This is subject to change, of course. But for now, here's what I think the proper response should be, at various levels of government, for conservative-minded people, at least in Minnesota:
I'm increasingly convinced that what happens at the local level matters. At the local level, you actually have the chance to talk to people and explain what works and what doesn't work. We have an excellent example of how this works here in New Brighton. We have elected and re-elected Gina Bauman to the city council in recent years. Gina has served New Brighton very well on the council, always keeping her eye on the ball and looking for ways to improve how city government responds to its constituents without simply funneling more money. Her ideas are spot-on and she would have made a tremendous state senator, because the principles she espouses have universal application. I consider Gina a friend and it's been tough to watch her lose twice to a candidate who is as fundamentally unserious as Barb Goodwin, who will return to St. Paul as the state senator for District 41 for another four years. As conservatives, we need to do a better job of supporting people like Gina, who stand for fiscal responsibility and who are willing to enter the arena. Enough people in the city know what Gina does for them to keep her in her current office, but that isn't necessarily enough to get to the next level. And we need to encourage more people to make the same choice and sacrifice that Gina has been willing to make on our behalf. The DFL never has a problem finding candidates, because it's nifty and cool to play Santa Claus with public funds and because busybodies are a growth industry in this state. We'll talk more about that in a coming post, especially as it concerns District 41.
At the state level, at least in Minnesota, we are looking at two very grim years with DFL control of the entire governmental apparatus. We now have, for what it's worth, the "Better Minnesota" that Alida Messinger, Mark Dayton's heiress ex-wife, was willing to bankroll. In losing both houses of the legislature, we not only failed to elect quality candidates like Gina and April King in the neighboring 42nd district, but we also lost the services of people like King Banaian, the brilliant economist and teacher who was defeated in his new House district in the St. Cloud area. There will be calls from the DFL for bipartisanship in the upcoming legislative session. Those calls should, at this point, be rejected. Mark Dayton and the highly unimpressive group of people who will make up DFL leadership in the lege should have the opportunity to own the higher taxes that they will impose, and more importantly to own the results of it. The job of the GOP, at the state level, will be to offer vocal, principled opposition to stupidity, but to also realize that stupidity is in the saddle. A lot of people voted DFL in this cycle without understanding the full implications of what complete control will look like. Unfortunately, the only way a lot of people are going to learn is to be on the business end of what's about to happen here. In the meantime, I wish state GOP chair Pat Shortridge the best of luck as he continues to clean out the Augean stables left behind by his predecessors. I think Pat is the right guy to get things fixed, but there were too many problems to face in this cycle, especially with the aftermath of the Amy Koch/Michael Brodkorb mess.
We'll get to the proper response on the national level in the next post.