Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A time for choosing

Kurt Bills, the Republican endorsed candidate for U.S. Senate, sent the following message to supporters. It is directed squarely at those Republicans who either stayed home on Election Day, or used their vote to "send a message" or "teach a lesson" to the Republican party "establishment," for endorsing the "wrong" candidate.

Elections have consequences. With Gov. Mark "Tax The Rich" Dayton and two liberal U.S. Senators later, how did that work out for ya?

I would add to Bills's commentary the practice of certain former Republican elected officials to undermine the candidacies of Republican-endorsed candidates by publicly endorsing their DFL opponents. The First Amendment applies to these members of the old guard as much as to any other American, but such a public repudiation of the party is also a betrayal to those of us who still work to advance Republican values.

If you have issues with the Republican Party, and many of us do, fine, next election cycle, run for delegate in your precinct, fight for changes to the platform, work hard for the candidate of your choice. But days before Election Day, it is a time for choosing. Vote next Tuesday, but please don't sabotage our fight from within.

In June 2009 Norm Coleman conceded his Senate race to comedian Al Franken.

He lost the race, after 6 months of recounts and legal battles, by 312 votes.

In December 2010, Tom Emmer conceded his race for Governor after a similar recount, losing by fewer than 9000 votes.

Both races have something in common much more important than the fact that they ended after recounts: they ended with extremely liberal politicians taking power entirely due to the defection of Republicans to third-party candidates.

In a very real way, Democrats didn’t win those elections as much as Republicans chose to lose them.

In my mind, that is shameful. Do any of the Republicans who voted for Dean Barkley or Tom Horner really believe our state and our country are better off with Al Franken and Mark Dayton as Senator and Governor?

The reasons for some Republicans to defect from Coleman and Emmer are a mirror image of each other. Some Republicans expressed dissatisfaction with Coleman because he was not conservative enough for their taste; in Emmer’s case, others thought he was too conservative.

They were looking for the “Goldilocks” candidate in the race, and voted for a third party candidate or stayed home. In the Emmer race, former Republican Tom Horner garnered over 250,000 votes, more than 25 times the margin by which Emmer lost. Not all those votes were disaffected Republicans, of course, but too many of them were.

The results are stark: Minnesota didn’t get a centrist, “goldilocks” Senator or Governor. They were saddled, instead, with two of the most liberal politicians in the country representing them in Washington and St Paul.

Republicans who didn’t vote for their Republican candidates are responsible for the passage of Obamacare, a bill that would have been stopped had Norm Coleman been in the Senate.

I am not one to believe that we should abandon our principles and simply adopt the Party line. Many of you recall that I am the Republican Senate candidate today because I ran an insurgent campaign from outside the Party structure.

I firmly believe it is our responsibility to fight within the Party to ensure it represents our principles. Ronald Reagan was an insurgent, and eventually won out against the Rockefeller Republicans after nearly two decades of work in the trenches.

During that time Reagan was both a loyal Republican and a principled warrior for his cause.

That is what each of us needs to be today. Day in, day out each of us needs to work tirelessly to persuade other Republicans to our side when we disagree; and day in, day out we need to fight to defeat Democrats who are pushing policies which if left unchecked will bankrupt our country and undermine the constitutional foundations of our country.

Ronald Reagan hit it on the nose when he declared: “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally — not a 20 percent traitor.”

That is why I am voting for a Republican straight ticket this Election Day…and why you should, too.

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