The era of clique-driven repulsiveness may be over in the Republican Party of Minnesota. Emphasis on the hopeful possibility (“may”)rather than any sense of certainty. I have a dream.
I have served in most capacities within the MNGOP structure. As an elected delegate from my precinct I attended our monthly BPOU meetings, Congressional District and State conventions delegate. Regional Director, Vice Chair, Chair. I was elected delegateto the State Central Committee. I managed campaigns and volunteered for candidates, knocked on countless doors, made lit drops, pounded innumerable signs and marched in parade after parade. So don’t be so sublimely arrogant as to suggest that I’m Teddy Roosevelt’s “Man Not In The Arena”. Only a fool would purport such a bald-faced lie. I’ve served. I’ve worked. So what? So try not to body slam your brother.
Pity the other fool who suggests that State Central Committee is the “Board of Directors” for our party. While it may appear to be so, in reality it is nothing of the sort. What Board of Directors is precluded from knowing the names of, or contact information for, fellow board members? Seriously? Previous party chairs were each asked to provide a roster of State Central Committee members exclusively to State Central members. “Committee” implies communication with one another. Requests denied. Furthermore, State Central Committee meeting agendas are set by the Executive Committee. Any influence of the agenda by the actual committee members is strictly verboten! Board of Directors? NOT! I move that State Central Committee name be changed to Token Political Activist Pacification Club. Maybe we can design a cool sticker for the rear window of the party vehicle out of which we are allowed to look. Being a member of State Central is like being an oversized clown in an undersized car at the parade. It looks stupid but feels kinda cool. But hey, you’re in the parade. Under the two previous chairs being a SCC member was at best an exercise in make-believe importance. Hope for change.
I think we would all agree that we want the party to become a team that folks truly want to join. To that end, a few starter suggestions:
- Eliminate all delegates that are appointed by the Chair or Executive Committee. Be true to the precinct caucus process and only allow delegates and alternates originally elected at caucus.
- Encourage grassroots organizing. Relying on Americans For Prosperity to do our work for us is like relying on the French to cover our back. Inspire local groups to rise up and build their own local party units. Take a page out of the Tea Party playbook and fortify that with an obvious respect for local control. Top down leadership yields the awful we have been cleaning up lately.
- Either make State Central Committee the legitimate MNGOP Board of Directors or get real and dispose of it. If we insist on the party chair being the pinnacle of our leadership structure then lets stop pretending that State Central matters. Empower the committee or the chair. Pick one.
- Reform the platform. A healthy State Central, adequately empowered, can manage a year-round platform working group to weed out the extraneous and fortify the underlying principles of our party. Of course, whatever is recommended must be ratified by the people.
- Retire the telemarketing fundraisers. Paying 70% of the donation to the telemarketer as a fee should make any self-respecting donor vomit. Make each BPOU the funding center for each area. Let the chair focus on milking the whales. Set goals. Evaluate results.
- Scrutinize the heck out of who we hire internally or as paid consultants. Screen for alcohol and drug use. Encourage interventions for addicts and alcoholics on staff. Require pre-approval of all expenses. Refuse to reimburse undocumented expenses. Let the sun shine on every corner of our expenditures.
- Prohibit conflicts of interest. For example, if you are a staffer or vendor to the House , Senate, or any state agency, you are prohibited from being a delegate, alternate, or consultant to the party. If you want to be a delegate then take an unpaid leave of absence from your staff position. That goes for your spouse and immediate family, too. Uncles, aunts and cousins are ok though. Discourage inbreeding.
- Encourage anyone associated with the party who suffers a serious lapse of judgment to step down from their position. No one is so indispensable to the cause as to require the rest of us to endure the fruits of their self-centeredness. If the cost of your indiscretion is relinquishing your vaunted position perhaps that will help you keep your hands out of the cookie jar and in your own pants or panties as the case may be. Your mid-life crisis is not our problem. Encourage morality. Acknowledge hypocrisy. Take responsibility. Pay the price. Try to do better.
- Work on making any MNGOP event fun for the family from start to finish. Play loud patriotic music. Honor Vets and the flag. Serve warm cookies, exceptionally good coffee, all-beef hot dogs, homemade apple pie and ice cold Budweiser where allowed by law. Engage young people. Make youtube videos. Infiltrate social media. Teach the Constitution. Invite folks to present alternate viewpoints for robust discussion. Never ever ever forbid a candidate from speaking at a convention. Act like an American.
- Get to know each other. Above all else, find a way for people to get to know each other. Who knows? Some of us might actually like each other instead of just pretending. And under the guidance of Divine Providence, we may eventually learn to practice what we preach, and actually get to a point where we truly Love One Another.
That’s at least a start in building a party that folks would actually want to join. I can’t believe I got through the whole piece without demanding a forensic audit of the books and criminal prosecution for any wrongdoing. How progressive of me.