Saturday, April 16, 2011

MN Republican Party Saves Itself From Oblivion

Today the Minnesota Republican State Central Committee elected Pat Anderson and Jeff Johnson to the Republican National Committee. The race for committee woman was intense--four good candidates--but of a different order than that for committee man. For those fortunate readers not inclined to political minutia, the refudiation of Tom Emmer is a seismic shock to the established political order within the party. It represents the beginning of the end for those self-serving types--there is no other word--who insist that far right principles are to be preferred over winning elections. That thinking gave us Senator Franken and Governor Dayton.

The usual purity people will bemoan the Emmer loss but will be loath to admit that he was the insider candidate and that Jeff Johnson bucked the establishment and won. Splayed behind Emmer during his speech to the State Central Committee were the highest elected republican state officials and the usual party hangers-on. The delegates assembled before them did not act as requested, however, and realized that by rewarding the retread Emmer with an RNC slot the party would never be rid of him. MC hopes those people on the dais behind Emmer feel foolish. They should.

It was an open secret that Emmer wanted to run for governor again. That way lies madness but the politically tone deaf borg which got him the endorsement last year could not see it as such. That part of the party constitutes a dangerous and ongoing threat to its electoral health.

Fortunately, a competent politician stepped forward and offered the non-crazies in the party a way out. Jeff Johnson has been an exceptionally able Hennepin County Commissioner. As he told the delegates, the RNC race was not akin to electing a homecoming king nor was it about big personalities (ie, egos) because the RNC itself is filled with them. The race was about competence and effectiveness. Johnson worked hard for this win. Emmer acted since he first announced that it was a coronation. He only started calling delegates last Sunday. Hubris of a high order from someone who ran an exceptionally lousy campaign and blamed everyone but himself for his loss to the baffling Mark Dayton. To the extent he deigned to campaign for the RNC race, he was insufferable in his smugness as some sort of up and comer. He had, didn'tcha know?, Chris Christie's number on speed dial on his cell phone. MC is confident all calls Emmer made went straight to voice mail. Add to the investment you made in me last fall, he'd hector various captive audiences. Has Emmer no idea that people do not like to have their intelligence insulted?

The Emmer supporters have been ugly and ungracious in their defeat. MC isn't surprised: this is who they really are. Their anger stems from their unarticulated sense of entitlement for their candidate. Vin Weber, John Kline, Michael Bachmann, Jack & Annette Meeks, Norm Coleman and others must all be shocked that they were not able to bully their sock puppet into the RNC. It's difficult for MC to describe the surprise and happiness that swept over the delegation when Johnson's win was announced. We knew it was a win far larger than just the RNC. We knew that we as a party had taken a step back from oblivion in Minnesota politics and now have a fighting chance of preserving the wins we made in the November 2010 elections.

Republicans typically do not reward failure. This is a distinct Democratic trait. Today the republicans in Minnesota redeemed their mistake in endorsing Emmer last year by refusing to grant him the RNC position for which he was neither qualified nor entitled. Today Tom Emmer's political career died. MC wishes him well as he pursues other opportunities.