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Tom Horner: IP, GOP, Me - Me - Me

Category: Independence Party
Posted: 09/09/14 14:03

by Dave Mindeman

The turn-coat rats are abandoning ship.

Tom Horner was the Independence Party candidate for Governor in 2010. He told us that the Republican Party had left him and that the new brand of the fiscally responsible - socially moderate Independence Party was the future of politics in Minnesota.

But that was four years ago.

Sensing the imminent demise of the IP, Horner jumps ship and latches onto his old stomping grounds in the GOP. And since Jeff Johnson is desperate enough to need him, we get a press conference that merges their moderate images as the face of the "conservative" MN Republican Party.

The IP has a governor candidate that they actually support and put on their website (as opposed to their Senate candidate), but when the candidate who was their standard bearer 4 years ago endorses the GOP candidate....well, it kinda looks bad.

Of course, Tom Horner has always been an opportunist. He jumped the GOP ship in 2010 when it looked like he could elevate the IP into debate status. It gave him an automatic platform and lots of press coverage. In other words, this is a case of "it's all about me".

Minnpost had an article outlining Horner and his views. Below are the big three policy mantras from Horner:

On education: "A good case is all day kindergarten. Of course it's a fine idea but if you're going to spend $135 million to get kids ready, to get ready for jobs, where is the most valuable return on our money? I think Jeff Johnson is much more likely to [ask that question] rather than Mark Dayton."

On taxes: "I wasn't opposed to raising more revenue, but the way the governor went about it is not in the best long-term interest of Minnesota. Just adding fourth tier only reinforces a tax system that isn't suited to a global market. Maybe we need more revenue but tilt the policy much more to tax consumption and more to reward investment."

On health care: "MnSure is where Republicans could play an effective role. It's good that we're expanding access and covering children and have a more robust marketplace. Now how do we control the underlying drivers of health care?"

There are some phrases in there that I would think the MN GOP conservatives will like a lot.....

All day kindergarten - "a fine idea".....since nobody in the GOP supported it, I guess that sets Horner apart. He quickly moves to the funding issue to get himself in line with Johnson.

"I wasn't opposed to raising more revenue".....oops. That is NOT a good talking point for today's GOP. Horner disagrees with the method not the concept. How about you, Jeff Johnson?

On healthcare - again, wrong words - "It's good we're expanding access and covering children".......whoa - you get the impression that Horner might even "like" MNSure. No words of repeal there. Yikes!

My guess is that Johnson is fine with Horner endorsing him - now he'll quickly move him off stage and out of the way.

And the IP continues its death spiral.
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Another Case In Point Re: The Weakness Of The Independence Party

Category: Independence Party
Posted: 09/01/14 11:52

by Dave Mindeman

I have been talking about the Independence Party way more than is really necessary, but I want to note one more thing that is an illustration of what they keep getting wrong.

The debacle with a Tea Party nut winning the IP primary for Senate was bad enough, but the optics have gotten more blurred with this...

Tom Erickson;@TJErickson
Former Independence Party Chair Jack Uldrich and former IP Congressional candidate David Dillion endorse @MikeForMN
(Mike McFadden)

Now Dillon and Uldrich can certainly endorse whomever they wish, but if the Independence Party had any kind of communications office, they would be quick to point out that these guys do not represent the IP in any official capacity. Uldrich is a former chair and Dillion is a former Congressional candidate.

By allowing this to move into the press without comment is yet another IP mistake. Their home page still does not offer any kind of explanation of why their Senate candidate is not there. And now that the previous Chair of the Party and a former candidate have endorsed the GOP nominee, it sends a very mixed message.

Again, Uldrich and Dillon are free to endorse whom they wish but the McFadden campaign is going to utilize these gentlemans former status as a method of sending out a message to Independence Party voters.

A message which the official IP Communications office (if they have one) should refute or at the very least give a detailed explanation. It is also an opportunity to get free media.

If Mike McFadden is deemed acceptable by the IP (even if by default), then they are allowing the differences they have with the major parties to again get blurred and co-opted.

In general, this isn't going to mean a whole lot in the big scheme of things. But it does point to another flaw in the Independence Party.
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The Independence Party Has A Place, But They Need A Plan

Category: Independence Party
Posted: 08/28/14 12:44

by Dave Mindeman

I am going to preface this post about the Independence Party by stating my preference that the IP sticks around. My past thoughts on the IP have been somewhat pessimistic, but that's because I'm going more for a wake up call then wishing their demise. I think that a viable third party option is important to rein in partisan tactics of the Democrats and Republicans....and a means of tempering negative campaigns. A solid Independence Party in Minnesota could do that.

But, having said all of that, I watched the At Issue interview of Hannah Nicollet from Sunday and I have to admit that it was disappointing.

Nicollet said that she switched from seeking the Senate endorsement to the Governor endorsement, basically at the convention. The spot was open and she, more or less, rewrote her speech to address state issues rather than Federal issues. The insinuation being that the nominations were fungible and that it was just a quick shift to make that transition.

We are talking about two very different statewide campaigns and Nicollet had prepared herself for a Senate run on Federal issues. The idea that you can just shift gears on a whim and move to a statewide run for Governor is not something to be taken so lightly. There are a multitude of differences.

And that difference showed up during the interview. Nicollet talked about taxes and began to indicate her opposition to the Warehouse Tax passed in the previous session, but Hauser, the host, had to point out to her that the Warehouse tax had already been repealed. She did not know that and I find that pretty troubling.

Her inexperienced showed. She rambled at times. Went off on tangents. Failed to really answer the question. I don't want to be overly critical, but Hannah Nicollet did not look like someone ready for a highly contested election. She will get there, but she is not ready yet.

And that is part of the problem with the Independence Party. They do not have the depth of candidates to gain that experience or knowledge within the party. Their emphasis on the legalization of marijuana is actually a good issue, but they have to force that into the debate and they do not have the resources or the clout to do that.

The IP has a real problem in this election year. They need a candidate to win 5% of the vote. Now, as I understand the statute, that 5% can occur in any statewide race. The focus has been on Senate or Governor, but I assume that SOS, Auditor, or Attorney General would qualify. There might be a possibility in those races but again, do they have the resources to promote one of those people? If that is their best hope, they might want to pool resources behind one of the more viable options.

There are two other methods of maintaining major state party status. One is meeting a threshold of legislative candidates. They did not meet the Senate threshold in 2012 and since the Senate is not up for election in 2014, they cannot qualify that way. (Remember, the last time they got a 5% vote was in 2010 via Tom Horner - they did not meet that threshold with any candidate in 2012 and since major party status requires them to meet the criteria within the next two elections, 2014 is a make or break year). Getting back to major party status might require the third method which is petitions for nominating about seventy Legislative seats, with 500 signatures on each petition. That would be a tall order for a party in a weakened condition.

As I said above, I really do not want to see the Independence Party lose that major party status. They have a place in state politics, but they need to establish that place with a more solid political base. Solid party building is a slow, meticulous and patient process.

The IP needs to figure out a plan before its too late.
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