Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 06/06/07 18:30
by Dave Mindeman
Next weekend the State GOP will vote on their State Party Chair. Incumbent Ron Carey is probably still favored but, as with a lot of Republicans these days, he seems to be ethically challenged enough to cause some misgivings among the faithful.
The recently "leaked" memo to the Star Tribune about mismanagement at the state office was well timed and probably could make this a pretty close vote. Close enough to make an examination of a Joe Repya led party worth a look.
Joe gained notoriety during the early Iraq war years when he started distributing "Liberate Iraq -- Support the Troops" signs. They started popping up around the south metro area and soon were populating themselves all over the state. (Funny, but you don't find them around much anymore.)
Joe didn't stop there. He decided to make himself an example of patriotic fervor and asked the government to let him re-enlist for an Iraq tour... even though he was in his mid-50's. They took him up on it and GI Joe Repya was born. He became a symbol of support for the War and the President.
He returned home only to watch his beloved Minnesota Republican Party get crushed in the 2006 elections.
He truly believes that his party did not lose on the issues. He believes they lost because they were not forceful enough in their defense of the issues.... namely, the Iraq War.
There are some dynamics of a Joe Repya led party that could actually benefit the Democrats.....
1) Repya would be a solid pro-war voice at a time when the GOP will be trying to transition away from Bush policies. Norm Coleman is trying to triangulate himself already and I doubt local legislative candidates will be comfortable with a another round of pro Iraq War talk from the state party going into 2008. Governor Pawlenty would prefer to keep looking for party unity going into a showcase convention year.. strong war rhetoric won't be very comfortable for the party bigwigs. Kline and Bachmann will probably be supportive, but even in their case, they may want to be less vocal about it.
2) On GOP Joe's website he talks of a Camp Reagan to counter the successful Camp Wellstone training organization. Depending on who Repya would trust with developing this, there is a good possibility that this would be more of an ideological education than real winning campaign instruction. Camp Wellstone techniques could be used in just about any kind of campaign-- the ideology can be inserted to fit the techniques. In a GOP Joe -- Camp Reagan training operation it would be the other way around. You find the techniques that promote the ideology. It could furthur divide the party along ideological lines.
3) Repya and his supporters like to invoke the Reagan name a lot in promoting their agenda, but they tend to abandon the Reagan formula.... which was to peel off wayward Democrats by appealing to some of their issues; not converting them to conservative ideology. The Reagan Democrats have abandoned the current GOP because the current Republican philosophy emphasizes division rather than cohesion. Repya prefers an emphasis on the divisive social issues as well as the Iraq War.
GOP Joe's message sounds a lot like the Minnesota GOP that lost in 2006... but maybe they didn't say it loud enough. Joe Repya can remedy that!