by Sally Jo Sorensen
Conservative talk radio gadfly and lightly-defeated 2012 Ramsey County Commissioner candidate Sue Jeffers told a September 26 meeting of the Rochester Tea Party Patriots that former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty and former United States Senator Norm Coleman, as well as former state party officials Ron Carey, Tony Sutton and Michael Brodkorb were Republicans in Name Only (RINOs) who destroyed the party brand and thus need to be thrown out.
There's a lot of that going around in Minnesota's Tea Party groups, which also claim to so not be Republicans. Last month, Bluestem looked at the coming visit of a RINO hunter to Tea Party groups in Central Minnestoa and the Southwest Metro in Central MN Tea Party & "Chanhassen" to host Doc Thompson's Operation RINO Hunt.
Jeffers said of the Republican stalwarts in the video below (full talk here):
I think, back in 2004, 5, 6, 7, thanks to people like Tim Pawlenty, thanks to the people like Norm Coleman, squishy, white-bread RINOs--you know what? I'll throw Ron Carey in there, I'll throw Michael Brodkorb in there, and I'll throw Tony Sutton in there, I'll throw them all under the bus.
I think they helped destroy the Republican brand and it's our job to fix it. We have to fix it. I think because they crushed down good candidates in some many different areas, not just me--because my advice to you is don't start out running for governor, start out a little bit lower on the food chain, definitely (audience laughter)--
They crush down so many good people, so many people who could have made a difference that it hurt us, it destroyed our brand.
And I think that people like John McCain now, who's calling Ted Cruz names, or Lindsey Graham, people like that, they're hurting the Republican brand even more, and of course they don't have one good thing to say about the Tea Party people, they don't have one nice thing to say.
They all claim to be conservatives, but they aren't. They aren't. And we have to start calling them on it and we have to start throwing them out.
Here's the video:
Jeffers always has been known to challenge Minnesota's Republican establishment from the right--she famously primaried Tim Pawlenty as he sought a second term in 2006, but Bluestem is surprised to hear the names of Carey, Sutton and Brodkorb placed in her litany. Coleman did start out as Democrat, and Pawlenty seemed squishy to Jeffers and her ilk for embrace dirty hippie policies like renewable energy standards.
But Sutton and Brodkorb? While Sutton destroyed the MNGOP brand through reckless accounting, we don't recall ideological beefs with the anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-immigrant and anti-gambling political operative. Ditto with Brodkorb, who seemed brought down more by his philandering than his politics. During their sway, the Republican Party brought such Jeffers favs as Dave Thompson to office in 2010--and Thompson received a healthy stipend as a media consultant while he ran for state senate. Just saying.
Carey a RINO? Is she inventing a new acronym: RINO In Name Only?
Bonus round: Sutton purged moderate Republicans in 2010
As James Hohmann reported in Politico in 2010's Minn. GOP brings out the knives for moderates, Sutton purged former electeds and party leaders:
In a dramatic display of the new Republican order, Minnesota’s state GOP banished 18 prominent party members — including two former governors and a retired U.S. senator — as punishment for supporting a third-party candidate for governor. . . .
Those exiled warned that the measure, which bans the 18 former members from participating in party activities for two years and bars them from attending the 2012 Republican National Convention, may provoke a backlash that undercuts the party’s competitiveness in a state that’s voted for the GOP presidential nominee just once in the past half century.
“The Republican party is trying to become ... you would call it introverted totalitarianism,” said former congressman and Gov. Al Quie, a onetime vice presidential prospect who plans to stick with the party despite the penalty. “It’s just plain dumb on their part. ... In the long run, if the party persists with this, [it's] going to just become smaller and smaller and eventually something else would come in its place.”
Among those rebuked along with Quie were former U.S. Sen. David Durenberger, former Gov. Arne Carlson and former state House Speaker David Jennings.
State Republican Chairman Tony Sutton said Saturday’s measure, which passed by 59 to 55 votes, was “a venting of frustration” that grew out of the belief that the candidacy of Republican-turned-independent Tom Horner cost GOP nominee Tom Emmer the governor’s race in November.
Brodkorb later threw Emmer under the bus, blaming his campaign for the loss and more. Now he and Sutton--now two party leadership elections in the past--are the RINOs facing exile if Jeffers and her ilk get their way.
Will this purge include folks like moderate Rochester Republican Senator Dave Senjem? Elsewhere in the video, Jeffers and her audience aren't very happy about Mayo's new Destination Medical Center. How involved can an independent organization like the Rochester Tea Party-- which fought with the IRS for its tax status--get with the internal politics of one party?
As the Rochester Post Bulletin reported in Rochester Tea Party among groups scrutinized by IRS:
In June 2012, the IRS contacted the group and informed them they should apply for 501(c)(4) status instead [of 501(c)(3) status as a charitable organization], which covers not-for-profit civic leagues or organizations operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare. On Sept. 6, 2012, the group received 501(c)(4) status.
Photo: Sue Jeffers, who talked to the Rochester Tea Party Patriots on September 26, 2013, as if they were part of the Republican Party. Perish the thought.
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