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Former state chair Pat Shortridge says GOP turned into a ‘hunt for heretics’

Pat Shortridge
MinnPost file photo by Brian HallidayPat Shortridge

The Republican Party has become a “hunt for heretics,” a game for people playing, “I’m the most conservative,” a breeder of “craziest sound bites.”

The author of those quotes is not Arne Carlson or Wheelock Whitney.  It’s former chair of the Minnesota Republican Party Pat Shortridge, the former Enron lobbyist who’s worked for Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio and manages Scott Honour’s campaign for Minnesota governor.   

When Shortridge took on the chairmanship of the Minnesota Republican Party in January, 2012, his main task was whittling down the party’s $2 million debt.  But he also expressed hope that the party could rebuild through the strength of its ideas and principles. When he left in March of this year, the debt was pared but Republicans had lost a governorship and control of the Legislature. Republicans were branded as the party of no: no gay marriage, no expansion of voting rights, no unions, no taxes and, most harmfully, no new ideas.

Today, in additional to political clients, Shortridge is working for his old boss, former U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy at George Washington University, establishing an executive education program.

He sat down with MinnPost and gave some blunt advice to conservatives and Republicans. Here are excerpts from that interview:

MinnPost: What did you learn about Republicans from your experience as party chair?

Pat Shortridge: I think my main takeaway [is that] Republicans have to get to being solutions oriented, focused on solving problems that people face. Not with more government, not with higher taxes, not with more control in St. Paul and Washington, D.C., but in actually talking about how market-based ideas, based on empowering individuals, how they actually work.

We’ve sort of gone away from actually trying to persuade people. Here’s how our ideas, here’s how our solutions are going to make your life better—easier to buy a house, find a job, save your money, educate your kids, buy health care, all the things people do. How are we going to make it easier and how is the other side going to make it harder?  

If we don’t get back to being a solutions-oriented party that is addressing the day-to-date concerns of most Minnesotans and most Americans, we’re not going to be successful.   

MP: What caused the Republican Party to drift into negative focused campaigns?

P.S.: I think it’s easier to just say no. It takes less work. Look, Ronald Reagan was a successful president not because everyone agreed with him but because he could go out and convince the country to beat Washington, D.C. He went out there and said: “Look.  Here’s what I campaigned on, here’s what I ran on, here’s what I’m trying to do it, and yet these guys are standing in my way.” And he did that repeatedly. And he did it with great success and more times than not got his way from Congress, especially in passing his economic plan, passing his budget, passing a tax plan, passing the defense build up that ultimately led to the demise of the Soviet Union. He went out and did the hard work of persuading.

It’s much easier, I’ve noticed, for people on our side to just say no. Or to just say I’m against this or “I’m going to pretend like I’m the most conservative. I want to set up a game.” You see this going on right now in Washington with this whole defund-it thing with Obamacare. It’s a game of a bunch people playing, “I’m the most conservative.” It’s not a serious effort to actually stop Obamacare. If you really wanted to stop Obama care right now on a national basis, you’d be out trying to find six or eight Democratic votes in the Senate so you could actually put a bill on Barack Obama’s desk and actually make this more than an academic exercise.

Some of these things are great for people who are doing direct-mail fundraising. They’re great for people who want to see [to] sort of establish their bona fides, but it’s not great if you’re actually trying to do things that are going to save the country and save Minnesota from decline.

MP: Is this a problem caused by the influence of the Tea Party?

P.S.: I don’t think it’s necessarily the Tea Party movement. The Tea Party movement is a collection of people who’d not been involved in politics, people who really were fed up with both parties, who really didn’t see much difference, who got fed up and frustrated at some of the stuff that happened. The stimulus and Obamacare in 2009, you know, really energized and motivated them. The Tea Party, I’d say they’re more engaged activated citizens. They’re not trying to become a political party. They’re an important part of the conservative coalition or the Republican coalition. The Tea Party, like other parts of the Republican coalition, they’re looking for leaders  And, look, if they’re not given a better alternative, they’re going to pick the man or the woman who’s most effective, the most eloquent at saying no.

MP: How do you counter what’s happening, for example, to incumbent Republicans like Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell and Lamar Alexander—senators who have worked for consensus and who are facing primary challenges from activists who don’t think they’re conservative enough?

P.S.: These things aren’t hereditary titles, nobody’s entitled to them. People certainly have an opportunity, and frankly a right and a duty, to run if they think they’re being governed poorly, if they think their senator, their congressman, their governor, their president is not doing a good job.  

I will say, I think the Republican Party, in some respects, and the conservative movement, have taken a very self-destructive approach, where as I describe it, it’s the hunt for heretics. It’s almost this game of—if somebody is against us on one issue, we’ve get to kick them out of the party, kick them out of the movement.

It’s Pat Toomey on the gun issue. It’s Marco Rubio on immigration. It’s, depending on your perspective, Rand Paul on national security stuff. You can go down the line. It’s like, look, everybody’s gonna have a wart or blemish from your perspective, but, look, these things are coalitions. Political parties are coalitions.  There is no uniformity. We’re not like Europe. We have big coalitions that unify the great big parties, and you can’t all of a sudden start weeding people who are good conservatives out the movement because all of a sudden you think they might be bad on one issue. It is this self-destructive personality attack. And, again, it’s the, “I’m-more-conservative-that-you-are” game. It’s incredibly self-defeating for a political movement if you’re trying to accomplish something.

MP: Is there room for a moderate Republican in today’s party?

P.S.: Of course. Sure. You know it’s gradations. Some people are moderate on sets of issues. You want as broad a coalition as possible. You want conservative Republicans. You want moderate Republicans.

MP: To win elections?

P.S.: To win elections and to govern. You’ve got to get the votes to pass things.

MP: What frustrated you most during your chairmanship of the party?

P.S.: Lots of things. Sometimes it’s the refusal to see the bigger picture and, again, it’s the notion of coalitions. In 2008 we had a coalition of conservatives  who were so,  quote unquote, principled that they couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Norm Coleman and they gave us Al Franken by a couple of hundred votes.

In 2010 we had moderates that were so principled that they could not vote for Tom Emmer and they gave us Mark Dayton and basically this whole last legislative session.   

It goes beyond even just being able to work with people but questioning their integrity and willingness to work in good faith. People couldn’t just come to different conclusion.  They had to be somehow morally inferior or, quote, they sold out. It’s going to kill us if everyone’s is so damn sanctimonious that they’re purer than Caesar’s wife and the rest are all just a bunch of people down in the muck.

And I think that’s a very unattractive quality for a political movement, especially one that’s trying to attract new people. Because, you know what, the new people you attract surely are not going to agree with you on 100 out of 100 things. And if they watch how you treat your own—it’s like, wait a minute, that guy agrees with them 95 percent of the time and you treat him like dirt. I agree with them 80 percent of the time, why in God’s name would I want to join that?

You have to be willing to build coalitions to save this country or you’re going to fail. I appreciate people’s passion, I appreciate their intensity, but they have to understand that this isn’t a game. This is about getting some really serious work done. And you have to willing to do it.

You have to be effective. Effective conservatives, that’s my mantra. I want effective conservatives. I do not want people who are the loudest or who can throw out the craziest sound bite or who are on talk radio or Fox News the most. I want people who can actually get things done. And I think many of my brethren on the right—here and around the country—are becoming sort of similarly acclimated. They look around and go, “I don’t recognize this anymore.”  We better get our act together before it’s too late.

Comments (75)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/09/2013 - 07:29 am.

    Tea Party trepidation

    What a hypocrite. He’s being just as careful to tiptoe around anything that actually smacks of outright disapproval of the effects of the Tea Party as are all of his conservative brethren he spends the article criticizing.

    TPers have a stranglehold on the Republican Party, and I’d be delighted about the inevitable eventual damage that will do to Republican electability if only it weren’t doing so much actual damage to this country in the meantime.

  2. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 09/09/2013 - 07:58 am.

    …market-based ideas…

    Markets work very well for those who have something to sell at a profit and for those that have money to spend on the sold good.

    The problem lies in the current refusal to accept that not all things fall within that paradigm.

    Maximum profit isn’t good for the system. People who have no foothold in the market is not good. The cheapest products aren’t always the best deal, and the cheapest prices are quite frequently associated with the death spiral of lower wages and benefits.

    The reduction of all decisions to “does it make financial sense?” is a laughable denial of the facts of how human society developed and expanded for millennia without the consideration of economics and money being the primary concern of humans.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/09/2013 - 12:31 pm.

      I take it you own no property of any kind

      Tell me that when you put your home or used car on the market. Or want a raise in pay. I’d love to negotiate with people like you.

      “Let the market decide” isn’t just a slogan used by big business. It’s how people operate in the real world.

      • Submitted by Lance Groth on 09/09/2013 - 01:28 pm.

        Read it again

        You need to read Neal’s comment again.

        “Markets work very well for those who have something to sell at a profit and for those that have money to spend on the sold good.”

        That would cover things like homes and cars. But “let the market decide” doesn’t work for other things. Environmental protection, for one thing. Pure economics would say, let’s strip mine the BWCA. After all, there are valuable metals under the ground, and what are a bunch of trees going to get you in comparison to gold, platinum, copper, etc.? Rational people know that there are some things in life that are more important than profit; that markets sometimes need to be restrained for the common good.

        This was once a conservative value too, but conservatives have lost their way.

        • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 09/09/2013 - 06:06 pm.


          …Dennis hasn’t replied to you? I wonder why?

          I really don’t recall when it was that conservatives valued anything be the dollar bill, but then I’m only 57. I’ve always thought that they knew the cost of everything, but the value of nothing.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/09/2013 - 02:19 pm.

        Read what was written

        Neal never claimed that market based principles have NO application in society, but rather that “not all things fall within that paradigm.”

        Your response does not relate to what Neal actually said and therefore really doesn’t make any sense within the context of the discussion.

      • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 09/10/2013 - 07:36 am.

        Let the market decide?

        Let’s say you have an 80 year old grandmother, or a disabled brother, or a mentally ill sister.

        None of those people have any money to bring to any market and probably never will again.

        So what would the hard, cold, “market” decide? What would you, as a human, decide?

        Now tell me again how “real people operate in the real world”.

        Like I said, millennia of society tell otherwise.

    • Submitted by Alice Gibson on 09/09/2013 - 05:38 pm.

      Laissez-faire loses in the market, too

      From 1921 through 2012, the US has run an experiment in modern economic systems, comparing Republican Trickle Down theory vs Democratic Keynesian policies. Over that 92-year period, Democrats in office have shown far higher rates than Republicans in growth of GDP, of stock markets, of wages, and of most other significant economic growth indicators. In addition, Democratic governance over the same period has reduced the incidence and severity of recessions and financial melt-downs. You want consistent economic growth and prosperity? Elect Democrats. It’s that simple.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/10/2013 - 07:59 am.


        Your comment would be strengthened with cites. Can you provide any?

        • Submitted by Alice Gibson on 09/10/2013 - 11:48 pm.

          Data supporting previous comment

          1. US historical GDP data is here:

          To do the 92 year analysis, dump all data for the period into an Excel spreadsheet and calculate annualized growth (adjusted for inflation and population) by presidential term. I’ve done this. The calculated result is that 48 years of Republican presidents (Harding/Coolidge/Hoover/Eisenhower/Nixon/Ford/Reagan/Bush/Bush) achieved annualized per capita GDP growth of 0.9%, while 44 years of Democratic administrations (Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Obama) achieved 3.4% growth, or nearly 4 times the growth rate during Republican administrations.

          2. Historical wage and benefit data is here:

          Using similar methodology to that of the GDP analysis, we find that wage/benefit compensation rose an annualized 3.4% per year during the 48 years of Republican administrations, and an annualized 5.4% per year during 44 years of Democratic administrations.

          3. Historical data for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, representative of the stock market over the period, is here:

          Using similar methodology to that of the GDP analysis, we find the DJIA return was an annualized 4.85% per year during the 48 years of Republican administrations, and an annualized 6.84% per year during 44 years of Democratic administrations.

          I hope this helps you feel more comfortable with my previous comment.

          • Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/11/2013 - 07:58 am.

            It’s not about “comfort”

            Asking for cites when someone presents what they are representing as statements of fact is just good practice. It helps keep discussions from devolving into emotional “he said/she said” slugfests, and assists other readers in sorting the wheat from the chaff.

            It is appropriate to request cites whether the comment in question agrees with a person’s position on the subject or disagrees with it. As I said, it’s not about “comfort”. Rather, cites can help to make your position stronger and you should always be happy to present cites if you have them and simply acknowledge you don’t have them if you don’t.

            • Submitted by Alice Gibson on 09/11/2013 - 09:12 am.

              So, is the wheat separated?

              I directed you to the data, described the methodology and quantified the results. What else do you need?

      • Submitted by Jim Vertein on 09/10/2013 - 09:51 am.


        If you are going to use that stat then do yourself a favor and report why it tilts towards Dems. See you forgot hat the largest turnaround in markets occurred after the word wars when Europe was looking to us for a more secure investment. Dems just happened to be in office at that time, take out those to time periods and it is virtually a tie.

        • Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/10/2013 - 03:52 pm.

          Cites again

          Again, can you provide some actual citations to support your statements?

        • Submitted by Alice Gibson on 09/10/2013 - 11:55 pm.

          Sorry, there’s no truth to that canard

          Remove good market years 1944 & 1945 from the Democrats’ average, and they still beat the Republican average for the remaining 90 years by 1.6%. In 1946-48, the market suffered a net loss.

      • Submitted by Jonathan Williams on 09/15/2013 - 10:12 pm.

        Really? More taxes and regulations = growth?

        If you are willing to ignore logic, you can find stats that seem to prove your point. In this case you actually assert that higher taxes and more red tape lead to economic growth. Wow. Stunning.

        So let’s raise ’em even higher! In MN we are over 50% combined now, lets go for even more!

        Oh, and let’s add even more red tape! More laws! More tax code. Oh…more SPENDING and debt. All this will make people just jump out of bed and want to go start businesses according to your logic.

        Oh wait…that government spending is part of…yep…GDP.

        Explain the science of higher taxes and red tape driving more PRIVATE enterprise?

        • Submitted by Susanne Wissink on 09/16/2013 - 09:03 am.

          Wow. Stunning.

          It would be useful for you to explain “the logic” to us so we can understand how it is being ignored.

          The statistics seem very straightforward. The only adjustment was done to satisfy the person that thought high growth years where the “dems just happened to be in office” should be excluded. The result did not change. Democrats in office have shown far higher rates than Republicans in growth of GDP, of stock markets, of wages, and of most other significant economic growth indicators. Perhaps if we exclude all years Democrats were in office we could marvel at the growth during years Republicans were in office.

  3. Submitted by Bruce Johnson on 09/09/2013 - 08:23 am.

    “Enthusiasm for a cause sometimes warps judgement.” W. H. Taft

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/09/2013 - 12:36 pm.

      “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice”

      “moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” – B.Goldwater

      “Leverage is greatest at the extremes.” Mechanical Engineering 101

  4. Submitted by Bruce Johnson on 09/09/2013 - 09:55 am.

    Andrew Sullivan addressed this phenomenon today:

  5. Submitted by Mike Downing on 09/09/2013 - 11:35 am.

    MP question to Democrats:

    MinnPost asked the following good question to Pat Shortridge:

    “MP: Is there room for a moderate Republican in today’s party?”

    Will MinnPost ask the following good question to Democrats:

    “MP: God was booed at the 2012 National Democratic Convention. Is there room for a moderate Democrat in today’s Democrat Party?”

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 09/09/2013 - 12:07 pm.


      Mike, your question pre-supposes that religionism is the position of moderation and atheism is the extreme. Personally, I would argue just the opposite given that stridently religious people are bent not on taking over governments in other parts of the world, but here at home too. We have judges that put the ten commandments in courthouses, people who claim Obama is a Muslim (like that’s a bad thing) despite all evidence to the contrary, and every December a manufactured “war on Christmas” meme because someone wants to say “happy holidays.”

      I prefer that we keep religion in churches and synagogs where it belongs and out of the halls of government and schools. There is a time and place to display your piety, but thumping your chest in Congress is not one of them.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 09/09/2013 - 12:53 pm.


        It was people of faith who brought their beliefs into the public square and ended slavery as well as Jim Crow. Good thing they didn’t confine that faith to their houses of worship one day a week.

        Painting with a broad brush is simple, easy, and inaccurate.

        • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 09/09/2013 - 01:37 pm.

          Really Really?

          How do you distinguish these people of faith from the slaveowner people of faith?

        • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 09/09/2013 - 03:06 pm.


          Indeed, one should be careful about using broad brushes. That’s good advice.

          Of course one does not need to be a person of faith to be morally outraged by issues like slavery and double standards codified into law.

          • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 09/10/2013 - 06:57 am.

            It was not atheists

            that started the abolitionist movement. That is an objective fact.

            • Submitted by Susanne Wissink on 09/16/2013 - 11:30 am.

              Objective? Fact?

              It was not atheists that opposed it either. Are you sure there was not one atheist part of the abolitionist movement? The abolitionist movement was started by people who were morally opposed to racial prejudice and slavery. As Mr. Hintz stated, one does not need to be a person of faith to be morally outraged by issues like slavery.

              It is unfortunate I cannot draw a Venn diagram to illustrate my point, but maybe you can picture it from this description. To simplify, I ignored the people who don’t identify with the groups and chose not to define the term religious.

              There are a group of people who consider themselves religious. Lets call them group A.
              There are a group of people who do not. Lets call them group B
              There are a group of people who are outraged by slavery (or pick any other moral issue). Group C.
              There are a group of people who are not. Group D.
              People are in either group A or group B.
              People are in either group C or group D.
              Group C contains people from both group A and group B.
              Group D contains people from both group A and group B.

              People might be outraged by slavery because of their faith, but one does not need to be religious to be outraged by slavery. On the other hand, there were slaveowners who considered themselves deeply religious and yet opposed abolition.

              I prefer that we keep religion out of the halls of schools and government and focus on the issues.

        • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 09/09/2013 - 04:27 pm.

          I think it was called the civil war

          Religion and govt should not mix.

    • Submitted by Jay Willemssen on 09/09/2013 - 12:24 pm.

      God got booed?

      Did he give a bad performance? Did he walk off stage?

      It’s tough being omnipotent.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/09/2013 - 02:26 pm.

        I Googled it

        They were going to change platform language from referring to peoples’ “God-given potential” to referring simply to “our talent and drive”, but after Romney, Ryan and Fox News started getting mileage out of that, they got worried about losing votes and changed it back.

        THAT is what got booed. I wouldn’t exactly call it “booing God”, but some people can stretch their definitions to whatever self-serving ends they feel will help them the most.

        • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 09/10/2013 - 07:10 am.

          I lived it.

          When I mentioned to the SD60 DFL convention that, after up to 50 million abortions, the DFL should at least think about re-evaluating the platform on abortion, I was booed. I was not re-elected as a Delegate to the SCC, based on that statement.

          Try getting a statement of faith or a reflection of Judeo-Christian morality into the DFL or Democratic Party. It won’t happen. The DFL and the Democrats are openly hostile to normative Judaism and Christianity. The DFL is “tolerating” Muslims right now for purposes of the Affirmative Action statement. Ask Mr. Lilligren about that. And the Democrats? They’re too far to the left for that.

          • Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/10/2013 - 07:58 am.


            That still doesn’t qualify as “booing God”.

            Some of us still attach importance to the concept of “separation of church and state”, and while a political party (and the conventions it holds) do not technically qualify as “state”, they are still close precursors, and so it is wise to preserve the concept of “separation” in this setting as well.

            Wishing to maintain that separation does not automatically mean that the members are raging atheists or that they reject religion. It simply means that they consider it important to maintain that separation in political matters.

            It’s not a difficult concept unless someone wants to use tortured logic to try and make it that way.

            • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 09/10/2013 - 05:00 pm.

              It proves

              the hostility of the DFL to Jews and Christians.

              There is no such phrase “separation of church and state” in the United States or the Minnesota Constitutions. It is from Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist association.


              “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

              Mr. Jefferson wrote his sentiments in the context of governmental non-interference in the matters of religious belief, not prohibiting people of faith from exercising their rights.

              • Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/10/2013 - 08:00 pm.

                It proves nothing

                “The hostility of the DFL to Jews and Christians” is YOUR interpretation of the events you experienced.

                • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 09/10/2013 - 10:42 pm.


                  There is objective truth and objective fact. If you’re a postmodernist or deconstructionist, Miss Berg, you do not recognize these important concepts. The DFL is hostile to those who dissent from the prevailing groupthink of sanctifying abortion.

                  I posted this in this thread, ante:

                  Find the pro-life DFLers in the Party. There are few, the roving sub-caucus at the conventions I attended averaged six. How about same sex marriage? Against that? You’d better shut up. Try and discuss an “honor killing” of a Minnesota woman? Nope. Too divisive. Condemn an anti-Semite who is not even in the DFL? Beyond the pale. These are some examples.

                  The Kennedy and Humprey Democrats are ancient history. The Party now represents the postmodern left and are not Liberal in any sense of the word.

          • Submitted by Jay Willemssen on 09/10/2013 - 10:49 am.

            You believe “statements of faith” should be in party platforms?

            Why? Why should specific religions dictate a political party platform in a country which Constitutionally guarantees freedom of (and from) religion?

            And why should this “statement of faith” be specifically about reproduction? Surely you realize the booing might have nothing to do with religion and more to do with a specific interpretation of one and its impact on the lives and rights of a large number of people.

            The comment about Muslims is also specious and offensive.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/10/2013 - 11:10 am.

            A reflection of Judeo-Christian morality

            First, what is “Judeo-Christian morality?” If you’re “Judeo,” doesn’t that preclude being Christian? If you’re talking about common origins as Abrahamic faiths, shouldn’t you also include Islam?

            Second, you seem to be talking about expressions of faith as you see it. For example, not all Christians are opposed to legalized abortion, as the scriptural justifications for such a ban are shaky. Are you saying that these are not “Normative” Christians?

            There are a lot of values in a political platform or ideology that are informed by faith, even if they do not reference scripture. I regard a belief that government, as a reflection of society, should help the less fortunate, strive to eliminate injustice, and treat all people equally, regardless of religion, race etc. Those beliefs stem from my underlying faith. That faith guides me towards the candidates and positions I choose to support.

            • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 09/10/2013 - 05:27 pm.

              Judeo-Christian morality

              You asked: “First, what is “Judeo-Christian morality?” Is this a serious question? You don’t know the commonalities between Judaism and Christianity, of their moral codes? Certainly you must be aware of some basics, such as the Ten Commandments.

              “For example, not all Christians are opposed to legalized abortion, as the scriptural justifications for such a ban are shaky.”

              I will only address Judaism since I’m Jewish. Abortions are halakhically permissible (permissible user Jewish religious law) in certain circumstances. However, if a woman were to abort a child in utero for the purposes of furthering her education or career, that would fit the definition of sacrificing the child for such a purpose, and child sacrifice (indeed, human sacrifice) is strictly prohibited by G-d and His Torah. Remember, Mr. Holbrook, Christians have incorporated Torah into their scriptures albeit with different interpretations. Child sacrifice is prohibited as well in Christianity.

              Reform, Reconstructionist and “Conservative” Judaism (read: the Jewish Auxiliaries of the DFL or Green Parties) have their own peculiar take on Halakhah concerning abortion, as with “same sex marriage”, which never has and can never exist in legitimate, normative Judaism. That, however,is for another discussion.

              • Submitted by jody rooney on 09/10/2013 - 11:42 pm.

                I’ve been Lutheran for a long time and

                I must have missed your particular view of what Christian’s believe in my 60+ years. Perhaps you could refrain from speaking about things with which you are not familiar Mr. Karsnoff.

                • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 09/11/2013 - 06:57 am.

                  Re: objective fact

                  In my post, I stated that I would only address Judaism since I’m Jewish. That being said, I asserted:

                  1. Christians have incorporated Torah into their scriptures as the “Old Testament”;
                  2. Christians have a different interpretation of the “Old Testament”; and,
                  3. Child sacrifice is prohibited in Christianity.

                  Because you claim I am not familiar with Christianity, and you have six decades of experience as a Lutheran Christian, perhaps you can advise me whether or not the objective facts I had asserted were true and correct. I look forward to your reply.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/11/2013 - 09:19 am.

                Judeo-Christian morality

                You have defined as including only your beliefs. Congratulations.

                There are commonalities between Judaism and Christianity (and Islam–care to address that point?). As you point out, however, there are different interpretations of the applications of the Torah to Christians. Those different interpretations amount to rejection of much of the law. I know of no Christians who have religious objections to eating pork or shellfish, for example.

                Theological quibbles aside, perhaps you would care to address why religious principles are required in a country with an explicit ban on religious tests as requirements for holding any public office or trust.

                • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 09/11/2013 - 07:35 pm.

                  Judeo-Christian morality

                  Mr. Holbrook asked:

                  “Theological quibbles aside, perhaps you would care to address why religious principles are required in a country with an explicit ban on religious tests as requirements for holding any public office or trust.”

                  This is going far off the subject of the article, however, here’s the Preamble of the Minnesota Constitution:

                  “We, the people of the state of Minnesota, grateful to [G-d] for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings and secure the same to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution”

                  You were asking – why religious principles are required?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/09/2013 - 04:06 pm.

      Same old, same old

      Another interview with a Republican, another trotting out of the tired old false equivalency questions. Honestly, why do Republicans do that? Are they just trying to change the subject? Or does it reveal an unusual level of self-awareness (“We look like jerks! Make a lot of pointless noise, to deflect!”)?

      Perhaps you mean an implicit criticism of Ms. Brucato’s interview. Should she have defined “moderate Republican?” Someone who doesn’t cheer executions, letting an ill person die because they can’t afford medical treatment, or deporting the parents of young children, perhaps? How about someone who doesn’t paint all Muslims as evil, or believe lunatic conspiracy theories about where the President was born? Would it include someone who doesn’t think their right to own lethal weaponry is the most important concern of government?

      Hello? Moderate Republicans?

      • Submitted by Jim Vertein on 09/10/2013 - 10:32 am.

        RE: same old same old

        Your response cracked me up, I don’t know one person that wants an ill person to die, give me a break. Liberals like you always run to the fear card or the race card whatever suits your lack of an argument better. No see I work my butt off to provide for my family, tell me why I should have to get a second job to provide for someone elses as well? if they are able to work then do it, im tired of providing for people that don’t have a desire to get up and go find work, I wonder where we would be at as a country if our grandparents had that attitude during the dust bowl years, sure they helped each other, but they didn’t sit around expecting it. Deporting parents of kids, let me ask you this if both parents committed a murder, would you oppose both going to jail because they had kids? We don’t paint all Muslims as evil, we separate the fanatics, its the left that has stated we “hate all Muslims” true the Party has done a terrible job of communicating, and allowed the Dems to p[romote this falsehood. Yes there is a small group of people we call birthers (president hasn’t helped himself on this either). And while it is not my most important issue, the right for me to own a fire arm is important to me, as it should be to you because that right secures your right to say what you want

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/10/2013 - 03:18 pm.

          I’ll be here all week!

          I’m glad I amused you. Let’s see if I can find anything specific you say that merits a response.

          At a Republican candidates’ debate in Texas in 2011, audience members cheered a hypothetical question about letting an uninsured patient die. Similarly, Rick Perry’s record of 234 executions was cheered at another debate, presumably by the pro-life members of the audience.

          Fear card or race car? Really? When did I mention race? If I scared you, it’s because conservatives are in a fright over so many imaginary bogeymen that they don’t know what to do.

          “I wonder where we would be at as a country if our grandparents had that attitude during the dust bowl years[?]” During the Dust Bowl years, our grandparents elected FDR, who put into place a broad safety net for economic recovery and stability. They didn’t sit around expecting it, they made it happen.

          “We don’t paint all Muslims as evil, we separate the fanatics.” Where to begin with this one? Rep. Bachmann, would you and your pal Rep. Gohmert care to weigh in? Can we still scare people with Shariah law?

          “President hasn’t helped himself” on the birther issue. Why? Why should the President of the United States demean his office and himself to satisfy the rantings of a bunch of crackpots (more than a small number, if the polls of Republicans are to be believed)? Let’s leave aside the issue of what, if any, proof could satisfy these idiots, and ask why we should bow to their whims. The President should not have to help himself on this one, any more than President Bush should have continued to answer the truthers (how many truthers were there in Congress, anyway?).

        • Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/10/2013 - 04:03 pm.

          You must not have watched the debates

          You don’t know of anyone wishing for an ill person to die? Then apparently you weren’t paying attention during the Republican Presidential debates:

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/09/2013 - 04:07 pm.


      I thought “Democrat Party” was a usage no longer tolerated on MinnPost.

  6. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 09/09/2013 - 12:15 pm.


    Shortridge has some good advice for the state and national GOP, but I doubt that many people are listening to him at this point. The moderates have all been driven out as RINOs and the “big tent” is getting smaller by the day as people get disgusted by the “my way or the highway” attitude the Republicans take. More and more they’re packing up their camping gear and leaving the GOP’s tent.

    It’s still too early to tell how the Republican’s rebuilding process is going to pan out, but I have to wonder if the more moderate elements won’t start a competing party at some point and strike out on their own. That will mean years of building up a base and a coalition, but at this point there doesn’t seem to be much option given the stranglehold the shouters have on the party.

  7. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/09/2013 - 12:25 pm.

    I’m a conservative

    I was a life-long democrat until Jimmy Carter forced me to re-examine my political beliefs. When I did, I voted for Ronald Reagan and haven’t voted for a democrat since.

    I’ve always considered myself a conservative, and not a republican per se. I’m not a member of the republican party and have never attended a republican party function. I’ve never contributed to the republican party although I have contributed to conservative candidates.

    Like most conservatives, I vote for the most conservative candidate. Usually, it’s the republican. Republican candidates know that and that’s why they try to tailor their message to one they know we want to hear. But we’re not stupid. When a republican claims to hold conservative views but his record says otherwise, we’ll probably stay home on election day. Mitt Romney was convinced he was going to win in 2012, but he didn’t count on the millions of conservatives who stayed home.

    Political parties have a habit of taking people for granted. Sure, they get the ideological vote from committed leftists, but democrats take the black vote for granted, the college kid vote for granted, and the women’s vote for granted. Thanks to propaganda and disinformation from the entertainment media, news media, and academia, those low-information voter groups will vote for the candidate with the D after their name regardless of the candidate’s actual performance in office and the party knows it. Under Obama’s policies, 23% of young people 16-24 are unemployed. Forty-one percent if they’re black. Most of the babies aborted in this country are female. But it doesn’t matter to them.

    Republicans candidates aren’t so lucky. Conservatives actually have principles and they hold politicians to those principles or else.

    The republican party has a lot of problems. Mitt Romney was right about one thing: When 43% of the people pay no income tax, they couldn’t care less about your call for lower taxes. When 15% of households are on food stamps, when 9 million people are living on disability payments, and millions more can’t wait for government to take care of their every need, they’re not interested in balanced budgets and smaller government. I don’t know how you fix that.

    But the party’s problems are not with the TEA Party (taxed enough already) people or conservatives in general. We’re the only ones keeping the republican party relevant.

    • Submitted by Jay Willemssen on 09/09/2013 - 01:08 pm.

      Youth and black unemployment rates, Reagan v Obama

      The unemployment rate for workers ages 16 to 19 peaked at 24.1% under Reagan. It’s currently 22.7% under Obama.

      The black unemployment rate under Reagan in August 1985 was 14.3%. In August 2013, under Obama, it was 13.0%.

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/09/2013 - 02:00 pm.

        I’ll be sure

        to let my unemployed black friends know that. I’m sure they’ll be comforted by it.

        • Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/09/2013 - 02:29 pm.

          Don’t be disingenuous

          You know full well that statistical statements refer to populations and not to individuals.

          • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/09/2013 - 04:59 pm.


            That presumes Dennis’ black friends are real and not figments of his imagination used for rhetorical arguments. Absent any evidence to the contrary, and using Tester Logic, the claim must be true!

        • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 09/09/2013 - 03:10 pm.


          Dennis, you can let your black friends know all you want, but I’m sure they’re much more aware of the situation than you are. The implication from your post is that unemployment for minorities has been a disaster under Obama’s policies. The previous poster pointed out to you that your position is not fact based.

          Would you consider that to be low information?

  8. Submitted by Donna Koren on 09/09/2013 - 02:55 pm.

    Yes, if you want to move a rock or other inanimate object..

    “Leverage is greatest at the extremes.” Mechanical Engineering 1

    If you want to shape effective public policy, engaging an informed citizenry, in a democratic society, focused on the common good.. Benjamin Franklin’s endorsement of moderation is probably the way to go.

  9. Submitted by Ralf Wyman on 09/09/2013 - 03:48 pm.

    “…these things are coalitions. Political parties are coalitions. There is no uniformity. We’re not like Europe.”
    Oh, please. Europe isn’t like the fantasy Europe that this man or so many Republicans like to toss off. For example, Sweden has had a moderate/center-right coalition government since 2006. Britain has had two conservative, one labor and one coalition/conservative government over the past 35 years.
    There are many other examples of coalition governments, alternating liberal and conservative governments, etc, in Europe.
    It is very frustrating when a person who ought to know better by his influence and status as a party leader tosses off such ignorant one-liners as “we;re not like Europe.”
    This sort of intentional misrepresentation of how nations that actually share a lot of political heritage (and often, international alliance partnerships) is not helpful.

  10. Submitted by Kevin Watterson on 09/09/2013 - 04:04 pm.

    I do not for the life of me understand why anyone would sit down for an interview like this.

  11. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/09/2013 - 04:13 pm.

    Coming out of a coma

    Where has Mr. Shortridge been? He has worked in Republican politics for years, and he is just now noticing the lunacy?

    Mr. Shortridge, the crazies have been moving steadily to take over the Republican Party for decades. They were doing it when you worked for Rep. Forehead-Kennedy, or when you worked as an Enron lobbyist (Dear Ms. Brucato: Are you implying something by trotting out that credential for him? It’s been awhile, but many of us remember Enron). Where do you think the fuss about Agenda 21 comes from? You were in the thick of the insanity when Paul Ryan gave you that copy of Atlas Shrugged. Why do you act like this is a surprise?

    Whom are you trying to fool?

  12. Submitted by Jim Bernstein on 09/09/2013 - 05:59 pm.

    Consevative Principles?

    The only conservative principles in play are:

    1) I got mine and the heck with everyone else.
    2) Government is generally bad except when it assists/protects me and it is really bad when it is assists/protects people I don’t like.
    3) Everything bad that happens to people is actually their fault.
    4) If my parents/grandparents/great grandparents/great, great grandparents were wealthy, then I deserve to be wealthy too.
    5) Voting is a privilege that should be discouraged – unless you vote the way I do.
    6) Freedom and individual responsibility are good things except if you want to marry someone I disapprove of or want to make your own decisions about reproduction.
    7) If we could only eliminate government regulation, then the banks, insurance companies, energy companies, food & drug companies, petroleum industry, airlines, and mining companies would all lower their prices and always do only what is best for their customers.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/10/2013 - 02:56 pm.

      Before I parodied someone else’s

      principles, I’d try working up list of my own, difficult as that will be.

      Everyone who has a remedial understanding of ideology knows what the conservative principles are. No one knows what the liberal principles are.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/10/2013 - 03:19 pm.

        “Conservative Principles”

        1. We hate liberals.

        2. Anything liberals say, we oppose.

        You’re right, it is easy.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/10/2013 - 04:10 pm.

        Liberal principles

        Maybe because liberals don’t tend to emphasize trying to be a monolithic block that marches in lockstep and kicks out anyone who doesn’t conform.

        • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 09/10/2013 - 08:20 pm.

          Re: Liberal principles

          Find the pro-life DFLers in the Party. There are few, the roving sub-caucus at the conventions I attended averaged six. How about same sex marriage? Against that? You’d better shut up. Try and discuss an “honor killing” of a Minnesota woman? Nope. Too divisive. Condemn an anti-Semite who is not even in the DFL? Beyond the pale. These are some examples.

          The Kennedy and Humprey Democrats are ancient history. The Party now represents the postmodern left and are not Liberal in any sense of the word.

  13. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 09/09/2013 - 06:50 pm.

    Better Or Worse?

    Is America a better place for Dr. King bringing his faith to the public square?

    While there most certainly were Christians who believed in the rightness of both slavery and Jim Crow, it was believing Christians who acted on their faith that made up the back bone of both the Abolitionist movement as well as the movement to make all of more free by eliminating “white” and “colored” signs. Those fighting Jim Crow were also joined by Jewish folks. These are historical facts. These movements were not lead by atheists or humanists. Acknowledging these fact does not absolve all Christians of every social sin for the last 2,000 years, nor does it logically follow that atheists or humanists couldn’t have lead these movements. But the fact is they didn’t.

    I’d like to live in a world that is black and white; these people are all good and religious people are all bad. You can tell the bad ones because they all have dark skin.But I choose to live in the real world, with all of it’s inconvenient truths and complexities.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 09/10/2013 - 06:05 am.


      Frank, you’re missing the point entirely, and hopefully not deliberately. The perception a lot of people put forth is that you have to be religious in order to be moralistic and have good values. Abolitionists and Dr. King were at the forefront of the movements of their time and they were deeply religious, but does that mean that religion is a necessary condition in order to lead those movements? I think you’re creating a causality where none exists, especially given the times when these people lived, when the vast majority of people self identified as religious. Under those conditions and given simple math, the laws of probability say that a religious person will pop up as the movement leader.

      Do we really need more religion in our government? Can’t we advance good and moral causes without it? If you do indeed think religion in government is important, whose religion do you intend to advance and will that advancement be to the detriment of other religions and non-religious people?

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/10/2013 - 08:12 am.

      The importance of separation

      There is nothing wrong with having your personal values inform the issues you support. And often those personal values have their basis in the religious tradition you are a part of.

      The problem is when you then bring up that religious tradition as being the reason why “you are right and the other guy is wrong” when enshrining things into law. That is where we begin getting religious agendas creeping into political decisions, and that is where the concept of separation needs to be re-emphasized.

      It is possible to take a moral political position that may (or may not) be informed by religion. It is neither necessary (nor desireable) for religion to be included as part of the discussion – or possible legislation that follows.

      Laws can be made on the basis of what is the right thing to do. Period.

      It’s that simple.

  14. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 09/10/2013 - 10:24 am.

    “Market vs Religion”

    I find it very interesting that the party of “market-based solutions” also claims to be the “party of God”.

    Can’t get more contradictory than that.

    Cost vs value.

  15. Submitted by Jay Willemssen on 09/10/2013 - 06:31 pm.

    Real Per Capita GDP in the postwar years

    GDP data goes back to 1947. So we have complete data for Eisenhower to Obama.

    So looking at real dollar per capita GDP annual growth rates, here are how each administration did prior to the one before it, in percentage point difference.

    Kennedy / Johnson +3.41
    Clinton +1.80
    Carter +0.69
    Obama +0.64
    Reagan +0.19
    Bush I -1.74
    Bush II -1.90
    Nixon / Ford -2.37
    Eisenhower -2.51


  16. Submitted by Jay Willemssen on 09/10/2013 - 08:42 pm.

    US Presidential Vote by Religious Affiliation, 2012

    Protestant: 57-42 Romney
    Catholic: 50-48 Obama
    Jewish: 69-30 Obama
    Other faiths: 74-23 Obama
    Religiously unaffiliated: 70-26 Obama


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