Monday, December 13, 2010

Night Of The Not-So-Long Knives

As Cubachi has pointed out, moderation has gotten the GOP nowhere. The media loves to make saints out of moderate Republicans, but it also loves to turn them into martyrs the minute they have to go against a Democrat. So, when I read this over-the-top article from Politco, I thought it'd be a good object lesson in why conservatism and Republican party discipline are going to be key in winning future elections. There will be a test on this! (In 2012, that is.)

First, some background: Republican Tom Emmer just conceded the Minnesota governor's race to Democrat Brave Sir Mark Dayton (who likes to run away). The Minnesota GOP decided to do something about the fact that a former member of their party, Tom Horner, siphoned off 12% of the vote that could have gone to Emmer. So they voted to punish 18 moderates that had supported this third-party candidate. Politico is shocked that the GOP would try to reform its own party to gear up for the next election. Cue the horror-stricken writing!

The stunning purge, narrowly passed by the state Republican central committee last weekend, suggests more than just a fit of pique: by banning some of the state’s leading moderates, the Minnesota GOP moved toward extinguishing a dying species of Republican in one of its last habitats.

Species usually die out because they cannot find a place in the ecosystem or adapt to it. What we seem to have here is both, and Politico cannot resist writing a swan song for its precious, precious moderates. When a state party realizes that its state has only voted for the party's presidential nominee once in the last half-century, that party must adapt if it wants to survive. The Minnesota GOP chairman, Tony Sutton, seems to have realized that, as well as the central committee. As a former Iowan, I'm obliged to shake my head at the Minne-soh-tans with their heads in the snow, but I'm also cheered by the fact that change seems to be in the wind. That wind may have a blizzard or three in it, but it's definitely got some change.

This piece also has plenty of blustering, as the moderates attempt to defend their position in unintentionally hilarious ways. (Moderates trying to be firm is always a good source for humor.) For example, Al Quie starts out big

“The Republican party is trying to become … you would call it introverted totalitarianism.”

and then goes small.

“It’s just plain dumb on their part."

Unfortunately, the facts do not bear out Quie's observations.

Sutton’s candidates seized control of the state House, which the party lost in 2006, and the state Senate, which the GOP has not controlled since it became a partisan chamber. A conservative insurgent also toppled 17-term Democratic Rep. Jim Oberstar

Yes, it is sheer stupidity, in the view of a moderate, to lead a party to historic gains. Moderates need to be able to eschew party principles and undermine the party without having to pay the consequences. They're sainted moderates, after all! The media says they're the future of the GOP! And their candidate worked so well for the GOP in 2008!

Kudos to the Minnesota GOP chairman for ignoring the philosophy espoused in the previous paragraph. The movers and shakers in the national party ought to be taking notes from his performance here. No more Mr. Minnesota Nice Guy!

“I think a lot of these people are not relevant politically,” Sutton said. “They represent a bygone era, sort of the era of the Country Club Republican – when we weren’t opposed to big government; we just said we could manage it better. This is [now] sort of the Reagan Era of the Republican Party.”

“It’s funny we’ve had more success since we moved away from a lot of these folks,” he added. “You can argue we’ve become more successful as we’ve become truer to our principles.”

The moderates seem to argue that losing the four statewide races (governor, state auditor, secretary of state, and attorney general) does not mean success overall, but what part of historic don't they understand? All of it, I suppose.

“Maybe it would be more beneficial if Tony Sutton left the Republican Party and took his philosophy elsewhere, and we could get a chairman who knows how to grow a party,” [Arne] Carlson said.

Carlson seems to know a lot about leaving the Republican Party behind. Not only did he endorse Horner and a Democrat this year, but in 2008, he didn't even back the moderate GOP candidate, John McCain. He voted for Barack Obama. Maybe, just maybe, he should have seen this coming?

Over to you, Chairman Sutton!

Sutton, who technically didn't take a position on the resolution because he chaired the meeting, made his feelings clear by expressing befuddlement at what he calls the “faux outrage” over the temporary bans.

“I don’t understand people who are upset by it. You claim to be a member of a political party, of a team, and you’re supporting someone on the other team,” he said. “This isn’t a tickle contest. This isn’t ninth grade civics, where you’re running for class president. This is pretty serious business.”

Yes, it is pretty serious business. But what is the horrendous punishment for those being shoved aside? What awful, Soviet-style consequences await those who have fallen afoul of The Party? With the tone of this piece, one might suspect gulags and waterboarding are in the future of these 18 moderates. However, that is not the case. It is not a light punishment that was handed out, but surely these moderates can overcome being banned from party activities for two years and the 2012 Republican National Convention. Oh, the humanity!

Even after the 2010 elections, Politico can't write a story about the machinations of a state GOP without wringing their hands that the party's not going the "correct" way. We've got a long way to go.

No comments:

Post a Comment