Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Republican Party or the Tea Party

Here in Minnesota we find the Republican Party, at the moment, acting like the Tea Party or, perhaps, like a lynch mob.
by Charlie Leck

The local public radio station reports that the Minnesota Republican Party is punishing three of its grand heroes from the olden days. What a bunch of jerks!

In a 59-55 vote last Saturday the GOP’s State Central Committee banned 18 tried-and-true Republicans “from party activities” (including the 2010 Republican National Convention) for supporting the Independence Party candidate for governor in the just passed election. Among the dozen and a half are three near-legends of the Party – former governors Arne Carlson and Al Quie and former U.S. Senator David Durenberger.

Our state’s Republican Party is now under the control of an interesting guy named Tony Sutton. Sutton is claiming loudly that the Independent Party candidate tore a victory from the Republicans, and Tom Emmer, and gave it to the Democrats (Mark Dayton). If that’s true, well okay! However, I sat in a couple of meetings with crowds of big-time, big-supporting members of the Democratic Party who also said they were leaning toward voting for the Independent Party candidate.

My old man always told me that it was important to vote your conscience. Don’t follow any party blindly. When your party goes and backs an idiot, you’ve got to step back and think seriously about not supporting him. That’s what happened when the Republicans endorsed Tom Emmer. On the day they did that, when I heard about it in a radio news report, I called a dear friend here in my town, who knows Emmer well (as I do), and expressed my utter disbelief.

“He’ll never get elected,” my friend said, “so don’t worry about it.”

Well, Tom Emmer came within a half-percentage point of victory. Thank goodness for those who bolted the Republican Party, refusing to vote for such a dumb duck. Among them were plenty of friends of mine. A few of them, like George and Sally Pillsbury, extraordinary citizens of our community with plenty of smarts, stood bravely up and declared their inability to support such a guy. George is one of the 18 who was censured by the party last weekend.

If the Republican Party had any guts, it would censure people like U.S. Representative Michel Bachmann for being such an idiot and send her on over to the Tea Party where her followers really hang out.

I worked closely with Arne Carlson in my younger days. He started out in politics as a Democrat. As a matter of fact, he was on Hubert Humphrey’s staff for a time. Arne’s feet have never been welded into any political party’s framework. He’s an open and free thinker and he couldn’t imagine Tom Emmer actually being the governor of our state.

My old man also liked to say that “one shouldn’t cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face.”


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