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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

IRV -- Minnesota's GOP Must Oppose It

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 07/28/07 12:12

by Dave Mindeman

Last night on Almanac, the State Party Chairs of all 4 major parties in Minnesota were on. Only a few things were discussed but surprisingly, at least to me, the main topic ended up being IRV (Instant Runoff Voting). This has been a Green Party initiative for years but the conversation last night, started with the Independence Party chair noting that their candidate selection was done via IRV.

The Greens, Independents, and even the Democratic chair all concurred on their support for the IRV system. The city of Minneapolis has a plan in place and St. Paul is in the process of working towards that goal. However their was one dissenter -- Ron Carey, GOP:

"Brian, if the choice in the last election were Peter Hutchinson, Governor Pawlenty, and Marty Seifert...and you had to vote for two, who would you vote for? That's the problem with IRV; whether you are liberal or conservative, you're being forced, often times, to vote for somebody that does not share your values. And that's not representative democracy..to force people to vote against their values."

What the he** is he talking about? I'm not at all sure how he thinks Marty Seifert would be hijacking the DFL nomination in his scenario, but the first point is, his hypothetical could not happen. But is he trying to say that Republicans can only accept purity in their candidates? That they can't possibly think in terms of "the next alternative"? That he is afraid within the major party structures that no one else could come close to the GOP "values"?

Frankly, if IRV was the norm, I truly believe you would see a split in the GOP... the conservative wing would branch off. That is essentially what the Green Party has done....they are a liberal branch of the Democratic party in Minnesota. And if everyone was honest about it, it has led to some healthier debates about many issues, including IRV. But the GOP keeps patching itself together with this plurality coalition that can squeak out some elections with 46-47% of the vote, and then, only if it all holds together. If this state used IRV, the GOP would be hardpressed to put together a 50% majority. And that is the reason they oppose it... not on principal; on survival.

Just to make sure we weren't scratching our heads enough though, Ron Carey went on to say:

"There's a lot of research being done about the constitutionality of IRV because you are really disenfranchising people from being able to vote their values and I think that's dangerous."

Now he is making things up. Anyone know of a constituional right to vote "your values" ? Carey has no real argument against IRV, he simply has to oppose it. The electorate is shifting and it is not toward the Republicans. Splinter group parties are fine with Ron Carey as long as they are represented on the margins. Don't let their votes really count. His job is to keep the status quo -- make sure that a minority vote can win in Minnesota. It's his only hope.

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Big Govt vs Small Govt? No, We Get Incompetent

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 07/26/07 13:48

by Dave Mindeman

Do you think its possible that the US government could declare itself a "federal disaster area" and apply for its own aid?

Take virtually any department and what do you see -- broken layers of a bureaucratic mess.

Veteran's Affairs: Veterans groups have to sue the government to get proper assistance. Wait times are intolerable. They had to put together a blue ribbon panel to figure out the fixes. And if recent history is any example, the Bush administration will just ignore it anyway. The current Secretary of the Dept is "getting out of Dodge" and the future looks bleak.

Justice Dept: Two words.. "Alberto Gonzales". Law enforcement has never been looking so incompetent. His recent testimony is one of the most frustrating, laughable, and infuriating pieces of tripe anyone has ever seen. In the words of Casey Stengel, "Can't anybody here play this game?"

Health and Human Services: Do you feel confident in our food supply? Do you wonder about what kind of inspection process we have? China imports are obviously a problem but what are we doing about it? Pretty much nothing but wait till somebody gets sick and then investigate. The drug companies can intimidate the FDA and commissioners are selected for their ideology rather than competence.

FEMA: One word -- Katrina. We have been ever so lucky that this hurricane season has been much milder than forecast. We have no real evidence that this agency has reached any degree of improvement. The bad news keeps on coming.... now the trailers they use to house people in emergencies are contaminated with formaldehyde. We will all be holding our breath if a serious hurricane hits our shores this year.

Defense Dept: Everyone keeps talking about April next year as the breaking point for our military. The tour extensions and vehicle breakdowns are taking a huge toll on readiness. We can't keep up with current armament needs and new technologies are wishful thinking. You have to wonder how vulnerable we are becoming.

State Dept: Who takes our diplomacy seriously anymore? Dr. Rice only goes on missions that have no controversy. Tony Blair has been entrusted with the Palestinian issue. They have been reduced to photo-ops and damage control. Diplomatic initiatives are stalled by one word -- Iraq.

Immigration: There was a feeble attempt to fix this in Congress but even that got torpedoed. The latest problem has developed with Green Card status....as the immigration dept confused everyone by authorizing a potential change from temporary worker status to permanent green card status for skilled workers already working in the US. Applications flooded in only to have the dept abruptly reverse itself. Can immigration get anything right?

Passports: And just in case you throw up your hands and just want to get out of here for awhile... stop right there. Passport applications are botched up too. Congressional offices are flooded with complaints and pleas for help to get simple passport applications finished.

There you have it. The state of our own federal disaster. When we all weighed in on the Big Government vs Small Government argument, I don't remember anybody suggesting Incompetent Government as the compromising alternative. Did you?

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Joe Repya: Minnesota GOP Rebel Warrior

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 07/25/07 13:27

by Dave Mindeman

Joe Repya is not going to be a popular guy at the next GOP central committee meeting. He has seriously breached the real Reagan commandment:

Thou shalt not publicly expose thy party's dirty laundry.

...or words to that effect.

The latest round of public letter writing Repya has ventured into has put furthur emphasis on the fast and loose money handling of Chairman Ron Carey.

You know, wherever Carey goes(.. Autism Center...GOP Party Chair..) there is a pesky, consistent trail of money issues. Why would that be?

But let's leave Carey alone for today and get back to Joe Repya. This military veteran is pretty gung ho about any project he takes on. His current project seems to be cleaning out all the stuffed shirts in the Minnesota Republican party. Good luck.

However, Repya's public chastisement of the Republican books may have wiped out any good will he may have built up during his grass roots campaign to support the President a few years ago.

Repya has broken 3 hard and fast rules in his little insurgent campaign:

#1-- You don't go to the media on party grievances.
#2-- You don't embarrass your own party leaders.
#3-- You work your way up the ranks, kissing the right you know whats along the way.

In the Star Tribune story published today, not one single contact from the Minnesota party would give Repya any cover. Mark Drake, the GOP spokesperson, played damage control. Pawlenty's office washed their hands of it completely and the GOP Executive Committee members (Brian Sullivan and Mike Barrett) indicated they were satisfied with Carey's handling. Not one inkling of support for Repya's position.

So what now, Joe? There are two possibilities.

1 -- Joe Repya could go quietly into that good night.

2 -- He could rally the grass roots support he has built up over the past 4 years and raise hell.

Which way will he go? Well, let me tell you, guys like Repya don't often go quietly.
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