Grassroots for an Open Republican Party

Revitalizing the Minnesota GOP from the Bottom Up
March 29, 2009, 3:21 pm
Filed under: MN GOP

“Grassroots for an Open Minnesota GOP” is about as grassroots as it gets – two people. Neither of us holds a party office; both of us are card-carrying, caucus-going Republicans and active in party politics to one degree or another. Neither of us has immediate plans to run for any party office. Each of is smart enough to never say “never.”

This site is not built in support of any candidate for party office nor to dissuade support from any candidate. But it does have a definite point of view, and as they say in the entertainment business, “resemblance to any campaigns for state GOP party offices, living or deceased, is purely coincidental.”

So why create the site?

Craig Westover Senate District 57

Craig Westover Senate District 57

We are not unique in believing the Republican Party needs revitalizing. And on the surface this site parrots some of the standard Republican mantra about “returning to Republican principles” and “reaffirming” conservative values as keys to rebuilding the party. Here’s the difference: We really believe it.

“Returning to Republican principles” means holding fast to those principles even when it hurts. It means turning to those principles everyday to guide every action taken as a member or officer of the Republican Party. It means incorporating those principles into how we organize the Minnesota GOP, manage the Minnesota GOP and communicate the message of the Minnesota GOP. It means we turn to those principles to guide our candidate selection process, to provide the code by which we conduct elections, and to hold Republican officeholders accountable to the people who endorse them.

No candidate for party office thus far seems willing to take that stand. No candidate has put forth a plan that goes beyond bullet points to explain how he or she will move from rather vague statements of principle to governing the Minnesota Republican Party. Talk is cheap. Walking the talk carries a much higher price.

Marianne Stebbins

Marianne Stebbins Senate District 33

On this website we take a good hard look at our party. We observe that the Minnesota GOP is a command and control structure, which attempts to build unity by excluding competing ideas. We see protecting a shallow unity from the challenge of competing ideas as a self-defeating strategy. We propose, in detail, a two-pronged plan to rejuvenate and rebuild the Minnesota GOP.

First, structurally and operationally focus the party on delegating to BPOUs responsibility for managing their own affairs and enabling BPOUs to secure the resources to do so. That includes selecting their own candidates, manging their local campaigns and rasing funds without having to compete with the state party’s efforts. A plan for building up the BPOUs is found here.

Second, clarify, broaden and diversify the Minnesota Republican Message. That doesn’t mean “RINOizing” the Republican Party. To the contrary, it means emphasizing and living by the traditional Republican principles of the primacy of individual sovereignty, the sanctity of private property and preservation of the rule of law. Rebuilding the Republican Party requires welcoming to the party all people who share, value and are willing to work for those principles – even if they might choose to use their liberty differently than others of us might choose. Plan details are found here.

We propose moving away from the notion of a “platform conservative” to the idea of “principled conservatism”; we propose superseding the excessively long and complex state party platform with a set of seven principles that define what Republicans believe, portend how we will govern and guide how we structure and operate the Minnesota GOP. The set of seven principles is found here. A party platform discussion is found here.

One final note: In grassroots tradition, our proposal is meant to be discussed, not rubber-stamped. Some of it is controversial; if it weren’t controversial and didn’t challenge the way we think about a party whose electoral power teeters on irrelevance, it wouldn’t have much use, would it? Putting it together, bouncing ideas off people in various forums, two things became clear: the ever-growing number of conservative groups is ample evidence there is a growling hunger for a principled political party growling out there in the grassroots and the Republican Party is not feeding that hunger.

And so, it is in the spirit of building a Republican Party that doesn’t just win elections, but one that earns the respect of friends and foes alike as a party of integrity, a party of principle, that we offer this declaration supporting “principled conservatism.”

If you agree with the spirit of this discussion, join us on FACEBOOK and participate in the discussions.

[Read “Who will Minnesota Republicans choose to lead their divided party?” by Blois Olson at]



Marianne Stebbins, Senate District 33
Craig Westover, Senate District 57