Monday, October 12, 2009

Fritz whistles past the graveyard

When the mainstream media in town wants to find a Republican not visibly foaming at the mouth, they often turn to Fritz “One Letter Short of a Palindrome” Knaak. You’ll see him on the couch on Almanac — a venue guaranteed to produce a lot more bonhomie than discussion of issues — and he got some ink in the Strib today. Fritz even admits his role at the Palatable Republican:

As someone certifiably part of what the Star Tribune describes as the "remnant of the moderate Republican mentality," I'd have to say that the Oct. 6 editorial missed the mark when it complained about the lack, in its view, of a palatable Republican candidate in the gubernatorial field.

Fritz gives his inside look into the food fight known as the modern Republican Party:

What is going on inside the Republican party right now has virtually nothing to do with vetting candidates who may appeal to centrist or liberal Democrats.

Rather, it's part of a sometimes wrenching dialectic inside the party to right something that has clearly gone askew: the party's historic focus on fiscal responsibility.

This internal debate is not a new one. For well more than a hundred years, social conservatives and fiscal conservatives inside the party have wrangled over whether the emphasis of the party's message should be fiscal or social.

A careful and successful strategy, begun in the 1970s, placed greater emphasis on social issues. While this may have irritated the more libertarian or socially moderate wings of the party, there was no denying the success of the Republican Party nationally from the Nixon administration through the Reagan years and the two Bush administrations.

The whole piece is eminently dismissible save for the first sentence of the last paragraph quoted above. “A careful and successful strategy”? Somebody, maybe Kevin Phillips, said, “Let’s light a fire under James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and every other snake handler we can find, and then find out what happens.”

We know what happened; Fritz, now the Republican Party is John Hagee’s world and you just live in it. In fact, there are some elements of the Republican Party in Minnesota who don’t think it’s crazy enough; Allen Quist — yes, that Allen Quist — is gearing up for a run for governor the First District Congressional Seat against Tim Walz. You remember Allen, boys and girls; he’s the guy that got the endorsement for governor against a sitting governor. No so strange, you say? Well, the sitting governor was Arne Carlson, a Republican, and the party that endorsed Quist was, guess who, the Republicans. An entirely sordid affair, made more so by the fact that Arne had saved the party’s bacon after Poolgate just four years earlier.

Fritz, Spot is afraid that you’ll have a devil of a time, so to speak, trying to wrest the party from the crazies. It’s heading the other way. Allen Quist, Michele Bachmann, Tom Emmer, David Hann, Michael Jungbauer, and Mark Buesgens & Co. aren’t going gladly into the good night.

Update: Guys like Fritz must have seen that the Republican Party would eventually drive itself into the rhubarb if it maintained its present course, but apparently did little to stop it. Sow the wind; reap the whirlwind.

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