Thursday, December 9, 2010

On Losing: Lessons Learned

Tom Emmer conceded the governor's race in the cold of his front lawn in Delano yesterday. Running mate Annette Meeks was nowhere to be found. MC has been alarmed by the reaction of his hard core supporters, ie, those who got the endorsement for him, upon this denouement. Their rationalizations as to his loss are alarming for their continued political tone-deafness and unwillingness to examine the premises upon which they based their earnest support of this candidate. Precisely the wrong lessons are being learned, or spun, from this debacle (there is no other word) and MC is unable to continence them.

First, Minnesota's electoral system works just fine, thank you. Take your fraud allegations, your vapor-filled scenarios of Mark Ritchie's nefarious conduct and your desperate, wholly beside the point campaign for voter photo id and come back when you are serious about politics. By definition, that would mean wanting to win.

These allegations mystify MC and others. We are hardly soft on voter fraud. Did some felons vote previously who should not have? Yes. Is that voter fraud? Not as we understand the term. Did Mark Ritchie steal the election for Al Franken? No. How many times do we have to refer readers to Powerline and the writings of our friend Scott Johnson who analyzed the abject failure of Senator Coleman's exceptionally mediocre local attorneys who did so much damage that when real, national legal talent was brought in the damage could not be undone? MC is at a loss to explain the fetish with which some activists take after Mr. Ritchie. He's always struck us as perfectly average, the type of lesser talent who tops out in the position currently occupied. Why he should be imbued with real talent--albeit wicked--is beyond us and serves only to make him more important than he is in the state constitutional system.

Second, the media didn't drag Mark Dayton over the finish line. This narrative from the hard core is boring, actually. MC doesn't think the Minnesota media is all that tough (this *is* Minnesota, after all) and we can't really find any sustained mistreatment of our endorsed candidate. That he had lousy skills in dealing with them is his fault. Why can't that be said outloud? MC does fault the media and all three campaigns for endless debates. For those not born in Minnesota, as MC was not, there are at times things deeply weird about this state that those born here cannot perceive. We offer the earnest, rote, school-boy debates as a first but not only example.

Three, Minnesota isn't a Tea Party state but that section of the RPM more or less got Emmer the endorsement. A high school mentality reigned supreme in that faction at the convention and no amount of cold, rational argument could convince them of the downsides of their choice. In one sense, MC admires such passion and loyalty enormously and we mean no disrespect of any that in these comments. That said, we found it odd that the singular focus on being (far) right outweighed any studied consideration about the goal of the endorsement process: winning. More than once we were asked: Do you want a third Pawlenty term? To which we now say: well, do ya punk?

How does one talk sense to delegates elated by the endorsement of Tom Emmer by Sarah Palin? This is Minnesota, we emphasized. No matter. Such talk by MC was just so many wet blankets. We'll see, we were told. Indeed we did. Yet we haven't had any of the Emmer convention supporters contact us and say we were right. This is disconcerting. It shows a lack of learning anything from this--that word again--debacle. A poll released yesterday showed Palin's unfavorable rating in Minnesota at 60%. For those still in Emmer denial, that's a majority of the state's population. MC doubts it was much lower in late April when she delivered her hockey Mom loves hockey Dad endorsement. Hooky. If we see another hockey jersey it will be too soon.

Third, pick a running mate of your own choosing, not that of a fringe, single issue outdated group like MCCL's. MCCL, should you not know anything about Minnesota politics, is Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. Apparently this retrograde group vetoed the selection of former and now current Senator Linda Runbeck as Emmer's choice for Lieutanant Governor at the last moment. Her crime was only an 80% voting record on their scorecard. The RPM needs to leave such zealots behind and fast. Carry on in your futile effort to criminalize abortion: it will never happen again in America and MC would urge you to funnel your efforts to women in a crisis pregnancy, one-on-one. This is much more difficult than preening and feeling good about yourselves, playing king makers in Minnesota republican politics. It would also accomplish something, however. Annette and Tom were a match made in hell. Thanks, purity people for that dysfunctional ticket. MC thanks Annette Meeks, though, for going through with the arranged marriage. Her change yesterday in her Facebook avatar did not go unnoticed or, to our mind, unappreciated. In fact, we quite agree.

Fourth, reject players behind the scenes with agendas. MC would be looking at Vin Weber, our own insider and who, by rights, should be anathema to the Tea Party and anti-establishment types that at the convention got Emmer the endorsement. Does MC have to do *all* their thinking for them? Vin is the quintessential corpulant lobbyist trading for decades on his slender Congressional service. Apparently, because Tony Trimble was childhood friends with Vin and Jack Meeks he remains ensconced in the RPM providing 3rd tier legal advice. Lovely. Then there's Laura Brod, more spoken about than seen. May it remain ever thus. She trashed Marty Seifert to a degree none of his other detractors did. MC says no more about her, karma being what it is. Brian Sullivan stood insider-cheek-to-insider-cheek with Vin Weber in throwing his, um, weight to Emmer. He still can't be bothered to attend RPM state central committee meetings, understandably so. He'd float right away. Like Evie Axdahl, he needs to be fired and replaced with real people. MC has it own replacements in mind.

Fifth, don't nominate graceless people like Tom Emmer. Can the ur-base handle that? After the election results were announced, he vanished for a week. Would the purity people have put up with that from Marty Seifert? Of course not. Yet in this instance, they excused it, if they even admitted it. Do you know how tiresome you people have become? A good friend of MC's said before the endorsement that she didn't even know how to pronounce Marty's running mate's last name. That would be: @SivarajahMN Call me, Sue Jeffers, for pronunciation lessons. But kindly do not be proud of your ignorance in not being able to do so. It's just more of the nonsense MC fears in going ahead with republican candidates in 2012.

As for any of you who supported Emmer at the convention, we await your apology. MC told you but you persisted in your know-nothingness. When it comes to 2012, stay silent. We republicans who want to win can figure out a winning path on our own. With you Emmer supporters, we repeat what we just went through. You have nothing to offer our future except defeat.