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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Caucus recap

--posted by Tony Garcia on 3/08/2006

WARNING: Partisan Republicans will not like this post (and I couldn't care less what partisans have to say). Republicans that stand for RIGHT vs WRONG will find this important.

Ah, new district. The people in my new precinct are much nicer and in the end do stand up for Right v Wrong over partisanship.

I have been watching the MN GOP move more towards a demand for absolute adherance to certain planks of the platform, to fighting only for freedom on a selective basis and move towards a party that thinks that Right vs Wrong is secondary to partisanship.

We were able to start a conversation about the Kennedy-Shudlick race. Our entire delegation was appalled that there was not a straw poll by the party...and when I quoted the MN GOP's rationale they were a little more disgusted. What was it the GOP told me...ah, yes, I recall. When I asked why the GOP was not going to require a straw poll at last night's caucuses the response was, "Since Pawlenty is unopposed and Kiffmeyer is unopposed and Anderson is unopposed we wanted to have the impression that Kennedy is unopposed as well."

There is no justification for that. None. And our precinct delegates think it is wrong as well.

Granted Mr. Shudlick has less in his campaign account than I earned today at work. There is no provision anywhere that requires a certain amount of cash in order to be considered a candidate.

Granted Mr. Shudlick has no endorsements. There is no provision anywhere that requires a certain number of endorsements in order to be considered a candidate.

It is time to be brutally honest...and for Kennedy supporters this will not be easy. There are three people who wish to run for the GOP Senate race endorsement. In a private conversation with one of the more ardent Kennedy supporters it was said that other candidates should be dismissed because they are "not legitimate".

Where is the party's definition of which candidates are considered legitimate? I mean, if I throw my hat into the mix right now how do I know the criteria for "legitimate" candidate? The fact is there is none...this is nothing more than a subjective requirement to justify doing an end around the proper process. (Don't forget Lewis' Law: Never underestimate a person's ability to rationalize anything. That is where this "legitimate candidate" pap comes from--the desire to rationalize Kennedy's "unopposed" status.)

One reason Grams was not considered a true candidate was that he did not, 15 months before the endorsing convention, have stickers, infrastructure, etc. (And don't think I will hold all GOP candidates to this standard in the future, then...none are legitimate if they don't have a full blown campaign more than 20 months before an election. This is the standard that appearantly exists.)

The last time I heard this dismissal of a candidate was when Jason Lewis (the 2nd best radio show host in the country) said Jesse Ventura was not a legitimate candidate for Governor in 1998.

The point is not that Shudlick can win. The point is the party should not be treating the Senate race as if it is unopposed.

Kennedy's campaign should also not be doing the same. Our show has been attempting to organize debates for the contested statewide races and the contested 6th Congressional races. I contacted all of the Senate candidates. Ford Bell confirmed. Then Kennedy's campaign said initially they would do it if either Klobuchar or Shudlick confirmed. Next Shudlick confirmed. Klobuchar has yet to reply.

Once Kennedy's requirement was met (Shudlick confirmed) I created a post announcing the status of the debates. I received an e-mail stating Kennedy was NOT confirmed. When I called for clarification I was told that Kennedy will show up if it is either a head-to-head with Klobuchar or a 4-way debate. I replied that the debates will be seperate (DFL one hour and GOP in another hour) and was told Kennedy's campaign would check the availability and his participation is "tentative". I have yet to hear back.

What does all of this mean?

It means that Kennedy's campaign is tentatively dismissing Shudlick (which is thus a circumvention of the process set up already) and the party, with the above explanation regarding the straw poll from the party, is also looking to bypass the proper procedures.

Wasn't this the party that said noone should be above the law when going after Clinton? Should this then be the party that says noone should be above the rules while running for Senate?

And so we are clear, while Ron Eibenstiener may be out of office the effects of his kingmaking are still being felt. He was the party chair who inappropriately endorsed Mark Kennedy this time last year. Worse, it was before anyone else which had direct implications on other fine Republicans who had already vocalized their consideration for the seat (Grams and Gutknecht). The implications were strong enough where both Grams and Gutknecht made comments about the Kingmaking process (Gutknecht's were more diplomatic than Grams') and the effects led to both of them quickly relinquishing their efforts.

The party DID have a role and even though Eibenstiener is out we are still seeing the effects. The fact that the party is trying to create the illusion that Kennedy is "unopposed" is a part of that. The fact that there was not a straw poll last night is more of it.

And the candidate's role is becoming more cemented.

Be a canaidate that stands up for what is RIGHT vs WRONG, not another partisan soldier. ANYONE can do that. And please do not attempt to invoke any quotes from Reagan until you invoke the concept behind, "I paid for these microphones." Until that moment Reagan is someone far out of your reach.


Blogger Dan S. said...

Tony, I'm glad you're on this.

While I am definitely a "partisan Republican" and a Kennedy supporter, I think you raise some great points about the fair treatment of candidates.

Regarding the debates, if Kennedy said he'd debate Shudlick and then backed out, that's regrettable. It's debatable, though, to what extent Kennedy is obligated to debate "small-time" candidates. He needs to do what's smart for his campaign.

The MN GOP is another story, though. If Harold Shudlick, or anyone else, is duly registered (I'm assuming there's a filing process, fees, etc.) as a candidate for U. S. Senate with the intent to run as a Republican, then the state party needs to take that seriously and include all formal candidates in its election processes.

The lack of a big bankroll, PR staff, etc., does not make a candidate "illegitimate." Way to stick up for the little guy, Tony!

March 09, 2006  
Blogger Tony said...

You have no idea how refreshing it is to hear another MOBster acknowledge the issue that I bring up.

What you say about Kennedy's campaign ("debatable...to what extent Kennedy is obligated...") is true. It is debatable. I feel it is proper to announce every development, however.

Is Kennedy a bad person for not debating Shudlick? No. Would it speak volumes (Reaganesque volumes) if he acknowledged the actual opponents? Yes.

Here is a little game for everyone. Count how many times over the campaign Kennedy addresses himself to GOPers as a "Reagan Republican".

At the moment I would say the idea of a Reagan Republican is rooted if right-ness, fairness and equality. By standing on the sidelines while everyone circumvents the process within the party I do not believe he can call himself a Reagan Republican.

"I paid for these microphones."

March 09, 2006  
Blogger Jeff Fecke said...


I'm a Democrat, but this sort of kingmaking is not limited to the GOP. I was surprised in the 2nd, in a contested Congressional campaign, there was no straw poll for that race. I'm sure the situation was the same in the 6th. Yes, you can justify that by saying they're "not statewide races," but Marko-Rowley and Wetterling-Tinklenberg are fairly high-profile races.

No, it's not as egregious as what Eibensteiner has done--but it's a distinction of degree. Unfortunately, leadership of both parties has a tendency to view the actual members of the party as dangerous forces to be controlled. (Fill in your own joke here. ;) )

March 09, 2006  
Anonymous Publius2001 said...

I've reread your post several times and I can't quite understand what it is that you're upset about. On the surface, you advance several plausible arguments, but they really don't hold water. I've been involved with my Senate District for 6-8 years and I've sat on the executive committee until resently. I know that Mark Kennedy has wanted to run for the US Senate for a long time and that was made quite public. Mr Shudlick has had his name out there for a year and to date he has done little fundraising. I don't think the state party is out of line by backing the stronger candidate because Mr. Kennedy has done the work necessary to attract enough votes to be elected US Senator. He has done the grassroots politicing and gotten elected to Congress. He has been to Washington building friendships and learning the ropes so that he can be an effective Senator for us. What has Mr. Shudlick done?

Now we're supposed to treat everybody the same and start an internal fight that will divide us and cause hard feelings. In my precinct, which I am chair of, the one letter from a candidate that got any reaction was the Shudlick letter. I didn't say a word, my precinct talked about him, thought he was a nice man and incapable of winning. If that was typical of most precincts then there was a straw poll of sorts and Kennedy is our man.

I like your website and read it when I can. But, I worry that you may be from the camp that would rather stand on principals and loose an election than win an election. The flaw in that thinking is that loosers can't change the government only winners can. As far as Ron Ebensteiner is concerned, he is gone and Ron Cary now runs the party. Are you saying that Cary isn't in charge? BTW have you ever been to a state committee meeting when Ron Cary was treasurer? I hear it was a living hell. It's said that he would waiste endless time on things that didn't matter. I think you're making to much of this king making thing.

Which leaves your point that Kennedy wouldn't come on your show because he wouldn't be going head to head with Amy. I think that was a smart move on his part. His fight isn't with Shudlick, it's with whoever will be the nominee from the DFL (I bet it will be Amy). Grousing about it is unbecoming of you because your a better man than that.

March 09, 2006  
Blogger Tony said...

The party (not the delegates) is out of line because it is not time for them to select THE candidate.

You seem to also be making the argument that (a) Kennedy should be the candidate because he has been in Washington already and (b) other candidates should raise money to be considered.

These be two questions.
1) How much money should be raised before the caucus to be enough to be considered a candidate?
2) Should the candidates for elected office be only ones that have already been to Washington?

Your implied question ("Now we're supposed to treat everybody the same and start an internal fight...") has me very confused. Please clear this up for me.

If we are supposed to pick one candidate now to prevent an internal fight when do we do this? I'm really confused because there seems to be a double standard. For Kennedy we should prevent opposition but for the 6th District we should encourage it?

As for the letter...please explain the criteria used to determine when a candidate is "incapable of winning" so I know when I should be allowed to run for office by the party elite.

And, no, there was no straw poll. The discussion in your precinct does not stand in lieu of the party requiring a straw poll.

Now my final question to you: If Shudlick has not dropped out of the race by the time of the convention would you support him being alloted time to speak to the convention as Kennedy will be?

March 09, 2006  
Anonymous triple_a said...

When has the (current) MNGOP forced Shudlick out? And of/from what? (Give specifics Tony, and don't blame the present day GOP for sins of the father.)

What has Kennedy himself, or HIS Senate campaign done to push Shudlick out of the official process? (Again, be specific.)

I challenge you to prove your claims. The burden of proof is with you on this one, you are making very serious accusations, but so far, after all the emails back and forth we have had over the weeks, you haven't given me ONE single example of what you claim to have happened.

Do you consider your radio show, part of the official Republican endorsement process, and anyone not willing to do exactly what YOU want to be stomping on the little guy? Is that what this is all about? Kennedy is not going to do your show, so he is a bad evil guy?
But wait…
“Klobuchar has yet to reply.”

Are you as outraged at her for not coming? No! This seems to be all about you and your show, not the official Party Process. (FTR: you & your show are NOT in the Party’s rules, I checked)

And yet you’re willing to tell people how bad a fellow Republican, Kennedy, is, and devote a large portion of your time and energy towards turning people against him for stuff YOU claim. (This is what I meant by you ‘not supporting the candidates’. Actively working against them, falls into that category in my mind.)

BTW: I thought we were going to keep the email discussion off the blog. Real classy. Thanks. Oh and thanks for excluding the rest of the days long conversation we were having so people could get the entire subject matter at hand. Real Classy.

Keep it up, I’m sure Republicans and other people like me, who dare support Kennedy, will be lining up to do your show out of fear of you attacking them or posting what was said in confidence if they don’t .
Real classy.

March 10, 2006  
Anonymous Publius2001 said...

OK, I've reread the original post and the comments. I now realize that the comment after my comment was posted by the original posts' author. That being said, you are repeating yourself. Which means that you must have been t y p i n g s l o w l y . So that I would GET it, I get it and I don't agree. Also, you are parsing what I said. Mark Kennedy has won 3 elections in the 6th Distrct and before that he ran twice and lost. The point is that he has built a grassroots organization that has learned what it takes to WIN! He announced that he would run for the US Senate before Mark Dayton announced that he wouldn't run(over a year ago). It IS the reason that Mr. Dayton dropped out.
What has Mr. Shudlick done to prove that he is a winner? THAT was my point, not fundraising or knowing people in Washington.
It doesn't matter to you that Minnesota hasn't done straw polling in many years. But that's because it's not effective.
So I see that you are a principals guy. You'd rather keep your principals and loose elections than win elections and change government. With thinking like that it's no wonder that you guys lost the special election in St. Cloud last year, bringing the Republican Party closer to loosing control on the State House.
I still think the real reason you're mad is because he didn't come on your show. I hope you get over it soon because, after the State Conventions have determined who the candidates from both parties are, you could still get Mark to come on your show and go face to face with Amy. That would be nice and that would help your ratings.
Look, we're fellow Republicans and I don't want to fight with you. I don't feel Shudlick as been slighted and no he shouldn't get to speak at the State Convention because he can't win the general election and it would be a waste of time.

March 10, 2006  

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