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Monday, February 27, 2006

Straw Poll and the GOP

--posted by Tony Garcia on 2/27/2006

Why is Harold Shudlick being treated differently by the Kennedy supporters? My first cynical answer is because Kennedy supporters have put principles behind partisanship. I honestly cannot see any other reason.

Harold Shudlick is in all honesty a token candidate. He has less than stellar knowledge of the candidate process and only a few C-notes in his campaign bank account. By all rights I would not support his candidacy over Kennedy's. But I do believe he should be given the same treatment as every single GOP contender. Let the delegates decide. And given all things otherwise considered Kennedy would come out on top.

However, the GOP has decided to treat Kennedy as if he was the only person running for the office.

This is a direct slap in the face to the delegates who wanted more control of their own party.

Andy tries to address the lack of a straw poll by posting:
FYI - Straw Polls

MN Law on Caucuses - Straw Polls

Subd. 2a. Preference ballot. Prior to the opening of nominations for the election of permanent offices and delegates, a ballot must be distributed to permit caucus participants to indicate their preference for the offices of president of the United States or governor. The results of preference voting must be reported to the secretary of state immediately upon conclusion of the voting, in the manner provided by the secretary of state. The secretary of state shall provide the appropriate forms to the party for reporting the results.

Governor & President only!
I actually remember having other straw polls when I first moved to the state. Then I reread the statute he quoted and thought more about my conversations to the GOP last week. What he is talking about is the state requirement. The party is still able to require a straw poll as well...something they have chosen not to do.

Why is this an issue? Because the whole point of the caucus and delegate system is to give active party members a say in the direction of their party. By the powers that be (and tacitly the candidates that stand to benefit by these shenanigans) doing these subtle but effective methods of eliminating competition they make the entire endorsement process a sham as well. The illusion of unanimity will be given which would be false. How can the party know if the support was unanimous if they shut out opposition?

Now I mentioned as a comment to Andy's post that what he quotes is only the state requirement and the party can also require a straw poll (and in this case it would be proper).

The response?
You know the Party could also educate people on this:
http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/stats/202A/16.html

Subd. 2. Agreement with party principles. Only
those persons who are in agreement with the principles of the
party as stated in the party’s constitution, and who either
voted or affiliated with the party at the last state general
election or intend to vote or affiliate with the party at the
next state general election, may vote at the precinct caucus.

Tony you have no openly vowed to work against or refuse to vote for the 2 top GOP candidates now. That could be something your fellow caucus attendees take issue with, and they could have you removed from delegate consideration and/or disallowed to vote that night.
Yep, I will say that if the GOP candidates are not up to standard I will not vote for them. If they behave contrary to what they campaigned on (Pawlenty) I will campaign for the more conservative (Jeffers).

He continues:
And I can tell you from someone who is openly Pro-Kennedy, the state party is staying out of it. At every single state party function, both Kennedy & Shudlick are given time if one is. Carey has been overly careful in this matter, when the DFL is rapidly siding behind Klobuchar more every day.
What the party has done is actually very slimey...to shut Shudlick out they package many of Kennedy's appearances as Congressman Kennedy. This is NOT unique to this race. Party's across the country do this to shut out opponents. Nonetheless it is underhanded.

He continues:
This wait until the primary/endorsement before we get 100% officially behind Kennedy is actually hurting us. Kennedy is attacked everyday by the left in MN (and sadly by you too) and the state Party cannot defend him without someone, somewhere hyperventilating about it. And fund raising, come on, that is the most important part of it. It is suicide to expect to raise 12 plus million dollars in 2 months.
What is right should be what reigns...not what is convenient. What if Ramstad decided to jump into the race? Besides, are you telling me that giving Kennedy opponents within the party equal access and treatment is THAT threatening? Especially from Shudlick?

Basically what Andy is saying here is that 100% support is required and shutting out/shouting down any opposition is acceptable in order to acheive that. I disagree. If there is a challenger let the process work.

The other thing that Andy is saying without saying it is the process (endorsement) is simply a rubber stamp. What must happen is that delegates and party members MUST fall in line with the wishes of the party insiders (because the party is not openly doing this, remember) or "they could have you removed from delegate consideration and/or disallowed to vote". Powerful message...which is EXACTLY what is wrong with the kingmaking mentality. Let the process work and everyone will accept it. Circumvent the process and the facade of unanimity will be challenged.
Have you met Shudlick yet? Makes Kennedy’s early days look down right shakespearic. And this new guy, read his issues page. RINO doesn’t begin to describe him.

NATIONAL DEBT — $8 Trillion dollars and rising

NATIONAL SECURITY – Terrorism rampant – war’s unending

REFORM – momentum for full scale reform has never been greater

MEDICAL CARE – Escalating costs, de-escalating care

SOCIAL SECURITY – the rapidly eroding safety net

ENERGY – soaring costs, declining resources, global warming – train wreck ahead

That sound very conservative to you? You complain that Kennedy isn’t right enough for you? You think a guy who is openly against everything you stand for is worth costing us momentum in an election?
Ah, I understand now. You MUST be conservative in order to be given fair treatment by the frontrunner and the party. Whoops, that is not true...remember how Grams' supporters (few as there were) were maligned as well. You must be the annointed in order to be allowed fair and equal treatment by the party.

For the record here is Shudlick's platform:
Issues to Embrace

• More freedom for American Citizens
• Lower taxes
• Safer Streets
• Protect American jobs
• Pursue energy independence
• Secure borders
• Less government
• When it comes to trade issues, protect state and national sovereignty
• Traditional American Values
• English as official U.S. Language
• Work to defeat Terrorist, Insurgents, and Islamo-facists
• Stronger Laws to reduce voter fraud and
identity theft
• Protect farmers, laborers, and business
• Unfunded suggestions
• Better management of foreign interactions
& aid
• Control Illegal Immigration/Asylum
• Support Affordable Healthcare
So, why again does Uldrich's platform matter in shutting him out? If platform is what matters should you not be jumping up and down to let Shudlick have equal access as a candidate?
Tony, this is one of those times that you should think about what is best for defeating the Democrats, not making your point that you are right.
Fortunately that is Right vs Wrong. Look again at what is being requested. I need to put aside principles of equality of access and fairness, put aside my belief in a strong delegate system for the sake of partisanship. Tempting, but no.
I ask you to please tone it down. When the DFL wonks quote you, and you take pride in it, that makes me question exactly what you are trying to accomplish.
The party is run by partisans and partisans too often forget their principles. I am trying to get the party to remember the principles that they claim to stand for. Equality, fairness and integrity...none of which are being displayed in this scenario. Yep, that the DFL is paying enough attention to quote me is something to take note of...because they are actually standing up (for their own partisan reasons) for equality. I am driven by principles...and as a recovering scum-bag it is a long road...and NOT by the very blinded vision of partisanship. Partisanship as a driving force leads to mistakes like electing Judi Dutcher as a GOP Auditor. Partisanship leads to the hypocrisy that surrounds the apologists for the possible money laundering by Tom DeLay. Partisanship leads to the hypocrisy of the right in whole Harriet Miers ordeal (telling Democrats the President gets to appoint whomever he wants for 6 years and then reversing course when Miers was nominated). Partisanship leads to hypocrisy regardless of party and I will not be led by it. Keep in mind that partisanship would have had Reagan remain a Democrat. Partisanship for the sake of the party is a horrible principle to be led by.
Sure I’ve been known to get off the reservation from time to time, but I never really meant serious harm. I am a bit afraid that you’d be willing to accept losses in November, just to prove your point.
I'm willing to accept losses in November for what is RIGHT. I will not put partisanship above principles and beliefs. If I am off the reservation for expecting the party to walk the "equal access" walk then I stand off the reservation proudly and firmly. And if by standing up for what is right the reservation leaves me entirely I am fine with that.

********** UPDATE **********
Figured I should add Shudlick's platform in the message since one of the foundations of justification used for shutting out opposition is Uldrich's not being conservative enough.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Triple_a said...

I think you and I should hash this out in person, not long drawn out comment battles.

"What the party has done is actually very slimey...to shut Shudlick out they package many of Kennedy's appearances as Congressman Kennedy. This is NOT unique to this race. Party's across the country do this to shut out opponents. Nonetheless it is underhanded."


FWIW: At my CD Forum I invited Kennedyto speak as the 6th District Congressman and not a US Senate candidate, you were there. He did not campaign from the podium. I allowed Shudlick the same access to people as Kenendy when it came to campaigning face to face. (Am I one of these slimey people because I didn’t take another 5 minutes away from the main purpose of the event, the CD 6 forum?)

The State Party events I have been at, they have been handled the same. I think if you are going to throw around accusations like these you'd better be able to back them up with specifics. When has RPM (at an event they have organized) not allowed Shudlick time if they allowed Kennedy to campaign for the Senate? At the State Convention last summer, both spoke. At the last State Central Committee meeting neither spoke. I suppose Bush shouldn't have come just for Kennedy last month? Maybe all these people holding fundraisers around the state for Kennedy should have Shudlick there too. But those were campaign orientated events, not by RPM! I don’t know what, where, or when RPM has done what you say.

And when I said 100% behind I meant people like me or other delegates working for and supporting who we want. You say partisanship is bad but having predetermined MY candidate is my right, isn’t it? Should we all just sit and wait until a mid summer convention’s delegation has decided before we volunteer and support someone?

What should the Party itself do? Nothing? Maybe they could sit out just like they did in the St. Cloud Special elections, and let the delegates pick someone with out bothering to look into the whole thing. That worked out real well didn’t it? They did stay out of it, and the local delegates messed up big time with Ek and thus we lost a seat in the house!

"or "they could have you removed from delegate consideration and/or disallowed to vote". Powerful message...which is EXACTLY what is wrong with the kingmaking mentality. "

Sorry Tony that is from State Law. Not me.

Hypothetical (I hope!)
Right now there is no GOP challenger to Pawlenty. You are supporting Jeffers a Libertarian candidate. If you become a delegate to the GOP State Convention, do you think Jeffers should be given time, even though she isn't running for the GOP nod just because you are supporting her? Not giving her the time, since a delegate is supporting her would be seen as kingmaking. Right? What if one of the delegates is supporting Hatch, or Kelley, should they be given equal time because one of the delegates is supporting them? (I’m no lawyer, but I think this rule is in place to ensure that there is no hyjinx by a disgruntled delegate or opposition party plant.

You claim again and again that something has been done wrong. I'd like to see some specifics. You're painting a lot of people as having done something wrong, but I haven’t seen it. Honestly Tony, what has been done wrong yet? When and where has Harold been shut out by the State Party?

And do you really think it is not ok to speak against a candidate Or oppose their candidacy? You may want to check your sidebar scorecard on that one, that seems pretty against certain candidates to me. What gives you the right? Do I have to follow your process in picking who I support

You may not like the result, but maybe the process was not actually usurped as far as I can tell. People could still pick Harold or the DFL sounding guy Urdlich. But between now and then, let’s stop blaming RPM for stuff they don’t do.

If Shudlick or the DFL sounding guy aren’t at a debate, blame the people that set up the debate! If they aren’t allowed at a GOP affiliate’s (CDs, BPOUs, Seniors, Teenage, College, etc etc) official event, blame that affiliate, not RPM.

RPM sure seems to be above board. Don’t try those in power now, for the wrong doing of who preceded them.

Let’s you and I hash this crap out in person some time so we can have a better chance to debate our deferrences.

Andy

February 27, 2006  
Blogger Tony said...

Andy,
Yes, we should hash this out face-to-face. Or on the air...we will be talking about this on Sunday. Call in!

I will answer some of the more broad questions you pose, some of them are very fair questions. I obviously was unclear in some of the things I said.

Congressman vs Senate candidate
The party wants Kennedy at an event. No problem. The question is does he speak as "Congressman Kennedy" or "Senate candidate Kennedy"? Is the message altogether different? Not really. Positions taken as a Senate candidate are easily packaged as "I support this in this bill on the floor of Congress." It happens all the time by GOP, DFL; in Minnesota and throughout the US. It is a reality--an ugly fact that is, imho, slimey. It is a part of the incumbency advantages that make term-limits so appealing.

I am not saying this is illegal. I am suggesting that, even though everyone else does it, someone should have the ethical fortitude to stand up against it. This race would be perfect since there is NO DOWNSIDE to acknowledging the other opponents.

Re: 100% support
I admit...I misunderstood your comment to mean 100% delegate (as a body, not just one individual) approval.

A person (like you) deciding to support fully a candidate at this stage is your perrogative. The party should not engage in this. In fact, while you support Kennedy I do not believe you would actively support altering the party rules to give Kennedy an advantage.

Yes, the party should sit it out. The problem with St Cloud was not because the GOP sat out until the endorsement. The problem was not because they let the system (endorsement, etc) work. The problem was not allowing equal access. The problem with that House race was a failure in the vetting process. Certainly you are not advocating the limiting of access to seek office to only those who have run for office...creating either a caste system, a spoils system or a promotion system. Or are you?

Or are you referring to the problem with the vetting process. That has NOTHING to do with shutting people out of the process entirely.

From MY experience through the vetting process 2 of the 3 candidates would be forwarded to the convention with the vetting committee's approval (unless the system has changed since I went through it). Uldrich would likely NOT get the committee's approval.

Removal as a delegate
Yep, it is state law. And like I said, if the party is so far removed from allowing opposition of any kind (I have already discussed the intolerance of the GOP in a religious sense) then let them kick me out. I find it interesting that the state statute was mentioned while addressing my lack of support for Pawlenty (nope, can't vote for him) and another...I'm assuming Kiffmeyer (I still stand by my declaration that she is unfit for her office and I may help her opponent's campaign...depends on their actual platform). I'm not voting against Kennedy, he just has not won my vote yet. If the election were today I likely would skip that part of the ballot. I do NOT vote party lines. As a member of the GOP I give the candidate the "right of first refusal" in essence.

Your hypothetical
No, Jeffers should not be automatically given equal time. If there were enough people in the GOP to vote for a suspension of the rules at the convention in order to allow her to speak, that is acceptable...but that is a part of the rules.

You are exactly right...one delegate's wishes do not allow any candidate access. But ask yourself this...if the vote on the floor was "to temporarily suspend the rules of the convention to allow Sue Jeffers equal time" would you vote for that? In general, I cannot say. In this specific example I would vote "Aye".

Who to blame
"Don’t try those in power now, for the wrong doing of who preceded them." Your are right...I should be more aware of the change of power. (NOW I wish Eibensteiner had won...then I could continue heaping this all on the party chair).

But where the party IS at fault is that they also have the power to require a straw poll. They chose to treat the race as, in the words of the GOP official I spoke to today, "unopposed. It makes sense since Pawlenty is unopposed and Kiffmeyer is unopposed and Anderson is unopposed."

That is the party. THAT is what I am saying is wrong.

Where else to lay blame? You mention the debate organizers. Yep, partially. But I know from trying to set up a debate that a Shudlick-Kennedy debate is NOT welcomed. (That drama is still unfolding, however, so I will say no more at this time.)

And the BPOU organizers...let me ask you this rhetorically...are you going to set up a Kennedy-Shudlick-Ulrich debate for your BPOU? You as a Kennedy supporter would not (and I accept that), but you as a BPOU chair...that is the question.

I know that Harold was willing to go to our debate so I find it hard to believe an invitation to him would not be accepted.

Personally I believe that at this point some of the blame also points towards the candidate. Easily he could just accept the reality that there is opposition, rise above the gambits and accept outright debate invitations with Shudlick. He could publicly call for Shudlick's attendance at events where there is grey area between "Congressman Kennedy" appearing and "Senate candidate Kennedy". That is not required...but it would be the proper thing to do.

Republicans always use Reagan's name when it is convenient. Quoting him or his principles when they are easy to support will get a cheer from a GOP crowd. I ask Kennedy to go to Reagan when it is NOT for political benefit. "I paid for this microphone" should be enough to empahsize the point. Sadly, it does not yet seem to be enough.

GOP leadership
Dan Nygaard will get my vote for ANY position within the party for one reason. He has a dual role, just like you, Andy. He has a selected horse in the 6th CD race AND he is the GOP 6th CD Chair. Ask him who he supports between Bachmann, Esmay, Krinkie and Knoblach and I'm willing to bet an answer would be difficult to extract. If he had the time I would bet that he would organize a debate between the 4 even if his horse would come out for the worse. The reason: he splits his role between Chair and delegate.

(Andy, do not take that to mean I believe you are different, I have not seen you operate in the BPOU Chair fashion and will not say.)

The bottom line is that the leadership positions should be doing all they can to treat all of the party members properly. Shudlick, Uldrich (if he is a registered party member) and Kennedy should be getting the exact same treatment from the party and the local leaders.

February 27, 2006  
Anonymous triple_a said...

So no incumbents can ever attend an event if they have opposition? You could say that even someone running unopposed has an unfair advantage.

How has Kennedy not accepted the opposition? When has HE stopped Shuddlick from showing up/be invited? Should he demand it, and threaten to boycott it if Shud isn't there, and risk looking like he was afraid to debate Amy? (Again, if you beef is that Shudlick wasn't invited, find out why and who made that happen. Don't assume it was Kennedy's will.) I'm willing to bet that they'd love to have him up there so people could really see the guy is way over his head.

It is not the role of a BPOU to facilitate the US Senate candidates. In fact that CD Forum I put together was me going out on a limb because, in that case, there are 4 incredible candidates who all deserve the chance to have everyone hear them, before decisions are made. You were there, did you see any favoritism? As for Nygaard doing one himself, yeah right. I asked him to get involved with mine, and/um .... well did you see him there?

Quickly on Ek. The delegates who are, according to you, supposed to be the deciders picked her. They decided on someone who could not legally run for the seat. So in this case, we saw that sometimes they make mistakes. And mistakes in politics, mistakes, have huge consequences that end up affecting many more people than those who made the mistake.

I'll see if I can call in, but I make no promises. I'm busy locating the delegate list from 04 to have them vote you out Tuesday. (Kidding)

February 27, 2006  

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