Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Part-Time Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back

Kurt Bills is going back to school.  In what is a somewhat reassuring sign that he understands his chances of winning in the fall, Bills announced on WCCO radio yesterday that he would be returning to his job as a teacher at Rosemount High School this fall (via the Morning Take).

I confirmed this with the Bills campaign (via Twitter), who clarifies that Bills will be teaching the first hour class that has been featured so prominently in his campaign.

For me, this is the capstone of a poorly run campaign, which should now be left on its own to wither and die. 

I voted for Kurt Bills in the Primary.  For the privilege, later that night I was informed that I, along with the anemic 51% of other Republicans who voted for him, participated in a victory in a “contest between the Tea Party/Ron Paul wing of the Minnesota Republican Party and their establishment opponents.”

Had I known that’s what I was doing, perhaps I would have changed my vote and instead joined the 49% who voted for somebody else. I was not even aware that “the establishment” preferred someone else. I guess I overlooked that in my pre-primary issues of The Daily Establishment.  I, apparently ridiculously, thought “the establishment” was behind the endorsed Republican candidate.

A few weeks ago, Michael Brodkorb wrote an open letter of sorts to Bills.  I’ve never met Brodkorb (I was out of state during the Brodkorb era of the GOP) and I know that Brodkorb is a 4-letter word in many GOP circles, but that doesn’t mean the advice he gave Bills is off-base.  In fact, it all made a lot of sense to me.

Missing from Brodkorb’s advice list: “Campaign Part-Time during the last 60 days of the campaign”.

That’s because you can’t effectively run a statewide campaign if you have to be in Rosemount for first hour every morning.

It’s clear that Kurt Bills can read the writing on the wall and knows he has no shot of winning this race.  So he’s doing the responsible thing and making sure he’ll be able to support his family after November.

It’s time that the rest of the GOP understands this.  It’s time to pull all resources from this race and re-deploy them to other races where we have a shot.  Every dollar spent, every phone call made, and every yard sign placed for Kurt Bills between now and November will be wasted.

Those dollars and hours would be better spent trying to defend our state legislative majorities, trying to pick up a Congressional seat, or electing good mayors, county commissioners and school board members.

There will be plenty of time for finger pointing, blame, and figuring out how to avoid repeating this mess after November 6, and I think it’s important we have that discussion.

But for now, the most important thing we can do is cut our losses, re-deploy our resources, and focus on what we can win. 

The Senate seat is lost. Kurt Bills knows it.  It’s time to act accordingly.