Reprinted from today’s edition of The Pioneer Press:
In his opinion piece “Why I am leaving the Minnesota GOP,” Lt. Col. Joe Reypa paints a pretty damning picture of the Republican Party of Minnesota. As Republican grass-roots activists, we have witnessed and experienced what Joe described as “tyrannical domination over the grass-roots” of the party.
We agree with Joe when he says “it is time to stop enabling bad behavior from that party.” Joe is a friend who has been a principled champion of freedom and liberty for many years; he remains a friend. We disagree, however, with his conclusion that “the Minnesota GOP is no longer capable of being saved.”
This is why we are not leaving the Minnesota GOP. Not only can the Minnesota GOP be saved, it must be saved.
While the Republican Party has drifted away from the fundamental principles inherent in the U.S. Constitution — the primacy of individual sovereignty, the sanctity of private property and preservation of the rule of law — the Minnesota DFL has coalesced around the national Democratic Party values: the collective good over individual pursuit of happiness, the property needs of the state over the property rights of the individual, and government power restrained only by the grace of the majority, irrespective of the rule of law. History warns us that a nation so divided cannot long endure.
And this is why we choose to remain in the Minnesota GOP: Despite past leadership flaws, the Minnesota GOP remains the last best hope for resurrecting Quantcast
republican, constitutional government. It is the last best hope for individuals who want to make their own decisions about health care, their children’s education, where they live, what they eat and how they worship. The Minnesota GOP is the last best hope for preservation of the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is the last best hope for a productive society capable of creating the wealth that makes compassion possible.
The groups we represent — the Republican Liberty Caucus, the Campaign for Liberty, and Minnesotans for Limited Government, and many other like-minded liberty-oriented organizations — are evidence that hope is not dead.
To Joe’s point, many of our groups have sprung up and grown strong because the Minnesota GOP abdicated its role as protector of republican principle — endorsing capital “R” Republicans regardless of their allegiance to small “r” republican principle. But for whatever reason our groups came into being, they exist, and they are making a difference.
When the campaign for GOP officers began, the emphasis was on “Platform Conservatism,” the notion that the “best conservative,” the “best Republican,” was the one who could put the most check marks next to the 171 planks of a 5,100-word party platform. Over the course of the campaign, the debate changed.
Republicans started talking about “Principled Conservatism” as an alternative to the litmus test of platform politics. The grass-roots felt empowered; a candidate for chair was drafted by the party’s grass-roots. With no “old guard” support whatsoever, he nearly pulled off the upset.
A Web site and Facebook group, “Grassroots for an Open Republican Party,” described a Republican Party that doesn’t just win elections, but one that earns respect as a party of integrity and principle. Both the newly elected chair and deputy chair of the Minnesota GOP signed on as supporters.
Campaign for Liberty supporters of Ron Paul (who as Joe notes were systematically shut out of the 2008 GOP State Convention) remain engaged in the Republican Party, actively supporting liberty-oriented candidates and conservative/libertarian principles.
The Republican Liberty Caucus, “the conscience of the Republican Party,” exists to promote individual liberty, limited government and free enterprise within the Republican Party.
Minnesotans for Limited Government is educating the party and public on the principles of limited government and supporting liberty-minded candidates.
There is an old adage that describes change as frightening when done to us, but exhilarating when done by us. This is an exhilarating time to be a Republican.
The frightening change taking place in the country, the abandonment of republican government and fundamental constitutional principles, is a wake-up call. Now is our “Time to Choose.” It is our time to stop an ever-intrusive government from doing change to us. It is our time to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution of the United States. It is our time to put American principles to the test. It is our time to reform, re-energize and resurrect the last best hope of American constitutional government — the Republican Party.
That is why we are emphatically not leaving the Minnesota GOP.
David FitzSimmons of Cokato is chairman of the Minnesota Republican Liberty Caucus: rlcmn.org; Marianne Stebbins of Excelsior is coordinator of the Minnesota Campaign for Liberty: www.campaignforliberty.com/usa/MN; and Mitch Imbertson of Maplewood is Communications Committee Chair of Minnesotans for Limited Government: www.mnlg.org.