There's been much appreciative murmuring--much of it on the left--for Some facts Minnesota conservatives can't ignore, a piece co-authored by Norm Coleman and current U of M Regent/former Minnesota state representative Laura Brod (R-Once Upon A Time In New Prague).
Here's some of the wisdom Coleman and Brod shared in their manifesto in the St. Paul Pioneer Press:
Conservatives need to accept that Minnesotans are not anti-government. They believe that government has a legitimate role to play in Minnesota. . . .
The Minnesota GOP, and conservative candidates, will continue to lose ground with Minnesotans unless we dramatically change our level of empathy towards the people we seek to support.
The fact is, Minnesotans want a social safety net to support those who may need help from time to time. Republicans shouldn't be seen as attempting to dismantle the social safety net, but working to make it more efficient, effective and truly capable of helping those who can get on their feet, and do so with compassion.
Minnesotans support business and job creation, but they believe that Republicans have become too concerned with defending the wealthy and corporate interests at the expense of workers and small businesses.
While in reality this may not be accurate, perception is reality. We should not support positions that are not only unattainable, but unsupportable by a majority of Minnesotans.
Listening to Minnesotans when they tell us they support a certain level of government that is efficient and effective should not be met with calls by conservatives to dismantle government and eliminate agencies simply for the sake of downsizing without drawing out the argument to focus on the trade-offs if we do not act. . . .
Conservatism intent on focusing on economic issues, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of government, ensuring that those who most need help in our society are able to have the support they need while still standing firm on their principles with regard to social issues, will gain support and trust from Minnesota voters. . . .
Laura Brod delivered a slightly different message to the Southwest Metro Tea Party Patriot (SMTPP) multitudes gathered at the Chanhassen Rec Center on August 16, 2010 when she appeared on a double bill with right radio talker Sue Jeffers.
Brod seems to be modeling herself off of Coleman's earlier example, although she's pulling leftward after her courtship of the Tea Party, whereas Coleman veered right, ambitiously switching parties in the 1990s.
The SMTPP has removed videos from that time; fortunately, a clip of Brod's chat remains on her old Laura Brod House District 25 Youtube channel (hat-tip to Ken Avidor at Dump Bachmann). Brod led in with an anecdote drawn from a Tom Emmer fundraiser (Brod was an Emmer endorser in January 2010), then praises the conversative bedrock that she will conclude make the Tea Party the faction of ideas.
Some select excerpts:
We have such a tremendous opportunity as conservatives. You know you guys are feared, don't you? Look around you. You're scary. And that's exciting, because that means that the liberal left understands the value of this movement. They understand the power of this movement and it's not because you're scary people, it's because you speak scary things called common sense.
Now the liberals don't like common sense. They didn't like it way back when, they don't like it today, because they would like to have their reality, they would like to have their "interpretation" of the Constitution, they would like to have their "interpretation" of where we have to go as a country, but it's actually quite simple. Life. Liberty. Property (or the pursuit of happiness).
Nevermind that those items are in the Declaration of Independence. She is being simple and this is "common sense" after all. She continues:
Limited government, lower taxes, that works. And people understand it. . . .
And that's a scary message to the liberals, because they want everybody to be victims. This victimology that we have out there from the left tells you as an individual that, you know what, you could be better if only the government would help you. You really could, you know that don't you, right?
But the fact is that people are rejecting that, you are rejecting that because you're here tonight, and the left and their media allies like to say that the Tea Party is this or the tea party is that,. . .it's a fiscal call to arms that we have in this country and in this state . . .
Later Brod talks about making tough choices and buckling down on spending. Granted she doesn't claim to be willing to take it out of the hide of the "victims," but she doesn't bring up any other target it her 2010 talk.
Here's the video; the "scary" talk begins around 1:30:
Photo: Laura Brod, addressing the Southwest Metro Tea Party Patriots in Chanhassen, 2010.
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