I was at the GOP booth when endorsed Supreme Court of Minnesota (SCOM) candidate Michelle McDonald came to the building.
It was awkward; the GOP wanted her out, she and her volunteers wanted her in.
The flap, of course, was over McDonald’s pending trial on a variety of charges related to an attempted drunk-driving arrest. This Strib story lays out the initial round of particulars; Aaron Rupar at the City Pages updated the story in July along with a heaping helping of his peculiar partisan glee. So did Cyndy Brucato at the MinnPost. As did…
…well, hell – just about everyone with a keyboard and some server space, from the Daily Kos down to every leftyblogging hamster in the Metro. Indeed, the media has been having a ball. And they had another, when she got pulled over again, for allegedly violating the terms of her limited driving license (which is directly related to the pending charges, fair and accurate or not). And they were waiting outside the GOP booth when I arrived yesterday morning, like carrion-feeding animals, looking for a spectacle.
Not sure they got a “spectacle” in the classic sense of the term, but it was a thoroughly modern flap; McDonald’s supporters and volunteers, defying instructions from the MNGOP that she not appear at the booth, and operating under their own directive to appear every single day at the booth, arrived. Most of the pack of volunteers held cameras in front of them, including Ms. McDonald. They marched into the booth. Some of her volunteers very intentionally blocked the GOP booth staff from getting to Ms. McDonald.
Oh, yeah – the Twin Cities media was looking on with carrion-feeding glee, recording every single contortion. And they talked with Ms. McDonald – who responded, holding her camera out in front of her, recording her every interaction with the media, notwithstanding the knot of volunteers standing around her doing exactly the same thing.
To summarize: in a year where the MNGOP has been recovering its organizational and financial mojo, the party endorsed a candidate who may as well have been tailor made to garner immense, entirely negative media attention.
To put it in terms recognizable to anyone who has grown exhausted from the MNGOP’s capacity to shoot itself in the foot, it was best termed a “goat rodeo”. A “dumpster fire”. Perhaps even a “Hungarian cluster-cuddle”.
And it didn’t have to be that way.
Let’s break it down.