...busting up my brains for the words

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Congressional districts 4/5 convention

I attended the CD 4/5 Convention this morning as a guest from Senate District 60. Congressional Districts 4 & 5 are encompass the Twin Cities, 4th is St. Paul and 5th is Minneapolis; DFL controlled territory. So this is a group of political fish out of water, so to speak. Since the Republican mascot is the elephant, maybe it would be more appropriate to characterize us as elephants out of the jungle. Yes, and penned in the zoo. You've got to love a bunch of people with this kind of pluck.

My big contribution of the day was turning on the microphone. Since I was a lead singer in a few rock bands, I know that sometimes mics have ON/OFF switches. No one could be heard at the mic until I stood up and flipped it on. I shall be eternally appreciated for that brilliant moment.

Since I live in Uptown Minneapolis, I was in the 5th CD side. But the convention was open and shared by both until business became specific and a wall was erected. The interesting thing for me as an observer is the acute blame the party at this grassroots level accords to the State functionaries. Ron Eibensteiner is State Chairman and he is not appreciated in his role. Blame for disappointing losses last November to the DFL are not shrugged off as a reality of city political life, but are attributed to a disconnected leadership. Mr. Eibensteiner was in attendance, as were his opponents. They all gave speeches during the proceedings, asking for support when that office goes up for election this summer, I believe. Ron has very, very little support at this level and I do not see much chance that he will be reelected as State Chair. From where I sit it looks like the new Chair will be Bill Pulkrabek. He knows which side the toast is buttered on and talked an emphasis on grassroots politics.

Other Republican office holders were there to connect with this grassroots convention; U.S. Senator Norm Coleman, U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kennedy, State Attorney General candidate Jeff Johnson, Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer, State Auditor Pat Anderson.

While Senator Coleman was easily the brightest star at the convention and sparkled in the limelight, the speech that was of key interest to me was made by Brian Sullivan. Apparently Mr. Sullivan no longer holds office, although I hope I'm mistaken about that as he seems to be a formidable asset to the State GOP. He pointed out that he does not understand why Republicans take a scrubbing in the city, as the liberal philosophies that hold the upper hand there have been discredited. Liberal policies on welfare, crime prevention, taxation have all be shown to be ineffective or to be undesirable and yet they are embraced by the voters of the urban setting, keeping the DFL in power here. He then ironically lauded we grassroots activists for our efforts in "a very, very tough job" we have before us of winning conservative Republicans for City offices.

This sort of talk is inspirational to me. It indicates that the Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party's seat of power has a soft belly and can be defeated with the right kind of campaign message. Ron Eibensteiner's mistake is conceding the cities to the Democrats and focusing on the outlying red counties of the state. Carlton Crawford was elected today as Chair of the 5th Congressional District Republicans. He and new CD 4/5 officers understand the grassroots power base, as does Bill Pulkrabek. The State House of Representatives and is controlled by the Republican Party. Republican Tim Pawlenty remains a very popular and effective State Governor. If projections are not overly optimistic, the State Senate will soon enjoy a Republican majority, DFL Attorney General Mike Hatch is vulnerable and Mark Kennedy is poised to win the other U.S. Senatorial seat. In other words, Minnesota Republicans have candidates that we are excited and energized about.

Maybe the urban landscape can change to red and win the cities back from the Democrats. That's been difficult to imagine for as long as I know.


  • At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Steve B said…

    The Republican party in New York State has, for the past couple of decades, written off New York City, opting to spend its resources where there is a realistic chance of prevailing in elections. But when Michael Bloomberg (a nominal Republican)won the mayor's office, succeeding two-term Republican Rudy Giulani, some New York conservatives urged a more aggressive posture in New York City. They argue that Republicans can start winning back council seats if they can get their ideas out to the voters, which requires the expenditure of time and money. If such an effort can succeed in overwhelmingly Democratic New York City, it can succed in other cities as well. But it's still too early to tell.

  • At 11:24 AM, Blogger Amendment X said…

    At the Minnesota State Convention last year there was an impassioned speech by Mrs. Battle, wife of Rev. Robert Battle of St. Paul. She had never been to even a single Republican caucus but wished to be a National Delegate to the National Convention on one issue only: gay marriage. I took the opportunity to talk to Rev. and Mrs. Battle for about 20 minutes. They told me that there was a huge opportunity here for the Republicans to make significant inroads into the black community on this issue alone.They told me that we would have to come to the black churches to make the point that this is NOT a civil rights issue. However, that we'd be talking to a receptive audience. I saw gay marriage as a beachhead issue into the black community. From there we could easily go to the complete failure of government education, the failings of Social Security and myriad other programs and issues that directly effect the black community. And what did the State Party do? Nothing that I know of. An opportunity completely wasted.
    Oh,and the National Party...?


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