Tomorrow morning I, along with many other party activists, will be attending a Leadership Summit for the Minnesota Republican Party. Given what has happened in the last 10 months, I have several words that I would like to give to the Party Leadership. Since this is appearing to be a tightly controlled meeting, it is doubtful that I will get the opportunity to speak. HOWEVER if it were to happen, this is what I would like to say to the Governor and to Party Chairman…
Chairman Carey, Congressional District officers, BPOU Chairs and Deputy Chairs and fellow State Executive Committee members.
I thank you for the opportunity to speak to you this morning. I have asked for this opportunity to address you on 2 issues. Both have to do with the state of the base. During last year’s campaign, I talked to numerous voters in our base who were sick to death of all of the voter/issue ID calls – calls from the State Party, the Bush Campaign and the RNC.
Then we had this last legislative special session. While I understand the need for the Governor to bargain and that in bargaining, we need to give up some ground, I do not understand the Governor’s insistence that this new cigarette tax is a “health impact fee”. Refusing to call this new tax anything except tax is ludicrous. This Clintonesque parsing of words ranks right up there with debating what the definition of “is” is (as took place during the Clinton Impeachment trials). Everyone in the state, from cigarette sellers, to smokers, to Minneapolis Star Tribune, to the DFL is calling this tax a tax. The Governor needs to get with reality and call a tax a tax and then he needs to come make amends with the base. His refusal (so far) to do so is angering the activist base all the more.
This same disgruntled activist base is now being “hit up” by the state party with fundraising calls. The only way that an angry base knows how to get the Party leadership’s attention, is to withhold funding. Having your fundraising callers argue with the fed up base who is not contributing (as happened on a fundraising call to MY house) makes them all the angrier.
My point here is this is, the base is upset. Ignoring why the base is upset endangers any possible gains we hope to make in 2006. For an ignored base will, come Election Day, elect to stay away from the polls.