The Devil You Know

Simple fact: when Republicans run like Republicans – with a conservative vision, with lower taxes, smaller and more honest government, safer streets, less-stupid schools, secure borders, a Higher Power and family and country, we win.

We win because there are an awful lot of Democrats who vote for fiscal responsibility, for ethics, and for America, when they get the chance.

We win because there are an awful lot of people out there who don’t care about parties, but respond to vision – and visions are like food. If the other guy’s offering a box of Mike and Ikes, and all you have in response is a snark about how bad for you Mike and Ikes are, people will take the candy. If you offer them the perfectly-done London Broil that is the conservative vision, people take the beef.

We win because, underneath it all, most people are smart enough to see that the DFL way is no way to run a state.

To Lori Sturdevant – who, with Doug Grow’s retirement, is the DFL’s most reliable flak in the Twin Cities media – the ideal “compromise” is bouillon-flavored Mike and Ikes.

When Laura Hemler – a major mover behind Keith Downey’s campaign – called from the Cleanup on Aisle 41 last week to tell me Sturdevant was lurking about the convention, I started taking internal bets to see what she’s write.

My top bet: that she’d treat the conservative insurrection as a form of sickness or dysfunction. In Lori Sturdevant’s (entirely flak-focused) worldview, it seems any approach to life, politics and government that isn’t straight from the DFL Necronomicon is something to fear.

She doesn’t disappoint:

One vote was the elephant in the theater full of District 41 GOP elephants Saturday at Edina’s South View Middle School. It was the vote cast Feb. 25 by Republican Reps. Ron Erhardt of 41A and Neil Peterson of 41B to override Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s veto, and put a tax-increasing transportation bill into law.The punishment meted out to the two wayward representatives was stern. Endorsement for the fall election was not only denied them; it was bestowed with ease on their opponents, Keith Downey in 41A, Jan Schneider in 41B.

Got that? Exercising their prerogative as a political party – an organization with actual codified beliefs to which members are expected to largely subscribe – is an “elephant” (hahaha) in the room; that’s 12-step code for “addiction” or “dysfunction”.This is how the DFLMedia views principled conservatism in Minnesota.

I’ve joked about it in this space so many times, I’m running out of new ways to say it; to Lori Sturdevant, the only Republican is a 1976 Republican – back before all that pesky “conservatism” polluted all of that kowtowing to the Tics.

It shows in everything Lori Sturdevant writes:

Applying “DFL-lite” to Erhardt and his late wife Jackie would have been a local laugh line not long ago. A financial planner, Erhardt has been among the party’s most prolific fundraisers and reliable foot soldiers for more than 30 years. He’s run for the Legislature with party endorsement nine times, and has never won his seat with less than 56 percent of the vote. In 2006, he was the second-best Republican vote-getter in his district, behind only U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad.

For years, I’ve wanted to ask Lori Sturdevant; “Lori? For years, Norm Coleman was a reliable DFL foot soldier; he even placed the sainted Paul Wellstone into nomination at the ’96 DFL convention. He was a major-city mayor! He was successful! And yet the DFL hounded him out of the party. Why?”

“For differing with the party on fiscal issues. For going against the party’s beliefs”.

“And so, after all those years of service to, and electoral success on behalf of, the DFL, the party “punished” Norm, hounded him out of the party”.

“Did you get the vapors about that? Was that an “elephant in the room?” Did you solemnly wonder why Tics weren’t the same, responsible, pro-American, fiscally-relatively-sane party they were under Kennedy or, for that matter, Hubert Humphrey?”


“Just thought I’d ask”.

That point begs a longer look: In 2006, DFL U.S. Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar took District 41 with more than 56 percent of the vote. Pawlenty won there too, but his percent of the vote barely cracked 50 percent.

And in 2004, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry carried District 41A with 51 percent. Rumor had it that there were rumblings under old Edina gravestones for days thereafter.

You’d think that those votes — and not just the one on the transportation bill — would have been on District 41 minds Saturday. It doesn’t seem to be a propitious time for Republicans to be in purge mode.

Thanks, Lori, but if we want you to do our thinking for us, we’ll lobotomize ourselves with sporks and join the DFL.

When Republicans run as conservatives, we win. If we stand on our principles – as the party to a great extent didn’t in 2000, 2002 and 2006 – then we do just fine without your craven, upsucking advice.

The rest of it? You’re on your own.

8 thoughts on “The Devil You Know

  1. Unfortunately, after they win, most of them become big spending, pork-loving pseudo-conservatives.

  2. “”When Republicans run as conservatives, we win.””

    OK than, explain Mark Kennedy’s campaign. He ran as a staunch conservative. Sure, he did pussy foot around Bush a little bit, but even in the end he was still running commercials embracing the War and admitting on air that even though it may not be the popular thing to do it is the right thing to do.

    So sure, I guess you do want your side to run as close to their ideology as possible, but to claim that GOPers running as conservative win, is not necessarily the case. At least history shows you may be better off putting on a more moderate front.


  3. Let me try this move out….

    OK Flash, you got Kennedy, but that’s all you got. And you might not even have that. He was a war hawk, but he miscalculated his constituency and started leaning towards the ethanol lobby. Coleman might have an easy mark with Stuart Smalley, but he’s shot himself in the foot enough times that he’ll have to work hard to beat Stuart now.

    Reagan. (It sure said something about MN that we were the only state in 84 to fall for Carter v2.0 and his race baiting veepess)



    hey, that works pretty good!

  4. Bill, Conservatives winning in Red Districts shouldn’t be trumpeted as a cause and effect. Moderate Dems winning in Red Districts (ie 1st) or a staunch conservative GOPers winning in a purple district could.

    Mitch claims that “When Republicans runs as Conservatives we win” If he means ‘We’ as in Ideology, I’ll give him that. But if he means ‘we’ as in literally winning elections, well, history doesn’t show that.

    Kennedy Ran as a conservative and lost. Gil G ran as a conservative and lost. Ramstad ran as a Moderate and Won. Kline ran as a conservative in the 2nd and won. Mark for you. But if Kline coninutes running as a Conservative I think he may be in a race this year, especially when you look at how that district has eveolved. A Sarvi press release boasts:

    “”Trends in Minnesota’s 2nd District are favorable to Democratic candidates like Steve Sarvi. In 2006, Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) U.S. Senate candidate and now-U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar outperformed former Senator Mark Dayton’s 2000 election results by 10 points, winning every precinct in four of the district’s five largest cities and winning the district overall with 53.3 percent of the vote. The DFL Party has picked up 10 formerly Republican state legislative seats in the district since 2004, giving it a majority of the district’s seats.””

    Kline has no choice but to run as a conservative and he may still win, but he will have to work for it this year.

    In the 6rh you have a bright red Christain conservative district. A Ham Sandwhich with an ‘R’ on it would win there. You better run as a conservative. And if a Dem really wants to make a run for it, they better be a Joe Leiberman type. But his ProChoice position all but eliminates him on most constituents lists in that district.

    The 3rd may be the real test. Paulson comes across as much more conservative as Ramstad, and i8f he moves even further to the Right, that ones the door for a proven moderate like Bonoff to sneak in. It wouldn’t be the first time she has swooped in a won a former Ramstad seat. Should Madia get the nod, the race will still be close, but I would have to give the edge to the incumbent party at this time.

    So my point is that if it is about rebuilding an ideological base as the definition of ‘winning’ I’ll accept that. But if it is about winning elections and actually putting butts in the seats, run as conservative as you want, but you will be not only risking seats you hold, but won’t stand a chance in turning blue seats red.


  5. Flash actually *gulp* has a

    (Pardon me a moment while I gather myself)


    I never bought the meme that when conservatives runs as conservatives they win. Try that in the 4th or the 5th. Or the Iron Range districts for that matter.

    No, currently, public sentiment is against conservatives because of A) Iraq (which may be somewhat justified, though George Will and the Spirit of WFB might like a word with you); and B) the steady drumbeat of lies about the economy and fictional crises du jour rolled out by the Tic Party and its thoudsands of surrogates. (Don’t believe me? I’ll bet anyone a beer that if Obama is elected, from the day he is sworn in until the day he leaves office, you will hear nothing about the homeless “crisis”.)

    My take: let em win. Give the public what they think they want. When the state’s at the bottom of the sewer they’ll be no bete noirs left to blame.

    Feed the beast until it explodes a la Mr. Creosote.

  6. Simple fact: when Republicans run like Republicans – with a conservative vision, with lower taxes, smaller and more honest government, safer streets, less-stupid schools, secure borders, a Higher Power and family and country, we win.”

    As Flash pointed out – this claims facts simply not in evidence. It’s a nice warm-fuzzy for you, but anything but real.

    It IS true that when you offer to buy votes – i.e. tax cuts where the electorate is going to then get something for nothing- until the electorate becomes more savvy, they vote for conservatives. (and yeah, I know , I know, it’s their money) , but the truth is, the tax cuts don’t last, the cuts don’t come (because programs are very difficult to cut) – and the pork is never cut because the recipients have power and influence.

    So sure, when the electorate is willing to be mislead into believing that they’ll ACTUALLY see a real tax cut, and wasteful pork will fund that tax cut, then, you can legitimately win. And since that pretty much, other than Clinton’s cuts in 1992-1993, that has NEVER happened… I just can’t point to a situation where this is a real outcome, certainly not in any way that has been meaningful.

    Rather than make these kinds of gross exagerations – how’s about we try to suggest that constraining pork, and having an eye toward the affordability of government for the average worker, as being critical underlying goals – and then talk about how to achieve it? Rather than demonizing your opposition (as you are so very wont to do)? If so, then I’ll simply ask that you begin to distance yourself from aligning with the ‘business elite’ Republican money-machine/Scaifenet cheerleading that seems to go hand in glove with your anti-governement complaints. What’s so confounding and ironic, is that you support open check-book policies to companies like Haliburton – while complaining about the pork and waste that is in fact the only REAL area that any level of compassionate conservatism could realistically look to cut. It’s a nice fantasy to suggest that programs are easy to cut, but they almost always in fact serve a need – a real purpose – or are soooo low in cost as compared to entitlement programs – as to be meaningless to focus any angst upon.

  7. That is a very dangerous proposition, LearnedFoot, as I think that is why we are where we are today. He never exploded, he just learned how to buy votes with the contents of the buckets.

  8. Try that in the 4th or the 5th.

    I guess there was an implied “all other things being equal”.

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