Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Bohl'ing them over -- Erik Iverson style

It seems that Erik Iverson is taking advice from Montana Headlines -- well, probably not, but perhaps great minds just think alike.

Back in the summer, when Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger wanted to attend the Republican state convention (the first that he would have attended in many years -- just happening to be the year before his re-election campaign with the Democratic governor,) we thought that the GOP made a mistake in not welcoming him with open arms, and had this to say:

So what should party central have done? Well, Lt. Gov. Bohlinger is one of a handful of Republicans holding state-wide office right now, and when he expressed a desire to attend the GOP convention, he could have been invited to come and give a major address to the convention.

...Bohlinger, as a self-described good Republican, would doubtless have been more than happy to get up and give a speech advocating the importance of gaining Republican majorities in the state House and Senate. He could have talked about the importance of defeating Sen. Baucus, and of keeping Rep. Rehberg and Sec. State Johnson in office. He could have publicly lamented the Tester Senate victory.

Bohlinger wants to be an active Republican again? Then for heaven's sake don't give him the cold shoulder. Tell him "welcome, back, John -- we're excited -- we need all the help we can get to get the governorship back!"

Give him a place of honor, publicize it widely that Lt.Gov. Bohlinger wants to help the GOP win elections. The prodigal son has come home -- so kill the fatted calf, put a ring on his finger, let the dancing begin. All the men could show up in bow-ties. All the ladies could wear vintage dresses from Aileen's.

Well, now the good Lt. Guv has his opportunity -- but it seems that he's not able to take advantage of it due to being on his honeymoon in China.

Too bad, because Chairman Erik Iverson not only was inviting Bohlinger to attend, but to be a major speaker.

Iverson wrote to Bohlinger that he was offering him --

...the opportunity to hold a ninety minute "Question and Answer" session with the Republican delegates in attendance. This session will be a great opportunity for you to reconnect with members of the Montana Republican Party.

Reconnect, indeed. We had the opportunity to hear Bohlinger some time ago on YPR -- when he articulated what it meant to him to be a Republican, it was pretty much straight Democratic talking points, and nothing that anyone from any of the various wings of the GOP would recognize as Republican.

But perhaps the most important thing about being a member of a political party -- particularly a leader in a political party -- is loyalty to that party.

Like all Republicans, we know people of a variety of persuasions within the GOP who feel that the party mainstream has left them behind. That is part of the reality of large coalition parties such as our two major parties in this two country.

One can have one of several responses to feeling left by one's party -- one can switch to another party (and unlike Lt. Gov. Bohlinger, be a man about it and admit it,) one can decide to remain nominally in the party but withdraw from active political involvement until such time as one can support it again, or one can remain active in the party and remain loyal to the ticket, while hoping and working to change the party to become more to one's liking.

All of these are honorable responses. It would have been nice if Lt. Gov. Bohlinger could have come to the GOP's winter meeting here in Billings -- his home town, no less -- to talk to the GOP party faithful about why a path that seems dishonorable to most Republicans is honorable in his eyes. Or even better -- maybe we would see a new John Bohlinger, one that was rooting for Republican victories in legislative races and statewide races.

Now that would be news -- and it would solidify Bohlinger's claims to be a Republican.

In his letter, Erik Iverson reminded Bohlinger of his own words -- Bohlinger said he wanted to attend the GOP state convention last summer because "it would be very important to certify my Republican credentials..."

But do not fear that all is lost because Bohlinger is out of town for this big GOP meeting -- there will be more opportunities for him to "certify his Republican credentials." Many more.

As campaign season heats up, we hope that Bohlinger will be invited to Republican fundraisers and rallies all over the state. In fact, all Republican candidates should make a point of sending him a fundraising letter asking for contributions -- starting with Roy Brown.

As a good Republican who can afford to honeymoon overseas, we expect he will gladly write checks to help Republican candidates in close races against Democrats. And our biggest race this year is Sen. Brown's race, so since Bohlinger is a good Republican, we expect that he will dash off a $500 check to Roy, and encourage his wife to do the same.

He should be invited to every Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner in the state and asked to help rally the troops to win victory for the GOP in the fall. He should be invited to speak at those dinners, and be told that he will be expected to comport himself as a good Republican, urging people to contribute to the Republican party, volunteer to work for Republican candidates, and vote for Republicans. We, after all, want to help him "certify his Republican credentials."

We look forward to seeing him in the audience at the Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner in Billings, rising with the rest of the Republicans in attendance to give Roy Brown a standing ovation -- cheering him on to victory in the governor's race. It will be great -- and the cameras will be there to catch Bohlinger's smiling face and enthusiastic expression as he applauds Roy.

And if he shows up and advises the attendees to vote Democratic or implies that they should -- well, now, that will be quite the "certification of his Republican credentials," won't it?


Anonymous said...

Sure looks like Iverson and the GOP laid another egg on this one. Every time they try to one-up Bohlinger, all they do is remind people that Bohlinger is a Republican running with a Democrat. The Republican Party bosses may have a problem with the Schweitzer/Bohlinger ticket, but voters actually like bipartisanship.

It seems that every attack the GOP makes against Schweitzer backfires. They complain about tax cuts, only to remind voters that the Schweitzer Administration has cut taxes. They complain about Schweitzer asking GOP donors for contributions, only to remind folks that half of the Schweitzer ticket is Republican. And my favorite: They complain that the Governor wears jeans, only to remind people that Schweitzer is a lot like every other Montanan who works for a living.

Auntie Lib said...

Beautiful! I love it! I'll certainly take every opportunity to carry this plan out!

Anonymous said...

Good advice. Hope something like this happens.

Not only could it be fun, but it could help put an end to this whole "bipartisan" nonsense that comes from this administration.

These guys are hyperpartisans, but the press lets them get away with it, and one of the main reasons is this charade about Bohlinger and the governor forming a bipartisan team.

By putting Bohlinger to the test, it should become quickly apparent to the public that he is no longer a Republican, and that he's abandoned his GOP principles and is little more than BS Lite.