damage control isn’t the same as heresy. Don’t treat them the same.

  2. How on earth could it have been “far worse.” I think my favorite part of the bill is that the state builds the stadium for Zigi and he gets the money for naming rights, and gets to keep how much he gets a secret. As the next 30 years go by whenever a republican anywhere brings up cutting taxes/cutting government the instant comeback will be, you guys were the ones that spent over a billion for a stadium. Why on earth didnt they just put it to a staewide vote.

  3. “Damage control” is explaining to friends and family why my DFL state senator got this vote right and 49 Republicans got it wrong. Very, VERY wrong.

  4. Pingback: Conservative Voters: Step Back From The Ledge (Part II) | Shot in the Dark

  5. As the next 30 years go by whenever a republican anywhere brings up cutting taxes/cutting government the instant comeback will be, you guys were the ones that spent over a billion for a stadium.

    This. I took my parents out for Mothers Day this weekend and my Mom, knowing how politically active Ive been, asked me my thoughts on the stadium. I said that I was opposed to it and I upset that so many Republicans voted for it because when you look at the cost drivers for State spending its health care (sick people, the elderly), K-12 (school children) and eventually public employee retirement benefits (retirees). How on Earth are elected officials who have been kicking the can on these issues for longer than Ive been alive ever going to step up and cut benefits for people who are so readily identified as the vulnerable now that theyve just voted to give half a billion dollars to an out-of-State billionaire? The optics on this stink.

    And as likely it as not, it wont matter whether the people voting to make these cuts voted for Wilfare. The same MSM that clamored for the Peoples Stadium will refer to this as a giveaway for the rich in order to discredit by association anyone who goes after the vulnerable simply because they have an R behind their name.

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