My pedigree in the Republican Party of Minnesota runs deep. All the way back to a precinct caucus in February 1974 held in a farm kitchen in rural Goodhue County. I promptly got elected to the county convention. I kept going to caucus and county conventions for several years after my move home to Scott County. Even with tricky Dick Nixon in Washington it was easy to be a Minnesota Republican. I even survived the days of calling ourselves the Independent Republican Party. In those days you could just disagree with Humphrey, Mondale or Anderson. And you had Republican role models like Quie, Durrenberger, and Carlson. The mentor I had in those days when I sat on some campaign committees taught me that the role of political parties was to “find and elect good people and then leave them alone to govern." If you were a Republican in those days you spent a lot of days being part of the loyal opposition.
But then came the Gingrich wars. The purpose of the Republican Party became to obtain and retain power without concern for the lives of voters. Legislation was only to secure votes. You did not need policy. You did not need to be loyal to the Constitution. You needed only to oppose everything proposed by the Democratic Farmer Labor Party. The result is the current group of legislators who do not legislate but only oppose. The needs of the people are secondary to allegiance to the party and the retention of power. How else can you explain the Republican senators who voted against the election results and have now withheld their impeachment vote.
It is time for all of our legislators to remember their oath of office is to the Constitution and to the people of this land. Power is held by the people not the parties. It is right for senators to fear for re-election. Because we are entering a time when once again truth matters. Elections are over when the votes are counted. And voters will throw the bums out every two, four or six years for as long as it takes.