Less than 24 hours after six rogue Republican House members voted to override a veto of a $6.6 billion tax-raising transportation bill, they were stripped of their leadership positions, a swift and unusual recrimination explained as an effort to "stitch together" a fractious House GOP caucus.
House minority "leader" Marty Seifert had this to say about the action:
"We expect Republicans to follow other Republicans, and there is obviously a mixed message with what happened yesterday," Seifert said at a news conference Tuesday. "We're not taking anyone's secretary away. I'm not throwing their computers down the Capitol steps. I'm not severing their phone lines."
Just another angry, truculent little man with an impotence problem—legislatively, anyway. It is telling that Marty said that "[w]e expect Republicans to follow other Republicans." Well, Marty, you can lead some lemmings to the cliff, and they just won't jump! Too smart, Spot supposes.
One of the insurgent six, Spotty's own Ron Erhardt, said this about, er, that:
"I am not going along with this foolishness. If you have to get rid of me, fire me," said Rep. Ron Erhardt, R-Edina, who was removed as the lead Republican on the Property Tax Relief and Local Sales Taxes Committee. "This is the way we get treated if we vote our districts and vote our consciences and vote our feeling that we are doing the right thing for the state."
There was a town hall meeting held at Edina City Hall in advance of the session, hosted by Rep. Erhardt and one of his partners in sin (that didn't come out exactly right, oh well), Rep. Neil Peterson; Erhardt's district is 41A and Peterson's is 41B. There was considerable support by the meeting's attendees for additional transportation funding, and a lack of enthusiasm for Governor Pepsodent's plan to borrow a billion (bonding) for road and bridge repair. When Rep. Erhardt said he was "voting his district," he wasn't kidding.
Rep. Peterson lost his position as an assistant minority whip, apparently for being unable to whip himself.
For followers of District 41 politics, over on the Senate side, Geoff Michel voted to uphold the veto. It is nice that somebody from around Cakeville maintained ideological purity. A real profile in courage! Geoff is the guy who, of course, went pounding on doors for money when the Crosstown project was stalled for lack of money. Remember, that was when Carol Molnau suggested that contractors do the project and pay for it, too!