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.
“The Republican party is trying to become … you would call it introverted totalitarianism.”
“It’s just plain dumb on their part."
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
“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.”
“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.
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.”