My correspondent took exception to the remarks at the end of Local turnout reaches new high, published in the February 8, 2012 Fairmont Sentinel:
Breitbarth is optimistic the high turnout means positive things for Republicans in Minnesota. Addressing the crowd at the Holiday Inn, he said, "Maybe we can get this monkey off our back in Minnesota and actually vote for a Republican for president."
Bluestem doesn't find the remark to be racist. Breitbarth wasn't comparing the president or health care reform to a monkey (a racist trope), but employing a shopworn figure of speech about addiction. Having a "monkey on your back" comes from the jargon of heroin addiction; Breitbarth was slamming Minnesota voters, not the President.
It's true that Minnesota hasn't gone into the Republican column in a Presidential race since Nixon was elected in 1972, but it's hardly persuasive to tell voters that picking Democratic candidates is the equivalent of political vein popping. "Hey, dumb junkies...."
That will work.
Need more entertainment at Breitbarth's expense? Earlier in the article, the Fairmont RV dealer says:
Neal Breitbarth, who has served numerous times as a GOP delegate, wasn't surprised by the outcome [the Santorum win].
"Health care is the biggest drag on Mitt Romney, and the biggest issue in the nation is Obamacare and getting rid of Obamacare," said Breitbarth, a Santorum supporter.
Breitbarth is referencing Romney's role in the 2006 health care reform in Massachusetts, widely seen as a precursor to the direction reform took under President Obama.
Curiously, Breitbarth didn't have a problem with Romney's record on health care reform two years later, when he served on Romney's 2008 Minnesota statewide steering committee. He was a Minnesota Republican State Central Committee member at the time. It's astonishing what Obama's support for a policy could change it so drastically for Neal.
It gets better.
The Sentinel breathlessly reports about the "record" turnout for the presidential caucus and plays stenographer for the local Republican activists carrying on about how the turnout in one of the reddest Minnesota counties means that Santorum or whomever will be the next Nixon. According to the paper, 234 people cast their votes in the straw poll.
What the conservative newspaper doesn't tell readers, but the SOS page reveals, is that in 2008, 230 people in Martin County cast straw poll votes for the Republican straw poll. That works out to one new Republican straw poll participant for each year since 2008.
Statewide in 2008, nearly 63,000 Republicans cast presidential straw ballots; in 2012, the number dropped to 48,916.
No wonder why Neal is so high about getting that DFL monkey off the back of Minnesota; Bluestem only wishes that he would quit bogarting whatever it is he's smoking.
Movie still: What Martin County Republican Neal Breitbarth's figure of speech suggests about Minnesota's voters.