Posted: 09/16/10 19:54, Edited: 09/17/10 02:11
by Dave Mindeman
The 2010 Governor race is the biggest public relations coup of Tom Horner's career, and the Independence Party has become the unwitting vehicle to bring it to fruition.
Can anyone, anyone at all, point to anything in the career of Tom Horner, prior to 2009 that would remotely resemble a centrist politcal stance. Anything, anywhere, anytime.
Although I can't say I have been a fan or a member of the IP, I have followed with genuine interest the Independence Party's evolution...and it has indeed been an evolution....for a decade now. And frankly, the party has sold out.
The 1998 Jesse Ventura win was a true grass roots, groundswell effort. It was fueled by the personality of Ventura himself but it created an opportunity for the emergence of a full fledged third party alternative. But during the Ventura tenure, no efforts were made to build any party infrastructure beyond that opening salvo. And in the decade since, the IP has struggled to match that early success. They have plodded along with the likes of Dean Barkley and Jack Uldrich, but the local organization needed to really create a party mechanism, but it never happened.
Enter Tom Horner.
When Horner announced his quest for the IP nomination, he said:
"I've stayed right here. ... It is the Republican party that has moved way out there," Horner said, gesticulating his right hand fully to his right.
So, Mr. Horner, the Republicans moved away from you, but does that really mean that the IP entered your own personal political place? The aide to Sen. Dave Durenberger place? The GOP commentator on MPR place?
The Independence Party was supposed to be a true alternative choice. They adopted the no holds barred Ventura attitude. They wanted to rock the boat. But as time went by and the ability to spoil but not win became their trademark, the Party began to lose its appeal.
Horner saw opportunity. With Horner's public relations strategy in tow coupled with a party desperate to latch onto someone viable, the two entities have merged into a Republican hybrid. It replaced the boa's and the braided beards with 3 piece suits and expensive haircuts. The "beholden to nobody" mantra turns into the ultimate business friend.
The IP has turned into a corporate tool.
It was interesting to note a small paragraph in a Star Tribune article about a Chamber of Commerce debate:
After a Chamber of Commerce debate in Nisswa a few weeks ago, Horner was the last candidate to leave. As staff noisily disassembled tables, he stayed to huddle with clusters of business leaders, listening to concerns and sharing ideas.
Horner has had relationships with businesses all of his professional life. He is the consummate corporate guy. They have been his clients with the Himlie-Horner PR firm. He won't divulge the specifics of course, although he has been asked to do so. Rather than name names, he divested his interest in his own firm. Does Horner have some chips to play with the names he protected? It is hard to believe that they won't have some influence in a potential Horner administration.
Now there is nothing wrong with that by itself, but when it starts to affect policy...well, that's another matter. Is it any accident that under the guise of "Community Revitalization", Horner puts a plan on his website that heavily favors corporate business.
He has a number of programs listed which will cost money but with no method of payment. The emphasis is on eventual elimination of the corporate income tax, funding for research and innovation, sales tax exemption for capital equipment, and streamlining regulations. In addition he suggests bonding for broadband, supporting vocational training, and some infrastructure. Borrowed money for some decent programs, but all with the corporate mindset behind it. He labels it Community Revitalization.... it amounts to a corporate giveaway.
Horner gets a lot of mileage out of the "partisan gridlock". In the truest PR sense of the word, he claims the centrist mantle and criticizes the party conflicts that he was so much a part of when he was an analyst with MPR.
I will go into the details of Horner policy ideas in another post, but let's just say that Horner is pulling the ultimate public relations game on the citizens of Minnesota.
Don't buy what he's selling.