Friday, December 16, 2011

Face time

Wednesday evening I had the pleasure of tipping a pint of Schell's Snowstorm with thirty or so of some of my closest friends — closest to me politically, anyway — over at O'Gara's Bar and Grill in Saint Paul. Activist Laura Gatz had convened a Christmas party of the conservative social group Red, Right and Brew, providing a great excuse to belly up to the bar and hobnob with my fellow politicos for a few hours.

As I entered the crowded bar area, I greeted fellow blogger Bridget Sutton (Another Everyday Wonderwoman). Blogger (Shot in the Dark) and talk radio host Mitch Berg held court at the "fun table," which is pretty much at whichever table Mitch is currently seated. At one point I was the only one in our little corner of O'Garas who had never hosted a radio show. We opined with former gubernatorial endorsement candidate and current talk radio host Sue Jeffers about the Republican Party of Minnesota's State Central Committee meeting (December 31) to select its next chairman. Mara from the SW Metro Tea Party told us about her group's regular meetings, which include independents, people new to politics, and some Ron Paul supporters.

Dan McGrath of Minnesota Majority discussed with me the recent temporary restraining order blocking the vote ordered by Governor Mark Dayton to unionize the state's home-based childcare providers. Just getting this far has been very expensive, and it will take a lot more to pursue a permanent injunction to stop unionization of and government intrusion into home daycare businesses, which Childcare Freedom says have increased what parents pay for childcare an average of 35% in other states that have unionized independent childcare providers. Please consider a donation of any amount to help. If a only small minority of providers is allowed to vote and it passes, union dues and "fair share" fees (forced union dues from union non-members) will create a war chest that could push union activity to childcare centers next, and parents will be wondering, "How did this happen?"

Anthony Hernandez, who hopes to win the Minnesota Republican endorsement for U.S. Senate and unseat Sen. Amy Klobuchar, stopped by the "fun table" to introduce himself and his fiancée, and discuss his campaign. Hernandez ran unsuccessfully for the state Senate in SD64 (Saint Paul) last year, against an entrenched incumbent and strong DFL presence, but he is convinced that conservatives can find common ground with independents and even some Democrats by communicating in non-ideological, practical terms.

I wish that I had more time to hear Minneapolis-born Lynne Torgerson talk about her bid to unseat Fifth District Congressman Keith Ellison, but fortunately she left a few campaign business cards behind.

Online communication is a wonderful networking tool, but activists need to get face time with each other and do some old fashioned socializing and networking on a regular basis, not just at precinct caucuses and conventions.

The SD45 Republicans do a great job of meeting one Saturday morning every month at a local bagel shop for informal conversation and networking (and make effective use of their website and social media). The Red, Right, and Brew happy hours do a great job of bringing together Republicans and like-minded non-Republicans and independents, and sometimes candidates and elected officials. Tea Party groups across Minnesota are also meeting to discuss politics. Find a group that suits you, and get some face time on a regular basis. Doing so will move you off the bench and into the game, and the entire team will benefit.

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