The last time the Grand Old Party held their convention in Minneapolis was in 1898, when they nominated the incumbent Republican President Benjamin Harrison; a guy so cold the only person who actually liked him was his wife, and she died of tuberculosis two weeks before the election. Harrison didn’t even get the sympathy vote: he lost to Grover Cleveland, who four years previously had failed in his own Presidential re-election bid, to Harrison: Presidential musical chairs was a popular sport in the late nineteenth century. After his defeat Harrison told family and friends he felt as if he had just been released from prison. This election will release America from prison. And Minnesota has not gone Republican since 1972 when Richard Nixon won every state except Massachusetts, including Minnesota, which was the home state of Democratic candidate Walter Mondale. And look how well that Republican landslide worked out for America. Well, what more could you expect from a place whose state bird is the Common Loon?
Fossella joined LaHood of Illinois, Ramstad of Minnesota, Rebula of Ohio and Walsh of New York, all retiring Republicans, and in the face of Republican disciplinarians they voted with the Democrats to extend unemployment insurance past the standard cut-off date. Said the frustrated Minority Whip, Roy Blunt, about these mass defections by defectors “It’s not helpful”, meaning it was not helpful to party discipline, even if it was helpful to the voters and tax payers who are out of work. It was just such arguments for unity above individual self interest that has led the Repubs so far from the American mainstream that three out of four Americans say they now prefer a Democrat representing them in Congress. And come late August, as we head off to “Greater Minnesota”, land of ten thousand lakes, birthplace of the Mississippi River, tuna hot dish casseroles, the Lake Wobegon Chatterbox Cafe and the most famous airport men’s room in the free world, Republicans will be asking themselves (such as Governor Tim Pawlenty, Lieutenant Governor Carol Malnau and Senator Norm Coleman – Republicans all!) why the hell the party is coming to a state they stand very little chance of winning, unless it is to highlight the party’s bankruptcy – moral and monetary.