Let's get this out of the way right away. In no way do I think Michelle MacDonald is fit to be a Supreme Court Justice. I won't vote for her in November, and I didn't vote to endorse her at the MNGOP convention.
That being said, several hundred delegates to the convention did. As I pointed out in my last post on the subject, the delegates endorsed MacDonald in the same way that they endorsed Jeff Johnson, Scott Newman, Dan "No I Won't Call you 'Doc'" Severson and the other candidates who were endorsed that weekend.
Unfortunately there are many within the Republican Party who want to pretend that the issues related to MacDonald's endorsement are unique to the judicial endorsement process. Or that the issue is judicial endorsements, not how the party operates. (Let me remind you that a few months before the convention that endorsed MacDonald, Don Allen was judged qualified to be party chair by the nominations committee.) There are also those who are still trafficking in the discredited notion that MacDonald's legal issues weren't known when she was recommended to the body.
All of those are distractions from the reality, which is that the Party's process for selecting candidates to support is severely flawed, and the leadership within the Party continues to mishandle this entire situation.
In this video from Politics.MN, MacDonald can be seen making her case for why she should be allowed to campaign in the MNGOP State Fair booth. She references the now infamous memo from MNGOP Chair Keith Downey which instructed Republicans to either support endorsed candidates or resign. She then calls on Downey to resign for not supporting her.
And you know what? She has a point.
The Republican Party invested heavily in defending the value of their endorsement process this cycle. It started with Downey's memo and boiled up to some pretty nasty stuff directed toward a district that wouldn't get with the program.
After MacDonald was endorsed, the party had backed itself into a corner and instead of admitting the problems with their endorsement, they decided to stand by her.
That was until MacDonald broadcast her intentions to campaign at the State Fair every day this year. In an eleventh hour move, the MNGOP Executive Committee voted to ban her from the booth, effectively pouring a few gallons of kerosene on the fire and setting up today's made for the media confrontation.
As of the moment, the Party still has MacDonald listed on several of their websites as a candidate. They want to somehow continue to support MacDonald while denying her support.
The Party can't have it both ways. Either the endorsement is a sacred trust that must be defended at all costs against all enemies perceived or real, or it is a fallible process. Admitting the latter could discredit their candidates, stubbornly clinging to a belief in the former will do the same.
The silly thing in all of this is that every wound inflicted on the MNGOP during this process has been self-inflicted. The Party could have chosen a path of sanity and let the primary election play out without heavy handed attempts at enforcing loyalty, but they decided to lay down an ultimatum instead.
Then, when the body made an obvious error in endorsing an unfit candidate, they had to defend her. After all, we have to respect the will of the delegates, right? Acknowledging that the delegates sometimes get it wrong would have been the right thing to do, but by that point the party was too far down the path to turn around.
This whole thing is a mess, and it all could have been avoided. But apparently Party leadership wasn't up to the task.