Yesterday the Republican Party of Minnesota held a leadership summit. It was a chance for BPOU leaders and candidates to basically gripe about what they think went wrong in 2006. It was also a chance to offer advice. Time will tell if the task force committees were willing to pass along all ideas, or simply take their own advice, but we were given the opportunity.
The more important thing to be taken away from the meeting was the elected officials present and what they said. Reps. Marty Seifert and Tom Emmer the MN House minority leadership gave rousing speeches of how conservatism is not dead in Minnesota. Despite the sour news from certain Republicans, not everyone is willing to lay down to liberalism. Both House leaders reassured many that they will provide hope in the house.
Noticeably absent was Gov. Pawlenty, his staff, and any of his administration, but I can't say I am surprised. The Republican party is reeling from some of the decisions of Pawlenty, and his complete disregard for spending restraint are an insult to those of us who think we are over taxed. His spending of nearly the entire budget surplus is something many can't overlook, especially because it is to expand Government in Minnesota. But regardless of how many of the rank and file activists spoke out against Pawlenty's leadership (which everyone knew was going to happen), it is quite disturbing that none of Pawlenty's major staff was noticeable from my vantage point.
Pawlenty won statewide. None of the other statewide candidates won.
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann stole the show from the podium. Her speech was both impassioned and on point. The audience was quite pleased by both her and Congressman Kline’s remarks on the the recent Congressional resolutions. They were the 2 bright spots in the darkness of defeat the US House of Representatives brought to light Friday. They are by far two Republicans who haven’t forgotten about what is right and wrong. They are not blinded by political expediency like some, and are grounded in their beliefs and values.
Which brings me to the other person who was very noticeably absent. Congressman Jim Ramstad skipped the meeting too, despite it being held in his very own District. He knows he has made a grave mistake in joining with the Defeatocrats on the resolution in the US House. He got that vote dead wrong, and he is giving aid and comfort to those who seek to defund the war against terror. I say he is ready for a challenger, at the very least to wake him up that he should have to earn endorsement and support from the right. (That is what that little (R) behind his name means.)
Norm Coleman voted the same on this. Others at this event were angry at Ramstad.
More from Andy:
All in all, it was less than a leadership summit and more of another bitch session. After the breakout sessions began, I floated from one to the other. I noticed that some people were just going from room to room to give the same speech, despite being off topic with the individual session. But I suppose that if the brighter points made, do trickle up to the top through the few party staffers and lone official (Seifert) who actually sat in to listen, it will have been worth it. (Forgive me if there were more present)
All in all, come Summer 2008, I feel little of this advice or their 'reforms' will matter much, if leadership is intact. Sorry, I don't see anything to sway my call for new leadership. Maybe it is because I am a skeptic, but I can hear the spin everytime serious complaints are raised about our problem being the elected leaders redefining our party as squishy from people. The incumbents run our party, despite the bases' desire for the opposite. With the RNC convention coming here next year, I expect them to fully dictate our operations.
You bet the national convention will be scripted. The demonstrations outside will serve as a foil, but the real concern would be having open discussion on the inside of the convention.